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Title: Oregon and Eldorado - or, Romance of the Rivers
Author: Bulfinch, Thomas, 1796-1867
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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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the
  District of Massachusetts.



When one observes attentively the maps of South and North America, no
feature appears more striking than the provision which Nature seems to
have made, in both continents, for water-communication across the
breadth of each. In the Northern continent, this channel of
communication is formed by the Missouri and Columbia Rivers, which
stretch over an extent of three thousand miles, interrupted only by the
ridge of the Rocky Mountains. In the Southern continent, the River
Amazon, in its path from the Andes to the sea, traverses a course of
thirty-three hundred miles. In both cases, a few hundred miles of
land-carriage will complete the transit from ocean to ocean. The analogy
presented in the length and direction of these magnificent
water-pathways is preserved in their history. A series of romantic
adventures attaches to each. I indulge the hope, that young readers who
have so favorably received my former attempts to amuse and instruct
them, in my several works reviving the fabulous legends of remote ages,
will find equally attractive these true narratives of bold adventure,
whose date is comparatively recent. Moreover, their scenes are laid, in
the one instance, in our own country; and, in the other, in that great
and rising empire of Brazil to which our distinguished naturalist, Prof.
Agassiz, has gone on a pilgrimage of science. It will enable us better
to appreciate the discoveries and observations which the professor will
lay before us on his return, to know something beforehand of the history
and peculiarities of the region which is the scene of his labors; and,
on the other hand, the route across the North-American continent, to
which the first part of the volume relates, deprives increased interest,
at this time, from the fact that it nearly corresponds to the route of
the contemplated Northern Pacific Railroad.

BOSTON, June, 1866.                   T. B.




DISCOVERY OF COLUMBIA RIVER                       1


LEWIS AND CLARKE                                 14


THE SIOUX                                        23




INDIAN TRIBES                                    45


THE MARCH RESUMED                                57


THE JOURNEY CONTINUED                            85




THE PARTY IN THE BOATS                          107


THE DESCENT OF THE COLUMBIA                     120


CLARKE'S RIVER                                  131


KOOSKOOSKEE RIVER                               147


WINTER-QUARTERS                                 176


A NEW YEAR                                      187


WINTER LIFE                                     197


THE RETURN                                      210


THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS                             230





THE DISCOVERY                                   255


ORELLANA DESCENDS THE RIVER                     265




SIR WALTER RALEIGH                              285


RALEIGH'S FIRST EXPEDITION                      293




RALEIGH'S SECOND EXPEDITION                     316


THE FRENCH PHILOSOPHERS                         326






HERNDON'S EXPEDITION                            361








LATEST EXPLORATIONS                             404


THE NATURALIST ON THE AMAZON                    427


ANIMATED NATURE                                 446





A few years ago, there was still standing in Bowdoin Square, Boston,
opposite the Revere House, an ancient mansion, since removed to make
room for the granite range called the Coolidge Building. In that
mansion, then neither old nor inelegant, but, on the contrary, having
good pretensions to rank among the principal residences of the place,
was assembled, in the year 1787, a group, consisting of the master of
the mansion, Dr. Bulfinch, his only son Charles, and Joseph Barrell,
their neighbor, an eminent merchant of Boston. The conversation turned
upon the topic of the day,--the voyages and discoveries of Capt. Cook,
the account of which had lately been published. The brilliant
achievements of Capt. Cook, his admirable qualities, and his sad fate
(slain by the chance stroke of a Sandwich-Islander, in a sudden brawl
which arose between the sailors and the natives),--these formed the
current of the conversation; till at last it changed, and turned more
upon the commercial aspects of the subject. Mr. Barrell was particularly
struck with what Cook relates of the abundance of valuable furs offered
by the natives of the country in exchange for beads, knives, and other
trifling commodities valued by them. The remark of Capt. Cook respecting
the sea-otter was cited:--

"This animal abounds here: the fur is softer and finer than that of any
other we know of; and therefore the discovery of this part of the
continent, where so valuable an article of commerce may be met with,
cannot be a matter of indifference." He adds in a note, "The sea-otter
skins are sold by the Russians to the Chinese at from sixteen to twenty
pounds each."

Mr. Barrell remarked, "There is a rich harvest to be reaped there by
those who shall first go in." The idea thus suggested was followed out
in future conversations at the doctor's fireside, admitting other
congenial spirits to the discussion, and resulted in the equipping of an
expedition consisting of two vessels, the ship "Columbia" and sloop
"Washington," to make the proposed adventure. The partners in the
enterprise were Joseph Barrell, Samuel Brown, Charles Bulfinch, John
Derby, Crowell Hatch, and J. M. Pintard. So important was the expedition
deemed by the adventurers themselves, that they caused a medal to be
struck, bearing on one side a representation of the two vessels under
sail, and on the other the names of the parties to the enterprise.
Several copies of this medal were made both in bronze and silver, and
distributed to public bodies and distinguished individuals. One of these
medals lies before the writer as he pens these lines. A representation
is subjoined:--


The expedition was also provided with sea-letters, issued by the Federal
Government agreeably to a resolution of Congress, and with passports
from the State of Massachusetts; and they received letters from the
Spanish minister plenipotentiary in the United States, recommending them
to the attention of the authorities of his nation on the Pacific coast.

The "Columbia" was commanded by John Kendrick, to whom was intrusted the
general control of the expedition. The master of the "Washington" was
Robert Gray.

The two vessels sailed together from Boston on the 30th of September,
1787: thence they proceeded to the Cape Verde Islands, and thence to the
Falkland Islands, in each of which groups they procured refreshments. In
January, 1788, they doubled Cape Horn; immediately after which they were
separated during a violent gale. The "Washington," continuing her course
through the Pacific, made the north-west coast in August, near the 46th
degree of latitude. Here Capt. Gray thought he perceived indications of
the mouth of a river; but he was unable to ascertain the fact, in
consequence of his vessel having grounded, and been attacked by the
savages, who killed one of his men, and wounded the mate. But she
escaped without further injury, and, on the 17th of September, reached
Nootka Sound, which had been agreed upon as the port of re-union in case
of separation. The "Columbia" did not enter the sound until some days

The two vessels spent their winter in the sound; where the "Columbia"
also lay during the following summer, collecting furs, while Capt.
Gray, in the "Washington," explored the adjacent waters. On his return
to Nootka, it was agreed upon between the two captains that Kendrick
should take command of the sloop, and remain on the coast, while Gray,
in the "Columbia," should carry to Canton all the furs which had been
collected by both vessels. This was accordingly done; and Gray arrived
on the 6th of December at Canton, where he sold his furs, and took in a
cargo of tea, with which he entered Boston on the 10th of August, 1790,
having carried the flag of the United States for the first time round
the world.

Kendrick, immediately on parting with the "Columbia," proceeded with the
"Washington" to the Strait of Fuca, through which he sailed, in its
whole length, to its issue in the Pacific, in lat. 51. To him belongs
the credit of ascertaining that Nootka and the parts adjacent are an
island, to which the name of Vancouver's Island has since been given,
which it now retains. Vancouver was a British commander who followed in
the track of the Americans a year later. The injustice done to Kendrick
by thus robbing him of the credit of his discovery is but one of many
similar instances; the greatest of all being that by which our
continent itself bears the name, not of Columbus, but of a subsequent

Capt. Kendrick, during the time occupied by Gray in his return voyage,
besides collecting furs, engaged in various speculations; one of which
was the collection, and transportation to China, of the odoriferous wood
called "sandal," which grows in many of the tropical islands of the
Pacific, and is in great demand throughout the Celestial Empire, for
ornamental fabrics, and also for medicinal purposes. Vancouver
pronounced this scheme chimerical; but experience has shown that it was
founded on just calculations, and the business has ever since been
prosecuted with advantage, especially by Americans.

Another of Kendrick's speculations has not hitherto produced any fruit.
In the summer of 1791, he purchased from Maquinna, Wicanish, and other
Indian chiefs, several large tracts of land near Nootka Sound, for which
he obtained deeds, duly _marked_ by those personages, and witnessed by
the officers and men of the "Washington." Attempts were afterwards made
by the owners of the vessel to sell these lands in London, but no
purchasers were found; and applications have since been addressed by the
legal representatives of the owners to the Government of the United
States for a confirmation of the title, but hitherto without success.

Capt. Kendrick lost his life by a singular accident. In exchanging
salutes with a Spanish vessel which they met at the Sandwich Islands,
the wad of the gun of the Spaniard struck Capt. Kendrick as he stood on
the deck of his vessel, conspicuous in his dress-coat and cocked hat as
commander of the expedition. It was instantly fatal.

The ship "Columbia" returned to Boston from Canton under the command of
Gray, as already stated, arriving on the 10th of August, 1790; but the
cargo of Chinese articles brought by her was insufficient to cover the
expenses of her voyage: nevertheless her owners determined to persevere
in the enterprise, and refitted the ship for a new voyage of the same

The "Columbia," under her former captain, Gray, left Boston, on her
second voyage, on the 28th of September, 1790, and, without the
occurrence of any thing worthy of note, arrived at Clyoquot, near the
entrance of Fuca's Strait, on the 5th of June, 1791. There, and in the
neighboring waters, she remained through the summer and winter
following, engaged in trading and exploring. In the spring of 1792, Gray
took his departure in the ship, on a cruise southward, along the coast,
bent on ascertaining the truth of appearances which had led him in the
former voyage to suspect the existence of a river discharging its waters
at or about the latitude of 46 degrees. During his cruise, he met the
English vessels commanded by Commodore Vancouver. "On the 29th of
April," Vancouver writes in his journal, "at four o'clock, a sail was
discovered to the westward, standing in shore. This was a very great
novelty, not having seen any vessel but our consort during the last
eight months. She soon hoisted American colors, and fired a gun to
leeward. At six, we spoke her. She proved to be the ship 'Columbia,'
commanded by Capt. Robert Gray, belonging to Boston, whence she had been
absent nineteen months. I sent two of my officers on board to acquire
such information as might be serviceable in our future operations. Capt.
Gray informed them of his having been off the mouth of a river, in the
latitude of 46 degrees 10 minutes, for nine days; but the outset or
reflux was so strong as to prevent his entering."

To this statement of Capt. Gray, Vancouver gave little credit. He
remarks, "I was thoroughly persuaded, as were also most persons of
observation on board, that we could not have passed any safe navigable
opening, harbor, or place of security for shipping, from Cape Mendocino
to Fuca's Strait."

After parting with the English ships, Gray sailed along the coast of the
continent southward; and on the 7th of May, 1792, he "saw an entrance
which had a very good appearance of a harbor." Passing through this
entrance, he found himself in a bay, "well sheltered from the sea by
long sand-bars and spits," where he remained three days trading with the
natives, and then resumed his voyage, bestowing on the place thus
discovered the name of Bulfinch's Harbor, in honor of one of the owners
of his ship. This is now known as Gray's Harbor.

At daybreak on the 11th, after leaving Bulfinch's Harbor, Gray observed
the entrance of his desired port, bearing east-south-east, distant six
leagues; and running into it with all sails set, between the breakers,
he anchored at one o'clock in a large river of fresh water, ten miles
above its mouth. At this spot he remained three days, engaged in trading
with the natives, and filling his casks with water; and then sailed up
the river about twelve miles along its northern shore, where, finding
that he could proceed no farther from having taken the wrong channel, he
again came to anchor. On the 20th, he recrossed the bar at the mouth of
the river, and regained the Pacific.

On leaving the river, Gray gave it the name of his ship, the Columbia,
which it still bears. He called the southern point of land, at the
entrance, Cape Adams; and the northern, Cape Hancock. The former of
these names retains its place in the maps, the latter does not; the
promontory being known as Cape Disappointment,--a name it received from
Lieut. Meares, an English navigator, who, like Capt. Gray, judged from
appearances that there was the outlet of a river at that point, but
failed to find it, and recorded his failure in the name he assigned to
the conspicuous headland which marked the place of his fruitless search.

     NOTE. As the discovery of Columbia River was an event of
     historical importance, the reader will perhaps be gratified to
     see it as recorded in the words of Capt. Gray himself, copied
     from his logbook as follows:--

     "May 11 (1792), at eight, P.M., the entrance of Bulfinch's
     Harbor bore north, distance four miles. Sent up the
     main-top-gallant yard, and set all sail. At four, A.M., saw the
     entrance of our desired port, bearing east-south-east, distance
     six leagues; in steering sails, and hauled our wind in shore.
     At eight, A.M., being a little to windward of the entrance of
     the harbor, bore away, and ran in east-north-east between the
     breakers, having from five to seven fathoms of water. When we
     were over the bar, we found this to be a large river of fresh
     water, up which we steered. Many canoes came alongside. At one,
     P.M., came to, with the small bower in ten fathoms black and
     white sand. The entrance between the bars bore west-south-west,
     distant ten miles; the north side of the river a half-mile
     distant from the ship, the south side of the same two and a
     half miles distance; a village on the north side of the river,
     west by north, distant three-quarters of a mile. Vast numbers
     of natives came alongside. People employed in pumping the salt
     water out of our water-casks, in order to fill with fresh,
     while the ship floated in. So ends."

From the mouth of Columbia River, Gray sailed to Nootka Sound, where he
communicated his recent discoveries to the Spanish commandant, Quadra;
to whom he also gave charts and descriptions of Bulfinch's Harbor, and
of the mouth of the Columbia. He departed for Canton in September, and
thence sailed to the United States.

The voyages of Kendrick and Gray were not profitable to the adventurers,
yet not fruitless of benefit to their country. They opened the way to
subsequent enterprises in the same region, which were eminently
successful. And, in another point of view, these expeditions were
fraught with consequences of the utmost importance. Gray's discovery of
Columbia River was the point most relied upon by our negotiators in a
subsequent era for establishing the claim of the United States to the
part of the continent through which that river flows; and it is in a
great measure owing to that discovery that the growing State of Oregon
is now a part of the American Republic.

From the date of the discovery of Columbia River to the war of 1812, the
direct trade between the American coast and China was almost entirely in
the hands of the citizens of the United States. The British merchants
were restrained from pursuing it by the opposition of their East-India
Company; the Russians were not admitted into Chinese ports; and few
ships of any other nation were seen in that part of the ocean. The trade
was prosecuted by men whose names are still distinguished among us as
those of the master-spirits of American commerce,--the Thorndikes, the
Perkinses, Lambs, Sturgis, Cushing, and others of Boston, Astor and
others of New York. The greater number of the vessels sent from the
United States were fine ships or brigs laden with valuable cargoes of
West-India productions, British manufactured articles, and French,
Italian, and Spanish wines and spirits; and the owners were men of large
capital and high reputation in the commercial world, some of whom were
able to compete with the British companies, and even to control their

During all this period, though constant accessions were made to the
knowledge of the coast by means of commercial adventure, the interior of
the continent, from the Mississippi to the ocean, remained unknown. The
intercourse of the people of the United States with the native tribes
was restricted by several causes. One was the possession of Louisiana by
the Spaniards; another, the retention by the British of several
important posts south of the Great Lakes, within the acknowledged
territory of the Union. At length, by the treaty of 1794 between Great
Britain and the United States, those posts were given up to the
Americans; and by treaty with France, in 1803, Louisiana, which had come
into possession of that power in 1800, was ceded to the United States.
From this period, the Government and people of the United States ceased
to be indifferent to the immense and important region whose destinies
were committed to them; and the ensuing narrative will relate the first
attempt made by national authority to occupy and explore the country.



In the year 1786, John Ledyard of Connecticut, who had been with Capt.
Cook in his voyage of discovery to the north-west coast of America in
1776-1780, was in Paris, endeavoring to engage a mercantile company in
the fur-trade of that coast. He had seen, as he thought, unequalled
opportunities for lucrative traffic in the exchange of the furs of that
country for the silks and teas of China. But his representations were
listened to with incredulity by the cautious merchants of Europe, and he
found it impossible to interest any so far as to induce them to fit out
an expedition for the object proposed.

Disappointed and needy, he applied for advice and assistance to Mr.
Jefferson, at that time the American minister at the court of France.
Ledyard had no views of pecuniary gain in the contemplated enterprise:
he sought only an opportunity of indulging his love of adventure by
exploring regions at that time unknown. Mr. Jefferson, as the guardian
of his country's interests and the friend of science, was warmly
interested in any scheme which contemplated the opening of the vast
interior regions of the American continent to the occupancy of civilized
man. Since it was impossible to engage mercantile adventurers to fit out
an expedition by sea, Mr. Jefferson proposed to Ledyard that he should
go as a traveller, by land, through the Russian territories, as far as
the eastern coast of the continent of Asia, and from thence get such
conveyance as he could to the neighboring coast of America, and thus
reach the spot where his main journey was to begin. Ledyard eagerly
embraced the proposal. Permission was obtained from the Empress
Catharine of Russia, and the enterprising traveller, in December, 1786,
set forth. He traversed Denmark and Sweden; passed round the head of the
Gulf of Bothnia, after an unsuccessful attempt to cross it on the ice;
and reached St. Petersburg in March, 1787, without money, shoes, or
stockings, having gone this immense journey on foot in an arctic winter.
At St. Petersburg he obtained notice, money to the amount of twenty
guineas, and permission to accompany a convoy of stores to Yakoutsk, in
Siberia. But, for some unexplained reason, he was arrested at that
place by order of the empress, and conveyed back to Europe; being
cautioned, on his release, not again to set foot within the Russian
territories, under penalty of death. This harsh treatment is supposed to
have arisen from the jealousy of the Russian fur-traders, who feared
that Ledyard's proceedings would rouse up rivals in their trade.

Mr. Jefferson did not, upon this disappointment, abandon the idea of an
exploration of the interior of the American continent. At his
suggestion, the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia took
measures, in 1792, to send suitable persons to make a similar transit of
the continent in the opposite direction; that is, by ascending the
Missouri, and descending the Columbia. Nothing was effected, however, at
that time, except awakening the attention of Capt. Meriwether Lewis, a
young officer in the American army, a neighbor and relative of Gen.
Washington. He eagerly sought to be employed to make the contemplated

In 1803, Mr. Jefferson, being then President of the United States,
proposed to Congress to send an exploring party to trace the Missouri to
its source; to cross the highlands, and follow the best water
communication which might offer itself, to the Pacific Ocean. Congress
approved the proposal, and voted a sum of money to carry it into
execution. Capt. Lewis, who had then been two years with Mr. Jefferson
as his private secretary, immediately renewed his solicitations to have
the direction of the expedition. Mr. Jefferson had now had opportunity
of knowing him intimately, and believed him to be brave, persevering,
familiar with the Indian character and customs, habituated to the
hunting life, honest, and of sound judgment. He trusted that he would be
careful of those committed to his charge, yet steady in the maintenance
of discipline. On receiving his appointment, Capt. Lewis repaired to
Philadelphia, and placed himself under its distinguished professors,
with a view to acquire familiarity with the nomenclature of the natural
sciences. He selected, as his companion in the proposed expedition,
William Clarke, a brother-officer, known and esteemed by him.

While these things were going on, the treaty with France was concluded,
by which the country of Louisiana was ceded to the United States. This
event, which took place in 1803, greatly increased the interest felt by
the people of the United States in the proposed expedition.

In the spring of 1804, the preparations being completed, the explorers
commenced their route. The party consisted of nine young men from
Kentucky, fourteen soldiers of the United-States army who volunteered
their services, two French watermen, an interpreter, a hunter, and a
black servant of Capt. Clarke. In addition to these, a further force of
fifteen men attended on the commencement of the expedition to secure
safety during the transit through some Indian tribes whose hostility was
apprehended. The necessary stores were divided into seven bales and one
box, the latter containing a small portion of each article in case of a
loss of any one of the bales. The stores consisted of clothing, working
tools, ammunition, and other articles of prime necessity. To these were
added fourteen bales and one box of Indian presents, composed of richly
laced coats and other articles of dress, medals, flags, knives, and
tomahawks for the chiefs; ornaments of different kinds, particularly
beads, looking-glasses, handkerchiefs, paints, and generally such
articles as were deemed best calculated for the taste of the Indians.
The company embarked on board of three boats. The first was a keel-boat,
fifty-five feet long, carrying one large square sail and twenty-two
oars. A deck of ten feet, at each end, formed a forecastle and cabin.
This was accompanied by two open boats of six oars. Two horses were to
be led along the banks of the river, for bringing home game, or hunting
in case of scarcity.

The narrative of the expedition was written by the commanders from day
to day, and published after their return. We shall tell the story of
their adventures nearly in the language of their own journal, with such
abridgments as our plan renders necessary.

May 14, 1804.--All the preparations being completed, they left their
encampment this day. The character of the river itself was the most
interesting object of examination for the first part of their voyage.
Having advanced, in two months, about four hundred and fifty miles, they
write as follows: "The ranges of hills on opposite sides of the river
are twelve or fifteen miles apart, rich plains and prairies, with the
river, occupying the intermediate space, partially covered near the
river with cotton-wood or Balm-of-Gilead poplar. The whole lowland
between the parallel ranges of hills seems to have been formed of mud of
the river, mixed with sand and clay. The sand of the neighboring banks,
added to that brought down by the stream, forms sand-bars, projecting
into the river. These drive the stream to the opposite bank, the loose
texture of which it undermines, and at length deserts its ancient bed
for a new passage. It is thus that the banks of the Missouri are
constantly falling in, and the river changing its bed.

"On one occasion, the party encamped on a sand-bar in the river. Shortly
after midnight, the sleepers were startled by the sergeant on guard
crying out that the sand-bar was sinking: and the alarm was timely
given; for scarcely had they got off with the boats before the bank
under which they had been lying fell in; and, by the time the opposite
shore was reached, the ground on which they had been encamped sunk also.

"We had occasion here to observe the process of the undermining of these
hills by the Missouri. The first attacks seem to be made on the hills
which overhang the river. As soon as the violence of the current
destroys the grass at the foot of them, the whole texture appears
loosened, and the ground dissolves, and mixes with the water. At one
point, a part of the cliff, nearly three-quarters of a mile in length,
and about two hundred feet in height, had fallen into the river. As the
banks are washed away, the trees fall in, and the channel becomes filled
with buried logs."


"July 12.--We remained to-day for the purpose of making lunar
observations. Capt. Clarke sailed a few miles up the Namaha River, and
landed on a spot where he found numerous artificial mounds.

     NOTE. A late traveller, Rev. Samuel Parker, speaks thus of
     these mounds: "The mounds, which some have called the work of
     unknown generations of men, were scattered here in all
     varieties of form and magnitude, thousands in number. Some of
     them were conical, some elliptical, some square, and some
     parallelograms. One group attracted my attention particularly.
     They were twelve in number, of conical form, with their bases
     joined, and twenty or thirty feet high. They formed two-thirds
     of a circle, with an area of two hundred feet in diameter. If
     these were isolated, who would not say they were artificial?
     But, when they are only a group among a thousand others, who
     will presume to say they all are the work of man?...

     "It is said by those who advocate the belief that they are the
     work of ancient nations; that they present plain evidence of
     this in the fact that they contain human bones, articles of
     pottery, and the like. That some of them have been used for
     burying-places, is undoubtedly true; but may it not be
     questioned whether they were _made_, or only _selected_, for
     burying-places? No one who has ever seen the thousands and ten
     thousands scattered through the Valley of the Mississippi will
     be so credulous as to believe that a hundredth part of them
     were the work of man."

"From the top of the highest mound, a delightful prospect presented
itself,--the lowland of the Missouri covered with an undulating grass
nearly five feet high, gradually rising into a second plain, where rich
weeds and flowers were interspersed with copses of the Osage plum.
Farther back from the river were seen small groves of trees, an
abundance of grapes, the wild cherry of the Missouri,--resembling our
own, but larger, and growing on a small bush. The plums are of three
kinds,--two of a yellow color, and distinguished by one of the species
being larger than the other; a third species of red color. All have an
excellent flavor, particularly the yellow kind."


"Aug. 21.--We passed the mouth of the Great Sioux River. Our Indian
interpreter tells us that on the head waters of this river is the quarry
of red rock of which the Indians make their pipes; and the necessity of
procuring that article has introduced a law of nations, by which the
banks of the stream are sacred; and even tribes at war meet without
hostility at these quarries, which possess a right of asylum. Thus we
find, even among savages, certain principles deemed sacred, by which the
rigors of their merciless system of warfare are mitigated."



The Indian tribes which our adventurers had thus far encountered had
been friendly, or at least inoffensive; but they were feeble bands, and
all of them lived in terror of their powerful neighbors, the Sioux. On
the 23d of September, the party reached a region inhabited by the
Tetons, a tribe of Sioux. The journal gives an account of their
intercourse with these new acquaintances as follows:--

"The morning was fine; and we raised a flag-staff, and spread an awning,
under which we assembled, with all the party under arms. The chiefs and
warriors from the Indian camp, about fifty in number, met us; and Capt.
Lewis made a speech to them. After this, we went through the ceremony of
acknowledging the chiefs by giving to the grand chief a medal, a flag of
the United States, a laced uniform coat, a cocked hat and feather; to
the two other chiefs, a medal and some small presents; and to two
warriors of consideration, certificates. We then invited the chiefs on
board, and showed them the boat, the air-gun, and such curiosities as we
thought might amuse them. In this we succeeded too well; for after
giving them a quarter of a glass of whiskey, which they seemed to like
very much, it was with much difficulty we could get rid of them. They at
last accompanied Capt. Clarke back to shore in a boat with five men; but
no sooner had the party landed than three of the Indians seized the
cable of the boat, and one of the soldiers of the chief put his arms
round the mast. The second chief, who affected intoxication, then said
that we should not go on; that they had not received presents enough
from us. Capt. Clarke told him that we would not be prevented from going
on; that we were not squaws, but warriors; that we were sent by our
great Father, who could in a moment exterminate them. The chief replied
that he, too, had warriors; and was proceeding to lay hands on Capt.
Clarke, who immediately drew his sword, and made a signal to the boat to
prepare for action. The Indians who surrounded him drew their arrows
from their quivers, and were bending their bows, when the swivel in the
large boat was pointed towards them, and twelve of our most determined
men jumped into the small boat, and joined Capt. Clarke. This movement
made an impression on them; for the grand chief ordered the young men
away from the boat, and the chiefs withdrew, and held a short council
with the warriors. Being unwilling to irritate them, Capt. Clarke then
went forward, and offered his hand to the first and second chiefs, who
refused to take it. He then turned from them, and got into the boat, but
had not gone more than a stone's-throw, when the two chiefs and two of
the warriors waded in after him; and he took them on board.

"Sept. 26.--Our conduct yesterday seemed to have inspired the Indians
with respect; and, as we were desirous of cultivating their
acquaintance, we complied with their wish that we should give them an
opportunity of treating us well, and also suffer their squaws and
children to see us and our boat, which would be perfectly new to them.
Accordingly, after passing a small island and several sand-bars, we came
to on the south shore, where a crowd of men, women, and children, were
waiting to receive us. Capt. Lewis went on shore, and, observing that
their disposition seemed friendly, resolved to remain during the night
to a dance which they were preparing for us. The captains, who went on
shore one after the other, were met on the landing by ten well-dressed
young men, who took them up in a robe highly decorated, and carried them
to a large council-house, where they were placed on a dressed
buffalo-skin by the side of the grand chief. The hall, or council-room,
was in the shape of three-quarters of a circle, covered at the top and
sides with skins well dressed, and sewed together. Under this shelter
sat about seventy men, forming a circle round the chief, before whom
were placed a Spanish flag and the one we had given them yesterday. In
the vacant space in the centre, the pipe of peace was raised on two
forked sticks about six or eight inches from the ground, and under it
the down of the swan was scattered. A large fire, at which they were
cooking, stood near, and a pile of about four hundred pounds of
buffalo-meat, as a present for us.

"As soon as we were seated, an old man rose, and, after approving what
we had done, begged us to take pity upon their unfortunate situation. To
this we replied with assurances of protection. After he had ceased, the
great chief rose, and delivered an harangue to the same effect. Then,
with great solemnity, he took some of the more delicate parts of the
dog, which was cooked for the festival, and held it to the flag by way
of sacrifice: this done, he held up the pipe of peace, and first pointed
it towards the heavens, then to the four quarters of the globe, and then
to the earth; made a short speech; lighted the pipe, and presented it to
us. We smoked, and he again harangued his people; after which the repast
was served up to us. It consisted of the dog, which they had just been
cooking; this being a great dish among the Sioux, and used at all
festivals. To this was added _pemitigon_, a dish made of buffalo-meat,
dried, and then pounded, and mixed raw with fat; and a root like the
potato, dressed like the preparation of Indian-corn called hominy. Of
all these luxuries, which were placed before us in platters, with horn
spoons, we took the pemitigon and the potato, which we found good; but
we could as yet partake but sparingly of the dog. We ate and smoked for
an hour, when it became dark. Every thing was then cleared away for the
dance; a large fire being made in the centre of the house, giving at
once light and warmth to the ball-room. The orchestra was composed of
about ten men, who played on a sort of tambourine formed of skin
stretched across a hoop, and made a jingling noise with a long stick,
to which the hoofs of deer and goats were hung. The third instrument was
a small skin bag, with pebbles in it. These, with five or six young men
for the vocal part, made up the band.

"The women then came forward highly decorated; some with poles in their
hands, on which were hung the scalps of their enemies; others with guns,
spears, or different trophies, taken in war by their husbands, brothers,
or connections. Having arranged themselves in two columns, as soon as
the music began they danced towards each other till they met in the
centre; when the rattles were shaken, and they all shouted, and returned
back to their places. They have no steps, but shuffle along the ground;
nor does the music appear to be any thing more than a confusion of
noises, distinguished only by hard or gentle blows upon the
buffalo-skin. The song is perfectly extemporaneous. In the pauses of the
dance, any man of the company comes forward, and recites, in a low,
guttural tone, some little story or incident, which is either martial or
ludicrous. This is taken up by the orchestra and the dancers, who repeat
it in a higher strain, and dance to it. Sometimes they alternate, the
orchestra first performing; and, when it ceases, the women raise their
voices, and make a music more agreeable, that is, less intolerable, than
that of the musicians.

"The harmony of the entertainment had nearly been disturbed by one of
the musicians, who, thinking he had not received a due share of the
tobacco we had distributed during the evening, put himself into a
passion, broke one of the drums, threw two of them into the fire, and
left the band. They were taken out of the fire: a buffalo-robe, held in
one hand, and beaten with the other, supplied the place of the lost drum
or tambourine; and no notice was taken of the offensive conduct of the
man. We staid till twelve o'clock at night, when we informed the chiefs
that they must be fatigued with all these attempts to amuse us, and
retired, accompanied by four chiefs, two of whom spent the night with us
on board."


"The tribe which we this day saw are a part of the great Sioux nation,
and are known by the name of the _Teton Okandandas_: they are about two
hundred men in number, and their chief residence is on both sides of the
Missouri, between the Cheyenne and Teton Rivers.

"The men shave the hair off their heads, except a small tuft on the top,
which they suffer to grow, and wear in plaits over the shoulders. To
this they seem much attached, as the loss of it is the usual sacrifice
at the death of near relations. In full dress, the men of consideration
wear a hawk's feather or calumet feather, worked with porcupine-quills,
and fastened to the top of the head, from which it falls back. The face
and body are generally painted with a mixture of grease and coal. Over
the shoulders is a loose robe or mantle of buffalo-skin, adorned with
porcupine-quills, which are loosely fixed so as to make a jingling noise
when in motion, and painted with various uncouth figures unintelligible
to us, but to them emblematic of military exploits or any other
incident. The hair of the robe is worn next the skin in fair weather;
but, when it rains, the hair is put outside. Under this robe they wear
in winter a kind of shirt, made either of skin or cloth, covering the
arms and body. Round the middle is fixed a girdle of cloth or elk-skin,
about an inch in width, and closely tied to the body. To this is
attached a piece of cloth or blanket or skin about a foot wide, which
passes between the legs, and is tucked under the girdle both before and
behind. From the hip to the ankle, the man is covered with leggings of
dressed antelope-skins, with seams at the sides two inches in width, and
ornamented by little tufts of hair, the product of the scalps they have
taken in war, which are scattered down the leg.

"The moccasons are of dressed buffalo-skin, the hair being worn inwards.
On great occasions, or whenever they are in full dress, the young men
drag after them the entire skin of a polecat, fixed to the heel of the

"The hair of the women is suffered to grow long, and is parted from the
forehead across the head; at the back of which it is either collected
into a kind of bag, or hangs down over the shoulders. Their moccasons
are like those of the men, as are also the leggings, which do not reach
beyond the knee, where they are met by a long, loose mantle of skin,
which reaches nearly to the ankles. This is fastened over the shoulders
by a string, and has no sleeves; but a few pieces of the skin hang a
short distance down the arm. Sometimes a girdle fastens this skin round
the waist, and over all is thrown a robe like that worn by the men.

"Their lodges are very neatly constructed. They consist of about one
hundred cabins, made of white buffalo-hide, with a larger cabin in the
centre for holding councils and dances. They are built round with poles
about fifteen or twenty feet high, covered with white skins. These
lodges may be taken to pieces, packed up, and carried with the nation,
wherever they go, by dogs, which bear great burdens. The women are
chiefly employed in dressing buffalo-skins. These people seem
well-disposed, but are addicted to stealing any thing which they can
take without being observed."



Sept. 1, 1804.--The daily progress of the expedition from this date is
marked by no incidents of more importance than the varying fortunes of
travel, as they found the river more or less favorable to navigation,
and the game more or less abundant on the banks. Their progress was from
twelve to twenty miles a day. In general, their sails served them; but
they were sometimes obliged to resort to the use of tow-lines, which,
being attached to a tree or other firm object on the shore, enabled the
men to pull the boat along. This seems but a slow method of voyaging;
yet they found it by no means the slowest, and were sorry when the
nature of the banks, being either too lofty or too low, precluded their
use of it. Their narrative is, however, varied by accounts of the
scenery and natural productions of the country through which they
passed, and by anecdotes of the Indians. While they are making their
toilsome advance up the river, let us see what they have to tell us of
the strange people and remarkable objects which they found on their way.


"We arrived at a spot on the gradual descent of the hill, nearly four
acres in extent, and covered with small holes. These are the residences
of little animals called prairie-dogs, who sit erect near the mouth of
the hole, and make a whistling noise, but, when alarmed, take refuge in
their holes. In order to bring them out, we poured into one of the holes
five barrels of water, without filling it; but we dislodged and caught
the owner. After digging down another of the holes for six feet, we
found, on running a pole into it, that we had not yet dug half-way to
the bottom. We discovered two frogs in the hole; and near it we killed a
rattlesnake, which had swallowed a small prairie-dog. We have been told,
though we never witnessed the fact, that a sort of lizard and a snake
live habitually with these animals.

"The prairie-dog is well named, as it resembles a dog in most
particulars, though it has also some points of similarity to the
squirrel. The head resembles the squirrel in every respect, except that
the ear is shorter. The tail is like that of the ground-squirrel; the
toe-nails are long, the fur is fine, and the long hair is gray."


"Of all the animals we have seen, the antelope possesses the most
wonderful fleetness. Shy and timorous, they generally repose only on the
ridges, which command a view in all directions. Their sight
distinguishes the most distant danger; their power of smell defeats the
attempt at concealment; and, when alarmed, their swiftness seems more
like the flight of birds than the movement of an animal over the ground.
Capt. Lewis, after many unsuccessful attempts, succeeded in approaching,
undiscovered, a party of seven, which were on an eminence. The only male
of the party frequently encircled the summit of the hill, as if to
discover if any danger threatened the party. When Capt. Lewis was at the
distance of two hundred yards, they became alarmed, and fled. He
immediately ran to the spot they had left. A ravine concealed them from
him; but the next moment they appeared on a second ridge, at the
distance of three miles. He doubted whether they could be the same; but
their number, and the direction in which they fled, satisfied him that
it was the same party: yet the distance they had made in the time was
such as would hardly have been possible to the swiftest racehorse."


"42.--This name we gave to a long island, from the numbers of pelicans
which were feeding on it. One of them being killed, we poured into his
bag five gallons of water."

     NOTE. "The antelopes are becoming very numerous. Their speed
     exceeds that of any animal I have ever seen. Our hounds can do
     nothing in giving them the chase: so soon are they left far in
     the rear, that they do not follow them more than ten or twenty
     rods before they return, looking ashamed of their defeat. Our
     hunters occasionally take the antelope by coming upon them by
     stealth. When they are surprised, they start forward a very
     small space, then turn, and, with high-lifted heads, stare for
     a few seconds at the object which has alarmed them, and then,
     with a half-whistling snuff, bound off, seeming to be as much
     upon wings as upon feet. They resemble the goat, but are far
     more beautiful. Though they are of different colors, yet they
     are generally red, and have a large, fine, prominent eye. Their
     flesh is good for food, and about equals venison."--_Parker's


"We halted for dinner at a deserted village, which we suppose to have
belonged to the Ricaras. It is situated in a low plain on the river, and
consists of about eighty lodges, of an octagon form, neatly covered with
earth, placed as close to each other as possible, and picketed round.
The skin-canoes, mats, buckets, and articles of furniture, found in the
lodges, induce us to suppose that it was left in the spring. We found
three different kinds of squashes growing in the village.

"Another village, which we reached two days later, was situated on an
island, which is three miles long, and covered with fields, in which the
Indians raise corn, beans, and potatoes. We found here several Frenchmen
living among the Indians, as interpreters or traders. The Indians gave
us some corn, beans, and dried squashes; and we gave them a steel mill,
with which they were much pleased. We sat conversing with the chiefs
some time, during which they treated us to a bread made of corn and
beans, also corn and beans boiled, and a large rich bean which they take
from the mice of the prairie, who discover and collect it. We gave them
some sugar, salt, and a sun-glass."


"The object which seemed to astonish the Indians most was Capt. Clarke's
servant, York,--a sturdy negro. They had never seen a human being of
that color, and therefore flocked round him to examine the monster. By
way of amusement, he told them that he had once been a wild animal, and
been caught and tamed by his master, and, to convince them, showed them
feats of strength, which, added to his looks, made him more terrible
than we wished him to be. At all the villages he was an object of
astonishment. The children would follow him constantly, and, if he
chanced to turn towards them, would run with great terror."


"We reached the mouth of a creek, to which we gave the name of
Stone-Idol Creek; for, on passing up, we discovered, that, a few miles
back from the Missouri, there are two stones resembling human figures,
and a third like a dog; all which are objects of great veneration among
the Ricaras. Their history would adorn the "Metamorphoses" of Ovid. A
young man was in love with a girl whose parents refused their consent to
the marriage. The youth went out into the fields to mourn his
misfortunes: a sympathy of feeling led the girl to the same spot; and
the faithful dog would not fail to follow his master. After wandering
together, and having nothing but grapes to subsist on, they were at last
converted into stone, which, beginning at the feet, gradually invaded
the nobler parts, leaving nothing unchanged but a bunch of grapes, which
the female holds in her hands to this day. Such is the account given by
the Ricara chief, which we had no means of testing, except that we found
one part of the story very agreeably confirmed; for on the banks of the
creek we found a greater abundance of fine grapes than we had seen


"Great numbers of goats are crossing the river, and directing their
course to the westward. We are told that they spend the summer in the
plains east of the Missouri, and at this season (October) are returning
to the Black Mountains, where they subsist on leaves and shrubbery
during the winter, and resume their migrations in the spring. At one
place, we saw large flocks of them in the water. They had been gradually
driven into the river by the Indians, who now lined the shore so as to
prevent their escape, and were firing on them; while boys went into the
river, and killed them with sticks. They seemed to have been very
successful; for we counted fifty-eight which they had killed. In the
evening they made a feast, that lasted till late at night, and caused
much noise and merriment.

"The country through which we passed has wider river-bottoms and more
timber than those we have been accustomed to see; the hills rising at a
distance, and by gradual ascents. We have seen great numbers of elk,
deer, goats, and buffaloes, and the usual attendants of these last,--the
wolves, which follow their movements, and feed upon those who die by
accident, or are too feeble to keep pace with the herd. We also wounded
a white bear, and saw some fresh tracks of those animals, which are
twice as large as the tracks of a man."


"In the evening, the prairie took fire, either by accident or design,
and burned with great fury; the whole plain being enveloped in flames.
So rapid was its progress, that a man and a woman were burned to death
before they could reach a place of safety. Another man, with his wife
and child, were much burned, and several other persons narrowly escaped
destruction. Among the rest, a boy of the half-breed escaped unhurt in
the midst of the flames. His safety was ascribed by the Indians to the
Great Spirit, who had saved him on account of his being white. But a
much more natural cause was the presence of mind of his mother, who,
seeing no hopes of carrying off her son, threw him on the ground, and,
covering him with the fresh hide of a buffalo, escaped herself from the
flames. As soon as the fire had passed, she returned, and found him
untouched; the skin having prevented the flame from reaching the grass
where he lay."


"After making eleven miles, we reached an old field, where the Mandans
had cultivated grain last summer. We encamped for the night about half a
mile below the first village of the Mandans. As soon as we arrived, a
crowd of men, women, and children, came down to see us. Capt. Lewis
returned with the principal chiefs to the village, while the others
remained with us during the evening. The object which seemed to surprise
them most was a corn-mill, fixed to the boat, which we had occasion to
use; while they looked on, and were delighted at observing the ease
with which it reduced the grain to powder.

"Among others who visited us was the son of the grand chief of the
Mandans, who had both his little fingers cut off at the second joint. On
inquiring into this injury, we found that the custom was to express
grief for the death of relations by some corporeal suffering, and that
the usual mode was to lose a joint of the little finger, or sometimes of
other fingers.

"Oct. 29, 1804.--The morning was fine, and we prepared our presents and
speech for the council. At ten o'clock, the chiefs were all assembled
under an awning of our sails. That the impression might be the more
forcible, the men were all paraded; and the council opened by a
discharge from the swivel of the boat. Capt. Lewis then delivered a
speech, which, like those we had already made, intermingled advice with
assurances of friendship and trade. While he was speaking, the Ahnahaway
chief grew very restless, and observed that he could not wait long, as
his camp was exposed to the hostilities of the Shoshonees. He was
instantly rebuked with great dignity, by one of the chiefs, for this
violation of decorum at such a moment, and remained quiet during the
rest of the council. This being over, we proceeded to distribute the
presents with great ceremony. One chief of each town was acknowledged
by the gift of a flag, a medal with the likeness of the President of the
United States, a uniform coat, hat, and feather. To the second chiefs we
gave a medal representing some domestic animals, and a loom for weaving;
to the third chiefs, medals with the impression of a farmer sowing
grain. A variety of other products were distributed; but none seemed to
give more satisfaction than an iron corn-mill which we gave them.

"In the evening, our men danced among themselves to the music of the
violin, to the great amusement of the Indians."


"Friday, Nov. 7, 1804.--Capt. Clarke having examined the shores, and
found a position where there was plenty of timber, we encamped, and
began to fell trees to build our huts. The timber which we employ is
cotton-wood (poplar) and elm, with some ash of inferior size. By the
8th, our huts were advanced very well; on the 13th, we unloaded the
boat, and stowed away the contents in a storehouse which we had built.

"Nov. 20.--This day we moved into our huts, which are now completed. We
call our place Fort Mandan. It is situated on a point of low ground on
the north side of the Missouri, covered with tall and heavy cotton-wood.
The works consist of two rows of huts or sheds, forming an angle where
they join each other; each row containing four rooms of fourteen feet
square and seven feet high, with plank ceiling, and the roof slanting so
as to form a loft above the rooms, the highest part of which is eighteen
feet from the ground. The backs of the huts formed a wall of that
height; and, opposite the angle, the place of the wall was supplied by
picketing. In the area were two rooms for stores and provisions. The
latitude, by observation, is 47° 22´, long. 101°; and the computed
distance from the mouth of the Missouri, sixteen hundred miles.

"Nov. 21.--We are now settled in our winter habitation, and shall wait
with much impatience the first return of spring to continue our



"The villages near which we are established are the residence of three
distinct nations,--the Mandans, the Ahnahaways, and the Minnetarees. The
Mandans say, that, many years ago, their tribe was settled in nine
villages, the ruins of which we passed about eighty miles below. Finding
themselves wasting away before the small-pox and the Sioux, they moved
up the river, and planted themselves opposite the Ricaras. Their numbers
are very much reduced, and they now constitute but two villages,--one on
each side of the river, and at a distance of three miles from each
other. Both villages together may raise about three hundred and fifty


"Four miles from the lower Mandan village is one inhabited by the
Ahnahaways. This nation formerly dwelt on the Missouri, about thirty
miles below where they now live. The Assinaboins and Sioux forced them
to a spot five miles higher, and thence, by a second emigration, to
their present situation, in order to obtain an asylum near the
Minnetarees. Their whole force is about fifty men."


"About half a mile from this village, and in the same open plain with
it, is a village of Minnetarees, who are about one hundred and fifty men
in number. One and a half miles above this village is a second of the
same tribe, who may be considered the proper Minnetaree nation. It is
situated in a beautiful plain, and contains four hundred and fifty
warriors. The Mandans say that this people came out of the water to the
east, and settled near them. The Minnetarees, however, assert that they
grew where they now live, and will never emigrate from the spot; the
Great Spirit having declared, that, if they move, they will all perish.

"The inhabitants of these villages, all of which are within the compass
of six miles, live in harmony with each other. Their languages differ to
some extent; but their long residence together has enabled them to
understand one another's speech as to objects of daily occurrence, and
obvious to the senses.

"All these tribes are at deadly feud with the Sioux, who are much more
powerful, and are consequently objects of continual apprehension. The
presence of our force kept the peace for the present.

"Almost the whole of that vast tract of country comprised between the
Mississippi, the Red River of Lake Winnipeg, the Saskatchawan, and the
Missouri, is loosely occupied by a great nation whose primitive name is
Dahcotas, but who are called Sioux by the French, Sues by the English.
They are divided into numerous tribes, named Yanktons, Tetons,
Assinaboins, &c. These tribes are sometimes at war with one another, but
still acknowledge relationship, and are recognized by similarity of
language and by tradition."


"The religion of the Mandans consists in the belief of one Great Spirit
presiding over their destinies. This Being must be in the nature of a
good genius, since it is associated with the healing art; and the Great
Spirit is synonymous with Great Medicine,--a name also applied to every
thing they do not comprehend. They also believe in a multiplicity of
inferior spirits. Each individual selects for himself the particular
object of his devotion, which is termed his Medicine, and is either an
invisible being, or more commonly some animal, which thenceforward
becomes his protector, or his intercessor with the Great Spirit. To
propitiate the Medicine, every attention is lavished, and every personal
consideration is sacrificed. 'I was lately owner of seventeen horses,'
said a Mandan; 'but I have offered them all up to my Medicine, and am
now poor.' He had in reality taken them into the plain, and, turning
them loose, committed them to the care of his Medicine, and abandoned

"Their belief in a future state is connected with a tradition of their
origin. The whole nation, they say, once dwelt in one large village
underground. A grape-vine extended its roots down to their habitation;
and the earth, being broken round its stem, gave them a view of the
light. Some of the more adventurous climbed up the vine, and were
delighted with the sight of the earth, which they found covered with
buffaloes, and rich with every kind of fruit. Returning with the grapes
they had gathered, their countrymen were so pleased with the taste, that
the whole nation resolved to leave their dull residence for the upper
region. Men, women, and children ascended by means of the vine; but,
when about half the nation had reached the surface, a corpulent woman,
who was clambering up the vine, broke it with her weight, and, falling,
closed up the cavity. Those who had reached the surface, thus excluded
from their original seats, cherish the hopes of returning there when
they die."


The following extract imparts some traits of Indian manners:--

"Nov. 22.--This morning, the sentinel informed us that an Indian was
about to kill his wife near the fort. We went to the house of our
interpreter, where we found the parties, and, after forbidding any
violence, inquired into the cause of his intending to commit such an
atrocity. It appeared that, some days ago, a quarrel had taken place
between him and his wife, in consequence of which she had taken refuge
in the house where the wives of our interpreter lived. By running away,
she forfeited her life, which might be lawfully taken by the husband. He
was now come for the purpose of completing his revenge. We gave him a
few presents, and tried to persuade him to take his wife home. The
grand chief, too, happened to arrive at the same moment, and reproached
him with his violence; till at length husband and wife went off
together, but by no means in a state of much apparent connubial


"Dec. 12, 1804.--The thermometer at sunrise was thirty-eight degrees
below zero; on the 16th, twenty-two below; on the 17th, forty-five
below. On the 19th, it moderated a little. Notwithstanding the cold, we
observed the Indians at the village engaged, out in the open air, at a
game which resembles billiards. The platform, which answered for a
table, was formed with timber, smoothed and joined so as to be as level
as the floor of one of our houses. Instead of balls, they had circular
disks made of clay-stone, and flat like checkers."


"Dec. 22.--A number of squaws brought corn to trade for small articles
with the men. Among other things, we procured two horns of the animal
called by the hunters the Rocky-Mountain sheep, and by naturalists the
argali. The animal is about the size of a small elk or large deer; the
horns winding like those of a ram, which they resemble also in texture,
though larger and thicker.

"Dec. 23.--The weather was fine and warm. We were visited by crowds of
Indians of all description, who came either to trade, or from mere
curiosity. Among the rest, Kagohami, the Little Raven, brought his wife
and son, loaded with corn; and she entertained us with a favorite Mandan
dish,--a mixture of pumpkins, beans, corn, and choke-cherries, all
boiled together in a kettle, and forming a composition by no means

"Dec. 25.--Christmas Day. We were awakened before day by a discharge of
fire-arms from the party. We had told the Indians not to visit us, as it
was one of our great Medicine-days; so that the men remained at home,
and amused themselves in various ways, particularly with dancing, in
which they take great pleasure. The American flag was hoisted for the
first time in the fort; the best provisions we had were brought out; and
this, with a little brandy, enabled them to pass the day in great


"Dec. 27.--We were fortunate enough to have among our men a good
blacksmith, whom we set to work to make a variety of articles. His
operations seemed to surprise the Indians who came to see us; but
nothing could equal their astonishment at the bellows, which they
considered a _very great Medicine_."


"Kagohami came to see us early. His village was afflicted by the death
of one of their aged chiefs, who, from his account, must have been more
than a hundred years old. Just as he was dying, he requested his
grand-children to dress him in his best robe, and carry him up to a
hill, and seat him on a stone, with his face down the river, towards
their old village, that he might go straight to his brother, who had
passed before him to the ancient village underground."


"Oheenaw and Shahaka came down to see us, and mentioned that several of
their countrymen had gone to consult their _Medicine-stone_ as to the
prospects of the following year. This Medicine-stone is the great oracle
of the Mandans, and whatever it announces is believed with implicit
confidence. Every spring, and on some occasions during the summer, a
deputation visits the sacred spot, where there is a thick, porous stone
twenty feet in circumference, with a smooth surface. Having reached the
place, the ceremony of smoking to it is performed by the deputies, who
alternately take a whiff themselves, and then present the pipe to the
stone. After this, they retire to an adjoining wood for the night,
during which it may be safely presumed all the embassy do not sleep;
and, in the morning, they read the destinies of the nation in the white
marks on the stone, which those who made them are at no loss to
decipher. The Minnetarees have a stone of a similar kind, which has the
same qualities, and the same influence over the nation."


"Jan. 10, 1805.--The weather now exhibited the intensity of cold. This
morning, at sunrise, the mercury stood at forty degrees below zero. One
of the men, separated from the rest in hunting, was out all night. In
the morning he returned, and told us that he had made a fire, and kept
himself tolerably warm. A young Indian, about thirteen years of age,
came in soon after. He had been overtaken by the night, and had slept in
the snow, with no covering but a pair of deer-skin moccasons and
leggings, and a buffalo-robe. His feet were frozen; but we restored
them by putting them in cold water, rendering him every attention in our
power. Another Indian, who had been missing, returned about the same
time. Although his dress was very thin, and he had slept in the snow,
without a fire, he had not suffered any inconvenience. These Indians
support the rigors of the season in a way which we had hitherto thought


"Our supplies are chiefly procured by hunting; but occasional additions
are made by the Indians, sometimes in the way of gifts, and sometimes in
exchange for the services of the blacksmith, who is a most important
member of the party.

"Feb. 18.--Our stock of meat is exhausted, so that we must confine
ourselves to vegetable diet till the return of our hunters. For this,
however, we are at no loss, since yesterday and to-day our blacksmith
got large quantities of corn from the Indians who came to the fort.

"Sunday, March 3.--The men are all employed in preparing the boats. We
are visited by a party of Indians with corn. A flock of ducks passed up
the river to-day.

"Wednesday, 13.--We had a fine day, and a south-west wind. Many Indians
came to see us, who are so anxious for battle-axes, that our smiths have
not a moment's leisure, and procure us an abundance of corn."


"March 25, 1805.--A fine day, the wind south-west. The river rose nine
inches, and the ice began breaking away. Our canoes are now nearly
ready, and we expect to set out as soon as the river is sufficiently
clear of ice to permit us to pass.

"March 29.--The ice came down this morning in great quantities. We have
had few Indians at the fort for the last three or four days, as they are
now busy in catching the floating buffaloes. Every spring, as the river
is breaking up, the surrounding plains are set on fire, and the
buffaloes tempted to cross the river in search of the fresh grass which
immediately succeeds to the burning. On their way, they are often
insulated on a large cake or mass of ice which floats down the river.
The Indians now select the most favorable points for attack, and, as the
buffalo approaches, run with astonishing agility across the trembling
ice, sometimes pressing lightly a cake of not more than two feet
square. The animal is, of course, unsteady, and his footsteps insecure,
on this new element, so that he can make but little resistance; and the
hunter who has given him his death-wound paddles his icy boat to the
shore, and secures his prey."



From the 1st of November, 1804, to the 1st of April, 1805, the
expedition remained stationary at their fort. Some of their number had
been sent back to the States with despatches to the Government, and with
specimens of the natural productions of the country. On resuming their
march on the 4th of April, the party consisted of thirty-two persons.
Besides the commanders, there were three sergeants,--Ordway, Prior, and
Gass; twenty-three privates, besides Capt. Clark's black servant York;
two interpreters,--George Drewyer and Toussaint Chaboneau. The wife of
Chaboneau, an Indian woman, with her young child, accompanied her
husband. All this party, with the luggage, was stored in six small
canoes and two pirogues. They left the fort with fair weather, and,
after making four miles, encamped on the north side of the river, nearly
opposite the first Mandan village. We continue their journal.


"April 8.--The river-banks exhibit indications of volcanic agency. The
bluffs which we passed to-day are upwards of one hundred feet high,
composed of yellow clay and sand, with horizontal strata of carbonated
wood resembling pit-coal, from one to five feet in thickness, scattered
through the bluff at different elevations. Great quantities of
pumice-stone and lava are seen in many parts of the hills, where they
are broken and washed into gullies by the rain. We passed a bluff which
is on fire, and throws out quantities of smoke, which has a strong,
sulphurous smell. On the sides of the hills is a white substance, which
appears in considerable quantities on the surface, and tastes like a
mixture of common salt with Glauber salts. Many of the springs which
come from the foot of the hills are so impregnated with this substance,
that the water has an unpleasant taste, and a purgative effect."


"April, 1805.--We saw, but could not procure, an animal that burrows in
the ground, similar to the burrowing-squirrel, except that it is only
one-third of its size. This may be the animal whose works we have often
seen in the plains and prairies. They consist of a little hillock of ten
or twelve pounds of loose earth, which would seem to have been reversed
from a flower-pot; and no aperture is seen in the ground from which it
could have been brought. On removing gently the earth, you discover that
the soil has been broken in a circle of about an inch and a half in
diameter, where the ground is looser, though still no opening is
perceptible. When we stopped for dinner, the Indian woman went out, and,
penetrating with a sharp stick the holes of the mice, brought a quantity
of wild artichokes, which the mice collect, and hoard in large
quantities. The root is white, of an ovate form, from one to three
inches long, and generally of the size of a man's finger; and two, four,
and sometimes six roots are attached to a single stalk. Its flavor, as
well as the stalk that issues from it, resemble those of the Jerusalem
artichoke, except that the latter is much larger."


"Certain signs, known to the hunters, induced them to believe that we
were at no great distance from the Yellow-stone River. In order to
prevent delay, Capt. Lewis determined to go on by land in search of
that river, and make the necessary observations, so as to enable us to
proceed immediately after the boats should join him.

"On leaving the party, he pursued his route along the foot of the hills;
ascending which, the wide plains watered by the Missouri and the
Yellow-stone spread themselves before his eye, occasionally varied with
the wood of the banks, enlivened by the windings of the two rivers, and
animated by vast herds of buffaloes, deer, elk, and antelope."


"May, 1805.--We reached the mouth of a river flowing from the north,
which, from the unusual number of porcupines near it, we called
Porcupine River. These animals are so careless and clumsy, that we can
approach very near without disturbing them as they are feeding on the
young willows. The porcupine is common in all parts of the territory,
and for its quills is held in high estimation by the Indians. It is
interesting to see with how much ingenuity, and in how many various
forms, the Indians manufacture these quills into ornamental work, such
as moccasons, belts, and various other articles."


"The wolves are very numerous, and of two species. First, the small
wolf, or burrowing dog of the prairies, which is found in almost all the
open plains. It is of an intermediate size, between the fox and dog,
very delicately formed, fleet and active. The ears are large, erect, and
pointed; the head long and pointed, like that of a fox; the tail long
and bushy; the hair and fur of a pale reddish-brown, and much coarser
than that of the fox. These animals usually associate in bands of ten or
twelve, and are rarely, if ever, seen alone; not being able singly to
attack a deer or antelope. They live, and rear their young, in burrows,
which they fix near some pass much frequented by game, and sally out in
a body against any animal which they think they can overpower, but, on
the slightest alarm, retreat to their burrows, making a noise exactly
like that of a small dog.

"The second species is lower, shorter in the legs, and thicker, than the
Atlantic wolf. They do not burrow, nor do they bark, but howl; and they
frequent the woods and plains, and skulk along the herds of buffaloes,
in order to attack the weary or wounded."


"Among the animals of the deer kind, the elk is the largest and most
majestic. It combines beauty with magnitude and strength; and its large,
towering horns give it an imposing appearance. Its senses are so keen in
apprehension, that it is difficult to be approached; and its speed in
flight is so great, that it mocks the chase. Its flesh resembles beef,
but is less highly flavored, and is much sought for by the Indians and
hunters. Its skin is esteemed, and much used in articles of clothing and
for moccasons."


"We saw many beavers to-day. The beaver seems to contribute very much to
the widening of the river and the formation of islands. They begin by
damming up the channels of about twenty yards width between the islands.
This obliges the river to seek another outlet; and, as soon as this is
effected, the channel stopped by the beaver becomes filled with mud and
sand. The industrious animal is thus driven to another channel, which
soon shares the same fate; till the river spreads on all sides, and cuts
the projecting points of land into islands.

"The beaver dams differ in shape, according to the nature of the place
in which they are built. If the water in the river or creek have but
little motion, the dam is almost straight; but, when the current is more
rapid, it is always made with a considerable curve, convex toward the
stream. The materials made use of are drift-wood, green willows, birch,
and poplars, if they can be got; also mud and stones, intermixed in such
a manner as must evidently contribute to the strength of the dam. In
places which have been long frequented by beavers undisturbed, their
dams, by frequent repairing, become a solid bank, capable of resisting a
great force both of water and ice; and as the willow, poplar, and birch
generally take root, and shoot up, they, by degrees, form a kind of
regular planted hedge, in some places so tall that birds build their
nests among the branches. The beaver-houses are constructed of the same
materials as their dams, and are always proportioned in size to the
number of inhabitants, which seldom exceeds four old and six or eight
young ones. The houses are of a much ruder construction than their dams:
for, notwithstanding the sagacity of these animals, it has never been
observed that they aim at any other convenience in their house than to
have a dry place to lie on; and there they usually eat their victuals,
such as they take out of the water. Their food consists of roots of
plants, like the pond-lily, which grows at the bottom of the lakes and
rivers. They also eat the bark of trees, particularly those of the
poplar, birch, and willow.

"The instinct of the beavers leading them to live in associations, they
are in an unnatural position, when, in any locality, their numbers are
so much reduced as to prevent their following this instinct. The beaver
near the settlement is sad and solitary: his works have been swept away,
his association broken up, and he is reduced to the necessity of
burrowing in the river-bank, instead of building a house for himself.
Such beavers are called 'terriers.' One traveller says that these
solitaries are also called 'old bachelors.'"


"April 29.--All these names are given to the same species, which
probably changes in color with the season, or with the time of life. Of
the strength and ferocity of this animal, the Indians give dreadful
accounts. They never attack him but in parties of six or eight persons,
and, even then, are often defeated with the loss of some of the party.

"May 18.--One of our men who had been suffered to go ashore came running
to the boats with cries and every symptom of terror. As soon as he could
command his breath, he told us, that, about a mile below, he had shot a
white bear, which immediately turned and ran towards him, but, being
wounded, had not been able to overtake him. Capt. Lewis, with seven men,
went in search of the bear, and, having found his track, followed him by
the blood for a mile, came up with him, and shot him with two balls
through the skull. He was a monstrous animal, and a most formidable
enemy. Our man had shot him through the centre of the lungs: yet the
bear had pursued him furiously for half a mile; then returned more than
twice that distance, and, with his talons, dug himself a bed in the
earth, two feet deep and five feet long, and was perfectly alive when
they found him, which was at least two hours after he received the
wound. The fleece and skin of the bear were a heavy burden for two men;
and the oil amounted to eight gallons.

"The wonderful power of life of these animals, added to their great
strength, renders them very formidable. Their very track in the mud or
sand, which we have sometimes found eleven inches long and seven and a
quarter wide, exclusive of the talons, is alarming; and we had rather
encounter two Indians than a single brown bear. There is no chance of
killing them by a single shot, unless the ball is sent through the
brain; and this is very difficult to be done, on account of two large
muscles which cover the side of the forehead, and the sharp projection
of the frontal bone, which is very thick."


     Their strength is astonishingly great. Lieut. Stein of the
     dragoons, a man of undoubted veracity, told me he saw some
     buffaloes passing near some bushes where a grisly bear lay
     concealed: the bear, with one stroke, tore three ribs from a
     buffalo, and left it dead.--_Parker._

     Although endowed with such strength, and powers of destruction,
     the grisly bear is not disposed to begin the attack. Mr.
     Drummond, a later traveller, states, that, in his excursions
     over the Rocky Mountains, he had frequent opportunity of
     observing the manners of these animals; and it often happened,
     that in turning the point of a rock, or sharp angle of a
     valley, he came suddenly upon one or more of them. On such
     occasions they reared on their hind-legs, and made a loud noise
     like a person breathing quick, but much harsher. He kept his
     ground, without attempting to molest them; and they on their
     part, after attentively regarding him for some time, generally
     wheeled round, and galloped off: though, from their known
     disposition, there is little doubt but he would have been torn
     in pieces, had he lost his presence of mind and attempted to
     fly. When he discovered them at a distance, he often frightened
     them away by beating on a large tin box in which he carried his
     specimens of plants.


"The black bear, common in the United States, is scarcely more than half
the size of the grisly bear. Its favorite food is berries of various
kinds; but, when these are not to be procured, it lives upon roots,
insects, fish, eggs, and such birds and quadrupeds as it can surprise.
It passes the winter in a torpid state, selecting a spot for its den
under a fallen tree, and, having scratched away a portion of the soil,
retires to the place at the commencement of a snow storm, when the snow
soon furnishes it with a close, warm covering. Its breath makes a small
opening in the den, and the quantity of hoar-frost which gathers round
the hole serves to betray its retreat to the hunter. In more southern
districts, where the timber is of larger size, bears often shelter
themselves in hollow trees."


"The buffalo is about as large as our domestic cattle; and their long,
shaggy, woolly hair, which covers their head, neck, and shoulders,
gives them a formidable appearance, and, at a distance, something like
that of the lion. In many respects, they resemble our horned cattle; are
cloven-footed, chew the cud, and select the same kind of food. Their
flesh is in appearance and taste much like beef, but of superior flavor.
Their heads are formed like the ox, perhaps a little more round and
broad; and, when they run, they carry them rather low. Their horns,
ears, and eyes, as seen through their shaggy hair, appear small, and,
cleared from their covering, are not large. Their legs and feet are
small and trim; the fore-legs covered with the long hair of the
shoulders, as low down as the knee. Though their figure is clumsy in
appearance, they run swiftly, and for a long time without much
slackening their speed; and, up steep hills or mountains, they more than
equal the best horses. They unite in herds, and, when feeding, scatter
over a large space; but, when fleeing from danger, they collect into
dense columns: and, having once laid their course, they are not easily
diverted from it, whatever may oppose. So far are they from being a
fierce or revengeful animal, that they are very shy and timid; and in no
case did we see them offer to make an attack but in self-defence, and
then they always sought the first opportunity to escape. When they run,
they lean alternately from side to side. They are fond of rolling upon
the ground like horses, which is not practised by our domestic cattle.
This is so much their diversion, that large places are found without
grass, and considerably excavated by them."

     NOTE. Rev. Mr. Parker thus describes a buffalo-hunt:--

     "To-day we unexpectedly saw before us a large herd of
     buffaloes. All halted to make preparation for the chase. The
     young men, and all the good hunters, prepared themselves,
     selected the swiftest horses, examined the few guns they had,
     and also took a supply of arrows with their bows. They advanced
     towards the herd of buffaloes with great caution, lest they
     should frighten them before they should make a near approach,
     and also to reserve the power of their horses for the chase,
     when it should be necessary to bring it into full requisition.
     When the buffaloes took the alarm, and fled, the rush was made,
     each Indian selecting for himself the one to which he happened
     to come nearest. All were in swift motion, scouring the valley.
     A cloud of dust began to rise; firing of guns, and shooting of
     arrows, followed in close succession. Soon, here and there,
     buffaloes were seen prostrated; and the women, who followed
     close in the rear, began the work of securing the acquisition,
     and the men were away again in pursuit of the flying herd.
     Those in the chase, when as near as two rods, shoot and wheel,
     expecting the wounded animal to turn upon them. The horses
     seemed to understand the way to avoid danger. As soon as the
     wounded animal flies again, the chase is renewed; and such is
     the alternate wheeling and chasing, until the buffalo sinks
     beneath his wounds."


"May 30, 1805.--We passed a precipice about one hundred and twenty feet
high, under which lay scattered the fragments of at least a hundred
carcasses of buffaloes. These buffaloes had been chased down the
precipice in a way very common on the Missouri, and by which vast herds
are destroyed in a moment. The mode of hunting is to select one of the
most active and fleet young men, who is disguised by a buffalo-skin
round his body; the skin of the head, with the ears and horns, fastened
on his own head in such a way as to deceive the buffaloes. Thus dressed,
he fixes himself at a convenient distance between a herd of buffaloes
and any of the river precipices, which sometimes extend for some miles.
His companions, in the mean time, get in the rear and side of the herd,
and, at a given signal, show themselves, and advance towards the
buffaloes. They instantly take the alarm; and, finding the hunters
beside them, they run toward the disguised Indian, or decoy, who leads
them on, at full speed, toward the river; when, suddenly securing
himself in some crevice of the cliff which he had previously fixed on,
the herd is left on the brink of the precipice. It is then in vain for
the foremost to retreat, or even to stop. They are pressed on by the
hindmost rank, who, seeing no danger but from the hunters, goad on those
before them, till the whole are precipitated over the cliff, and the
shore is covered with their dead bodies. Sometimes, in this perilous
adventure, the Indian decoy is either trodden under foot, or, missing
his footing in the cliff, is urged down the precipice by the falling


"June 3, 1805.--We came to for the night, for the purpose of examining
in the morning a large river which enters opposite to us. It now became
an interesting question, which of those two streams is what the Indians
call Ahmateahza, or the Missouri, which, they tell us, has its head
waters very near to the Columbia. On our right decision much of the fate
of the expedition depends; since, if, after ascending to the Rocky
Mountains or beyond them, we should find that the river we have been
tracing does not come near the Columbia, and be obliged to turn back,
we shall have lost the travelling season, and seriously disheartened
our men. We determined, therefore, to examine well before deciding on
our course, and, for this purpose, despatched two canoes with three men
up each of the streams, with orders to ascertain the width, depth, and
rapidity of the currents, so as to judge of their comparative bodies of
water. Parties were also sent out by land to penetrate the country, and
discover from the rising grounds, if possible, the distant bearings of
the two rivers. While they were gone, the two commanders ascended
together the high grounds in the fork of the two rivers, whence they had
an extensive prospect of the surrounding country. On every side, it was
spread into one vast plain covered with verdure, in which innumerable
herds of buffaloes were roaming, attended by their enemies the wolves.
Some flocks of elk also were seen; and the solitary antelopes were
scattered, with their young, over the plain. The direction of the rivers
could not be long distinguished, as they were soon lost in the extent of
the plain.

"On our return, we continued our examination. The width of the north
branch is two hundred yards; that of the south is three hundred and
seventy-two. The north, though narrower, is deeper than the south: its
waters also are of the same whitish-brown color, thickness, and
turbidness as the Missouri. They run in the same boiling and roaring
manner which has uniformly characterized the Missouri; and its bed is
composed of some gravel, but principally mud. The south fork is broader,
and its waters are perfectly transparent. The current is rapid, but the
surface smooth and unruffled; and its bed is composed of round and flat
smooth stones, like those of rivers issuing from a mountainous country.

"In the evening, the exploring parties returned, after ascending the
rivers in canoes for some distance, then continuing on foot, just
leaving themselves time to return by night. Their accounts were far from
deciding the important question of our future route; and we therefore
determined each of us to ascend one of the rivers during a day and a
half's march, or farther, if necessary for our satisfaction.

"Tuesday, June 4, 1805.--This morning, Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clarke set
out, each with a small party, by land, to explore the two rivers. Capt.
Lewis traced the course of the north fork for fifty-nine miles, and
found, that, for all that distance, its direction was northward; and, as
the latitude we were now in was 47° 24´, it was highly improbable,
that, by going farther north, we should find between this and the
Saskatchawan any stream which can, as the Indians assure us the Missouri
does, possess a navigable current for some distance within the Rocky

"These considerations, with others drawn from the observations of Capt.
Clarke upon the south branch, satisfied the chiefs that the South River
was the true Missouri; but the men generally were of a contrary opinion,
and much of their belief depended upon Crusatte, an experienced waterman
on the Missouri, who gave it as his opinion that the north fork was the
main river. In order that nothing might be omitted which could prevent
our falling into error, it was agreed that one of us should ascend the
southern branch by land until he reached either the falls or the
mountains. In the mean time, in order to lighten our burdens as much as
possible, we determined to deposit here all the heavy baggage which we
could possibly spare, as well as some provisions, salt, powder, and
tools. The weather being fair, we dried all our baggage and merchandise,
and made our deposit, or cache. Our cache is made in this manner: In the
high plain on the side of the river, we choose a dry situation, and,
drawing a small circle of about twenty inches diameter, remove the sod
as carefully as possible. The hole is then sunk perpendicularly a foot
deep, or more if the ground be not firm. It is now worked gradually
wider as it deepens, till at length it becomes six or seven feet deep,
shaped nearly like a kettle, or the lower part of a large still, with
the bottom somewhat sunk at the centre. As the earth is dug, it is
carefully laid on a skin or cloth, in which it is carried away, and
thrown into the river, so as to leave no trace of it. A floor to the
cache is then made of dry sticks, on which is thrown hay, or a hide
perfectly dry. The goods, being well aired and dried, are laid on this
floor, and prevented from touching the sides by other dried sticks, as
the baggage is stowed away. When the hole is nearly full, a skin is laid
over the goods; and, on this, earth is thrown, and beaten down, until,
with the addition of the sod, the whole is on a level with the ground,
and there remains no appearance of an excavation. Careful measurements
are taken to secure the ready recovery of the cache on the return; and
the deposit is left in perfect confidence of finding every thing safe
and sound after the lapse of months, or even years."


"June 12.--This morning, Capt. Lewis set out with four men on an
exploration, to ascend the southern branch, agreeably to our plan. He
left the bank of the river in order to avoid the deep ravines, which
generally extend from the shore to a distance of two or three miles in
the plain. On the second day, having travelled about sixty miles from
the point of departure, on a sudden their ears were saluted with the
agreeable sound of falling water; and, as they advanced, a spray which
seemed driven by the wind rose above the plain like a column of smoke,
and vanished in an instant. Towards this point, Capt. Lewis directed his
steps; and the noise, increasing as he approached, soon became too
powerful to be ascribed to any thing but the Great Falls of the
Missouri. Having travelled seven miles after first hearing the sound, he
reached the falls. The hills, as he approached the river, were difficult
of transit, and two hundred feet high. Down these he hurried, and,
seating himself on a rock, enjoyed the spectacle of this stupendous
object, which, ever since the creation, had been lavishing its
magnificence upon the desert, unseen by civilized man.

"The river, immediately at its cascade, is three hundred yards wide, and
is pressed in by a perpendicular cliff, which rises to about one hundred
feet, and extends up the stream for a mile. On the other side, the bluff
is also perpendicular for three hundred yards above the falls. For
ninety or a hundred yards from the left cliff, the water falls in one
smooth, even sheet, over a precipice eighty feet in height. The
remaining part of the river rushes with an accelerated current, but,
being received as it falls by irregular rocks below, forms a brilliant
spectacle of perfectly white foam, two hundred yards in length, and
eighty in height. The spray is dissipated into a thousand shapes, on all
of which the sun impresses the brightest colors of the rainbow. The
principal cascade is succeeded by others of less grandeur, but of
exceeding beauty and great variety, for about twenty miles in


"June 21.--Having reached the falls, we found ourselves obliged to get
past them by transporting our boats overland by what is called a
_portage_. The distance was eighteen miles. It was necessary to
construct a truck or carriage to transport the boats; and the making of
the wheels and the necessary framework took ten days. The axle-trees,
made of an old mast, broke repeatedly, and the cottonwood tongues gave
way; so that the men were forced to carry as much baggage as they could
on their backs. The prickly pear annoyed them much by sticking through
their moccasons. It required several trips to transport all the canoes
and baggage; and, though the men put double soles to their moccasons,
the prickly pear, and the sharp points of earth formed by the trampling
of the buffaloes during the late rains, wounded their feet; and, as the
men were laden as heavily as their strength would permit, the crossing
was very painful. They were obliged to halt and rest frequently; and, at
almost every stopping-place, they would throw themselves down, and fall
asleep in an instant. Yet no one complained, and they went on with

"Having decided to leave here one of the pirogues, we set to work to fit
up a boat of skins, upon a frame of iron which had been prepared at the
armory at Harper's Ferry. It was thirty-six feet long, four feet and a
half wide at top, and twenty-six inches wide at bottom. It was with
difficulty we found the necessary timber to complete it, even tolerably
straight sticks, four and a half feet long. The sides were formed of
willow-bark, and, over this, elk and buffalo skins."


"June 29.--Capt. Clarke, having lost some notes and remarks which he had
made on first ascending the river, determined to go up along its banks
in order to supply the deficiency. He had reached the falls, accompanied
by his negro-servant York, and by Chaboneau, the half-breed Indian
interpreter, and his wife with her young child. On his arrival there, he
observed a dark cloud in the west, which threatened rain; and looked
around for some shelter. About a quarter of a mile above the falls he
found a deep ravine, where there were some shelving rocks, under which
they took refuge. They were perfectly sheltered from the rain, and
therefore laid down their guns, compass, and other articles which they
carried with them. The shower was at first moderate; it then increased
to a heavy rain, the effects of which they did not feel. Soon after, a
torrent of rain and hail descended. The rain seemed to fall in a solid
mass, and, instantly collecting in the ravine, came rolling down in a
dreadful torrent, carrying the mud and rocks, and every thing that
opposed it. Capt. Clarke fortunately saw it a moment before it reached
them, and springing up, with his gun in his left hand, with his right he
clambered up the steep bluff, pushing on the Indian woman with her child
in her arms. Her husband, too, had seized her hand, and was pulling her
up the hill, but was so terrified at the danger, that, but for Capt.
Clarke, he would have been lost, with his wife and child. So
instantaneous was the rise of the water, that, before Capt. Clarke had
secured his gun and begun to ascend the bank, the water was up to his
waist; and he could scarce get up faster than it rose, till it reached
the height of fifteen feet, with a furious current, which, had they
waited a moment longer, would have swept them into the river, just above
the falls, down which they must inevitably have been carried. As it was,
Capt. Clarke lost his compass, Chaboneau his gun, shot-pouch, and
tomahawk; and the Indian woman had just time to grasp her child before
the net in which it lay was carried down the current."


"July 4.--The boat was now completed, except what was in fact the most
difficult part,--the making her seams secure. Having been unsuccessful
in all our attempts to procure tar, we have formed a composition of
pounded charcoal with beeswax and buffalo-tallow to supply its place. If
this resource fail us, it will be very unfortunate, as, in every other
respect, the boat answers our purpose completely. Although not quite
dry, she can be carried with ease by five men: she is very strong, and
will carry a load of eight thousand pounds, with her complement of men.

"July 9.--The boat having now become sufficiently dry, we gave it a coat
of the composition, then a second, and launched it into the water. She
swam perfectly well. The seats were then fixed, and the oars fitted. But
after a few hours' exposure to the wind, which blew with violence, we
discovered that nearly all the composition had separated from the skins,
so that she leaked very much. To repair this misfortune without pitch
was impossible; and, as none of that article was to be procured, we were
obliged to abandon her, after having had so much labor in the

"It now becomes necessary to provide other means for transporting the
baggage which we had intended to stow in her. For this purpose, we shall
want two canoes; but for many miles we have not seen a single tree fit
to be used for that purpose. The hunters, however, report that there is
a low ground about eight miles above us by land, and more than twice
that distance by water, in which we may probably find trees large
enough. Capt. Clarke has therefore determined to set out by land for
that place, with ten of the best workmen, who will be occupied in
building the canoes, till the rest of the party, after taking the boat
to pieces and making the necessary deposits, shall transport the
baggage, and join them with the other six canoes.

"Capt. Clarke accordingly proceeded on eight miles by land; the distance
by water being twenty-three miles. Here he found two cottonwood-trees,
and proceeded to convert them into boats. The rest of the party took the
iron boat to pieces, and deposited it in a _cache_, or hole, with some
other articles of less importance.

"July 11.--Sergeant Ordway, with four canoes and eight men, set sail in
the morning to the place where Capt. Clarke had fixed his camp. The
canoes were unloaded and sent back, and the remainder of the baggage in
a second trip was despatched to the upper camp.

"July 15.--We rose early, embarked all our baggage on board the canoes,
which, though eight in number, were heavily laden, and at ten o'clock
set out on our journey.

"July 16.--We had now arrived at the point where the Missouri emerges
from the Rocky Mountains. The current of the river becomes stronger as
we advance, and the spurs of the mountain approach towards the river,
which is deep, and not more than seventy yards wide. The low grounds are
now but a few yards in width; yet they furnish room for an Indian road,
which winds under the hills on the north side of the river. The general
range of these hills is from south-east to north-west; and the cliffs
themselves are about eight hundred feet above the water, formed almost
entirely of a hard black rock, on which are scattered a few dwarf pine
and cedar trees.

"As the canoes were heavily laden, all the men not employed in working
them walked on shore. The navigation is now very laborious. The river is
deep, but with little current; the low grounds are very narrow; the
cliffs are steep, and hang over the river so much, that, in places, we
could not pass them, but were obliged to cross and recross from one side
of the river to the other in order to make our way."


[1] Dimensions of Niagara Falls,--American, 960 feet wide, 162 feet
high; English, 700 feet wide, 150 feet high.



July 4.--Since our arrival at the falls, we have repeatedly heard a
strange noise coming from the mountains, in a direction a little to the
north of west. It is heard at different periods of the day and night,
sometimes when the air is perfectly still and without a cloud; and
consists of one stroke only, or of five or six discharges in quick
succession. It is loud, and resembles precisely the sound of a six-pound
piece of ordnance, at the distance of three miles. The Minnetarees
frequently mentioned this noise, like thunder, which they said the
mountains made; but we had paid no attention to them, believing it to be
some superstition, or else a falsehood. The watermen also of the party
say that the Pawnees and Ricaras give the same account of a noise heard
in the Black Mountains, to the westward of them. The solution of the
mystery, given by the philosophy of the watermen, is, that it is
occasioned by the bursting of the rich mines of silver confined within
the bosom of the mountain.[2]

"An elk and a beaver are all that were killed to-day: the buffaloes seem
to have withdrawn from our neighborhood. We contrived, however, to
spread a comfortable table in honor of the day; and in the evening gave
the men a drink of spirits, which was the last of our stock."


"July 15.--We find the prickly-pear--one of the greatest beauties, as
well as one of the greatest inconveniences, of the plains--now in full
bloom. The sunflower too, a plant common to every part of the Missouri,
is here very abundant, and in bloom. The Indians of the Missouri, and
more especially those who do not cultivate maize, make great use of this
plant for bread, and in thickening their soup. They first parch, and
then pound it between two stones until it is reduced to a fine meal.
Sometimes they add a portion of water, and drink it thus diluted; at
other times they add a sufficient proportion of marmow-fat to reduce it
to the consistency of common dough, and eat it in that manner. This last
composition we preferred to the rest, and thought it at that time very

"There are also great quantities of red, purple, yellow, and black
currants. The currants are very pleasant to the taste, and much
preferable to those of our gardens. The fruit is not so acid, and has a
more agreeable flavor."


"July 18.--This morning we saw a large herd of the big-horned animals,
who were bounding among the rocks in the opposite cliff with great
agility. These inaccessible spots secure them from all their enemies;
and the only danger they encounter is in wandering among these
precipices, where we should suppose it scarcely possible for any animal
to stand. A single false step would precipitate them at least five
hundred feet into the river.

"The game continues abundant. We killed to-day the largest male elk we
have yet seen. On placing it in its natural, erect position, we found
that it measured five feet three inches from the point of the hoof to
the top of the shoulder.

"The antelopes are yet lean. This fleet and quick-sighted animal is
generally the victim of its curiosity. When they first see the hunters,
they run with great velocity. If the hunter lies down on the ground, and
lifts up his arm, his hat, or his foot, the antelope returns on a light
trot to look at the object, and sometimes goes and returns two or three
times, till at last he approaches within reach of the rifle. So, too,
they sometimes leave their flock to go and look at the wolves, who
crouch down, and, if the antelope be frightened at first, repeat the
same manoeuvre, and sometimes relieve each other, till they decoy the
antelope from his party near enough to seize it."


"July 20.--During the day, in the confined valley through which we are
passing, the heat is almost insupportable; yet, whenever we obtain a
glimpse of the lofty tops of the mountains, we are tantalized with a
view of the snow. A mile and a half farther on, the rocks approach the
river on both sides, forming a most sublime and extraordinary spectacle.
For six miles, these rocks rise perpendicularly from the water's edge
to the height of nearly twelve hundred feet. They are composed of a
black granite near the base; but judging from its lighter color above,
and from fragments that have fallen from it, we suppose the upper part
to be flint, of a yellowish-brown and cream color. Nothing can be
imagined more tremendous than the frowning darkness of these rocks,
which project over the river, and menace us with destruction. The river,
one hundred and fifty yards in width, seems to have forced its channel
down this solid mass: but so reluctantly has it given way, that, during
the whole distance, the water is very deep even at the edges; and, for
the first three miles, there is not a spot, except one of a few yards in
extent, on which a man could stand between the water and the towering
perpendicular of the mountain. The convulsion of the passage must have
been terrible; since, at its outlet, there are vast columns of rock torn
from the mountain, which are strewed on both sides of the river, the
trophies, as it were, of victory. We were obliged to go on some time
after dark, not being able to find a spot large enough to encamp on.
This extraordinary range of rocks we called the Gates of the Rocky


"July 29.--This morning the hunters brought in some fat deer of the
long-tailed red kind, which are the only kind we have found at this
place. There are numbers of the sandhill-cranes feeding in the meadows.
We caught a young one, which, though it had nearly attained its full
growth, could not fly. It is very fierce, and strikes a severe blow with
its beak. The kingfisher has become quite common this side of the falls;
but we have seen none of the summer duck since leaving that place. Small
birds are also abundant in the plains. Here, too, are great quantities
of grasshoppers, or crickets; and, among other animals, large ants, with
a reddish-brown body and legs, and a black head, which build little
cones of gravel ten or twelve inches high, without a mixture of sticks,
and with but little earth. In the river we see a great abundance of
fish, but cannot tempt them to bite by any thing on our hooks."


"July 28, 1805.--From the height of a limestone cliff, Capt. Lewis
observed the three forks of the Missouri, of which this river is one.
The middle and south-west forks unite at half a mile above the entrance
of the south-east fork. The country watered by these rivers, as far as
the eye could command, was a beautiful combination of meadow and
elevated plain, covered with a rich grass, and possessing more timber
than is usual on the Missouri. A range of high mountains, partially
covered with snow, is seen at a considerable distance, running from
south to west.

"To the south-east fork the name of Gallatin was assigned, in honor of
the Secretary of the Treasury. On examining the other two streams, it
was difficult to decide which was the larger or real Missouri: they are
each ninety yards wide, and similar in character and appearance. We were
therefore induced to discontinue the name of Missouri, and to give to
the south-west branch the name of Jefferson, in honor of the President
of the United States and the projector of the enterprise; and called the
middle branch Madison, after James Madison, Secretary of State.

"July 30.--We reloaded our canoes, and began to ascend Jefferson River.
The river soon became very crooked; the current, too, is rapid, impeded
with shoals, which consist of coarse gravel. The islands are numerous.
On the 7th of August, we had, with much fatigue, ascended the river
sixty miles, when we reached the junction of a stream from the
north-west, which we named Wisdom River. We continued, however, to
ascend the south-east branch, which we were satisfied was the true
continuation of the Jefferson."


"July 28.--We are now very anxious to see the Snake Indians. After
advancing for several hundred miles into this wild and mountainous
country, we may soon expect that the game will abandon us. With no
information of the route, we may be unable to find a passage across the
mountains when we reach the head of the river, at least such an one as
will lead us to the Columbia. And, even were we so fortunate as to find
a branch of that river, the timber which we have hitherto seen in these
mountains does not promise us any wood fit to make canoes; so that our
chief dependence is on meeting some tribe from whom we may procure

"Sacajawea, our Indian woman, informs us that we are encamped on the
precise spot where her countrymen, the Snake Indians, had their huts
five years ago, when the Minnetarees came upon them, killed most of the
party, and carried her away prisoner. She does not, however, show any
distress at these recollections, nor any joy at the prospect of being
restored to her country; for she seems to possess the folly, or the
philosophy, of not suffering her feelings to extend beyond the anxiety
of having plenty to eat, and trinkets to wear.

"Aug. 9.--Persuaded of the absolute necessity of procuring horses to
cross the mountains, it was determined that one of us should proceed in
the morning to the head of the river, and penetrate the mountains till
he found the Shoshonees, or some other nation, who could assist us in
transporting our baggage. Immediately after breakfast, Capt. Lewis took
Drewyer, Shields, and McNeal; and, slinging their knapsacks, they set
out, with a resolution to meet some nation of Indians before they
returned, however long it might be.

"Aug. 11.--It was not till the third day after commencing their search
that they met with any success. Capt. Lewis perceived with the greatest
delight, at the distance of two miles, a man on horseback coming towards
them. On examining him with the glass, Capt. Lewis saw that he was of a
different nation from any we had hitherto met. He was armed with a bow
and a quiver of arrows, and mounted on an elegant horse without a
saddle; while a small string, attached to the under-jaw, answered as a
bridle. Convinced that he was a Shoshonee, and knowing how much our
success depended upon the friendly offices of that nation, Capt. Lewis
was anxious to approach without alarming him. He therefore advanced
towards the Indian at his usual pace. When they were within a mile of
each other, the Indian suddenly stopped. Capt. Lewis immediately
followed his example; took his blanket from his knapsack, and, holding
it with both hands at the two corners, threw it above his head, and
unfolded it as he brought it to the ground, as if in the act of
spreading it. This signal, which originates in the practice of spreading
a robe or a skin as a seat for guests to whom they wish to show
kindness, is the universal sign of friendship among the Indians. As
usual, Capt. Lewis repeated this signal three times. Still the Indian
kept his position, and looked with an air of suspicion on Drewyer and
Shields, who were now advancing on each side. Capt. Lewis was afraid to
make any signal for them to halt, lest he should increase the suspicions
of the Indian, who began to be uneasy; and they were too distant to hear
his voice. He therefore took from his pack some beads, a looking-glass,
and a few trinkets, which he had brought for the purpose; and, leaving
his gun, advanced unarmed towards the Indian, who remained in the same
position till Capt. Lewis came within two hundred yards of him, when he
turned his horse, and began to move off slowly. Capt. Lewis then called
out to him, as loud as he could, 'Tabba bone,'--which, in the Shoshonee
language, means _White man_; but, looking over his shoulder, the Indian
kept his eyes on Drewyer and Shields, who were still advancing, till
Capt. Lewis made a signal to them to halt. This, Drewyer obeyed; but
Shields did not observe it, and still went forward. The Indian, seeing
Drewyer halt, turned his horse about, as if to wait for Capt. Lewis, who
had now reached within one hundred and fifty paces, repeating the words,
'Tabba bone,' and holding up the trinkets in his hand; at the same time
stripping up his sleeve to show that he was white. The Indian suffered
him to advance within one hundred paces, then suddenly turned his horse,
and, giving him the whip, leaped across the creek, and disappeared in an
instant among the willows. They followed his track four miles, but could
not get sight of him again, nor find any encampment to which he

"Meanwhile the party in the canoes advanced slowly up the river till
they came to a large island, to which they gave the name of
Three-thousand-mile Island, on account of its being at that distance
from the mouth of the Missouri."


[2] There are many stories, from other sources, confirmatory of these
noises in mountainous districts. One solution, suggested by
Humboldt,--who does not, however, record the fact as of his own
observation,--is, that "this curious phenomenon announces a
disengagement of hydrogen, produced by a bed of coal in a state of
combustion." This solution is applicable only to mountains which contain
coal, unless chemical changes in other minerals might be supposed
capable of producing a similar effect.



Aug. 12, 1805.--Capt. Lewis decided to advance along the foot of the
mountains, hoping to find a road leading across them. At the distance of
four miles from his camp, he found a large, plain, Indian road, which
entered the valley from the north-east. Following this road towards the
south-west, the valley, for the first five miles, continued in the same
direction; then the main stream turned abruptly to the west, through a
narrow bottom between the mountains. We traced the stream, which
gradually became smaller, till, two miles farther up, it had so
diminished, that one of the men, in a fit of enthusiasm, with one foot
on each side of the rivulet, thanked God that he had lived to bestride
the Missouri. Four miles from thence, we came to the spot where, from
the foot of a mountain, issues the remotest water of the mighty river.

"We had now traced the Missouri to its source, which had never before
been seen by civilized man; and as we quenched our thirst at the pure
and icy fountain, and stretched ourselves by the brink of the little
rivulet which yielded its distant and modest tribute to the parent
ocean, we felt rewarded for all our labors.

"We left reluctantly this interesting spot, and, pursuing the Indian
road, arrived at the top of a ridge, from whence we saw high mountains,
partially covered with snow, still to the west of us. The ridge on which
we stood formed, apparently, the dividing-line between the waters of the
Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. We followed a descent much steeper than
that on the eastern side, and, at the distance of three-quarters of a
mile, reached a handsome, bold creek of cold, clear water, running to
the westward. We stopped for a moment, to taste, for the first time, the
waters of the Columbia; and then followed the road across hills and
valleys, till we found a spring, and a sufficient quantity of dry
willow-brush for fuel; and there halted for the night."


"Aug. 13.--Very early in the morning, Capt. Lewis resumed the Indian
road, which led him in a western direction, through an open, broken
country. At five miles' distance, he reached a creek about ten yards
wide, and, on rising the hill beyond it, had a view of a handsome little
valley about a mile in width, through which they judged, from the
appearance of the timber, that a stream probably flowed. On a sudden,
they discovered two women, a man, and some dogs, on an eminence about a
mile before them. The strangers viewed them apparently with much
attention; and then two of them sat down, as if to await Capt. Lewis's
arrival. He went on till he had reached within about half a mile; then
ordered his party to stop, put down his knapsack and rifle, and,
unfurling the flag, advanced alone towards the Indians.

"The women soon retreated behind the hill; but the man remained till
Capt. Lewis came within a hundred yards of him, when he, too, went off,
though Capt. Lewis called out 'Tabba bone' ('White man'), loud enough to
be heard distinctly. The dogs, however, were less shy, and came close to
him. He therefore thought of tying a handkerchief with some beads round
their necks, and then to let them loose, to convince the fugitives of
his friendly intentions; but the dogs would not suffer him to take hold
of them, and soon left him.

"He now made a signal to the men, who joined him; and then all followed
the track of the Indians, which led along a continuation of the same
road they had been travelling. It was dusty, and seemed to have been
much used lately both by foot-passengers and horsemen.

"They had not gone along it more than a mile, when, on a sudden, they
saw three female Indians, from whom they had been concealed by the deep
ravines which intersected the road, till they were now within thirty
paces of them. One of them, a young woman, immediately took to flight:
the other two, an old woman and little girl, seeing we were too near for
them to escape, sat on the ground, and, holding down their heads, seemed
as if reconciled to the death which they supposed awaited them. Capt.
Lewis instantly put down his rifle, and, advancing towards them, took
the woman by the hand, raised her up, and repeated the words, 'Tabba
bone,' at the same time stripping up his sleeve to show that he was a
white man; for his hands and face had become by exposure quite as dark
as their own.

"She appeared immediately relieved from her alarm; and, Drewyer and
Shields now coming up, Capt. Lewis gave her some beads, a few awls,
pewter mirrors, and a little paint, and told Drewyer to request the
woman to recall her companion, who had escaped to some distance, and, by
alarming the Indians, might cause them to attack him, without any time
for explanation. She did as she was desired, and the young woman
returned readily. Capt. Lewis gave her an equal portion of trinkets, and
painted the tawny cheeks of all three of them with vermilion, which,
besides its ornamental effect, has the advantage of being held among the
Indians as emblematic of peace.

"After they had become composed, he informed them by signs of his wish
to go to their camp in order to see their chiefs and warriors. They
readily complied, and conducted the party along the same road down the
river. In this way they marched two miles, when they met a troop of
nearly sixty warriors, mounted on excellent horses, riding at full speed
towards them. As they advanced, Capt. Lewis put down his gun, and went
with the flag about fifty paces in advance. The chief, who, with two
men, was riding in front of the main body, spoke to the women, who now
explained that the party was composed of white men, and showed
exultingly the presents they had received. The three men immediately
leaped from their horses, came up to Capt. Lewis, and embraced him with
great cordiality,--putting their left arm over his right shoulder, and
clasping his back,--applying at the same time their left cheek to his,
and frequently vociferating, 'Ah-hi-e!'--'_I am glad! I am glad!_'

"The whole body of warriors now came forward, and our men received the
caresses, and no small share of the grease and paint, of their new
friends. After this fraternal embrace, Capt. Lewis lighted a pipe, and
offered it to the Indians, who had now seated themselves in a circle
around our party. But, before they would receive this mark of
friendship, they pulled off their moccasons; a custom which, we
afterwards learned, indicates their sincerity when they smoke with a

"After smoking a few pipes, some trifling presents were distributed
among them, with which they seemed very much pleased, particularly with
the blue beads and the vermilion.

"Capt. Lewis then informed the chief that the object of his visit was
friendly, and should be explained as soon as he reached their camp; but
that in the mean time, as the sun was oppressive, and no water near, he
wished to go there as soon as possible. They now put on their moccasons;
and their chief, whose name was Cameahwait, made a short speech to the
warriors. Capt. Lewis then gave him the flag, which he informed him was
the emblem of peace, and that now and for the future it was to be the
pledge of union between us and them. The chief then moved on, our party
followed, and the rest of the warriors brought up the rear.

"At the distance of four miles from where they had first met the
Indians, they reached the camp, which was in a handsome, level meadow on
the bank of the river. Here they were introduced into a leathern lodge
which was assigned for their reception. After being seated on green
boughs and antelope-skins, one of the warriors pulled up the grass in
the centre of the lodge, so as to form a vacant circle of two feet in
diameter, in which he kindled a fire. The chief then produced his pipe
and tobacco; the warriors all pulled off their moccasons, and our party
were requested to take off their own. This being done, the chief
lighted his pipe at the fire, and then, retreating from it, began a
speech several minutes long; at the end of which he pointed the stem of
his pipe towards the four cardinal points of the heavens, beginning with
the east, and concluding with the north. After this ceremony, he
presented the stem in the same way to Capt. Lewis, who, supposing it an
invitation to smoke, put out his hand to receive the pipe; but the chief
drew it back, and continued to repeat the same offer three times; after
which he pointed the stem to the heavens, then took three whiffs
himself, and presented it again to Capt. Lewis. Finding that this last
offer was in good earnest, he smoked a little, and returned it. The pipe
was then held to each of the white men, and, after they had taken a few
whiffs, was given to the warriors.

"The bowl of the pipe was made of a dense, transparent, green stone,
very highly polished, about two and a half inches long, and of an oval
figure; the bowl being in the same direction with the stem. The tobacco
is of the same kind with that used by the Minnetarees and Mandans of the
Missouri. The Shoshonees do not cultivate this plant, but obtain it from
the bands who live farther south.

"The ceremony of smoking being concluded, Capt. Lewis explained to the
chief the purposes of his visit; and, as by this time all the women and
children of the camp had gathered around the lodge to indulge in a view
of the first white men they had ever seen, he distributed among them the
remainder of the small articles he had brought with him.

"It was now late in the afternoon, and our party had tasted no food
since the night before. On apprising the chief of this fact, he said
that he had nothing but berries to eat, and presented some cakes made of
service-berries and choke-cherries which had been dried in the sun. Of
these, Capt. Lewis and his companions made as good a meal as they were

"The chief informed him that the stream which flowed by them discharged
itself, at the distance of half a day's march, into another of twice its
size; but added that there was no timber there suitable for building
canoes, and that the river was rocky and rapid. The prospect of going on
by land was more pleasant; for there were great numbers of horses
feeding round the camp, which would serve to transport our stores over
the mountains.

"An Indian invited Capt. Lewis into his lodge, and gave him a small
morsel of boiled antelope, and a piece of fresh salmon, roasted. This
was the first salmon he had seen, and perfectly satisfied him that he
was now on the waters of the Pacific.

"On returning to the lodge, he resumed his conversation with the chief;
after which he was entertained with a dance by the Indians. The music
and dancing--which were in no respect different from those of the
Missouri Indians--continued nearly all night; but Capt. Lewis retired to
rest about twelve o'clock, when the fatigues of the day enabled him to
sleep, though he was awaked several times by the yells of the dancers."



August, 1805.--While these things were occurring to Capt. Lewis, the
party in the boats were slowly and laboriously ascending the river. It
was very crooked, the bends short and abrupt, and obstructed by so many
shoals, over which the canoes had to be dragged, that the men were in
the water three-fourths of the day. They saw numbers of otters, some
beavers, antelopes, ducks, geese, and cranes; but they killed nothing
except a single deer. They caught, however, some very fine trout. The
weather was cloudy and cool; and at eight o'clock a shower of rain fell.

Next day, as the morning was cold, and the men stiff and sore from the
fatigues of yesterday, they did not set out till seven o'clock. The
river was shallow, and, as it approached the mountains, formed one
continued rapid, over which they were obliged to drag the boats with
great labor and difficulty. By these means, they succeeded in making
fourteen miles; but this distance did not exceed more than six and a
half in a straight line.

Several successive days were passed in this manner (the daily progress
seldom exceeding a dozen miles), while the party anxiously expected to
be rejoined by Capt. Lewis and his men, with intelligence of some relief
by the aid of friendly Indians. In the mean time, Capt. Lewis was as
anxiously expecting their arrival, to confirm the good impressions he
had made on the Indians, as well as to remove some lurking doubts they
still felt as to his intentions.


Aug. 14.--In order to give time for the boats to reach the forks of
Jefferson River, Capt. Lewis determined to remain where he was, and
obtain all the information he could with regard to the country. Having
nothing to eat but a little flour and parched meal, with the berries of
the Indians, he sent out Drewyer and Shields, who borrowed horses of the
natives, to hunt. At the same time, the young warriors set out for the
same purpose.

There are but few elk or black-tailed deer in this region; and, as the
common red deer secrete themselves in the bushes when alarmed, they are
soon safe from the arrows of the Indian hunters, which are but feeble
weapons against any animal which the huntsmen cannot previously run
down. The chief game of the Shoshonees, therefore, is the antelope,
which, when pursued, runs to the open plains, where the horses have full
room for the chase. But such is this animal's extraordinary fleetness
and wind, that a single horse has no chance of outrunning it, or tiring
it down; and the hunters are therefore obliged to resort to stratagem.
About twenty Indians, mounted on fine horses, and armed with bows and
arrows, left the camp. In a short time, they descried a herd of ten
antelopes. They immediately separated into little squads of two or
three, and formed a scattered circle round the herd for five or six
miles, keeping at a wary distance, so as not to alarm them till they
were perfectly enclosed. Having gained their positions, a small party
rode towards the herd; the huntsman preserving his seat with wonderful
tenacity, and the horse his footing, as he ran at full speed over the
hills, and down the ravines, and along the edges of precipices. They
were soon outstripped by the antelopes, which, on gaining the other
limit of the circle, were driven back, and pursued by fresh hunters.
They turned, and flew, rather than ran, in another direction; but there,
too, they found new enemies. In this way they were alternately driven
backwards and forwards, till at length, notwithstanding the skill of the
hunters, they all escaped; and the party, after running two hours,
returned without having caught any thing, and their horses foaming with
sweat. This chase, the greater part of which was seen from the camp,
formed a beautiful scene; but to the hunters it is exceedingly
laborious, and so unproductive, even when they are able to worry the
animal down and shoot him, that forty or fifty hunters will sometimes be
engaged for half a day without obtaining more than two or three
antelopes. Soon after they returned, our two huntsmen came in with no
better success. Capt. Lewis therefore made a little paste with the
flour, and the addition of some berries formed a tolerable repast.

Having now secured the good-will of Cameahwait, Capt. Lewis informed him
of his wish,--that he would speak to the warriors, and endeavor to
engage them to accompany him to the forks of Jefferson River, where, by
this time, another chief, with a large party of white men, were waiting
his return. He added, that it would be necessary to take about thirty
horses to transport the merchandise; that they should be well rewarded
for their trouble; and that, when all the party should have reached the
Shoshonee camp, they would remain some time among them, and trade for
horses, as well as concert plans for furnishing them in future with
regular supplies of merchandise. Cameahwait readily consented to do as
requested; and, after collecting the tribe together, he made a long
harangue, and in about an hour and a half returned, and told Capt. Lewis
that they would be ready to accompany him next morning.

Capt. Lewis rose early, and, having eaten nothing yesterday except his
scanty meal of flour and berries, felt the pain of extreme hunger. On
inquiry, he found that his whole stock of provisions consisted of two
pounds of flour. This he ordered to be divided into two equal parts, and
one-half of it boiled with the berries into a sort of pudding; and,
after presenting a large share to the chief, he and his three men
breakfasted on the remainder. Cameahwait was delighted with this new
dish. He took a little of the flour in his hand, tasted it, and examined
it very carefully, asking if it was made of roots. Capt. Lewis
explained how it was produced, and the chief said it was the best thing
he had eaten for a long time.

Breakfast being finished, Capt. Lewis endeavored to hasten the departure
of the Indians, who seemed reluctant to move, although the chief
addressed them twice for the purpose of urging them. On inquiring the
reason, Capt. Lewis learned that the Indians were suspicious that they
were to be led into an ambuscade, and betrayed to their enemies. He
exerted himself to dispel this suspicion, and succeeded so far as to
induce eight of the warriors, with Cameahwait, to accompany him. It was
about twelve o'clock when his small party left the camp, attended by
Cameahwait and the eight warriors. At sunset they reached the river, and
encamped about four miles above the narrow pass between the hills, which
they had noticed in their progress some days before. Drewyer had been
sent forward to hunt; but he returned in the evening unsuccessful; and
their only supply, therefore, was the remaining pound of flour, stirred
in a little boiling water, and divided between the four white men and
two of the Indians.

Next morning, as neither our party nor the Indians had any thing to eat,
Capt. Lewis sent two of his hunters out to procure some provision. At
the same time, he requested Cameahwait to prevent his young men from
going out, lest, by their noise, they might alarm the game. This measure
immediately revived their suspicions, and some of them followed our two
men to watch them. After the hunters had been gone about an hour, Capt.
Lewis mounted, with one of the Indians behind him, and the whole party
set out. Just then, they saw one of the spies coming back at full speed
across the plain. The chief stopped, and seemed uneasy: the whole band
were moved with fresh suspicions; and Capt. Lewis himself was anxious,
lest, by some unfortunate accident, some hostile tribe might have
wandered that way. The young Indian had hardly breath to say a few words
as he came up, when the whole troop dashed forward as fast as their
horses could carry them; and Capt. Lewis, astonished at this movement,
was borne along for nearly a mile, before he learned, with great
satisfaction, that it was all caused by the spy's having come to
announce that one of the white men had killed a deer.

When they reached the place where Drewyer, in cutting up the deer, had
thrown out the intestines, the Indians dismounted in confusion, and ran,
tumbling over each other, like famished dogs: each tore away whatever
part he could, and instantly began to devour it. Some had the liver,
some the kidneys: in short, no part on which we are accustomed to look
with disgust escaped them. It was, indeed, impossible to see these
wretches ravenously feeding on the refuse of animals, and the blood
streaming from their mouths, without deploring how nearly the condition
of savages approaches that of the brute creation. Yet, though suffering
with hunger, they did not attempt to take (as they might have done) by
force the whole deer, but contented themselves with what had been thrown
away by the hunter. Capt. Lewis had the deer skinned, and, after
reserving a quarter of it, gave the rest of the animal to the chief, to
be divided among the Indians, who immediately devoured the whole without


As they were now approaching the place where they had been told they
should see the white men, Capt. Lewis, to guard against any
disappointment, explained the possibility of our men not having reached
the forks, in consequence of the difficulty of the navigation; so that,
if they should not find us at that spot, they might be assured of our
being not far below. After stopping two hours to let the horses graze,
they remounted, and rode on rapidly, making one of the Indians carry the
flag, so that the party in the boats might recognize them as they
approached. To their great mortification, on coming within sight of the
forks, no canoes were to be seen.

Uneasy, lest at this moment he should be abandoned, and all his hopes of
obtaining aid from the Indians be destroyed, Capt. Lewis gave the chief
his gun, telling him, if the enemies of his nation were in the bushes,
he might defend himself with it; and that the chief might shoot him as
soon as they discovered themselves betrayed. The other three men at the
same time gave their guns to the Indians, who now seemed more easy, but
still suspicious. Luckily, he had a hold on them by other ties than
their generosity. He had promised liberal exchanges for their horses;
but, what was still more attractive, he had told them that one of their
country-women, who had been taken by the Minnetarees, accompanied the
party below: and one of the men had spread the report of our having with
us a man perfectly black, whose hair was short and curled. This last
account had excited a great degree of curiosity; and they seemed more
desirous of seeing this monster than of obtaining the most favorable
barter for their horses.

In the mean time, the boat party under Capt. Clarke, struggling against
rapids and shallows, had made their way to a point only four miles by
land, though ten by water, from where Capt. Lewis and the Indians were.
Capt. Clarke had seen from an eminence the forks of the river, and sent
the hunters up. They must have left it only a short time before Capt.
Lewis's arrival.

Aug. 17.--Capt. Lewis rose early, and despatched Drewyer and the Indian
down the river in quest of the boats. They had been gone about two
hours, and the Indians were all anxiously waiting for some news, when an
Indian who had straggled a short distance down the river returned, with
a report that he had seen the white men, who were not far below, and
were coming on. The Indians were all delighted; and the chief, in the
warmth of his affection, renewed his embrace to Capt. Lewis, who, though
quite as much gratified, would willingly have spared that manifestation
of it. The report proved true. On commencing the day's progress, Capt.
Clarke, with Chaboneau and his wife, walked by the river-side; but they
had not gone more than a mile, when Capt. Clarke saw Sacajawea, the
Indian woman, who was some distance in advance, begin to dance, and show
every mark of extravagant joy, pointing to several Indians, whom he now
saw advancing on horseback. As they approached, Capt. Clarke discovered
Drewyer among them, from whom he learned the situation of Capt. Lewis
and his party. While the boats were performing the circuit, Capt. Clarke
went towards the forks with the Indians, who, as they went along, sang
aloud with the greatest appearance of delight.

They soon drew near the camp; and, as they approached it, a woman made
her way through the crowd towards Sacajawea, when, recognizing each
other, they embraced with the most tender affection. The meeting of
these two young women had in it something peculiarly touching. They had
been companions in childhood, and, in the war with the Minnetarees, had
both been taken prisoners in the same battle. They had shared the same
captivity, till one had escaped, leaving her friend with scarce a hope
of ever seeing her again.

While Sacajawea was renewing among the women the friendships of former
days, Capt. Clarke went on, and was received by Capt. Lewis and the
chief, who, after the first embraces and salutations, conducted him to a
sort of circular tent constructed of willow-branches. Here he was seated
on a white robe; and the chief tied in his hair six small shells
resembling pearls,--an ornament highly valued by these people. After
smoking, a conference was held, Sacajawea acting as interpreter. Capt.
Lewis told them he had been sent to discover the best route by which
merchandise could be conveyed to them, and, since no trade would be
begun before our return, it was naturally desirable that we should
proceed with as little delay as possible; that we were under the
necessity of requesting them to furnish us with horses to transport our
baggage across the mountains, and a guide to show us the route; but that
they should be amply remunerated for their horses, as well as for any
other service they should render us. In the mean time, our first wish
was that they should immediately collect as many horses as were
necessary to transport our baggage to their village, where, at our
leisure, we would trade with them for as many horses as they could

The speech made a favorable impression. The chief thanked us for our
friendly intentions, and declared their willingness to render us every
service. He promised to return to the village next day, and to bring all
his own horses, and to encourage his people to bring theirs. We then
distributed our presents. To Cameahwait we gave a medal of the small
size, with the likeness of President Jefferson, and on the reverse a
figure of hands clasped, with a pipe and tomahawk. To this were added a
uniform-coat, a shirt, a pair of scarlet leggings, a lump of tobacco,
and some small articles. Each of the other chiefs received similar
presents, excepting the dress-coat. These honorary gifts were followed
by presents of paint, moccasons, awls, knives, beads, and
looking-glasses. They had abundant sources of surprise in all they saw.
The appearance of the men, their arms, their clothing, the canoes, the
strange looks of the negro, and the sagacity of our dog, all in turn
shared their admiration, which was raised to astonishment by a shot from
the air-gun. This was immediately pronounced a _Great Medicine_, by
which they mean something produced by the Great Spirit himself in some
incomprehensible way.



August, 1805.--Our Indian information as to the navigation of the
Columbia was of a very discouraging character. It was therefore agreed
that Capt. Clarke should set off in the morning with eleven men,
furnished, besides their arms, with tools for making canoes; that he
should take Chaboneau and his wife to the camp of the Shoshonees, where
he was to leave them to hasten the collection of horses; that he was
then to lead his men down to the Columbia; and if he found it navigable,
and the timber in sufficient quantity, should begin to build canoes. As
soon as he should have decided on the question of proceeding, whether
down the river or across the mountains, he was to send back one of the
men, with information of his decision, to Capt. Lewis, who would tarry
meanwhile at the Shoshonee village.

Aug. 20.--Capt. Clarke set out at six o'clock. Passing through a
continuation of hilly, broken country, he met several parties of
Indians. An old man among them was pointed out, who was said to know
more of the nature of the country north than any other person; and Capt.
Clarke engaged him as a guide.

The first point to ascertain was the truth of the Indian information as
to the difficulty of descending the river. For this purpose, Capt.
Clarke and his men set out at three o'clock in the afternoon,
accompanied by his Indian guide. At the distance of four miles he
crossed the river, and, eight miles from the camp, halted for the night.
As Capt. Lewis was the first white man who had visited its waters, Capt.
Clarke gave the stream the name of Lewis's River.

Aug. 23.--Capt. Clarke set out very early; but as his route lay along
the steep side of a mountain, over irregular and broken masses of rocks,
which wounded the horses' feet, he was obliged to proceed slowly. At the
distance of four miles, he reached the river; but the rocks here became
so steep, and projected so far into the stream, that there was no mode
of passing except through the water. This he did for some distance,
though the current was very rapid, and so deep, that they were forced to
swim their horses. After following the edge of the stream for about a
mile, he reached a small meadow, below which the whole current of the
river beat against the shore on which he was, and which was formed of a
solid rock, perfectly inaccessible to horses. He therefore resolved to
leave the horses and the greater part of the men at this place, and
continue his examination of the river on foot, in order to determine if
there were any possibility of descending it in canoes.

With his guide and three men he proceeded, clambering over immense
rocks, and along the sides of precipices which bordered the stream. The
river presented a succession of shoals, neither of which could be passed
with loaded canoes; and the baggage must therefore be transported for
considerable distances over the steep mountains, where it would be
impossible to employ horses. Even the empty boats must be let down the
rapids by means of cords, and not even in this way without great risk
both to the canoes and the men.

Disappointed in finding a route by way of the river, Capt. Clarke now
questioned his guide more particularly respecting an Indian road which
came in from the north. The guide, who seemed intelligent, drew a map on
the sand, and represented this road as leading to a great river where
resided a nation called Tushepaws, who, having no salmon on their river,
came by this road to the fish-wears on Lewis's River. After a great deal
of conversation, or rather signs, Capt. Clarke felt persuaded that his
guide knew of a road from the Shoshonee village they had left, to the
great river toward the north, without coming so low down as this, on a
road impracticable for horses. He therefore hastened to return thither,
sending forward a man on horseback with a note to Capt. Lewis, apprising
him of the result of his inquiries.

From the 25th to the 29th of August, Capt. Clarke and his men were
occupied in their return to the Shoshonee village, where Capt. Lewis and
party were awaiting them. During their march, the want of provisions was
such, that if it had not been for the liberality of the Indians, who
gave them a share of their own scanty supplies, they must have perished.
The main dependence for food was upon salmon and berries. It was seldom
they could get enough of these for a full meal; and abstinence and the
strange diet caused some sickness. Capt. Lewis, on the contrary, had
found the game sufficiently abundant to supply their own party, and to
spare some to the Indians; so that, when their friends rejoined them,
they had it in their power to immediately relieve their wants.


The Shoshonees are a small tribe of the nation called Snake Indians,--a
vague denomination, which embraces at once the inhabitants of the
southern parts of the Rocky Mountains, and of the plains on each side.
The Shoshonees, with whom we now are, amount to about a hundred
warriors, and three times that number of women and children. Within
their own recollection, they formerly lived in the plains; but they have
been driven into the mountains by the roving Indians of the Saskatchawan
country, and are now obliged to visit only occasionally and by stealth
the country of their ancestors. From the middle of May to the beginning
of September, they reside on the waters of the Columbia. During this
time, they subsist chiefly on salmon; and, as that fish disappears on
the approach of autumn, they are obliged to seek subsistence elsewhere.
They then cross the ridge to the waters of the Missouri, down which they
proceed cautiously till they are joined by other bands of their own
nation, or of the Flatheads, with whom they associate against the common
enemy. Being now strong in numbers, they venture to hunt buffaloes in
the plains eastward of the mountains, near which they spend the winter,
till the return of the salmon invites them to the Columbia.

In this loose and wandering existence, they suffer the extremes of want:
for two-thirds of the year they are forced to live in the mountains,
passing whole weeks without meat, and with nothing to eat but a few fish
and roots.

Yet the Shoshonees are not only cheerful, but gay; and their character
is more interesting than that of any other Indians we have seen. They
are frank and communicative; fair in their dealings; and we have had no
reason to suspect that the display of our new and valuable wealth has
tempted them into a single act of theft. While they have shared with us
the little they possess, they have always abstained from begging any
thing of us.

Their wealth is in horses. Of these they have at least seven hundred,
among which are about forty colts, and half that number of mules. The
original stock was procured from the Spaniards; but now they raise their
own, which are generally of good size, vigorous, and patient of fatigue
as well as of hunger. Every warrior has one or two tied to a stake near
his hut day and night, so as to be always prepared for action. The mules
are obtained in the course of trade from the Spaniards of California.
They are highly valued. The worst are considered as worth the price of
two horses.

The Shoshonee warrior always fights on horseback. He possesses a few bad
guns, which are reserved for war; but his common arms are the bow and
arrow, a shield, a lance, and a weapon called _pogamogon_, which
consists of a handle of wood, with a stone weighing about two pounds,
and held in a cover of leather, attached to the handle by a leather
thong. At the other end is a loop, which is passed round the wrist, so
as to secure the hold of the instrument, with which they strike a very
severe blow.

The bow is made of cedar or pine, covered on the outer side with sinews
and glue. Sometimes it is made of the horn of an elk, covered on the
back like those of wood. The arrows are more slender than those of other
Indians we have seen. They are kept, with the implements for striking
fire, in a narrow quiver formed of different kinds of skin. It is just
long enough to protect the arrows from the weather, and is fastened upon
the back of the wearer by means of a strap passing over the right
shoulder, and under the left arm. The shield is a circular piece of
buffalo-skin, about two feet four inches in diameter, ornamented with
feathers, with a fringe round it of dressed leather, and adorned with
paintings of strange figures.

Besides these, they have a kind of armor, something like a coat of mail,
which is formed by a great many folds of antelope-skins, united by a
mixture of glue and sand. With this they cover their own bodies and
those of their horses, and find it impervious to the arrow.

The caparison of their horses is a halter and saddle. The halter is made
of strands of buffalo-hair platted together; or is merely a thong of raw
hide, made pliant by pounding and rubbing. The halter is very long, and
is never taken from the neck of the horse when in constant use. One end
of it is first tied round the neck in a knot, and then brought down to
the under-jaw, round which it is formed into a simple noose, passing
through the mouth. It is then drawn up on the right side, and held by
the rider in his left hand, while the rest trails after him to some
distance. With these cords dangling alongside of them, the horse is put
to his full speed, without fear of falling; and, when he is turned to
graze, the noose is merely taken from his mouth.

The saddle is formed, like the pack-saddles used by the French and
Spaniards, of two flat, thin boards, which fit the sides of the horse,
and are kept together by two cross-pieces, one before and the other
behind, which rise to a considerable height, making the saddle deep and
narrow. Under this, a piece of buffalo-skin, with the hair on, is
placed, so as to prevent the rubbing of the board; and, when the rider
mounts, he throws a piece of skin or robe over the saddle, which has no
permanent cover. When stirrups are used, they consist of wood covered
with leather; but stirrups and saddles are conveniences reserved for
women and old men. The young warriors rarely use any thing except a
small, leather pad stuffed with hair, and secured by a girth made of a
leathern thong. In this way, they ride with great expertness; and they
have particular dexterity in catching the horse when he is running at
large. They make a noose in the rope, and although the horse may be at
some distance, or even running, rarely fail to fix it on his neck; and
such is the docility of the animal, that, however unruly he may seem, he
surrenders as soon as he feels the rope on him.

The horse becomes an object of attachment. A favorite is frequently
painted, and his ears cut into various shapes. The mane and tail, which
are never drawn nor trimmed, are decorated with feathers of birds; and
sometimes a warrior suspends at the breast of his horse the finest
ornaments he possesses.

Thus armed and mounted, the Shoshonee is a formidable enemy, even with
the feeble weapons which he is still obliged to use. When they attack at
full speed, they bend forward, and cover their bodies with the shield,
while with the right hand they shoot under the horse's neck.


They are so well supplied with horses, that every man, woman, and child
is mounted; and all they have is packed upon horses. Small children, not
more than three years old, are mounted alone, and generally upon colts.
They are tied upon the saddle to keep them from falling, especially when
they go to sleep, which they often do when they become fatigued. Then
they lie down upon the horse's shoulders; and, when they awake, they lay
hold of their whip, which is fastened to the wrist of their right hand,
and apply it smartly to their horses: and it is astonishing to see how
these little creatures will guide and run them. Children that are still
younger are put into an incasement made with a board at the back, and a
wicker-work around the other parts, covered with cloth inside and
without, or, more generally, with dressed skins; and they are carried
upon the mother's back, or suspended from a high knob upon the fore part
of their saddles.



AUG. 31.--Capt. Lewis, during the absence of his brother-officer, had
succeeded in procuring from the Indians, by barter, twenty-nine
horses,--not quite one for each man. Capt. Clarke having now rejoined
us, and the weather being fine, we loaded our horses, and prepared to
start. We took our leave of the Shoshonees, and accompanied by the old
guide, his four sons, and another Indian, began the descent of the
river, which Capt. Clarke had named Lewis's River. After riding twelve
miles, we encamped on the bank; and, as the hunters had brought in three
deer early in the morning, we did not feel in want of provisions.

On the 31st of August, we made eighteen miles. Here we left the track of
Capt. Clarke, and began to explore the new route recommended by the
Indian guide, and which was our last hope of getting out of the

During all day, we rode over hills, from which are many drains and small
streams, and, at the distance of eighteen miles, came to a large creek,
called Fish Creek, emptying into the main river, which is about six
miles from us.

Sept. 2.--This morning, all the Indians left us, except the old guide,
who now conducted us up Fish Creek. We arrived shortly after at the
forks of the creek. The road we were following now turned in a contrary
direction to our course, and we were left without any track; but, as no
time was to be lost, we began to cut our road up the west branch of the
creek. This we effected with much difficulty. The thickets of trees and
brush through which we were obliged to cut our way required great labor.
Our course was over the steep and rocky sides of the hills, where the
horses could not move without danger of slipping down, while their feet
were bruised by the rocks, and stumps of trees. Accustomed as these
animals were to this kind of life, they suffered severely. Several of
them fell to some distance down the sides of the hills, some turned over
with the baggage, one was crippled, and two gave out exhausted with
fatigue. After crossing the creek several times, we had made five miles
with great labor, and encamped in a small, stony, low ground. It was
not, however, till after dark that the whole party was collected; and
then, as it rained, and we killed nothing, we passed an uncomfortable
night. We had been too busily occupied with the horses to make any
hunting excursion; and, though we saw many beaver-dams in the creek, we
saw none of the animals.

Next day, our experiences were much the same, with the addition of a
fall of snow at evening. The day following, we reached the head of a
stream which directed its course more to the westward, and followed it
till we discovered a large encampment of Indians. When we reached them,
and alighted from our horses, we were received with great cordiality. A
council was immediately assembled, white robes were thrown over our
shoulders, and the pipe of peace introduced. After this ceremony, as it
was too late to go any farther, we encamped, and continued smoking and
conversing with the chiefs till a late hour.

Next morning, we assembled the chiefs and warriors, and informed them
who we were, and the purpose for which we visited their country. All
this was, however, conveyed to them in so many different languages,
that it was not comprehended without difficulty. We therefore proceeded
to the more intelligible language of presents, and made four chiefs by
giving a medal and a small quantity of tobacco to each. We received in
turn, from the principal chiefs, a present, consisting of the skins of
an otter and two antelopes; and were treated by the women to some dried
roots and berries. We then began to traffic for horses, and succeeded in
exchanging seven, and purchasing eleven.

These Indians are a band of the Tushepaws, a numerous people of four
hundred and fifty tents, residing on the head waters of the Missouri and
Columbia Rivers, and some of them lower down the latter river. They
seemed kind and friendly, and willingly shared with us berries and
roots, which formed their only stock of provisions. Their only wealth is
their horses, which are very fine, and so numerous that this band had
with them at least five hundred.

We proceeded next day, and, taking a north-west direction, crossed,
within a distance of a mile and a half, a small river from the right.
This river is the main stream; and, when it reaches the end of the
valley, it is joined by two other streams. To the river thus formed we
gave the name of Clarke's River; he being the first white man who ever
visited its waters.

We followed the course of the river, which is from twenty-five to thirty
yards wide, shallow, and stony, with the low grounds on its borders
narrow; and encamped on its right bank, after making ten miles. Our
stock of flour was now exhausted, and we had but little corn; and, as
our hunters had killed nothing except two pheasants, our supper
consisted chiefly of berries.

The next day, and the next, we followed the river, which widened to
fifty yards, with a valley four or five miles broad. At ten miles from
our camp was a creek, which emptied itself on the west side of the
river. It was a fine bold creek of clear water, about twenty yards wide;
and we called it Traveller's Rest: for, as our guide told us we should
here leave the river, we determined to make some stay for the purpose of
collecting food, as the country through which we were to pass has no
game for a great distance.

Toward evening, one of the hunters returned with three Indians whom he
had met. We found that they were Tushepaw Flatheads in pursuit of
strayed horses. We gave them some boiled venison and a few presents,
such as a fish hook, a steel to strike fire, and a little powder; but
they seemed better pleased with a piece of ribbon which we tied in the
hair of each of them. Their people, they said, were numerous, and
resided on the great river in the plain below the mountains. From that
place, they added, the river was navigable to the ocean. The distance
from this place is five "sleeps," or days' journeys.

On resuming our route, we proceeded up the right side of the creek (thus
leaving Clarke's River), over a country, which, at first plain and good,
became afterwards as difficult as any we had yet traversed.

We had now reached the sources of Traveller's-rest Creek, and followed
the road, which became less rugged. At our encampment this night, the
game having entirely failed us, we killed a colt, on which we made a
hearty supper. We reached the river, which is here eighty yards wide,
with a swift current and a rocky channel. Its Indian name is


Sept. 16.--This morning, snow fell, and continued all day; so that by
evening it was six or eight inches deep. It covered the track so
completely, that we were obliged constantly to halt and examine, lest we
should lose the route. The road is, like that of yesterday, along steep
hillsides, obstructed with fallen timber, and a growth of eight
different species of pine, so thickly strewed, that the snow falls from
them upon us as we pass, keeping us continually wet to the skin. We
encamped in a piece of low ground, thickly timbered, but scarcely large
enough to permit us to lie level. We had made thirteen miles. We were
wet, cold, and hungry; yet we could not procure any game, and were
obliged to kill another horse for our supper. This want of provisions,
the extreme fatigue to which we were subjected, and the dreary prospect
before us, began to dispirit the men. They are growing weak, and losing
their flesh very fast.

After three days more of the same kind of experience, on Friday, 20th
September, an agreeable change occurred. Capt. Clarke, who had gone
forward in hopes of finding game, came suddenly upon a beautiful open
plain partially stocked with pine. Shortly after, he discovered three
Indian boys, who, observing the party, ran off, and hid themselves in
the grass. Capt. Clarke immediately alighted, and, giving his horse and
gun to one of the men, went after the boys. He soon relieved their
apprehensions, and sent them forward to the village, about a mile off,
with presents of small pieces of ribbon. Soon after the boys had
reached home, a man came out to meet the party, with great caution; but
he conducted them to a large tent in the village, and all the
inhabitants gathered round to view with a mixture of fear and pleasure
the wonderful strangers. The conductor now informed Capt. Clarke, by
signs, that the spacious tent was the residence of the great chief, who
had set out three days ago, with all the warriors, to attack some of
their enemies towards the south-west; that, in the mean time, there were
only a few men left to guard the women and children. They now set before
them a small piece of buffalo-meat, some dried salmon, berries, and
several kinds of roots. Among these last was one which is round, much
like an onion in appearance, and sweet to the taste. It is called
_quamash_, and is eaten either in its natural state, or boiled into a
kind of soup, or made into a cake, which is called _pasheco_. After our
long abstinence, this was a sumptuous repast. We returned the kindness
of the people with a few small presents, and then went on, in company
with one of the chiefs, to a second village in the same plain, at a
distance of two miles. Here the party was treated with great kindness,
and passed the night.

The two villages consist of about thirty double tents; and the people
call themselves Chopunnish, or Pierced-nose. The chief drew a chart of
the river on the sand, and explained that a greater chief than himself,
who governed this village, and was called the Twisted-hair, was now
fishing at the distance of half a day's ride down the river. His chart
made the Kooskooskee to fork a little below his camp, below which the
river passed the mountains. Here was a great fall of water, near which
lived white people, from whom they procured the white beads and brass
ornaments worn by the women.

Capt. Clarke engaged an Indian to guide him to the Twisted-hair's camp.
For twelve miles, they proceeded through the plain before they reached
the river-hills, which are very high and steep. The whole valley from
these hills to the Rocky Mountains is a beautiful level country, with a
rich soil covered with grass. There is, however, but little timber, and
the ground is badly watered. The plain is so much sheltered by the
surrounding hills, that the weather is quite warm (Sept. 21), while the
cold of the mountains was extreme.

From the top of the river-hills we descended for three miles till we
reached the water-side, between eleven and twelve o'clock at night.
Here we found a small camp of five women and three children; the chief
himself being encamped, with two others, on a small island in the river.
The guide called to him, and he came over. Capt. Clarke gave him a
medal, and they smoked together till one o'clock.

Next day, Capt. Clarke passed over to the island with the Twisted-hair,
who seemed to be cheerful and sincere. The hunters brought in three
deer; after which Capt. Clarke left his party, and, accompanied by the
Twisted-hair and his son, rode back to the village, where he found Capt.
Lewis and his party just arrived.

The plains were now crowded with Indians, who came to see the white men
and the strange things they brought with them; but, as our guide was a
perfect stranger to their language, we could converse by signs only. Our
inquiries were chiefly directed to the situation of the country. The
Twisted-hair drew a chart of the river on a white elk-skin. According to
this, the Kooskooskee forks a few miles from this place: two days'
journey towards the south is another and larger fork, on which the
Shoshonee Indians fish; five days' journey farther is a large river from
the north-west, into which Clarke's River empties itself. From the
junction with that river to the falls is five days' journey farther. On
all the forks, as well as on the main river, great numbers of Indians
reside; and at the falls are establishments of whites. This was the
story of the Twisted-hair.

Provision here was abundant. We purchased a quantity of fish, berries,
and roots; and in the afternoon went on to the second village. We
continued our purchases, and obtained as much provision as our horses
could carry in their present weak condition. Great crowds of the natives
are round us all night; but we have not yet missed any thing, except a
knife and a few other small articles.

Sept. 24.--The weather is fair. All round the village the women are
busily employed in gathering and dressing the pasheco-root, large
quantities of which are heaped up in piles all over the plain.

We feel severely the consequence of eating heartily after our late
privations. Capt. Lewis and two of his men were taken very ill last
evening, and to-day he can hardly sit on his horse. Others could not
mount without help; and some were forced to lie down by the side of the
road for some time.

Our situation rendered it necessary to husband our remaining strength;
and it was determined to proceed down the river in canoes. Capt. Clarke
therefore set out with Twisted-hair and two young men in quest of timber
for canoes.

Sept. 27, 28, and 29.--Sickness continued. Few of the men were able to
work; yet preparations were made for making five canoes. A number of
Indians collect about us in the course of the day to gaze at the strange
appearance of every thing belonging to us.

Oct. 4.--The men were now much better, and Capt. Lewis so far recovered
as to walk about a little. The canoes being nearly finished, it became
necessary to dispose of the horses. They were therefore collected to the
number of thirty-eight, and, being branded and marked, were delivered to
three Indians,--the two brothers and the son of a chief; the chief
having promised to accompany us down the river. To each of these men we
gave a knife and some small articles; and they agreed to take good care
of the horses till our return.

We had all our saddles buried in a _cache_ near the river, about half a
mile below, and deposited at the same time a canister of powder and a
bag of balls.


Oct. 7.--This morning, all the canoes were put in the water, and loaded,
the oars fitted, and every preparation made for setting out. When we
were all ready, the chief who had promised to accompany us was not to be
found: we therefore proceeded without him. The Kooskooskee is a clear,
rapid stream, with a number of shoals and difficult places. This day and
the next, we made a distance of fifty miles. We passed several
encampments of Indians on the islands and near the rapids, which
situations are chosen as the most convenient for taking salmon. At one
of these camps we found the chief, who, after promising to descend the
river with us, had left us. He, however, willingly came on board, after
we had gone through the ceremony of smoking.

Oct. 10.--A fine morning. We loaded the canoes, and set off at seven
o'clock. After passing twenty miles, we landed below the junction of a
large fork of the river, from the south. Our arrival soon attracted the
attention of the Indians, who flocked from all directions to see us.
Being again reduced to fish and roots, we made an experiment to vary our
food by purchasing a few dogs; and, after having been accustomed to
horse-flesh, felt no disrelish to this new dish. The Chopunnish have
great numbers of dogs, but never use them for food; and our feeding on
the flesh of that animal brought us into ridicule as dog-eaters.

This southern branch is, in fact, the main stream of Lewis's River, on
whose upper waters we encamped when among the Shoshonees. At its mouth,
Lewis's River is about two hundred and fifty yards wide, and its water
is of a greenish-blue color. The Kooskooskee, whose waters are clear as
crystal, is one hundred and fifty yards in width; and, after the union,
the joint-stream extends to the width of three hundred yards.

The Chopunnish, or Pierced-nose Indians, who reside on the Kooskooskee
and Lewis's Rivers, are in person stout, portly, well-looking men. The
women are small, with good features, and generally handsome, though the
complexion of both sexes is darker than that of the Tushepaws. In dress,
they resemble that nation, being fond of displaying their ornaments. The
buffalo or elk-skin robe, decorated with beads, sea-shells (chiefly
mother-of-pearl), attached to an otter-skin collar, is the dress of the
men. The same ornaments are hung in the hair, which falls in front in
two cues: they add feathers, paints of different colors (principally
white, green, and blue), which they find in their own country. In
winter, they wear a shirt of dressed skins; long, painted leggings, and
moccasons; and a plait of twisted grass round the neck.

The dress of the women is more simple, consisting of a long shirt of the
mountain-sheep skin, reaching down to the ankles, without a girdle. To
this are tied little pieces of brass and shells, and other small
articles; but the head is not at all ornamented.

The Chopunnish have few amusements; for their life is painful and
laborious, and all their exertions are necessary to earn a precarious
subsistence. During the summer and autumn, they are busily occupied in
fishing for salmon, and collecting their winter store of roots. In
winter, they hunt the deer on snow-shoes over the plains; and, towards
spring, cross the mountains to the Missouri in pursuit of the buffalo.

The soil of these prairies is a light-yellow clay. It is barren, and
produces little more than a bearded grass about three inches high, and
the prickly-pear, of which we found three species. The first is the
broad-leaved kind, common to this river with the Missouri; the second
has a leaf of a globular form, and is also frequent on the upper part
of the Missouri; the third is peculiar to this country. It consists of
small, thick leaves of a circular form, which grow from the margin of
each other. These leaves are armed with a great number of thorns, which
are strong, and appear to be barbed. As the leaf itself is very slightly
attached to the stem, as soon as one thorn touches the moccason, it
adheres, and brings with it the leaf, which is accompanied with a
re-enforcement of thorns. This species was a greater annoyance on our
march than either of the others.



From the mouth of the Kooskooskee to that of the Lewis is about a
hundred miles; which distance they descended in seven days. The
navigation was greatly impeded by rapids, which they passed with more or
less danger and difficulty; being greatly indebted to the assistance of
the Indians, as they thankfully acknowledge. Sometimes they were obliged
to unload their boats, and to carry them round by land. All these rapids
are fishing-places, greatly resorted to in the season.

On the 17th of October (1805), having reached the junction of Lewis's
River with the Columbia, they found by observation that they were in
latitude 46° 15´, and longitude 119°. They measured the two rivers by
angles, and found, that, at the junction, the Columbia is 960 yards
wide; and Lewis's River, 575: but, below their junction, the joint
river is from one to three miles in width, including the islands. From
the point of junction, the country is a continued plain, rising
gradually from the water. There is through this plain no tree, and
scarcely any shrub, except a few willow-bushes; and, even of smaller
plants, there is not much besides the prickly-pear, which is abundant.

In the course of the day, Capt. Clarke, in a small canoe, with two men,
ascended the Columbia. At the distance of five miles, he came to a small
but not dangerous rapid. On the bank of the river opposite to this is a
fishing-place, consisting of three neat houses. Here were great
quantities of salmon drying on scaffolds; and, from the mouth of the
river upwards, he saw immense numbers of dead salmon strewed along the
shore, or floating on the water.

The Indians, who had collected on the banks to view him, now joined him
in eighteen canoes, and accompanied him up the river. A mile above the
rapids, he observed three houses of mats, and landed to visit them. On
entering one of the houses, he found it crowded with men, women, and
children, who immediately provided a mat for him to sit on; and one of
the party undertook to prepare something to eat. He began by bringing
in a piece of pine-wood that had drifted down the river, which he split
into small pieces with a wedge made of the elk's horn, by means of a
mallet of stone curiously carved. The pieces were then laid on the fire,
and several round stones placed upon them. One of the squaws now brought
a bucket of water, in which was a large salmon about half dried; and, as
the stones became heated, they were put into the bucket till the salmon
was sufficiently boiled. It was then taken out, put on a platter of
rushes neatly made, and laid before Capt. Clarke. Another was boiled for
each of his men. Capt. Clarke found the fish excellent.

At another island, four miles distant, the inhabitants were occupied in
splitting and drying salmon. The multitudes of this fish are almost
inconceivable. The water is so clear, that they can readily be seen at
the depth of fifteen or twenty feet; but at this season they float in
such quantities down the stream, and are drifted ashore, that the
Indians have nothing to do but collect, split, and dry them. The Indians
assured him by signs that they often used dry fish as fuel for the
common occasions of cooking. The evening coming on, he returned to camp.

Capt. Clarke, in the course of his excursion, shot several grouse and
ducks; also a prairie-cock,--a bird of the pheasant kind, about the size
of a small turkey. It measured, from the beak to the end of the toe, two
feet six inches; from the extremity of the wings, three feet six inches;
and the feathers of the tail were thirteen inches long. This bird we
have seen nowhere except upon this river. Its chief food is the
grasshopper, and the seeds of wild plants peculiar to this river and the
Upper Missouri.


Oct. 19.--Having resumed their descent of the Columbia, they came to a
very dangerous rapid. In order to lighten the boats, Capt. Clarke
landed, and walked to the foot of the rapid. Arriving there before
either of the boats, except a canoe, he sat down on a rock to wait for
them; and, seeing a crane fly across the river, shot it, and it fell
near him. Several Indians had been, before this, passing on the opposite
side; and some of them, alarmed at his appearance or the report of the
gun, fled to their houses. Capt. Clarke was afraid that these people
might not have heard that white men were coming: therefore, in order to
allay their uneasiness before the whole party should arrive, he got into
the canoe with three men, and rowed over towards the houses, and, while
crossing, shot a duck, which fell into the water. As he approached, no
person was to be seen, except three men; and they also fled as he came
near the shore. He landed before five houses close to each other; but no
person appeared: and the doors, which were of mat, were closed. He went
towards one of them with a pipe in his hand, and, pushing aside the mat,
entered the lodge, where he found thirty-two persons, men and women,
with a few children, all in the greatest consternation; some hanging
down their heads; others crying, and wringing their hands. He went up to
them all, and shook hands with them in the most friendly manner. Their
apprehensions gradually subsided, but revived on his taking out a
burning-glass (there being no roof to the lodge), and lighting his pipe.
Having at length restored some confidence by the gift of some small
presents, he visited some other houses, where he found the inhabitants
similarly affected. Confidence was not completely attained until the
boats arrived, and then the two chiefs who accompanied the party
explained the friendly intentions of the expedition. The sight of
Chaboneau's wife also dissipated any remaining doubts, as it is not the
practice among the Indians to allow women to accompany a war-party.

To account for their fears, they told the two chiefs that they had seen
the white men fall from the sky. Having heard the report of Capt.
Clarke's rifle, and seen the birds fall, and not having seen him till
after the shot, they fancied that he had himself dropped from the

This belief was strengthened, when, on entering the lodge, he brought
down fire from heaven by means of his burning-glass. We soon convinced
them that we were only mortals; and, after one of our chiefs had
explained our history and objects, we all smoked together in great

Our encampment that night was on the river-bank opposite an island, on
which were twenty-four houses of Indians, all of whom were engaged in
drying fish. We had scarcely landed when about a hundred of them came
over to visit us, bringing with them a present of some wood, which was
very acceptable. We received them in as kind a manner as we could,
smoked with them, and gave the principal chief a string of wampum; but
the highest satisfaction they enjoyed was in the music of our two
violins, with which they seemed much delighted. They remained all night
at our fires.


We walked to the head of the island for the purpose of examining a
vault, or burying-place, which we had remarked in coming along. The
place in which the dead are deposited is a building about sixty feet
long and twelve feet wide, formed by placing in the ground poles, or
forks, six feet high, across which a long pole is extended the whole
length of the structure. Against this ridge-pole are placed broad
boards, and pieces of wood, in a slanting direction, so as to form a
shed. The structure stands east and west, open at both ends. On entering
the western end, we observed a number of bodies wrapped carefully in
leather robes, and arranged in rows on boards, which were then covered
with a mat. This part of the building was destined for those who had
recently died. A little farther on, limbs, half decayed, were scattered
about; and in the centre of the building was a large pile of them heaped
promiscuously. At the eastern extremity was a mat, on which twenty-one
skulls were arranged in a circular form: the mode of interment being
first to wrap the body in robes; and, as it decays, the bones are thrown
into the heap, and the skulls placed together in order. From the
different boards and pieces of wood which form the vault were suspended
on the inside fishing-nets, baskets, wooden bowls, robes, skins,
trenchers, and trinkets of various kinds, intended as offerings of
affection to deceased relatives. On the outside of the vault were the
skeletons of several horses, and great quantities of bones in the
neighborhood, which induced us to believe that these animals were
sacrificed at the funeral-rites of their masters.

In other parts of the route, the travellers found a different species of
cemetery. The dead were placed in canoes, and these canoes were raised
above the ground by a scaffolding of poles. The motive was supposed to
be to protect them from wild beasts.


About a hundred and fifty miles below the junction of Lewis's River, we
reached the Great Falls. At the commencement of the pitch, which
includes the falls, we landed, and walked down to examine them, and
ascertain on which side we could make a portage most easily. From the
lower end of the island, where the rapids begin, to the perpendicular
fall, is about two miles. Here the river contracts, when the water is
low, to a very narrow space; and, with only a short distance of swift
water, it makes its plunge twenty feet perpendicularly; after which it
rushes on, among volcanic rocks, through a channel four miles in length,
and then spreads out into a gentle, broad current.

We will interrupt the narrative here to introduce from later travellers
some pictures of the remarkable region to which our explorers had now
arrived. It was not to be expected that Capts. Lewis and Clarke should
have taxed themselves, in their anxious and troubled march, to describe
natural wonders, however striking.

Lieut. Frémont thus describes this remarkable spot:--

     THE DALLES.--"In a few miles we descended to the river, which
     we reached at one of its highly interesting features, known as
     the Dalles of the Columbia. The whole volume of the river at
     this place passes between the walls of a chasm, which has the
     appearance of having been rent through the basaltic strata
     which form the valley-rock of the region. At the narrowest
     place, we found the breadth, by measurement, fifty-eight yards,
     and the average height of the walls above the water twenty-five
     feet, forming a trough between the rocks; whence the name,
     probably applied by a Canadian voyageur."

The same scene is described by Theodore Winthrop in his "Canoe and

     "The Dalles of the Columbia, upon which I was now looking,
     must be studied by the American Dante, whenever he comes, for
     imagery to construct his Purgatory, if not his Inferno. At
     Walla-walla, two great rivers, Clarke's and Lewis's, drainers
     of the continent north and south, unite to form the Columbia.
     It flows furiously for a hundred and twenty miles westward.
     When it reaches the dreary region where the outlying ridges of
     the Cascade chain commence, it finds a great, low surface,
     paved with enormous polished sheets of basaltic rock. These
     plates, in French, _dalles_, give the spot its name. The great
     river, a mile wide not far above, finds but a narrow rift in
     this pavement for its passage. The rift gradually draws its
     sides closer, and, at the spot now called the Dalles,
     subdivides into three mere slits in the sharp-edged rock. At
     the highest water, there are other minor channels; but
     generally this continental flood is cribbed and compressed
     within its three chasms suddenly opening in the level floor,
     each chasm hardly wider than a leap a hunted fiend might take."

It is not easy to picture to one's self, from these descriptions, the
peculiar scenery of the Dalles. Frémont understands the name as
signifying a _trough_; while Winthrop interprets it as _plates_, or
_slabs_, of rock. The following description by Lieut. (now Gen.) Henry
L. Abbot, in his "Report of Explorations for a Railroad Route," &c.,
will show that the term, in each of its meanings, is applicable to
different parts of the channel:--

     "At the Dalles of the Columbia, the river rushes through a
     chasm only about two hundred feet wide, with vertical,
     basaltic sides, rising from twenty to thirty feet above the
     water. Steep hills closely border the chasm, leaving in some
     places scarcely room on the terrace to pass on horseback. The
     water rushes through this basaltic trough with such violence,
     that it is always dangerous, and in some stages of the water
     impossible, for a boat to pass down. The contraction of the
     river-bed extends for about three miles. Near the lower end of
     it, the channel divides into several sluices, and then
     gradually becomes broader, until, where it makes a great bend
     to the south, it is over a quarter of a mile in width."

After this interruption, the journal is resumed:--

"We soon discovered that the nearest route was on the right side, and
therefore dropped down to the head of the rapid, unloaded the canoes,
and took all the baggage over by land to the foot of the rapid. The
distance is twelve hundred yards, part of it over loose sands,
disagreeable to pass. The labor of crossing was lightened by the
Indians, who carried some of the heavy articles for us on their horses.
Having ascertained the best mode of bringing down the canoes, the
operation was conducted by Capt. Clarke, by hauling the canoes over a
point of land four hundred and fifty-seven yards to the water. One mile
farther down, we reached a pitch of the river, which, being divided by
two large rocks, descends with great rapidity over a fall eight feet in
height. As the boats could not be navigated down this steep descent, we
were obliged to land, and let them down as gently as possible by strong
ropes of elk-skin, which we had prepared for the purpose. They all
passed in safety, except one, which, being loosed by the breaking of the
ropes, was driven down, but was recovered by the Indians below."

Our travellers had now reached what have since been called the Cascade
Mountains; and we must interrupt their narrative to give some notices of
this remarkable scenery from later explorers. We quote from Abbot's

     "There is great similarity in the general topographical
     features of the whole Pacific slope. The Sierra Nevada in
     California, and the Cascade range in Oregon, form a continuous
     wall of mountains nearly parallel to the coast, and from one
     hundred to two hundred miles distant from it. The main crest of
     this range is rarely elevated less than six thousand feet above
     the level of the sea, and many of its peaks tower into the
     region of eternal snow."

Lieut. Abbot thus describes a view of these peaks and of the Columbia

     "At an elevation of five thousand feet above the sea, we stood
     upon the summit of the pass. For days we had been struggling
     blindly through dense forests; but now the surrounding country
     lay spread out before us for more than a hundred miles. The
     five grand snow-peaks, Mount St. Helens, Mount Ranier, Mount
     Adams, Mount Hood, and Mount Jefferson, rose majestically above
     a rolling sea of dark fir-covered ridges, some of which the
     approaching winter had already begun to mark with white. On
     every side, as far as the eye could reach, terrific convulsions
     of Nature had recorded their fury; and not even a thread of
     blue smoke from the camp-fire of a wandering savage disturbed
     the solitude of the scene."

     THE COLUMBIA RIVER.--"The Columbia River forces its way through
     the Cascade range by a pass, which, for wild and sublime
     natural scenery, equals the celebrated passage of the Hudson
     through the Highlands. For a distance of about fifty miles,
     mountains covered with clinging spruces, firs, and pines, where
     not too precipitous to afford even these a foothold, rise
     abruptly from the water's edge to heights varying from one
     thousand to three thousand feet. Vertical precipices of
     columnar basalt are occasionally seen, rising from fifty to a
     hundred feet above the river level. In other places, the long
     mountain-walls of the river are divided by lateral cañons
     (pronounced _canyons_), containing small tributaries, and
     occasionally little open spots of good land, liable to be
     overflowed at high water."

CAÑONS.--The plains east of the Cascade Mountains, through the
whole extent of Oregon and California, are covered with a volcanic
deposit composed of trap, basalt, and other rocks of the same class.
This deposit is cleft by chasms often more than a thousand feet deep,
at the bottom of which there usually flows a stream of clear, cold
water. This is sometimes the only water to be procured for the distance
of many miles; and the traveller may be perishing with thirst while he
sees far below him a sparkling stream, from which he is separated by
precipices of enormous height and perpendicular descent. To chasms of
this nature the name of _cañons_ has been applied, borrowed from the
Spaniards of Mexico. We quote Lieut. Abbot's description of the cañon of
Des Chutes River, a tributary of the Columbia:--

     "Sept. 30.--As it was highly desirable to determine accurately
     the position and character of the cañon of Des Chutes River, I
     started this morning with one man to follow down the creek to
     its mouth, leaving the rest of the party in camp. Having
     yesterday experienced the inconveniences of travelling in the
     bottom of a cañon, I concluded to try to-day the northern
     bluff. It was a dry, barren plain, gravelly, and sometimes
     sandy, with a few bunches of grass scattered here and there.
     Tracks of antelopes or deer were numerous. After crossing one
     small ravine, and riding about five miles from camp, we found
     ourselves on the edge of the vast cañon of the river, which,
     far below us, was rushing through a narrow trough of basalt,
     resembling the Dalles of the Columbia. We estimated the depth
     of the cañon at a thousand feet. On each side, the precipices
     were very steep, and marked in many places by horizontal lines
     of vertical, basaltic columns, fifty or sixty feet in height.
     The man who was with me rolled a large rock, shaped like a
     grindstone, and weighing about two hundred pounds, from the
     summit. It thundered down for at least a quarter of a
     mile,--now over a vertical precipice, now over a steep mass of
     detritus, until at length it plunged into the river with a
     hollow roar, which echoed and re-echoed through the gorge for
     miles. By ascending a slight hill, I obtained a fine view of
     the surrounding country. The generally level character of the
     great basaltic table-land around us was very manifest from this
     point. Bounded on the west by the Cascade Mountains, the plain
     extends far towards the south,--a sterile, treeless waste."

     THE CASCADES.--"About forty miles below the Dalles, all
     navigation is suspended by a series of rapids called the
     Cascades. The wild grandeur of this place surpasses
     description. The river rushes furiously over a narrow bed
     filled with bowlders, and bordered by mountains which echo back
     the roar of the waters. The descent at the principal rapids is
     thirty-four feet; and the total fall at the Cascades, sixty-one
     feet. Salmon pass up the river in great numbers; and the
     Cascades, at certain seasons of the year, are a favorite
     fishing resort with the Indians, who build slight stagings over
     the water's edge, and spear the fish, or catch them in rude
     dip-nets, as they slowly force their way up against the

We now return to our travellers.


Near our camp are five large huts of Indians engaged in drying fish, and
preparing it for market. The manner of doing this is by first opening
the fish, and exposing it to the sun on scaffolds. When it is
sufficiently dried, it is pounded between two stones till it is
pulverized, and is then placed in a basket, about two feet long and one
in diameter, neatly made of grass and rushes, and lined with the skin of
the salmon, stretched and dried for the purpose. Here they are pressed
down as hard as possible, and the top covered with skins of fish, which
are secured by cords through the holes of the basket. These baskets are
then placed in some dry situation, the corded part upwards; seven being
usually placed as close as they can be together, and five on the top of
them. The whole is then wrapped up in mats, and made fast by cords.
Twelve of these baskets, each of which contains from ninety to a hundred
pounds, form a stack, which is now left exposed till it is sent to
market. The fish thus preserved are kept sound and sweet for several
years; and great quantities of it, they inform us, are sent to the
Indians who live lower down the river, whence it finds its way to the
whites who visit the mouth of the Columbia. We observe, both near the
lodges and on the rocks in the river, great numbers of stacks of these
pounded fish.

Beside the salmon, there are great quantities of salmon-trout, and
another smaller species of trout, which they save in another way. A hole
of any size being dug, the sides and bottom are lined with straw, over
which skins are laid. On these the fish, after being well dried, is
laid, covered with other skins, and the hole closed with a layer of
earth, twelve or fifteen inches deep. These supplies are for their
winter food.

The stock of fish, dried and pounded, was so abundant, that Capt. Clarke
counted one hundred and seven stacks of them, making more than ten
thousand pounds.


The canoes used by these people are built of white cedar or pine, very
light, wide in the middle, and tapering towards the ends; the bow being
raised, and ornamented with carvings of the heads of animals. As the
canoe is the vehicle of transportation, the Indians have acquired great
dexterity in the management of it, and guide it safely over the roughest

We had an opportunity to-day of seeing the boldness of the Indians. One
of our men shot a goose, which fell into the river, and was floating
rapidly towards the great shoot, when an Indian, observing it, plunged
in after it. The whole mass of the waters of the Columbia, just
preparing to descend its narrow channel, carried the bird down with
great rapidity. The Indian followed it fearlessly to within a hundred
and fifty feet of the rocks, where, had he arrived, he would inevitably
have been dashed to pieces; but, seizing his prey, he turned round, and
swam ashore with great composure. We very willingly relinquished our
right to the bird in favor of the Indian, who had thus secured it at the
hazard of his life. He immediately set to work, and picked off about
half the feathers, and then, without opening it, ran a stick through it,
and carried it off to roast.


While the canoes were coming on, impeded by the difficulties of the
navigation, Capt. Clarke, with two men, walked down the river-shore, and
came to a village belonging to a tribe called Echeloots. The village
consisted of twenty-one houses, scattered promiscuously over an elevated
position. The houses were nearly equal in size, and of similar
construction. A large hole, twenty feet wide and thirty in length, is
dug to the depth of six feet. The sides are lined with split pieces of
timber in an erect position, rising a short distance above the surface
of the ground. These timbers are secured in their position by a pole,
stretched along the side of the building, near the eaves, supported by a
post at each corner. The timbers at the gable-ends rise higher, the
middle pieces being the tallest. Supported by these, there is a
ridge-pole running the whole length of the house, forming the top of the
roof. From this ridge-pole to the eaves of the house are placed a number
of small poles, or rafters, secured at each end by fibres of the cedar.
On these poles is laid a covering of white cedar or arbor-vitæ, kept on
by strands of cedar-fibres. A small distance along the whole length of
the ridge-pole is left uncovered for the admission of light, and to
permit the smoke to escape. The entrance is by a small door at the
gable-end, thirty inches high, and fourteen broad. Before this hole is
hung a mat; and on pushing it aside, and crawling through, the descent
is by a wooden ladder, made in the form of those used among us.

One-half of the inside is used as a place of deposit for their dried
fish, and baskets of berries: the other half, nearest the door, remains
for the accommodation of the family. On each side are arranged, near the
walls, beds of mats, placed on platforms or bedsteads, raised about two
feet from the ground. In the middle of the vacant space is the fire, or
sometimes two or three fires, when, as is usually the case, the house
contains several families.

The inhabitants received us with great kindness, and invited us to their
houses. On entering one of them, we saw figures of men, birds, and
different animals, cut and painted on the boards which form the sides of
the room, the figures uncouth, and the workmanship rough; but doubtless
they were as much esteemed by the Indians as our finest domestic
adornments are by us. The chief had several articles, such as scarlet
and blue cloth, a sword, a jacket, and hat, which must have been
procured from the whites. On one side of the room were two wide split
boards, placed together so as to make space for a rude figure of a man,
cut and painted on them. On pointing to this, and asking what it meant,
he said something, of which all we understood was "good," and then
stepped to the image, and brought out his bow and quiver, which, with
some other warlike implements, were kept behind it. The chief then
directed his wife to hand him his _Medicine-bag_, from which he brought
out fourteen fore-fingers, which he told us had once belonged to the
same number of his enemies. They were shown with great exultation; and
after an harangue, which we were left to presume was in praise of his
exploits, the fingers were carefully replaced among the valuable
contents of the red Medicine-bag. This bag is an object of religious
regard, and it is a species of sacrilege for any one but its owner to
touch it.

In all the houses are images of men, of different shapes, and placed as
ornaments in the parts of the house where they are most likely to be


Oct. 30.--The river is now about three-quarters of a mile wide, with a
current so gentle, that it does not exceed a mile and a half an hour;
but its course is obstructed by large rocks, which seem to have fallen
from the mountains. What is, however, most singular, is, that there are
stumps of pine-trees scattered to some distance in the river, which has
the appearance of having been dammed below, and forced to encroach on
the shore.

     NOTE. Rev. S. Parker says, "We noticed a remarkable
     phenomenon,--trees standing in their natural position in the
     river, where the water is twenty feet deep. In many places,
     they were so numerous, that we had to pick our way with our
     canoe as through a forest. The water is so clear, that I had an
     opportunity of examining their position down to their spreading
     roots, and found them in the same condition as when standing in
     their native forest. It is evident that there has been an
     uncommon subsidence of a tract of land, more than twenty miles
     in length, and more than a mile in width. That the trees are
     not wholly decayed down to low-water mark, proves that the
     subsidence is comparatively of recent date; and their
     undisturbed natural position proves that it took place in a
     tranquil manner, not by any tremendous convulsion of Nature."


Nov. 2, 1805.--Longitude about 122°. At this point the first tidewater
commences, and the river widens to nearly a mile in extent. The low
grounds, too, become wider; and they, as well as the mountains on each
side, are covered with pine, spruce, cotton-wood, a species of ash, and
some alder. After being so long accustomed to the dreary nakedness of
the country above, the change is as grateful to the eye as it is useful
in supplying us with fuel.

The ponds in the low grounds on each side of the river are resorted to
by vast quantities of fowls, such as swans, geese, brants, 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 supper, which we shared with the
Indians, great numbers of whom spent the night with us. During the
night, the tide rose eighteen inches near our camp.


Nov. 4.--Next day, we landed on the left bank of the river, at a village
of twenty-five houses. All of these were thatched with straw, and built
of bark, except one, which was about fifty feet long, built 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 contains about two hundred men of the Skilloot
nation, who seem well provided with canoes, of which there were
fifty-two (some of them very large) drawn up in front of the village.

On landing, we found an Indian from up the river, who had been with us
some days ago, and now invited us into a house, of which he appeared to
own a part. Here he treated us with a root, round in shape, about the
size of a small Irish potato, which they call _wappatoo_. It is the
common arrowhead, or sagittifolia, so much esteemed 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.

Here the ridge of low mountains running north-west and south-east
crosses the river, and forms the western boundary of the plain through
which we have just passed.[3] This great plain, or valley, is about
sixty miles wide 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, watered by small ponds, and lying
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. Through
its whole extent, it is inhabited by numerous tribes of Indians, who
either reside in it permanently, or visit its waters in quest of fish
and wappatoo-roots. We gave it the name of the Columbia Valley.


Among some interesting islands of basalt, there is one called Coffin
Rock, situated in the middle of the river, rising ten or fifteen feet
above high-freshet water. It is almost entirely covered with canoes, in
which the dead are deposited, which gives it its name. In the section of
country from Wappatoo Island to the Pacific Ocean, the Indians, instead
of committing their dead to the earth, deposit them in canoes; and these
are placed in such situations as are most secure from beasts of prey,
upon such precipices as this island, upon branches of trees, or upon
scaffolds made for the purpose. The bodies of the dead are covered with
mats, and split planks are placed over them. The head of the canoe is a
little raised, and at the foot there is a hole made for water to escape.


Next day we passed the mouth of a large river, a hundred and fifty yards
wide, called by the Indians Cowalitz. A beautiful, extensive plain now
presented itself; but, at the distance of a few miles, the hills again
closed in upon the river, so that we could not for several miles find a
place sufficiently level to fix our camp upon for the night.

Thursday, Nov. 7.--The morning was rainy, and the fog so thick, that we
could not see across the river. We proceeded down the river, with an
Indian for our pilot, till, after making about twenty miles, the fog
cleared off, and we enjoyed the delightful prospect of the
OCEAN, the object of all our labors, the reward of all our
endurance. This cheering view exhilarated the spirits of all the party,
who listened with delight to the distant roar of the breakers.

For ten days after our arrival at the coast, we were harassed by almost
incessant rain. On the 12th, a violent gale of wind arose, accompanied
with thunder, lightning, and hail. The waves were driven with fury
against the rocks and trees, which had till then afforded us a partial
defence. Cold and wet; our clothes and bedding rotten as well as wet;
the canoes, our only means of escape from the place, at the mercy of the
waves,--we were, however, fortunate enough to enjoy good health.

Saturday, Nov. 16.--The morning was clear and beautiful. We put out our
baggage to dry, and sent several of the party to hunt. The camp was in
full view of the ocean. The wind was strong from the south-west, and
the waves very high; yet the Indians were passing up and down the bay in
canoes, and several of them encamped near us. The hunters brought in two
deer, a crane, some geese and ducks, and several brant. The tide rises
at this place eight feet six inches, and rolls over the beach in great


Capt. Clarke started on Monday, 18th November, on an excursion by land
down the bay, accompanied by eleven men. The country is low, open, and
marshy, partially covered with high pine and a thick undergrowth. At the
distance of about fifteen miles they reached the cape, which forms the
northern boundary of the river's mouth, called Cape Disappointment, so
named by Capt. Meares, after a fruitless search for the river. It is an
elevated circular knob, rising with a steep ascent a hundred and fifty
feet or more above the water, covered with thick timber on the inner
side, but open and grassy in the exposure next the sea. The opposite
point of the bay is a very low ground, about ten miles distant, called,
by Capt. Gray, Point Adams.

The water for a great distance off the mouth of the river appears very
shallow; and within the mouth, nearest to Point Adams, there is a large
sand-bar, almost covered at high tide. We could not ascertain the
direction of the deepest channel; for the waves break with tremendous
force across the bay.

Mr. Parker speaks more fully of this peculiarity of the river:--

     "A difficulty of such a nature as is not easily overcome exists
     in regard to the navigation of this river; which is, the
     sand-bar at its entrance. It is about five miles, across the
     bar, from Cape Disappointment out to sea. In no part of that
     distance is the water upon the bar over eight fathoms deep, and
     in one place only five, and the channel only about half a mile
     in width. So wide and open is the ocean, that there is always a
     heavy swell: and, when the wind is above a gentle breeze, there
     are breakers quite across the bar; so that there is no passing
     it, except when the wind and tide are both favorable. Outside
     the bar, there is no anchorage; and there have been instances,
     in the winter season, of ships lying off and on thirty days,
     waiting for an opportunity to pass: and a good pilot is always
     needed. High, and in most parts perpendicular, basaltic rocks
     line the shores."

The following is Theodore Winthrop's description of the Columbia, taken
from his "Canoe and Saddle:"--

     "A wall of terrible breakers marks the mouth of the
     Columbia,--Achilles of rivers.

     "Other mighty streams may swim feebly away seaward, may sink
     into foul marshes, may trickle through the ditches of an oozy
     delta, may scatter among sand-bars the currents that once moved
     majestic and united; but to this heroic flood was destined a
     short life and a glorious one,--a life all one strong,
     victorious struggle, from the mountains to the sea. It has no
     infancy: two great branches collect its waters up and down the
     continent. They join, and the Columbia is born--to full
     manhood. It rushes forward jubilant through its magnificent
     chasm, and leaps to its death in the Pacific."


[3] Since called the Coast range.



November, 1805.--Having now examined the coast, it becomes necessary to
decide on the spot for our winter-quarters. We must rely chiefly for
subsistence upon our arms, and be guided in the choice of our residence
by the supply of game which any particular spot may offer. The Indians
say that the country on the opposite side of the river is better
supplied with elk,--an animal much larger, and more easily killed, than
the deer, with flesh more nutritive, and a skin better fitted for
clothing. The neighborhood of the sea is, moreover, recommended by the
facility of supplying ourselves with salt, and the hope of meeting some
of the trading-vessels, which are expected about three months hence,
from which we may procure a fresh supply of trinkets for our journey
homewards. These considerations induced us to determine on visiting the
opposite side of the bay; and, if there was an appearance of plenty of
game, to establish ourselves there for the winter.

Monday, 25th November, we set out; but, as the wind was too high to
suffer us to cross the river, we kept near the shore, watching for a
favorable change. On leaving our camp, seven Clatsops in a canoe
accompanied us, but, after going a few miles, left us, and steered
straight across through immense, high waves, leaving us in admiration at
the dexterity with which they threw aside each wave as it threatened to
come over their canoe.

Next day, with a more favorable wind, we began to cross the river. We
passed between some low, marshy islands, and reached the south side of
the Columbia, and landed at a village of nine large houses. Soon after
we landed, three Indians came down from the village with wappatoo-roots,
which we purchased with fish-hooks.

We proceeded along the shore till we came to a remarkable knob of land
projecting about a mile and a half into the bay, about four miles round,
while the neck of land which unites it to the main is not more than
fifty yards across. We went round this projection, which we named Point
William; but the waves then became so high, that we could not venture
any farther, and therefore landed on a beautiful shore of pebbles of
various colors, and encamped near an old Indian hut on the isthmus.


Nov. 27.--It rained hard all next day, and the next, attended with a
high wind from the south-west. It was impossible to proceed on so rough
a sea. We therefore sent several men to hunt, and the rest of us
remained during the day in a situation the most cheerless and
uncomfortable. On this little neck of land, we are exposed, with a
miserable covering which does not deserve the name of a shelter, to the
violence of the winds. All our bedding and stores are completely wet,
our clothes rotting with constant exposure, and no food except the dried
fish brought from the falls, to which we are again reduced. The hunters
all returned hungry, and drenched with rain; having seen neither deer
nor elk, and the swans and brants too shy to be approached. At noon, the
wind shifted to the north-west, and blew with such fury, that many trees
were blown down near us. The gale lasted with short intervals during the
whole night; but towards morning the wind lulled, though the rain
continued, and the waves were still high.

30th.--The hunters met with no better success this day and the next, and
the weather continued rainy. But on Monday, 2d December, one of the
hunters killed an elk at the distance of six miles from the camp, and a
canoe was sent to bring it. This was the first elk we had killed on the
west side of the Rocky Mountains; and, condemned as we have been to the
dried fish, it forms a most acceptable food.

The rain continued, with brief interruptions, during the whole month of
December. There were occasional falls of snow, but no frost or ice.


Capt. Lewis returned from an excursion down the bay, having left two of
his men to guard six elks and five deer which the party had shot. He had
examined the coast, and found a river a short distance below, on which
we might encamp for the winter, with a sufficiency of elk for our
subsistence within reach. This information was very satisfactory, and we
decided on going thither as soon as we could move from the point; but it
rained all night and the following day.

Saturday, 7th December, 1805, was fair. We therefore loaded our canoes,
and proceeded: but the tide was against us, and the waves very high; so
that we were obliged to proceed slowly and cautiously. We at length
turned a point, and found ourselves in a deep bay. Here we landed for
breakfast, and were joined by a party sent out three days ago to look
for the six elk. After breakfast, we coasted round the bay, which is
about four miles across, and receives two rivers. We called it
Meriwether's Bay, from the Christian name of Capt. Lewis, who was, no
doubt, the first white man who surveyed it. On reaching the south side
of the bay, we ascended one of the rivers for three miles to the first
point of highland, on its western bank, and formed our camp in a thick
grove of lofty pines about two hundred yards from the water, and thirty
feet above the level of the high tides.


Capt. Clarke started on an expedition to the seashore, to fix upon a
place for the salt-works. He took six men with him; but three of them
left in pursuit of a herd of elk. He met three Indians loaded with fresh
salmon, which they had taken, and were returning to their village,
whither they invited him to accompany them. He agreed; and they brought
out a canoe hid along the bank of a creek. Capt. Clarke and his party
got on board, and in a short time were landed at the village, consisting
of twelve houses, inhabited by twelve families of Clatsops. These houses
were on the south exposure of a hill, and sunk about four feet deep into
the ground; the walls, roof, and gable-ends being formed of split-pine
boards; the descent through a small door down a ladder. There were two
fires in the middle of the room, and the beds disposed round the walls,
two or three feet from the floor, so as to leave room under them for
their bags, baskets, and household articles. The floor was covered with

Capt. Clarke was received with much attention. As soon as he entered,
clean mats were spread, and fish, berries, and roots set before him on
small, neat platters of rushes. After he had eaten, the men of the other
houses came and smoked with him. They appeared much neater in their
persons than Indians generally are.

Towards evening, it began to rain and blow violently; and Capt. Clarke
therefore determined to remain during the night. When they thought his
appetite had returned, an old woman presented him, in a bowl made of
light-colored horn, a kind of sirup, pleasant to the taste, made from a
species of berry common in this country, about the size of a cherry,
called by the Indians _shelwel_. Of these berries a bread is also
prepared, which, being boiled with roots, forms a soup, which was served
in neat wooden trenchers. This, with some cockles, was his repast.

The men of the village now collected, and began to gamble. The most
common game was one in which one of the company was banker, and played
against all the rest. He had a piece of bone about the size of a large
bean; and, having agreed with any one as to the value of the stake, he
would pass the bone with great dexterity from one hand to the other,
singing at the same time to divert the attention of his adversary. Then,
holding up his closed hands, his antagonist was challenged to say in
which of them the bone was, and lost or won as he pointed to the right
or wrong hand.

To this game of hazard they abandon themselves with great ardor.
Sometimes every thing they possess is sacrificed to it; and this evening
several of the Indians lost all the beads which they had with them.

This lasted for three hours; when, Capt. Clarke appearing disposed to
sleep, the man who had been most attentive, and whose name was Cuskalah,
spread two new mats by the fire; and, ordering his wife to retire to her
own bed, the rest of the company dispersed at the same time. Capt.
Clarke then lay down, and slept as well as the fleas would permit him.

Next morning was cloudy, with some rain. He walked on the seashore, and
observed the Indians walking up and down, and examining the shore. He
was at a loss to understand their object till one of them explained that
they were in search of fish, which are thrown on shore by the tide;
adding, in English, "Sturgeon is good." There is every reason to suppose
that these Clatsops depend for their subsistence during the winter
chiefly on the fish thus casually thrown on the coast.

After amusing himself for some time on the beach, Capt. Clarke returned
toward the village. One of the Indians asked him to shoot a duck which
he pointed out. He did so; and, having accidentally shot off its head,
the bird was brought to the village, and all the Indians came round in
astonishment. They examined the duck, the musket, and the very small
bullet (a hundred to the pound); and then exclaimed in their language,
"Good musket: don't understand this kind of musket."

They now placed before him their best roots, fish, and sirup; after
which he bought some berry-bread and a few roots in exchange for
fish-hooks, and then set out to return by the same route by which he
came. He was accompanied by Cuskalah and his brother part of the way,
and proceeded to the camp through a heavy rain. The party had been
occupied during his absence in cutting down trees and in hunting.

Next day, two of our hunters returned with the pleasing intelligence of
their having killed eighteen elk about six miles off. Our huts begin to
rise; for, though it rains all day, we continue our labors, and are glad
to find that the beautiful balsam-pine splits into excellent boards more
than two feet in width.

Dec. 15.--Capt. Clarke, with sixteen men, set out in three canoes to get
the elk which were killed. After landing as near the spot as possible,
the men were despatched in small parties to bring in the game; each man
returning with a quarter of an animal. It was accomplished with much
labor and suffering; for the rain fell incessantly.


We now had the meat-house covered, and all our game carefully hung up in
small pieces. Two days after, we covered in four huts. Five men were
sent out to hunt, and five others despatched to the seaside, each with a
large kettle, in order to begin the manufacture of salt. The rest of the
men were employed in making pickets and gates for our fort.

Dec. 31.--As if it were impossible to have twenty-four hours of pleasant
weather, the sky last evening clouded up, and the rain began, and
continued through the day. In the morning, there came down two
canoes,--one from the Wahkiacum village; the other contained three men
and a squaw of the Skilloot nation. They brought wappatoo and shanatac
roots, dried fish, mats made of flags and rushes, dressed elk-skins, and
tobacco, for which, particularly the skins, they asked an extravagant
price. We purchased some wappatoo and a little tobacco, very much like
that we had seen among the Shoshonees, put up in small, neat bags made
of rushes. These we obtained in exchange for a few articles, among which
fish-hooks are the most esteemed. One of the Skilloots brought a gun
which wanted some repair; and, when we had put it in order, we received
from him a present of about a peck of wappatoo. We then gave him a piece
of sheepskin and blue cloth to cover the lock, and he very thankfully
offered a further present of roots. There is an obvious superiority of
these Skilloots over the Wahkiacums, who are intrusive, thievish, and
impertinent. Our new regulations, however, and the appearance of the
sentinel, have improved the behavior of all our Indian visitors. They
left the fort before sunset, even without being ordered.



We were awaked at an early hour by the discharge of a volley of
small-arms to salute the new year. This is the only way of doing honor
to the day which our situation admits; for our only dainties are boiled
elk and wappatoo, enlivened by draughts of water.

Next day, we were visited by the chief, Comowool, and six Clatsops.
Besides roots and berries, they brought for sale three dogs. Having been
so long accustomed to live on the flesh of dogs, the most of us have
acquired a fondness for it; and any objection to it is overcome by
reflecting, that, while we subsisted on that food, we were fatter,
stronger, and in better health, than at any period since leaving the
buffalo country, east of the mountains.

The Indians also brought with them some whale's blubber, which they
obtained, they told us, from their neighbors who live on the sea-coast,
near one of whose villages a whale has recently been thrown and
stranded. It was white, and not unlike the fat of pork, though of a more
porous and spongy texture; and, on being cooked, was found to be tender
and palatable, in flavor resembling the flesh of the beaver.

Two of the five men who were despatched to make salt returned. They had
formed an establishment about fifteen miles south-west of our fort, near
some scattered houses of the Clatsops, where they erected a comfortable
camp, and had killed a stock of provisions. They brought with them a
gallon of the salt of their manufacture, which was white, fine, and very
good. It proves to be a most agreeable addition to our food; and, as
they can make three or four quarts a day, we have a prospect of a
plentiful supply.


The appearance of the whale seemed to be a matter of importance to all
the neighboring Indians; and in hopes that we might be able to procure
some of it for ourselves, or at least purchase some from the Indians, a
small parcel of merchandise was prepared, and a party of men got in
readiness to set out in the morning. As soon as this resolution was
known, Chaboneau and his wife requested that they might be permitted to
accompany us. The poor woman urged very earnestly that she had travelled
a great way with us to see the great water, yet she had never been down
to the coast; and, now that this monstrous fish also was to be seen, it
seemed hard that she should not be permitted to see either the ocean or
the whale. So reasonable a request could not be denied: they were
therefore suffered to accompany Capt. Clarke, who next day, after an
early breakfast, set out with twelve men in two canoes.

He proceeded down the river on which we are encamped into Meriwether
Bay; from whence he passed up a creek three miles to some high, open
land, where he found a road. He there left the canoes, and followed the
path over deep marshes to a pond about a mile long. Here they saw a herd
of elk; and the men were divided into small parties, and hunted them
till after dark. Three of the elk were wounded; but night prevented our
taking more than one, which was brought to the camp, and cooked with
some sticks of pine which had drifted down the creeks. The weather was
beautiful, the sky clear, and the moon shone brightly,--a circumstance
the more agreeable, as this is the first fair evening we have enjoyed
for two months.

Thursday, Jan. 2.--There was a frost this morning. We rose early, and
taking eight pounds of flesh, which was all that remained of the elk,
proceeded up the south fork of the creek. At the distance of two miles
we found a pine-tree, which had been felled by one of our salt-makers,
on which we crossed the deepest part of the creek, and waded through the
rest. We then went over an open, ridgy prairie, three-quarters of a mile
to the sea-beach; after following which for three miles, we came to the
mouth of a beautiful river, with a bold, rapid current, eighty-five
yards wide, and three feet deep in its shallowest crossings. On its
north-east side are the remains of an old village of Clatsops, inhabited
by only a single family, who appeared miserably poor and dirty. We gave
the man two fish-hooks to ferry the party over the river, which, from
the tribe on its banks, we called Clatsop River. The creek which we had
passed on a tree approaches this river within about a hundred yards,
and, by means of a portage, supplies a communication with the villages
near Point Adams.

After going on for two miles, we found the salt-makers encamped near
four houses of Clatsops and Killimucks, who, though poor and dirty,
seemed kind and well-disposed. We persuaded a young Indian, by the
present of a file and a promise of some other articles, to guide us to
the spot where the whale lay. He led us for two and a half miles over
the round, slippery stones at the foot of a high hill projecting into
the sea, and then, suddenly stopping, and uttering the word "peshack,"
or bad, explained by signs that we could no longer follow the coast, but
must cross the mountain. This threatened to be a most laborious
undertaking; for the side was nearly perpendicular, and the top lost in
clouds. He, however, followed an Indian path, which wound along, and
favored the ascent as much as possible; but it was so steep, that, at
one place, we were forced to draw ourselves up for about a hundred feet
by means of bushes and roots.


At length, after two hours' labor, we reached the top of the mountain,
where we looked down with astonishment on the height of ten or twelve
hundred feet which we had ascended. We were here met by fourteen Indians
loaded with oil and blubber, the spoils of the whale, which they were
carrying in very heavy burdens over this rough mountain. On leaving
them, we proceeded over a bad road till night, when we encamped on a
small run. We were all much fatigued: but the weather was pleasant;
and, for the first time since our arrival here, an entire day has passed
without rain.

In the morning we set out early, and proceeded to the top of the
mountain, the highest point of which is an open spot facing the ocean.
It is situated about thirty miles south-east of Cape Disappointment, and
projects nearly two and a half miles into the sea. Here one of the most
delightful views imaginable presents itself. Immediately in front is the
ocean, which breaks with fury on the coast, from the rocks of Cape
Disappointment as far as the eye can discern to the north-west, and
against the highlands and irregular piles of rock which diversify the
shore to the south-east. To this boisterous scene, the Columbia, with
its tributary waters, widening into bays as it approaches the ocean, and
studded on both sides with the Chinook and Clatsop villages, forms a
charming contrast; while immediately beneath our feet are stretched rich
prairies, enlivened by three beautiful streams, which conduct the eye to
small lakes at the foot of the hills. We stopped to enjoy the romantic
view from this place, which we distinguished by the name of Clarke's
Point of View, and then followed our guide down the mountain.


The descent was steep and dangerous. In many places, the hillsides,
which are formed principally of yellow clay, have been loosened by the
late rains, and are slipping into the sea in large masses of fifty and a
hundred acres. In other parts, the path crosses the rugged,
perpendicular, basaltic rocks which overhang the sea, into which a false
step would have precipitated us.

The mountains are covered with a very thick growth of timber, chiefly
pine and fir; some trees of which, perfectly sound and solid, rise to
the height of two hundred and ten feet, and are from eight to twelve in
diameter. Intermixed is the white cedar, or arbor-vitæ, and some trees
of black alder, two or three feet thick, and sixty or seventy in height.
At length we reached the sea-level, and continued for two miles along
the sand-beach, and soon after reached the place where the waves had
thrown the whale on shore. The animal had been placed between two
villages of Killimucks; and such had been their industry, that there now
remained nothing but the skeleton, which we found to be a hundred and
five feet in length. Capt. Clarke named the place Ecola, or Whale

The natives were busied in boiling the blubber in a large square trough
of wood by means of heated stones, preserving the oil thus extracted in
bladders and the entrails of the whale. The refuse pieces of the
blubber, which still contained a portion of oil, were hung up in large
flitches, and, when wanted for use, were warmed on a wooden spit before
the fire, and eaten, either alone, or with roots of the rush and
shanatac. The Indians, though they had great quantities, parted with it
very reluctantly, at such high prices, that our whole stock of
merchandise was exhausted in the purchase of about three hundred pounds
of blubber and a few gallons of oil.

Next morning was fine, the wind from the north-east; and, having divided
our stock of the blubber, we began at sunrise to retrace our steps in
order to reach our encampment, which we called Fort Clatsop, thirty-five
miles distant, with as little delay as possible. We met several parties
of Indians on their way to trade for blubber and oil with the
Killimucks: we also overtook a party returning from the village, and
could not but regard with astonishment the heavy loads which the women
carry over these fatiguing and dangerous paths. As one of the women was
descending a steep part of the mountain, her load slipped from her back;
and she stood holding it by a strap with one hand, and with the other
supporting herself by a bush. Capt. Clarke, being near her, undertook to
replace the load, and found it almost as much as he could lift, and
above one hundred pounds in weight. Loaded as they were, they kept pace
with us till we reached the salt-makers' camp, where we passed the
night, while they continued their route.

Next day, we proceeded across Clatsop River to the place where we had
left our canoes, and, as the tide was coming in, immediately embarked
for the fort, at which place we arrived about ten o'clock at night.


Jan. 12, 1806.--Two hunters had been despatched in the morning; and one
of them, Drewyer, had, before evening, killed seven elks. We should
scarcely be able to subsist, were it not for the exertions of this
excellent hunter. The game is scarce; and none is now to be seen except
elk, which, to almost all the men, are very difficult to be procured.
But Drewyer, who is the offspring of a Canadian Frenchman and an Indian
woman, has passed his life in the woods, and unites in a wonderful
degree the dexterous aim of the frontier huntsman with the sagacity of
the Indian in pursuing the faintest tracks through the forest. All our
men have indeed become so expert with the rifle, that, when there is
game of any kind, we are almost certain of procuring it.

Monday, Jan. 13.--Capt. Lewis took all the men who could be spared, and
brought in the seven elk, which they found untouched by the wolves. The
last of the candles which we brought with us being exhausted, we now
began to make others of elk-tallow. We also employed ourselves in
jerking the meat of the elk. We have three of the canoes drawn up out of
the reach of the water, and the other secured by a strong cord, so as to
be ready for use if wanted.

Jan. 16.--To-day we finished curing our meat; and having now a plentiful
supply of elk and salt, and our houses dry and comfortable, we wait
patiently for the moment of resuming our journey.



Jan. 18, 1806.--We are all occupied in dressing skins, and preparing
clothes for our journey homewards. This morning, we sent out two parties
of hunters in different directions. We were visited by three Clatsops,
who came merely for the purpose of smoking and conversing with us.

Jan. 21.--Two of the hunters came back with three elks, which form a
timely addition to our stock of provision. The Indian visitors left us
at twelve o'clock.

The Clatsops and other nations have visited us with great freedom.
Having acquired much of their language, we are enabled, with the
assistance of gestures, to hold conversations with great ease. We find
them inquisitive and loquacious; by no means deficient in acuteness.
They are generally cheerful, but seldom gay. Every thing they see
excites their attention and inquiries.

Their treatment of women and old men depends very much on the usefulness
of these classes. Thus, among the Clatsops and Chinooks, who live upon
fish and roots, which the women are equally expert with the men in
procuring, the women have a rank and influence far greater than they
have among the hunting tribes. On many subjects their judgments and
opinions are respected; and, in matters of trade, their advice is
generally asked and followed. So with the old men: when one is unable to
pursue the chase, his counsels may compensate for his want of activity;
but in the next state of infirmity, when he can no longer travel from
camp to camp as the tribe roams about for subsistence, he is found to be
a burden. In this condition they are abandoned among the Sioux and other
hunting-tribes of the Missouri. As the tribe are setting out for some
new excursion where the old man is unable to follow, his children or
nearest relations place before him a piece of meat and some water; and
telling him that he has lived long enough, that it is now time for him
to go home to his relations, who can take better care of him than his
friends on earth, they leave him without remorse to perish, when his
little supply is exhausted.

Though this is doubtless true as a general rule, yet, in the villages of
the Minnetarees and Ricaras, we saw no want of kindness to old men: on
the contrary, probably because in villages the more abundant means of
subsistence renders such cruelty unnecessary, the old people appeared to
be treated with attention; and some of their feasts, particularly the
buffalo-dances, were intended chiefly as an occasion of contribution for
the old and infirm.


The custom of flattening the head by artificial pressure during infancy
prevails among all the nations we have seen west of the Rocky Mountains.
To the east of that barrier the fashion is so perfectly unused, that
they designate the western Indians, of whatever tribe, by the common
name of Flatheads. The practice is universal among the Killimucks,
Clatsops, Chinooks, and Cathlamahs,--the four nations with whom we have
had most intercourse. Soon after the birth of her child, the mother
places it in the compressing-frame, where it is kept for ten or twelve
months. The operation is so gradual, that it is not attended with pain.
The heads of the children, when they are released from the bandage, are
not more than two inches thick about the upper edge of the forehead:
nor, with all its efforts, can nature ever restore their shape; the
heads of grown persons being often in a straight line from the tip of
the nose to the top of the forehead.


Their houses usually contain several families, consisting of parents,
sons and daughters, daughters-in-law and grand-children, among whom the
provisions are in common, and harmony seldom interrupted. As these
families gradually expand into tribes, or nations, the paternal
authority is represented by the chief of each association. The
chieftainship is not hereditary: the chief's ability to render service
to his neighbors, and the popularity which follows it, is the foundation
of his authority, which does not extend beyond the measure of his
personal influence.

The harmony of their private life is protected by their ignorance of
spirituous liquors. Although the tribes near the coast have had so much
intercourse with the whites, they do not appear to possess any
knowledge of those dangerous luxuries; at least, they have never
inquired of us for them. Indeed, we have not observed any liquor of an
intoxicating quality used among any Indians west of the Rocky Mountains;
the universal beverage being pure water. They, however, almost
intoxicate themselves by smoking tobacco, of which they are excessively
fond. But the common vice of all these people is an attachment to games
of chance, which they pursue with a ruinous avidity. The game of the
pebble has already been described. Another game is something like the
play of ninepins. Two pins are placed on the floor, about the distance
of a foot from each other, and a small hole made in the earth behind
them. The players then go about ten feet from the hole, into which they
try to roll a small piece resembling the men used at checkers. If they
succeed in putting it into the hole, they win the stake. If the piece
rolls between the pins, but does not go into the hole, nothing is won or
lost; but the wager is lost if the checker rolls outside the pins.
Entire days are wasted at these games, which are often continued through
the night round the blaze of their fires, till the last article of
clothing or the last blue bead is lost and won.


The whole neighborhood of the coast is supplied with great quantities of
excellent timber. The predominant growth is the fir, of which we have
seen several species. The first species grows to an immense size, and is
very commonly twenty-seven feet in circumference, six feet above the
earth's surface. They rise to the height of two hundred and thirty feet,
and one hundred and twenty of that height without a limb. We have often
found them thirty-six feet in circumference. One of our party measured
one, and found it to be forty-two feet in circumference at a point
beyond the reach of an ordinary man. This tree was perfectly sound; and,
at a moderate calculation, its height may be estimated at three hundred

The second is a much more common species, and constitutes at least
one-half of the timber in this neighborhood. It resembles the spruce,
rising from one hundred and sixty to one hundred and eighty feet; and is
from four to six feet in diameter, straight, round, and regularly

The stem of the black alder arrives at a great size. It is sometimes
found growing to the height of sixty or seventy feet, and is from two to
four in diameter.

There is a tree, common on the Columbia River, much resembling the ash,
and another resembling the white maple, though much smaller.

The undergrowth consists of honeysuckle, alder, whortleberry, a plant
like the mountain-holly, green brier, and fern.


The beaver of this country is large and fat: the flesh is very
palatable, and, at our table, was a real luxury. On the 7th of January,
our hunter found a beaver in his trap, of which he made a bait for
taking others. This bait will entice the beaver to the trap as far as he
can smell it; and this may be fairly stated to be at the distance of a
mile, as their sense of smelling is very acute.

The sea-otter resides only on the sea-coast or in the neighborhood of
the salt water. When fully grown, he attains to the size of a large
mastiff dog. The ears, which are not an inch in length, are thick,
pointed, fleshy, and covered with short hair; the tail is ten inches
long, thick at the point of insertion, and partially covered with a deep
fur on the upper side; the legs are very short, covered with fur, and
the feet with short hair. The body of this animal is long, and of the
same thickness throughout. From the extremity of the tail to the nose,
they measure five feet. The color is a uniform dark brown, and when in
good condition, and in season, perfectly black. This animal is
unrivalled for the beauty, richness, and softness of his fur. The inner
part of the fur, when opened, is lighter than the surface in its natural
position. There are some black and shining hairs intermixed with the
fur, which are rather longer, and add much to its beauty.


The horse is confined chiefly to the nations inhabiting the great plains
of the Columbia, extending from latitude forty to fifty north, and
occupying the tract of country lying between the Rocky Mountains and a
range of mountains which crosses the Columbia River about the great
falls. In this region they are very numerous.

They appear to be of an excellent race, lofty, well formed, active, and
enduring. Many of them appear like fine English coursers. Some of them
are pied, with large spots of white irregularly scattered, and
intermixed with a dark-brown bay. The greater part, however, are of a
uniform color, marked with stars, and white feet. The natives suffer
them to run at large in the plains, the grass of which affords them
their only winter subsistence; their masters taking no trouble to lay in
a winter's store for them. They will, nevertheless, unless much
exercised, fatten on the dry grass afforded by the plains during the
winter. The plains are rarely moistened by rain, and the grass is
consequently short and thin.

Whether the horse was originally a native of this country or not, the
soil and climate appear to be perfectly well adapted to his nature.
Horses are said to be found wild in many parts of this country.

The dog is small, about the size of an ordinary cur. He is usually
party-colored; black, white, brown, and brindle being the colors most
predominant. The head is long, the nose pointed, the eyes small, the
ears erect and pointed like those of the wolf. The hair is short and
smooth, excepting on the tail, where it is long and straight, like that
of the ordinary cur-dog. The natives never eat the flesh of this animal,
and he appears to be in no other way serviceable to them but in hunting
the elk. To us, on the contrary, it has now become a favorite food; for
it is found to be a strong, healthy diet, preferable to lean deer or
elk, and much superior to horse-flesh in any state.


There are several species of squirrels not different from those found in
the Atlantic States. There is also a species of squirrel, evidently
distinct, which we denominate the burrowing squirrel. He measures one
foot five inches in length, of which the tail comprises two and a half
inches only. The neck and legs are short; the ears are likewise short,
obtusely pointed, and lie close to the head. The eyes are of a moderate
size, the pupil black, and the iris of a dark, sooty brown. The teeth,
and indeed the whole contour, resemble those of the squirrel.

These animals associate in large companies, occupying with their burrows
sometimes two hundred acres of land. The burrows are separate, and each
contains ten or twelve of these inhabitants. There is a little mound in
front of the hole, formed of the earth thrown out of the burrow; and
frequently there are three or four distinct holes, forming one burrow,
with their entrances around the base of a mound. These mounds, about two
feet in height and four in diameter, are occupied as watch-towers by the
inhabitants of these little communities. The squirrels are irregularly
distributed about the tract they thus occupy,--ten, twenty, or thirty
yards apart. When any person approaches, they make a shrill whistling
sound, somewhat resembling "tweet, tweet, tweet;" the signal for their
party to take the alarm, and to retire into their intrenchments. They
feed on the grass of their village, the limits of which they never
venture to exceed. As soon as the frost commences, they shut themselves
up in their caverns, and continue until the spring opens.


THE GROUSE, OR PRAIRIE-HEN.--This is peculiarly the inhabitant
of the great plains of the Columbia, but does not differ from those of
the upper portion of the Missouri. In the winter season, this bird is
booted to the first joint of the toes. The toes are curiously bordered
on their lower edges with narrow, hard scales, which are placed very
close to each other, and extend horizontally about one-eighth of an inch
on each side of the toes, adding much to the broadness of the feet,--a
security which Nature has furnished them for passing over the snow with
more ease,--and, what is very remarkable, in the summer season these
scales drop from the feet. The color of this bird is a mixture of dark
brown, reddish, and yellowish brown, with white confusedly mixed. The
reddish-brown prevails most on the upper parts of the body, wings, and
tail; and the white, under the belly and the lower parts of the breast
and tail. They associate in large flocks in autumn and winter; and, even
in summer, are seen in companies of five or six. They feed on grass,
insects, leaves of various shrubs in the plains, and the seeds of
several species of plants which grow in richer soils. In winter, their
food consists of the buds of the willow and cottonwood, and native

The cock of the plains is found on the plains of the Columbia in great
abundance. The beak is large, short, covered, and convex; the upper
exceeding the lower chap. The nostrils are large, and the back black.
The color is a uniform mixture of a dark-brown, resembling the dove, and
a reddish or yellowish brown, with some small black specks. The habits
of this bird resemble those of the grouse, excepting that his food is
the leaf and buds of the pulpy-leaved thorn. The flesh is dark, and only
tolerable in point of flavor.


The horned lizard, or horned frog, called, for what reason we never
could learn, the prairie buffalo, is a native of these plains as well
as of those of the Missouri. The color is generally brown, intermixed
with yellowish spots. The animal is covered with minute scales,
interspersed with small horny points, or prickles, on the upper surface
of the body. The belly and throat resemble those of the frog, and are of
a light yellowish-brown. The edge of the belly is likewise beset with
small horny projections. The eye is small and dark. Above and behind the
eyes there are several bony projections, which resemble horns sprouting
from the head.

These animals are found in greatest numbers in the sandy, open plains,
and appear most abundant after a shower of rain. They are sometimes
found basking in the sunshine, but generally conceal themselves in
little holes of the earth. This may account for their appearance in such
numbers after rain, as their holes may thus be rendered untenantable.



March, 1806.--Many reasons had inclined us to remain at Fort Clatsop
till the 1st of April. Besides the want of fuel in the Columbian plains,
and the impracticability of crossing the mountains before the beginning
of June, we were anxious to see some of the foreign traders, from whom,
by our ample letters of credit, we might recruit our exhausted stores of
merchandise. About the middle of March, however, we became seriously
alarmed for the want of food. The elk, our chief dependence, had at
length deserted its usual haunts in our neighborhood, and retreated to
the mountains. We were too poor to purchase food from the Indians; so
that we were sometimes reduced, notwithstanding all the exertions of our
hunters, to a single day's provision in advance. The men too, whom the
constant rains and confinement had rendered unhealthy, might, we hoped,
be benefited by leaving the coast, and resuming the exercise of
travelling. We therefore determined to leave Fort Clatsop, ascend the
river slowly, consume the month of March in the woody country, where we
hoped to find subsistence, and in this way reach the plains about the
1st of April, before which time it will be impossible to cross them.

During the winter, we have been very industrious in dressing skins; so
that we now have a sufficient quantity of clothing, besides between
three and four hundred pairs of moccasons. But the whole stock of goods
on which we are to depend for the purchase of horses or of food, during
the long journey of four thousand miles, is so much diminished, that it
might all be tied in two handkerchiefs. We therefore feel that our chief
dependence must be on our guns, which, fortunately, are all in good
order, as we took the precaution of bringing a number of extra locks,
and one of our men proved to be an excellent gunsmith. The powder had
been secured in leaden canisters; and, though on many occasions they had
been under water, it remained perfectly dry: and we now found ourselves
in possession of one hundred and forty pounds of powder, and twice that
weight of lead,--a stock quite sufficient for the route homewards.

We were now ready to leave Fort Clatsop; but the rain prevented us for
several days from calking the canoes, and we were forced to wait for
calm weather before we could attempt to pass Point William, which
projects about a mile and a half into the sea, forming, as it were, the
dividing-line between the river and the ocean; for the water below is
salt, while that above is fresh.

On March 23, at one o'clock in the afternoon, we took a final leave of
Fort Clatsop. We doubled Point William without any injury, and at six
o'clock reached the mouth of a small creek, where we found our hunters.
They had been fortunate enough to kill two elks, which were brought in,
and served for breakfast next morning.

Next day, we were overtaken by two Wahkiacums, who brought two dogs, for
which they wanted us to give them some tobacco; but, as we had very
little of that article left, they were obliged to go away disappointed.
We received at the same time an agreeable supply of three eagles and a
large goose, brought in by the hunters.

We passed the entrance of Cowalitz River, seventy miles from our winter
camp. This stream enters the Columbia from the north; is one hundred and
fifty yards wide; deep and navigable, as the Indians assert, for a
considerable distance; and probably waters the country west and north of
the Cascade Mountains, which cross the Columbia between the great falls
and rapids. During the day, we passed a number of fishing-camps on both
sides of the river, and were constantly attended by small parties of
Skilloots, who behaved in the most orderly manner, and from whom we
purchased as much fish and roots as we wanted, on moderate terms. The
night continued as the day had been,--cold, wet, and disagreeable; which
is the general character of the weather in this region at this season.

March 29.--At an early hour, we resumed our route, and halted for
breakfast at the upper end of an island where is properly the
commencement of the great Columbian Valley. We landed at a village of
fourteen large wooden houses. The people received us kindly, and spread
before us wappatoo and anchovies; but, as soon as we had finished
enjoying this hospitality (if it deserves that name), they began to ask
us for presents. They were, however, perfectly satisfied with the small
articles which we distributed according to custom, and equally pleased
with our purchasing some wappatoo, twelve dogs, and two sea-otter
skins. We also gave the chief a small medal, which he soon transferred
to his wife.

April 1.--We met a number of canoes filled with families descending the
river. These people told us that they lived at the Great Rapids, but
that a scarcity of provisions there had induced them to come down in
hopes of finding subsistence in this fertile valley. All those who lived
at the rapids, as well as the nations above them, they said, were in
much distress for want of food, having consumed their winter store of
dried fish, and not expecting the return of the salmon before the next
full moon, which will be on the 2d of May.

This intelligence was disagreeable and embarrassing. From the falls to
the Chopunnish nation, the plains afford no deer, elk, or antelope, on
which we can rely for subsistence. The horses are very poor at this
season; and the dogs must be in the same condition, if their food, the
fish, have failed. On the other hand, it is obviously inexpedient to
wait for the return of the salmon, since, in that case, we may not reach
the Missouri before the ice will prevent our navigating it. We therefore
decided to remain here only till we collect meat enough to last us till
we reach the Chopunnish nation, with whom we left our horses on our
downward journey, trusting that we shall find the animals safe, and have
them faithfully returned to us; for, without them, the passage of the
mountains will be almost impracticable.

April 2, 1806.--Several canoes arrived to visit us; and among the party
were two young men who belonged to a nation, which, they said, resides
at the falls of a large river which empties itself into the south side
of the Columbia, a few miles below us; and they drew a map of the
country with a coal on a mat. In order to verify this information, Capt.
Clarke persuaded one of the young men, by the present of a
burning-glass, to accompany him to the river, in search of which he
immediately set out with a canoe and seven of our men.

In the evening, Capt. Clarke returned from his excursion. After
descending about twenty miles, he entered the mouth of a large river,
which was concealed, by three small islands opposite its entrance, from
those who pass up or down the Columbia. This river, which the Indians
call Multnomah, from a nation of the same name residing near it on
Wappatoo Island, enters the Columbia one hundred and forty miles above
the mouth of the latter river. The current of the Multnomah, which is
also called Willamett, is as gentle as that of the Columbia; and it
appears to possess water enough for the largest ship, since, on sounding
with a line of five fathoms, they could find no bottom.

Capt. Clarke ascended the river to the village of his guide. He found
here a building two hundred and twenty-six feet in front, entirely above
ground, and all under one roof; otherwise it would seem more like a
range of buildings, as it is divided into seven distinct apartments,
each thirty feet square. The roof is formed of rafters, with round poles
laid on them longitudinally. The whole is covered with a double row of
the bark of the white cedar, secured by splinters of dried fir, inserted
through it at regular distances. In this manner, the roof is made light,
strong, and durable.

In the house were several old people of both sexes, who were treated
with much respect, and still seemed healthy, though most of them were
perfectly blind.

On inquiring the cause of the decline of their village, which was shown
pretty clearly by the remains of several deserted buildings, an old man,
father of the guide, and a person of some distinction, brought forward a
woman very much marked with the small-pox, and said, that, when a girl,
she was near dying with the disorder which had left those marks, and
that the inhabitants of the houses now in ruins had fallen victims to
the same disease.


Wappatoo Island is a large extent of country lying between the Multnomah
River and an arm of the Columbia. The island is about twenty miles long,
and varies in breadth from five to ten miles. The land is high, and
extremely fertile, and on most parts is supplied with a heavy growth of
cottonwood, ash, and willow. But the chief wealth of this island
consists of the numerous ponds in the interior, abounding with the
common arrowhead (_Sagittaria sagittifolia_), to the root of which is
attached a bulb growing beneath it, in the mud. This bulb, to which the
Indians give the name of _wappatoo_, is the great article of food, and
almost the staple article of commerce, on the Columbia. It is never out
of season; so that, at all times of the year, the valley is frequented
by the neighboring Indians who come to gather it. It is collected
chiefly by the women, who employ for the purpose canoes from ten to
fourteen feet in length, about two feet wide, and nine inches deep,
tapering from the middle, where they are about twenty inches wide. They
are sufficient to contain a single person and several bushels of roots;
yet so light, that a woman can carry one with ease. She takes one of
these canoes into a pond where the water is as high as the breast, and,
by means of her toes, separates from the root this bulb, which, on being
freed from the mud, rises immediately to the surface of the water, and
is thrown into the canoe. In this manner, these patient females remain
in the water for several hours, even in the depth of winter. This plant
is found through the whole extent of the valley in which we now are, but
does not grow on the Columbia farther eastward.


Above the junction of the Multnomah River, we passed along under high,
steep, and rocky sides of the mountains, which here close in on each
side of the river, forming stupendous precipices, covered with the fir
and white cedar. Down these heights frequently descend the most
beautiful cascades,--one of which, a large stream, throws itself over a
perpendicular rock, three hundred feet above the water; while other
smaller streams precipitate themselves from a still greater elevation,
and, separating into a mist, again collect, and form a second cascade
before they reach the bottom of the rocks.

The hills on both sides of the river are about two hundred and fifty
feet high, generally abrupt and craggy, and in many places presenting a
perpendicular face of black, hard, basaltic rock. From the top of these
hills, the country extends itself, in level plains, to a very great

To one remarkable elevation we gave the name of Beacon Rock. It stands
on the north side of the river, insulated from the hills. The northern
side has a partial growth of fir or pine. To the south, it rises in an
unbroken precipice to the height of seven hundred feet, where it
terminates in a sharp point, and may be seen at the distance of twenty
miles. This rock may be considered as the point where tidewater

April 19.--We formed our camp at the foot of the Long Narrows, a little
above a settlement of Skilloots. Their dwellings were formed by sticks
set in the ground, and covered with mats and straw, and so large, that
each was the residence of several families.

The whole village was filled with rejoicing at having caught a salmon,
which was considered as the harbinger of vast quantities that would
arrive in a few days. In the belief that it would hasten their coming,
the Indians, according to their custom, dressed the fish, and cut it
into small pieces, one of which was given to every child in the village;
and, in the good humor excited by this occurrence, they parted, though
reluctantly, with four horses, for which we gave them two kettles,
reserving to ourselves only one.

We resumed our route, and soon after halted on a hill, from the top of
which we had a commanding view of the range of mountains in which Mount
Hood stands, and which continued south as far as the eye could reach;
their summits being covered with snow. Mount Hood bore south thirty
degrees west; and another snowy summit, which we have called Mount
Jefferson, south ten degrees west.

Capt. Clarke crossed the river, with nine men and a large part of the
merchandise, to purchase, if possible, twelve horses to transport our
baggage, and some pounded fish, as a reserve, on the passage across the
mountains. He succeeded in purchasing only four horses, and those at
double the price that had been paid to the Shoshonees.

April 20.--As it was much for our interest to preserve the good will of
these people, we passed over several small thefts which they had
committed; but this morning we learned that six tomahawks and a knife
had been stolen during the night. We addressed ourselves to the chief,
who seemed angry with his people; but we did not recover the articles:
and soon afterwards two of our spoons were missing. We therefore ordered
them all from the camp. They left us in ill-humor, and we therefore kept
on our guard against any insult.

April 22.--We began our march at seven o'clock. We had just reached the
top of a hill near the village, when the load of one of the horses
turned; and the animal, taking fright at a robe which still adhered to
him, ran furiously toward the village. Just as he came there, the robe
fell, and an Indian made way with it. The horse was soon caught; but the
robe was missing, and the Indians denied having seen it. These repeated
acts of knavery had quite exhausted our patience; and Capt. Lewis set
out for the village, determined to make them deliver up the robe, or to
burn their houses to the ground. This retaliation was happily rendered
unnecessary; for on his way he met two of our men, who had found the
robe in one of the huts, hid behind some baggage.

April 24.--The Indians had promised to take our canoes in exchange for
horses; but, when they found that we were resolved on travelling by
land, they refused giving us any thing for them, in hopes that we would
be forced to leave them. Disgusted at this conduct, we determined rather
to cut them in pieces than suffer these people to possess them; and
actually began to do so, when they consented to give us several strands
of beads for each canoe.

We had now a sufficient number of horses to carry our baggage, and
therefore proceeded wholly by land. Passing between the hills and the
northern shore of the river, we had a difficult and fatiguing march over
a road alternately sandy and rocky.

The country through which we have passed for several days is of uniform
character. The hills on both sides of the river are about two hundred
and fifty feet high, in many places presenting a perpendicular face of
black, solid rock. From the top of these hills, the country extends, in
level plains, to a very great distance, and, though not as fertile as
land near the falls, produces an abundant supply of low grass, which is
an excellent food for horses. The grass must indeed be unusually
nutritious: for even at this season of the year, after wintering on the
dry grass of the plains, and being used with greater severity than is
usual among the whites, many of the horses were perfectly fat; nor had
we seen a single one that was really poor.

Having proceeded thirty-one miles, we halted for the night not far from
some houses of the Walla-wallas. Soon after stopping, we were joined by
seven of that tribe, among whom we recognized a chief by the name of
Yellept, who had visited us in October last, when we gave him a medal.

He appeared very much pleased at seeing us again, and invited us to
remain at his village three or four days, during which he would supply
us with such food as they had, and furnish us with horses for our
journey. After the cold, inhospitable treatment we had lately received,
this kind offer was peculiarly acceptable. After having made a hasty
meal, we accompanied him to his village. Immediately on our arrival,
Yellept, who proved to be a man of much influence, collected the
inhabitants, and after having made an harangue to them, the object of
which was to induce them to treat us hospitably, set them an example by
bringing himself an armful of wood, and a platter containing three
roasted mullets. They immediately followed the example by furnishing us
with an abundance of the only sort of fuel they use,--the stems of
shrubs growing in the plains. We then purchased four dogs, on which we
supped heartily, having been on short allowance for two days previously.

We learned from these people, that, opposite to their village, there was
a route which led to the mouth of the Kooskooskee; that the road was
good, and passed over a level country well supplied with water and
grass; and that we should meet with plenty of deer and antelope. We knew
that a road in that direction would shorten our route eighty miles; and
we concluded to adopt this route.

Fortunately there was among these Walla-wallas a prisoner belonging to a
tribe of the Shoshonee Indians. Our Shoshonee woman, Sacajawea, though
she belonged to another tribe, spoke the same language as this prisoner;
and by their means we were enabled to explain ourselves to the Indians,
and to answer all their inquiries with respect to ourselves and the
object of our journey. Our conversation inspired them with such
confidence, that they soon brought several sick persons for whom they
requested our assistance. We splintered the broken arm of one, gave some
relief to another whose knee was contracted by rheumatism, and
administered what we thought would be useful for ulcers and eruptions
of the skin on various parts of the body, which are very common
disorders among them. But our most valuable medicine was eye-water,
which we distributed, and which, indeed, they very much required; for
complaints of the eyes, occasioned by living so much on the water, and
aggravated by the fine sand of the plains, were universal among them.

We were by no means dissatisfied at this new resource for obtaining
subsistence, as the Indians would give us no provisions without
merchandise, and our stock was very much reduced. We carefully abstained
from giving them any thing but harmless medicines; and our prescriptions
might be useful, and were therefore entitled to some remuneration.

May 5.--Almost the only instance of rudeness we encountered in our whole
trip occurred here. We made our dinner on two dogs and a small quantity
of roots. While we were eating, an Indian standing by, and looking with
great derision at our eating dog's-flesh, threw a half-starved puppy
almost into Capt. Lewis's plate, laughing heartily at the humor of it.
Capt. Lewis took up the animal, and flung it back with great force into
the fellow's face, and, seizing his tomahawk, threatened to cut him down
if he dared to repeat such insolence. He went off, apparently much
mortified; and we continued our dog-repast very quietly.

Here we met our old Chopunnish guide and his family; and soon afterward
one of our horses, which had been separated from the others in the
charge of Twisted-hair, was caught, and restored to us.


We reached (May 1) a branch of the Walla-walla River. The hills of this
creek are generally abrupt and rocky; but the narrow bottom bordering
the stream is very fertile, and both possess twenty times as much timber
as the Columbia itself. Indeed, we now find, for the first time since
leaving Fort Clatsop, an abundance of firewood. The growth consists of
cotton-wood, birch, the crimson haw, willow, choke-cherry, yellow
currants, gooseberry, honeysuckle, rose-bushes, sumac, together with
some corn-grass and rushes.

The advantage of a comfortable fire induced us, as the night was come,
to halt at this place. We were soon supplied by Drewyer with a beaver
and an otter; of which we took only a part of the beaver, and gave the
rest to the Indians. The otter is a favorite food, though much
inferior, in our estimation, to the dog, which they will not eat. The
horse, too, is seldom eaten, and never except when absolute necessity
compels. This fastidiousness does not, however, seem to proceed so much
from any dislike to the food as from attachment to the animal; for many
of them eat very freely of the horse-beef we give them.

There is very little difference in the general face of the country here
from that of the plains on the Missouri, except that the latter are
enlivened by vast herds of buffaloes, elks, and other animals, which are
wanting here. Over these wide bottoms we continued, till, at the
distance of twenty-six miles from our last encampment, we halted for the

We had scarcely encamped, when three young men from the Walla-walla
village came in with a steel-trap, which we had inadvertently left
behind, and which they had come a whole day's journey on purpose to
restore. This act of integrity was the more pleasing because it
corresponds perfectly with the general behavior of the Walla-wallas,
among whom we had lost carelessly several knives, which were always
returned as soon as found. We may, indeed, justly affirm, that, of all
the Indians whom we have met, the Walla-wallas were the most
hospitable, honest, and sincere.


On Wednesday, the 7th of May, we reached the Kooskooskee, and found it
much more navigable than when we descended it last year. The water was
risen, and covered the rocks and shoals. Here we found the chief, named
Twisted-hair, in whose charge we had left our horses in our outward
journey. We had suspicions that our horses, and especially our saddles,
might not be easily recoverable after our long absence. The Twisted-hair
was invited to come, and smoke with us. He accepted the invitation, and,
as we smoked our pipes over the fire, informed us, that, according to
his promise, he had collected the horses, and taken charge of them; but
another chief, the Broken-arm, becoming jealous of him because the
horses were confided to his care, was constantly quarrelling with him.
At length, being an old man, and unwilling to live in perpetual
disputes, he had given up the care of the horses, which had consequently
become scattered. The greater part of them were, however, still in this
neighborhood. He added, that on the rise of the river, in the spring,
the earth had fallen from the door of the _cache_, and exposed the
saddles, some of which had probably been lost; but, as soon as he was
acquainted with the situation of them, he had had them buried in another
place, where they were now. He promised that he would, on the morrow,
send his young men, and collect such of the horses as were in the
neighborhood. He kept his word. Next day, the Indians brought in
twenty-one of the horses, the greater part of which were in excellent
order; and the Twisted-hair restored about half the saddles we had left
in the _cache_, and some powder and lead which were buried at the same



May 17.--The country along the Rocky Mountains, for several hundred
miles in length and fifty in width, is a high level plain; in all its
parts extremely fertile, and in many places covered with a growth of
tall, long-leaved pine. Nearly the whole of this wide tract is covered
with a profusion of grass and plants, which are at this time as high as
the knee. Among these are a variety of esculent plants and roots,
yielding a nutritious and agreeable food. The air is pure and dry; the
climate as mild as that of the same latitudes in the Atlantic States,
and must be equally healthy, since all the disorders which we have
witnessed may fairly be imputed to other causes than the climate. Of
course, the degrees of heat and cold obey the influence of situation.
Thus the rains of the low grounds are snows in the high plains; and,
while the sun shines with intense heat in the confined river-bottoms,
the plains enjoy a much cooler air; and, at the foot of the mountains,
the snows are even now many feet in depth.


An attempt to cross the mountains in the early part of June failed on
account of the snow, which still covered the track. It was plain we
should have no chance of finding either grass or underwood for our
horses. To proceed, therefore, would be to hazard the loss of our
horses; in which case, if we should be so fortunate as to escape with
our lives, we should be obliged to abandon our papers and collections.
It was accordingly decided not to venture farther; to deposit here all
the baggage and provisions for which we had no immediate use, and to
return to some spot where we might live by hunting till the snow should
have melted, or a guide be procured to conduct us. We submitted, June
17, to the mortification of retracing our steps three days' march.

On the 24th June, having been so fortunate as to engage three Indians to
go with us to the falls of the Missouri for the compensation of two
guns, we set out on our second attempt to cross the mountains. On
reaching the place where we had left our baggage, we found our deposit
perfectly safe. It required two hours to arrange our baggage, and
prepare a hasty meal; after which the guides urged us to set off, as we
had a long ride to make before we could reach a spot where there was
grass for our horses. We mounted, and followed their steps; sometimes
crossed abruptly steep hills, and then wound along their sides, near
tremendous precipices, where, had our horses slipped, we should have
been irrecoverably lost. Our route lay along the ridges which separate
the waters of the Kooskooskee and Chopunnish, and above the heads of all
the streams; so that we met no running water. Late in the evening, we
reached a spot where we encamped near a good spring of water. It was on
the steep side of a mountain, with no wood, and a fair southern aspect,
from which the snow seemed to have disappeared for about ten days, and
an abundant growth of young grass, like greensward, had sprung up. There
was also a species of grass not unlike flag, with a broad succulent
leaf, which is confined to the upper parts of the mountains. It is a
favorite food with the horses; but it was then either covered with snow,
or just making its appearance.

June 27.--We continued our route over the high and steep hills of the
same great ridge. At eight miles' distance, we reached an eminence where
the Indians have raised a conical mound of stone six or eight feet high.
From this spot we have a commanding view of the surrounding mountains,
which so completely enclose us, that, although we have once passed them,
we should despair of ever escaping from them without the assistance of
the Indians; but our guides traverse this trackless region with a kind
of instinctive sagacity. They never hesitate; they are never
embarrassed; yet so undeviating is their step, that, wherever the snow
has disappeared for even a hundred paces, we find the summer road. With
their aid, the snow is scarcely a disadvantage; for although we are
often obliged to slide down, yet the fallen timber and the rocks, which
are now covered up, were much more troublesome when we passed in the

     NOTE. A later traveller through this region writes, "The
     mountains are indeed _rocky_. They are rocks heaped upon rocks,
     with no vegetation, excepting a few cedars growing out of the
     crevices near their base. Their tops are covered with perpetual
     snow. The main ridge of the mountains is of _gneiss_ rock; yet,
     to-day, parallel ridges of a rock, nearly allied to _basalt_,
     have abounded. These ridges appear to be volcanic, forced up in
     _dikes_ at different distances from each other, running from
     east-north-east to west-south-west. The strata are mostly
     vertical; but some are a little dipped to the south.

     "Our encampment was near a small stream which runs through a
     volcanic chasm, which is more than a hundred feet deep, with
     perpendicular sides. Here was a passage made for the _water_ by


July 3, 1806.--It was agreed here that the expedition should be divided,
to unite again at the confluence of the Missouri and the Yellowstone.
The separation took place near the point where Clarke's River is crossed
by the forty-seventh parallel of latitude. Capt. Lewis, with nine men,
was to cross the mountains in a direction as nearly due east as
possible, expecting to find some tributary of the Missouri, by following
which he might reach that river, and by it retrace his way homeward.
Capt. Clarke, with the remainder of the party, was to seek the head
waters of the Yellowstone, and follow that stream to the proposed place
of re-union.

In conformity with this arrangement, Capt. Lewis, under the guidance of
friendly Indians, crossed the mountains by a route which led him, after
travelling one hundred and four miles, to Medicine River, and by that
river to the Missouri. He reached the falls of the Missouri on the 17th
of July, and leaving there a portion of his party, under Sergt. Gass, to
make preparations for transporting their baggage and canoes round the
falls, set out, accompanied by Drewyer and the two brothers Fields, with
six horses, to explore Maria's River, to ascertain its extent toward the
north. From the 18th to the 26th, they were engaged in this exploration.
On the eve of their return, an event occurred, which, being the only
instance in which the expedition was engaged in any conflict with the
Indians with loss of life, requires to be particularly related.


We were passing through a region frequented by the Minnetarees, a band
of Indians noted for their thievish propensities and unfriendly
dispositions. Capt. Lewis was therefore desirous to avoid meeting with
them. Drewyer had been sent out for game, and Capt. Lewis ascended a
hill to look over the country. Scarcely had he reached the top, when he
saw, about a mile on his left, a collection of about thirty horses. By
the aid of his spy-glass, he discovered that one-half of the horses
were saddled, and that, on the eminence above the horses, several
Indians were looking down towards the river, probably at Drewyer. This
was a most unwelcome sight. Their probable numbers rendered any contest
with them of doubtful issue. To attempt to escape would only invite
pursuit; and our horses were so bad, that we must certainly be
overtaken: besides which, Drewyer could not yet be aware that Indians
were near; and, if we ran, he would most probably be sacrificed. We
therefore determined to make the best of our situation, and advance
towards them in a friendly manner. The flag which we had brought in case
of such an emergency was therefore displayed, and we continued slowly
our march towards them. Their whole attention was so engaged by Drewyer,
that they did not immediately discover us. As soon as they did so, they
appeared to be much alarmed, and ran about in confusion. When we came
within a quarter of a mile, one of the Indians mounted, and rode towards
us. When within a hundred paces of us, he halted; and Capt. Lewis, who
had alighted to receive him, held out his hand, and beckoned him to
approach: but he only looked at us, and then, without saying a word,
returned to his companions.

The whole party now descended the hill, and rode towards us. As yet we
saw only eight, but presumed that there must be more behind, as there
were several more horses saddled. Capt. Lewis had with him but two men;
and he told them his fears that these were Indians of the Minnetaree
tribe, and that they would attempt to rob us, and advised them to be on
the alert, should there appear any disposition to attack us.

When the two parties came within a hundred yards of each other, all the
Indians, except one, halted. Capt. Lewis therefore ordered his two men
to halt, while he advanced, and, after shaking hands with the Indian,
went on and did the same with the others in the rear, while the Indian
himself shook hands with our two men. They all now came up; and, after
alighting, the Indians asked to smoke with us. Capt. Lewis, who was very
anxious for Drewyer's safety, told them that the man who had gone down
the river had the pipe, and requested, that, as they had seen him, one
of them would accompany R. Fields to bring him back. To this they
assented; and Fields went with a young man in search of Drewyer, who
returned with them.

As it was growing late, Capt. Lewis proposed that they should encamp
with us; for he was glad to see them, and had a great deal to say to
them. They assented; and, being soon joined by Drewyer, the evening was
spent in conversation with the Indians, in which Capt. Lewis endeavored
to persuade them to cultivate peace with their neighbors. Finding them
very fond of the pipe, Capt. Lewis, who was desirous of keeping a
constant watch during the night, smoked with them to a late hour; and,
as soon as they were all asleep, he woke R. Fields, and ordering him to
rouse us all in case any Indian left the camp, as he feared they would
attempt to steal our horses, he lay down by the side of Drewyer in the
tent with the Indians, while the brothers Fields were stretched near the
fire at the mouth of the tent.

At sunrise, the Indians got up, and crowded round the fire, near which
J. Fields, who was then on watch, had carelessly left his rifle, near
the head of his brother, who was asleep. One of the Indians slipped
behind him, and, unperceived, took his brother's and his own rifle;
while at the same time two others seized those of Drewyer and Capt.
Lewis. As soon as Fields turned round, he saw the Indian running off
with the rifles; and, instantly calling his brother, they pursued him
for fifty or sixty yards; and just as they overtook him, in the scuffle
for the rifles, R. Fields stabbed him through the heart with his knife.
The Indian ran a few steps, and fell dead. They recovered their rifles,
and ran back to the camp.

The moment the fellow touched his gun, Drewyer, who was awake, jumped
up, and wrested it from him. The noise awoke Capt. Lewis, who instantly
started from the ground, and reached to seize his gun, but found it
gone, and, turning about, saw the Indian running off with it. He
followed, and called to him to lay down the gun; which he did. By this
time, the rest of the Indians were endeavoring to drive off our horses;
and Capt. Lewis ordered his men to follow them, and fire upon the
thieves if they did not release our horses. The result was, that we
recovered four of our horses, and as many of theirs which they had left
behind; so that we were rather gainers by the contest. Besides the
Indian killed by Fields, one other was badly wounded.

We had no doubt but that we should be immediately pursued by a much
larger party. Our only chance of safety was in rejoining our friends,
who were many miles distant. We therefore pushed our horses as fast as
we could; and, fortunately for us, the Indian horses proved very good.
The plains were level, free from stones and prickly-pears, and in fine
order for travelling over from the late rains. We commenced our ride in
the early morning. At three o'clock, we had ridden, by estimate,
sixty-three miles. We halted for an hour and a half to refresh our
horses; then pursued our journey seventeen miles farther, when, as night
came on, we killed a buffalo, and again stopped for two hours. The sky
was now overclouded; but, as the moon gave light enough to show us the
route, we continued for twenty miles farther, and then, exhausted with
fatigue, halted at two in the morning. Next day, we rejoined the main
body of our party in safety.

Capt. Lewis with his companions pursued their way down the Missouri,
passing those points already noticed in their ascent. Our narrative,
therefore, will leave them here, and attend the course of Capt. Clarke
and his party down the Yellowstone.



July 3, 1806.--The party under Capt. Clarke, consisting of fifteen men,
with fifty horses, set out through the valley of Clarke's River, along
the western side of which they rode in a southern direction. The valley
is from ten to fifteen miles in width, and is diversified by a number of
small open plains, abounding with grass and a variety of sweet-scented
plants, and watered by numerous streams rushing from the western
mountains. These mountains were covered with snow about one-fifth of the
way from the top; and some snow was still to be seen in the hollows of
the mountains to the eastward.

July 7.--They reached Wisdom River, and stopped for dinner at a hot
spring situated in the open plain. The bed of the spring is about
fifteen yards in circumference, and composed of loose, hard, gritty
stones, through which the water boils in large quantities. It is
slightly impregnated with sulphur, and so hot, that a piece of meat,
about the size of three fingers, was completely cooked in twenty-five

July 8.--They arrived at Jefferson's River, where they had deposited
their goods in the month of August the year before. They found every
thing safe, though some of the goods were a little damp, and one of the
canoes had a hole in it. They had now crossed from Traveller's-Rest
Creek to the head of Jefferson's River, which seems to form the best and
shortest route over the mountains during almost the whole distance of
one hundred and sixty-four miles. It is, in fact, an excellent road;
and, by cutting down a few trees, it might be rendered a good route for
wagons, with the exception of about four miles over one of the
mountains, which would require a little levelling.

July 10.--The boats were now loaded, and Capt. Clarke divided his men
into two bands. Sergt. Ordway, with nine men, in six canoes, was to
descend the river; while Capt. Clarke, with the remaining ten, the wife
and child of Chaboneau, and fifty horses, were to proceed by land to the
Yellowstone. The latter party set out at five in the afternoon from the
forks of the Missouri, in a direction nearly east. The plain was
intersected by several great roads leading to a gap in the mountain
about twenty miles distant, in a direction east-north-east; but the
Indian woman, who was acquainted with the country, recommended another
gap more to the south, through which Capt. Clarke determined to proceed.

They started early the next morning, and, pursuing the route recommended
by the squaw, encamped in the evening at the entrance of the gap
mentioned by her. Through this gap they passed next day, and, at the
distance of six miles, reached the top of the dividing ridge which
separates the waters of the Missouri from those of the Yellowstone. Nine
miles from the summit, they reached the Yellowstone itself, about a mile
and a half below where it issues from the Rocky Mountains. The distance
from the head of the Missouri to this place is forty-eight miles, the
greater part of which is through a level plain. They halted for three
hours to rest their horses, and then pursued the Buffalo Road along the
banks of the river.

Although but just emerging from a high, snowy mountain, the Yellowstone
is here a bold, rapid, and deep stream, one hundred and twenty yards in
width. They continued their course along the river till the 23d, when
the party embarked on board of two canoes, each of which was
twenty-eight feet long, sixteen or eighteen inches deep, and from
sixteen to twenty-four inches wide. Sergt. Prior, with two men, was
directed to take the horses to the Mandans for safe keeping until the
re-union of the expedition.

July 24.--At eight o'clock, Capt. Clarke and the remainder of his party
embarked, and proceeded very steadily down the river. They passed the
mouths of several large rivers emptying into the Yellowstone; one of
which was called the Big-horn, from the numbers of that remarkable
species of sheep seen in its neighborhood. Next day, Capt. Clarke landed
to examine a curious rock, situated in an extensive bottom on the right,
about two hundred and fifty paces from the shore. It is nearly two
hundred paces in circumference, two hundred feet high, and accessible
only from the north-east; the other sides consisting of perpendicular
cliffs, of a light-colored, gritty stone. The soil on the summit is five
or six feet deep, of a good quality, and covered with short grass. From
this height, the eye ranges over a wide extent of variegated country. On
the south-west are the Rocky Mountains, covered with snow; on the north,
a lower range, called the Little Wolf Mountains. The low grounds of the
river extend nearly six miles to the southward, when they rise into
plains, reaching to the mountains. The north side of the river is
bounded by jutting, romantic cliffs, beyond which the plains are open
and extensive, and the whole country enlivened by herds of buffaloes,
elks, and wolves. After enjoying the prospect from this rock, to which
Capt. Clarke gave the name of Pompey's Pillar, he descended, and
continued his route. At the distance of six or seven miles, he stopped
to secure two bighorns, which had been shot from the boat, and, while on
shore, saw in the face of the cliff, about twenty feet above the water,
a fragment of the rib of a fish, three feet long, and nearly three
inches round, embedded in the rock itself.


The beavers were in great numbers along the banks of the river, and
through the night were flapping their tails in the water round the

Aug. 1.--The buffaloes appeared in vast numbers. A herd happened to be
on their way across the river. Such was the multitude of these animals,
that although the river, including an island over which they passed, was
a mile in width, the herd stretched, as thick as they could swim,
completely from one side to the other. Our party, descending the river,
was obliged to stop for an hour to let the procession pass. We consoled
ourselves for the delay by killing four of the herd, and then proceeded,
till, at the distance of forty-five miles, two other herds of buffaloes,
as numerous as the first, crossed the river in like manner.

Aug. 4.--The camp became absolutely uninhabitable, in consequence of the
multitude of mosquitoes. The men could not work in preparing skins for
clothing, nor hunt in the low grounds: in short, there was no mode of
escape, except by going on the sand bars in the river, where, if the
wind should blow, the insects do not venture. But when there is no wind,
and particularly at night, when the men have no covering except their
worn-out blankets, the pain they inflict is scarcely to be endured.

On one occasion, Capt. Clarke went on shore, and ascended a hill after
one of the bighorns; but the mosquitoes were in such multitudes, that he
could not keep them from the barrel of his rifle long enough to take

This annoyance continued, till, on the 11th of September, they write,
"We are no longer troubled with mosquitoes, which do not seem to
frequent this part of the river; and, after having been persecuted with
them during the whole route from the falls, it is a most happy
exemption. Their noise was very agreeably exchanged for that of the
wolves, which were howling in various directions all round us."

Aug. 12, 1806.--The party continued to descend the river. One of their
canoes had, by accident, a small hole made in it; and they halted for
the purpose of covering it with a piece of elk-skin. While there, about
noon, they were overjoyed at seeing the boats of Capt. Lewis's party
heave in sight. The whole expedition being now happily re-united, at
about three o'clock all embarked on board the boats; but as the wind was
high, accompanied with rain, we did not proceed far before we halted for
the night.


On the 14th August, having now reached a part of the river where we
occasionally met the boats of adventurous traders ascending the river,
Capt. Lewis was applied to by one of the men, Colter, who was desirous
of joining two trappers, who proposed to him to accompany them, and
share their profits. The offer was an advantageous one; and as he had
always performed his duty, and his services might be dispensed with,
Capt. Lewis consented to his going, provided none of the rest would ask
or expect a similar indulgence. To this they cheerfully answered, that
they wished Colter every success, and would not apply for a discharge
before we reached St. Louis. We therefore supplied him, as did his
comrades also, with powder and lead, and a variety of articles which
might be useful to him; and he left us the next day.

The example of this man shows how easily men may be weaned from the
habits of civilized life, and brought to relish the manners of the
woods. This hunter had now been absent many years from his country, and
might naturally be presumed to have some desire to return to his native
seats; yet, just at the moment when he is approaching the frontiers, he
is tempted by a hunting-scheme to go back to the solitude of the woods.

A few days after this, Chaboneau, with his wife and child, concluded to
follow us no longer, as he could be no longer useful to us. We offered
to take him with us to the United States; but he said that he had there
no acquaintance, and preferred remaining among the Indians. This man has
been very serviceable to us, and his wife particularly so, among the
Shoshonees. She has borne with a patience truly admirable the fatigues
of our long journey, encumbered with the charge of an infant, which is
now only nineteen months old. We paid him his wages, amounting to five
hundred dollars and thirty-three cents, including the price of a horse
and a lodge purchased of him, and pursued our journey without him.


Sept. 8, 1806.--We reached Council Bluffs, and stopped for a short time
to examine the situation of the place, and were confirmed in our belief
that it would be a very eligible spot for a trading establishment.[4]
Being anxious to reach the junction of the Platte River, we plied our
oars so well, that by night we had made seventy-eight miles, and landed
at our old encampment, on the ascent, twelve miles above that river. We
had here occasion to remark the wonderful evaporation from the Missouri.
The river does not appear to contain more water, nor is its channel
wider, than at the distance of one thousand miles nearer its source,
although within that space it receives about twenty rivers (some of them
of considerable width), and a great number of smaller streams.

A few days more brought us to the mouth of the Kansas River. About a
mile below it, we landed to view the country. The low grounds are
delightful, the whole country exhibiting a rich appearance; but the
weather was oppressively warm. Descending as we had done from a high,
open country, between the latitudes of forty-six and forty-nine degrees,
to the wooded plains in thirty-eight and thirty-nine degrees, the heat
would have been intolerable, had it not been for the constant winds from
the south and the south-west.

On the 20th September, we reached the mouth of Osage River. A few miles
lower down, we saw on the banks some cows feeding; and the whole party
involuntarily raised a shout of joy at the sight of this evidence of
civilization and domestic life.

We soon after reached the little French village of La Charette, which we
saluted with a discharge of four guns and three hearty cheers. We
landed, and were received with kindness by the inhabitants, as well as
by some traders who were on their way to traffic with the Osages. They
were all surprised and pleased at our arrival; for they had long since
abandoned all hopes of ever seeing us return.

The third day after this,--viz., on Tuesday, the 23d of September,
1806,--we arrived at St. Louis, and, having fired a salute, went on
shore, and received the heartiest and most hospitable welcome from the
whole village.


The successful termination of the expedition was a source of surprise
and delight to the whole country. The humblest of its citizens had taken
a lively interest in the issue of this journey, and looked forward with
impatience for the information it would furnish. Their anxieties, too,
for the safety of the party, had been kept in a state of excitement by
lugubrious rumors, circulated from time to time on uncertain
authorities, and uncontradicted by letters or other direct information,
from the time when the party left the Mandan towns, on their ascent up
the river, in 1804, until their actual return to St. Louis.

The courage, perseverance, and discretion displayed by the commanders,
and the fidelity and obedience of the men, were the theme of general
approbation, and received the favorable notice of Government. A donation
of lands was made to each member of the party; Capt. Lewis was appointed
Governor of Louisiana, which, at that time, embraced the whole country
west of the Mississippi, within the boundaries of the United States; and
Capt. Clarke was made Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

It was not until some years after, however, that the world was put in
possession of the detailed history of the expedition. Capt. Lewis, in
the midst of other cares, devoted what time he could to the preparation
of his journals for publication, and, in 1809, was on his way to
Philadelphia for that purpose, but, at a village in Tennessee, was taken
ill, and prevented from proceeding. Here the energetic mind, which had
encountered so unfalteringly the perils and sufferings of the desert,
gave way. Constitutional despondency overcame him: it is probable he
lost his reason; for, in a rash moment, he applied a pistol to his head,
and destroyed his life. His journals were published under the charge of
Paul Allen of Philadelphia.


[4] Now the site of Omaha City.





What is meant by Eldorado? Is there such a country? and, if there be,
where is it? The name literally means "The Golden Country," and was
given to an unknown region in South America by the Spaniards, who had
heard from the Indians marvellous tales of such a land lying in the
interior of the continent, where gold and precious stones were as common
as rocks and pebbles in other countries, and to be had for the trouble
of picking them up. It was also a land of spices and aromatic gums. The
first notion of this favored region was communicated by an Indian chief
to Gonzalo Pizarro, brother of the conqueror of Peru, whose imagination
was captivated by the account, and his ambition fired with a desire to
add this, which promised to be the most brilliant of all, to the
discoveries and conquests of his countrymen. He found no difficulty in
awakening a kindred enthusiasm in the bosoms of his followers. In a
short time, he mustered three hundred and fifty Spaniards, and four
thousand Indians. One hundred and fifty of his company were mounted. The
Indians were to carry the baggage and provisions, and perform the labors
of the expedition.

A glance at the map of South America will give us a clear idea of the
scene of the expedition. The River Amazon, the largest river of the
globe, rises in the highest ranges of the Andes, and flows from west to
east through nearly the whole breadth of the continent. Pizarro's
expedition started in the year 1540 from Quito, near the sources of the
great river, and, marching east, soon became entangled in the deep and
intricate passes of the mountains. As they rose into the more elevated
regions, the icy winds that swept down the sides of the Cordilleras
benumbed their limbs, and many of the natives found a wintry grave in
the wilderness. On descending the eastern slope, the climate changed;
and, as they came to a lower level, the fierce cold was succeeded by a
suffocating heat, while tempests of thunder and lightning poured on them
with scarcely any intermission day or night. For more than six weeks,
the deluge continued unabated; and the forlorn wanderers, wet, and weary
with incessant toil, were scarcely able to drag their limbs along the
soil, broken up as it was, and saturated with the moisture. After months
of toilsome travel, they reached the region where grew the spice-trees.
Their produce resembled the cinnamon of the East in taste, but was of
inferior quality. They saw the trees bearing the precious bark spreading
out into broad forests; yet, however valuable it might be for future
commerce, it was of but little worth to them. But, from the savages whom
they occasionally met, they learned, that at ten days' distance was a
rich and fruitful land, abounding with gold, and inhabited by populous
nations. The Spaniards were so convinced of the existence of such a
country, that if the natives, on being questioned, professed their
ignorance of it, they were supposed to be desirous of concealing the
fact, and were put to the most horrible tortures, and even burnt alive,
to compel them to confess. It is no wonder, therefore, if they told, in
many instances, such stories as the Spaniards wished to hear, which
would also have the effect of ridding their own territories of their
troublesome guests by inducing them to advance farther. Pizarro had
already reached the limit originally proposed for the expedition; but
these accounts induced him to continue on.

As they advanced, the country spread out into broad plains, terminated
by forests, which seemed to stretch on every side as far as the eye
could reach. The wood was thickly matted with creepers and climbing
plants, and at every step of the way they had to hew open a passage with
their axes; while their garments, rotting from the effects of the
drenching rains, caught in every bush, and hung about them in shreds.
Their provisions failed, and they had only for sustenance such herbs and
roots as they could gather in the forest, and such wild animals as, with
their inadequate means, they could capture.

At length they came to a broad expanse of water, from whence flowed a
stream,--one of those which discharge their waters into the great River
Amazon. The sight gladdened their hearts, as they hoped to find a safer
and more practicable route by keeping along its banks. After following
the stream a considerable distance, the party came within hearing of a
rushing noise, that seemed like thunder issuing from the bowels of the
earth. The river tumbled along over rapids with frightful velocity, and
then discharged itself in a magnificent cataract, which they describe
as twelve hundred feet high. Doubtless this estimate must be taken with
some allowance for the excited feelings of the Spaniards, keenly alive
to impressions of the sublime and the terrible.

For some distance above and below the falls, the bed of the river
contracted; so that its width did not exceed twenty feet. They
determined to cross, in hopes of finding a country that might afford
them better sustenance. A frail bridge was constructed by throwing
trunks of trees across the chasm, where the cliffs, as if split asunder
by some convulsion of Nature, descended sheer down a perpendicular depth
of several hundred feet. Over this airy causeway, the men and horses
succeeded in effecting their passage; though one Spaniard, made giddy by
heedlessly looking down, lost his footing, and fell into the boiling
surges below. They gained little by the exchange. The country wore the
same unpromising aspect: the Indians whom they occasionally met in the
pathless wilderness were fierce and unfriendly, and the Spaniards were
engaged in perpetual conflict with them. From these they learned that a
fruitful country was to be found down the river, at the distance of only
a few days' journey; and the Spaniards held on their weary way, still
hoping, and still deceived, as the promised land flitted before them,
like the rainbow, receding as they advanced.

At length, spent with toil and suffering, Pizarro resolved to construct
a bark large enough to transport the weaker part of his company and his
baggage. The forests furnished him with timber; the shoes of the horses,
which had died on the road, or been slaughtered for food, were converted
into nails; gum, distilled from the trees, took the place of pitch; and
the tattered garments of the soldiers served for oakum. At the end of
two months, the vessel was ready, and the command given to Francisco
Orellana. The troops now moved forward through the wilderness, following
the course of the river; the vessel carrying the feebler soldiers. Every
scrap of provisions had long since been consumed. The last of their
horses had been devoured; and they greedily fed upon toads, serpents,
and even insects, which that country, teeming with the lower forms of
animal life, abundantly supplied.

The natives still told of a rich district, inhabited by a populous
nation. It was, as usual, at the distance of several days' journey; and
Pizarro resolved to halt where he was, and send Orellana down in his
brigantine to procure a stock of provisions, with which he might
return, and put the main body in condition to resume their march.
Orellana, with fifty of the adventurers, pushed off into the middle of
the river, where the stream ran swiftly; and his bark, taken by the
current, shot forward as with the speed of an arrow, and was soon out of

Days and weeks passed away, yet the vessel did not return; and no speck
was to be seen on the waters as the Spaniards strained their eyes to the
farthest point, till the banks closed in, and shut the view. Detachments
were sent out, and, though absent several days, came back without
intelligence of their comrades. Weary of suspense, Pizarro determined to
continue their march down the river, which they did, with incredible
suffering, for two months longer, till their doubts were dispelled by
the appearance of a white man, wandering, half naked, in the woods, in
whose famine-stricken countenance they recognized the features of one of
their countrymen. Orellana had passed swiftly down the river to the
point of its confluence with the Amazon, where he had been led to expect
that he should find supplies for the wants of himself and his
companions, but found none. Nor was it possible to return as he had
come, and make head against the current of the river. In this dilemma, a
thought flashed across his mind: it was, to leave the party under
Pizarro to their fate, and to pursue his course down the great river on
which he had entered; to explore Eldorado for himself, and make the best
of his way home to Spain to claim the glory and reward of discovery. His
reckless companions readily consented to this course, with the exception
of the individual whom Pizarro found; and him, when he remonstrated,
they put ashore, and left to shift for himself.

Pizarro and his party, deserted in the wilderness, unable to advance
farther, had no alternative but to remain, or retrace their miserable
way to Quito, the place they had started from more than a year before.
They chose the latter, and commenced their return march with heavy
hearts. They took a more northerly route than that by which they had
approached the Amazon; and, though it was attended with fewer
difficulties, they experienced yet greater distresses, from their
greater inability to overcome them. Their only food was such scanty fare
as they could pick up in the forest, or happily meet with in some
forsaken Indian settlement, or wring by violence from the natives. Some
sickened and sank down by the way, and perished where they fell; for
there was none to help them. Intense misery had made them selfish; and
many a poor wretch was abandoned to his fate, to die alone in the
wilderness, or, more probably, to be devoured, while living, by the wild
animals which roamed over it.

It took them a year to measure back their way to Quito; and the miseries
they had endured were testified to by their appearance when they
arrived, in sadly reduced numbers, at the place of their starting. Their
horses gone, their arms broken and rusted, the skins of wild animals
their only clothes, their long and matted locks streaming wildly down
their shoulders, their faces blackened by the tropical sun, their bodies
wasted by famine and disfigured by scars, it seemed as if the
charnel-house had given up its dead, as, with unsteady step, they crept
slowly onwards. More than half of the four thousand Indians who had
accompanied the expedition had perished; and of the Spaniards, only
eighty, and many of these irretrievably broken in constitution, found
their way back to Quito.

Meanwhile, Orellana glided down the stream, which then was nameless and
unknown, but which has since been called by his name, though it is more
generally known by a name derived from a story which Orellana told, in
his account of his voyage, of a nation of Amazons inhabiting its banks.
But an account of Orellana's adventures must be reserved for our next



When Orellana, in his ill-appointed bark, and with his crew enfeebled by
famine, had reached the junction of the River Napo with the Amazon, and
found no sources of supply which he had been led to expect, he had no
difficulty in satisfying his companions that their only chance of
preservation was in continuing their descent of the river, and leaving
the party under Pizarro to their fate. He then formally renounced the
commission which Pizarro had given him, and received the command anew
from the election of his men, that so he might make discoveries for
himself, and not, holding a deputed authority, in the name of another.
It was upon the last day of December, 1541, that this voyage was
begun,--one of the most adventurous that has ever been undertaken. The
little stock of provisions with which they had parted from the army was
already exhausted, and they boiled their leathern girdles and the
leather of their shoes with such herbs as seemed most likely to be
nourishing and harmless; for it was only by experiment that they were
able to distinguish the wholesome from the poisonous. On the 8th of
January, being reduced almost to the last extremity with hunger, they
heard before daylight an Indian drum,--a joyful sound; for be the
natives what they would, friendly or hostile, this they knew, that it
must be their own fault now if they should die of hunger. At daybreak,
being eagerly upon the lookout, they perceived four canoes, which put
back upon seeing the brigantine; and presently they saw a village where
a great body of the natives were assembled, and appeared ready to defend
it. The Spaniards were too hungry to negotiate. Orellana bade them land
in good order, and stand by each other. They attacked the Indians like
men who were famishing, and fought for food, put them speedily to the
rout, and found an immediate supply. While they were enjoying the fruits
of their victory, the Indians came near them, more to gratify curiosity
than resentment. Orellana spoke to them in some Indian language which
they partly understood. Some of them took courage, and approached him.
He gave them a few European trifles, and asked for their chief, who
came without hesitation, was well pleased with the presents which were
given him, and offered them any thing which it was in his power to
supply. Provisions were requested; and presently peacocks, partridges,
fish, and other things, were brought in great abundance. The next day,
thirteen chiefs came to see the strangers. They were gayly adorned with
feathers and gold, and had plates of gold upon the breast. Orellana
received them courteously, required them to acknowledge obedience to the
crown of Castile, took advantage as usual of their ignorance to affirm
that they consented, and took possession of their country in the
emperor's name.

Such is Orellana's own account of this first interview. It was his
object to create a high idea of the riches of the provinces which he had
discovered. It is not probable that these tribes had any gold; for later
discoveries showed that none of the tribes on the Amazon were so far
advanced as to use it. It was here that they heard the first accounts of
the rich and powerful nation composed wholly of women, whom, in
recollection of the female warriors of classic antiquity, they called
the Amazons. Here the Spaniards built a better brigantine than the frail
one in which they were embarked. All fell to work, Orellana being the
first at any exertion that was required. They calked it with cotton; the
natives supplied pitch; and in thirty-five days the vessel was launched.
On the 24th of April, they once more embarked. For eighty leagues, the
banks were peopled with friendly tribes; then the course of the river
lay between desert mountains, and they were fain to feed upon herbs and
parched corn, not even finding a place where they could fish.

Thus far they seem to have found the natives friendly, or not actively
hostile; but, as they descended, they came to a populous province,
belonging to a chief called Omagua, if, as is conjectured, that is not
rather the name of the tribe itself than of their chief. One morning, a
fleet of canoes was seen advancing with hostile demonstrations. The
Indians carried shields made of the skins of the alligator. They came on
with beat of tambour and with war-cries, threatening to devour the
strangers. The Spaniards brought their two vessels close together, that
they might aid one another in the defence. But, when they came to use
their powder, it was damp, and they had nothing but their cross-bows to
trust to; and, plying these as well as they could, they continued to
fall down the stream, fighting as they went. Presently they came to an
Indian town. Half the Spaniards landed to attack it, leaving their
companions to maintain the fight upon the water.

They won the town, and loaded themselves with provisions; but eighteen
of the party were wounded, and one killed. They had neither surgeon nor
any remedy for the wounded. Nothing could be done for them except
"psalming;" that is, repeating some verses of the psalms over the wound.
This mode of treatment was not unusual; and, as it was less absurd than
the methods which were ordinarily in use at that day, it is no wonder if
it proved more successful.

For two days and two nights after this, they were constantly annoyed by
the canoes of the natives following, and endeavoring to board them. But
the Spaniards had now dried some powder; and one of them, getting a
steady mark at the chief of the Indians, shot him in the breast. His
people gathered round him; and, while they were thus occupied, the
brigantines shot ahead.

Thus they proceeded with alternate good and evil fortune, now finding
the Indians friendly, and supplies of provisions abundant; and then
encountering hostile tribes which assailed them with all their power, or
long regions of unpeopled country, where they were reduced to the
utmost straits for want of food. Six months had now been consumed on
their voyage, and as yet no appearance of Eldorado; though, if their
accounts may be trusted, they several times came upon populous places,
which had many streets, all opening upon the river, and apparently
leading to some greater city in the interior. On the 22d of June, on
turning an angle of the river, they saw the country far before them, and
great numbers of people collected, seemingly with hostile intentions.
Orellana offered them trinkets, at which they scoffed; but he persisted
in making towards the shore to get food, either by persuasion or force.
A shower of arrows was discharged from the shore, which wounded five of
the crew. They nevertheless landed, and, after a hot contest, repulsed
the natives, killing some seven or eight of them. The historian of the
voyage, who was one of the adventurers, affirms that ten or twelve
Amazons fought at the head of these people, who were their subjects, and
fought desperately; because any one who fled in battle would be beaten
to death by these female tyrants. He describes the women as very tall
and large-limbed, white of complexion, the hair long, platted, and
banded round the head. It is amusing to observe how this story was
magnified by later narrators, who learned it only by tradition. It is
stated in these late accounts that Orellana fought on this occasion with
a great army of women.

Of a prisoner whom they took, Orellana asked questions about Eldorado
and the Amazons, and got, as usual, such answers as he expected. This
may partly be set down to the score of self-deception, and partly to the
fact that they conversed with these people by signs, and by means of the
few words of their language which the Spaniards knew, or supposed they
knew, the meaning of. He learned from the prisoner that the country was
subject to women, who lived after the manner of the Amazons of the
ancients, and who possessed gold and silver in abundance. There were in
their dominions fine temples of the sun, all covered with plates of
gold. Their houses were of stone, and their cities walled. We can hardly
doubt that the desire to tempt adventurers to join him in his subsequent
expedition to conquer and colonize those countries had its effect in
magnifying these marvels.

Shortly after this, the Spaniards thought they perceived the _tide_.
After another day's voyage, they came to some inhabited islands, and, to
their infinite joy, saw that they had not been mistaken; for the marks
of the tide here were certain. Here they lost another of their party in
a skirmish with the natives. From this place the country was low; and
they could never venture to land, except upon the islands, among which
they sailed, as they supposed, about two hundred leagues; the tide
coming up with great force. One day the smaller vessel struck upon a
snag, which stove in one of her planks, and she filled. They, however,
landed to seek for provisions; but the inhabitants attacked them with
such force, that they were forced to retire; and, when they came to
their vessels, they found that the tide had left the only serviceable
one dry. Orellana ordered half his men to fight, and the other half to
thrust the vessel into the water: that done, they righted the old
brigantine, and fastened in a new plank, all which was completed in
three hours, by which time the Indians were weary of fighting, and left
them in peace. The next day they found a desert place, where Orellana
halted to repair both vessels. This took them eighteen days, during
which they suffered much from hunger.

As they drew near the sea, they halted again for fourteen days, to
prepare for their sea-voyage; made cordage of herbs; and sewed the
cloaks, on which they slept, into sails. On the 8th of August, they
proceeded again, anchoring with stones when the tide turned, though it
sometimes came in such strength as to drag these miserable anchors. Here
the natives were happily of a milder mood than those whom they had
lately dealt with. From them they procured roots and Indian corn; and,
having laid in what store they could, they made ready to enter upon the
sea in these frail vessels, with their miserable tackling, and with
insufficient food, without pilot, compass, or any knowledge of the

It was on the 26th of August that they sailed out of the river, passing
between two islands, which were about four leagues asunder. The whole
length of the voyage from the place where they had embarked to the sea
they computed at eighteen hundred leagues. Thus far their weather had
been always favorable, and it did not fail them now. They kept along the
coast to the northward, just at safe distance. The two brigantines
parted company in the night. They in the larger one got into the Gulf of
Paria, from whence all their labor at the oar for seven days could not
extricate them. During this time, they lived upon a sort of plum called
"nogos," being the only food they could find. At length they were
whirled through those tremendous channels which Columbus called the
"Dragon's mouths," and, September the 11th, not knowing where they were,
reached the Island of Cubagua, where they found a colony of their
countrymen. The old brigantine had arrived at the same place two days
before them. Here they were received with the welcome which their
wonderful adventure deserved; and from hence Orellana proceeded to
Spain, to give the king an account of his discoveries in person.



Orellana arrived safe in Spain, and was favorably received. His act of
insubordination in leaving his commander was forgotten in the success of
his achievement; for it had been successful, even if the naked facts
only had been told, inasmuch as it was the first event which led to any
certain knowledge of the immense regions that stretch eastward from the
Andes to the ocean, besides being in itself one of the most brilliant
adventures of that remarkable age. But Orellana's accounts went far
beyond these limits, and confirming all previous tales of the wonderful
Eldorado, with its temples roofed with gold, and its mountains composed
of precious stones, drew to his standard numerous followers. Every thing
promised fairly. The king granted him a commission to conquer the
countries which he had explored. He raised funds for the expedition, and
even found a wife who was willing to accompany him in May, 1544, he set
sail with four ships and four hundred men.

But the tide of Orellana's fortune had turned. He stopped three months
at Teneriffe, and two at the Cape de Verde, where ninety-eight of his
people died, and fifty were invalided. The expedition proceeded with
three ships, and met with contrary winds, which detained them till their
water was exhausted; and, had it not been for heavy rains, all must have
perished. One ship put back in this distress, with seventy men and
eleven horses on board, and was never heard of after. The remaining two
reached the river. Having ascended about a hundred leagues, they stopped
to build a brigantine. Provisions were scarce here, and fifty-seven more
of his party died. These men were not, like his former comrades,
seasoned to the climate, and habituated to the difficulties of the new
world. One ship was broken up here for the materials: the other met with
an accident, and became unserviceable; and they cut her up, and made a
bark of the timbers.

Orellana meanwhile, in the brigantine, was endeavoring to discover the
main branch of the river, which it had been easy to keep when carried
down by the stream, but which he now sought in vain for thirty days
among a labyrinth of channels. When he returned from this fruitless
search, he was ill, and told his people that he would go back to Point
St. Juan; and there he ordered them to seek him when they had got the
bark ready. But he found his sickness increase upon him, and determined
to abandon the expedition, and return to Europe. While he was seeking
provisions for the voyage, the Indians killed seventeen of his men. What
with vexation and disorder, he died in the river. This sealed the fate
of the expedition. The survivors made no further exertions to reach
Eldorado, but returned to their own country as they could. Such was the
fate of Orellana, who, as a discoverer, surpassed all his countrymen;
and though, as a conqueror, he was unfortunate, yet neither is he
chargeable with any of those atrocities toward the unhappy natives which
have left such a stain on the glories of Cortes and Pizarro.

The next attempt we read of to discover Eldorado was made a few years
after, under Hernando de Ribera, by ascending the La Plata, or River of
Paraguay. He sailed in a brigantine with eighty men, and encountered no
hostility from the natives. They confirmed the stories of the Amazons
with their golden city. "How could they get at them?" was the next
question: "by land, or by water?"--"Only by land," was the reply. "But
it was a two-months' journey; and to reach them now would be impossible,
because the country was inundated." The Spaniards made light of this
obstacle, but asked for Indians to carry their baggage. The chief gave
Ribera twenty for himself, and five for each of his men; and these
desperate adventurers set off on their march over a flooded country.

Eight days they travelled through water up to their knees, and sometimes
up to their middle. By slinging their hammocks to trees, and by this
means only, could they find dry positions for the night. Before they
could make a fire to dress their food, they were obliged to raise a rude
scaffolding; and this was unavoidably so insecure, that frequently the
fire burned through, and food and all fell into the water. They reached
another tribe, and were told that the Amazons' country was still nine
days farther on; and then still another tribe, who told them it would
take a month to reach them. Perhaps they would still have advanced; but
here an insuperable obstacle met them. The locusts for two successive
years had devoured every thing before them, and no food was to be had.
The Spaniards had no alternative but to march back. On their way, they
were reduced to great distress for want of food; and from this cause,
and travelling so long half under water, the greater number fell sick,
and many died. Of eighty men who accompanied Ribera upon this dreadful
march, only thirty recovered from its effects.

This expedition added a few items to the story of Eldorado. Ribera
declares under oath that the natives told him of a nation of women,
governed by a woman, and so warlike as to be dreaded by all their
neighbors. They possessed plenty of white and yellow metal: their seats,
and all the utensils in their houses, were made of them. They lived on a
large island, which was in a huge lake, which they called the "Mansion
of the Sun," because the sun sank into it. The only way of accounting
for these stories is, that the Spaniards furnished, in the shape of
questions, the information which they fancied they received in reply;
the Indians assenting to what they understood but imperfectly, or not at


Another expedition, not long after Orellana's, was that conducted by Don
Diego Ordaz, of which Sir Walter Raleigh, in his "History of Guiana,"
gives an account. The expedition failed; Ordaz being slain in a mutiny
of his men, and those who went with him being scattered. The only
noticeable result was in the adventures of one Martinez, an officer of
Ordaz, who had charge of the ammunition. We tell the story in the
language of Sir Walter, slightly modernized:--

     "It chanced, that while Ordaz, with his army, rested at the
     port of Morequito, by some negligence the whole store of powder
     provided for the service was set on fire; and Martinez, having
     the chief charge thereof, was condemned by the general to be
     executed forthwith. Martinez, being much favored by the
     soldiers, had all means possible employed to save his life; but
     it could not be obtained in other way but this,--that he should
     be set into a canoe alone, without any food, and so turned
     loose into the great river. But it pleased God that the canoe
     was carried down the stream, and that certain of the Guianians
     met it the same evening: and, not having at any time seen any
     European, they carried Martinez into the land to be wondered
     at; and so from town to town until he came to the great city of
     Manoa, the seat and residence of Inga, the emperor. The
     emperor, when he beheld him, knew him to be a Christian of
     those who had conquered the neighboring country of Peru, and
     caused him to be lodged in his palace, and well entertained. He
     lived seven months in Manoa, but was not suffered to wander
     into the country anywhere. He was also brought thither all the
     way blindfolded by the Indians, until he came to the entrance
     of Manoa itself. He avowed at his death that he entered the
     city at noon, and then they uncovered his face; and that he
     travelled all that day till night through the city, ere he came
     to the palace of Inga.

     "After Martinez had lived seven months in Manoa, and began to
     understand the language of the country, Inga asked him whether
     he desired to return to his own country, or would willingly
     abide with him. Martinez, not desirous to stay, obtained
     permission of Inga to depart, who sent with him some Guianians
     to conduct him to the river of Orinoco, with as much gold as
     they could carry, which he gave to Martinez at his departure.
     But, when he arrived at the river's side, the natives, being at
     that time at war with Inga, robbed him and his Guianians of all
     his treasure, save only two bottles made of gourds, which were
     filled with beads of gold, which those people thought to
     contain his drink or food, with which he was at liberty to
     depart. So, in a canoe, he passed down by the river to
     Trinidad, and from thence to Porto Rico, where he died. In the
     time of his extreme sickness, and when he was without hope of
     life, receiving the sacrament at the hands of his confessor, he
     delivered this relation of his travels, and also called for his
     calabazas, or gourds of gold beads, which he gave to the church
     and the friars, to be prayed for.

     "This Martinez was the one who christened the city of Manoa by
     the name 'Eldorado,' and upon this occasion. At the times of
     their solemn feasts, when the emperor carouses with his
     captains, tributaries, and governors, the manner is thus: All
     those that pledge him are first stripped naked, and their
     bodies anointed all over with a kind of white balsam very
     precious. When they are anointed all over, certain servants of
     the emperor, having prepared gold made into fine powder, blow
     it through hollow canes upon their naked bodies until they be
     all shining from the head to the foot. Upon this sight, and for
     the abundance of gold which he saw in the city, the images of
     gold in their temples, the plates, armors, and shields of gold
     which they use in the wars, he called it Eldorado."

Such is Sir Walter's narrative of one of the traditions which fired his
enthusiasm to undertake the conquest of Eldorado. He asserts that he
read it in "The Chancery of Saint Juan de Porto Rico," of which Berrio
had a copy. It is pretty plainly tinctured with fable, but probably had
an historical foundation.

After this, a good many years elapsed before any other expedition of
note was fitted out in search of Eldorado. But the story grew,
notwithstanding. An imaginary kingdom was shaped out. It was governed by
a potentate who was called the Great Paytiti, sometimes the Great Moxu,
sometimes the Enim, or Great Pará. An impostor at Lima affirmed that he
had been in his capital, the city of Manoa, where not fewer than three
thousand workmen were employed in the silversmiths' street. He even
produced a map of the country, in which he had marked a hill of gold,
another of silver, and a third of salt. The columns of the palace were
described as of porphyry and alabaster, the galleries of ebony and
cedar: the throne was of ivory, and the ascent to it by steps of gold.
The palace was built of white stone. At the entrance were two towers,
and between them a column twenty-five feet in height. On its top was a
large silver moon; and two living lions were fastened to its base with
chains of gold. Having passed by these keepers, you came into a
quadrangle planted with trees, and watered by a silver fountain, which
spouted through four golden pipes. The gate of the palace was of copper,
and its bolt was received in the solid rock. Within, a golden sun was
placed upon an altar of silver; and four lamps were kept burning before
it day and night.

It may surprise us that tales so palpably false as these should have
deceived any, to such an extent as to lead them to get up costly and
hazardous expeditions to go in search of the wonder; but we must
remember, that what the Spaniards had already realized and demonstrated
to the world in their conquests of Mexico and Peru was hardly less
astonishing than these accounts. It is therefore no wonder that
multitudes should be found willing to admit so much of the marvels of
Eldorado as to see in them a sufficient inducement to justify the
search; and others less credulous were perhaps willing to avail
themselves of the credulity of the multitude to accomplish plans of
conquest and ambition for themselves. Of the latter class, we may
imagine the celebrated Sir Walter Raleigh to be one, who, at this time,
undertook an expedition for the discovery and conquest of Eldorado.



Walter Raleigh was born in the year 1552 in Devonshire, England, and
received a good education, completed by a residence of two years at the
University of Oxford. At the age of seventeen, he joined a volunteer
corps of English to serve in France in aid of the Protestant cause.
Afterwards he served five years in the Netherlands. In 1576, he
accompanied his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, on an expedition to
colonize some part of North America; which expedition was unsuccessful.
We next find him commanding a company of the royal troops in Ireland
during the rebellion raised by the Earl of Desmond. In consequence of
some serious differences which arose between him and his superior
officer, he found it necessary to repair to court to justify himself. It
was at this time that an incident occurred which recommended him to the
notice of Queen Elizabeth, and was the foundation of his fortunes.
Raleigh stood in the crowd one day where the queen passed on foot; and
when she came to a spot of muddy ground, and hesitated for a moment
where to step, he sprang forward, and, throwing from his shoulders his
handsome cloak ("his clothes being then," says a quaint old writer, "a
considerable part of his estate"), he spread it over the mud, so that
the queen passed over dry-shod, doubtless giving an approving look to
the handsome and quick-witted young officer. There is another story
which is not less probable, because it is not less in character with
both the parties. Finding some hopes of the queen's favor glancing on
him, he wrote, on a window where it was likely to meet her eye,--

"Fain would I climb, but that I fear to fall."

And her majesty, espying it, wrote underneath,--

"If thy heart fail thee, wherefore climb at all?"

His progress in the queen's favor was enhanced by his demeanor when the
matter in dispute between him and his superior officer was brought
before the privy council, and each party was called upon to plead his
own cause. "What advantage he had in the case in controversy," says a
contemporary writer, "I know not; but he had much the better in the
manner of telling his tale." The result was, that he became a man of "no
slight mark;" "he had gotten the queen's ear in a trice;" "she took him
for a kind of oracle," and "loved to hear his reasons to her demands,"
or, in more modern phrase, "his replies to her questions."

The reign of Queen Elizabeth has been called the heroic age of England.
And, let us remember, the England of that day is ours as much as theirs
who still bear the name of Englishmen. The men whose gallant deeds we
now record were our ancestors, and their glory is our inheritance.

The Reformation in religion had awakened all the energies of the human
mind. It had roused against England formidable enemies, among which
Spain was the most powerful and the most intensely hostile. She fitted
out the famous Armada to invade England; and England, on her part, sent
various expeditions to annoy the Spaniards in their lately acquired
possessions in South America. These expeditions were generally got up by
private adventurers; the queen and her great nobles often taking a share
in them. When there was nominal peace with Spain, such enterprises were
professedly for discovery and colonization, though the adventurers could
not always keep their hands off a rich prize of Spanish property that
fell in their way; but, for the last fifteen years of Elizabeth's reign,
there was open war between the two powers: and then these expeditions
had for their first object the annoyance of Spain, and discovery and
colonization for their second.

We find Raleigh, after fortune began to smile upon him, engaged in a
second expedition, with Sir Humphrey Gilbert, for discovery and
colonization in America. He furnished, from his own means, a ship called
"The Raleigh," on board of which he embarked; but when a few days out, a
contagious disease breaking out among the crew, he put back into port,
and relinquished the expedition. Sir Humphrey, with the rest of the
squadron, consisting of five vessels, reached Newfoundland without
accident, took possession of the island, and left a colony there. He
then set out exploring along the American coast to the south, he himself
doing all the work in his little ten-ton cutter; the service being too
dangerous for the larger vessels to venture on. He spent the summer in
this labor till toward the end of August, when, in a violent storm, one
of the larger vessels, "The Delight," was lost with all her crew. "The
Golden Hind" and "Squirrel" were now left alone of the five ships. Their
provisions were running short, and the season far advanced; and Sir
Humphrey reluctantly concluded to lay his course for home. He still
continued in the small vessel, though vehemently urged by his friends to
remove to the larger one. "I will not forsake my little company, going
homeward," said he, "with whom I have passed so many storms and perils."
On the 9th of September, the weather was rough, and the cutter was with
difficulty kept afloat, struggling with the violence of the waves. When
the vessels came within hearing distance, Sir Humphrey cried out to his
companions in "The Hind," "Be of good courage: we are as near to heaven
by sea as by land." "That night, at about twelve o'clock," writes the
historian of the voyage, who was himself one of the adventurers, "the
cutter being ahead of us in 'The Golden Hind,' suddenly her lights were
out, and the watch cried, 'The general is cast away!' which was too
true." So perished a Christian hero. It was a fine end for a mortal man.
Let us not call it sad or tragic, but heroic and sublime.

Raleigh, not discouraged by the ill success of this expedition, shortly
after obtained letters-patent for another enterprise of the same kind,
on the same terms as had been granted to Sir Humphrey. Two barks were
sent to explore some undiscovered part of America north of Florida, and
look out for a favorable situation for the proposed colony. This
expedition landed on Roanoke Island, near the mouth of Albemarle Sound.
Having taken formal possession of the country for the Queen of England
and her servant Sir Walter Raleigh, they returned, and gave so favorable
an account of the country, that her Majesty allowed it to be called
Virginia, after herself, a virgin queen. The next year, Raleigh sent out
a second expedition, and left a colony of a hundred men, which was the
first colony planted by Englishmen on the continent of America. Soon
after, Raleigh sent a third expedition with a hundred and fifty
colonists; but having now expended forty thousand pounds upon these
attempts, and being unable to persist further, or weary of waiting so
long for profitable returns, he assigned over his patent to a company of
merchants, and withdrew from further prosecution of the enterprise.

The years which followed were the busiest of Raleigh's adventurous life.
He bore a distinguished part in the defeat of the Spanish Armada; and,
in the triumphant procession to return thanks at St. Paul's for that
great deliverance, he was conspicuous as commander of the queen's guard.
He was a member of Parliament, yet engaged personally in two naval
expeditions against the Spaniards, from which he reaped honor, but no
profit; and was at the height of favor with the queen. But, during his
absence at sea, the queen discovered that an intrigue existed between
Raleigh and one of the maids of honor, which was an offence particularly
displeasing to Elizabeth, who loved to fancy that all her handsome young
courtiers were too much attached to herself to be capable of loving any
other object. Raleigh, on his return, was committed a prisoner to the
Tower, and, on being released after a short confinement, retired to his
estate in Dorsetshire. It was during this retirement that he formed his
scheme for the discovery and conquest of Eldorado. It had long been a
subject of meditation to Raleigh, who declares in the dedication of his
"History of Guiana," published after his return, that "many years since,
he had knowledge, by relation, of that mighty, rich, and beautiful
empire of Guiana, and of that great and golden city which the Spaniards
call Eldorado, and the naturals Manoa."--"It is not possible," says one
of the historians of these events, "that Raleigh could have believed
the existence of such a kingdom. Credulity was not the vice of his
nature; but, having formed the project of colonizing Guiana, he employed
these fables as baits for vulgar cupidity." Other writers judge him more
favorably. It is probably true that he believed in the existence of such
a country as Eldorado; but we can hardly suppose that he put faith in
all the marvellous details which accompanied the main fact in popular



As the attempts of Pizarro and Orellana were made by the route of the
river of the Amazons, and that of Ribera by the river of Paraguay,
Raleigh's approach was by the Orinoco, a river second in size only to
the Amazons, and which flows in a course somewhat parallel to that, and
some five or ten degrees farther to the north. The region of country
where this river discharges itself into the Atlantic was nominally in
possession of the Spaniards, though they had but one settlement in what
was called the province of Guiana,--the town of St. Joseph, then
recently founded; and another on the island of Trinidad, which lies
nearly opposite the mouth of the river. Raleigh, arriving at Trinidad,
stopped some days to procure such intelligence as the Spaniards resident
there could afford him respecting Guiana. He then proceeded to the main
land, destroyed the town which the Spaniards had lately built there,
and took the governor, Berrio, on board his own ship. He used his
prisoner well, and "gathered from him," he says, "as much of Guiana as
he knew." Berrio seems to have conversed willingly upon his own
adventures in exploring the country, having no suspicion of Raleigh's
views. He discouraged Raleigh's attempts to penetrate into the country,
telling him that he would find the river unnavigable for his ships, and
the nations hostile. These representations had little weight with
Raleigh, as he attributed them to a very natural wish on Berrio's part
to keep off foreigners from his province; but, on trying to find the
entrance to the river, he discovered Berrio's account to be true, so far
as related to the difficulties of the navigation. After a thorough
search for a practicable entrance, he gave up all hopes of passing in
any large vessel, and resolved to go with the boats. He took in his
largest boat, with himself, sixty men, including his cousin, his nephew,
and principal officers. Another boat carried twenty, and two others ten
each. "We had no other means," he says in his account afterward
published, "but to carry victual for a month in the same, and also to
lodge therein as we could, and to boil and dress our meat."

The Orinoco, at nearly forty leagues from the sea, forms, like the Nile,
a kind of fan, strewed over with a multitude of little islands, that
divide it into numerous branches and channels, and force it to discharge
itself through this labyrinth into the sea by an infinity of mouths,
occupying an extent of more than sixty leagues. "The Indians who inhabit
those islands," says Raleigh, "in the summer, have houses upon the
ground, as in other places; in the winter they dwell upon the trees,
where they build very artificial towns and villages: for, between May
and September, the river rises to thirty feet upright, and then are
those islands overflowed twenty feet high above the level of the ground;
and for this cause they are enforced to live in this manner. They use
the tops of palmitos for bread; and kill deer, fish, and porks for the
rest of their sustenance." Raleigh's account is confirmed by later
travellers. Humboldt says, "The navigator, in proceeding along the
channels of the delta of the Orinoco at night, sees with surprise the
summits of the palm-trees illuminated by large fires. These are the
habitations of the Guaraons, which are suspended from the trees. These
tribes hang up mats in the air, which they fill with earth, and kindle,
on a layer of moist clay, the fire necessary for their household

Passing up with the flood, and anchoring during the ebb, Raleigh and his
companions went on, till on the third day their galley grounded, and
stuck so fast, that they feared their discovery must end there, and they
be left to inhabit, like rooks upon trees, with these nations; but on
the morrow, after casting out all her ballast, with tugging and hauling
to and fro, they got her afloat. After four days more, they got beyond
the influence of the tide, and were forced to row against a violent
current, till they began to despair; the weather being excessively hot,
and the river bordered with high trees, that kept away the air. Their
provisions began to fail them; but some relief they found by shooting
birds of all colors,--carnation, crimson, orange, purple, and of all
other sorts, both simple and mixed. An old Indian whom they had pressed
into their service was a faithful guide to them, and brought them to an
Indian village, where they got a supply of bread, fish, and fowl. They
were thus encouraged to persevere, and next day captured two canoes
laden with bread, "and divers baskets of roots, which were excellent
meat." Probably these roots were no other than potatoes; for the
mountains of Quito, to which Sir Walter was now approaching, were the
native country of the potato, and the region from whence it was first
introduced into Europe. The Spaniards and Portuguese introduced it
earlier than the English; but to Raleigh belongs the credit of making it
known to his countrymen. The story is, that Sir Walter, on his return
home, had some of the roots planted in his garden at Youghal, in
Ireland, and that his gardener was sadly disappointed in autumn on
tasting the apples of the "fine American fruit," and proceeded to root
up the "useless weeds," when he discovered the tubers.

Raleigh treated the natives with humanity, and, in turn, received
friendly treatment from them. The chiefs told him fine stories about the
gold-mines; but, unfortunately, the gold was not to be had without
labor, and the adventurers were in no condition to undertake mining
operations. What they wanted was to find a region like Mexico or Peru,
only richer, where gold might be found, not in the rocks or the bowels
of the earth, but in possession of the natives, in the form of barbaric
ornaments that they would freely barter for European articles, or images
of their gods, such as Christians might seize and carry away with an
approving conscience.

Thus far, their search for such a region had been unsuccessful, and
their only hope was of reaching it by farther explorations. But the
river was rising daily, and the current flowed with such rapidity, that
they saw clearly, if it went on to increase as it had done for some time
past, it must soon debar all farther progress.

Raleigh found by talking with the chiefs that they were all hostile to
the Spaniards, and willing enough to promise him their aid in driving
them out of the country. He accordingly told them that he was sent by a
great and virtuous queen to deliver them from the tyranny of the
Spaniards. He also learned that the Indians with whom he was conversing
were an oppressed race, having been conquered by a nation who dwelt
beyond the mountains,--a nation who wore large coats, and hats of
crimson color, and whose houses had many rooms, one over the other. They
were called the Eperumei; and against them all the other tribes would
gladly combine, for they were the general oppressors. Moreover, the
country of these Eperumei abounded in gold and all other good things.

He continued to make daily efforts to ascend the river, and to explore
the tributary streams, but found his progress debarred in some quarters
by the rapid current of the swollen streams, and in others by falls in
the rivers. The falls of one of the tributaries of the Orinoco, the
Caroli, he describes as "a wonderful breach of waters, running in three
parts; and there appeared some ten or twelve over-falls in sight, every
one as high over the other as a church-tower." He was informed that the
lake from which the river issued was above a day's journey for one of
their canoes to cross, which he computed at about forty miles; that many
rivers fall into it, and great store of grains of gold was found in
those rivers. On one of these rivers, he was told, a nation of people
dwell "whose heads appear not above their shoulders;" which, he says,
"though it may be thought a mere fable, yet, for my own part, I am
resolved it is true, because every child in those provinces affirm the
same. They are reported to have their eyes in their shoulders, and their
mouths in the middle of their breasts, and that a long train of hair
growth backward between their shoulders." Raleigh adds, "It was not my
chance to hear of them till I was come away. If I had but spoken one
word of it while I was there, I might have brought one of them with me
to put the matter out of doubt." It might have been more satisfactory
for the philosophers if he had done so; but his word was quite enough
for the poets. One of that class, and the greatest of all, William
Shakspeare, was, at that very time, writing plays for the gratification
of Raleigh's gracious mistress and her subjects, and eagerly availed
himself of this new-discovered tribe to introduce one of them in his
play of "The Tempest," under the name of Caliban. He also makes Othello
tell the gentle Desdemona "of most disastrous chances, and of the
cannibals that each other eat; the Anthropophagi, and men whose heads do
grow beneath their shoulders." Nor are these the only instances in which
we think we trace the influence of the romantic adventurer on the
susceptible poet. The name of the divinity whom Caliban calls "my dam's
God Setebos" occurs in Raleigh's narrative as the name of an Indian
tribe; and Trinculo's plan of taking Caliban to England to make a show
of him seems borrowed from this hint of Raleigh's. In his days of
prosperity, Raleigh instituted a meeting of intellectual men at "The
Mermaid," a celebrated tavern. To this club, Shakspeare, Beaumont,
Fletcher, Jonson, Selden, Donne, and other distinguished literary men,
were accustomed to repair; and here doubtless the adventures and
discoveries of Sir Walter, set forth with that talent of which his
writings furnish abundant proof, often engaged the listening group.
Raleigh was then forty-eight, and Shakspeare thirty-six, years old. But,
in justice to Raleigh, it should be added, that he did not invent these
stories, and that later travellers and missionaries testify that such
tales were current among the Indians, though as yet no specimen of the
tribe has been seen by trustworthy narrators.

Raleigh now found that he must bring his westward progress to a
conclusion: "for no half-day passed but the river began to rage and
overflow very fearfully; and the rains came down in terrible showers,
and gusts in great abundance, and men began to cry out for want of
shift; for no man had place to bestow any other apparel than that which
he wore on his back, and that was thoroughly washed on his body for the
most part ten times a day; and we had now been near a month, every day
passing to the westward, farther from our ships." They turned back,
therefore, and, passing down the stream, went, without labor and against
the wind, little less than one hundred miles a day. They stopped
occasionally, both for provisions, and for conference with the natives.
In particular, one old chief, with whom he had conferred formerly on his
ascent, gave him the confidential communication, that the attempt to
attack the city of Manoa, at that time, was desperate; for neither the
time of the year was favorable, nor had he nearly a sufficient force. He
advised, that, forbearing any further attempts at that time, Raleigh
should rest satisfied with the information he had gained, and return to
his own country for a larger force, with which to come again the next
year, and unite all the tribes which were hostile to the Eperumei, or
people of Manoa, and by their aid make an easy conquest of them. The old
chief added, that, for his part and his people's, they wanted no share
of the spoils of gold or precious stones: they only wanted to be avenged
on their enemies, and to rescue from them their women whom the Eperumei
had carried away in their frequent incursions; "so that, whereas they
were wont to have ten or twelve wives apiece, they were now enforced to
content themselves with three or four."

Raleigh met with no material misadventure in his way down the river;
and, though a storm attacked them the same night, they anchored in the
mouth of the river; so that, in spite of every shelter they could derive
from the shores, the galley "had as much to do to live as could be, and
there wanted little of her sinking, and all those in her:" yet next day
they arrived safe at the Island of Trinidad, and found the ships at
anchor, "than which," says Raleigh, "there was never to us a more joyful

Raleigh was not favorably received by the queen on his return, nor was
he welcomed with any popular applause; for he had brought home no booty,
and his account of the riches of the land into which he had led the way
was received with suspicion. He published it under this boastful title:
"The Discovery of the large, rich, and beautiful Empire of Guiana; with
a relation of the great and Golden City of Manoa, which the Spaniards
call Eldorado. Performed by Sir Walter Raleigh." In spite of all the
great promises which he held out, the acknowledgment that he had made a
losing voyage tended to abate that spirit of cupidity and enterprise
which he wished to excite.

Sir Walter's history of his expedition contains, besides the marvels
already cited, numerous others, some of which have a basis of fact,
others not. Of the former kind is his account of oysters growing on
trees. He says, "We arrived at Trinidado the 22d of March, casting
anchor at Port Curiapan. I left the ships, and kept by the shore in my
barge, the better to understand the rivers, watering-places, and ports
of the island. In the way, I passed divers little brooks of fresh
water, and one salt river, that had store of oysters upon the branches
of the trees. All their oysters grow upon those boughs and sprays, and
not on the ground. The like is commonly seen in the West Indies and

Upon this narrative, Sir Robert Schomburgh, a late explorer, has the
following remark: "The first accounts brought to Europe, of oysters
growing on trees, raised as great astonishment as the relation of
Eldorado itself; and to those who were unacquainted with the fact that
these mollusks select the branches of the tree, on which they fix
themselves during high water, when the branches are immersed, it may
certainly sound strange, that shells, which we know live in Europe on
banks in the depths of the sea, should be found in the West Indies on
the branches of trees. They attach themselves chiefly to the
mangrove-tree, which grows along the shore of the sea, and rivers of
brackish water, and covers immense tracts of coast; rooting and
vegetating in a manner peculiar to itself, even as far as low-water
mark. The water flowing off during ebb leaves the branches, with the
oysters attached to them, high and dry."

Respecting the Republic of Amazons, Sir Walter says, "I made inquiry
among the most ancient and best travelled of the Orenoqueponi; and I
was very desirous to understand the truth of those warlike women,
because of some it is believed, of others not. I will set down what hath
been delivered me for truth of those women; and I spake with a cacique,
or lord of people, who said that he had been in the river, and beyond it
also. The nations of those women are on the south side of the river, in
the province of Topago; and their chiefest strengths and retreats are in
the islands of said river. They accompany with men but once in a year,
and for the time of one month, which, I gather from their relation, to
be in April. At that time, all the kings of the borders assemble, and
the queens of the Amazons; and, after the queens have chosen, the rest
cast lots for their valentines. This one month they feast, dance, and
drink of their wines in abundance; and, the moon being done, they all
depart to their own provinces. If a son be born, they return him to the
father; if a daughter, they nourish it and retain it, all being desirous
to increase their own sex and kind. They carry on wars, and are very
blood-thirsty and cruel."

Sir Robert Schomburgh, who explored these regions extensively between
the years 1835 and 1844, says, in reference to this subject, "The
result of this fatiguing and perilous journey has only strengthened our
conviction that this republic of women was one of those inventions,
designed merely to enhance the wonders, of which the new world was
regarded as the seat." It would, however, be unjust to condemn Raleigh's
proneness to a belief in their existence, when we find that Condamine
believed in them; that Humboldt hesitated to decide against them; and
that even Southey, the learned historian of Brazil, makes this remark,
"Had we never heard of the Amazons of antiquity, I should, without
hesitation, believe in those of America. Their existence is not the less
likely for that reason; and yet it must be admitted, that the probable
truth is made to appear suspicious by its resemblance to a known



When Raleigh, on his first arrival, broke up the Spanish settlement in
Trinidad, he took Berrio, the governor, prisoner, and carried him with
him in his voyage up the river. Berrio seems to have borne his fate with
good temper, and conciliated the good will of Raleigh; so that, when the
expedition returned to the mouth of the river, he was set at liberty,
and collected his little colony again. Berrio probably shared the same
belief as Raleigh in the existence of the kingdom of Eldorado within the
limits of his province, and was naturally desirous to avail himself of
the respite which he gained by the termination of Raleigh's expedition,
until it should return in greater force to penetrate to Eldorado, and
take possession for himself and his countrymen. With these views, he
sent an officer of his, Domingo de Vera, to Spain, to levy men; sending,
according to Raleigh's account, "divers images, as well of men as of
beasts, birds, and fishes, cunningly wrought in gold," in hopes to
persuade the king to yield him some further help. This agent was more
successful than Raleigh in obtaining belief. He is described as a man of
great ability, and little scrupulous as to truth. Having been favorably
received by the government, he attracted notice by appearing in a
singular dress, which, as he was of great stature, and rode always a
great horse, drew all eyes, and made him generally known as the Indian
chief of Eldorado and the rich lands. Some trinkets in gold he
displayed, of Indian workmanship, and some emeralds, which he had
brought from America, and promised stores of both; and, by the aid of
influential persons, he obtained seventy thousand dollars at Madrid, and
five thousand afterwards at Seville, authority to raise any number of
adventurers (though Berrio had asked only for three hundred men), and
five good ships to carry them out. Adventurers flocked to him in Toledo,
La Mancha, and Estremadura. The expedition was beyond example popular.
Twenty captains of infantry, who had served in Italy and Flanders,
joined it. Not only those who had their fortunes to seek were deluded:
men of good birth and expectations left all to engage in the conquest of
Eldorado; and fathers of families gave up their employments, and sold
their goods, and embarked with their wives and children. Solicitations
and bribes were made use of by eager volunteers. The whole expedition
consisted of more than two thousand persons.

They reached Trinidad after a prosperous voyage, and took possession of
the town. The little mischief which Raleigh had done had been easily
repaired; for indeed there was little that he could do. The place did
not contain thirty families, and the strangers were to find shelter as
they could. Rations of biscuit and salt meat, pulse, or rice, were
served out to them; but, to diminish the consumption as much as
possible, detachments were sent off in canoes to the main land, where
Berrio had founded the town of St. Thomas. Some flotillas effected their
progress safely; but one, which consisted of six canoes, met with bad
weather, and only three succeeded in entering the river, after throwing
their cargoes overboard. The others made the nearest shore, where they
were descried by the Caribs, a fierce tribe of natives, who slew them
all, except a few women whom they carried away, and one soldier, who
escaped to relate the fate of his companions.

The city of St. Thomas contained at that time four hundred men, besides
women and children. Berrio, to prepare the way for the discovery and
conquest of Eldorado, sent out small parties of the new-comers under
experienced persons, that they might be seasoned to the difficulties
which they would have to undergo, and learn how to conduct themselves in
their intercourse with the Indians. They were to spread the news that
the king had sent out many Spaniards, and a large supply of axes, caps,
hawk-bells, looking-glasses, combs, and such other articles of traffic
as were in most request. They saw no appearance of those riches which
Raleigh had heard of, nor of that plenty which he had found. The people
with whom they met had but a scanty subsistence for themselves, and so
little of gold or silver or any thing else to barter for the hatchets
and trinkets of the Spaniards, that they were glad of the chance to
labor as boatmen, or give their children, in exchange for them.

Berrio was not discouraged by the result of these journeys. Like
Raleigh, he was persuaded that the great and golden city stood on the
banks of a great lake, from which the River Caroli issued, about twelve
leagues east of the mouth whereof his town was placed. A force of eight
hundred men was now ordered on the discovery. The command was given to
Correa, an officer accustomed to Indian warfare. Three Franciscan monks,
and a lay brother of the same order, accompanied the expedition. Having
reached a spot where the country was somewhat elevated, and the
temperature cooler than in the region they had passed, they hutted
themselves on a sort of prairie, and halted there in the hope that rest
might restore those who began to feel the effect of an unwholesome
climate. The natives not only abstained from any acts of hostility, but
supplied them with fruits, and a sort of cassava (tapioca). This they
did in sure knowledge that disease would soon subdue these new-come
Spaniards to their hands. It was not long before a malignant fever broke
out among the adventurers, which carried off a third part of their
number. One comfort only was left them: the friars continued every day
to perform mass in a place where all the sufferers could hear it; and no
person died without performing and receiving all the offices which the
Romish Church has enjoined. Correa himself sank under the disease. He
might possibly have escaped it, acclimated as he was, if he had not
overtasked himself when food was to be sought from a distance, and
carried heavy loads to spare those who were less equal to the labor: for
now the crafty Indians no longer brought supplies, but left the
weakened Spaniards to provide for themselves as they could; and when
Correa was dead, of whom, as a man accustomed to Indian war, they stood
in fear, they collected their forces, and fell upon the Spaniards, who
apprehended no danger, and were most of them incapable of making any
defence. The plan appears to have been concerted with a young Indian
chief who accompanied the Spaniards under pretence of friendship; and
the women whom the Indians brought with them to carry home the spoils of
their enemies bore their part with stones and stakes in the easy
slaughter. The Spaniards who escaped the first attack fled with all
speed, some without weapons, and some without strength to use them. The
friars were the last to fly. With the soldiers to protect them, they
brought off their portable altar, two crosses, and a crucifix. No
attempt at resistance was made, except when a fugitive fell by the way.
The word then passed for one of the fathers: some soldiers stood with
their muskets to protect him while he hastily confessed and absolved the
poor wretch, whom his countrymen then commended to God, and left to the
mercy of the Indians.

In some places, the enemy set fire to the grass and shrubbery, which in
that climate grow with extreme luxuriance; by which means many of this
miserable expedition perished. Not quite thirty out of the whole number
got safe back to the town of St. Thomas. That place was in a deplorable
state, suffering at once from a contagious disease and from a scarcity
of provisions. To add to the distress, about a hundred persons more had
just arrived from Trinidad. They came of necessity; for there were no
longer supplies of food at Trinidad to sustain them. But they came with
high-raised hopes, only repining at their ill luck in not having been in
the first expedition, by which they supposed the first spoils of
Eldorado had already been shared. They arrived like skeletons at a city
of death. Not only were provisions scarce, but the supply of salt had
altogether failed; and, without it, health in that climate cannot be
preserved. To add to their misery, the shoes had all been consumed, and
the country was infested by that insect (the chigua) which burrows in
the feet, and attacks the flesh wherever the slightest wound gives it
access. The torment occasioned by these insects was such, that the men
willingly submitted to the only remedy they knew of, and had the sores
cauterized with hot iron.

Among those who had come from Spain to enter upon this land of promise,
there was a "beata," or pious woman, who had been attached to a convent
in Madrid, and accompanied a married daughter and her husband on this
unhappy adventure, and devoted herself to the service of the sick. Some
of the women, and she among them, looking upon the governor, Berrio, as
the cause of their miseries, and thinking, that, as long as he lived,
there was no hope of their escaping from this fatal place, resolved to
murder him, and provided themselves with knives for the purpose. The
indignation against him was so general, that they hesitated not to
impart their design to one of the friars; and, luckily for Berrio, he
interposed his influence to prevent it. One of the women who had sold
her possessions in Spain to join the expedition made her way to the
governor when the officers and friars were with him, and, emptying upon
the ground before him a bag which contained one hundred and fifty
doubloons, said, "Tyrant, take what is left, since you have brought us
here to die." Berrio replied, with less of anger than of distress in his
countenance, "I gave no orders to Domingo de Vera that he should bring
more than three hundred men." He offered no opposition to the departure
of such as would. Many who had strength or resolution enough trusted
themselves to the river in such canoes as they could find, without
boatmen or pilot, and endeavored to make their way back to Trinidad;
some perishing by the hands of the natives, others by drowning, others
by hunger, on the marshy shores which they reached. Vera soon died of a
painful disease in Trinidad; and Berrio did not long survive him. Such
was the issue of this great attempt for the conquest of the golden
empire; "of which," says an old Spanish historian, "it may be said, that
it was like Nebuchadnezzar's image, beginning in gold, but continuing
through baser metal, till it ended in rude iron and base clay."



Raleigh's first voyage disappointed every one but himself. He pretended
to have obtained satisfactory evidence of the existence of Eldorado, and
information of the place where it was; also proof of the existence of
mines of gold; and to have conciliated the good will of the natives, and
secured their co-operation with him in any future attempt. But he had
brought home no gold; the shining stones which his followers had
abundantly supplied themselves with were found to be worthless: and
there was no evidence of the existence of a native sovereignty as far
advanced in civilization and refinement as the Mexicans and Peruvians,
the conquest of which would reflect as much glory upon the English name
as the achievements of Cortez and Pizarro had reflected upon that of
Spain. Raleigh's boastful representations, therefore, failed of effect.
None of his countrymen were inclined to join with him in a further
prosecution of the enterprise; and the subject was dropped for the time.

Raleigh was soon restored to favor, and employed in the naval
expeditions against Spain which took place at this time. He greatly
distinguished himself on several occasions, and was in high favor with
Queen Elizabeth till her death; but, with the accession of James, his
fortunes fell. He was accused (whether justly or not is still doubtful)
of being concerned in treasonable plots against the king, and was
brought to trial, found guilty, condemned to death, and committed
prisoner to the Tower to await the execution of his sentence.

Raleigh, withdrawn from active labors by his imprisonment, was not idle.
He turned to intellectual pursuits, and, with many minor pieces in prose
and verse, executed his greatest work, "The History of the World,"--a
project of such vast extent, that the bare idea of his undertaking it
excites our admiration. As an author, he stands on an eminence as high
as that which he obtained in other paths. Hume says, "He is the best
model of our ancient style;" and Hallam confirms the judgment. His
imprisonment lasted thirteen years. At the expiration of that time, he
had influence to have his sentence so far remitted as to allow him to
go on a second expedition in search of Eldorado. Twenty years had
elapsed since the former expedition; and the present was of a magnitude
more like a national enterprise than a private one. Sir Walter's own
ship, "The Destiny," carried thirty-six guns and two hundred men. There
were six other vessels, carrying from twenty-five guns to three each.
Raleigh embarked all his means in this expedition. His eldest son
commanded one of the ships; and eighty of his companions were gentlemen
volunteers and adventurers, many of them his relations.

Those who have thoughtfully considered Raleigh's career have seen reason
to doubt whether he really believed the stories which he was so anxious
to impress upon others. They have thought it more likely that his real
object was to emulate the fame of Cortez and Pizarro; to dispossess
Spain of some portion of her conquests in South America, and transfer
them to his own country. This latter object was admissible at the time
of his first expedition, because Spain and England were then at war; but
was not so on the second, as the two nations were then at peace. But
Raleigh had reason to think, that, if he could succeed in his object,
there was no danger of his being called to very strict account
respecting his measures.

He arrived off the coast of Guiana on the 12th of November, 1617; having
had a long and disastrous voyage. One ship had left him, and returned
home; another had foundered; forty-two of his men had died; many were
suffering from sickness, and himself among the number. But he found the
Indians friendly, and not forgetful of his former visit. He writes to
his wife, "To tell you that I might be here king of the country were a
vanity; but my name hath still lived among them here. They feed me with
fresh meat, and all that the country yields. All offer to obey me."

Being too feeble from sickness to go himself, he sent forward an
expedition, under Capt. Keymis, to enter the Orinoco, and take
possession of the mines. Five companies of fifty men each, in five
shallops, composed the expedition; Raleigh, with the remainder of his
vessels, repairing to Trinidad to await the result.

Since Raleigh's former expedition, the Spaniards had made a settlement
upon the main land, and founded a town to which they gave the name of
St. Thomas. The governor resided there, and there were in all about
five hundred inhabitants. On the 12th of January, the English flotilla
reached a part of the river twelve leagues from St. Thomas; and an
Indian fisherman carried the alarm to that place. The governor,
Palameque, mustered immediately the little force which he had at hand.
This consisted of fifty-seven men only. Messengers were sent to summon
those men who were at their farms, and two horsemen were sent out to
watch the invaders' movements.

At eleven in the forenoon, the vessels anchored about a league from the
town. The men landed, and the scouts hastened back with the
intelligence. A Spanish officer, with ten men, was placed in ambush near
the city. As soon as he was informed of the direction which the English
were taking, he cut a match-cord in pieces, which he lighted at dark,
and placed at intervals, where they might deceive the invaders by
presenting the appearance of a greater force. The first discharge was
from two pieces of cannon against the boats. The Spaniard, with his
little band, then opened his fire upon the troops, and kept it up from
the bushes as he retired before them. This skirmishing continued about
an hour and a half, till he had fallen back to the place where the
governor and his people were drawn up, at the entrance of the city, to
make a stand. It was now nine at night. Raleigh says, in his account of
the action, that some of the English, at the first charge, began to
pause and recoil shamefully; whereupon his son, not tarrying for any
musketeers, ran up at the head of a company of pikemen, and received a
shot wound. Pressing then upon a Spanish captain with his sword, the
Spaniard, taking the small end of his musket in his hand, struck him on
the head with the stock, and felled him. His last words were, "Lord,
have mercy upon me, and prosper the enterprise!" and his death was
instantly avenged by his sergeant, who thrust the Spaniard through with
his halberd. In the heat of the fight, and in the confusion which the
darkness occasioned, the Spanish commander was separated from his
people, and slain. The Spaniards, however, had the advantage of knowing
the ground; and, betaking themselves to the houses, they fired from them
on the English, and killed many, till the assailants set fire to the
houses; thus depriving themselves of that booty which was their main
object. The English were now masters of the place; the remainder of the
defendants, with the women and children, under the command of Grados,
the officer who had deported himself so well in the first ambush,
effecting their escape across the river. Grados stationed them at a
place about ten miles distant from the town, where a few slight huts
were erected for the women and children.

The captors searched in vain for gold in the city; but they had an idea
that there was a rich gold-mine a short distance up the river.
Accordingly, two launches, with twenty or thirty men in each, were
despatched up the Orinoco. They came to the mouth of the creek, which
led to the place where Grados had hutted the women and children; and the
largest of the launches was about to enter, when Grados, who had posted
nine of the invalids in ambush there, with about as many Indian bowmen,
fired upon them so unexpectedly, and with such good aim, that only one
of the crew is said to have escaped unhurt. The other launch also
suffered some loss. Three days after, three launches were sent to take
vengeance for this defeat; but Grados had removed his charge some two
leagues into the country, and these vessels went up the river about a
hundred leagues, treating with the Indians, to whom they made presents
and larger promises, and after eighteen or twenty days returned, having
effected nothing of importance.

The English had now been four weeks in the city, annoyed by the
Spaniards and Indians, and losing many of their men, cut off in their
foraging excursions by ambushes. After the unsuccessful attempt to
discover the mine, no further effort was made for that purpose; Keymis
alleging in his excuse, that "the Spaniards, being gone off in a whole
body, lay in the woods between the mine and us, and it was impossible,
except they had been beaten out of the country, to pass up the woods and
craggy hills without the loss of the commanders, without whom the rest
would easily be cut to pieces." The English, accordingly, retreated from
the city, setting fire to the few houses that remained, and promising
the Indians, as they went, that they would return next year, and
complete the destruction of the Spaniards.

Raleigh was by no means satisfied with Keymis's excuses for his failure
to discover the mine, and reproached him with so much severity, that
Keymis, after the interview, retired to his cabin, and shot himself
through the heart.

When Raleigh arrived in England, he found that the tidings of his attack
on the Spaniards, and the utter failure of his expedition, had reached
there before him. The Spanish ambassador was clamorous for punishment
on what he called a piratical proceeding; and the king and the nation,
who might have pardoned a successful adventurer, had no indulgence to
extend to one so much the reverse. Finding a proclamation had been
issued for his arrest, Raleigh endeavored to escape to France, but was
taken in the attempt, and committed close prisoner to the Tower. He was
made a victim to court intrigue. The weak king, James, was then
negotiating a Spanish match for his son, and, to gratify the King of
Spain and his court, sacrificed one of the noblest of his subjects.
Without being put on trial for his late transactions, Raleigh's old
sentence, which had been suspended sixteen years, was revived against
him; and on the 29th of October, 1618, four months after his arrival, he
was beheaded on the scaffold.

The fate of Raleigh caused a great sensation at the time, and has not
yet ceased to excite emotion. The poet Thomson, in his "Summer," finely
alludes to the various circumstances of his history, which we have
briefly recorded:--

                  "But who can speak
The numerous worthies of the 'Maiden reign'?
In Raleigh mark their every glory mixed,--
Raleigh, the scourge of Spain, whose breast with all
The sage, the patriot, and the hero, burned.
Nor sunk his vigor when a coward reign
The warrior fettered, and at last resigned
To glut the vengeance of a vanquished foe:
Then, active still and unrestrained, his mind
Explored the vast extent of ages past,
And with his prison-hours enriched the world;
Yet found no times in all the long research
So glorious or so base as those he proved
In which he conquered and in which he bled."



After so many abortive attempts to reach the Golden Empire, the ardor of
research greatly abated. No expeditions, composed of considerable
numbers, have since embarked in the enterprise; but from time to time,
for the century succeeding Raleigh's last attempt, private expeditions
were undertaken and encouraged by provincial governors; and several
hundred persons perished miserably in those fruitless endeavors.

The adventure we are now about to record was of an entirely different
character in respect to its objects and the means employed; but it
occupied the same field of action, and called into exercise the same
qualities of courage and endurance.

In 1735, the French Academy of Science made arrangements for sending out
two commissions of learned men to different and distant parts of the
world to make measurements, with a view to determining the dimensions
and figure of the earth. The great astronomer, Sir Isaac Newton, had
deduced from theory, and ventured to maintain, that the earth was not a
perfect globe, but a spheroid; that is, a globe flattened at the poles.
For a long time after Newton's splendid discoveries in astronomy, a
degree of national jealousy prevented the French philosophers from
accepting his conclusions; and they were not displeased to find, when
they could, facts opposed to them. Now, there were some supposed facts
which were incompatible with this idea of Newton's, that the earth was
flattened at the poles. The point was capable of being demonstrated by
measurements, with instruments, on the surface; for, if his theory was
true, a degree of latitude would be longer in the northern parts of the
globe than in the regions about the equator.

We must not allow our story to become a scientific essay; and yet we
should like to give our readers, if we could, some idea of the principle
on which this process, which is called the measurement of an arc of the
meridian, was expected to show the magnitude and form of the earth. We
all know that geographical latitude means the position of places north
or south of the equator, and is determined by reference to the north or
pole star. A person south of the equator would not see the pole-star at
all. One at the equator, looking at the pole-star, would see it, if no
intervening object prevented, in the horizon. Advancing northward, he
would see it apparently rise, and advance toward him. As he proceeded,
it would continue to rise. When he had traversed half the distance to
the pole, he would see the pole-star about as we see it in Boston; that
is, nearly midway between the horizon and the zenith: and, when he had
reached the pole, he would see the pole-star directly over his head.
Dividing the quarter circle which the star has moved through into ninety
parts, we say, when the star has ascended one-ninetieth part, that the
observer has travelled over one degree of latitude. When the observer
has reached Boston, he has passed over somewhat more than forty-two
degrees, and, when he has reached the north-pole, ninety degrees, of
latitude. Thus we measure our latitude over the earth's surface by
reference to a circle in the heavens; and, because the portions into
which we divide that circle are equal, we infer that the portions of the
earth's surface which correspond to them are equal. This would be true
if the earth were a perfect globe: but if the earth be a spheroid, as
Newton's theory requires it to be, it would _not_ be true; for that
portion of the earth's surface which is flattened will have less
curvature than that which is not so, and less still than that portion
which is protuberant. The degrees of least curvature will be longest,
and those of greatest curvature shortest; that is, one would have to
travel farther on the flattened part of the earth to see any difference
in the position of the north-star than in those parts where the
curvature is greater. So a degree of latitude near the pole, if
determined by the position of the north-star, would be found, by actual
measurement, to be longer than one similarly determined at the equator.
It was to ascertain whether the fact was so that the two scientific
expeditions were sent out.

The party which was sent to the northern regions travelled over snow and
ice, swamps and morasses, to the arctic circle, and fixed their station
at Tornea, in Lapland. The frozen surface of the river afforded them a
convenient level for fixing what is called by surveyors the base line.
The cold was so intense, that the glass froze to the mouth when they
drank, and the metallic measuring rod to the hand. In spite, however, of
perils and discomforts, they persevered in their task, and brought back
careful measurements of a degree in latitude 66° north, to be compared
with those made by the other party at the equator, whose movements we
propose more particularly to follow.

Before we take leave of the northern commissioners, however, we will
mention another method they took of demonstrating the same fact. If the
earth be depressed at the poles, it must follow that bodies will weigh
heavier there, because they are nearer the centre of the earth. But how
could they test this fact, when all weights would be increased
alike,--the pound of feathers and the pound of lead? The question was
settled by observing the oscillation of a pendulum. The observers near
the pole found that the pendulum vibrated faster than usual, because,
being nearer the centre of the earth, the attracting power was
increased. To balance this, they had to lengthen the pendulum; and the
extent to which they had to do this measured the difference between the
earth's diameter at the poles, and that in the latitude from which they

The commissioners who were sent to the equatorial regions were Messrs.
Bouguer, La Condamine, and Godin, the last of whom was accompanied by
his wife. Two Spanish officers, Messrs. Juan and De Ulloa, joined the
commission. The party arrived at Quito in June, 1736, about two hundred
years after Gonzalo Pizarro started from the same place in his search
for Eldorado. In the interval, the country had become nominally
Christian. The city was the seat of a bishopric, an audience royal, and
other courts of justice; contained many churches and convents, and two
colleges. But the population was almost entirely composed of Indians,
who lived in a manner but very little different from that of their
ancestors at the time of the conquest. Cuença was the place next in
importance to the capital; and there, or in its neighborhood, the chief
labors of the commission were transacted. They were conducted under
difficulties as great as those of their colleagues in the frozen regions
of the north, but of a different sort. The inhabitants of the country
were jealous of the French commissioners, and supposed them to be either
heretics or sorcerers, and to have come in search of gold-mines. Even
persons connected with the administration employed themselves in
stirring up the minds of the people, till at last, in a riotous
assemblage at a bullfight, the surgeon of the French commissioners was
killed. After tedious and troublesome legal proceedings, the
perpetrators were let off with a nominal punishment. Notwithstanding
every difficulty, the commissioners completed their work in a
satisfactory manner, spending in all eight years in the task, including
the voyages out and home.

The commissioners who had made the northern measurements reported the
length of the degree at 66° north latitude to be 57.422 toises; Messrs.
Bouguer and La Condamine, the equatorial degree, 56.753 toises; showing
a difference of 669 toises, or 4,389-¾ feet. The difference, as
corrected by later measurements, is stated by recent authorities at
3,662 English feet; by which amount the polar degree exceeds the
equatorial. Thus Newton's theory was confirmed.

His scientific labors having been finished, La Condamine conceived the
idea of returning home by way of the Amazon River; though difficulties
attended the project, which we who live in a land of mighty rivers,
traversed by steamboats, can hardly imagine. The only means of
navigating the upper waters of the river was by rafts or canoes; the
latter capable of containing but one or two persons, besides a crew of
seven or eight boatmen. The only persons who were in the habit of
passing up and down the river were the Jesuit missionaries, who made
their periodical visits to their stations along its banks. A young
Spanish gentleman, Don Pedro Maldonado, who at first eagerly caught at
the idea of accompanying the French philosopher on his homeward route by
way of the river, was almost discouraged by the dissuasives urged by his
family and friends, and seemed inclined to withdraw from the enterprise;
so dangerous was the untried route esteemed. It was, however, at length
resolved that they should hazard the adventure; and a place of
rendezvous was appointed at a village on the river. On the 4th of July,
1743, La Condamine commenced his descent of one of the streams which
flow into the great river of the Amazons. The stream was too precipitous
in its descent to be navigated by boats of any kind, and the only method
used was by rafts. These are made of a light kind of wood, or rather
cane, similar to the bamboo, the single pieces of which are fastened
together by rushes, in such a manner, that they yield to every shock of
moderate violence, and consequently are not subject to be separated even
by the strongest. On such a conveyance, the French philosopher glided
down the stream of the Chuchunga, occasionally stopping on its banks for
a day or two at a time to allow the waters to abate, and admit of
passing a dangerous rapid more safely; and sometimes getting fast on the
shallows, and requiring to be drawn off by ropes by the Indian boatmen.
It was not till the 19th of July that he entered the main river at
Laguna, where he found his friend Maldonado, who had been waiting for
him some weeks.

On the 23d of July, 1743, they embarked in two canoes of forty-two and
forty-four feet long, each formed out of one single trunk of a tree, and
each provided with a crew of eight rowers. They continued their course
night and day, in hopes to reach, before their departure, the
brigantines of the missionaries, in which they used to send once a year,
to Pará, the cacao which they collected in their missions, and for which
they got, in return, supplies of European articles of necessity.

On the 25th of July, La Condamine and his companion passed the village
of a tribe of Indians lately brought under subjection, and in all the
wildness of savage life: on the 27th, they reached another more advanced
in civilization, yet not so far as to have abandoned their savage
practices of artificially flattening their heads, and elongating their
ears. The 1st of August, they landed at a missionary station, where they
found numerous Indians assembled, and some tribes so entirely barbarous
as to be destitute of clothing for either sex. "There are in the
interior," the narration goes on to say, "some tribes which devour the
prisoners taken in war; but there are none such on the banks of the

After leaving this station, they sailed day and night, equal to seven or
eight days' journey, without seeing any habitation. On the 5th of
August, they arrived at the first of the Portuguese missionary stations,
where they procured larger and more commodious boats than those in which
they had advanced hitherto. Here they began to see the first signs of
the benefits of access to European sources of supply, by means of the
vessel which went every year from Pará to Lisbon. They tarried six days
at the last of the missionary stations, and again made a change of boats
and of Indian crews. On the 28th August, being yet six hundred miles
from the sea, they perceived the ebb and flow of the tide.

On the 19th September, they arrived at Pará, which La Condamine
describes as a great and beautiful city, built of stone, and enjoying a
commerce with Lisbon, which made it flourishing and increasing. He
observes, "It is, perhaps, the only European settlement where silver
does not pass for money; the whole currency being cocoa." He adds in a
note, "Specie currency has been since introduced."

The Portuguese authorities received the philosophers with all the
civilities and hospitalities due to persons honored with the special
protection and countenance of two great nations,--France and Spain. The
cannon were fired; and the soldiers of the garrison, with the governor
of the province at their head, turned out to receive them. The governor
had received orders from the home government to pay all their expenses,
and to furnish them every thing requisite for their comfort and
assistance in their researches. La Condamine remained three months at
Pará; and then, declining the urgent request of the governor to embark
in a Portuguese vessel for home by way of Lisbon, he embarked in a boat
rowed by twenty-two Indians, under the command of a Portuguese officer,
to coast along the shores of the continent to the French colony of

The city of Pará from whence he embarked is not situated upon the Amazon
River, but upon what is called the River of Pará, which branches off
from the Amazon near its mouth, and discharges itself into the sea at a
distance of more than a hundred miles east of the Amazon. The
intervening land is an island called Marajo, along the coast of which
La Condamine and his party steered till they came to the place where the
Amazon River discharges into the sea that vast bulk of waters which has
been swelled by the contributions of numerous tributaries throughout a
course of more than three thousand miles in length. It here meets the
current which runs along the north-eastern coast of Brazil, and gives
rise to that phenomenon which is called by the Indians Pororoca. The
river and the current, having both great rapidity, and meeting nearly at
right angles, come into contact with great violence, and raise a
mountain of water to the height of one hundred and eighty feet. The
shock is so dreadful, that it makes all the neighboring islands tremble;
and fishermen and navigators fly from it in the utmost terror. The river
and the ocean appear to contend for the empire of the waves: but they
seem to come to a compromise; for the sea-current continues its way
along the coast of Guiana to the Island of Trinidad, while the current
of the river is still observable in the ocean at a distance of five
hundred miles from the shore.

La Condamine passed this place of meeting in safety by waiting for a
favorable course of tides, crossing the Amazon at its mouth, steering
north; and after many delays, caused by the timidity and bad seamanship
of his Indian crew, arrived at last safe at Cayenne on the 26th
February, 1744, having been eight months on his voyage, two of which
were spent in his passage from Pará, a passage which he avers a French
officer and crew, two years after him, accomplished in six days. La
Condamine was received with all possible distinction at Cayenne, and in
due time found passage home to France, where he arrived 25th February,



One of the French commissioners, M. Godin, had taken with him on his
scientific errand to Peru his wife; a lady for whom we bespeak the kind
interest of our readers, for her name deserves honorable mention among
the early navigators of the Amazon. The labors of the commission
occupied several years; and when, in the year 1742, those labors were
happily brought to a conclusion, M. Godin was prevented, by
circumstances relating to himself individually, from accompanying his
colleagues in their return to France. His detention was protracted from
year to year, till at last, in 1749, he repaired alone to the Island of
Cayenne to prepare every thing necessary for the homeward voyage of
himself and his wife.

From Cayenne he wrote to Paris to the minister of marine, and requested
that his government would procure for him the favorable interposition of
the court of Portugal to supply him with the means of ascending the
River Amazon to bring away his wife from Peru, and descend the stream
with her to the Island of Cayenne. Thirteen years had rolled by since
their arrival in the country, when at last Madame Godin saw her earnest
wish to return home likely to be gratified. All that time, she had lived
apart from her husband; she in Peru, he in the French colony of Cayenne.
At last, M. Godin had the pleasure to see the arrival of a galoot (a
small vessel having from sixteen to twenty oars on a side, and well
adapted for rapid progress), which had been fitted out by the order of
the King of Portugal, and despatched to Cayenne for the purpose of
taking him on his long-wished-for journey. He immediately embarked; but,
before he could reach the mouth of the Amazon River, he was attacked by
so severe an illness, that he saw himself compelled to stop at Oyapoc, a
station between Cayenne and the mouth of the river, and there to remain,
and to send one Tristan, whom he thought his friend, in lieu of himself,
up the river to seek Madame Godin, and escort her to him. He intrusted
to him also, besides the needful money, various articles of merchandise
to dispose of to the best advantage. The instructions which he gave him
were as follows:--

The galiot had orders to convey him to Loreto about half-way up the
Amazon River, the first Spanish settlement. From there he was to go to
Laguna, another Spanish town about twelve miles farther up, and to give
Mr. Godin's letter, addressed to his wife, in charge to a certain
ecclesiastic of that place, to be forwarded to the place of her
residence. He himself was to wait at Laguna the arrival of Madame Godin.

The galiot sailed, and arrived safe at Loreto. But the faithless
Tristan, instead of going himself to Laguna, or sending the letter
there, contented himself with delivering the packet to a Spanish Jesuit,
who was going to quite another region on some occasional purpose.
Tristan himself, in the mean while, went round among the Portuguese
settlements to sell his commodities. The result was, that M. Godin's
letter, passing from hand to hand, failed to reach the place of its

Meanwhile, by what means we know not, a blind rumor of the purpose and
object of the Portuguese vessel lying at Loreto reached Peru, and came
at last, but without any distinctness, to the ears of Madame Godin. She
learned through this rumor that a letter from her husband was on the way
to her; but all her efforts to get possession of it were fruitless. At
last, she resolved to send a faithful negro servant, in company with an
Indian, to the Amazon, to procure, if possible, more certain tidings.
This faithful servant made his way boldly through all hinderances and
difficulties which beset his journey, reached Loreto, talked with
Tristan, and brought back intelligence that he, with the Portuguese
vessel and all its equipments, were for her accommodation, and waited
her orders.

Now, then, Madame Godin determined to undertake this most perilous and
difficult journey. She was staying at the time at Riobamba, about one
hundred and twenty miles south of Quito, where she had a house of her
own with garden and grounds. These, with all other things that she could
not take with her, she sold on the best terms she could. Her father, M.
Grandmaison, and her two brothers, who had been living with her in Peru,
were ready to accompany her. The former set out beforehand to a place
the other side of the Cordilleras to make arrangements for his
daughter's journey on her way to the ship.

Madame Godin received about this time a visit from a certain Mr. R., who
gave himself out for a French physician, and asked permission to
accompany her. He promised, moreover, to watch over her health, and to
do all in his power to lighten the fatigues and discomforts of the
arduous journey. She replied, that she had no authority over the vessel
which was to carry her, and therefore could not answer for it that he
could have a place in it. Mr. R., thereupon, applied to the brothers of
Madame Godin; and they, thinking it very desirable that she should have
a physician with her, persuaded their sister to consent to take him in
her company.

So, then, she started from Riobamba, which had been her home till this
time, the 1st of October, 1749, in company of the above-named persons,
her black man, and three Indian women. Thirty Indians, to carry her
baggage, completed her company. Had the luckless lady known what
calamities, sufferings, and disappointments awaited her, she would have
trembled at the prospect, and doubted of the possibility of living
through it all, and reaching the wished-for goal of her journey.

The party went first across the mountains to Canelos, an Indian village,
where they thought to embark on a little stream which discharges itself
into the Amazon. The way thither was so wild and unbroken, that it was
not even passable for mules, and must be travelled entirely on foot.

M. Grandmaison, who had set out a whole month earlier, had stopped at
Canelos no longer than was necessary to make needful preparations for
his daughter and her attendants. Then he had immediately pushed on
toward the vessel, to still keep in advance, and arrange matters for her
convenience at the next station to which she would arrive. Hardly had he
left Canelos, when the small-pox, a disease which in those regions is
particularly fatal, broke out, and in one week swept off one-half of the
inhabitants, and so alarmed the rest, that they deserted the place, and
plunged into the wilderness. Consequently, when Madame Godin reached the
place with her party, she found, to her dismay, only two Indians
remaining, whom the fury of the plague had spared; and, moreover, not
the slightest preparation either for her reception, or her furtherance
on her journey. This was the first considerable mishap which befell her,
and which might have served to forewarn her of the greater sufferings
which she was to encounter.

A second followed shortly after. The thirty Indians who thus far had
carried the baggage, and had received their pay in advance, suddenly
absconded, whether from fear of the epidemic, or that they fancied,
having never seen a vessel except at a distance, that they were to be
compelled to go on board one, and be carried away. There stood, then,
the deserted and disappointed company, overwhelmed, and knowing not what
course to take, or how to help themselves. The safest course would have
been to leave all their baggage to its fate, and return back the way
they came; but the longing of Madame Godin for her beloved husband, from
whom she had now been separated so many years, gave her courage to bid
defiance to all the hinderances which lay in her way, and even to
attempt impossibilities.

She set herself, therefore, to persuade the two Indians above mentioned
to construct a boat, and, by means of it, to take her and her company to
Andoas, another place about twelve days' journey distant. They willingly
complied, receiving their pay in advance. The boat was got ready; and
all the party embarked in it under the management of the two Indians.

After they had run safely two days' journey down the stream, they drew
up to the bank to pass the night on shore. Here the treacherous Indians
took the opportunity, while the weary company slept, to run away; and,
when the travellers awoke next morning, they were nowhere to be found.
This was a new and unforeseen calamity, by which their future progress
was rendered greatly more hazardous.

Without a knowledge of the stream or the country, and without a guide,
they again got on board their boat, and pushed on. The first day went by
without any misadventure. The second, they came up with a boat which lay
near the shore, alongside of an Indian hut built of branches of trees.
They found there an Indian, just recovered from the sickness, and
prevailed on him, by presents, to embark with them to take the helm. But
fate envied them this relief: for, the next day, Mr. R.'s hat fell into
the water; and the Indian, in endeavoring to recover it, fell overboard,
and was drowned, not having strength to swim to the shore.

Now was the vessel again without a pilot, and steered by persons, not
one of whom had the least knowledge of the course. Ere long, the vessel
sprung a leak; and the unhappy company found themselves compelled to
land, and build a hut to shelter them.

They were yet five or six days' journey from Andoas, the nearest place
of destination. Mr. R. offered, for himself and another Frenchman his
companion, to go thither, and make arrangements, that, within fourteen
days, a boat from there should arrive and bring them off. His proposal
was approved of. Madame Godin gave him her faithful black man to
accompany him. He himself took good care that nothing of his property
should be left behind.

Fourteen days were now elapsed; but in vain they strained their eyes to
catch sight of the bark which Mr. R. had promised to send to their
relief. They waited twelve days longer, but in vain. Their situation
grew more painful every day.

At last, when all hope in this quarter was lost, they hewed trees, and
fastened them together as well as they could, and made in this way a
raft. When they had finished it, they put on their baggage, and seated
themselves upon it, and suffered it to float down the stream. But even
this frail bark required a steersman acquainted with navigation; but
they had none such. In no long time, it struck against a sunken log, and
broke to pieces. The people and their baggage were cast into the river.
Great, however, as was the danger, no one was lost. Madame Godin sunk
twice to the bottom, but was at last rescued by her brothers.

Wet through and through, exhausted, and half dead with fright, they at
last all gained the shore. But only imagine their lamentable, almost
desperate, condition! All their supplies lost; to make another raft
impossible; even their stock of provisions gone! And where were they
when all these difficulties overwhelmed them? In a horrid wilderness,
so thick grown up with trees and bushes, that one could make a passage
through it no other way than by axe and knife; inhabited only by
fiercest tigers, and by the most formidable of serpents,--the
rattlesnake. Moreover, they were without tools, without weapons! Could
their situation be more deplorable?



The unfortunate travellers had now but the choice of two desperate
expedients,--either to wait where they were the termination of their
wretched existence, or try the almost impossible task of penetrating
along the banks of the river, through the unbroken forest, till they
might reach Andoas. They chose the latter, but first made their way back
to their lately forsaken hut to take what little provisions they had
there left. Having accomplished this, they set out on their most painful
and dangerous journey. They observed, when they followed the shore of
the river, that its windings lengthened their way. To avoid this, they
endeavored, without leaving the course of the river, to keep a straight
course. By this means, they lost themselves in the entangled forest; and
every exertion to find their way was ineffectual. Their clothes were
torn to shreds, and hung dangling from their limbs; their bodies were
sadly wounded by thorns and briers; and, as their scanty provision of
food was almost gone, nothing seemed left to them but to sustain their
wretched existence with wild fruit, seeds and buds of the palm-trees.

At last, they sank under their unremitted labor. Wearied with the
hardships of such travel, torn and bleeding in every part of their
bodies, and distracted with hunger, terror, and apprehensions, they lost
the small remnant of their energy, and could do no more. They sat down,
and had no power to rise again. In three or four days, one after another
died at this stage of their journey. Madame Godin lay for the space of
twenty-four hours by the side of her exhausted and helpless brothers and
companions: she felt herself benumbed, stupefied, senseless, yet at the
same time tormented by burning thirst. At last, Providence, on whom she
relied, gave her courage and strength to rouse herself and seek for a
rescue, which was in store for her, though she knew not where to look
for it.

Around lay the dead bodies of her brothers and her other companions,--a
sight which at another time would have broken her heart. She was almost
naked. The scanty remnants of her clothing were so torn by the thorns as
to be almost useless. She cut the shoes from her dead brothers' feet,
bound the soles under her own, and plunged again into the thicket in
search of something to allay her raging hunger and thirst. Terror at
seeing herself so left alone in such a fearful wilderness, deserted by
all the world, and apprehension of a dreadful death constantly hovering
before her eyes, made such an impression upon her, that her hair turned

It was not till the second day after she had resumed her wandering that
she found water, and, a little while after, some wild fruit, and a few
eggs of birds. But her throat was so contracted by long fasting, that
she could hardly swallow. These served to keep life in her frame.

Eight long days she wandered in this manner hopelessly, and strove to
sustain her wretched existence. If one should read in a work of fiction
any thing equal to it, he would charge the author with exaggeration, and
violation of probability. But it is history; and, however incredible her
story may sound, it is rigidly conformed to the truth in all its
circumstances, as it was afterwards taken down from the mouth of Madame
Godin herself.

On the eighth day of her hopeless wandering, the hapless lady reached
the banks of the Bobonosa, a stream which flows into the Amazon. At the
break of day, she heard at a little distance a noise, and was alarmed at
it. She would have fled, but at once reflected that nothing worse than
her present circumstances could happen to her. She took courage, and
went towards the place whence the sound proceeded; and here she found
two Indians, who were occupied in shoving their boat into the water.

Madame Godin approached, and was kindly received by them. She told to
them her desire to be conveyed to Andoas; and the good savages consented
to carry her thither in their boat. They did so; and now behold her
arrived at that place which the mean and infamous treachery of Mr. R.
was the only cause of her not having reached long ago. This base fellow
had, with unfeeling cruelty, thrown to the winds his promise to procure
them a boat, and had gone on business of his own to Omaguas, a Spanish
mission station, without in the least troubling himself about his
pledged word, and the rescue of the unfortunates left behind. The honest
negro was more true to duty, though he was born and bred a heathen, and
the other a Christian.

While the civilized and polished Frenchman unfeelingly went away, and
left his benefactress and her companions to languish in the depths of
misery, the sable heathen ceased not his exertions till he had procured
two Indians to go up the river with him, and bring away his deserted
mistress and her companions. But, most unfortunately, he did not reach
the hut where he had left them before they had carried into execution
the unlucky determination to leave the hut, and seek their way through
the wilderness. So he had the pain of failing to find her on his

Even then, the faithful creature did not feel as if all was done. He,
with his Indian companions, followed the traces of the party till he
came to the place where the bodies of the perished adventurers lay,
which were already so decayed, that he could not distinguish one from
the other. This pitiable sight led him to conclude that none of the
company could have escaped death. He returned to the hut to take away
some things of Madame Godin's which were left there, and carried them
not only back with him to Andoas, but from thence (another touching
proof of his fidelity) to Omaguas, that he might deposit the articles,
some of which were of considerable value, in the hands of the unworthy
Mr. R., to be by him delivered to the father of his lamented mistress.

And how did this unworthy Mr. R. behave when he was apprised by the
negro of the lamentable death of those whom he had so unscrupulously
given over to destitution? Did he shudder at the magnitude and baseness
of his crime? Oh, no! Like a heartless knave, he added dishonesty to
cruelty, took the things into his keeping, and, to secure himself in the
possession of them, sent the generous negro back to Quito. Joachim--for
that was the name of this honest and noble black man--had unluckily set
out on his journey back before Madame Godin arrived at Andoas. Thus he
was lost to her; and her affliction at the loss of such a tried friend
showed that the greatness of her past misfortunes had not made her
incapable of feeling new distresses.

In Andoas she found a Christian priest, a Spanish missionary; and the
behavior of this unchristian Christian contrasts with the conduct of her
two Indian preservers, as that of the treacherous R. with that of the
generous negro. For instance, when Madame Godin was in embarrassment how
to show her gratitude to the good Indians who had saved her life, she
remembered, that, according to the custom of the country, she wore
around her neck a pair of gold chains, weighing about four ounces. These
were her whole remaining property; but she hesitated not a moment, but
took them off, and gave one to each of her benefactors. They were
delighted beyond measure at such a gift; but the avaricious and
dishonest priest took them away from them before the face of the
generous giver, and gave them instead some yards of coarse cotton cloth,
which they call, in that country, Tukujo. And this man was one of those
who were sent to spread Christianity among the heathen, and one from
whom those same Indians whom he had treated so dishonestly would hear
the lesson, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods"!

Madame Godin felt, at seeing such unchristian and unmanly behavior, such
deep disgust, that, as soon as she was somewhat recruited from the
effects of so many sufferings, she longed for a sight of some boat to
enable her to escape from the companionship of this unjust priest, and
get to Laguna, one of the aforementioned Spanish mission stations. A
kind Indian woman made her a petticoat of cotton cloth, though Madame
Godin had nothing to give her in payment for it. But this petticoat was
to her, afterwards, a sacred thing, that she would not have parted with
for any price. She laid it carefully away with the slippers which she
made of her brothers' shoes, and never could, in after-times, look at
the two without experiencing a rush of sad and tender recollections.

At Laguna she had the good fortune to find a missionary of better
disposition. This one received her with kindness and sympathy, and
exerted himself every way he could to restore her health, shattered by
so much suffering. He wrote also on her behalf to the Governor of
Omaguas, to beg him to aid in expediting her journey. By this means, the
elegant Mr. R. learned that she was still alive; and as she was not
likely in future to be burdensome to him, while he might, through her
means, get a passage in the Portuguese vessel, he failed not to call
upon her at Laguna. He delivered to her there some few of the things
which Joachim had left in his charge; but to the question, "What had
become of the rest?" he had no other answer to make but "They were
spoilt." The knave forgot, when he said this, that gold bracelets,
snuff-boxes, ear-rings, and pearls, of which this property consisted,
are not apt to spoil.

Madame Godin could not forbear making to him the well-merited reproach
that he was the cause of her late sufferings, and guilty of the mournful
death of her brothers and her other companions. She desired to know,
moreover, why he had sent away her faithful servant, the good Joachim;
and his unworthy reply was, he had apprehensions that he would murder
him. To the question, how he could have such a suspicion against a man
whose tried fidelity and honest disposition were known to him, he knew
not what to answer.

The good missionary explained to Madame Godin, after she was somewhat
recruited from her late sufferings, the frightful length of the way, and
the labors and dangers of her journey yet to come, and tried hard to
induce her to alter her intention, and return to Rio Bambas, her former
residence, instead of setting forth to encounter a new series of
disappointments and perils. He promised, in that case, to convey her
safely and with comfort. But the heroic woman rejected the proposal with
immovable firmness. "God, who had so wonderfully protected her so far,"
she said, "would have her in his keeping for the remainder of her way.
She had but one wish remaining, and that was to be re-united to her
husband; and she knew no danger terrible enough to induce her to give up
this one ruling desire of her heart."

The missionary, therefore, had a boat got ready to carry her to the
Portuguese vessel. The Governor of Omaguas furnished the boat, and
supplied it well with provisions: and, that the commander of the
Portuguese galiot might be informed of her approach, he sent a smaller
boat with provisions, and two soldiers by land, along the banks of the
river, and betook himself to Loreto, where the galiot had been so long
lying; and there he waited till Madame Godin arrived.

She still suffered severely from the consequences of the injuries which
she had sustained during her wanderings in the wilderness. Particularly,
the thumb of one hand, in which she had thrust a thorn, which they had
not been able to get out, was in a bad condition. The bone itself was
become carious, and she found it necessary to have the flesh cut open to
allow fragments of the bone to come out. As for the rest, she
experienced from the commander of the Portuguese vessel all possible
kindness, and reached the mouth of the Amazon River without any further

Mr. Godin, who still continued at Oyapoc (the same place where on
account of sickness he had been obliged to stop), was no sooner informed
of the approach of his wife than he went on board a vessel, and coasted
along the shore till he met the galiot. The joy of again meeting, after
a separation of so many years, and after such calamities undergone, was,
as may well be supposed, on both sides, indescribably great. Their
re-union seemed like a resurrection from the dead, since both of them
had more than once given up all hope of ever seeing the other in this

The happy husband now conveyed his wife to Oyapoc, and thence to
Cayenne; whence they departed on their return to France, in company with
the venerable Mr. De Grandmaison. Madame Godin remained, however,
constantly sad, notwithstanding her present ample cause for joy; and
every endeavor to raise her spirits was fruitless, so deep and
inextinguishable an impression had the terrible sufferings she had
undergone made upon her mind. She spoke unwillingly of all that she had
suffered; and even her husband found out with difficulty, and by little
and little, the circumstances which we have narrated, taken from
accounts under his own hand. He thought he could thereby infer that she
had kept to herself, to spare his feelings, many circumstances of a
distressing nature, which she herself preferred to forget. Her heart,
too, was, by reason of her sufferings, so attuned to pity and
forbearance, that her compassion even extended to the base and wicked
men who had treated her with such injustice. She would therefore add
nothing to induce her husband to invoke the vengeance of the law
against the faithless Tristan, the first cause of all her misfortunes,
who had converted to his own use many thousand dollars' worth of
property which had been intrusted to him. She had even allowed herself
to be persuaded to take on board the boat from Omaguas down, for a
second time, the mean-souled Mr. R.

So true is it that adversity and suffering do fulfil the useful purpose
of rendering the human heart tender, placable, and indulgent.



In the month of August, 1850, Lieut. Herndon, of the United-States navy,
being on board the frigate "Vandalia," then lying at anchor in the
harbor of Valparaiso, received information that he was designated by the
Secretary of the Navy to explore the Valley of the Amazon. On the 4th of
April, being then at Lima, he received his orders, and, on the 21st of
May, commenced his land journey to the highest point on the Amazon
navigable for boats, which is about three hundred miles from its source;
in which distance there are twenty-seven rapids, the last of which is
called the Pongo (or falls) de Manseriche. Over these the water rushes
with frightful rapidity; but they are passed, with great peril and
difficulty, by means of rafts. From the Pongo de Manseriche, Lieut.
Herndon states that an unbroken channel of eighteen feet in depth may be
found to the Atlantic Ocean,--a distance of three thousand miles.

The party consisted of Lieut. Herndon, commander; Passed-midshipman
Gibbon; a young master's mate named Richards; a young Peruvian, who had
made the voyage down the Amazon a few years before, who was employed as
interpreter to the Indians; and Mauricio, an Indian servant. They were
mounted on mules; and their baggage of all kinds, including
looking-glasses, beads, and other trinkets for the Indians, and some
supplies of provisions, were carried also on muleback, under the charge
of an _arriero_, or muleteer, who was an Indian. The party were
furnished with a tent, which often came in use for nightly shelter, as
the roadside inns furnished none, and the haciendas, or farm-houses,
which they sometimes availed themselves of, afforded but poor
accommodation. The following picture of the lieutenant's first night's
lodgings, not more than ten miles from Lima, is a specimen: "The house
was built of _adobe_, or sun-dried bricks, and roofed with tiles. It had
but one room, which was the general receptacle for all comers. A mud
projection, of two feet high and three wide, stood out from the walls of
the room all around, and served as a permanent bedplace for numbers.
Others laid their blankets and cloaks, and stretched themselves, on the
floor; so that, with whites, Indians, negroes, trunks, packages,
horse-furniture, game-cocks, and guinea-pigs, we had quite a caravansera

The lieutenant found the general answer to his inquiry for provisions
for his party, and of fodder for their animals, was, "No hay" (there is
none). The refusal of the people to sell supplies of these indispensable
articles was a source of continued inconvenience. It arose probably from
their fear to have it known that they had possessions, lest the hand of
authority should be laid upon them, and their property be taken without
payment. The cultivators, it must be remembered, are native Indians,
under the absolute control of their Spanish masters, and have no
recognized rights protected by law. While this state of things
continues, civilization is effectually debarred progress.

The usual day's travel was twelve to fifteen miles. The route ascended
rapidly; and the River Rimac, along whose banks their road lay, was soon
reduced to a mountain torrent, raging in foam over the fragments of the
rocky cliffs which overhung its bed. The road occasionally widened out,
and gave room for a little cultivation.

May 27.--They had now reached a height of ten thousand feet above the
level of the sea. Here the traveller feels that he is lifted above the
impurities of the lower regions of the atmosphere, and is breathing air
free from taint. The stars sparkled with intense brilliancy. The
temperature at night was getting cool, and the travellers found they
required all their blankets. But by day the heat was oppressive until
tempered by the sea-breeze, which set in about eleven o'clock in the

The productions of the country are Indian corn, alfalfa (a species of
lucern), and potatoes. The potato, in this its native country, is small,
but very fine. They saw here a vegetable of the potato kind called
_oca_. Boiled or roasted, it is very agreeable to the taste, in flavor
resembling green corn.

Here they entered upon the mining region. "The Earth here shows her
giant skeleton bare: mountains, rather than rocks, rear their gray heads
to the skies; and proximity made the scene more striking and sublime."
Lieut. Herndon had brought letters to the superintendent of the mines,
who received the travellers kindly and hospitably. This establishment is
managed by a superintendent and three assistants, and about forty
working hands. The laborers are Indians,--strong, hardy-looking
fellows, though low in stature, and stupid in expression. The manner of
getting the silver from the ore is this: The ore is broken into pieces
of the size of an English walnut, and then ground to a fine powder. The
ground ore is then mixed with salt, at the rate of fifty pounds of salt
to every six hundred of ore, and taken to the ovens to be toasted. After
being toasted, the ore is laid in piles of about six hundred pounds upon
the stone floor. The piles are then moistened with water, and
quicksilver is sprinkled on them through a woollen cloth. The mass is
well mixed by treading with the feet, and working with hoes. A little
calcined iron pyrites, called _magistral_, is also added. The pile is
often examined to see if the amalgamation is going on well. It is left
to stand for eight or nine days until the amalgamation is complete; then
carried to an elevated platform, and thrown into a well, or cavity: a
stream of water is turned on, and four or five men trample and wash it
with their feet. The amalgam sinks to the bottom, and the mud and water
are let off by an aperture in the lower part of the well. The amalgam is
then put into conical bags of coarse linen, which are hung up; and the
weight of the mass presses out a quantity of quicksilver, which oozes
through the linen, and is caught in vessels below. The mass, now dry,
and somewhat harder than putty, is carried to the ovens, where the
remainder of the quicksilver is driven off by heat, and the residue is
_plata pina_, or pure silver. The proportion of pure silver in the
amalgam is about twenty-two per cent. This is an unusually rich mine.

Returning from the mine, the party met a drove of llamas on their way
from the hacienda. This is quite an imposing sight, especially when the
drove is encountered suddenly at a turn of the road. The leader, who is
always selected on account of his superior height, has his head
decorated with tufts of woollen fringe, hung with little bells; and his
great height (often six feet), gallant and graceful carriage, pointed
ear, restless eye, and quivering lip, as he faces you for a moment, make
him as striking an object as one can well conceive. Upon pressing on
him, he bounds aside either up or down the cliff, and is followed by the
herd, scrambling over places that would be impassable for the mule or
the ass. The llama travels not more than nine or ten miles a day, his
load being about one hundred and thirty pounds. He will not carry more,
and will be beaten to death rather than move when he is overloaded or
tired. The males only are worked: they appear gentle and docile, but,
when irritated, have a very savage look, and spit at the object of their
resentment. The guanaco, or alpaca, is another species of this animal,
and the vicunia a third. The guanaco is as large as the llama, and bears
a fleece of long and coarse wool. The vicunia is much smaller, and its
wool is short and fine: so valuable is it, that it brings at the port of
shipment a dollar a pound. Our travellers saw no guanacos, but now and
then, in crossing the mountains, caught a glimpse of the wild and shy
vicunia. They go in herds of ten or fifteen females, accompanied by one
male, who is ever on the alert. On the approach of danger, he gives
warning by a shrill whistle; and his charge make off with the speed of
the wind.

On the 31st of May, the thermometer stood at thirty-six degrees at five,
A.M. This, it must be remembered, was in the torrid zone, in
the same latitude as Congo in Africa, and Sumatra in Asia; yet how
different the climate! This is owing to the elevation, which at this
water-shed of the continent, which separates the rivers of the Atlantic
from those of the Pacific, was about sixteen thousand feet above the
level of the sea. The peaks of the Cordillera presented the appearance
of a hilly country at home on a winter's day; while the lower ranges
were dressed in bright green, with placid little lakes interspersed,
giving an air of quiet beauty to the scene.

The travellers next arrived at Morococha, where they found copper-mining
to be the prevailing occupation. The copper ore is calcined in the open
air, in piles consisting of ore and coal, which burn for a month. The
ore thus calcined is taken to the ovens; and sufficient heat is employed
to melt the copper, which runs off into moulds below. The copper, in
this state, is impure, containing fifty per cent of foreign matter; and
is worth fifteen cents the pound in England, where it is refined. There
is a mine of fine coal near the hacienda, which yields an abundant

The travellers passed other mining districts, rich in silver and copper.
A large portion of the silver which forms the circulation of the world
is dug from the range of mountains which they were now crossing, and
chiefly from that slope of them which is drained off into the Amazon.

Their descent, after leaving the mining country, was rapid. On June 6,
we find them at the head of a ravine leading down to the Valley of
Tarma. The height of this spot above the level of the sea was 11,270
feet. As they rode down the steep descent, the plants and flowers that
they had left on the other side began to re-appear. First the short
grass and small clover, then barley, lucern, Indian corn, beans,
turnips, shrubs, bushes, trees, flowers, growing larger and gayer in
their colors, till the pretty little city of Tarma, imbosomed among the
hills, and enveloped in its covering of willows and fruit-trees, with
its long lawns of _alfalfa_ (the greenest of grasses) stretching out in
front, broke upon their view. It is a place of seven thousand
inhabitants, beautifully situated in an amphitheatre of mountains, which
are clothed nearly to the top with waving fields of barley. The
lieutenant gives an attractive description of this mountain city, whose
natural productions extend from the apples and peaches of the temperate
zone to the oranges and pine-apples of the tropics; and whose air is so
temperate and pure, that there was but one physician to a district of
twenty thousand people, and he was obliged to depend upon government for
a part of his support.

The party left Tarma on the 16th of June, and resumed their descent of
the mountains. The ride was the wildest they had yet had. The ascents
and descents were nearly precipitous; and the scene was rugged, wild,
and grand beyond description. At certain parts of the road, it is
utterly impossible for two beasts to pass abreast, or for one to turn
and retreat; and the only remedy, when they meet, is to tumble one off
the precipice, or to drag him back by the tail until he reaches a place
where the other can pass. They met with a considerable fright in this
way one day. They were riding in single file along one of those narrow
ascents where the road is cut out of the mountain-side, and the
traveller has a perpendicular wall on one hand, and a sheer precipice of
many hundreds of feet upon the other. Mr. Gibbon was riding ahead. Just
as he was about to turn a sharp bend of the road, the head of a bull
peered round it, on the descent. When the bull came in full view, he
stopped; and the travellers could see the heads of other cattle
clustering over his quarters, and hear the shouts of the cattle-drivers
far behind, urging on their herd. The bull, with lowered crest, and
savage, sullen look, came slowly on, and actually got his head between
the perpendicular rock and the neck of Gibbon's mule. But the sagacious
beast on which he was mounted, pressing her haunches hard against the
wall, gathered her feet close under her, and turned as upon a pivot.
This placed the bull on the outside (there was room to pass, though no
one would have thought it); and he rushed by at the gallop, followed in
single file by the rest of the herd. The lieutenant owns that he and his
friend "felt frightened."

On the 18th of June, they arrived at the first hacienda, where they saw
sugar-cane, yucca, pine-apples, and plantains. Besides these, cotton and
coffee were soon after found in cultivation. The laborers are native
Indians, nominally free, but, by the customs of the country, pretty
closely held in subjection to their employers. Their nominal wages are
half a dollar a day; but this is paid in articles necessary for their
support, which are charged to them at such prices as to keep them always
in debt. As debtors, the law will enforce the master's claim on them;
and it is almost hopeless for them to desert; for, unless they get some
distance off before they are recognized, they will be returned as
debtors to their employers. Freedom, under such circumstances, is little
better than slavery; but it _is_ better, for this reason,--that it only
requires some improvement in the intelligence and habits of the laborers
to convert it into a system of free labor worthy of the name.

The _yucca_ (cassava-root) is a plant of fifteen or twenty feet in
height. It is difficult to distinguish this plant from the _mandioc_,
which is called "wild yucca;" and this, "sweet yucca." This may be eaten
raw; but the other is poisonous until subjected to heat in cooking, and
then is perfectly wholesome. The yucca answers the same purpose in Peru
that the mandioc does in Brazil. It is the general substitute for bread,
and, roasted or boiled, is very pleasant to the taste. The Indians also
make from it an intoxicating drink. Each plant will give from twenty to
twenty-five pounds of the eatable root, which grows in clusters like the
potato, and some tubers of which are as long and thick as a man's arm.



On the 4th of July, the travellers arrived at the great mining station
of Cerro Pasco. The weather was so cold, that the lieutenant, not being
quite well, sat by the fire all day, trying to keep himself warm. The
town is a most curious-looking place, entirely honey-combed, and having
the mouths of mines, some of them two or three yards in diameter, gaping
everywhere. From the top of a hill, the best view is obtained of the
whole. Vast pits, called Tajos, surround this hill, from which many
millions of silver have been taken; and the miners are still burrowing,
like so many rabbits, in their bottoms and sides. The hill is penetrated
in every direction; and it would not be surprising if it should cave in,
any day, and bury many in its ruins. The falling-in of mines is of
frequent occurrence: one caved in, some years ago, and buried three
hundred persons. An English company undertook mining here in 1825, and
failed. Vast sums have been spent in constructing tunnels, and employing
steam machinery to drain the mines; and the parties still persevere,
encouraged by discovering, that, the lower they penetrate, the richer
are the ores. The yield of these mines is about two million dollars'
worth a year, which is equal to the yield of all the other mines of Peru

The lieutenant found the leading people here, as well as at Tarma,
enthusiastic on the subject of opening the Amazon to foreign commerce.
It will be a great day for them, they say, when the Americans get near
them with a steamer.

On the 14th of July, they arrived at a spot of marshy ground, from which
trickled in tiny streams the waters, which, uniting with others, swell
till they form the broad River Huallaga, one of the head tributaries of
the Amazon. Their descent was now rapid; and the next day they found
themselves on a sudden among fruit-trees, with a patch of sugar-cane, on
the banks of the stream. The sudden transition from rugged
mountain-peaks, where there was no cultivation, to a tropical
vegetation, was marvellous. Two miles farther on, they came in sight of
a pretty village, almost hidden in the luxuriant vegetation. The whole
valley here becomes very beautiful. The land, which is a rich
river-bottom, is laid off into alternate fields of sugar-cane and
alfalfa. The blended green and yellow of this growth, divided by
willows, interspersed with fruit-trees, and broken into wavy lines by
the serpentine course of the river, presented a scene which filled them
with pleasurable emotions, and indicated that they had exchanged a
semi-barbarous for a civilized society.

The party had had no occasion to complain of want of hospitality in any
part of their route; but here they seemed to have entered upon a country
where that virtue flourished most vigorously, having at its command the
means of gratifying it. The owner of the hacienda of Quicacan, an
English gentleman named Dyer, received the lieutenant and his large
party exactly as if it were a matter of course, and as if they had quite
as much right to occupy his house as they had to enter an inn. The next
day they had an opportunity to compare with the Englishman a fine
specimen of the Peruvian country gentleman. Col. Lucar is thus
described: "He is probably the richest and most influential man in the
province. He seems to have been the father of husbandry in these parts,
and is the very type of the old landed proprietor of Virginia, who has
always lived upon his estates, and attended personally to their
cultivation. Seated at the head of his table, with his hat on to keep
the draught from his head, and which he would insist upon removing
unless I would wear mine; his chair surrounded by two or three little
negro children, whom he fed with bits from his plate; and attending with
patience and kindness to the clamorous wants of a pair of splendid
peacocks, a couple of small parrots of brilliant and variegated plumage,
and a beautiful and delicate monkey,--I thought I had never seen a more
perfect pattern of the patriarch. His kindly and affectionate manner to
his domestics, and to his little grand-children, a pair of sprightly
boys, who came in the evening from the college, was also very pleasing."
The mention of a college in a region in some respects so barbarous may
surprise our readers; but such there is. It has a hundred pupils, an
income of seventy-five thousand dollars yearly, chemical and
philosophical apparatus, and one thousand specimens of European

Ijurra, our lieutenant's Peruvian companion, had written to the governor
of the village of Tingo Maria, the head of canoe navigation on the
Huallaga, to send Indians to meet the travellers here, and take their
luggage on to the place of embarkation.

July 30.--The Indians came shouting into the farm-yard, thirteen in
number. They were young, slight, but muscular-looking fellows, and
wanted to shoulder the trunks, and be off at once. The lieutenant,
however, gave them some breakfast; and then the party set forward, and,
after a walk of six miles, reached the river, and embarked in the canoe.
Two Indian laborers, called _peons_, paddled the canoe, and managed it
very well. The peons cooked their dinner of cheese and rice, and made
them a good cup of coffee. They are lively, good-tempered fellows, and,
properly treated, make good and serviceable travelling companions. The
canoe was available only in parts of the river where the stream was free
from rapids. Where these occur, the cargo must be landed, and carried
round. Lieut. Herndon and his party were compelled to walk a good part
of the distance to Tingo Maria, which was thirty-six miles from where
they first took the canoe.

"I saw here," says our traveller, "the _lucernago_, or fire-fly of this
country. It is a species of beetle, carrying two white lights in its
eyes, or rather in the places where the eyes of insects generally are,
and a red light between the scales of the belly; so that it reminded me
somewhat of the ocean steamers. They are sometimes carried to Lima
(enclosed in an apartment cut into a sugar-cane), where the ladies at
balls or theatres put them in their hair for ornament."

At Tingo Maria, their arrival was celebrated with much festivity. The
governor got up a ball for them, where there was more hilarity than
ceremony. The next morning, the governor and his wife accompanied our
friends to the port. The governor made a short address to the canoe-men,
telling them that their passengers were "no common persons; that they
were to have a special care of them; to be very obedient," &c. They then
embarked, and stood off; the boatmen blowing their horns, and the party
on shore waving their hats, and shouting their adieus.

The party had two canoes, about forty feet long by two and a half broad,
each hollowed out of a single log. The rowers stand up to paddle, having
one foot in the bottom of the boat, and the other on the gunwale. There
is a man at the bow of the boat to look out for rocks or sunken trees
ahead; and a steersman, who stands on a little platform at the stern of
the boat, and guides her motions. When the river was smooth, and free
from obstruction, they drifted with the current, the men sitting on the
trunks and boxes, chatting and laughing with each other; but, when they
approached a "bad place," their serious looks, and the firm position in
which each one planted himself at his post, showed that work was to be
done. When the bark had fairly entered the pass, the rapid gestures of
the bow-man, indicating the channel; the graceful position of the
steersman, holding his long paddle; and the desperate exertions of the
rowers, the railroad rush of the canoes, and the wild screaming laugh of
the Indians as the boat shot past the danger,--made a scene so exciting
as to banish the sense of danger.

After this specimen of their travel, let us take a glimpse of their
lodging. "At half-past five, we camped on the beach. The first business
of the boatmen, when the canoe is secured, is to go off to the woods,
and cut stakes and palm-branches to make a house for the 'commander.' By
sticking long poles in the sand, chopping them half-way in two about
five feet above the ground, and bending the upper parts together, they
make in a few minutes the frame of a little shanty, which, thickly
thatched with palm-leaves, will keep off the dew or an ordinary rain.
Some bring the drift-wood that is lying about the beach, and make a
fire. The provisions are cooked and eaten, the bedding laid down upon
the leaves that cover the floor of the shanty, the mosquito nettings
spread; and after a cup of coffee, a glass of grog, and a cigar (if they
are to be had), everybody retires for the night by eight o'clock. The
Indians sleep round the hut, each under his narrow mosquito curtain,
which glisten in the moonlight like so many tombstones."

The Indians have very keen senses, and see and hear things that would
escape more civilized travellers. One morning, they commenced paddling
with great vigor; for they said they heard monkeys ahead. It was not
till after paddling a mile that they reached the place. "When we came up
to them," says the lieutenant, "we found a gang of large red monkeys in
some tall trees by the river-side, making a noise like the grunting of a
herd of hogs. We landed; and, in a few moments, I found myself beating
my way through the thick undergrowth, and hunting monkeys with as much
excitement as I had ever felt in hunting squirrels when a boy." They
found the game hard to kill, and only got three,--the lieutenant, with
his rifle, one; and the Indians, with their blow-guns, two. The Indians
roasted and ate theirs, and Lieut. Herndon tried to eat a piece; but it
was so tough, that his teeth would make no impression upon it.

Aug. 19.--The party arrived at Tarapoto. It is a town of three thousand
five hundred inhabitants, and the district of which it is the capital
numbers six thousand. The principal productions are rice, cotton, and
tobacco; and cotton-cloth, spun and woven by the women, with about as
little aid from machinery as the women in Solomon's time, of whom we are
told, "She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the
distaff." The little balls of cotton thread which the women spin in this
way are used as currency (and this in a land of silver-mines), and pass
for twenty-five cents apiece in exchange for other goods, or twelve and
a half cents in money. Most of the trade is done by barter. A cow is
sold for one hundred yards of cotton cloth; a fat hog, for sixty; a
large sheep, twelve; twenty-five pounds of salt fish, for twelve;
twenty-five pounds of coffee, six; a head of plantains, which will weigh
from forty to fifty pounds, for three needles; and so forth. All
transportation of merchandise by land is made upon the backs of Indians,
for want of roads suitable for beasts of burden. The customary weight of
a load is seventy-five pounds: the cost of transportation to Moyobamba,
seventy miles, is six yards of cloth. It is easy to obtain, in the term
of six or eight days, fifty or sixty peons, or Indian laborers, for the
transportation of cargoes, getting the order of the governor, and paying
the above price, and supporting the peons on the way. The town is the
most important in the province of Mainas. The inhabitants are called
civilized, but have no idea of what we call comfort in their domestic
arrangements. The houses are of mud, thatched with palm, and have uneven
earth floors. The furniture consists of a grass hammock, a standing
bedplace, a coarse table, and a stool or two. The governor of this
populous district wore no shoes, and appeared to live pretty much like
the rest of them.

Vessels of five feet draught of water may ascend the river, at the
lowest stage of the water, to within eighteen miles of Tarapoto.

Our travellers accompanied a large fishing-party. They had four or five
canoes, and a large quantity of barbasco; a root which has the property
of stupefying, or intoxicating, the fish. The manner of fishing is to
close up the mouth of an inlet of the river with a network made of
reeds; and then, mashing the barbasco-root to a pulp, throw it into the
water. This turns the water white, and poisons it; so that the fish
soon begin rising to the surface, dead, and are taken into the canoes
with small tridents, or pronged sticks. Almost at the moment of throwing
the barbasco into the water, the smaller fish rise to the surface, and
die in one or two minutes; the larger fish survive longer.

The salt fish, which constitutes an important article of food and also
of barter trade, is brought from down the river in large pieces of about
eight pounds each, cut from the _vaca marina_, or sea-cow, also found in
our Florida streams, and there called _manatee_. It is found in great
numbers in the Amazon and its principal tributaries. It is not, strictly
speaking, a fish, but an animal of the whale kind, which nourishes its
young at the breast. It is not able to leave the water; but, in feeding,
it gets near the shore, and raises its head out. It is most often taken
when feeding.

Our travellers met a canoe of Indians, one man and two women, going up
the river for salt. They bought, with beads, some turtle-eggs, and
proposed to buy a monkey they had; but one of the women clasped the
little beast in her arms, and set up a great outcry, lest the man should
sell it. The man wore a long cotton gown, with a hole in the neck for
the head to come through, and short, wide sleeves. He had on his arm a
bracelet of monkeys' teeth, and the women had nose-rings of white beads.
Their dress was a cotton petticoat, tied round the waist; and all were

Sept. 1.--They arrived at Laguna. Here they found two travelling
merchants, a Portuguese and a Brazilian. They had four large boats, of
about eight tons each, and two or three canoes. Their cargo consisted of
iron and iron implements, crockery-ware, wine, brandy, copper kettles,
coarse short swords (a very common implement of the Indians), guns,
ammunition, salt, fish, &c., which they expected to exchange for straw
hats, cotton cloth, sugar, coffee, and money. They were also buying up
all the sarsaparilla they could find, and despatching it back in canoes.
They invited our travellers to breakfast; and the lieutenant says, "I
thought that I never tasted any thing better than the _farinha_, which I
saw now for the first time."

Farinha is a general substitute for bread in all the course of the
Amazon below the Brazilian frontier. It is used by all classes; and the
boatmen seemed always contented with plenty of salt fish and farinha.
The women make it in this way: They soak the root of the _mandioc_ in
water till it is softened a little, when they scrape off the skin, and
grate the root upon a board, which is made into a rude grater by being
smeared with some of the adhesive gums of the forest, and then sprinkled
with pebbles. The white grated pulp is put into a conical-shaped bag
made of the coarse fibres of the palm. The bag is hung up to a peg
driven into a post of the hut; a lever is put through a loop at the
bottom of the bag; the short end of the lever is placed under a chock
nailed to the post below; and the woman hangs her weight on the long
end. This elongates the bag, and brings a heavy pressure upon the mass
within, causing the juice to ooze out through the wicker-work of the
bag. When sufficiently pressed, the mass is put on the floor of a mud
oven; heat is applied, and it is stirred with a stick till it granulates
into very irregular grains, and is sufficiently toasted to drive off all
the poisonous qualities which it has in a crude state. It is then packed
in baskets (lined and covered with palm-leaves) of about sixty-four
pounds' weight, which are generally sold all along the river at from
seventy-five cents to one dollar. The sediment of the juice is tapioca,
and is used to make custards, puddings, starch, &c. It will surprise
some of our readers to be told that the juice extracted in the
preparation of these wholesome and nutritive substances is a powerful
poison, and used by the Indians for poisoning the points of their



The Huallaga is navigable, for vessels drawing five feet depth of water,
285 miles; and forty miles farther for canoes. Our travellers had now
arrived at its junction with the Amazon; and their first sight of its
waters is thus described: "The march of the great river in its silent
grandeur was sublime; but in the untamed might of its turbid waters, as
they cut away its banks, tore down the gigantic denizens of the forest,
and built up islands, it was awful. I was reminded of our Mississippi at
its topmost flood; but this stream lacked the charm which the plantation
upon the bank, the city upon the bluff, and the steamboat upon the
waters, lend to its fellow of the North. But its capacities for trade
and commerce are inconceivably great; and to the touch of steam,
settlement, and cultivation, this majestic stream and its magnificent
water-shed would start up in a display of industrial results that would
make the Valley of the Amazon one of the most enchanting regions on the
face of the earth."

Lieut. Herndon speaks of the Valley of the Amazon in language almost as
enthusiastic as that of Sir Walter Raleigh: "From its mountains you may
dig silver, iron, coal, copper, zinc, quicksilver, and tin; from the
sands of its tributaries you may wash gold, diamonds, and precious
stones; from its forests you may gather drugs of virtues the most rare,
spices of aroma the most exquisite, gums and resins of the most varied
and useful properties, dyes of hue the most brilliant, with cabinet and
building woods of the finest polish and the most enduring texture. Its
climate is an everlasting summer, and its harvest perennial."

Sept. 8.--The party encamped at night on an island near the middle of
the river. "The Indians, cooking their big monkeys over a large fire on
the beach, presented a savage and most picturesque scene. They looked
more like devils roasting human beings, than any thing mortal." We ask
ourselves, on reading this, whether some such scene may not have given
rise to the stories of cannibalism which Raleigh and others record.

They arrived at Nauta, a village of a thousand inhabitants, mostly
Indians. The governor of the district received them hospitably. Each
district has its governor, and each town its lieutenant-governor. These
are of European descent. The other authorities of a town are _curacas_,
captains, alcades, and constables. All these are Indians. The office of
curaca is hereditary, and is not generally interfered with by the white
governor. The Indians treat their curaca with great respect, and submit
to corporal punishment at his mandate.

Sarsaparilla is one of the chief articles of produce collected here. It
is a vine of sufficient size to shoot up fifteen or twenty feet from the
root without support. It thus embraces the surrounding trees, and
spreads to a great distance. The main root sends out many tendrils,
generally about the thickness of a straw, and five feet long. These are
gathered, and tied up in bundles of about an _arroba_, or thirty-two
pounds' weight. It is found on the banks of almost every river of the
region; but many of these are not worked, on account of the savages
living on them, who attack the parties that come to gather it. The price
in Nauta is two dollars the arroba, and in Europe from forty to sixty

From Nauta, Lieut. Herndon ascended the Ucayali, a branch of the
Amazon, stretching to the north-west in a direction somewhat parallel to
the Huallaga. There is the essential difference between the two rivers,
as avenues for commerce, that the Ucayali is still in the occupation of
savage tribes, unchristianized except where under the immediate
influence of the mission stations planted among them; while the
population of the Huallaga is tolerably advanced in civilization. The
following sentences will give a picture of the Indians of the Ucayali:
"These people cannot count, and I can never get from them any accurate
idea of numbers. They are very little removed above 'the beasts that
perish.' They are filthy, and covered with sores. The houses are very
large, between thirty and forty feet in length, and ten or fifteen in
breadth. They consist of immense roofs of small poles and canes,
thatched with palm, and supported by short stakes, four feet high,
planted in the ground three or four feet apart, and having the spaces,
except between two in front, filled in with cane. They have no idea of a
future state, and worship nothing. But they can make bows and canoes;
and their women weave a coarse cloth from cotton, and dye it. Their
dress is a long cotton gown. They paint the face, and wear ornaments
suspended from the nose and lower lip."

Next let us take a view of the means in operation to elevate these
people to civilization and Christianity. Sarayacu is a missionary
station, governed by four Franciscan friars, who are thus described:
"Father Calvo, meek and humble in personal concerns, yet full of zeal
and spirit for his office, clad in his long serge gown, belted with a
cord, with bare feet and accurate tonsure, habitual stoop, and generally
bearing upon his shoulder a beautiful and saucy bird of the parrot kind,
was my beau-ideal of a missionary monk. Bregati is a young and handsome
Italian, whom Father Calvo sometimes calls St. John. Lorente is a tall,
grave, and cold-looking Catalan. A lay-brother named Maguin, who did the
cooking, and who was unwearied in his attentions to us, made up the
establishment. I was sick here, and think that I shall ever remember
with gratitude the affectionate kindness of these pious and devoted
friars of St. Francis."

The government is paternal. The Indians recognize in the "padre" the
power to appoint and remove curacas, captains, and other officers; to
inflict stripes, and to confine in the stocks. They obey the priests'
orders readily, and seem tractable and docile. The Indian men are
drunken and lazy: the women do most of the work; and their reward is to
be maltreated by their husbands, and, in their drunken frolics, to be
cruelly beaten, and sometimes badly wounded.

Our party returned to the Amazon; and we find occurring in their
narrative names which are familiar to us in the history of our previous
adventurers. They touched at Omaguas, the port where Madame Godin found
kind friends in the good missionary and the governor, and where she
embarked on her way to the galiot at Loreto; and they passed the mouth
of the Napo, which enters the Amazon from the north,--the river down
which Orellana passed in the first adventure. The lieutenant says, "We
spoke two canoes that had come from near Quito by the Napo. There are
few Christianized towns on the Napo; and the rowers of the boats were a
more savage-looking set than I had seen,"--so slow has been the progress
of civilization in three hundred years.

The Amazon seems to be the land of monkeys. Our traveller says, "I
bought a young monkey of an Indian woman to-day. It had coarse gray and
white hair; and that on the top of its head was stiff, like the quills
of the porcupine, and smoothed down in front as if it had been combed. I
offered the little fellow some plantain; but, finding he would not eat,
the woman took him, and put him to her breast, when he sucked away
manfully and with great gusto. She weaned him in a week, so that he
would eat plantain mashed up, and put into his mouth in small bits; but
the little beast died of mortification because I would not let him sleep
with his arms around my neck."

They got from the Indians some of the milk from the cow-tree. This the
Indians drink, when fresh; and, brought in a calabash, it had a foamy
appearance, as if just drawn from the cow. It, however, coagulates very
soon, and becomes as hard and tenacious as glue. It does not appear to
be as important an article of subsistence as one would expect from the

Dec. 2.--They arrived at Loreto, the frontier town of the Peruvian
territory, and which reminds us again of Madame Godin, who there joined
the Portuguese galiot. Loreto is situated on an eminence on the left
bank of the river, which is here three-fourths of a mile wide, and one
hundred feet deep. There are three mercantile houses in Loreto, which do
a business of about ten thousand dollars a year. The houses at Loreto
are better built and better furnished than those of the towns on the
river above. The population of the place is two hundred and fifty, made
up of Brazilians, mulattoes, negroes, and a few Indians.

At the next town, Tabatinga, the lieutenant entered the territory of
Brazil. When his boat, bearing the American flag, was descried at that
place, the Brazilian flag was hoisted; and when the lieutenant landed,
dressed in uniform, he was received by the commandant, also in uniform,
to whom he presented his passport from the Brazilian minister at
Washington. As soon as this document was perused, and the lieutenant's
rank ascertained, a salute of seven guns was fired from the fort; and
the commandant treated him with great civility, and entertained him at
his table, giving him roast beef, which was a great treat.

It was quite pleasant, after coming from the Peruvian villages, which
are all nearly hidden in the woods, to see that Tabatinga had the forest
cleared away from about it; so that a space of forty or fifty acres was
covered with green grass, and had a grove of orange-trees in its midst.
The commandant told him that the trade of the river was increasing very
fast; that, in 1849, scarce one thousand dollars' worth of goods passed
up; in 1850, two thousand five hundred dollars; and this year, six
thousand dollars.

The sarsaparilla seems thus far to have been the principal article of
commerce; but here they find another becoming of importance,--_manteca_,
or oil made of turtle-eggs. The season for making manteca generally
ends by the 1st of November. A commandant is appointed every year to
take care of the beaches, prevent disorder, and administer justice.
Sentinels are placed at the beginning of August, when the turtles
commence depositing their eggs. They see that no one wantonly interferes
with the turtles, or destroys the eggs. The process of making the oil is
very disgusting. The eggs are collected, thrown into a canoe, and
trodden into a mass with the feet. Water is poured on, and the mass is
left to stand in the sun for several days. The oil rises to the top, is
skimmed off, and boiled in large copper boilers. It is then put in
earthen pots of about forty-five pounds' weight. Each pot is worth, on
the beach, one dollar and thirty cents; and at Pará, from two and a half
to three dollars. The beaches of the Amazon and its tributaries yield
from five to six thousand pots annually. It is used for the same
purposes as lard with us.



On Jan. 4, at about the point of the junction of the Purus River with
the Amazon, Lieut. Herndon remarks, "The banks of the river are now
losing the character of savage and desolate solitude that characterizes
them above, and begin to show signs of habitation and cultivation. We
passed to-day several farms, with neatly framed and plastered houses,
and a schooner-rigged vessel lying off several of them."

They arrived at the junction of the River Negro. This is one of the
largest of the tributaries of the Amazon, and derives its name from the
blackness of its waters. When taken up in a tumbler, the water is a
light-red color, like a pale juniper-water, and is probably colored by
some such berry. This river, opposite the town of Barra, is about a mile
and a half wide, and very beautiful. It is navigable for almost any
draughts to the Masaya, a distance of about four hundred miles: there
the rapids commence, and the farther ascent must be made in boats. By
this river, a communication exists with the Orinoco, by means of a
remarkable stream, the Cassaquiare, which seems to have been formed for
the sole purpose of connecting these two majestic rivers, and the future
dwellers upon them, in the bonds of perpetual union. Humboldt, the great
traveller and philosopher, thus speaks of it, "The Cassaquiare, as broad
as the Rhine, and whose course is one hundred and eighty miles in
length, will not much longer form in vain a navigable canal between two
basins of rivers which have a surface of one hundred and ninety thousand
square leagues. The grain of New Grenada will be carried to the banks of
the Rio Negro; boats will descend from the sources of the Napo and the
Ucayali, from the Andes of Quito and Upper Peru, to the mouths of the
Orinoco. A country nine or ten times larger than Spain, and enriched
with the most varied productions, is accessible in every direction by
the medium of the natural canal of the Cassaquiare and the bifurcation
of the rivers."

The greatest of all the tributaries of the Amazon is the Madeira, whose
junction our travellers next reached. For four hundred and fifty miles
from its mouth, there is good navigation: then occur cascades, which are
navigable only for boats, and occupy three hundred and fifty miles,
above which the river is navigable for large vessels, by its great
tributaries, into Bolivia and Brazil.

They next entered the country where the cocoa is regularly cultivated;
and the banks of the river present a much less desolate and savage
appearance than they do above. The cocoa-trees have a yellow-colored
leaf; and this, together with their regularity of size, distinguishes
them from the surrounding forest. Lieut. Herndon says, "I do not know a
prettier place than one of these plantations. The trees interlock their
branches, and, with their large leaves, make a shade impenetrable to any
ray of the sun; and the large, golden-colored fruits, hanging from
branch and trunk, shine through the green with a most beautiful effect.
This is the time of the harvest; and we found the people of every
plantation engaged in the open space before the house in breaking open
the shells of the fruit, and spreading the seed to dry in the sun. They
make a pleasant drink for a hot day by pressing out the juice of the
gelatinous pulp that envelops the seeds. It is called cocoa-wine: it is
a white, viscid liquor, has an agreeable, acid taste, and is very

We must hasten on, and pass without notice many spots of interest on the
river; but, as we have now reached a comparatively civilized and known
region, it is less necessary to be particular. The Tapajos River
stretches its branches to the town of Diamantino, situated at the foot
of the mountains, where diamonds are found. Lieut. Herndon saw some of
the diamonds and gold-sand in the possession of a resident of Santarem,
who had traded much on the river. The gold-dust appeared to him equal in
quality to that he had seen from California. Gold and diamonds, which
are always united in this region as in many others, are found especially
in the numerous water-courses, and also throughout the whole country.
After the rains, the children of Diamantino hunt for the gold contained
in the earth even of the streets, and in the bed of the River Ouro,
which passes through the city; and they often collect considerable
quantities. It is stated that diamonds are sometimes found in the
stomachs of the fowls. The quantity of diamonds found in a year varies
from two hundred and fifty to five hundred _oitavas_; the oitava being
about seventeen carats. The value depends upon the quality and size of
the specimen, and can hardly be reduced to an estimate. It is seldom
that a stone of over half an oitava is found; and such a one is worth
from two to three hundred dollars.

As an offset to the gold and diamonds, we have this picture of the
climate: "From the rising to the setting of the sun, clouds of stinging
insects blind the traveller, and render him frantic by the torments they
cause. Take a handful of the finest sand, and throw it above your head,
and you would then have but a faint idea of the number of these demons
who tear the skin to pieces. It is true, these insects disappear at
night, but only to give place to others yet more formidable. Large bats
(true, thirsty vampires) literally throng the forests, cling to the
hammocks, and, finding a part of the body exposed, rest lightly there,
and drain it of blood. The alligators are so numerous, and the noise
they make so frightful, that it is impossible to sleep."

At Santarem they were told the tide was perceptible, but did not
perceive it. At Gurupa it was very apparent. This point is about five
hundred miles from the sea. About thirty-five miles below Gurupa
commences the great estuary of the Amazon. The river suddenly flows out
into an immense bay, which might appropriately be called the "bay of a
thousand islands;" for it is cut up into innumerable channels. The
travellers ran for days through channels varying from fifty to five
hundred yards in width, between numberless islands. This is the
India-rubber country. The shores are low: indeed, one seldom sees the
land at all; the trees on the banks generally standing in the water. The
party stopped at one of the establishments for making India-rubber. The
house was built of light poles, and on piles, to keep it out of the
water, which flowed under and around it. This was the store, and, rude
as it was, was a palace compared to the hut of the laborer who gathers
the India-rubber. The process is as follows: A longitudinal gash is made
in the bark of the tree with a hatchet. A wedge of wood is inserted to
keep the gash open; and a small clay cup is stuck to the tree, beneath
the gash. The cups may be stuck as close together as possible around the
tree. In four or five hours, the milk has ceased to run, and each wound
has given from three to five table-spoonfuls. The gatherer then collects
it from the cups, pours it into an earthen vessel, and commences the
operation of forming it into shapes, and smoking it. This must be done
at once, as the juice soon coagulates. A fire is made on the ground,
and a rude funnel placed over it to collect the smoke. The maker of the
rubber now takes his last, if he is making shoes, or his mould, which is
fastened to the end of a stick, pours the milk over it with a cup, and
passes it slowly several times through the smoke until it is dry. He
then pours on the other coats until he has the required thickness,
smoking each coating till it is dry. From twenty to forty coats make a
shoe. The soles and heels are, of course, given more coats than the body
of the shoe. The figures on the shoes are made by tracing them on the
rubber, while soft, with a coarse needle, or bit of wire. This is done
two days after the coating. In a week, the shoes are taken from the
last. The coating occupies about twenty-five minutes.

The tree is tall, straight, and has a smooth bark. It sometimes reaches
a diameter of thirteen inches or more. Each incision makes a rough wound
on the tree, which, although it does not kill it, renders it useless,
because a smooth place is wanted to which to attach the cups. The milk
is white and tasteless, and may be taken into the stomach with impunity.

Our travellers arrived at Pará on the 12th of April, 1852, and were most
hospitably and kindly received by Mr. Norris, the American consul.

The journey of our travellers ends here. Lieut. Herndon's book is full
of instruction, conveyed in a pleasant style. He seems to have
manifested throughout good judgment, good temper, energy, and industry.
He had no collisions with the authorities or with individuals, and, on
his part, seems to have met friendly feelings and good offices
throughout his whole route.

     William Lewis Herndon was born in Fredericksburg, Va., on the
     25th of October, 1813. He entered the navy at the age of
     fifteen; served in the Mexican war; and was afterwards engaged
     for three years, with his brother-in-law, Lieut. Maury, in the
     National Observatory at Washington. In 1851-2, he explored the
     Amazon River, under commission of the United-States Government.
     In 1857, he was commander of the steamer "Central America,"
     which left Havana for New York on Sept. 8, having on board four
     hundred and seventy-four passengers and a crew of one hundred
     and five men, and about two million dollars of gold. On Sept.
     11, during a violent gale from the north-east and a heavy sea,
     she sprung a leak, and sunk, on the evening of Sept. 12, near
     the outer edge of the Gulf Stream, in lat. 31° 44´ N. Only one
     hundred and fifty of the persons on board were saved, including
     the women and children. The gallant commander of the steamer
     was seen standing upon the wheel-house at the time of her

     In a former chapter, we have told the fate of Sir Humphrey
     Gilbert. How fair a counterpart of that heroic death is this of
     the gallant Herndon!



In the year 1845, an English gentleman, Henry Walter Bates, visited the
region of the Amazon for the purpose of scientific exploration. He went
prepared to spend years in the country, in order to study diligently its
natural productions. His stay was protracted until 1859, during which
time he resided successively at Pará, Santarem, Ega, Barra, and other
places; making his abode for months, or even years, in each. His account
of his observations and discoveries was published after his return, and
affords us the best information we possess respecting the country, its
inhabitants, and its productions, brought down almost to the present
time. Our extracts relate to the cities, the river and its shores, the
inhabitants civilized and savage, the great tributary rivers, the
vegetation, and the animals of various kinds.

Before proceeding with our extracts, we will remark the various names of
the river.

It is sometimes called, from the name of its discoverer, "Orellana."
This name is appropriate and well-sounding, but is not in general use.

The name of "Marañon," pronounced Maranyon, is still often used. It is
probably derived from the natives.

It is called "The River of the Amazons," from the fable of its former

This name is shortened into "The Amazons," and, without the plural sign,
"The Amazon," in common use.

Above the junction of the River Negro, the river is designated as "The
Upper Amazon," or "Solimoens."


"On the morning of the 28th of May, 1848, we arrived at our destination.
The appearance of the city at sunrise was pleasing in the highest
degree. It is built on a low tract of land, having only one small rocky
elevation at its southern extremity: it therefore affords no
amphitheatral view from the river; but the white buildings roofed with
red tiles, the numerous towers and cupolas of churches and convents,
the crowns of palm-trees reared above the buildings, all sharply defined
against the clear blue sky, give an appearance of lightness and
cheerfulness which is most exhilarating. The perpetual forest hems the
city in on all sides landwards; and, towards the suburbs, picturesque
country-houses are seen scattered about, half buried in luxuriant

"The impressions received during our first walk can never wholly fade
from my mind. After traversing the few streets of tall, gloomy,
convent-looking buildings near the port, inhabited chiefly by merchants
and shopkeepers; along which idle soldiers, dressed in shabby uniforms,
carrying their muskets carelessly over their arms; priests; negresses
with red water-jars on their heads; sad-looking Indian women, carrying
their naked children astride on their hips; and other samples of the
motley life of the place,--were seen; we passed down a long, narrow
street leading to the suburbs. Beyond this, our road lay across a grassy
common, into a picturesque lane leading to the virgin forest. The long
street was inhabited by the poorer class of the population. The houses
were mostly in a dilapidated condition; and signs of indolence and
neglect were everywhere visible. But amidst all, and compensating every
defect, rose the overpowering beauty of the vegetation. The massive
dark crowns of shady mangoes were seen everywhere among the dwellings,
amidst fragrant, blossoming orange, lemon, and other tropical
fruit-trees,--some in flower, others in fruit at various stages of
ripeness. Here and there, shooting above the more dome-like and sombre
trees, were the smooth columnar stems of palms, bearing aloft their
magnificent crowns of finely-cut fronds. On the boughs of the taller and
more ordinary-looking trees sat tufts of curiously leaved parasites.
Slender woody lianas hung in festoons from the branches, or were
suspended in the form of cords and ribbons; while luxuriant creeping
plants overran alike tree-trunks, roofs, and walls, or toppled over
palings in copious profusion of foliage.

"As we continued our walk, the brief twilight commenced; and the sounds
of multifarious life came from the vegetation around,--the whirring of
cicadas; the shrill stridulation of a vast number of crickets and
grasshoppers, each species sounding its peculiar note; the plaintive
hooting of tree-frogs, all blended together in one continuous ringing
sound,--the audible expression of the teeming profusion of Nature. This
uproar of life, I afterwards found, never wholly ceased, night or day:
in course of time, I became, like other residents, accustomed to it.
After my return to England, the death-like stillness of summer days in
the country appeared to me as strange as the ringing uproar did on my
first arrival at Pará."


"I staid at Cametá five weeks, and made a considerable collection of the
natural productions of the neighborhood. The town, in 1849, was
estimated to contain about five thousand inhabitants. The productions of
the district are cacao, India-rubber, and Brazil nuts. The most
remarkable feature in the social aspect of the place is the mixed nature
of the population,--the amalgamation of the white and Indian races being
here complete. The aborigines were originally very numerous on the
western bank of the Tocantins; the principal tribe being the Cametás,
from which the city takes its name. They were a superior nation,
settled, and attached to agriculture, and received with open arms the
white immigrants who were attracted to the district by its fertility,
natural beauty, and the healthfulness of the climate. The Portuguese
settlers were nearly all males. The Indian women were good-looking, and
made excellent wives; so the natural result has been, in the course of
two centuries, a complete blending of the two races.

"The town consists of three long streets running parallel to the river,
with a few shorter ones crossing them at right angles. The houses are
very plain; being built, as usual in this country, simply of a strong
framework, filled up with mud, and coated with white plaster. A few of
them are of two or three stories. There are three churches, and also a
small theatre, where a company of native actors, at the time of my
visit, were representing light Portuguese plays with considerable taste
and ability. The people have a reputation all over the province for
energy and perseverance; and it is often said that they are as keen in
trade as the Portuguese. The lower classes are as indolent and sensual
here as in other parts of the province,--a moral condition not to be
wondered at, where perpetual summer reigns, and where the necessaries of
life are so easily obtained. But they are light-hearted, quick-witted,
communicative, and hospitable. I found here a native poet, who had
written some pretty verses, showing an appreciation of the natural
beauties of the country; and was told that the Archbishop of Bahia, the
primate of Brazil, was a native of Cametá. It is interesting to find
the mamelucos (half-breeds) displaying talent and enterprise; for it
shows that degeneracy does not necessarily result from the mixture of
white and Indian blood.

"The forest behind Cametá is traversed by several broad roads, which
lead over undulating ground many miles into the interior. They pass
generally under shade, and part of the way through groves of coffee and
orange trees, fragrant plantations of cacao, and tracts of second-growth
woods. The narrow, broad-watered valleys, with which the land is
intersected, alone have remained clothed with primeval forest, at least
near the town. The houses along these beautiful roads belong chiefly to
mameluco, mulatto, and Indian families, each of which has its own small
plantation. There are only a few planters with large establishments; and
these have seldom more than a dozen slaves. Besides the main roads,
there are endless by-paths, which thread the forest, and communicate
with isolated houses. Along these the traveller may wander day after
day, without leaving the shade, and everywhere meet with cheerful,
simple, and hospitable people."


"We made many excursions down the Irritiri, and saw much of these
creeks. The Magoary is a magnificent channel: the different branches
form quite a labyrinth, and the land is everywhere of little elevation.
All these smaller rivers throughout the Pará estuary are of the nature
of creeks. The land is so level, that the short local rivers have no
sources and downward currents, like rivers, as we understand them. They
serve the purpose of draining the land; but, instead of having a
constant current one way, they have a regular ebb and flow with the
tide. The natives call them _igarapés_, or canoe-paths. They are
characteristic of the country. The land is everywhere covered with
impenetrable forests: the houses and villages are all on the water-side,
and nearly all communication is by water. This semi-aquatic life of the
people is one of the most interesting features of the country. For short
excursions, and for fishing in still waters, a small boat, called
_montaria_, is universally used. It is made of five planks,--a broad one
for the bottom, bent into the proper shape by the action of heat, two
narrow ones for the sides, and two triangular pieces for stem and stern.
It has no rudder: the paddle serves for both steering and propelling.
The montaria takes here the place of the horse, mule, or camel of other
regions. Besides one or more montarias, almost every family has a larger
canoe, called _igarité_. This is fitted with two masts, a rudder, and
keel, and has an arched awning or cabin near the stern, made of a
framework of tough _lianas_, thatched with palm-leaves. In the igarité,
they will cross stormy rivers fifteen or twenty miles broad. The natives
are all boat-builders. It is often remarked by white residents, that the
Indian is a carpenter and shipwright by intuition. It is astonishing to
see in what crazy vessels these people will risk themselves. I have seen
Indians cross rivers in a leaky montaria when it required the nicest
equilibrium to keep the leak just above water: a movement of a
hair's-breadth would send all to the bottom; but they manage to cross in
safety. If a squall overtakes them as they are crossing in a
heavily-laden canoe, they all jump overboard, and swim about until the
heavy sea subsides, when they re-embark."


"Our course lay through narrow channels between islands. We passed the
last of these, and then beheld to the south a sea-like expanse of
water, where the Madeira, the greatest tributary of the Amazons, after
two thousand miles of course, blends its waters with those of the king
of rivers. I was hardly prepared for a junction of waters on so vast a
scale as this, now nearly nine hundred miles from the sea. While
travelling week after week along the somewhat monotonous stream, often
hemmed in between islands, and becoming thoroughly familiar with it, my
sense of the magnitude of this vast water-system had become gradually
deadened; but this noble sight renewed the first feelings of wonder. One
is inclined, in such places as these, to think the Paraenses do not
exaggerate much when they call the Amazons the Mediterranean of South
America. Beyond the mouth of the Madeira, the Amazons sweeps down in a
majestic reach, to all appearance not a whit less in breadth before than
after this enormous addition to its waters. The Madeira does not ebb and
flow simultaneously with the Amazons; it rises and sinks about two
months earlier: so that it was now fuller than the main river. Its
current, therefore, poured forth freely from its mouth, carrying with it
a long line of floating trees, and patches of grass, which had been torn
from its crumbly banks in the lower part of its course. The current,
however, did not reach the middle of the main stream, but swept along
nearer to the southern shore.

"The Madeira is navigable 480 miles from its mouth: a series of
cataracts and rapids then commences, which extends, with some intervals
of quiet water, about 160 miles, beyond which is another long stretch of
navigable stream."


"A brisk wind from the east sprung up early in the morning of the 22d:
we then hoisted all sail, and made for the mouth of the Rio Negro. This
noble stream, at its junction with the Amazons, seems, from its
position, to be a direct continuation of the main river; while the
Solimoens, which joins it at an angle, and is somewhat narrower than its
tributary, appears to be a branch, instead of the main trunk, of the
vast water-system.

"The Rio Negro broadens considerably from its mouth upward, and presents
the appearance of a great lake; its black-dyed waters having no current,
and seeming to be dammed up by the impetuous flow of the yellow, turbid
Solimoens, which here belches forth a continuous line of uprooted trees,
and patches of grass, and forms a striking contrast with its tributary.
In crossing, we passed the line a little more than half-way over, where
the waters of the two rivers meet, and are sharply demarcated from each
other. On reaching the opposite shore, we found a remarkable change. All
our insect pests had disappeared, as if by magic, even from the hold of
the canoe: the turmoil of an agitated, swiftly-flowing river, and its
torn, perpendicular, earthy banks, had given place to tranquil water,
and a coast indented with snug little bays, fringed with sloping, sandy
beaches. The low shore, and vivid, light-green, endlessly varied
foliage, which prevailed on the south side of the Amazons, were
exchanged for a hilly country, clothed with a sombre, rounded, and
monotonous forest. A light wind carried us gently along the coast to the
city of Barra, which lies about seven or eight miles within the mouth of
the river.

"The town of Barra is built on a tract of elevated but very uneven land,
on the left bank of the Rio Negro, and contained, in 1850, about three
thousand inhabitants. It is now the principal station for the lines of
steamers which were established in 1853; and passengers and goods are
trans-shipped here for the Solimoens and Peru. A steamer runs once a
fortnight between Pará and Barra; and another as often between this
place and Nauta, in the Peruvian territory."


"We landed at one of the cacao-plantations. The house was substantially
built; the walls formed of strong, upright posts, lathed across,
plastered with mud, and whitewashed; and the roof tiled. The family were
Mamelucos, or offspring of the European and the Indian. They seemed to
be an average sample of the poorer class of cacao-growers. All were
loosely dressed, and barefooted. A broad veranda extended along one side
of the house, the floor of which was simply the well-trodden earth; and
here hammocks were slung between the bare upright supports, a large
rush-mat being spread on the ground, upon which the stout, matron-like
mistress, with a tame parrot perched upon her shoulder, sat sewing with
two pretty-looking mulatto-girls. The master, coolly clad in shirt and
drawers, the former loose about his neck, lay in his hammock, smoking a
long gaudily painted wooden pipe. The household utensils--earthenware
jars, water-pots, and sauce-pans--lay at one end, near which was a
wood-fire, with the ever-ready coffee-pot simmering on the top of a
clay tripod. A large shed stood a short distance off, embowered in a
grove of banana, papaw, and mango trees; and under it were the troughs,
ovens, sieves, and other apparatus, for the preparation of mandioc. The
cleared space around the house was only a few yards in extent: beyond it
lay the cacao-plantations, which stretched on each side parallel to the
banks of the river. There was a path through the forest, which led to
the mandioc-fields, and, several miles beyond, to other houses on the
banks of an interior channel. We were kindly received, as is always the
case when a stranger visits these out-of-the-way habitations; the people
being invariably civil and hospitable. We had a long chat, took coffee;
and, on departing, one of the daughters sent a basketful of oranges, for
our use, down to the canoe."


"On the 9th of January, we arrived at Matari, a miserable little
settlement of Múra Indians. Here we again anchored, and went ashore. The
place consisted of about twenty slightly built mud-hovels, and had a
most forlorn appearance, notwithstanding the luxuriant forest in its
rear. The absence of the usual cultivated trees and plants gave the
place a naked and poverty-stricken aspect. I entered one of the hovels,
where several women were employed cooking a meal. Portions of a large
fish were roasting over a fire made in the middle of the low chamber;
and the entrails were scattered about the floor, on which the women,
with their children, were squatted. These had a timid, distrustful
expression of countenance; and their bodies were begrimed with black
mud, which is smeared over the skin as a protection against musquitoes.
The children were naked: the women wore petticoats of coarse cloth,
stained in blotches with _murixi_, a dye made from the bark of a tree.
One of them wore a necklace of monkey's teeth. There were scarcely any
household utensils: the place was bare, with the exception of two dirty
grass hammocks hung in the corners. I missed the usual mandioc-sheds
behind the house, with their surrounding cotton, cacao, coffee, and
lemon trees. Two or three young men of the tribe were lounging about the
low, open doorway. They were stoutly-built fellows, but less
well-proportioned than the semi-civilized Indians of the Lower Amazons
generally are. The gloomy savagery, filth, and poverty of the people in
this place made me feel quite melancholy; and I was glad to return to
the canoe."


A pleasanter picture is presented by the Indians of the Marauá tribe.
Our traveller thus describes a visit to them:--

"Our longest trip was to some Indian houses, a distance of fifteen or
eighteen miles up the Sapó; a journey made with one Indian paddler, and
occupying a whole day. The stream is not more than forty or fifty yards
broad: its waters are dark in color, and flow, as in all these small
rivers, partly under shade, between two lofty walls of forest. We
passed, in ascending, seven habitations, most of them hidden in the
luxuriant foliage of the banks; their sites being known only by small
openings in the compact wall of forest, and the presence of a canoe or
two tied up in little shady ports. The inhabitants are chiefly Indians
of the Marauá tribe, whose original territory comprises all the
by-streams lying between the Jutahí and the Juruá, near the mouths of
both these great tributaries. They live in separate families, or small
hordes; have no common chief; and are considered as a tribe little
disposed to adopt civilized customs, or be friendly with the whites.
One of the houses belonged to a Jurí family; and we saw the owner, an
erect, noble-looking old fellow, tattooed, as customary with his tribe,
in a large patch over the middle of his face, fishing, under the shade
of a colossal tree, with hook and line. He saluted us in the usual grave
and courteous manner of the better sort of Indians as we passed by.

"We reached the last house, or rather two houses, about ten o'clock, and
spent there several hours during the heat of the day. The houses, which
stood on a high, clayey bank, were of quadrangular shape, partly open,
like sheds, and partly enclosed with rude, mud walls, forming one or two
chambers. The inhabitants, a few families of Marauás, received us in a
frank, smiling manner. None of them were tattooed: but the men had great
holes pierced in their ear-lobes, in which they insert plugs of wood;
and their lips were drilled with smaller holes. One of the younger men,
a fine, strapping fellow, nearly six feet high, with a large aquiline
nose, who seemed to wish to be particularly friendly to me, showed me
the use of these lip-holes, by fixing a number of little sticks in them,
and then twisting his mouth about, and going through a pantomime to
represent defiance in the presence of an enemy.

"We left these friendly people about four o'clock in the afternoon, and,
in descending the umbrageous river, stopped, about half-way down, at
another house, built in one of the most charming situations I had yet
seen in this country. A clean, narrow, sandy pathway led from the shady
port to the house, through a tract of forest of indescribable
luxuriance. The buildings stood on an eminence in the middle of a level,
cleared space; the firm, sandy soil, smooth as a floor, forming a broad
terrace round them. The owner was a semi-civilized Indian, named Manoel;
a dull, taciturn fellow, who, together with his wife and children,
seemed by no means pleased at being intruded on in their solitude. The
family must have been very industrious; for the plantations were very
extensive, and included a little of almost all kinds of cultivated
tropical productions,--fruit-trees, vegetables, and even flowers for
ornament. The silent old man had surely a fine appreciation of the
beauties of Nature; for the site he had chosen commanded a view of
surprising magnificence over the summits of the forest; and, to give a
finish to the prospect, he had planted a large number of banana-trees in
the foreground, thus concealing the charred and dead stumps which would
otherwise have marred the effect of the rolling sea of greenery. The
sun set over the tree-tops before we left this little Eden; and the
remainder of our journey was made slowly and pleasantly, under the
checkered shade of the river banks, by the light of the moon."


The following passage describes the scenery of one of the peculiar
channels by which the waters of the Amazon communicate with those of the
Pará River:--

"The forest wall under which we are now moving consists, besides palms,
of a great variety of ordinary forest-trees. From the highest branches
of these, down to the water, sweep ribbons of climbing-plants of the
most diverse and ornamental foliage possible. Creeping convolvuli and
others have made use of the slender lianas and hanging air-roots as
ladders to climb by. Now and then appears a mimosa or other tree, having
similar fine pinnate foliage; and thick masses of ingá border the water,
from whose branches hang long bean-pods, of different shape and size
according to the species, some of them a yard in length. Flowers there
are very few. I see now and then a gorgeous crimson blossom on long
spikes, ornamenting the sombre foliage towards the summits of the
forest. I suppose it to belong to a climber of the Combretaceous order.
There are also a few yellow and violet trumpet-flowers. The blossoms of
the ingás, although not conspicuous, are delicately beautiful. The
forest all along offers so dense a front, that one never obtains a
glimpse into the interior of the wilderness."


"The plant which seems to the traveller most curious and singular is the
liana, a kind of osier, which serves for cordage, and which is very
abundant in all the hot parts of America. All the species of this genus
have this in common, that they twine around the trees and shrubs in
their way, and after progressively extending to the branches, sometimes
to a prodigious height, throw out shoots, which, declining
perpendicularly, strike root in the ground beneath, and rise again to
repeat the same course of uncommon growth. Other filaments, again,
driven obliquely by the winds, frequently attach themselves to
contiguous trees, and form a confused spectacle of cord, some in
suspension, and others stretched in every direction, not unfrequently
resembling the rigging of a ship. Some of these lianas are as thick as
the arm of a man; and some strangle and destroy the tree round which
they twine, as the boa-constrictor does its victims. At times it happens
that the tree dies at the root, and the trunk rots, and falls in powder,
leaving nothing but the spirals of liana, in form of a tortuous column,
insulated and open to the day. Thus Nature laughs to scorn and defies
the imitations of Art."


"The Amazons region is the original home of the principal species of
chocolate-tree,--the theobroma cacao; and it grows in abundance in the
forests of the upper river. The forest here is cleared before planting,
and the trees are grown in rows. The smaller cultivators are all very
poor. Labor is scarce: one family generally manages its own small
plantation of ten to fifteen thousand trees; but, at harvest-time,
neighbors assist each other. It appeared to me to be an easy, pleasant
life: the work is all done under shade, and occupies only a few weeks in
the year.

"The cultivated crop appears to be a precarious one. Little or no care,
however, is bestowed on the trees; and weeding is done very
inefficiently. The plantations are generally old, and have been made on
the low ground near the river, which renders them liable to inundation
when this rises a few inches more than the average. There is plenty of
higher land quite suitable to the tree; but it is uncleared: and the
want of labor and enterprise prevents the establishment of new


"We had heard a good deal about this tree, and about its producing from
its bark a copious supply of milk as pleasant to drink as that of the
cow. We had also eaten of its fruit at Pará, where it is sold in the
streets by negro market-women: we were glad, therefore, to see this
wonderful tree growing in its native wilds. It is one of the largest of
the forest-monarchs, and is peculiar in appearance, on account of its
deeply-scored, reddish, and ragged bark. A decoction of the bark, I was
told, is used as a red dye for cloth. A few days afterward, we tasted
its milk, which was drawn from dry logs that had been standing many days
in the hot sun at the saw-mills. It was pleasant with coffee, but had a
slight rankness when drunk pure. It soon thickens to a glue, which is
very tenacious, and is often used to cement broken crockery. I was told
that it was not safe to drink much of it; for a slave had recently lost
his life through taking it too freely.

"To our great disappointment, we saw no flowers, or only such as were
insignificant in appearance. I believe it is now tolerably well
ascertained that the majority of forest-trees in equatorial Brazil have
small and inconspicuous flowers. Flower-frequenting insects are also
rare in the forest. Of course, they would not be found where their
favorite food was wanting. In the open country, on the Lower Amazons,
flowering trees and bushes are more abundant; and there a large number
of floral insects are attracted. The forest-bees in South America are
more frequently seen feeding on the sweet sap which exudes from the
trees than on flowers."



On the 16th of January, the dry season came abruptly to an end. The
sea-breezes, which had been increasing in force for some days, suddenly
ceased, and the atmosphere became misty: at length, heavy clouds
collected where a uniform blue sky had for many weeks prevailed, and
down came a succession of heavy showers, the first of which lasted a
whole day and night. This seemed to give a new stimulus to animal life.
On the first night, there was a tremendous uproar,--tree-frogs,
crickets, goat-suckers, and owls, all joining to perform a deafening
concert. One kind of goat-sucker kept repeating at intervals, throughout
the night, a phrase similar to the Portuguese words, 'Joao corta
pao,'--'John, cut wood;' a phrase which forms the Brazilian name of the
bird. An owl in one of the trees muttered now and then a succession of
syllables resembling the word 'murucututu.' Sometimes the croaking and
hooting of frogs and toads were so loud, that we could not hear one
another's voices within doors. Swarms of dragon-flies appeared in the
day-time about the pools of water created by the rain; and ants and
termites came forth in great numbers."


This region is the very headquarters and metropolis of ants. There are
numerous species, differing in character and habits, but all of them at
war with man, and the different species with one another. Our author
thus relates his observations of the saüba-ant:--

"In our first walks, we were puzzled to account for large mounds of
earth, of a different color from the surrounding soil, which were thrown
up in the plantations and woods. Some of them were very extensive, being
forty yards in circumference, but not more than two feet in height. We
soon ascertained that these were the work of the saübas, being the
outworks, or domes, which overlie and protect the entrances to their
vast subterranean galleries. On close examination, I found the earth of
which they are composed to consist of very minute granules,
agglomerated without cement, and forming many rows of little ridges and
turrets. The difference of color from the superficial soil is owing to
their being formed of the undersoil brought up from a considerable
depth. It is very rarely that the ants are seen at work on these mounds.
The entrances seem to be generally closed: only now and then, when some
particular work is going on, are the galleries opened. In the larger
hillocks, it would require a great amount of excavation to get at the
main galleries; but I succeeded in removing portions of the dome in
smaller hillocks, and then I found that the minor entrances converged,
at the depth of about two feet, to one broad, elaborately worked
gallery, or mine, which was four or five inches in diameter.

"The habit of the saüba-ant, of clipping and carrying away immense
quantities of leaves, has long been recorded in books of natural
history; but it has not hitherto been shown satisfactorily to what use
it applies the leaves. I discovered this only after much time spent in
investigation. The leaves are used to thatch the domes which cover the
entrances to their subterranean dwellings, thereby protecting from the
deluging rains the young broods in the nests beneath. Small hillocks,
covering entrances to the underground chambers, may be found in
sheltered places; and these are always thatched with leaves, mingled
with granules of earth. The heavily-laden workers, each carrying its
segment of leaf vertically, the lower end secured by its mandibles,
troop up, and cast their burthens on the hillock; another relay of
laborers place the leaves in position, covering them with a layer of
earthy granules, which are brought one by one from the soil beneath.

"It is a most interesting sight to see the vast host of busy, diminutive
workers occupied on this work. Unfortunately, they choose cultivated
trees for their purpose, such as the coffee and orange trees."


"Aveyros may be called the headquarters of the fire-ant, which might be
fittingly termed the scourge of this fine river. It is found only on
sandy soils, in open places, and seems to thrive most in the
neighborhood of houses and weedy villages, such as Aveyros: it does not
occur at all in the shades of the forest. Aveyros was deserted a few
years before my visit, on account of this little tormentor; and the
inhabitants had only recently returned to their houses, thinking its
numbers had decreased. It is a small species, of a shining reddish
color. The soil of the whole village is undermined by it. The houses are
overrun with them: they dispute every fragment of food with the
inhabitants, and destroy clothing for the sake of the starch. All
eatables are obliged to be suspended in baskets from the rafters, and
the cords well soaked with copaiba-balsam, which is the only thing known
to prevent them from climbing. They seem to attack persons from sheer
malice. If we stood for a few moments in the street, even at a distance
from their nests, we were sure to be overrun, and severely punished;
for, the moment an ant touched the flesh, he secured himself with his
jaws, doubled in his tail, and stung with all his might. The sting is
likened, by the Brazilians, to the puncture of a red-hot needle. When we
were seated on chairs in the evenings, in front of the house, to enjoy a
chat with our neighbors, we had stools to support our feet, the legs of
which, as well as those of the chairs, were well anointed with the
balsam. The cords of hammocks are obliged to be smeared in the same way,
to prevent the ants from paying sleepers a visit."


"At Villa Nova, I found a few species of butterflies which occurred
nowhere else on the Amazons. In the broad alleys of the forest, several
species of Morpho were common. One of these is a sister-form to the
Morpho Hecuba, and has been described under the name of Morpho Cisseis.
It is a grand sight to see these colossal butterflies by twos and threes
floating at a great height in the still air of a tropical morning. They
flap their wings only at long intervals; for I have noticed them to sail
a very considerable distance without a stroke. Their wing-muscles, and
the thorax to which they are attached, are very feeble in comparison
with the wide extent and weight of the wings; but the large expanse of
these members doubtless assists the insects in maintaining their aerial
course. The largest specimens of Morpho Cisseis measure seven inches and
a half in expanse. Another smaller kind, which I could not capture, was
of a pale, silvery-blue color; and the polished surface of its wings
flashed like a silver speculum, as the insect flapped its wings at a
great elevation in the sunlight."


"At Cametá, I chanced to verify a fact relating to the habits of a
large, hairy spider of the genus Mygale, in a manner worth recording.
The individual was nearly two inches in length of body; but the legs
expanded seven inches, and the entire body and legs were covered with
coarse gray and reddish hairs. I was attracted by a movement of the
monster on a tree-trunk: it was close beneath a deep crevice in the
tree, across which was stretched a dense white web. The lower part of
the web was broken; and two small birds, finches, were entangled in the
pieces. They were about the size of the English siskin; and I judged the
two to be male and female. One of them was quite dead; the other lay
under the body of the spider, not quite dead, and was smeared with the
filthy liquor, or saliva, exuded by the monster. I drove away the
spider, and took the birds; but the second one soon died. The fact of a
species of mygale sallying forth at night, mounting trees, and sucking
the eggs and young of hummingbirds, has been recorded long ago by Madame
Merian and Palisot de Beauvois; but, in the absence of any
confirmation, it has come to be discredited. From the way the fact has
been related, it would appear that it had been derived from the report
of natives, and had not been witnessed by the narrators. I found the
circumstance to be quite a novelty to the residents hereabouts.

"The mygales are quite common insects. Some species make their cells
under stones; others form artificial tunnels in the earth; and some
build their dens in the thatch of houses. The natives call them
crab-spiders. The hairs with which they are clothed come off when
touched, and cause a peculiar and almost maddening irritation. The first
specimen that I killed and prepared was handled incautiously; and I
suffered terribly for three days afterward. I think this is not owing to
any poisonous quality residing in the hairs, but to their being short
and hard, and thus getting into the fine creases of the skin. Some
mygales are of immense size. One day, I saw the children belonging to an
Indian family who collected for me with one of these monsters, secured
by a cord round its waist, by which they were leading it about the house
as they would a dog."


"At Caripí, near Pará, I was much troubled by bats. The room where I
slept had not been used for many months, and the roof was open to the
tiles and rafters. I was aroused about midnight by the rushing noise
made by vast hosts of bats sweeping about the room. The air was alive
with them. They had put out the lamp; and, when I relighted it, the
place appeared blackened with the impish multitudes that were whirling
round and round. After I had laid about well with a stick for a few
minutes, they disappeared among the tiles; but, when all was still
again, they returned, and once more extinguished the light. I took no
further notice of them, and went to sleep. The next night, several of
them got into my hammock. I seized them as they were crawling over me,
and dashed them against the wall. The next morning, I found a wound,
evidently caused by a bat, on my hip. This was rather unpleasant: so I
set to work with the negroes, and tried to exterminate them. I shot a
great many as they hung from the rafters; and the negroes, having
mounted with ladders to the roof outside, routed out from beneath the
eaves many hundreds of them, including young broods. There were
altogether four species. By far the greater number belonged to the
Dysopes perotis, a species having very large ears, and measuring two
feet from tip to tip of the wings. I was never attacked by bats, except
on this occasion. The fact of their sucking the blood of persons
sleeping, from wounds which they make in the toes, is now well
established; but it is only a few persons who are subject to this


"On recrossing the river in the evening, a pretty little parrot fell
from a great height headlong into the water near the boat, having
dropped from a flock which seemed to be fighting in the air. One of the
Indians secured it for me; and I was surprised to find the bird
uninjured. There had probably been a quarrel about mates, resulting in
our little stranger being temporarily stunned by a blow on the head from
the beak of a jealous comrade. It was of the species called by the
natives Maracaná; the plumage green, with a patch of scarlet under the
wings. I wished to keep the bird alive, and tame it; but all our efforts
to reconcile it to captivity were vain: it refused food, bit every one
who went near it, and damaged its plumage in its exertions to free
itself. My friends in Aveyros said that this kind of parrot never became
domesticated. After trying nearly a week, I was recommended to lend the
intractable creature to an old Indian woman living in the village, who
was said to be a skilful bird-tamer. In two days, she brought it back
almost as tame as the familiar love-birds of our aviaries. I kept my
little pet for upward of two years. It learned to talk pretty well, and
was considered quite a wonder, as being a bird usually so difficult of
domestication. I do not know what arts the old woman used. Capt. Antonio
said she fed it with her saliva.

"Our maracaná used to accompany us sometimes in our rambles, one of the
lads carrying it on his head. One day, in the middle of a long
forest-road, it was missed, having clung probably to an overhanging
bough, and escaped into the thicket without the boy perceiving it. Three
hours afterwards, on our return by the same path, a voice greeted us in
a colloquial tone as we passed, 'Maracaná!' We looked about for some
time, but could not see any thing, until the word was repeated with
emphasis, 'Maracaná!' when we espied the little truant half concealed in
the foliage of a tree. He came down, and delivered himself up,
evidently as much rejoiced at the meeting as we were."


"I accompanied Cardozo in many wanderings on the Solimoens, or Upper
Amazons, during which we visited the _praias_ (sand-islands), the
turtle-pools in the forests, and the by-streams and lakes in the great
desert river. His object was mainly to superintend the business of
digging up turtle-eggs on the sand-banks; having been elected
_commandante_ for the year of the _praia-real_ (royal sand-island) of
Shimuni, the one lying nearest to Ega. There are four of these royal
praias within the district, all of which are visited annually by the Ega
people, for the purpose of collecting eggs, and extracting oil from
their yolks. Each has its commander, whose business is to make
arrangements for securing to every inhabitant an equal chance in the
egg-harvest, by placing sentinels to protect the turtles while laying.
The turtles descend from the interior pools to the main river in July
and August, before the outlets dry up, and then seek, in countless
swarms, their favorite sand-islands; for it is only a few praias that
are selected by them out of the great number existing.

"We left Ega, on our first trip to visit the sentinels while the turtles
were yet laying, on the 26th of September. We found the two sentinels
lodged in a corner of the praia, or sand-bank, where it commences, at
the foot of the towering forest-wall of the island; having built for
themselves a little rancho with poles and palm-leaves. Great
preparations are obliged to be taken to avoid disturbing the sensitive
turtles, who, previous to crawling ashore to lay, assemble in great
shoals off the sand-bank. The men, during this time, take care not to
show themselves, and warn off any fisherman who wishes to pass near the
place. Their fires are made in a deep hollow near the borders of the
forest, so that the smoke may not be visible. The passage of a boat
through the shallow waters where the animals are congregated, or the
sight of a man, or a fire on the sand-bank, would prevent the turtles
from leaving the water that night to lay their eggs; and, if the causes
of alarm were repeated once or twice, they would forsake the praia for
some quieter place. Soon after we arrived, our men were sent with the
net to catch a supply of fish for supper. In half an hour, four or five
large basketsful were brought in. The sun set soon after our meal was
cooked: we were then obliged to extinguish the fire, and remove our
supper-materials to the sleeping-ground, a spit of land about a mile
off; this course being necessary on account of the musquitoes, which
swarm at night on the borders of the forest.

"I rose from my hammock at daylight, and found Cardozo and the men
already up, watching the turtles. The sentinels had erected for this
purpose a stage about fifty feet high, on a tall tree near their
station, the ascent to which was by a roughly-made ladder of woody
lianas. The turtles lay their eggs by night, leaving the water in vast
crowds, and crawling to the central and highest part of the praia. These
places are, of course, the last to go under water, when, in unusually
wet seasons, the river rises before the eggs are hatched by the heat of
the sand. One would almost believe from this that the animals used
forethought in choosing a place; but it is simply one of those many
instances in animals where unconscious habit has the same result as
conscious prevision. The hours between midnight and dawn are the
busiest. The turtles excavate, with their broad-webbed paws, deep holes
in the fine sand; the first-comer, in each case, making a pit about
three feet deep, laying, its eggs (about a hundred and twenty in
number), and covering them with sand; the next making its deposit at
the top of that of its predecessor; and so on, until every pit is full.
The whole body of turtles frequenting a praia does not finish laying in
less than fourteen or fifteen days, even when there is no interruption.
When all have done, the area over which they have excavated is
distinguishable from the rest of the praia only by signs of the sand
having been a little disturbed.

"On arriving at the edge of the forest, I mounted the sentinels' stage
just in time to see the turtles retreating to the water on the opposite
side of the sand-bank after having laid their eggs. The sight was well
worth the trouble of ascending the shaky ladder. They were about a mile
off; but the surface of the sand was blackened with the multitudes which
were waddling towards the river. The margin of the praia was rather
steep; and they all seemed to tumble, head-first, down the declivity,
into the water."

       *       *       *       *       *

When the turtles have finished depositing their eggs, the process of
collecting them takes place, of which our author gives an account as


"My next excursion was made in company of Senior Cardozo, in the season
when all the population of the villages turns out to dig up turtle-eggs,
and to revel on the praias. Placards were posted on the church-doors at
Ega, announcing that the excavation on Shimuni would commence on the
17th October. We set out on the 16th, and passed on the way, in our
well-manned igarité (or two-masted boat), a large number of people, men,
women, and children, in canoes of all sizes, wending their way as if to
a great holiday gathering. By the morning of the 17th, some four hundred
persons were assembled on the borders of the sand-bank; each family
having erected a rude temporary shed of poles and palm-leaves to protect
themselves from the sun and rain. Large copper kettles to prepare the
oil, and hundreds of red earthenware jars, were scattered about on the

"The excavation of the _taboleiro_, collecting the eggs, and preparing
the oil, occupied four days. The commandante first took down the names
of all the masters of households, with the number of persons each
intended to employ in digging. He then exacted a payment of about
fourpence a head towards defraying the expense of sentinels. The whole
were then allowed to go to the taboleiro. They ranged themselves round
the circle, each person armed with a paddle, to be used as a spade; and
then all began simultaneously to dig, on a signal being given--the roll
of drums--by order of the commandante. It was an animating sight to
behold the wide circle of rival diggers throwing up clouds of sand in
their energetic labors, and working gradually toward the centre of the
ring. A little rest was taken during the great heat of mid-day; and, in
the evening, the eggs were carried to the huts in baskets. By the end of
the second day, the taboleiro was exhausted: large mounds of eggs, some
of them four or five feet in height, were then seen by the side of each
hut, the produce of the labors of the family.

"When no more eggs are to be found, the mashing process begins. The egg,
it may be mentioned, has a flexible or leathery shell: it is quite
round, and somewhat larger than a hen's egg. The whole heap is thrown
into an empty canoe, and mashed with wooden prongs; but sometimes naked
Indians and children jump into the mass, and tread it down, besmearing
themselves with the yolk, and making about as filthy a scene as can well
be imagined. This being finished, water is poured into the canoe, and
the fatty mass then left for a few hours to be heated by the sun, on
which the oil separates, and rises to the surface. The floating oil is
afterwards skimmed off with long spoons, made by tying large
mussel-shells to the end of rods, and purified over the fire in
copper-kettles. At least six thousand jars, holding each three gallons
of the oil, are exported annually from the Upper Amazons and the Madeira
to Pará, where it is used for lighting, frying fish, and other


"We walked over moderately elevated and dry ground for about a mile, and
then descended three or four feet to the dry bed of another creek. This
was pierced in the same way as the former water-course, with round holes
full of muddy water. They occurred at intervals of a few yards, and had
the appearance of having been made by the hands of man. As we
approached, I was startled at seeing a number of large serpent-like
heads bobbing above the surface. They proved to be those of electric
eels; and it now occurred to me that the round holes were made by these
animals working constantly round and round in the moist, muddy soil.
Their depth (some of them were at least eight feet deep) was doubtless
due also to the movements of the eels in the soft soil, and accounted
for their not drying up, in the fine season, with the rest of the creek.
Thus, while alligators and turtles in this great inundated forest region
retire to the larger pools during the dry season, the electric eels make
for themselves little ponds in which to pass the season of drought.

"My companions now cut each a stout pole, and proceeded to eject the
eels in order to get at the other fishes, with which they had discovered
the ponds to abound. I amused them all very much by showing how the
electric shock from the eels could pass from one person to another. We
joined hands in a line, while I touched the biggest and freshest of the
animals on the head with my hunting-knife. We found that this experiment
did not succeed more than three times with the same eel, when out of the
water; for, the fourth time, the shock was hardly perceptible."



"The number and variety of climbing trees in the Amazons forests are
interesting, taken in connection with the fact of the very general
tendency of the animals also to become climbers. All the Amazonian, and
in fact all South-American monkeys, are climbers. There is no group
answering to the baboons of the Old World, which live on the ground. The
gallinaceous birds of the country, the representatives of the fowls and
pheasants of Asia and Africa, are all adapted, by the position of the
toes, to perch on trees; and it is only on trees, at a great height,
that they are to be seen. Many other similar instances could be


"On the Upper Amazons, I once saw a tame individual of the Midas
leoninus, a species first described by Humboldt, which was still more
playful and intelligent than the more common M. ursulus. This rare and
beautiful monkey is only seven inches in length, exclusive of the tail.
It is named leoninus on account of the long, brown mane which hangs from
the neck, and which gives it very much the appearance of a diminutive
lion. In the house where it was kept, it was familiar with every one:
its greatest pleasure seemed to be to climb about the bodies of
different persons who entered. The first time I went in, it ran across
the room straightway to the chair on which I had sat down, and climbed
up to my shoulder: arrived there, it turned round, and looked into my
face, showing its little teeth, and chattering, as though it would say,
"Well, and how do _you_ do?" M. de St. Hilaire relates of a species of
this genus, that it distinguished between different objects depicted on
an engraving. M. Ardouin showed it the portraits of a cat and a wasp: at
these it became much terrified; whereas, at the sight of a figure of a
grasshopper or beetle, it precipitated itself on the picture, as if to
seize the objects there represented."


"The light-brown caiarára is pretty generally distributed over the
forests of the level country. I saw it frequently on the banks of the
Upper Amazons, where it was always a treat to watch a flock leaping
amongst the trees; for it is the most wonderful performer in this line
of the whole tribe. The troops consist of thirty or more individuals,
which travel in single file. When the foremost of the flock reaches the
outermost branch of an unusually lofty tree, he springs forth into the
air without a moment's hesitation, and alights on the dome of yielding
foliage belonging to the neighboring tree, maybe fifty feet beneath; all
the rest following his example. They grasp, on falling, with hands and
tail, right themselves in a moment, and then away they go, along branch
and bough, to the next tree.

"The caiarára is very frequently kept as a pet in the houses of natives.
I kept one myself for about a year, which accompanied me in my voyages,
and became very familiar, coming to me always on wet nights to share my
blanket. It keeps the house where it is kept in a perpetual uproar. When
alarmed or hungry, or excited by envy, it screams piteously. It is
always making some noise or other, often screwing up its mouth, and
uttering a succession of loud notes resembling a whistle. Mine lost my
favor at last by killing, in one of his jealous fits, another and much
choicer pet,--the nocturnal, owl-faced monkey. Some one had given this a
fruit which the other coveted: so the two got to quarrelling. The
owl-faced fought only with his paws, clawing out, and hissing, like a
cat: the other soon obtained the mastery, and, before I could interfere,
finished his rival by cracking its skull with its teeth. Upon this I got
rid of him."


"The coaita is a large, black monkey, covered with coarse hair, and
having the prominent parts of the face of a tawny, flesh-colored hue.
The coaitas are called by some French zoölogists spider-monkeys, on
account of the length and slenderness of their body and limbs. In these
apes, the tail, as a prehensile organ, reaches its highest degree of
perfection; and, on this account, it would perhaps be correct to
consider the coaita as the extreme development of the American type of

"The tail of the coaita is endowed with a wonderful degree of
flexibility. It is always in motion, coiling and uncoiling like the
trunk of an elephant, and grasping whatever comes within reach.

"The flesh of this monkey is much esteemed by the natives in this part
of the country; and the military commandant every week sends a negro
hunter to shoot one for his table. One day I went on a coaita-hunt, with
a negro-slave to show me the way. When in the deepest part of the
ravine, we heard a rustling sound in the trees overhead; and Manoel soon
pointed out a coaita to me. There was something human-like in its
appearance, as the lean, shaggy creature moved deliberately among the
branches at a great height. I fired, but, unfortunately, only wounded
it. It fell, with a crash, headlong, about twenty or thirty feet, and
then caught a bough with its tail, which grasped it instantaneously; and
there the animal remained suspended in mid-air. Before I could reload,
it recovered itself, and mounted nimbly to the topmost branches, out of
the reach of a fowling-piece, where we could perceive the poor thing
apparently probing the wound with its fingers."


"I once saw a most ridiculously tame coaita. It was an old female, which
accompanied its owner, a trader on the river, in all his voyages. By way
of giving me a specimen of its intelligence and feeling, its master set
to, and rated it soundly, calling it scamp, heathen, thief, and so
forth, all through the copious Portuguese vocabulary of vituperation.
The poor monkey, quietly seated on the ground, seemed to be in sore
trouble at this display of anger. It began by looking earnestly at him;
then it whined, and lastly rocked its body to and fro with emotion,
crying piteously, and passing its long, gaunt arms continually over its
forehead; for this was its habit when excited, and the front of the head
was worn quite bald in consequence. At length, its master altered his
tone. 'It's all a lie,' my old woman. 'You're an angel, a flower, a
good, affectionate old creature,' and so forth. Immediately the poor
monkey ceased its wailing, and soon after came over to where the man


The most singular of the Simian family in Brazil are the scarlet-faced
monkeys, called by the Indians Uakari, of which there are two
varieties, the white and red-haired. Mr. Bates first met with the
white-haired variety under the following circumstances:--

"Early one sunny morning, in the year 1855, I saw in the streets of Ega
a number of Indians carrying on their shoulders down to the port, to be
embarked on the Upper Amazons steamer, a large cage made of strong
lianas, some twelve feet in length, and five in height, containing a
dozen monkeys of the most grotesque appearance. Their bodies (about
eighteen inches in height, exclusive of limbs) were clothed from neck to
tail with very long, straight, and shining whitish hair; their heads
were nearly bald, owing to the very short crop of thin gray hairs; and
their faces glowed with the most vivid scarlet hue. As a finish to their
striking physiognomy, they had bushy whiskers of a sandy color, meeting
under the chin, and reddish yellow eyes. They sat gravely and silently
in a group, and altogether presented a strange spectacle."

Another interesting creature is the owl-faced night ape. These monkeys
are not only owl-faced, but their habits are those of the moping bird.

"They sleep all day long in hollow trees, and come forth to prey on
insects, and eat fruits, only in the night. They are of small size, the
body being about a foot long, and the tail fourteen inches; and are
clothed with soft gray and brown fur, similar in substance to that of
the rabbit. Their physiognomy reminds one of an owl or tiger-cat. The
face is round, and encircled by a ruff of whitish fur; the muzzle is not
at all prominent; the mouth and chin are small; the ears are very short,
scarcely appearing above the hair of the head; and the eyes are large,
and yellowish in color, imparting the staring expression of nocturnal
animals of prey. The forehead is whitish, and decorated with three black
stripes, which, in one of the species, continue to the crown, and in the
other meet on the top of the forehead.

"These monkeys, although sleeping by day, are aroused by the least
noise; so that, when a person passes by a tree in which a number of them
are concealed, he is startled by the sudden apparition of a group of
little striped faces crowding a hole in a trunk."

Mr. Bates had one of the Nyctipithæci for a pet, which was kept in a box
containing a broad-mouthed glass jar, into which it would dive, head
foremost, when any one entered the room, turning round inside, and
thrusting forth its inquisitive face an instant afterward to stare at
the intruder. The Nyctipithecus, when tamed, renders one very essential
service to its owner: it clears the house of bats as well as of insect

The most diminutive of the Brazilian monkeys is the "Hapale pygmæus,"
only seven inches long in the body, with its little face adorned with
long, brown whiskers, which are naturally brushed back over the ears.
The general color of the animal is brownish-tawny; but the tail is
elegantly barred with black.

Mr. Bates closes his account by stating that the total number of species
of monkeys which he found inhabiting the margins of the Upper and Lower
Amazons was thirty-eight, belonging to twelve different genera, forming
two distinct families.


"I once had an opportunity, in one of my excursions, of watching the
movements of a sloth. Some travellers in South America have described
the sloth as very nimble in its native woods, and have disputed the
justness of the name which has been bestowed upon it. The inhabitants of
the Amazons region, however, both Indians and descendants of the
Portuguese, hold to the common opinion, and consider the sloth as the
type of laziness. It is very common for one native to call to another,
in reproaching him for idleness, 'Bicho do Embaüba' (beast of the
cecropia-tree); the leaves of the cecropia being the food of the sloth.
It is a strange sight to see the uncouth creature, fit production of
these silent woods, lazily moving from branch to branch. Every movement
betrays, not indolence exactly, but extreme caution. He never looses his
hold from one branch without first securing himself to the next; and,
when he does not immediately find a bough to grasp with the rigid hooks
into which his paws are so curiously transformed, he raises his body,
supported on his hind legs, and claws around in search of a fresh
foothold. After watching the animal for about half an hour, I gave him a
charge of shot: he fell with a terrific crash, but caught a bough in his
descent with his powerful claws, and remained suspended. Two days
afterward, I found the body of the sloth on the ground; the animal
having dropped, on the relaxation of the muscles, a few hours after
death. In one of our voyages, I saw a sloth swimming across a river at a
place where it was probably three hundred yards broad. Our men caught
the beast, and cooked and ate him."


"We had an unwelcome visitor while at anchor in the port. I was awakened
a little after midnight, as I lay in my little cabin, by a heavy blow
struck at the sides of the canoe close to my head, succeeded by the
sound of a weighty body plunging in the water. I got up; but all was
quiet again, except the cackle of fowls in our hen-coop, which hung over
the side of the vessel, about three feet from the cabin-door. Next
morning I found my poultry loose about the canoe, and a large rent in
the bottom of the hen-coop, which was about two feet from the surface of
the water. A couple of fowls were missing.

"Antonio said the depredator was the sucumjú, the Indian name for the
anaconda, or great water-serpent, which had for months past been
haunting this part of the river, and had carried off many ducks and
fowls from the ports of various houses. I was inclined to doubt the fact
of a serpent striking at its prey from the water, and thought an
alligator more likely to be the culprit, although we had not yet met
with alligators in the river. Some days afterward, the young men
belonging to the different settlements agreed together to go in search
of the serpents. They began in a systematic manner, forming two
parties, each embarked in three or four canoes, and starting from points
several miles apart, whence they gradually approximated, searching all
the little inlets on both sides of the river. The reptile was found at
last, sunning itself on a log at the mouth of a muddy rivulet, and
despatched with harpoons. I saw it the day after it was killed. It was
not a very large specimen, measuring only eighteen feet nine inches in
length, and sixteen inches in circumference at the widest part of the


"Our rancho was a large one, and was erected in a line with the others,
near the edge of the sand-bank, which sloped rather abruptly to the
water. During the first week, the people were all more or less troubled
by alligators. Some half-dozen full-grown ones were in attendance off
the praia, floating about on the lazily flowing, muddy water. The
dryness of the weather had increased since we left Shimuni, the currents
had slackened, and the heat in the middle of the day was almost
insupportable. But no one could descend to bathe without being advanced
upon by one or other of these hungry monsters. There was much offal
cast into the river; and this, of course, attracted them to the place.
Every day, these visitors became bolder: at length, they reached a pitch
of impudence that was quite intolerable. Cardozo had a poodle-dog named
Carlito, which some grateful traveller whom he had befriended had sent
him from Rio Janeiro. He took great pride in this dog, keeping it well
sheared, and preserving his coat as white as soap and water could make
it. We slept in our rancho, in hammocks slung between the outer posts; a
large wood fire (fed with a kind of wood abundant on the banks of the
river, which keeps alight all night) being made in the middle, by the
side of which slept Carlito on a little mat. One night, I was awoke by a
great uproar. It was caused by Cardozo hurling burning firewood with
loud curses at a huge cayman, which had crawled up the bank, and passed
beneath my hammock (being nearest the water) towards the place where
Carlito lay. The dog raised the alarm in time. The reptile backed out,
and tumbled down the bank into the river; the sparks from the brands
hurled at him flying from his bony hide. Cardozo threw a harpoon at him,
but without doing him any harm."


"One day, I was searching for insects in the bark of a fallen tree, when
I saw a large, cat-like animal advancing towards the spot. It came
within a dozen yards before perceiving me. I had no weapon with me but
an old chisel, and was getting ready to defend myself if it should make
a spring; when it turned round hastily, and trotted off. I did not
obtain a very distinct view of it; but I could see its color was that of
the puma, or American lion, although it was rather too small for that

"The puma is not a common animal in the Amazons forests. I did not see
altogether more than a dozen skins in the possession of the natives. The
fur is of a fawn-color. The hunters are not at all afraid of it, and
speak in disparaging terms of its courage. Of the jaguar they give a
very different account."


"The great ant-eater, _tamandua_ of the natives, was not uncommon here.
After the first few weeks of residence, I was short of fresh provisions.
The people of the neighborhood had sold me all the fowls they could
spare. I had not yet learned to eat the stale and stringy salt fish
which is the staple food of these places; and for several days I had
lived on rice-porridge, roasted bananas, and farinha. Florinda asked me
whether I could eat tamandua. I told her almost any thing in the shape
of flesh would be acceptable: so she went the next day with an old negro
named Antonio, and the dogs, and, in the evening, brought one of the
animals. The meat was stewed, and turned out very good, something like
goose in flavor. The people of Caripí would not touch a morsel, saying
it was not considered fit to eat in those parts. I had read, however,
that it was an article of food in other countries of South America.
During the next two or three weeks, whenever we were short of fresh
meat, Antonio was always ready, for a small reward, to get me a

"The habits of the animal are now pretty well known. It has an
excessively long, slender muzzle, and a worm-like, extensile tongue. Its
jaws are destitute of teeth. The claws are much elongated, and its gait
is very awkward. It lives on the ground, and feeds on termites, or white
ants; the long claws being employed to pull in pieces the solid hillocks
made by the insects, and the long flexible tongue to lick them up from
the crevices."


Our traveller, though he resided long and in various parts of the Amazon
country, never saw there a jaguar. How near he came to seeing one
appears in the following extract. This animal is the nearest approach
which America presents to the leopards and tigers of the Old World.

"After walking about half a mile, we came upon a dry water-course, where
we observed on the margin of a pond the fresh tracks of a jaguar. This
discovery was hardly made, when a rush was heard amidst the bushes on
the top of a sloping bank, on the opposite side of the dried creek. We
bounded forward: it was, however, too late; for the animal had sped in a
few minutes far out of our reach. It was clear we had disturbed on our
approach the jaguar while quenching his thirst at the water-hole. A few
steps farther on, we saw the mangled remains of an alligator. The head,
fore-quarters, and bony shell, were all that remained: but the meat was
quite fresh, and there were many footmarks of the jaguar around the
carcass; so that there was no doubt this had formed the solid part of
the animal's breakfast."


"I arrived at Pará on the 17th of March, 1859, after an absence in the
interior of seven years and a half. My old friends, English, American,
and Brazilian, scarcely knew me again, but all gave me a very warm
welcome. I found Pará greatly changed and improved. It was no longer the
weedy, ruinous, village-looking place that it had appeared when I first
knew it in 1848. The population had been increased to twenty thousand by
an influx of Portuguese, Madeiran, and German immigrants; and, for many
years past, the provincial government had spent their considerable
surplus revenue in beautifying the city. The streets, formerly unpaved,
or strewed with stones and sand, were now laid with concrete in a most
complete manner: all the projecting masonry of the irregularly-built
houses had been cleared away, and the buildings made more uniform. Most
of the dilapidated houses were replaced by handsome new edifices, having
long and elegant balconies fronting the first floors, at an elevation of
several feet above the roadway. The large swampy squares had been
drained, weeded, and planted with rows of almond and other trees; so
that they were now a great ornament to the city, instead of an eye-sore
as they formerly were. Sixty public vehicles, light cabriolets, some of
them built in Pará, now plied in the streets, increasing much the
animation of the beautified squares, streets, and avenues. I was glad to
see several new book-sellers' shops; also a fine edifice devoted to a
reading-room, supplied with periodicals, globes, and maps; and a
circulating library. There were now many printing-offices, and four
daily newspapers. The health of the place had greatly improved since
1850,--the year of the yellow-fever; and Pará was now considered no
longer dangerous to new-comers.

"So much for the improvements visible in the place; and now for the dark
side of the picture. The expenses of living had increased about
fourfold; a natural consequence of the demand for labor and for native
products of all kinds having augmented in greater ratio than the supply,
in consequence of large arrivals of non-productive residents, and
considerable importations of money, on account of the steamboat-company
and foreign merchants.

"At length, on the 2d of June, I left Pará,--probably forever. I took a
last view of the glorious forest for which I had so much love, and to
explore which I had devoted so many years. The saddest hours I
recollect ever to have spent were those of the succeeding night, when,
the pilot having left us out of sight of land, though within the mouth
of the river, waiting for a wind, I felt that the last link which
connected me with the land of so many pleasing recollections was



    |             Transcriber's Note:                |
    |                                                |
    | Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the   |
    | original document have been preserved.         |
    |                                                |
    | Typographical errors corrected in the text:    |
    |                                                |
    | Page  74  Sascatchawan changed to Saskatchawan |
    | Page 103  Cameawait changed to Cameahwait      |
    | Page 192  Chinnook changed to Chinook          |
    | Page 198  Chinnooks changed to Chinooks        |
    | Page 199  Chinnooks changed to Chinooks        |
    | Page 199  Killamucks changed to Killimucks     |
    | Page 212  Wakiacums changed to Wahkiacums      |
    | Page 224  Kooskooskie changed to Kooskooskee   |
    | Page 224  Sacajaweah chanaged to Sacajawea     |
    | Page 232  Kooskooskie changed to Kooskooskee   |
    | Page 295  palmitoes changed to palmitos        |
    | Page 299  groweth changed to growth            |
    | Page 360  pursuaded changed to persuaded       |

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