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1807.] NORTHERN AND WESTERN BOUNDARY OF LOUISIANA.
been already exposed ; in order to show the absurdity of the other assertion, it will be merely necessary to recall to mind two facts:first, that by the treaty above mentioned, the middle of the Mississippi from the 31st degree of latitude to its source, was made irrevocably the line of separation between the dominions of France and those of Great Britain in that part of the continent; consequently, Canada could not afterwards have included any spot west of that river ; secondly, that the treaty of Utrecht guarantied to Great Britain, the territories drained by streams falling into Hudson's Bay, which territories extend westward to the Rocky Mountains, and southward to and beyond the source of the Mississippi ; so that Canada could not have comprehended any spot north of that source. The only question respecting boundaries which could have arisen between Great Britain and France after the treaty of 1763, would have been as to the upper part of the valley of the Red River of Lake Winnepeg; which, though its waters fall into Hudson's Bay, yet lies west of the Mississippi. With regard to the boundaries of Canada, the only questions to be discussed would have been between the British government and its own colonies, which claimed nearly the whole territory obtained from France under the treaty.
Thus although the northern and western boundaries of the Louisiana, ceded to the United States in 1803, had never been positively fixed by direct agreement between the nations interested, yet the charters to the Hudson's Bay Company, and to Crozat, and the treaties of Utrecht and Paris, taken together, afford ample means for determining what those boundaries should have been, agreeably to justice, at the time of the cession of the country to Spain, and of course also at the time of its transfer to the United States. They must have been represented by a line, drawn from the northernmost sources of the Mississippi westward, along the ridge separating the waters of that river from those flowing to Hudson's Bay, as far as the great chain of the Rocky Mountains, and thence southward along that chain so as to include the sources of the Arkansas and Red Rivers, excluding from Louisiana, and also, of course, from the Hudson's Bay possessions, all territories west of the great dividing chain.
Even before the transfer of Louisiana to the United States was completed, the prompt and sagacious Jefferson was preparing to have it examined by American agents. In January, 1803, he addressed a confidential message to Congress, recommending that means should be taken for the purpose without delay; and,
his suggestions having been approved, he commissioned Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clarke to explore the River Missouri and its principal branches to their sources, and then to seek and trace to its termination in the Pacific, some stream, “whether the Columbia, the Oregon, the Colorado, or any other, which might offer the most direct and practicable water communication across the continent, for the purposes of commerce.” Other persons were, at the same time, appointed to examine the Upper Mississippi, and the principal streams falling into that great river from the west, below the Missouri, in order that exact information might, as soon as possible, be procured, with regard to the channels of communication throughout the newly-acquired territories.
A few days after Lewis had received his instructions as commander of the party which was to cross the continent, the news of the conclusion of the treaty for the cession of Louisiana reached the United States; and he immediately set off for the west, with the expectation of advancing some distance up the Missouri before the winter. He was, however, unable to pass the Mississippi in that year, in consequence of the delay in the surrender of the country, which was not terminated until the latter part of December; and it was not until the middle of May, 1804, that he could begin the ascent of the Missouri. His party consisted of forty-four men, who were embarked in three boats; their progress against the current of the mighty river was necessarily slow, yet, before the end of October, they arrived in the country of the Mandan Indians, where they remained until the following April, encamped at a place near the 48th degree of latitude, sixteen hundred miles from the Mississippi.
On the 7th of April, 1805, Lewis and Clarke left their encampment in the Mandan country, with thirty men, the others having been sent back to St. Louis; and, after a voyage of three weeks up the Missouri, they reached the junction of that river with the other principal branch, scarcely inferior in magnitude, called by the old French traders the Roche jaune, or Yellowstone River. Thence continuing their progress westward on the main stream, their navigation was, on the 13th of June, arrested by the Great Falls of the Missouri, a series of cataracts extending about ten miles in length, in the principal of which the whole river rushes over a precipice of rock eighty-seven feet in height. Above the falls, the party again embarked in canoes hollowed out from the trunks of the largest cotton-wood trees, growing near the river; and, advancing south1805.]
PASSAGE OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
ward, they, on the 19th of July, passed through the Gates of the Rocky Mountains, where the Missouri, emerging from that chain, runs, for six miles, in a narrow channel, between perpendicular parapets of black rock, rising twelve hundred feet above its surface. Beyond this place, the river is formed by the confluence of several streams, the largest of which, named by Lewis the Jefferson, was ascended to its sources, near the 44th degree of latitude, where the navigation of the Missouri ends, at the distance of about three thousand miles from its entrance into the Mississippi.
Whilst the canoes were ascending the Jefferson River, Captains Lewis and Clarke, with some of their men, proceeded through the mountains, and soon found streams flowing towards the west, one of which was traced in that direction, by Clarke, for seventy miles ; they also met several parties, of Indians belonging to a nation called Shoshonee, from whose accounts they were convinced that those streams were the head-waters of the Columbia. Having received this satisfactory information, the commanders rejoined their men at the head of the Jefferson ; and preparations were commenced for pursuing the journey by land. For this purpose, the canoes and a portion of tho goods were concealed in caches, or covered pits, and a number of horses, with some guides, being procured from the Shoshonees, the whole body of the Americans, on the 30th of August, entered on the passage through the Rocky Mountains.
Up to this period, the difficulties of the journey had been comparatively light, and the privations few. But, during the three weeks which the Americans spent in passing the Rocky Mountains, they underwent, as Clarke says, “every suffering which hunger, cold, and fatigue, could impose." The mountains were high, and the passes through them rugged, and, in many places, covered with snow; and their food consisted of berries, dried fish, and the meat of dogs or horses, of all which the supplies were scanty and precarious. They crossed many streams, some of them large, which emptied into the Columbia ; but their guides gave them no encouragement to embark on any, until they reached one called the Kooskooskee, in the latitude of 43 degrees 34 minutes, about four hundred miles, by their route, from the head of navigation of the Missouri.
At this place, they constructed five canoes, and, leaving their horses in charge of a tribe of Indians of the Chopunnish nation, they, on the 7th of October, began the descent of the Kooskooskee. Three days afterwards, they entered the principal southern branch of the Columbia, to which they gave the name of Lewis ; and, in seven days more, they reached the point of its confluence with the larger northern branch, regarded as the Columbia. They were then fairly launched on the Great River of the West, and passing down it, through many dangerous rapids, they, on the 31st, arrived at the Falls of the Columbia, where it rushes through the lofty chain of mountains nearest the Pacific. Some of their canoes descended these falls in safety; the others and the goods were carried around by land, and replaced in the water at the foot of the cataract. At a short distance below, the tides of the Pacific were observed ; and, on the 15th of November, the whole party landed on Cape Disappointment, at the mouth of the Columbia, about six hundred miles from the place at which they had embarked on its waters, and more than four thousand, by their route, from the mouth of the Missouri.
The winter, or rather the rainy season, having commenced when the party reached the mouth of the Columbia, it became necessary for them to remain there until the following spring. They accordingly prepared a habitation on the north side of the river, eleven miles in a straight line from Cape Disappointment, from which they were, however, soon driven by the floods; they then found a suitable spot on the south side, a little higher up, where they formea their dwelling, called by them Fort Clatsop, and remained until the middle of March, 1806. During this period, the cold was by no means severe, less so, indeed, than on the Atlantic shore of the content ten degrees farther south ; but the rains were incessant and violent, and the river being at the same time generally too much agitated by the winds and the waves from the ocean for the Americans to venture on it in their canoes, they were often unable to obtain provisions, either by hunting or fishing. The Clatsop Indians who occupy the south side of the Columbia, at its mouth, and the Chinnooks, on the opposite shore, conducted themselves peaceably; but their prices for every thing which they offered for sale were so high, that no trade could be carried on with them. The party were, in consequence of the rains, seldom able to quit their encampment; and the only excursion of any length made by them during the winter, was as far as the promontory overhanging the Pacific, thirty miles south of the Columbia, which they called Clarke's Point of View, near the Cape Lookout of Meares.
On the 23d of March, 1806, the Americans commenced the ascent of the Columbia in canoes, on their return to the United States. Proceeding slowly up the river, they carefully examined 1806.)
RETURN OF LEWIS AND CLARKE.
its shores, and discovered a large stream, called by the natives the Cowelitz, flowing into it from the north, at the distance of sixty miles from the ocean. Thirty miles higher up, they found another and much larger stream, joining the Columbia on the south side, the Indian name of which was supposed to be Multonomah ; it is now, however, universally known as the Willamet, and on its banks are situated the most flourishing settlements as yet formed by citizens of the United States west of the Rocky Mountains.
In the middle of April, the exploring party reached the foot of the great rapids, below the Falls of the Columbia, where they abandoned their canoes, and began their journey by land, on horses purchased from the Indians. In this way, they traversed the gap or defile in the mountains through which the river pours its floods, and then, pursuing their course over the elevated plains east of that ridge, they arrived, on the 8th of May, at the point on the Kooskooskee River, where they had left their horses, and first embarked on the waters of the Columbia, in the preceding year. From this place, they continued on horseback due eastward, through the Rocky Mountains, to the Clarke River, which flows for some distance in a northerly direction from its sources, before turning southward to join the other branches of the Columbia ; and there it was agreed that the chiefs of the expedition should separate, to meet again at the confluence of the Yellowstone with the Missouri.
The separation took place on the 3d of July, near the point at which the Clarke River is crossed by the 47th parallel of latitude, due west of the Falls of the Missouri. Captain Lewis and his party proceeded some distance northward, down the Clarke, and then, quitting it, crossed the Rocky Mountains to the head-waters of Maria River, which empties into the Missouri just below the falls. There they met a band of Indians belonging to the numerous and daring race called the Black-foot, who infest the plains at the base of the mountains, and are ever at war with all other tribes; these savages attempted to seize the rifles of the Americans, and Lewis was obliged to kill one of them before they desisted. The party then hastened to the Missouri, which they reached at the falls, and thence floated down to the mouth of the Yellowstone.
Meanwhile, the others, under Clarke, rode southward up the valley of the Clarke River, to its sources; and, after exploring several passes in the mountains between that point and the headwaters of the Yellowstone, they embarked in canoes on the latter