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similation to a state of nature, yet
was not prepared for what I saw here. I never had fancied any thing so utterly abominable, and was glad to escape to a purer and more wholesome atmosphere."
The party again toiled on, every day's march bringing them sensibly nearer the end of their journey.
“ About noon of the 3d of September we struck the Walla Walla river, a pretty stream of fifty or sixty yards in width, fringed with tall willows, and containing a number of salmon, which we can see frequently leaping from the water. The pasture here being good, we allowed our horses an hour's rest to feed, and then traveled over the plain till near dark, when, on ascending a sandy hill, the noble Columbia burst upon our view. I could scarcely repress a loud exclamation of delight and pleasure as I gazed upon the magnificent river flowing silently and majestically on, and reflected that I had actually crossed the vast American continent, and now stood upon a stream that poured its waters directly into the Pacific. This then was the great Oregon, the first appearance of which gave Lewis and Clark so many emotions of joy and pleasure, and on this stream our indefatigable countrymen wintered after the toils and privations of a long and protracted journey
through the wilderness. My reverie was suddenly interrupted by one of the men exclaiming from his position in advance, There is the fort.' We had in truth approached very near without being conscious of it. There stood the fort on the bank of the river; horses and horned cattle were roaming about the vicinity, and on the borders of the little Walla Walla we recognized the white tent of our long-lost missionaries. These we soon 'joined, and were met and received by them like brethren. Mr. Nuttall and myself were invited to sup with them upon a dish of stewed hares which they had just prepared, and it is almost needless to say that we did. full justice to the good men's cookery. They told us that they had traveled comfortably from Fort Hall without any unusual fatigue, and like ourselves had no particularly-stirring adventures. Their route, although somewhat longer, was a much less toilsome and difficult one, and they suffered but little for want of food, being well provided with dried buffalo meat, which had been prepared near Fort Hall."
At Walla Walla the party broke up into sections, some intending to reach Fort Vancouver in one way, some in another. The missionaries had engaged a large barge to convey them from Walla Walla directly to Vancouver, down the Columbia river, and Mr. Townsend and Mr.
Nuttall were anxious to go along with them; but as the barge could not contain so many, they were obliged to travel on horseback to a point about eighty miles farther down the river, where Captain Wyeth engaged to wait for them and procure canoes to convey them to Van
In the course of their land journey down the banks of the river, they passed a village of the Walla Walla Indians, a tribe so remarkable for their honesty and moral deportment, that their conduct and habits amidst great privations shine in comparison with those of Christian communities. The river in this part is described as about three-quarters of a mile wide—a clear, deep, and rapid stream.
Having reached the appointed spot on the 10th of September, the travelers found the Captain waiting with three canoes, each provided with an Indian helmsman, and on the 11th they embarked and commenced their voyage down stream. They had hardly set sail, however, when the wind “rose to a heavy gale, and the waves ran to a prodigious hight. At one moment our frail bark danced upon the crest of a wave, and at the next fell with a surge into the trough of the sea; and as we looked at the swell before us, it seemed that in an instant we must inevitably be ingulfed. At such times the canoe ahead of us was entirely hidden from
view, but she was observed to rise again like the seagull, and hurry on into the same danger. The Indian in my canoe soon became completely frightened: he frequently hid his face with his hands, and sang in a low, melancholy voice a prayer
which we had often heard from his people while at their evening devotions. As our dangers were every moment increasing, the man became at length absolutely childish, and with all our persuasion and threats we could not induce him to lay his paddle into the water. We were all soon compelled to put in shore, which we did without sustaining any damage; the boats were hauled up high and dry, and we concluded to remain in our quarters till next day, or till there was a cessation of the wind. In about an hour it lulled a little, and Captain Wyeth ordered the boats to be again launched, in the hope of being able to weather a point about five miles below before the gale again commenced, where we could lie by till it should
afe to proceed. The calm proved, as some of us had suspected, a treacherous one; in a very few minutes after we got under way, we were contending with the same difficulties as before, and again our cowardly helmsman laid by his paddle and began mumbling his prayer. It was too irritating to be borne. Our canoe had swung round broadside to the surge, and was shipping gallons on gallons of water at
“At this time it was absolutely necessary that every man on board should exert himself to the utmost to head
and make the shore as soon as possible. Our Indian, however, still sat with his eyes covered, the most abject and contemptible-looking thing I ever We took him by the shoulders, and threatened to throw him overboard if he did not immediately lend his assistance; we might as well have spoken to a stone. He was finally aroused, however, by our presenting a loaded gun at his breast. He dashed the muzzle away, seized his paddle again, and worked with a kind of desperate and wild energy till he sank back in the canoe completely exhausted. In the mean time the boat had become half-full of water, shipping a part of every surf that struck her; and as we gained the shallows, every man sprang overboard, breast deep, and began hauling the canoe to shore. This was even a more difficult task than that of propelling her with oars; the water still broke over her, and the bottom was a deep kind of quicksand, in which we sank almost to the knees at every step, the surf at the same time dashing against us so violently as to throw us repeatedly on
We at length reached the shore, and hauled the canoe up out