LITTLE MASTERPIECES OF SCIENCE
Little Masterpieces of Science
Edited by George Iles
Christopher Columbus Charles Wilkes Lewis and Clarke Clarence King Zebulon M. Pike John Wesley Powell
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
Copyright, 1902, by Doubleday, Page & Co.
Copyright, 1891, by Justin Winsor
Copyright, 1871, by Oliver Wendell Holmes
"Peace hath her victories No less renown'd than war."
The love of adventure, the expectation of the unexpected, have ever prompted men stout of heart, and ready of resource, to brave the perils of wilderness and sea that they might set their feet where man never trod before. The world owes much to the explorers who have faced hostile savages, stood in jeopardy from the cobra and the lion, the foes as deadly which lurk in the brook which quenches thirst. A traveller like Clarke takes his life in his hands. He breaks a path which leads he knows not whither: it may bring him to a shore whence he has no ship to sail from; it may end in an abyss he cannot bridge. The thickets rend and sting him, poison may colour a tempting grain or berry, frost may deaden his energies and lull him to the sleep that knows no waking. He has but little aid from science: beyond food and medicine he carries little more than a watch, a compass, a rifle, and a cartridge belt. Beyond all instruments and weapons are his skill, agility, gumption, diplomacy. And these resources in no mean measure are shared by the man for whom he prepares the way, the immigrant, who, in the early days of settlement, requires a constancy even higher than the explorer's own. It is one thing to traverse a wilderness under the excitement of hourly adventure; it is another thing to stay there for a lifetime and convert it to a home.
The race of American explorers is not extinct. Major Powell is with us to-day, hale and hearty still. Peary, in the prime of his powers, is as capital an example of courage and resource as ever threw themselves upon the riddle of the frozen north. Beyond the Arctic and Antarctic circles little remains unknown on earth. When at last every rood of ground and knot of sea is mapped and charted, whither shall the explorer direct his steps? He cannot repeat the conquests of Lewis and Clarke, Pike and Peary, but he need not on that account fold his hands so long as a brave heart and a quick wit are wanted in the world.
COLUMBUS DISCOVERS AMERICA
Embarks at Palos, August 3, 1492. A mishap befalls the Pinta. Sees the Peak of Teneriffe in eruption. Arrives at the Canaries. Falsifies his reckoning to conceal from his crew the length of the voyage. On September 13th his compass points to the true north, a fact without precedent. Next day a water wagtail is seen, betokening an approach to land. Two pelicans alight on board, with the same significance. These promises fail, and the crew becomes disheartened and discontented. On October 11th Columbus sees a light, presumably on shore: four hours later, next day, land is descried and named by Columbus San Salvador. Discussion as to where this place is: the balance of probability inclines to Watling's Island. 3
LEWIS AND CLARKE
ARRIVAL AT THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1805
Descent of the last rapid of the Columbia River, November 2. A feast of wappatoo root. Meet unfriendly Indians. Observe Mount St. Helen, of Vancouver, about ninety miles off. The country fertile and delightful, abounding with game. The ocean suddenly appears. Rough weather and its effects. Friendly Indians bring food. Rain ruins merchandise, clothing and food. Thievish Indians are withstood. The journey comes successfully to an end. 29
PIKE, ZEBULON M.
THE SOURCES OF THE MISSISSIPPI, 1806
Meets friendly Indians and whites. A serious fire. Deep snow inflicts severe hardship. A trackless journey ends in safety and a hospitable welcome. Provisions exorbitant in price. A march on snowshoes. Sleds of native pattern are made. Delay through water on the ice. Bitter cold and the curse of solitude. A dismal swamp. Unfriendly Indians and the purchasing power of whiskey. The main source of the Mississippi comes into view. Disabled by excessive exertion. Hoists the flag. Visits of Indian chiefs. 55
MANILA IN 1842
Character of the city Spanish and Oriental: numerous canals. A strange and motley population, the artisans for the most part Chinese. Malays and Chinese live apart. Much evidence of volcanic activity in the Philippines. Natural resources abundant. Primitive tools cause much waste of labour. The buffalo as a draught animal. Rice the staple diet: defective mode of culture. Hemp, its growth and manufacture. Crops of coffee, sugar and cotton. The ravages of locusts. Geography of the country and the diverse elements of its population. Its army of about 6,000. Frequent rebellions among the troops and tribes. Iron rule of the Government. The market-place a scene of unending interest. Excellent poultry. The environs of Manila delightful. 71
THE ASCENT OF MOUNT TYNDALL
An eight hours' climb over ridges of granite and snow. "Shall we ascend Mount Tyndall?" "Why not?" At first Professor Brewer believes the attempt madness, but yields consent at last. The climb begins and steadily increases in difficulty. A gulf of 5,000 feet in depth. A night's lodging in a granite crevice. Rocks of many tons strike near. The galling pain of heavy burdens. A profound chasm is crossed on a rope. Exhilaration of utmost peril. A small bush ensures salvation. A welcome stretch of trees and flowers. A spire, all but perpendicular, of rock and ice is surmounted, and at last is reached the crest of Mount Tyndall. 97
POWELL, JOHN WESLEY
THE GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO IS EXPLORED
Embarkation under cliffs 4,000 feet high. A swift run ends in a descent of eighty feet in one-third of a mile. Breakers render a boat unmanageable. Walls more than a mile high. The baffling waters capsize a boat. Relics of ancient dwelling-places. Rations destroyed by wet. Clothing lost and blankets scarce. Grand views not fully enjoyed. A wild run through ten miles of rapids. In places the rocks so cut by water that it is impossible to see overhead. Great amphitheatres, half-dome shaped. Mammoth springs of lime-laden waters. An ancient lava-bed channelled out. Stolen squashes provide a feast. Difficulties thicken: is it wise to go on? Three of the party say no, the remainder proceed. All but lost in a whirlpool. Emergence from the Grand Canon in safety and joy. 131
EXPLORERS COLUMBUS DISCOVERS AMERICA
[Part of Chapter IX., "The Final Agreement and the First Voyage" from "Christopher Columbus and How He Received and Imparted the Spirit of Discovery," copyright by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston and New York, 1892.]
So, everything being ready, on the 3rd of August, 1492, a half-hour before sunrise, he unmoored his little fleet in the stream, and, spreading his sails, the vessels passed out of the little river roadstead of Palos, gazed after, perhaps, in the increasing light, as the little crafts reached the ocean, by the friar of Rabida, from its distant promontory of rock.
The day was Friday, and the advocates of Columbus's canonization have not failed to see a purpose in its choice as the day of our Redemption, and as that of the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre by Geoffrey de Bouillon, and of the rendition of Granada, with the fall of the Moslem power in Spain. We must resort to the books of such advocates, if we would enliven the picture with a multitude of rites and devotional feelings that they gather in the meshes of the story of the departure. They supply to the embarkation a variety of detail that their holy purposes readily imagine, and place Columbus at last on his poop, with the standard of the Cross, the image of the Saviour nailed to the holy wood, waving in the early breeze that heralded the day. The embellishments may be pleasing, but they are not of the strictest authenticity.
In order that his performance of an embassy to the princes of the East might be duly chronicled, Columbus determined, as his journal says, to keep an account of the voyage by the west, "by which course," he says, "unto the present time, we do not know, for certain, that any one has passed." It was his purpose to write down, as he proceeded, everything he saw and all that he did, and to make a chart of his discoveries, and to show the directions of his track.
Nothing occurred during those early August days to mar his run to the Canaries, except the apprehension which he felt that an accident, happening to the rudder of the Pinta,—a steering gear now for some time in use, in place of the old lateral blades,—was a trick of two men, her owners, Gomez Rascon and Christopher Quintero, to impede a voyage in which they had no heart. The Admiral knew the disposition of these men well enough not to be surprised at the mishap, but he tried to feel secure in the prompt energy of Pinzon, who commanded the Pinta.
As he passed (August 24-25, 1492) the peak of Teneriffe, it was the time of an eruption, of which he makes bare mention in his journal. It is to the corresponding passage of the Historie, [written by his son, Fernando,] that we owe the somewhat sensational stories of the terrors of the sailors, some of whom certainly must long have been accustomed to like displays in the volcanoes of the Mediterranean.
At the Gran Canarie the Nina was left to have her lateen sails changed to square ones; and the Pinta, it being found impossible to find a better vessel to take her place, was also left to be overhauled for her leaks, and to have her rudder again repaired, while Columbus visited Gomera, another of the islands. The fleet was reunited at Gomera on September 2. Here he fell in with some residents of the Ferro, the westermost of the group, who repeated the old stories of land occasionally seen from its heights, lying towards the setting sun. Having taken on board wood, water, and provisions, Columbus finally sailed from Gomera on the morning of Thursday, September 6. He seems to have soon spoken a vessel from Ferro, and from this he learned that three Portuguese caravels were lying in wait for him in the neighbourhood of that island, with a purpose, as he thought, of visiting in some way upon him, for having gone over to the interests of Spain, the indignation of the Portuguese king. He escaped encountering them.
Up to Sunday, September 9, they had experienced so much calm weather, that their progress had been slow. This tediousness soon raised an apprehension in the mind of Columbus that the voyage might prove too long for the constancy of his men. He accordingly determined to falsify his reckoning. This deceit was a large confession of his own timidity in dealing with his crew, and it marked the beginning of a long struggle with deceived and mutinous subordinates, which forms so large a part of the record of his subsequent career.
The result of Monday's sail, which he knew to be sixty leagues, he noted as forty-eight, so that the distance from home might appear less than it was. He continued to practise this deceit.
The distances given by Columbus are those of dead reckoning beyond any question. Lieutenant Murdock, of the United States Navy, who has commented on this voyage, makes his league the equivalent of three modern nautical miles, and his mile about three-quarters of our present estimate for that distance. Navarrete says that Columbus reckoned in Italian miles, which are a quarter less than Spanish miles. The Admiral had expected to make land after sailing about seven hundred leagues from Ferro; and in ordering his vessels in case of separation to proceed westward, he warned them when they sailed that distance to come to the wind at night, and only to proceed by day.
The log as at present understood in navigation had not yet been devised. Columbus depended in judging of his distance on the eye alone, basing his calculations on the passage of objects or bubbles past the ship, while the running out of his hour glasses afforded the multiple for long distances.
On Thursday, the 13th of September, he notes that the ships were encountering adverse currents. He was now three degrees west of Flores, and the needle of the compass pointed as it had never been observed before, directly to the true north. His observation of this fact marks a significant point in the history of navigation. The polarity of the magnet, an ancient possession of the Chinese, had been known perhaps for three hundred years, when this new spirit of discovery awoke in the fifteenth century. The Indian Ocean and its traditions were to impart, perhaps through the Arabs, perhaps through the returning Crusaders, a knowledge of the magnet to the dwellers on the shores of the Mediterranean, and to the hardier mariners who had pushed beyond the pillars of Hercules, so that the new route to that same Indian Ocean was made possible in the fifteenth century. The way was prepared for it gradually. The Catalans from the port of Barcelona pushed out into the great Sea of Darkness under the direction of their needles, as early at least as the twelfth century. The pilots of Genoa and Venice, the hardy Majorcans and the adventurous Moors, were followers of almost equal temerity.
A knowledge of the variation of the needle came more slowly to be known to the mariners of the Mediterranean. It had been observed by Peregrini as early as 1269, but that knowledge of it which rendered it greatly serviceable in voyages does not seem to be plainly indicated in any of the charts of these transition centuries, till we find it laid down on the maps of Andrea Bianco in 1436.
It was no new thing then when Columbus, as he sailed westward, marked the variation, proceeding from the northeast more and more westerly; but it was a revelation when he came to a position where the magnetic north and the north star stood in conjunction, as they did on this 13th of September, 1492. As he still moved westerly the magnetic line was found to move farther and farther away from the pole as it had before the 13th approached it. To an observer of Columbus's quick perceptions, there was a ready guess to possess his mind. This inference was that this line of no variation was a meridian line, and that divergence from it east and west might have a regularity which would be found to furnish a method of ascertaining longitude far easier and surer than tables or water clocks. We know that four years later he tried to sail his ship on observations of this kind. The same idea seems to have occurred to Sebastian Cabot, when a little afterwards he approached and passed in a higher latitude, what he supposed to be the meridian of no variation. Humboldt is inclined to believe that the possibility of such a method of ascertaining longitude was that uncommunicable secret, which Sebastian Cabot many years later hinted at on his death-bed.
The claim was made near a century later by Livio Sanuto in his Geographia, published at Venice, in 1588, that Sebastian Cabot had been the first to observe this variation, and had explained it to Edward VI., and that he had on a chart placed the line of no variation at a point one hundred and ten miles west of the island of Flores in the Azores.
These observations of Columbus and Cabot were not wholly accepted during the sixteenth century. Robert Hues, in 1592, a hundred years later, tells us that Medina, the Spanish grand pilot, was not disinclined to believe that mariners saw more in it than really existed and that they found it a convenient way to excuse their own blunders. Nonius was credited with saying that it simply meant that worn-out magnets were used, which had lost their power to point correctly to the pole. Others had contended that it was through insufficient application of the loadstone to the iron that it was so devious in its work.
What was thought possible by the early navigators possessed the minds of all seamen in varying experiments for two centuries and a half. Though not reaching such satisfactory results as were hoped for, the expectation did not prove so chimerical as was sometimes imagined when it was discovered that the lines of variation were neither parallel, nor straight, nor constant. The line of no variation which Columbus found near the Azores had moved westward with erratic inclinations, until to-day it is not far from a straight line from Carolina to Guinea. Science, beginning with its crude efforts at the hands of Alonzo de Santa Cruz, in 1530, has so mapped the surface of the globe with observations of its multifarious freaks of variation, and the changes are so slow, that a magnetic chart is not a bad guide to-day for ascertaining the longitude in any latitude for a few years neighbouring to the date of its records. So science has come around in some measure to the dreams of Columbus and Cabot.
But this was not the only development which came from this ominous day in the mid-Atlantic in that September of 1492. The fancy of Columbus was easily excited, and notions of a change of climate, and even aberration of the stars were easily imagined by him amid the strange phenomena of that untracked waste.
While Columbus was suspecting that the north star was somewhat wilfully shifting from the magnetic pole, now to a distance of 5 deg. and then of 10 deg., the calculations of modern astronomers have gauged the polar distance existing in 1492 at 3 deg. 28', as against the 1 deg. 20' of to-day. The confusion of Columbus was very like his confounding an old world with a new, inasmuch as he supposed it was the pole star and not the needle which was shifting.
He argued from what he saw, or what he thought he saw, that the line of no variation marked the beginning of a protuberance of the earth, up which he ascended as he sailed westerly, and that this was the reason of the cooler weather which he experienced. He never got over some notions of this kind, and he believed he found confirmation of them in his later voyages.
Even as early as the reign of Edward III. of England, Nicholas of Lynn, a voyager to the northern seas, is thought to have definitely fixed the magnetic pole in the Arctic regions, transmitting his views to Cnoyen, the master of the later Mercator, in respect to the four circumpolar islands, which in the sixteenth century made so constant a surrounding of the north pole.
The next day (September 14), after these magnetic observations, a water wagtail was seen from the Nina,—a bird which Columbus thought unaccustomed to fly over twenty-five leagues from land, and the ships were now, according to their reckoning, not far from two hundred leagues from the Canaries. On Saturday they saw a distant bolt of fire fall into the sea. On Sunday, they had a drizzling rain, followed by pleasant weather, which reminded Columbus of the nightingales, gladdening the climate of Andalusia in April. They found around the ships much green floatage of weeds, which led them to think some islands must be near. Navarrete thinks there was some truth in this, inasmuch as the charts of the early part of this century represent breakers as having been seen in 1802, near the spot where Columbus can be computed to have been at this time. Columbus was in fact within that extensive prairie of floating seaweed which is known as the Sargasso Sea, whose principal longitudinal axis is found in modern times to lie along the parallel of 41 deg. 30', and the best calculations which can be made from the rather uncertain data of Columbus's journal seem to point to about the same position.
There is nothing in all these accounts, as we have them abridged by La Casas, to indicate any great surprise, and certainly nothing of the overwhelming fear which, the Historie tells us, the sailors experienced when they found their ships among these floating masses of weeds, raising apprehension of a perpetual entanglement in their swashing folds.
The next day (September 17) the currents became favourable, and the weeds still floated about them. The variation of the needle now became so great that the seamen were dismayed, as the journal says, and the observation being repeated Columbus practised another deceit and made it appear that there had been really no variation, but only a shifting of the polar star! The weeds were now judged to be river weeds, and a live crab was found among them,—a sure sign of near land, as Columbus believed, or affected to believe. They killed a tunny and saw others. They again observed a water wagtail, "which does not sleep at sea." Each ship pushed on for the advance, for it was thought the goal was near. The next day the Pinta shot ahead and saw great flocks of birds towards the west. Columbus conceived that the sea was growing, fresher. Heavy clouds hung on the northern horizon, a sure sign of land, it was supposed.
On the next day two pelicans came on board, and Columbus records that these birds are not accustomed to go twenty leagues from land. So he sounded with a line of two hundred fathoms to be sure he was not approaching land; but no bottom was found. A drizzling rain also betokened land, which they could not stop to find, but would search for on their return, as the journal says. The pilots now compared their reckonings. Columbus said they were 400 leagues, while the Pinta's record showed 420, and the Nina's 440.
On September 20 other pelicans came on board; and the ships were again among the weeds. Columbus was determined to ascertain if these indicated shoal water and sounded, but could not reach bottom. The men caught a bird with feet like a gull; but they were convinced it was a river bird. Then singing land birds, as was fancied, hovered about as it darkened, but they disappeared before morning. Then a pelican was observed flying to the southwest, and as "these birds sleep on shore, and go to sea in the morning," the men encouraged themselves with the belief that they could not be far from land. The next day a whale could be but another indication of land; and the weeds covered the sea all about. On Saturday, they steered west by northwest, and got clear of the weeds. This change of course so far to the north, which had begun on the previous day, was occasioned by a head wind, and Columbus says he welcomed it, because it had the effect of convincing the sailors that westerly winds to return by were not impossible. On Sunday (September 23), they found the wind still varying; but they made more westering than before,—weeds, crabs, and birds still about them. Now there was smooth water, which again depressed the seamen; then the sea arose, mysteriously, for there was no wind to cause it. They still kept their course westerly and continued it till the night of September 25.
Columbus at this time conferred with Pinzon, as to a chart which they carried, which showed some islands, near where they now supposed the ships to be. That they had not seen land, they believed was either due to currents which had carried them too far north, or else their reckoning was not correct. At sunset Pinzon hailed the Admiral, and said he saw land, claiming the reward. The two crews were confident that such was the case, and under the lead of their commanders they all kneeled and repeated the Gloria in Excelsis. The land appeared to lie southwest, and everybody saw the apparition. Columbus changed the fleet's course to reach it; and as the vessels went on, in the smooth sea, the men had the heart, under their expectation, to bathe in its amber glories. On Wednesday, they were undeceived, and found that the clouds had played them a trick. On the 27th their course lay more directly west. So they went on, and still remarked upon all the birds they saw and weed-drift which they pierced. Some of the fowl they thought to be such as were common at the Cape Verde Islands, and were not supposed to go far to sea. On the 30th of September, they still observed the needles of their compasses to vary, but the journal records that it was the pole star which moved, and not the needle. On October 1, Columbus says they were 707 leagues from Ferro; but he had made his crew believe they were only 584. As they went on, little new for the next few days is recorded in the journal; but on October 3, they thought they saw among the weeds something like fruits. By the 6th, Pinzon began to urge a southwesterly course, in order to find the islands, which the signs seemed to indicate in that direction. Still the Admiral would not swerve from his purpose, and kept his course westerly. On Sunday the Nina fired a bombard and hoisted a flag as a signal that she saw land, but it proved a delusion. Observing towards evening a flock of birds flying to the southwest, the Admiral yielded to Pinzon's belief, and shifted his course to follow the birds. He records as a further reason for it that it was by following the flights of birds that the Portuguese had been so successful in discovering islands in other seas.
Columbus now found himself two hundred miles and more farther than the three thousand miles west of Spain, where he supposed Cipango to lie, and he was 25-1/2 deg. north of the equator, according to his astrolabe. The true distance of Cipango or Japan was sixty-eight hundred miles still farther, or beyond both North America and the Pacific. How much beyond that island, in its supposed geographical position, Columbus expected to find the Asiatic main we can only conjecture from the restorations which modern scholars have made of Toscanelli's map, which makes the island about 10 deg. east of Asia, and from Behaim's globe, which makes it 20 deg.. It should be borne in mind that the knowledge of its position came from Marco Polo, and he does not distinctly say how far it was from the Asiatic coast. In a general way, as to these distances from Spain to China, Toscanelli and Behaim agreed, and there is no reason to believe that the views of Columbus were in any noteworthy degree different.
In the trial years afterward, when the Fiscal contested the rights of Diego Colon, it was put in evidence by one Vallejo, a seaman, that Pinzon was induced to urge the direction to be changed to the southwest, because he had in the preceding evening observed a flight of parrots in that direction, which could have only been seeking land. It was the main purpose of the evidence in this part of the trial to show that Pinzon had all along forced Columbus forward against his will.
How pregnant this change of course in the vessels of Columbus was has not escaped the observation of Humboldt and many others. A day or two further on his westerly way, and the Gulf Stream would, perhaps, insensibly have borne the little fleet up the Atlantic coast of the future United States, so that the banner of Castile might have been planted at Carolina.
On the 7th of October, Columbus was pretty nearly in latitude 25 deg. 50',—that of one of the Bahama Islands. Just where he was by longitude there is much more doubt, probably between 65 deg. and 66 deg.. On the next day the land birds flying along the course of the ships seemed to confirm their hopes. On the 10th the journal records that the men began to lose patience; but the Admiral reassured them by reminding them of the profits in store for them, and of the folly of seeking to return when they had already gone so far.
It is possible that, in this entry, Columbus conceals the story which came out later in the recital of Oviedo, with more detail than in the Historie and Las Casas, that the rebellion of his crew was threatening enough to oblige him to promise to turn back if land was not discovered in three days. Most commentators, however, are inclined to think that this story of a mutinous revolt was merely engrafted from hearsay or other source by Oviedo upon the more genuine recital, and that the conspiracy to throw the Admiral into the sea has no substantial basis in contemporary report. Irving, who has a dramatic tendency throughout his whole account of the voyage to heighten his recital with touches of the imagination, nevertheless allows this, and thinks that Oviedo was misled by listening to a pilot, who was a personal enemy of the Admiral.
The elucidations of the voyage which were drawn out in the famous suit of Diego with the Crown in 1513 and 1515, afford no ground for any belief in this story of the mutiny and the concession of Columbus to it.
It is not, however, difficult to conceive the recurrent fears of his men and the incessant anxiety of Columbus to quiet them. From what Peter Martyr tells us,—and he may have got it directly from Columbus's lips,—the task was not an easy one to preserve subordination and to instil confidence. He represents that Columbus was forced to resort in turn to argument, persuasion and enticements, and to picture the misfortunes of the royal displeasure.
The next day, notwithstanding a heavier sea than they had before encountered, certain signs sufficed to lift them out of their despondency. These were floating logs, or pieces of wood, one of them apparently carved by hand, bits of cane, a green rush, a stalk of rose berries and other drifting tokens.
Their southwesterly course had now brought them down to about the twenty-fourth parallel, when after sunset on the 11th they shifted their course to due west, while the crew of the Admiral's ship united, with more fervour than usual, in the Salve Regina. At about ten o'clock Columbus, peering into the night, thought he saw—if we may believe him—a moving light, and pointing out the direction to Pero Gutierrez, this companion saw it too; but another, Rodrigo Sanchez, situated apparently on another part of the vessel, was not able to see it. It was not brought to the attention of any others. The Admiral says that the light seemed to be moving up and down, and he claimed to have got other glimpses of its glimmer at a later moment. He ordered the Salve to be chanted, and directed a vigilant watch to be set on the forecastle. To sharpen their vision he promised a silken jacket, beside the income of ten thousand maravedis which the King and Queen had offered to the fortunate man who should first descry the coveted land.
This light has been the occasion of such comment, and nothing will ever, it is likely, be settled about it, further than that the Admiral, with an inconsiderate rivalry of a common sailor, who later saw the actual land, and with an ungenerous assurance, ill-befitting a commander, pocketed a reward which belonged to another. If Oviedo, with his prejudices, is to be believed, Columbus was not even the first who claimed to have seen this dubious light. There is a common story that the poor sailor, who was defrauded, later turned Mohammedan and went to live among that juster people. There is a sort of retributive justice in the fact that the pension of the Crown was made a charge upon the shambles of Seville, and thence Columbus received it till he died.
Whether the light is to be considered a reality or a fiction will depend much on the theory each may hold regarding the position of the landfall. When Columbus claimed to have discovered it, he was twelve or fourteen leagues away from the island, where four hours later land was indubitably found. Was the light on a canoe? Was it on some small, outlying island, as has been suggested? Was it a torch carried from hut to hut, as Herrera avers? Was it on either of the other vessels? Was it on the low island on which, the next morning he landed? There was no elevation on that island sufficient to show even a strong light at a distance of ten leagues. Was it a fancy or a deceit? No one can say. It is very difficult for Navarrete, and even for Irving, to rest satisfied with what after all may have been only an illusion of a fevered mind, making a record of the incident in the excitement of a wonderful hour, when his intelligence was not as circumspect as it might have been.
Four hours after the light was seen, at two o'clock in the morning, when the moon, near its third quarter, was in the east, the Pinta, keeping ahead, one of her sailors, Rodrigo de Triane descried the land two leagues away, and a gun communicated the joyful intelligence to the other ships. The fleet took in sail, and each vessel, under backed canvas, was pointed to the wind. Thus they waited for daybreak. It was a proud moment of painful suspense for Columbus; and brimming hopes, perhaps fears of disappointment, must have accompanied that hour of wavering enchantment. It was Friday, October 12, of the old chronology, and the little fleet had been thirty-three days on its way from the Canaries, and we must add ten days more to complete the period since they left Palos. The land before them was seen, as the day dawned, to be a small island, "called in the Indian tongue" Guanahani. Some naked natives were descried. The Admiral and the commanders of the other vessels prepared to land. Columbus took the royal standard and the others each a banner of the green cross, which bore the initials of the sovereign with a cross between, a crown surmounting every letter. Thus, with the emblems of their power, and accompanied by Rodrigo de Escoveda and Rodrigo Sanchez and some seamen, the boat rowed to the shore. They immediately took formal possession of the land, and the notary recorded it.
The words of the prayer usually given as uttered by Columbus on taking possession of San Salvador, when he named the island, cannot be traced farther back than a collection of Tablas Chronologicas, got together at Valencia in 1689, by a Jesuit father, Claudio Clemente. Harrisse finds no authority for the statement of the French canonizers that Columbus established a form of prayer which was long in vogue, for such occupations of new lands.
Las Casas, from whom we have the best account of the ceremonies of the landing, does not mention it; but we find pictured in his pages the grave impressiveness of the hour; the form of Columbus, with a crimson robe over his armour, central and grand; and the humbleness of his followers in their contrition for the hours of their faint-heartedness.
Columbus now enters in his journal his impressions of the island and its inhabitants. He says of the land that it bore green trees, was watered by many streams, and produced divers fruits. In another place he speaks of the island as flat, without lofty eminence, surrounded by reefs, with a lake in the interior.
The courses and distances of his sailing both before and on leaving the island, as well as this description, are the best means we have of identifying the spot of this portentous landfall. The early maps may help in a subsidiary way, but with little precision.
There is just enough uncertainty and contradiction respecting the data and arguments applied in the solution of this question, to render it probable that men will never quite agree which of the Bahamas it was upon which these startled and exultant Europeans first stepped. Though Las Casas reports the journal of Columbus unabridged for a period after the landfall, he unfortunately condenses it for some time previous. There is apparently no chance of finding geographical conditions that in every respect will agree with this record of Columbus, and we must content ourselves with what offers the fewest disagreements. An obvious method, if we could depend on Columbus's dead reckoning, would be to see for what island the actual distance from the Canaries would be nearest to his computed run; but currents and errors of the eye necessarily throw this sort of computation out of the question, and Captain G. A. Fox, who has tried it, finds that Cat Island is three hundred and seventeen, the Grand Turk six hundred and twenty-four nautical miles, and the other supposable points at intermediate distances out of the way as compared with his computation of the distance run by Columbus, three thousand four hundred and fifty-eight of such miles.
The reader will remember the Bahama group as a range of islands, islets, and rocks, said to be some three thousand in number, running southeast from a point part way up the Florida coast, and approaching at the other end the coast of Hispaniola. In the latitude of the lower point of Florida, and five degrees east of it, is the island of San Salvador or Cat Island, which is the most northerly of those claimed to have been the landfall of Columbus. Proceeding down the group, we encounter Watling's, Samana, Acklin (with the Plana Cays), Mariguana, and the Grand Turk,—all of which have their advocates. The three methods of identification which have been followed are, first, by plotting the outward track; second, by plotting the track between the landfall and Cuba, both forward and backward; third, by applying the descriptions, particularly Columbus's, of the island first seen. In this last test, Harrisse prefers to apply the description of Las Casas, which is borrowed in part from that of the Historie, and he reconciles Columbus's apparent discrepancy when he says in one place that the island was "pretty large," and in another "small," by supposing that he may have applied these opposite terms, the lesser to the Plana Cays, as first seen, and the other to the Crooked Group, or Acklin Island, lying just westerly, on which he may have landed. Harrisse is the only one who makes this identification; and he finds some confirmation in later maps, which show thereabout an island, Triango or Triangulo, a name said by Las Casas to have been applied to Guanahani at a later day. There is no known map earlier than 1540 bearing this alternative name of Triango.
San Salvador seems to have been the island selected by the earliest of modern inquirers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and it has had the support of Irving and Humboldt in later times. Captain Alexander Slidell Mackenzie of the United States navy worked out the problem for Irving. It is much larger than any of the other islands, and could hardly have been called by Columbus in any alternative way a "small" island, while it does not answer Columbus's description of being level, having on it an eminence of four hundred feet, and no interior lagoon, as his Guanahani demands. The French canonizers stand by the old traditions, and find it meet to say that "the English Protestants not finding the name of San Salvador fine enough have substituted for it that of Cat, and in their hydrographical atlases the Island of the Holy Saviour is nobly called Cat Island."
The weight of modern testimony seems to favour Watling's Island, and it so far answers Columbus's description that about one-third of its interior is water, corresponding to his "large lagoon." Munoz first suggested it in 1793; but the arguments in its favour were first spread out by Captain Becher of the royal navy in 1856, and he seems to have induced Oscar Peschel in 1858 to adopt the same views in his history of the range of modern discovery. Major, the map custodian of the British Museum, who had previously followed Navarrete in favouring the Grand Turk, again addressed himself to the problem in 1870, and fell into line with the adherents of Watling's. No other considerable advocacy of this island, if we except the testimony of Gerard Stein in 1883, in a book on voyages of discovery, appeared till Lieutenant J. B. Murdoch, an officer of the American navy, made a very careful examination of the subject in the Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute in 1884, which is accepted by Charles A. Schott in the Bulletin of the United States Coast Survey. Murdoch was the first to plot in a backward way the track between Guanahani and Cuba, and he finds more points of resemblance in Columbus's description with Watling's than with any other. The latest adherent is the eminent geographer, Clements R. Markham, in the bulletin of the Italian Geographical Society in 1889. Perhaps no cartographical argument has been so effective as that of Major in comparing modern charts with the map of Herrera, in which the latter lays Guanahani down.
An elaborate attempt to identity Samana as the landfall was made by the late Captain Gustavus Vasa Fox, in an appendix to the Report of the United States Coast Survey for 1880. Varnhagen, in 1864, selected Mariguana, and defended his choice in a paper. This island fails to satisfy the physical conditions in being without interior water. Such a qualification, however, belongs to the Grand Turk Island, which was advocated first by Navarrete in 1826, whose views have since been supported by George Gibbs, and for a while by Major.
It is rather curious to note that Caleb Cushing, who undertook to examine this question in the North American Review, under the guidance of Navarrete's theory, tried the same backward method which has been later applied to the problem, but with quite different results from those reached by more recent investigators. He says, "By setting out from Nipe which is the point where Columbus struck Cuba and proceeding in a retrograde direction along his course, we may surely trace his path, and shall be convinced that Guanahani is no other than Turk's Island."
Key: — — according to Munoz and Becher. —— Irving and Humboldt. -- Varnhagen —.—. Navarrete. ]
LEWIS AND CLARKE REACH THE PACIFIC OCEAN
[In 1804-6 Captains Lewis and Clarke, by order of the Government of the United States, commanded an expedition to the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. Chapter IV., which follows, is taken from the second volume of the History of the Expedition, published by Harper & Brothers, New York, 1842. The matter of the original journal is indicated by inverted commas, and where portions of it embracing minute and uninteresting particulars, have been omitted, the leading facts have been briefly stated by the editor, Archibald McVickar, in his own words, so that the connection of the narrative is preserved unbroken and nothing of importance is lost to the reader. The History of the Expedition, edited, with notes by Elliott Coues, was published in 1893 in four volumes by Francis P. Harper, New York. This edition surpasses every other in its excellence: it has passed out of print, but may be found in many public libraries. In 1901 Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, published "Lewis and Clark," by Wm. R. Lighton: within one hundred and fifty-nine small pages the story of the famous expedition is admirably condensed. Good portraits of Lewis and Clark form the frontispiece.]
"November 2, 1805. We now examined the rapid below more particularly, and the danger appearing to be too great for the loaded canoes, all those who could not swim were sent with the baggage by land. The canoes then passed safely down and were reloaded. At the foot of the rapid we took a meridian altitude and found our latitude to be 59 deg. 45' 45"."
This rapid forms the last of the descents of the Columbia; and immediately below it the river widens, and tidewater commences. Shortly after starting they passed an island three miles in length and to which, from that plant being seen on it in great abundance, they gave the name of Strawberry Island. Directly beyond were three small islands, and in the meadow to the right, at some distance from the hills in the background was a single perpendicular rock, which they judged to be no less than eight hundred feet high and four hundred yards at the base, which they called Beacon Rock. A little farther on they found the river a mile in breadth, and double this breadth four miles beyond. After making twenty-nine miles from the foot of the Great Shoot, they halted for the night at a point where the river was two and a half miles wide. The character of the country they had passed through during the day was very different from that they had lately been accustomed to, the hills being thickly covered with timber, chiefly of the pine species. The tide rose at their encampment about nine inches, and they saw great numbers of water-fowl, such as swan, geese, ducks of various kinds, gulls, etc.
The next day, November 3d, they set off in company with some Indians who had joined them the evening before. At the distance of three miles they passed a river on the left, to which, from the quantity of sand it bears along with it, they gave the name of Quicksand River. So great, indeed, was the quantity it had discharged into the Columbia, that the river was compressed to the width of half a mile, and the whole force of the current thrown against the right shore. Opposite this was a large creek, which they called Seal River. The mountain which they had supposed to be the Mount Hood of Vancouver, now bore S. 85 deg. E., about forty-seven miles distant. About three miles farther on they passed the lower mouth of Quicksand River, opposite to which was another large creek, and near it the head of an island three miles and a half in extent; and half a mile beyond it was another island, which they called Diamond Island, opposite to which they encamped, having made but thirteen miles' distance. Here they met with some Indians ascending the river, who stated that they had seen three vessels at its mouth.
"Below Quicksand River," says the Journal, "the country is low, rich, and thickly wooded on each side of the Columbia; the islands have less timber, and on them are numerous ponds, near which were vast quantities of fowl, such as swan, geese, brant, cranes, storks, white-gulls, cormorants, and plover. The river is wide and contains a great number of sea-otters. In the evening the hunters brought in game for a sumptuous supper."
In continuing their descent the next day, they found Diamond Island to be six miles in length and three broad; and near its termination were two other islands. "Just below the last of these," proceeds the narrative, "we landed on the left bank of the river, at a village of twenty-five houses, all of which were thatched with straw, and built of bark except one, which was about fifty feet long and constructed of boards, in the form of those higher up the river, from which it differed, however, in being completely above ground, and covered with broad, split boards. This village contained about two hundred men of the Skilloot nation, who seemed well provided with canoes, of which there were at least fifty-two, and some of them very large, drawn up in front of the village. On landing, we found an Indian from above, who had left us this morning, and who now invited us into a lodge of which he appeared to be part owner. Here he treated us with a root, round in shape and about the size of a small Irish potato, which they call wappatoo: it is the common arrow-head or sagittifolia so much cultivated by the Chinese, and, when roasted in the embers till it becomes soft, has an agreeable taste, and is a very good substitute for bread. After purchasing some of this root we resumed our journey, and at seven miles' distance came to the head of a large island near the left bank. On the right shore was a fine open prairie for about a mile, back of which the country rises, and is well supplied with timber, such as white oak, pine of different kinds, wild crab, and several species of undergrowth, while along the borders of the river there were only a few cottonwood and ash trees. In this prairie were also signs of deer and elk.
"When we landed for dinner a number of Indians came down, for the purpose, as we supposed, of paying us a friendly visit, as they had put on their finest dresses. In addition to their usual covering, they had scarlet and blue blankets, sailor's jackets and trowsers, shirts, and hats. They had all of them either war-axes, spears, and bows and arrows, or muskets and pistols, with tin powder-flasks. We smoked with them, and endeavoured to show them every attention, but soon found them very assuming and disagreeable companions. While we were eating, they stole the pipe with which they were smoking, and a great coat of one of the men. We immediately searched them all, and found the coat stuffed under the root of a tree near where they were sitting; but the pipe we could not recover. Finding us discontented with them, and determined not to suffer any imposition, they showed their displeasure in the only way they dared, by returning in ill humour to their village. We then proceeded, and soon met two canoes, with twelve men of the same Skilloot nation, who were on their way from below. The larger of the canoes was ornamented with the figures of a bear in the bow and a man in the stern, both nearly as large as life, both made of painted wood, and very neatly fastened to the boat. In the same canoe were two Indians gaudily dressed, and with round hats. This circumstance induced us to give the name of Image Canoe to the large island, the lower end of which we were now passing, at the distance of nine miles from its head. We had seen two smaller islands to the right, and three more near its lower extremity." ... "The river was now about a mile and a half in width, with a gentle current, and the bottoms extensive and low, but not subject to be overflowed. Three miles below Image Canoe Island we came to four large houses on the left side; here we had a full view of the mountain which we had first seen from the Muscleshell Rapid on the 19th of October, and which we now found to be, in fact, the Mount St. Helen of Vancouver. It bore north 25 deg. east, about ninety miles distant, rose in the form of a sugar loaf to a very great height, and was covered with snow. A mile lower we passed a single house on the left, and another on the right. The Indians had now learned so much of us that their curiosity was without any mixture of fear, and their visits became very frequent and troublesome. We therefore continued on till after night, in hopes of getting rid of them; but, after passing a village on each side, which, on account of the lateness of the hour, we could only see indistinctly, we found there was no escaping from their importunities. We accordingly landed at the distance of seven miles below Image Canoe Island, and encamped near a single house on the right, having made during the day twenty-nine miles.
"The Skilloots that we passed to-day speak a language somewhat different from that of the Echeloots or Chilluckittequaws near the long narrows. Their dress, however, is similar, except that the Skilloots possess more articles procured from the white traders; and there is this farther difference between them, that the Skilloots, both males and females, have the head flattened. Their principal food is fish, wappatoo roots, and some elk and deer, in killing which, with arrows they seem to be very expert; for during the short time we remained at the village three deer were brought in. We also observed there a tame blaireau [badger]."
"As soon as we landed we were visited by two canoes loaded with Indians, from whom we purchased a few roots. The grounds along the river continued low and rich, and among the shrubs were large quantities of vines resembling the raspberry. On the right the low grounds were terminated at the distance of five miles by a range of high hills covered with tall timber, and running southeast and northwest. The game, as usual, was very abundant; and, among other birds, we observed some white geese, with a part of their wings black."
Early the next morning they resumed their voyage, passing several islands in the course of the day, the river alternately widening and contracting, and the hills sometimes retiring from, and at others approaching, its banks. They stopped for the night at the distance of thirty-two miles from their last encampment. "Before landing," proceeds the Journal, "we met two canoes, the largest of which had at the bow the image of a bear, and that of a man on the stern: there were twenty-six Indians on board, but they proceeded upwards, and we were left, for the first time since we reached the waters of the Columbia, without any of the natives with us during the night. Besides other game, we killed a grouse much larger than the common kind, and observed along the shore a number of striped snakes. The river is here deep, and about a mile and a half in width. Here, too, the ridge of low mountains, running northwest and southeast, crosses the river and forms the western boundary of the plain through which we had just passed. This great plain or valley begins above the mouth of Quicksand River, and is about sixty miles long in a straight line, while on the right and left it extends to a great distance; it is a fertile and delightful country, shaded by thick groves of tall timber, and watered by small ponds on both sides of the river. The soil is rich and capable of any species of culture; but in the present condition of the Indians, its chief production is the wappatoo root, which grows spontaneously and exclusively in this region. Sheltered as it is on both sides, the temperature is much milder than that of the surrounding country; for even at this season of the year we observed but very little appearance of frost. It is inhabited by numerous tribes of Indians, who either reside in it permanently, or visits its waters in quest of fish and wappatoo roots. We gave it the name of the Columbia Valley."
"November 6. The morning was cool and rainy. We proceeded at an early hour between high hills on both sides of the river, till at the distance of four miles we came to two tents of Indians in a small plain on the left, where the hills on the right recede a few miles, and a long, narrow inland stretches along the right shore. Behind this island is the mouth of a large river, a hundred and fifty yards wide, called by the Indians Coweliske. We halted on the island for dinner, but the redwood and green briers were so interwoven with the pine, alder, ash, a species of beech, and other trees, that the woods formed a thicket which our hunters could not penetrate. Below the mouth of the Coweliske a very remarkable knob rises from the water's edge to the height of eighty feet, being two hundred paces round the base; and as it is in a low part of the island, and at some distance from the high grounds, its appearance is very singular. On setting out after dinner we overtook two canoes going down to trade. One of the Indians, who spoke a few words of English, mentioned that the principal person who traded with them was a Mr. Haley; and he showed us a bow of iron and several other things, which he said he had given him. Nine miles below Coweliske River is a creek on the same side; and between them three smaller islands, one on the left shore, the other about the middle of the river, and a third near, the lower end of the long, narrow island, and opposite a high cliff of black rocks on the left, sixteen miles from our last night's encampment. Here we were overtaken by some Indians from the two tents we had passed in the morning, from whom we purchased wappatoo roots, salmon, trout, and two beaver-skins, for which last we gave five small fish-hooks."
Here the mountains which had been high and rugged on the left, retired from the river, as had the hills on the right, since leaving the Coweliske, and a beautiful plain was spread out before them. They met with several islands on their way, and having at the distance of five miles come to the termination of the plain, they proceeded for eight miles through a hilly country, and encamped for the night after having made twenty-nine miles.
"November 7. The morning," proceeds the narrative, "was rainy, and the fog so thick that we could not see across the river. We observed, however, opposite to our camp, the upper point of an island, between which and the steep hills on the right we proceeded for five miles. Three miles lower was the beginning of an island, separated from the right shore by a narrow channel: down this we proceeded under the direction of some Indians whom we had just met going up the river, and who returned in order to show us their village. It consisted of four houses only, situated on this channel, behind several marshy islands formed by two small creeks. On our arrival they gave us some fish, and we afterwards purchased wappatoo roots, fish, three dogs, and two otter-skins, for which we gave fish-hooks chiefly, that being an article which they are very anxious to obtain.
"These people seemed to be of a different nation from those we had just passed: they were low in stature, ill-shaped, and all had their heads flattened. They called themselves Wahkiacum, and their language differed from that of the tribes above, with whom they trade for wappatoo roots. The houses, too, were built in a different style, being raised entirely above ground, with the eaves about five feet high, and the door at the corner. Near the end opposite to the door was a single fireplace, round which were the beds, raised four feet from the floor of earth; over the fire were hung fresh fish, and when dried they are stowed away with the wappatoo roots under the beds. The dress of the men was like that of the people above; but the women were clad in a peculiar manner, the robe not reaching lower than the hip, and the body being covered in cold weather by a sort of corset of fur, curiously plaited, and reaching from the arms to the hip: added to this was a sort of petticoat, or, rather, tissue of white cedar bark, bruised or broken into small strands and woven into a girdle by several cords of the same material. Being tied round the middle, these strands hang down as low as the knee in front and to the middle of the leg behind: sometimes the tissue consists of strings of silk-grass, twisted and knotted at the end.
"After remaining with them about an hour, we proceeded down the channel with an Indian dressed in a sailor's jacket for our pilot; and, on reaching the main channel, were visited by some Indians, who have a temporary residence on a marshy island, Tenasillihee, in the middle of the river, where there are great numbers of water-fowl. Here the mountainous country again approaches the river on the left, and a higher saddle mountain is perceived towards the southwest. At a distance of twenty miles from our camp we halted at a village of Wahkiacums, consisting of seven ill-looking houses, built in the same form with those above, and situated at the foot of the high hills on the right, behind two small marshy islands. We merely stopped to purchase some food and two beaver skins, and then proceeded. Opposite to these islands the hills on the left retire, and the river widens into a kind of bay, crowded with low islands, subject to be overflowed occasionally by the tide. We had not gone far from this village when, the fog suddenly clearing away, we were at last presented with a glorious sight of the ocean—that ocean, the object of all our labours, the reward of all our anxieties. This animating sight exhilarated the spirits of all the party, who were still more delighted on hearing the distant roar of the breakers. We went on with great cheerfulness along the high mountainous country which bordered the right bank: the shore, however, was so bold and rocky that we could not, until a distance of fourteen miles from the last village, find any spot fit for an encampment. Having made during the day thirty-four miles, we now spread our mats on the ground, and passed the night in the rain. Here we were joined by our small canoe, which had been separated from us during the fog this morning. Two Indians from the last village also accompanied us to the camp; but having detected them in stealing a knife, they were sent off.
"November 8. It rained this morning; and, having changed our clothing, which had been wet by yesterday's rain, we set out at nine o'clock. Immediately opposite our camp was a pillar rock, at the distance of a mile in the river, about twenty feet in diameter and fifty in height, and towards the southwest some high mountains, one of which was covered with snow at the top. We proceeded past several low islands in the bend or bay of the river to the left, which were here five or six miles wide. On the right side we passed an old village, and then, at the distance of three miles, entered an inlet or niche, about six miles across, and making a deep bend of nearly five miles into the hills on the right shore, where it receives the waters of several creeks. We coasted along this inlet, which, from its little depth, we called Shallow Bay, and at the bottom of it stopped to dine, near the remains of an old village, from which, however, we kept at a cautious distance, as, like all these places, it was occupied by a plentiful stock of fleas. At this place we observed a number of fowl, among which we killed a goose and two ducks exactly resembling in appearance and flavour the canvas-back duck of the Susquehanna. After dinner we took advantage of the returning tide to go about three miles to a point on the right, eight miles distant from our camp; but here the water ran so high and washed about our canoe so much that several of the men became seasick. It was therefore judged imprudent to proceed in the present state of the weather, and we landed at the point. Our situation here was extremely uncomfortable: the high hills jutted in so closely that there was not room for us to lie level, nor to secure our baggage from the tide, and the water of the river was too salty to be used; but the waves increasing so much that we could not move from the spot with safety, we fixed ourselves on the beach left by the ebb-tide, and, raising the baggage on poles, passed a disagreeable night, the rain during the day having wet us completely, as, indeed, we had been for some time past.
"November 9. Fortunately, the tide did not rise as high as our camp during the night; but, being accompanied by high winds from the south, the canoes, which we could not place beyond its reach, were filled with water and saved with much difficulty: our position was exceedingly disagreeable; but, as it was impossible to move from it, we waited for a change of weather. It rained, however, during the whole day, and at two o'clock in the afternoon the flood-tide came in, accompanied by a high wind from the south, which at about four o'clock shifted to the southwest, and blew almost a gale directly from the sea. Immense waves now broke over the place where we were and large trees, some of them five or six feet through, which had been lodged on the point, drifted over our camp, so that the utmost vigilance of every man could scarcely save the canoes from being crushed to pieces. We remained in the water and were drenched with rain during the rest of the day, our only sustenance being some dried fish and the rain water which we caught. Yet, though wet and cold, and some of then sick from using salt water, the men were cheerful and full of anxiety to see more of the ocean. The rain continued all night and the following morning.
"November 10, the wind lulling and the waves not being so high, we loaded our canoes and proceeded. The mountains on the right are here high, covered with timber, chiefly pine, and descend with a bold and rocky shore to the water. We went through a deep niche and several inlets on the right, while on the opposite side was a large bay, above which the hills are close on the river. At the distance of ten miles the wind rose from the northwest, and the waves became so high that we were forced to return two miles for a place where we could unload with safety. Here we landed at the mouth of a small run, and, having placed our baggage on a pile of drifted logs, waited until low water. The river then appearing more calm, we started again; but, after going a mile, found the waters too turbulent for our canoes, and were obliged to put to shore. Here we landed the baggage, and, having placed it on a rock above the reach of the tide, encamped on some drift logs, which formed the only place where we could lie, the hills rising steep over our heads to the height of five hundred feet. All our baggage, as well as ourselves, was thoroughly wet with rain, which did not cease during the day; it continued, indeed, violently through the night, in the course of which the tide reached the logs on which we lay, and set them afloat.
"November 11. The wind was still high from the southwest, and drove the waves against the shore with great fury; the rain, too, fell in torrents, and not only drenched us to the skin, but loosened the stones on the hillsides, so that they came rolling down upon us. In this comfortless condition we remained all day, wet and cold, and with nothing but dried fish to satisfy our hunger; the canoes at the mercy of the waves at one place, the baggage in another, and the men scattered on floating logs, or sheltering themselves in the crevices of the rocks and hillsides. A hunter was despatched in the hope of finding some game; but the hills were so steep, and so covered with undergrowth and fallen timber, that he could not proceed, and was forced to return. About twelve o'clock we were visited by five Indians in a canoe. They came from the opposite side of the river, above where we were, and their language much resembled that of the Wahkiacums: they calling themselves Cathlamahs. In person they were small, ill-made, and badly clothed; though one of them had on a sailor's jacket and pantaloons, which, as he explained by signs, he had received from the whites below the point. We purchased from them thirteen red charr, a fish which we found very excellent. After some time they went on board their boat and crossed the river, which is here five miles wide, through a very heavy sea.
"November 12. About three o'clock a tremendous gale of wind arose, accompanied with lightning, thunder, and hail; at six it lightened up for a short time, but a violent rain soon began and lasted through the day. During the storm one of our boats, secured by being sunk with great quantities of stone, got loose, but, drifting against a rock, was recovered without having received much injury. Our situation now became much more dangerous, for the waves were driven with fury against the rocks and trees, which till now had afforded us refuge: we therefore took advantage of the low tide, and moved about half a mile round a point to a small brook, which we had not observed before on account of the thick bushes and driftwood which concealed its mouth. Here we were more safe, but still cold and wet; our clothes and bedding rotten as well as wet, our baggage at a distance, and the canoes, our only means of escape from this place, at the mercy of the waves. Still, we continued to enjoy good health, and even had the luxury of feasting on some salmon and three salmon trout which we caught in the brook. Three of the men attempted to go round a point in our small Indian canoe, but the high waves rendered her quite unmanageable, these boats requiring the seamanship of the natives to make them live in so rough a sea.
"November 13. During the night we had short intervals of fair weather, but it began to rain in the morning and continued through the day. In order to obtain a view of the country below, Captain Clarke followed the course of the brook, and with much fatigue, and after walking three miles, ascended the first spur of the mountains. The whole lower country he found covered with almost impenetrable thickets of small pine, with which is mixed a species of plant resembling arrow-wood, twelve or fifteen feet high, with thorny stems, almost interwoven with each other, and scattered among the fern and fallen timber: there is also a red berry, somewhat like the Solomon's seal, which is called by the natives solme, and used as an article of diet. This thick growth rendered travelling almost impossible, and it was rendered still more fatiguing by the abruptness of the mountain, which was so steep as to oblige him to draw himself up by means of the bushes. The timber on the hills is chiefly of a large, tall species of pine, many of the trees eight or ten feet in diameter at the stump, and rising sometimes more than one hundred feet in height. The hail which fell two nights before was still to be seen on the mountains; there was no game, and no marks of any, except some old tracks of elk. The cloudy weather prevented his seeing to any distance, and he therefore returned to camp and sent three men in an Indian canoe to try if they could double the point and find some safer harbour for our boats. At every flood-tide the sea broke in great swells against the rocks and drifted the trees against our establishment, so as to render it very insecure.
"November 14. It had rained without intermission during the night and continued to through the day; the wind, too, was very high, and one of our canoes much injured by being driven against the rocks. Five Indians from below came to us in a canoe, and three of them landed, and informed us that they had seen the men sent down yesterday. Fortunately, at this moment one of the men arrived, and told us that these very Indians had stolen his gig and basket; we therefore ordered the two women, who remained in the canoe, to restore them; but this they refused to do till we threatened to shoot them, when they gave back the articles, and we commanded them to leave us. They were of the Wahkiacum nation. The man now informed us that they had gone round the point as far as the high sea would suffer them in the canoe, and then landed; that in the night he had separated from his companions, who had proceeded farther down; and that, at no great distance from where we were, was a beautiful sand beach and a good harbour. Captain Lewis determined to examine more minutely the lower part of the bay, and, embarking in one of the large canoes, was put on shore at the point, whence he proceeded by land with four men, and the canoe returned nearly filled with water.
"November 15. It continued raining all night, but in the morning the weather became calm and fair. We began, therefore, to prepare for setting out; but before we were ready a high wind sprang up from the southeast, and obliged us to remain. The sun shone until one o'clock, and we were thus enabled to dry our bedding and examine our baggage. The rain, which had continued for the last ten days without any interval of more than two hours, had completely wet all our merchandise, spoiled some of our fish, destroyed the robes, and rotted nearly one-half of our few remaining articles of clothing, particularly the leather dresses. About three o'clock the wind fell, and we instantly loaded the canoes, and left the miserable spot to which we had been confined the last six days. On turning the point we came to the sand beach, through which runs a small stream from the hills, at the mouth of which was an ancient village of thirty-six houses, without any inhabitants at the time except fleas. Here we met Shannon, who had been sent back to us by Captain Lewis. The day Shannon left us in the canoe, he and Willard proceeded on till they met a party of twenty Indians, who, not having heard of us, did not know who they were; but they behaved with great civility—so great, indeed, and seemed so anxious that our men should accompany them towards the sea, that their suspicions were aroused, and they declined going. The Indians, however, would not leave them; and the men, becoming confirmed in their suspicions, and fearful, if they went into the woods to sleep, that they would be cut to pieces in the night, thought it best to remain with the Indians: they therefore made a fire, and after talking with them to a late hour, laid down with their rifles under their heads. When they awoke they found that the Indians had stolen and concealed their arms; and having demanded them in vain, Shannon seized a club, and was about assaulting one of the Indians whom he suspected to be the thief, when another of them began to load his fowling-piece with the intention of shooting him. He therefore stopped, and explained to them by signs, that if they did not give up the guns, a large party would come down the river before the sun rose to a certain height, and put every one of them to death. Fortunately, Captain Lewis and his party appeared at this very time, and the terrified Indians immediately brought the guns, and five of them came in with Shannon. To these men we declared that, if ever any of their nation stole anything from us, he would be instantly shot. They resided to the north of this place, and spoke a language different from that of the people higher up the river. It was now apparent that the sea was at all times too rough for us to proceed farther down the bay by water: we therefore landed, and, having chosen the best spot we could, made our camp of boards from the old village. We were now comfortably situated; and, being visited by four Wahkiacums with wappatoo roots, were enabled to make an agreeable addition to our food.
"November 16. The morning was clear and pleasant. We therefore put out all our baggage to dry, and sent several of our party to hunt. Our camp was in full view of the ocean, on the bay laid down by Vancouver, which we distinguished by the name of Haley's Bay, from a trader who visits the Indians here, and is a great favourite among them. The meridian altitude of this day gave 46 deg. 19' 11.7" as our latitude. The wind was strong from the southwest, and the waves were very high, yet the Indians were passing up and down the bay in canoes, and several of them encamped near us. We smoked with them, but, after our recent experience of their thievish disposition, treated them with caution...."
"The hunters brought in two deer, a crane, some geese and ducks, and several brant, three of which were white, except a part of the wing, which was black, and they were much larger than the gray brant.
"November 17. A fair, cool morning, and easterly wind. The tide rises at this place eight feet six inches.
"About one o'clock Captain Lewis returned, after having coasted down Haley's Bay to Cape Disappointment, and some distance to the north, along the seacoast. He was followed by several Chinnooks, among whom were the principal chief and his family. They made us a present of a boiled root very much like the common licorice in taste and size, called culwhamo; and in return we gave them articles of double its value. We now learned, however, the danger of accepting anything from them, since nothing given in payment, even though ten times more valuable, would satisfy them. We were chiefly occupied in hunting, and were able to procure three deer, four brant, and two ducks; and also saw some signs of elk. Captain Clarke now prepared for an excursion down the bay, and accordingly started.
"November 18, at daylight, accompanied by eleven men, he proceeded along the beach one mile to a point of rocks about forty feet high, where the hills retired, leaving a wide beach and a number of ponds covered with water-fowl, between which and the mountain there was a narrow bottom covered with alder and small balsam trees. Seven miles from the rocks was the entrance from the creek, or rather drain from the pond and hills, where was a cabin of Chinnooks. The cabin contained some children and four women. They were taken across the creek in a canoe by two squaws, to each of whom they gave a fish-hook, and then, coasting along the bay, passed at two miles the low bluff of a small hill, below which were, the ruins of some old huts, and close to it the remains of a whale. The country was low, open, and marshy, interspersed with some high pine and with a thick undergrowth. Five miles from the creek, they came to a stream, forty yards wide at low water, which they called Chinnook River. The hills up this river and towards the bay were not high, but very thickly covered with large pine of several species."
Proceeding along the shore, they came to a deep bend, appearing to afford a good harbour, and here the natives told them that European vessels usually anchored. About two miles farther on they reached Cape Disappointment, "an elevated circular knob," says the Journal, "rising with a steep ascent one hundred and fifty or one hundred and sixty feet above the water, formed like the whole shore of the bay, as well as of the seacoast, and covered with thick timber on the inner side, but open and grassy on the exposure next the sea. From this cape a high point of land bears south 20 deg. west, about twenty-five miles distant. In the range between these two eminences is the opposite point of the bay, a very low ground, which has been variously called Cape Rond by Le Perouse, and Point Adams by Vancouver. The water, for a great distance off the mouth of the river, appears very shallow, and within the mouth, nearest to Point Adams, is a large sand-bar, almost covered at high tide...."
"November 19. In the evening it began to rain, and continued until eleven o'clock. Two hunters were sent out in the morning to kill something for breakfast, and the rest of the party, after drying their blankets, soon followed. At three miles they overtook the hunters, and breakfasted on a small deer which they had been fortunate enough to kill. This, like all those that we saw on the coast, was much darker than our common deer. Their bodies, too, are deeper, their legs shorter, and their eyes larger. The branches of the horns are similar, but the upper part of the tail is black, from the root to the end, and they do not leap, but jump like a sheep frightened.
"Continuing along five miles farther, they reached a point of high land, below which a sandy point extended in a direction north 19 deg. west to another high point twenty miles distant. To this they gave the name of Point Lewis. They proceeded four miles farther along the sandy beach to a small pine tree, on which Captain Clarke marked his name, with the year and day, and then set out to return to the camp, where they arrived the following day, having met a large party of Chinnooks coming from it.
"November 21. The morning was cloudy, and from noon till night it rained. The wind, too, was high from the southeast, and the sea so rough that the water reached our camp. Most of the Chinnooks returned home, but we were visited in the course of the day by people of different bands in the neighbourhood, among whom were the Chiltz, a nation residing on the seacoast near Point Lewis, and the Clatsops, who live immediately opposite, on the south side of the Columbia. A chief from the grand rapid also came to see us, and we gave him a medal. To each of our visitors we made a present of a small piece of riband, and purchased some cranberries, and some articles of their manufacture, such as mats and household furniture, for all of which we paid high prices."
THE SOURCES OF THE MISSISSIPPI
BRIGADIER-GENERAL ZEBULON M. PIKE
[During the years 1805, 1806, and 1807 Brigadier-General Pike commanded, by order of the Government of the United States, an expedition to the sources of the Mississippi, through the western part of Louisiana, to the sources of the Arkansas, Kansas, La Platte and Pierre Juan rivers. The extracts which follow are taken from his narrative published in Philadelphia, 1810. An excellent edition, edited with copious notes by Elliott Coues, was published in three volumes by Francis P. Harper, New York, 1895.]
January 1, 1806. Passed six very elegant bark canoes on the bank of the river, which had been laid up by the Chipeways; also a camp which we had conceived to have been evacuated about ten days. My interpreter came after me in a great hurry, conjuring me not to go so far ahead, and assured me that the Chipeways, encountering me without an interpreter, party, or flag, would certainly kill me. But, notwithstanding this, I went on several miles farther than usual, in order to make any discoveries that were to be made; conceiving the savages not so barbarous or ferocious as to fire on two men (I had one with me) who were apparently coming into their country, trusting to their generosity; and knowing, that if we met only two or three we were equal to them, I having my gun and pistols and he his buckshot. Made some extra presents for New Year's day.
January 2. Fine, warm day. Discovered fresh signs of Indians. Just as we were encamping at night, my sentinel informed us that some Indians were coming at full speed upon our trail or track. I ordered my men to stand by their guns carefully. They were immediately at my camp, and saluted the flag by a discharge of three pieces, when four Chipeways, one Englishman, and a Frenchman of the North West Company presented themselves. They informed us that some women having discovered our trail gave the alarm, and not knowing but it was their enemies had departed to make a discovery. They had heard of us, and revered our flag. Mr. Grant, the Englishman, had only arrived the day before from Lake de Sable, from which he marched in one day and a half. I presented the Indians with half a deer, which they received thankfully, for they had discovered our fires some days ago, and believing them to be Sioux fires, they dared not leave their camp. They returned home, but Mr. Grant remained all night.
January 3. My party marched early, but I returned with Mr. Grant to his establishment on the Red Cedar Lake, having one corporal with me.... After explaining to a Chipeway warrior, called Curly Head, the object of my voyage, and receiving his answer that he would remain tranquil until my return, we ate a good breakfast for the country, departed and overtook my sleds just at dusk. Killed one porcupine. Distance sixteen miles.
January 4. We made twenty-eight points in the river; broad, good bottom, and of the usual timber. In the night I was awakened by the cry of the sentinel, calling repeatedly to the men; at length he vociferated, "Will you let the lieutenant be burned to death?" This immediately aroused me; at first I seized my arms, but looking round, I saw my tents in flames. The men flew to my assistance, and we tore them down, but not until they were entirely ruined. This, with the loss of my leggins, moccasins, and socks, which I had hung up to dry, was no trivial misfortune in such a country and on such a voyage. But I had reason to thank God that the powder, three small casks of which I had in my tent, did not take fire; if it had, I must certainly have lost all my baggage, if not my life.
January 5. Mr. Grant promised to overtake me yesterday, but has not yet arrived. I conceived it would be necessary to attend his motions with careful observation. Distance twenty-seven miles.
January 6. Bradley and myself walked up thirty-one points in hopes to discover Lake de Sable; but finding a near cut of twenty yards for ten miles, and being fearful the sleds would miss it, we returned twenty-three points before we found our camp. They had made only eight points. Met two Frenchmen of the North West Company with about one hundred and eighty pounds on each of their backs, with rackets [snowshoes] on; they informed me that Mr. Grant had gone on with the Frenchmen. Snow fell all day, and was three feet deep. Spent a miserable night.