The Evening Post
New York, New York May 6 1802
1801-1810 [The following extract from Mackenzie’s Voyages, republished in this city by Mr. Hopkins, will give some idea of the authors manner of writing. It is hoped it may serve to attract notice to this work and patronage to the publisher.]
“The Portage la Roche is of a level surface, in some parts of bounding with stones, and covered with cypress, the pine, this spruce fir, and other trees natural to it’s soil. Within three miles of the North-West termination, there is a small round lake, whose diameter does not exceed a mile, and which affords a trifling respite to the labour of carrying. Within a mile of the termination of the Portage is a very deep precipice, whose ascent and descent appears to be equally impracticable in any way, as it consists of a succession of eight hills, some of which are almost perpendicular: nevertheless, the Canadians contrive to surmount all these difficulties, even with their canoes and lading.
This precipice, which rises upwards of a thousand feet above the plain beneath it, commands a most extensive, romantic, and ravishing prospect. From thence the eye looks down on the course of the little river, by some called the Swan river, and by others the Clear-Water and Pelican river, beautifully meandering for upwards of thirty miles. The valley, which is at once refreshed and adorned by it, is about three miles in breadth, and is confined by two lofty ridges of equal height, displaying a most delightful intermixture of wood and lawn, and stretching on until the blue mist obscures the prospect. Some parts of the inclining heights are covered with stately forests, relieved by promontories of the finest verdure, where the elk and buffalo fine pasture. These are contrasted by spots where fire has destroyed the woods, and left a dreary void behind it. Nor, when I beheld this wonderful display of uncultivated nature, was the moving scenery of human occupation wanting to complete the picture.– From this elevated situation I beheld my people, diminished, as it were, to half their size, and employed in pitching their tents in a charming meadow, and among the canoes, which, being turned up on their sides, presented their reddened bottoms in contrast with the surrounding verdure. At the same time, the process of gumming them produced numerous small spires of smoke, which, as they rose, enlivened the scene, and at length blended with the larger columns that ascended from the fires where the uppers were preparing. It was in the month of September when I enjoyed a scene, of which I do not presume to give an adequate description; and as it was the rutting season of the elk, the whistling of that animal was beard in all the variety which the echoes could afford it.
The Cork Mercantile Nov 16 1802
The Cork Mercantile Nov 26 1802
The Cork Mercantile June 2 1803
The Raleigh Minerva
Raleigh, North Carolina Dec 5 1803
General description of Upper Louisiana.
When compared with the Indian territory, the face of the country in upper Louisiana is rather more broken, tho’ the soil is equally fertile. It is a fact not to be concealed, that the West side of the river possesses some advantages, not generally incident to whole regions. It is elevated and healthy, and well watered with a variety of large rapid streams, calculated for mills and other water works. From Cape Girardeau, above the mouth of the Ohio, to the Missouri, the land on the east side of the Mississippi is low and flat, and occasionally exposed to inundations; that on the Louisiana side, contiguous to the river, is generally much higher, and in many places very rocky on the shore. Some of the heights exhibit a scene truly picturesque. They rise to a height of at least 300 feet, faced with perpendicular line and free-stone, carved into various shapes and figures by the hand of nature, and afford the appearance of a multitude of antique towers.
From the tops of these elevations, the land gradually slopes back from the river, without gravel or rock, and is covered with valuable timber. It may be said with truth that, for fertility of soil no part of the world exceeds the borders of the Mississippi, the land yields an abundance of all the necessaries of life, & almost spontaneously; very little labour being required in the cultivation of the earth. That part of Upper Louisiana, which borders on the North Mexico, is one immense prairie; it produces nothing but grass: it is filled with buffalo, deer, and other kinds of game; the land is represented as too rich for the growth of forest trees.
The London Times March 5 1805
Wednesday May 29th 1805.
-Today we passed on the Stard. side the remains of a vast many mangled carcases of Buffalow which had been driven over a precipice of 120 feet by the Indians and perished; the water appeared to have washed away a part of this immence pile of slaughter and still their remained the fragments of at least a hundred carcases they created a most horrid stench. In this manner the Indians of the Missouri distroy vast herds of buffaloe at a stroke; for this purpose one of the most active and fleet young men is scelected and 〈being〉 disguised in a robe of buffaloe skin, having also the skin of the buffaloe’s head with the years and horns fastened on his head in form of a cap, thus caparisoned he places himself at a convenient distance between a herd of buffaloe and a precipice proper for the purpose, which happens in many places on this river for miles together; the other indians now surround the herd on the back and flanks and at a signal agreed on all shew themselves at the same time moving forward towards the buffaloe; the disguised indian or decoy has taken care to place himself sufficiently nigh the buffaloe to be noticed by them when they take to flight and runing before them they follow him in full speede to the precepice, the cattle behind driving those in front over and seeing them go do not look or hesitate about following untill the whole are precipitated down the precepice forming one common mass of dead an mangled carcases; the 〈Indian〉 decoy in the mean time has taken care to secure himself in some cranney or crivice of the clift which he had previously prepared for that purpose. the part of the decoy I am informed is extreamly dangerous, if they are not very fleet runers the buffaloe tread them under foot and crush them to death, and sometimes drive them over the precepice also, where they perish in common with the buffaloe. –
The Adams Sentinel
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Aug 6 1806
From the Richmond Enquirer.
DISCOVERIES IN LOUISIANA.
A pamphlet of 128 pages has been published in New York, containing a “message from the President of the United States communicating discoveries made in exploring the Missouri, Red River, and Washita, by captains Lewis, and Clark, Dr. Sibley and Mr. Dunbar; with a statistical account of the countries adjacent.” This communication was read in Congress February 19th, 1806.
The President’s message we have already published among the journals of Congress. It is sufficient, therefore, to recall our readers, that the President sets out with declaring the objects of captains Lewis and Clark’s tour to be, the exploring of the river Mississippi, from its mouth to its source, the crossing of the Highlands by the shortest portage, to seek the best water communication from thence to the pacific ocean, and or green into conference with the Indian nations on their route, for the purpose of establishing a commercial connection. Five documents accompany this communication.
1st. A letter from capt. Lewis, written on 7th of April, 1805, from his winter quarters near the Mandan towns.
2d. Captain Lewis’s map of the Missouri, made by actual measurement, to which is added a map of the country line between the Mississippi and Pacific, from the 34th to the 54th degrees of latitude, D deduced from the best information collected from the Indians.
3d. His statistical view of the Indian tribes and the Louisiana territory, and in the countries adjacent to its northern and western borders.
4th. Dr. Sibley’s account of the Indians in and adjacent to the territory of Orleans. Thus giving a general view of the Indians to the west of the Mississippi.
5th. Dr. Sibley’s account of the Red River.
6th. An account of the Washita River from its junction with Red River to a point adjacent to the remarkable hot springs, by Dr. Dunbar
The map of the Missouri does not accompany the pamphlet before us.
Captain Lewis’s letter to Mr. Jefferson was published during the last year. In this letter, he observes: “we do not calculate on completing our voyage during the present year, but expect to reach the Pacific ocean, and returned as far as the head of the Missouri, or perhaps to this place before the winter. You may therefore expect me to meet you at Monticello in September, 1806. On our return, we shall probably pass down the Yallow Stone river.”
The remainder of this pamphlet is there for occupied by the four last documents, which we have mentioned. The first of these is;
A statistical account of the Indian nations inhabiting the territory of Louisiana, and the countries adjacent to its northern and western boundaries.
This view is too extensive to be easily or usefully abridged. We have, therefore, deemed it sufficient to give the following table of such peculiar’s as it is important to know, or condense.
- is the name of the tribes
- the amount of merchandise necessary for their annual consumption, estimated in dollars, at the St. Louis prices;
- the estimate amount, in dollars, of their annual returns, at the St. Louis prices.
Catanhaws, Blackfoot Indians; Blue Mud, and Longhair Indians, Flathead Indians, Allatans or Snakes, are very numerous and trade with the Spaniards of New Mexico Pankque Priducas.
The pamphlet before us, particularly describes “the rivers on which these tribes rove, or, on which their villages are situated;” as well as the species of peltries, and furs, and other articles, which they do, or could annually supply. These principally consist of the skins of small deer, black bear, beaver, otter, raccoon, muskrats, wolves, elk, Missouri antelope, mink: of buffalo robes; tallow, and grease, bears oil ; some horses.
It contains besides a great mass of information, on many miscellaneous subjects. We may select, for example:
1st. That of all these Indians, there are four tribes of the Sioux nation, who may be particularly denominated the pirates of the Missouri. Deriving their goods through the river St. Peter’s they are indifferent to the free navigation of the Missouri, and they will externally prevent the United States from completely enjoying the benefits of that river, until they are reduced to order by coercive measures.
2d. That it is in the country inhabited by these lawless bands that the Missouri, derives most of its coloring matter; the earth being “strongly impregnated with Glauber salt, allum, copperas, and sulphur, and when saturated with water immense bodies of the hills precipitate themselves into the river, and mingle with its waters.”
3d. That of these tribes, the Blackfoot Indians and the Flathead reside beyond the Rocky Mountains, which separate the rivers, flowing into the Pacific, from those which empty into the Atlantic. The Allatans or Snake Indians reside for the most part among the Rocky Mountains.
4th. That the smallpox has made great ravages among some of the tribes. Could our government then contribute more effectually to their prosperity, or to its own popularity, then by introducing among them the inestimable art of vaccination?
5th. That the benefit to be derived from the fur trade, is already great, and may be still further extended, by our encouraging commercial establishments upon the Missouri, and taking them out of the hands of the North Western company.
Historical sketches of the several Indian tribes, between the south of the Arkansa river, and between the Mississippi and river Grand.
Dr. Sibley’s account of these tribes is minute and curious. It is impossible however, for us to extract any more than their names and very few interesting peculiars.
Caddoques live about 35 miles west of the main branch of the Red River on a bavau or creek, about 120 miles from Natchitocks. They lived where they do now only 5 years. The first year the smallpox got among them, and destroyed nearly one half of them; it was in the winter season, and they practiced plunging into the creek, on the first appearance of the eruption, and died, within a few hours. They have a traditionary tale, which half a dozen other smaller nations believe in, who claim the honor of being descendents of the same family ; they say when all the world was drowned by a flood that inundated the whole country, the great spirit placed on an erainence , one family of Caddoques who alone were saved; from that family all the Indians originated. The number of their warriors is reduced to about one hundred.
Yettassees live about 50____ above Natchitocks. The Spanish government at present, jurisdiction over this settlement, where they keep a guard of non-commissioned officer and 8 soldiers.
A few months ago, the Caddoc Chief with a few of his young man were coming to this place to trade, and came that way which is the usual road. The Spanish officer of the guard threatened to stop them from trading with the Americans, told the chief that if he returned that way with the goods he should take them from him. The chief and his party were very angry and threatened to kill the whole guard, and told them — that road has been theirs, and if the Spaniards attempted to prevent their using it as their ancestors had always done, he would soon make it a bloody road. He came here, purchased the goods, and might have returned another way & avoided the Spanish guard, and was advised to do so; but he said he would pass by them, and let them attempt to stop him if they dared. The guard said nothing to him as he returned.
Nandakoes : Adaize : Alicke : Keyes : Inies : Nabedaches : Bedies : Accokeshaws : Mayes : Carankonas : Kances : Tankawas : Tawekenoes : Panis, rove in part of Orleans.
Hietans, to who, several curious customs are ascribed.
They are strong and athletic, and the elderly man as fat as if they had lived upon English beef and porter.
It is said the man who kills a buffaloe, catches the blood & drinks it while warm, they likewise eat the liver raw, before it is cold, and use the gaul by way of sauce. They are, for savages, uncommonly clean in their perions; the dress of the women is a long loose robe, that reaches from the chin to the ground, tied round with a fancy sash or girdle all made up neatly dressed feathers on which they paint figures of different colors and significations; the address of the man is close leather pantaloons, and a hunting shirt, or frock of the same. They never remained long enough in the same place to plant anything, the small Cayenne pepper grows spontaneously in the country, with which, and some wild herbs and fruits, particularly a bean that grows in great plenty on a small tree resembling a willow, called mash^to, the women cook their buffaloe beef in a manner that would be grateful to an English Squire.