Astoria, or, anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 479 pages of information about Astoria, or, anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains.
upon portions of our country quite out of the track of ordinary travel, and as yet but little known.  I therefore felt disposed to undertake the task, provided documents of sufficient extent and minuteness could be furnished to me.  All the papers relative to the enterprise were accordingly submitted to my inspection.  Among them were journals and letters narrating expeditions by sea, and journeys to and fro across the Rocky Mountains by routes before untravelled, together with documents illustrative of savage and colonial life on the borders of the Pacific.  With such material in hand, I undertook the work.  The trouble of rummaging among business papers, and of collecting and collating facts from amidst tedious and commonplace details, was spared me by my nephew, Pierre M. Irving, who acted as my pioneer, and to whom I am greatly indebted for smoothing my path and lightening my labors.

As the journals, on which I chiefly depended, had been kept by men of business, intent upon the main object of the enterprise, and but little versed in science, or curious about matters not immediately bearing upon their interest, and as they were written often in moments of fatigue or hurry, amid the inconveniences of wild encampments, they were often meagre in their details, furnishing hints to provoke rather than narratives to satisfy inquiry.  I have, therefore, availed myself occasionally of collateral lights supplied by the published journals of other travellers who have visited the scenes described:  such as Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, Bradbury, Breckenridge, Long, Franchere, and Ross Cox, and make a general acknowledgment of aid received from these quarters.

The work I here present to the public is necessarily of a rambling and somewhat disjointed nature, comprising various expeditions and adventures by land and sea.  The facts, however, will prove to be linked and banded together by one grand scheme, devised and conducted by a master spirit; one set of characters, also, continues throughout, appearing occasionally, though sometimes at long intervals, and the whole enterprise winds up by a regular catastrophe; so that the work, without any labored attempt at artificial construction, actually possesses much of that unity so much sought after in works of fiction, and considered so important to the interest of every history.

WASHINGTON IRVING

CHAPTER I.

     Objects of American Enterprise.—­Gold Hunting and Fur
     Trading.—­Their Effect on Colonization.—­Early French Canadian
     Settlers.—­Ottawa and Huron Hunters.—­An Indian Trading Camp. 
     Coureurs Des Bois, or Rangers of the Woods.—­Their Roaming
     Life.—­Their Revels and Excesses.—­Licensed Traders. 
     Missionaries.—­Trading Posts.—­Primitive French Canadian
     Merchant.—­His Establishment and Dependents.—­British Canadian

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Astoria, or, anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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