As the crew were in want of everything, and as it might be a long time before any opportunity occurred for them to get away from these islands, Mr. Ogden, as soon as he could get a chance, made his way to the island of Owyhee, and endeavored to make some arrangement with the king for the relief of his companions in misfortune.
The illustrious Tamaahmaah, as we have shown on a former occasion, was a shrewd bargainer, and in the present instance proved himself an experienced wrecker. His negotiations with M’Dougal, and the other “Eris of the great American Fur Company,” had but little effect on present circumstances, and he proceeded to avail himself of their misfortunes. He agreed to furnish the crew with provisions during their stay in his territories, and to return to them all their clothing that could be found, but he stipulated that the wreck should be abandoned to him as a waif cast by fortune on his shores. With these conditions Mr. Ogden was fain to comply. Upon this the great Tamaahmaah deputed his favorite, John Young, the tarpaulin governor of Owyhee, to proceed with a number of royal guards, and take possession of the wreck on behalf of the crown. This was done accordingly, and the property and crew were removed to Owyhee. The royal bounty appears to have been but scanty in its dispensations. The crew fared but meagerly; though, on reading the journal of the voyage, it is singular to find them, after all the hardships they had suffered, so sensitive about petty inconveniences, as to exclaim against the king as a “savage monster,” for refusing them a “pot to cook in,” and denying Mr. Ogden the use of a knife and fork which had been saved from the wreck.
Such was the unfortunate catastrophe of the Lark; had she reached her destination in safety, affairs at Astoria might have taken a different course. A strange fatality seems to have attended all the expeditions by sea, nor were those by land much less disastrous.
Captain Northrop was still at the Sandwich Islands, on December 20th, when Mr. Hunt arrived. The latter immediately purchased, for ten thousand dollars, a brig called the Pedler, and put Captain Northrop in command of her. They set sail for Astoria on the 22d January, intending to remove the property from thence as speedily as possible to the Russian settlements on the northwest coast, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the British. Such were the orders of Mr. Astor, sent out by the Lark.
We will now leave Mr. Hunt on his voyage, and return to see what has taken place at Astoria during his absence.
Arrival of M’Tavish
at Astoria.—Conduct of His Followers.—
Negotiations of M’Dougal and M’Tavish.—Bargain for the
Transfer of Astoria—Doubts Entertained of the Loyalty of
On the 2d of October, about five weeks after Mr. Hunt had sailed in the Albatross from Astoria, Mr. M’Kenzie set off with two canoes, and twelve men, for the posts of Messrs. Stuart and Clarke, to appraise them of the new arrangements determined upon in the recent conference of the partners at the factory.