I shall conclude this notice by a dedication which he had made of his manuscript to his hospitable brother in arms, in whose quarters I found him occupied in his literary labors; it is a dedication which, I believe, possesses the qualities, not always found in complimentary documents of the kind, of being sincere, and being merited.
To James Harvey hook, Major, U. S. A., whose jealousy of its honor, whose anxiety for its interests, and whose sensibility for its wants, have endeared him to the service as The Soldier’s Friend; and whose general amenity, constant cheerfulness, disinterested hospitality, and unwearied benevolence, entitle him to the still loftier title of The Friend of Man, this work is inscribed, etc.
State of the fur trade of the—Rocky Mountains—American enterprises—General—Ashley and his associates—Sublette, a famous leader—Yearly rendezvous among the mountains— Stratagems and dangers of the trade—Bands of trappers— Indian banditti—Crows and Blackfeet Mountaineers—Traders of the—Far West—Character and habits of the trapper
In A recent work we have given an account of the grand enterprise of Mr. John Jacob Astor to establish an American emporium for the fur trade at the mouth of the Columbia, or Oregon River; of the failure of that enterprise through the capture of Astoria by the British, in 1814; and of the way in which the control of the trade of the Columbia and its dependencies fell into the hands of the Northwest Company. We have stated, likewise, the unfortunate supineness of the American government in neglecting the application of Mr. Astor for the protection of the American flag, and a small military force, to enable him to reinstate himself in the possession of Astoria at the return of peace; when the post was formally given up by the British government, though still occupied by the Northwest Company. By that supineness the sovereignty in the country has been virtually lost to the United States; and it will cost both governments much trouble and difficulty to settle matters on that just and rightful footing on which they would readily have been placed had the proposition of Mr. Astor been attended to. We shall now state a few particulars of subsequent events, so as to lead the reader up to the period of which we are about to treat, and to prepare him for the circumstances of our narrative.
In consequence of the apathy and neglect of the American government, Mr. Astor abandoned all thoughts of regaining Astoria, and made no further attempt to extend his enterprises beyond the Rocky Mountains; and the Northwest Company considered themselves the lords of the country. They did not long enjoy unmolested the sway which they had somewhat surreptitiously attained. A fierce competition ensued between them and their old rivals,