[Footnote L: A thoroughly savage and lazy tribe, inhabiting the plains of the Columbia, between the 43d and 44th degrees of latitude.]
The narrative of these gentlemen interested us very much. They added, that since their separation from Messrs. Hunt and Crooks, they had neither seen nor heard aught of them, and believed it impossible that they should arrive at the establishment before spring. They were mistaken, however, for Mr. Hunt arrived on the 15th February, with thirty men, one woman, and two children, having left Mr. Crooks, with five men, among the Snakes. They might have reached Astoria almost as soon as Mr. M’Kenzie, but they had passed from eight to ten days in the midst of a plain, among some friendly Indians, as well to recruit their strength, as to make search for two of the party, who had been lost in the woods. Not finding them, they had resumed their journey, and struck the banks of the Columbia a little lower down than the mouth of Lewis river, where Mr. M’Kenzie had come out.
The arrival of so great a number of persons would have embarrassed us, had it taken place a month sooner. Happily, at this time, the natives were bringing in fresh fish in abundance. Until the 30th of March, we were occupied in preparing triplicates of letters and other necessary papers, in order to send Mr. Astor the news of our arrival, and of the reunion of the two expeditions. The letters were intrusted to Mr. John Reed, who quitted Astoria for St. Louis, in company with Mr. M’Lellan—another discontented partner, who wished to disconnect himself with the association,—and Mr. R. Stuart, who was conveying two canoe-loads of goods for his uncle’s post on the Okenakan. Messrs. Farnham and M’Gillis set out at the same time, with a guide, and were instructed to proceed to the cache,[M] where the overland travellers had hidden their goods, near old Fort Henry, on the Mad river. I profited by this opportunity to write to my family in Canada. Two days after, Messrs. M’Kenzie and Matthews set out, with five or six men, as hunters, to make an excursion up the Willamet river.