The month of May was occupied in preparations for our departure from the Columbia. On the 25th, Messrs. Wallace and Halsey returned from their winter quarters with seventeen packs of furs, and thirty-two bales of dried venison. The last article was received with a great deal of pleasure, as it would infallibly be needed for the journey we were about to undertake. Messrs. Clarke, D. Stuart and M’Kenzie also arrived, in the beginning of June, with one hundred and forty packs of furs, the fruit of two years’ trade at the post on the Okenakan, and one year on the Spokan.[O]
[Footnote O: The profits of the last establishment were slender; because the people engaged at it were obliged to subsist on horse-flesh, and they ate ninety horses during the winter.]
The wintering partners (that is to say, Messrs. Clarke and David Stuart) dissenting from the proposal to abandon the country as soon as we intended, the thing being (as they observed) impracticable, from the want of provisions for the journey and horses to transport the goods; the project was deferred, as to its execution, till the following April. So these gentlemen, having taken a new lot of merchandise, set out again for their trading posts on the 7th of July. But Mr. M’Kenzie, whose goods had been pillaged by the natives (it will be remembered), remained at Astoria, and was occupied with the care of collecting as great a quantity as possible of dried salmon from the Indians. He made seven or eight voyages up the river for that purpose, while we at the Fort were busy in baling the beaver-skins and other furs, in suitable packs for horses to carry. Mr. Reed, in the meantime, was sent on to the mountain-passes where Mr. Miller had been left with the trappers, to winter, there, and to procure as many horses as he could from the natives for our use in the contemplated journey. He was furnished for this expedition with three Canadians, and a half-breed hunter named Daion, the latter accompanied by his wife and two children. This man came from the lower Missouri with Mr. Hunt in 1811-’12.
Our object being to provide ourselves, before quitting the country, with the food and horses necessary for the journey; in order to avoid all opposition on the part of the Northwest Company, we entered into an arrangement with Mr. M’Tavish. This gentleman having represented to us that he was destitute of the necessary goods to procure wherewith to subsist his party on their way homeward, we supplied him from our warehouse, payment to be made us in the ensuing spring, either in furs or in bills of exchange on their house in Canada.
Arrival of the Ship “Albatross.”—Reasons for the Non-Appearance of the Beaver at Astoria.—Fruitless Attempt of Captain Smith on a Former Occasion.—Astonishment and Regret of Mr. Hunt at the Resolution of the Partners.—His Departure.—Narrative of the Destruction of the Tonquin.—Causes of that Disaster.—Reflections.