We are now fifteen miles below Fort Boise, camped for the night, and all in good health and spirits. We have traveled from Platte river in companies of from four to fifteen in perfect safety. We have now made both crossings of Snake river and find ourselves within about three hundred miles of the valley of Wallamette.
Dr. White says the people below will meet us at the Dalles with plenty of boats and provisions to take us down, and that there is no danger from the Indians if we go in companies of ten wagons. Although we had been told at Forts Hall and Boise, by the clerks of the Hudson Bay Company, that it was not only an almost impassable road, but that the Indians were determined to oppose us - all of which is untrue.
There appears to be a great anxiety on the part of the Hudson's Bay Company, to turn as many of the Oregon people to California as possible, and for that purpose, they have employed some of the worst rascals in the mountains, to intercept the emigrants at Fort Hall and turn as many to California as they can, by telling them that there is no grass, wood nor water [except Snake river] on the Oregon road - that it is utterly impassable on account of rocks and mountains, and that Snake river never has or can be forded with wagons; all of which we all know is false.
On the other hand, they report that the road to California is either up or down river bottoms of one eternal pasture. But, in Oregon, they say, the people would starve, were it not for the cattle driven from California. And for all this, it is certain they are paid a premium for all that go, by the company, and demand also $1.25 per head of the emigrants themselves, for pilot money. In this way 52 wagons belonging to the more timid and fickle-minded of the people, have been led off on that road this season.
"At present the shores of the Pacific are not worth fighting for. Their distance, their vastness, and their comparative solitude render them almost incapable of military conquest or occupation. Marches of two or three thousand miles over mountains and deserts, agree better with the airy temperaments of Khans and Czars, than with the sobriety of Yankee calculations. Nor again is it possible to occupy the whole face of the continent, stretching from the frigid to the torrid zone with scanty posts. There must be not only the soil, but a people, before it is wise or possible to fight for it."
The National Intelligencer of Washington in its issue of Wednesday last, says:
"Again we congratulate our readers that we have arrived at the conclusion which the government organ has not gainsaid, and dare not gainsay, that, so far as the purposes of the Executive of the United States are concerned, war is not expected to result from the course indicated in the President's message, and that there is reason to 'hope', in the language of the President himself, that, in this enlightened age, these differences [ with Great Britain ] may be amicably adjusted."
[ From the Newburyport Herald ]
The territory which the British claim in Oregon, north of 49 degrees, is represented by those who best know it, as bleak, inhospitable and barren, abounding in volcanic mountains and glaciers. It is now valuable only for its furs, and these through the indefatigable efforts, of the Hudson's Bay company, are rapidly diminishing.
The American colony in the valley of the Wallmette, is said to number about 8000 souls, though this estimate is probably overrated. The climate is considered equable and salubrious, and the soil deep, strong and fertile. The crops never fail, the water is remarkably pure, and the water privileges abundant.
Should we ever extend our possessions over North Oregon as far as Bomanzoff Mountains, near the seventieth parallel, we shall reach that latitude where the sun does not set in summer. Near the mountains in summer the sun appears to stand as still as it did in the days of Joshua. In June it is 25 degrees above the horizon at "midnight," and the only mode of knowing that it is midnight, is watching the sun when it begins to ascend. Fowls go to roost about 7 P.M. and repose until the sun is well up. In winter it is of course the reverse, as in the high latitudes, the sun is not seen for six weeks.