of Lewis and Clark: Dates November 21, 1805 - November 25,
excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis
and Clark. Dates: November 21, 1805 - November 25, 1805
Thursday 21. The morning was cloudy, and from noon till
night it rained. The wind too was high from the southeast,
and the sea so rough that the water reached our camp. Most
of the Chinnooks returned home, but we were visited in the
course of the day by people of different bands in the neighborhood,
among whom are the Chiltz, a nation residing on the seacoast
near Point Lewis, and the Clatsops, who live immediately
opposite on the south side of the Columbia. A chief from
the grand rapid also came to see us, and we gave him a medal.
To each of our visitors we made a present of a small piece
of riband, and purchased some cranberries and some articles
of their manufacture, such as mats, and household furniture,
for all which we paid high prices. After we had been relieved
from these Indians, we were surprised at a visit of a different
kind; an old woman who is the wife of a Chinnook chief,
came with six young women, her daughters and nieces, and
having deliberately encamped near us, proceeded to cultivate
an intimacy between our men and her fair wards.
Extravagant passion of the natives for blue beads, which
constitute amongst them the circulating medium of the country--the
party still in search of a suitable place for winter quarters--still
suffering from the constant deluges of rain--are visited
by the Indians, with whom they traffic but little, on account
of the extravagant prices they ask for every article--return
of Captain Lewis, who reports that he has found a suitable
place for winter quarters--the rain still continues--they
prepare to form an encampment on a point of highland on
the banks of the river Nutel--captain Clarke goes with a
party to find a place suitable for the manufacture of salt--he
is hospitably entertained by the Clatsops--this tribe addicted
to the vice of gambling--sickness of some of the party,
occasioned by the incessant rains--they form, notwithstanding,
a permanent encampment for their winter quarters.
Friday 22. It
rained during the whole night, and about daylight a tremendous
gale of wind rose from the S.S.E. and continued during the
whole day with great violence. The sea runs so high that
the water comes into our camp, which the rain prevents us
from leaving. We purchased from the old squaw for armbands
and rings, a few wappatoo roots, on which we subsisted.
They are nearly equal in flavor to the Irish potatoe, and
afford a very good substitute for bread. The bad weather
has driven several Indians to our camp, but they are still
under the terrors of the threat which we made on first seeing
them, and now behave with the greatest decency.
Saturday 23. The
rain continued through the night, but the morning was calm
and cloudy. The hunters were sent out and killed three deer,
four brant, and three ducks. Towards evening seven Clatsops
came over in a canoe with two skins of the sea-otter. To
this article they attach an extravagant value, and their
demands for it were so high that we were fearful of reducing
our small stock of merchandise, on which we must depend
for subsistence as we return, to venture on purchasing.
To ascertain however their ideas as to the value of different
objects, we offered for one of the skins a watch, a handkerchief,
an American dollar, and a bunch of red beads; but neither
the curious mechanism of the watch, nor even the red beads
could tempt him; he refused the offer, but asked for tiacomoshack
or chief beads, the most common sort of coarse blue-colored
beads, the article beyond all price in their estimation.
Of these blue beads we have but few, and therefore reserve
them for more necessitous circumstances.
Sunday 24. The
morning being fair, we dried our wet articles and sent out
the hunters, but they returned with only a single brant.
In the evening a chief and several men of the Chinnooks
came to see us; we smoked with them, and bought a sea-otter
skin for some blue beads. Having now examined the coast,
it becomes necessary to decide on the spot for our wintering
quarters. The people of the country subsist chiefly on dried
fish and roots, but of these there does not seem to be a
sufficient quantity for our support, even were we able to
purchase, and the extravagant prices as well as our small
store of merchandise forbid us to depend on that resource.
We must therefore rely for subsistence on our arms, and
be guided in the choice of our residence by the abundance
of game which any particular spot may offer. The Indians
say that the deer is most numerous at some distance above
on the river, but that the country on the opposite side
of the bay is better supplied with elk, an animal much larger
and more easily killed than deer, with a skin better fitted
for clothing, and the meat of which is more nutritive during
the winter, when they are both poor. The climate too is
obviously much milder here than above the first range of
mountains, for the Indians are thinly clad, and say they
have little snow; indeed since our arrival the weather has
been very warm, and sometimes disagreeably so: and dressed
as we are altogether in leather, the cold would be very
unpleasant if not injurious. The neighborhood of the sea
is moreover recommended by the facility of supplying ourselves
with salt, and the hope of meeting some of the trading vessels,
who are expected in about three months, and from whom we
may procure a fresh supply of trinkets for our route homewards.
These considerations induced us to determine on visiting
the opposite side of the bay, and if there was an appearance
of much game to establish ourselves there during the winter.
Monday 25, however,
the wind was too high to suffer us to cross the river, but
as it blew generally from the east southeast, the coast
on the north was in some degree sheltered by the highlands.
We therefore set out, and keeping near the shore, halted
for dinner in the shallow bay, and after dark, reached a
spot near a rock, at some distance in the river, and close
to our former camp of the 7th inst. On leaving our camp,
seven Clatsops accompanied us in a canoe, but after going
a few miles crossed the bay through immense high waves,
leaving us in admiration, at the dexterity with which they
threw aside each wave as it threatened to come over their
canoe. The evening was cloudy, and in the morning.