Images de page

to their tribe. The journey was up Missouri and Osage Rivers in boats. The explorers reached the Osage villages about the middle of August, and leaving their boats there, started on horseback across the plains. They followed up the Osage for some distance, then crossed to a tributary of the Arkansas, and at length reached Republican River, where Pike hoped to come to terms of friendship with the Pawnees. Here the expedition began to feel Spanish influences. The Indians had been recently visited by a company of Spanish soldiers who assured them that their country was still under Spanish rule. Pike, however, induced the Indians to give up the Spanish flag that had been left with them and he hoisted the American flag in its place, a ceremony which meant no more to the Indians than did Lewis's similar action on the Upper Missouri. Leaving Republican River, the explorers journeyed south until the Arkansas was reached, where the party divided, one section going down the river, the other, under the command of Pike, turning toward the mountains in an effort to fulfil one part of his mission, which was to follow the Arkansas to its source. He did not succeed in doing this because of the lateness of the season and the severity of the winter in the mountains. In the course of his explorations, Pike discovered and ascended the peak which now bears his name. Then he journeyed to the southwest and the difficulties increased. The snows obliterated the trail and his men were often lost and on the point of starving, sometimes going two days without food. Some of them had their feet frozen before they at last found Rio Grande River. They passed through terrible experiences. At one time their entire food for forty-eight hours consisted of a single partridge. Again they were without food for four days. They cut up their blankets for stockings and made shoes out of buffalo hide.

At the Rio Grande they were met by Spanish soldiers who told them that they were on Spanish territory. The explorers were taken to Santa Fé as prisoners though they were treated courteously. They were examined by the

Governor of New Mexico, who suspected them of designs against the country. The Spaniards had heard of Burr's plans and suspected that Pike's expedition was preliminary to carrying out these schemes. After being detained for a time the explorers were deprived of their papers and sent back home through New Mexico, and in July reached Natchitoches on American soil. Pike was for a time under suspicion after his return, because of supposed complicity in Wilkinson's plans, but nothing was proven against him and he became a brigadier-general. He was killed while leading an attack on York, Upper Canada, in 1813.

Pike said that one great advantage of the Great Plains would be "the restriction of the population to some certain limits. Our citizens being so prone to rambling and extending themselves on the frontier will through necessity be constrained to limit their extent on the west to the borders of the Missouri and the Mississippi, while they leave the prairies, incapable of cultivation, to the wandering and uncivilized Aborigines."

The war with England absorbed the energy of the country so that these early explorations were not followed up at once. The west and northwest acquired from Louisiana continued to be the home of the hunter and trapper. They did not desire immigration, because the settling of the country meant the driving of the game farther into the wilderness. The hunters were a fearless, hardy, self-reliant race of men who lived months at a time in the mountains, bidding defiance to the Indians, wild beasts and the elements. Through them came a scanty and exaggerated knowledge of the West, but their stories were generally of such a character that no inducement was held out to the emigrant, but the government from time to time sent out exploring expeditions. Others were undertaken by railroad companies desiring to find the most practicable route across the continent; still others were private ventures.

One of these explorers was Captain Bonneville, whose explorations extended over the period from 1832 to 1836, and


of the Troops in this Quarter is committed, I have felt myself in extremner delicate Scluation; Beit when Theared of the rapid approach towards Nachitoches of so considualle a pan dhe force, and nowing, I did, that the Regular Frooks in this Quarter, did not then exceed Fan Hundud, I should have bien wanting in duty, Four • had I not repaved to this Frontier, and made all the provisions in power, for the protection of the Lerritory, which had been com mitted to


[ocr errors]

my care.

Leanne withheld from you, the unfortunate impressions

" which the advance, and the undisturbed movements of the Spanish this side of the Sabine, have made upon the AncientLouisianians; our a acquiescence is attributable either to our inabi lity to to encounter the forces of the Catholic Majesty, or that the Coun -try West of the Missisippe is shortly to be recessed to Sprainer So general are these impressions that the respect of the Souisianians, for the American Government is daily declining


I have stated, the Spanish Army, to be Twelve Hundred strong, and that a Reinforcement of three Hundred was point of timbers this face is respectable, but noth Officers or Privates are accustomed to War, being fa the most part Militia, and I do not hesitate to give it as my spionion that with the Regular Troops now here, and those adored from. Fort Adams together with such Militia, as I could have. embodied in Twelve days, they might be compelled toure - tire beyond the Jabine.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Goscina continued dangerously ill, but was in four est, that governo Cerders was momently expected, who would ighly to amy tette. Lieutenant Duiorest adds that the unversion, that the Framish Army Crisided of Eleven Companies, or 110 each, int were gonnally Militia cavalry, and that for want of pasturage most of the Grises had been sent to the West bank of the abiné Hlaving made every effort in my hower to place my the best possible. State, and to call to the field at a moments warning a respectable Detachment, having leained. from the Military Commandant Colonel. Cushing, who sums to be a correct office that he did not consider sumself an thained to action the (fensive, and there being, no moskeet of an attack on the Territory, to which my Jurisdiction " has extended, I do not see, that my presence have is longer necesangs therefore in a few days, few days, set out on my return to New Aleans; but propose remaining, a short in the County of Atakiahas, unless my framing

and shall therefore in a

the City, shall become necessary

I cannot avoid again stating to you, hous essential - Cavalry is to the stefance of this Forritory. If the rreguei a tion with. Jain should fails, and Was ensue, the Freis, His Catholic Majesty now in the Province of Taxus,,

ur present situation greally didress the Counties of Dachitiches

[ocr errors]

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PrécédentContinuer »