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H. of R.] Occupation of the Mouth of the Oregon.
[DEc. 20, 1824.
cases. If proof of this were wanting, it would only be
to 1,064,600 dollars—total value 5,609,600 dollars; the
spoken of this, all know, was owing to the war, and the embarrassed state of things immediately preceding it; that it has been gradually increasing, notwithstanding the duty on some of the articles pay a higher tax than similar fabrics from Europe. The idea has been pretty generally, spread abroad, that nothing is taken in the Canton market but gold and silver, ginseng, and furs. This I explained on a former occasion, that, owing to the bulk and low price of bread stuffs, &c. and their liability to spoil from so long a voyage, through a hot country, that they would not pay the expense of freight. But, from the mouth of this river, the voyage is short and safe, which will afford a good! profit for flour, and all other articles the products of agriculture. Cotton, too, has been sold there for a good price; broken glass, leather, gin, brandy, and candles. What a prospect for the tanner! in a country abounding in timber, of oak, and spruce pine, affording bark of the best quality, as containing much of the tanning principle, with skins in inexhaustible abundance, from the plains below. I have sought in vain for a correct statement as to the number of seamen annually employed in this trade, but can only find an imperfect account for the years 1819 to 1822 inclusive, making the number above 951 each year. It will be seen, likewise, that the shipments to South America are increasing, and will doubtless be profitable, and increase the tonnage employed in that branch of business. If the House will indulge me a few minutes, I will now make some exposition of the whale trade, and the trade to the Western Ocean. For all 1 shall say, I have the documents in my hand, and if there is an error, it is, I know, in making the exposition less than the real fact; but I deem it prudent to present the least favorable view it is susceptible of . It is proper further to observe,
that this part of the subject may be better understood, that the number of vessels here stated, regards the departure and arrivals each year; though, it is believed, that in some years there may be more at sea than in other years, which, of course, would not be noticed that year, which may, on the other hand, be counter-balanced by the arrival of a vessel which that year cleared; yet it is pretty accurate. in the year 1819, there cleared from Boston, 8 ships, engaged in the whale fishery, and commerce of the Western Ocean, &c. The tonnage of these ships amounted to 2,171, navigated by 164 searnen. Their particular places of destination were Chili, Lima, Valparaiso, Sandwich Islands, Western coast, &c. New Bedford, twenty-eightships, tonnage 7,379, seamen 552. Edgartown, fourteen ships, tonnage 3,908, seamen 281. Newport, one ship, tons 366, seamen 23. Providence, three ships, tons 520, seamen 27. New London, ships 4, tons 345, seamen 74. New York, one ship of 168 tons, and 21 seamen. There entered that year, 33 ships, 7,968 tons, and 557 seamen, making 118 ships, 20,428tons, navigated by 2,199 seamen. Hu the year 1820, there cleared 103 ships, 25,118 tons, navigated by 2,063 seamen ; and arrived 58 ships, 13,581 tons, and 946 seamen, making 161 ships, 38,649 tons, and 3,009 seamen. in 1821 there sailed 162 ships, tonnage 41,550, navigated by 3.192 seamen. There arrived that year, 53 ships, 12,908 tons, seamen not known, making 215 ships, tonnage 54,450. In 1822 there sailed, 161 ships; tonnage 43,515; seamen 3,174. There arrived 80 ships, tons 18,127; there is no note of the seamen who entered, save 180 in New York; making, that year, 241 ships, tons 61,612. In 1823, there sailed ninety-five ships, tons 25,079, and arrived 80 ships, tons 20,833; making 175 ships; seamen not ascertained. In the year 1817, it is to be remembered, there was brought to Nantucket, by 23 ships, tonnage 5,153, and 409 seamen, 5,771 barrels of whale oil; 15,401 barrels of Spermace*i; 6,813 of head matter; 19,444 of whale bone. In 1818,
brought by 21 ships 384 seamen, 5,492 tons, 13,426 bar rels of whale oi"; 10,496 Spermaceti; 4,378 head matter; 65,446 whale bone. In 1820, there were 21 ships, 5,249 tons, and 391 seamen, bringing 11,737 barrels of whale oil; 11,885 Spermaceti; 5,027 head matter; 59,794 whale bone. In the succeeding years it was much the same. One of the vessels arriving in 1823, reported a list of 36 ships then in the Western Ocean, though they did not know of any cargo except 35,200 barrels of whale oil. I have the authority of a respectable newspaper for saying, that, within the period of three years, viz. in 1820, 21, and '22, there arrived at Nantucket, 2,101,292 gallons of Spermaceti oil; and, for the same three years, at New Bedford, 1,407,797 gallons, this being but one item in the trade During these years there went to Canton, in furs and sandal wood, from that coast and sea, including some fur likewise shipped from N. York, that which sold for the incredible amount of 1,494,397 dollars! There was exported to that sea, in that year, 17,544 dollars’ worth of domestic fabrics, and 9,417 of foreign merchandise. To the Western coast, 113,746 domestic, and 193,363 foreign merchandise. We have, from the year 1805 to 1822, inclusive shipped to the Pacific, in domestic and foreign merchandise, 520,295 dol. lars; and, to the Western Coast, in the same articles, for the same period, 4,557,078 dollars; making 5077,371 dollars; yet, by this trade we obtain the valuable furs, sold for such enormous amounts in China; our exports to that coast amounting, in twenty years, to 5,077,371 dollars. What a wonderful profit must there be, when the furs alone, in the Canton market, for the season 1821, 22, sold for half a million of dollars! The exports for the year 1820, to the Western Coast, in articles the growth, produce, and manufacture, of the United States, only amounted to 41,068 dollars! consisting of 797 quintais of dried fish, 3,729 pounds of hams and bacon, hats, leather, boots, beer, spirits from molasses, nails, refined sugar, brass, gunpowder, tobacco 26 hogsheads; but the most important article seems to be, the different kinds of manufacture from wood; this item amounts to 983 dollars; hence, it is evident, that it is the most valuable commerce known to the United States, as it creates its own capital, and enriches by its labor, and the sale of nails, tobacco, leather, hats, and blue beads. For the year 1821, the exports to that coast amounted to 94,493 dollars, and, for 1822, they amounted to 54,799. The goods, wares, and merchandise, the growth, produce, and manufacture, of foreign countries, exported to that country or coast, amounted, in the year 1820, to 193,363 dollars; consisting of different sorts of wine, brandy, &c. tea, coffee, sugar, cassia, gunpowder, lead, shot, iron, blackbottles, and leather. In 1821, the exports amounted to 282,505 dollars, in much the same articles, also in cluding some China ware, silks, teas, &c. For 1822, the amount was 110,790 dollars. Great as this trade is, all our seaports do not participate in it equally: for, Nantucket alone, owns 83 of these ships. Why should we not protect and cherish this trade? Was there ever a nation on earth which bought so much, with so little * The fisheries, which have occupied so large a space in our negotiations for many years, only yielded us, in the year 1816, the sum of 1,331,000 dol. lars, employing tons of shipping ; this also included tons of shipping engaged in the whale trade. Under this view of the subject, I think, Mr. Chairman, you will agree with me, that “our interests on the Pacific Ocean, are not so minute” as to be unworthy of investigation, as has been said in a recent negotiation, by a personage in no very subordinate station. This trade, yielding such vast sums upon the capital and labor employed; giving employment to 45,000 tons of shipping, and upwards of 3,000 seamen ; ought to be i. to
with care, and fostered with solicitude. Besides bringing us great wealth, it is the finest nursery for seamen in
the world. An ordinary whaling voyage is from two to three years. I have it from authority that cannot be doubted, that ships have been absent for four or five years, and, in one instance, even seven years; it is this which makes the real seaman. But, sir, why should we not have our own ships built on that sea, and fitted out from our own port on the Oregon? Why send ships of war from this coast, from Washington City, to cruise in the Pacific Ocean, when we can there build them, and keep on that coast a fleet, for that ocean? Much has been said concerning the difficulty of establishing the post, and subsisting those who might embark in the enterprize. It is true, we will not, for a few years, find as much wealth and splendor as is found in the saloons and drawing rooms of this magnificent counterfeit of European royalty; neither would we find what is very common here, a heartless intercourse, and aping etiquette of miserable pretenders to the “monthly fashions, just from Europe.” First, As to subsistence. I think myself well justified, from the concurrent testimony of all travellers and voyagers, in stating, that the salmon of the Oregon river alone, would subsist fifty thousand men a year. The potato grows wild there, on which the natives feed, not only those who live on the river, but those of the neighboring nations. Portlock and Dixon say, and their testimony is strengthened by Messrs. Lewis and Clark, that the gooseberry is to be found there in abundance; so is the red and black currant, strawberries, mulberries, raspberries, onions, and peas. Portlock also states, that, high up that coast, a shrub is found, the leaves of which is so good a substitute for the tea of China, that he could hardly tell the difference. Moreover, wheat, and all kinds of grain, can be had in a few days from Mexico, at very reduced prices. Hogs, sheep, goats, black cattle of every description, can be had, with ease, and in abundance, in a short time, from California, or the Sandwich Islands. The difficulties to be overcome in a voyage or journey to that country, are ideal, and for some years unknown to the enterprizing citizens of Missouri, who, I had almo t said, were daily in the habit of planning and executing trips to Oregon and to Mexico, yielding a profit in furs, peltries, money, and mules, beyond any thing known to us. The journey is safe and easy, and requires, from Franklin, in Missouri, the space of fifty days, by their present slow mode of travelling, to perform the trip. So frequent are their Journeys, that I should almost feel myself justified in saying, that there is a constant intercourse between Missouri, Mexico, and Oregon. Much of the reluctance which is felt by gentlemen, arises from a recurrence to the difficulties experienced by Messrs. Lewis and Clark, when visiting that coast; their difficulties proceeded, not from the country, but from their entire want of knowledge—which is now possessed, gained by a residence among the Indian nations who inhabit the country near the Oregon mountains. The course now travelled to pass those mountains, lies far to the south of that formerly travelled, and a journey can now be made without meeting any obstructions of a serious character. Much of this information has been imparted by Mr. Farnham and Mr. Crooks, gentlemen to whom I am much indebted for many interesting facts relative to this country, who have had an intimate knowledge, from having been there, engaged in the trade of that country with John Jacob Astor, who is well known for his skill, experience, and extensive knowHedge in the fur trade, and is ready to vest in that pursuit, several hundred thousand dollars, fixing his establishment at the mouth of Oregon, so soon as this republic will extend to her citizens the same protection which even the Kings of Europe, particularly England, grant to their subjects. I am also informed, that other large capitalists in the Western country, and in Virginia, are
willing to embark in the same pursuit; among these may be named, Louis A. Tarascon, of Shippingport, Ken. known in Bordeaux and Philadelphia, as one of the most accomplished merchants; who has been among the first to open the trade from the Ohio to the West Indies, and built the first ship which descended that river, for that purpose, and whose commercial views have been useful, and deserve the most respectful attention of the governinent. The great difficulties which Lewis and Clark met with, induced adventurers to search for a more practicable route, which was soon discovered, to the south of that pursued by these early travellers. Others went still further southwardly, and continued up the Yellowstone river, taking the fork of that river, called the Big Horn, pursuing it to its source, thence through the mountain, falling upon the waters of Lewis river, one of the principal branches of the Oregon. At this point the waters interlock; and present very few difficulties, as the whole chain of mountains differs from those known on the Atlantic shores, inasmuch as the mountains here are composed of one unbroken chain; there are composed of a number of detached hills, though large, and of great height from the base to the summit, resembling a chain of tumuli; through these you pass with ease and safety, so much so, that I have the most perfect confidence, that even now, a wagon, with its usual freight, could be taken from this capital to the mouth of Oregon. Besides these passes, there is still another, which, though longer to the upper, part of that river, is yet better, where even the feeble difficulties there encountered, are here almost annihilated. This route, pursued by many how engaged in that trade, holds its course from Missouri, up the Kanzas river, continuing some distance up the Republican fork of that river; then falling on to the river Platte, thence, entirely up that river to its source, where the Oregon, or Rocky Mountain, sinks into a bed of sand, without water or timber, for the space of sixty miles smooth and level. On crossing the sandy plain, the traveller finds himself in a rich extensive country, in which heads the Rio del Norte, the Rio Colorado, of California, Rio Buenaventura, Timpanogos, Multnoma, on the head of Lewis' river. It is worthy to remark, that at this point is to be found that portion of the civilized Indians who escaped the slaughter of the Spaniards when Montezuma was destroyed. This excellent people live there in all the peaceful abundance of a rich soil and good government. They have herds, flocks, till the soil, and manufacture various articles of cotton wool, and wood, and live in fine houses, some of stone, of the best workmanship; of this there is no doubt—some of their fabrics, such as counterpanes, have been sold in the markets of Missouri. The course, taken from the neighborhood of these people, is near the Lake of Timpanogos, thence to the Multnoma, and with it to the Oregon, near its mouth: the other, to fall on the waters of Lewis' river, and with it, to its mouth, which is in truth the main branch of the Oregon. Should capital be soon employed at the mouth of that river, there can be little doubt that all the beneficial results here anticipated, would soon ensue; the valley of the Mississippi would soon be supplied by this route, with all the luxuries, and all the rich productions of the Western ocean. One of the strongest of these supposed difficulties, is the want of navigation on the Missouri river, and a want of safety at all times in ascending and descending that river. This ceases to be an objection altogether—as I have been informed by General Jesup, that a boat invented on the Missouri river, (by General Atkinson,) and constructed and put into operation, by an order from his Department, can ascend and descend, or cross that river in any direction, with ease and with safety, the persons on board being free from danger of
every kind. His representation, all know, is to be reli
ed upon, as it is plain and never exaggerated. From all
| rope, she has Gibraltar and Malta, and other islands in the Mediterranean, which hold all Europe in check. On another side, she has a position in the West Indies, in Africa, in India, and the South Seas; all chosen with the same intent, and all in completion of her schemes; she wants nothing now to give her the entire control of all the commerce of the world, for ages to come, but a position on our Western Coast, which she will soon have, unless vou pass this bill. Mr. POINSETT, of South Carolina, offered an amendment to the bill, the effect of which would be to leave it discretionary with the President at what point on the Pacific the military post should be established, and supported his amendment by some remarks, the substance of which was understood to be, that the information in possession of the mover, as to the geographical and topographical advantages of the position at the mouth of the Oregon, was adverse to that just laid before the House by the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. Floyd.) He was not very confident of the accuracy of either, and thought it best to leave the matter to the President, who was, or doubtless would be, in possession of the best intelligence which was to be had in the case. On motion of Mr. TRACY, of N. Y. the day being somewhat advanced, the committee then rose. Mr. COOK moved to discharge the committee of the whole on the state of the Union from the farther consideration of this bill, with a view to its reference to the
would it not be right to secure this object to the South, that we may have some little benefit for immense injuries? Or, are our claims to Oregon, and our interests in the Western ocean, really so “minute,” that they cannot be perceived I throw out these hints, as forming principles for our commerce and our country at large, to guide us in the better way; just principles may be looked to as guides, even when we cannot adhere to them as rules. I shall, Mr. Chairman, close the few remarks I have to make, by an appeal to the House, to consider well our interests in the Western Ocean, on our Western Coast, and the trade to China and to India; and the ease with which it can be brought to Pensacola or down the Missouri. What is this commerce Has it not enriched the world 2 Thousands of years have passed by, and, year after year, all the nations of the earth have, each year, sought the rich commerce of that country; all have enjoyed the riches of the East. This trade was sought by King Solomon, by Tyre, Sidon; this wealth found its way to Egypt, and, at last, to Rome, to France, Portugal, Spain, Holland, England, and, finally, to this Republic. How vast and incomprehensibly rich must be that country and commerce, which has never ceased, one day, from the highest point of Jewish splendor, to the instant I am speaking, to supply the whole globe with all the busy imagination of man can desire, for his ease, comfort, or enjoyment! Whilst we have so fair an opportunity offered, to participate so largely in all this wealth and enjoyment, if not to govern and direct the whole, can it be possible that doubts, on mere points of speculation, will weigh with the House, and cause us to lose forever, the brightest prospect ever presented to the eyes of a nation ? I will conclude my observations on this important subject, with one other remark, which I beg the House to hear in mind, and give it such weight as it deserves. The idea of extending our military frontier, or posts, to the mouth of that river, seems to have created alarm in the minds of some gentlemen ; but, when it is well considered, all cause of fear will vanish. It is not so imPortant as to the number of military posts, as it is, that they should be properly placed. I am thoroughly persuaded, that England governs the commercial world more by the advantageous positions she occupies in it, than by her physical strength or powerful marine. In addition to the strength which she derives from her in
committee to whom so much of the President's message as refers to this subject had already been committed.— This course appeared to him to be proper in itself, and, particularly so, as there were manifest defects in the bill, which made it advisable that it should undergo revision by a committee. Mr. FLOYD said, he was not at all anxious about the course this bill might take; but he could not see any necessity for the reference of it which was now proposed, especially as the present committee was composed of a majority of the persons who were upon the committee by which, at the last session, this bill had been matured. The President, it was true, had recommended the occupation of that territory in a military point of view. This bill contemplated that object, indeed; but, in addition, it proposed to give power to the President to erect the settlement into a territorial government whenever he may think proper. There must be at this settlement, besides traders, many shipwrights, blacksmiths, and other artisans, &c.; and he stated, on the authority of General liector, that, in the last season, there were on the waters of the Missouri sixteen hundred persons engaged in the fur trade, who could not go over to the Columbia, because they would have been unprotected, besides having high duties to pay, &c. The bill contained but two features—the one was the establishment of a military post, and the other was an authority to the President to establish a territorial government whenever he might judge it expedient. He appealed to the Annerican feeling of every gentleman whicther it was proper to place under military law or the caprice of the commander of a post of two hundred troops, the number of persons who would belong to such a civil settlement. He could not, for his own part, think of such a thing for a moment. The persons there would be chiefly engaged in hunting and fishing, and he thought it was just that they should have the blessings of civil government as soon as their circumstances would admit of it. He was, therefore, opposed to the reference of the bill to a committee, as proposed. Mr. COOK said, that this bill proposed certainly a very important measure. Hesides the establishment of a civil colonial government on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, it proposed the giving grants of land to settlers, which were calculated to delude the people of this country, enterprizing as they are—to produce upon
sular position, which is as a bastion to the coast of Eu
them an impression that the country in question is adapt:
ed to the habits and constitutions of our citizens—to delude from their present peaceful abodes a considerable population. Before we adopt a measure of this kind, he said, we ought to have some satisfactory information, upon proper responsibility, as to the character of the soil, climate, &c. of the country. Before any settlement was made there, the country ought to be explored by proper topographical engineers, &c. The proposed undertaking was one of great importance, and the subject was worthy of consideration. He wished to place the whole matter before the committee raised on that part of the President's message which relates to this subject, to enable them to digest such measures as might appear proper to enable the House to act knowingly and deliberately on this subject. At present they were leaping entirely in the dark: for one, he confessed that he was; and he presumed a large portion of the House were in the same situation. He wished to have information on this subject which could be relied upon, and not to establish a grand system, for such this was, without first exploring their way, and ascertaining whether that act would not have the effect to delude many of our citizens from their present successful pursuits, to a vain search after imaginary improvement of their condition. Mr. THIMBLE, of Kentucky, felt some regret that the motion of the gentleman from Illinois had been made. He did not see the necessity for it even to the attainment of the mover's own object, and there was, in the mean while, a weighty reason why the Hodse should act upon the bill at the present session. The bill had, as had been observed, two leading features—first, the establishment of a military post, and, secondly, the establishment of a territorial government at such time as the President shall judge it to be proper. The object of the gentleman from Illinois would be fully answered by striking out the latter seature, to which alone his objections seemed to apply; for, certainly, when he talked of sending topographical engineers to survey the country, he did not mean to turn those gentlemen out defenceless among savages: he would surely send a military force of some description to accompany and protect them. But it was needful that the House should act upon the subject, and for this reason: By the terms of the British treaty, England and the United States are to trade in combmon throughout that country; and the treaty stipulates that the rights possessed by each at the time of the treaty, are to remain as they then were for fourteen years. Now, it was well known that an agent of the American Government had gone round to Astoria, the settlement at the mouth of the river Oregon, immediately after the conclusion of peace, and demanded that the British flag should be lowered and the American flag hoisted, as a signal of the possession of that part of the coast. Well, said Mr. T., the lion accordingly came down and the eagle went up; but, no sooner did the American agent turn his back, than down went the eagle, and up went the lion again. Under such circumstances, we made the agreement contained in the commercial treaty; and, if we shall leave the territory in possession of Great Britain until the fourteen years shall run out, at the end of that time it will be hers by right of possession, and she may expel our traders, &c., The possession which may now be obtained and secured by a small military force, say of two hundred men, may not, after that time, be obtained by a much larger force, and at a much greater expense. He was, therefore, opposed to the recommitment of the bill. Whilst up, he begged leave to return his thanks, those of the people whom he represented, and, he believed, of a great portion of the American people, to the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. Floyd,) who had so long, and with so much assiduity, labored to collect and present facts for the information and guidance of the House in a matter of so great national importance as that which was now before it, and which he had at successive sessions brought forward.
The question was then put on Mr. COOK’S motion to recommit the bill, and lost by a large majority. And then the House adjourned.
IN SENATE.-TUEspar, Dec. 21, 1824. Gratitude TO LAFAYEtte. The Senate then, according to the order of the day, took up the bill making provision for Generał LArayETTE; and, no amendment being proposed thereto, the question was about to be put on ordering the bill to be read a third timeMr. MACON rose. It was with painful reluctance, he said, that he felt himself obliged to oppose his voice to the passage of this bill. He admitted, to the full extent claimed for them, the great and meritorious services of General Lafayette, and he did not object to the precise sum which this bill proposed to award him; but he objected to the bill on this ground: he considered General Lafayette, to all intents and purposes, as having been, during our Revolution, a son, adopted into the family, taken into the household, and placed, in every respect, on the same footing with the other sons of the same family. To treat him as others were treated, was all, in this view of his relation to us, that could be required. and this had been done. That General Lafayette made great sacrifices, and spent much of his money in the service of this country, (said Mr. M.) I as firmly believe as I do any other thing under the sun : I have no doubt that every faculty of his mind and body were exerted in the Revolutionary war, in defence of this country; but this was equally the case with all the sons of the family. Many native Americans spent their all, made great sacri. fices, and devoted their lives in the same cause. This was the ground of his objection to this bill, which, he repeated, it was as disagreeable to him to state as it could be to the Senate to hear. He did not mean to take up the time of the Senate in debate upon the principle of the bill, or to move any amendment to it. He admitted that, when such things were done, they should be done with a free hand. It was to the principle of the bill, therefore, and not to the sum proposed to be given by it, that he objected. With regard to the details of the bill, however, he was rather of the opinion that it would have been better to have given so much money, which we have in the Treasury, than to have given stock to the amount. Mr. BROWN, of Ohio, said that this bill purported to give a compensation to General Lafayette for services rendered. He should like to know what evidence had induced the committee to suppose that the amount proposed was the proper amount of compensation. He should like to know how far the proposed appropriation was grounded on claims for services or for expenditure. He should, indeed, like to see the phraseology of the bill changed. He should like to have the bill recommitted, also, for another and a peculiar reason. As it proposed to raise money by a loan, he doubted whether that provision of the bill was not invading the peculiar privilege of the House of Representatives. Under the influence of these considerations, he moved to recommit the bill. Mr. HAYNE, of South Carolina, said he had entertained the hope that this bill would have given rise to no discussion; and if no other objection had been made to it than that of his friend (Mr. Macon) who was opposed upon principle, to making an appropriation, in any case, or under any circumstances, by way of compensation For losses and services in the public cause, he did not know that he should now have risen. But the objection of the gentleman from Ohio made it his duty to submit, as briefly as possible, his views of this question. He trusted, he said, that he should be able to satisfy the Senate, and to satisfy even the scruples of the gentle