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Of the dangers to which a colony in this quarter would be exposed from their Indian neighbours, the committee think lightly. The country on the strait of St. Juan de Fuca, was found by Vancouver, in 1792, nearly depopulated by the small-pox, which had been communicated to the inhabitants by the Spaniards; and Major Brooks, who visited it between 1801 and 1808, found many deserted villages, and few inhabitants. The races which inhabit the borders of the Oregan, difter much from the savages of the eastern and central part of North America. The former subsist principally on fish and roots ; and to the difference in the nature of the occupations by which their livelihood is obtained, this difference in their character is probably owing. They have by no means that pride, courage, contempt of pain and danger, and untameable independence, which characterize the hunting tribes. They are represented, by Lewis and Clarke, as good tempered, imbecile, inquisitive, and communicative, and in the main inoffensive and pacific. The whole number of Indians west of the Rocky Mountains is estimated by these travellers at 80,000.
“ The committee have no hesitation in saying, that a small fortification, with a few cannon, at the mouth of the Columbia, well garrisoned, would defend the entrance against any enemy, who should attempt to assail it from sea. That small posts, at the confluence of the Multnomah, the Great Falls, Lewis's river, and on Clarke's river, somewhere on the elevated plain, bordering on the Rocky Mountains, would overawe all the Indians on the waters of the Columbia, and secure å monopoly of trade; and that another post, at some suitable point on the waters connected with De Fuca's Strait, would, at least, secure the whole trade of the delightful peninsula which it waters.”—p. 16.
Aside from all considerations connected with the final colonization and settlement of this fine region, there are two important interests, which the establishment of a military post in this territory might serve to protect and encourage. One of these is the fur trade, which is already pursued by the citizens of this country to a considerable extent, and for the purposes of which a settlement has already been made on the Oregan, about eighteen miles from its mouth. In connexion with the fur trade, are carried on the trade in the sandal wood of the Sandwich Islands, used in the religious ceremonies of the Chinese, and that in ginseng, produced in abundance on the coast, and in high esteem with the same people for its supposed medical qualities. The amonnt of the annual sales of these cargoes at Canton is estimated in the report at half a million of dollars, after deducting the original outfit of each vessel employed in the trade.
“The proceeds of the sales are generally invested in teas, the duties on which, we learn from the best authority, are, on an average, equal to the original cost of the article in the Chinese market, giving to the revenue the annual sum of five hundred thousand dollars, and an advance to the owners in the American market. This trade is to be considered in another point of view; much of the tea is reshipped to Holland, to the Mediterranean, to the West Indies, South America, and elsewhere, giving activity to other important branches of trade, employment to sailors, freight to ship owners, returning to our market other articles, productive both of profit and of revenue. The history of this trade, when understood, will furnish a partial solution of a problem in political economy. Notwithstanding the apparent advance of the nation in wealth and prosperity, a national bankruptcy was apprehended, because the books of the custom-houses exhibited an alarming excess of imports over exports. It was apprehended, and apparently with soine degree of reason, that the excess of importations would eventually produce a ruinous balance against the United States. Yet, upon exainination, it will be easily discovered, that the return of $1,000,000 in the productions of China, as an offset against a trifling export, instead of indicating an extravagant and ruinous excess of importations, demonstrates the immense profits of trade and navigation on this coast. It will easily be seen, that the continuance of this trade for thirty years, (and it has been pursued for a longer period,) has added $15,000,000 to the actual capital of the country, besides paying to the revenue $15,000,000 more. Yet, for its protection, not a dollar of the public money has been expended. No public ship has been stationed in the North Pacific; and, since the appropriation of a trifling sum to cover the expenses of Lewis and Clarke's exploring expedition, twenty years ago, not a single rifleman has been supported at the public expense, while, for the protection of the European and West India trade, squadrons have been annually sent forth ; and what is still more extraordinary, to protect our own citizens against the apprehended ruinous effects of those branches of trade, a series of legislative remedies have been proposed, and have passed into laws.”—pp. 19, 20.
Another important source of national profit to be aided by such an establishment is the whale fishery, which, although principally confined to the North Pacific, has not been hitherto pursued along this coast, though its shores are said to abound in whales. The reasons given for this are the supposed difficulties of the entrance of the Oregan, and the extent of unexplored coast to the north and south of its mouth.
The following extract from the report gives a brief enumeration of the advantages which the territory holds out to the trader and the colonist.
“ The great but undeveloped capacities of this region on the North West Coast for trade, must be obvious to every one who inspects its map.
“ A vast river, with its tributaries and branches, waters its whole extent through seven degrees of latitude, and even penetrates beyond into the territories of other nations.
“ It abounds in excellent timber, and in spars, equal to those of NewZealand, unsurpassed by any in the world.
“ Its waters are navigable for vessels through half its extent, and for boats (saving a few short portages) through half the remainder.
“ The water power for moving manufacturing machinery is unequalled, and commences where the navigation terminates.
“ It is bounded on the south by a country which abounds in cattle and wheat, the two great sources of subsistence for a new colony, and which can be reached by sea in less than ten days, in the vicinity too of other countries, whose interior is filled with the precious metals, and with the richest articles of commerce, and whose shores abound in the pearl-producing oyster.
“ It is within twenty or thirty days sail of the coasts of Peru and Chili, which stretch in a long narrow line along the ocean, indented with fine bays and harbours, which countries would necessarily becoine commercial were they not destitute of all the materials for ship building; of course they must depend on the country which can supply those materials at the cheapest rate.
“ It is within seventy or eighty days sail of China, and the East Indian seas, and within thirty of the Sandwich Islands, the West Indies of the Pacific, abounding in sandal wood, in the sugar cane, in tropical fruits, and perfectly adapted to the culture of coffee and cotton.
« On one side it approaches a country where coal in prodigious quantities has already been discovered, and, on the other, the borders of a sea, which, for a space of seventy-six degrees, is seldom ruffled by a storm, and which, in all probability, can be traversed in every direction by steamboats.
“These advantages, great as they now are, will be trifling, in comparison to what they will be, whenever a water communication between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, through the Isthmus, dividing North and South America, shall have been effected. Of the practicability of this communication there is no doubt. If Humboldt is to be believed, the expense at one place would not exceed that of the Delaware and Chesapeake canal. Should it be done, a revolution in commerce will be efa fected, greater than any since the discovery of America; hy which both the power and the objects of its action will be more than doubled. Tbe Indian commerce of Europe will pass through Ainerica, and more commercial wealth will be borne upon the ample bosom of the Pacific, than ever was wasted over the waves of the Atlantic, in the proudest days of the commercial greatness of Spain, Portugal, France, Holland, and England."--pp. 20, 21.
The report concludes with recommending that one or more military posts be established in this territory, for the maintenance of which the committee suppose five hundred men to be sufficient; and also a particular examination of the mouth and bay of the Oregan, and of the coast to the north and south of this river. There is appended to the report an estimate by which it appears, that the expense of transporting 200 men, with the necessary baggage, ordnance, and provisions, to the mouth of the Oregan, cannot exceed $44,000, and that the annual expense of an expedition to explore the coast will not be more than $64,000.
For ourselves, we cannot but express our hopes that this subject will receive the attention of Congress before the end of
the present session. A little patronage bestowed upon the trade to the northwest coast, and on the whale fishery, would not, we think, be much amiss. They are, perhaps, quite as deserving of attention as some other projects, which are hatching in the warmth of legislative favour. We have also, as a great commercial nation, some reason to take shame to ourselves that we should be ignorant of any part of our coast which our navy might explore. There are, doubtless, on the shores of the Pacific, within our own territory, many rivers and bays which, in the next century, will be the inlets of a mighty commerce, over whose waters as yet no keel has ever floated. The time cannot be far distant when the Pacific shore will necessarily attract our attention, and every measure which makes our citizens better acquainted with its claims to their notice, is a step in the growth of our country. Whether a water communication be effected or not across the isthmus of Darien, it is certainly from the mouth of the Oregan that the productions of China and the East Indies will, ere long, be scattered over an immense portion of our territory:
Whoever will take the trouble to reflect how far our settlements have extended themselves into the wilderness for the last twenty years, will be able to form some computation of the still greater rapidity with which they will extend themselves for twenty years to come. Already the outposts of our population are nearly midway between the two oceans. What is called by an apt metaphor the trade of population, may be de. layed awhile by the barren and elevated regions of the central and western part of Missouri territory, but it will find its way along the fertile borders of the rivers, and in the end will penetrate farther on account of the narrow channels in which it is confined. When the train of covered waggons which is continually moving westward shall have passed the Rocky Mountains, it will descend rapidly to the Pacific. That period will undoubtedly be hastened by planting government posts in that territory as the pioneers of colonization. When it arrives it will give the commerce of the United States an immense preponderance; and eastern Asia, and western Europe, will exchange their productions through our territories.
ART. XXII.-The Last of the Mohicans ; a Narrative of 1757.
By the Author of " The Pioneers.” Philadelphia : Carey & Lea. 1826.
On reading the title of this last production of our distinguished novelist, the pleasing anticipation of the delight ve VOL. II.
were about to receive from perusing the volumes, was somewhat damped, by observing that a sister city had the honour of their first publication. While they were in the press, Mr. Charles Wiley, whose name the author has given to enduring remembrance by a former epistle dedicatory, was removed from the cares of this world ; and took his long journey to another, where there is no writing, publishing, nor reviewing. We record, with regret, the loss of a publisher who was acquainted with the inside as well as the exterior of books; and are sorry that our metropolis, in which the literary career of Mr. Cooper was begun, with a popularity which no other American has ever succeeded in approaching, should no longer be the source from whence his works first emanate.
The comparison which the tattle of the povel-reading generation persists in suggesting between his tales and those of the author of Waverley, is idle in every respect but one.
There is the same anxiety in the reading public here, for the appearance of the creations of the Ariosto of the north, and of him of the west; they are devoured with the same appetite; and the interest they excite leaves even the eye of criticism no leisure to rest upon doubtful parts and proportions of the structure, during the first rapid and restless survey. And even when curiosity has been satiated, and cooler reason is free to analyze the incongruities or defects in the magic web of fiction, in which the imagination has been enthralled, without the power of examining its texture and consistency, we approach the suspicious portions with fear and trembling. We have been under the influence of a high-wrought spell, and feel a natural timidity, in calling the necromancer to an account for the reasons of his proceedings, or the manner of conducting his cunning operations.
On the first reading of “ The Last of the Mohicans,” we are carried onward, as through the visions of a long and feverish dream. The excitement cannot be controlled or lulled, by which we are borne through strange and fearful, and even agonizing scenes of doubt, surprise, danger, and sudden deliverance; while, like some persecuting dæmon of slumber, the fiendlike image of a revengeful spirit scowls every where, and haunts the powerless fancy, from the moment when the malignant eyes first glared in the wilderness, with the unutterable meaning of hatred, upon those in whom we are interested, until they are extinguished for ever in the dreadful catastrophe. And, as in the changes of an uneasy dream, the monarch Reason sometimes lifts up his head, and suggests that it is all an illusion, a wholesome counsel which the soul assents to, but is yet dragged away by the irresistible power, which hurries ji