SAN FRANCISCO: PRINTED BY JOHN H. CARMANY & CO., 409 WASHINGTON ST. 1872.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872,
By FRANCES FULLER VICTOR,
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
Printed by JOHN H. CARMANY & CO.
Stereotyped at THE CALIFORNIA TYPE FOUNDRY.
After a residence of five years on the Pacific Coast—three of which were spent in Oregon—a visit of several months was made to the Atlantic States, during which time I was called upon to do volumes of talk about the West Coast, especially about Oregon and Washington—questions concerning which every body I met was sure to ask. The great dearth of information concerning these countries there, suggested to me the need of books which should faithfully and familiarly treat of them, their natural features and resources, together with their business and social condition.
Although every summer of my residence in Oregon had heretofore been spent in excursions to different parts of the country, I resolved on my return to repeat some of my previous journeys, and make others in new directions, until all was perfectly familiar, and thoroughly understood, which related to the geography, topography, scenery, soil, climate, productions, and improvements of the several sections of the two divisions of the Northwest Coast treated of in this volume.
While it was a pleasure to me to familiarize myself with the country, the object of it was to enable me to answer, in print, all the various questions which had been asked me concerning it by Eastern people. If the reader follows my summer wanderings as here given, he will, especially with any thing of a map before him, be able to obtain quite a complete picture of all that magnificent territory, now being rapidly brought into communication with the East, through the enterprise of the several great railroad companies. Besides the general information thus given, I have thought it best to furnish many details of the condition of the agricultural districts, and their population, for the guidance of those persons who may be looking out for farms; and of the situation and population of towns, with a view to aid immigrants in the selection of homes. It is difficult to write with absolute correctness of those countries whose rapid development outruns the printer and publisher. Since this volume was put in the hands of the compositor, numerous corrections have been made; and, between that time and this, new town-sites have been laid out, and other improvements commenced, which do not appear in these pages. But these slight omissions do not affect the general faithfulness of their contents; the whole constituting an amount of information which could only be obtained, otherwise, by a considerable expenditure of time and money.
The beautiful and favored region of the North-west Coast is about to assume a commercial importance which is sure to stimulate inquiry concerning the matters herein treated of. I trust enough is contained between the covers of this book to induce the very curious to come and see for themselves.
The River is the Soul of the land to which it belongs. Fringing its banks, floating upon its waters, are the interests, the history, and the romance of the people. Our ideas of every nation are intimately associated with our ideas of its rivers. To mention the name of one, is to suggest the characteristics of the other.
How the word Euphrates recalls the earliest ages of man's history on this globe! The Nile reminds us of a civilization on which the whole of Europe depended for whatever was enlightened or refined anterior to the Christian Era. The Tiber is rich in historic associations of the proudest empire the world ever knew. What romances of Moorish power and splendor are conjured up by the mention of the Guadalquivir! The Rhine is so enwreathed with flowers of song, that the actual history of its battlemented towers is lost from view; and yet the mention of its name gives us a satisfying conception of the ideal Germany, past and present.
So the Thames, the Rhone, the Danube, are so many words for the English, the French, and the Austrian peoples. In our own country, what different ideas attach to Connecticut, Hudson, Savannah, and Mississippi! How quickly the pictures are shifted in the stereoscope of imagination by changing Orinoco for San Joaquin, Amazon for Sacramento, or Rio de la Plata for Columbia, upon our tongues. It is not that one is longer or shorter, or wider or deeper, than another: it is that each conveys a thought of the country, the people, the history, and the commerce of its own peculiar region.
In comparison with other rivers of equal size and geographical importance, the Columbia is very little known. That generation is yet in its prime which was taught that the whole of the North-west Territory was Oregon—that it had one river, the Columbia, and one town, Portland, situated on the Columbia. It is the object of this volume to correct these effete notions of one of the most genial and beautiful portions of our Republic; and to connect with the name of the Columbia some proper ideas of its history, geography, commerce, and scenery, as well as to describe the extensive country which it drains.