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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/216

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208 FREDERICK V. HOLMAN white men in the Oregon Country, i. e., north of latitude 42 degrees and south of 54 degrees and 40 minutes. These posts were established in what Eraser named "New Caledonia," being in the northern interior of what is now British Columbia. Undoubtedly these posts were established so early and the Eraser River explored to its mouth because of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and to forestall occupation by American fur-traders. But, in addition, along the Columbia and its tributaries, there were sure to be quantities of fur-bearing animals. Goods and supplies could be brought by sea, at least to the mouth of the Columbia, and furs shipped by the returning vessels. The discovery by Eraser that the Tacoutche- Tesse is not a part of the Columbia River merely delayed these plans of the Northwest Company. John Jacob Astor and His Enterprises. I shall not, in this address, go into the matter of John Jacob Astor and his various enterprises prior to the time he thought of engaging in the fur-trade on the Northwest Pacific Coast. At that time he had a great knowledge of the fur-trade and had become, what was then considered, a very wealthy man. He had engaged in trade with China and also in the Indian countries, west of the Mississippi River, and in Canada. The Expedition of Lewis and Clark arrived at St. Louis, Missouri, on its return, in September, 1806. Astor then learned that the Columbia River and its tributaries abounded in fur-bear- ing animals, including great numbers of beaver. Prior to 1810, John Jacob Astor saw the great opportunity and elaborated a great, comprehensive scheme, which resulted in the founding of Astoria, as a part of his enterprise. His plans, in brief, were the organization of a company which he would control and furnish the capital for. It would have trad- ing-posts on the Columbia River and its tributaries, and also on the upper Missouri. Some furs would be shipped, prob- ably, down the Missouri to St. Louis. But most of the furs would be taken to the Columbia River and transported to a post or fort at or near its mouth. Vessels would carry goods