REPORT ON OREGON TERRITORY 285 in the present state of the country valueless. This is also the case with many fine portions of level grounds, but there are large tracts of fine prairie suitable for cultivation and ready for the plow. The Willamette Valley is supposed to be the finest portion of the country, though I am of opinion that many portions of it will be found far superior in the southern part of it. It is the largest settlement and is included within a distance of some 15 miles in the northern part of the valley. About 60 families are settled there, the industrious of whom appear to be thriv- ing. They are composed of American missionaries and the trap- pers and Canadians who were formerly servants of the Hudson Bay Co. All of them appear to be in good condition, but I was, on the whole, disappointed from the reports that had been made to me, not to find it in a state of greater forwardness, consid- ering the advantages the missionaries have had. In comparison with our own country, I should say that the labor required in this Territory for subsistence and to acquire wealth is%i the proportion of one to three, or, in other words, a man must work through the year three times as long in the United States to gain the like compensation. All the care of stock which occupies so much time with us requires no atten- tion here, and on their rapid increase he would alone support himself. The wheat of this valley yields 35 to 40 bushels for one sown, or 20 to 30 bushels to the acre, its quality is superior to that grown in the United States, and its weight near 4 pounds to the bushel heavier. The above is the yield of new land, but it is believed that it will greatly exceed this after the third crop, when the land has been broken up and well tilled. After passing into the middle section the climate undergoes a decided change ; in place of the cool and moist atmosphere, one that is dry and arid is entered, and the crops suffer from drought. The only wood or bush seen is the wormwood (Arti- mesia), and this only in the neighborhood of the streams. All cultivation has to be more or less carried on by irrigation.
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/293
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