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Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/119

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Discovery of Fraser River.

it by a tribe of Indians. This is Fraser River. This discovery of this great river occurred June 17, 1793.

Mackenzie descended the Tacoutche until he was deterred by the hostile attitude of the Indians, the physical difficulties of following the river, and by information given by the Indians of its dangerous character. Mackenzie then ascended the river, going north a distance equal to about one degree of latitude. Here he left the Tacoutche and went overland, westerly, until he came to an arm of the Pacific Ocean, now called Bentinck Inlet, at about latitude fifty-two degrees. On his return trip he arrived at Fort Chippewayan August 24, 1793, where his Journal ends.

It is sometimes said in a loose way by writers that Mackenzie thought the Tacoutche was a part of the Columbia River. This was not the case when he discovered the Tacoutche. He did not then know that the Columbia River had been discovered, nor did he learn of it until after his return from his discovery of the Tacoutche.

Mackenzie kept a journal. In it he speaks of the Tacoutche as "the great river," and he also wrote in his journal:

"The more I heard of the river [Tacoutche] the more I was convinced it could not empty itself into the ocean to the North of what is called the River of the West, so that with its windings, the distance must be very great. Such being the discouraging circumstances of my situation, which were now heightened by the discontent of my people, I could not but be alarmed at an idea of attempting to get to the discharge of such a rapid river, especially when I reflected on the tardy progress of my return up it, even if I should meet with no obstruction from the natives."

The Fabled Oregon or River of the West.

In referring to the River of the West, Mackenzie undoubtedly had in mind the fabled river described by Jonathan Carver in his Travels. In 1778 Jonathan Carver published, at London,----