Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

are surrounded, uncertain whether we Navigation Laws, so long the bulwark are not slumbering on the embers of a of our mercantile marine, and permitconflagration in our own, is this the ting all the world to make those inroads time to relax in our warlike prepara- on our shipping, which have already tions, and, by crippling the nursery of been partially effected by the nations our seamen, expose ourselves, without with whom we have concluded reciprothe means of resistance, to the assaults city treaties ! of hostile nations, envious of our fame, The defence of Great Britain must jealous of our manufactures, covetous always mainly rest on our navy, and of our wealth, desirous of our ruin ? our navy is almost entirely dependent

While Western Europe is torn by on the maintenance of our colonies. revolutionary passions, and the seeds It is in the trade with the colonies of a dreadful, because a popular and that we can alone look for the means general war, are rapidly springing to of resisting the general coalition of maturity from the Seine to the Vistula, the European powers, which is certain, Russia is silently but unceasingly sooner or later, to arise against our gathering up its giant strength, and maritime superiority, and the advent the Czar has already 300,000 men, of which the spread of democratic and 800 pieces of cannon, ready to take principles, and the sway of operative the field against the revolutionary en- jealousy on the Continent, is so evithusiasts of France and Germany. dently calculated to accelerate. But Sooner or later the conflict must ar- how are our colonies to be preserved, rive. It is not unlikely that either a even for a few years, if free trade second Napoleon will lead another severs the strong bond of interest which crusade of the western nations across has hitherto attached them to the the Niemen, or a second Alexander mother country, and the repeal of the will conduct the forces of the desert Navigation Laws accustoms them to to the banks of the Seine. Whichever look to foreigners for the means of proves victorious, England has equal conducting their mercantile transaccause for apprehension. If the balance tions? Charged with the defence of of power is subverted on Continental a colonial empire which encircles the Europe, how is the independence of earth, and has brought such countless this country to be maintained ? How treasures and boundless strength to are our manufactures or revenue to the parent state, Great Britain at be supported, if one prevailing power land is only a fourth-rate power, at has subjugated all the other states of least for Continental strife. At WaterEurope to its sway? It is hard to loo, even, she could only array fortysay whether, in such circumstances, five thousand men to contend with we should have most to dread from the conqueror of Europe for her exisFrench fraternity or Russian hostility. tence. It is in our ships we must But how is the balance of power to be look for the means of maintaining our preserved in Europe amidst the wreck commerce, and asserting our indeof its principal states? when Prussia pendence against manufacturing jeais revolutionised, and has passed over lousy, national rivalry, and foreign to the other side; when Austria is aggression. Is our navy, then, to be shattered and broken in pieces, and surrendered to the ceaseless encroachItaly has fallen under the dominion of ments of foreigners, in order to effect a faction, distinguished beyond any a saving of a few millions a-year on thing else by its relentless hatred of freights, reft from our own people, the aristocracy, and jealousy of the and sapping the foundations of our fabrics of England ? What has Great national independence ? Britain to rely on in such a crisis but H ow can human wisdom or forethe energy of its seamen and the might sight, the energy of the Anglo-Saxons, of its navy, which might at least en- or the courage of the Normans, mainable it to preserve its connexion with tain, for any length of time, our indeits own colonies, and maintain, as pendence in the perilous position into during the Continental blockade, its which free-trade policy has, during the commerce with Transatlantic nations ? short period it has been in operation, And yet this is the moment which our brought us? The repeal of the Corn rulers have selected for destroying the Laws has already brought an importa

[graphic]

tion of eight or ten millions of foreign and famished millions are deprived quarters annually upon our people alike of food and employment, by the a full sixth of the national subsistence, suicidal policy of preceding rulers ? and which will soon become indis- Our present strength will then be the pensable to their existence. A simple measure of our weakness; our vast non-intercourse act will alone enable population, as in a beleaguered town, Russia or America, without firing a the useless multitude which must be shot, to compel us to lower the fed, and cannot fight,-our wealth, flag of Blake and Nelson Stern the glittering prize which will attract famine will " guard the solitary coast," the rapacity of the spoiler. With inand famished multitudes demand dignant feelings, but caustic truth, national submission as the price of our people will then curse the inlife. The repeal of the Navigation fatuated policy which abandoned the Laws will ere long bring the foreign national defences, and handed them seamen engaged in carrying on our over, bound hand and foot, to the trade to a superiority over our own, as enemy, only the more the object of rahas already taken place in so woful pacity because such boundless wealth a manner with the Baltic powers. had accumulated in a few hands Hostile fleets will moor their ships of amongst them. Then will be seen, the line across our harbours, and that with our own hands, as into the throw back our starving multitudes ancient city, we have admitted the eneon their own island for food, and their mies' bands; we have drawn the horse own market for employment. What pregnant with armed men through our will then avail our manufacturers and ramparts, and our weeping and disour fabrics,-the forges of Birming- persed descendants will exclaim with ham, the power-looms of Manchester, the Trojans of oldthe iron-works of Lanarkshire, - if

“Fuimus Troës, fuit Ilium, et ingens the enemies' squadrons blockade the

Gloria Teucrorum." Thames, the Mersey, and the Clyde,

Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

LA BONTÉ and his companions pro- which had been carried away, they ceeded up the river, the Black Hills discovered by the floatstick, a little on their left hand, from which several distance down the stream, with a large small creeks or feeders swell the waters drowned beaver between its teeth. of the North Fork. Along these they The animals being carefully skinned, hunted unsuccessfully for beaver“sign," they returned to camp with the choicest and it was evident that the spring portions of the meat, and the tails, on hunt had almost entirely exterminated which they most luxuriously supped ; the animal from this vicinity. Follow and La Bonté was fain to confess that ing Deer Creek to the ridge of the all his ideas of the superexcellence of Black Hills, they crossed the moun- buffalo were thrown in the shade by tain on to the waters of the Medicine the delicious beaver tail, the rich meat Bow, and here they discovered a few of which he was compelled to allow lodges, and La Bonté set his first trap. was great eating," unsurpassed by He and old Luke finding "cuttings" " tender loin" or boudin," or other near the camp, followed the “ sign” meat of whatever kind he had eaten along the bank until the practised eye of before. of the latter discovered a "slide," The country where La Bonté and where the beaver had ascended the his companions were trapping, is very bank to chop the trunk of a cotton curiously situated in the extensive bend wood, and convey the bark to its lodge. of the Platte which encloses the Black Taking a trap from “sack," the old Hill range on the north, and which hunter after " setting " the "trigger," bounds the large expanse of broken placed it carefully under the water, tract known as the Laramie Plains, where the "slide" entered the stream, their southern limit being the base of securing the chain to the stem of a the Medicine Bow Mountains. From sappling on the bank ; while a stick, the north-western corner of the bend, also attached to the trap by a thong, an inconsiderable range extends to the floated down the stream, to mark the westward, gradually decreasing in position of the trap, should the animal height. until they reach an elevated carry it away. A little farther on, plain, which forms a break in the stuand near another “run," three traps pendous chain of the Rocky Mounwere set; and over these Luke placed tains, and affords their easy passage, a little stick, which he first dipped into now known as the Great, or South a mysterious-looking phial which con. Pass. So gradual is the ascent of this tained his “ medicine."*

portion of the mountain, that the traThe next morning they visited the veller can scarcely believe that he is traps, and had the satisfaction of find. crossing the dividing ridge between ing three fine beaver secured in the the waters which flow into the Atfirst three they visited, and the fourth, lantic and Pacific Oceans, and in a few

* A substance obtained from a gland in the scrotum of the beaver, and used to attract that animal to the trap.

VOL. LXIV.-NO. CCCXCIV.

minutes can Aling a stick into two a Mexican from Taos, one Marcellin, neighbouring streams, one of which a fine strapping fellow, the best trapwould be carried thousands of miles, per and hunter in the mountains, and which the eastern waters traverse in ever first in the fight. Here, too, their course to the Gulf of Mexico, the arrived the “Bourgeois" traders of the other, borne a lesser distance, to the “North West" * Company, with their Gulf of California.

superior equipments, ready to meet The country is frequented by the their trappers, and purchase the beaCrows and Snakes, who are at perpetual ver at an equitable value; and soon the war with the Shians and Sioux, follow- encampment began to assume a busy ing them often far down the Platte, appearance when the trade opened. where many bloody battles have taken A curious assemblage did the renplace. The Crows are esteemed friendly dezvous present, and representatives to the whites; but when on war expe- of many a land met there. A son of ditions, and “hair" their object, it is La belle France here lit his pipe from always dangerous to fall in with In- one proffered by a native of New dian war-parties, and particularly in Mexico. An Englishman and a Sandthe remote regions of the mountains, wich islander cut a quid from the where they do not anticipate retalia- same plug of tobacco. A Swede and tion.

an “old Virginian" puffed together. Trapping with tolerable success in A Shawanee blew a peaceful cloud this vicinity, as soon as the premoni- with a scion of the “Six Nations." tory storns of approaching winter "One from the Land of Cakes--a canny warned them to leave the mountains, chiel -sought to get round" (in they crossed over to the waters of trade) a right “smart” Yankee, but Green River, one of the affluents of couldn't “ shine." the Colorado, intending to winter at The beaver went briskly, six dola rendezvous to be held in - Brown's lars being the price paid per lb. in Hole ” an enclosed valley so called, goods-for money is seldom given in which, abounding in game, and shel- the mountain market, where "beaver" tered on every side by lofty mountains, is cash for which the articles supplied is a favourite wintering-ground of the by the traders are bartered. In a very mountaineers. Here they found several short time peltries of every description trapping bands already arrived; and had changed hands, either by trade, or a trader from the Uintah country, with gambling with cards and betting. With store of powder, lead, and tobacco, the mountain men bets decide every prepared to ease them of their hardly question that is raised, even the most earned peltries.

trivial; and if the Editor of Bell's Life In bands numbering from two to was to pay one of these rendezvous ten, and singly, the trappers dropped a winter visit, he would find the broad into the rendezvous; some with many sheet of his paper hardly capacious pack-loads of beaver, others with enough to answerall the questions which greater or less quantity, and more than would be referred to his decision. one came in on foot, having lost his Before the winter was over, La animals and peltry by Indian thieving. Bonté had lost all traces of civilised Here were soon congregated many humanity, and might justly claim to mountaineers, whose names are fa- be considered as "hard a case" as mous in the history of the Far West. any of the mountaineers then present. Fitzpatrick and Hatcher, and old Bill Long before the spring opened, he had Williams, with their bands, well-known lost all the produce of his hunt and leaders of trapping parties, soon ar- both his animals, which, however, by rived. Sublette came in with his men a stroke of luck, he recovered, and from Yellow Stone, and many of wisely " held on to " for the future. Wyeth's New Englanders were there. Right glad when spring appeared, Chábonard with his half-breeds, Wah- he started from Brown's Hole, with keitchas all, brought his peltries from four companions, to hunt the Uintah the lower country; and half-a-dozen or Snake country, and the affluents Shawanee and Delaware Indians, with of the larger streams which rise in

[graphic]

that region and fall into the Gulf of can shine' with this child, I tell you. California.

I've tried him onest, an' font him to In the valley of the Bear River clawin' away to Eustis,* and if I they found beaver abundant, and draws my knife agin on such varmint, trapped their way westward until I'll raise his hair, as sure as shootin'.""' they came upon the famed locality of Spite of the reputed dangers of the lothe Beer and Soda Springs natural cality, the trappers camped on the spot, fountains of mineral water, renowned and many a draught of the delicious amongst the trappers as being * me sparkling water they quaffed in honour dicine" of the first order.

of the medicine" of the fount. Rube, Arriving one evening, about sun- however, sat sulky and silent, his huge down, at the Beer Spring, they found form bending over his legs, which a solitary trapper sitting over the were crossed, Indian fashion, under rocky basin, intently regarding, and him, and his long bony fingers spread with no little awe, the curious pheno- over the fire, which had been made menon of the bubbling gas. Behind handy to the spring. At last they him were piled his saddles and a pack elicited from him that he had sought of skins, and at a little distance & this spot for the purpose of 46 making hobbled Indian pony was feeding medicine," having been persecuted by amongst the cedars which formed a extraordinary ill luck, even at this little grove round the spring. As the early period of his hunt, the Indians three hunters dismounted from their having stolen two out of his three anianimals, the lone trapper scarcely mals, and three of his half-dozen noticed their arrival, his eyes being traps. He had, therefore, sought the still intently fixed upon the water. springs for the purpose of invoking Looking round at last, he was in the fountain spirits, which, a perfect stantly recognised by one of La Bonte's Indian in his simple heart, he imeompanions, and saluted as 66 Old plicitly believed to inhabit their mysRube." Dressed from head to foot in terious waters. When the others buckskin, his face, neek, and handsap- had, as he thought, fallen asleep, La peared to be of the same leathery tex. Bonté observed the ill-starred trapper ture, so nearly did they assimilate in take from his pouch a curiously carved colour to the materials of his dress. red stone pipe, which he carefully He was at least six feet two or three charged with tobacco and kinnik-kinin his mocassins, straight-limbed and nik. Then approaching the spring, he wiry, with long arms ending in hands walked three times round it, and of tremendous grasp, and a quantity gravely sat himself down. Striking of straight blaek hair hanging on his fire with his flint and steel, he lit his shoulders. His features, which were pipe, and, bending the stem three undeniably good, wore an expression several times towards the water, he of comical gravity, never relaxing into inhaled a vast quantity of smoke, and, a smile, which a broad good-humoured bending back his neck and looking mouth could have grinned from ear to upwards, puffed it into the air. He ear.

then blew another puff towards the 4 What, boys," he said, 16 will four points of the compass, and you be simple enough to camp here, emptying the pipe into his hand, cast alongside these springs ? Nothing the consecrated contents into the good ever came of sleeping here, I tell spring, saying a few Indian medicine"? you, and the worst kind of devils are words of cabalistie import. Having in those dancing waters."

performed the ceremony to his satis" Why, old hos," cried La Bonté, faction, he returned to the fire, smoked what brings you hyar then, and a pipe on his own hook, and turned camp at that ??

into his buffalo robe, conscious of hav* This niggur," answered Rubeing done a most important duty. solemnly, " has been down'd upon a In the course of their trapping expesight too often to be skeared by what dition, and accompanied by Rube, who can come out from them waters; and knew the country well, they passed thar arn't a devil as hisses thar, as near the vicinity of the Great Salt Lake,

* A small lake near the head waters of the Yellow Stone, near which are some curious thermal springs of ink-black water.

« AnteriorContinuar »