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four species of vines, said to produce annually an abundance of excellent grapes. A great variety of plants which grow here, some of which in their season are said to produce flowers highly ornamental, would probably reward the researches of the botanist. On the morning of the 8th of January, 1805, the party left Ellis's on the river camp, where they had been detained for several days waiting for such a rise in the waters of the river, as would carry their boat in safety over the numerous rapids below. A rise of about six feet, which had taken place the evening before, determined them to move this morning ; and they passed the chuttes about one o'clock. They stopped to examine the rocky promontary below these falls, and took some specimens of the stone which so much resembles the Turkey oil stone. It appears too hard. The strata of this chain were observed to run perpendicularly nearly east and west, crossed by fissures at right angles from five to eight feet apart ; the lamina from one fourth of an inch to five inches in thickness. About a league below, they landed at Vietstone hill and took several specimens. This projecting hill is a mass of greyish blue schistus of considerable hardness, and about twenty fect perpendicular, not regularly so, and from a quarter to two inches in thickness, but does not split with an even surface. They landed again on the morning of the 9th, in sight of the bayau de la prairie de lamp.gnole, to examine and take specimens of some free stone and blue state. he siate is a blue schistus, hard, brittle, and unfit for the covering of a house ; none proper for that purpose have been discovered, except on the Calfat, which Dr. Hunter met with in one of his excursions. On the evening of the 10th they encamped near Arclon’s Troughs, having been only three days in descending the distance which took them thirteen to ascend. They stopped some time at the camp of a Mr. Le Fevre. He is an intelligent man, a native of the Illinois, but now residing at the Arkansas. He came here with some Delaware and other Indians, whom he had fitted out with goods, and receives their peltry, fur, &c. at a stipulated price, as it is brought in by the hunters. Mr. Le Fevre possesses considerable knowledge of the interiour of the country : he confirms the account before obtained, that the hills or mountains which give rise to this little river are in a manner insulated; that is, they are entirely shut in and inclosed by the immense plains or prairies which extend beyond the Red river, to the south, and beyond the Missouri, or at least some of its branches, to the north, and range along the eastern base of the great chain, or dividing ridge, commonly known by the name of the sand hills, which separate the waters of the Mississippi from those which fall into the Pacifick ocean. The breadth of this great plain is not well ascertained. It is said by some to be at certain parts, or in certain directions, not less than two hundred le gues ; but it is agreed by all who have a knowledge of the western country, that the mean breadth is at least two thirds of that distance. A branch of the Missouri called the river Platte, or Sh: low river, is said to take its rise so far south as to derive its first waters from the neighbourhood of the sources of the Red and Arkansa rivers. By the expression plains or prairies, in this place, is not to be understood a dead flat, resembling certain savannas, whose soil is stift and impenetrable, often under water, and bearing only a coarse grass resembling reeds ; very different are the western prairies, which expression signifies only a country without timber. These prairies are neither flat nor hilly, but undulating into gently swelling lawns and expanding into spacious vallies, in the centre of which is always found a little timber growing on the banks of the brooks and rivulets of the finest waters. The whole of these prairies are represented to be composed of the richest and most fertile soil ; the most luxuriant and succulent herkage covers the surf.ce of the earth, interspersed with unillions of flowers and flowering shrubs, of the most ornamental kinds. . Those who have viewed only a skirt of these prairies, speak of them with enthusiasm, as if it was only there that nature was to be found truly perfect; they declare, that the fertility and beauty of the rising grounds, the extreme richness of the vales, the coolness and excellent quality of the water found in every valley, the salubrity of the atmosphere, and above all the grandeur of the enchanting landscape which this country presents, inspire the soul with sensations not to be felt in any other region of the globe. This paradise is now very thinly inhabited by a few tribes of savages, and by the immense herds of wild cattle, (bison) which people these countries. The cattle perform regular migrations according to the seasons, from south to north, and from the plains to the mountains ; and in due time, taught by their instincts, take a retrogade direction. These tribes move in the rear of the herds, and pickup stragglers, and such as log behind, which they kill with the bow and arrow, for their subsistence. This country is not subjected to those sudden deluges of rain which in most hot countries, and even in the Mississippi territory, tear up and sweep away with irresistable fury, the crop and soil together: on the contrary, rain is said to become more rare in proportion as the great chain of mountain is approached; and it would seem that within the sphere of the attraction of those elevated ridges, little or no rain falls on the adjoining plains. This relation is the more credible, as in that respect our new country may resemble other flat or comparatively low countries, similarly situated; such as the country lying between the Andes and the western Pacifick; the plains are supplied with nightly dews so extremely abundant, as to have the effect of refreshing showers of rain ; and the spacious vallies, which are extremely level, may with facility be watcred by the rills and brooks which are never absent from these situations. Such is the description of the better known country lying to the south of Red river, from Nacogdoches towards St. Antonio, in the province of Taxus : the richest crops are said to be procured there without rain ; but agriculture in that quarter is at a low ebb : the small quantities of maize furnished by the country, is said to be raised without cultivation. A rude opening is made in the earth, sufficient to deposit the grain, at the distance of four or five feet, in irregular squares, and the rest is left to nature. The soil is tender, spongy and rich, and seems always to retain humidity sufficient, with the bountcous dews of Heaven, to bring the crops to maturity. The Red and Arcansa rivers, whose courses are very long, pass through portions of this fine country. They are both navigable to an unknown distance by boats of proper construction; the Arcansa river is, however, understood to have greatly the advantage with respect to the facility of navigation. Some difficult places are met with in the Red river below the Nakitosh, after which it is good for one hundred and fifty leagues (probable computed leagues of the country, about two miles each); there the voyager meets with a very serious obstacle, the commencement of the “raft,” as it is called ; that is, a natural covering which conceals the whole river for an extent of seventeen leagues, continually augmenting by the drif wood brought down by every considerable fresh. This covering, which, for a considerable time, was only drist-wood, now sopports a vegetation of every thing abounding in the ueighbouring forest, not excepting trees of a considerable size and the river may be frequently possed without any knowledge of its existence. It is said that the annual inundation is opening for itself a new passage through the low grounds near the bills ; but it must be long before nature, unaided, will excavate a passage sufficient for the waters of Red river. About fifty leagues above this natural bridge, is the residence of the Cadeaux or Cadadoquies nation, whose good qualities are already mentioned. The inhabitants estimate the post of Nakitosh to be half way between New Orleans and the Cadeaux nation. Above this point the navi. gation of Red river is said to be embarrassed by many rapids, falls, and shallows. The Arcansa river is said to present a safe, agreeable, and uninterrupted navigation as high as it is know), The lands on each side are of the

best quality, and well watered with spriñgsbrooks, and rivulets,affording m

ny situations for mill-seats. From description, it would seem that along this river there is a regular gradation of hill and dale, presenting their extremities to the river; the hills are gently swelling eminences, and the dales, spacious vallies with living water meandering through them ; the forests

consist of handsome trees, chiefly what is called open woods. The quality

of the land is supposed superiour to that on Red river, until it ascends to the prairie country, where the lands on both rivers are probably similar. About two hundred leagues up the Arcansa is an interesting place called the Salt prairie : there is a considerable fork of the river there, and a kind of savanna where the salt water is continually oozing out and spreading over the surface of a plain. During the dry summer season the salt may be raked up in large heaps ; a natural crust of a hand breadth in thickness is formed at this season. This place is not often frequented, on account of the danger from the Osage Indians; much less dare the white hunters venture to ascend higher, where it is generally believed that silver is to be found. It is further said, that high up the Arcansa river salt is found in form of a solid rock, and may be dug out with the crow-bar. The waters of the Arcansa, like those of Red river, are not potable during the dry season, being both charged highly with a reddish earth or mould, and extremely brackish. This inconvenience is not greatly felt upon the Arcansa, where springs and brooks of fresh water are frequent ; the Red river is understood not to be so highly favoured. Every account seems to prove, that immense natural

magazines of salt must exist in the great chain of mountains to the west

ward; as all the rivers in the summer season, which flow from them, are . strongly impregnated with that mineral, and are only rendered palatable af- .

ter receiving the numerous streams of fresh water which join them in their, course. The great western prairies, besides the herds of wild cattle, (bi

son, commonly called buffaloe) are also stocked with vast numbers of wild.

- #: (not resembling the domestick goat) extremely swift footed. As the

to be the antelope, or it possibly may be a goat which has escaped from the

Spanish settlements of New Mexico. A Canadian, who had been much

with the Indians to the westward, speaks of a wool-bearing animal, larger. than a sheep, the wool much mixed with hair, which he had seen in large flocks. He pretends also to have seen a unicorn, the single horn of which, he says, rises out of the forehead and curls back, conveying the idea of the fossil cornu ammonis. This man says, he has travelled beyond the great dividing ridge so far as to have seen a large river flowing to the westward. The great dividing monutain is so lofty that it requires two days to ascend from the base to its top other ranges of inferiour mountains lie before and behind it; they are all rocky and sandy. Large lakes and vallies lie between the mountains. Some of the lakes are so large as to contain considerable islands ; and rivers flow from some of them. Great numbers of fossil bones, of very large dimensions, are seen among the mountains, which the Canadian supposes to be the elephant. He does not pretend to have seen any of the precious metals, but has seen a mineral which he supposes might yield copper. From the top of the high mountain the view is bounded by a curve as upon the ocean, and extends over the most beautiful prairies, which seem to be unbounded, particularly towards the east. The finest of the lands he has seen are on the Missouri ; no other can compare in richness and fertility with them. This Canadian, as well as Le Fevre, speak of the Osages. of the tribe of Whitehairs, as lawless and unprincipled; and the other In

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than tribes hold them in abhorrence as a barbarous and uncivilized race : and the different nations who hunt in their neighbourhood, have their concerting plans for their destruction. On the morning of the 11th the party passed the petit ecor a Fabri. The osier, which grows on the beaches above, is not seen below upon this river; and here they began to meet with the small tree called “chanier’ which grows only on the water side, and is met with the way down the Washita. The latitude of 33° 40' seems the northern boundary of the one, and the southern boundary of the other of those vegetables. Having noticed the limit set to the long moss, (Telandsia) on the ascent of the river, in latitude 33°, Mr. Dunbar made inquiry of Mr. Le Fever, as to its existence on the Arcansa settlement, which is known to lie in about the same parallel; he said, that its growth is limited about ten miles south of the settlement, and that as remarkably, as if a line had been drawn east and west for the purpose ; as it ceases all at once, and not by degrees. Hence it appears, that nature has marked with a distinguishing feature, the line established by congress, between the Orleans and Louisiana territories. The cypress is not found on the Washita higher than thirty-four degrees of north latitude. In ascending the river, they found their rate of going to exceed that of the current about six miles and a half in twenty-four hours; and that on the 12th, they had passed the apex of the tide or wave, occasioned by the fresh, and were descending along an inclined plane ; as they encamped at night, they found themselves in deeper water the next morning, and on a more elevated part of the inclined plane than they had been in the preceding evening, from the progress of the apex of the tide during their repose. At noon, on the 16, they reached the post of the Washita. Mr. Dunbar being anxious to reach the Natchez as early as possible, and being unable to procure horses at the post, took a canoe with one soldier and his own domestick, to push down to the Catahoola, from whence to Concord there is a road of 30 miles across the low grounds. He set effearly on the morning of the 20th, and at night reached the settlement of an old hunter, with whom he had conversed on his way up the river. This man informed him, that at the place called the mine, on the Little Missouri, there is a smoke which ascends perpetually from a particular place, and that the vapour is sometimes insupportable. The river, or a branch of it, passes over a bed of mineral, which, from the description given, is, no doubt, mar-. tial pyrites. In a creek, or branch of the Fourche a” Luke,” there is found on the beaches and in the cliffs, a great number of globular bodies, some as large, or larger, than a man's head, which, when broken, exhibit the appearance of gold, silver, and precious stones ; most probably pyrites and crystalized spar. And at the Fourche des Glaises a Paul, (higher up the river than Fourche a” Luke) near the river there is a cliff full of hexagonal prisms, terminated by pyramids, which appear to grow out of the rock : they are from six to eight inches in length, and some of them are an inch in diameter. There are beds of pyrites found in several small creeks communicating with the Washita, but it appears that the mineral indications are greatest on the Little Missouri, because, as before noted, some of the hunters actually worked on them, and sent a parcel of the ore to New Orleans. It is the belief here, that the mineral contains precious metal, but that the Spanish government did not choose a mine should be opened so near to the

*Three leagues above Ellis' camp. Wel. III. Appendix, M

British settlements. An express prohibition was issued against working

these mines.
At this place, Mr. Dunbar obtained one or two slips of the “bois d'arc,”
(how wood) or yellow wood, from the Missouri. The fruit which had
allen before maturity, lay upon the ground. Some were of the size of a
small orange, with a rint full of tubercles ; the colour, though it appeared
faded, still retained a resemblance to pale gold.
The tree in its native soil, when laden with its golden fruit, (nearly as
large as the egg of an ostrich), presents the most splendid appearance ; its
foliage is of a deep green, resembling the varnished leaf of the orange tree,
and, upon the whole, no forest tree can compare with it in ornamental
fo The bark of the young trees resembles, in texture, the dog wood
ark ; the appearance of the wood recommends it for trial as an article
which may yield a yellow dye. It is deciduous; the branches are numer-
ous, and full of short thorns or prickles, which seem to point it out as pro-
per for hedges or iive fences. This tree is known to exist near the Nakitosh.
(perhaps in latitude 32°), and upon the river Arcansa, high up (perhaps in
lat. 36°); it is therefore probable that it may thrive from latitude 38° to 40°
and will be a great acquisition to the United States if it possess no other
merit than that of being ornamental.
In descending the river, both Mr. Dunbar and Dr. Hunter searched for

the place said to yield gypsum, or plaister of Paris, but failed. The former

gentleman states, that he has no doubt of its existence, having noted two
places where it has been found ; one of which is the first hill or high land
which touches the river on the west, above the bayau Calumet, and the
other is the second high land on the same side. As these are two points of
the same continued ridge, it is probable that an immense body of gypsum
will be found in the bowels of the hills where they meet, and perhaps ex-
tending far beyond them.
On the evening of the 22d, Mr. Dunbar arrived at the Catahoola, where a
Frenchman of the name of Hebrard, who keeps the ferry across Black river,
is settled. Here the road from the Washita forks, one branch of it leading to
the settlement on Red river, and the other up to the post on the Washita.
The proprietor of this place has been a hunter and a great traveller up the
Washita and into the western country : he confirms generally the accounts
received from others. It appears from what they say that in the neighbour-
hood of the hot springs, but higher up, among the mountains, and upon the
Little Missouri, during the summer season, explosions are very frequent-
ly heard, proceeding from under the ground ; and not rarely a curious phe-
momenon is seen, which is termed the blowing of the mountains ; it is con-
fined elastic gas forcing a passage through the side or top of a hill, driving
before it a great quantity of earth and mineral matter. During the winter
season the explosions and blowing of the mountains chtirely" cease,
from whence we may conclude, that the cause is comparatively superficial,
being brought into action by the increased heat of the more direct rays of
the summer sun.
The confluence of the Washita, Catahoola and Tenza, is an interesting
place. The last of these communicates with the Mississippi low lands, by
the intervention of other creeks and lakes, and by one in particular, called
“Bayau d'Argent,” which emptics into the Mississippi, about fourteen
miles above Natchez. During high water there is a navigation for batteaux
of any burthen along the bayati. A large lake, called St. John's lake, oc-
cupies a considerable part of the passage between the Mississippi and the
Tenza; it is in a horse shoe form, and has, at some former period, been the
bed of the Mississippi : the nearest part of it is about onc mile removed


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