Adventurers of Oregon: A Chronicle of the Fur Trade

By Constance L. Skinner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE TONQUIN

IF in these dawning hours of the Great West the trapper was lord of the land, the ruler of the waters along the Northwest Coast was the Indian hunter of sea-otter--a dark-skinned Neptune with spear for trident. The sea-otter trade, initiated by the Russians and advertised by Cook, had grown largely since the adventures of John Meares and Robert Gray. And it was almost wholly an American trade. By 1801 fifteen American vessels, nearly all from Boston, were trading with the natives on the Pacific; and in that year fourteen thousand pelts were shipped and sold in China at an average of thirty dollars apiece.

So it was that in the year 1810 John Jacob Astor of New York was preparing to capture the trade of the Northwest Coast, and the Nor'westers in Montreal were conferring with David Thompson to defeat him. That Astor had in mind the sea-otter

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Adventurers of Oregon: A Chronicle of the Fur Trade
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Chapter I The River of the West 1
  • Chapter II - Lewis and Clark 27
  • Chapter III The Reign of the Trapper 74
  • Chapter IV The Tonquin 113
  • Chapter V Astor's Overlanders 144
  • Chapter VI Astoria Under the Nor'Westers 185
  • Chapter VIII The Fall of the Fur Kingdom 240
  • Bibliographical Note 273
  • Index 277
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