"Come," said Newell to Meek, " we are done with this life in the mountains--done with
wading in beaver-dams, and freezing or starving alternately--done with Indian trading
and Indian fighting. The fur trade is dead in the Rocky Mountains, and it is no place for
us now, if ever it was. We are young yet, and have life before us. We cannot waste it
here; we cannot or will not return to the States. Let us go down to the Wallamet and
take farms. There is already quite a settlement there made by the Methodist Mission
and the Hudson's Bay Company's retired servants.
"I have had some talk with the Americans who have gone down there, and the talk is that the country is going to be settled up by our people, and that the Hudson's Bay Company are not going to rule this country much longer. What do you say, Meek ? Shall we turn American settlers ?"
" I'll go where you do, Newell. What suits you suits me."
" I thought you'd say so, and that's why I sent for you, Meek. In my way of thinking, a
white man is a little better than a Canadian Frenchman. I'll be d - - d if I'll hang 'round a
post of the Hudson's Bay Company. So you'll go ?"
" I reckon I will! What have you got for me to do ? I haven't got anything to begin with
but a wife and baby ! "
" Well, you can drive one of the wagons, and take your family and traps along. Nicholas
will drive the other, and I'll play leader, and look after the train. Craig will go also, so we
shall be quite a party, with what strays we shall be sure to pick up."
Thus it was settled. Thus Oregon began to receive her first real emigrants, who were neither fur-traders nor missionaries, but true frontiersmen--border-men. The training which the mountain-men had received in the service of the fur companies admirably fitted them to be, what afterwards they became, a valuable and indispensable element in the society of that country in whose peculiar history they played an important part. But we must not anticipate their acts before we have witnessed their gradual transformation from lawless rangers of the wilderness, to law-abiding and even law-making and law-executing citizens of an isolated territory.