ACROSS THE GREAT NORTHWEST.
[From our Special Correspondent,]
LESLIE, Mich., June 4th, 1373.
To THE EDITOR OF THE OREGONIAN:
The sweltering heat, peculiar to all localities on this side of the Rocky Mountains in June, has produced in me a stupor decidedly unfavorable to newspaper correspondence. I recollect that it will be a month to-morrow since I left Portland, and this brings to mind my promise to write once a month. My journey hitherward across the Continent seems like a dream. In memory, I trace the dim outlines of the broad Columbia, swollen by the melting snows of the far off moun-tains, hastening on its course through a vast monotonous, grass covered plain below its junc-tion with Snake river, till at the Dalles it quickens its pace, and with music and dancing, goes skipping, rushing and roaring down its chasm channel cut through mountain barriers, on either side of which were grass covered mountains, per-pendicular cliffs of frowning basalt buried as to their tops in snow or wreathed by clouds: silvery streams pouring over overhanging precipices and dissolving; in vapory mist long before reaching the little crystal lakes they feed below—all passing in such quick succession before the eye of the traveler, that at this distant view, one in trying to trace the outlines of this beauty, finds them all so blended on the tablet of his memory, that he is only able to make out, written in letters of light—"Glorious Oregon!" The cool breezes of the Columbia that fanned my locks as I sat on the prow of the steamer, seem in imagination to blow on me still, as I essay to write in this mam-moth Mississippi Valley sweat house. At the Dalles I accepted an invitation from Rev. Thomas Condon to examine his
COLLECTION OP OREGON FOSSILS.
Many in Oregon have had the pleasure of listen-ing to Mr. Condon's most excellent Zeological lectures on "Ancient Oregon" but no one who has not visited him and examined his wagon loads of specimens, has any real idea of the indefatigable character of his researches, or of the lavish hand with which Nature has hidden away under the mountains, the records of her mighty handiwork, stretching through at least four epochs of myriads of ages each, reaching down from the time that this little mud ball was cooled off enough to develop or support the fauna and flora that gave it its first attraction, down to the uprising of the biped species. With what in-tense interest must the man of letters delve into this great library under ground to trace in "God's word" too deeply buried forkings to destroy or priests to mistranslate, misinterpret, and other-wise tamper with the history of the ages, back to the very dawn of the eocene tertiary? Let me caution your readers, however, not to be too cred-ulous in studying this book, which, like the Mor-mon bible, has been "dug up" by friend Condon and others, if not by Jo Smith. They might be led into the "dangerous belief" that the hippopota-mus, the elephant, enteledon, lion, as well as the palm tree and othertropical animals and plants, flourished in Oregon more than a million of years ago, whereas I read in a religious paper before me, printed in Chicago, and devoted to "Second Advent" principles, that this whole country had a tropical climate before the fall of Adam, about six thousand years ago. The editor assures us that Christ is about to return to reign in person, and that immediately after his advent the whole world will become warm again. Then the Es-quimaux will plant large orange orchards, the Laplanders will live on raisins mostly, while the Michiganders will probably be able to produce a pretty good crop of sweet potatoes. This is encouraging to people over here just now, as the "hard winter" has left them in a happy state of mind to receive theological dogmas that have any warmth connected with them; hence I find a goodly number of that faith hereabouts, the women having sealed their faith in the doctrine, by donning breeches.
Mr. Condon has no suitable building in which to keep his cabinet, and his salary of $1,000 a year is not half what he needs to enable him to prosecute his researches. It is a beggarly pit-tance, doled out by the Legislature, and the State will never do itself justice till it at least doubles his present pay.
At Baker City I examined an interesting cab-inet of specimens, collected by Mr. Virtue—con-sisting mostly of minerals. I there saw the jaw of what passes for a mastodon, taken out of a gold mine some sixty feet under ground. There for long ages the bones of this animal had reposed, in a bed of sparkling quartz and glittering gold. What monarch could desire a more splendid burial ? I incline to think this is the jaw bone of the animal Tom Moore sings of:
"The bone that seeks a home, Where wealth and grandeur shines, I like the gloomy gnome, That dwells in dark gold mines."
The journey from Umatilla to Kelton was made in nine days by stage. Rather slow time for this fast age, but the horses along the whole route were but just recovering from the epizootic—a complaint, by the way, which the people here in Michigan enjoyed in common with the horses. I do not think one horse in a thousand has been lost by this disease. At Sock Creek Station Col. Taggart and myself stopped over to visit the
GREAT SHOSHONE FALLS.
We chartered two cayuses which soon galloped over the nine mile course across the sage plains and brought us to the upper falls. Here half of Snake river slides down a precipitous, jagged plain of basalt, while the other half of the river, cut off from the eastern half by an island at the head of the falls, dashes down a perpendicular ledge, falling some eighty or a hundred feet into the chasm below. This is a fine waterfall, but eclipsed in grandeur by the great falls three miles below, where our cayuses soon landed us. This great fall is estimated to be from 180 to 210 feet. The roar can be heard several miles and the cloud of spray that hovers over it serves as a guide to travelers a long ways off. The fall is in fact composed of two falls, the upper one having much the appearance as to bight of the falls at Oregon City. A few rods below the whole river takes its last perpendicular plunge, apparently falling about three times as far as it does at the fall above. This lower fall is horse shoe shaped, and though the grandest of the kind I ever saw, Niagara in the far distance danced before me in imagination, and roared out in thunder tones its demands for homage as monarch of the worldof dashing, roaring waters. I couldn't get up much enthusiam over the waterfall or the beautiful rain bow that stood as a "promise" that I shouldn't be drowned if I wasn't careless enough to tumble in—or, if I was "born to be hung." But I did wonder, and wonder, how a salmon could run up a sheet of water falling perpendicularly, nearly 200 feet. The "natural man" would as soon have believed be could climb a lightning rod, or that Jonah swallowed the whale, instead of having been made an undigested meal of himself. But the fact is, he (the salmon, I mean, not Jonah) does jump the great Shoshone Falls. The proof is found in the myriads of these fish above the falls. This fact has somewhat washed off the jagged protuberances of my inclination to be a little skeptical about matters that seemed unrea-sonable, and to the subsequent pious train of thought I imperceptibly slid into, is owing per-haps in a great measure to my present disposition to believe almost any "fish story." Near these falls a lot of Chinamen were once engaged in dig-ging gold, and the remnants of their rude shanties, with here and there a few rags and a baker's oven in rains, is all that is left of their presence on Snake. The great Shoshone Falls, being off the line of travel, are seldom seen by the eye of the tourist, or resorted to by "learned men" or curiosity hunters. Our land lady at Rock Creek, however, assured us that a
MAN OF SCIENCE FROM OREGON
Had lately visited these falls in quest of fossils, geological specimens, botanical curiosities, and whatever else, added to a bottle of water taken from the river, and would render North America famous at the next World's Fair. She described this literary genius as having a fine squeaking voice; as carrying a pamphlet on "Oregon warclaims" in his hat; having the author's likeness on the outside and inside of the cover, and claim-ing to be a "leading editor in Oregon." She said he returned from the falls highly elated with his success, having gathered what he called "two rare specimens" but which she assured me were, in plain Eagiish, the one a dried buffalo chip, and the other a brick bat—whatever he might call them in Latia. I cannot imagine who this could have been. Could it have been the great Professor Agassiz?
I stepped off the cars at Brigham Station, Utah, this being the nearest point to the Soda Springs on Bear river, Idaho, variously estimated to be distant from Brigham some 80 or 100 miles. Here I heard discouraging accounts concerning the medical virtues of these springs and the accommo-dations for visitors. The cold rains, mixed with snow, that began to fall on us in the Goose Creek mountain country, still continued in this locality. I went five miles on my journey to Brigham City, a Mormon village of about 1,000. The horrible weather, with Mormon assurance that I was a | month too soon to expect good weather in the Bear river mountains, induced me to turn my course towards the Colorado Springs, some 70 miles from Denver. My stay among the Mormons gave mp a chance to question many of the "LatterDay Saint" females as to
MORMON WOMEN'S VIEWS OF POLYGAMY.
I find a much greater dissatisfaction than I found five years ago. The women almost univer-sally, especially the old wives, wear those woe-begone, gloomy countenances that make a little hell in every house where they are seen. I saw in one house two or three old wives, perhaps forty-five or forty eight years old, bending over wash-tubs, scouring tin, mopping floors, and slinging pots and kettles around, as only old, experienced matrons can. The young wife, apparently a fresh addition to the harem, sat in the parlor, tastily though cheaply clad, and busying herself in hem-ming a white apron. Ye gods ! Didn't I eye those old mothers in Israel, as they occasionally passed through the parlor and glanced at this white-aproned vestal ? Didn't I see written in unmistakable characters of livid blackness on their sorrowful faces what they thought of this intruder who had stolen the heart and affections of their old "Latter Day Saint" (?) lord, who was trying to "serve God" by getting half a doz-en women to serve him?
But then this is their religion. Their religion teaches them (so a shoemaker in Brigham City told me) that God had revealed to Brigham Young the startling fact that polygamy was necessary to enable the women to attain to a "Superior exalta-tion in Heaven." Women must degrade them-selves here to be exalted hereafter. Women being naturally religious, and anxious to "please God" at first set out with all the zeal of Bun-yac's Pilgrim to seek after the "Superior exalta-tion." But the march of improvement, that is rapidly melting down old theological icebergs, and cooling off some very hot places, has also left an occasional footprint in Utah. Women here are beginning to be "skeptical"—to doubt whether it really is the will of God that she suffer hell here to win heaven hereafter. The fact is, that Mormonism, like many other isms, is slowly weakening. They are already divided into several sects, are divided on polygamy, and have feuds in the congregation, and tear-shedding, scolding and hair-pulling in the household. I left Utah with my faith in polygamy, as the philosopher's stone, somewhat shaken, and I sent word to Brigham that he needn't make any preparation to "Seal" me till he heard from me again.
In reaching Cheyenne, the cold and stormy weather continued. The mountains were white with snow all around, and vegetation had hardly started. Here I heard of the wonderful springs in Michigan, and concluded to try them. I came near meeting with
AN ACCIDENT IN OMAHA,
But didn't. It was dark when the train reached this, the meanest and most univiting city between the two oceans. The ten human beings that got inside of that omnibus, which, for six bits in ad-vance was to take us to the hotel and return us to the cars in the morning, made too heavy a load for Omaha roads. The starboard fore wheel di-rectly over which I sat on the inside, dove nearly out of sight in a muddy hollow we had to pass. This capsized the craft, throwing me, on my back, where I was held fast by any amount of baggage which hugged my feet, and a large fleshy woman who was thrown down upon me from her seat opposite. The horses took fright, wheeled square to the left, broke the tongue of the four-wheeled fabric, and tried to run away. The men inside, instead of jumping out at the back door, as they should have done, sat stupidly motionless, (or stood, I couldn't see which,) the woman screamed, the driver yelled to somebody to "catch hold of them horses—whoa ! whoa !" the horses thumped the bus with their heels, which responded like a huge bass drum, or the Trojan horse to the hal-bert of Laocoon; while all this time, the fat girl I wished I'd "left behind me" was pressing the breath out of me with the weight of her charms, and gently whispering in my ear all sorts of apologies for being there. The danger of being smothered under crinoline or of being dragged to death by crazy, frightened horses, forcibly pre-sented itself, and I recollect the words of one of the Modoc Peace Commissioners, who, on being warned by Riddle's squaw that Jack would kill him, replied : "I don't believe God has brought me here with such an end in view." This pious idea might have consoled me if I hadn't just then called to mind the real "end" that God permitted that peace maker to come to. To avoid such an end myself, I pointed to the rear hole in the omnibus, and used some pretty strong language,which soon caused a general emptying of the in-side and released me from the affectionate em-braces of my lady love, who, as she informed me, weighed a hundred, eighty-two and a half pounds.
But this is long enough for one letter. To mor-row I will try to write again, and post you about these wonderful Michigan springs—two artesian wells. W. L. A.
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