The Role Of Alexander Ross Account Of The Fur Trade In The Pacific Northwest

1590 Words7 Pages

Alexander Ross’ Account of the Fur Trade In the Pacific Northwest Alexander Ross spent much of his adult life working in the Pacific Northwest in the fur trade for both the Pacific Fur Trade Company and later the Northwest Company. Ross played a pivotal role in the establishment of Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River for the Pacific Company. After the War of 1812 Ross witnessed the collapse of the Pacific Company and began to work for the Northwest Company where he continued to work for the next three decades. Ross’ account of the first three years with the Pacific Fur Company titled Adventures of the First Settlers on the Columbia River offers a no-nonsense, first hand account of the trials and misfortunes of the first settlers …show more content…

Such example can be seen in his discussion on the actions and demeanor of the captain of the Tonquin during the sea journey. Ross, describing his feelings towards Captain Thorn as being a “rankling hatred”, Ross deemed Captain Jonathan Thorn a cruel man. Citing the captain as saying he “would blow out the brains of the first man who dared to disobey his orders on board his own ship.” Thorn was so cruel in fact that Ross was one of eight men left behind during a short stop at the Falkland Islands when the Tonquin lifted anchor early at Thorn’s instructions and the men were only able to rejoin the ship after a member of the Pacific Company pulled a gun on the captain and forced him to turn …show more content…

Unlike many writers of the time documenting the events of the Northwest encounters with hostile natives are not livened up with extraordinary details in order to portray the White man beating back the savages of the are in order to establish civilization. Knowing the dangers they faced during their time working for the Pacific Company, Ross seemed to understand the idea that this was the Natives land and by commencing excursions inland they faced their fair share of danger. During a particularly dangerous moment in which Ross’ party of seven made an excursion to the North they came face to face with a hostile group of Native. When describing the event Ross does not use over-exhausting descriptions of the insurmountable odds and dangers the party faced in order to make himself and his colleagues look brave in the face of danger. Instead, he describes their retreat, “their forces were collecting fast; every moment's delay increased our danger; and, fearful of being surrounded, we were deliberating on a hasty retreat, when, fortunately, a friendly Indian happened to arrive, by means of whom we got into conversation with the others; and the result was, that they explained and cleared up the matter to our utmost

Open Document