Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs

Contents:
Author: Ross Cox

Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs

Cox, Ross

[Ross Cox was an eyewitness to the end of the Astor company’s operations in the West, who arrived at Astoria with the American company’s brigade from up-country in 1812 to find officials there already negotiating its sale. His journal forms part of Up the Columbia for Furs.]

At Astoria, we found our friends in good health, but in a state of high excitement. In that short space of time, a total change had come over the place, and strangely enough, there seemed to be more Northwesters than Astorians milling in and out of the fort. What could have happened? Had a revolution taken place in the year we had been gone?

A few days before our arrival, McTavish and Joseph La Rocque of the Northwest Fur Company had appeared at the fort with two canoes manned by sixteen men. From them we learned for the first time that war between Great Britain and the United States had been declared the year before, and that the British blockade had shut off our supplies by sea.

This was a great blow to the Astorians. We could not operate without a supply line, so what was to be done? Very conveniently, the Northwesters had an answer for us. They offered to buy out Astor’s company and take all the furs on hand at a price agreed upon.

Our proprietors knew there was nothing else to do, so they entered into negotiations with the rival company. After a good many weeks, a bargain was made. The Northwesters handed over $80,500, and the Pacific Fur Company went out of business on the Columbia.

A British warship, the Racoon, arrived on the Columbia and took possession of Fort Astoria in the name of the king of England. A ceremony was held in which Captain Black with his officers and marines broke a bottle of wine on the flagstaff, hoisted the Union Jack, and rechristened the post Fort George.

At first, the Indians were inclined to be unfriendly to the British. When this fighting ship arrived, Chief Comcomly said that King George was going to take the Americans and make them all slaves. What would the Indians do now without their American friends who had treated them like good relations? The old chief was not convinced of his mistake until the sloop-of-war had sailed without taking any prisoners.

McTavish, the headman of the Northwesters, offered Astor’s traders a safe passage back to the States, if they chose to return. At the same time, he offered to all those who wanted to join, a place in the Northwest Company. Naturally, the Americans preferred to go home, but most of the others took advantage of the liberal offer, and stayed on in the service of the Northwesters.

Contents:

Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options


Title: Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options


Title: Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: Ross Cox, "Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs," Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs, ed. Cecil Pearl Dryden in Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1949), Original Sources, accessed August 14, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4B3Q46QXKB9Z5PF.

MLA: Cox, Ross. "Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs." Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs, edited by Cecil Pearl Dryden, in Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs, Caldwell, Idaho, Caxton Printers, 1949, Original Sources. 14 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4B3Q46QXKB9Z5PF.

Harvard: Cox, R, 'Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs' in Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs, ed. . cited in 1949, Account of the End of the Pacific Fur Company, up the Columbia for Furs, Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho. Original Sources, retrieved 14 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4B3Q46QXKB9Z5PF.