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CHAPTER VII.
THE GREAT WEST AND LORD SELKIRK'S
SETTLEMENTS.

During the stormy years of political strife The west, and war the exploration of the great plains and mountains of the far west was still going on.

Thompson In 1805 the North-West Company sent out and Fraser. two of its partners, David Thompson and Simon Fraser, with orders to make explorations in " the sea of mountains " near the Pacific, and to establish trading-posts for their company. In i8o8 Fraser made " one of the most notable and dangerous voyages ever attempted " down the river which now bears his name. This river forces its way through one of the deepest of the canyons cleaving the western mountains, and as their leader said, the voyagers had at times " to pass where no human being should venture." They followed the raging torrent down to an arm of the sea, where they fell in with so fierce a tribe of Indians that they were obliged to turn back ; and, strange to say. they made the return voyage up stream more quickly than the downward one.

A little later, in r8rt, David Thompson, who had previously made many adventurous journeys of exploration on foot, on horseback, or by canoe, succeeded in descending the mighty Columbia River. He had intended to establish a post at its mouth, but was disappointed to find an American company already in possession. In the following year he went to live in Lower Canada, where he spent two years in making a great map of the country he had been exploring.

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