These They Put In Their Hats, And
Thus Figured About Mackinaw, Assuming Airs Of Vast Importance, As
"Voyageurs" In A New Company, That Was To Eclipse The Northwest.
The Effect Was Complete.
A French Canadian is too vain and
mercurial a being to withstand the finery and ostentation of the
Numbers immediately pressed into the service. One must
have an ostrich plume; another, a white feather with a red end; a
third, a bunch of cock's tails. Thus all paraded about, in
vainglorious style, more delighted with the feathers in their
hats than with the money in their pockets; and considering
themselves fully equal to the boastful "men of the north."
While thus recruiting the number of rank and file, Mr. Hunt was
joined by a person whom he had invited, by letter, to engage as a
partner in the expedition. This was Mr. Ramsay Crooks, a young
man, a native of Scotland, who had served under the Northwest
Company, and been engaged in trading expeditions upon his
individual account, among the tribes of the Missouri. Mr. Hunt
knew him personally, and had conceived a high and merited opinion
of his judgment, enterprise, and integrity; he was rejoiced,
therefore, when the latter consented to accompany him. Mr.
Crooks, however, drew from experience a picture of the dangers to
which they would be subjected, and urged the importance of going
with a considerable force. In ascending the upper Missouri they
would have to pass through the country of the Sioux Indians, who
had manifested repeated hostility to the white traders, and
rendered their expeditions extremely perilous; firing upon them
from the river banks as they passed beneath in their boats, and
attacking them in their encampments.
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