By Robert F. Jones
The younger clerk recounts existence and manners within the components the place he lived and labored: the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, Russian Alaska, and Spanish dominions in California and Mexico.
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The livestock never contributed much Page 17 to the men's diet and they subsisted mainly on game and the yearly run of salmon and other fish from the river. 39 The neighboring Indians soon began to visit Astoria where their different ideas of propriety and property soon made them a nuisance, but a necessary one. The local tribe was Chinook, a people relatively experienced in trading with the vessels that had been calling along the coast since 1790. Its chief was Comcomly, in the view of the Astorians an especially crafty old villain who convinced the outlying tribes that they had to trade through him.
41. , pp. 235-37; Irving, Astoria, pp. 62, 72-79; Seton's description of the tragedy (see below, pp. 91-93), was a major source for Irving's rendering of it. See Wayne R. Kime, ''Alfred Seton's Journal: A Source for Irving's Tonquin Disaster Account,'' Oregon Historical Quarterly, 81, No. 4 (December 1970), 309-24. Myers, "Washington Irving, Fur Trade Chronicler," cites several other uses of the Seton journal or conversations with its author in the preparation of Astoria; see pp. 97, 144-46, 152.
21 One further point might be made about them. Moving from the journal to the later writing, one is struck by the very different style and even content. In the latter case, the style is much more self-conscious, with many more allusions to literary characters and sites and more elaborate sentence-structure; the writer is striving for effect, and it shows. In the journal, Seton generally used a simpler and clearer style; when he described something, it was done in an almost functional way as if he were writing a kind of field journal.
Astorian adventure: the journal of Alfred Seton, 1811-1815 by Robert F. Jones
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