was that of Mr. Robert Stuart, in the employ of John Jacob Astor. He was detailed to carry despatches from the mouth of the Columbia to New York, informing Mr. Astor of the condition of his venture on the remote shores of the Pacific. The mission entrusted to Mr. Stuart was filled with perils, and he was selected for the dangerous duty on account of his nerve and strength. He was a young man, and although he had never crossed the Rocky Mountains, he had already given proofs, on other perilous expeditions, of his competence for the new duty. His companions were Ben Jones and John Day, both Kentuckians, two Canadians, and some others who had become tired of the wild life, and had determined to go back to civilization.
They all left Astoria on the 29th of June, 1812, and reached the headwaters of the Platte, thence they travelled down the valley to its mouth, and embarked in boats for St. Louis.
When they reached the Snake River deserts, great sandy plains stretched out before them. Only occasionall
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