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Notable Quotes From the Times: 

"But who are we in God's Name?  When we are proud, we call ourselves Americans: and in peaceable times we have always entertained the notion that previously to the surrender of any one of our rights, we should choose to have a little fighting-a few interchanges of blows at least."  (Editorial Missouri Gazette, April 30, 1813)  

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I had rather have the satisfaction of whipping a man that has wronged me than to have him punished ten times by the law....(Only) cowards and women take this satisfaction.”  Said by Charles Bent of Vigel who was suing him in Taos, Mexico as reported by Lavender in Bent’s Fort.  

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Hunt's brigade of Overland Astorians and a brigade from Manual Lisa's Missouri Fur Company spent some time in the Arikara Villages in the summer of 1811.  During this time many of Hunt's voyageurs and hunters gave in entirely to their sexual urges.  Many drew in advance their entire salaries. The lustiness aroused the wonder of the Arikara.  One chief is reported to have asked: "I was wondering" said he "whether you white people have any women amongst you."  I assured him in the affirmative. "Then" said he, "why is it that your people are so fond of our women, one might suppose they had never seen any before?"  (Journal of a Voyage up the River Missouri in 1811, H.M.Brackenridge) .  

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There is here a great majority of Scoundrels.”   Nathaniel Wyeth in a letter to Francis Ermatinger in 1833 regarding the character of the men at rendezvous in that year.

"it is like keeping a bag of fleas together to keep the men in this whiskey country.”  Nathaniel Wyeth regarding keeping his employees together and in readiness while waiting to set off for the 1834 Rendezvous from Independence (Reference).

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"My friend Denig had been for the past few days in such a state that it was impossible for him to freeze — he was too full of alcohol."  by Charles Larpenteur in Forty Years a Fur Trader, prior to setting out on a January trading mission amongst the Indians under bitter cold conditions.  

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"Look at me, see if I am poor, or my people either. The whites may get me at last, as you say, but I will have good times till then. You are fools to make yourselves slaves to a piece of fat bacon, some hard-tack, and a little sugar and coffee."  attributed by Charles Larpenteur to Sitting Bull, in Forty Years a Fur Trader

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"Come on to the Popoasie.  Plenty of whiskey and white women."  Note left by Moses Black Harris on the door of a rundown log structure on the Green River advertising the location of the 1838 Rendezvous on the Wind River. This might have been Harris’ idea of a joke as he strategically did not mention that the "white women" were all missionaries, married and appalled by the "sin" that they were being forced to witness. 

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"We lived altogether upon the present, and heeded not the future"  August 10, 1834, written by John Townsend while in the broader vicinity of Fort Hall. Townsend was a naturalist who accompanied Nathaniel Wyeth's expedition to the mountains.  .

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"In other words, that he was not fit to inherit the brains of a dying idiot." William Anderson (journal entry 1834) in referring to educated, knowledgeable men who refused to believe the reports of the enormous herds of buffalo which covered the western plains.  

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"The sight of danger is less hideous than the thought of it."  An observation by Osborne Russell in his journal as he considers the immense risks he took in climbing shear precipices in order to hunt mountain sheep merely for the sport.  

It is better to count ribs than tracks.”  According to Osborne Russell in his journal (1837) this is a saying amongst the “Mountaineers” meaning it is better to keep the horses secured and thin from lack of graze than to turn them loose to fatten and have them stolen by Indians.   

In the meantime the men about the Fort were doing nothing and I was lending them a hand…”   November 16, 1835 , Osborne Russell describing his time at Fort Hall after his engagement to the Columbia River Fishing and Trading Company had ended and he was awaiting the return of Nathaniel Wyeth for his official discharge and pay.  

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For ourselves we had plenty to eat, and were growing fat and uneasy”  An observation made by Zenas Leonard (reference) on  January 8, 1832 , regarding conditions at their winter encampment.  Leonard was part of a party of trappers working for Gant & Blackwell.  These men had chosen a valley well supplied with buffalo to winter in, however, after an accumulation of deep snow, there was no fodder or browse available for the horses.  The men were well fed while at the same time all but two of the horses died of starvation.  

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We left the place heaping curses on the head of the Blackfoot nation which neither injured them or alleviated our distress”  Recorded by Osborne Russell, August 1839 (Reference), while visiting their despoiled camp after being routed by a party of Blackfoot Indians in which the trappers lost nearly everything of value, but managed to escape with their scalps intact. (See also Attack on the Yellowstone).   

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"Darn the white diggins, while thar's buffler in the mountains."  Said by John L Hatcher when asked about moving back to the settlements.  Recorded by Lewis Garrard in 1847 in Wah-to-Yah and the Taos Trail.

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"there was no law in the mountains, only license."   Joe Meek in The  River of the West probably 1836.  The quote was used in the context of describing the attack or be attacked relation between Blackfeet Indians and the trappers.   

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"Pistols for two-coffee for one"  Lewis Gerrard describing his desire to have a duel with an Indian when unfavorable circumstances forced Gerrard into a terrible horse trade with an Indian.  (Wah-to-yah and the Taos Trail)

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The Indians are good at a bargain.  They are not easily overreached.  Upon one occasion a lady remarked [to fur trader Joseph Rolette] "Oh, Monsieur Rolette, I would not be engaged in the Indian trade; it seems to me a system of cheating the poor Indians."  "Let me tell you, madame," replied he, "it is not so easy a thing to cheat the Indians as you imagine.  I have tried it these twenty years, and have never succeeded!"  Juliette Kinzie in Wau-Bun; An Early Day in the North-West

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"A great waste, a wilderness unpeopled with any beings except wolves and wandering Indians.  We are to give money of which we have too little, for land which we already have too much"  The Boston Columbian Centennial editorializing on the Louisiana Purchase in Duncan, Lewis & Clark page 15.

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"I have just given to England a rival that will sooner or later humble her pride."  Napoleon, predicting the impact of the sale of the Louisiana territory to the United States. in Duncan, Lewis & Clark page 16.

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"Their culinary vessels are seldom washed or cleaned. The dog's tongue is the only dish-cloth known."  Alexander Ross in 1810 describing practices amongst the Chinook Indians.  (Reference)

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"if it war hell, it war a more agreeable climate than he had been in for some time."   During the winter of 1829-30 Joe Meek, a greenhorn that winter, had gotten separated from the main party of trappers.  Meek endured hardships from cold and hunger as he attempted to rejoin his companions while avoiding hostile Indians in the area.  During his wanderings Meek passed through the Yellowstone Park area, and saw various geysers, mudpots and other thermal features.  (Reference)

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“Indeed, I had rather have fifty drunken Indians in the fort, than five drunken Canadians.”  The above statement was made by Daniel Harmon (reference) in 1802.  

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