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About The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 1, 1884)
THE WEST SHORE.
THE GREAT NORTHWEST.
Uy glancing lit n map of Nortli America the render
will olmervo that thero are iiuiihtouh HyHumiH of mountain
ranges, extending longitudinally ilirouh it, nnd parallel
with cither the Atlantic or Pacific const A little reflec
tion in unt assure every pli il h tli ivil mind that neither
I'lwiHM nor accident could have produced these phono,
ini'iia - no grand in h) ministry, ho mathematical in projior
lion. The fitness nml adaptation everywhere vmihlo
naturally suggest the thought that nothing short of In
finite Wisdom could have been the Master Workman.
The bare contemplation of the picture, which no mortal
can imitate or counterfeit, thrills the houI with awe and
woiilroiiH Hiililimity. Even the Chinaman, toiling uKn
th grade of the Northern Pacific, may experience, in n
diluted form, these houI-huInIiuiik emotioiiH; liut ho can
no more read the record of the Infinite, sculptured in the
rocks, than he can translate the cuneiform inscriptions
found amid the rums of Itnbylon.
To rescue man from savagoism the light of Hcienco has
dawned iiK)ii him, even in the far away Occident, nml ho
in now beginning to interpret those sublime hieroglyphics
which Nature has inscribed upon every mountain, written
in every vale, and imbedded in every river. Superstition
may cavil; bigotry may bcoIT; persecution may threaten;
the ghost of the rack, the dungeon and tho burning
(take may shake their gory locks, but tho day has passed
when science. rai a throttled for uttering truths that
seem at variance with the teachings of n dark ago.
'I'l "intain ranges of North America nro tho monu
ments and great exclamation oints of tho history of tho
formation of our continent. Where the Atlantic now
t.isses its restliKS billows there was once a continent
M-rlwtps the "Atlantis" of Plato. Where North America,
like a young giant, stretches in the sublimity of disturbed
rc'sc, there was once a mighty ocean. On the ancient
continent - the sunken Atlantis - there were systems of
mountains; from them rivers flowed into this ancient
ocean, carrying down sand, soil and other debris. X,,iure
was then laying the foundation of our continent How
sublime the conception! Hw gr.md the enterprise'
How insignilicant the proudest achievements of man must
"er apHMir in contrast! Kven the pyramids, and the
jrrw.1 Ch.ncHO wall, and IW.ylon, ",,e glory of kingdoms,
the l.cty of VM' excellency," dwindle into nothing
tie , hMi e.,,pr,, ith the building of a continent!
What art' now ranges of mountains were onco "banks"
at the U,ttoni of the o,.., similar to the Mlu f xPW
Toui , l,,nd. here w niflHh , fm, .
tolled by, m 10lM, (ruiIilll0Ilt krn J
jnountams) rm, Ms.ve tho U of the waters. Th ,
hc Unks wer. ,neta,norph, into a system of ihImulSi
as the catarp.lW ,s chang.sl into . bnttcrtly. Tho nl
h continuing, another metamorphosisthe yj.
" just liko animate life, KttaM :,, )
w.W,U.fU.rwa.UUirnfMuit. What' LlSil
of years were necessary for the gestation of our continent?
Nature had an eternity of time in which to work, and
there was no occasion for her to hurry.
The first-born was thnt portion of North America
lying east of the Rocky Mountains, while the'Pacific
slopo was still being developed at the bottom of the
ocean. How natural, then, that the upheaval of the
Atlantic coast should bo in a line parallel with the Alle
gheny range of mountains. Age on age elapsed, and
groat Nature was still in labor. At last, while the earth
shook with the convulsions of parturition, the Rocky
Mountains were born out of the troubled waters, wheeling
into lino nnd forming the eastern boundary of the heaving
Pacific. As yet the Sierra Nevada and Cascade systems
were but "banks," the abode of fishes. In process of
time these ranges were born, and the Coast Range system
rose to the dignity of " banks." These, at last, appeared
above the waters, the youngest born from the vasty deep.
Reasoning by analogy, may we not conclude that,
away in tho Pacific Ocenn, there is another " bank," either
forming or in process of formation? Off Salmon River
(so near the shore that the Indians venture out in their
canoes) can bo caught a kind of golden fish, even larger
than the cod of Newfoundland. On the beach north of
Nestucca Bay, Tillamook County, I have found dead cod
fish. Surely the "bank" cannot be many miles away.
Let tho enterprising fisherman explore for it, and, when
found, I see no reason why it should not prove as great a
bonanza as those on the eastern coast, which "perfidious
All (ion " claims, and which has cost our Government mill
ions of dollars. A single fact in corroboration of the
theory that there is a bank near the eastern shore of the
Pacifio seems worthy of attention.
A few years since the late Jeremiah Lamson, Esq.,
father of Captain Lamson, Clerk of the United States
District Court, here in Portland, settled just north of
Sand Capo, Tillamook County, building his house in a
gap of tho lofty' cliffs, but still high above the highest
tide. One morning, on glancing seaward, he was aston
ished to discover, several miles from land, the approach
of what appeared to be a black wall of water, nearly per
ifollicular, which, as it neared the beach, he judged to
1 fifty feet high. It broke with a tremendous roar, and
came up into his house to the depth of a foot, but imme
diately receded, leaving a line of foam and driftwood to
mark tho boundary of its encroachment I am positive
alK.ut tins matter, for I entered land adjoining Mr. Lam
son s place and lived there nearly two years. The evi
dences are still visible, all along the shore, in a line of
driftwood, that a tidal wave must have recently broken
far inland nnd high upon the cliffs.
I intend this paper merely as introductory to a series
in reference to the Northwest, in which I shall endeavor
w bo omlmlhsh and Donnlnri n;
1 ft , r "v uwvym,u mill; IU V UIUUICB
shall prove interesting to the general reader. Most scien
Mo writer, are so dry and technical that their papers are
eldom read outeide of the charmed circle of scientific
"iqmrers. This style I shall strive to avoid.
W. H. Chaney.