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with the route, their stock being in excellent condition. Captain McClanahan, who has been several times to California with stock by the South Pass route, says there is no comparison be. tween the routes ; that he would sooner pass five times from the Arkansas to Grand River, than pass through the Black Hills on the Laramie route once. There is now being commenced a settlement on the Arkansas River at the mouth of the Huerfano, at which place emigrants can also procure such necessaries as they may be in want of; also information as to the route, or guides if they wish. There is also a good ferry at the mouth of the Huerfano, and ferries will also be established during the coming summer on Grand and Green Rivers. There is also another great advantage that this route has over a more northern one, as emigrants can leave Missouri as late as the 1st August, and be in no danger of being stopped by snow. After reaching the Great Spanish trail in the valley of Green River, from thence to California there is never any snow, and the months of October and November are more pleasant to travellers, and better for stock, than the summer months.
I am, sir, respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
R. S. WOOTTON.
CAMELS, AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR HORSES, MULES, ETC.
During our journey across the continent, I took particular note of the country, with reference to its adaptation to the use of camels and dromedaries, and to ascertain whether these animals might be introduced with advantage on our extensive plains.
Having, by a residence of many years in Asia and Africa, become well acquainted with their qualities and powers of endurance, I am now convinced that they would be of inestimable value in traversing the dry and barren regions between the Colorado and the Sierra Nevada; and I am glad to see that the Secretary at War has, in his late report to Congress, asked for an appropriation for the purpose of importing a certain number, in order to test their usefulness.
I will now state a few facts which will show the valuable qualities that these animals possess, the manner in which they may be rendered serviceable, and the facility with which they might be domesticated on our continent.
In enumerating the qualities which render the camel and dromedary so well suited to our western waters, I will quote from several travellers, whose statements will corroborate my Own:
1. Their power to endure hunger and thirst.—Tavernier, the great Eastern traveller, states that his camels, in going from Aleppo to Ispahan, by the Great Desert, went nine days without drinking
The French missionary, Huc, who travelled in Tartary, Thibet, &c. in the years 1844, 45, 46, gives some interesting information in relation to this animal. Speaking of the Desert of Ortos, on the northern border of China, he says: “Every. where the waters are brackish, the soil arid, and covered with saline efflorescences. This sterility is very injurious to cattle; the camel, however, whose robust and hardy nature adapts
itself to the most barren regions, is a substitute with the Tartars for all other animals. The camel, which they with truth style the treasure of the desert,' can abstain from food and drink for fifteen days, and sometimes for a month. However poor the country, he always finds sufficient food to satisfy his hunger. In the most sterile plains, the herbs which other ani. mals will not touch, and even bushes and dry wood, will serve him for food.” In Barbary, they can remain five days without drinking during the summer when the heat is intolerable, and there is little or no herbage; but when there is grass, and particularly in spring, they require no water for three weeks.
2. Their strength, speed, and endurance.- No animal can compete with the camel for strength and endurance. The African traveller, Shaw, relates that on his journey to Mount Sinaï, which was over a very hot and stony region, though each of his camels carried seven quintals (784 pounds), he travelled ten, and sometimes fifteen hours a day, at the rate of three miles an hour.
Another traveller (F. A. Neale, Eight Years in Syria) states: "The Turcoman camel, a much finer animal than the Syrian, will carry, equally poised, two bales, weighing together half a ton.”
Huc remarks: “Although he costs so little to nourish, the camel can be properly appreciated in those countries only where he is in constant use. His ordinary load is from seven to eight hundred pounds, and with this burden he can travel about ten leagues a day."
In Barbary, they carry from 550 to 600 pounds, and travel forty miles a day.
3. The longevity of the camel.—The naturalist, Buffon, states that camels live from forty to fifty years. In Tunis, where I had daily opportunities of seeing them, they live fully fifty years. Mr. Huc says that they retain their vigor for many years, and if they are allowed a short period of rest in the spring, to pasture, they are of good service for fifty years.
The camel, therefore, possesses more useful qualities than any other animal subjected to the use of man. His strength is such that he can carry more than three mule loads, though he requires as little nourishment as the ass.
In Asia and Africa, the journeys of the caravans are often from two thousand to three thousand miles in length, during which they average from thirty to thirty-five miles a day.
They are remarkably docile and obedient to their masters; lie down to be loaded and unloaded ; at night sleep crouched in a circle around the encampment. They rarely stray away, nor are they, as mules, liable to be frightened; it would be difficult—nay, impossible—to stampede a caravan of camels. When turned out to pasture, they eat in an hour as much as serves them to ruminate the whole night, and to nourish them during twenty-four hours.
The female camel furnishes excellent milk longer than the cow, upon which the Arabs often subsist during their long journeys. Their hair, which is renewed annually, is more in request than the finest wool; the fleece weighs about ten pounds.
The dromedary possesses the same qualities as the camel, as regards abstemiousness, docility, &c., to which he adds much greater speed and endurance.
The dromedary is a much taller and finer-shaped animal than the camel. The Arabs assert that he can travel as far in one day as one of their best horses can in four. They are so hardy that they travel in the desert for eight or ten days at the rate of from one hundred and twenty-five to one hundred and fifty miles per day, during which time they require very little food or water. I saw a party of Arabs, mounted on dromedaries, arrive in Tunis in four days from Tripoli, a distance of six hundred miles.
In these journeys they do not bear heavy loads, but carry a man, with his arms and provisions, which are equivalent to about two hundred and fifty pounds.
General Yusuf, of the French army, travelled from Blidah, a town in the interior of Algeria, to the city of Algiers, in a carriage drawn by dromedaries. Though these animals had a few days before made a journey from Medeah to Boghar, a distance of one hundred and eighty miles, in twenty-four hours, the General drove them at the rate of ten miles the hour.
Huc remarks: “Those that are employed to carry dispatches are made to travel eighty leagues in a day; but they only carry a rider."
The same author observes: “When their fur is long, camels can endure the most severe frosts. Naturalists have stated that camels could not live in cold climates; they probably had reference to those of Arabia."
In Turkey in Europe, where the winters are very severe, camels are in common use at all seasons. They are also used in winter as well as summer, on the elevated steppes of Tartary as far north as 50°.