Hines, Voyage around the world

Rev. Gustavus Hines, in his “Voyage around the World” (Buffalo, NY: George H. Derby and Co., 1850), is at pains to inform his readers that he’s editing out all “jargons”, starting with the specialized lingo of sailors on the Lausanne taking a sizeable crew of early missionaries to Oregon in October of 1839.

Here’s his disclaimer:

hines 01

page 43

Nevertheless, in mid-August of 1840, Hines and fellow missionaries set out for the Umpqua country of southern Oregon, and his narrative of the events very strongly implies that “Chenook” (Chinuk Wawa) was the main channel of communication with Oregon Indigenous people.

Let me emphasize how remarkable this is — Chinook Jargon had only just creolized on the Columbia River (a sign of it that’s in his book is the grammaticalization of hayas- ‘Intensifier; very’ from hayas(h) ‘big’). And now it had already spread quite a distance south! This has everything to do with the fur trade, and specifically with the Hudson’s Bay Company.

jean baptiste gagnier

J-B Gagnier (image credit: Umpqua Valley Museums)

Prominent players in these scenes are HBC interpreter and (chief post) trader Jean-Baptiste Gagnier (“Goniea”) (b. 1801 or 1802) of HBC Fort Umpqua, and his chiefly-class Umpqua wife Angélique. The context was a southward “tour” by the missionaries to size up prospects for converting Indians…

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page 100

Another example:

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hines 05

page 101


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hines 07

pages 102-103

And this:

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pages 104-106

Plus this:

hines 13.PNG

hines 14

pages 106-107

There’s a very small amount of overt Chinuk Wawa, like the following in the upper Umpqua Valley:

hines 15

page 113

And, to the north and inland, this in Cayuse country:

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page 165

And this too from there:

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page 167

So, even though Hines only writes (let me see, < hias, masicha, tenas >) maybe three words of Chinuk Wawa, he’s still telling us plenty that’s of high interest in regard to the early vigor and usefulness of the pidgin!

Those interested in Grand Ronde history should know about this book. For instance, “Jo-Gray” makes appearances; I believe this is (Louis) Shangaretta.

A parting note on a separate topic: The online copy of this book that I consulted has a notation inside the front cover saying it’s “Confiscated property”, “Taken at Winton N[orth] C[arolina] July 28th 18__”. Could it have been the property of a Southern slave owner whose estate was occupied by Union troops in the Civil War? Books take fascinating paths sometimes…

confiscated property

What do you think?