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"Ani  3?fare  to  tljc  Ijfarta  at  rrat".  .  • 

From   Oitelius    loSo.   ami   Hakliivt.    1589 






















CAPTAIN    JAMES    COOK     7.'! 

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en  M'TKi:  x'lTi 

CAI'TAi'n    GEORGE    VANCOUVER    157 



r]]\VTEU    X 

SIMON    ERASER     23;"> 




NEW    CALEDONIA      283 

THE  Hudson's  bay  company  327 














MEDICAL     593 










Western  Hemisphere  of  Typus  Orbis  Terrarum  Frontispiece 

Giovanni  Martines,  After  1560.    Chart  One  of  Atlas 7 1 

Prom  the  Globe  of  F.  Sohoner.   1520  3 

Manuscript  Map  of  1530  and  Map  of  P.  de  Furlani,  1560 7 

Map  of  Euysch  in  edition  of  Ptolemaeus,  1508,  and  Frobisher  map,  1578 8 

Maps  by  Judaeis,  1593;  Herrera,  1600;  Sanson,  1691,  and  Bcbaim,  1492. 9 

Eastern  Asia  after  Bering,  1728 10 

Maps  by  Bellin  and  Buache,  1748,  1750.  1775 11 

Maps  by  Jefferys,  1758  and  1764 12 

Russian  Maps,  1 75S  and  1775 13 

General  Map  of  Discoveries  of  Admiral  De  Fonte 15 

French  Map  of  North  America,  circa,  1775 17 

Title  Page  of  Purchas,  His  Pilgrimea 23 

Early  Map  of  Vancouver  Island  and  Entrance  to  the  Strait  of  Juan  De  Fuca 33 

Vista  De  Lo  Interior  De  La  Gala  De  Los  Amigos  en  La  Entrada  De  Nutka 41 

First  Spanish  Chart  of  Strait  of  Juan  De  Fuca,  1790 44 

Map  of  North  America,  circa,  1625 49 

Map  of  Western  North  America,  circa,  1775 73 

H.  M.  S.  Resolution 76 

Autograph  Letter  by  Captain  Cook   78 

General  Map  of  the  Discoveries  of  Admiral  De  Fonte  and  Other  Navigators  by  De  I'Isle, 

1752    80 

A  Man  and  Woman  of  Nootka  Sound  84 

Mount  St.  Elias  and  the  New  Eddystone  94 

Birthplace  of  Captain  Cook ;  Death  of  Captain  Cook 105 

Alexander  Dalrymplc   116 

Maps,  Port  Etches  and  Rose 's  Harbour 118 

Track  of  the  Snow   Experiment    119 

Mearcs '  Long  Boat  Entering  the  Strait  of  Juan  De  Fuca 121 

Maps  of  N.  W.  Coast  of  America,  by  Capts.  Robert  Funter  and  Janips  Hanna 122 

Sketch  of  RaftCove  in  Queen  Charlotte  Sound,  by  Robert  Funter 125 

Callieum  and  Maquilla   128 

Discovery  on  the  ■Rocks  in  Queen  Charlotte's  Sound;  Launch  of  the  A^or<^  West  America.  .  131 


Signatures  of  early  Captain-Traders 133 

View  of  Spanish  Fort,  Nootka  Sound,  from  Contemporary  Drawing,  1793 135 

Spanish  Insult  to  British  Flag,  1789 144 

Captain  George  Vancouver,  K.  N 157 

Captain  Gray  in  the  Straits  of  Juan  De  Fuca ;  at  the  Falkland  Islands;  In  Winter  Quarters 

at  Clayoquot ;  at  Whampoa  160 

The  Ships  Columbia,  Washington,  Hancock 16:^ 

Falls  at  Indian  River  Post,  Burrard  Inlet Iti4 

Alexandro  Malaspina    166 

Spanish  Ship  Atrevida  on  Northwest  Coast 167 

E.  Haswell,  C.  Bulfinch,  Jos.  Banxell 169 

Galiano  Island    ^ '  1 

The  Country  of  New  Albion  1'8 

Friendly  Cove  and  Salmon  Cove   l&O 

Macuina  and  Tetaeu  182 

Maps,  Milbank  's  Sound  and  Friendly  Cove  1S4 

A  View  of  the  Habitations  in  Nootka  Sound 190 

Letter  by  George  Vancouver   192 

Celebration  in  Honour  of  the  Coming  of  Age  of  the  Daughter  of  the  Famous  Nootka  Chief, 

Maquinna,   about   1792    I'*' 

Petersham  Churchyard,  Surrey,  England 19'* 

Captain  George  Vancouver's  Tomb  and  Memorial  Tablet 19' 

Simon  Frascr  of  the  NorthWest  Company  235 

Port  Grahame,  Hudson  's  Bay  Co.  Pctst  on  Finlay  Kiver 283 

Fort  McLeod,    founded    1805 -^^ 

Hudson  's  Bay  Co.  's  Post,  near  Fraser  Lake,  founded  1 806 287 

John  Tod ^^^ 

Duiivegan,  Hudson  's  Bay  Post,  Peace  River;  Episcopal  Church  Mission  at  Lesser  Slave  Lake  493 

The  Home  of  Dr.  W.  F.  Tolmie *^*^ 

Fort  Victoria *5' 

Wharf  Street,  1867,  and  Fort  Street   '*''^ 

The  Prison,  Victoria  ' 

Cheslakees'  Village  in  Johnstone's  Straits  and  Village  of  the  Friendly  Indians -19.? 

Richard  Blanshard,  Arthur  E.  Kennedy,  Sir  Anthony  Musgrave,  Sir  James  Douglas 510 

First  School  on  Vancouver  Island 

First  Legislative  Council  of  Vancouver  Island,  1856 

Originally  Supreme  Court,  Later  First  Museum 

View  of  Victoria  in  1860 '^ 

Bird  's-Eye  View  of  Victoria  in  1S78 

Early  Views.  Government  Street,  Victoria 

Old  Views  of  Victoria  

Old  A'iew  of  James  Bridge,  Victoria "* 


Type8  of  British  Columbia  Indians 57.'i 

Indian  Fish  Caches  580 

The  Inside  of  a  House  iu  Nootka  Sound 582 

Missions  and  Their  Congregations    584 

Kincolith  Church  and  School;  Nishka  Chiefs  and  Leaders 587 

Section  of  Kincolith ;  The  New  Mode  of  Travel,  Archdeacon  CoUison  's  Launch,  The  Dawn, 

arrived  in  Harbour '. 589 

Progress  in  Education   G23 

Angela  College,  Victoria;  Administration  Bifilding,  Virtoria  620 

University  Site  Commissioners,   1910    634 

Vancouver    643 

Vancouver,  City,  Council  Meeting  After  the  Fire  of  June  13,  1886,  and  J.  W.  Home's  Real 

Estate  Office  645 

Hastings  Street  and  Granville  Street,  Vancouver   646 

North  Vancouver  from  Ferry  Wharf  and  Vancouver  Harbour  and  Shipping 647 

Twin  Falls,  Yoho  Valley;  Siwash  Eoek,  English  Bay,  Vancouver 649 



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Its  present  resources  and  future  possibilities. 
Victoria   (Govt.)    1893. 

The  Pacific  province,  resources,  climate,  etc. 
(C.  P.  Ry.  Co.)   1893. 

The  commercial.  B.  C.  supplement,  ill. 
Winnipeg,   1893. 

Reports  of  provincial  archivist.  Victoria, 
B.  C. 

Horticultural  Society  and  Fruit  Growers' 
Association  of  B.  C.  annual  reports.  Van- 

Memorial  in  connection  with  the  Oraineca 
road   petition.     N.   p.,   N.   D. 

Public  documents,  acts,  ordinances  and  proc- 
lamations, consolidated  statutes,  correspond- 
ence on  the  custom  stations  between  Vic- 
toria and  Kootenay,  expenditure,  Indian 
land  question,  jour,  of  legis.  assembly,  jour, 
of  leg.  council,  lands  and  works,  list  of 
voters,  mmes  reports,  overland  coach  road, 
papers  relating  to  affairs,  public  schools, 
registrar  of  births,  etc.,  sessional  papers, 

Bills  of  the   legislative   assembly. 

Supreme  court  rules. 

Votes  and   proceedings. 

Dept.  of  education.  Manual  of  school  law 
and  regulations  in  B.  C.  Victoria,  J893 
to  date. 

Dept.  of  mines.  The  days  of  old  and  days  of 
gold  in  B.  C.     Victoria,  1912. 

Milling  and  Mining  Company,  prospectus. 
Victoria,   1878. 

Mining  Stock  Board  Constitution.  Victoria, 

British  Columbia  Archives. 

Colony   of   British    Columbia,    1858-1871    (in- 
cluding   Vancouver   Island    after    1866). 
Proclamations    and    ordinances,    1858-1864. 

I   vol. 
Circular   despatches  from   Downing   Street, 

1852-1868.     3   vols. 
Despatches  from  the  secretary  of  state  for 

the   colonies,   1866-1871.     5   vols. 
Despatches    from    the    secretary    of    state, 
Ottawa,  1870-1871.     I  vol. 
Legislative   Council. 

Minutes,   1859-1871.     i   vol. 
Journal,   1864-1871.     2  vols. 
Messages    from    governor,     1864-1871.      2 

Letters,  1860-1872.     2  vols. 
Collector  of  Customs. 

Letters,    1859-1870.      1    vol. 
Naval   Officers. 

Letters,  1859-1871.     1  vol. 
Lands  and  works. 

Cash-books,    correspondence,    indexes,    etc., 
1858-1873.     9  vols. 
Departmental  letters. 

Governor,  1859-1870.     i  vol. 
Secretary,   1861-1872.     2  vols. 
Miscellaneous,  1858-1873.    10  vols. 
Indexes,   etc. 
Province  of  British   Columbia,   1871 — 

Despatches   to   the   secretary   of   state,   Ot- 
tawa, 1871-1874.    4  vols. 
Despatches    from    the    secretary    of    state, 
Ottawa,  1871-1892.     18  vols. 
Executive  Council. 

Memoranda    of    proceedings,    Nov.,    1871, 

Apr.,  1872. 
Minutes    relating    to    trouble    on     Skeena 
River.  1888. 
.Miscellaneous   letters,    1874-1894.      7   vols. 
•Miscellaneous    letters,     local,     1871-1881.      2 

Miscellaneous    letters,    foreign,    1871-1881.      2 

Colony  of  Vancouver  Island,   1849-1866. 

Despatches  to  the  secretary  of  state  for  the 

colonies,  1849-1864.     5  vols. 
Despatches  from  the  secretary  of  state  for 
the    colonies,     1852-1857,     1862-1866.       7 
Miscellaneous,    letter-books,    1850-1866.      7 



Miscellaneous  general  letter-books,  1864- 
1866.     2  vols. 

Private  official  letter-book,  1859-1864.  i 

Letters  to  Hudson's  Bay  Co.,  1850-1855. 

Correspondence  with  naval  officers  (Gov. 
Douglas).     I  vol. 

Proclamations,  1853-1858.     i  vol. 

Messages,   replies   to   addresses,    1856-1863. 
Legislative  Council. 

Minutes,  1851-1861  (contain  references  to 
San  Juan  Island,  Indian  wars  in  Wash- 
ington, etc.),  1864-1866.     3  vols. 

Journals,  1863-1866.     i  vol. 
House  of  Assembly. 

Minutes,  1856-1858,  1860-1866.     3  vols. 

Journals,   1861-1863.     i   ^'ol- 

Bills,  amendments,  etc.,  1861-1865.     '  vol. 

Committee  on  supply,  minutes,  1860-1866. 
I  vol. 

Select  committees,  reports,  1858-1865.  i 

Acts,  proclamations,  etc.,  1860-1863.     i  vol. 

Messages,  returns  to  addresses,  etc.,  1856- 
1860,  1864-1866.     2  vols. 

Correspondence,   1856-1864.     2   vols. 

Letter-book,  1859-1864.     i  vol. 
Lighthouse  Board. 

i;,spondence,  1863-1869.     i  vol. 
Historical  .Manuscripts. 

Journal  of  the  Hope,  Capt.  Joseph  Ingra- 
ham,  Boston,  to  the  northwest  coast  of 
America,  1790-1792.  (Transcript  orig- 
inal is  in  the  library  of  congress,  divi- 
sion of  manuscripts). 
Nootka   Sound   Controversy. 

Transcripts  (many  from  the  British  Pub- 
lic Record  Office),   1790-1793. 

Correspondence  of  Don  Juan  de  la  Bodega 
y  Quadra,  Robert  Gray,  Joseph  Ingra- 
ham,  Lieut.  John  Meares,  Capt.  George 
Vancouver,  Don  Juan  de  Viana,  Robert 
Duffin,  Evan  Nepean,  Grenville,  etc., 
petitions,  memoranda  of  information  re- 
specting American  vessels. 
Journal  of  John  Stuart.     Dec.  20,  1805 — Feb. 

28,  1806. 
Papers  of  Simon  Fraser. 

Journals,  Apr.  12 — July  18,  1806  (original 
manuscript),  May  30 — June  10,  1808; 
letters  from  the  Rocky  mountains,  ."Vug. 
I,  1806 — Feb.  10,  1807  (copied  from  the 
Academy  of  Pacific  Coast  History)  ; 
three  letters  to  James  McDougal,  1806- 
1807;  letter  to  John  Stuart,  Feb.  1,  1807. 

Journals  and  correspondence  of  John  Mc- 
Leod,  Sr.,  1812-1844. 

Journal   kept   by  Dixey   Wildes  on   board 
the  Paragon,  Jan.,   1819 — May   i,   18201 
McNeil's  V'oyages. 

Journal  of  a  voyage  from  Oahu  toward 
Nantucket  in  the  Golden  Farmer,  1827- 
1828;  journal  of  a  voyage  from  Bahia 
to  the  coast  of  Africa  on  board  the  ship 
Burton  of  Boston,  1828-1830. 

Letters  to  Edward  Ermatinger  from  Archi- 
bald  McDonald   and  John   Work,   1828- 
Hudson's  Bay  Company. 

Account  of  sales  of  goods  shipped  on  the 
Llama   at   San   Francisco,   1834. 

"Skin  Book"  of  the  steamer  Beaver  and 
the  brig  Llama,  1836-1839. 

Letter-book  of  W.  H.  McNeil,  Nesqually, 
Sitka  and  Stikeen,  1841-1845. 

Letter-book  of  W.  H.  McNeil,  Fort  Simp- 
son, 1851-1855. 

Letter-book    of    H.    Moffat,    Fort    Rupert, 
Fort  Simpson,  and  Kamloops,  1857-1867. 
Papers  of  James  Douglas. 

Diary  of  a  journey  to  Norway  House,  1835. 

Journal,   Apr.   22,   1840-Jan.   23,   1841. 

Establishment  of  servants,  Columbia  dis- 
trict, Oct.,   1839. 

Continuation    of    a   voyage   to   Sitka,    1841- 


Letters,  July  13,  1840-Mar.  16,  1867. 

Journal  of  Thompson's  River  Post  (Kam- 
loops), Aug.  3,  1841  to  Dec.  14,  1843, 
kept  by  John  Tod. 

Reports  upon  Oregon  territory  and  north- 
west America,  made  by  George  Simpson 
to  Sir  John  Pelly,  governor  of  the  Hud- 
son's Bay  Company,  Nov.  25,  1841,  Mar. 
10,  1842. 

Cowlitz,     memorandum     book,     1841-1843, 
and  log-book,  1843-1844. 
Puget  Sound  Agricultural  Company. 

Transcripts  of  papers  relating  to  the  af- 
fairs of  the  company;  prospectus;  list  of 
shareholders;  memorandum  relating  to 
the  Cowlitz  farm,  by  A.  C.  Anderson 
(1841,  3  pages)  ;  judgement  of  supreme 
court  of  Washington  territory  in  the 
case  of  Puget  Sound  Agric.  Co.  vs.  Pierce 
county  (Jan.  17,  1862)  ;  papers  relating 
to  Nesqually  and  Cowlitz  claims;  ac- 
count of  Frank  Clarke  with  the  com- 
pany (1865)  ;  origin  of  the  Puget  Sound 
.Agric.  Co.,  by  A.  C.  Anderson  (1865); 
agreement  between  the  company  and  the 
U.  S.   (June  20,  1867). 



See  the  published  evidence,  arguments, 
memorials,  documents,  etc.,  presented  to 
the  British  and  American  joint  commis- 
sion for  the  settlement  of  the  claims  of 
Hudson's  Bay  and  Puget  Sound  Agri- 
cultural Companies,  printed  in  14  parts 
(Montreal  parts  2-7,  i+,  1868);  (Wash- 
ington, parts  I,  8-13,  1865-1868). 
Papers   and   letters   relating   to  the   Oregon 

territory  and  boundary,  18+2-1845. 
Papers  relating  to  the  expedition  of  Lieu- 
tenants Henry  I.  Warre  and  M.  Vava- 
sour to  the  Oregon  territory,   1844-1846. 
Correspondence  of  William  Fraser  Tolmie 
with  John   McLoughlin,   James   Douglas, 
Peter    Skene    Ogden    and    others,    1844- 
Establishment  of   Fort  Yukon. 

Letter  of  84  pages  from  Alexander  H. 
Murray  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company 
to  Murdo  McPherson  at  Fort  Simpson ; 
contains  account  of  his  journey  from 
Peel's  river  to  the  Yukon,  June  11-25, 
1847,  record  of  temperatures  at  Fort 
Yukon,  July,  1847 — May,  1848,  and  pen 
and  ink  sketches  of  Fort  McPherson,  Fort 
Yukon  (with  plan),  Indians,  etc. 
Blanshard   Despatches. 

Despatches  from  Richard  Blanshard,  gov- 
ernor of  the  colony  of  Vancouver 
Island  to  the  secretary  of  state  for  the 
colonies,  Dec.  26,  1849 — Aug.  30,  185 1, 
and  despatches  to  Blanshard  from  the 
secretary  of  state,  1849-1850. 
Indian  war  of  1855-1856  in  Washington 
and  Oregon,  by  Col.  Granville  O.  Hal- 
ler,  U.  S.  A. 
Diary    of    Augustus    Pemberton,    Jan.    15, 

1856— Aug.  3,  185S. 
Reminiscences  of  boundary  survey  by  Rob- 
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Vancouver  Island  Exploring  Expedition  Rec- 
ord of  Exploration  of  Vancouver   Island 
by     expedition     under     Robert     Brown, 
June  7-20,  1864. 
History   of   Northwest   Coast,   by    Alexander 
C.  Anderson. 
Transcript    of    manuscript    in    academy    of 
Pacific  Coast  History,  132  pp. 
Pioneer    reminiscences   of   Robert    Holloway, 
Charles  Holtz,  John  Mclvor,  A.  W.  Rog- 
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British  North  American  provinces,  correspond- 
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Brock    (R.  W.).     See  geological  survey,   Can- 
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Selwyn  A.  R.  C.  reports  of  progress,  etc.; 
immigration   anil   colonization;   inland   rev- 
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and    Red    river   settlement;    lights;    marine 
and     fisheries;     message     relative     to    the 
terms  of  union;    meteorological   magnetic; 
militia;    navigable    streams;    northwest 
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Geographic   Board  of  Canada. 
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Canada.      Dept.   of    marine    and    fisheries,    port 

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XXI 1 


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Bancroft   (H.  H.). 

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Ellis    (H.). 


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Hargrave   (J.  J.). 

Hearne    (S.). 


Kane   (P.). 

Laut   (A.  C). 

McLean    (J.). 

McLeod   (M.). 

Martin  (R.  M.). 

Morice    (A.   G.). 

Murray   (A.  H.). 

Oldmixon    (J.). 

Reed    (C.  B.). 

Robson    (J.). 

Ross    (A.). 

Simpson    (Sir  G.). 

Willson   (Beckles). 



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Wrong  (Prof.  G.  M.)  and  H.  H.  Langton. 
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(Southern    Workman,    Vol.    XLI,    pp.   473- 


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The  Colony  of  Vancouver  Island,  constituted  in  1849,  was  the 
first  British  Colony  to  be  formally  established  in  the  northwestern 
region  of  North  America.  It  was  not  until  1858  that  British  Colum- 
bia became  a  geographical  expression.  In  that  year  the  Crown 
Colony  of  British  Columbia  was  called  into  being  by  act  of  the  Im- 
perial Parliament,  although  its  northern  boundary  as  it  exists  today 
was  not  so  defined  until  1863.  The  new  colony  in  the  North  Pacific 
was  formed  out  of  the  territory  hitherto  loosely  called  New  Cale- 
donia, which  term  was  applied  generally,  both  before  and  after  the 
Oregon  Treaty  of  1846,  to  the  country  lying  to  the  north  of  the  forty- 
ninth  parallel.  The  district  of  New  Caledonia,  however,  was  not 
really  so  extensive  as  the  preamble  of  the  Act  of  1858  might  lead  one 
to  imagine,  for  it  can  scarcely  be  claimed  that  it  extended  far  bevond 
the  limits  assigned  by  the  Reverend  A.  G.  Morice,  who  defines  the 
territory  as  that  vast  tract  of  land  "lying  between  the  Coast  Range 
and  the  Rocky  Mountains,  from  51°  30'  to  57°  of  latitude  north." 
The  central  interior  was  named  New  Caledonia  by  Simon  Fraser,  of 
the  North-West  Company  of  Montreal,  who  built  Fort  St.  James  at 
the  outlet  of  Stuart  Lake  in  1806. 

Capt.  George  Vancouver  in  his  famous  survey  of  the  western 
seaboard  of  North  America  named  the  coasts  he  visited  in  the  years 
1792  and  1793  New  Georgia,  New  Hanover  and  New  Cornwall, 
but  these  titles  scarcely  survived  the  explorer.  At  the  same  time 
Vancouver  gave  the  name  of  "Quadra  and  Vancouver"  to  the  large 
island  which  guards  the  continental  shore  between  parallels  forty- 
eight  and  fifty.  Two  centuries  before  Capt.  James  Cook  sailed  on 
his  third  and  last  voyage  to  the  Pacific  Ocean,  Sir  Francis  Drake,  of 
the  Golden  Hynde,  had  given  the  name  New  Albion  to  the  region 
of  Northern  California,  a  title  which  had  a  vogue  in  many  successive 
generations  of  cartographers.    The  Spaniard,  on  the  other  hand,  did 

Vol  I— 1 


not  divide  the  country  into  districts,  he  being  content  to  designate  the 
whole  western  seaboard  of  North  America  as  "The  Californias." 

Although  the  country  now  known  as  British  Columbia  was  not 
so  named  until  1858,  nor  its  boundaries  finally  fixed  until  1863,  the 
history  of  the  land  reaches  back  into  a  far  earlier  period  of  dis- 
covery and  exploration,  when  at  least  three  great  European  powers 
were  rivals  in  that  virgin  field,  and  farther  back  again  into  the  pre- 
historic period  when  the  aboriginal  tribes  held  undisputed  sway  in 
and  over  the  whole  of  it.  Great  Britain,  Spain,  and  Russia  all  ex- 
hibited a  keen  interest  in  the  distant  and  unknown  region  of  North- 
western America  concerning  which  conjecture  was  rife.  Each  of 
these  nations,  in  fact,  sought  to  establish  sovereign  jurisdiction  in 
that  quarter.  Later  the  situation  was  complicated  by  the  efforts  of 
the  young  American  nation  to  extend  its  territory  westward  to  the 
Pacific  Ocean. 

The  political  boundaries  of  the  territories  of  Northwestern 
America  are  the  result  of  a  process  of  elimination  and  evolution, 
or  of  progressive  geographical  discoveries,  in  the  course  of  which 
Spain  and  Russia  relinquished  their  claims,  leaving  the  field  to  Great 
Britain  and  the  United  States  of  America.  The  rival  claims  of  Great 
Britain  and  the  United  States  gave  rise  to  a  long  and  bitter  contro- 
versy which  was  not  laid  at  rest  until  the  Treaty  of  1846  settled  the 
Oregon  boundary  question.  It  is  because  the  early  history  of  the 
territory  now  known  as  the  Province  of  British  Columbia  is  fraught 
with  international  jealousies,  as  well  as  because  it  is  concerned  with 
the  brilliant  efforts  of  the  navigator  and  the  explorer,  that  it  offers 
a  peculiarly  inviting  field  to  the  student  and  to  the  historian.  The 
exploration  of  the  northwest  coast  of  North  America  culminated  in 
a  series  of  noble  efiforts  no  less  worthy  of  admiration  than  the  essays 
of  European  navigators  on  the  eastern  shores  of  the  continent.  The 
search  for  a  broad  and  safe  channel  leading  to  the  Orient,  the  dream 
of  generations  of  navigators,  melted  into  thin  air  with  the  charting 
of  this  coast. 

The  history  of  geographical  discoverv  throughout  the  world  is 
one  of  absorbing  interest,  for  the  making  of  it  is  sealed  with  the  in- 
domitable heroism  of  the  explorer,  who  laboured  in  the  face  of 
untold  difficulties  to  establish  an  accepted  theory,  or  to  prove  its 
incorrectness.  The  slow  and  painful  processes  by  which  the  true  con- 
figuration of  the  earth  has  been  established  present  all  the  features  of 

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a  long  drawn  out  drama,  in  the  course  of  which  many  strange  and 
fascinating  and  cruel  and  repellent  scenes  are  enacted.  The  curtain 
was  rung  up  in  the  dim  dawn  of  civilization  when  the  primitive  pro- 
genitors of  the  nations  of  today  began  their  migrations  towards  the 
setting  sun,  for  these  early  tribal  movements  seem  to  have  taken 
their  course  from  the  diurnal  journey  of  that  heavenly  body  from 
east  to  west.  The  curtain  will  not  drop  upon  the  last  act  of  this  age- 
long drama,  the  dramatis  personae  for  which  have  been  drawn  from 
all  countries  and  peoples,  until  the  last  exploring  expeditions  to 
the  northern  and  to  the  southern  poles  shall  have  set  forth  the  extent 
and  physical  characteristics  of  the  frozen  wastes  of  the  Arctic  and 
Antarctic  regions. 

The  configuration  of  the  earth  was  always  a  lively  subject  of  dis- 
cussion amongst  geographers  and  men  of  science,  from  the  days  of 
the  classic  theorists  and  Arabian  mathematicians  down  to  the 
Columbian  age,  whether  that  discussion  were  concerned  with  the 
shape  of  the  planet  or  with  the  outline  of  some  particular  region  of 
it.  Thus  the  geographers  of  old  fought  among  themselves  as  to 
whether  the  earth  was  spheroid  or  plane,  and  thus  later  generations 
waged  a  wordy  conflict  as  to  the  configuration  of  the  eastern  part  of 
Asia,  and  over  the  position  of  its  islands  of  Zipangu  or  Japan,  first 
reported  to  the  modern  world  by  Marco  Polo.  Then  Columbus  re- 
ported his  epochal  discovery  of  the  Islands  of  the  Indies,  and  an- 
other great  discussion  ensued  as  to  the  extent  of  the  archipelago 
which  was  reputed  to  shield  the  shores  of  India,  China  and  Japan 
from  the  prying  eye  of  the  European  fortune-hunter. 

The  longing  of  the  West  for  the  East  was  expressed  in  the  terms 
of  that  vigorous  debate  concerning  a  safe  and  navigable  water  way 
to  India,  which  it  was  hoped  that  Columbus  had  at  last  discovered. 
Such  is  the  strength  of  men's  hopes  that  years  after  the  general  trend 
of  the  eastern  seaboard  of  the  North,  Central  and  South  America 
had  been  established,  there  were  still  some  geographers  who  clung 
to  the  old  theory  of  the  archipelago  and  the  open  channel  to  the 
jewelled  East.  An  eminent  German  geographer  and  cartographer, 
named  Schoner,  in  the  year  1520,  published  a  map  of  Northern 
America,  depicting  that  continent  as  a  group  of  islands  threaded 
by  wide  channels  leading  to  the  South  Sea.  Perhaps  there  is  in  all 
the  historv  of  the  discovery  of  the  New  World  no  more  pathetic 
exemplification  of  the  old  belief  in  the  existence  of  a  septentrional 


water  way  to  India  than  this  chart  of  Schoner,  which  appeared 
after  Waldseemiiller's  famous  map  of  North  and  South  America. 
It  was  on  Waldseemiiller's  map  that  the  name  "America"  appeared 
for  the  first  time,  that  appellation  being  bestowed  upon  the  southern 
continent  in  honour  of  Amerigo  Vespucci,  whose  achievements 
otherwise  might  have  been  lost  in  oblivion,  with  those  of  many  an- 
other "forgotten  worthy." 

After  Balboa  sighted  the  Pacific  Ocean  from  the  Isthmus  of 
Darien,  or  Panama  as  it  is  now  called,  in  15 13,  the  search  for  a  chan- 
nel through  the  continent  leading  thereto  was  pursued  with  renewed 
zeal.  Northward  and  southward  along  the  eastern  coasts  of  the 
northern  and  southern  continents  the  explorers  of  the  great  mari- 
time powers  of  Europe  groped  their  way,  ever  hoping  to  find  the 
reputed  channel,  but  their  dreams  were  never  realized.  The  coast 
stretched  interminably  northward  and  southward.  At  last  Magel- 
lan found  his  strait  at  the  far  southern  extremity  of  the  south- 
ern continent  and  he,  first  of  Europeans,  set  sail  upon  the  ocean  he 
named  "Pacific."  To  the  northward  Cabot,  Cortereal,  Frobisher, 
Baffin  and  Hudson  were  no  more  successful,  the  entrance  of  the  chan- 
nel, if  such  existed,  being  sealed  by  Arctic  mist  and  ice.  Then  it 
was,  after  years  of  futile  eflFort,  which  none  the  less  is  a  glorious  chap- 
ter in  the  annals  of  seamanship,  the  quest  of  the  Orient  resolved  it- 
self into  a  search  for  the  Strait  of  Anian,  or,  as  it  came  to  be  called  by 
a  later  generation  of  navigators,  the  Northwest  Passage. 

Naturally,  the  dreams  of  the  navigators  and  the  conjectures  of 
the  geographers  with  regard  to  the  mythical  passage  leading  to 
Japan  and  India  had  a  marked  efTect  upon  the  earliest  cartography 
of  Eastern  America.  Not  otherwise  is  it  with  the  western  portion  of 
the  continent,  which  from  age  to  age  assumed  all  imaginable  shapes 
and  deformities  as  this  or  that  geographer  gave  expression  to  his  pet 
theory  as  to  the  configuration  of  the  "backside"  of  x\merica,  as  Sir 
Humphrey  Gilbert  called  it.  It  is  a  matter  of  fact  and  history  that 
the  earliest  extant  European  records  of  this  region  are  not  written 
accounts  but  crude  cartographical  representations  which  exhibit  in 
rich  abundance  the  eccentric  notions  of  their  several  ages.  Having 
delineated  the  eastern  coastline  of  the  continent  with  some  degree 
of  accuracy,  and  having  failed  to  find  the  long-sought  channel,  the 
navigator  turned  his  attention  to  the  western  seaboard  until  at  last 
it  was  determined  to  search  for  the  Pacific  outlet  of  the  Northwest 


Passage,  and  so  it  may  be  said  with  truth  that  the  search  for  this 
fabled  communication  led  to  the  lifting  of  the  veil  from  the  vast  do- 
main which  stretches  from  California  to  the  Arctic  Ocean  between 
the  Rocky  Mountains  and  the  Pacific  Ocean. 

"Now,"  writes  the  learned  Dr.  J.  G.  Kohl  already  quoted,  "the 
huge  bulk  of  the  American  block  began  to  show  something  of  its 
true  proportions.  At  least,  this  was  the  case  on  its  eastern  side, 
which  lay  towards  Europe,  and  with  which  the  first  European  navi- 
gators soon  became  tolerably  well  acquainted,  whilst  the  western 
side  still  remained  untouched  and  hidden  in  darkness.  On  the  maps 
of  this  period,  America  looks  like  one  of  those  gigantic  statues  of 
gods  or  kings  which  we  see  carved  in  high  relief  in  the  rock-temples 
of  Hindustan  and  Egypt.  Their  front  parts,  turned  towards  us,  are 
tolerably  well  drawn  and  sculptured,  but  their  backs  still  adhere 
to,  and  form  a  portion  of,  the  shapeless  mountainside.  After  Magel- 
lan had  pierced  through  his  strait  into  the  open  water  to  the  west, 
when  Pizarro  had  worked  his  laborious  way  down  the  coast  of  Peru, 
and  when  Cortez  in  the  latter  part  of  his  career,  in  search  of  some- 
thing like  Japan  or  China,  had  navigated  to  the  northwest  and  ex- 
plored the  shores  of  California,  then,  likewise,  this  western  side  was 
cut  loose  from  the  mass  of  the  unknown,  and  began  to  assume  at 
least  the  principal  features  of  its  true  configuration." 

Investigations  of  old  maps  and  charts  displayed  in  chronologi- 
cal order  disclose  the  very  earliest  impressions  of  geographers 
respecting  the  physical  features  and  ethnography  of  Northwest 
America.  These  maps  also  reveal  the  tedious  progress  which 
marked  maritime  discoveries  in  that  quarter.  No  student  of  history 
will,  therefore,  think  that  undue  emphasis  has  been  laid  upon  this 
point.  It  is  not  possible,  nor  is  it  desirable,  to  set  forth  here  the 
whole  history  of  cartography  as  it  relates  to  the  North  Pacific,  but 
a  general  outline  of  the  story  is  indispensable. 

North  America  became  known  in  detached  pieces.  And  these 
detached  pieces  were  believed  to  be  separate  islands  or  peninsulas 
of  Northern  Asia,  which  was  prolonged  towards  the  east  much 
more  than  the  southern  part  of  that  continent.  The  generality  of 
the  maps, which  were  made  and  published  soon  after  Columbus,  show 
the  ocean  between  Eastern  Asia  and  Western  Europe  filled  with 
large  and  small  islands.  Some  of  them  are  the  old  islands  men- 
tioned by  Marco  Polo,  while  others  are  the  new  ones  discovered  by 


Columbus  and  his  companions,  of  which  the  most  important  were 
"Isabella"  (Cuba),  "Spagnuola"  (Haiti),  "Terra  de  Cuba"  (North 
America),  and  "Sanctae  Crucis"  (South  America).  South  Amer- 
ica is  always  by  far  the  most  extensive  of  them  all. 

Dr.  J.  G.  Kohl,  in  his  valuable  monograph  entitled  "Asia  and 
America,"  or  "A  Historical  Disposition  Concerning  the  Ideas 
Which  Former  Geographers  Had  About  the  Geographical  Re- 
lation of  the  Old  and  New  World,"  admirably  sets  forth  the 
difficulties  of  the  early  explorers  in  charting  the  results  of 
their  work  and  the  fanciful  conceptions  they  had  of  the  geography 
of  the  country.  This  source  will  be  freely  drawn  upon  in  the  fol- 
lowing pages. 

Towards  the  time  when  the  great  exploring  activity  of  the  Portu- 
guese and  Spaniards  developed  itself,   it  was  pretty  generally  ad- 
mitted  by  the  well-instructed   cosmographers   that  the  world   was 
a  globe  of  not  very  great  dimensions,  and  that  therefore  "Asia  must 
bear  around  this  globe  and  must  with  its  eastern  end  approach  again 
somewhere  to  the  western  coast  of  Europe  and  Africa."    The  ques- 
tion was  how  far  Asia  stretched  eastward  and  how  long  the  distance 
was  between  it  and  Europe  across  the  unknown  waters.    Marco  Polo, 
the  most  celebrated  traveller  of  the  fourteenth  century,  was  the  great 
authority  and  oracle  on  this  point.     He  had  been  to  China  and  had 
actually  visited  the  coasts  of  the  Eastern  Ocean.     Marco  Polo  in- 
formed the  world  that  in  the  ocean  which  laved  the  eastern  coast  of 
Asia    was    situated    a    large    rich    island,    called    "Zipangu"     (the 
modern  Japan)   and  besides  whole  archipelagos  of  smaller  islands. 
Likewise  on  the  side  of  Europe  the  navigators  and  discoverers  of  the 
Canary  Islands  and  the  Azores  had  created  a  belief  that  there  were 
still    more   islands   towards   the  west,    amongst  which    were   "Holy 
Brandan"  and  another  larger  island  called  "Antilia."     But  of  all 
these  islands  said  to  be  situated  between  Eastern  Asia  and  Western 
Europe  none  was  considered  to  be  more  worth  exploring  than  that 
of  "Zipangu,"  described  by  Marco  Polo  as  the  residence  of  an  em- 
peror and  as  being  rich  in  gold,  silver  and  other  precious  products. 
.    Cortes  and  his  companions  in  arms  entered  Mexico  with  ideas 
more  or  less  similar  to  those  with  which  Columbus  and  his  con- 
temporaries had  entered  the  archipelago  of  the  Antilles — that  is  to 
say  with  the  expectation  of  finding  Asiatic  kingdoms  and  nations. 
When  Cortes  set  out  upon  his  discoveries  on  the  Pacific  he  hoped 


to  reach  Japan,  which  he  thought  to  be  near.  When  his  successors 
arrived  on  the  shores  of  Upper  California,  sometimes  called  Qui- 
vira,  they  reported  upon  their  return  that  they  had  seen  richly  laden 
Chinese  vessels.  Whether  these  statements  were  founded  on  fact, 
or  whether  the  wish  was  the  father  of  the  thought  it  is  now  too  late 
to  ascertain.  Be  that  as  it  may,  many  geographers  after  Cortes  ac- 
cordingly painted  North  America,  of  which  so  far  only  the  eastern 
coast  was  known,  as  connected  with  Northern  Asia.  They  repre- 
sented on  their  maps  Mexico  and  other  American  places  as  Asiatic 
cities,  adorned  with  mosques  and  minarets.  They  placed  the  sources 
of  the  Rio  Colorado  in  Northern  Asia,  and  they  laid  down  the  Chi- 
nese province  of  "Magni"  as  bordering  on  Mexico.  When  they 
heard  of  the  wild  bison,  they  thought  these  to  be  the  herds  of  the 
nomadic  tribes  of  Asia,  and  put  down  on  their  maps  of  this  western 
region — sometimes  called  Cibola,  after  the  famous  mythical  city  of 
that  name — inscriptions  like  the  following:  "Here  the  people  live 
like  the  Tartars  and  raise  large  droves  of  cattle."  In  the  British 
Museum  they  still  preserve  a  Spanish  map  of  the  year  1560  on  which 
the  portrait  of  a  true  Chinese  is  posted  in  the  center  of  the  Missis- 
sippi valley  and  near  him  is  an  elephant  grazing.  The  maps  of 
the  middle  of  the  sixteenth  century  which  adopted  this  view  of  a 
connection  between  Asia  and  America  are  numerous.  This  connec- 
tion is  found  broadly  marked  on  the  French  maps  as  well  as  on  those 
of  Italian,  German  and  English  cosmographers.  Thus  a  manu- 
script chart  of  the  year  1530,  or  thereabouts,  that  is  to  say  soon  after 
Cortes'  conquest  of  Mexico,  depicts  the  Chinese  province  Magni 
as  bordering  on  that  country.  This  old  manuscript  serves  to  illus- 
trate in  a  certain  manner  the  ideas  and  expectations  which  Cortes 
had  when  he  set  out  from  the  western  coast  of  Mexico  upon  the  dis- 
covery and  conquest  of  California. 

Again  the  well-known  Italian  geographer,  Paulo  de  Furlani, 
prepared  a  chart  in  i  q6o,  on  which  the  Pacific  stretches  northward 
only  as  far  as  the  fortieth  parallel.  In  common  with  other  maps 
of  the  age  this  one  connects  North  America  and  Asia  on  a  very  broad 
basis.  "Cimpaga,"  or  fapan,  is  placed  at  a  distance  of  about  twenty 
degrees  of  longitude  from  California.  "Quisai,"  the  famous 
Chinese  port,  Thibet  and  other  Asiatic  places  are  still  very  near. 
The  Colorado  river  of  the  Californian  Gulf,  the  entrance  of  which 
had  been  discovered  by  the  Spaniards  some  twenty  years  before,  has 


its  source  and  headwaters  in  the  interior  of  Asia  and  flows  round 
the  whole  North  Pacific.  Such  views  were  very  common  in  the 
period  after  Cortes,  still  they  were  not  generally  adopted.  There 
were  always  many  navigators  and  mapmakers  who  still  believed  in 
the  existence  of  open  water  or  a  strait  between  Asia  and  America. 
A  report  was  current,  which  was  indeed  more  or  less  credited,  that 
Cortereal,  a  Portuguese  sailor,  had  already  in  the  year  1500  entered 
a  strait  in  about  sixty  degrees  north  latitude  and  that  he  had  called 
this  strait  after  one  of  his  brothers  "the  Strait  of  Anian."  Accord- 
ing to  this  tradition  there  was  open  water  to  the  north  of  America 
and  to  the  west  again  a  narrow  channel  between  the  two  continents 
which  was  likewise  called  the  Strait  of  Anian.  Eventually  this 
name,  which  figures  so  prominently  in  the  early  history  of  the  North 
Pacific,  was  almost  exclusively  applied  to  the  western  strait.  The 
old  Strait  of  Anian  came  to  be  called  the  Northwest  Passage.  The 
belief  in  the  existence  of  the  Strait  of  Anian  became  more  or  less 
general  after  the  middle  of  the  sixteenth  century.  Seemingly  the 
first  maps  on  which  the  mythical  waterway  is  actually  laid  down  are 
those  of  the  Italian  Zalteri  of  1566  and  of  the  German  Ortelius  of 
1570-  John  Barrow  states  in  his  "Chronological  History  of  Voy- 
ages in  the  Arctic  Regions"  that  "the  name  of  Anian  was  given  to  the 
strait  supposed  to  have  been  discovered  by  Caspar  Cortereal,  in 
honour  of  two  brothers  who  accompanied  him;  but  there  are  no 
grounds  for  such  a  supposition.  ...  In  the  earliest  maps  Ania 
is  marked  as  the  name  of  the  western-most  part  of  America.  Ania 
in  the  Japanese  language  is  said  to  signify  brother;  hence,  probably, 
the  mistake." 

Turning  again  to  the  specific  work  of  the  early  cartographers, 
attention  may  be  called  to  the  very  famous  map  of  the  German 
Ruysch  published  in  1508  in  the  Roman  edition  of  Ptolemaeus,  the 
principal  features  of  which  are  as  follows:  South  America  (Terra 
Sancte  Crucis  or  Mundus  Novus)  appears  as  a  detached  country  of 
which  the  southern  and  western  coasts  are  not  represented  at  all. 
An  extensive  archipelago  lies  to  the  north  of  South  America,  while 
Northwest  America  does  not  appear  at  all.  The  expanse  of  ocean 
between  Asia  and  America  is  still  verv  narrow,  in  the  south  about 
fifty  degrees  of  longitude  and  in  the  north  not  quite  twenty.  As 
usual  Asia  stretches  a  long  arm  toward  the  northeast.  Martin 
Frobisher  embodied  his  views  in  a  chart  on  which  he  showed  in 



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what  manner  the  strait  discovered  and  named  by  him  might  be  com- 
bined with  the  Strait  of  Anian,  so  giving  safe  conduct  to  China. 
This  sketch  was  published  in  the  work  entitled  "A  True  Discourse 
of  the  Late  Voyages  of  Discovery  for  the  Finding  of  a  Passage  to 
Cathay,"  which  appeared  in  1578.  On  the  maps  of  Peter  Apian, 
of  Ortelius,  of  Sebastian  Munster,  of  Martinez,  of  Sir  Humphrey 
Gilbert,  similar  views  were  adopted  though  they  sometimes  vary  with 
respect  to  latitude  and  dimensions  given  to  the  strait.  Cornelius 
a  Judaeis  also  contributed  his  conjectures  touching  the  geographical 
puzzle  of  the  age.  The  map  of  this  worthy  is  a  quite  remarkable 
representation  of  the  western  seaboard  of  North  America.  On  the 
headlands  appear  the  names  bestowed  by  the  earliest  Spanish  navi- 
gators— Corrientes,  Mendocino  and  Blanco.  The  northwestern 
peninsula  is  called  Anian  Regnum,  while  in  the  northeast  a  high 
rock  is  marked  with  the  legend  "Polus  Magnetis."  A  Spanish  gal- 
leon sails  in  mid-ocean  and  a  fabulous  monster  disports  itself  in 
a  great  bay  to  the  north  of  Cape  Corrientes.  This  map  is  truly  a 
wonderful  conception,  but  it  is  no  more  remarkable  than  many  other 
charts  which  appeared  in  later  times. 

In  1600  the  Spanish  historian  Herrera  shows  a  stunted  north- 
west coast  to  the  northward  of  which  is  a  great  sea  which  separates 
the  Asian  and  American  continents  and  stretches  indefinitely 
towards  the  pole.  The  Moluccas,  the  Philippines  and  Japan  are 
clearly  marked.  California  appears  as  a  peninsula,  whereas  ninety 
years  later  in  a  map  after  Sanson,  the  geographer  of  the  King  of 
France,  that  country  becomes  an  island  with  a  broad  channel  on  the 
north  leading  to  the  "Mer  Glaciale,"  which  extends  far  into  the  con- 
tinent. Thus  it  will  be  seen  how  from  age  to  age  the  tide  of  conjec- 
ture ebbed  and  flowed.  First  of  all  there  is  the  globe  of  Martin 
Behaim,  made  in  1492,  which  shows  the  eastern  coast  of  Asia  pro- 
tected by  a  vast  cluster  of  islands,  notable  among  which  stand  Java 
and  Japan  (Cipangu).  Behind  this  mythical  constellation  of  islands 
is  the  coast  of  Asia  bearing  the  names  India,  Cathai  and  Thebet. 
There  is  no  sign  of  the  North  American  continent,  except  it  be  the 
island  called  Brandon,  midway  between  the  outermost  islands  and 
the  Cape  Verde  group.  This  map  was  succeeded  by  a  notable  series 
of  grotesque  delineations  until  at  last  the  great  British  navigators 
of  the  eighteenth  century  set  forth  the  true  character  of  the  coast. 

At  first  the  European  nations  confined  their  attention  to  the  more 
southern  parts  of  the  Pacific  so  that  the  northern  expanse  of  this 


broad  ocean  for  a  long  time  was  completely  neglected.  The  Dutch 
did  not  advance  beyond  Japan  which  they  had  already  reached  in 
1643.  The  Spaniards  did  not  proceed  beyond  California,  known  to 
them  for  two  and  a  half  centuries,  while  the  English,  who  under 
Drake  had  been  on  the  northwest  coast  in  1578,  did  not  make  their 
appearance  again  until  the  last  quarter  of  the  eighteenth  century. 
"Everybody,"  says  Kohl,  "seems  to  shun  those  stormy,  cold,  useless 
regions,  and  the  world  remained  in  total  ignorance  about  this  part 
of  the  globe  until  a  new  nation  appeared  on  the  coast  of  Northeastern 
Asia,  which  gave  the  sign  for  an  earnest  exploring  activity  in  these 
regions,  and  which  at  last  conducted  this  long  agitated  geographical 
question  to  a  satisfactory  solution.''  The  Russians  had  passed  the 
dividing  mountain  ridge  between  Asia  and  Europe  at  the  end  of  the 
sixteenth  century  and  had  worked  their  way  through  the  whole  of 
Siberia  towards  the  east  and  the  northern  sea.  Already  in  the  year 
1648  Deschnev,  one  of  those  enterprising  Cossak  adventurers,  with  a 
few  companions  had  circumnavigated  the  whole  northeast  end  of 
Asia,  from  the  mouth  of  the  Lena  through  Bering  Strait  to  the  north- 
ern coast  of  Kamchatka.  But  Deschnev  did  not  realize  the  extent  and 
importance  of  his  discoveries.  His  reports  remained  for  more  than 
one  hundred  years  hidden  in  the  archives  of  Siberia  and  his  voyage 
therefore  achieved  nothing  for  geography.  It  was  left  to  Vitus 
Bering,  a  Dane  in  the  service  of  Russia,  to  execute  the  first  official 
and  scientific  exploration  of  Northeastern  Asia.  He  penetrated  the 
strait  named  after  him  without  however  seeing  the  coast  of  America, 
and  brought  home  the  first  map  of  those  regions  which  was  founded 
upon  an  actual  astronomical  survey.  This  voyage  was  undertaken 
in  the  years  1728  and  1729.  Bering's  map  shows  Kamchatka  for  the 
first  time  in  something  like  its  true  position.  During  his  sojourn 
at  the  port  of  St.  Peter  and  St.  Paul,  Bering  received  information 
concerning  land  to  the  eastward,  and  in  1741  he  embarked  upon 
his  memorable  enterprise  to  the  northwestern  extremity  of  the  North 
American  continent,  making  a  landfall  on  the  coast  of  Alaska.  He 
was  cast  away  upon  his  return  vovage  upon  Bering  Island  of  the 
Komandorskii  group  where  he  perished  miserably  with  many  of  his 
crew,  as  related  by  the  German  naturalist,  Steller,  the  historian  of 
the  expedition. 

Europe  heard  only  through  vague  rumours  that  the  Russians  had 
made  discoveries  to  the  east  of  Siberia  and  Kamchatka.     Some  be- 

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lieved  that  they  might  have  been  in  America.  Others  thought  that 
the  land  seen  by  them  might  be  a  new  country  lying  between  Asia 
and  America.  How  very  vague  and  uncertain  the  opinions  of 
European  geographers  were  with  respect  to  these  Russian  discov- 
eries may  best  be  shown  bv  the  inspection  of  certain  maps  which 
were  published  soon  after  Bering's  ill-fated  expedition.  For  in- 
stance Bellin's  chart  of  1748  exhibits  in  a  quite  remarkable  manner 
the  ignorance  of  European  geographers  with  regard  to  the  achieve- 
ments of  Bering.  Of  all  the  Russian  discoveries  scarcely  anything 
is  given.  The  northwest  corner  of  the  map  bears  the  legend :  "The 
Russians  have  come  as  far  as  this  in  the  year  1743  (1741),  but  they 
have  been  shipwrecked  on  the  shoals  and  drowned." 

Northwestern  America  is  indicated  by  a  dotted  line  running 
from  north  to  south  as  far  as  the  Bay  of  Aguilar  in  California,  with 
the  inscription  running  along  it:  "Probably  America  goes  as  far  as 
this."  At  the  northern  end  of  California  is  added  the  observation 
that  "Here  the  sea  begins  to  be  very  boisterous."  As  Kohl  justly  re- 
marks, a  more  laconic  report  on  the  Russian  discoveries  could  not 
have  been  made. 

To  this  period  also  belongs  the  map  of  the  French  geographer 
Philippe  Buache,  made  as  he  said  after  the  memoirs  of  the  astrono- 
mer De  L'Isle,  who  accompanied  the  expedition  of  Bering  across 
Siberia.  Apart  from  the  fact  that  Buache  attempted  to  give  the 
result  of  the  Russian  voyages  in  Bering  Sea,  his  map  is  remarkable 
because  it  gives  expression  to  the  fabulous  discoveries  of  the  so-called 
Spanish  Admiral  dc  Fonte,  who,  so  it  was  claimed,  had  penetrated 
the  whole  extent  of  the  continent  by  means  of  a  chain  of  rivers  and 
lakes,  which  extended  from  the  Pacific  to  the  North  Atlantic.  He 
laid  down  all  the  great  lakes  and  rivers  which  de  Fonte  was  reported 
to  have  seen,  as  well  as  the  "Sea  of  the  West"  which  was  entered  by 
the  strait  claimed  to  have  been  discovered  by  the  Greek  Apostolos 
Valerianos,  or  juan  De  Fuca,  in  1592.  Of  Bering's  discoveries  little 
is  shown  except  the  island  where  the  explorer  died.  Buache  made 
the  whole  of  Northwestern  America  a  broken  countrv  of  "curiouslv 
formed  peninsulas  and  unfinished  coast  pieces."  Strange  as  it  mav 
seem  the  chart  of  Buache  and  De  LTsle  was  considered  authoritative 
and  it  was  copied  in  manv  countries  and  bv  different  geographers, 
who  sometimes  added  to  it  a  little  of  their  own.     Thus  the  English 


geographer,  Thomas  Jefiferys,  combined  in  his  maps  of  1758  and 
1764  the  real  discoveries  of  the  Russians  with  the  supposed  explora- 
tions of  the  Chinese  and  Japanese,  in  addition  to  which  he  did  not 
forget  to  show  the  routes  of  de  Fonte  and  another  mythical  hero 
named  Barnardo,  who  was  also  credited  with  having  discovered  the 
Strait  of  Anian.  Nor  is  Juan  De  Fuca  forgotten,  witness  the  in- 
scription: "West  Sea  disc,  by  Fuca."  In  other  charts  the  vaunted  ex- 
ploits of  the  impostor  Lorenzo  Ferrer  de  Maldonado  are  seriously 

At  last  in  the  year  1758  the  Russian  Academy  of  Sciences  pub- 
lished an  authentic  and  complete  chart  of  the  discoveries  made  by 
Bering  and  his  companion  Chirikoff.  The  coasts  seen  by  those  navi- 
gators are  joined  by  dotted  lines,  which  show  the  outlines  of  the 
seaboard  as  the  members  of  the  academy,  particularly  Miiller,  the  his- 
torian of  Siberia,  thought  them  to  be.  Though  the  name  America 
does  not  appear  on  this  map,  still  it  is  evident  that  the  Russian 
Academy  thought  the  new  country  to  be  a  part  of  that  continent. 
It  was  supposed  even  that  the  islands  of  the  Aleutian  group  formed 
a  long  peninsula,  which  error  was  only  corrected  by  later  discover- 
ies. This  map  of  the  Russian  Academy  was  now  of  course  adopted 
and  copied  by  all  the  geographers  of  Europe.  It  still  left  open  a 
large  field  for  speculation.  Besides  the  old  traditions  concerning  the 
discovery  of  a  channel  through,  or  to  the  northward  of,  the  Ameri- 
can continent,  to  which  some  map  makers  still  adhere,  other  re- 
ports of  certain  discoveries  made  by  the  Chinese  and  Japanese 
gained  credit  in  this  age.  It  is  interesting  if  nothing  more  to  re- 
call at  this  time,  when  the  question  of  Oriental  immigration  is  at- 
tracting such  widespread  attention,  the  fact  that  in  1761  the  learned 
French  sinologist,  Deguignes,  set  forth  in  an  ably  written  paper 
in  the  "Memoires  de  I'Academie  des  Inscriptions  et  Belles  Lettres'' 
(Vol.  XXVIII)  that  he  had  found  in  the  works  of  early  Chinese 
historians  a  statement  that,  in  the  fifth  century  of  our  era,  certain 
travellers  of  their  race  had  discovered  a  country  which  they  called 
Fusang,  which  from  the  direction  and  distance  as  described  by  them 
appeared  to  be  Western  America,  and  in  all  probability  Mexico. 
The  original  document,  says  Charles  G.  Leland  in  his  book  entitled 
"Fusang  or  the  Discovery  of  America  by  Chinese  Buddhist  Priests 
in  the  Fifth  Century,"  on  which  the  Chinese  historians  based  their 
account  of  Fusang  was  the  report  of  a  Buddhist  monk  or  missionary 


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MAP  OF  T...  RUSSIAN    ACADEMY  .1758. 





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RUSSIAN     AMERICA  .  1775 


named  Hoei-shin  in  the  year  499  A.  D.,  who  returned  from  a  long 
journey  to  the  East.  This  report  was  regularly  entered  in  the  year 
book  or  annals  of  the  Chinese  Empire,  whence  it  passed,  not  only 
to  the  pages  of  historians,  but  also  to  those  of  poets  and  writers  of 
romances,  by  whom  it  was  so  confused  with  absurd  inventions  and 
marvellous  tales,  that  discredit  has  been  thrown  upon  the  entire 

"The  evidence  offered,"  continues  the  author  just  mentioned,  "in 
favour  of  the  discovery  of  America  by  the  Chinese  Buddhists  of  the 
fifth  century  is  very  limited,  but  it  has  every  characteristic  of  a  seri- 
ous state  document,  and  of  authentic  history..  It  is  distinctly  re- 
corded among  the  annals  of  the  Empire.  At  the  time  these  journeys 
were  undertaken,  thousands  of  monks,  inspired  by  the  most  fanat- 
ical zeal,  were  extending  their  doctrines  in  every  direction;  and  this 
they  did  with  such  success,  that  though  Buddhism  has  now  been, 
steadily  declining  for  many  centuries,  it  still  numbers  more  fol- 
lowers that  Christianity,  or  any  other  religion  on  the  face  of  the 
earth,  for  they  are  literally  counted  by  hundreds  of  millions.  And 
as  their  doctrines  urged  propagandism,  it  would  be  almost  a  matter 
of  wonder  if  some  of  the  missionaries  of  the  faith  had  not  found  their 
way  over  an  already  familiar  route." 

These  records  open  a  fascinating  field  for  speculation,  and  while 
they  may  not  establish  the  right  of  the  Chinese  to  claim  the  discovery 
of  America  for  their  race,  yet  the  chain  of  general  and  presumptive 
evidence  as  to  the  discovery  of  this  continent  by  the  Norse- 
men in  the  eleventh  century  is  scarcely  stronger  than  the  evidence 
contained  in  the  old  year  books  of  the  Celestial  Empire  touching 
the  voyage  of  Hoei-shin.  The  claim  of  the  Norsemen  is  based  upon 
the  sagas  and  folk-lore  of  their  race  while  that  of  the  Chinese  is  sup- 
ported by  contemporary  state  papers,  or  rather  records,  if  Professor 
C.  F.  Neumann  is  correct.  Perhaps  one  day  it  will  be  established 
beyond  doubt  that  the  honour  of  discovering  the  New  World 
after  all  belongs  to  the  ancient  Chinese  nation  and  not  to  Spain.  But 
so  far  the  enquiry  has  scarcely  travelled  beyond  the  limits  of  de- 
lightful surmise.  It  is  indeed  interesting,  if  not  startling,  t(^  realize 
that  perhaps  Ameriga  may  not  have  been  found  by  Europeans  from 
the  east  but  by  Asiatics  from  the  west. 

It  need  only  be  added  in  this  connection  that  there  are  authentic 
records  of  the  wrecking  of  Chinese  and  Japanese  junks  on  this  coast 


as  late  as  the  nineteenth  century.  Little  more  than  fifty  years  ago  a 
Chinese  vessel  was  driven  ashore  near  Cape  Flattery,  her  unfortu- 
nate sailors  being  captured  and  held  as  slaves  by  the  Indians  of  Neah 
Bay.  James  Douglas,  then  in  charge  of  Fort  Victoria,  sent  a  force 
to  demand  the  release  of  the  prisoners,  who  were  ultimately  re- 
turned to  their  native  land. 

In  days  of  old  the  alchemist  at  first  carefully  hugged  his  secret 
and  for  long  years  the  world  at  large  knew  little  or  nothing  of  the 
results  of  his  labours.  With  like  jealousy  governments  guarded  the 
information  gained  from  their  officers  engaged  in  the  exploration  of 
the  New  World.  Neither  alchemist  nor  governments  wished  others 
to  profit  by  their  discoveries.  Thus  it  came  to  pass  that  often  and  for 
many  years  the  narratives  of  explorers  were  locked  away  in  the  ar- 
chives of  kings  and  councillors  until  the  ink  which  preserved  them 
faded  with  age.  By  reason  of  this  secretiveness  many  invaluable 
manuscripts  have  been  lost,  or  are  even  now  only  just  coming  to  light, 
too  late  to  establish  territorial  claims,  or  to  be  of  value  to  any  except 
the  antiquarian. 

No  government  guarded  more  carefully  the  records  of  its  dis- 
coveries than  did  the  government  of  Spain,  and  no  government 
gained  less  by  so  doing.  This  point  is  of  peculiar  interest  to  the 
historian  of  British  Columbia,  because,  for  a  time  at  least,  if  not 
forever,  the  whole  history  of  this  land  might  have  been  changed,  if 
a  dififerent  policy  had  been  adopted.  It  is  scarcely  to  be  doubted  that 
had  Spain  advertised  her  discoveries  on  the  northwest  coast,  if  only 
in  the  day  of  her  waning  power,  it  wx)uld  have  had  no  unimportant 
bearing  on  the  controversies  of  later  years  touching  the  Nootka  Af- 
fair and  the  Louisiana  Purchase,  even  though  the  Spanish  discover- 
ies, before  the  day  that  Capt.  James  Cook  landed  on  these  shores, 
were,  relatively  speaking,  of  small  value  and  extent. 

The  same  ideals  that  impelled  Christopher  Columbus,  in  the  face 
of  ridicule  and  opposition,  to  sail  on  his  adventurous  quest  in  search 
of  a  direct  route  by  water  to  India,  inspired  other  navigators  to 
search  for  a  northwest  passage  through  the  continent  of  North  Amer- 
ica, even  when  it  had  been  ascertained  that  the  passage  mu'^t  be,  if 
it  existed  at  all,  so  far  to  the  northward  as  to  render  it  practically 
useless.  The  legacy  bequeathed  by  the  earliest  explorers  of  America 
to  those  of  later  times  was  a  persistent  belief  in  the  existence  of  the 
Strait  of  Anian,  or  a  Northwest  Passage.     That  faith  acted  indeed 


as  the  lodestar  of  the  navigators  of  three  centuries,  and  the  search 
for  that  mythical  waterway  inspired  deeds  of  heroism  and  led  to 
sacrifices  and  sufferings,  nobly  borne,  that  are  scarcely  equalled  in 
all  the  annals  of  the  sea.  Years  rolled  on,  mariner  after  mariner  was 
lost,  or  returned  to  add  some  small  stock  of  knowledge  to  that  al- 
ready acquired,  but  the  result  was  that  the  belief  gained  ground  that 
no  such  strait  or  passage  existed.  Opinions,  however,  are  apt  to 
cling  to  life  long  after  practical  men  have  lost  in  them  alh  active 
interest.  So  it  came  to  pass  from  time  to  time  that  there  remained 
some  men  of  standing  in  the  scientific  i\'orld  who  laboured  to  show 
from  old  records,  or  reputed  discoveries,  that  the  strait  was  there 
after  all.  A  notable  instance  of  such  obstinacy  was  the  effort  of 
Buache  to  prove  that  the  Portuguese,  Lorenzo  Ferrer  de  Maldonado, 
navigated  the  passage  in  the  year  1588.  M.  Buache  formulated  his 
theory  in  a  lecture  given  before  the  Academy  of  Sciences  of  Paris, 
ISov.  13,  1790,  for  which  resurrection  of  an  old  story  he  became 
renowned  in  Europe.  Twenty-two  years  later  M.  Amoretti  pub- 
lished the  narrative  of  Maldonado  in  a  small  quarto,  which  was 
printed  in  France  in  181  2  and  in  Italy  the  following  year.  Yet  so 
perverse  in  its  prejudices  is  human  nature  that,  after  Samuel 
Hearne's  narrative  of  his  journey  to  the  mouth  of  the  Coppermine 
River  and  the  results  of  Captain  Cook's  third  and  last  voyage  to  the 
Pacific  had  been  given  to  the  world,  credence  was  nevertheless 
placed  in  a  story  so  palpably  false,  in  as  far  as  the  chief  points  of  the 
relation  were  concerned. 

No  history  of  this  period  would  be  complete  without  a  reference 
to  the  Bull  of  Pope  Alexander  VI  which  gave  rise  in  after  years  to 
heated  disputes,  not  only  between  Spain  and  Portugal,  the  im- 
mediate beneficiaries,  but  also  between  those  countries  and  Eng- 
land and  Holland.  By  that  memorable  ordinance,  which  was 
promulgated  in  1493,  the  undiscovered  world,  from  a  point  in 
Africa  easterly  to  the  Indies,  was  divided  between  the  Kings  of 
Spain  and  Portugal.  The  imaginary  line,  which  demarked  the 
spheres  of  activity  of  the  two  monarchs,  ran  from  the  North  to  the 
South  Pole,  a  hundred  leagues  west  of  the  Azores.  The  Pope's  pro- 
fessed object  was  to  prevent  disputes  "between  Christian  Princes" 
as  to  the  domination  over  such  territories  and  islands  as  might  be 
discovered  by  their  respective  subjects. 


The  English  seafarer  from  his  island  home,  looked  out  upon 
the  broad  ocean,  and,  in  the  natural  course  of  events,  became  the 
eager  competitor  of  the  Spaniard  and  the  Portuguese.  England 
did  not  acknowledge  the  right  of  the  Pope  to  divide  the  undiscov- 
ered world  between  the  two  Catholic  countries.  Queen  Elizabeth's 
characteristic  reply  to  the  Spanish  ambassador,  who  had  complained 
of  the  inroads  of  her  subjects,  sufficiently  indicates  the  spirit  of  the 
English  of  all  ages  in  that  regard.  The  Virgin  Queen  remarked 
with  asperity  that  the  "Spaniards  had  drawn  these  inconveniences 
upon  themselves  by  their  severe  and  unjust  dealings  in  their  Ameri- 
can commerce;  for  she  did  not  understand  why  either  her  subjects, 
or  those  of  any  other  European  prince,  should  be-  debarred  from 
traffic  in  the  Indies;  that,  as  she  did  not  acknowledge  the  Spaniards 
to  have  any  title,  by  donation  of  the  Bishop  of  Rome,  so  she  knew 
no  right  they  had  to  any  places  other  than  those  of  which  they  were 
in  actual  possession;  for  that  their  having  touched  only  here  and 
there  upon  a  coast,  and  given  names  to  a  few  rivers  or  capes,  were 
such  insignificant  things,  as  could  in  no  ways  entitle  them  to  a  pro- 
priety farther  than  in  the  parts  where  they  actually  settled,  and  con- 
tinued to  inhabit." 

And  so  the  English  buccaneers  sailed  the  high  seas,  levying 
tribute  upon  all  and  sundry  with  rare  audacity,  under  the  protec- 
tion of,  if  not  openly  sanctioned  by,  the  English  government.  Of 
these  famous  worthies,  whose  exploits  have  been  so  eloquently  re- 
corded by  the  historian  Froude,  there  was  none  greater  than  Sir 
Francis  Drake,  the  first  of  Englishmen,  as  indeed  he  was  the  first 
of  Europeans,  to  visit  the  northwest  coast,  of  which  he  took  pos- 
session for  Queen  Elizabeth,  at  the  same  time  naming  it  New 

The  period  of  scientific  discovery  as  far  as  this  seaboard  is  con- 
cerned began  in  the  year  1774  with  the  arrival  of  the  Spanish 
corvette  Santiago,  in  command  of  Juan  Perez.  It  but  remains  to 
be  observed  that  in  the  last  quarter  of  the  eighteenth  century  the  lines 
of  exploration  converged  upon  a  land  heretofore  unexplored  and 
unknown;  for  the  first  time  reliable  information  concerning  it  be- 
came available,  which  supplanted  the  mythical  and  legendary 
accounts,  till  then  the  current  coin  of  the  geographers  and  cartog- 
raphers who  had  given  it  their  attention.  Now  the  historian  is 
concerned  with  the  expeditions  of  the  Spaniards  from  their  estab- 



lishments  on  the  Mexican  Pacific  seaboard,  of  the  Russians  from 
their  posts  on  the  Kamchatkan  Peninsula,  of  the  British  discoverers 
who  used  the  Sandwich  Islands  as  a  base  for  their  operations  on  the 
northwest  coast,  of  the  French  explorers  who  followed  the  course 
of  the  British,  of  the  American  traders  who,  like  the  British,  used 
the  Sandwich  Islands  as  a  supply  depot,  of  the  overland  expeditions 
of  the  Canadian  fur  traders,  and  with  the  westward  movement  of 
the  people  of  the  United  States  of  America. 

In  summing  up  it  may  be  said  that  the  earliest  history  of  the 
territory  now  known  to  the  world  as  the  Province  of  British  Colum- 
bia is  intimately  associated  with  the  apocryphal  voyages  of  glib- 
tongued  impostors  and  the  vague  conjectures  of  the  geographer. 
To  this  early  period  belong  the  doubtful  relations  of  Maldonado 
(1588),  Juan  de  Fuca  (1592),  de  Fonte  (1640)  and  others,  and  all 
those  charts  and  maps  in  which  were  embodied  the  loose  impressions 
which  led  at  last  to  the  actual  exploration  of  this  vast  extent  of  coast- 
line. It  will  be  seen  then  that  by  studying  the  first  charts  of  the 
Pacific  coast,  the  historian  will  be  richly  rewarded,  for  thereby 
would  be  revealed  to  him  the  many  difficulties  and  uncertainties 
under  which  the  explorer  and  map  maker  laboured.  He  will  learn 
that  tardily  and  gradually  the  time  comes  when  knowledge  ousts 
conjecture  and  rumour  from  their  place  of  honour  and  the  coastline 
assumes  its  true  shape,  until  after  a  lapse  of  more  than  two  hundred 
and  fifty  years,  Capt.  George  Vancouver's  great  chart  of  1798  gives 
the  first  accurate  representation  of  what  is  now  the  western  seaboard 
of  Canada. 

Vol.  r  —2 


It  is  the  inveterate  tendency  of  the  human  mind  to  presume  that 
the  great  inventions  which  have  enriched  human  life  issue  full  grown 
from  the  brain  of  the  inventors,  like  Minerva  from  the  head  of  the 
Father  of  the  Gods.  As  a  matter  of  fact  and  of  history  this  has  never 
been  the  case.  Months  and  years  of  unsuccessful  experiments  have 
always  preceded  the  birth  of  an  idea,  and  genius,  which  has  been  de- 
fined as  a  transcendant  capacity  for  taking  pains  brings  forth  its  prod- 
ucts only  after 

"long  days  of  labour  and  nights  devoid  of  ease." 

And  as  it  has  been  with  great  inventions,  the  offspring  of  Sci- 
ence, so  has  it  been  with  the  origin  of  the  great  discoveries  on  land 
and  sea.  The  Earth  feels  many  a  blow  before  she  yields  up  the 
riches  concealed  in  her  bowels,  and  the  lonely  keel  of  the  navigator 
has  ploughed  many  a  barren  sea  before  finding  the  passage  or  the 
harbourage,  which  has  been  the  quest  of  the  world  of  his  time,  and 
it  has  always  remained  a  problem  to  the  historian  of  an  after-age  to 
declare  with  precision  how  far  premature  claims  to  discoveries  of 
unknown  waters  and  countries  have  been  founded  on  conscious  or 
unconscious  imposture. 

The  story  of  the  discovery  of  the  Northwest  Passage  has  formed 
no  exception  to  this  apparently  universal  rule — that  the  era  of  his- 
torical fact  has  always  been  preceded  by  a  mythical  age.  But  there 
were  other  and  political  causes  which  made  the  exploration  of  the 
northwest  coast  of  America  so  long  in  coming.  The  Spaniard,  who 
dominated  the  southern  seas  for  centuries,  was  continually  haunted 
by  the  fear  of  his  Dutch  and  English  rivals.  Obstacles  therefore, 
of  which  there  are  authentic  records,  were  placed  in  the  way  of  for- 
eign adventurers. 



Lack  of  space  renders  it  impossible  to  deal  with  all  the  accounts 
of  the  voyages  through  the  Strait  of  Anian  which  were  feigned  in 
the  prehistoric  age.  Three  stories,  however,  stand  out  with  such 
prominence  that  they  cannot  be  overlooked  by  a  faithful  chronicler, 
specially  since  they  have  obtained  a  certain  amount  of  credence 
among  men  of  sobriety  and  common  sense.  On  the  other  hand  it 
must  be  conceded  at  once,  that  the  fact  that  the  accounts  of  these 
voyages  were  without  exception  published  many  years  after  the  dates 
at  which  the  voyages  themselves  were  declared  to  have  been  under- 
taken, begets  an  element  of  suspicion  as  to  the  genuineness  of  the 

Foremost  among  these  stands  the  story  of  Lorenzo  Ferrer  de  Mal- 
donado,  a  narrative  at  one  time  regarded  as  authentic  by  men  whose 
knowledge  and  attainments  would,  it  might  be  supposed,  have  pre- 
vented their  being  carried  away  by  the  impostures  of  an  inventive 
quack.  A  manuscript  is  preserved  to  this  day,  written  by  Maldonado, 
verbosely  entitled,  "A  Relation  of  the  discovery  of  the  Strait  of 
Anian,  made  by  me.  Captain  Lorenzo  Ferrer  de  Maldonado,  in 
1588,  in  which  is  described  the  course  of  the  navigation,  the  situa- 
tion of  the  place,  and  the  manner  of  fortifying  it."  Briefly,  it  re- 
cites that  the  writer — a  Portuguese — crossed  the  North  Atlantic  to 
Davis  Strait,  and  moving  on,  entered  the  Northwest  Passage,  or,  as 
he  called  it,  the  Strait  of  Anian.  With  wind  abeam  he  sailed  to  the 
North  East,  to  the  North-North-East,  and  again  to  the  North,  and 
at  last  reached  Tartary,  or  Cathaia,  not  far  from  the  coast,  where, 
it  was  surmised,  must  be  the  metropolis  of  Tartary.  Sailing  on  for 
fifteen  days  he  reached  the  open  sea.  "This  we  knew  to  be  the  South 
Sea," — so  runs  the  chronicle,- — "where  are  situated  Japan,  China, 
the  Moluccas,  India,  New  Guinea  and  the  land  discovered  by  Cap- 
tain Quirus,  with  all  the  coast  of  New  Spain  and  Peru."  A  fairly 
full  description  of  the  Strait  is  given  and  the  coast  of  Asia  described, 
while  probability  is  lent  to  the  tale  by  a  description  of  the  harbour  at 
the  entrance  of  the  Strait,  where  a  large  vessel  of  eight  hundred  tons 
burden  was  encountered. 

The  cargo  of  this  vessel,  it  is  solemnly  recorded,  consisted  of 
"Brocades,  silks,  porcelain,  feathers,  precious  stones  and  gold."  The 
crew  were  said  to  be  Hanseatics  from  Archangel,  so  that,  in  order 
to  understand  each  other,  the  voyagers  were  obliged  to  converse  in 
Latin.  Possibly  this  account  of  the  meeting  with  the  strange  mer- 
chantman is  the  origin  of  de  Fonte's  story  of  his  encounter  with  the 


Boston  ship  at  the  South  Sea  entrance  to  the  mythical  passage.  The 
paper  concludes  with  plans  for  the  occupation  and  defence  of  the 
Strait.  It  is  significant  that  nothing  is  said  as  to  the  circumstances 
which  induced  the  navigator  to  return  to  Europe  by  the  passage 
which  he  claimed  to  have  discovered,  instead  of  proceeding  to  the 
Philippine  Islands  or  to  a  Mexican  port. 

The  record  of  the  so-called  discoveries  of  Bartholomew  de  Fontc 
is  beset  with  discrepancies  somewhat  analogous  to  the  tale  of  Mal- 
donado.  De  Fonte's  narrative,  setting  forth  those  discoveries,  was 
not  published  until  April,  1708,  although  the  voyage  itself  was  said 
to  have  taken  place  in  1640.  In  a  letter  to  a  monthly  publication, 
entitled  "Memoirs  for  the  Curious,"  are  contained  remarkable  state- 
ments respecting  the  adventure.  Astonishing  as  the  story  is,  it  was 
yet  believed  by  many  sailors  of  that  credulous  age,  although  there 
was  no  information  with  regard  to  de  Fonte  that  could  be  called  in 
any  sense  authentic.  All  that  is  now  known  is  that  an  officer  of  that 
name  was  employed  in  the  Pacific  by  the  Spaniards,  all  else  is  out- 
side the  region  of  fact. 

According,  however,  to  the  story  as  printed,  de  Fonte  sailed  on 
the  3rd  of  April,  1640,  from  Lima,  in  the  ship  San  Spiritus,  ac- 
companied by  Don  Diego  Pennelossa,  in  the  San  Lucia,  Pedro  de 
Barnardo  in  the  Rosario,  and  Philip  de  Ronquillo  in  the  King 
Philip  (i).  Arriving  at  the  entrance  of  an  archipelago  which  he 
named  San  Lazarus,  he  sailed  in  an  easterly  direction  into  a  large 
inlet,  which  by  means  of  a  chain  of  rivers  and  lakes  opened  into  the 
Sea  of  Ronquillo,  that  in  turn  communicated  directly  with  the  North 
Sea,  or  Atlantic  Ocean,  between  Baffin  and  Hudson  Bays.  It  is  of 
course  quite  natural  that  de  Fonte's  narrative  should  at  first  have  ex- 
cited the  curiosity  of  seamen  and  geographers.  But  it  soon  came 
to  be  looked  upon  as  a  hoax,  rather  than  as  an  authentic  record. 
However,  there  are  always  men,  not  only  among  mariners  but  also 
among  men  of  science,  ready  to  give  credence  to  any  strange  story 
of  discovery,  and  an  echo  of  Maldonado  and  de  Fonte's  fabrication 
is  found  in  the  instructions  given  to  navigators  of  a  later  age,  that 
great  care  should  be  taken  in  examining  that  portion  of  the  North- 
west Coast  where  these  navigators  had  placed  the  openings  leading 
to  their  waterways. 

The  two  stories  of  Maldonado  and  of  de  Fonte  have  of  course 
long  since  been  exploded.     That  the  events  recorded  took  place  at 


all  is  a  clear  impossibility.  That  the  tales  were  believed,  however, 
proves  how  little  was  Icnown  of  the  northwestern  part  of  North  Amer- 
ica, even  as  late  as  the  last  quarter  of  the  eighteenth  century.  It  is 
strange  that  Thomas  Jetferys,  geographer  to  the  King,  should  have 
prepared  a  monograph  in  which  it  is  gravely  taken  for  granted  that 
the  account  of  these  voyages  was  accurate  in  all  its  details  as  re- 
ported. Jeft'erys'  work,  was  published  in  1768  and  with  it  appeared 
his  "General  map  of  the  discoveries  of  de  Fonte,''  which  shows  the 
chain  of  rivers  and  lakes  stretching  across  the  continent  in  an  easterly 
direction  from  the  Pacific  to  the  North  Atlantic.  But  it  was  not 
the  first  time  in  history  that  men  of  learning  have  been  hypnotized 
by  impostors. 

There  is  the  celebrated  defence  of  Maldonado  by  the  French 
scientist,  Buache,  the  publication  of  which  created  a  stir  among  the 
learned  societies  of  Europe.  Buache  laboured  to  prove  that  Mal- 
donado was  not  an  impostor  but  a  much  maligned  explorer,  whose 
discoveries  would  yet  redound  to  his  credit.  All  this,  because  some 
historian  or  litterateur  in  groping  amongst  musty  archives,  had  un- 
earthed a  copy  of  Maldonado's  manuscript.  In  Spain  it  had  been 
long  known  that  he  was  a  man  of  no  character.  Yet,  in  spite  of 
expostulations,  the  spirited  defence  of  Buache  was  in  some  quarters 
received  with  deference.  Just  at  that  time  the  unfortunate  Malas- 
pina  was  being  despatched  by  the  Spanish  Government  upon  a  sci- 
entific expedition  to  the  North  Pacific,  and  so  great  was  the  influence 
of  the  French  geographer  that  he  was  particularly  instructed  to  search 
for  the  supposed  Strait  of  Maldonado.  His  examination,  of  course, 
revealed  the  fact  that  there  was  no  strait  such  as  that  which  had  been 
described  so  minutely. 

In  William  Goldson's  "Observations  on  the  Passage  between  the 
Atlantic  and  Pacific  Oceans,"  which  appeared  in  1793  the  historian 
finds  yet  another  learned  defence  of  Maldonado  and  de  Fonte,  and 
a  most  extravagant  map  purporting  to  show  their  discoveries.  That 
Jefferys,  Buache,  Amoretti,  Goldson,  and  other  learned  men,  should 
have  been  so  easily  misled,  is  indeed  an  ironical  comment  on  the 
adage  that  "knowledge  comes,  but  wisdom  lingers."  It  would  be 
almost  impossible  to  believe  that  they  had  been  so  beguiled  if  their 
own  maps  and  writings  did  not  prove  it. 

A  third  voyage  must  now  be  considered,  which,  while  not  to  be 
placed  in  the  same  class  as  the  fictions  already  mentioned,  yet  may 

Ficiiii  tlif  C'o|iy  ill  till'  Li'jfislativc  Liliiary,  \'ic-toria 


at  least  be  maintained  to  be  apocryphal.  The  account  of  Juan  de 
Fuca's  voyage  by  Michael  Lok  created  a  stir  in  the  world  of  ad- 
venture. Indeed,  from  the  time  of  its  publication  by  Samuel  Pur- 
chas  in  "His  Pilgrimes"  in  the  year  1625,  until  the  present  time,  there 
have  not  been  wanting  those  who  have  stoutly  averred  their  belief 
in  the  authenticity  of  the  narrative.  The  voyage  was  said  to  have 
taken  place  in  the  year  1592,  exactly  one  hundred  years  after  Colum- 
bus had  discovered  the  West  Indies. 

The  arguments  for  and  against  the  veracity  of  de  Fuca's  account 
may  be  briefly  summarized  thus :  As  in  all  the  apocryphal  voy- 
ages, the  first  fact  to  be  noted  is  that  nothing  was  known  or  said  of 
de  Fuca  until  many  years  after  the  reputed  date  of  the  voyage.  The 
story  rests  entirely  upon  the  test-imony  of  Michael  Lok,  who  was  a 
reputable  merchant  trading  in  the  Levant.  It  is  worthy  of  notice 
in  this  connection  that  Purchas  does  not  say  where  or  how  he  got 
Lok's  narrative.  Perhaps  he  found  it  among  the  papers  of  Hak- 
luyt,  whose  literary  executor  he  was.  Lok's  statement  that  he  had 
sent  an  account  of  the  voyage  to  Hakluyt  lends  colour  to  this  theory. 
In  that  event,  it  is  only  fair  to  add,  the  stories  may  have  been  re- 
ported some  time  before  Purchas  "His  Pilgrimes"  appeared  in 

Lok's  Memoir,  if  such  it  may  be  called,  is  entitled  "A  Note  made 
by  me  Michael  Lok  the  elder,  touching  the  Strait  of  Sea,  com- 
monly called  Fretum  Anian,  in  the  South  Sea,  through  the  North- 
west passage  of  Meta  incognita." 

He  begins: — "When  I  was  at  Venice,  in  April,  1596,  happily 
arriued  there  an  old  man,  about  threescore  yeares  of  age,  called  com- 
monly Juan  de  Fuca,  but  named  properly  Apostolos  Valcrianos,  of 
Nation  a  Greeke,  borne  in  the  Hand  Cefalonia,  of  Profession  a  Mari- 
ner, and  an  ancient  Pilot  of  Shippes.  This  man  being  come  lately  out 
of  Spaine,  arriued  first  at  Ligorno,  and  went  thence  to  Florence  in 
Italic,  where  he  found  one  John  Dowglas,  an  Englishman,  a  famous 
Mariner,  ready  comming  for  Venice,  to  be  Pilot  of  a  Venetian  Ship, 
named  Ragasona,  for  England,  in  whose  company  they  came  both 
together  to  Venice.  And  John  Dowglas  being  well  acquainted  with 
me  before,  he  gaue  mc  knowledge  of  this  Greeke  Pilot,  and  brought 
him  to  my  speech:  and  in  long  talke  and  conference  between  vs,  in 
presence  of  John  Dowglas:  this  Greeke  Pilot  declared  in  the  Italian 
and  Spanish  languages,  thus  much  in  effect  as  followeth. 


"First  he  said,  that  he  had  bin  in  the  West  Indies  of  Spaine  by 
the  space  of  fortie  yeeres,  and  had  sailed  to  and  from  many  places 
thereof,  as  Mariner  and  Pilot,  in  the  seruice  of  the  Spaniards. 

"Also  he  said,  that  he  was  in  the  Spanish  Shippe,  which  in  re- 
turning from  the  Hands,  Philippinas  and  China,  toward  Noua 
Spania,  was  robbed  and  taken  at  the  Cape  California,  by  Captaine 
Candish  Englishman,  whereby  he  lost  sixtie  thousand  Duckets,  of 
his  owne  goods. 

"Also  he  said,  that  he  was  Pilot  of  three  small  Ships  which  the 
Vizeroy  of  Mexico  sent  from  Mexico,  armed  with  one  hundred  men, 
Souldiers,  vnder  a  Captain,  Spaniards,  to  discouer  the  Straits  of 
Anian,  along  the  coast  of  the  South-Sea,  and  to  fortifie  in  that  Strait, 
to  resist  the  passage  and  proceedings  of  the  English  Nation,  which 
were  feared  to  passe  through  those  Straits  into  the  South  Sea.  And 
that  by  reason  of  a  mutinie  which  happened  among  the  Souldiers, 
for  the  Sodomie  of  their  Captaine,  that  voyage  was  overthrowne, 
and  the  Ships  returned  backe  from  California  coast  to  Nova  Spania, 
without  any  efifect  of  things  done  in  that  Voyage.  And  that  after 
their  returne,  the  Captaine  was  at  Mexico  punished  by  justice. 

"Also  he  said,  that  shortly  after  the  said  Voyage  was  so  ill  ended, 
the  said  Viceroy  of  Mexico  sent  him  out  againe  Anno  1592,  with 
a  small  Carauela  and  a  Pinnace,   armed  with  Mariners  onely,   to 
follow  the  said  Voyage,  for  discovery  of  the  same  Straits  of  Anian, 
and  the  passage  thereof,  into  the  Sea  which  they  call  the  North  Sea, 
which  is  our  North-west  Sea.     And  that  he  followed  his  course  in 
that  Voyage  West  and  North-west  in  the  South  Sea,  all  alongst  the 
coast  of  Nova  Spania,  and  California,  and  the  Indies,  now  called 
North  America   (all  which  Voyage  hee  signified  to  me  in  a  great 
Map,  and  a  Sea-card  of  mine  owne,  which  I  laied  before  him)  vntill 
hee  came  to  the  Latitude  of  fortie  seuen  degrees,  and  that  there  find- 
ing that  the  Land  trended  North  and  North-east,  with  a  broad  inlet 
of  Sea,  between  47.  and  48.  degrees  of  Latitude:  hee  entred  there- 
into, sayling  therein  more  than  twentie  dayes,  and  found  that  Land 
trending  still  sometime  North-west  and  North-east,  and  North,  and 
also  East  and  South-eastward,  and  very  much  broader  Sea  then  was 
at  the  said  entrance,  and  that  hee  passed  by  diuers  Hands  in  that  say- 
ling.     And  that  at  the  entrance  of  this  said  Strait,  there  is  on  the 
North-west  coast  thereof,  a  great  Hedland  or  Hand,  with  an  exceed- 
ing high  Pinacle,  or  spired  Rocke,  like  a  piller  thereupon. 


"Also  he  said,  that  he  went  on  Land  in  diuers  places,  and  that  he 
saw  some  people  on  Land,  clad  in  Beasts  skins:  and  that  the  Land  is 
very  fruitful,  and  rich  of  gold,  Siluer,  Pearle,  and  other  things,  like 
Nova  Spania. 

"And  also  he  said,  that  he  being  entred  thus  farre  into  the  said 
Strait,  and  being  come  into  the  North  Sea  already,  and  finding  the 
Sea  wide  enough  everywhere,  and  to  be  about  thirtie  or  fortie  leagues 
wide  in  the  mouth  of  the  Straits,  where  hee  entred;  hee  thought  he 
had  now  well  discharged  his  office,  and  done  the  thing  which  he 
was  sent  to  doe:  and  that  hee  not  being  armed  to  resist  the  force  of 
the  Saluage  people  that  might  happen,  hee  therefore  set  sayle  and 
returned  homewards  againe  towards  Nova  Spania,  where  hee  ar- 
riued  at  Acapulco,  Anno  1592,  hoping  to  be  rewarded  greatly  of 
the  Viceroy,  for  this  seruice  done  in  this  said  Voyage. 

"Also  he  said,  that  after  his  coming  to  Mexico,  hee  was  greatly 
welcommed  by  the  Viceroy,  and  had  great  promises  of  great  re- 
ward, but  that  having  sued  there  two  yeares  time,  and  obtaining  noth- 
ing to  his  content,  the  Viceroy  told  him,  that  he  should  be  rewarded 
in  Spaine  of  the  King  himself  very  greatly,  and  willed  him  there- 
fore to  goe  into  Spaine,  which  Voyage  hee  did  performe. 

"Also  he  said,  that  when  he  was  come  into  Spaine,  he  was  greatly 
welcomed  there  at  the  Kings  Court,  in  wordes  after  the  Spanish 
manner,  but  after  long  time  of  suite  there  also,  hee  could  not  get 
any  reward  there  neither  to  his  content.  And  that  therefore  at  the 
length  he  stole  away  out  of  Spaine,  and  came  into  Italie,  to  goe  home 
againe  and  liue  among  his  owne  Kindred  and  Countrimen,  he  being 
very  old. 

"Also  he  said,  that  hee  thought  the  cause  of  his  ill  reward  had  of 
the  Spaniards,  to  bee  for  that  they  did  vnderstand  very  well,  that  the 
English  Nation  had  now  giuen  ouer  all  their  voyages  for  discouerie 
of  the  North-west  passage,  wherefore  they  need  not  feare  them  any 
more  to  come  that  way  into  the  South  Sea,  and  therefore  they  needed 
not  his  seruice  therein  any  more. 

"Also  he  said,  that  in  regard  of  this  ill  reward  had  of  the  Span- 
iards, and  vnderstanding  of  the  noble  minde  of  the  Queenc  of 
England,  and  of  her  warres  maintayned  so  valiantly  against  the  Span- 
iards, and  hoping  that  her  Maiestie  would  doe  him  justice  for  his 
goods  lost  by  Captainc  Candish,  he  would  bee  content  to  goe  into 
England,  and  serue  her  Maiestie  in  that  voyage  for  the  discouerie 


perfectly  of  the  North-west  passage  into  the  South  Sea,  and  woula 
put  his  life  into  her  Maiesties  hands  to  performe  the  same,  if  shct 
would  furnish  him  with  onely  one  ship  of  fortie  tunnes  burden  and 
a  Pinnasse,  and  that  he  would  performe  it  in  thirtie  dayes  time,  from 
one  end  to  the  other  of  the  Streights.  And  he  willed  me  to  write 
into  England. 

"And  vpon  this  conference  had  twise  with  the  said  Greeke  Pilot, 
I  did  write  thereof  accordingly  into  England  vnto  the  right  honour- 
able the  old  Lord  Treasurer  Cecill,  and  to  Sir  Walter  Raleigh  and 
to  Master  Richard  Hakluyt  that  famous  Cosmographer,  certifying 
them  hereof  by  my  Letters.  And  in  the  behalfe  of  the  said  Greeke 
Pilot,  I  prayed  them  to  disburse  one  hundred  pounds  of  money,  to 
bring  him  into  England  with  my  selfe,  for  that  my  owne  purse  would 
not  stretch  so  wide  at  that  time.  And  I  had  answere  here  f  by  LetT 
ters  of  friends,  that  this  action  was  very  well  liked,  and  greatly  de- 
sired in  England  to  bee  effected ;  but  the  money  was  not  readie,  and 
therefore  this  action  dyed  at  that  time,  though  the  said  Greeke  Pilot 
perchance  liueth  still  this  day  at  home  in  his  owne  Countrie  in  Cefa- 
lonia,  towards  the  which  place  he  went  from  me  within  a  fortnight 
after  this  conference  had  at  Venice. 

"And  in  the  meantime,  while  I  followed  my  owne  businesse  in 
Venice,  being  in  Law  suit  against  the  Companie  of  Merchants  of 
Turkie,  and  Sir  John  Spencer  their  Gouernour  in  London,  to  re- 
couer  my  pension  due  for  my  office  of  being  their  ConsuU  at  Aleppo 
in  Turkie,  which  they  held  from  me  wrongfully.  And  when  I  was 
(as  I  thought)  in  a  readinesse  to  returne  home  into  England,  for 
that  it  pleased  the  Lords  of  her  Maiesties  honourable  Priuie  Coun- 
sell  in  England,  to  looke  unto  this  Cause  of  my  Law  suit  for  my 
reliefe;  I  thought  that  I  should  be  able  of  my  owne  purse  to  take 
with  me  into  England  the  said  Greeke  Pilot.  And  therefore  I  wrote 
unto  him  from  Venice  a  letter,  dated  in  July,  1596,  which  is  copied 

Michael  Lok's  various  eliforts  to  communicate  with  Juan  de  Fuca 
were  of  no  avail,  as  is  shown  by  the  last  paragraph  of  his  narrative, 
which  reads: 

"And  yet  lastly,  when  I  my  selfe  was  at  Zante,  in  the  moneth  of 
June  1602.  minding  to  passe  from  thence  for  England  by  Sea,  for 
that  I  had  then  recovered  a  little  money  from  the  Companie  of  Turkie, 
by  an  order  of  the  Lords  of  the  Privic  Counsel!  of  England,  I  wrote 


another  Letter  to  this  Greeke  Pilot  to  Cefalonia,  and  required  hin^ 
to  come  to  me  to  Zante,  and  goe  with  mee  into  England,  but  I  had 
none  answere  thereof  from  him,  for  that  as  I  heard  afterward  at 
Zante,  he  was  then  dead,  or  very  likely  to  die  of  great  sicknesse." 

Here  ends  the  story  of  Juan  de  Fuca,  as  related  by  Michael  Lok. 
It  will  at  once  occur  to  the  critic  as  being  suspicious  tliat  Lok  should 
have  kept  this  information  to  himself  for  so  many  years,  particu- 
larly when  the  efforts  of  all  the  seafaring  nations  had  been  directed 
towards  the  discovery  of  [he  Northwest  Passage.  If  a  discovery  of 
such  importance  had  been  made  in  1592,  and  knowledge  of  it  had 
been  gained  in  1596,  it  may  well  be  asked  why  it  was  that  Michael 
Lok  did  not  give  his  account  to  the  world  until  1625.  Of  the  facts 
related  it  is  worthy  of  notice  that  an  opening  does  exist  on  the  north- 
west coast  near  the  latitude  assigned  to  it  by  de  Fuca,  and  that  ofif  the 
Cape  Flattery  of  Captain  Cook  there  is  a  pinnacle  or  spiral  rock; 
also  that  that  opening  does  lead  to  an  archipelago  and  to  sheets  of 
water  which  stretch  southward,  eastward  and  northward;  and  the 
writers  who  have  taken  up  the  cudgels  on  behalf  of  de  Fuca  point  to 
these  and  other  correlated  statements  as  conclusive  evidence  that  the 
voyage  belongs  to  the  region  of  fact,  rather  than  to  the  realm  of 
fancy.  It  is  impossible,  they  claim,  that  any  man  should  have  so 
accurately  described  a  region  without  some  personal  knowledge  of  it. 

On  the  other  hand,  it  may  be  pointed  out  that  de  Fuca's  narra- 
tive does  not  dififer  greatly  from  the  accounts  of  other  mariners  of 
that  age.  The  fact  should  not  be  overlooked  that  dc  Fuca  accord- 
mg  to  his  own  statement  was  hoping  to  obtain  command  of  an  expe- 
dition to  explore  the  coast  of  northwestern  America,  and  it  was  to 
his  advantage  to  colour  his  story  with  extravagant  descriptions  of 
the  lands  he  claimed  to  have  discovered.  It  should  also  be  borne 
in  mind  that  the  belief  in  the  existence  of  the  Strait  of  Anian  was 
then  general   throughout  the  world. 

Strangely  enough,  however,  in  the  very  quarter  where  one  should 
expect  to  find  confirmation  of  de  Fuca's  explorations,  one  finds  in- 
stead absolute  disbclici'  in  his  pretensions.  In  all  the  great  mass  of 
material  gathered  in  the  Archives  of  the  Indies  at  Seville,  not  one 
word  is  to  be  found  with  regard  to  de  Fuca,  and  the  same  remark 
applies  to  the  archives  of  Mexico.  Seeing  that  the  Greek  claimed' 
that  he  had  been  sent  by  the  Viceroy  of  that  country  upon  an  im- 
portant mission,  and  that  upon  his  return  he  had  reported  to  that 


official  the  results  of  his  voyage,  there  should  be  at  least  some  docu- 
ment relating  thereto  in  the  Spanish  Archives.  But  the  records  of 
New  Spain  are  silent  upon  the  subject.  Navarette,  the  Spanish  his- 
torian, to  whom  was  confided  the  task  of  preparing  the  official  ver- 
sion of  Spanish  explorations  on  the  Northwest  coast,  claims  in  his 
account  of  the  voyage  of  the  Sutil  and  Mexicana  that  there  is  no 
information  in  the  Spanish  Archives  respecting  the  "ancient  pilot 
of  ships."  This  is  an  important  point,  because  de  Fuca  averred  that 
he  had  spent  some  time  at  the  court  of  Spain  seeking  a  dispensation 
from  the  King  to  pursue  his  explorations  to  the  north  of  California. 
Therefore,  de  Fuca's  story  rests  wholly  and  solely  upon  the  narra- 
tive of  the  Englishman,  Michael  Lok.  Lok  claims  that  he  laid  the 
matter  before  Burleigh,  Queen  Elizabeth's  great  minister,  Sir  Walter 
Raleigh  and  Richard  Hakluyt  "that  famous  Cosmographer,"  but 
without  result.  And  yet  the  English  records  are  as  dumb  with  regard 
to  that  transaction  as  are  those  of  Spain  and  Mexico.  Moreover,  as  de 
Fuca  himself  remarks,  Spain  had  long  given  up  the  search  for  the 
Strait  of  Anian,  because  she  regarded  such  a  discovery  as  being 
inimical  to  her  own  interests.  She  dreaded  it  for  the  simple  reason 
that  it  would  encourage  the  operations  of  the  European  buccaneers 
in  the  Pacific,  which  she  had  long  looked  upon  as  her  own  peculiar 
preserve.  So  secure  had  Spain  been  in  the  possession  of  that  great 
ocean  (always  excepting  the  forays  of  Drake,  Cavendish  and  the 
Dutch  free-booters),  that  she  left  her  ships,  which  plied  that  ocean, 
almost  unprotected.  The  galleons  sailing  from  the  Philippines  to 
Panama  were  not  armed  to  resist  attack,  and  that  explains  why  they 
fell  so  easy  a  prey  to  the  buccaneers  of  other  nations. 

It  would  certainly  seem  a  priori  unlikelv  that  in  view  of  these 
facts  Spain  should  have  fitted  out  an  expedition  for  the  examination 
of  that  very  passage  the  discovery  of  which  she  so  much  feared. 

It  has  been  seen  that  de  Fuca  claimed  that  he  was  upon  the  Saula 
Anna  when  that  vessel  was  captured  by  Cavendish  oflf  Cape  San  Lucas 
in  1588  and  that  he  lost  sixty  thousand  ducats  on  that  occasion.  Now, 
in  Cavendish's  own  account  of  that  incident,  which  was  published 
by  Hakluyt  in  1589,  no  such  person  is  mentioned.  In  terse  Eliza- 
bethan English  Cavendish  relates:  "wee  came  into  a  Bay  called  Mas- 
saclan,  where  we  had  fruite  and  fish,  but  were  in  great  danger  of  our 
enemies:  We  trauersed  from  thence  unto  the  Southermost  cape  of 
California,  where  beating  up  and  downe  we  discouered  a  Port  called 


by  the  Spaniards  Agua  Segura,  and  found  good  store  of  fresh  water: 
we  lay  ofif  &  on  ofif  this  cape  untill  the  fourth  of  Nouember,  on 
which  day  in  the  morning  wee  espied  the  goodly  shippe  comming 
from  the  Philippinas  called  Saint  Anna  the  great,  being  of  seuen 
hundreth  tunnes:  we  chased  her  untill  noone,  so  fetching  her  up, 
we  gave  them  fight  to  the  losse  of  twelve  or  fourteene  of  their  men, 
and  the  spoyle  and  hurt  of  many  more  of  them,  whereupon  at  last 
they  yeelded  unto  us:  in  this  conflict  we  lost  onely  two  of  our  men. 
So  on  the  sixt  of  the  sayde  Nouember  we  went  into  the  Port  of  Agua 
Segura,  where  wee  ankered  and  put  nine  score  prisoners  on  land: 
and  ransacking  the  great  shippe,  wee  laded  our  owne  two  shippes 
with  fourtie  tunnes  of  the  chiefest  marchandise,  and  burnt  all  the 
rest  as  well  shippe  as  goods,  to  the  quantitie  of  sixe  hundred  tunnes 
of  rich  marchandise,  because  we  were  not  able  to  bring  it  away: 
This  was  one  of  the  richest  vessels  that  euer  sayled  on  the  Seas,  and 
was  able  to  haue  made  many  hundreds  wealthie,  if  we  had  had  meanes 
to  haue  brought  it  home." 

Later  authorities,  amongst  whom  may  be  mentioned  the  late  Pro- 
fessor George  Davidson,  for  many  years  employed  on  the  Pacific  sea- 
board in  the  service  of  the  Coast  and  Geodetic  Survey  of  the  United 
States,  and  a  geographer  of  international  repute,  does  not  hesitate 
to  affirm  that  Michael  Lok's  account  of  de  Fuca  was  a  mere  tissue  of 
untruths.  Without  going  quite  as  far  as  that,  it  may  at  least  be  said 
that  it  is  in  a  high  degree  probable  that  Juan  de  Fuca's  account  of 
his  discoveries  should  be  placed  in  the  list  of  apocryphal  voyages. 
It  is  unlikely  that  further  evidence  will  throw  fresh  light  on  that 
much  disputed  point.  There  will  always  be  some  who  are  content 
to  abide  by  the  Lok  document,  while  others  will  as  firmly  maintain 
that  it  yields  far  from  satisfactory  evidence  that  the  Greek  pilot 
was  the  first  European  to  visit  the  Strait  that  bears  his  name. 

This  brief  notice  of  Juan  de  Fuca's  reputed  voyage  may  well  be 
concluded  with  the  clear-cut  statement  of  the  learned  Dr.  J.  G. 
Kohl,  who  in  his  "History  of  Discovery  and  Exploration  on  the 
Coasts  of  the  United  States"  remarks  that  Navarettc  asserts  "that 
no  navigator  of  the  name  of  Juan  de  Fuca  or  Apostolos  Valerianos 
was  ever  at  any  time  known  in  Spain  or  mentioned  by  contemporary 
Spanish  writers;  nor  is  there  extant  any  record  of  the  visit  of  such 
a  person  to  the  King  of  Spain  or  to  the  Vice  Roy  of  Mexico.  In 
none  of  the  papers  relating  to  the  expeditions  of  Vizcaino,  written 


only  a  few  years  after  1592  (the  time  of  de  Fuca's  supposed  voyage), 
can  be  found  any  allusion  to  him;  nor  is  any  document  bearing  on 
his  history  in  the  archives  of  Sevillia  or  New  Spain.  It  seems  prob- 
able that  Juan  de  Fuca  never  made  a  voyage  in  the  service  of  the 
Vice  Roy  of  Spain  nor  discovered  a  strait  in  the  latitude  indicated, 
and  it  may  be  considered  as  a  mere  accident  that  in  the  beginning 
of  the  17th  Century  a  strait  in  that  region  was  described  in  a  man- 
ner coinciding  so  nearly  with  the  reality  as  was  ascertained  at  a 
much  later  date." 

One  other  name  is  worthy  of  notice  in  this  connection.  The  cel- 
ebrated Friar  Andres  de  Urdaneta,  the  discoverer  of  the  trade  routes 
of  the  Pacific  from  east  to  west,  had  the  honour  of  discovering  the 
mythical  passage  thrust  upon  him.  Sir  Humphrey  Gilbert,  in  "A 
Discourse  to  Prove  a  Passage  by  the  North-West  to  Cathaia  and  the 
East  Indies,"  states  that  "one  Salvatierra,  a  gentleman  of  Victoria, 
in  Spain,  that  came  by  chance  out  of  the  West  Indies  into  Ireland 
in  1568,"  there  assured  him  that  Urdaneta  had  come  from  Mar  del 
Stir  (the  Pacific)  into  Germany  through  the  northern  passage." 
Sir  Humphrey  adds  that  Urdaneta  had  shown  Salvatierra  "a  sea- 
card, made  by  his  own  experience  and  travel  in  that  voyage,  wherein 
was  plainly  set  down  and  described  the  north-west  passage."  Ap- 
parently, however,  this  was  an  amplification  on  the  part  of  Salva- 
tierra to  induce  Sir  Humphrev  to  employ  him  in  the  exploration  of 
the  strait,  the  discovery  of  which  he  had  naively  attributed  to  Ur- 
daneta. It  is  scarcely  necessary  to  add  that  although  there  are  many 
original  papers  by  the  Friar  in  the  archives  of  the  Council  of  the 
Indies  there  is  nothing  of  the  nature  of  Salvatierra's  assertion.  The 
nearest  approach  to  anything  of  the  sort  is  the  Friar's  report  that 
some  Frenchman  had  sailed  through  the  strait  from  the  Atlantic  to 
the  Pacific  and  thence  to  China. 

As  to  the  extravagant  story  of  Martin  Chake  (or  Chaque),  a 
Portuguese,  who  is  alleged  to  have  sailed  in  1555  from  the  Atlantic 
to  a  point  on  the  Pacific  coast  north  of  California,  in  latitude  59°. 
and  as  to  the  pretensions  of  the  Spaniard,  Juan  Fernandez  de  Ladril- 
iero,  who  professed  that  he  had  certain  knowledge  of  a  passage 
north  of  New  Spain,  critical  enquiry  seems  superfluous.  These  leg- 
ends carry  their  own  condemnation  on  their  face:  they  are  indeed  of 
more  interest  to  the  psychologist  than  to  the  historian. 


Travellers'  tales  have  proverbially  borne  an  unenviable  re- 
pute, and  the  cynic  might  well  speculate  whether  after  all  truth  is 
not  an  acquired  rather  than  an  instinctive  quality  in  human  nature 
— a  quality  grudgingly  conceded  to  the  necessity  of  conforming  with 
the  opinions  of  society  at  large,  and  that  when  a  man  is  freed  from 
the  shackles  of  convention,  and  disappears  from  the  horizon  of  his 
fellows,  the  desire  to  excite  wonder  dominates  over  the  desire  to 
recount  fact,  and  almost  instinctively  imagination,  as  if  shocked  by 
the  nakedness  of  truth,  proceeds  to  clothe  and  adorn  her  in  all  the 
fashions  which  taste  and  fancy  may  prescribe.  And  mankind,  de- 
fined by  Carlyle  as  "mostly  fools,"  prone  to  credulity,  and  to  whom 
onini'  iynotiim  pro  rnagnifico,  greedily  swallow  any  new  and  fancy 
viands  which  may  be  set  before  them  to  devour.  It  is  only  when 
an  age  of  criticism  is  evolved  from  an  age  of  superstition  that  fiction 
becomes  indigestible,  and  fact  is  found  to  be  the  only  useful  food 
for  the  community  at  large. 





It  has  been  shown  that  the  first  printed  information  concerning 
Northwestern  America  consisted  of  the  imaginative  efforts  of  the 
cartographers  of  the  sixteenth  and  seventeenth  centuries;  and  it  has 
also  been  remarked  that  the  first  printed  descriptions  concerning  that 
region  were  the  narratives  of  men  who  apparently  wished  to  test  the 
crcdulityof  theage;  now  the  student  must  follow  the  navigators  whose 
ships  were  the  first  actually  to  plough  the  North  Pacific,  and  from 
whom  were  obtained  the  first  authentic  accounts  of  the  seaboard  of 
that  immense  territory  which  stretches  from  California  to  the  Arctic 
Ocean,  between  the  Rocky  Mountains  and  the  Pacific  Ocean. 

At  first  there  was  little  disposition  displayed  on  the  part  of 
European  governments  to  colonize  America.  Navigators  were  too  in- 
tent upon  finding  a  short  route  to  India  and  China  and  so  imbued  were 
they  with  the  theories  advanced  by  the  leading  geographers  of  the 
day,  who  wrongly  computed  the  circumference  of  the  earth,  that  in 
the  beginning  the  continents  of  North  and  South  America  were  looked 
upon  as  nothing  more  than  a  barrier  in  the  path  of  the  explorer, 
whose  sole  ambition  had  been  to  reach  the  Orient.  The  search  for 
a  strait  or  open  sea  which  might  afford  direct  access  to  Japan  and 
the  East  led  men  to  brave  cold  and  hunger  in  desolate  Arctic  re- 
gions, to  suffer  untold  hardships,  unknown  dangers,  sickness,  and 
death.  At  last  Balboa  in  15 13  sighted  the  Pacific  Ocean  from  the 
Isthmus  of  Darien  and  gave  a  new  impulse  to  the  quest,  which  from 
that  time  was  carried  on  with  unabating  zeal.  Then  Magellan,  a 
gifted  Pcjrtuguese,  in  the  service  of  Spain,  discovered  the  strait  whicii 
bears  his  name.  He  reached  the  great  ocean  which  separates  Amer- 
ica from  Asia  and  was  the  first  European  to  sail  into  tiic  I'acific 
from  the  East. 

Vol      1  —  3 



A  new  direction  was  given  American  affairs  at  this  juncture. 
Cortes,  in  the  years  15 19  and  1520,  conquered  Mexico  and  with  an 
iron  hand  ruled  its  unfortunate  peoples  and  wrested  from  them  untold 
treasures  which  reached  the  cofifers  of  the  Spanish  king,  and  a  new 
era  dawned  for  Spain. 

From  the  subjugation  of  Mexico  sprang  many  things,  not  the 
least  of  which  was  the  exploration  of  the  western  coast  of  North 
America.  Cortes  pushed  his  conquest  to  the  Pacific  seaboard  and 
with  great  energy  prepared  to  explore  the  unknown  regions  of  the 
North.  The  knowledge  gained  by  Cortes  and  the  discovery  of  the 
Philippine  Islands  by  Magellan  in  1520  kindled  afresh  the  ambition 
of  Spain  to  be  supreme  in  the  South  Sea,  and  Philip  II,  in  1523,  being 
informed  of  the  efforts  of  the  English  to  find  a  passage  through  or 
above  the  continent,  ordered  Cortes  to  search  for  the  Pacific  outlet 
of  the  Strait  of  Anian. 

In  pursuance  of  instructions  given  him  by  the  King  of  Spain, 
Cortes  ordered  the  construction  of  two  caravels  and  two  brigantines. 
The  material  for  these,  however,  which  had  been  transported  six 
hundred  miles,  was  destroyed  by  fire  at  Tehuantepec.  But  Cortes 
solaced  himself  with  the  reflection  that  the  vessels  would  be  ready 
to  sail  in  1525.  In  one  of  his  despatches  of  that  time  we  find  the 
following  memorable  words: 

"I  attach  such  importance  to  these  ships  that  I  could  not  express 
it;  for  I  consider  it  very  certain  that  with  them,  if  it  please  God,  I 
shall  be  the  means  of  your  Imperial  Majesty  becoming  in  these 
regions  Lord  of  more  kingdoms  and  dominions  than  there  is  any 
knowledge  of  in  our  nation  up  to  the  present  time.  *  *  *  For 
I  believe  that  when  I  do  this  your  Highness  will  have  nothing  more 
to  do  in  order  to  become  monarch  of  the  world." 

Cortes'  troubles,  however,  did  not  end  here.  The  brigantines 
were  burned  just  as  they  were  ready  to  sail  from  Zacatula.  To  re- 
place these  craft,  orders  were  given  for  the  construction  of  three  or 
four  vessels  at  Tehuantepec  (1527-28).  While  the  vessels  were  in 
course  of  construction,  the  conqueror  of  Mexico,  being  obliged  to 
visit  Spain  to  counteract  by  the  weight  of  his  personal  influence  the 
cfifects  of  the  envy  and  persecution  which  his  successes  had  brought 
upon  him,  placed  Pedro  Nunez  Maldonado  in  command  of  the  new 
arsenal  and  shipyards.  In  the  month  of  July^  1528,  that  officer 
sailed  from  the  mouth  of  the  River  Zacatula  towards  the  Northwest. 
He  returned  in  course  of  six  months,  bringing  with  him,  as  usual. 


imaginative  accounts  of  the  extent,  richness,  and  fertility  of  the  lands 
he  had  seen.  This  expedition  marked  the  beginning  of  Spanish 
effort  in  the  new  field. 

Cortes  returned  from  Spain  in  1530  and  injected  a  new  spirit  into 
the  affairs  of  the  Pacific.  At  his  own  expense  he  brought  with  him 
"many  noble  adventurers',  artizans,  workmen  and  sailors,  to  the  num- 
ber of  more  than  four  hundred,  for  employment  in  expeditions  he 
had  planned."  His  vessels  were  refitted,  and  the  St.  Miguel  and 
St.  Marcos,  under  command  of  Diego  Hurtado  de  Mendoza,  sailed 
from  Tehuantepec  on  June  30,  1532,  having  in  view  the  exploration 
of  the  islands  of  the  Pacific  off  the  coast  of  New  Spain.  According 
to  his  own  accounts  Mendoza  reached  the  twenty-seventh  degree  of 
latitude.  Here  the  crew  mutinied  and  the  St.  Miguel  was  ordered 
to  return  with  the  papers  of  the  expedition  and  the  disaffected  sail- 
ors, while  the  commander  continued  the  voyage.  The  returning 
vessel,  under  the  command  of  Juan  de  Mazuela,  endeavoured  to 
reach  Acapulco,  but  she  went  ashore,  and  all  on  board,  with  the 
e.xception  of  three,  were  put  to  death  by  the  natives  of  the  country, 
after  which  the  vessel  was  seized  and  plundered  by  Nuno  de  Guzman. 
As  to  the  ship  in  which  Mendoza  continued  his  voyage,  an  account 
was  received  that  she  had  been  throw^n  on  the  coast  far  to  the  north 
and  that  all  her  crew  had  perished. 

After  the  lapse  of  a  year  Cortes  learned  of  the  loss  of  the  vessels, 
commanded  by  Hurtado  de  Mendoza,  and  he  then  despatched  two 
ships  from  I'ehuantepcc  in  search  of  the  missing  expedition.  These 
ships  left  the  port  on  the  3()th  oi  September,  1533,  but  were  soon  after 
separated.  Hernando  Grijalva  discovered  a  group  of  islands  situated 
about  fifty  leagues  from  the  coast,  which  he  named  Islands  of  St. 
Thomas.  He  remained  until  the  following  spring  and  returned  to 
Acapulco,  without  adding  much  to  geographical  knowledge.  Diego 
Becerra,  commander  of  the  other  ship,  was  less  fortunate,  being  mur- 
dered by  the  pilot,  Fortuiio  Ximenes.  Other  labours  of  Cortes  in  the 
discovery  and  exploration  of  the  Pacific  side  of  North  America  will 
be  mentioned  in  brief. 

On  the  3d  of  May,  ly^'i'  '"i^'  entered  the  bay  near  the  shore  of 
Xalisco,  where  Becerra  had  been  murdered,  and  in  honour  of  the 
day  the  name  of  Santa  Cruz  was  bestowed  upon  the  place,  of  which 
possession  was  solemnly  taken  for  the  Spanish  sovereign.     It  was  the 


southeast  part  of  the  great  peninsula  which  projects  from  the  Amer- 
ican continent  on  the  Pacific  side  in  nearly  the  same  direction  and 
between  nearly  the  same  parallels  of  latitude  as  that  of  Florida  on 
the  Atlantic  side.  It  soon  afterward  received  the  name  of  California. 
The  bay  called  Santa  Cruz  by  Cortes,  says  Greenhow,  was  prob- 
ably the  same  later  known  as  Port  La  Paz. 

Returning  to  Mexico  in  the  beginning  of  1537,  by  reason  of  his 
having  been  removed  as  commandant  of  the  country  which  he  had 
added  to  the  dominions  of  Spain,  he  thereupon  recalled  from  Santa 
Cruz  his  lieutenant,  Francisco  de  Ulloa,  with  the  forces  which  had 
been  left  there,  and  in  1539  the  last  expedition  made  by  water  by 
Cortes  was  begun.  It  was  commanded  by  Francisco  de  Ulloa,  who 
sailed  from  Acapulco  on  the  8th  of  July,  1539,  with  three  vessels, 
and  took  his  course  for  California.  One  of  the  vessels  was  drivert 
ashore  near  Culiacan.  With  the  others  Ulloa  proceeded  to  the 
Bay  of  Santa  Cruz,  and  in  a  few  days  departed  to  survey  the  coast 
towards  the  northeast.  He  examined  both  shores  of  the  great  gulf 
which  separates  California  from  the  mainland  on  the  east  and  as- 
certained the  fact  of  the  junction  of  the  two  territories  near  the 
thirty-second  degree  of  latitude.  Then  rounding  Cape  San  Lucas 
the  expedition  followed  the  oceanic  coast  of  the  Californian  penin- 
sula, at  length  reaching,  under  the  twenty-eighth  parallel,  an  island 
which  Ulloa  named  the  Isle  of  Cedars.  Thence,  on  the  5th  of  April, 
the  Santa  Agiieda  set  sail  for  Santiago,  where  she  was  seized  by  the 
officers  of  Don  Antonio  de  Mendoza,  who  had  succeeded  Cortes  as 
Viceroy.  Of  the  fate  of  Ulloa  there  are  contradictory  accounts. 
Cortes  in  the  meantime  having  come  into  conflict  with  the  Viceroy 
and  others  in  regard  to  continuing  his  explorations  in  a  certain 
direction,  returned  in  disgust  to  Spain,  where  he  passed  the  remain- 
ing seven  years  of  his  life  in  vain  efforts  to  recover  his  authority 
in  Mexico  or  to  obtain  indemnification  for  his  losses. 

Other  explorations  were  made  overland  by  expeditionary  parties 
sent  out  from  Mexico.  Friar  Marcos  tells  of  having  discovered  in 
Northwest  Mexico  beyond  the  thirty-fifth  degree  of  latitude,  exten- 
sive territories  richly  cultivated  and  abounding  in  gold,  silver,  and 
precious  stones.  In  these  countries  were  many  towns  and  seven  cities, 
one  of  which  the  friar  called  Cibola,  containing  twenty  thousand  large 
stone  houses,  some  four  storeys  in  height,  adorned  with  jewels.  Like 
the  narratives  of  the  discovery  of  channels  through  the  northern  conti- 


nent,  which  a  little  later  obtained  credence  amongst  geographers, 
the  stories  emanating  from  the  fertile  imaginations  of  the  Friar  Mar- 
cos and  his  contemporaries  as  to  Quivira,  Cibola  and  Totonteac  were 
equally  fictitious.  However,  such  relations  but  reflected  the  glamour 
and  romance  which  surround  the  early  history  of  the  territories 
lying  to  the  northwest  of  Mexico. 

Fernando  de  Alarcon,  sailing  from  the  port  of  Santiago  on  the 
9th  of  May,  1540,  reached  the  extremity  of  the  Gulf  of  California 
in  August  following.  There  he  discovered  a  great  river  which  he 
named  Rio  de  Nuestra  Senora  de  Buena  Guia  (or  River  of  Our 
Lady  of  Safe  Conduct),  probably  the  same  now  called  Colorado. 

Juan  Rodriguez  Cabrillo,  a  Portuguese  of  high  reputation  as  a 
navigator,  sailed  from  Navidad,  a  small  port  in  Xalisco,  in  June, 
1542.  By  the  middle  of  August  he  had  advanced  beyond  the  limits 
of  the  supposed  discoveries  of  Ulloa.  Ruy  Lopez  de  Villalobos 
soon  followed  Cabrillo  with  another  expedition,  his  objective  being 
India,  there  to  form  establishments.  Bartolome  Ferrolo  and  Vas- 
quez  de  Coronado  also  contributed  their  part  in  these  early  explo- 
rations as  did  Sebastian  Vizcaino,  a  distinguished  Spanish  officer. 

From  the  time  of  the  death  of  Vizcaino,  which  occurred  in  1608, 
until  the  last  quarter  of  the  eighteenth  century,  Spain,  although  it 
controlled  the  sea  routes  to  the  northwest,  had  made  no  effort  to  add 
to  her  discoveries  in  that  direction.  At  last,  however,  Spain  was 
induced  to  play  a  more  active  part  in  the  North  Pacific.  Before 
1778  British  sailors  had  confined  their  operations  to  the  South  Pacific, 
but  the  Spaniards  had  been  in  constant  dread  of  their  appearance 
in  the  northern  part  of  that  ocean,  more  particularly  because  there  had 
recently  been  a  recrudescence  of  the  stories  of  a  navigable  communi- 
cation between  the  Pacific  and  the  North  Atlantic.  Then  the  acquisi- 
tion of  Canada  by  Great  Britain  in  1763  rendered  the  discovery  of  the 
Northwest  Passage  of  importance  to  that  power,  while  Spain  had  at 
this  time  additional  reasons  for  viewing  with  dissatisfaction  any 
attempts  of  her  rival  to  advance  westward  across  the  continent. 
Moreover,  the  Court  of  Madrid  was  perturbed  by  the  reported  ac- 
tivities of  the  Russians  on  the  northernmost  coasts  of  the  Pacific.  The 
fact  that  knowledge  of  the  Russian  explorations  was  vague  and  con- 
tradictory in  nowise  tended  to  lessen  the  apprehension  of  the  Span- 
ish cabinet.  Russia  had  not  made  known  the  extent  of  her  discoveries 
in  the  Northwest,  conceiving  it  more  politic  to  remain  silent.     Yet 


enough  had  leaked  out  to  make  the  Spanish  Government  fear  for 
the  safety  of  its  Californian  provinces.  In  this  relation  it  should 
be  borne  in  mind  that  the  boundaries  of  the  Californias  at  that  time 
did  not  coincide  with  those  of  the  California  of  today.  7he  Cali- 
fornias of  Spain  it  was  claimed  extended  indefinitely  northward,  far 
beyond  the  point  reached  by  the  earliest  navigators. 

In  view  of  these  events  and  in  order  to  give  life  to  her  claim 
to  the  sole  sovereignty  of  the  American  islands  and  coast  washed 
by  the  North  Pacific,  Spain  in  1765  adopted  a  policy  of  expansion. 
The  viceroy  of  Mexico,  deCroix,  and  the  visitador,  Galvez,  were 
instructed  to  enquire  into  the  condition  of  that  country  and  to  put  into 
effect  measures  of  reforms.  It  was  also  intended  by  the  Spanish 
Government  that  the  vacant  coasts  and  islands  to  tlie  northward  of 
California  should  be  annexed  and  occupied. 

At  this  time  the  sovereigns  of  France  and  Spain  followed  the 
example  of  Portugal  in  Europe  and  expelled  the  Jesuits  from  Mex- 
ico and  the  Peninsula  of  California.  California  was  immediately 
proclaimed  a  province  of  Mexico  and  it  was  duly  provided  with  a 
governmental  establishment  under  Caspar  de  Portala,  who  set  out 
upon  his  famous  expedition  from  La  Paz  to  the  newly  created  prov- 
ince in  1769.  The  missions  in  Lower  California  were  handed  over  to 
the  austere  Dominicans  who  in  turn  were  followed  by  the  zealous 
Franciscan  Fathers. 

However  important  and  interesting  as  the  relations  of  Spain 
in  California  are  to  the  student  of  British  Columbian  history,  the 
newly  awakened  interest  of  Spain  in  the  territories  of  northern  lati- 
tudes is  still  more  important  and  still  more  interesting.  Spain  had 
been  slow  to  move,  but  once  having  embarked  upon  a  policy  of 
expansion  it  was  not  long  before  that  policy  bore  fruit.  As  a  pre- 
cursor to  the  fitting  out  of  exploratory  expeditions  for  the  North,  a 
department  of  the  Mexican  Government  was  created  about  the  year 
1774,  for  the  special  purpose  of  promoting  and  fostering  the  work, 
under  the  title  of  the  Marine  Department  of  San  Bias,  so-called  be- 
cause the  port  of  that  name  on  the  Mexican  seaboard  was  selected 
as  the  base  of  operations.  At  this  port  arsenals,  shipyards  and  ware- 
houses were  erected  and  thence  the  ships  for  the  North  were 

The  first  Spanish  keel  to  ply  the  North  Pacific  was  the  little 
corvette  Santiago,  which  sailed  from  San  Bias  on  the  25th  of  Jan- 


uary,  1774,  in  command  of  Don  Juan  Perez,  who  was  ordered  by 
the  Viceroy,  to  examine  the  coast  as  far  north  as  the  sixty-fifth  degree 
of  latitude.  The  pilot,  or  navigating  officer,  of  the  Santiago,  was 
Estevan  Martinez,  who  afterwards  achieved  a  unique  distinction 
in  the  service  of  his  country.  Perez  was  accompanied  bv  the  Francis- 
can Fathers,  Crespi  and  Pena,  to  whom  the  world  is  indebted  for 
accounts  of  the  expedition.  The  two  friars  embarked  at  Monterey  at 
the  order  of  their  superior,  the  celebrated  Junipero  Serra,  then  the 
Father  Superior  of  the  Franciscan  mission  at  Monterey. 

After  several  abortive  efforts,  the  Santiago  proceeded  on  her 
voyage,  slowly  making  her  way  northward  under  heavy  weather. 
Fogs,  calms,  and  head  winds  delayed  the  progress  of  the  vessel  and 
it  was  not  until  the  i8th  of  July  that  land  was  sighted,  the  distinctive 
features  of  which  were  an  insulated  clifif  or  peak,  with  a  flat  top,  cov- 
ered with  snow.  From  the  observations  taken  on  board,  this  coast 
was  sighted  between  latitudes  fifty-three  and  fifty-four  degrees,  the 
first  land  seen  by  the  Spaniards  ofi  the  northwest  coast  being 
the  western  seaboard  of  the  Queen  Charlotte  Islands.  But  no 
landing  was  made  by  the  Spaniards.  On  the  following  day 
the  coast  was  seen  clearly  seven  or  eight  leagues  away  and  an 
observation  was  taken  by  Perez,  which  marked  the  latitude, 
according  to  his  calculations,  as  fifty-three  degrees,  fifty-eight  min- 
utes, north.  In  the  afternoon  the  vessel  advanced  to  within  three 
leagues  of  the  coast,  but  owing  to  the  lateness  of  the  hour  it  was 
decided  not  to  land.  On  the  following  day,  the  20th  of  July,  a  canoe 
approached  the  vessel  and  as  it  drew  near  the  ship  the  occupants 
could  be  distinctly  observed.  The  natives  were  singing  one  of  their 
pagan  songs  and  scattering  feathers  on  the  water  as  if  to  propitiate 
the  strangers,  so  thought  the  Spaniards.  At  first  they  did  not  ven- 
ture to  come  alongside  of  the  vessel  but  at  sight  of  handkerchiefs, 
beads,  and  biscuits  offered  by  the  Spanish  sailors,  their  cupidity  over- 
came their  fear  and  they  came  close  enough  to  the  stern  of  the  ship 
to  take  all  that  was  thrown  to  them,  but  they  would  not  go  on  hoard, 
although  invited  to  do  so.  The  graceful  canoes  wliich  tlic  Indians 
managed  with  such  dexterity  were  apparently  hewn  out  of  a  single 
tree  trunk.  These  natives  were  of  the  Haida  nation,  perhaps  the 
most  warlike  and  advanced  of  all  the  tribes  inhabiting  the  coast 
region.  In  their  large  canoes  they  swept  down  the  coast,  ruthlessly 
putting  to  death  men,  women,  and  children,  sparing  only  those  of 


whom  they  wished  to  make  slaves,  and  to  this  day  their  exploits  are 
preserved  in  the  traditions  of  the  weaker  tribes  they  harassed  so 
terribly.  In  later  years  they  were  bold  enough  to  threaten  the  infant 
colony  and  the  Hudson's  Bay  posts  at  the  southern  extremity  of 
Vancouver  Island. 

The  insulated  cliff  first  sighted  by  Perez,  he  named  Santa  Mar- 
garita, "because  it  was  seen  yesterday,  which  was  the  day  of  that 
glorious  saint."     So  it  is  recorded  by  Father  Crespi. 

Father  Pena  in  his  diary  s^ys  that  that  name  was  also  bestowed 
upon  a  group  of  three  small  islands  not  far  from  the  coast.  Some 
forty  or  fifty  miles  north  of  this  point  was  sighted  a  promontory 
covered  with  trees,  which  was  named  Santa  Maria  Magdalena.  Be- 
yond this  cape  the  coast  was  fianked  by  high  land  covered  with  tim- 
ber and  trending  east  and  west  as  far  as  it  could  be  seen.  An  island 
near  by  was  christened  Santa  Cristina  and  the  snow-capped  moun- 
tains of  the  interior  were  called  San  Cristobel. 

In  seeking  land  in  a  latitude  so  tar  below  that  mentioned  in  his 
instructions,  Perez  was  influenced  by  the  fact  that  his  water  barrels 
needed  replenishing.  After  a  counsel  of  his  officers  it  was  decided 
to  land  at  the  first  convenient  spot,  before  proceeding  to  the  sixty- 
fifth  parallel,  the  point  set  as  the  northern  limit  of  the  voyage.  Hence 
it  was  that  the  expedition  made  land  near  the  tifty-fourth  parallel, 
discovering  the  Queen  Charlotte  Islands.  Neither  Perez  nor  any 
of  those  on  board  the  Santiago  were  aware  of  the  fact  that  the  land 
seen  was  not  part  of  the  continental  shore. 

Leaving  Cape  Santa  Margarita,  the  Santiago  sailed  southward, 
but  the  weather  was  either  so  boisterous  or  so  foggy  that  Perez  only 
got  occasional  glimpses  of  the  coast.  Continuing  her  course,  on  the 
evening  of  Monday,  the  i8th  of  August,  the  Santiago  sighted  land 
about  the  forty-ninth  parallel,  according  to  an  observation  taken  on 
board.  With  a  light  wind  the  vessel  gradually  drew  near  the  strange 
coast  and  at  6  o'clock,  being  about  a  league  from  it,  she  came 
to  anchor  in  twenty-five  fathoms  of  water.  From  the  deck  of  the 
vessel,  the  heavily  wooded  land  could  easily  be  seen. 

It  seemed  that  after  nearly  three  centuries  of  intermittent  effort 
the  Spaniard  was  at  last  to  set  his  seal  upon  the  northwest  coast,  but 
the  same  powers  and  obdurate  fate  seemed  ever  to  stand  between 
the  Spaniard  and  the  attainment  of  his  desire.  The  morning  of 
Tuesday,  the  19th,  dawned  calm  and  still,  but  all  other  quarters  of 




the  compass  were  hidden  by  a  dense  fog  which  hung  over  land  and 
water.  Then  occurred  one  of  those  sudden  changes  in  the  weather 
to  which  all  coasts  are  at  times  subjected.  The  storm  came  up  so 
quickly  that  there  was  not  even  time  to  hoist  the  long  boat,  which 
had  been  launched  early  in  the  morning,  ready  for  the  landing  party. 
The  captain  immediately  ordered  the  anchor  to  be  weighed  and  the 
sails  set,  but  the  ship  drifted  shoreward  so  swiftly  that  it  was  found 
necessary  to  cut  the  cable  and  with  great  difficulty  she  doubled  a 
reef  to  the  southwest  which  ran  far  out  into  the  sea.  Having  weath- 
ered the  point,  the  vessel  was  hove  to  in  order  that  the  long  boat 
might  be  taken  on  board.  While  this  was  being  done,  however,  a 
heavy  wind  struck  the  boat  and  it  was  nearly  lost,  together  with  the 
sailors  who  were  in  it.  After  this  fortunate  escape  sails  were  again 
loosed  and  the  course  set  for  the  southeast,  the  wind  and  sea  still 
increasing  in  violence.  Thus  the  first  Spanish  vessel  to  reach  the  far 
Northwest  ran  from  the  only  anchorage  it  had  been  possible  to  make 
in  the  whole  course  of  the  expedition. 

The  landfall  of  Perez,  named  by  him  San  Lorenzo,  has  been  the 
subject  of  much  discussion,  but  it  is  not  difficult  to  fix  upon  the 
anchorage  of  the  Santiago.  The  American  historian,  Robert  Green- 
how  is  painfully  in  error  when  he  asserts  so  positively  that  the  Spanish 
commander  discovered  the  sound,  named  a  few  years  later  "King 
George's."  or  "Nootka"  Sound,  by  James  Cook.  The  fact  that 
the  writer  had  access  to  Perez  and  Pena's  journal,  although  appar- 
ently not  to  that  of  Crespi,  which  certainly  is  quite  clear  upon  this 
point,  only  makes  his  blunt  assertion  more  remarkable.  Father 
Crespi,  however,  mentions  San  Lorenzo  as  lying  between  two  points, 
of  which  the  southeast  was  called  San  Estevan,  in  honour  of  the  navi- 
gating officer,  and  that  to  the  northwest,  Santa  Clara.  If  the  San- 
tiago had  anchored  in  Nootka  Sound  she  would  have  found  a  harbour 
safe  in  all  weathers  and  there  would  have  been  no  necessity  to  cut 
the  cable  in  order  to  make  an  offing,  no  matter  from  what  direction 
the  wind  might  blow.  There  is  little  doubt  then  that  the  open 
roadstead  where  the  vessel  anchored  a  league  from  the  shore 
is  the  bight  or  bay,  of  which  the  southern  extremity  is  marked  by 
the  Point  Estevan  of  the  admiralty  charts  of  today.  Nothing  in  the 
journals  mentioned  can  possibly  be  construed  as  evidence  that  Nootka 
Sound  was  ever  seen,  much  less  entered.  It  is  certain  then  that  Perez 
did  not  enter  the  historic  channel  named  Nootka,  by  Cook,  in  spite 


of  Navarette's  statement  to  the  contrary,  and  Greenhow's  even  more 
explicit  asseveration.  If  further  evidence  upon  this  point  is  desired  it 
may  be  found  in  Robert  Haswell's  manuscript  journal  of  the  Colum- 
bia-Re diviv  a  and  sloop  JJ'ashington,  in  which  it  is  set  forth  that 
"Nootka  Sound  was  discovered  by  Captain  Cook  March  the  30, 
1778,  on  his  passag  to  the  Northern  hemisphere  of  this  Ocean.  But 
from  the  natives  we  lern  their  was  a  ship  anchored  at  the  enterence 
of  the  Sound  forty  months  before  Captain  Cooks  arrival.  From  the 
description  they  must  have  been  Spaniards  but  the  natives  say  their 
boats  ueir  not  out  duering  their  tarey."  The  italics  mark  the  signifi- 
cant passage. 

Making  no  further  effort  to  explore  the  northern  coast  line,  Perez 
turned  his  vessel  southward  and  sailed  for  Monterey,  reaching  that 
point  on  Saturday,  the  27th  of  August;  and  thus  ended  the  first  voy- 
age of  the  Spaniards  to  the  mysterious  northern  region.  Beyond  a 
cursory  examination  of  one  or  two  points  and  ascertaining  the  gen- 
eral trend  of  the  coast  line,  little  was  accomplished  by  this  expedi- 
tion. Yet  it  is  important  historically  from  the  fact  that  it  marked 
the  first  effort  of  the  Spaniards  to  learn  something  of  a  region  of 
which  for  many  years  it  had  been  in  their  power  to  acquire  full 
knowledge;  and  although  no  mention  of  the  Strait  of  Juan  de  Fuca 
is  to  be  found  in  any  of  the  journals,  nor  was  it  reported  therein  that 
an  opening  in  the  coast  corresponding  to  that  of  the  Greek  pilot 
had  been  seen,  Estevan  Martinez  at  a  crucial  moment  in  the  Nootka 
controversv  conveniently  remembered  that  he  had  noticed  a  large 
opening  near  the  forty-eighth  parallel,  a  fact  which  he  strangely 
enough  omitted  to  report  at  the  time. 

The  voyage  of  Perez,  although  abortive,  whetted  the  appetite 
of  the  Spaniards  for  northern  exploration.  Two  expeditions  fol- 
lowed in  the  wake  of  the  Santiago,  of  which  a  brief  account  is  here 
given.  The  Viceroy  of  Mexico,  encouraged  by  the  reports  brought  by 
Juan  Perez,  immediately  ordered  another  expedition  to  be  fitted 
out.  The  Santiago  was  again  commissioned  and  placed  in  com- 
mand of  Naval  Lieutenant  Don  Bruno  Heceta,  with  whom  Juan 
Perez  sailed  as  quartermaster.  Tiie  Santiago's  consort  was  the  little 
schooner  Felicidad — renamed  the  Sonora — under  Lieutenant  Juan 
Francisco  de  Bodega  y  Quadra,  whose  name  came  to  be  inseparably 
associated  with  the  most  important  incident  of  early  Northwest  his- 
torv.    A  great  deal  might  be  said  concerning  the  character  of  Bodega 


y  Quadra,  but  perhaps  his  own  introduction  to  the  journal  of  this 
expedition  gives  a  better  idea  of  the  man  than  anything  else  that  has 
been  written  of  him.  "Immediately,"  he  writes,  "on  the  arrival  at  the 
Department  of  San  Bias  of  the  six  officers  appointed  by  His  Excel- 
lency the  X'iceroy,  Friar  D.  Antonio  Maria  Bucareli,  who  were  to 
command  the  frigate,  packet,  and  schooner,  I  thought  that  on  account 
of  my  senioritv  some  position  was  due  me,  and  being  desirous  of  seeing 
myself  included  in  the  expedition  upon  which  the  frigate  and 
schooner  were  going,  their  orders  being  to  advance  as  far  as  possible 
towards  the  N.  Pole  from  California,  and  to  survey  the  coast;  re- 
flecting likewise  that  the  greater  the  risk  the  more  it  should  be  sought 
for  when  the  results  tend  to  the  sovereign's  service,  and  that  it  is  a 
quality  of  honour  to  desire  to  request  from  His  Majesty  a  post  where 
dangers  must  be  despised  for  the  sole  object  of  seeking  the  means 
by  which  His  royal  ideas  may  be  maintained  or  duly  carried  out;  I 
could  not  restrain  my  ardour  upon  these  reflections,  and  prayed  that 
I  might  embark  as  second  Captain  in  the  schooner,  a  vessel  in  which 
I  at  once  conjectured  that  even  the  lightest  undertaking  would  be 
noteworthy,  both  on  account  of  its  small  size,  scanty  crew,  evident  lack 
of  necessaries,  accumulation  of  risks,  entire  want  of  suitable  qualities 
for  such  routes  and  lastly  a  vessel  which  only  the  ardour  of  a  resolute 
mind  would  select  on  such  an  occasion  of  risk  to  life." 

The  vessels  sailed  from  San  Bias  on  the  i6th  of  xMarch,  1775,  and 
proceeded  slowly  up  the  coast,  in  the  teeth  of  contrary  winds.  It 
was  the  19th  of  June  before  Heceta  left  Port  Trinidad,  off  the  Cal- 
ifornian  coast.  Three  weeks  later,  on  July  nth,  the  Northwest 
coast  was  sighted  in  latitude  given  as  forty-eight  degrees  and  twenty- 
six  minutes,  from  which  point  the  Spaniards  searched  southward  in 
vain  for  the  entrance  to  the  Strait  of  Juan  de  Fuca.  The  Spaniards 
anchored  near  Point  Grenville,  in  latitude  forty-seven  degrees  and 
twenty  minutes.  Here  on  that  point,  on  the  14th  of  July,  of  the  year 
1775,  so  far  as  it  is  kncnvn,  Europeans  first  set  foot  on  the  Northwest 
Coast.  Bruno  Heceta,  the  Padre,  Pierre,  the  surgeon,  Davalos,  and 
Cristoval  Revilla,  the  second  pilot,  landed  with  a  few  sailors  and, 
after  erecting  a  cross,  with  due  ceremony  took  possession  of  the  coun- 
try in  the  name  of  the  Sovereign  King  of  Spain. 

While  the  officers  of  the  Santiago  were  thus  engaged,  the  crew 
of  the  Sonora  were  in  sore  straits.  A  few  men  in  the  only  boat 
had  been  sent  ashore  in  (]uest  of  water.     Scarcely  had  tiicy  landed, 



however,  when  the  Indians  to  the  number  of  three  hundred  rushed 
out  of  the  woods  and  overwhelmed  the  small  Spanish  force.  The 
tragedy  was  observed  from  the  deck  of  the  Sonora,  but  nothing  could 
be  done  to  aid  the  landing  party,  as  the  schooner  could  not  get  within 
range  of  the  shore.  Not  a  man  escaped  the  murderous  savages  and 
Bodega  y  Quadra  found  his  crew  reduced  to  five  men  and  one  boy 
in  health  and  four  sailors  too  ill  to  perform  their  duties.  The  In- 
dians, after  the  massacre  on  the  shore,  attacked  the  vessel  from  their 
canoes,  but  were  repulsed  with  the  loss  of  six  men.  Maurelle.  the 
pilot,  relates  that  there  were  only  three  on  board  able  to  handle  a  mus- 
ket— the  captain,  his  servant,  and  himself.  Fortunately,  the  Santiago 
then  arrived  upon  the  scene  of  action  and  rescued  her  consort  from  an 
awkward  position.  In  commemoration  of  the  event  the  point  was 
called  Punta  de  Martires — Martyrs'  Point;  and  the  island  a  little 
to  the  northward,  for  the  same  reason  therefore,  was  named  Isia 
de  Dolores — Island  of  Sorrows.  The  same  island  twelve  years  later 
was  called  Destruction  Island  by  Captain  Berkley  of  the  Imperial 
Eagle,  because  some  of  his  crew  were  massacred  on  the  mainland 

After  this  disaster  the  question  of  continuing  the  voyage  was 
argued  in  council.  Perez,  Quadra,  and  Maurelle  were  all  in  favour 
of  sailing  northward,  but  Heceta  was  anxious  to  return  to  Monterey. 
The  voyage  was  continued,  but  shortly  after  the  vessels  had  got  under 
way  they  were  separated  by  a  storm  and  Heceta  seized  the  oppor- 
tunity to  sail  for  California,  while  Quadra  nobly  persevered  in  his 
determination  to  carrv  out  at  all  hazards  the  instructions  of  the 
Viceroy  to  reach  the  sixty-fifth  degree  of  latitude. 

Heceta,  after  parting  companv  with  the  Srinora,  made  land  on 
the  west  coast  of  Vancouver  Island  near  the  fiftieth  parallel  and 
thence  sailed  southward,  passing  by  the  roadstead  San  Lorenzo. 
On  his  wav  southward,  in  a  latitude  reckoned  as  forty-six  degrees 
and  seventeen  minutes,  he  noticed  an  opening  in  the  coast,  from 
which  issued  a  strong  current.  He  thought  that  he  had  discovered 
the  mouth  of  some  great  river,  or  perhaps  the  strait  reported  to  have 
been  found  by  Juan  de  Fuca  in  1592.  In  his  journal  it  is  recorded 
that  he  bestowed  upon  the  bight  then  discovered  the  name  of  En- 
senada  de  Asuncion,  and  the  points  north  and  south  of  it  he  called 
Cape  San  Roque  and  Cape  Frondoso,  respectively.  In  charts  of 
the  locality  subsequently  published  in  Mexico  the  opening  is  called 



Ensenada  de  Heceta  and  Rio  de  San  Roque.  The  journal  of  the 
explorer  is  more  or  less  explicit  and  his  description  leaves  little  room 
for  doubt  that  he  had  sighted  the  mouth  of  the  lordly  river  called 
by  Jonathan  Carver  "Oregan,"  subsequently  known  to  the  world  as 
the  Columbia,  so  named  by  Captain  Gray  after  his  vessel,  Columbia- 
Rediviva,  seventeen  years  later.  Heceta  arrived  at  Monterey  on 
the  30th  of  August  with  two-thirds  of  his  men  disabled  by  scurvy. 

In  the  meantime  Quadra  and  Maurelle  in  their  little  vessel  the 
Srjiiora — she  was  but  twenty-seven  feet  in  length,  manned  by  a  pilot, 
a  boatswain,  a  mate,  ten  seamen,  a  cabin  boy  and  a  servant — made  a 
desperate  attempt  to  reach  the  sixty-fifth  parallel,  an  effort  as  heroic 
as  it  was  foolhardy  in  such  an  unseaworthy  and  ill-equipped  craft. 
They  sailed  northwest  without  sighting  land  until  the  beautiful  snow- 
capped mountain  of  San  Jacinto  (St.  Hyacinth)  appeared  above  the 
horizon,  and  somewhat  further  on,  the  ports  Remedios  and  Guade- 
lupe  were  visited  and  so  named.  The  San  Jacinto  of  the  Spaniard  is 
unquestionably  the  Mount  Edgecomb  of  Captain  Cook,  while  Port 
Remedios  is  not  unlikely  the  Bay  of  Islands  of  the  English  navigator, 
and  Port  Guadelupe  the  Norfolk  Sound  of  today. 

While  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  fiftieth  parallel  Bodega  y 
Quadra  determined  to  sail  for  San  Bias,  comforting  himself  with  the 
reflection  that  although  he  had  not  succeeded  in  carrying  out  his 
instructions,  yet  he  had  reached  a  latitude  beyond  that  effected  by 
any  other  navigator. 

On  the  way  homeward  the  Archipelago  San  Lazarus  of  that 
famous  romancer.  Admiral  La  Fonte,  and  the  imaginary  strait  lead- 
ing therefrom  far  into  the  continent,  were  sought  for  in  vain,  but  the 
Sonora  discovered  Bucarcli  Sound,  a  name  that  has  remained  on 
the  map  from  that  day  to  this.  It  is  situated  on  the  west  side  of  the 
largest  island  of  the  Prince  of  Wales  Archipelago,  so  named  by  Van- 
couver. Here  again  the  Spaniards  landed  and  took  possession  of 
the  country  with  due  formality.  From  Port  Bucareli,  Quadra  sailed 
southward  across  Dixon's  entrance,  to  which  he  gave  the  name  of 
Entrada  de  Perez,  and  sighted  Cape  Santa  Margarita  (Cape  North). 
Thence  the  schooner  sailed  down  the  coast  and,  on  the  20th  of  No- 
vember, 1771;,  reached  San  Bias,  after  an  absence  of  eight  months. 
The  expedition,  however,  cannot  be  said  to  have  been  entirely  suc- 
cessful, although  in  some  respects  it  was  important.  Heceta,  the 
commander,  certainly  did  not  distinguish  himself.    Quadra  and  Mau- 


relle,  on  the  other  hand,  as  certainly  proved  themselves  navigators 
of  more  than  ordinary  determination  and  courage.  Though  their 
vessel  was  miserably  equipped  and  one-half  of  their  crew  laid  low 
with  that  terrible  distemper,  the  scurvy,  they  made  a  brave  attempt 
to  carry  out  their  instructions.  Their  achievement  indeed  was  a 
brilliant  example  of  Spanish  seamanship. 

The  third  expedition  of  this  period  of  renewed  activity  on 
the  part  of  the  Spaniards  left  San  Bias  under  the  command  of 
Ignacio  Arteaga,  who  sailed  in  the  Princesa  accompanied  by  Bodega 
y  Quadra,  with  the  faithful  Maurelle  as  second  officer,  in  the  Fa- 
vorita.  Arteaga  sailed  on  the  17th  of  February,  1779,  and  after  a 
vovage  of  four  months  made  Port  Bucareli,  where  he  remained 
several  weeks  surveying  the  bay,  trading  with  the  natives  and  refit- 
ting his  vessels.  Leaving  this  harbour,  Arteaga  and  Quadra  made 
the  highest  point  yet  reached  by  the  Spaniards,  sighting  the  mag- 
nificent mountain  of  St.  Elias,  so  named  by  Bering  in  1741. 

While  searching  for  a  passage  which  might  lead  into  the  Arctic 
Sea  they  entered  a  large  bay  containing  many  islands,  which  they 
called  Isla  de  la  Magdalena.  Port  Santiago  was  also  discovered  and 
named.  At  this  point,  as  their  provisions  were  failing  and  the  men 
suffering  from  the  prevailing  malady,  it  was  decided  to  return  to 
Mexico.  Accordingly  a  course  was  set  for  the  south,  and  on  the 
15th  of  October,  the  expedition  entered  the  Golden  Gate  of  San 
Francisco,  and  on  the  21st  of  November  it  arrived  at  San  Bias,  with 
little,  if  anything,  to  its  credit.  In  short,  the  voyage  was  barren  of 
results,  yet  strange  to  relate  the  officers  engaged  in  it  were  all  pro- 
moted as  if  they  had  rendered  excellent  service. 

So  far,  the  Spanish  voyages  to  the  Northwest  had  done  little  more 
than  barely  discover  the  coast  which  is  now  the  Pacific  seaboard  of 
Canada.  That  deeply  indented  and  island-fringed  shore  was  still, 
even  as  it  has  been  from  time  immemorial,  a  land  of  mystery,  asso- 
ciated in  the  minds  of  geographers  and  navigators  with  the  vaunted 
exploits  of  travellers  otherwise  unknown  to  fame.  Even  the  romantic 
literature  of  that  time  reflects  the  curiosity  of  the  age  with  regard  to 
the  strange  land  which  Verendrye  had  failed  to  penetrate  from  the 
east,  even  as  Bodega  y  Quadra  had  failed  to  explore  it  from  the 
west.  Here  Dean  Swift  placed  his  fabled  land  of  Brobdingnag,  and 
long  before  Lemuel  Gulliver  related  the  story  of  his  strange  adven- 
tures, Pantagruel,  Rabelais'  eccentric  hero,  had  found  his  way  to 


California — at  least  it  has  been  surmised  that  the  French  abbe  had 
that  country  in  mind  when  he  recounted  Pantagruel's  travels.  In 
fact,  the  world  was  curiously  concerned  about  it  all,  the  more  espe- 
cially so,  perhaps,  because  the  reports  of  the  Spanish  explorations 
that  escaped  from,  or  were  given  to  the  world  by,  the  secretive  Span- 
ish ministry  were  too  vague  to  do  more  than  give  rein  to  conjecture. 

Three  hundred  years  had  elapsed  since  the  Spaniard  found  his 
way  across  Mexico  to  the  shores  of  Balboa's  great  South  Sea,  chris- 
tened "The  Pacific"  by  Magellan,  the  Portuguese,  but  in  all  that 
time  the  Northwest  coast  had  not  been  charted  or  surveyed.  Such 
was  the  position  of  afifairs  in  1779  when  war  broke  out  between  Great 
Britain  and  Spain,  and  for  the  time  being  the  latter  country  was 
forced  to  abandon  her  enterprise  in  the  North  Pacific.  When  Spain 
was  again  prepared  to  pursue  an  active  policy  she  found  that  Cap- 
tain James  Cook,  and  the  fur  traders  who  followed  him,  had  done 
much  to  make  known  the  true  configuration  of  the  Northwest  coast, 
although  the  gaps  were  not  closed,  or  the  continental  shore  line  fully 
examined,  until  Captain  George  Vancouver's  survey  of  1792  to  1794. 

MAP  or  NORTH  AMKRICA.  CIRCA.   1625 



After  the  voyage  of  Vizcaino  in  1603  no  determined  effort  was 
made  by  Spain  to  chart  the  northern  way.  Indeed,  in  a  few  years  so 
utterly  forgotten  were  the  explorations  of  the  time  of  Cortes  and 
Mendoza  that  the  Gulf  of  California  was  supposed  to  extend  far 
northward,  where  it  connected  again  with  the  ocean.  California,  in 
fact,  was  looked  upon  not  as  part  of  the  continent,  but  as  a  large  island 
of  unknown  length  and  breadth.  It  is  not  unlikely  that  this  erroneous 
idea  originated  with  the  Dutch  free-booters,  who  in  the  beginning 
of  the  seventeenth  century  formed  a  piratical  settlement  on  the  coast 
of  Lower  California.  They  reported,  that  a  vessel  had  once  sailed 
northward  through  the  Sea  of  Cortes  into  the  Pacific,  thus  establish- 
ing the  fact  that  California  was  an  island.  The  story  was  believed, 
and  Samuel  Purchas,  in  the  third  volume  of  "His  Pilgrimes,"  printed 
a  map  of  North  America,  representing  California  as  an  island,  and 
the  Sea  of  Cortes,  the  Gulf  of  California,  as  a  broad  channel  of  enor- 
mous length.  The  views  of  Purchas  were  received  with  favour  and 
generally  adopted,  and  the  Spaniards,  forgetting  the  maps  then  lying 
in  their  own  archives,  apparently  shared  in  the  belief,  and  about  the 
year  1670  the  name  ''California"  was  on  some  charts  changed  to  "Las 
Islas  Carolinas,"  intimating  that  it  was  nothing  more  nor  less  than  a 
large  cluster  of  islands. 

The  unsuccessful  attempts  made  in  this  period  by  the  Spaniards 
with  regard  to  discovery  and  development  are  symbolical  of  the  state 
of  decrepitude  into  which  the  one-time  mighty  Spanish  monarchy 
had  fallen.  This  decadence  naturally  affected  Mexico,  even  as  it  did 
the  other  colonial  possessions  of  the  Empire.  Commonplace  and  pre- 
tentious explorers,  quixotically  styled  "admirals,"  were  employed  in 
the  maritime  service  of  Spain.  Small  wonder  is  it,  then,  that  their 
accomplishments  were  insignificant  in  comparison  with  the  daring 

lot    I_4 




work  of  such  great  captains  and  intrepid  explorers  as  UUoa,  Cabrillo 
and  Vizcaino. 

The  Reverend  Father  Venegas  avers  that  one  reason  why  these 
expeditions  to  the  northward  did  not  succeed  was  that  no  care  was 
taken  of  former  reports,  surveys,  maps  or  plans.  "They  were  not 
carefully  preserved  and  made  known  by  print,"  he  observes. 

California,  thus  practically  abandoned  by  the  Spanish  Govern- 
ment, however,  still  held  the  attention  of  the  Jesuits,  then  powerful 
and  active  in  both  divisions  of  the  western  hemisphere.  They  had 
established  missions  on  the  eastern  side  of  the  Gulf  of  California  and 
throughout  the  Pacific  Provinces  of  Mexico.  Versatile  and  daring, 
these  men  furnished  not  only  missionaries  to  convert  and  teach  the 
heathen,  but  also  journalists,  cosmographers  and  historians  to  nearly 
all  of  the  Spanish  expeditions  from  earliest  times  down  to  the  year 
1767.  For  the  history  of  the  Jesuits  in  California  one  must  turn  to  the 
"Noticia  de  la  California,"  by  the  Jesuit  Miguel  Venegas,  which 
was  published  in  Madrid  in  i7i;7.  Of  the  subsequent  history  of  the 
Jesuits  from  ijc^i  to  1767,  when  they  were  expelled  from  the  country, 
much  has  been  written,  but  that  story  is  beyond  the  scope  of  this  work. 

While  the  Jesuits,  by  their  settlements  in  and  explorations  of  the 
Peninsula  of  California,  were  laying  the  foundation  for  further 
progress  towards  the  Northwest,  the  Russians  from  the  opposite  direc- 
tion were  advancing  towards  the  same  region.  Indeed,  it  was  Mus- 
covite enterprise  that  moved  the  Spanish  Government  to  make  a  final 
effort  to  establish  its  sovereignty  at  least  as  far  northward  as. the  fifty- 
fourth  parallel  of  latitude.  In  the  great  work  of  Arctic  exploration 
which  was  essentially  the  occupation  of  the  navigators  of  the  last  two 
centuries,  it  was  first  Russia  and  later  England  that  took  the  lead. 
Until  comparatively  recent  times  it  was  to  these  two  nations  that  the 
historian  and  the  geographer  were  principally  indebted  for  a  knowl- 
edge of  Arctic  regions.  Peter  Lauridsen,  the  biographer  of  Vitus 
Bering,  remarks  that,  "The  English  expeditions  were  undertaken  with 
better  support  and  under  circumstances  better  designed  to  attract 
public  attention.  They  have,  moreover,  been  excellently  described 
and  are  consequently  well  known.  But  in  the  greatness  of  the  tasks 
undertaken,  in  the  perseverance  of  their  leaders,  in  difficulties,  dangers 
and  tragic  fates,  the  Russian  explorations  stand  worthily  at  their  side. 
The  geographic  positions  of  the  Russians,  their  dispersion  through- 
out the  coldest  regions  of  the  earth,  their  frugal  habits,  remarkable 


power  of  foresight,  and  their  adventurous  spirit,  make  them  especially 
fitted  for  Arctic  explorations.  Hence  during  the  first  half  of  the 
eighteenth  century  they  accomplished  for  Asia  what  the  English  not 
until  a  hundred  years  later  succeeded  in  doing  for  the  other  side  of 
the  earth — namely,  the  charting  of  the  Polar  coasts." 

It  was  the  Russians  who  introduced  the  system  of  sledging  into 
the  service  of  Arctic  expeditions,  and  in  passing  it  may  be  observed 
that  it  is  only  through  the  systematic  development  of  such  means  that 
modern  explorers  have  been  able  to  achieve  their  most  signal  triumphs 
in  desolate  northern  latitudes.  The  history  of  Russian  exertions  in 
that  bleak  field  is  adorned  with  a  series  of  proud  names,  but  perhaps 
the  greatest  of  them  all  is  that  of  Vitus  Bering,  the  Dane.  It  redounds 
to  the  honour  of  Denmark,  as  Peter  Lauridsen,  a  member  of  the 
Council  of  the  Royal  Danish  Geographical  Society,  observes,  "that 
the  most  brilliant  chapter  in  the  history  of  Russian  explorations  is  due 
to  the  initiative  and  indefatigable  energy  of  Vitus  Bering."  In  the 
service  of  the  half-civilized,  if  not  wholly  barbaric  Peter  the  Great, 
he  doubled  the  northeastern  peninsula  of  Asia,  and  on  his  return  to 
Russia  prepared  a  plan  for  explorations  which  were  to  reach  from 
the  Arctic  Sea  to  Japan. 

It  was  peculiarly  fitting  that  the  equipment  of  Bering's  first 
expedition  to  the  northeast  should  be  one  of  the  last  administrative 
acts  of  Peter  the  Great.  From  his  death  bed  he  set  in  motion  forces 
which  in  the  years  that  followed  were  to  conquer  a  new  world  for 
human  knowledge.  It  was  not  until  his  rugged  but  mighty  spirit  was 
about  to  depart  this  world  that  that  work  was  begun.  The  death  of 
the  great  Czar  witnessed  the  birth  of  a  force  which  was  destined  to  be 
memorably  effective  for  half  a  century;  and  the  results  then  achieved 
still  excite  admiration. 

It  is  pertinent  to  inquire  what  led  Peter  to  undertake  this  work. 
That  question  is  answered  by  Lauridsen,  who  avers  that  he  was 
incited  to  such  a  Herculean  task  "by  a  desire  for  booty,  bv  a  keen, 
somewhat  barbaric,  curiosity,  and  by  a  just  desire  to  know  the  natural 
boundaries  of  his  dominion.  He  was  no  doubt  less  intlucnccd  by 
the  flattery  of  the  French  Academy  and  other  institutions  than  is 
generally  supposed."  Whatever  may  have  been  the  motives  which 
prompted  his  activities,  his  great  enterprise  certainly  brought  Russia 
into  the  front  rank  of  those  nations  engaged  in  geographical  explora- 
tion.   Just  before  his  death  he  planned  no  less  than  three  great  enter- 


prises — the  establishment  of  a  mart  at  the  mouth  of  the  River  Kur 
for  the  Oriental  trade,  the  creation  of  maritime  trade  with  India,  and 
a  scientific  expedition  to  settle  once  and  for  all  the  boundary  between 
Asia  and  America. 

With  the  first  two  projects,  which,  however,  did  not  survive  the 
Czar,  this  work  is  not  concerned;  but  Bering  tenaciously  held  to  his 
plan  and  in  the  end  gave  up  his  life  in  the  accomplishment  of  his  task. 

Peter  the  Great  was  not  a  monarch  to  heed  obstacles  or  to  weigh 
the  possibilities  of  the  success  of  any  of  his  enterprises.  His  plans, 
therefore,  were  always  on  a  grand  scale,  if  the  means  for  carrying 
them  out  were  often  entirely  inadequate.  His  imperious  and  laconic 
instructions  left  no  room  for  doubt  as  to  their  intent,  nor  as  to  the 
results  of  his  orders.  It  is  said  that  on  one  occasion  he  addressed 
his  commander-in-chief  in  Astrakhan,  as  follows:  ''When  fifteen 
'  boats  arrive  from  Kazan,  you  will  sail  them  to  Baku  and  sack  the 
town."  His  instructions  to  his  Danish  officer  were  just  as  terse  and 
characteristic.  It  seems  that  they  were  written  in  December,  1724,  five 
weeks  before  his  death,  and  they  are  substantially  as  follows:  ''I. — 
At  Kamchatka  or  somewhere  else,  two  decked  boats  ought  to  be  built. 
II. — With  these  you  are  to  sail  northward  along  the  coast,  and  as  the 
end  of  the  coast  is  not  known,  this  land  is  undoubtedly  America. 
III. — For  this  reason  you  are  to  inquire  where  the  American  coast 
begins  and  go  to  some  European  colony,  and  when  European  ships 
are  seen  you  are  to  ask  what  the  coast  is  called,  note  it  down,  make 
a  landing,  obtain  reliable  information,  and  then,  after  having  charted 
the  coast,  return."  After  the  navigators  of  the  nations  of  Westera 
Europe  had  for  two  centuries  wearied  themselves  with  the  search  for 
a  northern  passage  and  made  strenuous  efforts  to  navigate  the  Strait 
of  Anian,  Russia  sought  to  solve  the  problem,  perhaps  in  a  more 
practical  manner,  by  first  of  all  looking  for  the  outlet  of  the  strait 
and  starting  out  on  a  voyage  round  the  northern  part  of  the  Old 
World.  Yet,  perhaps  some  adventurous  Russian  sailor,  unknown  and 
unhonoured,  had  already  solved  this  problem,  because  it  would  seem 
that  the  "Typus  Orbis  Terrarum"  of  Ortelius,  printed  in  1585,  and 
the  even  earlier  map  of  Johann  Martinez  of  1562  or  1565,  clearly 
show  the  extensive  passage  long  since  named  in  honour  of  the  intrepid 
explorer,  a  brief  account  of  whose  exploits  are  now  to  be  related.  Or 
perhaps  rumours  of  the  proximity  of  another  continental  shore  near 
the  northeastern  corner  of  Asia  mav  have  drifted  across  Siberia.    From 


such  a  source  the  early  geographers  may  have  obtained  an  approxi- 
mately correct  idea  of  the  relative  positions  of  the  two  great  continents. 

Bering's  first  expedition  was  to  settle  the  great  question  of  that 
age — Were  Asia  and  America  connected,  or  were  they  separate? — 
Were  there  northwest  and  northeast  passages? 

If  the  above  mentioned  ukase  is  indicative  of  anything  at  all,  it 
would  seem  to  show  that  the  Czar's  inquisitive  mind  was  dwelling  on 
the  possibility  of  establishing  a  line  of  communication  to  the  Spanish 
colonies  in  central  America. 

A  writer  of  repute  has  observed  that  "In  the  history  of  discoveries 
the  spirit  of  human  enterprise  has  sought  its  way  through  an  incalcu- 
lable number  of  mirages.  These  have  aroused  the  imagination, 
caused  agitations,  debates  and  discussion,  but  usually  have  veiled  an 
earlier  period's  knowledge  of  the  question.  There  are  many  re-dis- 
covered countries  on  our  globe." 

So  it  may  be  in  this  case.  The  northwestern  part  of  America 
almost  wholly  disappeared  from  the  cartography  of  the  seventeenth 
century.  Finally  the  geographic  explorations  of  the  eighteenth  cen- 
tury, provoked  by  political  events,  a  zeal  for  knowledge  and  the  greed 
of  European  nations,  led  to  the  settlement  of  long  mooted  questions. 
Russia,  towards  the  end  of  the  seventeenth  century,  conquered  the 
desolate  tracts  of  Siberia  and  even  penetrated  the  country  of  the  war- 
like Chukchees.  Deschneff's  palisaded  fort  on  the  Anadyr  River 
maintained  Russian  authority  in  extreme  northeast  Kamchatka  in 
the  early  years  of  the  eighteenth  century,  and  thence  came  to  Russia 
the  first  vague  rumours  concerning  the  Pacific  side  of  the  continent  of 
America.  It  was  the  genius  of  the  Czar  Peter  that  welded  these 
groping  efforts  into  something  like  order.  Ivan  Kosyrefski,  the  son 
of  a  Polish  officer  in  Russian  captivity,  was  ordered  to  explore  the 
peninsula  to  its  southern  extremity,  and  some  of  the  Kurile  Islands. 
In  1 719  he  despatched  Yevrinoff  and  Lushin  to  ascertain  whether 
Asia  and  America  were  connected,  but  secretly  he  instructed  them 
to  search  the  Kurile  Islands  instead  for  precious  minerals.  These  and 
various  other  expeditions  collected  a  vast  mass  of  information  touch- 
ing the  geography  of  eastern  Asia,  the  sea  of  Okhotsk,  Kamchatka,  and 
the  Kuriles.  Shipwrecked  Japanese  had  also  given  valuable  informa- 
tion respecting  their  countrv. 

The  two  expeditions  of  Vitus  Bering  arc  possibly  unique  in  the 
history  of  far  northern  explorations.     Lauridsen,  upon  whose  book 



the  following  narrative  is  largely  based,  says  that  the  real  starting 
point  was  far  beyond  the  farthest  verge  of  civilization,  where  as  yet 
only  the  daring  hunter  and  yassak-collector  had  preceded  him.  At 
that  time  Kamchatka  was  as  wild  and  unknown  a  region  as  the  North 
and  South  Poles  are  today.  One  hundred  and  thirty  degrees  of  the 
earth's  most  inhospitable  tracts — mountains,  steppes,  impenetrable 
forests,  morasses  and  fields  of  trackless  snow,  lay  between  St.  Peters- 
burg and  the  Kamchatkan  Peninsula,  whither  Bering  was  to  lead, 
not  a  small  expedition,  such  as  Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie  led  across 
the  American  continent,  but  an  enormous  provision  train  which  was 
also  burdened  with  material  for  ship-building.  On  that  memorable 
journey,  which  seems  to  have  almost  entirely  escaped  the  notice  of 
succeeding  generations,  flat-bottomed  river  boats  or  scows  had  to  be 
built  bv  the  score,  rough  roadways  constructed  through  morasses,  or 
cut  through  forests.  Or  again  it  would  be  necessary  to  resort  to 
horses,  or  sledges  drawn  by  dogs.  Through  the  dreary  and  desolate 
wastes  of  the  Yakuts  and  Tunguses  lay  the  course  of  this  wonderful 
expedition.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  Bering's  undertaking  loses  nothing 
in  comparison  with  the  explorations  of  Franklin,  Mackenzie,  Nansen, 
Peary,  Amundsen,  Scott,  Shackleton,  and  many  others  who  have 
traversed  the  Arctic  regions.  In  some  respects  perhaps  their  expedi- 
tions, with  the  lightest  of  equipments,  are  not  to  be  compared  with 
Bering's  effort. 

In  February  and  January,  1725,  the  expedition  left  St.  Petersburg. 
The  officers  were  the  two  Danes,  Vitus  Bering,  Commander-in-Chief, 
Martin  Spangberg,  Lieutenant  and  second  in  Command,  Lieutenant 
Alexei  Chirikoff  and  Second  Lieutenant  Peter  Chaplin;  the  cartog- 
raphers, Lushin  and  Patiloff,  Dr.  Niemann  and  the  Reverend 
Ilarion.  and  the  mates,  Richard  Engel  and  George  Morison.  The 
sufferings  and  hardships  endured  on  that  hazardous  journey  were 
indeed  terrific,  but  finally,  on  March  11,  1728,  Bering  reached  his 
destination  at  the  lower  Kamchatkan  Ostrog  (or  stockaded  post), 
where  he  found  a  church  and  forty  huts  scattered  along  the  banks  of 
the  river.  Here  lived  a  handful  of  Cossacks  who,  in  that  distant  and 
barbarous  land  maintained  the  sovereignty  of  the  Czar  of  all  the 
Russias.  The  deprivations  and  isolation  of  that  barren  region  had 
had  their  effect  upon  the  men  and  they  were  scarcely  more  civilized 
than  the  natives  whom  thev  ruled  and  knouted. 


Here,  w  ith  ii')  other  resources  than  those  he  had  brought  with  him 
or  was  able  to  Hnd  in  the  country,  Bering  built  the  Gabriel,  a  vessel 
staunch  enough  to  withstand  the  buffetings  of  heavy  gales.  It  is 
related  that  the  timber  for  this  vessel  was  hauled  to  the  shipyards  by 
dogs;  that  the  tar  was  manufactured  by  the  sailors;  while  the  rig- 
gings, cable  and  anchors  had  been  dragged  two  thousand  miles 
through  the  Siberian  wilderness.  As  for  the  sailor's  provisions — 
"Fish  oil  was  his  butter  and  dried  fish  his  beef  and  pork." ;  salt  he  was 
obliged  to  get  from  the  sea,  and  he  distilled  spirits  from  sweet  straw. 
With  this  meagre  supply  and  with  his  crude  vessel  Bering  started 
upon  a  voyage  of  discovery  along  an  unknown  coast  and  upon  an 
unknown  sea.  "It  is  certain,"  says  Dr.  Campbell,  "that  no  person 
better  fitted  for  this  undertaking  could  have  been  found ;  no  difficulty, 
no  danger,  daunted  him.  With  untiring  industry  and  almost  incred- 
ible patience  he  overcame  those  defects  which  to  any  one  else  would 
have  seemed  insurmountable." 

On  July  9,  1728,  the  Gabriel  drifted  down  the  river  and  the  13th 
of  that  month  the  sails  were  hoisted  and  the  prow  of  the  little  vessel 
pointed  towards  the  north. 

Bering's  course  was  generally  along  the  coast  and  usually  within 
sight  of  land.  He  proceeded  to  a  point  near  67"  18'  north  latitude, 
and  193  7'  east  of  Greenwich,  thus  establishing  the  fact  that  the 
continents  of  Asia  and  America  were  separated  by  a  sea,  the  limits 
of  which,  however,  he  failed  to  determine.  On  account  of  cloudy 
weather  he  did  not  even  catch  a  glimpse  of  the  American  continent. 
According  to  Du  Halde,  "This  was  Captain  Bering's  most  northerly 
point.  He  thought  that  he  had  accomplished  his  task  and  obeyed 
orders,  especially  as  he  could  no  longer  see  the  coast  extending  toward 
the  north  in  the  same  way."  Fearing  that  if  he  should  go  farther  he 
might  not  be  able  to  return  to  Kamchatka  before  the  end  of  the  sum- 
mer, he  determined  to  return  to  his  base.  On  the  31st  of  August, 
after  a  severe  buffeting  by  a  gale  in  which  the  mainsail  and  foresail 
were  rent  and  the  anchor  lost,  the  intrepid  explorer  reached  the 
mouth  of  the  Kamchatka  on  September  22,  1728.  From  the  knowl- 
edge he  had  gained  of  his  own  expedition  and  from  that  he  had 
gleaned  from  DeschnefT's  earlier  expedition,  and  from  accounts  he 
had  gathered  from  the  natives  of  the  country,  Bering  was  convinced 
that  he  had  sailed  around  the  northeastern  corner  of  Asia,  and  that 
his  voyage  had  demonstrated  that  the  two  great  continents  were  not 


connected.  From  St.  Petersburg  it  was  announced  that  "Bering  has 
ascertained  that  there  really  does  exist  a  northeast  passage  and  that 
from  the  Lena  River  it  is  possible,  provided  one  is  not  prevented  by 
polar  ice,  to  sail  to  Kamchatka  and  thence  to  Japan,  China  and  the 
East  Indies."  It  may  be  taken  for  granted  that  it  was  this  convic- 
tion that  led  him  to  undertake  his  next  great  enterprise,  the  navigat- 
ing and  charting  of  the  Northeast  Passage  from  the  Obi  River  to 

It  is  unfortunate  that  the  explorer  was  prevented  from  discovering 
the  adjacent  American  continent.  At  the  narrowest  part  of  it,  Ber- 
ing's Strait  is  scarcely  forty  miles  wide,  and  under  favourable  clima- 
tic conditions  it  is  possible  to  see  simultaneously  the  coast  lines  of  both 
continents.  Captain  James  Cook  was  more  fortunate  than  the  great 
Dane,  for  as  he  approached  the  strait  the  rays  of  the  sun  dispersed 
the  mists  and  fogs  and  at  one  glance  both  continents  were  seen,  so 
Lauridsen  affirms.  With  Bering,  as  his  journal  explains,  during  the 
whole  time  that  he  was  in  the  strait  the  horizon  was  hidden  by  dark 

In  1729  Bering  once  more  started  out  upon  a  voyage  of  explora- 
tion, and  although  he  actually  reached  the  vicinity  of  the  island  upon 
which  later  he  ended  his  days,  the  locality  was  obscured  from  his 
sight  by  heavy  fogs.  The  remainder  of  the  summer  the  navigator 
employed  in  more  accurately  charting  the  peninsula  and  the  northern 
Kurile  Islands.  He  also  explored  the  channel  between  them  and  the 
new  and  easier  route  to  Kamchatka.  In  1730  Bering  returned  to 

Now  if  his  work  had  amounted  to  no  more  than  his  accomplish- 
ments of  the  years  1728  and  1729,  Bering  would  still  have  been  entitled 
to  the  just  admiration  of  succeeding  generations  of  navigators. 
"From  the  perusal  of  his  ship's  journal,"  says  one  who  could  speak 
with  authority,  "one  becomes  convinced  that  our  famous  Bering  was 
an  extraordinarily  able  and  skilful  officer;  and  if  we  consider  his  de- 
fective instruments,  his  great  hardships  and  the  obstacles  that  had  to 
be  overcome,  his  observations  and  the  great  accuracy  of  his  journal  de- 
serve the  highest  praise.  He  was  a  man  who  did  Russia  honour." 
His  knowledge  of  and  extensive  travels  in  northeastern  Asia,  his 
scientific  qualifications,  his  ability  to  make  careful  and  accurate  ob- 
servations, and  his  acquaintance  with  the  works  of  earlier  and  con- 
temporary explorers,  put  him  in  a  position  to  form  a  more  correct 


idea  of  that  part  of  the  earth  than  any  other  living  man.  No  man, 
however,  is  a  prophet  in  his  own  country,  and  Bering  was  obliged 
to  submit  to  the  indignity  of  having  his  work  questioned  and  even  con- 
tradicted by  the  authorities  of  St.  Petersburg.  In  Ivan  Kirilovich 
Kiriloff,  indeed,  he  found  a  friend  in  need,  but  other  members  of  the 
Academy  of  Sciences  refused  to  weigh  his  evidence,  sound  as  it  was. 

As  important  and  as  memorable  as  Vitus  Bering's  first  expedition 
was  in  the  annals  of  discovery,  it  was  neither  so  important  nor  so 
memorable  as  that  second  expedition  which  resulted  in  the  discovery 
of  the  far  northwestern  region  of  America,  afterward  named  Alaska. 
Upon  his  return  to  Russia,  imbued  with  a  desire  to  explore  further 
the  regions  he  had  recently  visited,  and  to  sail  the  unknown  sea  to 
the  eastward,  he  began  to  make  plans  for  future  operations.  Two 
months  had  barely  elapsed  after  his  return  before  he  presented  two 
plans  to  the  Russian  Admiralty.  In  the  first  he  submitted  a  series 
of  suggestions  for  the  better  administration  of  Eastern  Siberia,  while 
in  the  second  he  outlined  his  Great  Northern  Expedition,  perhaps 
one  of  the  greatest  geographical  enterprises  the  world  has  ever  known. 
This  document  clearly  demonstrates  the  fact  that  the  plan  originated 
with  Bering — a  fact  which  is  important  because  it  has  since  been 
stated  that  the  idea  was  not  his  own.  He  proposed  to  explore  and 
chart  the  western  coast  of  America  and  to  establish  commercial  rela- 
tions with  that  country,  and  also  to  visit  Japan  for  the  same  purpose, 
as  well  as  to  chart  by  land  and  sea  the  Arctic  coast  of  Siberia.  It  was 
his  object  to  fill  the  vacant  spaces  on  his  chart  of  the  region  between 
the  known  west  and  the  known  east,  since  doubts  had  been  thrown 
upon  his  first  achievement.  He  knew  that  proof  of  the  separation 
of  the  two  continents  would  be  forthcoming  if  the  American  coast 
were  charted. 

The  political  situation  favoured  Bering's  plans.  Anna  Ivanovna, 
who  succeeded  Catharine,  had  ascended  the  throne  in  1730,  and  at 
her  court  foreigners  and  the  reform  party  of  Peter  the  Great  again 
became  inHuential.  The  Empress  was  ambitious  and  desired  to  shine 
in  Europe  as  the  ruler  of  a  great  empire — "Europe  was  to  be  awed 
by  Russian  greatness  and  Russia  by  European  wisdom."  Anna 
deemed  that  one  of  the  surest  ways  to  attain  the  desired  end  was 
through  the  equipment  of  scientific  expeditions.  She  had  at  her  dis- 
posal an  Academy  of  Science,  a  fleet,  and  the  resources  of  a  mighty 
empire.    It  was  therefore  the  desire  of  the  Court  to  make  the  enter- 



prise  as  large  and  sensational  as  possible.  Bering's  proposals,  it  is 
true,  served  as  a  basis  for  the  plans  of  the  Empress,  but  after  the  lapse 
of  two  years  these  simple  proposals,  through  the  intervention  of  the  • 
Senate,  the  Academy,  and  the  Admiralty,  assumed  such  vast  pro- 
portions that  it  may  well  be  conceived  that  the  originator  had  diffi- 
culty in  recognizing  them.  In  April,  1732,  the  Empress  charged  the 
Senate  to  take  the  necessary  steps  to  ensure  the  execution  of  the 

At  this  time  the  Senate  was  presided  over  by  Ivan  Kiriloft",  who 
had  been  one  of  the  most  enthusiastic  admirers  of  Peter  the  Great. 
He  acted  with  despatch.  On  May  2nd,  the  Senate  promulgated  two 
ukases,  in  which  were  declared  the  objects  of  the  expedition,  and 
the  necessary  means  to  that  end  indicated.  It  was  at  this  point 
in  the  preparations  that  the  governing  bodies  burdened  the  chief  of 
the  expedition  with  tasks  very  far  removed  from  his  original  plans. 
He  was  directed  to  not  only  explore  the  islands  of  the  North  Pacific 
and  to  reach  the  Spanish  possessions  in  America,  but  to  also  pro- 
vide for  the  development  of  Siberia.  It  is  peculiar  that  an  explorer 
charged  with  a  certain  and  definite  mission — that  of  reaching  and 
charting  northwest  America — should  be  directed  to  supply  Okhotsk 
with  inhabitants,  to  introduce  cattle  on  the  Pacific  Coast,  to  found 
schools  and  to  establish  a  dock-yard  and  iron  works  in  that  out-of- 
rhe-way  corner  of  the  world.  But  even  this  was  only  the  beginning 
of  a  still  larger  program.  In  its  passage  through  the  Admiraltv 
and  the  Academy,  his  commission  assumed  startling  dimensions.  The 
Admiralty  on  the  one  hand  desired  the  charting  of  Asia  from  Arch- 
angel to  Japan;  while  the  Academy  could  not  be  satisfied  with  any- 
thing less  than  a  scientific  exploration  of  all  northern  Asia.  Thus 
decree  after  decree  followed  in  rapid  succession.  Late  in  December. 
1732,  the  Senate  issued  a  ukase,  the  sixteen  paragraphs  of  which  out- 
lined more  or  less  minutely  the  explorations  to  be  undertaken  bv  the 

To  sum  up — Bering,  now  a  Commodore  in  the  Russian  Navy, 
with  Chirikoflf  as  his  Lieutenant,  was  placed  in  command  of  a  triple 
expedition,  which  was  to  cover  northwestern  America,  Japan  and 
the  Arctic  regions.  Even  such  an  expedition  as  this,  it  would  appear, 
exceeded  all  reasonable  demands,  and  not  for  several  generations 
later  did  Cook,  La  Perouse,  and  Vancouver  succeed  in  accomplish- 
ing what  the  Russian  Senate  expected  Bering  to  do  in  a  few  short 


The  Admiralty  desired  accurate  charts;  and  the  Academy  a  sci- 
entific exploration  of  Siberia  and  Kamchatka.  Not  only  "an  account 
of  these  regions  based  on  astronomical  determinations  and  geodetic 
surveys,  on  minute  descriptions  and  artistically  executed  landscape 
pictures,  on  barometric,  thcrmometric  and  aerometric  observations, 
as  well  as  investigations  in  all  the  branches  of  natural  history,"  was 
demanded  but  also  "a  detailed  preparation  of  the  ethnography,  col- 
onization and  history  of  the  country  together  with  a  multitude  of 
special  investigations  in  widely  different  directions."  The  Senate 
had  thrust  the  whole  organization  and  the  conduct  of  this  business 
upon  the  shoulders  of  one  man.  Bering  was  made  chief  of  all  the 
enterprises  east  of  the  Ural  Mountains.  He  was  to  furnish  ships, 
provisions  and  transportation.  It  is  small  wonder  therefore  that  an 
expedition  planned  upon  such  loose  principles,  and  to  serve  such 
diversified  interests  resulted  in  almost  complete  failure. 

Bearing  in  mind  what  Siberia  was  at  that  time  and  the  stupen- 
dous obstacles  it  offered  to  the  transportation  of  such  an  expedition  as 
this,  it  seems  almost  ridiculous  in  these  later  days  to  read  that  the 
academical  branch  of  the  undertaking,  in  charge  of  the  astronomer 
La  Croyere,  the  physicist  Gmelin  (the  elder)  and  the  historian 
Miiller,  was  luxuriously  equipped.  "Two  landscape  painters,  one 
surgeon,  one  interpreter,  one  instrument  maker,  five  surveyors,  six 
scientific  assistants  and  fourteen  bodyguards,"  made  up  the  retinue  of 
the  men  of  science.  The  expedition  began  to  move  from  St.  Peters- 
burg in  detachments  in  the  early  months  of  1731.  It  consisted  in 
all  of  five  hundrcii  and  seventy  men,  in  whicli  total,  iiowever,  the 
thirty  or  forty  academists  and  tiicir  attendants  are  not  included. 
More  than  half  of  the  officers,  many  of  the  non-commissioned  officers, 
and  all  of  the  physicians  were  foreigners, — a  fact  which  throws  an 
interesting  sidelight  on  the  social  condition  of  the  Russia  of  that 
period.  The  Senate,  by  promise  of  large  increase  of  salary  and  of 
promotion,  it  the  expedition  proved  successful,  sought  to  inspire  the 
officers  with  zeal.  But  the  rank  and  file  were  to  be  forced  to  do 
their  duty  "by  threat  of  cruel  punishments  and  a  continued  stay  in 
Siberia."  It  has  been  asserted  that  Bering's  expedition  was  looked 
upon  in  St.  Petersburg  as  a  mild  sort  of  banishment. 

In  time  Bering  reached  the  Kamchatkan  Peninsula  where  he 
founded  the  seaport  of  Petropavlovsk  at  the  mouth  of  Kamchatka 
River  in  1740,  seven  years  after  his  departure  from  St.  Petersburg. 


The  two  little  vessels,  St.  Peter  and  St.  Paul,  which  had  been  built 
at  Okhotsk,  sailed  in  September,  1740,  for  Petropavlovsk,  where  they 
were  frugally  outfitted  for  a  summer's  cruise.  Neither  their  stores 
nor  rigging  were  complete  or  even  adequate,  but  this  did  not  deter 
the  brave  Dane  from  embarking  upon  his  hazardous  undertaking. 
Nor  was  this  all.  The  incessant  toil  and  heavy  hardships,  the  neces- 
sary accompaniment  of  such  a  vast  enterprise,  had  already  under- 
mined the  commander's  health.  When  Bering  sailed  from 
Kamchatka  he  was  physically  a  wreck.  The  St.  Peter  was  commanded 
by  Vitus  Bering  and  the  St.  Paul  by  Alexei  Chirikofif.  With  Ber- 
ing sailed  the  naturalist  Georg  Wilhelm  Steller,  whose  history  of 
the  expedition  may  be  counted  among  the  most  interesting  of  geo- 
graphic memoirs.  The  French  geographer,  Joseph  Nicholas  Delisle 
de  la  Croyere,  accompanied  Chirikofif. 

On  the  4th  of  June,  1741,  the  vessels  started  on  their  memorable 
voyage,  but  on  the  20th  were  separated  in  a  storm  and  fog  and  after 
ineffectual  attempts  on  the  part  of  the  St.  Peter  to  get  in  touch  with 
the  St.  Paul,  the  search  was  abandoned  and  the  St.  Peter  continued 
the  voyage,  taking  a  course  between  north  and  east  toward  the  western 
continent.  Bering  now  and  from  this  time  on  was  confined  to  his 
cabin,  suffering  from  incipient  scurvy  which  crushed  his  powers  of 
resistance.  At  noon  on  the  i6th  day  of  July,  1741,  land  was  seen  to 
the  northward,  and  on  the  20th  the  St.  Peter  cast  anchor  ofif  an  island, 
which  Bering  named  St.  Elias.  The  country  is  described  by  Steller 
as  being  high,  rugged  and  covered  with  snow,  and  the  coast  indented 
and  girt  with  inhospitable  rocks;  behind,  in  splendour,  a  snow-capped 
mountain  peak  towered  so  far  into  the  clouds  that  it  could  be  seen 
at  a  distance  of  seventy  miles.  The  mountain  thus  described  may 
have  been  the  great  volcanic  cone  of  St.  Elias,  some  eighteen  thou- 
sand feet  in  height.  The  vessel  remained  here  a  few  days  and  then 
proceeded  in  a  northwesterly  direction  for  the  purpose  of  examining 
the  continental  shore  and  the  adjacent  islands.  Steller,  ambitious 
to  give  a  detailed  account  of  the  fauna  and  flora  of  the  locality, 
was  greatly  perturbed  by  this  decision  and  in  his  diary  gives  full 
vent  to  his  ill-humour.  Bering's  object  was  to  chart  the  coast,  while 
Steller  wished  to  pursue  his  scientific  investigations,  hence  the  dif- 
ference of  opinion. 

It  is  not  easy  to  determine  exactly  the  landfall  of  Bering.  The 
explorer's  own  journal  gives  the  latitude  as  59°  40'  and  the  longi- 


tudc  as  48'  i;o'  east  of  Avatcha,  but  these  calculations  contain  an 
error  of  some  eight  degrees.  Cook  himself  was  uncertain  on  this 
point  and  cautiously  writes  that  Miiller's  report  of  the  voyage  is 
''so  very  much  abridged,  and  the  chart  so  extremely  inaccurate,  that 
it  is  hardlv  possible,  either  by  the  one  or  by  the  other,  or  comparing 
both  together,  to  find  out  any  one  place  which  that  navigator  either 
saw  or  touched  at.  Were  I  to  form  a  judgment  of  Bering's  pro- 
ceedings on  this  coast,  I  should  suppose,  that  he  fell  in  with  the 
continent  near  Mount  Fairweather.  But  I  am  by  no  means  certain, 
that  the  bay  to  which  I  have  given  his  name,  is  the  place  where  he 
anchored.  Nor  do  I  know,  that  what  I  called  Mount  St.  Elias,  is 
the  same  conspicuous  mountain  to  which  he  gave  that  name.  And 
as  to  his  Cape  St.  Elias,  I  am  entirely  at  a  loss  to  pronounce  where 
it  lies."  For  a  full  discussion  of  this  point  one  must  turn  to  Pro- 
fessor Davidson's  able  monograph  entitled  ''Tracks  and  Landfalls 
of  Bering  and  Chirikoff." 

For  several  weeks  the  St.  Peter  lay  ofif  and  on  the  coast,  and  while 
in  the  region  of  the  Kadiak  Island,  Bering  named  a  high  project- 
ing cape  St.  Hermogenes,  in  honour  of  the  patron  saint  of  the  day 
on  which  it  was  sighted.  During  the  succeeding  weeks  the  St.  Peter 
was  butfeted  by  wind  and  wave  on  the  turbulent  waters  of  the  Aleu- 
tian Archipelago.  On  August  30th,  the  St.  Peter  anchored  off  the 
Shumagin  group  of  barren  and  rocky  islands  near  the  coast  of 
Alaska.  Bering  was  so  ill  that  he  could  not  stand,  and  one-third  of 
the  crew  was  stricken  with  scurvy.  To  refresh  the  sick  they  were 
carried  ashore,  where  they  lay  huddled  together,  sad  and  sorrowful. 
Confusion,  uncertainty  and  despair  marked  these  dark  days.  The 
officers  quarrelled  and  bandied  hot  words,  and  the  unfortunate  stay 
on  the  Shumagin  Islands  was  marked  with  death  and  disaster. 

Leaving  the  Shumagin  Islands,  the  St.  Peter  sailed  southward  to 
pick  up  her  course  fon  Kamchatka.  At  times  the  officers  expressed 
a  wish  to  return  to  America,  to  seek  a  harbour  of  refuge  for  the 
winter,  but  Bering  would  not  sanction  the  project.  Finally,  on 
November  4th,  land  was  sighted  in  the  supposed  latitude  of  53°  30'. 
This  brought  joy  and  hope  to  all  on  board  of  the  St.  Peter.  It  was 
presumed  the  vessel  was  off  the  coast  of  Kamchatka,  but  instead  of 
this,  the  land  in  view  was  but  an  island  off  the  coast  of  that  penin- 
sula since  named  the  Commander,  or  Bering  Islands. 


Certain  of  the  officers  resolved  to  make  a  landing,  greatly  against 
the  wishes  of  their  commander.  He  was  helpless,  however,  as  he 
was  practically  at  death's  door  with  scurvy.  The  St.  Peter  had  mi- 
raculously drifted  into  a  safe  harbour  ofif  Bering  Island  of  the  Com- 
mander group  of  islands.  On  landing,  the  place  was  found  to  be 
teeming  with  animal  life  never  before  disturbed  by  predatory  human 
beings.  The  sea-lion  and  fur-seal  were  found  in  great  numbers, 
while  the  ponderous  sea-cow  fed  upon  the  rich  algae  of  the  seashore. 
Steller  relates  that  the  animals  of  the  coast  were  entirely  new  and 
strange  even  to  him,  and  showed  no  fear  whatever.  The  sea-otters, 
they  first  supposed  to  be  bears  or  gluttons.  Arctic  fo.xes  flocked 
about  them  in  such  numbers  that  they  could  strike  down  three  or 
four  score  of  them  in  a  couple  of  hours.  The  most  valuable  fur-bear- 
ing animals  stared  at  them  curiously,  and  along  the  coast  Steller  saw 
with  wonderment  "whole  herds  of  sea-cows,  grazing  on  the  luxuri- 
ant algae  of  the  strand."  Not  onlv  he  had  never  seen  this  animal 
before,  but  even  his  Kamchatkan  cossack  did  not  know  it. 

Steller  wisely  began  to  make  preparations  for  the  winter  and  in 
the  sand  bank  near  the  stream  he  and  such  of  his  companions  as  could 
stand  the  work  dug  a  pit  and  roofed  it  over  with  driftwood  and  cloth- 
ing. The  frozen  bodies  of  the  foxes  they  had  killed  were  piled 
against  the  sides  to  prevent  the  arctic  wind  finding  its  way 
through  the  cracks  and  crevices.  The  sick  were  gradually  taken 
ashore  and  placed  under  canvas  on  the  beach.  Some  died  as  they 
were  carried  on  deck,  and  others  ip  the  boats  as  they  were  being  taken 
on  shore.  On  every  side  lay  the  sick  and  the  dying.  "Some  com- 
plained of  cold,  others  of  hunger  and  thirst,  and  the  majority  of 
them  were  so  afflicted  with  scurvy  that  their  gums,  like  a  dark  brown 
sponge,  grew  over  and  entirely  covered  their  teeth.  The  dead  be- 
came the  prey  of  the  foxes,  of  which  countless  numbers  gathered 
about  the  encampment  ready  to  devour  the  dead  or  attack  the  dy- 
ing."    So  it  is  pathetically  recorded  by  Steller. 

By  December  the  whole  crew  was  lodged  in  roofed  pits.  The 
provisions  were  divided  among  the  messes,  so  that  every  man  daily 
received  a  pound  of  flour  and  some  groats  until  the  supply  was  ex- 
hausted. Naturally  the  chase  was  depended  upon  for  sustenance 
almost  exclusiyely.  In  this  way  the  men  succeeded  in  struggling 
through  the  rigorous  winter,  but  in  spite  of  all  Steller's  precautions, 
death  made  sad  havoc  amongst  them.     In  the  council  held  on  board 


the  >S'/.  Peter  when  land  was  sighted,  the  spirit  of  the  great  but  un- 
happy commander  had  flared  up  and  for  the  hour  some  of  his  old 
force  and  vigour  returned  to  him,  but  it  was  only  the  last  effort  of 
a  dying  man.  He  had  exerted  all  his  remaining  powers  to  prevent  the 
landing  from  the  St.  Peter  and  that  exertion  had  knelled  his  doom. 

Before  leaving  Okhotsk,  Bering  had  contracted  a  malignant  ague 
which  had  undermined  his  constitution  and  in  this  last  expedition 
scurvy  had  claimed  him  as  a  victim.  He  was  sixty  years  old  and 
heavily  built.  He  was  worn  out  with  suffering  and  anxiety;  he 
was  broken  in  health  and  in  spirit;  yet  he  would  no  doubt  have  recov- 
ered if  he  had  obtained  proper  nourishment  and  warmth.  In  a  sand 
pit  on  Bering  Island  there  could  be  no  hope  for  him.  Blubber  was 
the  only  medicine  at  hand  and  for  this  he  had  an  unconquerable 
loathing.  Nor  were  the  frightful  sufferings  of  his  men,  his  disap- 
pointment at  the  fate  of  the  great  northern  expedition,  calculated 
to  relieve  his  mind  or  to  restore  health  to  his  body.  From  hunger, 
cold  and  grief  he  slowly  pined  away.  An  old  record  has  preserved 
an  account  of  his  death.  He  was,  as  it  were,  buried  alive.  The 
sand  from  the  sides  of  the  pit  where  he  la\'  kept  continually  rolling 
d(jwn  over  his  feet.  At  first  it  was  removed,  but  towards  the  end 
he  asked  that  it  might  remain  where  it  had  fallen,  as  it  furnished 
him  with  a  little  of  the  warmth  he  so  sorely  needed.  Soon  half  of 
his  body  was  under  the  sand,  which  in  life  had  served  him  as  a  cover- 
let, and  in  death  became  his  winding  sheet.  He  died  on  the  Hth  of 
December  (old  style),  1741,  two  hours  before  the  bleak  day  dawned. 
So  passed  the  great  Dane  and  so  ended  the  long  drawn-out  tragedy 
of  the  great  northern  expedition. 

With  Bering  died  that  dynamic  force  which  had  driven  forward 
persistently  and  relentlessly  two  great  geographic  expeditions. 
Through  long,  weary  years  he  struggled  in  Siberia  "to  combine  and 
execute  plans  and  purposes,  which  only  under  the  greatest  difficul- 
ties could  be  combined  and  executed.''  With  an  indomitable  will 
and  persistent  activity  he  endeavoured  to  "bridge  the  chasm  be- 
tween means  and  measures,  between  ability  to  do  and  will  to  do  - 
a  condition  typical  of  the  Russian  society  at  that  time."  That  he 
surmounted  the  difficulties  presented  by  a  distant  and  unsympa- 
thetic government,  the  voice  of  the  traducer,  a  severe  climate,  ill- 
chosen  associates  and  an  inexperienced  force  of  men,  speaks 
volumes  for  his  pertinacity  and  courage.     Vvom  St.  Petersburg  across 


Siberian  wastes;  from  Kamchatka  through  an  unknown  sea  to  the 
inhospitable  coast  of  Alaska;  from  Alaska  to  the  mist-enshrouded 
Commander  Islands,  where  the  closing  scene  of  this  great  tragedy 
was  enacted,  which  ended,  like  the  tragedies  of  old,  in  the  death 
of  the  hero — surely  in  that  day  this  was  no  mean  performance,  no 
small  accomplishment. 

Through  stress  of  weather  and  fog  it  will  be  remembered  the  St. 
Paul,  under  command  of  Alexei  Chirikofif,  was  separated  from  the 
St.  Peter,  the  two  vessels  failing  again  to  come  together.  Chirikofif, 
with  the  advice  of  his  officers,  having  decided  to  continue  the  easterly 
course,  found  himself  on  the  26th  of  June  in  latitude  48°  and  it 
chanced  that  on  the  30th  day  of  the  same  month  Bering  was  only 
t\vent\^  miles  south  of  that  position.  As  early  as  the  nth  of  July 
Chirikofif  noticed  driftwood,  seals  and  gulls.  He  was  then  some 
two  hundred  and  forty  miles  from  land.  Three  or  four  days  later 
in  the  night  he  sighted  the  moderately  high  land  of  the  west  coast 
of  the  Archipelago  Alexandria,  near  the  latitude  55°  21',  and  on 
the  following  morning  the  conspicuous  promonotory  afterwards 
named  Cape  Addington.  Continuing  on  his  way,  the  navigator  ob- 
served a  group  of  small,  rocky  islands  on  his  port  bow.  This  group 
was  named  the  Hazy  Islands  by  Captain  Dixon  in  1787.  The  St. 
Paul  ran  N.  W.  W.  parallel  to  the  coast  under  the  steep,  woody 
ridge  north  of  the  Cape  Ommaney  of  Captain  Vancouver,  the  Cape 
"TschirikolY  of  La  Perouse."  On  the  17th  it  was  estimated  that  the 
vessel  was  in  latitude  57°  in  the  region  of  Sitka  Sound,  which  is  a 
great  indentation  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  square  miles  in  this 
bold  coast.  In  this  neighbourhood  a  terrible  disaster  befell  Chiri- 
kofif and  his  people.  On  the  17th  of  July,  being  in  need  of  fresh 
water,  the  explorer  despatched  a  boat  manned  by  ten  of  his  best  sea- 
men to  the  shore.  Neither  this  boat,  nor  the  one  sent  in  search  of  it, 
which  was  the  only  boat  remaining,  ever  returned  or  were  they  heard 
of  again,  and  in  all  probability  the  men  in  charge  of  them  fell  vic- 
tims to  the  savages  that  inhabited  the  place.  Chirikofif  was  on  an 
unknown  and  dangerous  coast.  He  had  no  other  boat  and  his  num- 
bers were  greatly  reduced  by  this  calamity.  At  this  juncture  a  coun- 
cil of  officers  decided  that  further  attempts  at  geographical  discovery 
were  impracticable  and  that  therefore  the  only  thing  to  do  was  to 
return  to  Kamchatka. 


There  has  been  no  little  discussion  as  to  the  position  of  the  large 
bay  where  the  terrible  disaster  overtook  Chirikoff.  As  a  matter  of 
geographic  interest  it  may  be  stated  that  the  general  consensus  of 
geographers  and  historians  who  have  considered  the  matter  is  that  the 
disaster  occurred  in  Sitka  Sound.  It  is  well  known  that  the  natives 
of  this  region  were  powerful,  overbearing  and  aggressive.  At  a  later 
period  they  nearly  succeeded  in  driving  the  Russians  from  their  lands 
and  they  retained  their  warlike  reputation  even  up  to  the  time  of  the 
occupation  of  the  country  by  the  United  States.  It  is  therefore  likely 
that  they  were  prompt  to  resent  any  imprudence  or  ill  treatment  by  a 
body  of  strangers.  Professor  George  Davidson,  whose  personal 
knowledge  of  that  whole  coast  line  was  extensive  and  whose  researches 
add  weight  to  his  deductions,  points  out  that  there  is  a  bare  possi- 
bility that  the  disaster  may  have  occurred  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
latitude  57 '  15',  where  is  situated  the  comparatively  small,  but  open 
bay  named  Guadalupe  by  the  Spaniard  Heceta,  in  1775.  But  an 
examination  of  the  explorers  who  have  coasted  these  shores  seems 
strongly  to  point  to  Sitka  Sound  as  the  great  bay  of  Chirikoff. 

After  spending  four  months  in  that  sea,  Chirikoff,  who  had  been 
a  victim  of  the  dreaded  scurvy,  returned  to  the  harbour  of  Petro- 
pavlovsk.  Thus  ended  the  voyage,  which  was  disastrous  to  the  men 
engaged  in  it,  important  as  it  was  geographically.  Chirikoff  recov- 
ered from  his  illness  and  searched  the  neighbouring  seas  in  the  hopes 
of  meeting  with  Bering,  but  without  success. 

The  operations  of  the  Russians  in  Kamchatka  and  the  voyages 
of  Bering  resulted  in  the  important  discovery  of  the  hitherto  un- 
known fur-bearing  animal — the  sea-otter.  It  was  the  costly  pelt  of 
this  beautiful  creature  which  offered  the  chief  inducements  for 
further  expeditions  and  explorations  in  the  sea  which  separates 
northeastern  Asia  and  northwestern  America.  On  the  island  where 
Bering  died  his  crew  killed  many  of  these  animals,  the  skins  of 
which  were  later  sold  to  Chinese  merchants  for  large  sums  of  money. 

The  Russian  government,  possibly  tired  of  the  worry  and  expense 
involved  in  the  prosecution  of  trans-Siberian  and  American  adven- 
tures, did  not  follow  up  the  explorations  of  Bering,  but  enterprising 
individuals  were  always  found  to  fit  out  expeditions  for  the  hunting 
of  the  sea-otter.  In  the  course  of  their  traffickings  they  explored 
the  Aleutian  Islands,  returning' with  rude  sketches  and  maps.  A 
brief  sketch  of  these  expeditions  will  suffice. 



Altasoff  and  his  band  of  Russians,  Tartars  and  Cossacks  arrived 
at  Kamchatka  toward  the  end  of  the  seventeenth  century  and  found 
the  sea-otter,  which  abounded  on  the  coast  up  to  the  middle  of  the 
eighteenth  century,  when  the  adventurers  almost  extirpated  it,  in 
that  country.  One  by  one  the  numerous  islands  and  groups  of 
islands  in  that  quarter  of  the  globe  were  found  by  these  rude  ex- 
plorers, who  braved  storm,  shipwreck  and  death  in  their  crazy  ves- 
sels, the  planks  of  which  in  many  instances  were  held  together  only 
by  thongs  of  rawhide.  Thus  different  groups  of  the  Aleutian  chain 
were  discovered  before  Glottoff,  of  infamous  memory,  reached  the 
Kadiak  Islands  in  1763.  In  1764  to  1768  Synd,  a  lieutenant  of  the 
Russian  navy,  explored  Bering  Strait.  In  fact,  innumerable  trad- 
ers and  adventurers,  inflamed  with  the  desire  to  make  fortunes  in 
the  fur  trade,  voyaged  into  Bering  Sea  and  among  the  Aleutian 
Islands,  and  before  1778,  when  Captain  Cook  visited  that  region,  the 
Russians  were  firmly  established  there.  The  traders,  Dr.  Dall  re- 
marks, were  men  of  no  education  and  were  governed  only  by  their 
base  passions  and  love  of  gain.  Nevertheless  their  voyages  added 
much  to  the  knowledge  of  the  islands  between  Kamchatka  and 

During  these  years  many  Russian  companies  or  associations  were 
formed  in  eastern  Siberia  and  their  officers  and  men  searched  the 
whole  Aleutian  chain  for  the  haunts  of  the  sea-otter.  At  one  time 
there  were  as  many  as  twenty-five  or  thirty  of  these  companies  en- 
gaged in  the  enterprise,  and  so  devastating  were  their  operations  that 
the  number  of  animals  dwindled  from  tens  of  thousands  to  tens  of 
hundreds  in  the  last  quarter  of  the  eighteenth  century.  As  the  sea- 
otter  became  scarcer,  the  fur  traders  turned  their  attention  to  the 
great  herds  of  the  fur-seal,  which  had  long  been  noted  but  not  con- 
sidered of  great  value  commercially.  While  the  pelt  of  the  fur-seal 
was  not  nearly  so  valuable  as  that  of  the  sea-otter,  yet  it  soon  came 
to  be  looked  upon  as  an  excellent  substitute  for  the  latter.  In  time 
the  traders  turned  their  attention  to  Bering  Sea,  and  in  1786,  after 
more  than  eighteen  years  of  unremitting  search,  the  seal  rookeries 
were  discovered  by  a  rugged  Muscovite  ship's  mate,  Pribylofif  by 
name.  He  at  once  took  possession  of  the  islands  in  the  name  of  Rus- 
sia, and  upon  them  his  name  was  subsequentlv  bestowed.  Prior  to 
this,  however,  in  1781.  Gregory  Shelikofif  and  other  Siberian  mer- 
chants who  had  been  engaged  in  the  fur  trade  returned  to  Asia  and 


formed  an  association,  and  two  years  later  fitted  out  three  vessels 
which  traversed  the  Pacific  to  the  Peninsula  of  Alaska.     The  fol- 
lowing year  Shelikofif  erected  a  factory  on  Kadiak,  from  which  place 
he  despatched  expeditions  to  explore  the  neighbouring  continent  and 
to  establish  trading  posts.    In  1790  he  organized  at  Irkutsk  the  Shel- 
ikoft  Company,  which,  through  the  patronage  of  Empress  Cathar- 
ine  II,  secured  a   partial   monopoly  of   the  American   fur   trade. 
Alexander  Baranoff,  of  Sitka  fame,  was  placed  in  the  management  of 
the  factories  at  Kadiak  and  Cook's  Inlet.    But  the  operations  of  in- 
dependent traders  were  so  disastrous  to  the  Irkutsk  Company,  which, 
moreover,  had  sufifered  by  the  death  of  Shelikofif,  that  the  most  pow- 
erful of  the  rivals  were  persuaded  to  unite  their  interests  with  the 
older  association  under  the  name  of  the  "Shelikofif  United  Trading 
Company."     Further  inroads  into  the  company's  field  by  new  com- 
petitors induced  the  company  to  seek  a  grant  of  the  fur  trade  in  Amer- 
ica and  the  Aleutian  Islands  from  the  Court  at  St.  Petersburg,  which 
was  finally  granted  by  the  Emperor  Paul  on  June  8,  1799,  and  under 
imperial  ukase  the  "Russian-American  Company"  was  organized. 
This  grant  gave  to  the  company  the  control  of  all  the  coasts  of  Amer- 
ica on  the  Pacific  north  of  latitude  55°.    The  ukase  created  a  power- 
ful organization  similar  in  its  essential  features  to  that  established 
in  North  America  under  the  charter  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company, 
and  in  India  by  the  East  India  Company.     By  its  terms  the  Russian- 
American  Company  practically  became  the  agent  of  the  Czar  within 
the  region  named.     The  head  office  of  the  Company,  originally  at 
Irkutsk,  was  soon  transferred  to  St.  Petersburg,  where  most  of  the 
grand   ducal   families  became  shareholders   in   the  enterprise,  thus 
insuring  a  continuance  of  the  favour  and  aid  of  the  crown.     In  the 
territory  itself,  men  and  things  were  under  the  direction  of  the  auto- 
cratic government   of   Baranofif,   who   at   first   resided    at   Kadiak. 
Other  posts  and  districts  were  managed  by  inferior  agents,  account- 
able only  to  the  chief  director.     As  for  the  regulations.   Professor 
Dall  observes  that  they  were  just  and  humane  but  the  enforcement 
of  them  was  entrusted  to  men  with  whom  justice  and  humanity  were 
always  subservient  to  interest  and  expediency.     The  morale  of  the 
company's  servants  has  been  summed  up  by  Krusenstern  in  the  trench- 
ant sentences:     "None  but  vagabonds  and  adventurers  ever  entered 
the  company's  service  as  promishleniks"; — "It  was  their  invariable 
destiny  to  pass  a  life  of  wretchedness  in  America";  and  "few  had  the 


good  fortune  ever  to  touch  Russian  soil  again."  In  the  days,  how- 
ever, when  New  Archangel,  or  Sitka,  was  the  seat  of  government, 
many  men  of  refinement  and  intelligence,  with  a  high  sense  of  honour 
and  justice,  were  stationed  in  that  little  bit  of  old  Russia  transplanted 
into  the  new  world. 

Shortly  after  the  promulgation  of  the  ukase  of  1799,  Baranofif 
established  Fort  Archangel  Gabriel,  Sitka  Sound,  to  which  place 
he  was  accompanied  by  a  large  concourse  of  Aleutians.  British  and 
American  adventurers,  however,  had  already  found  their  way  to  the 
Northwest  coast,  of  which  the  first  reliable  information  was  given 
to  the  world  by  Captain  Cook,  and  the  Russians  were  often  obliged 
to  purchase  their  entire  outfits  in  order  to  forestall  competition.  The 
Thlinkets,  a  warlike  tribe,  resented  the  intrusion  of  the  Russians  and 
fought  desperately  for  their  independence.  In  May,  1802,  they  at- 
tacked Fort  Archangel  Gabriel  and  drove  out  the  garrison,  killing 
all  the  officers  and  thirty  men.  In  Yakutat  Bay  the  Thlinkets  made 
a  determined  attack  upon  the  establishment  there,  but  were  repulsed; 
but  in  the  attack  upon  Urbanofif  and  his  fleet  of  ninety  canoes  in 
Kake  Strait,  the  natives  were  victorious.  In  spite  of  the  natives, 
however,  Baranofif  laid  the  foundation  of  the  new  fort  at  Sitka,  which 
he  called  Fort  Archangel  Michael,  and  the  settlement  about  it  was 
christened  New  Archangel. 

In  these  and  the  following  years  various  scientific  expeditions 
Were  fitted  out  by  the  Government  of  Russia,  notable  among  them 
being  the  expedition  of  Krusenstern  and  Lisianski,  who  in  1804,  1805 
and  1806  examined  many  of  the  unknown  fiords  and  islands  on  the 
coast.  Langsdorff  also  visited  the  Aleutian  Islands  at  this  time. 
These  explorers  were  followed  by  Golofnin  in  1807  and  again  in 
1810.  Lieutenant  Otto  von  Kotzebue  visited  Bering  Strait  in  1815. 
In  after  years  Lutke,  Wrangell,  Etolin,  Lazarefif  and  many  explor- 
ers of  lesser  fame  charted  the  coast  and  islands  and  plied  the  north- 
ern waters  in  all  directions.  They  discovered  islands,  observed 
volcanoes  and  described  the  fauna  and  flora  of  the  region  so  thor- 
oughly that  long  before  Alaska  was  ceded  to  the  United  States  in 
1867,  Bering  Sea,  the  wonderful  chain  of  the  Aleutian  Islands,  and 
the  Northwest  coast  of  America,  and  even  the  shores  of  the  Arctic 
regions  to  the  northeast  of  Bering  Strait,  were  almost  as  familiar  to 
the  Russians  as  European  seas  and  shores. 


It  must  not  be  imagined,  however,  that  the  activities  of  the  Rus- 
sians were  confined  to  Alaska.  On  the  contrary  it  was  the  ambition 
of  Baranofif,  the  great  governor  of  the  Russian-American  Company, 
to  plant  the  Russian  flag  not  only  on  the  Californian  coast  but  also  on 
the  Sandwich  Islands.  In  1812  the  governor  was  successful  in  carry- 
ing his  point  with  regard  to  California,  and  under  his  protection 
Kushofif  founded  a  Russian  colony  on  Bodega  Bay.  This  was  done 
with  the  concurrence  of  the  Spanish  Government,  although  against 
the  wishes  of  the  Franciscan  missionaries.  The  colony  was  called  the 
Ross  Settlement  and  the  men  stationed  there  were  chiefly  employed 
in  agricultural  pursuits  and  in  drying  the  meat  of  wild  cattle, 
which  ranged  in  that  neighbourhood.  The  post  was  finally  aban- 
doned in  1841  because  the  Russian-American  Company  had  entered 
into  an  agreement  with  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  under  the  terms 
of  which  the  latter  were  to  furnish  the  Russians  annually  with  large 
quantities  of  fresh  provisions  and  other  necessaries.  In  1839  the  Brit- 
ish Company  agreed  to  furnish  its  Russian  rival  with  560,000  pounds 
of  wheat,  19,920  pounds  of  flour,  16,160  pounds  of  peas,  16,160 
pounds  of  barley,  36,880  pounds  of  bacon,  19,920  pounds  of  beef 
and  3,680  pounds  of  ham  at  certain  fixed  prices.  All  of  these  were 
the  products  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company's  establishment  at  Fort 
Vancouver  on  the  Columbia  River,  which  under  the  administration 
of  the  famous  Dr.  McLaughlin,  had  become  an  important  agricul- 
tural centre,  even  in  those  early  days. 

For  a  period  of  sixty-eight  years — from  1799  to  1867 — the  Rus- 
sian-American Company  ruled  Alaska,  but  in  summing  up  the  results 
of  its  policies  and  activities  little  can  be  said  in  its  favour  in  the 
light  of  the  ethics  and  standards  of  today,  though  in  some  respects  the  ■ 
present  generation  has  little  right  to  criticise  the  earlier  generations 
of  the  so-called  darker  ages.  Possibly  the  Russian  atrocities  in 
Alaska  were  no  worse  than  those  perpetrated  in  later  years  by  the 
Belgians  in  the  Congo  or  by  the  Turks  in  Armenia.  An  efifort  was 
made  by  Russian  missionaries  of  the  Greek  church  to  convert  the 
Aleutians  and  the  warlike  Thlinkets  and  other  barbarous  tribes,  and 
they  succeeded  in  ameliorating  the  condition  of  the  natives.  They 
established  schools,  churches  and  hospitals  and  worked  faithfully 
and  untiringly  for  a  people  whose  minds  were  perhaps  not  able  to 
grasp  the  great  truths  of  Christianity.  But  the  primitive  inhabitants 
of  Northwest  America,  ignorant,  superstitious  and  cunning,  yet  child- 


like  in  many  ways,  could  not  survive  the  contact  with  that  brutal 
force  which  the  fur  wealth  of  the  isolated  islands  and  territories  had 
attracted  thither. 

In  1866  William  H.  Seward,  Secretary  of  State  of  the  United 
States,  proposed  the  purchase  of  Alaska  from  the  Russians  and  nego- 
tiations with  that  end  in  view  were  opened  with  St.  Petersburg. 
Professor  Dall  records,  although  he  cannot  vouch  for  the  truth  of 
the  story,  that  these  negotiations  had  their  origin  in  the  efforts  of  a 
company  of  United  States  citizens  to  purchase  Alaska  in  order  to 
carry  on  there  a  trade  in  fish,  fur  and  timber,  and  that  Seward,  who 
had  been  asked  to  assist  them,  finding  Russia  willing  to  sell,  secured 
the  territory,  not  for  the  private  company  but  for  the  nation.  Be 
this  as  it  may,  on  the  30th  of  March,  1867,  the  treaty  of  sale  was  agreed 
upon;  on  May  28th  it  was  ratified  by  the  Uni^d  States  and  pro- 
claimed by  the  President  on  June  20th.  On  the  6th  of  September, 
1867,  Gen.  Jefferson  C.  Davis,  U.  S.  A.,  was  appointed  commander 
of  the  military  district  of  Alaska.  Russian  America  was  formally 
surrendered  by  the  Russian  colonial  authorities  to  Gen.  Lovell  H. 
Rousseau,  U.  S.  A.,  who  had  been  appointed  by  the  President  to 
receive  the  territory,  on  October  18,  1867. 

Thus  ended  the  chapter  of  Russian  activities  in  America.  The 
history  of  that  occupation  is  too  often  sordid  and  depressing,  yet, 
with  all  its  shortcomings  and  failures,  it  was  in  many  respects  a  bril- 
liant and  heroic  achievement.  The  outstanding  features  of  the  story 
are  the  voyages  of  Bering  and  Chirikoff ;  the  adventures  of  the  early 
Russian  fur  traders ;  the  founding  of  the  Russian-American  Company 
in  1799;  the  scientific  expeditions  of  Krusenstern  and  Lisianski,  Com- 
modore Billings,  Kotzebue  and  others  to  northwestern  America  and 
Bering  Sea;  the  emperor's  ukase  of  1821,  claiming  all  territories 
north  of  the  fifty-first  parallel  and  the  discussions  which  it  aroused; 
the  convention  of  1824  between  the  United  States  and  Russia;  the 
convention  of  1825  berween  Great  Britain  and  Russia;  the  disputes 
between  the  Hudson's  Bay  and  Russian-American  Companies  and 
their  settlement;  the  operations  of  the  British  and  French  fleets  in 
the  north  Pacific  during  the  time  of  the  Crimean  war;  and  the  ces- 
sion of  the  territory  to  the  United  States  in  the  year  1867. 

However,  by  far  the  most  important  result  of  that  occupation 
was  the  bequest  of  the  famous  Alaskan  boundan*^  dispute  to  the  states- 
men of  Great  Britain  and  the  United  States  of  a  later  day  and  gen- 


eration.  For  long  years  the  eastern  boundary  of  the  Territory  of 
Alaska  was  the  subject  of  diplomatic  discussion  between  the  two 
countries — a  discussion  which  was  not  laid  at  rest  until  the  Alaska 
Boundary  Tribunal  handed  down  its  award  in  1903. 

Vv  /  >\  \\  \^  VV  X-^^-^^v^N  • 

L-\\      V 



.  \ 

1       .     "-5.%;  ■  >v>>-.^^i<:^"i 


V    . 





In  1780  all  that  was  known  of  the  northwest  coast  was  contained 
in  the  meagre  reports  of  the  expeditions  of  the  Spaniards,  Perez, 
Martinez,  Heceta,  Bodega  y  Quadra  and  Maurelle.  Gradually, 
however,  the  lines  of  exploration  converged  towards  that  untravelled 
land  that  had  hitherto  defied  all  efforts  to  fathom  its  mystery.  As 
a  matter  of  fact  the  western  slope  of  the  North  American  continent 
— from  the  ramparts  of  the  Rocky  Mountains,  to  the  islands  that 
guard  the  continental  coastline — was  among  the  last  of  the  Ameri- 
can territories  to  be  conquered  by  the  explorer.  Here  and  there  a 
corner  of  the  veil  had  been  lifted  by  Russian  and  Spaniard,  but  it 
was  not  dreamed  that  behind  it  lay  immeasurable  potential  wealth 
in  vast  forests,  rolling  plateaux,  fertile  valleys,  and  unfathomed  mines 
of  gold  and  silver.  Glimpses  of  it  had  been  caught,  but  as  through 
a  glass  darkly.    And  that  was  all. 

Now,  a  new  force  was  to  be  directed  to  the  far  northwest  coast; 
and  novel  and  discordant  elements  were  to  enter  into  the  discussions 
concerning  it.  Unknown  though  it  then  was,  with  limits  still  unde- 
fined, the  Pacific  slope  was  destined  within  a  few  vcars  to  come 
within  the  purview  of  European  diplomacy,  and  to  be  a  conspicu- 
•    ous  feature  in  the  zone  of  international  politics. 

The  desire  for  knowledge  of  new  lands  and  seas,  which  had  found 
expression  during  the  fifteenth  and  sixteenth  centuries  in  the  ardu- 
ous and  successful  exertions  of  mariners  and  travellers,  gradually 
subsided  and  had  lain  for  a  time  dormant;  but  it  was  revived  in 
Great  Britain  in  the  last  quarter  of  the  eighteenth  century,  when 
the  English  navigators  of  that  age  emulated  the  achievements  of 
earlier  generations.  Of  the  names  associated  with  this  revival  of 
maritime  enterprise,  that  of  Captain  James  Cook  stands  first  and 



Upon  the  conclusion  of  his  second  great  Australian  expedition, 
he  was  entrusted  with  another  mission  of  equal,  if  not  greater,  im- 
portance. The  Northwest  Passage  had  again  become  the  subject  of 
animated  discussion  amongst  geographers  and  men  of  science.  It 
was  agreed  by  the  Admiralty  that  a  scientific  and  exploring  expe- 
dition, under  the  auspices  of  the  British  Crown,  should  be  despatched 
to  the  northwest  coast  of  America  for  the  purpose  of  establishing 
the  truth  or  falsity  of  the  accounts  regarding  the  existence  of  a  nav- 
igable waterway  connecting  the  two  great  oceans. 

The  first  British  scientific  expedition,  the  aim  of  which  was  to  dis- 
cover the  western  approach  of  the  supposed  northern  passage  be- 
tween the  Pacific  and  Atlantic  Oceans,  was  conceived,  planned  and 
sent  on  its  way  in  1776  by  the  Earl  of  Sandwich,  then  the  First  Lord 
of  the  Admiralty.  The  operations  proposed  to  be  pursued  were  so 
new,  so  extensive  and  so  various  that  the  skill  and  experience  of 
Captain  Cook,  who  but  a  short  time  previous  had  returned  to  Eng- 
land from  his  second  voyage  of  circumnavigating  the  globe,  seemed 
the  one  man  of  all  others  best  fitted  to  conduct  them.  In  addition 
to  other  rewards  for  his  inestimable  service  to  his  country,  and  the 
world  at  large,  he  had  been  appointed  to  the  command  of  Green- 
wich Hospital,  there  to  enjoy  the  fame  he  had  dearly  earned;  but 
he  cheerfully  relinquished  this  honourable  station  at  home  to  engage 
in  the  conduct  of  an  expedition  that  would  expose  him  to  the  toils 
and  perils  of  a  third  circumnavigation  by  a  track  hitherto  unat- 
tempted.  Heretofore,  in  the  search  for  the  Northwest  Passage, 
British  navigators,  with  the  solitary  exception  of  Sir  Francis  Drake, 
had  confined  their  attention  to  the  northeastern  shores  of  the  con- 
tinent, but  on  this  occasion  the  usual  plan  was  to  be  reversed.  The 
great  task  now  before  Captain  Cook  was  to  reach  the  high  northern 
latitudes  between  Asia  and  America,  and,  instead  of  making  a  pas- 
sage from  the  Atlantic  to  the  Pacific,  one  from  the  latter  into  the 
former  was  to  be  tried.  Cook  was  therefore  ordered  to  proceed  into 
the  Pacific  ocean,  through  the  chain  of  islands  discovered  by  him  in 
the  southern  tropic,  and  to  hold  such  a  course  northward  to  the 
principal  scene  of  his  operations. 

The  plan  of  the  voyage  can  best  be  given  from  the  secret  instruc- 
tions which  were  issued  bv  the  Admiralty:  It  was  directed  that  he 
should  attempt  to  find  out  a  northern  passage  by  sea  from  the  Pacific 
to  the  Atlantic  Ocean ;  that  he  should  proceed  with  two  sloops  directly 


to  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  unless  it  was  found  necessary  to  stop  at 
Madeira,  Cape  de  Verde,  or  the  Canary  Islands;  then  to  leave  the 
Cape  of  Good  Hope  and  proceed  southward  in  search  of  some  islands 
purported  to  have  been  seen  by  the  French  about  the  meridian  of 
Mauritius.  In  case  islands  were  found,  Cook  was  to  examine  them 
thoroughly  for  a  good  harbour.  It  was  planned  he  should  stop  at 
Otaheite,  or  Society  Islands,  touching  at  New  Zealand  on  the  way. 
At  Otaheite  he  was  to  leave  Omai,  a  chief  of  that  island,  who  had 
been  taken  by  Cook  to  England  on  a  former  voyage.  Cook  was 
strictly  enjoined  not  "to  touch  upon  any  part  of  the  Spanish  dominions 
on  the  Western  continent  of  z^merica,  unless  driven  thither  by  some 
unavoidable  accident;  in  which  case  you  are  to  stay  no  longer  there 
than  shall  be  absolutely  necessary,  and  to  be  very  careful  not  to  give 
any  umbrage  or  ofTense  to  any  of  the  inhabitants  or  subjects  of  His 
Catholic  Majesty.  And  if,  in  your  farther  progress  to  the  Northward, 
as  hereafter  directed,  you  find  any  subjects  of  any  European  Prince 
or  State  upon  any  part  of  the  coast  you  may  think  proper  to  visit,  you 
are  not  to  disturb  them,  or  give  them  any  just  cause  of  offense,  but, 
on  the  contrary,  to  treat  them  with  civility  and  friendship." 

The  navigator  was  further  instructed  to  reach  latitude  65°,  or 
further,  if  not  obstructed  by  lands  or  ice,  where  he  was  to  search  for 
and  explore  rivers  or  inlets  that  might  communicate  with  Hudson 
Bay  or  Baffin  Bay.  If  there  should  be  a  certainty  or  even  a  prob- 
ability of  a  water  passage  into  one  or  both  of  these  bays,  he  was  to 
use  his  utmost  endeavours  to  pass  through  with  one  or  both  of  the 
sloops.  In  case  he  was  satisfied  there  were  no  such  passages.  Cook 
was  to  repair  to  the  port  of  St.  Peter  and  St.  Paul  in  Kamchatka,  or 
any  other  eligible  port,  there  to  pass  the  winter,  and  in  tlic  spring 
of  the  ensuing  year  to  proceed  thence  northward  in  the  endeavour 
to  find  a  northeast  passage  from  the  Pacific  Ocean  into  the  Atlantic 
or  the  North  Sea,  and  having  thoroughly  explored  such  passage, 
make  his  way  back  to  England. 

There  is  no  doubt  that  the  Government  of  the  time  earnestly 
desired  the  success  of  the  voyage  and  exhibited  its  interest  therein 
by  amending  the  Act  of  Parliament  of  1745,  which  offered  a  reward 
of  twenty  thousand  pounds  for  the  discovery  of  a  Northwest  Passage. 
That  act  had  applied  only  to  the  ships  of  private  owners,  and  it  was 
stipulated  therein  that  the  reward  was  to  be  paid  only  to  such  ships 
as  should  discover  a  passage  opening  into  Hudson  Bay.     A  new  law 


was  passed  extending  the  operation  of  the  former  act  to  ships  of  the 
Royal  Nav}^,  and  providing  that  the  passage  by  sea  between  the 
Atlantic  and  Pacific  Oceans  might  be  sought  for  in  any  direction  or 
paralled  above  the  52nd  degree  of  north  latitude.  It  was  also  en- 
acted that  any  ship  approaching  within  one  degree  of  the  North 
Pole  should  be  entitled  to  a  reward  of  five  thousand  pounds.  It  is 
safe  to  conclude,  therefore,  that  Captain  Cook's  new  enterprise  was 
considered  of  more  than  ordinary  importance. 

Cook's  own  words  may  be  quoted  in  proof  of  the  interest  shown 
by  those  high  in  authority.  Under  the  date  of  Saturday,  8th  of  June, 
1776,  the  following  entry  appears  in  his  journal:  "The  Earl  of 
Sandwich,  Sir  Hugh  Palliser,  and  others  of  the  Board  of  Admiralty 
paid  us  the  last  mark  of  the  extraordinary  attention  they  had  all 
along  paid  to  this  equipment,  by  coming  on  board  to  see  that  every- 
thing was  compleated  to  their  desire  and  to  the  satisfaction  of  all 
who  were  to  embark  in  the  voyage.  They  and  several  other  noble- 
men and  gentlemen  honoured  me  with  their  Company  at  dinner 
and  were  saluted  with  17  guns  and  3  cheers  at  their  coming  on  board 
and  also  on  going  ashore." 

On  the  9th  day  of  February,  1776,  H.  M.  S.  Resolution  was  com- 
missioned for  the  voyage.  On  the  following  day  Cook  went  on  board, 
hoisted  his  pennant  and  began  to  enroll  his  men.  At  the  same  time 
the  Discovery,  a  small  vessel  of  three  hundred  tons,  was  purchased 
and  placed  in  command  of  Captain  Clerke,  w^ho  had  been  Second 
Lieutenant  of  the  Resolution  on  Cook's  second  voyage.  Four  months 
were  consumed  in  fitting  out  the  vessels  for  their  long  voyage,  and 
it  was  not  until  June  that  they  sailed  for  Plymouth,  the  Resolution 
anchoring  at  the  Nore  to  wait  for  Captain  Cook,  who  was  then  in 
London  in  consultation  with  the  Admiralty.  The  Resolution  sailed 
from  the  Nore  at  noon  on  the  25th  of  June  and  three  days  later 
dropped  anchor  in  Plvmouth  Sound,  whither  the  Discovery  had 
preceded  her.  On  the  8th  of  July  the  secret  instructions  already 
mentioned  were  received  and  on  the  12th  at  eight  in  the  evening  the 
vessels  weighed  anchor  and  stood  out  of  the  Sound.  Lieutenant 
James  King,  F.  R.  S.,  accompanied  Cook  in  the  Resolution,  and  it 
was  this  officer  who  continued  the  narrative  of  the  expedition  from 
the  time  of  Cook's  death  to  its  conclusion.  He  also  prepared  a  brief 
sketch  of  the  famous  navigator's  life  and  career  and  tragic  death, 
which  is  referred  to  later  on  in  this  chapter. 

PHOTOliHAl'H  OF  MoDKL  OF  H.  M.  8.  ■  •  KESOU'TIOX  ' '  NOW  IX  WHITBY  .Ml'SKrM 

From  a  Pencil  Drawlnn  liy  .T'  hii  W'rtittcr.   II.   A. 

H.    M.    S.    "KIWOLUTION,"    IN    NOOTKA    SorND.    CAl'TAIN    .lAMKS    COOK, 



It  is  worthy  of  notice  in  passing  that  while  the  Resolution  and 
Discovery  were  off  Plymouth  the  Diamond,  Ambuscade  and  Uni- 
corn of  the  Royal  Navy,  with  a  fleet  of  transports  consisting  of  sixty- 
two  sail,  bound  to  America  with  the  last  divi'sion  of  the  Hessian  troops 
and  some  cavalry,  were  forced  into  the  Sound  by  adverse  winds.  Of 
this  coincidence  Cook  remarks:  "It  could  not  but  occur  to  us  as  a 
singular  and  affecting  circumstance  that  at  the  very  instance  of  our 
departure  upon  a  voyage,  the  object  of  which  was  to  benefit  Europe 
by  making  fresh  discoveries  in  North  America,  there  should  be  the 
unhappy  necessity  of  employing  others  of  His  Majesty's  ships  and 
of  conveying  numerous  bodies  of  land  forces  to  secure  the  obedience 
of  those  of  that  continent  which  had  been  discovered  and  settled 
by  our  country  men  in  the  last  century." 

In  spite  of  the  fact  that  so  much  time  and  trouble  had  been  spent 
in  preparing  the  vessels  for  sea,  it  was  found  that  the  seams  of  the 
Resolution  had  been  so  badly  calked  that  they  opened  in  the  equa- 
torial heat,  and  quantities  of  water  entered  the  vessel.  In  fact,  "there 
was  hardly  a  man  that  could  lie  dry  in  his  bed;  the  officers  in  the 
gun  room  were  all  driven  out  of  their  cabin  by  the  water  that  came 
in  through  the  sides."  The  spare  sails  were  seriously  damaged, 
and  some  quite  ruined  before  they  could  be  dried.  Otherwise  the 
voyage  to  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope  was  generally  without  incident. 
The  equator  was  crossed  on  September  ist  in  longitude  27°  38'  W., 
and  Cape  of  Good  Hope  was  sighted  October  17th.  The  anchor 
was  let  go  in  Table  Bay  the  day  after.  On  November  loth  the 
Discovery  joined  the  Resolution  at  that  port.  The  principal  occu- 
pation of  the  crews  at  Cape  Town  consisted  of  exercising  on  shore 
the  live  cargo  carried  by  the  vessels.  Two  bulls,  two  heifers,  two 
horses,  two  mares  and  two  rams,  not  to  mention  ewes,  goats,  rabbits 
and  poultry,  were  purchased  at  the  Cape,  to  stock  islands  where 
some  of  them  "might  prove  useful  to  posterity."  It  is  recorded 
that  when  the  Resolution  left  Table  Bay  she  resembled  Noah's 

On  the  30th  of  November,  1776,  the  vessels  again  weighed  anchor. 
After  visiting  Kerguelen  Land,  Van  Diemen's  Land,  New  Zea- 
land and  the  Friendly  or  Society  Islands,  Cook  discovered  early  in 
the  following  year  a  group  of  large  islands  which  he  named  the 
Sandwich  Islands,  in  honour  of  the  Earl  of  Sandwich,  who  had 
displayed  so  great  an  interest  in  tlic  expedition. 


In  the  course  of  this  voyage,  Cook  acquired  a  mass  of  valuable 
information  respecting  the  extensive  archipelagoes  of  the  mid-Pacific 
Ocean,  all  of  which  is  duly  set  down  in  the  official  journal  of  the 
expedition.  It  would  be  interesting,  as  well  as  instructive,  to  spread 
upon  these  pages  Cook's  luminous  description  of  that  island  world, 
but  the  story  is  scarcely  germane  to  the  subject  under  discussion.  It 
will  suffice  that  the  explorer,  with  the  aid  of  Anderson,  the  surgeon, 
and  Webber,  the  artist,  vividly  portrays  the  appearance,  manners, 
customs  and  social  institutions  of  the  primitive  inhabitants  of  these 

After  a  monotonous  voyage  of  a  little  over  a  month,  in  the  course 
of  which  the  vessels  did  not  lose  sight  of  each  other,  the  coast  of 
Oregon  was  sighted  at  a  distance  of  ten  or  twelve  leagues.  Cook 
had  instructed  his  navigating  officer  to  reach  the  coast  about  the 
45th  parallel  and  an  observation  at  noon  of  March  7th  (1778) 
revealed  the  fact  that  the  ship's  position  was  44°  33'  north  latitude, 
236°  30'  east  longitude.  The  land  appeared  to  be  of  a  moderate 
height,  diversified  with  hill  and  valley  and  almost  evcrjrwhere 
covered  with  trees,  but  no  distinguishing  promontories  or  capes 
marked  its  shores,  with  the  exception  of  one  flat-topped  hill,  upon 
which  Cook  bestowed  the  name  Cape  Foulweather.  From  that  point 
the  Resolution  and  the  Discovery  sailed  slowly  up  the  coast,  the  ves- 
sels experiencing  the  unsettled  climatic  conditions  common  to  that 
region  in  that  season  of  the  year.  In  this  respect  the  British  expedi- 
tion was  not  more  fortunate  than  the  Spanish  vessels  under  Perez 
and  Heceta.  In  the  circumstances  it  was  not  possible  always  to  sail 
close  to  land;  nevertheless,  the  land  was  rarely  out  of  sight  and  it 
»vas  generally  seen  quite  clearly.  The  coast  appeared  almost  straight, 
without  any  opening  or  inlet.  The  northern  and  southern  extremes 
of  the  land  formed  distinct  points  named  respectively  Cape  Perpetua 
and  Cape  Gregory,  the  former  being  in  latitude  44°  6'  and  the  latter 
in  43°  30'.  It  is  worth  observing,  Cook  remarks,  that  almost  in  this 
very  latitude  geographers  had  placed  the  Cape  supposed  to  have 
been  discovered  or  seen  by  Martin  d'Aguilar  in  January,  1603,  and 
the  large  opening  or  strait  the  discovery  of  which  was  also  ascribed 
to  that  navigator;  but  careful  search  in  nowise  tended  to  verify  the 
statements  ascribed  to  him. 

A  severe  gale,  from  the  northwest,  accompanied  by  flurries  of 
snow,  at  this  time  forced  Cook  to  clear  the  coast.     He  was  driven 







Vv^  yri-«- 


■  ^.-vH^-S^'Ziv  ;(^  .r^..-^-    ^*-  ^'^*^T'   ' 

A    I 

«j^  Ao--*^  Ir"-^ 


Tk^^  ^6m  »^^^i^^'^ 


.lANL'AUY,  1T78 


back  upon  his  course  as  far  southward  as  the  forty-second  parallel. 
Then  boisterous  weather  and  calms  succeeded  each  other  for  several 
days;  so  it  was  not  until  March  22nd  that  land  was  again  seen 
at  a  distance  of  nine  leagues,  in  latitude  47"  5'.  A  small  round 
hill  to  the  northward  had  the  appearance  of  an  island  and  "between 
this  islr.nd  or  rock  and  the  northern  extreme  of  the  land  ther, 
appeared  to  be  a  small  opening,  which  flattered  us  with  the  hopes 
of  finding  an  harbour."  But  these  hopes  were  not  realized,  for  as 
the  vessels  drew  nearer  it  appeared  that  the  wished-for  opening  was 
closed  by  low  land.  "On  this  account,"  observes  Cook,  "I  called 
the  point  of  land  to  the  north  of  it  Cape  Flattery,"  and  so  one  of  the 
landmarks  of  the  northwest  coast  received  its  name.  From  that  day 
to  this  the  name  Cape  Flattery  has  appeared  on  the  charts  to  com- 
memorate the  disappointment  of  the  famous  circumnavigator.  Cook 
describes  the  land  to  the  southward  as  of  moderate  height,  covered 
with  forests,  and  pleasant  and  fertile  in  appearance.  According  to 
an  observation  taken  on  board  the  Resolution,  the  Cape  lay  in  lat- 
itude 48"  15'  north.  Its  true  position,  however,  is  latitude  48"  22'/' 
north  and  longitude  124  44'  west.'  It  is  worthy  of  notice  that 
Cook's  observations  vary  little  from  those  taken  with  the  greatest  care 
in  more  recent  years  by  officers  of  the  Royal  Navy  and  the  Coast 
and  Geodetic  Survey  of  the  United  States;  on  the  other  hand,  the 
positions  assigned  to  the  various  capes,  bays  and  inlets  of  this  region 
by  the  Spaniards  are,  as  a  general  rule,  far  from  correct. 

While  in  the  neighbourhood  Cook  searched  for  the  strait  said  to 
have  been  discovered  in  1592  by  the  Greek  pilot,  Apostolos  Valer- 
ianos,  or  Juan  de  Fuca,  but  his  efforts  were  no  more  successful  than 
those  of  the  Spaniards  three  years  before,  and  for  the  same  reason, 
— on  both  occasions  the  opening  was  sought  between  the  forty-seventh 
and  forty-eighth  parallels,  the  position  given  by  Michael  Lok,  Dclisle 
and  Buache.  It  is  evident  that  Cook  was  not  favourably  impressed 
with  the  narratives  of  geographers  respecting  the  discovery  of  the 
Strait  of  Anian.  More  than  once  he  speaks  strongly  upon  the 
subject.  His  remarks  touching  Martin  d'Aguilar  have  been  noted. 
Later  he  as  contemptuously  dismissed  the  relation  of  De  Fonte.  Now, 
.  in  a  few  terse  sentences,  he  disposed  of  the  oft  repeated  account  of 
the  Greek  pilot's  voyage:  "It  is  in  this  very  latitude  where  we  now 
were,"  Cook  writes,  "that  geographers  have  placed  the  pretended 

'  Brilivli    Columbia  Pilot,   3d   ed.,    1905,   p.   24. 


strait  of  Juan  de  Fuca.  But  we  saw  nothing  like  it;  nor  is  there  the 
least  probability  that  ever  any  such  thing  existed."  -  Yet,  within  a 
few  miles  lay  the  entrance  to  a  strait  leading  to  a  labyrinth  of  sounds, 
inlets,  gulfs  and  bays,  studded  with  rock-girt,  wooded  islands  of  en- 
chanting loveliness, — one  of  the  most  beautiful  inland  seas  of  the 
world.  It  was  peculiarly  unfortunate  that  at  this  time  the  Resolution 
and  Discovery  were  obliged  to  find  an  oiling  in  the  teeth  of  a  gale 
that  threatened  to  drive  them  ashore.  Otherwise  Cook  might  have 
discovered,  or  rediscovered,  the  strait  found  by  Captain  Barkley  of 
the  Loudoun,  or  Imperial  Eagle,  in  1787,  and  named  by  him  in 
honour  of  the  mythical  hero  Juan  de  Fuca. 

But  that  was  not  to  be.  Cook  passed  the  opening  at  sea  in  storm 
and  sleet.  He  did  not  make  another  landfall  until  Sunday,  March 
29th,  when  the  rugged  snow-covered  hills  of  Vancouver  Island  hove 
in  sight.  The  valleys  and  the  coast  were  covered  with  tall  straight 
trees  "that  formed  a  beautiful  prospect,  as  of  one  vast  forest."  In 
the  southeast  the  land  formed  a  low  point,  ofif  which  a  line  of  foam 
marked  the  position  of  sunken  rocks  and  on  that  account  it  was 
named  Point  Breakers.  Observations  determined  that  Point  Break- 
ers was  in  latitude  49°  15'  and  Woody  Point  in  latitude  50°.  Woody 
Point  is  now  known  as  Cape  Cook  and  Breakers  Point  as  Point 
Estevan.  The  extensive  bight  between  these  points  was  called  Hope 
Bay  because  it  was  hoped  that  in  it  a  good  harbour  would  be  found 
nor  in  this  was  the  explorer  disappointed.  In  the  evening  the  Reso- 
lution entered  an  arm  of  the  sea  and  anchored,  so  close  to  shore  that 
it  could  be  reached  with  a  hawser.  The  wind  failed  the  Discovery 
however,  and  she  lay  for  the  night  ofif  the  entrance  to  the  inlet.  Thus, 
on  March  29,  1778,  the  storm-beaten  vessels  found  a  safe  haven, 
where  it  was  hoped  "all  their  wants  would  be  plentifully  supplied." 

On  the  following  morning  a  search  was  made  for  a  safe  anchorage 
which  was  soon  found.  Not  far  from  where  the  ships  lay  Cook  dis- 
covered "a  convenient,  snug  cove  well  suited  to  our  purpose."  Lieu- 
tenant King,  who  had  been  despatched  with  three  armed  boats  early 
in  the  morning  to  reconnoitre  the  inlet,  returned  at  mid-day  with  the 
report  that  he  had  found  an  excellent  harbour  lying  on  the  north- 
west side  of  the  land.  But  to  save  time,  it  was  decided  to  make  the 
headquarters  of  the  expedition  in  the  small  bay  discovered  by  the 
commander.    On  Tuesday  the  thirty-first  the  ships  were  hauled  into 

'  Cook,  Voyages,  p.  263. 


Resolution   Cove,   where   they  were   moored,   head   and   stern,    the 
hawsers  being  fastened  to  the  trees  on  shore. 

No  sooner  had  the  ships  anchored  in  Hope  Bay  than  it  was  dis- 
covered that  the  land  was  inhabited.  Three  canoes  approached  and 
one  of  the  natives  made  a  long  harangue,  in  the  course  of  which  he 
cast  white  feathers  upon  the  water,  while  some  of  his  companions 
threw  handfuls  of  red  dust  or  powder.  The  orator  was  clad  in  fur 
and  held  in  each  hand  a  rattle  which  he  used  vigorously.  After 
repeated  exhortations,  of  which  not  a  word  was  understood,  the 
natives  lay  at  a  little  distance  from  the  ship  and  conversed  with  each 
other  without  exhibiting  the  least  surprise.  Now  and  again  the 
harangue  would  be  repeated,  but  what  pleased  the  strangers  more 
than  this  guttural  oratory  was  an  air  sung  "with  a  degree  of  soft- 
ness and  melody  which  we  could  not  have  expected;  the  word 
'haela'  being  oft  repeated  as  the  burden  of  the  song."  Many  canoes 
soon  gathered  about  the  ships.  At  one  time  no  less  than  thirty-two 
were  observed,  each  carrying  from  three  to  eight  persons,  men  and 
women.  One  of  the  little  vessels  attracted  particular  attention  on 
account  of  its  emblazonment  of  a  bird's  eye  and  bill  of  an  enormous 
size.  In  it  sat  a  chief  of  some  consequence,  who  was  no  less  remark- 
able than  his  little  vessel.  His  head-dress  was  of  feathers  and  he  was 
painted  in  an  extraordinary  manner:  "He  held  in  his  hand  a  carved 
bird  of  wood,  as  large  as  a  pigeon,  with  which  he  rattled  as  the 
person  first  mentioned  had  done;  and  was  no  less  vociferous  with 
his  harangue,  which  was  attended  with  some  expressive  gestures." 

The  natives  behaved  very  peaceably  and  gave  no  sign  of  hostility, 
but  they  could  by  no  means  be  induced  to  go  on  board.  Apart  from 
this  evidence  of  timidity,  however,  they  gave  no  sign  of  fear  and 
traded  with  great  readiness,  taking  whatever  was  oflfered  in  exchange 
for  their  belongings.  They  were  more  anxious  for  iron  than  for 
any  other  commodity,  appearing  to  be  perfectly  acquainted  with  the 
use  of  that  metal. 

With  reference  to  Cook's  discovery  of  Nootka  Sound  it  may  be 
worth  while  to  recall  that  the  legendary  lore  of  the  Indians  of  that 
place  is  not  silent  upon  the  point.  There  is  today  a  tradition  among 
the  Nootkan  Indians  which  runs  somewhat  as  follows:  One  day 
two  chiefs,  Tsaxawasip  (one  of  Chief  Maquinna's  names)  and 
Nanaimis  of  the  Muchalats,  saw  in  the  offing  the  tops  of  three  sticks 
rising  up,  which  bye  and  bye  grew  bigger  and  rose  out  of  the  water. 

Vol.  I—    (1 


At  first  they  thought  it  must  be  an  island  appearing,  but  as  the  object 
grew  larger  they  saw  that  it  was  some  kind  of  water  craft.  The  ship 
was  going  quickly  and  making  great  waves.  Then  it  was  thought 
that  it  must  be  the  work  of  Haietlik,  or  the  lightning-snake,  making 
it  move  so  quickly,  and  that  the  snake  was  working  under  water; 
but  others  thought  it  must  be  the  work  of  Quaots  (the  supreme  deity 
of  the  Nootkans)  and  therefore  a  supernatural  manifestation.  As 
the  vessel  came  nearer  all  the  men  and  wortien  grew  very  much 
afraid.  Some  of  them  thought  that  it  was  magic,  and  some  thought 
that  it  was  a  salmon  that  had  been  changed  by  magic.  But  the  two 
chiefs  of  the  Muchalats  thought  that  it  must  be  the  work  of  Quaots. 
A  courageous  man  named  Towik,  a  warrior  who  had  killed  at  least 
ten  men,  said  that  it  would  be  well  to  conceal  all  the  people  and  to 
segregate  the  women  for  at  least  ten  months.  He  also  recommended 
that  all  their  property  should  at  once  be  put  out  of  sight.  A  woman 
doctor  named  Hahatsaik,  who  had  power  over  all  kinds  of  salmon, 
appeared  with  a  whalebone  rattle  in  each  hand;  she  put  on  her  red 
cedar  bark  cap  and  apron  and  sang,  saying  that  it  must  be  a  salmon 
turned  into  a  boat.  The  natives  now  launched  a  canoe  with  three 
strong  young  men  as  a  crew  and  the  woman  magician,  Hahatsaik, 
sat  in  the  middle.  This  canoe  went  out  to  see  the  ship,  which  was 
sailing  straight  for  the  harbour  on  Bligh  Island,  and  then  followed 
behind.  Hahatsaik  hailed  the  ship  and  called  out  "Hello  you,  you 
spring  salmon,  hello  you  dog  salmon,  hello  coho  salmon." 

Then  another  canoe  came  with  another  doctor,  named  Wiwai, 
who  hailed  Captain  Cook  in  the  same  manner.  Wiwai  then  went 
back  to  the  village,  and  Nanaimis,  taking  two  fine  beaver  skins  out 
of  his  storage  chest,  put  ofif  to  the  ship  in  his  canoe  with  ten  strong 
men.  Captain  Cook  hailed  the  canoe  and  asked  the  name  of  the 
chief,  who  replied,  "Mv  name  is  Nanaimis;  what  is  VDur  iian"ve?'" 
Captain  Cook  then  went  into  his  cabin  and  came  out  with  blankets 
under  his  arm  and  asked  Nanaimis  to  come  into  his  ship.  But 
Nanaimis  declined,  saying — "No,  I  would  rather  stay  in  my  canoe." 
Whereupon  Cook  asked  him  to  shake  hands  and  ofifered  him  two 
black  blankets  as  a  free  gift.  Then  Nanaimis  saw  that  Cook  was 
not  an  enchanted  salmon,  but  only  a  man.  The  chief  opened  a  box- 
on  which  he  was  sitting  and  took  out  the  two  beaver  skins  and  pre- 
sented them  to  Captain  Cook,  who  accepted  them  with  pleasure. 


Tsaxawasip,  or  Maquinna,  also  put  ofif  to  the  ship.  "I  am 
Maquinna,"  said  the  chief  to  Captain  Cook.  "My  village  is  a  little 
way  off  there,  near  the  entrance  to  the  inlet.  It  is  a  safe  and  fine 
harbour.  I  want  you  to  come  and  stay  with  me  next  year.  You 
will  be  well  treated."  He  then  presented  a  fine  sea-otter  skin  to  Cap- 
tain Cook,  who  had  by  that  time  put  on  a  fine  gold-braided  hat  which 
he  offered  to  Maquinna  in  return  for  his  gift.  Then  the  natives  gave 
a  wolf  dance  on  the  beach  for  the  entertainment  of  the  strangers." 

Such  is  the  tradition  of  the  Nootkan  people.  It  is  not  an  easy 
matter  to  decide  as  to  how  much  of  the  story  may  be  worthy  of 
credence;  but  it  is  at  least  likely  that  so  important  an  event  as  the 
sudden  appearance  of  two  large  vessels  off  Nootka  would  find  a 
place  in  the  annals  of  the  native  tribes  of  that  locality. 

Captain  Cook's  description  of  the  natives,  their  character  and 
habits,  is  minute  and  interesting.  Long  as  it  is,  that  description 
deserves  a  place  in  a  narrative  dealing  with  the  earliest  beginnings 
of  the  history  of  the  Northwest  Coast,  and  it  will  therefore  be  quoted 
in  full.    It  follows: 

"The  persons  of  the  natives  are,  in  general,  under  the  common 
stature;  but  not  slender  in  proportion,  being  commonly  pretty  full 
or  plump,  though  not  muscular.  Neither  doth  the  soft  fleshiness 
seem  ever  to  swell  into  corpulence;  and  many  of  the  older  people 
are  rather  spare,  or  lean.  The  visage  of  most  of  them  is  round  and 
full;  and  sometimes,  also,  broad,  with  high  prominent  cheeks;  and, 
above  these,  the  face  is  frequently  much  depressed,  or  seems  fallen 
in  quite  across  between  the  temples;  the  nose  also  flattening  at  its 
base,  with  pretty  wide  nostrils,  and  a  rounded  point.  The  forehead 
rather  low;  the  eyes  small,  black,  and  rather  languishing  than  spark- 
ling; the  mouth  round,  with  large  round  thickish  lips;  the  teeth  tol- 
erably equal  and  well  set,  but  not  remarkably  white.  They  have 
either  no  beards  at  all,  which  was  most  commonly  the  case,  or  a  small 
thin  one  upon  the  point  of  the  chin;  which  does  not  arise  from  any 
natural  defect  of  hair  on  that  part,  but  from  plucking  it  out  more  or 
less;  for  some  of  them,  and  particularly  the  old  men,  have  not  only 
considerable  beards  all  over  the  chin,  but  whiskers,  or  mustachios; 
both  on  the  upper  lip  and  running  from  thence  toward  the  lower  jaw 
obliquely  downward.     Their  eye-brows  are  also  scanty  and  always 

'  Chief  George  of  Nootka  Sound  is  the  avithnrity  for  this  lepend. 


narrow;  but  the  hair  of  the  head  is  in  great  abundance,  very  coarse 
and  strong;  and,  without  a  single  exception,  black,  straight,  and  lank, 
or  hanging  down  over  the  shoulders.  The  neck  is  short;  the  arms 
and  body  have  no  particular  mark  of  beauty  or  elegance  m  their 
formation,  but  are  rather  clumsy;  and  the  limbs,  in  all,  are  very 
small  in  proportion  to  the  other  parts,  and  crooked,  or  ill  made,  with 
large  feet  badly  shaped,  and  projecting  ankles.  This  last  defect 
seems,  in  a  great  measure,  to  arise  from  their  sitting  too  much  on  their 
hams  or  knees,  both  in  their  canoes  and  houses. 

"Their  colour  we  could  never  positively  determine,  as  their  bodies 
were  incrusted  with  paint  and  dirt;  though,  in  particular  cases,  when 
these  were  well  rubbed  oft,  the  whiteness  of  the  skin  appeared  almost 
to  equal  that  of  Europeans;  though  rather  of  that  pale  effete  cast 
which  distinguishes  those  of  our  Southern  nations.  Their  children, 
whose  skins  had  never  been  stained  with  paint,  also  equalled  ours 
in  whiteness.  During  their  youth,  some  of  them  have  no  disagree- 
able look,  if  compared  to  the  generality  of  the  people;  but  this  seems 
to  be  entirely  owing  to  the  particular  animation  attending  that  period 
of  life;  for,  after  attaining  a  certain  age,  there  is  hardly  any  dis- 
tinction. Upon  the  whole,  a  very  remarkable  sameness  seems  to  I 
characterize  the  countenances  of  the  whole  nation;  a  dull  phlegmatic 
want  of  expression,  with  very  little  variation,  being  strongly  marked 
in  all  of  them. 

"The  women  are  nearly  of  the  same  size,  colour,  and  form,  with 
the  men,  from  whom  it  is  not  easy  to  distinguish  them,  as  they  pos- 
sess no  natural  delicacies  sufficient  to  render  their  persons  agreeable; 
and  hardly  any  one  was  seen,  even  amongst  those  who  were  in  the 
prime  of  life,  who  had  the  least  pretensions  to  be  called  handsome. 

"Their  common  dress  is  a  flaxen  garment,  or  mantle,  ornamented 
on  the  upper  edge  by  a  narrow  strip  of  fur,  and,  at  the  lower  edge, 
bv  fringes  or  tassels.  It  passes  under  the  left  arm  and  is  tied  over 
the  right  shoulder  by  a  string  before,  and  one  behind,  near  its  middle ; 
by  which  means  both  arms  are  left  free;  and  it  hangs  evenly,  cover- 
ing the  left  side,  but  leaving  the  right  open,  except  from  the  loose 
part  of  the  edges  falling  upon  it,  unless  when  the  mantle  is  fastened 
bv  a  girdle  (of  coarse  matting  or  woolen)  round  the  waist,  which 
is  often  done.  Over  this,  which  reaches  below  the  knees,  is  worn  a 
small  cloak  of  the  same  substance,  likewise  fringed  at  the  lower  part. 
In  shape  this  resembles  a  round  dish  cover,  being  quite  close,  except 
in  the  middle,  where  there  is  a  hole  just  large  enough  to  admit  the 










head;  and  then,  resting  upon  the  shoulders,  it  covers  the  arms  to  the 
elbows,  and  the  body  as  far  as  the  waist.  Their  head  is  covered  with 
a  cap,  of  the  figure  of  a  truncated  cone,  or  like  a  fiower-pot,  made  of 
fine  matting,  having  the  top  frequently  ornamented  with  a  round  or 
pointed  knob,  or  bunch  of  leathern  tassels;  and  there  is  a  string  that 
passes  under  the  chin,  to  prevent  its  blowing  off. 

"Besides  the  above  dress,  which  is  common  to  both  sexes,  the 
men  frequently  throw  over  their  other  garments  the  skin  of  a  bear, 
wolf,  or  sea-otter,  with  the  hair  outward,  and  tie  it,  as  a  cloak,  near 
the  upper  part,  wearing  it  sometimes  before,  and  sometimes  behind. 
In  rainy  weather,  they  throw  a  coarse  mat  about  their  shoulders. 
They  have  also  woolen  garments,  which,  however,  are  little  in  use. 
The  hair  is  commonly  worn  hanging  down  loose;  but  some,  when 
they  have  no  cap,  tie  it  in  a  bunch  on  the  crown  of  the  head. 

"Their  dress,  upon  the  whole,  is  convenient,  and  would  by  no 
means  be  inelegant  were  it  kept  clean.  But  as  they  rub  their  bodies 
constantly  over  with  a  red  paint,  of  a  clayey  or  coarse  ochry  sub- 
stance, mixed  with  oil,  their  garments,  by  this  means,  contract  a 
rancid  offensive  smell  and  a  greasv  nastiness.  So  that  they  make 
a  very  wretched,  dirty  appearance;  and,  what  is  still  worse,  their 
heads  and  their  garments  swarm  with  vermin,  which,  so  depraved 
is  their  taste  for  cleanliness,  we  used  to  see  them  pick  off,  with  great 
composure,  and  eat.  v 

"Though  their  bodies  are  always  covered  with  red  paint,  their 
faces  are  often  stained  with  a  black,  a  brighter  red,  or  a  white  colour, 
by  way  of  ornament.  The  last  of  these  gives  them  a  ghastly,  dis- 
gusting aspect.  They  also  strew  the  brown  martial  mica  upon  the 
paint,  which  makes  it  glitter.  The  ears  of  many  of  them  arc  per- 
forated in  the  lobe,  where  they  make  a  pretty  large  hole;  and  two 
others  higher  up  on  the  outer  edge.  In  these  holes  they  hang  bits 
of  bone;  (]uills  fi.xed  upon  a  leathern  thong;  small  shells;  bunches  of 
woolen  tassels,  or  pieces  of  thin  copper,  which  our  beads  could  never 
supplant.  The  septum  of  the  nose,  in  many,  is  also  perforated, 
through  which  they  draw  a  piece  of  soft  cord;  and  others  wear,  at 
the  same  place,  small  thin  pieces  of  iron,  brass,  or  copper,  shaped 
almost  like  a  horseshoe,  the  narrow  opening  of  which  receives  the 
septum,  so  as  that  the  two  points  may  gently  pinch  it;  and  the  orna- 
«Tient  thus  hangs  over  the  upper  lip.  The  rings  of  our  brass  buttons, 
which  they  eagerly  purchased,  were  appropriated  to  this  use.  About 
their  wrists  they  wear  bracelets  or  bunches  of  white  bugle  beads, 


made  of  a  conic  shelly  substance;  bunches  of  thongs,  with  tassels;  or 
a  broad  black  shining  horny  substance,  of  one  piece.  And  about 
their  ankles  they  also  frequently  wear  many  folds  of  leathern  thongs, 
or  the  sinews  of  animals  twisted  to  a  considerable  thickness. 

"Thus  far  of  their  ordinary  dress  and  ornaments ;  but  they  have 
some  that  seem  to  be  used  only  on  extraordinary  occasions;  either 
when  they  exhibit  themselves  as  strangers,  in  visits  of  ceremony,  or 
when  they  go  to  war.  Amongst  the  first  may  be  considered  the  skins_ 
of  animals,  such  as  wolves  or  bears,  tied  on  in  the  usual  manner,  but 
ornamented  at  the  edges  with  broad  borders  of  fur,  or  of  the  woolen 
stullf  manufactured  by  them,  ingeniously  wrought  with  various  fig- 
ures. These  are  worn  either  separately,  or  over  their  other  common 
garments.  On  such  occasions,  the  most  common  head-dress  is  a  quan- 
tity of  withe,  or  half-beaten  bark,  wrapped  about  the  head;  which, 
at  the  same  time,  has  various  large  feathers,  particularly  those  of 
eagles,  stuck  in  it,  or  is  entirely  covered,  or,  we  may  say,  powdered 
with  small  white  feathers.  The  face,  at  the  same  time,  is  variously 
painted,  having  its  upper  and  lower  parts  of  different  colours,  the 
strokes  appearing  like  fresh  gashes;  or  it  is  besmeared  with  a  kind 
of  tallow,  mixed  with  paint,  which  is  afterward  formed  into  a  great 
variety  of  regular  figures,  and  appears  like  carved  work.  Sometimes, 
again,  the  hair  is  separated  into  small  parcels,  which  are  tied  at  inter- 
vals of  about  two  inches,  to  the  end,  with  thread;  and  others  tie  it 
together,  behind,  after  our  manner,  and  stick  branches  of  the  cupres- 
sus  thyoides  in  it.  Thus  dressed,  they  have  a  truly  savage  and  incon- 
gruous appearance;  but  this  is  much  heightened  when  they  assume, 
what  may  be  called,  their  monstrous  decorations.  These  consist  of 
an  endless  variety  of  carved  wooden  masks  or  vizors,  applied  on  the 
face  or  to  the  upper  part  of  the  head  or  forehead.  Some  of  these 
resemble  human  faces,  furnished  with  hair,  beards,  and  eye-brows; 
others,  the  heads  of  birds,  particularly  of  eagles  and  quebrantahues- 
sos;  and  many,  the  heads  of  land  and  ^a-animals,  such  as  wolves, 
deer,  porpoises,  and  others.  But,  in  general,  these  representations 
much  exceed  the  natural  size;  and  they  are  painted  and  often  strewed 
with  pieces  of  foliaceous  mica,  which  makes  them  glitter,  and  serv^es 
to  augment  their  enormous  deformity.  They  even  exceed  this  some- 
times, and  fix  on  the  same  part  of  the  head  large  pieces  of  carved 
work,  resembling  the  prow  of  a  canoe,  painted  in  the  same  manner, 
and  projecting  to  a  considerable  distance.    So  fond  are  they  of  these 


disguises,  that  I  have  seen  one  of  them  put  his  head  into  a  tin  kettle 
he  had  got  from  us,  for  want  of  another  sort  of  mask.  Whether  they 
use  these  extravagant  masquerade  ornaments  on  any  particular  re- 
ligious occasion  or  diversion;  or  whether  they  be  put  on  to  intimidate 
their  enemies  when  they  go  to  battle,  by  their  monstrous  appearance; 
or  as  decoys  when  they  go  to  hunt  animals,  is  uncertain.  But  it  may 
be  concluded,  that,  if  travellers  or  voyagers,  in  an  ignorant  and 
credulous  age,  when  many  unnatural  or  marvellous  things  were 
supposed  to  exist,  had  seen  a  number  of  people  decorated  in  this 
manner,  without  being  able  to  approach  so  near  as  to  be  undeceived, 
they  would  readily  have  believed,  and,  in  their  relations,  would  have 
attempted  to  make  others  believe,  that  there  existed  a  race  of  beings 
partaking  of  the  nature  of  man  and  beast;  more  especially,  when, 
besides  the  heads  of  animals  on  the  human  shoulders,  they  might  have 
seen  the  whole  bodies  of  their  men-monsters  covered  with  quadru- 
peds' skins."' 

Captain  Cook  continues: 

"The  only  dress  amongst'the  people  of  Nootka,  observed  by  us, 
that  seems  peculiarly  adapted  to  war,  is  a  thick  leathern  mantle 
doubled,  which,  irom  its  size,  appears  to  be  the  skin  of  an  elk,  or 
buffalo  tanned.  This  they  fasten  on,  in  the  common  manner;  and  it 
is  so  contrived,  that  it  may  reach  up,  and  cover  the  breast  quite  to  the 
throat,  falling,  at  the  same  time,  almost  to  the  heels.  It  is,  sometimes, 
ingeniously  painted  in  different  compartments;  and  it  is  not  only  suf- 
ficiently strong  to  resist  arrows;  but,  as  they  informed  us  by  signs, 
even  spears  cannot  pierce  it;  so  that  it  may  be  considered  as  their  coat 
of  mail,  or  most  complete  defensive  armour.  Upon  the  same  occa- 
sion, thev  sometimes  wear  a  kind  of  leathern  cloak,  covered  with  rows 
of  dried  hoofs  of  deer,  disposed  horizontally,  appended  by  leathern 
thongs,  covered  with  quills;  which,  when  they  move,  make  a  loud 
rattling  noise,  almost  equal  to  that  of  many  small  bells.  It  seems 
doubtful,  however,  whether  this  part  of  their  garb  be  intended  to 
strike  terror  in  war,  or  only  is  to  be  considered  as  belonging  to  their 
eccentric  ornaments  on  ceremonious  occasions.  For  we  saw  one  of 
their  musical  entertainments,  conducted  bv  a  man  dressed  in  this  sort 
of  cloak,  with  his  mask  on,  and  shaking  his  rattle. 

"Though  these  people  cannot  be  viewed  without  a  kind  of  horror, 
when  equipped  in  such  extravagant  dresses,  yet,  when  divested  of 
them,  and  beheld  in  their  common  habit  and  actions,  they  have  not 


the  least  appearance  of  ferocity  in  their  countenances;  and  seem, 
on  the  contrary,  as  observed  already,  to  be  of  a  quiet,  phlegmatic, 
and  inactive  disposition;  destitute,  in  some  measure,  of  that  degree 
of  animation  and  vivacity  that  would  render  them  agreeable  as  social 
beings.  If  they  are  not  reserved,  they  are  far  from  being  loquacious ; 
but  their  gravity  is,  perhaps,  rather  a  consequence  of  the  disposition 
just  mentioned,  than  of  any  conviction  of  its  propriety,  or  the  effect 
of  any  particular  mode  of  education.  For,  even  in  the  greatest 
paroxysms  of  their  rage,  they  seem  unable  to  express  it  sufficiently, 
either  with  warmth  of  language  or  significancy  of  gestures." 

In  speaking  of  the  powers  of  oratory.  Cook  observes: 

"Their  orations,  which  are  made  either  when  engaged  in  any 
altercation  or  dispute,  or  to  explain  their  sentiments  publicly  on 
other  occasions,  seem  little  more  than  short  sentences,  or  rather  single 
words,  forcibly  repeated  and  constantly  in  one  tone  and  degree  of 
strength,  accompanied  only  with  a  single  gesture,  which  they  use 
at  every  sentence,  jerking  their  whole  body  a  little  forward,  by  bend- 
ing the  knees,  their  arms  hanging  down  by  their  sides  at  the  same 

Captain  Cook's  account  of  the  manners  and  customs  of  the  Noot- 
kans  is  important  ethnologically,  and  so  interesting  historically,  that, 
in  spite  of  the  length  of  the  foregoing  excerpt,  it  may  well  be  con- 
cluded in  the  navigator's  own  words: 

"Though  there  be  but  too  much  reason,  from  their  bringing 
to  sale  human  skulls  and  bones,  to  infer  that  they  treat  their  enemies 
with  a  degree  of  brutal  cruelty,  this  circumstance  rather  marks  a 
general  agreement  of  character  with  that  of  almost  every  tribe  of 
uncivilized  man,  in  every  age,  and  in  every  part  of  the  globe,  than 
that  they  are  to  be  reproached  with  any  charge  of  peculiar 
inhumanity.  We  had  no  reason  to  judge  unfavourably  of  their  dis- 
position in  this  respect.  They  seem  to  be  a  docile,  courteous,  good- 
natured  people;  but  notwithstanding  the  predominant  phlegm,  of 
their  tempers,  quick  in  resenting  what  they  look  upon  as  an  injury; 
and,  like  most  other  passionate  people,  as  soon  forgetting  it.  I  never 
found  that  these  fits  of  passion  went  farther  than  the  parties  imme- 
diately concerned;  the  spectators  not  troubling  themselves  about  the 
quarrel,  whether  it  was  with  any  of  us,  or  amongst  their  own  body; 
and  preserving  as  much  indifference  as  if  they  had  not  known  any- 
thing about  it.    I  have  often  seen  one  of  them  rave  and  scold,  without 


any  of  his  countrymen  paying  the  least  attention  to  his  agitation;  and 
when  none  of  us  could  trace  the  cause,  or  the  object  of  his  displeasure. 
In  such  cases  they  never  discover  the  least  symptom  of  timidity,  but 
seem  determined,  at  all  events,  to  punish  the  insult.  For,  even  with 
respect  to  us,  they  never  appeared  to  be  under  the  least  apprehension 
of  our  superiority;  but  when  any  difference  happened,  were  just  as 
ready  to  avenge  the  wrong  as  amongst  themselves. 

"Their  other  passions,  especially  their  curiosity,  appear  in  some 
measure  to  lie  dormant.  For  few  expressed  any  desire  to  see  or  exam- 
ine things  wholly  unknown  to  them;  and  which,  to  those  truly  pos- 
sessed of  that  passion,  would  have  appeared  astonishing.  They  were 
always  contented  to  procure  the  articles  they  knew  they  wanted,  re- 
garding everything  else  with  great  indifference;  nor  did  our  per- 
sons, apparel,  and  manners,  so  different  from  their  own,  or  even  the 
extraordinary  size  and  construction  of  our  ships,  seem  to  excite  ad- 
miration, or  even  engage  attention. 

"One  cause  of  this  may  be  their  indolence,  which  seems  consider- 
able. But,  on  the  other  hand,  they  are  certainly  not  wholly  unsus- 
ceptible of  the  tender  passions;  if  we  may  judge  from  their  being 
so  fond  of  music,  which  is  mostly  of  the  grave  or  serious,  but  truly 
pathetic  sort.  They  keep  the  exactest  concert  in  their  songs,  which 
are  often  sung  by  great  numbers  together,  as  those  already  mentioned, 
with  which  they  used  to  entertain  us  in  their  canoes.  These  are 
generally  slow  and  solemn;  but  the  music  is  not  of  that  confined 
sort  found  amongst  many  rude  nations;  for  the  variations  are  very 
numerous  and  expressive,  and  the  cadence  or  melody  powerfully 
soothing.  Besides  their  full  concerts,  sonnets  of  the  same  grave  cast 
were  frec^uently  sung  by  single  performers,  who  keep  time  by  strik- 
ing the  hand  against  the  thigh.  However,  the  music  was  sometimes 
varied,  from  its  predominant  solemnity  of  air;  and  there  were  in- 
stances of  stanzas  being  sung  in  a  more  gay  and  lively  strain,  and 
even  with  a  degree  of  humour. 

"The  only  instruments  of  music  (if  such  they  may  be  called) 
which  I  saw  amongst  them,  were  a  rattle;  and  a  small  whistle,  about 
an  inch  long,  incapable  of  any  variation,  from  having  but  one  hole. 
They  use  the  rattle  when  they  sing;  but  upon  what  occasions  they 
use  the  whistle  I  know  not,  unless  it  be  when  they  dress  themselves 
like  particular  animals,  and  endeavour  to  imitate  their  howl  or  cry. 
I  once  saw  one  of  them  dressed  in  a  wolf's  skin,  with  the  head  over 


his  own,  and  imitating  that  animal  by  making  a  squeaking  noise  with 
one  of  these  whistles,  which  he  had  in  his  mouth.  The  rattles  are, 
for  the  most  part,  made  in  the  shape  of  a  bird,  with  a  few  pebbles 
in  the  belly,  and  the  tail  is  the  handle.  They  have  others,  however, 
that  bear  rather  more  resemblance  to  a  child's  rattle. 

"In  trafficking  with  us,  some  of  them  would  betray  a  knavish 
disposition,  and  carry  oft  our  goods  without  making  any  return. 
But,  in  general,  it  was  otherwise;  and  we  had  abundant  reason  to 
commend  the  fairness  of  their  conduct.  However,  their  eagerness 
to  possess  iron  and  brass,  and,  indeed,  any  kind  of  metal,  was  so  great 
that  few  of  them  could  resist  the  temptation  to  steal  it,  whenever  an 
opportunity  offered.  The  inhabitants  of  the  South  Sea  Islands,  as 
appears  from  a  variey  of  instances  in  the  course  of  this  voyage,  rather 
than  be  idle,  would  steal  anything  that  they  could  lay  their  hands 
upon,  without  ever  considering,  whether  it  could  be  of  use  to  them 
or  no.  The  novelty  of  the  object,  with  them,  was  a  sufficient  motive 
for  their  endeavouring,  by  any  indirect  means,  to  get  possession  of  it; 
which  marked  that,  in  such  cases,  they  were  rather  actuated  by  a 
childish  curiosity  than  by  a  dishonest  disposition,  regardless  of  the 
modes  of  supplying  real  wants.  The  inhabitants  of  Nootka,  who 
invaded  our  property,  cannot  have  such  apology  made  for  them. 
They  were  thieves  in  the  strictest  sense  of  the  word;  for  they  pilfered 
nothing  from  us,  but  what  they  knew  could  be  converted  to  the  pur- 
poses of  private  utility,  and  had  a  real  value  according  to  their  esti- 
mation of  things.  And  it  was  lucky  for  us  that  nothing  was  thought 
valuable  by  them,  but  the  single  articles  of  our  metals.  Linen,  and 
such  like  things,  were  perfectiv  secure  from  their  depredations;  and 
we  could  safely  leave  them  hanging  out  ashore  all  night,  without 
watching.  The  same  principle  which  prompted  our  Nootka  friends 
to  pilfer  from  us,  it  was  natural  to  suppose,  would  produce  a  similar 
conduct  in  their  intercourse  with  each  other.  And,  accordingly,  we 
had  abundant  reason  to  believe,  that  stealing  is  much  practiced 
amongst  them;  and  that  it  chiefly  gives  rise  to  their  quarrels;  of 
which  we  saw  more  than  one  instance." 

The  vessels  were  no  sooner  snugly  moored  in  Resolution  Cove 
than  the  place  assumed  an  air  of  unwonted  activity.  No  time  was 
lost  in  making  the  necessary  repairs  to  the  ships,  which  were  the 
immediate  object  of  the  visit. 


An  observatory  was  erected  upon  an  elevated  rock  on  one  side 
of  the  cove,  close  to  the  Resolution;  an  officer  and  a  party  of  men 
were  sent  to  cut  wood  and  to  clear  a  place  on  the  beach  to  facilitate 
watering;  others  were  employed  in  brewing  spruce  beer  and  in  set- 
ting up  a  blacksmith  forge. 

The  news  of  the  arrival  of  strangers  soon  spread  abroad  and 
brought  a  great  concourse  of  curious  natives  from  all  parts  of  the 
Sound.  At  times  more  than  a  hundred  canoes  clustered  about  the 
ships.  To  introduce  themselves,  as  it  were,  or  to  announce  their  ar- 
rival, the  crews  would  dexterously  propel  their  canoes  three  times 
round  the  ships,  while  a  chief,  or  person  of  consequence,  stood  up 
and  spoke  in  a  loud  voice.  The  Indians  brought  with  them  furs 
and  various  implements  of  native  manufacture — cloth  of  bark,  or 
woolen  stufif,  bags  filled  with  red  ochre,  beads  and  even  ornaments 
of  brass  and  iron.  But  the  most  extraordinary  of  all  the  articles  that 
they  exhibited  were  "human  skulls  and  hands  not  yet  quite  stripped 
of  the  flesh,  which  they  made  our  people  plainly  understand  they 
had  eaten;  and  indeed  some  of  them  had  evident  marks  that  they 
had  been  upon  the  fire."  From  the  display  of  these  grim  relics 
Cook  had  reason  to  suspect  that  the  natives  were  addicted  to  canni- 
balism, although  no  instance  of  that  horrid  practice  was  observed 
while  the  vessels  were  anchored  in  the  Sound.  It  is  now  known  that 
the  cannibalism  of  the  West  Coast  tribes  was  purely  ceremonial. 
The  practice  was  not  general  as  in  the  South  Sea  Islands.  The 
natives  were  anxious  to  trade  and  readily  accepted  in  exchange  for 
their  various  articles  looking-glasses,  buttons,  gewgaws  and  trinkets, 
knives,  chisels,  iron,  tin,  and  nails,  or  metal  of  any  kind.  Glass  beads 
and  linen  neither  excited  their  cupidity  nor  their  vanity.  Both  were 
rejected.  These  Indians  were  trained  thieves  and  dexterously  re- 
moved brass  buttons  from  coats,  brass  fittings  and  even  nails  from 
woodwork,  in  fact,  every  particle  of  metal  that  they  could  lay  their 
hands  on. 

Cook  stayed  in  Nootka  Sound  for  four  weeks.  Nearly  all  of  the 
time  was  spent  in  preparing  new  masts  and  spars  to  take  the  place  of 
the  ones  which  had  rotted  on  the  long  voyage  from  England — the 
first  recorded  instance  of  the  use  of  the  timber  of  Vancouver  Island 
by  Europeans.  The  officers,  therefore,  had  little  time  to  explore  the 
fiords  and  arms  of  the  inlet.  Cook,  however,  examined  the  west  side 
of  the  Sound,  and  visited  a  deserted  village,  hard   by  a  grove  of 


immense  pine  trees,  where  he  observed  large  fishing  weirs  composed 
of  wicker  work.  Crossing  over  to  the  east  side  he  ascertained,  as 
he  had  already  surmised,  that  the  land  off  which  his  ships  lay 
was  a  small  island. 

While  the  ship's  company  were  engaged  in  their  several  occupa- 
tions, Webber,  the  artist,  employed  his  time  in  drawing  the  scenery 
and  savages  of  this  new  and  strange  country.  The  anthropologist 
and  the  historian  owe  him  a  debt  of  gratitude  for  his  faithful  sketches 
of  implements,  ceremonial  trappings,  and  other  objects  in  common 
use  among  the  natives.  Many  of  Webber's  sketches  are  to  be  found 
in  the  large  folio  of  views  which  accompanies  the  official  edition  of 
Cook's  Third  Voyage.  In  the  meantime,  Anderson,  the  young 
surgeon  of  the  expedition,  was  not  idle.  He  prepared  an  e.xtended 
account  of  the  manners  and  customs  of  the  aborigines.  Anderson's 
notes  will  always  be  of-  interest  to  the  anthropologist  and  the  his- 
torian, if  for  no  other  reason  than  that  they  contain  the  first  scientific 
observations  upon  a  primitive  social  organization  and  a  rude  culture 
which  had  existed  here  from  time  immemorial.  The  pagan  tribes 
of  Nootka  occupy  a  place  in  the  history  of  British  Columbia  analo- 
gous to  that  of  Caesar's  Britons  in  the  annals  of  England. 

On  his  arrival  in  the  inlet.  Captain  Cook  had  named  it  "King 
George's  Sound,"  but  later  he  changed  the  name  to  ''Nootka,"  be- 
cause he  considered  that  to  be  the  title  by  which  the  place  was  known 
to  the  natives.  It  was  evidently  bestowed  under  a  misapprehension 
because  there  is  nothing  to  show  that  the  natives  ever  called  the  place 
by  that  name.  Two  or  three  theories  have  been  advanced  to  account 
for  Cook's  mistake,  but  perhaps  the  most  reasonable  explanation  is 
that  of  the  Reverend  A.  J.  Brabant,  for  many  years  a  resident  of 
Hesquiat.  "The  word  'Nootka,'  "  he  says,  "is  the  frequentation  of 
'nootk-sitl,'  to  go  around;  make  a  circuit.  'Nootka-a'  would  be  a 
form  of  the  imperative  (accent  on  the  last  'a'  being  slight),  go 
around.  'Nootka-minish'  we  have  been  around.  'Nootka-aktl-nish' 
we  are  about  to  go  around.  Some  form  of  the  word  'nootka'  may  be 
applied  to  the  making  of  a  circuit  of  the  globe,  or  of  an  island  small 
or  large,  &c.,  only  the  affix  varies  according  to  time,  person  or  place."  ^ 
It  has  been  conjectured  that  Cook,  after  his  reconnaissance  of  the 
Sound  may  have  asked  an  Indian  what  the  place  was  called  in  the 
native  tongue.     The  Indian   probably  misunderstood   him,  but   re- 

*  Walbran,  British  Columbia  Coast  Names,  p.  359;  See  also  Swan,  Haidah  Indians,  pp.  13-14. 


membering  that  the  white  men  had  sailed  round  the  small  island,  may 
possibly  have  used  in  reply  some  form  of  the  derivative  "nootk,"  thus 
leaving  the  impression  in  Cook's  mind  that  such  was  the  native  name 
of  the  place."  The  explanation  is  not  altogether  satisfactory,  but  be 
that  as  it  may,  from  that  day  to  this  the  inlet  has  been  known  as 
Nootka  Sound. 

Cook,  of  course,  was  not  aware  of  the  insular  character  of  the 
Nootkan  region.  He  took  it  for  granted  that  he  was  on  the  continen- 
tal coast  of  North  America.  As  a  matter  of  fact  Vancouver  Island 
did  not  assume  its  true  shape  on  the  map  until  later  than  1792,  in 
which  year  Captain  Vancouver  sailed  through  the  Strait  of  Juan  de 
Fuca,  the  Gulf  of  Georgia  and  Johnston's  Straits  into  Queen  Char- 
lotte Sound,  thus  establishing  the  fact  that  the  whole  of  this  region 
is  detached  from  the  mainland. 

In  spite  of  the  fact  that  the  natives  possessed,  comparatively 
speaking,  a  large  amount  of  iron,  which  they  had  no  means  of  pro- 
curing for  themselves,  the  explorer  concluded,  after  careful  observa- 
tion that  the  Sound  had  never  been  visited  before.  It  was  evident 
that  iron  was  too  common,  and  the  use  of  it  too  well  known,  for  the 
natives  to  have  received  their  first  knowledge  of  it  in  the  last  few 
years.  It  was  supposed  therefore  that  the  metal  things  had  passed 
from  tribe  to  tribe  from  Hudson's  Bay  to  the  shores  of  the  Pacific; 
or  that  they  had  originally  started  upon  their  long  journey  in  Mexico 
and  reached  their  destination  after  passing  through  the  hands  of 
successive  native  traders.  However,  it  is  just  as  likely,  if  not  more 
probable,  that  the  metal  had  been  obtained  in  the  first  place  from 
Russian  traders,  who  had  long  ago  established  posts  on  the  Kam- 
chatkan  Peninsula.  It  is  not  a  far  cry  from  Nootka  Sound  to  the 
Aleutian  Islands. 

In  the  light  of  Father  Crespi's  Journal,  Cook's  claim  to  priority 
of  discovery  would  seem  to  be  irrefutable.  In  after  years,  much 
was  made  of  the  fact  that  the  two  silver  spoons  stolen  from  Juan 
Perez's  vessel,  the  Srniti(ujo.  were  purchased  from  the  Indians  by 
one  of  Cook's  officers.  This,  it  was  asserted  by  the  Spaniards,  and 
later  by  American  writers,  proved  conclusivelv  that  Perez  had  vis- 
ited the  place  in  1774.  But  Cook  expressly  relates  that  the  spoons 
were  obtained,  not  from  inhabitants  of  the  Sound,  but  from  natives 

■'  Walbraii,   Britisli   Coliiml)ia  Coast   Names,  p.   360. 


who  had  journeyed  some  distance  to  visit  the  ships.  In  1789,  Estevan 
Jose  Martinez  himself,  in  accordance  with  his  instructions,  used 
Cook's  chart  apparently  because  the  map  of  Perez  failed  to  show 
Nootka  Sound.  Of  course,  this  fact  can  scarcely  be  adduced  as 
evidence,  because  a  navigator  would  naturallv  avail  himself  of  the 
experience  of  other  explorers. 

Everything  at  last  being  in  readiness,  on  the  morning  of  Sunday, 
the  26th  of  April,  1778,  the  Resolution  and  Discovery  sailed  from 
Nootka  Sound  and  proceeded  on  their  voyage,  passing  the  locality 
"where  geographers  have  placed  the  pretended  Strait  of  Admiral 
de  Fonte."  Advancing  to  the  north.  Cook  found  the  coast  from  Cape 
Edgecumbe  trending  north  and  northeasterly  for  six  or  seven  leagues, 
and  there  forming  a  large  bay,  in  the  entrance  of  which  were  some  is- 
lands, for  which  reason  he  named  it  the  Bay  of  Islands.  In  this 
bay  the  Spaniards  in  1775  evidently  found  their  port,  which  they 
called  De  los  Remedies,  in  the  latitude  of  57°  20'.  Continuing  on 
this  course,  a  very  high-peaked  mountain  was  discovered,  which 
was  named  Mount  Fair  Weather. 

By  May  5th,  Cook  had  reached  the  latitude  of  58'  53',  where  the 
summit  of  an  elevated  mountain  appeared  above  the  horizon,  of  which 
Cook  says,  "We  supposed  it  to  be  Bering's  Mount  St.  Elias,  and  it 
stands  bv  that  name  in  our  chart."  By  the  loth  of  tliat  month,  he 
passed  a  point  of  land  which  he  named  Cape  Suckling,  on  the  north 
side  of  which  is  a  bay  that  appeared  to  be  of  some  extent.  Several 
small  islands  were  discovered  in  the  bay,  one  of  which  was  named 
Rave's  Island  as  a  mark  of  esteem  for  the  Rev.  Dr.  Kaye,  chap- 
lain to  His  Majesty,  George  III.  Comptroller's  Bay  was  sighted 
on  May  iith  and  on  the  12th  a  point  of  land,  which  Cook  named 
Cape  Hinchingbroke.  Hauling  close  under  the  latter,  the  vessels 
anchored  before  a  small  cove  a  little  within  the  cape  and  about  a 
quarter  of  a  mile  from  the  shore. 

From  the  above  mentioned  point  Cook  sent  out  expeditionary 
parties  in  small  boats  to  examine  arms  of  the  sea,  but  he  soon  dis- 
covered that  the  time  was  wasted  in  searching  for  a  passage  in  a 
quarter  that  promised  so  little  success.  The  expedition  was  now 
about  five  hundred  and  twentv  leagues  to  the  westward  of  any  part  of 
Baffin's  and  Hudson's  Bays,  and  the  explorer  concluded  that  if  there 
were  any  passage,  it  should  be  to  the  north  of  latitude  72°. 

Cook  left  Point  Hinchingbroke  early  in  the  morning  of  Monday, 
May  18th,  on  a  northern  course,  discovering  and  naming  islands  on 

lev   I'.AV   AM)    MOUNT   ST.    KLIAS 

Till-:  XKW   KIHtVSTOM';,  IN   I'.IIKM 'S  CANAl, 


the  way;  he  finally  anchored  at  8  o'clock  in  the  evening  of  the  19th 
in  the  channel  between  Montagu  and  Green  Islands,  about  two  miles 
from  the  latter.  The  inlet  which  he  had  left  on  the  19th  was  named 
Prince  William  Sound,  and  Cook  considered  it  remarkable  concern- 
ing the  inhabitants  thereof,  that  having  articles  in  their  possession, 
presumably  supplied  them  by  Europeans,  "they  should,  in  return, 
never  have  given  to  the  more  inland  Indians  any  of  their  sea-otter 
skins;  which  would  certainly  have  been  seen,  sometime  or  other, 
about  Hudson's  Bay.  But,  as  far  as  1  know  that  is  not  the  case; 
and  the  only  method  of  accounting  for  this,  must  be  by  taking  in 
consideration  the  very  great  distance,  which,  though  it  might  not 
prevent  European  goods  coming  so  far,  as  being  so  uncommon, 
might  prevent  the  skins,  which  are  a  common  article,  from  passing 
through  more  than  two  or  three  different  tribes,  who  might  use  them 
for  their  own  clothing;  and  send  others,  which  they  esteemed  less 
valuable,  as  being  of  their  own  animals.  Eastward,  till  they  reach 
the  traders  from  Europe." 

From  Prince  William  Sound,  Cook  steered  to  the  southwest, 
and  in  latitude  59"  10'  he  discovered  a  lofty  promontory,  which  he 
named  Cape  Elizabeth,  and  Cape  Douglas  was  found  in  latitude 
58  56'.  But  tlic  capes,  bays,  and  islands  discovered  and  named 
by  Cook  are  too  numerous  to  have  a  place  in  a  work  of  this 
scope.  It  is  suthcient  to  know  that  he  continued  his  voyage 
southward  until  he  reached  and  anchored  his  vessels  in  Karakakooa 
Bay,  Sandwich  Islands,  in  January,  1779,  where,  in  untoward  and 
sad  circumstances,  the  great  navigator  lost  his  life.  The  details  of 
this  fatality  are  given  at  length  by  Lieutenant  James  King,  who  at 
the  same  time  pays  a  high  tribute  to  the  character  and  services  of 
Captain  Cook,  whose  loss  was  universally  deplored.  After  giving 
an  account  of  the  preparations  made  for  the  repairing  of  the  Reso- 
lution's foremast,  the  heel  of  which  was  found  ''exceedingly  rot- 
ten," Lieutenant  King  continues: 

"As  these  repairs  were  likely  to  take  up  several  days,  Mr.  Bayly 
and  myself,  got  tlie  astronomical  apparatus  on  shore  and  pitched  our 
tents  on  the  Monti;  having  with  us  a  guard  of  a  corporal  and  six  ma- 
rines. We  renewed  our  friendiv  correspondence  with  the  priests, 
who,  for  the  greater  security  of  tlie  workmen  and  their  tools,  tabooed 
the  place  where  the  mast  lay,  sticking  their  wands  round  it  as  before. 
The  sailmakers  were  also  sent  on  shore  to  repair  the  damages  which 


had  taken  place  in  their  department  during  the  late  gales.  They 
were  lodged  in  a  house  adjoining  the  Morai,  that  was  lent  us  by  the 
priests.  Such  were  our  arrangements  on  shore.  I  shall  now  proceed 
to  the  account  of  those  other  transactions  with  the  natives,  which 
led,  by  degrees,  to  the  fatal  catastrophe  of  the  14th. 

"Upon  coming  to  anchor,  we  were  surprized  to  find  our  recep- 
tion very  different  from  what  it  had  been  on  our  first  arrival;  no 
shouts,  no  bustle,  no  confusion;  but  a  solitary  bay,  with  only  here 
and  there  a  canoe  stealing  close  along  shore.  The  impulse  of  curi- 
osity, which  had  before  operated  to  so  great  a  degree,  might  now 
indeed  be  supposed  to  have  ceased;  but  the  hospitable  treatment  we 
had  invariably  met  with,  and  the  friendly  footing  on  which  we  parted, 
gave  us  some  reason  to  expect,  that  they  would  again  have  flocked 
about  us  with  great  joy,  on  our  return. 

"We  were  forming  various  conjectures  upon  the  occasion  of  this 
extraordinary  appearance,  when  our  anxiety  was  at  length  relieved 
by  the  return  of  a  boat,  which  had  been  sent  on  shore,  and  brought 
us  word  that  Terreeoboo  was  absent,  and  had  left  the  bay  under  the 
taboo.  Though  this  account  appeared  very  satisfactory  to  most  of  us; 
yet  others  were  of  the  opinion,  or  rather,  perhaps,  have  been  led, 
by  subsequent  events,  to  imagine,  that  there  was  something,  at  this 
time,  very  suspicious  in  the  behaviour  of  the  natives;  and  that  the 
interdiction  of  all  intercourse  with  us,  on  pretence  of  the  King's 
absence,  was  only  to  give  him  time  to  consult  with  his  Chiefs,  in  what 
manner  it  might  be  proper  to  treat  us.  Whether  these  suspicions 
were  well  founded,  or  the  account  given  by  the  natives  was  the  truth, 
we  were  never  able  to  ascertain.  For  though  it  is  not  improbable, 
that  our  sudden  return,  for  which  they  could  see  no  apparent  cause, 
and  the  necessity  of  which  wc  afterward  found  it  very  difficult  to 
make  them  comprehend,  might  occasion  some  alarm;  yet  the  un- 
suspicious conduct  of  Terreeoboo,  who,  on  his  supposed  arrival,  the 
next  morning,  came  immediately  to  visit  Captain  Cook,  and  the  con- 
sequent return  of  the  natives  to  their  former  friendly  intercourse 
with  us,  are  strong  proofs  that  they  neither  meant,  nor  apprehended, 
any  change  of  conduct. 

"In  support  of  this  opinion,  I  may  add  the  account  of  another 
accident,  precisely  of  the  same  kind,  which  happened  to  us  on  our 
first  visit,  the  day  before  the  arrival  of  the  King.  A  native  had 
sold  a  hog  on  board  the  Resolution,  and  taken  the  price  agreed  on. 


when  Pareea,  passing  by,  advised  the  man  not  to  part  with  the  hog, 
without  an  advanced  price.  For  this,  he  was  sharply  spoken  to,  and 
pushed  away;  and  the  taboo  being  soon  after  laid  on  the  bay,  we 
had  at  first  no  doubt  but  that  it  was  in  consequence  of  the  ofifence 
given  to  the  Chief.  Both  these  accidents  serve  to  show,  how  very 
difficult  it  is  to  draw  any  certain  conclusion  from  the  actions  of 
people,  with  whose  customs,  as  well  as  language,  we  are  so  imper- 
fectly acquainted;  at  the  same  time,  some  idea  may  be  formed  from 
them  of  the  difliculties,  at  the  first  view,  perhaps,  not  very  apparent, 
which  those  have  to  encounter  who,  in  all  their  transactions  with  these 
strangers,  have  to  steer  their  course  amidst  so  much  uncertainty, 
where  a  trifling  error  may  be  attended  with  even  the  most  fatal  con- 
sequences. However  true  or  false  our  conjectures  may  be,  things 
went  on  in  their  usual  quiet  course  till  the  afternoon  of  the  13th. 

"Toward  evening  of  that  day,  the  officer  who  commanded  the 
watering-party  of  the  Discovery,  came  to  inform  me  that  several 
Chiefs  had  assembled  at  the  well  near  the  beach,  driving  away  the 
natives,  whom  he  had  hired  to  assist  the  sailors  in  rolling  down  the 
casks  to  the  shore.  He  told  me,  at  the  same  time,  that  he  thought 
their  behaviour  extremely  suspicious,  and  that  they  meant  to  give 
him  some  farther  disturbance.  At  his  request,  therefore,  I  sent  a 
marine  along  with  him,  but  sufl'ered  him  to  take  only  his  side  arms. 
In  a  short  time  the  officer  returned,  and  on  his  acquainting  me  that 
the  islanders  had  armed  themselves  with  stones,  and  were  grown 
very  tumultuous,  I  went  myself  to  the  spot,  attended  by  a  marine, 
with  his  musket.  Seeing  us  approach,  they  threw  away  their  stones, 
and,  on  my  speaking  to  some  of  the  Chiefs,  the  mob  were  driven  away, 
and  those  who  chose  it,  were  sufifered  to  assist  in  filling  the  casks. 
Having  left  things  quiet  Iicrc,  I  went  to  meet  Captain  Cook,  whom 
I  saw  coming  on  shore,  in  the  pinnace.  1  related  to  him  what  had 
just  passed;  and  he  ordered  me,  in  case  of  their  beginning  to  throw 
stones,  or  behave  insolently,  immediately  to  fire  a  ball  at  the  of- 
fenders. I  accordingly  gave  orders  to  the  corporal  to  have  the  pieces 
of  the  sentinels  loaded  with  ball,  instead  of  small  shot. 

"Soon  after  our  return  to  the  tents,  we  were  alarmed  by  a  con- 
tinued fire  of  musket?  from  the  Discovery,  which  we  observed  to  be 
directed  at  a  canoe  that  we  saw  paddling  toward  the  shore,  in  great 
haste,  pursued  by  one  of  our  small  boats.  We  immediately  concluded 
that  the  firing  was  in  consequence  of  some  theft,  and  Captain  Cook 


ordered  me  to  follow  him  with  a  marine  armed,  and  to  endeavour 
to  seize  the  people,  as  they  came  on  shore.  Accordingly,  we  ran 
toward  the  place  where  we  supposed  the  canoe  would  land,  but  were 
too  late;  the  people  having  quitted  it,  and  made  their  escape  into  the 
country  before  our  arrival. 

"We  were  at  this  time  ignorant,  that  the  goods  had  been  already 
restored;  and  as  we  thought  it  probable,  from  the  circumstances  we 
had  at  first  observed,  that  they  might  be  of  importance,  were  un- 
willing to  relinquish  our  hopes  of  recovering  them.  Having  there- 
fore inquired  of  the  natives,  which  wav  the  people  had  fled,  we 
followed  them,  till  it  was  near  dark,  when  judging  ourselves  to  be 
about  three  miles  from  the  tents,  and  suspecting,  that  the  natives,  who 
frequentlv  encouraged  us  in  the  pursuit,  were  amusing  us  with  false 
information,  we  thought  it  in  vain  to  continue  our  search  any  longer. 
and  returned  to  the  beach. 

"During  our  absence,  a  difference,  of  a  more  serious  and  un- 
pleasant nature  had  happened.  The  officer,  who  had  been  sent  in 
the  small  boat,  and  was  returning  on  board,  with  the  goods  which 
had  been  restored,  observing  Captain  Cook  and  me  engaged  in  the 
pursuit  of  the  offenders,  thought  it  his  duty  to  seize  the  canoe,  which 
was  left  drawn  up  on  the  shore.  Unfortunately,  this  canoe  belonged 
to  Pareea,  who  arriving  at  the  same  moment,  from  on  board  the 
Discovery,  claimed  his  property,  with  many  protestations  of  his  in- 
nocence. The  officer  refusing  to  give  it  up,  and  being  joined  by  the 
crew  of  the  pinnace,  which  was  waiting  for  Captain  Cook,  a  scufHe 
ensued,  in  which  Pareea  was  knocked  down  by  a  violent  blow  on 
the  head  with  an  oar.  The  natives,  who  were  collected  about  the 
spot,  and  had  hitherto  been  peaceable  spectators,  immediately  at- 
tacked our  people  with  such  a  shower  of  stones,  as  forced  them  to 
retreat,  with  great  precipitation,  and  swim  off  to  a  rock,  at  some  dis- 
tance from  the  shore.  The  pinnace  was  immediately  ransacked  by 
the  islanders;  and,  but  for  the  timely  interposition  of  Pareea,  who 
seemed  to  have  recovered  from  the  blow,  and  forgot  it  at  the  same 
instant,  would  soon  have  been  entirely  demolished.  Having  driven 
away  the  crowd,  he  made  signs  to  our  people  that  they  might  come 
and  take  possession  of  the  pinnace,  and  that  he  would  endeavour  to 
get  back  the  things  which  had  been  taken  out  of  it.  After  their  de- 
parture, he  followed  them  in  his  canoe,  with  a  midshipman's  cap, 
and  some  other  trifling  articles  of  the  plunder,  and,  with  much  ap- 


parent  concern  at  what  had  happened,  asked  if  the  Orono  would  kill 
him,  and  whether  he  would  permit  him  to  come  on  board  the  next 
day?  On  being  assured  that  he  should  be  well  received,  he  joined 
noses  (as  their  custom  is)  with  the  officers,  in  token  of  friendship, 
and  paddled  over  to  the  village  of  Kowrowa. 

"When  Captain  Cook  was  informed  of  what  had  passed,  he  ex- 
pressed much  uneasiness  at  it,  and  as  we  were  returning  on  board, 
'I  am  afraid,'  said  he,  'that  these  people  will  oblige  me  to  use  some 
violent  measures;  for,'  he  added,  'they  must  not  be  left  to  imagine, 
that  they  have  gained  an  advantage  over  us.'  However,  as  it  was  too 
late  to  take  any  steps  this  evening  he  contented  himself  with  giving 
orders,  that  every  man  and  woman  on  board  should  be  immediately 
turned  out  of  the  ship.  As  soon  as  this  order  was  executed,  I  returned 
on  shore;  and  our  former  confidence  in  the  natives  being  now  much 
abated  by  the  events  of  the  day,  I  posted  a  double  guard  on  the 
Moral,  with  orders  to  call  me,  if  they  saw  any  men  lurking  about 
the  beach.  At  about  1 1  o'clock,  five  islanders  were  observed  creep- 
ing round  the  bottom  of  the  Moral;  thev  seemed  very  cautious  in 
approaching  us,  and,  at  last,  finding  themselves  discovered,  retired 
out  of  sight.  About  midnight,  one  of  them  venturing  up  close  to  the 
observatory,  the  sentinel  fired  over  him;  on  which  the  man  fled,  and 
we  passed  the  remainder  of  the  night  without  farther  disturbance. 

"Next  morning,  at  daylight,  I  went  on  board  the  Resolution  for 
the  time-keeper,  and,  in  my  way,  was  hailed  by  the  Discovery,  and 
informed,  that  their  cutter  had  been  stolen,  during  the  night,  from 
the  buov  where  it  was  moored. 

"When  I  arrived  on  board  I  found  the  marines  arming  and  Cap- 
tain Cook  loading  his  double-barrelled  gun.  Whilst  1  was  relating 
to  him  wliat  had  happened  to  us  in  the  night,  he  interrupted  me, 
with  some  eagerness,  and  acquainted  me  with  the  loss  of  the  Dis- 
covery's cutter,  and  with  the  preparations  he  was  making  for  its 
recovery.  It  had  been  his  usual  practice,  whenever  anything  of 
consequence  was  lost,  at  any  of  the  islands  in  this  ocean,  to  get  the 
King,  or  some  of  the  principal  Erees,  on  board,  and  to  keep  them 
as  hostages  till  i^was  restored.  This  method,  which  had  been  always 
attended  with  success,  he  meant  to  pursue  on  the  present  occasion; 
and,  at  the  same  time,  had  given  orders  to  stop  all  the  canoes  that 
should  attempt  to  leave  the  bay,  with  an  intention  of  seizing  and 
destroying  them,  if  he  could  not   recover  the  cutter  by   peaceable 


means.  Accordingly,  the  boats  of  both  ships,  well  manned  and 
armed,  were  stationed  across  the  bay;  and,  before  I  left  the  ship, 
some  great  guns  had  been  fired  at  two  large  canoes,  that  were  attempt- 
ing to  make  their  escape. 

"It  was  between  7  and  8  o'clock  when  we  quitted  the  ship  together ; 
Captain  Cook  in  the  pinnace,  having  Mr.  Phillips,  and  nine  marines 
with  him;  and  myself  in  the  small  boat.  The  last  orders  I  received 
from  him  were,  to  quiet  the  minds  of  the  natives,  on  our  side  of  the 
bay,  by  assuring  them,  they  would  not  be  hurt;  to  keep  my  people 
together,  and  to  be  on  my  guard.  We  then  parted ;  the  Captain  went 
toward  Kowrowa,  where  the  King  resided;  and  I  proceeded  to  the 
beach.  My  first  care,  on  going  ashore,  was  to  give  strict  orders  to 
the  marines  to  remain  within  the  tent,  to  load  their  pieces  with  ball, 
and  not  to  quit  their  arms.  Afterward  I  took  a  walk  to  the  huts  of 
old  Kaoo,  and  the  priests,  and  explained  to  them,  as  well  as  I  could, 
the  object  of  the  hostile  preparations,  which  had  exceedingly  alarmed 
them.  I  found,  that  they  had  already  heard  of  the  cutter's  being 
stolen,  and  I  assured  them,  that  though  Captain  Cook  was  resolved 
to  recover  it,  and  to  punish  the  authors  of  the  theft,  yet  that  they,  and 
the  people  of  the  village  on  our  side,  need  not  be  under  the  smallest 
apprehension  of  suffering  any  evil  from  us.  I  desired  the  priests 
to  explain  this  to  the  people,  and  to  tell  them  not  to  be  alarmed,  but 
to  continue  peaceable  and  quiet.  Kaoo  asked  me,  with  great  earnest- 
ness, if  Terreeoboo  was  to  be  hurt?  I  assured  him  he  was  not;  and 
both  he  and  the  rest  of  his  brethren  seemed  much  satisfied  with  this 

"In  the  meantime.  Captain  Cook,  having  called  ofif  the  launch, 
which  was  stationed  at  the  north  point  of  the  bay,  and  taken  it  along 
with  him,  proceeded  to  Kowrowa,  and  landed  with  the  Lieutenant 
and  pine  marines.  He  immediately  marched  into  the  village,  where 
he  was  received  with  the  usual  marks  of  respect;  the  people  pros- 
trating themselves  before  him,  and  bringing  their  accustomed  offer- 
ings of  small  hogs.  Finding  that  there  was  no  suspicion  of  his  design, 
his  next  step  was  to  inquire  for  Terreeoboo,  and  the  two  boys,  his 
sons,  who  had  been  his  constant  guests  on  board  the  Resolution.  In 
a  short  time,  the  boys  returned  along  with  the  natives,  who  had  been 
sent  in  search  of  them,  and  immediately  led  Captain  Cook  to  the 
house  where  the  King  had  slept.  They  found  the  old  man  just  awoke 
from  sleep;  and,  after  a  short  conversation  about  the  loss  of  the  cutter, 


from  which  Captain  Cook  was  convinced  that  he  was  in  no  wise  privy 
to  it,  he  invited  him  to  return  in  the  boat,  and  spend  the  day  on  board 
the  Resolution.  To  this  proposal  the  King  readily  consented,  and 
immediately  got  up  to  accompany  him. 

"Things  were  in  this  prosperous  train,  the  two  boys  being  already 
in  the  pinnace,  and  the  rest  of  the  party  having  advanced  near  the 
water-side,  when  an  elderly  woman,  called  Kanee-kabareea,  the 
mother  of  the  boys,  and  one  of  the  King's  favourite  wives,  came  after 
him,  and  with  many  tears,  and  entreaties,  besought  him  not  to  go  on 
board.  At  the  same  time,  two  chiefs,  who  came  along  with  her,  laid 
hold  of  him,  and  insisting  that  he  should  go  no  farther,  forced  him 
to  sit  down.  The  natives,  who  were  collecting  in  prodigious  num- 
bers along  the  shore,  and  had  probably  been  alarmed  by  the  firing 
of  the  great  guns,  and  the  appearances  of  hostility  in  the  bay,  began 
to  throng  round  Captain  Cook  and  their  King.  In  this  situation, 
the  Lieutenant  of  marines,  observing  that  his  men  were  huddled 
close  together  in  the  crowd,  and  thus  incapable  of  using  their  arms, 
if  any  occasion  should  require  it,  proposed  to  the  Captain,  to  draw 
them  up  along  the  rocks,  close  to  the  water's  edge;  and  the  crowd 
readily  making  way  for  them  to  pass,  they  were  drawn  up  in  a  line 
at  the  distance  of  about  thirty  yards  from  the  place  where  the  King 
was  sitting. 

"All  this  time,  the  old  King  remained  on  the  ground,  with  the 
strongest  marks  of  terror  and  dejection  in  his  countenance;  Captain 
Cook,  not  willing  to  abandon  the  object  for  which  he  had  come  on 
shore,  continuing  to  urge  him,  in  the  most  pressing  manner,  to  pro- 
ceed ;  whilst,  on  the  other  hand,  whenever  the  King  appeared  inclined 
to  follow  him,  the  chiefs,  who  stood  round  him,  interposed,  at  first 
with  prayers  and  entreaties,  but  afterward,  having  recourse  to  force 
and  violence,  insisted  on  his  staying  where  he  was.  Captain  Cook 
therefore  finding  that  the  alarm  had  spread  too  generally,  and  that 
it  was  in  vain  to  think  any  longer  of  getting  him  off,  without  blood- 
shed, at  last  gave  up  the  point;  observing  to  Mr.  Phillips,  that  it 
would  be  impossible  to  compel  him  to  go  on  board  without  the  risk 
of  killing  a  gieat  number  of  the  inhabitants. 

"Though  the  enterprise,  which  had  carried  Captain  Cook  on 
shore  had  now  failed,  and  was  abandoned,  yet  his  person  did  not 
appear  to  have  been  in  the  least  danger,  till  an  accident  happened, 
which  gave  a  fatal  turn  to  the  afTair.    The  boats,  which  had  been 


stationed  across  the  bay,  having  fired  at  some  canoes,  that  were  at- 
tempting to  get  out,  unfortunately  had  killed  a  Chief  of  the  first 
rank.  The  news  of  his  death  arrived  at  the  village  where  Captain 
Cook  was,  just  as  he  had  left  the  King,  and  was  walking  slowly 
toward  the  shore.  The  ferment  it  occasioned  was  very  conspicuous; 
the  women  and  children  were  immediately  sent  off;  and  the  men  put 
on  their  war-mats  and  armed  themselves  with  spears  and  stones. 
One  of  the  natives,  having  in  his  hands  a  stone,  and  a  long  iron  spike 
(which  they  call  a  pabooa)  came  up  to  the  Captain,  flourishing  his 
weapon,  by  way  of  defiance,  and  threatening  to  throw  the  stone.  The 
Captain  desired  him  to  desist;  but  the  man,  persisting  in  his  inso- 
lence, he  was  at  length  provoked  to  fire  a  load  of  small  shot.  The 
man  having  his  mat  on,  which  the  shot  were  not  able  to  penetrate, 
this  had  no  other  effect  than  to  irritate  and  encourage  them.  Sev- 
eral stones  were  thrown  at  the  marines;  and  one  of  the  Erees  at- 
tempted to  stab  Mr.  Phillips  with  his  pabooa;  but  failed  in  the 
attempt,  and  received  from  him  a  blow  with  the  butt  end  of  his 
musket.  Captain  Cook  now  fired  his  second  barrel,  loaded  with  ball, 
and  killed  one  of  the  foremost  of  the  natives.  A  general  attack 
with  stones  immediately  followed,  which  was  answered  by  a  dis- 
charge of  musketry  from  the  marines  and  the  people  in  the  boats. 
The  islanders,  contrary  to  the  expectations  of  every  one,  stood  the  fire 
with  great  firmness;  and  before  the  marines  had  time  to  reload,  they 
broke  in  upon  them  with  dreadful  shouts  and  yells.  What  followed 
was  a  scene  of  the  utmost  horror  and  confusion. 

"P'our  of  the  marines  were  cut  off  amongst  the  rocks  in  their 
retreat,  and  fell  a  sacrifice  to  the  fury  of  the  enemy;  three  more  were 
dangerously  wounded;  and  the  Lieutenant,  who  had  received  a  stab 
between  the  shoulders  with  a  pnhooa.  having  fortunately  reserved 
his  fire,  shot  the  man  who  had  wounded  him  just  as  he  was  going  to 
repeat  his  blow.  Our  unfortunate  Commander,  the  last  time  he  was 
seen  distinctly,  was  standing  at  the  water's  edge,  and  calling  out  to  the 
boats  to  cease  firing,  and  to  pull  in.  If  it  be  true,  as  some  of  those 
w!io  were  present  have  imagined,  that  the  marines  and  boat-men 
had  fired  without  his  orders,  and  that  he  was  desirous  of  preventing 
any  further  bloodshed,  it  is  not  improbable  that  his  humanity,  on 
this  occasion,  proved  fatal  to  him.  For  it  was  remarked,  that  whilst 
he  faced  the  natives,  none  of  them  had  offered  him  any  violence,  but 
that  having  turned  about  to  give  his  orders  to  the  boats,  he  was 


stabbed  in  the  back  and  fell  with  his  face  into  the  water.  On  seeing 
him  fall,  the  islanders  set  up  a  great  shout,  and  his  body  was  imme- 
diately dragged  on  shore  and  surrounded  by  the  enemy,  who,  snatch- 
ing the  dagger  out  of  each  other's  hands,  showed  a  savage  eagerness 
to  have  a  share  in  his  destruction. 

''Thus  fell  our  great  and  excellent  Commander!  After  a  life  of 
so  much  distinguished  and  successful  enterprise,  his  death,  as  far  as 
regards  himself,  cannot  be  reckoned  premature;  since  he  lived  to 
finish  the  great  work  for  which  he  seems  to  have  been  designed;  and 
was  rather  removed  from  the  enjoyment  than  cut  off  from  the  acqui- 
sition, of  glory.  How  sincerely  his  loss  was  felt  and  lamented,  by 
those  who  had  so  long  found  their  general  security  in  his  skill  and 
conduct,  and  every  consolation,  under  their  hardships,  in  his  tender- 
ness and  humanity,  it  is  neither  necessary  nor  possible  for  me  to 
describe;  much  less  shall  I  attempt  to  paint  the  horror  with  which 
we  were  struck,  and  the  universal  dejection  and  dismay,  which  fol- 
lowed so  dreadful  and  unexpected  a  calamity."  ' 

Lieutenant  King  concludes  his  eulogy  with  a  brief  summary  of 
Captain  Cook's  achievements  in  the  cause  of  science,  observing: 

"Perhaps  no  science  ever  received  greater  additions  from  the 
labours  of  a  single  man,  than  geography  has  done  from  those  of 
Captain  Cook.  In  his  first  voyage  to  the  South  Seas,  he  discovered 
the  Society  Islands;  determined  the  insularity  of  New  Zealand; 
discovered  the  straits  which  separate  the  two  islands,  and  are  called 
after  his  name;  and  made  a  complete  survey  of  both.  He  afterward 
explored  the  Eastern  coast  of  New  Holland,  hitherto  unknown;  an 
extent  of  twenty-seven  degrees  of  latitude,  or  upward  of  two  thousand 

"In  his  second  expedition,  he  resolved  the  great  problem  of  a 
Southern  continent;  having  traversed  that  hemisphere  between  the 
latitudes  of  40°  and  70 ',  in  such  a  manner,  as  not  to  leave  a  possibility 
of  its  existence,  unless  near  the  pole,  and  out  of  tlie  reach  of  naviga- 
tion. During  this  voyage,  he  discovered  New  Caledonia,  the  largest 
island  in  the  Southern  Pacific,  except  New  Zealand;  the  island  of 
Georgia;  and  an  unknown  coast,  which  he  named  Sandwich  Land, 
the  thulc  of  the  Southern  hemisphere;  and  having  twice  visited  the 
tropical  seas,  he  settled  the  situations  of  the  old,  and  made  several  new 


"But  the  voyage  we  are  now  relating,  is  distinguished,  above  all  the 
rest,  by  the  extent  and  importance  of  its  discoveries.  Besides  several 
smaller  islands  in  the  Southern  Pacific,  he  discovered,  to  the  North  of 
the  equinoctial  line,  the  group  called  the  Sandwich  Islands;  which, 
from  their  situation  and  productions,  bid  fairer  for  becoming  an 
object  of  consequence,  in  the  system  of  European  navigation,  than  any 
other  discovery  in  the  South  Sea.  He  afterward  explored  what  had 
hitherto  remained  unknown  of  the  western  coast  of  America,  from 
the  latitude  of  43°  to  70°  North,  containing  an  extent  of  three  thou- 
sand, five  hundred  miles;  ascertained  the  proximity  of  the  two  great 
continents  of  Asia  and  America;  passed  the  straits  between  them,  and 
surveyed  the  coast,  on  each  side,  to  such  a  height  of  Northern  latitude 
as  to  demonstrate  the  impracticability  of  a  passage,  in  that  hemis- 
phere, from  the  Atlantic  into  the  Pacific  Ocean,  either  by  an  eastern 
or  a  western  course.  In  short,  if  we  except  the  sea  of  Amur,  and  the 
Japanese  Archipelago,  which  still  remain  imperfectly  known  to 
Europeans,  he  has  completed  the  hydrography  of  the  habitable 

The  .lamentable  death  of  Captain  Cook  has  been  described  by 
Lieutenant  King.  In  his  narrative  of  the  expedition  after  that  calam- 
ity, King  goes  on  to  state  that  after  much  parleying  and  difficulty  with 
the  natives,  some  of  the  bones  of  his  commander  were  recovered, 
wrapped  up  in  a  cloth.  Other  parts  were  brought  to  the  Resolution, 
done  up  in  a  quantity  of  fine  white  cloth,  covered  with  white  feathers. 
The  body  had  been  dismembered  by  the  natives,  and  the  flesh  from 
each  part  cut  ofif  and  burned.  As  trophies  of  their  barbarous  act, 
the  principal  chiefs  each  had  received  one  of  the  bones,  and  to  re- 
cover them.  Captain  Clerke  was  compelled  to  make  a  display  of 
force.  In  fact,  several  of  the  natives  were  killed  and  many  of  their 
houses  burned  to  the  ground  before  he  gained  his  end.  All  that  re- 
mained of  Cook,  the  intrepid  and  famous  navigator,  was  placed  in  a 
casket  and  committed  to  the  deep,  with  military  honours. 

On  the  evening  of  February  22,  1779,  the  expedition,  under  com- 
mand of  Captain  Clerke,  left  the  harbour  of  "Kowrowa,"  where  Cook 
was  killed,  and  after  having  reached  the  latitude  of  69°  34'  north, 
where  solid  fields  of  ice  were  encountered,  Clerke  "took  a  last  farewell 
of  a  northeast  passage  to  Old  England."  Then  the  expedition  was 
headed  south,  and  finally,  on  the  4th  day  of  October,  1780,  the  ships 
arrived  at  the  Nore  after  an  absence  from  England  of  four  years,  two 

Maitoii,  near  Middlesborough,  Yorkshire,  England 

From  an  engraving  in  the  Royal  United  Service  Museum 


months  and  twenty  days.  The  main  object,  it  is  scarcely  necessary 
to  relate,  had  not  been  accomplished;  but  the  heroic  navigators  and 
explorers  took  every  advantage  of  their  opportunities,  and,  through 
their  invaluable  services,  added  greatly  to  the  renown,  prestige  and 
possessions  of  Great  Britain.  The  commanders  of  the  Resolution 
and  Discovery,  however,  never  returned.  The  life  of  Cook  was  sud- 
denly cut  short  at  the  Sandwich  Islands,  and  that  of  his  successor. 
Captain  Clerke,  who  had  commanded  the  Discovery,  was  ended  by 
that  dread  disease,  consumption,  on  the  22d  of  August,  1779,  while 
in  the  latitude  of  53°  7'  north. 

The  great  navigator  was  of  humble  origin.  He  was  born  at  Mar- 
ton  in  the  North  Riding  of  York,  the  27th  of  October,  1728.  At  the 
age  of  eighteen  he  joined  the  merchant  service,  but  later  entered  the 
Royal  Navy  as  a  volunteer  in  the  capacity  of  an  able  seaman.  His 
diligence,  sobriety  and  strict  attention  to  his  duties  soon  brought  him 
to  the  notice  of  his  commanding  officers,  and  by  degrees  he  was  pro- 
moted through  different  ranks  until  1757  he  secured  a  master's  war- 
rant. While  in  the  linc-of-battle  H.  M.  S.  Pembrc-ke  on  the  North 
American  station,  he  carefully  surveyed  the  St.  Lawrence  before 
the  famous  battle  of  the  Plains  of  Abraham.  Later  he  surveyed  parts 
of  the  coasts  of  Nova  Scotia  and  Newfoundland  to  the  satisfaction 
of  his  Captain  and  the  Governor  of  that  Colony,  both  of  whom  con- 
ceived a  high  opinion  of  his  abilities.  A  year  or  two  later,  in  1768, 
Cook  was  given  command  of  the  expedition  to  the  Pacific  to  ob- 
serve the  transit  of  Venus.  At  the  same  time  he  received  his  Lieu- 
tenant's commission.  The  voyage  was  successful,  and  upon  his  re- 
turn to  England  in  1771  he  was  gazetted  a  commander.  In  the  fol- 
lowing year  he  sailed  from  England  in  the  Resolution,  accompa- 
nied by  the  Adventure,  upon  his  great  Australasian  enterprise.  This 
voyage  attracted  such  favourable  attention  that  he  was  promoted  to 
post  captain,  the  King  himself  placing  the  commission  in  the  ex- 
plorer's hands.  Then  followed  the  voyage,  of  which  a  brief  descrip- 
tion has  been  given.  Perhaps  not  the  least  of  the  benefits  he  con- 
ferred upon  humanity  was  his  discovery  of  a  method  to  preserve 
health  at  sea.  Before  his  voyages,  that  terrible  bane  of  seamen,  the 
scurvy,  demanded  its  toll  of  lives  from  each  vessel  that  embarked 
upon  a  protracted  voyage.  Cook,  by  the  exercise  of  a  humane  fore- 
sight, robbed  the  disease  of  its  terrors. " 

"See  Dictionary  of  Natural  Biography;  Walbran,  British  Columliia  Coast  Names. 


Of  the  men  who  sailed  with  Cook  upon  his  second  and  third  voy- 
ages, several  afterwards  became  more  or  less  closely  identified  with 
the  affairs  of  the  northwest  coast.  Vancouver,  Roberts,  Colnett  and 
Hergest,  were  midshipmen;  Portlock  a  master's  mate,  and  Dixon  an 
armorer.    John  Ledyard,  of  whom  more  later,  also  sailed  with  Cook. 

Perhaps  it  may  not  be  out  of  place  to  insert  at  the  end  of  this 
chapter  the  last  letter  written  by  Captain  Cook  to  the  Admiralty. 
The  letter  bears  the  inscription:  "Resolution  at  the  Island  of  Una- 
laschka  on  the  Coast  of  America  in  the  Latitude  of  53'  55'  North, 
Longitude    192     30'    East   from   Greenwich,    the   20th   of   October 


It  reads: 

"Sir,  Having  accidentally  met  with  some  Russians  who  have 
promised  to  put  this  in  a  way  of  being  sent  to  Petersburg,  and  I 
neither  have  nor  intent  to  visit  Kamtschatka  as  yet,  I  take  this  op- 
portunity to  give  their  Lordships  a  short  account  of  my  proceedings 
from  leaving  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope  to  this  time. 

"After  leaving  the  Cape,  I,  pursuant  to  their  Lordships  Instruc- 
tions, visited  the  Islands  lately  seen  by  the  French,  situated  between 
the  Latitude  of  48°  41'  and  50"  South  and  in  the  Longitude  of  69^2 
Et.  These  Islands  abound  with  good  Harbours  and  fresh  water, 
but  produceth  neither  Tree  nor  Shrub  and  but  very  little  of  any 
other  kind  of  vegetation.  After  spending  five  days  on  the  Coast 
thereof,  I  quitted  it  on  the  30th  of  December,  just  touched  at  Van 
Diemen's  Land,  arrived  at  Queen  Charlotte's  Sound  in  New  Zea- 
land the  13th  February  1777.  Left  it  again  on  the  2c;th  and  pushed 
for  Otaheite,  but  as  we  had  not  been  long  at  sea  before  we  met  with 
an  Easterly  wind  which  continued  so  long  that  the  season  was  too 
far  spent  to  proceed  to  the  North  that  year,  and  at  length  the  want 
of  water  and  food  for  the  Cattle  I  had  on  board  obliged  me  to  bear 
away  for  the  Friendly  Islands,  so  that  it  was  August  before  I  ar- 
rived at  Otaheite.  I  found  that  the  Spaniards  from  Callao  had  been 
twice  at  this  Island  from  the  time  of  mv  leaving  it  in  1774.  The 
first  time  they  came  they  left  behind  them  designedly,  four  Span- 
iards who  remained  upon  the  Island  about  two  months,  but  were  all 
gone  some  time  before  mv  arrival.  Thcv  had  also  brought  to  and 
left  on  the  Island,  Goats,  Hogs,  and  Dogs,  one  Bull,  and  a  Ram,  but 
never  a  female  of  either  of  these  species,  so  that  those  I  carried  and 
put  on  shore  there  were  highly  acceptable.    They  consisted  of  a  Bull 


and  three  Cows,  a  Ram  and  five  ewes,  besides  Poultry  of  four  sorts, 
and  a  Horse  and  a  Mare  with  Omai's.  At  the  Friendly  Isles  I  left 
a  Bull  and  a  Cow,  a  Horse  and  Mare,  and  some  sheep.  In  which 
I  flatter  myself  that  the  laudable  intentions  of  the  King  and  their 
Lordships  have  been  answered. 

"I  left  Omai  at  Huaheine,  quitted  the  Society  Isles  the  9th  of 
December,  proceeded  to  the  North  and  in  the  Latitude  of  22°  N., 
Longitude  200  East,  fell  in  with  a  Groupe  of  Islands  inhabited  by 
the  same  Nation  as  Otaheite  and  abounding  with  Hogs  and  Roots. 
After  a  short  stay  at  these  Islands,  continued  our  Route  for  the  Coast 
of  America,  which  we  made  on  the  7th  of  last  March,  and  on  the 
29th,  after  enduring  several  storms,  got  into  a  Port  in  the  Latitude 
of  49' J  North.  At  this  place,  besides  taking  in  Wood  and  Water, 
t\\t  Resolution  was  supplied  with  a  new  Mizen-Mast,  Fore-Topmast, 
and  her  Fore-Mast  got  out  and  repaired. 

■'I  put  to  Sea  again  the  26th  April,  and  was  no  sooner  out  of 
Port,  than  we  were  attacked  by  a  violent  Storm  which  was  the  oc- 
casion of  so  much  of  the  Coast  being  passe'd  unseen.  In  this  Gale 
the  Resolution  sprang  a  Leak  which  obliged  me  to  put  into  a  Port 
in  the  Latitude  of  61  ,  Longitude  213°  East.  In  a  few  days  I  was 
again  at  Sea,  and  soon  found  we  were  on  a  Coast  where  every  step 
was  to  be  considered,  where  no  information  could  be  had  from  Maps 
either  Modern  or  Ancient;  confiding  too  much  in  the  former  we 
were  frequently  misled  to  our  no  small  hindrance. 

■'On  an  extensive  Coast  altogether  unknown,  it  may  be  thought 
needless  to  say  that  we  met  with  many  obstructions  before  we  got 
through  the  Narrow  Strait  that  divides  Asia  from  America,  where 
the  Coast  of  the  latter  takes  a  N.  E.  direction.  I  followed  it  flattered 
with  the  hopes  of  having  at  last  overcome  all  difficulties,  when  on 
the  17th  of  August  in  the  Latitude  70  45',  Longitude  198°  East,  we 
were  stopped  by  an  impenetrable  body  of  Ice  and  Iiad  so  far  ad- 
vanced bctw^een  it  and  the  land  before  we  discovered  it  that  little 
was  wanting  to  force  us  on  shore. 

"Finding  I  could  no  longer  proceed  along  the  Coast  I  tryed 
what  could  be  done  further  out,  but  the  same  obstacle  everywhere 
presented  itself,  quite  over  to  the  Coast  of  Asia  which  we  made  on 
the  29th  of  the  same  month  in  tiic  Latitude  of  68  5:;',  Longitude 
180'. >^  East.     As  frost  and  snow,  the  forerunners  of  Winter  began 


to  set  in,  it  was  thought  too  late  in  the  Season  to  make  a  further  At- 
tempt for  a  Passage  this  Year  in  any  direction,  I  therefore  steered 
to  the  S.  E.  along  the  Coast  of  Asia,  passed  the  Strait  above  men- 
tioned and  then  stood  over  for  the  American  Coast  to  clear  up  some 
doubts  and  to  search,  but  in  vain,  for  a  Harbour  to  compleat  our 
wood  and  water.  Wood  is  a  very  scarce  article  in  all  these  North- 
ern parts;  except  in  one  place  there  is  none  upon  the  Sea  Coast  but 
what  is  thrown  ashore  by  the  Sea,  some  of  which  we  got  on  board 
and  then  proceeded  to  this  place  where  we  had  been  before  to  take 
in  Water.  From  here  1  intend  to  proceed  to  the  Sandwich  Islands, 
that  is  those  discovered  in  22°  North  Latitude,  after  refreshing  there, 
return  to  the  North  by  the  way  of  Kamtschatka,  and  the  ensuing 
summer  make  another  and  final  attempt  to  find  a  Northern  Pas- 
sage, but  I  must  confess  I  have  little  hopes  of  succeeding;  Ice,  though 
an  obstacle  not  easily  surmounted  is  perhaps  not  the  only  one  in  the 
way.  The  Coasts  of  the  two  Continents  is  fiat  for  some  distance  otif 
and  even  in  the  middle  between  the  two  the  depth  of  Water  is  in- 
considerable; this,  and  some  other  circumstances  all  tending  to  prove, 
that  there  is  more  land  in  the  Frozen  Sea  than  as  yet  we  know  of, 
where  the  Ice  has  its  source  and  that  the  polar  part  is  far  from  being 
an  open  Sea. 

"There  is  another  discouraging  circumstance  attending  the  Navi- 
gating these  Northern  parts,  and  that  is  the  want  of  Harbours  where 
a  ship  can  occasionally  retire  to  secure  herself  from  the  Ice  or  re- 
pair any  damage  she  may  have  sustained.  For  a  more  particular 
description  of  the  American  Coast,  I  beg  leave  to  refer  to  the  enclosed 
Chart  which  is  hastily  copied  from  an  original  of  the  same  scale. 

"The  reason  of  my  not  going  to  the  Harbour  of  St.  Peter  and  St. 
Paul  in  Kamtschatka  to  spend  the  winter  is  the  great  dislike  I  have 
to  lay  inactive  for  six  or  eight  months  while  so  large  a  part  of  the 
Southern  Pacific  Ocean  remains  unexplored  and  the  State  and  Con- 
dition of  the  Ships  will  allow  me  to  be  moving.  Sickness  has  been 
little  felt  in  the  ships  and  Scurvy  not  at  all.  I  have  however  had  the 
misfortune  to  lose  Mr.  Anderson,  my  Surgeon,  who  died  of  a  linger- 
ing consumption  two  months  ago,  and  one  man  some  time  before  of 
the  Dropsy,  and  Captain  Clerke  had  one  drowned  by  accident,  which 
are  all  we  have  lost  since  we  left  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope. 


"Stores  and  Provisions  we  have  enough  for  twelve  months,  and 
longer,  without  a  supply  of  both  it  will  hardly  be  possible  for  us  to 
remain  in  these  Seas,  but  whatever  time  we  do  remain  shall  be  spent 
in  the  improvement  of  Geography  and  Navigation  by 
"Sir,  your  most  obedient 
and  most  humble  Servant 
"James  Cook." 



The  latter  half  of  the  eighteenth  century,  like  that  of  the  sixteenth, 
exhibited  great  enterprise  in  the  discovery  of  new  lands,  and  com- 
mercial activity  in  the  extension  of  trade  to  the  distant  and  then  lit- 
tle known  parts  of  the  world.  But  unlike  the  earlier  period,  when 
the  eyes  of  the  great  merchant  adventurers  of  England  were  turned 
almost  entirely  to  the  eastern  shores  of  North  America,  and  the  dis- 
covery of  a  passage  by  the  North  West  through  the  Frozen  Sea  to  the 
supposed  Eldorado  of  the  great  Southern  Ocean,  attention  had 
become  centred  upon  the  more  recently  discovered  islands  of  the 
South  Pacific  and  the  valuable  fur  trade  carried  on  between  China 
''  and  the  storm  and  mist  bound  coasts  of  North  West  America.  The 
merchants  of  almost  every  important  seaport  in  the  kingdom,  in 
friendly  rivalry  to  the  numerous  government  expeditions,  vied  with 
each  other  in  fitting  out  ships  under  the  command  of  skilled  seamen, 
of  whom  there  was  no  lack.  Trade  was  the  primary  object,  of  course, 
but  all  or  nearly  all  of  these  private  expeditions  were  fortified  with 
instructions  that  no  opportunity  was  to  be  lost  of  making  fresh  dis- 
coveries of  new  islands  or  continents,  which  might  bring  honour  and 
wealth  to  themselves  and  add  lustre  to  the  vast  and  rapidly  extending 

It  must  not  be  thought,  however,  that  British  merchants  were  the 
only  ones  to  seek  honour  and  fortune  in  the  new  field.  On  the  con- 
trary, from  the  very  beginning  they  met  with  vigorous  competition 
from  the  adventurers  of  other  nations,  the  enterprising  traders  of  the 
United  States  of  America,  who  carried  the  flag  of  their  nation  into 
all  seas,  being  notably  active  in  their  opposition.  Tt  is  just  such  com- 
mercial and  exploring  expeditions  as  these  that  are  now  to  come 
under  review.  They  accomplished  a  great  deal,  and  added  not  a 
little  to  the  complicated  international  disputes  of  a  later  day  respect- 


ing  the  territorial  jurisdictions,  of  the  several  countries  concerned  in 
the  division  of  North  West  America. 

The  student  of  history  will  be  familiar  with  the  manner  in  which 
one  era  is  succeeded  by  another.  A  movement,  fraught  with  far- 
reaching  consequences,  and  bringing  in  its  train  a  whole  assortment 
of  political  and  economic  changes,  may  at  first  attract  but  little  atten- 
tion. Then  by  degrees  it  grows  and  gathers  momentum  until  a  new 
power  is  born  that  with  irresistible  force  sweeps  aside  old  ideas  and 
pre-conceived  notions.  Again  a  sudden  acquisition  of  knowledge 
from  one  source  or  another  may  cause  a  revolutionary  change  of  atti- 
tude towards  a  theory  or  a  country.  Even  so  it  was  with  the  vast  and 
hitherto  unknown  region  of  North  West  America.  Captain  Cook 
had  set  out  to  solve  the  great  geographical  problem  of  the  age,  but, 
strange  to  say,  it  was  not  so  much  his  contribution  to  the  solution  of 
that  problem  as  his  discovery  of  a  country  rich  in  fur  that  invited 
public  attention  to  his  third  and  last  voyage.  It  is  an  ironical  com- 
ment upon  the  ambition  of  man  that  it  often  happens  that  chance  dis- 
coveries— the  by-product  of  scientific  investigation — exercise  a  more 
potent  influence  in  the  affairs  of  the  world  than  the  results  of  years 
of  laborious  research. 

In  the  course  of  their  protracted  visit  to  Nootka  Sound  and 
Alaska,  the  officers  and  men  of  the  Resolution  and  Discovery  fre- 
quently bartered  with  the  natives  for  the  furs  in  which  these  coasts 
then  abounded,  giving  in  exchange  therefor  pieces  of  metal  and 
trinkets  of  small  value.  The  men  had  no  idea  at  all  of  the  worth  of 
the  skins  and  used  them  as  bed  clothes,  or  for  other  odd  purposes. 
Sometimes  they  even  patched  their  jackets  and  breeches  or  kilts  with 
the  costly  fur  of  the  sea-otter.  Naturally  enough,  after  such  hard 
usage,  many  of  the  skins  were  in  poor  condition  when  the  ships 
reached  Macao  on  their  homeward  voyage.  Nevertheless,  the  Chi- 
nese merchants  of  that  port,  to  the  great  astonishment  of  the  sailors, 
eagerly  bargained  for  the  remnants.  One  of  the  seamen  sold  his 
stock  for  no  less  than  eight  hundred  dollars  (Chinese)  ;  and  a  few 
prime  skins  which  had  been  carefully  preserved  were  sold  for  one 
hundred  and  twentv  dollars  apiece.  "The  whole  amount  of  the 
value,"  says  Lieutenant  King,  "in  specie  and  goods,  that  was  got  for 
the  furs,  in  both  ships,  I  am  confident,  did  not  fall  far  short  of  two 
thousand  pounds  sterling;  and  it  was  generally  supposed,  that  at 
least  two-thirds  of  the  quantity  we  have  originally  got  from   the 


Americans,  were  spoiled  and  worn  out,  or  iiad  been  given  away,  and 
otherwise  disposed  of,  in  Kamtschatka."  Lieutenant  King  concludes 
his  remarks  with  the  significant  observation  that  "the  advantages  that 
might  be  derived  from  a  voyage  to  that  part  of  the  American  coast, 
undertaken  with  commercial  views,  appear  to  me  of  a  degree  of  im- 
portance sufficient  to  call  for  the  attention  of  the  Public." 

In  spite  of  their  long  and  arduous  voyage,  the  crews  of  the 
Ri'solution  and  Discovery  wished  to  return  at  once  to  Cook's  Inlet 
to  purchase  more  skins.  In  fact  Lieutenant  King  goes  so  far  as  to 
say  that  "The  rage  with  which  our  seamen  were  possessed  to  return 
to  Cook's  River  .  .  .  was  not  far  short  of  mutiny."  The  com- 
mander himself  was  scarcely  less  excited  than  his  men  over  the  dis- 
covery of  the  high  esteem  in  which  the  beautiful  fur  of  the  sea-otter 
was  held  by  the  wealthy  merchants  of  Canton.  He  devotes  two  or 
three  pages  of  his  journal  to  a  plan  for  establishing  a  fur-trade  in 
the  North  Pacific,  between  the  American  coast  and  China,  by  means 
of  the  East-India  Company,  which  still  enjoyed  its  monopoly. 

Before  Captain  Cook's  expedition  returned  to  England  war  had 
been  declared  between  Great  Britain  and  France  and  Spain.  It  was 
not  considered,  therefore,  an  opportune  time  for  the  publication  of 
the  results  of  the  voyage.  In  1783,  however,  the  war  was  brought 
to  an  end  by  the  treaty  of  Versailles  and  the  monumental  work  on 
the  great  circumnavigator's  scientific  investigations  appeared  in  the 
following  year.  It  is  not  too  much  to  say,  perhaps,  that  with  the 
appearance  of  these  quarto  volumes  and  their  accompanying  folio 
of  charts  and  sketches,  a  new  era  dawned  for  the  territories  border- 
ing on  the  North  Pacific.  It  is  true  that  an  account  of  the  voyage  by 
the  assistant  surgeon,  W.  Ellis,  had  been  printed  in  England  in  1782, 
and  a  shorter  one  by  John  Ledyard  in  the  United  States  in  1783,  but 
neither  of  these  books  can  be  compared  to  the  official  edition,  which 
is  one  of  the  great  classics  of  the  literature  of  British  seamanship. 
The  work  was  translated  into  many  languages  and  reprinted  in  all 
of  the  leading  countries  of  Europe. 

Although  the  officers  and  men  of  the  Resolution  and  Discovery 
were,  by  order  of  the  Admiralty,  enjoined  to  secrecy  with  regard 
to  their  discoveries  on  the  Northwest  Coast,  and  their  diaries  were 
taken  from  them  as  a  further  precaution  in  that  direction,  yet  it  seems 
that  they  did  not  keep  the  news  to  themselves.  It  would  be  too  much 
to  expect,  perhaps,  that  the  men  should  refrain  from  recounting  their 


adventures,  in  which  the  eagerness  of  the  Chinese  merchants  to  pur- 
chase the  fur  of  the  sea-otter  played  so  important  a  part.  They 
would  have  been  more  than  human,  if  not  even  a  whisper  had  escaped 
theiji  upon  such  a  fascinating  subject.  At  any  rate  it  is  likely  that 
before  the  famous  volumes  entitled  "Voyage  to  the  Pacific  Ocean, 
undertaken  by  command  of  His  Majesty,  for  making  Discoveries  in 
the  Northern  Hemisphere,"'  were  given  to  the  world,  the  exploitation 
of  the  northwest  coast  had  already  become  a  topic  of  discussion 
amongst  adventurers.  It  was  not,  however,  until  the  official  account 
of  Cook's  third  and  last  voyage  appeared  in  1784  that  the  new  field 
for  commercial  enterprise  attracted  world-wide  attention.  Then 
private  enterprise  conceived  and  carried  into  efifect  the  commercial 
voyages  which  in  the  course  of  a  few  years  gave  a  new  direction  to 
the  ififairs  of  the  North  Pacific.  The  operations  of  the  furtraders 
not  only  added  largely  to  the  world's  store  of  geographical  knowl- 
edge by  bringing  an  unknown  region  into  prominence,  but  thev  also 
gave  bone  and  sinew  to  the  various  contentions  of  Great  Britain, 
Russia,  Spain  and  the  United  States  in  the  boundary  disputes  of  a 
later  period. 

It  may  be  as  well  at  this  point  to  define  the  region  in  which  the 
furtraders  carried  on  their  operations  and  levied  their  tribute.  The 
field  extended  from  the  coast  of  California  in  the  south  to  the  Alaskan 
posts  of  the  Russians  in  the  north,  along  a  continuous  coast  line  two 
thousand  miles  or  more  in  length,  of  which  the  historian  of  British 
Columbia  is  more  particularly  concerned  with  that  part  which 
stretches  from  the  mouth  of  the  Columbia  River  to  the  Portland 
Canal.  The  southern  part  of  this  particular  section  of  the  seaboard 
is  singularly  devoid  of  headlands,  harbours,  and  inlets,  while  the 
northern  part  of  it  is  marked  with  peculiar  and  distinctive  geographi- 
cal features.  From  the  mouth  of  the  Columbia  River  to  the  entrance 
to  the  Straits  of  Juan  de  Fuca  the  coast  extends  in  an  almost  unbroken 
line;  but  from  that  point  to  Cross  Strait  in  Alaska  the  coast  is  deeply 
indented  by  a  continuous  succession  of  spacious  inlets  communicating 
with  narrow  fiords  which  run  far  into  the  continent. 

There  is  another  remarkable  feature  of  the  coast  between  the 
forty-eighth  and  fifty-ninth  parallels  of  north  latitude.  The  con- 
tinental shore  is  effectually  masked  by  groups  of  large  and  small 
islands  which  are  threaded  by  a  network  of  intricate  channels  and 
passages.    These  innumerable  islands  and  inlets  became  the  favourite 


hunting  ground  of  the  furtrader,  who  poked  the  prow  of  his  little 
vessel  into  every  bay  and  harbour  in  his  search  for  Indian  villages 
from  which  might  be  obtained  the  furs  he  so  greatly  coveted.  Thus 
the  Strait  of  Juan  de  Fuca,  Barkley  Sound,  Clayoquot  Sound,  Nootka 
Sound,  Kyuquot  Sound,  Quatsino  Sound,  Queen  Charlotte's  Sound, 
Fitzhugh  Sound,  Millbank  Sound,  Chatham  Sound,  and  Dixon 
Entrance  soon  became  well-known.  The  long  fiords  and  intricate 
channels  to  which  the  larger  passages  gave  access,  were  also  explored 
to  some  extent. 

In  fine,  the  Northwest  Coast  suddenly  became  the  scene  of  a  keen 
commercial  rivalry,  in  the  course  of  which  the  competitors  suffered 
many  hardships  and  braved  many  dangers,  all  for  the  sake  of  the  rich 
fur  of  the  sea-otter,  so  highlv  prized  by  the  mandarins  of  China. 
Adventurers  of  many  nations  foregathered  here  to  pit  their  wits 
against  the  native  Indian  and  against  each  other.  Nor  was  the  trade 
conducted  without  loss  of  life  and  property,  it  is  true  that  tiie 
natives  were  generally  more  or  less  amenable,  nevertheless,  many 
tragic  incidents  occurred  before  the  sea-otter  was  extirpated  in 
that  (]uarter.  The  natives  seized  several  vessels  and  in  the  literature 
of  the  Coast  one  mav  read  the  gruesome  details  of  these  incidents. 
Tlie  piratical  attempts  of  the  Indians,  which  it  must  be  confessed 
were  in  some  instances  provoked  by  the  callous  behaviour  of  tiic  fur- 
traders  themselves,  were  followed  bv  reprisals  in  w  hich  manv  natives 
were  killed. 

.As  the  adventurer  sailed  up  and  down  the  coast  he  found  harbours 
and  anchorages,  of  which  he  drew  rough  charts  for  his  own  guidance, 
or  fgr  the  information  of  his  employers.  His  sketches,  however,  u  ere 
not  always  calculated  to  throw  light  on  the  situation,  for  if  the  truth 
were  told,  the  rival  traders  generally  desired  to  keep  to  themselves 
the  exact  position  of  villages  noted  for  their  yield  of  skins,  in  tiie 
keen  compctiti(jn  of  those  exciting  days,  the  furtrader  even  went 
out  of  his  way  to  mislead  his  competitors,  a  fact  which  is  noted  in 
John  Meares'  Voyage.  "S'et  in  spite  of  the  petty  rivalries  of  indi- 
viduals and  the  haphazard  method  of  precedurc,  the  furtrading 
period  was  productive  of  a  large  assortment  of  local  charts,  which 
are  interesting  today  because  they  reveal  the  movements  of  the  mer- 
chant adventurers  and  their  intimate  knowledge  of  certain  parts  of 
the  coast.  The  careful  survey  of  Captain  Vancouver,  however,  soon 
superseded  the  sporadic  efiforts  of  the  individual  and  the  maps  of  the 


furtrader  have  long  since  been  forgotten.  But  the  charts  gathered 
together  and  published  from  time  to  time  by  Alexander  Dalrymple, 
hydrographer  to  the  Admiralty,  prove  conclusively  that  the  trader 
bore  his  part  in  the  work  of  exploration.  Captain  Vancouver  him- 
self on  more  than  one  occasion  acknowledged  his  indebtedness  to  the 
early  adventurers. 

While  treating  of  the  scene  of  the  furtraders'  feuds  and  activities, 
it  should  be  mentioned  that  of  the  large  islands  which  form  so 
conspicuous  a  feature  of  the  Northwest  Coast,  with  the  exception  of 
Vancouver  Island,  none  attracted  so  much  attention  as  the  Queen 
Charlotte  Islands,  so  named  at  this  time.  The  peculiarly  prominent 
position  of  that  important  group  naturally  led  to  its  early  discovery 
and  the  immediate  exploitation  of  its  fur  resources.  Moresby,  Gra- 
ham, and  Kunghit  Islands  proved  a  fruitful  source  of  wealth,  as  is 
attested  by  the  log  of  more  than  one  vessel.  The  capes,  bays,  and 
inlets  of  the  Queen  Charlotte  Islands  bear  mute  testimony  to  the  work 
of  the  furtrader,  for  many  of  them  were  named  by  him  or  in  his 
honour.  Likewise,  the  nomenclature  of  the  continental  coast  and  its 
fringe  of  islands  recalls  the  stirring  events  of  those  early  days.  In- 
deed, the  names  bestowed  by  the  furtrader  upon  the  headlands,  bays, 
and  islands  of  the  Northwest  Coast  serve  to  commemorate  an  extra- 
ordinarily active  and  intensely  interesting  era  in  the  annals  of  that 
region.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  some  scattered  names,  a  few  pamphlets 
and  charts,  and  a  smaller  number  of  bulky  volumes  of  exploration, 
are  the  only  monuments  to  the  prowess  of  the  adventurer.  Unre- 
garded and  forgotten  as  it  now  is,  that  prowess  is  memorable  because 
it  illustrates  the  indomitable  spirit  of  the  Anglo-Saxon  race,  and  be- 
cause it  shows  in  a  peculiarly  instructive  manner  what  the  British 
Empire  owes  to  private  enterprise. 

Owing  to  the  great  distance  between  European  ports  and  the 
Northwest  Coast,  the  earliest  expedition  started  from  China,  and  it  is 
a  fact  of  some  interest  that  that  country  was  brought  into  touch  with 
North  America  by  means  of  the  furtrade.  China  afforded  the  most 
lucrative  market  for  the  furs  obtained  on  the  American  coast  and 
Chinese  sailors  and  artisans  were  employed  on  some  of  the  vessels. 
Several  expeditions  sailed  from  Canton  and  Macao.  Before  long, 
however,  the  shipping  houses  of  the  leading  British  ports,  notably 
London  and  Bristol,  and  some  of  the  merchants  of  the  Atlantic  sea- 
ports of  the  United  States,  particularly  those  of  the  Port  of  Boston, 


Eneravcd    by    llldley,    from    an    original    dniwlng   by   John    liicuvn. 


determined  to  exploit  the  new  Held.  In  the  last  quarter  of  the  eight- 
eenth century  many  ships  sailed  from  Great  Britain  and  from  the 
New  England  States  for  the  North  Pacific. 

The  first  expedition  to  the  region  under  discussion  sailed  from 
China  under  Captain  James  Hanna,  who  commanded  a  small  brig 
of  sixty  tons,  carrying  a  crew  of  thirty  men.  The  brig  left  the  Typa 
in  April,  1785,  and  reached  Nootka  in  August  of  the  same  year.  Cap- 
tain George  Dixon  is  the  authority  for  the  statement  that  soon  after 
the  arrival  of  the  brig  at  Nootka  the  natives  attempted  to  board  her 
in  open  day.  In  the  fray  that  followed  many  of  the  natives  were 
killed.  Apparently  this  lesson  was  not  lost  upon  the  Nootkans,  'for 
they  afterwards  traded  quietly  and  peaceably.  It  is  said  that  Captain 
Hanna  procured  a  valuable  cargo  of  furs,  though  his  profits  are  not 
known.  He  left  Nootka  towards  the  end  of  September  and  reached 
Macao  in  December.  The  furs  were  sold  at  Canton  in  March,  1786, 
for  a  little  more  than  $20,000.  So  it  may  be  reckoned  that  the  first 
trading  voyage  was  successful.  The  accounts  of  the  venture  are  so 
meagre  that  it  is  difficult  to  say  exactly  what  places  were  visited  by 
Captain  Hanna.  Apparently  he  did  most  of  his  trading  at  or  in  the 
vicinity  of  Nootka. 

While  Captain  Hanna's  voyage  of  1785  is  the  first  of  which  there 
is  any  authentic  record,  it  was  not  the  first  to  be  proposed.  Captain 
Dixon  of  the  Queen  Charlotte  relates  that  as  early  as  the  year  1781^ — 
Cook's  expedition  returned  in  1780 — one  William  Bolts  fitted  out  the 
Cobenzell,  an  armed  ship  of  seven  hundred  tons,  for  the  Northwest 
Coast  of  America.  According  to  the  arrangements  made,  she  was  to 
have  sailed  from  Trieste,  accompanied  by  a  tender  of  forty-five  tons. 
The  vessel  was  fitted  out  for  both  trade  and  discovery.  Men  of  high 
scientific  attainments  were  engaged  for  the  expedition  and  the  courts 
of  Europe  were  approached  with  a  view  of  securing  a  safe  pass-port 
for  these  vessels  and  a  good  reception  at  foreign  ports.  Unfortu- 
nately, the  venture  was  "overturned  by  a  set  of  interested  men,  then 
in  power  at  Vienna."  Portlock  and  Dixon's  veiled  allusions  to  this 
expedition  contain  all  the  published  information  on  the  subject. 

In  May,  1786,  Captain  Hanna  again  sailed  from  Macao,  this  time 
in  the  Sea  Otter,  of  one  hundred  and  twenty  tons.  He  reached  Nootka 
Sound  in  August,  nnlv  to  find  that  he  had  been  preceded  by  Captain 
Lowric  and  Captain  Guise,  in  command  of  the  Captain  Cook  of  three 
hundred  tons  and  the  snow    Experiment  of  one  hundred  tons,  fitted 

118  '       BRITISH  COLUMBIA 

out  in  Bombay.  These  vessels  reached  Nootka  towards  the  end  of 
June,  1786,  proceeding  thence  to  Prince  William  Sound.  After  a 
short  stay  there  Lowrie  and  Guise  sailed  for  Macao.  Hanna's  sec- 
ond venture  was  not  by  any  means  so  profitable  as  his  hrst,  for  upon 
this  occasion  he  procured  but  one  hundred  whole  sea-otter  skins  and 
three  hundred  odd  pieces.  The  furs  were  sold  at  Macao  on  the  8th 
of  February,  1787,  for  eight  thousand  dollars,  a  poor  return  upon  the 
time  and  money  invested  in  the  enterprise. 

Lowrie  and  Guise  were  more  successful,  obtaining  six  hundred 
and  four  skins  and  odd  pieces  of  fur,  which  fetched  $24,000  in  China, 
or  an  average  of  forty  dollars  each.  Apparently  nearly  all  of  the 
skins  were  obtained  at  Nootka.  John  M'Key,  the  surgeon  of  the 
e.xpedition,  was  left  at  that  port  for  the  purpose  of  recruiting  his 
health  and  ''to  learn  the  language  and  to  ingratiate  himself  with  the 
natives  so  that  if  any  other  vessels  should  touch  there  he  might  pre- 
vent them  from  purchasing  any  furs."  M'Key,  as  far  as  is  known, 
was  the  first  European  to  live  among  the  Indians  of  the  Northwest 
Coast  for  any  length  of  time.  Hanna  found  him  here  and  offered 
him  a  passage  in  the  Sen  Otter,  which  he  refused,  on  the  score  that  he 
had  begun  to  relish  dried  fish  and  whale  oil,  and  was  so  satisfied  with 
the  life  that  he  was  perfectly  contented  to  stay  until  the  following 
vear.  M'Key  soon  had  cause  to  regret  his  decision,  however,  for  no 
sooner  had  Captain  Hanna  left  the  Sound  than  the  natives  stripped 
him  of  his  clothes  and  forced  him  to  adopt  "their  mode  of  dress  and 
filthiness  of  manners."  From  the  accounts  of  the  episode  which  have 
survived,  it  appears  that  he  was  an  apt  pupil.  Mr.  Etches,  of  whom 
more  will  be  heard  presently,  told  Captain  Dixon  that  M'Key  "was 
equally  slovenly  and  dirty  with  the  filthiest  of  them  all."  In  the 
course  of  his  sojourn  at  Nootka  this  eccentric  man  is  said  to  have 
mastered  the  native  language  and  gained  an  intimate  knowledge  of 
the  temper  and  disposition  of  the  natives,  which  presently  served  him 
in  good  stead.  It  is  worth  remembering  that  M'Key  penetrated  the 
country  behind  Nootka  Sound,  and  that  from  the  reports  of  the 
natives  and  the  knowledge  he  had  gathered  on  his  several  excursions 
he  came  to  the  conclusion  that  no  part  of  the  Nootka  Sound  coun- 
try "was  the  continent  of  America,  but  a  chain  of  detached  islands." 
Apparentlv,  the  Indians  were  aware  of  the  insular  character  of  their 
countrv,  a  fact  which  was  not  established  by  Europeans  until  the 
year  1792,  when  Captain  Vancouver  circumnavigated  the  large  island 



which  he  named  Quadra  and  Vancouver  to  commemorate  his  con- 
ference with  Senor  Bodega  y  Quadra  at  No(Jtka  Sound.  It  is  only 
fair  to  add  that  it  is  recorded  in  Dixon's  voyage  that  Etches  averred 
that  no  great  dependence  could  be  placed  on  M'Key's  story,  as  he 
was  "a  very  ignorant  young  fellow,"  but  in  the  light  of  later  events 
there  seems  no  reason  to  distrust  M'Key  on  this  point.  At  any  rate, 
his  story  is  interesting,  because  no  doubt  it  helped  to  inspire  John 
Meares'  "butter  pat  map,"  the  history  of  which  will  be  recorded 

Another  expedition  -of  this  early  period  w-as  that  of  Captain 
Peters  in  the  Lark,  a  snow  of  two  hundred  and  twenty  tons  and  a 
crew  of  forty  men.  The  expedition  sailed  from  Macao  in  July,  1786, 
with  orders  to  make  the  Northwest  Coast  by  way  of  Kamchatka. 
Captain  Peters'  voyage  ended  disastrously,  for  the  vessel  w^as  lost  on 
Copper  Island,  only  two  of  the  crew  being  saved. 

Of  the  earliest  expeditions,  that  commanded  by  Captain  Bark- 
ley  of  the  British  trading  ship  Imperial  Eagle  is  deserving  of  more 
than  passing  notice.  Captain  Walbran,  in  his  valuable  work  "Brit- 
ish Columbia  Coast  Names,"  gives  a  brief  but  interesting  account 
of  this  expedition.  The  Imperial  Eagle,  formerly  the  East  India- 
man  Loudoun,  a  fine  vessel  of  four  hundred  tons,  ship-rigged  and 
mounting  twenty  guns,  sailed  under  Austrian  colours  to  obviate  the 
necessity  of  procuring  a  license  from  the  East  India  Company,  which, 
under  the  provisions  of  its  charter  that  corporation  had  the  right  to 
demand  from  British  merchants.  Captain  Barkley,  who  was  only 
twenty-five  years  of  age,  had  invested  three  thousand  pounds  in  the 
venture.  The  ship  sailed  from  the  Thames  in  August,  1786,  for  Ost- 
end,  where  she  hoisted  the  Austrian  colours.  Here  Captain  Barkley 
met  and  married  Miss  Frances  Hornby  Trevor,  then  seventeen  years 
of  age.  Mrs.  Barkley,  who  accompanied  her  husband,  was  the  first 
white  woman  to  visit  the  Northwest  Coast.  Her  lively  and  enter- 
taining diary,  which  has  been  preserved  to  this  day,  is  an  important 
source  of  historical  information.  Captain  Barkley  arrived  at  Nootka 
Sound  in  June,  1787,  where  a  large  number  of  sea-otter  skins  were 
soon  obtained,  largely  through  the  aforesaid  M'Key's  assistance. 

On  leaving  Nootka  Captain  Barkley  entered  and  named  Bark- 
ley Sound,  on  the  west  coast  of  Vancouver  Island.  Frances  and 
Hornby  Peaks  were  so  called  after  his  wife,  Cape  Beale  after  the 
purser  of  the  Imperial  Eagle,  and  the  young  commander  also  named 


many  other  places  in  this  great  inlet.    Of  these  names,  "Cape  Beale" 
and  "Barkley  Sound"  are  the  only  ones  to  be  found  on  modern  maps. 

Continuing  his  voyage  in  a  southeasterly  direction  Captain  Bark- 
ley  made  an  important  discovery,  aptly  described  by  Mrs.  Barkley 
as  "A  large  opening  extending  to  the  eastward,  the  entrance  of  which 
appeared  to  be  about  four  leagues  vvide  and  remained  about  that 
width  as  far  as  the  eye  could  see,  with  a  clear  easterly  horizon,  which 
my  husband  immediately  recognized  as  the  Strait  of  Juan  de  Fuca, 
and  to  which  we  gave  the  name  of  the  original  discoverer,  my  hus- 
band placing  it  on  his  chart." 

Shortly  after  the  discovery  of  the  entrance  to  the  Strait  of  Juan 
de  Fuca  a  tragic  accident  befell  a  boat's  crew  of  the  Imperial  Eagle, 
all  of  whom  were  killed  by  the  natives  near  the  spot  named  Martyr's 
Point  by  the  Spaniards  to  commemorate  a  similar  occurrence  of  an 
earlier  day.  The  island  near  by  was  named  Destruction  Island — 
the  Isla  de  Dolores  of  Bodega  y  Quadra.  Thence  the  Imperial  Eagle 
proceeded  to  China,  where  her  cargo  of  eight  hundred  furs  was  sold 
for  thirty  thousand  dollars. 

In  1792  Captain  Barkley,  again  accompanied  by  his  wife,  returned 
to  the  coast  in  the  Brig  Halcyon.  But  this  time  he  did  not  proceed 
farther  south  than  Norfolk  Sound,  now  called  Sitka.  Captain  Wal- 
bran  records,  upon  the  authority  of  Mrs.  Barkley's  journal,  that  sub- 
sequently the  Halcyon  was  stolen  by  a  man  in  whose  charge  she  had 
been  placed;  but,  strange  to  say,  Captain  Barkley  found  and  recov- 
ered his  vessel  in  Boston  several  years  later. 

It  was  at  this  time  that  the  notorious  John  Meares  made  his  first 
appearance  on  the  coast.  He  had  been  in  the  Royal  Navy,  attain- 
ing the  rank  of  lieutenant  in  1778.  Upon  the  conclusion  in  1783  of 
the  war  between  Great  Britain  and  Spain  and  France,  he  retired  from 
the  service  to  take  command  of  a  merchant  ship  on  a  voyage  to  India. 
While  at  Calcutta  Meares  conceived  the  project  of  forming  a  com- 
pany to  engage  in  the  furtrade  on  the  American  coast.  In  com- 
mon with  many  adventurers  of  that  age,  he  was  spurred  to  activity 
by  the  glittering  prophesies,  concerning  the  future  of  this  commerce, 
which  obtained  currency  immediately  after  the  publication  of  Cook's 
Voyage.  Having  purchased  the  Nootka  of  two  hundred  tons  and 
the  Sea  Otter  of  one  hundred  tons,  preparations  were  forthwith  made 
to  carry  the  design  into  execution.  Meares  himself  took  command 
of  the  Nootka,  and  William  Tipping,  who  had  also  been  a  lieutenant 







•in  the  Royal  Navy,  commanded  the  Sea  Otter.  The  Nootka  sailed 
on  the  second  of  March,  and  after  an  unusually  tedious  voyage  arrived 
at  a  Russian  settlement  in  Unalaska,  of  which  an  interesting  descrip- 
tion is  given  in  Meares'  journal.  Sailing  thence  on  the  20th  of 
August,  the  Nootka  anchored  in  Captain  Cook's  Snug  Corner  Cove 
in  Prince  William  Sound,  where  the  Sea  Otter  was  to  meet  her  con- 
sort. Tipping  had  made  this  inlet  earlier  in  the  season,  and  he  left 
the  port  before  Meares'  arrival.  The  Sea  Otter  was  never  heard  of 
again,  and  it  is  all  too  evident  that  she  was  lost  at  sea  with  all  hands. 
As  the  winter  had  already  set  in  and  it  being  considered  inadvisable 
to  run  for  the  Sandwich  Islands,  Meares  determined  to  spend  "an 
inhospitable  winter"  in  Prince  William  Sound.  Accordingly  the 
Nootka  was  moved  to  a  good  harbour  some  fifteen  miles  distant  from 
Snug  Corner  Cove,  where  every  preparation  was  made  for  the  winter. 
In  the  meantime  the  natives  made  their  appearance,  but  they  had  few 
skins,  so  after  all  nothing  was  gained  by  wintering  in  the  North. 

Meares  gives  a  vivid  description  of  the  situation  of  the  vessels  at 
this  time.  "While"  he  says,  "we  were  thus  locked  in,  as  it  were,  from 
the  chearful  light  of  day,  and  the  vivifying  warmth  of  solar  rays, — 
no  other  comforts  presented  themselves  to  compensate  in  any  degree, 
for  the  scene  of  desolation  which  encircled  us. — While  the  tremendous 
mountains  forbade  almost  a  sight  of  the  sky,  and  cast  their  nocturnal 
shadows  over  us  in  the  midst  of  day,  the  land  was  impenetrable  from 
the  depth  of  snow,  so  that  we  were  excluded  from  all  hopes  of  any 
recreation,  support  or  comfort,  during  the  winter,  but  what  could 
be  found  in  the  ship  and  ourselves."  But  this  was  only  the  begin- 
ning of  the  troubles  of  the  unfortunate  men  cooped  up  in  the  Nootka. 

The  vessel  was  no  longer  capable  of  resisting  the  intense  cold, 
and  frost  stood  an  inch  thick  below  the  deck.  Then,  as  if  this  were 
not  enough,  an  acute  form  of  scurvv  attacked  the  crew,  and  before 
long  no  less  than  twenty-three  men,  including  the  surgeon,  were  con- 
fined to  their  beds.  The  disorder  became  so  virulent  that  before  the 
weather  changed  there  was  scarcelv  a  healthv  man  on  board.  Then 
the  surgeon  died  and  the  survivors  were  deprived  of  medical  aid. 
Meares  gives  a  pathetic  account  of  the  expedition  at  this  time. 
'Everv  advantage,"  he  writes  in  his  journal,  "the  sick  could  receive 
from  the  most  tender  and  vigilant  attention,  they  receiveii  from  my- 
self, the  first  officer  and  a  seaman,  who  were  yet  in  a  state  to  do  tliom 
that  service.     But  still  we  continued  to  see  and  lament  a  gradual 


diminution  of  our  crew  from  this  terrible  disorder.  Too  often  did  I 
find  myself  called  to  assist  in  performing  the  dreadful  office  of  drag- 
ging the  dead  bodies  across  the  ice,  to  a  shallow  sepulcher  which  our 
own  hands  had  hewn  out  for  them  on  the  shore.  The  sledge  on  which 
we  fetched  the  wood  was  their  hearse  and  the  chasms  in  the  ice  their 

So  the  winter  wore  away  to  the  accompaniment  of  death  and  dis- 
aster. At  last  spring  returned  and  with  it  came  relief  in  the  Queen 
Charlotte  from  London,  under  the  command  of  Captain  George 
Dixon,  who  had  been  informed  of  Meares'  predicament  by  the  natives. 
Meares  says  that  Captain  Dixon  was  welcomed  "as  a  guardian  angel, 
with  tears  of  joy."  The  Queen  Charlotte  was  joined  presently  by 
her  consort  the  Kiny  George,  under  Captain  Portlock. 

Captain  Portlock  and  Captain  Dixon  did  all  that  they  could  to 
assist  the  unfortunate  crew  of  the  Nootka,  the  former  allowing  two 
of  his  men  to  ship  on  board  the  Nootka  to  help  her  emaciated  crew 
in  navigating  the  vessel. 

Strange  as  it  may  seem,  this  meeting,  fortunate  as  it  was  for  the 
Nootka,  gave  rise  to  a  heated  controversy  between  Meares  and  Dixon, 
which  found  expression  in  a  series  of  pamphlets  and  letters  which 
were  later  published  in  England.  Among  other  things,  Dixon  said 
that  the  scurvy  had  been  aggravated  by  drunkenness,  an  assertion 
which  Meares  contradicted  with  some  heat.  Mutual  recriminations 
followed  thick  and  fast,  in  the  course  of  which  Dixon  compared 
Meares'  map  of  the  coast  to  "an  old  wife's  butter  pat."  It  appears 
that  in  return  for  the  assistance  rendered  him,  Meares  was  expected 
to  return  at  once  to  China,  leaving  the  coast  to  Portlock  and  Dixon. 
But  Meares  carried  on  a  profitable  trade  on  his  voyage  southward. 

The  Nootka  set  sail  from  the  Sound  on  the  21st  of  June  to  the 
"infinite  joy  of  her  crew,"  of  whom  no  less  than  twenty-three  had  died 
from  exposure  and  scurvy  in  the  course  of  the  winter.  After  spend- 
ing a  month  in  the  Sandwich  Islands,  Meares  sailed  for  China,  arriv- 
ing at  Macao  on  the  20th  of  October,  1787. 

The  enterprise  was  disastrous  in  many  respects,  but  the  failure 
did  not  dampen  Meares'  ardour,  for  in  the  following  year  he  organ- 
ized another  expedition,  having  Nootka  for  its  objective  point. 

Meares'  first  voyage,  with  all  its  hardships  and  privations,  is 
typical  of  the  furtrading  expeditions,  although  few  of  them  were 
so  unfortunate  as  that  which  sailed  in  the  Nootka. 


The  iie\t  voyage  to  deserve  attention  is  that  of  Captains  Portlock. 
and  Dixon  in  the  King  George  and  Queen  Charlotte,  the  same  vessels 
that  found  Meares  in  such  a  perilous  situation  in  Prince  William 
Sound.  That  expedition  was  among  the  first  to  sail  from  lingland 
for  the  new  field,  all  of  the  ships  previously  mentioned,  with  the 
exception  of  the  Imperial  Eagle,  having  sailed  from  China  or  India. 
The  enterprise  was  conceived  in  a  broad  and  liberal  spirit,  for  mone- 
tary profit  was  not  the  sole  aim  of  the  promoters,  who  hoped  to  add 
to  the  world's  store  of  scientific  knowledge,  both  in  discovery  and 
the  gathering  of  information  respecting  the  fauna  and  flora  of  the 
Northwest  Coast  of  North  America. 

The  novelty  of  the  enterprise  attracted  the  attention  of  Sir  Joseph 
Banks,  Lord  Mulgrave  and  other  prominent  men.  The  Secretary  of 
the  Treasury  named  the  larger  vessel,  a  ship  of  three  hundred  and 
twenty  tons,  the  King  George,  and  the  smaller  one,  a  snow  of  two 
hundred  tons,  the  Queen  Charlotte.  Richard  Cadman  Etches  seems 
to  have  been  the  moving  spirit  in  the  enterprise.  He  and  other  trad- 
ers entered  into  a  partnership,  under  the  title  of  the  King  George's 
Sound  Company,  the  object  of  which  was  to  promote  trade  in  fur 
between  the  west  coast  of  America  and  China.  A  license  was 
obtained  from  the  South  Sea  Company,  which  corporation  still  levied 
tribute  upon  British  merchants  under  the  provisions  of  its  monopo- 
listic charter.  A  similar  license  was  also  procured  from  the  P2ast 
India  Company.  It  will  be  recalled  that  George  Dixon  had  sailed 
with  Captain  Cook  as  armourer  of  the  Discovery,  while  Portlock  had 
also  served  under  that  famous  officer  as  master's  mate. 

The  vessels  sailed  from  London  on  the  29th  of  August  anil  from 
the  Downs  on  the  2d  of  September,  ijHc;.  They  doubled  the 
Cape  of  Good  Hope  and  arrived  at  Cook's  River  in  July  of  the  fol- 
lowing year.  After  wintering  at  the  Sandwich  Islands  in  accordance 
with  the  general  practice  of  the  early  traders,  Portlock  and  Di.xon 
again  sailed  for  the  Northwest  Coast,  where  they  found  the  \ootka, 
as  related.  After  trading  in  the  vicinity  of  Prince  'William  Sound, 
the  vessels  separated  in  order  to  cover  as  much  territory  as  possible. 
Dixon  left  the  Hazy  Islands  towards  the  end  of  June  and  two  or  three 
days  later  crossed  the  entrance  to  the  large  opening  afterwards  named 
in  his  honour  bv  Sir  Joseph  Banks.  Leaving  North  Island,  the 
Queen  Charlotte  hugged  the  west  coast  of  the  Queen  Charlotte 
group.    Of  the  names  which  appear  on  Dixon's  maps,  North  Island, 


Cloak  Bay,  Hippa  Island,  and  Cape  St.  James  still  survive.  Round- 
ing the  southern  extremity  of  the  group  on  the  25th  day  of  July,  1787, 
Dixon  continued  his  voyage  northward  along  the  eastern  shore,  until 
he  sighted  the  high  mountains  which  had  been  seen  when  crossing 
the  Sound  that  separates  the  Queen  Charlotte  Islands  from  the  Prince 
of  Wales  archipelago.  ''This  circumstance,"  writes  the  author  of 
Dixon's  voyage,  "clearly  proved,  the  land  we  had  been  coasting  along 
for  near  a  month,  to  be  a  group  of  islands,"  which  were  accordingly 
named  The  Queen  Charlotte's  Isles  after  Dixon's  ship  the  Queen 

From  the  pages  of  Dixon's  journal,  published  in  the  form  of  a 
series  of  letters,  one  may  gather  an  idea  of  the  manner  in  which  the 
furtrade  was  conducted.  Thus  it  is  recorded  in  the  journal,  under 
the  date  of  July  2,  1787,  while  the  Queen  Charlotte  was  off  Cloak 
Bay,  that: 

"A  scene  now  commenced,  which  absolutely  beggars  all  descrip- 
tion, and  with  which  we  were  so  overjoyed,  that  we  could  scarcely 
believe  the  evidence  of  our  senses.  There  were  ten  canoes  about  the 
ship,  which  contained  as  nearly  as  I  could  estimate,  120  people; 
many  of  them  brought  most  beautiful  beaver  cloaks;  others  excellent 
skins,  and,  in  short,  none  came  empty  handed,  and  the  rapidity  with 
which  they  fold  them  was  a  circumstance  additionally  pleasing;  they 
fairly  quarelled  with  each  other  about  which  should  sell  his  cloak 
first,  and  some  actually  threw  their  furs  on  board,  if  nobody  was  at 
hand  to  receive  them;  but  we  took  particular  care  to  let  none  go 
from  the  vessel  unpaid.  Toes  were  almost  the  only  article  we  bar- 
tered with  on  this  occasion  and  indeed  they  were  taken  so  very 
eagerly,  that  there  was  not  the  least  occasion  to  ofifer  anything  else. 
In  less  than  half  an  hour  we  purchased  near  300  sea  otter  skins,  of 
an  excellent  quality;  a  circumstance  which  greatly  raised  our  spirits, 
and  the  more,  as  both  the  number  of  fine  furs,  and  the  avidity  of  the 
natives  in  parting  with  them  were  convincing  proofs,  that  no  traffic 
whatever  had  recently  been  carried  on  near  this  place,  and  conse- 
quently we  might  expect  a  continuation  of  this  plentiful  commerce. 
That  you  may  form  some  idea  of  the  cloaks  we  purchased  here,  T 
shall  just  observe  that  they  generally  contain  three  good  sea  otter 
skins,  one  of  which  is  cut  in  two  pieces,  afterwards  they  are  neatly 
sewed  together,  so  as  to  form  a  square  and  are  loosely  tied  about  the 
shoulders  with  small  leather  strings  fastened  on  each  side." 


Continuing  the  voyage  Dixon  noticed  and  named  Hippa  Island, 
off  which  he  shortened  sail  in  order  to  allow  the  natives  to  come 
up  with  the  vessel.  Hippa  Island  is  described  as  having  "a  very 
singular  appearance,  and  on  examining  it  nearer,  we  plainly  per- 
ceived that  they  (the  natives)  lived  on  a  small  island  and  well 
fortified  after  the  manner  of  a  hippah,  on  which  account  we  distin- 
guished this  place  by  the  name  of  Hippah  Island."  The  fortifica- 
tion was  evidently  well  placed,  for,  says  the  journal,  the  access 
to  it  from  the  beach  is  steep  and  difficult  of  access,  while  the  other 
sides  were  barricaded  with  pines,  brushwood  and  fences  of  rails  and 
boards,  which  rendered  the  stronghold  almost  impregnable. 

The  journal  devotes  many  pages  to  a  description  of  the  manners 
and  customs  of  the  Indians  met  with  in  this  quarter,  but  these  ob- 
servations are  of  more  interest  to  the  ethnologist  than  to  the  historian. 
It  may  be  said  in  passing,  however,  that  of  the  peculiar  customs  of 
these  people  none  excited  as  much  curiosity  as  the  labrette,  or  lip 
ornament,  of  the  women  of  the  Queen  Charlotte  Islands,  which  is 
frequently  mentioned  in  the  journals  of  the  traders.  Captain  Dixon 
was  anxious  to  purchase  one  of  these  extraordinary  ornaments,  but 
the  old  woman  to  whom  it  belonged  refused  to  part  with  it.  Article 
after  article  was  offered,  only  to  be  rejected.  At  last  however,  one 
of  the  sailors  happened  to  show  "the  old  lady,"  a  few  bright  buttons, 
which  caught  her  fancy,  and  in  the  end,  she  willingly  parted  with 
her  cherished  possession,  which  measured  three  and  seven-eighths 
inches  long  by  two  and  five-eighths  inches.  It  was  inlaid  with  a 
small  pearly  shell  and  decorated  with  a  rim  of  copper. 

In  conversation  with  an  old  chief,  the  author  of  the  journal  gath- 
ered that  the  natives  were  addicted  to  cannibalism,  though  he  is  care- 
ful to  add  that  he  did  not  understand  the  chief  clearly  enough  to 
assert  "positively"  that  the  warriors  slain  in  battle  were  eaten  by  the 
victors — "yet  there  is  every  reason  to  fear  that  this  horrid  custom 
is  practiced  on  this  part  of  the  coast."  As  a  matter  of  fact  it  is  highly 
unlikely  that  cannibalism  was  practiced  by  any  of  the  natives  of  the 
Northwest  Coast.  It  is  true  that  it  is  asserted  in  more  than  one  diary 
that  the  custom  prevailed,  but  the  idea  seems  to  have  arisen  from  a 
wrong  conception  of  certain  ceremonial  rites. 

Each  tribe  of  the  Queen  Charlotte  Islands  was  governed  by  its 
respective  chief,  but  the  family  occupied  an  important  place  in  the 
social  organization  of  these  primitive  peoples.     Here  as  elsewhere 


on  the  coast  the  chief  usually  traded  for  the  whole  tribe,  but  it  does 
not  appear  that  he  had  the  right  to  dispose  of  articles  without  the 
consent  of  the  owners.  Sometimes  the  women  did  the  bargaining. 
The  journal  concludes  an  interesting  account  of  the  natives  with  the 
following  passage: 

"In  addition  to  what  I  have  occasionally  said,  respecting  the  sav- 
age temper  and  brutal  disposition  of  the  people  of  these  Islands,  I 
cannot  help  remarking,  that  there  is  a  kind  of  ferocity  even  in  their 
manner  of  singing.  It  must  be  allowed,  that  their  songs,  are  per- 
formed with  regularity,  and  in  good  time,  but  they  are  entirely  des- 
titute of  that  pleasing  modulation  and  harmony  of  cadence,  which 
we  had  invariably  been  accustomed  to  hear  in  the  songs  at  other  parts 
of  the  coast." 

The  voyage  was  commercially  successful,  no  less  than  one  thou- 
sand, eight  hundred  and  twenty-one  sea-otter  skins  being  obtained 
at  the  Queen  Charlotte  Islands.  It  was  not  always  an  easy  matter  to 
please  the  natives,  because,  "so  great  a  number  of  traders  required 
a  variety  of  trade,  and  we  were  frequently  obliged  to  produce  every 
article  before  we  could  please  our  numerous  friends."  That  the 
traders  were  more  than  pleased  with  the  result  of  their  operations 
in  this  particular  quarter  is  proved  by  an  entry  in  the  journal  which 
runs:  "Thus  in  one  fortunate  month  has  our  success  been  much 
greater  than  that  probably  of  both  vessels  during  the  rest  of  the  voy- 
age— So  uncertain  is  the  fur  trade  on  this  inhospitable  coast.'' 

Leaving  the  Queen  Charlotte  Islands,  the  Queen  Charlotte  sailed 
for  Nootka  Sound,  and  on  August  8th  she  spoke  the  Prince  of 
JVales,  Captain  Colnett.  and  the  Princess  Royal,  Captain  Duncan, 
these  vessels  having  sailed  from  England  in  September,  1786.  Mr. 
John  Etches  (brother  of  Richard  Cadman  Etches),  who  was  on 
board  the  Prince  of  IFales.  informed  Dixon  that  they  had  spent  a 
month  in  Nootka  but  had  done  very  little  business,  as  Captain  Bark- 
ley  in  the  Imperial  Eagle  had  arrived  there  before  them.  This  in- 
telligence caused  Di.xon  to  change  his  plans  and  he  accordingly 
sailed  for  China  by  way  of  the  Sandwich  Islands.  Dixon  arrived  in 
England  in  September,  1788,  and  in  the  following  year  published  the 
account  of  his  voyage  written  by  his  supercargo,  William  Beresford. 

Meanwhile  Captain  Portlock  having  cruised  along  the  North- 
west Coast,  sailed  for  China.  Portlock  and  Dixon  were  very  suc- 
cessful, having  been  fortunate  enough  to  acquire  between  them  no 


less  than  two  thousand,  five  hundred  and  fifty-two  skins,  which 
realised  $54,857  in  China. 

The  published  accounts  of  this  expedition  give  much  valuable 
information  respecting  the  furtrade  as  it  was  conducted  in  the  early 
days,  and  the  charts  of  the  commanders  contributed  not  a  little  to 
geographical  knowledge.  Portlock  also  published  a  narrative  which 
was  dedicated  to  King  George  111.  Of  the  two  works, '  Captain 
Dixon's  is  the  more  valuable,  chiefly  because  of  its  interesting 
description  of  the  Queen  Charlotte  Islands. 

It  would  be  impossible  to  give  an  extended  account  of  all  the 
voyages  to  the  Northwest  Coast  which  by  this  time  had  become  a 
favourite  haunt  of  many  adventurers,  but  no  history  of  the  furtrad- 
ing  era  could  be  complete  did  it  not  contain  some  reference  to  the 
second  voyage  of  John  Aleares,  who  achieved  a  unique  distinction  in 
the  annals  of  Northwestern  America.  Undaunted  by  his  first  expe- 
rience, this  worthy  had  no  sooner  returned  to  China  than  he  set  about 
the  organization  of  that  expedition  which  was  destined  to  alter  not 
only  the  whole  trend  of  political  events  at  that  period  but  also  the 
future  of  international  politics.  In  January,  1788,  JMeares  purchased 
and  fitted  out  two  vessels,  named  respectively,  the  Felice  and  the 
Iphif/eniti,  the  former  of  two  hundred  and  thirty  tons,  the  latter  of 
two  hundred  tons  burden.  Meares  commanded  the  Felice,  while 
the  command  of  the  Iphiijenia  was  given  to  Captain  Douglas,  who 
had  already  visited  the  coast  of  America.  The  crews  consisted  of 
Europeans  and  Chinese,  the  latter  being  shipped  as  an  experiment. 
Meares'  remarks  upon  the  characteristics  of  the  Chinese,  although 
written  so  long  ago,  are  not  without  practical  interest  even  in  their 
latter  day  application.  "They  have,"  he  says,  "been  generally 
esteemed  an  hardy  and  industrious,  as  well  as  an  ingenious  race  of 
people;  they  live  on  fish  and  rice,  and,  requiring  but  low  wages,  it 
is  a  matter  also  of  economical  consideration  to  employ  them;  and 
during  the  whole  of  the  voyage  there  was  every  reason  to  be  satisfied 
with  their  services.  If  hereafter  trading  posts  should  be  established 
on  the  American  coast  a  colony  of  this  kind  would  be  a  very  im- 
portant acquisition."  Meares  continues:  "A  much  greater  num- 
ber of  Chinese  solicited  to  enter  this  service  than  could  be  received; 
and  so  far  did  the  spirit  of  enterprise  influence  them,  that  those  they 
were  under  the  necessity  of  refusing  gave  the  most  unequivocal  marks 
of  mortification  and  disappointment.     From  the  many  who  offered 


themselves,  fifty  were  selected  as  fully  sufficient  for  the  purposes  of 
the  voyage;  they  were,  as  has  been  already  observed,  chiefly  handi- 
craftmen  of  various  kinds,  with  a  small  proportion  of  sailors  who 
had  been  used  to  the  junks  which  navigated  every  part  of  the  Chinese 

The  object  of  the  expedition  was  to  establish  a  factory  or  base  at 
Nootka  Sound,  where  a  small  vessel  was  to  be  built  for  the  coasting 

On  the  evening  of  January  izd,  1788,  the  Felice  sailed  from 
the  Typa.  After  visiting  the  Sandwich  Islands  a  course  was 
laid  for  the  Northwest  Coast  of  America  and  on  the  13th  day  of 
May  after  a  stormy  voyage,  the  Felice  "happily  anchored  in  Friendly 
Cove,  in  King  George's  Sound,  abreast  of  the  village  of  Nootka,  in 
four  fathoms  of  water,  and  within  a  hundred  yards  of  the  shore;  after 
a  passage  of  three  months  and  twenty-three  days  from  China."  A 
large  concourse  of  natives  welcomed  the  vessels  and  in  a  short  time 
the  ship  was  surrounded  with  a  great  number  of  canoes,  filled  with 
men,  women,  and  children.  Comekcla,  a  native  of  Nootka.  who  had 
been  carried  to  China  by  an  earlier  expedition,  was  restored  to  his 
friends,  "dressed  in  a  scarlet  regimental  coat  decorated  with  brass 
buttons,  and  with  a  hat  set  off  with  a  flaunting  cocade,  decent  linens 
and  other  appendages  of  European  dress,  which  was  far  more  than 
sufficient  to  excite  the  extreme  admiration  of  his  countrymen."  The 
occasion  was  celebrated  with  a  magnificent  feast  of  whale  blubber  and 
oil,  and  the  evening  was  passed  in  great  rejoicing.  A  day  or  two  later 
Maquilla  and  Callicum,  two  of  the  noted  chiefs  of  the  Sound,  visited 
Meares.  They  were  accompanied  bv  a  fleet  of  war  canoes  which 
moved  in  procession  round  the  ship,  while  the  crews  sang  "a  pleas- 
ing though  sonorous  melody."  It  will  be  recalled  that  the  natives  of 
this  place  accorded  a  similar  welcome  to  Captain  Cook  in  the  year 
1778.  Each  canoe  contained  eighteen  men  clad  in  robes  of  the  most 
beautiful  skins^f  the  sea-otter,  whicTi  covered  them  from  their  necks 
to  their  ankles,  a  sight  which  must  have  further  excited  the  cupidity 
and  warmed  the  hearts  of  the  furtraders. 

Without  loss  of  time  Meares  proceeded  to  establish  a  base  for  his 
future  trading  operations.  A  present  of  copper,  iron  and  other  arti- 
cles secured  the  good-will  of  Maquilla,  who,  "most  readily  consented 
to  grant  us  a  spot  of  ground  in  his  territory,  whereon  a  house  might 
be  built  for  the  accommodation  of  the  people  we  intended  to  leave 


Cliiefs  (if  X(i(itk:i  Sc.iiinl 


there."  Maquilla  also  promised  to  protect  the  men  who  were  to 
remain  at  Nootka.  In  return  for  his  assistance  and  protection,  Ma- 
quilla was  given  a  pair  of  pistols  and  Callicum  was  also  rewarded 
with  suitable  presents.  This  was  the  genesis  of  the  famous  Nootka 
afifair  of  the  following  year. 

On  the  ground  granted  by  Maquilla,  a  house  was  built,  which  is 
thus  described  by  Meares:  "On  the  ground-floor  there  was  ample 
room  for  the  coopers,  sail-makers,  and  other  artisans  to  work  in  bad 
weather;  a  large  room  was  also  set  apart  for  the  stores  and  provisions 
and  the  armourer's  shop  was  attached  to  one  end  of  the  building  and 
communicated  with  it.  The  upper  story  was  divided  into  an  eating 
room  and  chambers  for  the  party.  On  the  whole,  our  house,  though 
it  was  not  built  to  satisfy  a  lover  of  architectural  beauty,  was  admir- 
ably well  calculated  for  the  purpose  for  which  it  was  destined,  and 
appeared  to  be  a  structure  of  uncommon  magnificence  to  the  natives 
of  King  George's  Sound." 

Meares  adds:  "A  strong  breastwork  was  thrown  up  round  the 
house,  enclosing  a  considerable  area  of  ground,  which,  with  a  cannon 
placed  so  as  to  command  the  Cove  and  the  village  of  Nootka,  formed 
■  a  secure  fortification.  Within  a  short  distance  of  the  breastwork  was 
laid  the  keel  of  a  vessel  of  Forty  or  fifty  tons.  In  short  every  prepara- 
tion was  made  for  an  extended  occupation  of  the  place." 

The  men  were  all  now  busily  engaged  in  building  the  house  and 
the  vessel,  and  in  trading  with  the  natives;  but  this  is  not  the  place  for 
a  full  and  particular  account  of  Meares'  enterprise  at  Nootka.  Ref- 
erence should  be  made  however,  to  the  fact,  that  before  proceeding 
on  his  voyage  Maquilla  was  again  requested  to  protect  the  shore  party 
in  the  absence  of  the  ship.  "As  a  bribe  to  secure  his  attachment,"  says 
Meares,  "he  was  promised,  that  when  we  finally  left  the  coast  he 
should  enter  into  full  possession  of  the  house  and  all  the  goods  and 
chattels  thereunto  belonging."  It  will  be  remembered  that  this  state- 
ment was  used  later  by  the  Americans  in  the  Oregon  Boundary  dis- 
pute, to  prove  that  Meares'  occupation  of  Nootka  Sound  was  nothing 
more  than  a  temporary  expedient.  It  appears  nevertheless  that  that 
officer  fully  intended  to  establish  a  post  there,  as  will  be  shown  later. 

The  Felice  then  sailed  for  Clayoquot,  where  two  weeks  were  spent 
m  trading  with  the  Indians.  She  then  passed  down  the  coast  to  the 
Strait  of  Juan  de  Fuca  which  Meares  named  without  reference  to  the 
journals  and  chart  of  Captain  Barkley,  thus  implying  that  the  dis- 

Tol    I— ft 


covery  was  his  own.  In  view  of  the  fact  that  Meares  had  obtained 
from  John  Henry  Cox,  of  Canton,  Barkley's  chart  of  the  coast  as  well 
as  information  from  Hanna,  Lowrie,  and  Guise,  his  conduct  on  this 
occasion  is  at  least  open  to  question. 

Dr.  C.  F.  Newcombe,  in  his  monograph  entitled  "The  first 
circum-navigation  of  Vancouver  Island,"  gives  Mrs.  Barkley's  ex- 
planation as  to  how  it  was  that  her  husband's  papers  came  into  the 
possession  of  Meares.  It  is  as  follows :  "Captain  Meares  got  posses- 
sion of  my  journal  and  plans  from  the  persons  in  China  to  whom  he 
was  bound  under  a  penalty  of  £5,000  to  give  them  up  for  a  certain 
time,  for,  as  these  persons  stated,  mercantile  objects,  they  not  wishing 
the  knowledge  of  the  coast  to  be  published.  Captain  Meares,  how- 
ever, published  and  claimed  the  merit  of  my  husband's  discoveries 
therein  contained." 

Continuing  the  voyage  the  Felice  sailed  down  the  coast  in  search 
of  the  large  river  said  to  have  been  discovered  by  the  Spaniards  under 
the  forty-sixth  parallel.  Meares  found  the  bay  into  which  the  Colum- 
bia river  debouches,  but  in  attempting  to  make  a  landing  shallow 
water  and  the  breakers  on  the  bar  forced  him  to  relinquish  the 
attempt.  His  cursory  examination  of  this  bay  led  Meares  to  remark: 
"We  can  now  with  safety  assert,  that  there  is  no  such  River  as  that 
of  Saint  Roc  as  laid  down  in  the  charts."  To  commemorate  his  fail- 
ure to  discover  the  Great  River  of  the  West,  the  explorer  named 
the  bay  Deception  Bay  and  the  promontory  to  the  northward  thereof, 
Cape  Disappointment. 

Upon  returning  northward,  the  Felice  anchored  in  Barkley 
Sound  on  July  nth  (1788),  Meares  having  determined  to  explore 
the  Strait  of  Juan  de  Fuca.  The  mate,  Duffin,  was  accordingly 
despatched  in  the  longboat,  with  instructions  to  explore  the  strait 
discovered  by  Barkley  in  the  previous  year.  According  to  Meares, 
Duffin  sailed  nearly  thirty  leagues  up  the  strait,  which  at  that  dis- 
tance from  the  sea  was,  he  alleges,  about  fifteen  leagues  broad,  with  a 
clear  horizon  to  the  east  for  fifteen  leagues  more.  "Such  an 
extraordinary  circumstance,"  Meares  goes  on  to  say,  "filled  us  with 
strange  conjectures  as  to  the  extremity  of  this  strait,  which  w^  con- 
cluded, at  all  events,  could  not  be  at  any  great  distance  from  Hudson's 
Bay."  In  this  statement  Meares'  fertile  imagination  found  full  play, 
for  from  Duffin's  own  journal  it  is  sufficiently  evident  that  he  did  not 
reach  a  point  more  than  ten  or  twelve  leagues  from  Tatoosh  Island 


THE   E.U  M  II   (II-    THE   XnKIll    \\  Ks  T   A.MEKKA   AT  MiOTKA   S(U  Nl) 


or  Neah  Bay.  There  is  little  doubt  that  Meares  did  not  scruple  to 
grossly  exaggerate  the  importance  of  this  discovery  in  order  to  make 
good  his  claim  against  the  Spaniards  for  the  seizure  of  his  vessels  in 
1789,  under  arguments  which  appear  in  a  later  chapter.  It  should 
be  borne  in  mind  that  he  did  not  publish  his  work  on  the  North  West 
Coast  of  America  until  1790,  a  year  or  more  after  the  seizure  of  the 
ships  by  the  Spanish  officer,  Estevan  Martinez. 

Making  Nootka  on  July  26th,  Meares  found  that  good  progress 
had  been  made  in  the  construction  of  the  vessel  and  in  a  few  weeks 
every  preparation  was  completed  for  launching  the  first  ship  ever 
built  by  Europeans  on  the  Northwest  Coast.  It  should  be  mentioned 
that  Captain  Douglas  in  the  Iphigenia  reached  the  Sound  towards 
the  end  of  August,  and  with  the  arrival  of  this  reinforcement  the 
different  operations  were  pursued  with  redoubled  vigour.  Another 
arrival,  not  so  welcome  perhaps,  was  that  of  Captain  Gray  in  the 
American  sloop  Washington,  which  dropped  anchor  in  Friendly 
Cove  on  the  17th  of  September.  The  Washington,  with  her  consort, 
the  Columbia,  had  sailed  from  Boston  in  1787  to  engage  in  the  fur- 
trade  on  the  Northwest  Coast.  "The  master  of  the  Washington,"^ 
Meares  relates,  "was  very  much  surprised  at  seeing  a  vessel  on  the 
stocks,  as  well  as  on  finding  any  one  here  before  him;  for  they  had 
Iittl6  or  no  notion  of  any  commercial  expeditions  whatever  to  this 
part  of  America.  He  appeared,  however,  to  be  very  sanguine  in  the 
superior  advantages  which  his  countrymen  from  New  England  might 
reap  from  this  track  of  trade;  and  was  big  with  many  mighty  pro- 
jects in  which  we  understood  he  was  protected  by  the  American  Con- 
gress. With  these  circumstances,  however,  as  we  had  no  immediate 
concern,  we  did  not  even  intrude  an  opinion,  but  treated  Mr.  Gray 
and  his  ship's  company  with  politeness  and  attention."  Three  days 
later,  on  the  20th  of  September,  the  North  West  America  was 
launched.  This  event  is  so  picturesque  an  incident  in  the  annals  of 
the  coast  that  it  may  well  be  described  in  Meares'  own  words:  "On 
the  20th,  at  noon,  an  event,  to  which  we  had  so  long  looked  with 
anxious  expectation,  and  had  been  the  fruit  of  so  much  care  and 
labour,  was  ripe  for  accomplishment.  The  vessel  was  then  waiting 
to  quit  the  stocks;  and  to  give  all  due  honour  to  such  an  important 
scene,  we  adopted,  as  far  as  was  in  our  power,  the  ceremony  of  other 
dock-yards.  As  soon  as  the  tide  was  at  its  proper  height  the  English 
ensign  was  displayed  on  shore  at  the  house,  and  on  board  the  new 


vessel,  which,  at  the  proper  moment,  was  named  the  North  West 
America,  as  being  the  first  bottom  ever  built  and  launched  in  this 
part  of  the  globe. 

"It  was  a  moment  of  much  expectation.  The  circumstances  of  our 
situation  made  us  look  to  it  with  more  than  common  hope.  Maquilla, 
Callicum,  and  a  large  body  of  their  people,  who  had  received  infor- 
mation of  the  launch,  were  come  to  behold  it.  The  Chinese  carpenters 
did  not  very  well  conceive  the  last  operation  of  a  business  in  which 
they  themselves  had  been  so  much  and  so  materially  concerned.  Nor 
shall  we  forget  to  mention  the  chief  of  the  Sandwich  Islands,  whose 
every  power  was  absorbed  in  the  business  that  approached,  and  who 
had  determined  to  be  on  board  the  vessel  when  she  glided  into  the 
water.  The  presence  of  the  Americans  ought  also  to  be  considered, 
when  we  are  describing  the  attendant  ceremonies  of  this  important 
crisis;  which,  from  the  labour  that  produced  it,— the  scene  that  fol- 
lowed it, — the  spectators  that  beheld  it,  and  the  commercial  advan- 
tages, as  well  as  civilizing  ideas,  connected  with  it,  will  attach  some 
little  consequence  to  its  proceeding,  in  the  mind  of  the  philosopher, 
as  well  as  in  the  view  of  the  politican. 

"But  our  suspense  was  not  of  long  duration;— on  the  firing  of  a 
gun  the  vessel  started  from  the  ways  like  a  shot. — Indeed  she  went  off 
with  so  much  velocity,  that  she  had  nearly  made  her  way  out  of  the 
harbour;  for  the  fact  was,  that  not  being  very  much  accustomed  to 
this  business,  we  had  forgotten  to  place  an  anchor  and  cable  on 
board,  to  bring  her  up,  which  is  the  usual  practice  on  these  occa- 
sions; the  boats,  however,  soon  towed  her  to  her  intended  station,  and. 
in  a  short  time  the  North  West  America  was'  anchored  close  to  the 
Iphigenia  and  the  Felice." 

On  the  24th  September,  1788,  Meares  sailed  for  China  leaving 
Captain  Douglas  in  charge  of  the  establishment  at  Nootka.  Soon 
after  the  departure  of  the  Felice,  Douglas,  in  the  Iphigenia,  accom- 
panied by  the  North  West  America  sailed  for  the  Sandwich  Islands  to 
speed  the  winter.  The  Washington,  under  Gray,  remained  at  Nootka, 
where  she  was  presently  joined  by  Captain  Kendrick  in  the 

And,  so  the  eventful  year  1788  drew  to  a  close.  All  was  peace  and 
tranquillity,  but  it  was  the  calm  before  the  storm.  Little  did  the  chief 
actors  in  those  strange  scenes  irnagine  that  their  operations  were 


a/  "^^^^yij 






destined  to  change  the  complexion  of  subsequent  events,  to  divert  the 
course  of  history  into  another  and  more  wholesome  channel  in  the 
interests  of  the  race  and  to  be  productive  of  a  civilization  then  un- 
dreamed of. 



w » 


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4     \- 

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V.    ^• 


4  4 




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X  ■> 

^   i 

/<:  — 




V'  t^ 



In  1789  it  was  thought  that  Russian,  Spanish,  and  British  subjects 
intended  to  occupy  Nootka  Sound  and  erect  trading  posts  there.  Of 
these  intentions,  that  which  had  the  least  substance  in  it,  if  indeed  it 
had  any  at  all, — the  Russian — was  the  prime  cause  of  the  trouble 
which  arose  at  Nootka  in  that  year.  Martinez  and  Haro,  after  their 
investigation  of  the  Russian  settlement  in  Alaska  in  1788,  had 
reported  to  the  Viceroy  of  Mexico  that  Cusmich  had  informed  them 
that  he  only  awaited  the  arrival  of  four  frigates  from  Siberia  to  form 
an  establishment  at  Nootka.  From  the  exaggerated  statements  made 
by  this  person  on  other  matters,  as,  for  instance,  the  number  of  existing 
Russian  settlements  and  their  inhabitants,  and  from  the  absence  of  any 
independent  or  corroborative  evidence,  it  is,  perhaps,  justifiable  to 
conclude  that  this  was  mere  fiction.  Much  excited  about  this  threat- 
ened trespass  upon  alleged  Spanish  territory,  Martinez  urged  upon 
Florez,  the  Viceroy,  the  desirability,  nay  the  necessity  of  immediately 
forestalling  this  move  by  planting  a  Spanish  settlement  at  that  place.' 
Though  forbidden  to  incur  such  expense  without  special  royal  order, 
the  urgency  of  the  occasion  forced  action  upon  Florez,  who  imme- 
diately gave  the  necessary  instructions. 

On  February  17,  1789,  Martinez,  in  command  of  the  Princcssa 
and  the  San  Carlos,  with  Haro  as  second  in  authority,  sailed  from 
San  Bias.  He  carried  minute  detailed  orders  to  govern  his  conduct 
in  the  event  of  his  meeting  British,  Russian,  or  American  vessels.  If 
the  former,  Martinez  was  to  treat  them  kindly  and  endeavour  to 
convince  them  of  Spain's  prior  right  of  occupancy,  referring  them 
particularly  to  Captain  Cook's  instructions  not  to  touch  at  any  port 
in  the  Spanish  dominions  on  the  west  coast  of  America  unless  forced 
by  unavoidable  accident  and,  in  that  case,  not  to  remain  longer  than 

'Martinez  to  Florez,  December  5,  1788;  MSS.  Arch.  Gen.  de  Indies  Seville,  90-3-18. 



absolutely  necessary,  and  reminding  them  that  according  to  his  own 
statement  Captain  Cook  had  purchased  two  silver  spoons  from  the 
Indians  at  Nootka,  which,  being  of  Spanish  workmanship,  demon- 
strated the  priority  of  Spanish  discovery.-  If  Russian  vessels  were 
encountered,  the  intimate  friendship  then  existing  between  Spain 
and  Russia  was  to  be  put  forward,  the  necessity  of  Spanish  ports  on 
the  Mediterranean  to  the  latter  nation,  then  engaged  in  war  with 
Turkey  and  Sweden  was  to  be  dwelt  upon,  and  finally  it  was  to  be 
intimated  that  in  any  difficulty  Spain  would  have  the  powerful  sup- 
port of  her  French  ally.  If  American  vessels  appeared  at  Nootka  they 
were  to  be  given  to  understand  that  Spain  was  extending  her  settle- 
ments along  the  coast  to  Prince  Williams  Sound.  And  to  all  of  them 
Martinez  was  instructed  to  point  out  the  active  steps  now  being  taken 
by  sending  land  expeditions  of  troops,  colonists,  and  missionaries.  If, 
in  the  face  of  these  special  and  general  arguments,  an  attempt  to  form 
a  settlement  was  persisted  in,  he  was  to  repel  force  by  force. 

Besides  the  regular  crews  these  vessels  carried  a  notary,  Canizares, 
two  chaplains,  Don  Jose  Lopez  de  Nava  and  Don  Jose  Maria  Diaz, 
and  four  Franciscan  friars.  Severe  Patero,  Lorenzo  Lacies,  Jose  Espi. 
and  Francisco  Sanchez.  A  packet  boat,  the  Aranzazu,  would  follow 
in  March  with  supplies  and  reinforcements.  Later  it  was  intended  to 
send  out  a  land  expedition  including  troops,  colonists,  and  live  stock.-'' 

Reaching  Nootka  on  May  5th,  Martinez  found  there  the  Iphige- 
nia  under  Captain  Douglas  and  the  American  ship,  Columbia,  in 
command  of  Captain  Kendrick.  The  North  West  America  and  the 
JVashington  were  both  absent  on  cruises  in  northern  waters.  Indeed, 
as  the  latter  vessel  was  leaving  the  sound  she  fell  in  with  the  Princessa. 
Haswell  reports  the  interview  as  follows:  "He  was  no  sooner 
informed  who  we  were  than  he  said  if  there  was  anything  in  his  ship 
we  stood  in  need  of  he  would  supply  us.  He  informed  the  officers 
that  went  on  board  that  his  ship  was  fitted  out  in  company  with  two 
others  from  Cadiz  to  make  discoveries  on  this  coast.  That  he  had 
put  in  on  the  coast  of  New  Spain  and  lost  most  of  his  European 
seamen.  The  deficiency  he  was  obliged  to  supply  with  the  natural- 
ized natives  of  California.  That  he  had  been  in  the  northward  and 
we  noticed  he  had  a  northern  skin  canoe  lashed  on  his  quarter.     He 

-  Cook's  Voyage,  ed.  1785,  Introduction,  p.  xxxii. 

3  Florez  to  Valdez,  December  23,   1788;   MSS.  Arch.   Gen.   de   Indies,  90-3-18. 


said  he  had  been  in  Bering's  Straits,  that  he  had  found  much  snow, 
that  he  had  parted  with  his  consort  a  few  days  ago  in  a  gale  of  wind, 
and  he  expected  them  to  join  him  at  Nootka  Sound.  He  was  very  in- 
quisitive what  ships  were  lying  in  the  sound.  When  he  was  informed 
Captain  Douglas  lay  there  he  said  it  would  make  him  a  good  prize. 
The  ship's  name  is  the  Princesm,  belonging  to  His  Most  Catholic 
Majesty,  commanded  by  Don  Stephen  Joseph  Martinez.  This  gen- 
tleman endeavored  to  do  everything  to  serve  us.  He  made  Captain 
Gray  presents  of  brandy,  wine,  hams,  sugar,  and,  in  short,  everything 
he  thought  would  be  acceptable.  When  we  parted  from  him  we 
saluted  him  with  seven  guns  and  the  compliment  was  returned."  * 

This  quotation  serves  also  to  show  that  duplicity  on  this  western 
coast  was  not  confined  to  Meares.  We  are  unaware  of  the  motives 
which  induced  Martinez  to  malce  such  statements  as  are  set  out  above, 
nor  does  Haswell  in  any  place  throw  light  upon  this  strange  story. 

A  great  deal  of  discussion  has  arisen  upon  the  question  whether 
when  Martinez  arrived  the  house  which  Meares  had  built  in  the 
preceding  summer  was  still  in  existence.  Meares'  memorial  seems 
to  imply  that  it  was,  though  there  is  no  positive  statement  to  that 
effect.  The  American  captains.  Gray  and  Ingraham,  in  their  letter 
written  three  years  later,  and  with  unmistakable  Spanish  bias,  say 
that  no  sign  or  vestige  of  it  then  existed,  and  that  Captain  Douglas, 
before  proceeding  to  the  Sandwich  Islands  in  the  fall  of  1788,  had 
pulled  it  down,  taking  the  boards  on  board  of  the  Iphigenia  and 
giving  the  roof  to  Captain  Kendrick.'"*  However  the  house  was 
disposed  of,  it  may  be  accepted  as  a  fact  that  in  May,  1789,  it  had 
ceased  to  exist,  and  that  there  was  therefore  upon  the  ground  no 
evidence  of  any  intention  on  Meares'  part  to  effect  a  permanent 

Though  unquestionably  British  in  reality,  Captain  Douglas  saw 
fit  to  make  the  Iphigenia  appear  to  the  Spaniards  as  a  Portuguese 
bottom.  This  was  in  accordance  with  Meares'  own  conduct:  while 
the  illustrations  in  Meares'  Voyage  flaunt  the  British  flag,  the  evi- 
dence is  that  in  his  operations  on  this  coast  he  endeavoured  to  make 
his  vessels  appear  I^)^tuguese."    Thus  Duncan,  who  met  the  Felice  in 

*  Haswell'e  Log,  May,  1789. 

^  Letter,  August  3,  1792,  in  Greenhow,  App.  C. 

°  Dixon's  Further  Remarks  nn  Meares.     Letter  from  Duncan  therein. 


August,  1788,  ofif  Nootka,  states  that  she  was  under  Portuguese 
colours,  and  claimed  to  have  come  from  Lisbon,  and  Haswell  also 
says  that  when  the  PVashington  arrived  in  September,  1788,  both  the 
Felice  and  the  Iphigenia  were  flying  the  Portuguese  flag.^ 

Martinez  enquired  why  the  Iphigenia  was  in  the  sound,  and 
Douglas  claimed  that  he  had  put  in  in  distress  and  was  expecting 
supplies  to  arrive  in  a  vessel  from  China.  For  a  few  days  all  went 
well,  but  in  inspecting  the  Portuguese  instructions,  Martinez  took, 
exception  to  a  clause  whereby  the  captain  of  the  Iphigenia  was 
instructed,  if  interfered  with  by  English,  Russian,  or  Spanish  vessels 
to  defend  the  ship  and  if  superior  to  the  attacking  vessel  to  bring  her 
to  Macao  as  a  pirate.  The  misunderstanding,  which  probably  arose 
from  an  error  in  interpretation,  led  to  the  seizure  of  the  Iphigenia, 
the  hauling  down  of  the  Portuguese  flag  and  the  raising  of  the  Span- 
ish. Part  of  the  officers  and  crew  were  inprisoned  on  the  Princessa 
and  the  remainder  on  the  San  Carlos,  which  had  arrived  in  the  mean- 
time.^ After  an  interval  of  twelve  days  the  Iphigenia  was  restored 
to  Captain  Douglas,  but  under  circumstances  the  truth  of  which  it 
seems  impossible  to  ascertain,  as  the  accounts  given  by  Douglas  and 
Meares  on  the  one  hand  and  by  Martinez  and  the  American  captains 
on  the  other  are  so  divergent  as  to  be  impossible  of  reconciliation.  It 
is  clear,  however,  that  the  Iphigenia  was  supplied  with  stores,  the 
quantity  and  quality  of  which  are  subjects  of  dispute.  For  these 
Douglas  gave  (willingly  or  by  force)  bills  upon  Cavalho,  the  pre- 
tended Portuguese  owner.  Martinez,  who  made  almost  every  day  a 
statement  of  the  occurrences  before  the  notary  Canizares,  gives  therein 
as  his  reason  for  releasing  the  vessel  that  he  had  not  sufficient  men 
available  to  sail  her  to  San  Bias,  hence  he  concluded  to  release  her 
upon  receiving  a  bond  binding  the  owner  to  pay  the  fair  value  of 
ship  and  cargo  if  the  Viceroy  should  declare  her  lawful  prize. 

On  May  31st,  after  a  farewell  dinner  on  the  Princessa,  at  which 
all  the  officers  in  the  sound  were  present,  the  Iphigenia,  with  a  part- 
ing salute  from  the  Spaniards,  sailed  ostensibly  for  Macao,  but  at 
midnight  changed  her  course  to  the  northward,  Douglas  having,  as 
he  says,  "no  idea  of  running  for  Macao  with  only  between  sixty  and 
seventy  sea-otter  skins  which  I  had  on  board."  *     On  this  cruise  he 

'  Haswell's  Log,  September  i6,  1788. 

*  Manning's  Nootka  Sound,  pp.  320,  321. 

*  Appendix  No.  12  to  Meares'  Memorial. 



obtained  about  seven  hundred  sea-otter  skins.  It  would  thus  appear 
that  the  vessel  was  not  such  a  wreck  as  Douglas  and  Meares  represent, 
nor  had  she  been  looted  to  the  extent  stated  by  Meares  in  his  memo- 
rial; she  must  also  have  had  provisions  and  trading  goods  to  a  far 
greater  quantity  than  Meares  states,  else  such  a  trip  had  been  in  vain. 
Meares'  almost  proverbial  mendacity  no  doubt  accounts  for  these 
inconsistencies.  His  interest  when  his  memorial  was  prepared  was 
to  stir  with  indignation  the  popular  mind  ever  prone  to  hatred  of  the 
Spaniards  and  to  represent  their  conduct  as  not  only  unwarranted 
but  as  grossly  inhuman. 

The  North  West  America  returned  on  June  8th,  ignorant  of  the 
events  which  had  transpired  during  her  six  weeks'  absence.  Mar- 
tinez at  once  seized  her  on  learning  tliat  she  was  owned  by  Cavalho. 
Being  a  smaller  vessel  and  requiring  only  a  small  crew,  he  hoisted 
the  Spanish  flag  upon  her,  re-named  her  the  Gertrndis,  after  his  wife, 
put  aboard  her  a  Spanish  crew  under  David  Coolidge  of  the  IVash- 
ington,  and  sent  her  southward  on  a  trading  voyage,  using,  Meares 
claims,  with  some  likelihood  of  truth,  her  supplies  for  that  purpose. 
But  this  statement  cannot  be  accepted  at  its  face  value,  as  the  vessel 
had  returned  in  order  to  obtain  a  supply  of  trading  goods  from  the 
vessels  which  were  daily  expected,  but  had  not  yet  arrived,  from 

During  this  time  the  foundation  of  a  settlement  was  being  laid. 
A  fort  mounting  ten  guns  was  built  on  Hog  Island  and  occupied 
by  a  garrison.  A  workshop,  a  bakery,  and  a  sort  of  barracks  or 
lodging  house  were  erected.  On  June  24th  formal  possession  was 
taken  of  the  port  of  Nootka  with  all  the  pomp  and  ceremony  the 
Spaniard  loves  so  well.  The  formal  document  is  a  very  high-sound- 
ing instrument,  of  which  the  following  is  a  translation : '" 

In  the  Name  of  the  Holy  Trinity,  Father,  Son,  and  Holy  Ghost, 
One  True  God  in  three  Distinct  Persons,  who  is  the  creative  prin- 
ciple and  creator  of  all  things,  without  whom  nothing  good  can  be 
instituted,  achieved,  or  preserved — and  Whereas  the  principle  of 
everything  good  must  be  in  God — and  therefore  it  behooves  us  to 
begin  it  in  God — for  the  glory  and  honour  of  his  most  holy  name. 

Therefore  know  all  men  to  whom  these  presents  and  the  present 
Chart  of  Possession  shall  come  that:    Today  being  Wednesday,  the 

'MSS.  Arch.  Gen.  de  Indies  Seville,  90-3-18. 


24th  day  of  June,  1789,  on  the  arrival  of  the  frigate  named  Nuestra 
Senora  del  Rosario  (alias  La  Princessa)  together  with  the  packet- 
boat,  San  Carlos  el  Filipino,  both  belonging  to  His  Most  Mighty. 
Illustrious,  and  Catholic  Majesty  Carlos  the  Third,  King  of  Castille. 
of  Leon,  of  Aragon,  of  all  the  Sicilies,  of  Jerusalem,  of  Navarra,  of 
Granada,  of  Toledo,  of  Valencia,  of  Galicia,  of  Majorca,  of  Sevilla, 
of  Sardinia,  of  Corsica,  of  Cordova,  of  Murcia  Jaen,  of  the  Algarves, 
of  Algeciras,  of  Gibraltar,  of  the  Canary  Islands,  of  the  Eastern 
Indies  and  Western  Islands,  and  of  the  first  land  (foreshore?)  in  the 
Oceanic  Sea,  Archduke  of  Austria,  Duke  of  Bologna,  of  Brabant 
and  Milan,  Count  of  Aspurg,  Flanders,  Tyrol,  and  Barcelona,  Lord 
of  Biscay  and  Nolina,  the  said  frigate  and  packet-boat  by  command 
of  His  Excellency  Don  Manuel  Antonio  Florez  Maldonado  Mar- 
tinez de  Angul  y  Bodguin,  Knight  of  the  Order  of  Calatrava,  Com- 
mander of  Nolino  and  Laguna  Rota,  Lieutenant  General  of  the  Royal 
Armada,  Viceroy  and  Captain  General  of  New  Spain,  President  of 
the  Royal  Audiencia,  and  Sub-Delegate  General  of  Corres  in  the 
said  Kingdom,  having  sailed  from  the  Port  of  San  Bias  on  the  South- 
ern Sea,  in  the  Government  of  the  Viceroy  aforesaid,  on  the  17th  day 
of  February  in  the  same  year,  for  the  purpose  of  discovery  along  the 
coast  from  Monterrey  northwards,  this  expedition  being  under  the 
command-in-chief  of  Don  Estevan  Jose  Martinez,  Ensign  of  Marine, 
in  the  Royal  Armada;  and  said  expedition  being  anchored  in  the  port 
of  Santa  Cruz,  one  of  the  numerous  harbours  contained  in  the  Bay  of 
San  Lorenzo  de  Nuca,  with  the  aforesaid  frigate  of  his  command, 
and  the  said  packet-boat  of  his  following;  said  commander-in-chief 
having  disembarked  with  the  officers  of  both  ships,  with  the  troops, 
and  a  number  of  the  sailors,  together  with  the  Father  Chaplains  Don 
Jose  Lopez  de  Nava  and  Don  Jose  Maria  Diaz  and  the  four  Mis- 
sionaries of  the  Order  of  San  Francis  of  the  Apostolic  College  of  San 
Fernando  de  Mexico,  Brother  Severo  Patero  (President),  Brother 
Lorenzo  Lacies,  Brother  Jose  Espi,  and  Brother  Francisco  Sanchez 
— the  said  commander  drew  out  a  cross,  which  he  worshipped  de- 
voutly on  his  knees,  together  with  all  those  who  accompanied  him: 
Then  the  chaplains  and  friars  sang  "Te  Deum  Laudamus" — and  the 
canticle  having  been  concluded,  the  commander  said  in  a  loud  voice: 
"In  the  name  of  His  Majesty  the  King  Don  Carlos  the  III,  Our 
Sovereign  whom  may  God  keep  many  years,  with  an  increase  of  our 
Dominions  and  Kingdoms,  for  the  service  of  God,  and  for  the  good 


and  prosperity  of  his  vassals,  and  for  the  interests  of  the  mighty  lords 
the  Kings,  his  heirs  and  successors,  in  the  future,  as  his  commander  of 
these  ships,  and  by  virtue  of  the  orders  and  instructions  which  were 
given  to  me  in  his  Royal  Name,  by  the  aforesaid  His  Excellency  the 
Viceroy  of  New  Spain,  I  take,  and  I  have  taken,  I  seize,  and  I  have 
seized,  possession  of  this  soil,  where  1  have  at  present  disembarked 
which  had  been  formerly  discovered  by  us,  in  the  year  1774 — and 
once  more,  on  the  present  day- — for  all  time  to  come,  in  the  said  Royal 
Name,  and  in  the  name  of  the  Royal  Crown  of  Castille  and  Leon, 
as  aforesaid — as  if  it  was  my  own  thing,  which  it  is,  and  shall  be  and 
which  really  belongs  to  the  King  aforesaid,  by  reason  of  the  donation 
and  the  bull  'Expedio  Notu  Proprio'  of  our  Most  Holy  Father 
Alexander  VI,  Pontiff  of  Rome,  by  which  he  donated  to  the  Most 
High  and  Catholic  Monarchs  Ferdinand  V  and  Isabel  his  spouse, 
Kings  of  Castille  and  Leon,  of  illustrious  memory,  and  to  their  suc- 
cessors and  heirs — one-half  the  world — by  deed  made  at  Rome  on  the 
4th  of  May  in  the  year  1493 — by  virtue  of  which  these  present  lands 
belong  to  the  said  Royal  Crown  of  Castille  and  Leon,  and  as  such  I 
take,  and  I  have  taken,  possession  of  these  lands  aforesaid,  and  the 
adjoining  districts,  seas,  rivers,  ports,  bays,  gulfs,  archipelagoes,  and 
this  Port  of  Santa  Cruz,  in  the  island  named  by  Martinez — among  the 
many  which  are  enclosed  in  the  Bay  of  San  Lorenzo  de  Nuca — which 
bay  is  situated  in  latitude  north  49°  33'  and  longitude  20°  18' — west  of 
the  meridian  of  San  Bias  where  I  am  at  present  anchored  with  the 
said  frigate  and  packet-boat  of  my  command,  and  I  place  them,  and 
they  shall  be  placed  under  the  dominion  and  power  of  the  said  Royal 
Crown  of  Castille  and  Leon,  as  aforesaid,  and  as  if  it  was  my  own 
property,  which  it  is."  And  as  a  sign  of  such  possession  he  drew  his 
sword  which  had  hung  by  his  side,  and  with  it  he  counted  the  trees, 
the  branches,  and  the  lands;  he  disturbed  the  stones  on  the  beach  and 
in  the  helds  without  encountering  any  opposition,  asking  those  pres- 
ent to  be  witnesses  of  these  facts,  and  to  me,  Rafael  de  Canizares,  who 
am  the  Notary  appointed  to  this  expedition  by  the  Commander-in- 
Chief,  he  ordered  mc  to  relate  the  facts  in  due  form,  as  a  public 
testimony  thereof.  Then  taking  a  large  cross  on  his  shoulders,  and 
the  crews  of  both  ships  having  been  formed  in  marching  column. 
armed  with  guns  and  other  weapons,  the  procession  marched  out.  the 
chaplains  and  friars  chanting  the  Litany  of  "Rogation" — the  whole 
troop  responding — and  the  procession  having  halted,  the  commander 


planted  the  cross  in  the  ground,  and  made  a  heap  of  stones  at  the  foot 
thereof — as  a  sign  and  in  memory  of  the  taking  of  possession  in  the 
name  of  His  Majesty  Carlos  III  King  of  all  Spain  (whom  God 
keep) — of  all  these  lands  and  neighbouring  districts  discovered,  con- 
tinuous, and  contiguous — and  gave  the  name  of  Santa  Cruz  to  this 
port,  as  has  been  said.  And  when  the  cross  was  planted,  they  wor- 
shipped it  once  more,  and  all  prayed,  asking  in  supplication  from 
our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  that  He  should  accept  their  offering, 
because  everything  had  been  done  for  the  glory  and  honour  of  His 
Holy  Name,  and  in  order  to  exalt  and  enrich  our  holy  catholic  faith 
— and  to  introduce  the  word  of  the  Holy  Gospel  among  these  savage 
nations,  which  until  the  present  time  had  been  kept  in  ignorance  of 
the  true  knowledge  and  doctrine — which  will  guard  them  and  deliver 
them  from  the  snares  and  perils  of  the  Demon,  and  from  the  blindness 
in  which  they  have  lived — for  the  salvation  of  their  souls — after 
which  the  chaplains  and  friars  began  chanting  the  hymn,  "Vexilla 
Regis."  Following  this  a  solemn  high  mass  was  celebrated  on  an  altar 
which  the  commander  had  caused  to  be  erected,  by  the  Rev.  Chaplain 
of  our  frigate,  Don  Jose  Lopez  de  Nava,  assisted  by  the  chaplain  of 
the  packet-boat,  Don  Jose  Maria  Diaz,  and  the  four  friars  aforesaid — 
this  being  the  first  mass  which  was  said  in  this  land,  in  honour  of  our 
Lord  God  Almighty — and  for  the  extirpation  of  the  Devil  and  of  all 
idolatry.  The  sermon  was  given  by  the  Very  Rev.  Father  President 
Severe  Patero,  Apostolic  Missionary  of  the  order  of  San  Francis  and 
of  the  Royal  College  of  San  Ferdinand  of  Propaganda  of  the  Faith 
of  the  City  of  Mexico.  This  function  being  concluded  the  aforesaid 
commander,  as  a  further  sign  and  testimony  of  the  taking  of  posses- 
sion, caused  a  tree  to  be  cut,  which  he  had  made  into  a  cross,  into 
which  he  engraved  the  Holy  Name  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  with 
four  capital  letters  I.  N.  R.  I. — and  wrote  at  the  foot  of  the  cross: 
Carolus  tertius.  Rex  Hispaniorum. 

In  witness  whereof  these  presents  were  signed  by  the  commander 
and  witnessed  by  the  captain  of  the  packet-boat  Sfin  Carlos.  Don 
Gonzales  Lopez  de  Haro;  the  first  pilot  of  the  Armada,  Don  Jose 
Tovar,  the  chaplains  aforesaid,  Don  Jose  Lopez  de  Nava.  Don 
Jose  Maria  Diaz,  and  the  four  friars  of  the  College  of  San  Ferdinand. 
And  I,  the  notars'  appointed  by  the  said  commander,  authenticate 
these  presents  as  a  true  testimony  of  what  took  place — as  it  has  been 
related  herewith. 


Signed:  Estevan  Jose  Martinez;  Gonzales  Lopez  de  Haro;  Jose 
Tovar  y  Tamariz ;  Br.  Jose  Alexandre  Lopez  de  Nava ;  Fray  Lorenzo 
Lacies;  Fray  Jose  Espi;  Fray  Francisco  Miguel  Sanchez. 

Before  me,  RAFAEL  Canizares. 

This  is  a  copy:  Mexico,  August  27,  1789. 

Antonio  Bouillaz. 

The  Princess  Royal,  which,  as  already  shown,  had  passed  into  the 
control  of  Meares  and  his  associates,  reached  Nootka  on  June  15th  in 
command  of  Captain  Hudson.  Before  entering  the  port,  two 
launches,  in  which  were  Martinez,  Kendrick,  and  Funter  of  the 
North  West  America,  approached  the  vessel.  Hudson  enquired  if 
they  were  armed.  The  reply  was  reassuring;  they  were,  but  only 
with  a  bottle  of  brandy.  The  visitors  remained  aboard  all  night  and 
the  next  morning  the  Princess  Royal  was  towed  into  harbour.  A  few 
days  later  Martinez  sent  an  official  note  to  enquire  the  reason  of  her 
being  there,  in  what  he  was  pleased  to  call  a  recognized  Spanish  port. 
Hudson  replied  that  he  wished  to  refit  after  his  long  voyage  from 
Macao  and  that  as  soon  as  he  had  obtained  wood  and  water  he  trusted 
to  be  permitted  to  depart  in  peace.  Martinez  not  only  did  so,  but 
granted  him  a  circular  letter  to  all  Spanish  vessels  to  allow  him  to 
pass  on  his  way  unmolested." 

Just  as  the  Princess  Royal  passed  out  and  sailed  away  on  July 
2nd,  the  fourth  vessel,  the  Argonaut,  arrived.  Martinez,  learning  that 
a  vessel  was  in  the  offing,  and  thinking  the  anxiously  expected 
Aranzazu  had  at  last  appeared,  went  with  the  American  officers  to 
meet  her  in  two  launches.  On  going  on  board  he  presented  a  letter 
from  Hudson  which  put  Captain  Colnett  at  his  ease,  and  the  Spanish 
launches  towed  the  Argonaut  into  harbour.  Captain  Funter,  who 
formed  one  of  the  party,  informed  Colnett  of  the  occurrences  and 
advised  him  to  remain  outside,  but  relying  on  the  Spaniard's  lionor 
he  allowed  his  vessel  to  be  taken  in  and  anchored  between  the  Spanish 
ships. '^  The  Argonaut  had  on  board  the  material  for  a  sloop,  the 
necessaries  for  building  and  equipping  a  trading  post  and  some  twen- 
tv-nine  Chinese  artisans  as  the  nucleus  of  n  future  colonv  which  was 

"  Manning's  Nootka  Sound,  pp.   328,  329. 

•- Colnett's   Voyage,   pp.   96-99;    Gray   and   Ingraham   Letter,   in    Oreenhow,    App.    C. ;    Arch. 
Gen.  de  Indies  Seville,  90-3-18. 


to  surround  his  future  trading  post — Fort  Pitt.  Part  of  the  scheme 
was  to  import  from  the  Sandwich  Islands  wives  for  these  persons. 
Meares  in  his  Voyage  says  that  these  Chinese  numbered  sev^enty,  but 
in  the  Spanish  archives  the  list  of  them  is  preserved,  showing  only 
twenty-nine  and  giving  their  names  as  Jinfo,  Allon  (Ah  Long) ,  Arton 
(Ah  Tong)  etc.,  etc. 

The  next  day  Colnett  prepared  to  depart  as  soon  as  certain  sup- 
plies which  the  Spaniards  had  agreed  to  furnish  were  received. 
Martinez's  conduct  now  became  vacillating — sometimes  he  said  the 
vessel  might  go  and  then  again  he  changed  his  mind.  In  the  end  he 
asked  for  Colnett's  papers,  which  the  latter  accordingly  took  on  board 
the  Princessa.  Now  a  dispute  arose,  a  trifling  misunderstanding, 
apparently  caused  by  both  parties  standing  upon  their  dignity,  and 
possibly  inflamed  by  erroneous  interpretation.  Each  commander 
seems  to  have  lost  his  temper  and  after  mutual  recriminations,  Mar- 
tinez ordered  Colnett  under  arrest  and  his  vessel  under  seizure.  In 
his  official  report  he  claims  that  this  action  was  necessary  as  otherwise 
Colnett  would  have  built  a  trading  post  elsewhere,  from  which  it 
would  have  been  impossible  to  eject  him  except  by  force. 

The  Spaniards  at  once  took  possession  of  the  Argonaut;  the  Brit- 
ish flag  was  hauled  down  and  the  Spanish  flag  hoisted.  Such  of  her 
stores  and  supplies  as  the  Spaniards  required  they  took;  though  there 
appears  to  have  been  an  undertaking  that  these  would  be  accounted 
for  if  the  vessel  were  not  condemned  by  the  Viceroy.  Of  the  fifty- 
eight  persons  brought  by  the  Argonaut,  some  of  the  English  were  to 
be  sent  on  her  to  San  Bias,  and  the  remainder,  later,  on  the  Aranzazu. 

On  July  13th,  as  the  Argonaut  with  her  captives  and  her  prize 
crew  was  ready  to  sail  for  San  Bias,  the  Princess  Royal  returned  to 
Nootka.  After  leaving  the  sound  on  July  2nd  she  had  encountered  a 
storm  which  drove  her  far  to  the  southward  and  making  her  way 
back  again,  Hudson  concluded,  when  opposite  Nootka,  to  run  in  and 
ascertain  if  the  Argonaut  had  arrived.  Leaving  the  vessel  in  the 
offing  he  put  off  in  the  launch.  When  he  boarded  the  Princessa  he 
found  himself  a  prisoner.  On  his  refusal  to  order  the  Princess  Royal 
to  enter  the  trap  at  Nootka  the  Spaniards  prepared  to  capture  her 
by  force,  and.  seeing  resistance  useless,  he  ordered  his  lieutenant  to 
surrender  the  vessel,  which  was  accordingly  done.  The  Spaniards 
took  possession  and  she  was  towed  into  the  sound. 


-    73 

'±.  n 
=  > 


-  H 

5   y; 

c    > 


Martinez  immediately  sent  the  Argonaut  and  the  Princess  Royal 
to  Mexico  as  prizes.  His  reason  for  seizing  the  latter,  which  he  had 
less  than  a  fortnight  previously  allowed  to  depart  the  port,  was  very 
weak.  He  says  he  feared  that  she  would  carry  to  Macao  the  news  of 
the  seizure  of  the  others.  But  this  is  flimsily  transparent,  as  he  sent  a 
large  number  of  the  captured  sailors  back,  to  China  in  the  American 
vessel  Columbia  which  left  the  sound  about  the  end  of  July. 

Colnett  complained  bitterly  of  his  treatment'  on  the  voyage  to 
Mexico;  he  was  locked  in  his  room  each  night  at  8  o'clock  and  the 
door-was  not  opened  till  morning;  when  he  desired  a  drink  of  water 
during  the  night  his  request  was  refused  and  he  was  compelled  to 
endure  his  thirst  until  the  morning.  His  men  also  were  closely  con- 
fined and  kept  in  irons  on  the  voyage.'''  The  Argonaut  reached  San 
Bias  on  August  15th  and  on  the  27th  the  Princess  Royal  arrived  with 
twelve  English  and  two  Portuguese  prisoners.  After  their  arrival 
they  received  more  humane  treatment,  though  still  in  confinement. 
On  December  6th,  Martinez  returned  to  San  Bias,  having  spent  the 
interval  in  exploration  of  the  coast  and  in  learning  more  about  its 

With  the  troubles  of  Colnett  in  Mexico  we  have  no  concern.  The 
Argonaut  remained  in  Mexican  waters,  employed  in  the  service  of  the 
Government,  but  the  Princess  Royal,  now  known  by  the  Spanish  name 
Princcssa  Real,  sailed  northward  with  the  expedition  from  Mexico 
in  1790  under  Elisa.  in  May,  1790,  Revilla  Gigedo,  who  had  suc- 
ceeded Florez,  ordered  the  Argonaut  to  be  returned  to  the  possession 
of  Colnett  and  that  the  Princess  Roxal  be  also  re-delivered  to  him. 
The  prisoners  in  Mexico  were  released.  The  remainder  of  the 
captured  seamen  had  reached  Macao  long  prior  to  this  time.  This 
action  says  tlie  official  Spanish  document  was  "the  result  of  pure 
generosity."  Revilla  Gigedo's  order  at  first  directed  that  Colnett 
was  not  again  to  enter  any  place  on  the  Spanish-American  coasts, 
either  for  the  purpose  of  settlement  or  of  trade  with  the  natives,  but 
later  at  Colnett's  earnest  solicitation  this  embargo  was  withdrawn  and 
he  was  given  permission  to  touch  at  places  not  under  the  control 
of  Spain. 

Towards  the  beginning  of  winter,  1790,  Colnett  sailed  from 
Mexico  in  the  Argonaut.^*     When  he  arrived  at  Nootka  the  Princess 

"  Colnett's  Voyage,  pp.  98,  99. 
'*  Colnett's  Voyage,  p.  loi. 
Vol      I— 10 


Royal  was  not  there,  but  he  ultimately  obtained  possession  of  her  at 
the  Sandwich  Islands.  The  North  West  America  or  Gertrudis,  as  the 
Spaniards  had  re-named  her,  after  being  used  by  them  in  trading  and 
exploring  passed  over  to  the  possession  of  the  English  about  the  same 
time.  The  details  of  the  movements  of  these  vessels  will  be  dealt 
with  in  the  consideration  of  the  Spanish  settlement  at  Nootka  in 
1790  and  of  the  various  exploring  expeditions  of  1789,  1790,  179 1, 
and  1792. 

It  is  necessary  to  turn  now  to  the  diplomatic  action  which  these 
incidents  brought  forth.  In  the  language  of  Professor  Manning 
whose  monograph  on  the  Nootka  Sound  Controversy  is  a  classic: 
"The  whole  episode  to  this  point  seems  to  have  been  a  series  of 
blunders  and  would  not  merit  careful  consideration  had  not  the 
consequences  been  so  serious  for  the  home  Governments."  '^ 

No  news  of  the  stirring  events  of  June  reached  England  until 
January  4,  1790,  when  Anthony  Merry,  the  British  Charge  d'affaires 
at  Madrid,  sent  to  the  Foreign  office  a  confused  account  based  on  the 
rumors  then  current  in  the  Spanish  capital.  The  gist  of  it  was  that  a 
small  Spanish  man-of-war  had  captured  in  the  port  of  Nootka  an 
English  ship  which  had  come  for  the  purpose  of  making  a  settlement 
and  that  the  captured  vessel  had  been  manned  with  Spanish  seamen 
and  sent  as  a  prize  to  Mexico."  The  very  vagueness  of  the  informa- 
tion allowed  the  Ministers,  who,  like  the  populace,  were  ever  prone 
to  hatred  of  the  Spaniard,  to  fill  in  the  details  from  imagination. 
Manifestly  the  incident  lost  nothing  by  drawing  from  this  source. 
Nevertheless,  no  step  was  taken.  The  first  official  information  from 
Spain  was  the  following  letter  from  the  Marquis  del  Campo,  dated 
February  10,  1790: 

"My  Lord:  Continuing  the  frequent  expeditions  which  the 
King,  my  master,  has  ordered  to  be  made  to  the  northern  coasts  of 
California,  the  Viceroy  of  Mexico  sent  two  ships,  under  the  orders 
of  Don  Estevan  Jose  Martinez,  ensign  of  the  navy,  to  make  a  perma- 
nent settlement  in  the  port  of  San  Lorenzo,  situated  about  the  fiftieth 
degree  of  latitude,  and  named  bv  foreigners  'Nootka'  or  'Nioka,'  of 
which  possession  had  formerly  been  taken.  He  arrived  there  the 
24th  of  last  June.     In  giving  his  account  to  the  Viceroy,  M.  Mar- 

15  Xootka  Sound  Controversy,  p.  361. 

•'  Narrarive  of  Negotiations  between  England  and  Spain,  p.  i. 


tinez  said  that  he  found  there  an  American  frigate  and  sloop,  which 
had  sailed  from  Boston  to  make  a  tour  of  the  world.  He  also  found 
a  packet-boat  and  another  vessel  belonging  to  a  Portuguese  estab- 
lished at  Macao,  whence  they  had  sailed  with  a  passport  from  the 
Governor  of  that  port.  He  announced  also  that  on  the  2d  of  July 
there  arrived  another  packet-boat  from  Macao.  This  was  English 
and  came  to  take  possession  of  Nootka  in  the  name  of  the  British 
King.     She  carried  a  sloop  in  pieces  on  board. 

"This  simple  recital  will  have  convinced  your  excellency  of  the 
necessity  in  which  the  Court  of  Madrid  finds  itself  of  asking  His 
Britannic  Majesty  to  punish  such  undertakings  in  a  manner  to  restrain 
his  subjects  from  continuing  them  on  these  lands  which  have  been 
occupied  and  frequented  by  the  Spaniards  for  so  many  years.  I  say 
this  to  your  excellency  as  an  established  fact,  and  as  a  further  argu- 
ment against  those  who  attribute  to  Captain  Cook  the  discovery  of 
the  said  port  of  San  Lorenzo.  I  add  that  the  same  Martinez  in 
charge  of  the  last  expedition  was  there  under  commission  in  August 
of  1774.  This  was  almost  four  years  before  the  appearance  of  Cook. 
This  same  Martinez  left  in  the  hands  of  the  Indians  two  silver  spoons, 
some  shells,  and  some  other  articles  which  Cook  found.  The  Indians 
still  keep  them,  and  these  facts,  with  the  testimony  of  the  Indians, 
served  M.  Martinez  to  convince  the  English  captain. 

"The  English  prisoners  have  been  liberated  through  the  consid- 
eration which  the  King  has  for  His  Britannic  Majesty,  and  which  he 
has  carefully  enjoined  upon  his  viceroys  to  govern  their  actions  in 
unforeseen  events.  His  Majesty  flatters  himself  that  the  Court  of 
St.  James  will  certainly  not  fail  to  give  the  strictest  orders  to  prevent 
such  attempts  in  the  future,  and,  in  general,  everything  that  could 
trouble  the  good  harmony  happily  existing  between  the  two  crowns. 
Spain  on  her  side  engages  to  do  the  same  with  respect  to  her  subjects. 

"I  have  the  honour  to  be,  etc., 

"The  Marquis  del  Campo.'" 

"His  Excellency  M.  the  DuKE  OF  Leeds." 

The  inaccuracies  herein  arc  plainly  apparent  and  need  not  be 
dwelt  upon.  The  naive  suggestion  that  Great  Britain  should  punish 
her  subjects  for  trading  and  making  settlements  on  the  Northwest 

"  Manning's  Nootka  Sound  Controversy,  pp.  367,  368. 


coast  of  America  drew  from  the  Marquis  of  Leeds  a  reply  that,  "as 
yet  no  precise  information  has  been  received  relative  to  the  events 
mentioned  in  your  excellency's  letter,  but  while  awaiting  such  1  have 
His  Majesty's  orders  to  inform  your  excellency  that  the  act  of  violence 
spoken  of  in  your  letter  as  having  been  committed  by  M.  Martinez 
in  seizing  a  British  vessel  under  the  circumstances  reported  makes  it 
necessary  henceforth  to  suspend  all  discussions  of  the  pretensions  set 
forth  in  that  letter  until  a  just  and  adequate  satisfacion  shall  have 
been  made  for  a  proceeding  so  injurious  to  Great  Britain.  In  the 
first  place  it  is  indispensable  that  the  vessel  in  question  shall  be 
restored.  To  determine  the  details  of  the  ultimate  satisfaction  which 
may  be  found  necessary  more  ample  information  must  be  awaited 
concerning  all  the  circumstances  of  the  affair."  '® 

This  brusque  reply  came  as  a  shock  to  the  Spanish  diplomats. 
It  is  interesting  to  note  that  at  this  very  time  Colonel  Ferdinand 
Miranda,  the  South  American  agitator,  was  in  England  and  in  close 
touch  with  Pitt,  before  whom  he  had  just  laid  his  grand  scheme  for 
the  new  empire  in  South  America,  embracing  all  that  continent  except 
Brazil  and  Guiana.  In  the  event  of  war  the  opportunity  would  be 
afforded  to  shear  Spain  of  her  possessions  in  the  new  world,  their 
unprotected  condition  offering  a  fine  mark  for  combination  with  the 
revolutionist  element  which  is  indigenous  to  those  latitudes. 

Floridablanca,  the  Prime  Minister  of  Spain,  regarded  the  answer 
as  an  indication  that  Pitt  was  using  the  incident  merely  as  an  excuse 
to  pick  a  quarrel.  His  subsequent  conduct  lends  colour  to  the  view 
that  Pitt  had  at  the  inception  determined  to  humble  the  power  of 
Spain  which  under  Carlos  III  and  Carlos  IV  was  regaining  the 
important  position  she  had  occupied  under  Philip  II.  "Satisfaction 
previous  to  discussion"  was  his  demand — a  demand  peculiarly  dis- 
tasteful to  the  high-strung  Spaniard.  The  advisers  of  the  Spanish 
monarch  hurriedly  took  stock  of  their  martial  equipment.'®  They 
found  forty-five  ships  of  the  line  and  thirty-two  frigates  ready  for 
immediate  commission,  and  in  addition  twenty-four  of  the  former 
class  and  seven  of  the  latter  could  be  made  available  in  a  short  time. 
Feverish  preparations  for  war  were  commenced  in  Spain,  though 
every  effort  was  made  to  preserve  a  peaceable  external  appearance. 

1'  Arch.  Hist.  Nacional  Madrid,  See  Estado,  H2gi. 


Late  in  March  Spain  sent  a  reply  ignoring  the  demand  for  satis- 
faction as  a  condition  precedent  to  the  discussion  of  the  question  and 
stating  that  being  convinced  that  nothing  but  ignorance  of  Spain's 
incontestable  right  to  the  exclusive  sovereignty,  navigation,  and  com- 
merce of  the  territory,  coasts,  and  seas  in  question  could  have  induced 
British  subjects  to  resort  thereto,  the  Viceroy  had  liberated  the  vessel 
and  her  crew,  and  that  having  instructed  him  to  avoid  even  the  least 
act  which  might  give  offense  the  incident  was  regarded  as  closed. 
The  note  expressed  the  hope  that  the  British  King  would  order  his 
subjects- to  respect  Spanish  rights  and  that  it  would  not  be  necessary 
to  enter  into  discussions  regarding  the  indubitable  rights  of  his 

Up  to  this  point  the  controversy  had  proceeded  on  the  assumption 
that  only  one  ship  had  been  captured.  The  Spanish  authorities  had 
reports  showing  the  actual  occurrences  at  Nootka,  but  either  through 
carelessness  or  for  some  other  reason  neglected  to  make  them  known. 
In  April,  Meares  arrived  on  the  scene — Deus  ex  machina.  Till  this 
moment  the  British  had  only  the  information  from  the  Spanish  For- 
eign Office  and  the  confused  account  that  Merry  had  sent.  Meares 
soon  placed  before  the  King  his  celebrated  Memorial — a  document 
more  useful  to  stir  the  public  mind  to  war  with  Spain  than  as  a  state- 
ment of  facts.  Exaggerated,  contradictory,  intentionally  false,  it 
exists  to  this  day  a  complete  proof  of  his  mendacity.  And  behind  it 
the  motive,  mean  and  sordid,  to  fill  the  pockets  of  himself  and  his 
co-adventurers  with  a  large  money  payment  wrested  from  Spain  in 
the  heat  of  blood.  The  plain  truth  has  already  been  stated;  it  makes 
a  strong  case  against  the  Spaniard.  In  any  other  time  the  exaggera- 
tions, the  unwarranted  inferences,  the  imputations  of  dishonesty,  of 
duplicity,  of  insolence,  and  of  deliberate  cruelty  with  which  it 
abounds  would  have  carried  their  own  condemnation.  But  the 
Ministry  were  excited  ;  the  war  spirit  was  rampant. 

The  Memorial  is  dated  April  30,  1790.  On  that  very  evening 
the  Cabinet  resolved  to  demand  "an  immediate  and  adequate  satis- 
faction for  the  outrages  committed  by  Monsieur  de  Martinez;  and 
that  it  would  be  proper  in  order  to  support  that  demand  and  be 
prepared  for  such  events  as  mav  arise  that  Your  Majesty  should  give 
orders  for  fitting  out  a  squadron  of  ships  of  the  line."  '^'^ 

-"  Arch.  Hist.   Narion.i!   Madrid;   Narrative  o^  Negotiations  between   Kn^land  and  Spain,  p.  20. 
-'  Manning's  Nootka  Sound,  p.  376. 


Until  the  beginning  of  May  the  greatest  secrecy  prevailed.  No 
inkling  of  the  trouble  had  escaped".  The  country  consequently  re- 
ceived a  rude  shock  when  on  the  morning  of  May  5th  it  was  learned 
that  a  press  of  seamen  had  occurred  the  preceding  night  and  that  the 
nation  was  on  the  verge  of  war  with  Spain.  The  next  day  the  King 
sent  a  message  to  Parliament  that  two  British  vessels  and  two  others 
whose  nationality  had  not  been  fully  ascertained  had  been  captured 
at  Nootka  by  an  officer  commanding  two  Spanish  ships  of  war,  their 
cargoes  seized  and  their  officers  and  crews  sent  as  prisoners  to  a 
Spanish  port.  The  correspondence  which  had  occurred  was  sum- 
marized and  Parliament  informed  that  no  satisfaction  had  been 
olTered;  that  moreover  "a  direct  claim  is  asserted  by  the  Court  of 
Spain  to  the  exclusive  rights  of  sovereignty,  navigation,  and  com- 
merce in  the  territories,  coasts,  and  seas  in  that  part  of  the  world."  ** 
After  stating  that  the  Minister  at  Madrid  was  to  renew  the  demand 
for  satisfaction,  His  Majesty  went  on  to  say  that  learning  that  Spain 
was  preparing  for  war  he  had  taken  similar  steps  and  then  appealed 
to  the  Commons  for  the  necessary  supply. 

Parliament  unanimously  supported  the  address  in  reply;  and  on 
June  loth  £1,000,000  was  voted  "to  enable  His  Majesty  to  act  as  the 
exigency  of  affairs  might  require."  '^  Preparations  for  war  went 
vigorously  forward.  The  introduction  to  Vancouver's  Voyage  tells 
of  "the  uncommon  celerity  and  unparalleled  dispatch  which  attended 
the  equipment  of  the  noblest  fleet  that  Great  Britain  ever  saw."  ** 
This  is  known  as  "The  Spanish  Armament,  1790."  The  populace 
were  greatly  excited.  War  with  Spain  appealed  strongly  to  the 
nation.  Old  scores  and  very  recent  ones  would  now  be  settled.  The 
literature  of  the  day  is  filled  with  pamphlets  in  which  the  high 
handed  acts  of  Spain  at  Nootka  and  at  the  Falkland  Islands  t\venty 
years  before  are  set  forth  with  many  additions  calculated  to  inflame 
the  public  mind.  A  rare  print  showing  the  seizure  of  Captain 
Colnett  is  reproduced  herewith.  Its  absolute  historical  inaccuracy  is 
an  index  to  the  public  knowledge  of  events  at  Nootka. 

The  Triple  Alliance  was  then  in  existence,  and  in  accordance 
with  its  terms  Great  Britain  called  upon  Holland  and  Prussia  for 
assistance.     The  Dutch  generously  responded  with  ten  sail  of  the 

**  Manning's  Nootka  Sound,  p.  381. 

''  Parliamentan-  Histon',  xxviii,  p.  784. 

2*  Vancouver's  Voyage,  Vol.  i,  p.  48;  ed.,  1801. 


line.  Prussia  engaged  to  fulfil  her  obligations  under  the  treaty  if 
war  should  occur.  The  various  colonies  were  notified  of  the  strained 
relations  with  Spain  and  ordered  to  be  prepared  for  defence.  Four 
regiments  of  foot  and  two  ships  of  war  were  ordered  to  the  West 

At  the  same  time  Spain  was  looking  for  support.  The  Family 
Compact  of  1761  bound  the  Bourbon  sovereigns  to  an  alliance  offen- 
sive and  defensive  and  naturally  Spain's  chief  reliance  was  therefore 
upon  France.  In  response  to  the  overtures  of  Spain,  Louis  XVI  or- 
dered an  armament  of  fourteen  ships  of  the  line.  The  States  General, 
then  under  the  control  of  the  Tiers  etat,  when  informed  of  this  action 
entered  into  a  lengthy  theoretical  discussion  upon  the  question 
whether  the  right  to  make  war  and  peace  was  in  the  King  or  in  the 
people.  In  the  end  the  King's  action  was  approved  as  a  precautionary 
measure  but  Floridablanca  was  informed  by  Montmorin,  the  French 
Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs,  that,  while  Spain  could  rely  upon  the 
King,  the  Assembly  was  a  doubtful  factor  and  in  view  of  this  condi- 
tion he  suggested  that  peace  should  be  maintained.^"  On  June  i6th 
Spain  made  formal  application  to  France  for  the  assistance  guaran- 
teed by  the  Family  Compact,  but  Montmorin  replied  that  the  As- 
sembly having  declared  that  the  right  to  make  peace  and  war  was 
in  the  people,  the  King,  Louis  XVI,  must  submit  the  demand  to  that 
body.  It  was  plain  to  Spain  that  no  aid  could  be  obtained  in  that 
quarter  and  a  change  took  place  in  her  diplomatic  tone. 

A  lengthy  circular  letter  had,  on  June  4th,  been  sent  by  Spain 
to  the  different  Courts  of  Europe  recounting  the  origin  of  the  dis- 
pute and  the  negotiations  with  Great  Britain.  The  right  of  Spain 
to  the  sovereignty,  navigation,  and  exclusive  commerce  of  the  conti- 
nent and  islands  of  the  South  Sea  was  explained  to  be  limited  and  to 
refer  only  to  the  continent,  islands,  and  seas  discovered  by  Spain  and 
secured  by  treaties  and  uniformly  acquiesced  in  by  the  nations  of  the 
world.-'  The  desire  to  maintain  peace  was  expressed  and  it  was  sug- 
gested that  the  menacing  tone  of  the  British  Government  indicated 
that  the  subject  was  being  used  merely  as  a  pretext  to  break  with 

-•'>  Manning's  Noofka  Sound,  pp.  386,  387. 

-"  Montmorin  to  Flciridahlanra,  .^rch.  Hist.  National  Madrid,  See  Estado   4038. 

-"  Creenhnw   Hist.,   -App.   D. 


While  warlike  preparations  were  proceeding  and  both  countries 
were  seeking  support  for  the  expected  struggle  the  diplomats  con- 
tinued their  exertions.  The  British  sent  Alleyne  Fitzherbert  as  Am- 
bassador to  Madrid,  as  it  was  found  unsatisfactory  to  carry  on  the 
negotiations  in  London.  It  would  serve  no  useful  purpose  to  deal 
closely  with  the  correspondence  that  ensued.  For  a  time  each  nation 
stood  its  ground,  for  in  this  contest  they  represented  two  antagonistic 
conceptions.  It  was  far  indeed  from  being  merely  a  fight  for  the 
"cat-skins  of  Nootka"  as  the  anonymous  author  of  the  Letters  on  the 
Errors  of  the  British  Minister  in  the  negotiation  with  the  Court  of 
Spain  calls  it.^*  The  Spaniard  clung  to  the  antiquated  notion  that 
because  his  subjects  had  been  the  first  of  Europeans  to  see  the  Pacific 
Ocean  all  lands  washed  by  its  waters  were  the  possessions  of  Spain. 
This  natural  title,  to  his  mind  unassailable,  became  indefeasible  by 
the  gift  of  Pope  Alexander  VI,  whose  Bull  of  May,  1493,  had  con- 
firmed to  Spain  all  lands  discovered  or  thereafter  to  be  discovered  by 
the  Spaniards  in  the  Western  Ocean.  The  Briton,  since  the  days 
of  the  Tudors,  had  acted  upon  the  principle  that  mere  discovery  is 
only  an  inchoate  title  and  that  lands  not  controlled  by  anv  civilized 
nation  become  the  territorial  possession  of  the  people  first  occupying 
and  developing  them.-"  As  for  the  Papal  Bull,  the  reply  of  Queen 
Elizabeth,  two  hundred  years  before,  crystallized  the  sentiments  of 
the  nation:  "That  she  could  not  persuade  herself  that  they  possessed 
any  just  title  by  the  Bishop  of  Rome's  donation,  in  whom  she 
acknowledged  no  prerogative  in  such  cases,  so  as  to  lay  any  tie  upon 
princes  who  owed  him  no  obedience.'"' 

Matters  gradually  assumed  a  less  belligerent  tone.  How  far  the 
peace  terminating  the  war  between  Sweden  and  Russia,  leaving 
the  latter  power  free  to  prosecute  her  attacks  on  Britain's  old  ally, 
Turkey,  and  how  far  the  existing  internal  difficulties  in  The  Nether- 
lands may  have  aided  in  this  pacific  movement  it  is  not  necessary 
to  enquire.  Britain  now  submitted  a  memorial  in  which,  after  de- 
claring that  a  peaceful  settlement  was  desired,  it  was  stated  that 
no  negotiation  to  that  end  could  be  undertaken  until  the  vessels  were 
restored,  Meares  indemnified,  and  satisfaction  given  for  the  insult 
to  the  British  flag.^' 

-5  Op.  cit.,  p.  31. 

-8  Manning's  Nootka  Sound,  pp.  377,  378. 

30  Speech  of  Senator  Colquitt,  February  17,  1846,  p.  7. 

81  Fitzherbert  to  Floridabl.inca,  June  13,  1790;  Annual  Register,  xxxii,  p.  298. 


From  June  13th,  wlicn  this  document  was  submitted,  until  July 
24th,  the  diplomats  discussed  the  questions.  Fitzherbert's  instruc- 
tions said  that  in  the  opinion  of  the  Foreign  Office  the  satisfaction 
when  given  would  necessarily  imply  that  Spain  was  "not  in  posses- 
sion of  an  actual,  known,  and  acknowledged  Sovereignty  and  Do- 
minion at  Nootka"  which  could  justify  her  action,  and  that  therefore 
no  discussion  upon  this  point  could  take  place  after  the  satisfaction; 
then  in  lengthy  and  verbose  phrase  the  Foreign  Office  went  on  to  say 
that  neither  could  any  discussion  take  place  before  the  satisfaction 
which  could  convince  Britain  of  Spain's  sovereignty  at  Nootka/'" 
Thus  it  appears  that  Pitt,  acting  in  this  somewhat  unreasonable  man- 
ner, was  determined  that  the  abandonment  of  the  Spanish  claim  of 
sovereignty  must  be  the  price  of  peace.  With  these  instructions  was 
enclosed  a  draft  of  declaration  and  counter-declaration  almost  iden- 
tical with  those  which  passed  between  Fitzherbert  and  Floridablanca 
on  July  24th.  By  the  declaration,  as  signed,  Spain  acknowledged 
her  willingness  to  give  satisfaction  for  the  injury  complained  of — 
the  capture  of  Meares's  vessels — to  make  full  restitution  and  to  in- 
demnify the  interested  parties  for  the  losses  sustained  thereby.  I'hus 
it  appears  that  the  "satisfaction"  about  which  so  much  had  been  said, 
which  had  been  so  strenuously  claimed  on  the  one  side  and  refused 
on  the  other,  was  simply  an  apology.  This  declaration  was  accepted 
by  counter-declaration  on  the  same  day  and  the  dark  war  clouds 
began   to  break. 

During  all  this  time  the  "Spanish  Armament"  lay  at  Spithcad. 
ready  to  stand  out  into  the  Atlantic  upon  the  shortest  notice;  Admiral 
Cornish  with  eight  ships  of  the  line  had  already  set  sail  and,  favoured 
by  an  easterly  wind,  was  clear  of  the  Channel.  The  Dutch  fleet  of 
ten  sail  of  the  line  under  Admiral  Kinsbergen  was  also  at  sea  ready 
to  cooperate.  A  detachment  of  the  Guards  to  the  number  of  two 
thousand  men  were  under  orders  to  march  to  Portsmouth  and  every 
preparation  had  been  made  to  facilitate  their  prompt  embarkation.''^ 
When  it  was  learned  that  Admiral  Cornish  had  sailed,  the  Spanish 
fleet  at  Cadiz  was  ordered  to  sea,  and  for  a  time  these  two  fleets  were 
hovering  near  Cape  Finisterre  dangerously  near  each  other.  Two 
Spanish  ships  of  war  carrying  one  thousand  soldiers  were  sent  to  Porto 

'-July  5,  1790,  Leeds  to  Fitzlierhert,  British  Museum   MSS.,  34432,   pp.  32-36. 
*' Events  1780  to  1790,  p.  174. 


Rico,  where  it  was  apprehended  an  early  attack  would  be  made.  By 
July  20th,  Spain  had  thirty-four  ships  of  the  line  and  sixteen  smaller 
craft  at  sea. 

Early  in  September  Fitzherbert  presented  to  Floridablanca  the 
first  projet  of  a  treaty.^*  And  again  the  arguments  and  counter-argu- 
ments, the  proposals  and  counter-proposals,  the  disputes  over  words 
and  phrases,  continued  for  more  than  a  month.  The  action  of  the 
NationalAssembly  of  France  in  reply  to  the  demand  for  aid  in  sug- 
gesting a  re-casting  of  the  Family  Compact,  showed  to  the  world 
that  while  Britain  could  rely  on  her  allies,  Spain  stood  alone.  The 
people  of  England  began  to  complain  of  the  inordinate  length  of  the 
negotiations  and  the  consequent  period  of  uncertainty.  The  firmness 
with  which  Britain  had  entered  upon  the  matter  foreshadowed 
immediate  satisfaction  or  war;  but,  now,  nearly  eight  months  had 
elapsed,  immense  expense  had  been  incurred,  yet  nothing  tangible 
had  been  obtained.  These  two  forces  caused  the  Ministry  to  be  in- 
sistent that  the  treaty  which  had  been  altered  and  resubmitted  on 
October  15th  should  be  arranged  within  ten  days.^^  The  Junta,  whose 
advice  was  taken,  were  of  opinion  that  the  fortunes  of  war  should 
be  tried,  declaring  that  its  terms  were  so  drastic  that  nothing  further 
could  be  demanded  at  the  end  of  an  unsuccessful  war.  Florida- 
blanca, however,  continued  the  discussion  and  succeeded  in  obtain- 
ing small  concessions  here  and  there.  The  treaty  with  these  changes 
was  presented  to  Floridablanca  on  October  23rd.  When  that  day's 
conference  closed,  the  Spanish  Minister  declared  that  he  was  still 
in  doubt  whether  the  reply  he  should  give  the  next  morning  would 
be  for  peace  or  for  war.  King  Carlos  IV,  however,  was  satisfied 
and,  on  October  28,  1790,  was  signed  the  Nootka  Sound  Convention. 
So  important  is  this  document  in  our  history,  and  so  much  has  it  been 
misunderstood  that  it  is  presented  in  full  in  the  appendix  to  this  work. 

Like  most  compromises  this  treaty  was  strongly  approved  and 
strongly  condemned  in  England  and  in  Spain.  In  the  former  coun- 
try the  opposition  led  by  Fox  declared  that  it  had  cut  down  the 
national  rights,  claiming  that  theretofore  Britain  had  had  the  right 
to  settle  in  any  part  of  America  not  fortified  against  her  bv  previous 
occupancy,  but  now  that  right  was  limited;  so  too  the  navigation. 

^*  Narrative,  p.  i68. 
''Narrative,  pp.  257-285. 


fishery,  and  commerce  of  the  Pacific,  before  without  restriction,  were 
subject  to  the  limitations  of  the  treaty.  The  fact  that  Spain  had 
always  denied  any  such  rights  was  not  in  their  opinion  material. 
Hence  her  partial  waiver  was  no  adequate  return  for  the  restrictions 
now  placed  on  British  subjects.  In  Spain  the  treaty  was  distasteful 
to  the  national  pride  and  was  regarded  as  a  breaking  away  from  time- 
honoured  views.  The  enemies  of  Floridablanca  would  not  be  satis- 
fied with  his  explanations,  nor  with  his  suggestion  that  it  was  only 
a  temporary  expedient  owing  to  the  inadvisability  of  resorting  to  the 
arbitrament  of  the  sword  in  the  present  unhappy  condition  of  Spain. 
So  insistent  were  they  that  in  February,  1792,  Floridablanca  was  dis- 
missed from  ofBce  after  fifteen  years  of  faithful  service.  His  fall  was 
attributed  to  the  Nootka  Sound  Convention. 

To  the  world  at  large  this  treaty  was  the  first  external  evidence 
of  the  ebb  of  the  tide — the  beginning  of  the  collapse  of  the  Spanish 
colonial  system.  It  was  the  first  express  renunciation  of  Spain's 
ancient  claim  to  exclusive  sovereignty,  navigation,  commerce,  and 
fisheries  on  the  Pacific  Coast  of  America. 

The  treaty  itself  does  not  deal  with  sovereignty  at  all.  Beyond 
the  engagement  to  restore  the  buildings  and  land  and  to  indemnify 
Meares  for  his  losses,  it  deals  only  with  navigation,  fishery,  and  com- 
merce in  the  Pacific  and  the  forming  of  settlements  on  its  shores. 
The  satisfaction  given  by  Spain  in  July,  1790,  is  the  abandonment  of 
her  claim  to  sovereignty  in  this  latitude,  for  it  was  an  admission  that 
Martinez  was  in  the  wrong  in  seizing  the  vessels,  which  he  would 
not  have  been,  had  the  territory  been  subject  to  Spain.  But  neither 
the  treaty  nor  the  declaration  ever  transferred  or  attempted  to  trans- 
fer the  abandoned  Spanish  sovereignty.  In  the  result  the  settlement 
of  the  Nootka  difficulty  left  this  Northwest  coast  (at  least  so  far  as 
related  to  the  undefined  territory  beyond  the  line  which  international 
law  would  allow  Spain  to  claim  as  hers  under  the  doctrine  of  pro- 
pinquity) a  land  without  sovereignty  in  any  European  state,  a  sort 
of  no-man's-land  to  which  title  could  be  acquired  by  entering  into 
possessif)n  and  exercising  dominion  over  it.  This  position  is  im- 
portant to  be  borne  in  mind  because  of  its  connection  with  the  Oregon 
Dispute  nearly  sixty  years  later. 

The  provision  for  the  restoration  of  the  land  and  buildings  at 
Nootka  falls  properly  into  the  consideration  of  the  work  of  Capt. 


George  Vancouver  on  this  coast  and  will  be  dealt  with  in  a  subse- 
quent chapter. 

The  compensation  which  Spain  had  agreed  to  make  was  referred 
to  commissioners  to  adjust,  and  after  the  usual  delays  a  convention 
was  signed  by  Don  Manuel  de  las  Heras  on  behalf  of  Spain,  and 
Mr.  Ralph  Woodford  on  behalf  of  Great  Britain,  at  London  on 
February  12,  1793,  whereby  Spain  agreed  to  pay  to  the  interested 
parties  "two  hundred  and  ten  thousand  hard  dollars  in  specie"  in  full 
of  all  damages.  Meares  in  his  Memorial  had  with  his  usual  exag- 
geration claimed  $153,433  as  actual  losses  and  $500,000  as  probable 
losses.^''  To  reach  these  figures  he  had,  for  instance,  valued  all  sea- 
otter  skins  at  $100  apiece,  though  as  Dixon  in  his  Remarks  pointed 
out  the  average  price  of  all  such  skins  obtained  on  this  coast  since 
the  time  of  Captain  Hanna  (1785)  was  but  $29  1/6;'"  Meares 
further  estimated  that  the  Iphigenia,  North  West  America,  and  Prin- 
cess Royal  would  have  collected  a  thousand  skins  each  and  the  Argo- 
naut two  thousand  skins,  even  though  in  the  preceding  year  the 
combined  result  of  the  work  of  the  Felice  and  the  Iphigenia  had 
been  but  seven  hundred  and  fifty  skins,  which  had  been  sold  at  an 
average,  as  he  (Meares)  claimed,  of  $50  each.-^'*  In  this  connection 
it  must  not  be  overlooked  that  the  Iphigenia  had  only  been  under 
seizure  for  about  a  fortnight  and  Meares  had  in  hand  her  returns; 
this,  however,  did  not  prevent  him  from  claiming  them  over  again. 
It  may  therefore  be  safely  concluded  that  the  amount  paid  by  Spain 
was  a  verv  liberal  allowance  and  far  exceeded  any  actual  losses. 

'*  Meares'  Memorial,  .^pp.  14. 

^'Dixon's  Remarks  on  Meares'  Voyage,  pp.   11,   12. 

^*  Answer  to  Dixon,  pp.  22,  23. 




Some  months  before  news  of  the  capture  of  the  British  vessels  at 
Nootka  Sound  had  reached  England,  the  Government  had  determined 
to  continue  the  survey  of  the  Northwest  coast,  so  well  begun  by  Cap- 
tain Cook.  Henry  Roberts,  who  had  served  under  that  great  navi- 
gator, was  offered  and  accepted  command  of  the  expedition.  George 
Vancouver,  who  also  had  sailed  with  Cook  as  midshipman,  was  com- 
missioned to  accompany  Roberts  as  second  in  command.  However, 
just  as  preparations  were  nearing  completion,  word  reached  the  Gov- 
ernment of  the  Nootka  trouble.  It  appeared,  at  first,  that  neither 
Great  Britain  nor  Spain  would  submit  to  the  demands  of  the  other. 
Both  countries  actively  prepared  for  war  and,  for  the  time  being,  the 
second  British  expedition  to  the  Northwest  coast  was  abandoned,  in 
order  that  the  officers  and  men  might  be  drafted  into  the  vessels  then 
being  commissioned  for  active  service.  Spain,  as  related  in  the  pre- 
ceding chapter,  was  in  no  position  to  engage  in  hostilities  and  before 
the  autumn  of  1790  the  Nootka  Convention  had  been  arranged  and 
peaceful  relations  restored. 

The  Nootka  dispute  was  no  sooner  settled  than  the  British  Gov- 
ernment again  turned  its  attention  to  western  American  affairs.  Van- 
couver was  given  command  of  the  postponed  expedition,  Roberts 
being  engaged  elsewhere.  The  Discovery,  a  new  sloop  of  three  hun- 
dred and  forty  tons,  originally  designed  for  the  service,  was  recom- 
missioned.  She  was  to  be  accompanied  by  the  armed  tender  Chatham, 
of  one  hundred  and  thirty-five  tons,  in  command  of  Lieutenant 
William  Robert  Broughton.  Great  care  was  exercised  in  preparing 
the  vessels  for  their  long  voyage.  As  in  the  case  of  Cook's  ships,  the 
stores  supplied  were  of  the  best  that  the  arsenals  could  produce. 

In  accordance  with  the  terms  of  the  Nootka  Convention,  Van- 
couver was  clothed  with  authority  to'  receive  from  the  Spanish  officer 



he  was  to  meet  at  Nootka,  the  lands  and  houses  that  Meares  claimed 
had  been  wrested  from  him  in  May,  1789.  He  was  also  to  explore 
the  Northwest  coast  of  America,  between  the  parallels  of  30  degrees 
and  60  degrees,  north  latitude.  In  his  examination  Vancouver  was  to 
take  particular  pains  to  keep  in  view: 

"  ist.  The  acquiring  accurate  information  with  respect  to  the  nature 
and  extent  of  any  water  communication,  which  may  tend  in  any  con- 
siderable degree,  to  facilitate  an  intercourse,  for  the  purposes  of  com- 
merce, between  the  North-West  coast,  and  the  countries  upon  the 
opposite  side  of  the  continent,  which  are  inhabited  or  occupied  by  His 
Majesty's  subjects." 

"andly.  The  ascertaining,  vvith  as  much  precision  as  possible,  the 
number,  extent,  and  situation  of  any  settlements  which  have  been  made 
within  the  limits  above  mentioned,  by  any  European  nation,  and  the 
time  when  such  settlement  was  first  made."  ^ 

With  respect  to  the  first,  it  was  deemed  of  great  importance  that 
it  should  be  definitely  settled  whether  any  of  the  inlets  or  fiords 
recently  discovered,  or  that  might  be  discovered,  communicated  with 
the  Atlantic;  or  if  there  were  any  large  rivers  communicating  with 
the  lakes  discovered  by  the  French  and  British  furtraders  in  the  heart 
of  the  continent.  Men  still  clung  to  the  false  theories  respecting  that 
ignis  fatuus,  the  Strait  of  Anian,  which  for  so  many  years  had  exer- 
cised the  minds  of  geographers  and  led  them  to  believe  all  manner  of 
strange  stories  of  that  mysterious  northern  way.  Cook's  voyage, 
although  it  had  done  much  to  rob  these  false  theories  of  their  vogue, 
at  least  among  British  men  of  science,  had  not  by  any  means  killed 
belief  in  the  Strait  of  Anian.  Meares  had  endeavoured  to  revive  inter- 
est in  the  ancient  relations,  and  his  positive  assertions  for  a  time  influ- 
enced the  opinion  of  some  geographers;  and  just  at  this  time  Buache, 
the  French  geographer,  astonished  Europe  bv  proving,  to  his  own 
satisfaction  at  least,  that  the  strait  of  the  charlatan  Maldonado  was 
not  a  figment  of  tlic  imagination  but  a  reality.  So  Vancouver  was 
instructed  to  lay  at  rest  once  and  forever  all  such  crude  theories 
respecting  navigable  rivers  and  straits  that  by  long  and  sinuous  pas- 
sages connected  the  Pacific  and  Atlantic  Oceans.  British  geographers 
of  that  generation  were  not  impressed  with  Maldonado  or  de  Fonte; 
nor  did  they  believe  in  the  existence  of  their  chains  of  lakes  and  rivers. 

'Vancouver's  Voyage,  Quarto  ed.,  vol.   i,  p.  X\'III. 


The  romance  of  the  Elizabethan  era  could  not  flourish  in  the  materi- 
alistic Georgian  period.  Already  the  golden  age  of  discovery  had 
passed,  and  no  longer  were  the  extravagant  tales  of  the  quack  explorer 
received  with  credulous  regard.  In  fact,  the  material  view  of  the 
Georgian  period  had  suppressed  the  romantic  and  placed  on  high  the 
politico-economic.  In  that  age  Samuel  Purchas  and  his  accounts 
of  the  "silver  bowels"'  and  "golden  entrails"  of  America,  and  such 
picturesque  descriptions  deceived  no  one. 

In  view  of  the  fact  that  the  officer  placed  in  command  of  the  expe- 
dition failed  to  find  the  two  principal  rivers  of  western  America,  the 
Columbia  and  the  Eraser,  it  is  interesting  to  recall  that  he  was  speci- 
fically instructed  not  only  to  ascertain  the  general  line  of  the  sea  coast, 
"but  also  the  direction  and  extent  of  all  such  considerable  inlets, 
whether  made  by  arms  of  the  sea,  or  by  the  mouths  of  large  rivers,  as 
may  be  likely  to  lead  to  or  facilitate""  a  communication  with  the 

To  all  vessels  belonging  to  His  Catholic  Majesty,  Vancouver  was 
to  extend  every  assistance  in  his  power  and  to  avoid  giving  any  ofifence 
to  the  subjects  of  the  Spanish  King.  It  was  particularly  recommended 
that  the  British  officer  upon  meeting  with  Spanish  men  of  war,  should 
enter  into  a  free  and  unreserved  communication  of  all  charts  and 
discaveries  made  by  him,  upon  the  condition  that  the  Spanish  officers 
should  reciprocate  the  courtesy. 

Additional  instructions  were  forwarded  by  the  Admiralty  with 
Lieutenant  Hergest,  commanding  the  trans-port  Daedalus.  These 
were  confined  more  particularly  to  the  procedure  to  be  followed  at 
Nootka  Sound  in  the  surrender  of  the  "buildings,"  and  "districts,"  or 
"parcels  of  land,"  recently  seized  by  the  Spaniards  and  to  the  move- 
ments of  the  transport.  With  the  additional  instructions  a  letter  was 
transmitted  from  Count  Floridablanca,  dated  the  12th  of  May,  1791, 
and  addressed  to  the  Governor  or  Commander  of  the  "Port  at  St. 
Lawrence,"  instructing  that  officer  to  immediately  surrender  the  lands 
at  Nootka  Sound  and  Port  Cox,  claimed  by  the  British. 

Yet  another  note  of  instruction  was  despatched  to  Vancouver,  but 
this  was  merely  the  usual  formal  order  that  he  should  repair  to  Lon- 
don immediately  on  his  return,  to  lay  before  the  Lords  Commissioners 
of  the  Admiralty  a  full  account  of  his  voyage,  and  to  take  care,  before 

-  Vancouver's  Voyage,  Quarto  ed.,  vol.  i,  p.  XIX. 


leaving  the  sloop  "to  demand  from  the  officers,  and  petty  officers,  the 
log  books,  journals,  drawings,  etc.,  they  may  have  kept,  and  to  seal 
them  up  for  our  inspection;  and  enjoining  them,  and  the  whole  crew 
not  to  divulge  where  they  had  been  until  they  shall  have  permission  to 
do  so."  ■' 

The  Chatham  and  Discovery  sailed  from  Falmouth  the  ist  of 
April,  1791,  and  after  a  long  passage,  in  the  course  of  which  New  Hol- 
land, Van  Diemen's  Land,  and  New  Zealand  were  visited,  the  ves- 
sels arrived  at  the  Sandwich  Islands  in  January,  1792.  Departing 
thence  in  March,  Vancouver  sighted  the  coast  of  New  Albion  on  the 
17th  of  April,  in  latitude  39^27'.  "The  shore  appeared  straight  and 
unbroken,  of  a  moderate  height,  with  mountainous  land  behind,  cov- 
ered with  stately  forest  trees;  except  in  some  spots,  which  had  the 
appearance  of  having  been  cleared  by  manual  labour ;  and  e.xhibited  a 
verdant,  agreeable  aspect."  * 

Vancouver  directed  his  course  along  the  coast  to  the  northward, 
keeping  within  sight  of  land  and  determining  the  position  of  its  vari- 
ous capes  and  bays.  Off  Cape  Orford  the  vessels  were  visited  by 
the  natives  in  canoes  and  the  explorer  observes  that  "a  pleasing  and 
courteous  deportment  distinguished  these  people."  Under  the  46th 
parallel,  the  Cape  Disappointment  of  Meares  was  sighted,  but,  as 
Meares  had  done  before  him,  Vancouver  failed  to  observe  the  great 
fluvial  artery,  the  estuary  of  which  was  discovered  a  few  months  later 
by  Captain  Gray  of  the  American  ship  Columbia.  So  much  has  been 
said  and  written  of  Vancouver's  failure  to  discover  the  opening,  found 
shortly  afterwards  by  the  American  captain,  that  exceptional  interest 
is  added  to  the  British  explorer's  observations  with  regard  to  the  land 
sighted  on  Friday,  the  29th  of  April.  "Noon  brought  us  up,"  so  runs 
the  journal,  "with  a  very  conspicuous  point  of  land  composed  of  a 
cluster  of  hummocks,  moderately  high,  and  projecting  into  the  sea 
from  the  low  land  before  mentioned.  These  hummocks  are  barren, 
and  steep  near  the  sea,  but  their  tops  thinly  covered  with  wood.  On  the 
south  side  of  this  promontorv  was  the  appearance  of  an  inlet,  or  small 
river,  the  land  behind  not  indicating  it  to  be  of  any  great  extent;  nor 
did  it  seem  accessible  for  vessels  of  our  burthen,  as  the  breakers 
extended  from  the  above  point  2  or  3  miles  into  the  ocean,  until  they 

^Vancouver's   Voyage,   Quarto  ed.,  vol.   i,   p.   XXVIII. 
*  Id.,  p.   196. 

Aiii'i  ;iri  ni,|  Drawing  by  Davidson 

Captain  Gray  obliged  to  fire  upon  the  natives 
who  disregarded  liis  orders  to  keep  off 

After  one  of  DavKlson's  old  KrawlnKs 


Ca])tain   Gray   with  chart   in   liand,  eonversing 

with  one  of  liis  odici'rs 

Afler  yii  liltl  Itriiwlng  by  Davidsun 

Captain  Gray  giving  orders  to  Mr.  Yendell  con- 
cerning tlie  buiUIing  of  the  sloop 

AftiT  an  old  Drawing  by  PavUlson 


Captinii  Gray,  facing  the  slii|is,  converses  with 
a    Irieiid    upon    the   discovery   of   Oregon 


joined  those  on  the  beach  nearly  four  leagues  further  south.  On  refer- 
ence to  Mr.  Meares's  description  of  the  coast  south  of  this  promontory, 
I  was  at  first  inclined  to  believe  it  to  be  Cape  Shoalvvater,  but  on  ascer- 
taining its  latitude,  I  presumed  it  to  be  that  which  he  calls  Cape 
Disappointment;  and  the  opening  to  the  south  of  it.  Deception  Bay."  " 
So  Vancouver  missed  the  mouth  of  the  Columbia  River. 

Passing  Point  Grenville  and  Barkley's  Destruction  Island,  Van- 
couver reached  the  latitude  in  which  geographers  of  more  than  a  cen- 
tury and  a  half  had  placed  the  Strait  of  Juan  de  Fuca.  Dalrymple, 
the  cartographer,  in  his  rare  pamphlet  entitled  "Plan  for  Promoting 
the  Fur  Trade,"  published  in  1789,  states  that  "it  is  alledged  that  the 
Spaniards  have  recently  found  an  entrance  in  the  latitude  of  47^45' 
north,  which  in  27  days  course  brought  them  to  the  vicinity  of  Hud- 
son's Bay;  this  latitude  exactly  corresponds  to  the  ancient  relation  of 
John  de  Fuce,  the  Greek,  pilot  in  1592."  Here,  by  a  coincidence  as 
strange  as  it  was  fortunate,  Vancouver  fell  in  with  the  Columbia,  com- 
manded by  Captain  Robert  Gray.  Having  read  Meares'  account  of 
the  voyage  of  the  sloop  JVashington  behind  Nootka,  he  was  naturally 
anxious  to  hear  more  of  the  discoveries  made  on  that  occasion.  Puget 
and  Menzies  were  sent  on  board  to  acquire  "such  information  as  might 
be  serviceable  in  our  future  operations."  On  the  return  of  the  boat 
Vancouver  learned  that  Gray  had  commanded  the  sloop  Washington 
in  1789  at  the  time  she  was  supposed  to  have  made  a  singular  voyage 
behind  Nootka.  "It  was  not  a  little  remarkable,"  observed  Vancou- 
ver, "that,  on  our  approach  to  the  entrance  of  this  inland  sea,  we 
should  fall  in  with  the  identical  person,  who,  it  had  been  stated,  had 
sailed  through  it.  His  relation,  however,  differed  very  materially 
from  that  published  in  England.  It  is  not  possible  to  conceive  anyone 
to  be  more  astonished  than  was  Captain  Gray,  on  his  being  made 
acquainted,  that  his  authority  had  been  quoted,  and  the  track  pointed 
out  that  he  had  been  said  to  have  made  in  the  sloop  Washington.  In 
contradiction  to  which,  he  assured  the  oflicers,  that  he  had  penetrated 
only  50  miles  into  the  Straits  in  question,  in  an  E.  S.  E.  direction ;  that 
he  found  the  passage  5  leagues  wide;  and  that  he  understood  from  the 
natives  that  the  opening  extended  a  considerable  distance  to  the  north- 
ward; that  this  was  all  the  information  he  had  acquired  respecting 
this  inland  sea,  and  that  he  returned  into  the  ocean  by  the  same  way  he 

'Vancouver's  Voyage,  Quarto  ed.,  vol.   i,  pp.  209-10. 

Vol       I— I   I 


had  entered  at."  Gray  also  gave  his  visitors  information  as  to  his 
operations  on  the  coast  in  the  winter,  relating,  among  other  things, 
that  the  Clayoquot  chief,  Wicaninish,  planned  to  capture  his  ship  by 
bribing  a  Sandwich  islander  on  board  to  wet  the  priming  of  his  fire- 
arms, thus  to  enable  the  Indians  who  had  assembled  for  that  purpose 
to  overpower  the  crew.  The  plot  was  happily  discovered  in  time  to 
prevent  its  execution.  The  ships  then  parted,  the  Discovery  and  Chat- 
liani  to  the  northward,  while  the  Co/unihia  followed  them,  although 
Gray  had  stated  that  it  was  his  intention  to  proceed  southward  on  a 
trading  cruise.'' 

At  noon  on  Sunday,  April  29th,  the  Discovery  and  Chatliani,  the 
latter  in  the  lead,  sailed  into  the  Strait  of  Juan  de  Fuca.  Vancouver 
in  passing  gave  the  name  of  Classet  to  the  Cape  Flattery  of  Cook. 
The  vessels  passed  between  Tatooche  Island  and  a  large  rock,  which  in 
honour  of  Duncan,  who  had  first  sketched  the  entrance  of  the  strait, 
was  named  Rock  Duncan.  Then  Vancouver  commenced  his  careful 
and  laborious  survey  of  the  great  inland  sea,  studded  with  islands,  that 
is  such  a  remarkable  feature  of  the  coast.  Vancouver  hugged  the  con- 
tinental shore  and,  proceeding  from  point  to  point,  at  last  reached  the 
maze  of  islands  and  inlets,  to  which  he  gave  the  name  of  Puget  Sound, 
in  honour  of  Peter  Puget,  his  second  lieutenant.  Although  the 
e.xplorer  anchored  under  New  Dungeness  not  far  from  the  Port 
Angeles  of  the  present  day,  it  is  not  recorded  either  in  the  narrative  of 
the  expedition,  nor  in  any  other  authentic  work,  that  he  visited  that 
beautiful  park-like  country  at  the  southern  extremity  of  Vancouver 
Island,  which  fifty  years  later  excited  the  admiration  of  Captain 
McNeill,  of  the  steamer  Beaver,  and  James  Douglas,  chief  factor  of 
the  Hudson's  Bay  Company. 

Strictly  following  the  letter  of  his  instructions.  Vancouver  sur- 
veyed, with  elaborate  care,  each  bay  and  harbour,  each  inlet  and 
sound.  The  nomenclature  of  the  shores  of  that  mediterranean  sea 
bears  ample  testimony  of  his  minute  examination.  With  the  excep- 
tion of  the  names  bestowed  by  the  Spaniards  in  their  surveys  of  the 
years  1791  and  1792,  there  is  scarcely  a  large  island,  bay  or  sound,  or 
a  prominent  cape  that  does  not  bear  the  name  given  it  by  the  British 
explorer.  Vancouver  at  once  and  forever  disposed  of  the  mystery  of 
the  Strait  of  Anian.     Before  his  investigations  Maldonado  and  De 

*  Vancouver's  Voyage,  Quarto  ed.,  vol.   i,   pp.  214-15. 

Prom  an  old  Drawing  by  Haswell 




From  an  old  Drawiiiy  by  Hiuwull 






Krom  an  old  Drawlnn  hy  Davidson 



Fonte,  Juan  Ladrillero,  and  Martin  Chakc,  and  all  the  pretentions  of 
those  who  had  averred  their  belief  in  the  exploits  of  these  impostors, 
dissolved  into  thin  air,  leaving  not  a  wrack  behind.  But  more  than 
that,  Vancouver  not  onlv  laid  at  rest  these  stories,  but  he  was  the  first 
to  establish  the  insular  character  of  the  land  occupied  by  the  Spaniards 
in  1789.  Before  his  day,  the  Indians  had  reported  to  Spaniard  and 
furtrader  that  behind  Nootka  lay  channels  of  the  sea,  and  indeed  it 
had  been  opined  that  the  shores  visited  by  adventurers  in  their  search 
for  the  pelt  of  the  sea-otter  were  not  part  of  the  continent,  but  merely 
a  chain  of  islands  that  fringed  the  coast.  Vancouver,  however,  was 
the  first  explorer  to  establish  this  fact. 

In  the  evening  of  April  30th,  the  Ch(ith(U)i  2ind  Disc  ox'ery  anchored 
ofT  New  Dungeness.  Perhaps  it  was  a  happy  omen  that  May-Day 
dawned  bright  and  beautiful.  But  whether  or  no,  there  were  any  on 
board  superstitious  enough  to  give  heed  to  signs,  the  fact  remains  that 
from  that  day  until  the  beginning  of  August,  when  the  vessels  sailed 
into  Queen  Charlotte's  Sound,  no  serious  mishap  befell  the  expedition. 
Proceeding  from  New  Dungeness,  Vancouver  sailed  through  Admir- 
alty Inlet  to  Puget  Sound,  thence  past  Whidby  Island,  the  beautiful 
San  Juan  or  Haro  Archipelago,  and,  still  hugging  the  continental 
shore,  by  Bellingham  Bay  and  Lummi  Island  into  the  southern  end  of 
the  Gulf  of  Georgia;  thence  on  to  Semiahmoo  and  Boundary  Bays, 
Points  Roberts  and  Grey,  to  the  entrance  of  Burrard  Inlet.  Point 
Grey  was  so  named  "in  compliment  to  my  friend  Captain  George 
Grey  of  the  Navy,"  and  Point  Roberts  "after  mv  esteemed  friend  and 
predecessor  in  the  Discovery."  ' 

Here  again  Vancouver  failed  to  find  a  large  river.  Between  these 
points  the  Eraser  embouches  into  the  Gulf  of  Georgia,  but  although 
in  crossing  from  one  point  to  the  other,  the  strong  current  of  the  river, 
and  its  vast  sand-banks  forced  the  small  boat,  in  which  the  explorer 
was  making  his  examination,  far  into  the  Gulf  and  although  it  was 
noticed  that  the  intermediate  space  was  occupied  bv  low  land,  appar- 
ently a  swampy  flat  that  extended  several  miles  back  from  the  shore, 
the  river  of  which  this  swampy  flat  was  the  delta  was  not  discovered. 
Moreover,  it  was  observed  that  the  water  "nearly  half  over  the  Gulph, 
and  accompanied  bv  a  rapid  tide  was  nearly  colourless,  whicli  gave  us 
some  reason  to  suppose  that  the  northern  branch  of  the  Sound  might 

"  A'ancouver's  Voyage,  Quarto  e<l.,  vol.   i,  pp.   299-300. 


possibly  be  discovered  to  terminate  in  a  river  of  considerable  extent." 
Between  Points  Grey  and  Atkinson,  Vancouver  found  the  narrow 
entrance  of  a  long  canal,  which  he  examined  with  care,  little  thinking 
that  on  the  shore  of  this  inlet  was  to  arise  a  great  city,  destined  to  be 
the  western  metropolis  of  the  greatest  Dominion  of  the  British  Empire. 
That  inlet  was  named  Burrard's  Canal  after  Sir  Harry  Burrard. 

Following  the  v^'estern  shore  of  the  Gulf  he  had  named  in  honour 
of  the  reigning  sovereign,  George  III.,  Vancouver  discovered  and 
explored  the  inlet  named  after  Sir  John  Jervis.  Returning  to  Point 
Grey,  where  it  was  the  intention  to  land  and  breakfast,  Vancouver 
fell  in  with  tw'o  little  Spanish  vessels,  the  Sutil  and  Mexicana,  com- 
manded respectively  by  Don  Dionisio  Galiano  and  Don  Cayetano 
Valdez.  These  vessels  proved  to  be  a  detachment  from  the  expedi- 
tion of  the  accomplished  but  unfortunate  Malaspina,  then  in  the  serv- 
ice of  Spain.  Galiano  and  Valdez  had  entered  the  strait  five  days 
after  the  British  expedition,  and  since  that  time  had  been  engaged  in 
examining  the  coasts  partly  surveyed  by  Spanish  officers  in  previous 

Vancouver,  who  up  to  that  time,  had  not  known  that  the  waters  he 
had  explored  had  been  visited  by  the  Spaniards,  was  not  altogether 
pleased  to  find  this  the  case.  'T  cannot  avoid  acknowledging,"  he 
says  in  his  journal,  "that,  on  this  occasion,  I  experienced  no  small 
degree  of  mortification  in  finding  that  the  external  shores  of  the  Gulph 
had  been  visited,  and  already  examined  a  few  miles  beyond  where  my 
researches  during  the  excursion,  had  extended."  * 

Here  on  that  summer  morning  of  one  hundred  and  twenty  years 
ago,  chance  caused  the  two  exploring  expeditions  to  meet.  In  a  man- 
ner it  may  be  described  as  an  historic  occasion,  for  the  one  signified 
the  rise  of  a  new  power,  and  the  other  marked  the  close  of  Spanish 
effort  on  the  Northwest  coast.  The  well  equipped  British  vessels 
were  in  marked  contrast  to  the  little  galleys  of  Spain.  The  meeting 
was  observed  by  an  interchange  of  courtesies  between  the  British  and 
Spanish  officers. 

Almost  the  first  news  imparted  to  Vancouver  was  that  Bodega  y 
Quadra,  the  commandant  of  San  Bias  in  California,  was  awaiting  the 
arrival  of  the  British  Commissioner  at  Nootka,  in  order  to  restore  the 
disputed  territory  to  the  Crown  of  Great  Britain,  in  accordance  with 

*  Vancouver,  Voyages,  London,  1798,  vol.   i,  p.  312. 

Head  of  North  Arm,  Burrard  Inlot 



terms  of  the  Nootka  Convention.  Vancouver  speaks  in  high  terms  of 
the  behaviour  of  the  Spanish  officers :  "Their  conduct  was  replete  with 
that  politeness  and  friendship  which  characterizes  the  Spanish  nation; 
every  kind  of  useful  information  they  cheerfully  communicated,  and 
obligingly  expressed  much  desire,  that  circumstances  might  so  concur 
as  to  admit  of  our  respective  labours  being  carried  on  together;  for 
which  purpose,  or,  if  from  our  long  absence  and  fatigue  in  an  open 
boat,  I  would  wish  to  remain  with  my  party  as  their  guest,  they  would 
immediately  despatch  a  boat  with  such  directions  as  I  might  deem 
necessary  for  the  conduct  of  the  ships,  or,  in  the  event  of  a  favourable 
breeze  springing  up,  they  would  weigh  and  sail  directly  to  their  sta- 
tion; but,  being  intent  on  losing  no  time,  I  declined  their  obliging 
offers,  and  having  partaken  with  them  a  very  hearty  breakfast,  bade 
them  farewell,,  not  less  pleased  with  their  hospitality  and  attention, 
than  astonished  at  the  vessels  in  which  they  were  employed  to  execute 
a  service  of  such  a  nature.  They  were  each  of  about  forty-five  tons 
burthen,  mounted  two  brass  guns,  and  were  navigated  by  twenty-four 
men,  bearing  one  lieutenant,  without  a  single  inferior  officer.  Their 
apartments  just  allowed  room  for  sleeping  places  on  each  side,  with  a 
table  in  the  intermediate  space,  at  which  four  persons  with  some 
difficulty,  could  sit,  and  were  in  all  other  respects,  the  most  ill  cal- 
culated and  unfit  vessels  that  could  possibly  be  imagined  for  such  an 
expedition;  notwithstanding  this,  it  was  pleasant  to  observe,  in  point 
of  living,  they  possessed  many  more  comforts  than  could  reasonably 
have  been  expected."  " 

The  Sntil  and  Mexicann  were  fitted  out  at  Acapulco  as  an  adjunct 
of  Malaspina's  expedition  in  the  Dcscuhierta  and  Atrevida,  but  these 
vessels  had  sailed  before  the  schooners  reached  that  port.  The  voyage 
was  undertaken  for  the  purpose  of  continuing  the  examination  of  the 
Straits  of  Fuca,  commenced  by  Manuel  Quimper,  under  Don  Fran- 
cisco Eliza,  who  had  been  ordered  in  1790  to  survey  that  inlet.  It  is 
stated  in  the  official  narrative  of  the  expedition  that  Estevan  Martinez, 
in  sailing  down  the  coast  in  the  Santiago  in  the  year  1774  had  sighted 
a  broad  entrance  a  little  to  the  north  of  the  48th  parallel.  In 
the  logof  the  Santiago,  however,  no  mention  is  made  of  that  discovery. 
The  Sntil  carried  Dionisio  Galiano,  who  commanded  the  expedition, 
Secundino  Salamanca  and  seventeen  men;  and  the  Mcxirana,  Caye- 

•  Vancouver's  Voyage,  Quarto  ed.,  vol.  i,  pp.  313-14. 


tano  V'aldez,  Juan  Vernachi,  Josef  Cordero,  draughtsman,  and  the 
same  complement  of  men  as  the  Sutil.  In  view  of  Vancouver's  remarks 
upon  the  size  and  equipment,  it  is  interesting  to  note  that  the  dimen- 
sions of  each  ship  were  as  follows:  Keel — 46  feet,  10  inches;  Length 
over  all — 50  feet,  3  inches;  Beam — 13  feet,  10  inches;  Aft-hold — 6 
feet,  2  inches;  Forehold — 5  feet,  8  inches.  The  armament  consisted 
of  one  three-pounder,  four  falcons,  eighteen  muskets,  twenty-four 
pistols,  and  eighteen  sabres. 

The  Sutil  and  Mexicana  sailed  from  the  Mexican  port  on  March 
8th,  and,  after  a  stormy  voyage,  in  which  the  latter  was  dismasted, 
reached  Nootka  on  May  12th,  finding  there  Francisco  Eliza,  with  the 
frigate  Concepcion,  the  Santa  Gertrudis,  Alonso  de  Torres  com- 
mander, and  the  brigantine  Activa.  Bodega  y  Quadra  had  arrived 
but  a  few  days  before  to  carry  out  the  convention  concluded  between 
the  Spanish  Court  and  that  of  England  in  1790.  Galiano's  journal 
throws  an  interesting  light  upon  the  Spanish  occupation  of  Nootka,  , 
and  especially  upon  the  relations  that  existed  between  his  country- 
men and  the  natives.  "While  we  were  in  this  port,"  he  writes  on  one 
occasion,  ''we  saw  with  particular  gratification  the  close  friendship 
which  reigned  between  the  Spaniards  and  the  Indians.  Maquinna, 
influenced  by  the  presents  and  good  treatment  of  Commander  Quadra, 
had  come  to  live  very  near  the  ships.  He  ate  from  the  Commander's 
table  daily,  and,  though  not  at  it,  was  very  near,  and  used  his  knife 
and  fork  like  the  most  polished  European,  allowing  himself  to  be 
waited  on  by  the  servants,  and  amusing  everybody  by  his  merry 
humour.  He  drank  wine  with  pleasure,  and  left  to  others,  so  as  not 
to  muddle  his  brain,  the  care  of  limiting  his  quantum  of  that  liquor, 
which  he  called  "Water  of  Spain."  He  was  usually  accompanied  by 
his  brother,  Quatlazape,  for  whom  he  showed  great  affection.  Some 
of  his  relatives  and  vassals  also  generally  dined  in  the  cabin,  and  for 
these  latter  a  dish  of  beans  or  haricots,  food  they  most  preferred,  was 
set  daily.  Maquinna  was  endowed  with  clear  and  alert  talent,  and 
very  well  knew  his  rights  of  sovereignty.  He  complained  of  the  treat- 
ment of  the  foreign  vessels  which  traded  on  the  Coast,  on  account  of 
certain  vexations  which  he  said  his  people  had  received.  He  denied 
that  he  had  ceded  the  port  of  Nootka  to  the  English  lieutenant, 
Meares,  and  only  acknowledged  that  he  had  allowed  him  to  settle 

ttfd'r^      ^yX»/^"W 















there,  repeating  continually  the  cession  he  made  to  the  king  of  Spain 
of  that  port  and  the  stores  pertaining  to  it  with  all  their  products."  '" 

The  French  frigate,  La  Flavia,  of  about  five  hundred  tons,  arrived 
at  Nootka  while  the  Sutil  and  Mexicana  lay  at  anchor  there.  The 
Flavia  flew  the  new  national  flag  which  was  then  seen  for  the  first 
time  on  this  coast.  The  object  was  to  trade  for  furs  and  to  seek  infor- 
mation respecting  the  unfortunate  La  Perouse. 

The  journal  also  relates  that  early  in  June,  natives  arrived  to  ask 
Bodega  y  Quadra  to  assist  them  against  a  vessel  which  had  attacked 
a  village  in  Esperanza  Inlet,  killing  seven,  wounding  others,  and 
despoiling  the  rest  of  their  otter  skins.  The  Indians  brought  with 
them  a  wounded  man  to  be  treated  by  the  Spanish  doctor.  As  far  as 
is  known,  this  vessel  was  the  Columbia,  commanded  by  Captain  Gray. 
The  natives  related  that  the  Americans,  being  unable  to  agree  upon 
the  rate  of  exchange  for  furs,  had  used  force  to  compel  them  to  sur- 
render their  peltries. 

Having  taken  on  board  Luis  Galvez,  the  surgeon  of  the  Aranziizu, 
the  Sutil  and  Mexicana  sailed  for  the  Straits  of  Fuca  and  a  few  days 
later  came  to  anchor  at  the  port  of  Nunez  Gaona,  now  known  as  Neah 
Bay,  to  which  place  the  Spaniards  had  determined  to  transfer  the 
settlemeot  at  Nootka,  in  anticipation  of  the  surrender  of  that  port  to 
the  British.  Salvador  Fidalgo,  commanding  the  Princessa,  was  then 
making  preparations  for  the  transfer,  clearing  a  site  for  an  orchard 
and  making  yards  for  the  cows,  sheep,  pigs  and  goats,  brought  from 
San  Bias.  Nunez  Gaona,  however,  was  abandoned  shortly  after- 
wards. It  seems  strange  that  an  effort  should  have  been  made  to  estab- 
lish a  colony  at  this  place,  for  it  was  but  ill-adapted  for  settlement. 
Although  Quimpcr  and  Francisco  Eliza  had  examined  the  straits 
and  the  inland  sea,  as  far  as  the  Gulf  of  Georgia,  called  by  the  Span- 
ish, "(iran  Canal  dc  Nuestra  Sonora  del  Rosario"  (Grand  Canal  of 
Our  Lady  of  the  Rosary),  they  had  not  completed  their  survey. 

The  work  of  continuing  the  exploration  of  these  inland  waters  had 
been  entrusted  toGaliano  and  he  now  proceeded  to  carry  out  his 
instructions.  He  liid  not,  like  Vancouver,  follow  the  continental 
shore,  but  touched  at  the  Port  of  Cordova,  where  now  stands  the  city 
of  Victoria.    "The  port  of  Cordova  is  beautiful,"  runs  an  entry  in  the 

'"  Voyage  of  Sulil  ami  Miwii anci:  Barwick's  Translation  in  arcliivos  of  British  ("olnnihia, 
pp.  17-18. 


journal  of  June  9th,  "and  affords  good  shelter  for  sailors;  but  the 
water  is  shallow,  as  we  saw,  and  Tetacus  informed  us :  the  land  is  very 
irregular,  of  slight  elevation,  and,  as  the  neighbourhood  shows,  the 
surface  of  soil  on  the  rock  is  of  little  depth.  Nevertheless  it  is  fertile, 
covered  with  trees  and  plants,  and  these  growths  are  almost  the  same 
as  those  of  Nootka,  but  wild  roses  are  most  abundant.  Also  rather 
more  birds  are  seen  and  more  of  the  same  kind  of  seagulls,  ducks,  king- 
fishers, and  other  birds.  It  was  in  this  port  that  the  schooner  Satur- 
nina  had  to  fire  at  the  canoes  of  the  inhabitants  to  protect  the  launch 
of  the  Packet  San  Carlos,  which  came  in  her  company,  and  which 
launch  they  obstinately  wanted  to  seize."  " 

Galiano  then  made  his  way  through  the  San  Juan  or  Haro  xA.rchi- 
pelago,  noticing  on  June  12th,  flames  to  the  southeast  of  Mount 
Carmel  (Mount  Baker),  which  phenomenon  was  interpreted  as  indi- 
cating the  presence  of  an  active  volcano  in  that  neighbourhood.  In 
crossing  the  Gulf  of  Georgia,  two  small  boats  were  sighted,  which  it 
was  thought  belonged  to  the  two  English  ships,  known  to  be  exploring 
the  inland  sea.  The  Spanish  vessels  at  this  time  were  making  for  the 
Sound  of  Floridablanca  (the  Spanish  name  for  the  estuar\^  of  the 
Fraser  River),  in  order  to  search  for  the  river,  which  was  supposed, 
from  the  report  of  the  natives,  to  empty  into  that  bay,  but  the  current 
prevented  them  reaching  the  head  of  the  channel,  so  they  anchored 
under  Punta  Langara  (Point  Grey)  and  here  the  British  and  Span- 
ish expeditions  met  as  already  narrated. 

Naturally  the  explorers  exchanged  notes.  Upon  Vancouver  point- 
ing out  the  only  spot  he  had  left  unexamined,  at  the  head  of  Burrard 
Inlet,  Galiano  and  Valdez  were  much  surprised  that  a  large  river, 
which  they  had  been  told  emptied  into  the  waters  of  the  Gulf  of 
Georgia,  had  not  been  seen.  The  mouth  of  the  river  is  shown  on  the 
Spanish  chart  between  the  Points  Langara  and  Cepeda,  the  Spanish 
names  of  Points  Grey  and  Roberts  of  Vancouver.  This  river  had  been 
named  Rio  Blanca,  in  honour  of  Count  Floridablanca.  It  seems 
almost  beyond  belief  that  Vancouver's  small  boats,  for  he  had  left 
his  ships  at  anchor  in  order  to  examine  more  carefully  the  bay  and 
inlets  of  the  coast,  should  have  failed  to  find  the  mouth  of  the  Fraser 
River.    Yet  such  was  the  case. 

The  Discovery  and  Chatham  and  the  Sutil  and  Mexicana  then 

11  Voyage  of  Sulil  and  Mexicana:  Barwick's  Translation,  etc.,  pp.  42-43. 


proceeded  together  in  accordance  with  an  arrangement  made  between 
Vancouver  and  Galiano.  In  the  neighbourhood  of  Desolation  Sound, 
a  great  school  of  whales  was  seen,  which  led  Vancouver  to  observe 
that — "this  circumstance,  in  some  measure,  favoured  the  assertion  in 
Mr.  Meares's  publication,  that  a  passage  to  the  ocean  would  be  found 
by  persevering  in  our  present  course;  though  this  was  again  rendered 
very  doubtful,  as  we  had  understood,  from  our  Spanish  friends,  that, 
notwithstanding  the  Spaniards  had  lived  upon  terms  of  great  intimacy 
with  Mr.  Gray  and  other  American  traders  at  Nootka,  they  had  no 
knowledge  of  any  person  having  ever  performed  such  a  voyage,  but 
from  the  history  of  it  published  in  England;  and  so  far  were  these 
gentlemen  from  being  better  acquainted  with  the  discoveries  of  De 
Fuce  or  De  Fonte  than  ourselves,  that,  from  us,  they  expected  much 
information  as  to  the  truth  of  such  reports."  Vancouver  then  re- 
marked that  Valdez,  who  spoke  the  Indian  language  fluently,  said 
that  the  natives  had  told  him  that  the  inlet  ''did  communicate  with 
the  ocean  to  the  northward,  where  they  had  seen  ships."  Valdez, 
however,  it  was  observed,  did  not  place  much  reliance  in  these  reports. 
In  view  of  the  extraordinary  story  concocted  by  Meares  with  regard 
to  Kendrick's  reputed  circumnavigation  of  Vancouver  Island,  the 
remarks  of  the  Spanish  navigator  are  exceedingly  interesting. 

The  British  and  Spanish  vessels  continued  in  company  for  several 
days  and  their  officers  were  jointly  engaged  in  a  minute  examination 
of  the  continental  shore.  Each  indentation  was  examined  with  care 
in  small  boats  commanded  by  Vancouver,  Broughton,  Mudge,  Puget, 
Baker,  Whidby,  and  Johnstone,  and  the  wealth  of  information 
acquired  was  faithfully  embodied  in  the  great  chart  of  Vancouver, 
which  must  stand  as  a  monument  to  that  officer's  zeal  and  ability. 
The  late  Captain  Walbran  well  crystallized  the  unanimous  judg- 
ment of  scholars  in  stating  that  Vancouver  carried  on  this  survey 
"with  a  zeal  beyond  all  praise."  On  the  i3tii  of  July,  however,  the 
two  expeditions  parted  companv  off  the  entrance  to  Desolation  Sound. 
Galiano  and  Valdez  "begging  leave  to  decline  accompanying  us 
further,  as  the  powers  they  possessed  in  their  miserable  vessels  were 
unequal  to  a  co-operation  with  us,  and  being  apprehensive  their 
attendance  would  retard  our  progress." 

Vancouver  and  Galiano  at  this  point  again  compared  notes  and 
presented  each  other  with  copies  of  the  charts  they  had  made  and 


"after  an  exchange  of  good  wishes,  we  bade  each  other  farewell, 
having  experienced  much  satisfaction,  and  mutually  received  every 
kindness  and  attention  our  peculiar  situation  could  afford  our  little 

Galiano  and  V^aldez  exhibited  praiseworthy  zeal  in  following  out 
their  instructions  and,  in  spite  of  their  inadequate  equipment,  they 
succeeded  in  accomplishing  a  great  deal.  In  common  with  other 
Spanish  explorers  the  reputations  of  these  men  have  suffered  from 
the  fact  that  the  splendidly  equipped  British  expeditions  overshadowed 
their  really  laudable  efforts  in  the  later  days  of  Spanish  activity  in 
these  waters.  Spain  never  did  justice  to  her  navigators,  whose  labours 
were  not  given  to  the  world  until  sometime  after  the  reports  of  the 
British  explorers  were  made  public.  The  Spanish  literature  on  the 
subject  of  the  Northwest  coast  is  meagre  in  the  extreme,  whereas 
English  literature  of  travel  and  geography  has  been  enriched  by  nu- 
merous monumental  works  on  British  enterprise  in  the  North  Pacific. 
It  is  a  relief  therefore  to  find  that  the  notable  achievements  of  the 
two  Spanish  commanders,  Galiano  and  Valdez,  have  not  been  entirely 
overlooked  by  their  Government. 

The  work  of  the  expedition  can  best  be  portrayed  by  quoting  from 
the  original  journal,  which  has  been  specially  translated  for  the 
Archives  Department  of  British  Columbia.  For  instance  under  the 
dates  June  15th  to  i8th,  1792,  the  following  entries  appear: 

1792,  June  I  qth. — "In  the  morning  Vernachi  went  in  the  launch  to 
seek  a  good  anchorage  to  N.  W.,  of  the  one  w'e  were  in,  thinking  to 
find  it  within  the  Sounds  of  Porlier,  from  which  we  thought  we  were 
not  very  distant:  our  position  was  midway  between  the  two  points 
which  lie  to  the  S.  E.  of  these  sounds. 

"The  wind  began  to  freshen  from  the  N.  E.,  and  our  position 
was  growing  serious  if  it  should  blow  violently  from  that  quarter. 
At  half-past  eight  in  the  morning  the  launch,  which  had  started  at 
half-past  four,  was  not  yet  in  sight  and  its  delay  began  to  give  us  some 
anxiety;  but  we  saw  it  soon  after,  and  it  arrived  alongside  without 
having  found  a  desirable  anchorage  in  the  two  leagues  distance  it 
had  travelled. 

"As  the  weather  would  not  allow  the  Schooners  to  cross  to  the  N. 
coast,  it  was  resolved  to  proceed  in  them  in  search  of  the  desired 
anchorage.    Wc  set  sail  at  9  in  the  morning  hoping  to  find  it  in  the 





Sound  of  Porlier;  we  reached  the  sound  at  mid-day,  and  entered 
easily,  without  stopping  to  send  the  launch  to  reconnoitre  it,  for 
although  the  wind  which  was  blowing  fresh  from  E.  N.  E.,  left  us 
directly  we  got  under  shelter  of  the  point  at  the  entrance,  the  waters 
bore  us  inward,  whither  they  were  running  swiftly. 

"Having  got  inside  we  saw  an  Archipelago  of  numbers  of  small, 
low  islands,  and  perceived  that  the  Channel  was  divided  into  two 
main  branches,  one  running  S.  E.,  and  the  other  W. ;  it  was  at  once 
resolved  to  take  the  former,  so  as  to  continue  to  have  the  assistance 
of  the  wind  to  get  out  if  necessary.  But  when  we  had  lost  the  shelter 
of  the  coast,  the  Mexicana  experienced  such  a  squall  of  wind,  in 
the  direction  of  the  Channel,  so  strong  that  it  put  her  in  danger 
of  capsizing.  We  saw  at  once  how  risky  it  was  to  entangle  ourselves 
among  these  islands,  the  channels  of  which  were  unknown  to  us,  and 
were  of  no  interest  to  examine.  The  wind,  being  compressed  to 
pass  through  the  narrow  space  in  the  opening  of  the  mountains,  blew 
with  great  force:  the  currents  were  rapid  and  had  to  take  various 
directions  according  as  the  multitude  of  islands  demanded;  and  as 
no  shore  whatever  was  visible,  it  seemed  probable  that  there  were 
no  convenient  anchorages.  As  we  could  not  go  far  inland,  which 
would  keep  us  a  long  time  in  this  place,  to  the  detriment  of  the 
important  survevs  in  the  direction  of  the  mainland,  it  seemed  prudent 
to  get  out  without  delay. 

''But  to  get  out  of  these  Channels  was  not  so  easy  as  we  expected. 
The  current  had  acquired  such  force  that  we  could  not  overcome 
it  with  the  oars,  and  the  wind  was  slack  and  gentle.  So  in  order  to 
get  into  the  main  Channel  wc  had  to  spend  two  hours  in  constant 
labour  and  danger.  Ihe  Mcxirmui  managed  it  by  passing  to 
windward  of  the  small  island  that  lies  at  the  entrance,  and  very  near 
the  end  of  its  reef,  in  four  fathoms,  the  stones  being  visible  at  the 
bottom;  but  the  Suiil,  which  was  getting  more  and  more  involved 
at  the  entrance,  preferred  to  bear  away  so  as  to  pass  through 
the  narrow  Channel  formed  bv  the  islet  and  the  Coast,  and  did  so 

"There  were  in  these  Channels  several  deserted  villages,  and  one 
with  inhabitants  on  the  W.  side  of  the  sound;  from  the  latter  five 
canoes  came  out  with  two  old  men  and  nineteen  youths,  all  very 
robust  and  good  looking;  they  came  up  to  the  Schooners,  gave  us 


mulberries  and  shell  fish,  and  took,  in  exchange  buttons  and  beads; 
and  thinking  that  we  wanted  fresh  water  they  went  to  their  villages 
and  brought  us  some  vessels  full  of  it. 

"Free  from  the  danger  we  had  been  in,  we  followed  the  Coast  with 
the  object  of  finding  a  good  anchorage;  we  sailed  straight  to  the  Point 
of  Gaviola,  and  not  finding  it  there,  we  went  on  to  the  mouths  of 
Wintuysen,  aided  by  a  fresh  v\'ind  from  the  E.,  which  cleared  the 
sky.  We  reached  the  E.  point  of  the  said  mouths  and  passed  between 
them  and  the  Islet:  on  doubling  the  said  Point  we  saw  two  canoes 
which  followed  close  to  the  shore  observing  the  movements  of  the 
Schooners,  and  on  coming  athwart  them  they  approached  very 
cautiously.  To  gain  their  confidence  and  friendship  we  gave  those 
who  came  in  the  canoes  the  best  proofs  of  our  intentions  by  throwing 
them  some  strings  of  beads  into  their  canoes;  but  we  could  not  get 
them  to  come  near.  We  continued  to  proceed  along  the  Coast  with 
the  same  object,  until  at  last  we  discovered  an  anchorage  at  a  mile 
ofif  the  point,  and  as  it  seemed  suitable  we  steered  to  it.  We  called 
this  roadstead  "Cala  del  Descanso,"  from  our  need  of  rest  and  our 
appreciation  of  the  discovery  on  that  occasion.  We  then  reckoned 
five  days  since  our  entrance  into  the  Strait  and  in  them  not  only 
had  we  rectified  but  likewise  added  to  the  surveys  of  the  previous 
years;  which  served  as  recompense  for  our  fatigues  and  labours,  no 
less  than  the  hope  of  continuing  the  remaining  tasks  with  equal  result. 
For  this  object  we  tried  to  fit  ourselves  by  replenishing  the  wood  and 
water,  and  taking  further  measures  which  our  position  required  with 
all  possible  despatch. 

"When  we  had  finished  mooring  the  Schooners  we  landed  on  the 
shore  at  the  end  of  the  creek,  and  tried  to  penetrate  into  the  wood 
in  search  of  fresh  water;  but  we  had  not  gone  far  when  we  perceived 
some  natives  of  the  country  who  made  signs  to  us  not  to  go  further, 
and  others  who  were  running  apparently  to  inform  their  wives.  We 
gratified  them  by  withdrawing,  and  made  them  understand  why  we 
had  come;  then  two  of  them  took  us  to  two  verv  poor  springs  which 
were  on  the  Coast,  E.  of  the  Port,  about  two  cables  beyond  the 
anchorage  of  the  Schooners,  and  in  one  of  these  springs  there  were 
three  holes  covered  with  semi-circular  stones;  this  confirmed  us  in 
the  idea  we  already  had  of  the  scarcity  of  fresh  water  on  those  Coasts. 
With  this  knowledge  we  returned  to  the  beach  and  found  six  Indians 


who  were  giving  sardines  to  our  sailors:  we  gave  them  in  return 
beads  and  other  tokens  of  friendship,  but  without  being  able  to  inspire 
them  with  entire  confidence. 

"On  this  day  thirty-nine  canoes  with  two  or  three  Indians  apiece 
came  together  round  the  Schooners.  We  did  not  find  any  remark- 
able difference  between  their  physiognomy  and  that  of  the  other 
natives  who  had  visited  us  in  the  Strait;  but  on  the  other  hand  we 
could  not  help  noticing  the  fact  that  many  of  them  squinted,  and  they 
wore  their  whiskers  covered  with  short  hair,  the  beards  with  pear- 
shaped  ornaments,  and  their  eyebrows  rather  thick.  Their  clothes 
were  reduced  in  general  to  blankets  of  coarse  and  well  woven  wool, 
fastened  by  two  pins  on  the  shoulder,  but  only  long  enough  to  reach 
to  the  knees.  An  occasional  one  wore  a  deerskin,  particular  attention 
being  called  to  that  which  covered  the  man  who  appeared  to  be  the 
Tais,  who  wore  besides  a  second  woollen  blanket  on  top,  a  hat  in  the 
form  of  a  truncated  cone,  five  brass  bracelets  on  the  right  wrist,  and 
a  hoop  of  copper  round  his  neck,  very  similar  to  the  one  we  had 
seen  on  an  Indian  in  lat.  60°  the  year  before.  Some  wore  hats  and 
many  were  painted  with  red  ochre;  they  came  smiling,  appeared 
gentle,  and  if  not  stupid  at  least  dull  of  understanding.  The  idiom  is 
entirely  different  from  that  of  Nootka,  and  they  make  even  greater 
gutteral  noises  and  aspirates,  so  that  it  appeared  to  us  more  difficult 
to  learn. 

"They  offered  us  in  exchange  great  quantities  of  sardines,  sun- 
dried  and  smoked,  and  arms,  namely:  arrows,  some  having  well 
shaped  points  of  flint  or  mussel  shell,  others  of  bone  and  serrated; 
clubs  of  whalebone,  and  medium-sized  bows  of  fairly  strong  and 
flexible  wood.  They  also  offered  new  blankets  which  we  afterwards 
concluded  were  of  dog's  hair,  partly  because  when  the  woven  hair 
was  compared  with  that  of  those  animals  there  was  no  apparent 
difference,  and  partly  from  the  great  number  of  dogs  they  keep  in 
those  villages,  most  of  them  being  shorn.  These  animals  are  of 
moderate  size,  resembling  those  of  English  breed,  with  very  thick 
coats,  and  usually  white:  among  other  things  they  differ  from  those 
of  Europe  in  their  manner  of  barking,  which  is  simply  a  miserable 

"It  was  very  easy  for  us  to  see  that  in  spite  of  the  pleasure  we 
endeavoured  to  show,  and  the  continual  proofs  of  friendship  which 


we  gave  these  Indians,  \vc  could  not  obtain  their  confidence.  They 
were  always  hesitating  and  suspicious;  the  slightest  movement  upset 
them,  and  this  frequently  interrupted  our  communication. 

"They  prized  beads  and  Monterey  shells,  the  pearl  of  which 
they  use  for  ornaments,  and  they  value  pieces  of  rough  iron  more 
than  that  manufactured  into  knives  or  razors,  perhaps  because  they 
use  them  for  points  for  arrows,  harpoons  and  other  things. 

"Very  noteworthy  is  the  difference  in  character  which  we  per- 
ceived in  the  natives  in  such  a  short  distance  as  that  which  lies 
between  the  mouths  of  Porlier  and  those  of  Wintuysen.  The  former 
are  trusting  and  aflfable;  the  latter  suspicious  and  disagreeable.  But 
is  not  the  same  difference  sometimes  seen  between  neighbouring 
settlements,  and  more  civilized  nations?  And  if  in  towns  living 
under  the  same  laws  the  circumstances  of  education  are  sufficient 
for  this  to  happen,  whv  is  it  strange  that  the  same  thing  should  occur 
among  these  Tribes,  who  are  apparently  independent,  and  have  no 
constant  intercourse,  as  we  have  observed  by  noting  that  the  canoes 
do  not  go  beyond  a  certain  distance  away  from  the  villages?  Navi- 
gators must  keep  these  reflections  in  mind  and  never  trust  the  savages 
of  the  Coasts,  even  if  thev  have  found  those  of  other  neighbouring 
villages  humane  and  amiable. 

"We  gave  ourselves  up  to  rest  for  the  night,  dividing  our  crew 
into  four  watches,  and  setting  sentinels  accordingly,  so  that  by  their 
vigilance  the  others  might  rest  quietly.  The  night  was  peaceful  and 
there  was  no  disturbance  in  the  anchorage  throughout  it. 

June  i6th. — "We  spent  part  of  the  following  day  in  arranging  and 
making  fair  copies  of  our  rough  notes  of  observations,  points  of  refer- 
ence and  calculations,  and  information  of  all  kinds,  which,  as  jottings 
made  in  the  midst  of  the  duties  and  active  work  of  the  ships,  required 
to  be  expanded  in  good  form  and  order  before  other  new  ideas  con- 
fused those  already  acquired.  We  likewise  continued  to  replenish 
the  water,  of  which  we  found  that  at  that  season  thirty  barrels  daily 
could  be  got  in  the  place  we  were  in. 

"The  Savages  did  not  overcome  their  distrust  however  much  we 
endeavoured  to  make  them  understand  our  peaceable  views:  no 
entreaties  or  attentions  sufficed  to  induce  the  Chief  to  come  on  board 
the  Sutil,  and  all  the  Canoes  kept  close  together  and  were  along- 
side the  Schooner  in  great  trepidation.     Nevertheless  they  went  on 


making  exchanges  without  difficulty  and  supplying  us  with  fish  until 
the  afternoon,  when  upon  the  boat  putting  ofif  from  the  Sutil  to  go 
to  land,  all  those  who  were  near  became  alarmed  and  went  ofi  with- 
out daring  to  approach  the  Schooner  during  the  rest  of  the  day.  Later 
on  two  Canoes  appeared  in  the  anchorage,  and  arrested  our  attention 
by  the  evil  appearance  of  the  four  Indians  who  came  in  them,  for 
they  were  all  squint-eyed  and  of  very  disagreeable  countenances. 
They  showed  us  their  weapons,  and  gave  us  to  understand  that  they 
did  not  lack  courage:  we  responded  with  signs  of  friendship  and 
kindness,  and  they  withdrew,  more  arrogant  about  their  own  bravery 
than  satisfied  as  to  our  intentions. 

"On  no  other  part  of  the  coast  had  we  seen  such  an  ingenious 
method  of  fishing  as  among  these  Indians.  They  took  in  each  Canoe 
a  very  well  made  harpoon  of  mussel  shell,  mounted  on  a  fairly  long 
rod  with  a  hook  at  the  other  end.  They  also  took  a  piece  of  wood  in 
the  shape  of  a  cone  with  some  thin  and  flexible  strips  of  bark  fastened 
in  the  periphery  of  its  base  like  feathers,  the  whole  being  very  like 
a  shuttlecock.  They  fixed  this  in  the  hook  by  its  base  that  held  the 
feathers,  and  on  seeing  a  fish  at  a  great  distance  below  the  water 
they  put  it  in  very  gentlv,  point  downwards,  and  close  to  the  head 
of  the  fish.  I'hey  then  pulled  away  the  hook  and  the  shuttlecock 
went  up  to  the  surface  with  a  rapidity  which  did  not  allow  the  fish 
to  see  what  it  was.  Deceived  in  this  manner  it  followed  the  object 
up  to  the  surface  of  the  water,  and  then  the  Indian,  who  had  already 
turned  the  rod  and  presented  the  harpoon,  threw  it  at  the  fish,  usually 
with  such  accuracy  that  he  seldom  failed  to  hit  it. 

June  17th. — "On  the  15th  and  i6th  the  rain  had  been  almost  con- 
tinual, but  the  17th  was  a  delicious  Spring  day.  Under  a  clear  sky  a 
pleasant  country  then  presented  itself  to  our  view  :  the  varied  and  bril- 
liant green  of  some  of  the  trees  and  meadows,  and  the  grand  roar  of  the 
waters  dashing  upon  the  rocks  in  various  creeks,  charmed  our  senses 
and  afiforded  us  a  condition  the  more  agreeable  as  we  were  the  nearer 
to  the  past  dangers  and  fatigues.  Desiring  to  utilize  it  for  the  benefit 
of  the  crews  and  the  advancement  of  our  surveys,  Salamanca  went 
out  with  five  men  armed  and  supplied  with  beads  and  other  trifling 
things,  to  go  towards  the  site  of  the  villages  of  the  Indians  to  see  if 
they  had  dismantled  them,  as  might  be  inferred  from  the  passing 
of  the  armed  canoes. 


"Salamanca  found  the  country  he  went  to  visit  was  covered  with 
brushwood  and  very  straight  pine  trees;  he  saw  the  remains  of  the 
village  which  the  Indians  had  abandoned;  and  he  returned  to  the 

"On  the  1 8th  we  repaired  the  boat  and  continued  the  work  of 
taking  in  water,  and  in  the  afternoon  we  went  in  the  launch  to  visit 
the  interior  of  the  mouths  of  Wintuysen,  and  examine  the  ends  of  the 
creeks  we  had  seen  the  day  previous.  The  second  mouth,  reckoning 
from  our  anchorage,  is  more  sheltered  than  that  of  El  Descanso,  but 
not  so  clear  and  good  for  anchorage.  We  afterwards  went  along  a 
Channel  which  turns  to  the  E.  S.  E.,  and  from  its  direction  should 
fall  into  the  Archipelago  we  saw  on  the  previous  point  to  eastward 
of  the  Port." 

It  should  be  mentioned  that  the  "Wintuysen"  of  the  foregoing 
extract  was  the  name  bestowed  in  179 1  by  the  Spanish  navigator, 
Eliza,  upon  the  inlet,  the  arms  of  which  are  known  today  as 
Northumberland  Channel,  Nanaimo  Harbour  and  Departure  Bay. 
The  "Cala  del  Descanso"  (Small  Bay  of  Rest)  of  Galiano  and  Valdez 
is  the  little  haven  of  Gabriola  Island,  opposite  Nanaimo,  to  which 
the  original  name,  Descanso,  was  restored  in  1904  by  Captain  John  H. 
Parry,  of  H.  M.  surveying  vessel,  Ef/eria,  as  related  by  Captain 
John  T.  Walbran  in  his  well-known  and  exhaustive  work  on  the 
Coast  Names  of  British  Columbia. 

In  due  course  the  British  explorer  reached  the  broad  channel 
that  separates  the  north  eastern  end  of  Vancouver  Island  from  the 
mainland.  After  emerging  from  the  long,  narrow  passage,  named 
after  Lieutenant  James  Johnstone,  Vancouver,  as  heretofore,  adopted 
the  plan  of  despatching  boats  in  all  directions  to  examine  the  inden- 
tations of  the  continental  coast.  The  cluster  of  large  islands  to  the 
north  westward  of  the  entrance  to  Knight's  Canal  was  named 
Broughton's  Archipelago,  in  recognition  of  the  services  of  the  Com- 
mander of  the  Chatham.  The  ships  then  anchored  under  Point 
Gordon,  at  the  entrance  of  Fife's  passage,  while  the  small  boats  were 
employed  in  charting  the  various  fiords,  islands  and  rocks. 

It  should  be  explained  that  Johnstone  and  Swaine  had'  been 
despatched  on  July  the  4th  to  examine  the  narrow  passage  leading 
to  Queen  Charlotte  Sound.  The  flying  expedition  passed  through 
Johnstone's  Strait  and  made  at  midnight,  in  a  torrent  of  rain,  a  small 


island  under  the  lee  of  which  they  were  partly  sheltered  from  the 
inclemency  of  the  weather.  Here  the  party  were  storm-bound  until 
.the  morning  of  the  loth,  the  dawn  of  which  brought  a  change  of 
weather,  which  enabled  them  to  reach  "an  island  conspicuously 
situated,  from  whence  their  expectations  were  gratified  by  a  clear 
though  distant  view  of  the  expansive  ocean."  This  observation 
determined  once  for  ail  the  insular  character  of  the  Nootka  region. 
As  the  boat  had  only  been  provisioned  for  seven  days,  Johnstone 
was  compelled  to  lose  no  time  in  returning  to  the  ships,  which  were 
reached  safely  early  on  the  morning  of  the  12th. 

It  was  not  until  Johnstone  and  Swaine  returned  with  the  news 
of  a  channel  to  the  northward,  communicating  with  the  ocean,  that 
Galiano  suggested  that  the  British  ships  should  proceed  without  the 
Sutil  and  Mexicana.  Thus,  several  days  before  the  vessels  of  either 
expedition  reached  the  ocean  to  the  northward,  it  had  been  clearly 
established  by  the  English  officers  that  the  Strait  of  Juan  de  Fuca 
and  Queen  Charlotte's  Sound  were  connected  by  a  series  of  gulfs, 
sounds  and  straits. 

On  August  5th,  Vancouver  reached  the  ocean  and  steering  a 
northward  course  passed  Cape  Caution  and  entered  Fitzhugh  Sound, 
where  at  four  in  the  afternoon  the  Discovery  suddenly  grounded  on 
a  shoal  of  sunken  rocks.  Fortunately  the  sea  was  calm;  had  it  been 
otherwise  "nothing  short  of  immediate  and  inevitable  destruction 
would  have  resulted  from  the  untoward  accident."  The  boat 
remained  in  this  "melancholy  situation"  until  two  in  the  morning  of 
the  7th,  when  with  the  rising  tide,  Vancouver  had  the  "indescribable 
satisfaction  of  feeling  her  again  afloat  without  having  received  the 
least  apparent  injury."  On  the  evening  of  the  seventh,  the  Chatham 
met  with  a  like  misfortune,  and  for  a  time  she  was  in  a  precarious 
position.  A  thick  fog  coming  in  from  the  ocean  hid  the  Chatham 
from  the  Discovery,  causing  much  anxiety  to  Vancouver;  however 
about  nine  on  the  following  morning,  the  fog  lifted  and  showed  the 
Chatham  approaching  under  sail,  apparently  uninjured.  The 
Discovery  weighed  anchor  and  joined  the  tender  and  the  two  vessels 
sailed  southward  in  company.  It  was  then  that  Vancouver  confirmed 
the  name  of  Queen  Charlotte's  Sound  given  to  the  opening  by  Wedg- 
borough  of  the  Experiment  in  August,  1786.  The  American  captains 
Gray  and  Kendrick  had  called  it  Pintard's  Sound.    The  Sound  where 


the  vessels  had  grounded  was  recognized  as  that  named  Fitzhugh's 
Sound  by  Captain  James  Hanna,  of  the  Sea  Otter,  on  his  second 

Vancouver  made  Friendly  Cove  on  the  afternoon  of  Tuesday,  . 
August  28th,  having  been  piloted  to  the  anchorage  by  a  Spanish 
officer.  Riding  at  anchor  in  the  cove  was  the  Spanish  brig  Actira, 
flying  the  broad  pennant  of  Don  Juan  Francisco  de  la  Bodega  y 
Quadra,  Commandant  of  Port  San  Lorenzo  de  Nutka,  as  the  inlet 
was  called  by  the  Spaniards.  Beside  the  Activa  lay  the  store  ship 
Daedalus  and  a  small  merchantman,  the  Three  Brothers,  of  London, 
commanded  by  one  Alder,  late  of  the  Royal  Navy.  As  the  Com- 
mandant resided  on  shore.  Lieutenant  Puget  was  despatched  to 
acquaint  him  of  the  arrival  of  the  British  expedition  and  to  state 
that  the  Spanish  flag  would  be  saluted  by  the  British  vessels  if  the 
Spaniards  would  return  the  compliment  with  an  equal  number  of 
guns.  On  receiving  a  polite  message  in  reply.  Vancouver  saluted 
the  Spanish  flag  while  the  guns  from  the  fort  echoed  the  martial 
salutation.  Vancouver,  accompanied  by  some  of  his  officers  then 
called  upon  Bodega  y  Quadra,  who  received  the  party  with  the 
greatest  cordiality. 

The  meeting  was  historic  inasmuch  as  never  before  had  ships 
of  the  royal  navies  of  Great  Britain  and  Spain  exchanged  courtesies 
on  the  Northwest  coast.  Moreover,  the  two  commanders,  Vancouver 
and  Bodega  y  Quadra,  had  been  authorized  by  their  respective 
Governments  to  give  effect  to  the  terms  of  the  Nootka  Convention, 
of  which  treaty  it  may  be  truly  said  that  it  marked  a  turning  point 
in  the  history  of  Northwestern  America.  That  agreement  had 
brought  the  two  greatest  colonizing  powers  of  the  world  face  to  face 
in  the  Pacific,  and,  as  the  loyal  Iriarte  sorrowfully  observed,  this 
meant  much  to  Spain. 

Of  the  two  men  who  conducted  the  historic  negotiations  at 
Nootka  in  September,  1792,  the  Spaniard  lost  nothing  in  comparison. 
The  memory  of  the  British  officer,  George  Vancouver,  is  revered 
by  his  countrymen,  and  nearly  all  that  can  be  known  of  his  character 
and  career  is  known.  He  was  a  brave  and  painstaking  commander — 
neither  so  brilliant  nor  so  successful  as  the  immortal  Cook  who  had 
trained  him — vet  an  accomplished  navigator,  an  excellent  disciplin- 
arian,  kindhearted,   courageous   and    resourceful;   a   man   to  whom 

5"  ^ 



duty  always  came  first;  just  such  a  man,  in  fact,  as  the  British  Navy 
has  ever  given  to  the  service  of  the  Empire.  Of  the  Spaniard,  all 
too  little  is  known,  but  that  which  is  known  redounds  to  his  credit. 
Brave,  courteous,  honourable,  noble  in  appearance  and  charming 
in  manner,  Don  Juan  Francisco  de  la  Bodega  y  Quadra  was  the 
personification  of  Spanish  grace  and  sagacity.  If  the  management 
of  Spanish  affairs  in  tlic  Pacific  had  always  been  in  such  able  hands 
there  might  have  been  no  Nootka  Affair  and  today  no  Canadian 
seaboard  in  the  west.  In  the  long  story  of  Spanish  dalliance  and 
futile  effort  in  the  North  Pacific,  the  name  of  Bodega  y  Quadra  is 
conspicuously  associated  with  the  only  real  attempt  ever  made  by 
Spain  to  vindicate  her  policy  and  to  establish  her  sovereignty 
in  that  quarter.  As  Commandant  of  San  BJas  and  as  Governor  of 
Nootka  he  had  exerted  all  his  influence  in  behalf  of  the  northern 
enterprise  and  had  sought  to  fortifv  his  country's  position;  but  he 
came  too  late. 

Bodega  y  Quadra  was  at  this  time  about  forty-eight  years  of  age. 
Of  his  lineage  it  is  known  that  he  came  of  a  noble  house.  He  was 
the  son  of  Don  Thomas  de  la  Bodega,  and  his  wife,  Francisca 
Mollinado,  a  native  of  Lima  (where  her  son  was  born  about  the 
year  1744),  but  of  pure  Cjalician  descent.  It  appears  that  "Quadra" 
had  been  added  to  his  father's  name  at  the  request  of  a  relative,  Don 
Antonio  de  la  Quadra,  who  resided  in  Peru  at  the  time  that  Thomas 
de  la  Bodega  emigrated  to  that  country.'-  The  noble-hearted  Span- 
iard died  in  March,  1794,  either  at  San  Bias,  or  at  his  country 
house  at  Tepic,  a  small  town  about  si.xty  miles  from  the  coast. 

Such  were  the  two  men  who  met  at  Nootka  in  the  summer  of 
1792,  the  one  to  hand  over  and  the  other  to  receive  the  property 
claimed  by  the  British  Government.  I'he  story  of  that  meeting  has 
almost  been  forgotten,  but  in  the  annals  of  the  Northwest  coast  it 
holds  an  important  place — for  its  human  interest  as  well,  because 
it  marked  the  end  of  Spanish  sovereignty  ami  heralded  the  dawn 
of  a  new  era. 

The  day  following  the  arrival  of  the  Discovery  and  C.luithdiu 
was  observed  by  an  interchange  of  hospitality.  In  the  morning 
Bodega  y  Quadra  with  several  of  his  officers  breakfasted  with  Van- 
couver.    Thev  were   received   with   due   formalitv   and    saluted    on 

'  Meanv,   Vancouver   anil   Piifzct   Sound. 


their  arrival  and  departure — "the  day  was  afterwards  spent  in  cere- 
monious ofifers  of  courtesy,  with  much  harmony  and  festivity."  The 
same  evening  Vancouver,  with  as  many  of  his  officers  as  could  be 
spared,  were  entertained  at  dinner  by  the  Spanish  Commandant, 
and  were  "gratified  with  a  repast  we  had  lately  been  little  accustomed 
to,  or  had  the  most  distant  idea  of  meeting  with  at  this  place.  A 
dinner  of  five  courses,  consisting  of  a  superfluity  of  the  best  pro- 
visions, was  served  with  great  elegance;  a  royal  salute  was  fired  on 
drinking  health  to  the  sovereigns  of  England  and  Spain,  and  a  salute 
of  seventeen  guns  to  the  success  of  the  service  in  which  the  Discovery 
and  Chatham  were  engaged."  '■'  The  notorious  chief  Maquinna  sat 
at  the  table. 

It  is  amply  testified  not  only  by  Vancouver,  but  as  well  by  the 
American  traders  who  had  visited  the  port  of  Nootka  during  the 
Spanish  regime,  that  Bodega  y  Quadra  was  ever  profuse  in  his 
hospitality.  One  of  the  furtraders  records  that  the  dinner  service 
was  of  solid  silver  and  that  the  viands  were  always  of  the  best.  The 
pour  parleys  were  auspicious  and  all  seemed  well-pleased,  although 
the  occasion  must  have  been  a  sad  one  for  Bodega  y  Quadra,  who, 
no  doubt,  could  not  help  observing  the  elation  of  the  British  officers. 

There  was  one  person,  however,  who  looked  with  sullen  eye 
upon  the  festivities  that  marked  the  meeting.  Maquinna,  the  Nootkan 
Chief,  did  not  disguise  his  regret  that  his  friends  the  Spaniards  were 
about  to  leave  the  place.  His  first  meeting  with  the  British  was 
unfortunate  and  did  not  tend  to  promote  a  regard  for  the  new  masters 
of  the  port.  Maquinna  had  visited  the  Discovery  early  on  the  morn- 
ing after  the  arrival  of  Vancouver,  but  the  sentinels  and  officers  of 
the  watch,  not  knowing  his  rank,  had  turned  him  away.  He  bitterly 
resented  this  indignity  and  angrily  complained  to  Bodega  y  Quadra 
of  the  afifront  that  had  been  offered  him.  The  Spaniard  "very 
obligingly  found  means  to  soothe  him,"  and  after  presents  of  blue 
cloth,  copper  and  other  articles,  he  appeared  to  be  satisfied.  Van- 
couver relates,  however,  that  "no  sooner  had  he  drank  a  few  glasses 
of  wine,  than  he  renewed  the  subject,  regretted  the  Spaniards  were 
about  to  quit  the  place,  and  asserted  that  we  should  presently  give 
it  up  to  some  other  nation;  by  which  means  himself  and  his  people 
would  be  constantly  disturbed  and  harassed  by  new  masters.     Seiior 

'^Vancouver's  Voyage,   Quarto  ed.,   vol.   i,   p,   385. 





Quadra  took  much  pains  to  explain  that  it  was  our  ignorance  of  his 
person  which  had  occasioned  the  mistake,  and  that  himself  and 
subjects  would  be  as  kindly  treated  by  the  English,  as  they  had  been 
by  the  Spaniards.  He  seemed  at  length  convinced  by  Senor  Quadra's 
arguments,  and  became  reconciled  by  his  assurance  that  his  fears 
were  groundless."  Vancouver  added  that  "I  could  not  help  observing 
with  a  mixture  of  surprise  and  pleasure,  how  much  the  Spaniards 
had  succeeded  in  gaining  the  good  opinion  and  confidence  of  these 
people;  together  with  the  very  orderly  behaviour,  so  conspicuously 
evident  in  their  conduct  towards  the  Spaniards  on  all  occasions."  ^* 

After  this  ceremonious  interchange  of  courtesies,  the  business  of 
the  hour,  that  of  settling  what  lands  were  to  be  surrendered,  engaged 
the  attention  of  the  British  and  Spanish  Commanders.  Before  Van- 
couver's arrival.  Bodega  y  Quadra  had  sedulously  collected  evidence 
bearing  upon  the  dispute  between  Martinez  and  Colnett,  Hudson, 
Duncan,  and  Funter,  the  men  commanding  the  ships  of  the  com- 
pany of  which  Meares  was  the  moving  spirit.  He  had  obtained  a 
joint  letter  from  Gray  and  Ingraham,  of  the  Columbia  and  JVashing- 
ton,  dealing  at  some  length  with  the  events  of  1789.^^ 

The  statement  of  the  American  captains  is  all  in  favour  of  the 
Spanish  contention,  and  much  has  been  made  of  it  by  American 
historians  in  after  years.  In  view  of  this  fact,  Robert  Duffin's  letter 
to  Vancouver,  written  on  September  26,  1792,  at  Nootka,  is  of 
peculiar  interest.    It  reads  as  follows: 

To  Cap"  George  Vancouver,  Commander  of  His  Majesty's  Ships 
Discovery,  and  Chatham,  now  Laying  in  Friendly  Cove;  Nootka  or 
King  George's  Sound. 


Whereas  dififerent  reports  have  been  propagated,  relative  to> 
what  right  Mr.  Meares  had  for  taking  Possession  of  the  Land  in 
Friendly  Cove  Nootka  Sound :  I  shall  here  state  with  that  Candor, 
and  Veracity,  which  has  always  influenced  me  on  such  Occasions ;^ 
an  impartial  account  of  Mr.  Meares's  proceedings  in  the  above  Port. 

Toward  the  Close  of  the  Year  1787,  a  commercial  Expedition 
was  undertaken  bv  John  Henry  Cox,  Esqr.  &  Co. — Merchants  then 

'*  Vancouver's  Voyage,  Quarto  ed.,  vol.   i,   pp.   385-86. 

"•This  letter  is  given  in   Greenhow's  Oregon   anil   California    (London,    1844),   pp.   +14-17.. 


residing  at  Canton,  who  accordingly  Fitted  and  equipped;  two  ships, 
for  the  Fur  Trade,  on  the  N.  West  Coast  of  America. — 

The  conduct  of  this  Expedition  was  reposed  in  John  Meares 
Esqr.  as  commander  in  Chief,  and  sole  conductor  of  the  Voyage, 
and  who  was  likewise  one  of  the  Merchant  Proprietors;  these  V^essells 
were  Equipped,  under  Portuguese  Colours;  with  a  view,  to  mitigate 
those  Heavey  port  charges  imposed  on  Ships  of  ever\-  Nation  (Portu- 
guese only  excepted)  which  circumstance,  is  well  known  to  every 
commercial  Gentleman  trading  to  that  part  of  the  World. 

Under  these  circumstances,  the  said  Vessells  were  fitted  in  the 
Name  and  under  the  Firm,  of  John  Cavallo  Esqr.  a  Portuguese 
Merchant,  then  residing  at  Macao;  but  he  had  no  property  in  them 
whatsoever,  both  their  Cargoes  being  intirely  British  property,  and 
solely  navigated  by  the  subjects  of  His  Britanic  Majesty. 

We  arrived  at  the  said  port,  in  Nootka  Sound,  in  May  1788,  on 
our  first  arrival,  in  the  above  port  the  two  chiefs  Maquilla,  and 
Calicum  were  absent.  On  their  return  which  was  either  on  the  17th 
or  i8th  of  the  same  month,  Mr.  Meares,  accompanied  by  myself,  and 
Mr.  Robt.  Funter,  our  2nd  officer,  went  ashore  and  treated  with  the 
said  Chiefs;  for  the  whole  of  the  land  that  forms  Friendly  Cove,  in 
Nootka  Sound,  in  his  Britanic  Majesty's  Name,  and  accordingly 
bought  it  of  them,  for  8,  or  10,  Sheets  of  Copper,  and  several  other 
trifling  Articles. — The  Natives  were  fully  satisfied  with  their  agree- 
ment. The  Chiefs,  likewise  their  subjects,  did  homage  to  Mr.  Meares 
as  their  Sovereign,  using  those  formalities,  that  are  peculiar  to 
themselves,  and  which  Mr.  .Meares  has  made  mention  of  in  his 

The  British  Flag  was  displayed;  on  shore,  at  the  same  time; 
those  formalities  were  used  as  is  customary  on  such  occasions  (and 
not  the  Portuguese  Flag,  as  has  been  insinuated  by  several  people 
who  were  not  present  at  the  time;  consequently  advanced  those 
assertions  without  a  Just  Foundation)  on  our  taking  Possession  of  the 
Cove,  in  his  Majesty's  Name,  as  aforementioned,  Mr.  Meares  caused 
a  house  to  be  erected  on  the  very  spot,  where  the  Chatham's  tent  now 
stands;  it  being  the  most  convenient  part  of  the  Cove  for  our  inten- 
tions. The  Chiefs,  with  their  subjects,  ofifered  to  quit  the  Cove 
entirely  and  reside  at  a  place  called  Tashers;  and  leave  the  Place  to 

Xc'fc  tie  Nutka 

Xefu  dc  hi  cMlrailii   ili-l   Kstreclu)  dr  .liiiin   .K'    Kuea 



ourselves  as  sole  masters,  and  owners,  of  the  whole  Cove,  and  Lands 

Consequently  we  were  not  confined  merely  to  that  Spot;  but  had 
equall  Liberty  to  Erect  a  house  in  any  other  part  of  the  Cove  but 
chose  the  Spot  we  did  for  the  above  mentioned  reason. 

Mr.  Meares  therefore  appointed,  Mr.  Robt.  Funter,  to  reside 
in  the  house,  which  consisted  of  three  Bed  Chambers  and  a  Mess- 
room  for  the  Officers,  and  proper  apartments  for  the  Men, — the 
above  apartments  were  elevated  about  5  feet  from  the  ground,  under 
these  were  other  apartments  for  putting  our  stores  in — exclusive  of 
House  were  several  sheds,  and  out  houses,  built  for  the  conveniency 
of  the  artificers  to  Work  in. 

On  Mr.  Meares'  departure;  the  said  House,  &c.,  was  left  in  good 
condition,  and  he  enjoined  Maquilla  to  take  care  of  it  until  he 
(Mr.  Meares)  or  some  of  his  associates  should  return,  on  the  Coast 

It  has  been  reported  by  several  people  that  on  Don  Jose  Estn. 
Martinez's  Arrival  in  the  Cove,  there  was  not  a  Vestige  of  the  said 
House  remaining.  However  that  might  be  I  cannot  tell,  as  I  was 
not  at  Nootka  when  he  arrived.  On  our  return  in  July,  1789,  in 
the  said  Cove,  we  found  it  Occupied  by  the  Subjects  of  His  Catholick 
Majesty;  and  likewise  some  People  belonging  to  the  Ship  Columbia, 
commanded  by  Mr.  John  Kendrick,  under  the  Flag  and  Protection 
of  the  United  States  of  America  had  their  Tents,  and  out  houses 
erected  on  the  same  Spot  where  our  House  formerly  stood,  but  I  saw 
no  remains  of  our  Architecture. 

We  found  laying  at  Anchor  in  the  said  Cove  His  Catholick 
Majesty  of  Spain's  Ships — Princessa  and  San  Carlos  and  likewise 
the  Ship  Coliinihia  and  Sloop  JVashington. 

The  second  Day  after  our  arrival,  we  were  captured  by  Don  Jose 
Estn.  Martinez,  and  the  Americans  were  suffered  to  Carry  on  their 
Commerce  with  the  Natives  unmolested. 

This  Sir,  is  the  Best  information  I  can  give  you  that  might  tend 
to  elucidate  the  propriety  of  Mr.  Meares's  taking  Possession  of  the 
Village  of  Nootka  and  Friendly  Cove. 

Should  anyone  whatsoever  doubt  the  truth  of  this  Protest,  1  am 


always  readey  to  attest  it  before  any  Court  of  Judicature,  or  any  one 
Person  duly  Authorized  to  Examine  Me. 

I  have  the  Honor  to  be  with  the  Greatest  Esteem,  Sir, 

Your  most  Obedient  and  very  Hum  '«  Servant, 


The  said  Robert  DufBn  sworn  to 
the  truth  of  the  beforemen- 
tioned  relation,  before  me, 
in  Friendly  Cove,  Nootka 
Sound,  the  26th  day  of  Sept- 
ember, 1792. 

Geo.  Vancouver. 

The  Spaniard  opened  the  negotiations  with  a  letter  respecting  the 
restitution  to  be  made,  transmitting  therewith  all  the  correspondence 
in  his  possession  dealing  with  the  question  and  the  evidence  he  had 
gathered  during  his  residence  at  Nootka.  From  the  first  it  seemed 
that  a  deadlock  must  ensue  for  Bodega  y  Quadra  averred  that  there 
was  nothing  to  be  handed  over  but  part  of  the  beach  of  Friendly  Cove 
and  a  small  extent  of  land  behind  it,  while  Vancouver  insisted  that 
the  whole  port  should  be  surrendered.  Neither  officer  seemed 
inclined  to  yield. 

The  Spaniard  advanced  the  arguments  used  in  the  diplomatic 
controversy  between  Great  Britain  and  Spain  in  1790,  while  Van- 
couver insisted  that  the  commissioners  were  in  no  way  concerned 
with  the  facts  that  had  induced  their  respective  Governments  to 
come  to  an  understanding,  but  solely  with  the  execution  of  the 
definitive  provisions  of  the  treaty.  Differ  as  they  might,  however, 
with  respect  to  their  interpretations  of  the  provisions  of  the  Nootka 
Convention  the  personal  relations  of  Vancouver  and  Bodega  y  Quadra 
were  marked  with  the  greatest  cordiality.  Vancouver's  journal  con- 
tains many  complimentary  and  friendly  references  to  the  Spanish 
officer.  There  is  no  reason  to  believe  that  this  regard  was  not  mutual, 
although  Bodega  y  Quadra's  private  opinion  of  Vancouver  has  never 
been  published.  The  annals  of  this  coast  hardly  afford  a  more 
pleasing  picture  than  that  of  the  negotiations  at  Nootka  in  1792 
between  the  representatives  of  the  British  and  Spanish  Governments. 



It  should  not  be  forgotten  that  these  negotiations  were  of  a  delicate 
nature.  A  little  lack  of  consideration  for  the  feelings  of  others,  a 
small  show  of  bitterness  or  resentment  on  the  part  of  either  com- 
missioner, might  have  caused  national  prejudices  to  blaze  forth  with 
disastrous  consequences,  but  dignity,  courtesy,  and  magnanimity 
marked  the  occasion.  Whatever  may  have  been  his  feelings.  Bodega 
y  Quadra  did  not  display  any  bitterness ;  and  Vancouver,  disappointed 
as  he  was  at  his  failure  to  bring  the  matter  to  a  successful  issue, 
was  careful  not  to  give  voice  to  his  thoughts.  It  was  fortunate  that 
such  strong  men  had  been  charged  with  the  conduct  of  the  affair. 

The  official  correspondence  of  the  two  officers  was  severely  formal. 
It  cannot  be  better  illustrated  than  by  their  notes  exchanged  on  Sep- 
tember the  13th,  1792,  and  Vancouver's  minute  of  the  15th  which 
follow  in  order.  Vancouver  writes  thus  to  Bodega  y  Quadra  on  the 
13th,  in  riposte  to  the  Spaniards  home-thrust  of  the  previous  day,  in 
the  courteous  diplomatic  duel  going  on  between  them: 

On  board  his  Britannic  Majesty's  Ship  Discovery, 

Friendly  Cove,  Nootka  Sound,  13th  September,  1792. 


1  am  excessively  concernd  that  after  the  explanatory  con- 
versation which  took  place  yesterday  to  find  on  the  translation  of  your 
letter  of  that  date  any  further  necessity  of  corresponding  on  the 
subject  of  these  Territories !  What  1  understand  to  be  the  Territories 
of  wch  his  Britannic  Majesties  subjects  were  dispossessed  of  &  to  be 
restord  to  them  by  the  ist  Article  of  the  Convention  &  Count  Florida 
Blanca's  Letter,  is  this  Place,  intoto,  &  Port  Cox,  of  wch  if  it's  not 
your  power  to  put  me  in  full  possession  I  can  have  no  Idea  of  hoisting 
the  British  flag  on  the  spot  you  have  pointed  out  in  this  Cove  of  but 
little  more  than  an  hundred  yards  in  extent  any  way.  If  therefore 
that  is  your  situation,  I  must  decline  recieving  any  such  restitucion 
on  the  part  of  his  Britannic  Majesty  &  so  soon  as  his  Britannic 
Majesty's  Vessels  under  my  command  are  in  readiness  I  shall  proceed 
to  sea  untill  I  shall  recievc  further  directions  from  the  British  Court 
on  this  subject,  nor  can  I  avoid  in  this  instance  observing  the  material 
difference  of  the  language  of  your  two  last  letters  from  that  of  your 
first,  in  wch  if  the  Translation  is  right,  you  say:  "but  comprehending 
the  Spirit  of  the  King  my  Master  is  to  establish  a  solid  Peace  & 


permanent  with  all  nations  &  consulting  to  remove  Obstacles  wch 
inrtuence  discord  far  from  thinking  to  continue  in  this  Port  I  am 
ready  without  prejudice  to  our  legitimate  rights  nor  that  of  the  Courts 
better  instructed  resolves,  generously  to  Cede  to  England  the  Houses 
Gardens  &  Offices  uch  have  with  so  much  labour  been  cultivated." 
On  these  subjects  I  have  already  acknowledged  my  thanks  for  the 
genrous  disposition  of  the  Spanish  Court  in  leaving  those  Offices  &d 
for  our  Convenience;  these  however  I  consider  as  erected  on  the 
Territories  of  which  the  British  Subjects  were  dispossessed  in  April 


I  have  the  Honour  to  be  with  Sentiments  of  the  sincerest  regard 
&  Esteem 

Geo.  Vancouver. 

In  response  Bodega  y  Quadra  is  no  less  ready  in  pressing  his 
point  of  the  attack  with  the  object  of  at  any  rate  disarming  his 
opponent,  as  his  replv  of  the  same  date  exemplifies: 

Nootka  13  September  1792. 

Sor  Dn.  George  Vancouver,  Commander  &c.,  &c. 

I  thought  after  the  verbal  conversation  wch  we  had  the  dif- 
ficulties you  had  put  to  me  were  settled,  &  that  we  had  both 
complied  with  our  duty,  but  seeing  by  your  attentive  letter  of  the 
13  currt  that  you  do  not  conform  I  repeat,  I  will  leave  you  in 
Posesion  not  only  of  the  territories  wch  were  taken  from  his  Brittanick 
subjects  in  April  1789  but  also  that  wch  was  then  occupied  by  the 
Natives  of  the  Place,  &  now  by  the  Spaniards  in  consequence  of 
the  Cession  made  in  their  favor  by  Maquinna.  But  you  have  not 
the  power  to  controvert,  nor  I  to  adjudge  the  property  of  this  Land; 
thus  I  hope  it  will  be  convenient  to  you  to  have  the  possession  of  the 
whole,  &  well  inform  our  Sovereigns,  &  they  will  decide  the  most 

This  medium  I  think  the  most  conformable  to  the  Pacific  Spirit 
of  the  Courts  as  in  the  Seventh  Article  of  the  Convention,  its  orderd 
that  'in  all  cases  of  Quarrels  or  the  infraction  of  the  Articles  of  the 
present  Convention,  The  Officers  of  the  one  &  the  other  Party 
without  passing  to  any  violence  or  act  of  Force,  are  to  give  an  exact 


relation  of  the  case  &  of  its  circumstances  to  their  respective  Courts 
•who  icill  terminate  Amicably  such  differences.  All  ours  consists  in 
the  rights  of  Possession  &  property. 

You  say  you  are  authorize!  to  recieve  the  whole,  I  am  not  for  to 
deliver  in  those  terms.  In  this  Idea  I  judge  we  shall  be  under  the 
necessity  to  instruct  our  Kings  of  the  truth  of  things  of  wch  they 
have  no  knowledge,  &  that  for  my  part  there  may  not  be  the  least 
motive  for  Disgust,  nor  for  you  to  sufTer  any  extortion.  I  am  ready 
to  deliver  all  that  was  occupied  by  the  English  in  that  Epoch  as  a 
thing  belonging  to  Great  Brittain  &  to  leave  you  in  possession  of  the 
remaining  Land.  Reserving  only  the  right  of  Property,  wch  I  have 
not  the  power  to  alienate,  &  according  to  my  method  of  thinking, 
ought  to  be  preservd  Jointly  with  the  Brittanick  Subjects  &  to  comply 
in  this  manner  with  the  sense  of  the  treaty. 

For  what  respects  the  Houses,  Gardens  &  Offices,  I  in  nothing 
vary  from  my  first  expressions  wch  were  always  limited  with  these 
words — without  prejudice  to  our  legitimate  right,  or  what  the  Courts 
better  instructed  may  resolve.  This  is  without  renouncing  the 
propertv  wch  1  comprehend  ought  to  remain  in  favor  of  the  King 
my  Master.  I  shall  be  happy  to  have  in  answer  the  pleasure  to  find 
ynu  arc  fuilv  satisfied  &  that  you  will  Live  persuaded  of  the  sincerity 
with  which  I  esteem  you 


Your  afifectionate  Servant 

(Signed)  Juan  Fran*^"  de  la  Bodega  y  Quadra. 

In  replv  to  the  foregoing,  Vancouver's  succeeding  despatch  is 
unconditional  and  demands  an  unconditional  surrender  or  a  cessation 
of  the  negotiations,  in  the  following  terms: 

On  board  his  Britannic  Majesty's  Ship  Discovery,  Friendly  Cove, 
Nootka  Sound,  15  September  1792. 


I  have  reed  your  letter  of  tiie  13  and  in  reply  have  only 
to  say  that  like  the  former  ones  it  contains  nothing  but  a  discussion 
of  right,  which  as  1  have  before  observd  is  diametrically  foreign  to 
the  business  we  are  orderd  to  execute,  that  subject  having  already 
been  thoroughly  investigated  by  the  Ministers  appointed  by  the 
respective  Courts  for  that  purpose  as  is  fully  explaind  in  the  preamble 


to  the  late  Treaty.  You  likewise  mention  Mr.  Meares's  Vessels  being 
under  Portuguese  Colours,  that  is  equally  foreign,  Mr.  Fitzherbert& 
the  Count  of  Florida  Blanca  being  as  well  informd  of  that  subject  as 
we  are  by  Mr.  Meares's  original  petition  to  the  Parliament  of  Great 
Britain  I  am  therefore  only  here  as  I  have  before  repeatedly 
mentiond,  to  recieve  &  be  put  into  full  possession  of,  on  the  part  of 
his  Britannic  Majesty  the  territories  the  British  Subjects  were  dis- 
possessed of  in  April  1789  wch  are  this  Place  &  Port  Cox. — this  is  the 
Place  which  was  then  occupied  by  the  said  subjects,  here  they  were 
captured;  their  Vessels  sent  as  prizes,  &  themselves  Prisoners,  to  New 
Spain;  by  wch  means  this  place  was  forcibly  wrested  from  them,  & 
occupied  &  fortified  by  the  Officers  of  the  Spanish  Crown. 

This  place  therefore  agreable  to  the  first  Article  of  the  Con- 
vention &  the  Count  of  Florida  Blanca's  first  letter  (of  wch  the 
British  Court  has  transmitted  me  a  true  translation)  with  that  of 
Clyoquot  or  Port  Cox  are  to  be  restord  without  any  reservation 
whatever  on  which  terms  &  on  those  terms  only  I  am  here  to  recieve 
the  said  territories,  &  must  here  insist  on  declining  any  further  cor- 
respondence on  this  Subject  except  recieving  your  positive  Answer 
wether  you  will  or  will  not  restore  to  me  on  the  part  of  his  Britannic 
Majesty  the  said  territories  &  in  respect  to  the  7th  Article  of  the 
Convention,  in  the  present  instance,  there  can  be  no  appeal  whatever, 
you  being  orderd  to  restore  the  said  territories  &  I  orderd  to  recieve 
them,  your  will  therefore  favor  me  with  vour  final  answer  on  that 
subject,  permitting  me  to  remain  &c.  &c. 

Geo.  Vancouver. 

Sor.  Dn.  Juan  Franco,  de  la  Bodega  y  Quadra. 

On  September  17th,  however  the  negotiations  came  to  an  abrupt 
termination.  After  many  diplomatic  notes  had  passed  between  the 
two  officers.  Bodega  y  Quadra  signified  that  he  could  not  depart 
from  the  terms  of  his  offer  "lemnng  me  in  possession  only,  not 
formally  restoring  the  territory  of  Nootka  to  Great  Britain."  Two 
days  later  Vancouver,  finding  Bodega  y  Quadra  still  firm  in  his 
determination,  "considered  any  further  correspondence  totally 
unnecessary;  and  instead  of  writing,  I  requested  in  conversation  the 
next  day  to  be  informed  if  he  was  positively  resolved  to  adhere,  in 
the  restitution  of  this  country  to  the  principles  contained  in  his  last 


letter  and  on  receiving  an  answer  from  him  in  the  affirmative,  I 
acquainted  him  that  1  should  consider  Nootka  as  a  Spanish  port  and 
requested  his  permission  to  carry  on  our  necessary  employment  on 
shore,  which  he  very  politely  gave,  with  the  most  friendly  assurance 
of  every  service  and  kind  offices  in  his  power  to  grant."  "' 

The  negotiations  having  thus  been  brought  to  a  conclusion,  both 
Vancouver  and  Bodega  y  Quadra  prepared  to  sail  south  for  the 
winter.  Jacinto  Caamano  was  appointed  to  take  charge  of  the  port 
until  the  arrival  of  Fidalgo  in  the  Princessa.  The  Activa  then  made 
ready  to  sail  and  Vancouver  likewise  prepared  his  vessels  for  their 
southern  cruise.  Before  the  officers  parted,  however,  Vancouver  in 
a  formal  letter  advised  Bodega  y  Quadra  that  as  he  could  not  receive 
the  territory  in  dispute  on  the  conditions  proposed,  he  would  imme- 
diately report  the  result  of  the  negotiations  to  the  Court  of  London 
and  wait  for  further  instructions  for  the  regulation  of  his  future 
conduct.  I'he  next  day  Bodega  y  Quadra  acknowledged  the  receipt 
of  the  communication  and  the  charts  of  the  coast  which  Vancouver 
had  transmitted  a  few  days  before.  These  notes  concluded  the 
correspondence  of  that  year  ( 1792) . 

On  Friday,  September  21st,  Vancouver  gave  a  farewell  dinner  to 
the  Spanish  commander  and  "the  day  passed  with  the  utmost  cheer- 
fulness and  hilarity."  The  ne.xt  day  the  Activa  sailed  from  Friendly 

Nootka  Sound  in  tiiat  day  was  the  recognized  rendez  vous  of  the 
traders  resorting  to  the  Northwest  coast.  Here  they  beached  and 
repaired  their  vessels  and  here  they  refitted  and  replenished  their 
water  casks  and  conducted  all  the  operations  that  must  of  necessity 
be  performed  after  long  and  stormy  voyages.  Nootka  Sound  in  the 
years  when  the  furtrade  flourished  frequently  presented  an  animated 
scene.  While  Vancouver  was  there,  in  the  summer  of  1792,  an 
English  and  an  American  shallop  were  on  the  stocks  in  the  cove, 
which  when  finished  were  to  be  employed  in  collecting  skins  in  the 
inland  waters  of  the  coast.  At  anchor  in  the  stream  lay  the  American 
brig  Hope,  in  command  of  Ingraham;  a  French  ship;  the  Venus,  of 
Bengal,  commanded  by  one  Shepherd;  the  Spanish  ships  of  war 
Gertriidis  and  Conccpcion,  of  thirty-si.x  guns  each;  the  brig  Activa 
of  twelve  guns;  the  Princessa,  Aranzuzti  and  San  Carlos,  transport 

"Vancouver's  \oyage,  Unarm  eel.,  vol.   i,  p.  403. 


and  storeships;  the  little  vessels,  Sittil  and  Mexicana,  commanded  by 
Galiano  and  Valdez,  and  His  Majesty's  ships  Discovery,  Cliatluim 
and  Daedalus.  On  the  shores  of  Friendly  Cove  were  the  officers' 
quarters,  barracks,  a  hospital,  storehouses,  and  other  buildings. 

Vancouver  was  greatly  impressed  with  the  establishment.  He 
remarked  that  the  buildings  "appeared  sufficiently  secure,  and  more 
extensive  than  our  occasions  required.  A  large  new  oven  had  been 
lately  built  expressly  for  our  services,  and  had  not  hitherto  been 
permitted  to  be  used.  The  houses  had  been  all  repaired,  and  the 
gardeners  were  busilv  emploved  in  putting  the  gardens  in  order. 
The  poultry,  consisting  of  fowls  and  turkeys,  was  in  excellent  con- 
dition, and  in  abundance,  as  were  the  black  cattle  and  swine."  ''  From 
these  and  other  remarks  of  the  British  officer  it  is  to  be  gathered  that 
after  the  re-occupation  of  the  place  in  1790  the  Spaniards  had 
bestowed  no  little  care  upon  the  establishment.  In  fact,  it  is  evident 
that  the  Spanish  government  had  intended  to  occupv  it  permanently 
and  would  have  done  so  had  it  not  been  for  the  Nootka  Convention. 
Such  was  Nootka  in  the  year  1792. 

Vancouver,  with  the  three  British  vessels,  left  Nootka  on  October 
13,  1792.  At  the  outset  owing  to  a  sudden  calm  the  Chatham  was 
swept  by  the  tide  against  a  rocky  point  of  the  cove  and  it  was  only  by 
strenuous  exertions  and  assistance  from  the  Daedalus  that  the  vessel 
was  got  off  without  any  apparent  injury,  though  she  had  struck  very 
heavily.  On  the  Discovery  Vancouver  had  two  strange  passengers. 
They  were  two  young  women  of  the  Sandwich  Islands  who  had 
sailed  from  their  native  land  in  the  Jenny  of  Bristol.  That  vessel 
had  only  arrived  at  Nootka,  on  her  wav  to  England,  a  few  days 
before  Vancouver's  departure  and  at  the  captain's  earnest  request  he 
consented  to  give  them  a  return  passage  to  their  homes.  Passing  by 
Cape  Classet  he  records  that  "hnding  that  this  name  had  originated 
only  from  that  of  an  inferior  chief's  residing  in  this  neighbourhood," 
he  had  restored  Captain  Cook's  appellation  of  Cape  Flattery.  The 
Daedalus  was  detached  to  examine  Grav's  Harbour,  while  the 
Chatham  and  Discovery  explored  the  Columbia.  The  former  led 
the  way,  but  as  the  water  shoaled  and  was  breaking  in  every  direction 
the  Discovery  "hauled  to  the  westward  to  avoid  the  threatened 
danger."    Just  as  he  turned  away  Vancouver  saw,  in  the  fading  light. 

'"  Vancouver's  Voyage,  Quarto  eii.,  vol.   i,   p.   393. 

















signals  from  the  Chatluim,  which  however  he  could  not  clearly 
understand.  Finding  ten  fathoms  water  he  anchored  for  the  night. 
At  day  break  on  the  20th  he  was  delighted  to  see  the  Chatlunu  ten 
miles  nearer  the  shore,  but  was  grieved  to  learn  from  Mr.  Johnstone, 
her  lieutenant,  that  the  surf  had  been  so  heavy  during  the  night  as  to 
destroy  one  of  her  small  boats  by  dashing  it  upon  the  deck.  He  then 
recorded  his  opinion  that  the  port  was  "inaccessible  to  vessels  of  our 
burthen  .  .  .  with  this  exception,  that  in  very  fine  weather,  with 
moderate  winds  and  a  smooth  sea,  vessels  not  exceeding  tour  hundred 
tons,  might,  so  far  as  we  were  enabled  to  judge,  gain  admittance." 

On  that  day  however  he  made  another  attempt;  but  while  the 
C/int/uim  made  headway  the  Discovery  was  driven  out  by  the  strength 
of  the  current,  the  wind  having  died  away.  The -morning  of  the  21st 
a  heavy  gale  was  blowing  and  Vancouver  concluded  to  abandon  the 
attempt,  leaving  Lieutenant  Broughton  to  examine  the  Columbia  in 
the  smaller  vessel.  Ill  fortune  pursued  her,  howev^er,  and  tliat  very 
day  the  Chatham  grounded  upon  an  extensive  shoal  iir  mid-channci, 
but,  later,  being  floated  she  was  anchored  in  safety.  Vancouver  com- 
plains that  Captain  Gray's  chart,  which  Lieutenant  Broughton  had 
with  him,  did  not  much  resemble  what  it  purported  to  represent,  and 
that  this  shoal  had  completely  escaped  that  navigator's  attention. 
Even  the  spot  at  which  Captain  Gray  showed  an  anchorage  was  found 
||  to  be  very  shallow.  The  difiference  in  the  season  of  the  year  no  doubt 
accounts  for  these  and  other  discrepancies.  Having  resolved  to 
make  his  examination  in  the  cutter  and  the  launch,  Lieutenant 
Broughton  set  out  on  October  24th,  with  a  week's  provisions.  Pro- 
ceeding carefully  up  the  river,  noting  exactly  the  conditions  prevail- 
ing, surveying  the  course  of  the  stream,  and  naiiiiiitj;  the  principal 
points,  bays,  and  islands,  he  reached  on  the  31'th,  Point  \'ancouver, 
which  he  considered  to  be  84  miles  up  the  river  and  100  miles  from 
the  Chatham,  which  lay  in  the  estuary.  After  formally  taking  pos- 
session of  the  country  in  His  Britannic  Majesty's  name  (on  which 
occasion,  it  is  gravelv  recorded  that  the  Indian  chief  who  accom- 
panied him,  drank  His  Majesty's  health),  Broughton  set  out  on  the 
return  to  his  vessel,  (jetting  out  of  the  river,  the  CJuiiIuidi  maiic  her 
way  to  San  Francisco  where  the  Discovery  lay.  I  he  two  vessels  in 
company  proceeded  to  Monterey  where  the  Dncdalns  had  already 
arrived.     After  about  two  months  occupied  in  preparing  the  charts, 


drawings,  letters,  and  other  documents  for  transmission  to  England 
in  charge  of  Lieutenant  Broughton,  during  which  period  Sehor 
Quadra  showered  upon  Captain  Vancouver  every  kindness  and 
thoughtful  consideration,  the  Discovery  and  the  Chatham  sailed  for 
the  Sandwich  Islands.  Lieutenant  Broughton  was  ordered  to  repair 
to  England  with  these  papers,  covering  the  work,  to  that  date,  with- 
out a  moment's  loss  of  time. 

Leaving  the  Sandwich  Islands  in  March,  1793,  Vancouver  with 
the  Discovery  made  the  coast  at  the  spot  discovered  by  Senor  Quadra's 
expedition  in  1775  and  named  Porto  de  la  Trinidad  in  latitude  about 
41°  north.  While  there  Mr.  Menzies  found  upon  a  hill  the  cross 
which  the  Spaniards  had  erected  in  taking  possession.  It  was  in  a 
state  of  decay  but  a  portion  of  the  inscription  was  still  legible. 
Nootka  was  reached  on  May  20th,  only  to  find  that  the  Chatham, 
which  had  arrived  about  the  middle  of  April,  had  sailed  on  May 
i8th.  The  Spanish  fort  on  Hog  Island  had  been  erected  during 
Vancouver's  absence.  It  mounted  eleven  nine-pounders  and  "added 
greatly  to  the  respectability  of  the  establishment."  The  Discovery 
saluted  the  fort,  and  the  honour  was  returned.  The  Spanish  vessel 
San  Carlos,  in  command  of  Senor  Don  Ramon  Saavedra,  anchored 
soon  after  Vancouver's  arrival.  Senor  Fidalgo,  the  governor  of  the 
port,  informed  the  English  commander  that  Saavedra  was  to  super- 
sede him  and  that  being  therefore  about  to  return  to  San  Bias  he 
would  take  charge  of  and  forward  any  dispatches  through  that  chan- 
nel to  England — an  opportunity  of  which  Vancouver  readily  availed 

After  a  delay  of  four  days  Vancouver  sailed  to  the  northward 
to  take  up  his  work  in  the  vicinity  of  Calvert  Island  where  it  had 
ended  in  the  preceding  year.  Proceeding  up  Fitzhugh  Sound  the 
Chatham  was  met  and  together  the  vessels  continued  the  survey  of 
the  maze  of  islands  and  intricate  waterways  which  form  our  coast 
line.  Here  the  work  was  carried  on,  generally  speaking,  by  means  of 
boat  excursions  with  the  ships  as  a  central  point,  which  from  time  to 
time  was  changed  as  the  more  important  of  the  channels  were  exam- 
ined and  charted.  On  the  3rd,  4th  and  5th  of  June,  1793,  the  survey- 
ing parties  were  in  Dean's  Canal  and  Cascade  Canal.  This  is  the 
localit\'  which  Alexander  Mackenzie  reached  about  the  22nd  of  the 
next  month.     Describing  the  habitations  of  the  natives  Vancouver 



























'^■/■"V  ,)  r-rj.'/ 

'•'■  ) 

Ss  I  -• 


"4— Tp^^"*-^ 


5,  f  V  «•  i  •?  r  i 




says:  "These  appeared  to  be  well  constructed;  the  boards  forming  the 
sides  of  the  houses  were  well-fitted,  and  the  roo*fs  rose  from  each  side 
with  sufficient  inclination  to  throw  ofif  the  rain.  The  gable  ends  were 
decorated  with  curious  painting,  and  near  one  or  two  of  the  more 
conspicuous  mansions  were  carved  figures  in  large  logs  of  timber, 
representing  a  gigantic  human  form,  with  strange  and  uncommonly 
distorted  features."  '* 

Not  only  did  Vancouver  survey  minutely  the  continental  shore 
and  examine  the  various  winding  canals,  but  he  paid  careful  atten- 
tion also  to  the  habits  and  customs  of  the  natives,  as  the  above  extract 
shows  in  reference  to  their  houses.  He  gives  a  description  of  the 
labret,  that  strange,  disfiguring  lip  ornament  so  common  in  the  early 
days  amongst  the  northern  Indians.  Some  of  these  were  two  and  a 
half,  and  even  three  and  four  tenths,  inches  in  length  and  an  inch  and 
a  half  broad.  So  too,  he  noticed  the  woollen  garments,  so  beauti- 
fully woven  by  these  Indians,  and  the  clothing  made  from  pine  bark, 
in  some  instances  with  sea-otter  fur  worked  into  it  and  decorated  with 
very  fine,  well  spun,  and  vari-coloured  woollen  yarn.  As  he  pursued 
his  investigations  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Greenville  canal  and 
Nepean  Sound,  as  he  called  them,  he  noticed  that  the  natives  seemed 
to  differ  in  a  trifling  degree  from  those  he  had  been  accustomed 
to  sec;  "they  were  not  taller,"  he  says,  "but  they  were  stouter,  their 
faces  more  round  and  flat,  their  hair,  coarse,  straight,  black  and  cut 
short  to  their  head;  in  this  respect  they  differed  from  any  of  the 
tribes  of  North  West  America  with  whom  we  had  met,  who,  though 
in  various  fashions,  universally  wore  their  hair  long,  which  was  in 
genera!  of  a  soft  nature,  and  chiefly  of  a  light  or  dark  brown  colour, 
seldom  approaching  to  black."  '" 

Proceeding  steadily  northward,  bestowing  the  names  of  his 
friends  on  islands  and  capes,  and  thus  giving  a  sort  of  immortality  to 
many  who  would  otherwise  have  been  forgotten,  he  reached  the 
latitude  of  the  Skecna  River.  But  Vancouver  did  not  see  this  stream 
as  he  had  kept  along  the  outside  fringe  of  islands,  although  he  named 
Port  Essington.  Here  he  met  three  vessels  the  Butterworth,  of  Lon- 
don, Pinire  Lee  Boo  and  Jackall ,  all  in  command  of  a  Captain  Brown. 
The  traders  saluted  with  seven  guns,  Vancouver  replied  with  five. 

'*  Vancouver's  Voyage.  Quarto  ed.,  vol.  2,  p.  272. 
"  Vancouver's  Voyage,  Quarto  ed.,  vol.  2,  p.  320. 

vni   r  — t.i 


From  these  vessels  it  was  learned  that  the  vicinity  was  strewn  with 
dangerous  rocks;  an  offer  of  one  of  the  trading  vessels  to  serve  as  a 
pilot  was  gladly  accepted.  Captain  Brown  spoke  of  a  large  opening 
extending  northeastward,  whose  southern  entrance  was  in  latitude 
54°  45'.  This,  opined  Vancouver,  was  probably  the  same  as  that 
laid  down  in  Sefior  Comaano's  chart  as  Estrecho  de  Almirantc 
Fuentes,  or  De  Fonte's  Strait.  This  is  the  Observatory  Inlet  and 
Portland  Canal,  which  figured  so  prominently  in  the  Alaskan 
boundary  dispute  of  later  vears. 

In  Behm  Canal,  V^ancouver  noticed  a  strange  spired  rock.  At  once 
the  Eddystone  lighthouse  comes  to  his  mind,  and  New  Eddystone 
takes  its  place  on  the  map.  It  is  now  the  middle  of  August,  1793, 
and  here  Vancouver  meets  and  names  the  hunch-backed  salmon.  He 
says  it  is  "the  worst  eating  fish";  that  the  hateful  protuberance  is 
more  marked  in  the  male  than  in  the  female;  and  that  the  mouths  of 
both  were  made  in  a  kind  of  hook,  resembling  the  upper  mandible 
of  a  hawk.  Here,  too,  Vancouver  had  some  trouble  with  the  Indians. 
Under  the  guise  of  honest  trade — which  he,  of  course,  did  not  seek — 
they  surrounded  his  small  boat,  and  incited  by  an  old  woman  they 
attempted  to  steal  anything  movable  in  it.  They  seized  the  oars,  and 
brandished  their  spears.  For  a  time  things  assumed  a  threatening 
attitude.  The  altercation  attracted  the  attention  of  Mr.  Puget  in 
the  yawl.  He  hurried  to  Vancouver's  support,  but  the  situation 
became  so  dangerous  that  Vancouver  was  compelled,  in  order  to 
save  his  crew  (whose  inaction  under  his  orders  was  mistaken  for 
pusillanimity)  to  fire  upon  their  assailants.  This  action,  as  unex- 
pected as  it  was  effective,  solved  the  difficulty.  The  Indians  leaped 
into  the  sea,  putting  their  canoes  between  themselves  and  Vancouver. 
Before  he  could  follow  the  affair  up,  he  found  that  two  of  his  men 
had  been  very  severely,  but  not  fatally,  wounded  and  required 
the  immediate  attention  of  the  surgeon.  He  was,  therefore,  reluct- 
antly compelled  to  desist  from  teaching  the  savages  a  salutary  lesson. 

About  September  20th  Vancouver  reached  Cape  Decision  in  lat- 
itude 56".  Wishing  to  spend  some  time  in  the  examination  of  the 
western  shore  of  Queen  Charlotte  Islands,  he  accordingly  decided 
to  turn  his  vessels'  prows  southward  at  this  point.  He  reached 
Nootka  on  October  qth.  The  only  vessel  there  was  the  San  Carlos. 
laid  up  for  the  winter.    The  Daedalus,  which  he  had  hoped  would 


have  returned  from  Port  Jackson,  had  not  arrived.  A  French  vessel, 
La  Flavia,  having  on  board  a  very  valuable  cargo  of  European  com- 
modities for  Kamschatka,  to  be  exchanged  there  for  furs  with  which 
a  cargo  of  tea  was  to  be  purchased  in  China,  had  called  at  Nootka 
in  the  course  of  the  summer.  Such  incidents  show  the  growing  im- 
portance of  that  port. 

After  remaining  only  three  days  the  Discovery  and  the  Chatham 
sailed  for  the  Californian  coast.  Between  San  Francisco  and  Mon- 
terey the  Daedalus  was  met,  northward  bound.  On  this  visit  Van- 
couver received  treatment  the  very  reverse  of  that  which  Quadra 
had  accorded  to  him  in  the  preceding  year.  Seiior  Arrillaga,  the 
commandant,  refused  to  allow  any  persons  except  the  officers  to 
land  unless  actually  engaged  in  obtaining  wood  and  water  or  other 
necessary  services,  and  then  only  within  sight  of  a  Spanish  officer. 
He  further  required  that  all  persons  return  to  the  ships  by  sun-down; 
and  while  he  permitted  an  observatory  to  be  erected  he  would  not 
e.xcept  the  observer  from  this  rule.  Lastly  he  requested  that  the 
utmost  expedition  be  employed,  so  that  the  vessels,  even  under  these 
iron-clad  arrangements,  might  depart  at  the  earliest  moment.  Con- 
sidering the  whole  matter,  Vancouver  rightly  concluded,  immedi- 
ately upon  finishing  his  examination  of  the  California  coast,  to  sail 
to  the  Sandwich  Islands,  where  he  doubted  not  that  the  uneducated 
inhabitants  would  cheerfully  aflford  the  accommodation  so  unkindly 
denied  him  at  San  P^rancisco  and  Monterey.  About  December  14, 
1793,  the  little  fleet  sailed  from  the  American  coast  and  arrived  at 
the  Sandwich  Islands  on  January  8,  1794. 

F"r()ni  that  time  until  the  middle  of  March,  Vancouver  was  en- 
gaged in  exploring  and  charting  the  Sandwich  Islands.  Sailing 
again  for  the  American  coast  with  the  Discovery  and  the  Chatham — 
the  Daedalus  having  previously  left  for  Australia — Vancouver 
sighted  it  in  latitude  55"  on  April  4,  1794.  As  his  work  during  this 
— his  third — season  was  entirelv  outside  our  boundaries  it  will  not 
be  followed  in  detail.  In  August  the  exploration  was  concluded  and 
Vancouver  informs  us  that  Mr.  Whidby  took  possession  of  the 
whole  coast  from  New  Georgia  northwestward  to  Cape  Spencer. 
Describing  that  event,  which  took  place  on  the  shores  of  Prince 
Frederick's  Sound,  while  the  surveying  parties  stopped  to  dine,  he 
says:  "The  colours  were  displayed,  the  boats'  crews  drawn  up  under 


arms,  and  possession  taken  under  the  discharge  of  three  vollies  of 
musketry,  with  all  the  other  formalities  usual  on  such  occasions,  and 
a  double  allowance  of  grog  was  served  to  the  respective  crews,  for 
the  purpose  of  drinking  His  Majesty's  health."  How  different  from 
stately  and  solemn  Spanish  ceremony  already  described!  ^° 

Vancouver  now  sailed  for  Nootka  Sound,  where  he  arrived  on 
September  2nd.  Lying  at  anchor  at  Friendly  Cove  he  found  the 
Spanish  vessels,  Princessa,  Aranzuzu,  and  San  Carlos,  the  Phoenix, 
a  barque  from  Bengal  commanded  by  Captain  Moor,  the  sloop 
Lee  Boo,  which  he  had  met  in  the  preceding  year,  and  the  Washing- 
ton, now  rigged  as  a  brig  and  commanded  by  Captain  Kendrick. 
Brigadier  General  Don  Jose  Manuel  Alava,  the  new  Governor  of 
Nootka,  had  only  arrived  the  day  before  in  the  Princessa.  This 
appointment  had  taken  place  owing  to  the  death  in  March,  1794,  at 
San  Bias,  of  our  highly  valuable  and  much  esteemed  friend  Sefior 
Quadra.  In  relating  this  circumstance  Vancouver  makes  very  plain 
the  great  admiration  and  respect  he  entertained  for  the  Spanish  rep- 
resentative. He  tells  us  that  the  sudden  news  of  his  death  "produced 
the  deepest  regret  for  the  loss  of  a  character  so  amiable  and  so  truly 
ornamental  to  civil  society."  ^^ 

Vancouver  soon  learned  that  Alava  expected  soon  to  receive  the 
credentials  necessary  to  enable  him  to  finish  the  pending  negotiation 
respecting  the  cession  of  territory  mentioned  in  the  Nootka  Conven- 
tion on  which  he  and  Quadra  had  been  unable  to  agree.  Although 
two  years  had  since  gone  by  Vancouver  had  received  no  communica- 
tion thereon  either  of  a  public  or  private  nature.  Thinking  it  highly 
probable  that  instructions  would  reach  him  by  the  same  conveyance 
as  that  by  which  Alava's  were  transmitted  he  determined  to  remain 
for  a  time  at  Friendly  Cove.  The  necessity  of  repairs  to  his  vessels, 
of  obtaining  new  planking  and  spars,  of  erecting  an  observatory  to 
check  his  recent  surveys,  and  of  preparing  new  cordage  added  many 
valid  reasons  for  a  short  delay  at  this  historic  spot. 

About  six  weeks  were  spent  at  Nootka  on  this  occasion.  In  that 
interval  the  Jenny  of  Bristol,  now  commanded  by  Captain  Adamson, 
and  the  Jackall  of  Captain  Brown's  fleet,  arrived  at  this  Mecca  of 
the  maritime  furtraders.     Vancouver  and  Alava  made  a  state  visit 

^"Vancouver's  Voyage,  Quarto  ed.,  vol.  3,  p.  285. 
'1  Id.,  p.   301. 


WTiere  stands   tlio  tomb  and  nionumontal  tablet  orccted  to  the  memory  of  Captain  George 

\'ancouver   by   the   Hudson's   Bay   Company 

■i^i U-^Jiil 

Bi  .^tSi 

<    ^ 

.,    o 

'A      - 
































to  Maquinna  at  I  ashees.  The  barbaric  splendour  of  their  reception 
at  the  hands  of  this  celebrated  personage  Vancouver  describes  very 
fully — the  lengthy,  earnest  address  of  welcome,  the  grotesque  group 
of  painted  performers,  their  savage  and  barbarous  appearance,  their 
peculiar  music,  their  grotesque  masks  and  strange  musical  dresses — 
then  the  giving  of  gifts  again  and  again  until  the  stock  that  the 
visitors  had  brought  was  completely  exhausted.  A  few  days  after 
their  return  to  the  cove  the  Spanish  officers  were  Vancouver's  guests 
upon  the  Discovery  and  no  instructions  relative  to  the  cession  of  the 
territory  at  Nootka  having  arrived,  on  the  i6th  October,  1794,  Cap- 
tain Vancouver  ordered  the  anchor  to  be  weighed,  the  sails  were 
unfurled,  and  the  Discovery  bade  adieu  to  our  coasts  forever.  The 
Discovery  and  the  Chatham  after  a  short  stay  at  Monterey  sailed  in 
December,  1794,  for  England.  In  a  heavy  gale  the  Discovery's 
main  mast  was  sprung,  and  scurvy  having  made  its  appearance  the 
vessel  called  at  V^alparaiso  for  the  necessary  assistance.  Resuming 
the  voyage,  Cape  Horn  was  rounded  and  the  Chatham  arrived  in 
London  on  October  17,  1795,  the  Discovery  three  days  later. 

After  his  return  Vancouver  devoted  himself  entirely  to  the  prep- 
aration of  his  Journal  for  publication.  He  had  corrected  all  the 
proofs  except  the  last  few  pages  when  he  died  at  the  old  Star  and 
Garter  Inn,  Richmond  Hill,  Surrey,  May  10,  1798.  He  was  buried 
in  the  church  yard  of  St.  Peters,  at  Petersham,  on  the  i8th.^^  Con- 
sidering that  Vancouver  was  not  yet  forty-one  years  of  age  at  the 
time  of  his  death  all  must  marvel  at  his  abilities  which  caused  him 
at  thirty-four  years  of  age  to  be  selected  for  such  an  important  office, 
and  that  enabled  him  to  carry  it  through  in  a  manner  which  has 
evoked  the  highest  praise  from  every  student  of  our  history  and 
geography.  It  was  eminently  proper  that  the  name  of  such  a  man 
should  have  been  selected  for  the  great,  bustling  city  at  the  terminus 
of  the  Canadian  Pacific  Railway. 

'2  Walbran's  Place   Names,   Vancouver. 



While  British,  American,  French  and  Spanish  expeditions  were 
exploring  the  littoral,  a  new  force  was  at  work  in  the  interior  of  the 
Continent.  At  first  the  Adventurers  of  England  trading  into  Hud- 
son's Bay,  known  in  history  as  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  did  not 
extend  their  operations  far  beyond  the  shores  of  that  inland  sea. 
It  was  the  policy  of  the  Company  to  bring  the  Indians  to  Fort 
Churchill,  Fort  Nelson,  or  Fort  Prince  of  Wales,  to  barter  their 
rich  furs.  This  policy  saved  the  expense  of  establishing  inland 
forts,  and  the  Company's  servants  from  the  attacks  of  savages,  who, 
however  amenable  they  might  be  far  from  their  homes  on  the  shores 
of  Hudson's  Bay,  could  not  be  "expected  to  be  so  tractable  in  their 
own  hunting  grounds.  The  furs  were  shipped  direct  to  England 
through  Hudson's  Straits.  Thus  a  century  and  more  before,  the 
great  wheat  fields  of  the  Middle  West  became  the  granary  of  the 
Empire,  the  route,  now  proposed  as  one  of  the  outlets  for  that  fer- 
tile region,  was  used  by  the  homing  ships  of  the  great  Company. 

I'he  trade  of  the  Adventurers  was  lucrative,  and,  almost  from 
the  time  of  the  granting  of  their  charter  in  1670,  large  dividends 
were  paid  to  the  share-holders. 

But  ctjmmerce  could  not  always  be  carried  on  in  peace  and 
security,  even  in  the  bleak  and  isolated  territories  of  Hudson's  Bay. 
In  the  stormy  period  that  preceded  the  Treaty  of  Versailles  in  1783, 
the  forts  of  the  Company  were  more  than  once  attacked  and  some- 
times captured  by  French  expeditions,  in  one  of  which  La  Perouse, 
tlie  brilliant  navigator  who  commanded  the  ill-fated  French  expe- 
dition ti)  the  Pacific  in  17815-8,  played  an  active  part.  In  the  time 
of  these  hostilities  no  dividends  were  declared,  but  so  rich  was  the 
field  that  a  year  or  two  of  uninterrupted  peace  offset  the  losses. 

Long  before  Canada  was  U)st  to  France,  the  traders  of  the  St. 



Lawrence  had  crossed  the  Great  Lakes  and  entered  into  communi- 
cation with  the  tribes  of  the  wild  region  to  the  northward  of  Lake 
Superior;  but  it  was  left  to  the  gallant  Pierre  Gaultier  de  La 
Verendrye  to  pierce  the  heart  of  the  continent.  From  his  earliest 
years  it  had  been  his  ambition  to  reach  the  Sea  of  the  West,  upon 
the  shores  of  which  he  longed  to  plant  the  French  flag.  Verendrye 
was  by  nature  an  explorer;  he  became  a  furtrader  by  force  of  cir- 
cumstances. Unable  to  procure  from  the  Governor  of  Canada  a 
commission  to  explore  the  interior  of  the  continent,  or  even  finan- 
cial support  for  his  enterprise,  he  was  forced  to  adopt  the  role  of 
trader,  as  by  that  means  only  could  he  hope  to  achieve  his  ambition. 
Neither  the  Governor,  nor  the  merchants  of  Montreal,  cared  for 
western  exploration,  except  as  a  means  by  which  new  territories, 
rich  in  fur,  might  be  brought  under  their  sway.  In  Verendrye 
worked  that  mysterious  influence  which  has  ever  impelled  men  of 
Aryan  race  to  follow  the  path  of  the  evening  sun.  As  commander 
of  the  trading-post  of  Nipigon,  he  stood  on  the  threshold  of  that 
undiscovered  land  which  barred  the  way  to  the  Western  Sea.  Here, 
from  the  natives,  he  heard  of  great  waters  and  great  territories  that 
lay  far  beyond  Lake  Superior,  and  these  stories  kindled  in  him  a 
consuming  desire  to  reach  the  western  verge  of  the  continent. 

In  the  summer  of  173 1  Verendrye  and  his  three  sons,  in  the  guise 
of  furtraders,  set  out  to  solve  one  of  the  greatest  geographical  prob- 
lems of  the  age.  They  were  the  first  Europeans  to  build  forts  in 
the  Middle  West.  On  the  shore  of  The  Lake  of  the  Woods,  Veren- 
drye erected  a  stockade  from  twelve  to  fifteen  feet  in  height,  in  the 
form  of  an  oblong  to  guard  his  rough  cabins  of  logs  and  clay  and 
bark.  The  rude  establishment  was  christened  Fort  St.  Charles. 
From  this  base  Verendrye  explored  north,  west,  and  south,  build- 
ing forts  and  trading  with  the  natives  even  as  far  as  the  Mandan 
villages;  but  ever  chafing  at  delays  and  untoward  incidents  that 
retarded  his  progress  westward.  The  brave  Frenchman  was  not  to 
achieve  his  ambition,  although  his  son,  while  in  the  country  near  the 
head  waters  of  the  Missouri,  caught  a  glimpse  of  one  of  the  eastern 
spurs  of  the  "Mountains  of  Bright  Stones,"  the  name  by  which  the 
Rocky  Mountains  were  known  to  the  Indians  of  those  parts.  No 
Frenchman  was  destined  to  lead  an  expedition  into  the  land  beyond 
that  great  barrier.     From   1732  until   1743  the  Verendryes,  father 


and  sons,  sought  to  pierce  the  western  mystery,  but  without  avail. 
They  were  defeated  but  not  beaten.  The  father  retired  from  the 
country,  but  only  to  plead  his  cause  at  the  Viceregal  Court  of  Can- 
ada. He  was  promoted  and  decorated  with  the  coveted  Cross  of  St. 
Louis,  and  authorized  by  Governor  Galissoniere  to  continue  his 
e.vplorations,  yet  no  financial  assistance  was  forthcoming.  After 
devoting  his  life  to  his  cherished  purpose,  Verendrye,  in  his  declin- 
ing years,  could  find  none  to  help  him  to  realize  his  dream.  He 
died  in  December,  1749. 

Verendrye  led  the  way  to  that  immense  preserve  where,  in  after 
years,  rich  harvests  were  reaped  by  contending  traders.  He  left  to 
posterity  a  noble  example  of  fortitude  and  duty  well-done.  After 
his  death  the  trade  in  the  region  he  had  discovered  was  continued, 
but  it  did  not  prosper. 

Even  while  the  French  still  held  the  great  interior,  an  effort  was 
made,  in  1754-5,  by  a  young  officer  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company, 
named  Anthony  Hendry  (or  Hendey),  to  reach  the  far  west.  It 
appears  that  Hendry,  who  was  a  native  of  the  Isle  of  Wight,  had 
been  outlawed  in  1748  for  smuggling;  he  then  entered  the  service 
of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  and  volunteered  to  go  inland  with 
the  natives,  who  traded  at  the  forts  on  Hudson's  Bay.  After  the  usual 
exciting  experiences,  incidental  to  travel  in  a  new  country,  Hendry 
reached  the  broad  waters  of  the  Saskachewan,  and  to  him  belongs  the 
honour  of  being  the  first  Englishman  to  launch  his  frail  canoe  upon 
that  lordly  river  of  the  western  plains.  He  found  on  this  river  the 
fort  built  by  De  La  Corne  the  year  before.  "On  our  arrival,"  says 
Hendry  in  his  journal,  which  is  preserved  at  Hudson's  Bay  House, 
"two  Frenchmen  came  to  the  waterside  and  in  a  very  genteel  man- 
ner invited  me  into  their  home,  which  I  readily  accepted.  One  of 
them  asked  me  if  I  had  any  letter  from  my  master,  and  where,  on 
what  design,  I  was  going  inland.  1  answered  I  had  no  letter  and 
that  I  was  sent  to  view  the  country,  and  intended  to  return  in  the 
spring.  He  told  me  the  master  (presumably  De  La  Corne)  and 
men  were  gone  down  to  Montreal  with  the  furs,  and  that  they  must 
detain  me  till  their  return.  However,  they  were  very  kind,  and 
at  night  I  went  to  my  tent  and  told  Attickasish,  or  Little  Deer,  my 
leader,  that  had  the  charge  of  me,  who  smiled  and  said  they  dared 


not.  I  sent  them  two  feet  of  tobacco,  which  was  very  acceptable  to 
them."  ' 

That  meeting  of  the  young  English  explorer  with  the  French 
traders  of  the  Saskatchewan  is  of  more  than  passing  interest — as  Mr. 
L.  J.  Burpee,  the  learned  author  of  "The  Search  for  the  Western 
Sea,"  justly  observes.  In  all  the  records  of  the  adventure  on  the 
great  plains,  no  mention  is  made  of  the  "French  and  English  com- 
ing face  to  face  west  of  the  Great  Lakes  while  the  former  were  still 
in  possession  of  Canada."  -  It  is  true  that  they  had  met  and  fought 
time  and  again  in  the  marshes  of  New  England  and  New  France, 
and  on  the  shores  of  the  mediterranean  sea  named  after  that  heroic, 
but  unfortunate,  Henry  Hudson;  but  hitherto  the  French  had  been 
supreme  in  the  Northwest.  It  requires  no  great  stretch  of  imagina- 
tion, therefore,  to  realize  that  the  French,  despite  their  politeness, 
must  have  been  chagrined  at  the  appearance  of  Hendry  in  the  heart 
of  their  preserve.  No  attempt  seems  to  have  been  made  by  the 
French  traders  to  put  into  execution  their  threat  of  detaining  the 
English  explorer,  for,  on  the  following  day  he  continued  his  journey. 
Hendry  was  not  only  to  spy  out  the  land;  he  was  also  to  use  every 
means  in  his  power  to  induce  the  tribes  of  the  interior  to  carry  their 
furs  to  York  Fort  in  the  spring.  His  mission,  however,  was  not 
particularly  successful.  The  natives  could  not  be  persuaded  to  jour- 
ney so  far,  to  so  little  purpose.  Yet  some  of  the  Assiniboines  prom- 
ised to  accompany  him  and  faithfully  kept  their  word.  In  Assini- 
boia  the  young  explorer  witnessed  the  strange  sight  of  vast  herds  of 
bufTalo  "grazing  like  English  cattle"  on  the  plains. 

Hendry  wintered  among  the  Blackfeet,  and  his  journals  con- 
tain many  interesting  particulars  respecting  that  bold  and  warlike 
tribe.  In  the  spring  he  departed  on  his  homeward  journey,  in  due 
course  arriving  at  a  French  trading  post  a  few  miles  below  the 
Grand  Forks  of  the  Saskatchewan,  where  he  \vas  kindly  treated. 

The  explorer's  narrative  throws  much  light  upon  the  methods 
of  the  French  traders,  who  were  preeminently  fitted,  alike  from 
their  sagacity,  engaging  politeness,  and  appreciation  of  the  Indian 
character,  to  carry  on  their  traffic  in  the  lawless  wild.  "It  is  surpris- 
ing," writes  Hendrv,  "to  observe,  what  an  influence  the  French  have 

1  Burpee,  Western   Sea,  pp.   119-120. 
-Burpee,  Western   Sea,  p.   120. 


over  the  natives.  I  am  certain  he  (referring  to  the  officer  in  charge) 
hath  got  above  i,ooo  of  the  richest  skins."  He  adds  "The  French 
speak  several  (Indian)  languages  to  perfection;  they  have  the  advan- 
tage of  us  in  every  shape;  and  if  they  had  Brazile  tobacco,  which 
they  have  not,  would  entirely  cut  off  our  trade."  •' 

A  quarter  of  a  century  later  Jonathan  Carver,  a  son  of  Connecti- 
cut, attempted  to  realize  the  dream  of  the  old  French  explorers,  but 
apart  from  its  motive,  his  e.xploration  is  not  of  surpassing  interest. 
Still,  his  narrative  is  notable,  if  for  no  other  reason  than  that  it  gave 
to  the  world  the  beautiful  name  "Oregon."  Carver  left  Boston  in 
T776,  proceeding  by  way  of  Michilimachinac,  Green  Bay,  and  the 
Fox,  Wisconsin,  and  Mississippi  rivers  to  St.  Pierre,  where  he 
sojourned  for  some  months.  Finding  that  he  could  make  no  progress 
westward  of  that  point,  he  changed  his  course  and  made  Lake 
Superior  with  the  intention  of  following  the  route  of  the  furtraders, 
over  the  northern  lakes  and  rivers,  to  its  farthest  extent,  and  thence 
to  the  Pacific.    Again  disappointed  he  returned  to  Boston. 

During  his  mid-continental  tour,  Carver  heard  many  marvellous 
stories  as  to  the  mountains,  lakes,  and  rivers  of  the  vast  territories 
on  the  borders  of  which  he  ventured.  These  stories  found  expres- 
sion in  his  journal,  in  which  he  described  great  rivers,  which,  from 
their  sources  in  the  centre  of  the  continent,  extended  to  the  four 
points  of  the  compass,  thus  providing  water  communication  north 
and  south,  and  east  and  west,  even  to  the  shores  of  that  great  ocean 
concerning  which  there  had  been  so  much  speculation.  Carver  also 
told  of  the  "Mountains  of  Bright  Stones,"  and  the  "Oregan,"  or 
"River  of  the  West." 

Failing  to  obtain  cither  that  recognition  or  support  for  his  western 
enterprise,  which  he  deemed  its  importance  deserved,  he  abandoned 
the  project  for  others.  Thereafter  Jonathan  Carver  subsided  into 
obscurity,  his  untrustworthv  narrative  alone  preserving  his  name 
from  oblivion. 

Then,  farther  to  the  northward,  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company 
sought,  in  an  examination  of  Arctic  tundras,  to  add  to  the  world's 
stock  of  geographical  knowledge,  and  at  tiie  same  time,  perhaps, 
to  sufficiently  set  forth  its  zeal  in  the  search  for  the  Northw^est  Pas- 
sage, which,  in  the  charter  of  1670,  had  been  specifically  included  as 

■'Kui|H'c,   NW'siern   Sf;i,   p.   13^. 


one  of  the  Company's  especial  duties.  Samuel  Hearne  steps  forth 
from  the  obscurity  of  an  humble  origin  and  occupation,  and  achieves 
fame  as  an  explorer  in  the  short  space  of  two  years.  Hearne  how- 
ever was  but  the  instrument;  it  was  the  half-breed  Governor  of  Fort 
Prince  of  Wales,  the  noted  Moses  Norton,  who  launched  the  idea 
and  equipped  and  despatched  the  expedition.  At  that  time  no  one 
knew  how  far  the  continent  extended  from  east  to  west.  It  was  at 
first  almost  universally  believed  that  at  most  a  few  hundred  leagues 
separated  the  North  and  South  Seas.  As  explorations  were  pushed 
farther  afield,  it  became  apparent  that  the  continent  reached  farther 
and  yet  farther  westward.  The  early  French  and  British  explorers 
expected  to  find  the  Pacific  washing  the  western  foot-hills  of  the 
"Shining  Mountains."  Hearne,  however,  from  the  evidence  he  had 
gathered,  believed  the  continent  of  America  to  be  "much  wider  than 
many  people  imagined,  particularly  Robson,  who  thought  that  the 
Pacific  Ocean  was  but  a  few  days'  journey  from  the  west  coast  of 
Hudson's  Bay.  This,  however,  is  so  far  from  being  the  case,  that 
when  I  was  at  my  greatest  western  distance,  upward  of  five  hun- 
dred miles  from  the  Prince  of  Wales  Fort,  the  natives,  my  guides, 
well  knew  that  many  tribes  of  Indians  lay  to  the  west  of  us  and 
they  knew  no  end  to  the  land  in  that  direction;  nor  have  I  met  with 
any  Indians,  either  northern  or  southern,  that  ever  had  seen  the  sea 
to  the  westward."  Three  times  Hearne  sallied  forth  from  Fort 
Prince  of  Wales  to  find  and  explore  the  "Far-Ofif-Metal  River"" 
of  the  natives.  Twice  he  was  left  in  the  lurch  by  his  Indian  guides 
and  forced  to  return  to  his  base;  but  Hearne  was  not  a  man  to  be 
balked,  and  once  more  he  left  the  fort,  on  December  7,  1770,  for  he 
was  to  travel  with  dogs  and  sleds,  while  the  snow  covered  the  earth 
with  its  even  mantle.  After  many  exciting  adventures  and  narrow 
escapes,  he  reached  the  land- of  the  Eskimo,  where  he  was  the  unwill- 
ing witness  of  a  bloody  attack  by  the  Chipewyans  upon  that  innocent 
and  inofifensive  people.  "The  poor  unhappy  victims,"  says  Hearne, 
"were  surprised  in  the  midst  of  their  sleep  and  had  neither  time  nor 
power  to  make  any  resistance;  men,  women  and  children,  in  all 
upwards  of  twenty,  ran  out  of  their  tents  stark  naked  and  endeav- 
oured to  make  their  escape;  but  the  Indians  having  possession  of  all 
the  landside,  to  no  place  could  they  fly  for  shelter.    One  alternative 

♦Burpee,  Western  Sea,  p.  139. 


only  remained,  that  of  jumping  into  the  river;  but  as  none  of  them 
attempted  it  they  all  fell  victims  to  Indian  barbarity."  A  young  girl 
was  speared  beside  the  explorer;  as  she  fell  she  writhed  round  his 
legs;  nor  did  his  pleading  save  her,  for  the  savages,  asking  him  con- 
temptuously if  he  wanted  an  Eskimo  wife,  thrust  their  weapons  into 
the  unfortunate  creature.  At  this  harrowing  sight  Hearne  could  not 
restrain  his  tears. 

At  last  the  intrepid  explorer  reached  the  mouth  of  the  Copper- 
mine River,  and  observed  it  to  be  in  latitude  71°  54'  north  and  longi- 
tude 120°  30',  which  position,  however,  gave  the  river  an  outlet  two 
hundred  miles  too  far  to  the  north,  as  is  proved  by  Franklin's  accurate 
observation,  which  marks  the  point  where  the  river  embouches  into 
the  Arctic  as  67°  40'  50"  north  and  115°  36'  49"  west.  Here  Hearne 
erected  a  cairn  and  took  formal  possession  of  the  country  on  behalf 
of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company.  He  then  began  to  retrace  his  steps, 
but  before  doing  so,  he  examined  the  copper  mines  of  which  so  much 
had  been  said,  only  to  find  that  they  were  "nothing  but  a  jurtible  of 
rocks  and  gravel."  On  his  homeward  journey  the  explorer  followed 
the  shores  of  Great  Slave  Lake,  and  crossed  this  sheet  of  water  to 
the  mouth  of  Slave  River;  then,  taking  an  easterly  course,  he  arrived 
at  Fort  Prince  of  Wales  on  June  30,  1771. 

Gradually  the  vast  prairies,  and  the  network  of  rivers  and  lakes 
that  provide  means  of  communication  in  the  central  portion  of  the 
continent,  became  known  to  the  furtrader.  But,  in  the  year  1763 
the  Conspiracy  of  Pontiac  and  successive  Indian  wars  rendered  the 
central  plains  unsafe  for  the  peddlers  and  caused  a  temporary  sus- 
pension of  the  traffic.  It  was  not  until  about  the  year  1771,  that 
British  traders  could  enter  with  safety  the  territory  of  the  Saskat- 
chewan, on  which  river  the  most  remote  of  the  old  French  posts  had 
been  built.  The  subsequent  progress  of  the  furtraders  may  be  said 
to  have  corresponded  with  the  wishes  of  the  Indians  and  the  success 
of  the  first  enterprises. 

At  first  the  whole  trade  was  conducted  by  the  unsupported  effort 
of  individuals.  The  trader,  wintering  with  a  newly  discovered  band 
of  Indians,  or  on  some  favourable  spot,  would  hear  of  tribes  still 
more  remote,  among  whom  provisions  might  be  obtained,  and  trade 
pursued  with  little  danger  of  competition.  To  the  hunting  grounds 
of  these  he  would  naturally  repair,  and  while  he  was  suffered   to 


remain  alone  he  might  obtain  furs  at  a  reasonable  rate.  But,  as  all 
men  had  the  right  to  traffic  at  any  place,  the  first  discoverer  of  an 
eligible  situation  generally  soon  found  himself  followed  bv  other 
traders,  who  were  ever  ready  to  reap  where  they  had  not  sown.  In 
these  circumstances,  the  furtrader,  naturally  enough,  endeavoured 
by  every  means  in  his  power  to  secure  to  himself  the  preference  of 
the  Indians  and  to  injure  his  competitor.  Thus,  in  the  Indian  terri- 
tories of  the  West,  each  man  became  a  master  unto  himself,  and  took 
the  law  into  his  own  hands.  As  a  consequence,  both  the  Indians 
and  the  trade  suffered.  The  natives  were  bribed  with  rum,  and  this 
trafficking  in  strong  spirits  soon  had  a  disastrous  effect.  While  this 
warfare  raged,  mutual  interest  suggested  the  necessity  of  establishing 
a  common,  or  co-operative,  association  as  the  only  means  of  ending 
once  for  all  so  injurious  a  competition. 

About  the  vear  1779,  nine  distinct  interests  became  parties  to  an 
agreement  for  one  year,  by  virtue  of  which  the  whole  trade  was 
rendered  common  property.  The  success  which  attended  this  mea- 
sure led  to  a  second  and  similar  agreement  in  the  succeeding  year, 
and  that  to  a  further  agreement,  which  was  to  last  for  three  years. 
Thus  co-operation  gradually  became  a  recognized  principle  among 
the  traders.  However,  an  agreement  for  a  short  term  was  found 
not  to  work  as  well  as  had  been  anticipated,  chietlv  for  the  reason  that 
the  members  of  the  association  were  naturallv  less  anxious  to  stand 
by  its  articles  than  to  prepare  themselves  for  its  termination,  and  the 
consequent  return  to  the  old  order  of  things.  It  seemed  almost  impos- 
sible that  out  of  this  chaos  of  conflicting  interests  there  could  be 
formed  an  association  so  powerful  as  to  unite  in  one  brotherhood, 
the  jealous  traders.  Yet  this  was  accomplished.  In  1783-84  practi- 
cally all  the  factions  were  united  in  one  great  association,  which 
assumed  the  historic  name — The  North  West  Cdmpanv.  At  first  the 
pact  was  for  five  vears  only,  but  so  effective  did  it  prove  in  eradicat- 
ing evils,  and  so  successful  were  the  operations  under  it,  that  the 
association  was  continued  from  time  to  time  until  at  last  a  permanent 
organization,  although  still  subject  to  agreement,''  became  possible. 

The  fierce  rivalries  of  the  independent  furtraders  were  thus 
abolished.  The  North  West  Company  established  upon  the  prin- 
ciple of  co-operation,  promoted,  whilst  that  principle  was  adhered 

^Origin  and  Progress  of  the  North  West  Company,  London,   1811. 


to,  the  welfare  of  all  concerned.  It  prevented  the  animosities,  vio- 
lence, and  losses  that  before  the  days  of  coalition  had  become  of 
every-day  occurrence  in  the  fur  territories.  No  one  thing,  perhaps, 
is  more  significant  of  the  good  results  that  accrued  from  the  policy 
than  the  fact  that  the  returns  of  the  furtrade  increased  from  thirty 
thousand  pounds  in  1784  to  one  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  pounds  in 
1810."  Another  conspicuous  result,  in  the  decrease  in  the  consumption 
of  spirituous  liquors  was  brought  about  by  the  amalgamation  of  the 
contending  forces.  In  the  vcar  1800,  ten  thousand  and  ninety-eight 
gallons  were  taken  into  the  territory,  but  in  the  year  1803,  when  the 
North  West  Company  met  with  strong  opposition  from  independent 
traders,  the  consumption  increased  to  twenty-one  thousand  two  hun- 
dred and  ninety-nine  gallons.  After  the  company  had  defeated  or 
placated  its  opponents,  the  average  consumption  dropped  to  nine 
thousand  seven  hundred  gallons  in  the  five  years  ending  with  18 10. 

At  the  outset  the  company  had  an  opponent  worthy  of  its  steel 
in  the  X  Y  Company,  formed  by  certain  malcontents  who  refused 
to  join  the  larger  association.  Amongst  these  were  the  notorious 
Peter  Pond  and  the  resolute  Alexander  Mackenzie.  The  struggle, 
however,  did  not  last  long.  In  1787  the  two  Canadian  companies 
amalgamated.  At  a  later  period  the  X  Y  Company  was  revived  by 
a  few  Nor' Westers,  who  had  become  dissatisfied  with  the  autocratic 
behaviour  of  the  choleric  Simon  McTavish,  nicknamed  by  his  associ- 
ates "le  Premier,"  or  "le  Marquis."  In  1793  Alexander  Mackenzie 
returned  to  the  X  Y  Company,  and  for  several  years  he  was  the 
master  mind  of  that  organization.  Simon  McTavish  died  in  1804  or 
1805,  and  shortly  afterwards  the  X  Y  Company  again  united  with  its 

In  the  thirty-eight  years  of  its  existence  the  North  West  Com- 
pany revolutionized  the  trade,  consolidated  its  interests,  and  extended 
its  sphere  of  influence  even  far  beyond  "The  Mountains  of  Bright 
Stones."  At  one  time  the  company  possessed  more  tiian  eighty  forts 
or  trading  stations  in  the  western  territories,  several  of  which  were 
west  of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  The  influence  of  the  bourgeois,  as 
the  officers  of  the  association  were  termed,  extended  from  Montreal, 
across  the  Great  Lakes,  to  the  farthermost  northern  and  southern 
limits  of  that  vast  territory  which   their  daring  and   prowess   had 

"  Oripin  and  Progress  of  the  North  West  Company,  London,  1811. 


brought  under  their  sway.  In  short,  the  great  central  and  western 
region  was  their  empire  and  they  governed  it  firmly,  and,  on  the 
whole,  justly. 

If  the  North  West  Company  thought  that  by  this  union,  it  had 
once  and  forever  put  an  end  to  trade  warfare,  it  had  reckoned  without 
its  host.  As  the  operations  of  the  Nor'Westers,  as  the  partners  and 
servants  of  the  Company  came  to  be  called,  extended  farther  afield, 
they  tapped  the  very  sources  of  the  trade  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Com- 
pany. It  was  the  masterly  policy  of  the  traders  of  Montreal  to 
establish  posts  in  the  most  remote  territories,  as  a  result  of  which  the 
Indians  found  that  it  was  no  longer  necessary  to  make  far  journeys 
to  dispose  of  their  pelts.  They  naturally  preferred  to  trade  at  the 
nearest  fort,  rather  than  to  carry  their  furs  to  the  shores  of  Hud- 
son's Bay.  Just  as  soon  as  this  policy  was  adopted,  the  trade  of  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company  declined.  For  almost  a  century  the  Adven- 
turers had  scarcely  moved  out  of  their  strongholds  on  the  western 
shore  of  Hudson's  Bay.  Indeed,  heretofore  there  had  been  no  occa- 
sion for  their  going  to  meet  the  savage  in  the  wilderness. 

It  was  hardly  to  be  expected  that  the  directors  of  the  Hudson's 
Bay  Company  would  tamely  submit  to  these  encroachments  on  the 
part  of  their  opponents.  The  enterprising  daring  of  the  united  fur- 
traders  rendered  a  conflict  inevitable.  Roused  to  action,  the  great 
chartered  company  resolutely  set  to  work  to  frustrate  the  tactics  of 
its  opponents.  At  each  advantageous  point  it  built  a  fort,  at  first 
confining  its  operations  to  the  more  northern  part  of  the  field;  but 
finding  its  trade  molested  even  there,  it  determined  to  extend  its 
system  of  forts  over  the  whole  country.  This  rivalry  gave  birth  to  a 
bitter  feud.  Wherever  a  Nor'Wester  built  his  rude  fort,  the  Hud- 
son's Bay  Company  would  plant  one  beside  it.  Hence  two  forts  were 
often  erected  within  sight  of  each  other — a  novel  situation  of  which 
the  Indian  took  full  advantage,  demanding  more  exorbitant  prices 
for  his  pelts.  But  of  all  things,  the  Indian  loved  rum  best.  As  long 
as  one  organization  controlled  the  situation  the  traffic  could  be  con- 
ducted without  intoxicants,  but  so  soon  as  this  deadly  rivalry  was 
started,  rum  again  became  a  common  article  of  barter.  Unscrupulous 
traders  did  not  hesitate  when  hard  pushed  by  an  opponent  to  seduce 
the  Indian  from  his  allegiance  with  liberal  potations.  Such  con- 
ditions could  not  exist  without  destroying  trade.     So  keen  and  so 


bitter  was  the  rivalry,  and  so  enamoured  were  the  Indians  of  the 
"fire-water"  of  the  traders,  that  in  a  short  time  whole  districts  were 
depleted  of  fur-bearing  animals.  The  North  West  Company  how- 
ever, prospered,  for  its  energetic  bourgeois  were  ever  moving  the 
frontier  farther  west  and  north  and  south,  reaching  territories  where 
the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  hesitated  to  follow.  Before  the  latter 
company  had  occupied  the  Middle  West  its  opponents  had  planted 
their  flag  on  the  western  slope  of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  While  this 
civil  war,  for  it  was  scarcely  less,  was  engrossing  the  energies  and 
activities  of  the  opposing  forces,  there  were  vet  men  amongst  the 
traders  to  whom  exploration  meant  more  than  gain.  The  search  for 
the  Western  Sea  had  been  neither  forgotten  nor  abandoned. 

In  the  Northwest  at  that  time  was  a  young  man,  named  Alexander 
Mackenzie,  a  Scotsman  of  good  lineage.  He  it  was  who  helped  to 
organize  the  X  Y  Company,  but  he  was  now  with  and  for  the  North 
West  Company.  In  the  last  decade  but  one  of  the  eighteenth  century, 
he  guided  the  destinies  of  Fort  Chippewayan  on  Athabasca  Lake; 
though  like  Verendrye,  he  thought  more  of  exploration  than  of  sordid 
traffic.  Samuel  Hearne's  exploit,  of  nearly  twenty  years  before, 
was,  to  him,  both  an  object  lesson  and  an  achievement  to  be  emulated. 
In  1789,  therefore,  Mackenzie  set  out  to  follow  the  northern  outlet 
of  Great  Slave  Lake  to  the  Arctic  Ocean.  He  was  successful;  and 
so  another  highway — for  all  rivers  were  highways  to  the  furtrader 
— was  placed  on  the  map,  and  by  so  much  was  the  knowledge  of  the 
geography  of  the  Arctic  coast  increased.  In  honour  of  its  explorer 
the  river  was  named  Mackenzie.  Now  the  region,  in  which  had  been 
placed  by  geographers  of  old,  the  famous  Straits  of  Maldonado,  and 
the  fanciful  waterways  of  de  Fonte,  was  indeed  reduced.  In  the 
same  year  (1789)  in  which  Mackenzie  made  this  mehiorable  excur- 
sion, the  Spaniards  on  the  Pacific  were  seizing  the  vessels  of  another 
British  furtrading  company,  and  fortifying  themselves  on  the  Ameri- 
can shores  of  the  North  Pacific. 

Upon  his  return  to  Fort  Chippewayan,  Mackenzie  decided  to  go 
to  London,  there  to  learn  how  to  reckon  accurately  latitude  and  longi- 
tude. Lack  of  this  knowledge  had  more  than  once  perturbed  him 
while  descending  the  Mackenzie  River,  and  he  had  determined  to 
fit  himself  at  the  earliest  opportunity  for  the  yet  greater  task  he  had 


assigned  himself — an  expedition  to  the  shores  of  the  Western  Sea, 
so  long  sought  by  French  explorers. 

The  overland  journeys  of  the  furtrader  were  no  less  important 
than  the  coastwise  explorations  of  the  mariner;  nor  were  his  expedi- 
tions less  arduous  or  less  hazardous  than  those  of  the  men  who  voy- 
aged the  trackless  ocean.  He  had  to  pass  from  one  savage  tribe  to 
another,  generally  with  a  mere  handful  of  men,  and  it  was  only  by 
the  exercise  of  patience  and  diplomacy  that  he  could  overcome  the 
prejudices,  armed  resistance,  and  treachery  of  the  natives. 

Even  while  Vancouver  was  exploring  the  coast,  an  expedition 
was  being  prepared  at  Fort  Chippewayan  to  cross  the  continent. 
Alexander  Mackenzie,  having  returned  from  London  with  his  newly 
acquired  knowledged  of  astronomy  and  surveying,  was  bending  all 
his  energies  to  the  attainment  of  his  great  ambition.  Having  made 
every  necessary  preparation,  he  left  Fort  Chippewayan  on  October 
lo,  1792,  with  the  determination  of  wintering  on  the  Peace  River, 
as  near  the  mountains  as  possible,  in  order  to  take  advantage  of  the 
opening  of  navigation  in  the  early  spring.  Towards  the  end  of 
October,  Mackenzie  arrived  at  his  wintering  place,  whither  two  of 
his  men  had  preceded  him.  The  men,  exhausted  by  the  hardships 
of  their  journey,  were  disappointed  at  finding  no  houses  ready.  The 
Indians  had  prevented  the  completion  of  the  post. 

No  sooner  had  the  explorer's  tent  been  pitched  than  he  called 
before  him  the  unruly  natives  and  soundly  rated  them  for  the  trouble 
they  had  caused.  He  said  he  would  treat  them  with  kindness  if  their 
behaviour  merited  it,  but  that  he  would  be  "equally  severe  if  they 
failed  in  those  returns"  which  he  had  a  "right  to  expect  from  them." 
Mackenzie- then  presented  the  natives  with  a  quantity  of  rum.  which 
he  naively  recommended  should  be  used  with  discretion. 

Such  incidents,  it  mav  be  presumed,  were  of  common  occurrence 
in  the  fur  territories;  yet  this  scene  exhibits  in  a  very  interesting  man- 
ner the  delicate  relations  that  existed  between  the  natives  and  the 
white  man  at  that  time.  It  seems  little  short  of  marvellous  that  a 
handful  of  men,  by  cajolery  or  threats,  or  by  a  diplomatic  admix- 
ture of  both,  should  be  able  to  preserve  their  hold  upon  the  lawless 
savages,  who  outnumbered  them  by  hundreds  to  one. 

Mackenzie's  winter  quarters  were  situated  near  the  junction  of 
a  large  stream  with  the  Peace  River.     On  account  of  its  situation 


the  place  was  called  Fort  Fork.  In  the  month  of  May,  1793,  six 
canoes  were  despatched  to  Fort  Chippewayan  with  the  furs  collected 
in  the  winter,  and  then  Mackenzie,  relieved  for  a  time  of  such 
sordid  details  made  final  preparations  for  his  great  enterprise.  The 
frail  bark  canoe,  which  was  to  carry  the  adventurers  on  the  turbulent 
currents  of  the  rivers  and  streams  of  the  Rocky  Mountain  region, 
was  but  tw^enty-five  feet  long  within,  twenty-six  inches  deep,  and  four 
feet  nine  inches  wide.  It  was  so  light  that  two  men  could  carry  it 
three  or  four  miles  without  resting.  This  little  vessel  carried  pro- 
visions, presents  (without  which  no  trader  ventured  into  a  new 
country),  arms,  ammunition,  and  baggage — in  all  three  thousand 

The  party  consisted  of  Alexander  Mackenzie,  Alexander 
Mackay,  six  voyageurs  and  two  Indians  to  act  as  hunters  and  inter- 
preters— ten  in  all.' 

Such  was  the  equipment  of  the  expedition  that,  after  untold  hard- 
ships and  dangers,  was  to  carry  British  sovereignty  across  the  conti- 
net  to  the  shores  of  the  Pacific  Ocean.  It  seems  almost  incredible 
that,  with  such  meagre  equipment,  so  much  was  accomplished.  Yet 
in  that  adventurous  age,  no  doubt,  the  expedition  was  considered 
well-found  and  ample  for  the  purpose.  Ten  men,  six  of  whom  were 
voyageurs  and  two  Indians,  were  to  assay  a  task  that  might  well  have 
appalled  the  stoutest  hearts.  But  the  careless  and  happy-go-lucky 
French-Canadian  cared  naught  for  danger  until  it  was  encountered; 
and  if  anxiety  cast  its  shadow  upon  the  mind  of  the  leader,  his  ela- 
tion at  the  thought  that  he  was  at  least  to  embark  "upon  his  great  enter- 
prise did  not  allow  it  to  obtrude. 

On  May  9,  1793.  Mackenzie  left  his  winter  (luarters.  At  first 
the  track  led  through  a  country  the  beauty  of  which  evoked  the 
admiration  of  the  explorer.  ''The  ground  rises  at  intervals,"  it  is 
recorded  in  the  journal  of  the  expedition,  "to  a  considerable  height, 
and  stretching  inwards  to  a  considerable  distance;  at  every  interval  or 
pause  in  the  rise,  there  is  a  very  gently-ascending  space  or  lawn, 
which  is  alternate  with  abrupt  precipices  to  the  summit  of  the  whole, 
or,  at  least  as  far  as  the  eye  could  distinguish.  This  magnificent 
theatre  of  nature  has  all  the  decorations  which  the  trees  and  animals 
of  the  countrv  can  afford  it:    groves  of  poplars  in  every  shape  vary 

'Mackenzie,  Voyages,  pp.  151-2. 


the  scene;  and  their  intervals  are  enlivened  with  vast  herds  of  elks 
and  buffaloes:  the  former  choosing  the  steeps  and  uplands,  and  the 
later  preferring  the  plains.  At  this  time  the  buffaloes  were  attended 
with  their  young  ones,  who  were  frisking  about  them;  and  it 
appeared  that  the  elks  would  soon  exhibit  the  same  enlivening  cir- 
cumstance. The  whole  country  displayed  an  exuberant  verdure; 
the  trees  that  bear  a  blossom  were  advancing  fast  to  that  delightful 
appearance,  and  the  velvet  rind  of  their  branches,  reflecting  the 
oblique  rays  of  a  rising  or  setting  sun,  added  a  splendid  gaiety  to  the 
scene,  which  no  expressions  of  mine  are  qualified  to  describe."  * 

As  the  canoe  passed  up  the  Peace  River,  the  country  assumed 
a  different  aspect.  The  park-like  prairie,  with  its  wooded  eminences 
and  verdant  lawns,  gave  place  to  rugged  and  precipitous  hills,  and 
these  in  turn  to  the  wild  and  awe-inspiring  grandeur  of  the  Rocky 
Mountains,  whose  snow  crowned  peaks  stretched  north  and  south  in 
one  long  unbroken  chain.  Into  this  wilderness  plunged  the  little 
party.  As  Mackenzie  neared  the  mountain  pass  the  current  became 
wild  and  tumultuous,  rushing  headlong  between  craggy  hills  and 
precipitous  walls  of  rock.  In  the  great  canyons  of  the  Rocky  Moun- 
tains the  Peace  River  belies  its  name  and  becomes  a  foaming  cas- 
cade, or  a  series  of  cascades,  that  even  daunted  the  voyageurs,  bred, 
as  they  were,  to  the  task  of  navigating  dangerous  rapids.  The  haz- 
ards and  difficulties  of  the  enterprise  continued  to  increase.  "We 
now  continued,"  says  Mackenzie  in  his  entry  of  May  20th,  "our  toil- 
some and  perilous  progress  with  the  line  west  by  north,  and  as  we 
proceeded  the  rapidity  of  the  current  increased,  so  that  in  the  dis- 
tance of  two  miles  we  were  obliged  to  unload  four  times,  and  carry 
everything  but  the  canoe;  indeed,  in  many  places,  it  was  with  the 
utmost  difficulty  that  we  could  prevent  her  from  being  dashed  in 
pieces  against  the  rocks  by  the  violence  of  the  eddies.  At  five  we 
had  proceeded  to  where  the  river  was  one  continued  rapid.  Here 
we  again  took  everything  out  of  the  canoe,  in  order  to  tow  her  up 
with  the  line,  though  the  rocks  were  so  shelving  as  greatly  to  increase 
the  toil  and  hazard  of  that  operation.  At  length,  however,  the  agi- 
tation of  the  water  was  so  great,  that  a  wave  striking  on  the  bow  of 
the  canoe  broke  the  line,  and  filled  us  with  inexpressible  dismay, 
as  it  appeared  impossible  that  the  vessel  could  escape  from  being 

*  Mackenzie,  Voyages,  1801,  pp.  154-5. 


dashed  to  pieces,  and  those  who  were  in  her  from  perishing.  Another 
wave,  however,  more  propitious  than  the  former,  drove  her  out  of 
the  tumbling  water,  so  that  the  men  were  enabled  to  bring  her  ashore, 
and  though  she  had  been  carried  over  rocks  by  these  swells  which 
left  them  naked  a  moment  after,  the  canoe  had  received  no  material 
injury.  The  men  were,  however,  in  such  a  state  from  their  late 
alarm,  that  it  would  not  only  have  been  unavailing  but  imprudent, 
to  have  proposed  any  further  progress  at  present,  particularly  as  the 
river  above  us,  as  far  as  we  could  see,  was  one  white  sheet  of  foam- 
ing water."  "  Of  this  place,  he  observed,  "The  river  is  not  more  than 
fifty  yards  wide,  and  flows  between  stupendous  rocks,  from  whence 
huge  fragments  sometimes  tumble  down,  and  falling  from  such  an 
height,  dash  into  small  stones,  with  sharp  points."  " 

Such  were  the  daily  experiences  of  the  travellers.  Small  wonder 
is  it  that  even  the  stout  heart  of  the  French-Canadian  quailed  as  he 
advanced  into  this  region,  where  Nature  had  erected  every  barrier 
that  could  possibly  be  devised  to  prevent  the  progress  of  Man.  The 
voyageurs  rebelled  against  the  hardships  of  the  way  and  clamoured 
to  return.  But  the  master-spirit  of  the  enterprise  would  brook  no 
opposition  to  his  long-cherished  plan.  By  the  exercise  of  his  author- 
ity, or  by  softer  measures  of  persuasion,  Mackenzie  calmed  the  fears 
of  his  men  and  prevailed  upon  them  to  renew  their  allegiance.  On 
this  occasion,  as  on  many  others,  Mackenzie  proved  himself  a  born 
reader.  He  treated  the  French-Canadians  as  a  kind  father  would 
treat  his  wayward  children,  and,  as  often  as  he  was  called  upon  to 
give  heart  to  his  people,  he  never  failed  to  overcome  their  fears 
and  to  unite  them  to  his  purpose. 

In  the  course  of  the  journey  through  the  Peace  River  Pass,  the 
canoe  frequently  had  to  be  carried  long  distances.  At  one  place  it 
was  necessary  to  cut  a  road  over  a  precipitous  mountain;  the  trees 
were  felled  parallel  with  the  path,  but  not  separated  entirely  from 
the  stumps,  "so  that  they  might  form  a  kind  of  railing  on  either 
side."  All  the  baggage  and  the  canoe  were  carried  along  this  primi- 
tive highway  with  laborious  effort.  The  canoe  was  literally  warped 
up  the  mountain,  the  line  being  doubled  and  fastened  to  successive 

'  Mackenzie,  Voyage?,  p.   173. 
'"Mackenzie,  Voyages,  p.  175. 


stumps.  Three  days  were  consumed  in  carrying  the  equipment 
over  this  portage  of  more  than  seven  miles. 

On  the  evening  of  the  third  day,  to  the  relief  of  all,  the  party 
arrived  at  the  river,  a  short  distance  above  the  canyon.  At  this 
place  "the  stream  rushed  with  an  astonishing  but  silent  velocity 
between  perpendicular  rocks,  which  are  not  more  than  thirty-five 
yards  asunder.  When  the  water  is  high  it  runs  over  those  rocks  in 
a  channel  three  times  that  breadth,  where  it  is  bounded  by  far  more 
elevated  precipices.  In  the  former  are  deep  round  holes,  some  of 
which  are  full  of  water,  while  others  are  empty,  in  whose  bottom 
are  small  round  stones,  as  smooth  as  marble.  Some  of  these  natural 
cylinders  would  contain  two  hundred  gallons.  At  a  small  distance 
below  the  first  of  these  rocks,  the  channel  widens  in  a  kind  of  zig-zag 
progression,  and  it  is  really  awful  to  behold  with  what  infinite  force 
the  water  drives  against  the  rocks  on  one  side,  and  with  what  impetu- 
ous strength  it  is  repelled  to  the  other:  it  then  falls  back,  as  it  were, 
into  a  more  straight  but  rugged  passage,  over  which  it  is  tossed  in 
high,  foaming,  half-formed  billows,  as  far  as  the  eye  could  follow 
it."  "    Nevertheless,  the  party  embarked  upon  the  tide. 

Arriving  at  the  fork  formed  by  the  junction  of  the  Parsnip  and 
Finlay  rivers,  Mackenzie  ascended  the  former.  It  was  now  the 
end  of  May,  and  the  river  was  in  flood  and  the  hardships  endured  in 
stemming  the  powerful  current  so  disheartened  the  voyageurs  that 
again  they  openly  rebelled.  "I  therefore,"  says  Mackenzie, 
^'employed  those  arguments  which  were  the  best  calculated  to  calm 
their  immediate  discontents,  as  well  as  to  encourage  their  future 
hopes,  though,  at  the  same  time,  I  delivered  my  sentiments  in  such  a 
manner  as  to  convince  them  that  T  was  determined  to  proceed."  '* 
The  country  on  either  hand  was  rugged  and  mountainous,  yet  on 
all  sides  were  seen  evidences  of  the  industrious  beaver.  "In  no  part 
of  the  North-West,"  wrote  Mackenzie,  "did  I  see  so  much  beaver- 
work  within  an  equal  distance."  To  the  explorer  these  indications 
of  a  lucrative  trade  must  have  been  of  peculiar  interest. 

Thus,  as  it  were,  fighting  their  wav  inch  by  inch,  the  men  neared 
the  headwaters  of  the  Parsnip  River.  On  the  5th  of  June,  Macken- 
zie   and    Mackay    left    the    canoe    to    ascend    an    adjacent    moun- 

'1  Mackenzie,  Voyages,  p.  i8o. 
'-  Mackenzie,  Voyages,   p.   i86. 


tain,  hoping  that  they  might  obtain  therefrom  a  view  of  the  interior. 
Little  could  be  seen  from  the  height,  however,  because  of  the  thick 
forest;  so  Mackenzie  climbed  a  high  tree,  from  whose  top  he  obtained 
a  panoramic  view  of  the  surrounding  country.  On  the  west  extended 
a  range  of  snowy  mountains,  between  which  and  another  high  ridge 
of  land  there  appeared  to  be  an  opening  that  was  thought  to  mark 
the  course  of  a  river.  Upon  their  return  to  the  Parsnip,  Mackenzie 
and  Mackay  found  neither  the  men  nor  the  canoe.  A  fire  was 
lighted  to  attract  the  attention  of  the  voyageurs,  and  branches  were 
sent  adrift  down  the  current,  as  a  message  to  the  men  that  their 
leader  was  ahead.  Mackenzie  himself  walked  along  the  bank  in  the 
blaze  of  the  afternoon  sun,  tormented  by  swarms  of  gnats  and  mos- 
quitoes; but  without  result.  Nor  was  Mackay  more  successful  in 
obtaining  news  of  the  missing  party.  Mackenzie  feared  that  the 
men  had  seized  the  opportunity  to  desert,  or  that  they  had  been 
lost  in  a  rapid.  Perplexed  and  distressed  by  these  conjectures,  and 
upbraiding  himself  for  his  imprudence  in  leaving  his  people  in  such 
a  dangerous  situation,  the  explorer  encamped  for  the  night.  Scarcely 
had  he  retired,  however,  than  the  evening  stillness  was  broken  by 
the  report  of  musket,  the  welcome  signal  that  Mackay  had  found 
the  party.  Mackenzie  at  once  proceeded  to  join  his  men,  from 
whom  he  learned  that  the  canoe  had  been  wrecked  and  that  they 
had  experienced  far  greater  toil  and  hardship  than  on  any  former 
occasion.  These  asseverations  the  explorer  pretended  to  believe, 
and  sought  to  comfort  his  men  with  a  "consolatory  dram."  He  was 
convinced,  however,  that  the  passage  might  have  been  made  if  exer- 
tions had  not  been  relaxed. 

A  few  days  later  the  explorer  met  two  natives,  one  of  whom  drew 
his  knife  and  presented  it  in  token  of  submission.  These  Indians  had 
heard  of  white  men,  but  had  never  before  seen  a  human  being  with  a 
complexion  different  from  their  own.  Long  schooled  to  the  ways 
of  the  savage,  Mackenzie  did  not  attempt  to  push  on,  but  remained 
to  re-assure  the  natives.  The  party  consisted  of  three  men  and  three 
women  and  seven  or  eight  children,  all  of  whom  presented  a  wretched 
appearance.  They  were  consoled  with  beads  and  other  trifles,  and 
feasted  upon  pemmican.  Mackenzie  endeavoured  to  obtain  from 
these  people  an  idea  of  the  country.  His  inquiries,  however,  elicited 
nothing  but  a  confused  account  of  tribes  who  lived  to  the  westward, 


a  moon's  travel  onward,  and  who  extended  their  journeys  to  the  sea, 
or,  as  they  expressed  it,  the  "Stinking  Lake."  The  men  of  tribes 
were  represented  as  living  almost  continually  in  their  strongholds 
from  fear  of  their  enemies.  These  stories  did  not  comfort  the 
explorer;  but,  persisting  in  his  inquiries,  he  was  rewarded  with  an 
account  of  a  large  river  that  ran  towards  the  midday  sun,  a  branch  of 
which  had  its  source  not  far  from  the  encampment.  Three  small 
lakes  and  as  many  short  carrying  places,  led  to  a  tributary  of  the 
"Great  River.''  This  knowledge,  imperfect  as  it  was,  aroused  the 
liveliest  interest.  One  of  the  Indians  was  induced  to  guide  the 
party  to  the  small  lakes,  of  which  they  had  spoken. 

Taking  leave  of  the  Indians  on  June  loth,  Mackenzie  pushed  on 
until  he  reached  a  small  lake,  which  he  judged  to  be  the  source  of 
the  Parsnip  River.  Upon  landing  it  was  discovered  that  a  beaten 
path  of  eight  hundred  and  seventeen  paces  led  over  a  low  ridge  of 
land  to  another  small  lake.  This  ridge  was  termed  "the  Height  of 
Land."  Within  a  few  paces  of  this  spot  were  the  sources  of  great 
rivers,  the  waters  of  which  empty  respectively  into  the  Arctic  and 
the  Pacific  Oceans.  Here  two  sparkling  rivulets  tumbled  down 
their  rocky  channels  to  lose  themselves  in  the  lake  which  is  the  source 
of  the  Parsnip;  while  two  other  glacial  streams  fell  from  the  opposite 
height  into  another  lake,  draining  into  the  Fraser.  The  party  had 
crossed  the  divide,  and  now,  for  the  first  time,  the  canoe  floated  with 
the  current.  Arriving  at  the  portage,  another  beaten  path  was  found, 
one  hundred  and  seventy-five  paces  long.  This  lake  communicated 
with  the  third  lake  of  the  chain,  the  outlet  of  which  flows  into  the 
North  Folk  of  the  Fraser  River.  Mackenzie  called  this  stream  Bad 
River,  because  its  rapid,  shallow  and  tortuous  course  was  so  impeded 
by  fallen  trees  that  it  could  be  navigated  only  by  dint  of  the  greatest 
exertion.  The  banks  w'ere  almost  impassable  bv  reason  of  treacher- 
ous swamps  and  thick  woods. 

In  descending  Bad  River,  the  canoe  struck  in  a  shallow;  Macken- 
zie instantly  leaped  out,  the  men  following  his  example;  but,  before 
she  could  be  stopped,  the  canoe  came  to  deep  water,  so  that  all  were 
obliged  to  re-embark  "with  the  utmost  precipitation."  "We  had 
hardiv  regained  our  situations."  records  the  journal,  "when  we  drove 
against  a  rock  which  shattered  the  stern  of  the  canoe  in  such  a  man- 
ner that  it  held  only  by  the  gunwales,  so  that  the  steersman  could  no 


longer  keep  his  place.  The  violence  of  this  stroke  drove  us  to  the 
opposite  side  of  the  river,  which  is  but  narrow,  when  the  bow  met 
with  the  same  fate  as  the  stern.  At  this  moment  the  foreman  seized 
on  some  branches  of  a  small  tree  in  the  hope  of  bringing  up  the 
canoe,  but  such  was  their  elasticity  that,  in  a  manner  not  easily 
described,  he  was  jerked  on  shore  in  an  instant,  and  with  a  degree  of 
violence  that  threatened  his  destruction.  But  we  had  no  time  to 
turn  from  our  own  situation  to  inquire  what  had  befallen  him;  for, 
in  a  few  moments,  we  came  across  a  cascade  which  broke  several 
large  holes  in  the  bottom  of  the  canoe,  and  started  all  the  bars,  except 
one  behind  the  scooping  seat.  If  this  accident,  however,  had  not  hap- 
pened, the  vessel  must  have  been  irretrievably  overset.  The  wreck 
becoming  flat  on  the  water,  we  all  jumped  out,  while  the  steersman, 
who  had  been  compelled  to  abandon  his  place,  and  had  not  recovered 
from  his  fright,  called  out  to  his  companions  to  save  themselves. 
My  peremptory  commands  superseded  the  effects  of  his  fear,  and 
thcv  all  held  fast  to  the  wreck;  to  which  fortunate  resolution  we 
owed  our  safety,  as  we  should  otherwise  have  been  dashed  against  the 
rocks  by  the  force  of  the  water,  or  driven  over  the  cascades.  In  this 
condition  we  were  forced  several  hundred  yards,  and  every  yard 
on  the  verge  of  destruction ;  but,  at  length,  we  most  fortunately 
arrived  in  shallow  water  and  a  small  eddy,  where  we  were  enabled 
to  make  a  stand,  from  the  weight  of  the  canoe  resting  on  the  stones, 
rather  than  from  any  exertions  of  our  "exhausted  strength."  '■'■ 

This  passage  from  Mackenzie's  journal  graphically  illustrates 
the  dangers  which  beset  the  track  of  the  explorer  in  those  unknown 

On  Monday,  June  17th,  at  eight  in  the  evening,  the  party  reached 
the  bank  of  the  Great' River,  an  event  which  is  recorded  in  the  fol- 
lowing words:  "At  length  we  enjoyed,  after  all  our  toil  and  anxiety, 
the  inexpressible  satisfaction  of  finding  ourselves  on  the  bank  of  a 
navigable  river,  on  the  west  side  of  the  first  great  range  of  moun- 
tains." " 

Alexander  Mackenzie  had  discovered  the  Great  River,  now 
known  as  the  Fraser. 

The  voyage,  even  to  this  point,  was  a  memorable  undertaking, 

"  Mackenzie,  Voyages,  p.  218. 
'*  Mackenzie,  Voyages,  p.  228. 


for  Mackenzie  had  traversed  the  whole  course  of  the  Parsnip  River, 
from  its  junction  with  the  Findlay  to  its  remotest  headwaters,  and 
the  most  dangerous  reaches  of  the  Peace.  Keen  observer  as  Mac- 
kenzie was,  however,  he  had  failed  to  notice  a  large  stream  which 
flows  into  the  Parsnip.  This  was  the  Pack  River,  which  drains 
McLeod  Lake.  It  appears  that  the  Indians  met  by  Mackenzie  in 
the  mountains  knew  of  an  easier  route  to  the  Fraser  River.  It  fol- 
lowed the  Pack  River,  McLeod  Lake,  and  Crooked  River,  to  Sum- 
mit Lake,  thence  by  what  is  now  known  as  Giscome  Portage,  to  the 
North  Fork,  some  distance  below  the  mouth  of  the  Bad  River.  Had 
the  explorer  followed  this  route,  he  might  have  saved  time,  although 
the  ascent  of  the  Crooked  River,  a  rapid  and  shallow  stream,  might 
have  proved  scarcely  less  difiicult  than  the  descent  of  the  Bad  River. 
On  the  morning  of  Monday,  June  i8th,  the  little  party  of  adven- 
turers embarked  upon  the  "Great  River."  The  journal  records  that 
"the  weather  was  so  hazy  that  we  could  not  see  across  the  river,  which 
is  here  about  two  hundred  yards  wide."  A  somewhat  particular 
account  of  the  reaches  between  the  mouth  of  the  Bad  River  and  the 
junction  of  the  north  and  south  branches  is  given  by  Mackenzie. 
The  current  is  described  as  "very  strong  but  perfectly  safe."  ^''  Yet 
it  was  a  perilous  undertaking,  for  at  times  the  river  rushed  tumultu- 
ously  between  high  perpendicular  walls  of  rock,  or  foamed  in  long 
cascades;  again,  the  disposition  of  the  natives  was  unknown  and  no 
care  or  forthought  could  save  the  party,  if  they  should  be  bent  upon 
its  destruction. 

The  exertions  of  the  voyageurs,  and  the  strong  tide,  lent  wings  to 
the  little  vessel,  as  she  swept  down  the  river.  In  the  course  of  the  day 
the  party  reached  the  "great  fork"  formed  by  the  confluence  of  the 
north  and  south  branches  of  the  Fraser.  The  north  fork  has  its 
source  in  the  heart  of  the  Rocky  Mountains,  not  a  great  distance  above 
the  fifty-fourth  parallel,  while  the  south  branch  rises  in  the  same 
range  to  the  south  of  the  fifty-third  parallel,  to  the  eastward  of  the 
119th  degree  of  longitude.  Tete  Jaune  Cache  marks  the  head  of 
navigation  on  the  southern  fork,  which  is  the  larger  branch.  Writ- 
ing a  century  and  a  quarter  ago,  Mackenzie  observed  that  at  the 
confluence  of  the  two  branches  the  channel  "is  about  half  a  mile  in 
breadth,  and  assumes  the  form  of  a  lake."     Even  in  that  early  day 

i'»  Mackenzie,   \'o\ages,   p.  230. 


forest  fires  seem  to  have  devastated  the  country-side,  for  under  the 
date  of  June  19,  (1793)  Mackenzie  wrote  that  "clouds  of  thick 
smoke  rose  from  the  woods,  that  darkened  the  atmosphere,  accom- 
panied with  a  strong  odor  of  the  gum  of  the  cypress  and  the  spruce 
fir.''  The  explorer  was  soon  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  South 
Fort  George  of  today,  but  he  failed  to  discover  the  Nechaco  River, 
for  which  he  has  been  called  to  task  by  certain  writers.  This  over- 
sight, however,  may  be  explained — the  mouth  of  that  stream  is 
screened  by  low  land  covered  with  cotton-wood  trees.  In  descending 
the  Fraser  by  the  east  bank,  the  Nechaco  might  easily  escape  notice 
on  a  misty  morning.  The  clear  water  of  this  beautiful  river,  how- 
ever, is  most  noticeable  against  the  muddy  current  of  the  larger 
stream.  Even  if  the  weather  were  foggy,  and  the  mouth  of  the 
Nechaco  masked  by  trees,  or  veiled  in  mist,  it  would  seem  that  an 
explorer  could  not  have  failed  to  notice  that  a  large  body  of  clear 
water  embouched  into  the  main  river  at  this  point.  But  at  high 
water,  the  turbid  flood  of  the  Fraser  may  back  up  the  waters  of  the 
Nechaco.  Be  this  as  it  may,  Mackenzie  missed  the  Nechaco,  and 
passed  the  place  where  South  Fort  George  stands  today,  remarking 
of  the  banks  in  that  neighbourhood  that  they  were  "composed  of 
high  white  cliffs,  crowned  with  pinnacles  in  grotesque  shapes.''  ^'' 
It  is  not  always  easy  to  follow  the  explorer  from  point  to  point, 
because,  trained  observer  as  he  was,  some  well-known  features  of  the 
river  failed  to  attract  his  attention  or  at  least  are  not  recorded.  Nor 
is  it  surprising  that  this  should  be  the  case,  when  it  is  recalled  that 
Mackenzie  often  complained  of  the  fog  which  generally  shrouded 
the  river  in  the  early  morning.  The  heavy  mists  which  are  char- 
acteristic of  the  Fraser  at  certain  seasons  of  the  year,  rendered  the 
navigation  of  the  newly  discovered  highway  a  delicate  undertaking. 
Mackenzie  was  always  up  betimes.  "At  three  (or  some  such  early 
hour)  we  were  on  the  water,"  is  a  frequent  entry  in  his  journal,  and 
the  observation  is  usually  followed  by  a  reference  to  the  heavy  pall 
of  mist  which  hid  from  view  both  the  channel  and  the  landscape. 
This  difficulty  narrowed  the  field  of  observation  and  sufficiently 
accounts  for  Mackenzie's  failure  to  portray  accurately  in  every  par- 
ticular the  noble  stream  he  discovered  and  explored.  Then,  again, 
it  is  likely  that  in  the  hundred  and  twenty  years  which  have  elapsed 

'"  Mackfn/ie,  Voyages,  p.   235. 


since  Mackenzie's  memorable  excursion  in  1793,  the  mighty  current 
of  the  Fraser  has  wrought  a  change  in  many  places.  The  river  today, 
except  where  it  flows  between  rock-bound  shores,  may  not  present 
quite  the  same  appearance  as  it  did  a  century  and  more  ago. 

But  now  and  again  there  is  no  mistaking  the  points  or  places 
described.  Thus  it  is  with  the  Fort  George  Canyon,  that  notable 
feature  of  the  upper  river,  of  which  Mackenzie  writes:  "In  the  last 
course  the  rocks  contracted  in  such  a  manner  on  both  sides  of  the 
river  as  to  afford  the  appearance  of  the  upper  part  of  a  fall  or 
cataract.  Under  this  apprehension  we  landed  on  the  left  shore,  where 
we  found  a  kind  of  footpath  imperfectly  traced,  through  which  we 
conjectured  that  the  natives  occasionally  passed  with  their  canoes 
and  baggage.  On  examining  the  course  of  the  river,  however,  there 
did  not  appear  to  be  any  fall,  as  we  expected;  but  the  rapids  were 
of  considerable  length  and  impassable  for  a  light  canoe." 

The  journal  continues — "We  had  therefore  no  alternative  but  to 
widen  the  road  so  as  to  admit  the  passage  of  our  canoe,  which  was 
now  carried  with  great  difficulty;  as  from  her  frequent  repairs,  and 
not  always  of  the  usual  materials,  her  weight  was  such  that  she 
cracked  and  broke  on  the  shoulders  of  the  men  who  bore  her.  The 
labour  and  fatigue  of  this  undertaking,  from  eight  till  twelve,  beggars 
all  description,  when  we  at  length  conquered  this  afflicting  passage 
of  about  half  a  mile,  over  a  rocky  and  most  rugged  hill."  ^' 

A  meridional  observation  taken  at  this  point  gave  the  latitude  as 
53°42'2o".     The  true  latitude  of  Fort  George  Canyon  is  53°4i'3o". 

The  course  was  continued  in  a  southerly  direction  for  a  quarter 
of  a  mile  to  the  next  carrying  place,  which  was  described  as  "noth- 
ing more  than  a  rocky  point  about  twice  the  length  of  the  canoe." 
This  evidently  refers  to  that  bold  escarpment  of  rock  at  the  narrow- 
est part  of  the  Fort  George  Canyon.  "From  the  extremity  of  this 
point,"  the  journal  continues,  "to  the  rocky  and  most  perpendicular 
bank  that  arose  on  the  opposite  shore,  is  not  more  than  forty  or  fifty 
yards.  The  great  body  of  water,  at  the  same  time  tumbling  in  suc- 
cessive cascades  along  the  first  carrying-place,  rolls  through  this 
narrow  passage  in  a  very  turbid  current,  and  full  of  whirlpools." 

On  the  banks  of  the  river  in  this  neighbourhood  the  explorer 
found  "a  great  plenty  of  wild  onions,  which  when  mixed  with  our 

''  Mackenzie,  Voyages,  pp.  234-5. 


pemmican,  was  a  great  improvement  of  it;  though  they  produced  a 
physical  effect  on  our  appetites  which  was  rather  inconvenient  to 
the  state  of  our  provisions." 

Below  Fort  George  Canyon,  Mackenzie  caught  a  glimpse  of  a 
few  natives,  who  fled  at  the  sight  of  the  strangers.  In  spite  of  Mac- 
kenzie and  Mackay's  efforts  to  overtake  them,  the  Indians  made 
their  escape,  but  not  before  they  had  given  vent  to  their  feelings  by 
discharging  a  volley  of  arrows  at  thi'  men  who  had  endeavoured  to 
conciliate  them.  The  two  interpreters  reported  that  their  language 
was  quite  unintelligible. 

At  half  past  four  in  the  morning  of  lliursday,  June  20th,  the 
journey  was  continued,  but  little  knowledge  of  the  surrounding  coun- 
try could  be  gained  as  "the  fog  was  so  thick  that  we  could  not  see 
the  length  of  our  canoe,  which  rendered  our  progress  dangerous,  as 
we  might  have  come  suddenly  upon  a  cascade  or  violent  rapid."  ^* 
After  the  sun  had  dispersed  the  mist,  two  red  deer,  as  the  furtrader 
called  the  elk,  were  seen  on  the  bank.  Both  were  killed  and  formed  a 
welcome  addition  to  the  larder  of  the  expedition,  which  was  depleted 
of  all  but  bare  necessaries. 

Of  the  country  between  the  Fort  George  and  Cottonwood  Can- 
yons Mackenzie  observed  that  "here  the  country  changed  its  appear- 
ance; the  banks  were  but  of  a  moderate  height,  from  whence  the 
ground  continued  gradually  rising  to  a  considerable  distance,  cov- 
ered with  poplars  and  cypresses,  but  without  any  kind  of  under- 
wood." "  The  country  was  not  so  populous,  as  directly  above  and 
below  Quesnel.  Occasionally  signs  of  the  inhabitants  were  noticed. 
At  one  place,  probably  near  the  site  of  an  Indian  village,  which 
stood  on  the  west  bank  of  the  river,  not  far  above  the  mouth  of  the 
Blackwater,  a  deserted  Indian  house  was  discovered.  It  excited  the 
curiosity  of  the  explorer,  who  examined  it  carefully.  He  remarked 
that  it  was  "the  only  Indian  habitation  of  this  kind  that  I  had  seen 
on  this  side  of  Mechilimakina." 

The  dwelling  was  thirty  feet  long  and  twenty  wide,  with  three 
doors,  each  three  feet  high  by  one  and  one-half  in  breadth.  An 
ingenious  fishtrap,  found  in  the  house,  is  well  described  by  Mac- 
kenzie.    It  was  of  cylindrical  form,  fifteen  feet  long  and  four  and  a 

1*  Mackenzie,  Voyages,  p.  234.. 
"  Mackenzie.   \'oyages,  p.  237. 


half  feet  in  diameter:  ''One  end  was  square  like  the  head  of  a  cask, 
and  a  conical  machine  was  fixed  inwards  to  the  other  end,  of  similar 
dimensions :  at  the  extremity  of  which  was  an  opening  of  about 
seven  inches  diameter.  This  machine  was  certainly  contrived  to  set 
in  the  river,  to  catch  large  fish;  and  very  well-adapted  to  that 
purpose."  "'^  To  this  day  fish  traps  of  the  kind  described  are  in  use 
on  the  rivers  and  streams  of  the  interior.-' 

Near-by  the  house  a  tomb  was  noticed — "It  was  in  an  oblong 
form,  covered,  and  very  neatly  walled  with  bark.  A  pole  was  fixed 
near  it,  to  which,  at  the  height  of  ten  or  twelve  feet,  a  piece  of  bark 
was  attached,  which  was  probably  a  memorial,  or  symbol  of  dis- 

The  canoe  bv  this  time  had  become  so  unseaworthy  that  it  was 
decided  to  construct  another,  with  as  little  delay  as  possible.  As 
from  the  appearance  of  the  country  there  was  reason  to  believe  that 
birch  bark  might  be  found,  a  party  was  landed  at  eight  in  the  morn- 
ing to  scour  the  woods  for  the  precious  material.  Four  men  were 
despatched  on  the  mission,  and  at  twelve  they  returned  with  enough 
bark  "to  make  the  bottom  of  a  canoe  five  fathoms  in  length  and  four 
feet  and  a  half  in  height."  x\t  this  point  Mackenzie  took  another 
observation,  which  marked  the  position  of  the  expedition  as  in  lati- 
tude 53°i7'28"."  ^"  Cottonwood  Canyon  is  in  latitude  53°o8'oo", 
so  the  party  at  that  time  must  have  been  near  this  dangerous  passage. 

Mackenzie  passed  the  mouth  of  the  Blackwater  on  June  20th. 
This  little  stream  did  not  escape  notice. 

Here  again  the  reader  of  the  explorer's  journal,  who  is  familiar 
with  the  Fraser  River  above  Quesnel,  will  have  no  difficulty  in 
recognizing  a  striking  feature  of  that  noble  waterway.  "Here," 
says  Mackenzie,  "the  river  narrows  between  steep  rocks,  and  a  rapid 
succeeded,  which  was  so  violent  that  we  did  not  venture  to  run  it. 
I  therefore  ordered  the  loading  to  be  taken  out  of  the  canoe,  but  she 
was  now  become  so  heavy  that  the  men  preferred  running  the  rapid 
to  carrying  her  overland.  Though  I  did  not  altogether  approve 
of  their  proposition,  I  was  unwilling  to  oppose  it.  Four  of  them 
undertook  this  hazardous  expedition,  and  I  hastened  to  the  toot  of 

-"  Mackenzie,  Voyages,  p.  239. 

-'  The  author  examined  one  of  these  fishtraps  in  situ  on  tlie  Nechaco  River  in  .\ugust,  1912. 

•'-  Mackenzie,  N'oyages,  p.  240. 


the  rapid  with  great  anxiety  to  await  the  event,  which  turned  out 
as  I  expected.  The  water  was  so  strong  that  although  they  kepi 
clear  of  the  rocks,  the  canoe  filled,  and  in  this  state  they  drove  half 
way  down  the  rapid,  but  fortunately  she  did  not  overset;  and  having 
got  her  into  an  eddy,  they  emptied  her,  and  in  an  half-drowned 
condition  arrived  safe  on  shore." 

The  carrying  place  was  about  half  a  mile  long,  and  that  it  was 
frequently  used  by  the  Indians  was  proved  by  the  fact  that  there  was 
a  well-marked  path  across  it.  Both  the  Fort  George  and  Cottonwood 
Canyons  are  often  navigated,  even  in  this  day,  by  Indians  and  white 
men  in  the  cottonwood  dug-out  of  native  design  and  workmanship; 
but  in  both  places  navigation  has  been  improved  by  the  blasting  out 
of  certain  rocks  that  in  the  old  days  threatened  with  destruction 
the  little  vessel  of  the  Indian  or  the  furtrader.  At  high  water  both 
canyons  are  dangerous,  and  even  the  hardiest  voyageur  might  well 
hesitate  before  attempting  to  navigate  the  turbulent  stream  that  flows 
between  the  rock-girt  shores  of  the  Phaser  at  these  points.  Mackenzie 
descended  the  river  in  flood  time  and  his  feat,  therefore,  is  all  the 
more  remarkable. 

After  the  passage  of  the  Canyon  the  canoe  was  in  such  wretched 
condition  that  it  "occasioned  a  delay  of  three  hours  to  put  her  in  a 
condition  to  proceed."  At  length,  all  being  in  readiness,  the  course 
was  continued. 

Those  who  know  the  Upper  River  will  recognize  Mackenzie's 
description  of  tl^at  portion  of  it  "where  the  ledges  of  white  and  red 
clay  appeared  like  the  ruins  of  ancient  castles."  This  description 
undoubtedly  refers  to  the  strange,  castellated  formation  at  the  elbow 
of  the  river,  between  the  Cottonwood  River  and  the  Cottonwood 

After  this  day  of  arduous  exertion,  the  party  camped  in  a  storm 
of  rain  and  thunder,  near  some  old  and  deserted  Indian  houses. 
On  the  following  morning  ninety  pounds  of  pemmican  were  buried 
in  the  ground  for  the  homeward  journey.  "As  I  was  very  sensible," 
Mackenzie  remarked  on  this  occasion,  of  the  difficulty  of  procuring 
provisions  in  this  country,  I  thought  it  prudent  to  guard  against  any 
possibility  of  distress  of  that  kind  on  our  return;  T  therefore  ordered 
ninety  pounds  weight  of  pemmican  to  be  buried  in  an  hole  sufficiently 
deep  to  admit  of  a  fire  over  it  without  doing  any  injury  to  our  hidden 


treasure,  and  which  would,  at  the  same  time,  secure  it  from  the 
natives  of  the  country,  or  the  wild  animals  of  the  woods."  -^  It  is 
impossible  to  say  exactly  where  this  cache  was  made,  but  it  could  not 
have  been  far  from  the  Cottonwood  River. 

Not  far  from  the  cache,  Mackenzie  passed  the  beautiful  bench 
where  today  stands  the  flourishing  town  of  Quesnel.  Here  "a  large 
river  flowed  in  from  the  left,"  which  several  years  later  Simon  Fraser 
named  Quesnel.  in  honour  of  Jules  Maurice  Quesnel,  one  of  his 
lieutenants.  A  little  below  Quesnel,  Mackenzie  made  an  observa- 
tion, and,  according  to  his  reckoning,  the  point  was  in  latitude 
52'47'5i."  Near  this  point  a  small  canoe  was  noticed,  at  the  edge  of 
the  woods,  and  soon  another,  paddled  by  a  single  man,  appeared  in 
the  stream.  At  the  sight  of  the  large  canoe  the  natives  gathered  on 
the  bank,  armed  with  spears,  bows,  and  arrows.  It  was  quite  apparent 
that  the  men  were  in  a  state  of  great  apprehension,  yet  "they  dis- 
played the  most  outrageous  antics,"  and  indicated  by  their  gestures 
that  if  the  party  should  land  it  would  be  attacked.  Mackenzie  at 
once  ordered  his  men  to  stop  the  canoe,  as  he  knew  that  it  would 
be  useless  to  attempt  to  approach  the  savages  before  their  fears  had 
in  some  degree  subsided.  The  interpreters,  who  fortunately  under- 
stood the  native  language,  informed  Mackenzie  that  the  Indians 
declared  that  all  would  meet  with  instant  death  if  the  canoe 
approached  the  shore.  Their  threat  was  not  an  idle  boast,  for  it  was 
followed  by  a  volley  of  arrows,  some  of  which  fell  short  of  the  canoe 
and  others  passed  over  it.  By  this  time  the  current  had  carried  the 
canoe  below,  and  Mackenzie  ordered  his  men  to  quietly  paddle  up 
the  opposite  side  of  the  river  until  he  was  abreast  of  the  Indians.  He 
was  anxious  to  overcome  their  antipathy,  the  more  so  as  he  had 
noticed  that  a  canoe  had  been  despatched  down  the  river,  as  he  con- 
cluded to  communicate  the  alarm  and  procure  assistance. 

It  was  in  such  dramatic  moments  as  these  that  Mackenzie's 
determination  and  knowledge  of  Indian  character  proved  an  unfail- 
ing source  of  strength.  Undaunted,  he  left  his  canoe  and  walked 
towards  the  group  of  excited  natives,  as  calmly  as  if  no  danger 
threatened.  He  took  the  precaution,  however,  of  sending  one  of  his 
interpreters  into  the  woods,  there  to  conceal  himself  where  he  could 
command  the  positon  with  his  musket;  but  the  man  was  particularly 

'2  Mackenzie,  Voyages,  p.  241. 


enjoined  not  to  fire  until  the  explorer  gave  the  signal.  Mackenzie 
walked  slowly,  displaying  as  he  went,  looking-glasses,  beads,  and 
other  alluring  trinkets.  This  was  more  than  the  curiosity  of  the 
natives  could  withstand.  They  approached  the  shore,  but  at  first 
did  not  venture  to  land.  However,  friendly  relations  were  soon 
established,  and  with  great  satisfaction  Mackenzie  found  that  his 
interpreter  and  these  people  understood  each  other  perfectly. 

The  e.\plorer  lost  no  time  in  seeking  information  respecting  the 
course  of  the  river.  He  was  informed  that  it  ran  for  days  towards 
the  mid-day  sun,  and  that  at  its  mouth  white  people  were  building 
houses — from  which  account  it  would  appear  that  news  of  the 
Spanish  settlements  at  Nootka  and  Neah  Bay  had  reached  even 
the  distant  territory  of  the  Carriers.  "They  represented  its  current," 
Mackenzie  wrote,  "to  be  uniformly  strong,  and  that  in  three  places 
it  was  altogether  impassable,  from  the  falls  and  rapids,  which  poured 
along  between  perpendicular  rocks  that  were  much  higher,  and 
more  rugged,  than  any  we  had  yet  seen,  and  would  not  admit  of  any 
passage  over  them.  But  besides  the  dangers  and  difficulties  of  the 
navigation,  they  added,  that  we  should  have  to  encounter  the  inhabi- 
tants of  the  country,  who  were  very  numerous.  They  also  represented 
their  immediate  neighbours  as  a  very  malignant  race,  who  lived  in 
large  subterraneous  recesses:  and  when  they  were  made  to  under- 
stand that  it  was  our  design  to  proceed  to  the  sea,  they  dissuaded 
us  from  prosecuting  our  intention,  as  we  should  certainly  become  a 
sacrifice  to  the  savage  spirit  of  the  natives.  These  people  they 
described  as  possessing  iron,  arms,  and  utensils,  which  they  procured 
from  their  neighbours  to  the  Westward,  and  were  obtained  by  a 
commercial  progress  from  people  like  ourselves,  who  brought  them 
in  great  canoes."  -■* 

This  information,  alarming  as  it  was,  did  not  affect  Mackenzie's 
determination  to  reach  the  coast.  Having  persuaded  two  of  the  tribe 
to  accompany  him  as  guides  and  to  secure  a  favourable  reception 
from  the  tribes  below,  the  expedition  started  once  more  on  its  perilous 
voyage.  The  "malignant  race"  who  lived  in  subterraneous  recesses, 
were  evidently  the  Thompson  Indians,  who  dwelt  underground  in 
the  winter  months  in  their  "kcekwillee"  houses.     The  territory  of 

-*  Mackenzie,  Vovanes,  pp.  245-6. 
vni.     1-1  ft 


this  tribe  abutted  on  the  Fraser  River.     In  that  day  there  was  a  very 
large  village  at  Camchin,  now  Lytton. 

In  this  region  many  natives  were  seen  but  although  they  exhibited 
the  utmost  surprise  at  the  appareance  of  white  men,  and  were  fre- 
quently hostile,  they  did  not  attack  the  party.  Nevertheless,  on  their 
account,  it  was  necessary  to  proceed  with  caution,  as  it  was  not  known 
at  what  point  Indians  of  a  more  savage  disposition  might  be  met. 

At  one  point  Mackenzie  prevailed  upon  an  old  man  to  sketch  the 
river  upon  a  large  piece  of  bark.  Again  it  was  represented  as  being 
extremely  rapid,  with  numerous  falls  and  cascades,  many  of  which 
were  dangerous  and  others  altogether  impracticable.  The  carrying 
places  were  of  great  length,  passing  over  rugged  hills  and  moun- 
tains. Beyond  lay  the  lands  of  three  tribes  speaking  different  lan- 
guages. At  a  great  distance,  the  old  chief  observed,  the  river  reached 
the  water  which  the  natives  did  not  drink.  Another  very  old  man 
said  that  as  long  as  he  could  remember  he  had  heard  of  white  people 
to  the  southward,  and  that,  although  he  could  not  vouch  for  the  truth 
of  the  report,  one  of  them,  in  an  attempt  to  ascend  the  river,  was 
destroyed.  From  what  he  heard,  the  explorer  concluded,  wrongly, 
as  appeared  subsequently,  that  the  river  did  not  enter  the  Ocean  to 
the  north  of  the  River  of  the  West,  as  the  Columbia  was  generally 
called  in  the  days  before  it  was  actually  discovered.  The  natives  also 
told  of  another  route  to  the  sea,  and  one  more  easily  followed. 

At  no  time,  in  the  whole  of  his  career,  did  the  resolute  character 
of  Alexander  Mackenzie  show  to  better  advantage  than  on  this  trying 
occasion.  The  mutinous  conduct  of  his  men,  the  hostility  of  the  sav- 
ages, and  the  rugged  nature  of  the  countrv,  all  conspired  to  prevent 
his  executing  his  great  project.  Little  wonder  is  it,  then,  that  his 
mind  became  a  prey  to  gloomv  thoughts.  In  spite  of  the  overwhelm- 
ing difficulties  of  the  situation,  however,  he  did  not  lose  heart,  but 
resolutely  set  himself  to  attain  his  end.  The  explorer's  journal  gives 
a  graphic  account  of  the  predicament  of  the  expedition  at  this  crisis. 
"My  people,"  Mackenzie  observed,  "had  listened  with  great  atten- 
tion to  the  relation  which  had  been  given  me,  and  it  seemed  to  be  their 
opinion,  that  it  would  be  absolute  madness  to  attempt  a  passage 
through  so  many  savage  and  barbarous  nations.  My  situation  may, 
indeed,  be  more  easily  conceived  than  expressed:  I  had  no  more 
than  thirty  days  provisions  remaining,  exclusive  of  such  supplies  as 


1  might  obtain  from  the  natives,  and  the  toil  of  our  hunters,  which, 
however,  was  so  precarious  as  to  be  matter  of  little  dependence; 
besides,  our  ammunition  would  soon  be  exhausted,  particularly  our 
ball,  of  which  we  had  not  more  than  an  hundred  and  fifty,  and  about 
thirty  pounds  weight  of  shot,  which,  indeed,  might  be  converted  into 
bullets,  though  with  great  waste. 

"The  more  I  heard  of  the  river,  the  more  I  was  convinced  it 
could  not  empty  itself  into  the  ocean  to  the  North  of  what  is  called 
the  River  of  the  West,  so  that  w  ith  its  windings,  the  distance  must  be 
very  great.  Such  being  the  discouraging  circumsiances  of  my  situa- 
tion, which  were  now  heightened  by  the  discontents  of  my  people,  I 
could  not  but  be  alarmed  at  the  idea  of  attempting  to  get  to  the  dis- 
charge of  such  a  rapid  river,  especially  when  I  reflected  on  tlie 
tardy  progress  of  my  return  up  it,  even  if  I  should  meet  with  no 
obstruction  from  the  natives;  a  circumstance  not  very  probable,  from 
the  numbers  of  them  which  would  then  be  on  the  river;  and  whom  I 
could  have  no  opportunity  of  conciliating  in  mv  passage  down,  for 
the  reasons  which  have  been  already  mentioned.  At  all  events,  I 
must  give  up  every  expectation  of  returning  this  season  to  Athabasca. 
Such  were  my  reflections  at  this  period;  but  instead  of  continuing  to 
indulge  them,  1  determined  to  proceed  \\  ith  resolution,  and  set  future 
events  at  defiance.  At  the  same  time  I  suffered  myself  to  nourish  the 
hope  that  i  might  be  able  to  penetrate  w  ith  more  safety,  and  in  a 
shorter  period,  to  the  ocean  by  the  inland,  western  communication."  -' 

Therefore,  at  a  point  not  far  from  the  place  where  Alexandria 
stands  todav,  Mackenzie  decided  to  abatidon  the  river  and  to  con- 
tinue his  journey  overland.  In  order  to  carry  out  the  new  design,  it 
was  necessary  to  return  to  the  mouth  of  a  stream  that  had  been  noticed 
on  the  north  bank — the  West  Road  River  of  Mackenzie — the  Black- 
water  of  todav.  The  men  who,  but  a  short  time  before,  had  been  in 
a  state  of  open  rebellion,  now  promised  to  stand  by  their  leader,  what- 
ever might  be  the  conse(]uences,  and  follow  him  to  the  ocean.  ".At 
all  events,  I  declared,  in  the  most  solemn  manner,"  said  Mackenzie 
on  this  occasion,  "that  I  would  not  abandon  my  design  of  reaching 
the  sea,  if  I  made  the  attempt  alone." 

The  return  of  the  expedition  up  the  river  alarmed  the  natives, 
and  a  general  panic  seized  the  men,  and  again  thev  demanded  that  the 

"''  Mackenzie,  Voyages,  pp.  255-6. 


venture  be  abandoned  and  that  they  should  return  without  delay  to 
the  Peace  River.  But  with  peremptory  words,  the  explorer  silenced 
their  remonstrances. 

The  canoe,  after  its  long  and  dangerous  passage,  had  become  so 
unseaworthy  that  it  was  determined  to  build  another.  Accordingly 
the  party  landed  on  an  island  not  far  below  the  point  where  the 
Quesnel  River  joins  the  Fraser.  An  additional  supply  of  bark, 
watape,  and  gum  were  gathered  in  the  woods,  and  in  four  days  a 
strong  canoe  was  constructed  and  ready  for  service. 

The  expedition  reached  the  Blackwater  River,  or  as  Mackenzie 
called  it,  the  West  Road  River,  at  ten  on  the  morning  of  Wednesday, 
July  3,  1793,  and  proceeded  up  this  stream  in  search  of  the  Indian 
who  had  promised  to  guide  the  party  overland  to  the  ocean.  The 
native  kept  his  word  and,  at  four  in  the  afternoon,  joined  Mackenzie, 
who  gave  him  a  jacket,  a  pair  of  trousers  and  a  handkerchief,  "as  a 
reward  for  his  honourable  conduct."  On  the  following  day,  pem- 
mican,  wild  rice,  Indian  corn,  gunpowder  and  a  bale  of  trading  arti- 
cles, were  hidden  in  two  caches,  and  the  canoe  placed  bottom  upward 
on  a  stage  and  shielded  from  the  rays  of  the  sun  with  branches  of  trees. 

The  expedition  then  started  on  the  last  stage  of  its  adventurous 
journey.  Each  man  carried  a  pack  of  ninety  pounds  and  Mackenzie 
and  Mackay  seventy  pounds  each,  besides  their  arms  and  ammunition. 
Mackenzie  also  carried  his  telescope,  swung  across  his  shoulders, 
which  proved  a  troublesome  addition  to  his  burden.  A  native  road, 
in  places  quite  clearly  defined,  led  to  the  upper  reaches  of  the  Black- 
water,  and  thence  westerly,  through  the  Chilcotin  country,  to  the 
Bella  Coola  River,  called  by  Mackenzie  the  Salmon  River. 

It  was  not  until  July  17th  that  the  eyes  of  the  explorer  were  glad- 
dened with  the  sight  of  an  Indian  village.  Upon  their  arrival  the 
chief  treated  the  toil-worn  men  with  every  consideration,  inviting 
them  to  his  house,  where  he  regaled  them  with  salmon  roe  and  other 
native  delicacies.  This  place  was  on  the  Bella  Coola  River.  From 
the  natives  Mackenzie  procured  two  canoes,  in  which  the  party  once 
more  embarked.  The  Indians  wielded  their  paddles  so  dexterously 
that  Mackenzie  was  led  to  observe  that  he  had  always  imagined 
Canadians  to  be  the  "most  expert  canoe-men  in  the  world,  but  they 
are  very  inferior  to  these  people,"  as  his  crew  acknowledged. 

Arriving  at  a  larger  village,  the  party  was  again  most  hospitably 


received  and  entertained.  Here  the  explorer  learned  that  ten  winters 
before,  the  chief  had  sailed  towards  the  mid-day  sun  with  forty  of  his 
people,  in  his  great  canoe,  meeting  on  the  ocean  two  large  ships 
manned  by  white  men,  by  whom  he  was  kindly  received.  Mackenzie 
thought  that  these  might  be  the  vessels  commanded  by  Captain  Cook. 

The  natives  of  this  region  dififered  greatly  from  those  to  the  east- 
ward of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  The  Indians  of  the  great  plains  lived 
by  hunting,  and  the  bison  or  buffalo  furnished  them  with  the  neces- 
saries of  life,  while  the  natives  of  the  Pacific  Coast  region  looked  to 
the  salmon  to  supply  their  wants.  Their  houses  were  made  of  thick 
cedar  boards,  so  neatly  joined  that  at  first  they  seemed  of  one  piece. 
"They  were  painted  with  hieroglyphics,"  records  the  journal,  "and 
figures  of  different  animals,  and  with  a  degree  of  correctness  that  was 
not  to  be  expected  from  such  an  uncultivated  people."  It  was  evi- 
dent that  this  tribe  had  traded  with  maritime  adventurers,  because 
wire,  copper  and  trinkets  were  plentiful;  collars  of  twisted  iron,  that 
weighed  about  twelve  pounds,  attracted  particular  attention.  No 
doubt  these  collars  were  some  of  those  made  by  the  American,  Ing- 
raham,  and  traded  by  him  with  such  advantage  amongst  the  tribes  of 
the  Queen  Charlotte  Islands.  ^^ 

At  this  village  another  canoe  was  obtained,  and  the  voyage  con- 
tinued with  native  guides,  who  volunteered  to  accompany  the  expe- 
dition. Mackenzie  was  now  within  a  short  distance  of  the  sea,  and 
on  the  19th  of  July  he  caught  a  glimpse  of  the  narrow  inlet 
into  which  the  river  emptied.  On  the  following  day,  at  an  early  hour 
in  the  morning,  he  passed  the  site  of  what  is  now  Bella  Coola  and 
reached  Bentinck  Arm.  At  last  Alexander  Mackenzie  had  achieved 
his  ambition.  He  had  travelled  from  the  Atlantic  Ocean  to  the  shores 
of  the  Pacific,  and  in  so  doing  had  explored  a  territory  never  before 
seen  by  civilized  man. 

Mackenzie,  however,  was  not  content  to  reach  tidal  water;  he 
wished  to  view  the  ocean  itself.  He  paddled  down  the  long  fiord,  and 
then,  taking  a  northwesterly  course,  reached  the  entrance  of  Cascade 
Canal.  On  his  way  thither,  in  passing  King's  Island,  he  met  three 
canoes,  manned  by  fifteen  men,  one  of  whom  related  that  but  a  few 
weeks  before  boats  had  visited  the  bay,  filled  with  white  men,  and 
that  one  of  these,  whom  he  called  "Macubah,"  had  fired  on  him,  and 

"  vide  InKraham's  Journal,  Ms.  in  Archives  Department,  Victoria. 


another,  "Bensins,"  had  struck  him  on  the  back  with  the  flat  of  his 
sword.  Perhaps  by  these  names  the  natives  meant  Vancouver  and 
Menzies,  for  but  a  few  weeks  earlier  the  boats  of  the  Discovery  had 
explored  this  inlet,  when  Point  Menzies,  King  Island,  Bentinck 
Arm,  Dean  Canal,  and  Cascade  Canal,  had  received  their  names. 
These  indignities  rankled  in  the  mind  of  the  Indian,  who  was  only 
too  willing  to  revenge  himself  upon  Mackenzie's  party.  He  became 
more  and  more  troublesome,  even  forcing  himself  into  Mackenzie's 
canoe,  vociferously  repeating  the  unpleasant  intelligence  that  he  had 
been  ill-treated  by  white  men. 

Mackenzie,  in  order  to  escape  the  importunities  of  the  natives, 
landed  at  a  deserted  village.  But  the  party  was  followed  by  ten 
canoes,  each  containing  from  three  to  six  men.  The  Indians  informed 
Mackenzie  that  he  was  expected  at  the  village  near-by.  Suspecting 
from  their  behaviour  that  some  hostile  design  was  meditated,  the 
invitation  was  declined,  and  presently  the  natives  took  their  depart- 
ure, but  not  before  they  had  succeeded  in  stealing  several  articles  of 
value.  Having  taken  possession  of  a  rock  which  could  be  easily 
defended,  the  men  prepared  to  spend  the  night.  Presently  another 
canoe  arrived,  manned  by  several  Indians,  who  brought  a  sea-otter 
and  a  fine  goat  skin,  offering  to  exchange  the  former  for  the  explor- 
er's hanger  or  sword,  which  offer,  as  might  be  supposed,  was  declined. 

VVith  only  a  fire  to  cheer  them,  the  men  passed  the  night  on  the 
rock,  keeping  watch  by  twos  for  fear  that  the  Indians  might  take 
advantage  of  the  darkness  to  steal  upon  them.  Bright  moonlight, 
however,  befriended  the  party,  and  the  dawn  broke  without  any  hos- 
tile attempt  being  made  by  the  inhabitants  of  the  neighbouring  vil- 
lage. In  the  morning  the  camp  was  again  visited  by  natives,  who  did 
not  disguise  their  hostility.  The  young  Indian  guide,  the  son  of  the 
chief  of  the  village  on  Salmon  River,  earnestly  entreated  Mackenzie 
to  depart,  as  he  had  heard  that  a  plot  was  on  foot  to  kill  the  whole 
party.  In  his  agitation  he  foamed  at  the  mouth.  The  French  Canad- 
ians, on  hearing  the  news,  became  panic-stricken,  and  asked  the  ex- 
plorer if  it  were  his  determination  to  remain  there  to  be  sacrificed. 
He  replied,  as  on  former  occasions,  that  he  would  not  retreat.  But 
the  natives  were  implacable  and  his  men  mutinous,  and  he  was  there- 
fore forced  to  abandon  his  project  and  to  return  to  the  river  he  had 
(luitted  the  day  before. 


Before  leaving,  the  explorer  mixed  some  vermillioii  in  melted 
grease  and  inscribed  in  large  letters  on  the  southeast  face  of  the  rock 
this  brief  memorial — "Alexander  Mackenzie,  from  Canada,  by  land, 
the  twenty-second  of  July  one  thousand  seven  hundred  and  ninety- 

On  that  very  day — the  22nd  day  of  July,  1793 — another  great  ex- 
plorer was,  comparatively  speaking,  but  a  short  distance  away.  The 
journal  of  Captain  George  Vancouver  reveals  the  fact  that  he  was 
then  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Point  Maskelyne,  surveying  the  channel 
which  leads  to  Observatory  Inlet  and  Portland  Canal.  If  these  two 
famous  explorers,  both  of  whom  rendered  the  Empire  signal  service, 
could  have  met  on  the  Pacific  coast,  that  meeting  would  indeed  have 
been  memorable! 

To  add  to  the  perplexities  and  dangers  of  the  situation,  the  son  of 
the  chief  of  Friendly  Village  attempted  to  desert  the  party.  He  was 
promptly  seized  and  forced  to  return  to  the  shore,  for  it  was 
thought  better  to  incur  his  displeasure  than  to  suffer  him  to  expose 
himself  to  the  ill-will  of  the  natives,  or  to  allow  him  to  return  to  his 
father  before  the  party.  Mackenzie  himself  mounted  guard  over  the 
frightened  youth.  The  prow  of  the  canoe  was  then  headed  for  the 
mouth  of  the  Bella  Coola  River  and  the  homeward  journey  com- 
menced. But  another  disappointment  was  in  store  for  the  explorer. 
The  Indians  who  resided  along  the  stream,  instead  of  extending 
the  hospitable  welcome  that  had  been  accorded  on  the  downward 
voyage,  now  seemed  intent  upon  impeding  the  progress  of  the  expedi- 
tion. At  the  large  village  near  the  mouth  of  the  river  the  natives 
were  so  importunate  and  troublesome  that  it  was  called  Rascal's 
Village.  The  chief  of  the  next  village — the  "Great  Village" — was 
surly  and  little  inclined  to  help  the  wayfarers;  but  presents  of  cloth, 
knives,  and  other  articles,  restored  his  good  humour.  Leaving  the 
"Great  Village,"  the  party  proceeded,  single  file,  through  the  forest, 
momentarily  expecting  an  attack,  as  the  natives  on  their  departure 
were  excited  and  apparently  resolved  upon  mischief. 

On  Friday,  the  twenty-sixth  day  of  July,  Mackenzie  reached 
"Friendly  Village."  His  reception  at  the  place  was  in  marked  con- 
trast to  that  accorded  to  him  below.  The  chief,  Soocomlick,  con- 
ducted the  men  to  his  own  house,  and  entertained  them  with  the  "most 
respectful  hospitality."     Mackenzie  was  touched  by  the  kindness  of 


this  untutored  savage,  and  he  entered  in  his  journal  that  "he  behaved 
to  us  with  so  much  attention  and  kindness,  that  I  did  not  withhold 
anything  in  my  power  to  give  which  might  afford  him  satisfaction. 
I  presented  him  with  two  yards  of  blue  cloth,  an  axe,  knives,  and 
various  other  articles." 

The  explorer  then  retraced  his  steps  to  the  Blackwater  River,  ar- 
riving on  August  4th  at  the  place  where  the  provisions  and  canoe  had 
been  cached.  Everything  was  found  as  it  had  been  left.  Embarking 
on  the  Great  River,  also  called  by  Mackenzie  the  ''Tacoutche  Tesse," 
as  he  considered  that  to  be  the  Indian  name  of  the  stream,  the 
expedition  in  the  course  of  a  few  days,  made  Bad  River.  The  Bad 
River  was  ascended,  the  ''Height  of  Land"  crossed,  and  the  canoe 
launched  upon  the  Parsnip.  Gliding  along  with  the  current  of  that 
noble  river,  Mackenzie  travelled  in  one  day  a  distance  which  had 
taken  him  seven  days  to  traverse  on  his  outward  journey.  The  river 
everywhere  swarmed  with  beaver  and  wild  fowl.  Then  descending 
the  Peace  River,  which  is  formed  by  the  junction  of  the  Parsnip  and 
Finlay  Rivers,  the  explorer  reached  the  beautiful  rolling  country 
which  lies  immediately  to  the  eastward  of  the  Rocky  Mountains. 

At  length,  on  Saturday,  August  24th,  after  an  absence  of 
three  and  a  half  months,  Mackenzie  reached  Fork  Fort,  where 
he  had  spent  the  preceding  winter.  This  account  of  the  first  over- 
land journey  to  the  Pacific  may  well  close  with  the  last  entry  in  the 
great  explorer's  journal- — "Here  my  voyages  of  discovery  terminate. 
Their  toils  and  their  dangers,  their  solicitudes  and  sufferings,  have 
not  been  exaggerated  in  my  description.  On  the  contrary,  in  many 
instances,  language  has  failed  me  in  the  attempt  to  describe  them. 
I  received,  however,  the  reward  of  my  labours,  for  they  were  crowned 
with  success." 

Alexander  Mackenzie  was  the  first  European  to  find  a  pass 
through  the  Rocky  Mountains;  he  was  the  first  European  to  see  the 
noble  stream,  which,  from  its  source  in  the  heart  of  that  great 
Cordilleran  range,  flows  into  the  Gulf  of  Georgia,  after  a  devious 
course  of  some  seven  hundred  miles;  he  was  the  first  European 
to  embark  upon  the  river  which  was  destined  to  be  named  fifteen 
years  later  in  honour  of  another  explorer,  who  also  owed  allegiance 
to  the  North  West  Company;  and  he  was  the  first  European  to  reach 
the  Pacific  Ocean  overland.     The  achievement  of  Alexander  Mac- 


kenzie  has  given  him  enduring  fame.  No  one  explorer,  in  a  few 
short  months,  accomplished  more  than  did  this  imperturbable  man, 
who  linked  together  the  known  and  the  unknown — who  gave  the 
world  its  first  glimpse  of  the  interior  of  the  Province  of  British 

Subsequently  Mackenzie  appears  to  have  devoted  himself  to  the 
furtrade  and  to  have  amassed  considerable  wealth.  In  1801  he  pub- 
lished the  narrative  of  his  explorations  so  frequently  quoted  in  these 
pages.  On  February  10,  1802,  Alexander  Mackenzie  was  knighted 
by  King  George  III.,  in  recognition  of  his  services  in  the  cause  of 
geographical  science.  In  181 2  he  married  a  Miss  Mackenzie  and 
settled  at  Avoch  in  Ross-shire.  The  great  explorer  died  at  Mulnain, 
near  Dunkeld,  March  11,  1820,  after  a  long  and  honourable  career. 


Explored  Fraser  river,  Ft.  George  to  mouth  of  North  Arm,  1808 


In  periods  like  the  present,  when  knowledge  of  our  country  is 
every  day  extending,  even  to  the  most  distant  parts  of  the  world,  it 
is  no  easy  matter  to  throw  ourselves  mentally  back  into  a  time  in  which 
the  territories,  now  comprised  in  the  Province  of  British  Columbia, 
first  began  to  assume  a  definite  political  form  and  to  arouse  the  com- 
mercial spirit  of  the  Anglo-Saxon  race,  one  of  the  greatest  propelling 
forces  that  the  world  has  ever  known.  At  the  beginning  of  the  nine- 
teenth century,  the  vast  country  beyond  the  Rocky  Mountains  was  a 
virgin  wilderness,  as  vet  almost  unknown  and  unpeopled,  except  by 
aboriginal  tribes,  whose  chiefs  held  undisputed  sway  in  their  several 
jurisdictions.  It  is  true  that  the  western  seaboard  had  been  explored 
and  tolerablv  well  surveyed  by  Briton  and  Spaniard  and  its  interior 
pierced  by  the  furtradcr;  but  these  efforts  had  not  as  yet  led  to  the 
occupation  of  the  country;  nor  had  any  strong  movement  in  that 
direction  taken  place.  Great  Britain,  involved  in  war  with  France, 
which  had  broken  out  before  Vancouver  returned  to  Europe,  found 
her  energies  and  resources  taxed  to  the  utmost  to  continue  the  strug- 
gle against  Napoleon;  and  therefore  the  settlement  of  distant  lands 
was,  for  the  time  being,  beyond  the  range  of  practical  politics.  Spain. 
now  England's  ally,  had  abandoned  forever  her  enterprise  in  the 
North  Pacific.  Russia  alone  persevered  in  her  efforts  to  extend  her 
dominions  beyond  the  sea  discovered  by  Vitus  Bering. 

If  the  situation  in  Europe,  precluded  Great  Britain  from  actively 
following  up  the  discoveries  of  Vancouver  and  the  settlement  of  the 
Nootka  Afifair,  with  a  broad  policy  of  expansion  in  the  trans-con- 
tinental region  of  the  North  Pacific,  there  was  nothing  to  prevent  the 
progress  of  the  ambitious  Canadian  furtrader  towards  the  western 
confines  of  North  America,  except  physical  obstacles  similar  to  those 
which,  from  his  childhood's  days,  he  had  been  accustomed  to  face 



and  surmount.  From  the  ashes  of  the  heated  controversies  and 
bitter  feuds  of  the  traders,  a  new  power  had  arisen,  and  one  which 
was  destined  to  win  before  long,  signal  triumphs  in  the  west.  The 
merging  of  the  rival  interests  into  the  great  North  West  Company, 
a  purely  Canadian  organization,  financed  by  the  merchant  princes 
of  Montreal,  marked  an  epoch  in  the  history  of  the  furtrade  and  of 
this  land.  Yet  that  coalition  did  not,  as  was  fondly  hoped,  establish 
peace  in  the  Indian  territories.  The  Hudson's  Bay  Company  looked 
with  sullen  eye  upon  the  new  association,  and  then,  awaking  to  a 
realization  of  all  that  the  movement  portended  to  its  own  interests, 
prepared  to  follow  the  daring  Nor'Westers  into  the  wilds,  and  for 
the  conflict  that  must  inevitably  ensue  this  reversal  of  its  time-hon- 
oured policy.  Then  followed  that  disastrous  war,  for  it  was  no  less, 
between  these  two  powerful  organizations,  which  did  not  cease  until 
their  amalgamation  in  1821,  and  from  which  sprang  the  invasion  of 
the  territory  beyond  the  Rocky  Mountains ;  or  at  least  this  conflict  was 
one  of  the  chief  causes  contributing  to  that  movement. 

It  is  by  no  means  easy  to  decide  exactly  to  what  extent  the  two 
companies  were  responsible  for  the  initiation  of  the  explorations 
that  had  such  far  reaching  consequences.  It  is  likely  enough  that 
their  zealous  officers  in  the  field  had  as  much  to  do  with  the  promo- 
tion of  such  enterprises,  as  the  directors  in  London  and  Montreal. 
It  may  be  safely  assumed,  however,  that  the  men  at  the  head  of  afifairs 
desired  to  aid  discovery  and  exploration,  if  for  no  other  reason  than 
that  by  so  doing  new  and  rich  territories  might  be  added  to  their 
respective  spheres  of  influence.  But  trade  was  the  grand  objective. 
This  was  only  natural.  After  all,  the  Hudson's  Bay  and  North  West 
Companies  were  commercial  bodies,  and  dividends  were  their  first 
concern.  Yet,  whatever  may  have  been  the  mainspring  of  their 
actions,  the  fact  remains  that  officers  of  both  companies  carried  the 
British  flag  to  the  remotest  corners  of  the  northern  part  of  the  con- 
tinent. And  further,  it  is  clear  that  had  it  not  been  for  this  agency, 
the  British  possessions  in  North  America  would  not  be  so  extensive 
as  they  are  today.  However,  it  should  never  be  forgotten  that  it  was 
the  strong  arm  of  England  that  held  what  the  furtraders  had  won. 

Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie's  wonderful  feat  did  not  lead  immedi- 
ately to  the  occupation  of  the  territory  he  had  discovered.  On  the 
contrary,   twelve  years  intervened  between  the  time  the  land  had 


been  spied  out  and  that  at  which  the  "Lords  of  the  Lakes  and  For- 
ests" went  out  to  possess  it.  This  delay  is  inexplicable  except  by 
reference  to  the  internal  history  of  the  North  West  Company.  It  has 
been  already  indicated  that  the  houses  of  Benjamin  and  Joseph  Fro- 
bisher  and  of  Simon  McTavish  supplied  the  requisite  cash  and  credit. 
The  latter  person  soon  dominated  its  councils  and  "Le  Premier," 
or  "Le  Marquis,"  as  he  was  called,  became  a  veritable  storm  centre. 
In  1795,  some  of  those  who  could  no  longer  brook,  his  overbearing 
conduct  withdrew  and  joined  the  independent  firm,  Messrs.  Forsyth, 
Richardson  and  Company.  Mackenzie  was  induced  at  this  time, 
much  against  his  will  to  remain  with  the  Nor'Westers. 

A  rivalry  sprang  up  immediately  between  the  two  companies — 
a  rivalry  the  more  keen  from  mere  kinship.  The  struggle  between 
the  two  older  companies  paled  into  insignificance  in  comparison  with 
this  paternal  feud.  The  new  company  was  known  for  a  time  as  the 
"New  North  West  Company";  but,  seeing  the  bales  of  trading  goods 
belonging  to  their  opponents  marked  "N.  W.,"  they  by  a  happy 
thought,  fixed  upon  the  subsequent  letters  X  Y  for  themselves.  These 
algebraic  letters,  signifying  unknown  quantities,  were  most  apt,  as 
there  is  little  doubt  that  some  members  of  the  North  West  Company 
were  really  interested  in  this  opposition,  which  was  sneeringly  called 
the  "Little  Company"  or  in  French  "La  Petite  Compagnie,"  short- 
ened to  "Les  Petits,"  and  anglicized  into  the  "Potties." 

By  degrees  the  breach  between  Mackenzie  and  McTavish 
widened.  As  Masson  has  expressed  it:  "Ces  trois  annees  furent  une 
suite  non  interrompue  d'ennuis,  de  froissement  et  de  mecontentement 
entre  lui,  Ic  plus  populaire,  le  plus  actif  des  Bourgeois,  et  M.  Simon 
McTavish,  le  chef  de  la  Compagnie  ct  Ic  plus  puissant  des  agents." 
At  the  meeting  at  Grand  Portage  in  1799  Mackenzie  informed  the 
other  partners  that  he  had  resolved  to  withdraw.  Every  effort  to 
alter  his  determination  was  in  vain;  in  vain  the  wintering  partners 
declared  their  confidence  in  him  and  begged  his  reconsideration. 
Mackenzie  was  inexorable.  He  understood  too  well  that  he  could 
no  longer  continue  as  the  agent  and  associate  of  McTavish. 

After  a  short  residence  in  England,  during  which  he  prepared  for 
publication  the  "round  unvarnished  tale"  of  his  voyages,  Mackenzie, 
having  received  knighthood,  returned  to  Canada  and  entered  with 
all  his  vigour  into  the  work  of  the  X  Y  Company,  which  soon  became 


known  as  "Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie  and  Company."  Keener,  now, 
became  the  rivalry,  bitterer  the  competition,  more  heated  the  strug- 
gle between  the  Canadian  concerns.  Cheating,  robberies,  free  tights, 
the  unstinted  use  of  liquor,  every  device  that  could  be  conceived  to 
gain  an  advantage — all  these  things  mar  this  chapter  of  the  furtrade. 
Yet  the  energy  of  the  North  West  Company  at  the  very  climax 
of  this  struggle  in  opening  fishing  stations  along  the  St.  Lawrence 
and  in  fitting  out  vessels  for  trade  into  Hudson's  Bay  itself,  must 
give  cause  for  wonder  and  admiration.  Just  at  this  time,  in  July, 
1804,  Simon  McTavish  died.  All  difficulties  vanished.  The  warring 
factions  drew  together,  and  in  a  short  time  were  amalgamated,  retain- 
ing the  old  name.  The  North  West  Companv  thus  became  for  the 
first  time  a  real  unity,  free  from  internal  dissentions,  prepared  to  do 
better  with  its  competitors  alike  "beyond  remotest  smoke  of  hunter's 
camp"  as  in  the  marts  of  the  world,  and  thus  to  stand,  proudly  claim- 
ing to  be  the  most  vigorous  and  successful  trading  concern  operating 
in  North  America. 

And  thus  it  came  about  that  another  was  to  complete  the  work  of 
our  first  explorer — Mackenzie  had  spied  out  the  land.  Fraser  would 
possess  it. 

While  the  furtraders  were  fighting  over  the  division  of  the 
spoils  in  the  Indian  territories  of  the  north,  the  government  at  Wash- 
ington was  not  blind  to  the  advantages  that  would  necessarily  follow 
the  westward  expansion  of  the  United  States.  President  Jefiferson, 
having  purchased  Louisiana  from  Napoleon  in  1803,  desired  to 
extend  the  limits  of  his  country  to  the  shores  of  the  Pacific  Ocean. 
Indeed  the  plan  was  forming  itself  in  his  mind  even  before  that  pur- 
chase was  completed.  As  yet  there  had  been  no  national  movement 
towards  that  goal,  that  is  to  say.  the  people  themselves  evinced  no 
interest  in  the  trans-cordilleran  region;  nevertheless,  the  President 
was  astute  enough  to  realize  that  it  would  not  be  safe  to  defer  for- 
tifying the  position  of  the  L'nited  States  in  the  far  west.  He  therefore 
conceived  the  project  of  despatching  an  expedition  under  the  auspices 
of  his  government  to  cross  the  Rocky  Mountains  and  to  follow  the 
Columbia  River  from  its  head  waters  to  its  estuary,  found  by  Cap- 
tain Gray  of  the  Columbia  in  1792.  But,  as  the  route  of  the  expedi- 
tion lay  in  part  through  territories  not  yet  directly  assigned  to  any 
power,  it  was  necessarv  to  proceed  with  caution,  so  as  not  to  excite 


the  fears  or  jealousies  of  other  nations.  The  President  therefore 
gave  out  that  the  expedition  was  purely  scientific  in  its  scope,  and  on 
that  account  it  aroused  no  suspicion  amongst  the  ambassadors  accred- 
ited to  Washington.  In  spite  of  these  precautions,  however,  the 
project  was  nearly  killed  by  Congress  refusing  to  vote  the  small 
appropriation — $2,500 — required  to  give  effect  to  the  President's 
proposal.  To  the  average  senator  and  representative  it  appeared 
ridiculous  that  money  should  be  spent  in  such  a  manner.  But  Jeffer- 
son, intent  on  creating  an  empire,  was  not  to  be  thwarted.  He  sub- 
mitted to  Congress  a  secret  message,  in  which  he  intimated  that  his 
real  reason  for  advocating  the  despatch  of  the  expedition,  was  that  it 
might  be  ascertained  whether  or  not  it  would  be  desirable  to  annex 
the  land  west  of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  The  plea  was  successful 
and  the  appropriation  passed.  In  1S04,  Captain  .Meriwether  Lewis 
and  Captain  William  Clark  began  their  memorable  journey  across 
the  continent. 

That  expedition  did  not  escape  the  observation  of  the  vigilant 
partners  of  the  North  West  Company,  nor  did  it  frighten  them.  If 
anything  it  incited  them  to  give  immediate  effect  to  the  long  cher- 
ished plan  to  extend  their  chain  of  posts  clear  across  the  continent. 
Greenhow  states  that  it  was  the  expedition  of  Lewis  and  Clark  that 
prompted  the  North  \A'est  Company  to  annex  the  territory  beyond 
the  Rocky  Mountains;  on  the  other  hand  Bancroft  asserts  that  there 
is  no  proof  of  (ireenhow's  explicit  statement  that  it  was  the 
immediate  object  of  the  North  West  Company  "to  anticipate  the 
Americans  in  the  settlement  of  that  portion  of  the  Continent." 
At  any  rate,  it  was  this  time  that  the  association  undertook  to  occupy 
the  country  beyond  the  Rockies.  The  decision  was  reached  early  in 
1805  '"  the  council  hall  of  the  North  West  Company  at  Fort  Wil- 
liam, on  Thunder  Bay  of  Lake  Superior — famous  in  literature  from 
Washington  Irving's  admirable  description  of  the  feudal  glory  of 
the  wassailing  Nor'Wester.  A  young  man,  then  only  twenty-five 
years  old  and  a  bourgeois,  or  partner,  of  but  three  years'  standing, 
Simon  Fraser,  was  chosen  to  conduct  tiic  perilous  enterprise. 

Simon  Fraser  came  of  good  stock.  His  grandfather  was  Wil- 
liam Fraser  of  Culbochie  or  Kilbockie,  and  his  grandmother, 
Margaret  Macdonell  of  Glengarry.  William  Fraser  had  nine  sons, 
six  of  whom  wore  His  Majesty's  military  uniform.     Of  two  others 


William,  the  eldest,  succeeded  to  his  father's  estates,  and  Simon  the 
second,  emigrated  to  America  with  his  wife,  settling  near  Benning- 
ton, in  Vermont.  This  was  in  1773,  when  the  Colonies  were  already 
in  a  state  of  ferment  and  incipient  rebellion.  Here  Simon,  the 
explorer,  was  born  in  1776.  When  the  Revolutionary  War  broke 
out,  Simon  Fraser,  the  elder,  espoused  the  Loyalists'  cause,  joined 
the  loyal  forces,  and  being  captured,  probably  at  the  Battle  of  Ben- 
nington, he  was  thrown  into  prison,  where  according  to  one  authority, 
he  contracted  a  fever  from  which  he  died  shortly  after  his  release. 
It  is  said  that  Simon  Fraser,  the  explorer,  states  in  a  diary,  a  frag- 
ment of  which  has  been  preserved,  that  his  father  died  on  board  a 
vessel,  which  carried  away  the  captured  army,  presumably  of  Gen- 
eral Burgoyne.  The  accounts  are  conflicting  and  the  end  of  the 
unfortunate  father  of  the  hero  of  this  sketch  is  veiled  in  obscurity. 
He  left  his  wife  with  nine  children,  four  boys  and  five  girls,  to  fight 
their  own  way  in  the  world.  After  the  declaration  of  peace,  the 
widow,  at  that  time  in  very  straitened  circumstances,  moved  to  Can- 
ada, eventually  settling  at  St.  Andrews  near  the  Ottawa  River.  It  is 
not  so  specifically  recorded,  but  it  is  not  unlikely,  that  Mrs.  Fraser 
and  her  young  family  came  with  the  United  Empire  Loyalists,  whose 
exodus  gave  bone  and  sinew  to  the  British  colonies  of  Upper  and 
Lower  Canada,  New  Brunswick  and  Nova  Scotia. 

The  Ottawa  was  the  broad  highway  of  the  furtraders  who  passed 
to  and  from  that  great  mysterious  land  which  lay  towards  the  set- 
ting sun.  Here,  no  doubt,  the  lad  Simon  often  watched  the  gay 
brigades  of  birch-bark  canoes,  with  their  dare-devil  crews  of  French 
Canadians,  as  they  swept  up  or  down  the  river;  and  often  listened 
to  the  rhythmic  chamons  of  the  light-hearted  voyageurs,  as  they 
plied  their  glistening  paddles.  It  is  reasonable  to  suppose  that  these 
sights  and  sounds,  did  not  fail  to  stir  the  heart  of  the  boy,  and  to 
appeal  to  his  Gaelic  imagination.  Thus  in  his  youth,  did  he,  in  all 
probability  become  familiar  with  the  incidents  of  the  furtrader's  life, 
and  boyishly  longed  to  take  part  in  the  exploits  of  the  daring  men  who 
were  then  subjugating  the  wilderness.  However  this  may  be,  after 
a  term  of  schooling  at  Montreal,  in  1792.  at  the  age  of  sixteen,  he 
became  an  articled  clerk  of  the  North  West  Company,  possibly 
through  the  influence  of  his  uncle  John,  who,  after  serving  in  Wolfe's 
army  at  the  capture  of  Quebec,  settled  in  Canada,  and  there  attained 


some  eminence  as  one  of  the  King's  judges.  It  appears  that  the 
youth  soon  won  his  spurs,  for  in  1802  he  became  a  bourgeois,  or  part- 
ner— a  distinction  only  conferred  upon  men  who  had  proved  their 
worth  in  the  field  of  enterprise.  All  the  servants  of  the  Company 
aspired  to  this  distinction,  and  it  was  the  hope  of  attaining  it  that 
wedded  men  to  the  North  West  Company,  and  its  interests.  The 
generous  conduct  of  that  association  towards  its  officers  and 
employees  was  repaid  a  thousandfold  in  devoted  services  and  splen- 
did loyalty.  It  was  the  unity  of  purpose  and  identity  of  interasts 
established  by  this  bold  and  generous  policy,  that  gave  the  North 
West  Company  such  tremendous  force,  and  that  enabled  it  to  carry 
out  so  successfully  its  vast  undertaking. 

In  August,  1805,  Simon  Fraser  left  Fort  William  and,  follow- 
ing the  usual  route  of  the  furtrade,  he  arrived  at  a  point  on  Peace 
River,  which  he  named  Rocky  Mountain  Portage,  at  the  eastern  end 
of  which  he  established  a  rude  post  named  Rocky  Mountain  House 
— not  far  from  the  Hudson's  Hope  of  modern  maps.  He  had  deter- 
mined to  follow  Mackenzie's  track  through  the  Peace  River  Pass,  to 
the  country  abounding  in  beaver  beyond.  In  the  autumn  of  the 
year,  having  established  his  base  at  Rocky  Mountain  Portage,  he 
ascended  the  Peace  and  Parsnip  Rivers  to  the  point  where  the  Pack 
River  empties  its  waters  into  the  latter.  This  river  was  not  seen 
by  Mackenzie  in  1793;  or  if  so,  his  journal  does  not  record  the  fact. 
Simon  Fraser  followed  the  Pack  to  McLeod  Lake,  or  as  it  was  then 
called,  'J>out  Lake,  where  he  established  the  first  post  ever  built  in 
the  territory  west  of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  This  fort  now  known  as 
Fort  McLeod,  was  then  sometimes  called  La  Malice  Fort.  The  build- 
ing of  this  fort  and  Fraser's  subsequent  work  makes  the  American  cry 
of  1844 — "Fifty-four  forty  or  fight" — ridiculous  in  the  extreme.  It 
should  be  mentioned  that  McLeod  Lake  had  been  discovered 
earlier  in  the  year  by  James  McDougall,  who  had  thence  proceeded 
westward  to  Carrier  Lake,  or  Lac  Porteur.  Leaving  in  charge  of  the 
new  station  a  French  Canadian,  La  Malice  (fittingly  so  named  from 
all  accounts),  Fraser  returned  to  Rocky  Mountain  House,  where  he 
wintered  in  company  with  John  Stuart,  his  able  lieutenant  and  warm 
friend.  Stuart  was  one  of  that  noble  Scots  band  which  made  history 
for  us,  as  their  forbears  had  made  on  the  continent  a  century  before. 
Fraser's  connection  with  our  history  was  meteoric;  Stuart's,  though 


not  so  prominent,  was  of  much  longer  duration.  In  his  younger 
days  John  Stuart  had  been  in  the  Royal  Engineers.  He  appears  to 
have  been  connected  with  the  North  West  Company  as  early  as  1799. 
For  fifteen  years  thereafter  he  was  connected  with  the  operations 
of  that  Company  and  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  west  of  the 
Rockies.  Not  the  least  interesting  fact  concerning  this  man  who 
so  earnestly  supported  Fraser  in  his  work  of  exploration  and  took 
such  an  outstanding  place  in  the  later  development  of  New  Cale- 
dq;iia  is  that  he  was  an  uncle  of  the  late  Lord  Strathcona. 

The  journals  of  the  two  pioneers,  accurately  portray  the  hardships 
and  privations  suffered  by  them  and  their  men  in  the  winter  of 
1 805- 1 806.  For  provisions,  they  were  almost  entirely  dependent 
upon  the  resources  of  the  country, — if  the  chase  or  the  fishery  failed, 
they  were  brought  face  to  face  with  starvation.  But  it  is  not  neces- 
sary to  dilate  upon  their  situation,  which  was  taken  as  a  matter  of 
course  by  the  men  who  faced  it.  The  historian,  in  passing,  can  only 
marvel  at  their  intrepidity  and  resourcefulness  in  times  of  danger 
and  starvation. 

In  the  following  spring,  Fraser  prepared  in  earnest  for  a  more 
extensive  exploration.  In  May  he  gathered  his  small  force  together. 
First,  he  re-visited  Fort  McLeod  which,  during  the  previous  winter, 
had  been  deserted  by  La  Malice,  just  as  James  McDougall  was  at 
hand  with  succour.  Leaving  there  the  supplies  he  had  brought  for 
the  post,  he  descended  the  Pack,  and  proceeded  on  his  journey  up 
the  Parsnip,  until  he  reached  the  Height  of  Land  which  divides  the 
waters  that  flow  into  the  Arctic  Ocean  from  those  that  flow  into  the 
Pacific.  Then,  having  crossed  the  portages  and  lakes  discovered  by 
Mackenzie,  he  embarked  upon  the  Bad  River.  Following  the 
tortuous  and  impeded  course  of  that  rapid  stream,  he  reached,  on 
July  10,  1806,  the  "Great  River,"  called  by  the  natives  ''Tacoutche 
Tesse."  This  was  no  other  than  the  north  fork  of  the  Fraser  River, 
but  by  both  Mackenzie  and  Fraser  it  was  thought  to  be  the  Colum- 
bia, or  one  of  its  chief  tributaries.  Launching  his  frail  vessels,  Simon 
Fraser  voyaged  with  the  stream  to  the  mouth  of  the  Nechaco,  also 
missed  or  at  least  not  mentioned,  by  Mackenzie,  and  ascended  it  to 
its  confluence  with  the  river  that  drains  Stuart  Lake.  Here,  the 
explorer  met  for  the  first  time,  men  of  the  Carrier  nation. 

For  a  full  account  of  the  voyage  up  to  this  point  one  must  turn 


to  the  explorer's  journal,  a  few  quotations  from  which  will  serve  to 
remind  the  present  day  and  generation  of  the  hardships  endured  and 
the  difficulties  overcome  by  the  founders  of  New  Caledonia.  Only 
a  fragment  of  that  document  is  available:  but  that  fragment  is  doubly 
precious  since  it  contains  much  that  is  of  interest  touching  the  lares  et 
pennies  of  the  wily  natives,  the  geographical  and  physical  aspect 
of  the  country  as  well  as  something  of  the  furred  denizens  of  the 
wild  and  the  strenuous  incidents  of  the  daily  march.  Nor  does  Simon 
Fraser  forget  amid  his  cares  and  preoccupations  to  relieve  the  latent 
fires  of  his  soul  by  a  fling  at  Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie,  as  the  fol- 
lowing entries  will  show.  Here  for  instance  is  a  graphic  description 
of  a  native  hunting  scene  written  under  the  date  of  Monday,  May 
26,  1806 — "Previous  to  our  arrival  at  the  Indians  we  were  greatly 
amused  looking  at  some  of  them  running  after  the  wild  sheep  which 
they  call  As-pah.  They  were  really  expert  indeed,  running  full  speed 
among  the  perpendicular  rocks  which  had  not  1  ocular  demonstration 
I  could  never  believe  to  have  been  attained  by  any  creature  either 
of  the  human  or  brute  creation;  for  the  rocks  appear  to  us,  which 
perhaps  might  be  exaggerated  a  little,  from  the  distance  to  be  as 
steep  as  a  wall,  and  yet  while  in  pursuit  of  the  sheep  they  bounded 
from  one  to  another  with  the  swiftness  of  a  Roe,  and  at  last  killed 
two  in  their  snares,  one  of  wliich  we  traded  for  ammunition  merely 
for  a  rarity.  They  have  great  resemblance  to  the  European  sheep, 
the  wool  is  almost  as  fine,  perfectly  white,  and  upwards  of  six  inches 
long,  and  when  fat  the  Indians  represent  the  flesh  as  excellent  eating, 
at  present  as  it  is  meagre,  it  is  rather  tough,  and  has  a  strong  musk 
taste  and  smell." 

This  is  followed  by  another  anecdote  which  shows  very  clearly 
the  imminence  of  the  danger,  whicli,  like  the  fabled  sword  of 
Damocles,  perpetually  shadowed  the  hardy  wayfarers  in  one  or 
another  form — flood,  famine,  or  misfortune,  or  all  combined — and  in 
view  of  which  the  guerdon  of  their  quest  might  by  comparison  seem 
sometimes  inadequate  in  degree,  were  it  not  for  considerations  on  a 
higher  plane  than  mere  commercial  interest  the  great  scientific  and 
political  interest  to  wit,  which  lay  hidden  behind  these  deeds  and 

"Tuesdav,  27th.  Fine  warm  weather,  the  water  rises  very  fast. 
Indeed  it  has  risen  upwards  of  three  feet  since  we  left  the  Portage, 


and  though  the  current  is  amazing  strong  it  is  exceedingly  good  going 
as  yet.  We  came  to  and  encamped  at  the  last  Rapid  which  is  about 
two  miles  below  the  Fork's  on  Finlay's  branch  La  Malice  who  was 
before  us  attempted  to  ascend  this  rapid  with  the  pole,  but  Mr. 
Stuart  who  was  the  nearest  to  him  called  to  him  to  desist  and  I  gave 
him  a  great  set  down  for  risking  the  property  so  much  where  it  was 
unnecessary.  It  was  really  difficult  to  come  up  this  rapid  and  we 
were  obliged  to  take  out  the  load  and  carry  it  over  a  rocky  point  of 
400  yards,  and  the  canoes  were  taken  up  light.  Had  the  water  been 
lower  we  could  have  gone  up  easily  loaded,  and  had  it  been  higher 
we  could  efifect  the  same  thing  by  a  safe  passage  along  the  right  shore 
that  at  present  contains  only  water  enough  to  take  up  the  canoes 
light.  La  Malice  who  was  first  up  left  his  canoe  with  only  the  bow 
of  it  on  the  shore  and  while  he  was  busy  at  the  lower  end  it  went  off 
and  ran  down  the  Rapid,  it  received,  however,  no  injury  and  they 
went  for  it  with  another  canoe.  I  was  much  displeased  with  La 
Malice  on  this  occasion  and  as  well  as  his  attempting  to  go  up  with  a 
full  load  and  threatened  him  severely  if  he  was  not  more  careful  in 
the  future.  It  was  after  dark  before  everything  was  carried  to  the 
upper  end  of  the  Portage;  of  course  the  canoes  could  not  be  gummed 
which  will  make  us  go  ofif  late  tomorrow." 

Then  follows  a  description  of  the  Pack  River,  which  is  here 
referred  to  as  "Trout  Lake."  The  gentle  flow  of  caustic  satire  at  the 
expense  of  Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie  adds  a  certain  zest  to  this 
passage.  "Thursday,  5th  June.  Trout  Lake  is  a  considerable  large 
and  navigable  River  in  all  seasons.  It  does  not  appear  to  have  been 
noticed  by  Sir  A.  M.  K.  as  he  used  to  indulge  himself  sometimes  with 
a  little  sleep.  Likely  he  did  not  see  it  and  1  can  account  for  many 
other  omissions  in  no  other  manner  than  his  being  asleep  at  the  time 
he  pretends  to  have  been  very  exact;  but  was  I  qualified  to  make 
obser\'ations  and  inclined  to  find  fault  with  him,  I  could  prove  that 
he  seldom  or  ever  paid  the  attention  he  pretends  to  have  done,  and 
that  many  of  his  remarks  were  not  made  by  himself  but  communi- 
cated by  his  men.  It  is  certainly  difficult  to  stem  the  current  of  the 
east  branch  during  the  high  water,  but  not  near  so  much  as  he  makes 
it.  There  is  scarcelv  a  point  in  it  but  a  canoe  with  six  paddles  would 
go  up  with  ease." 


The  next  excerpt  treats  of  the  arrival  at  Trout  Lake,  the  neigh- 
bouring Carp  Lake  and  the  fish  obtainable  there. 

"Saturday,  7th  June.  We  arrived  at  the  house  between  10  and  1 1 
A.  M.  Mr.  McDougall  has  been  anxiously  waiting  for  us  these 
several  days.  He  informed  us  that  several  of  the  Carriers  are  daily 
expected  here,  and  that  all  the  Indians  of  this  place  are  at  the  Carp 
Lake  where  there  are  immense  numbers  of  fish  of  the  Carp  Kind 
and  that  there  is  no  fish  caught  in  this  Lake  excepting  a  very  few 
carp  on  account  of  the  water  being  too  high,  notwithstanding  which 
we  are  determined  to  feed  all  hands  with  fish  while  we  remain  here 
making  canoes,  and  for  that  purpose  began  immediately  to  prepare 
nets.  Mr.  Stuart  being  the  most  expert  hand  mending,  he  mended 
them  all  and  Saucier  and  the  others  set  six  and  the  Indians  set  some 

Not  the  least  of  Simon  Fraser's  difficulties  arose  from  a  recur- 
rence of  sickness  among  his  men. 

"We  are  really  ill  of,"  he  writes  on  Saturday,  28th  June,  "in 
regard  to  the  men,  Saucier  is  sick,  Gagnon  complains  of  his  side, 
Blais  of  having  a  pain  and  a  lump  upon  his  stomach,  Gervais  is  not 
well  and  La  Londe  is  not  able  to  s'teer  his  canoe." 

La  Malice  also  seems  to  have  caused  a  great  deal  of  trouble — wit- 
ness the  entry  of  July  the  first: 

"La  Malice  walked  over  both  the  Portages  though  we  ofifered  to 
carry  him;  he  is  very  troublesome  in  his  sickness  and  called  Mr. 
Stuart  to  his  tent  to  'tell  him  his  mind.'  He  enquired  if  either  of  us 
owed  him  a  grudge.  This  he  asked,  he  said,  because  while  at  the 
Portage  we  disregarded  him  and  now  considered  him  no  more  than 
a  dog.  Mr.  Stuart  told  him  that  if  either  of  us  owed  him  a  grudge,, 
or  had  anything  to  say  to  him  that  we  would  not  wait  his  being  in 
his  present  weak  condition  to  do  it  and  that  if  he  had  been  in  better 
health,  since  he  began  the  subject  himself,  he  would  perhaps  tell  him' 
his  opinion  of  himself  and  sickness.  This  assertion  of  his  (La  Mal- 
ice), is  entirely  false;  we  have  been  attentive  and  kind  to  him.  Noth- 
ing is  more  certain  than  that  from  the  time  he  declared  himself  sick 
he  was  as  well  attended  and  taken  care  of  as  if  it  was  one  of  ourselves- 
and,  notwithstanding  his  complaints,  he  used  more  than  one-half  of 
the  medicine  (God  knows  good  or  bad),  we  possessed  and  destroyed 
more  flour  and  sugar  than  both  of  us  did  since  we  left  the  Portage;; 


and  yet  he  threatents  to  remain  upon  the  beach  and  not  embark,  alleg- 
ing that  by  agreement  he  is  not  obliged  to  voyage  in  this  part  of  the 
country  and  (is)  not  well  taken  care  of.  When  we  prepared  to  leave 
him  here  with  a  bag  of  Pemmican,  exclusive  of  the  other  provisions 
we  had,  and  a  man  to  conduct  him  down  to  Trout  Lake,  not  one  of 
them  would  consent  to  remain  unless  absolutely  compelled  and,  as  he 
is  brutish  and  appears  as  if  inclined  to  commit  suicide,  we  did  not 
think  it  right  to  compel  a  man  to  remain  with  him,  so  we  will  be 
obliged  to  take  him  with  us,  and  attend  to  him  the  best  way  we  can; 
and  yet,  I  must  own  that  he  is  not  very  deserving,  but  it  is  a  dutv 
incumbent  on  one  Christian  to  help  another  in  distress  and  we  will 
continue  to  take  care  of  him,  more  for  our  own  sake  than  his." 

At  this  point  an  event  of  some  importance  is  noted  which,  from 
the  nature  of  the  same,  deserves  a  special  prominence;  and  indeed 
one  can  well  understand  and  almost  re-echo  the  note  of  satisfaction 
which  rings  in  the  record  when,  on  July  the  loth,  Simon  Fraser 
beheld  the  Large  River — the  Fraser.  "At  lo  A.  M.,"  writes  the 
explorer,  "we  arrived  at  the  Large  River  opposite  an  Island  without 
encountering  any  other  difficulty  than  cutting  several  trees  that  laid 
across  the  channel  and  we  were  most  happy  at  having  exempted 
the  long  and  bad  carrying  place  and  seeing  ourselves  once  more  on 
the  banks  of  a  fine  and  navigable  river."  Fraser  goes  on  to  observe: 
"This  is  a  fine  river  and  not  unlike  the  Athabaska,  but  not  so  large  and 
the  Indian  we  left  at  the  height  or  point  of  land  informed  us  that 
the  upper  end  of  it  was  the  most  ordinary  residence  of  the  Saya-T/iaii- 
Dennehs  (Baucanne  Indians),  which  corroborates  what  the  Carriers 
tell  us  of  these  Indians  as  to  their  being  enemies  when  they  go  a  hunt- 
ing in  that  quarter.  I  have  seen  one  that  was  wounded  last  summer; 
and  his  brother  was  killed,  which  is  likely  the  same  that  was  men- 
tioned by  one  of  the  Baucanne  Indians  last  winter  at  Dunvegan  as 
having  been  killed  there.  All  accounts  agree  that  large  animals  as 
well  as  those  of  the  fur  kind  are  in  great  abundance,  particularly 
towards  the  upper  end.  Could  this  be  relied  upon  and  that  the 
Baucanne  Indians  are  really  thereabouts,  an  establishment  in  my 
opinion  w^ould  be  well  placed  at  the  point  of  land.  There  is  excel- 
lent fish  in  the  three  Lakes  and  in  two  of  them  Salmon  abounds  in  its 
season  and  by  all  accounts  animals  are  not  far  off;  indeed  of  this  we 
had  ocular  demonstration  ourselves,  so  that  people  would  live  well 


there — a  no  immaterial  object  in  this  quarter — and  the  Baucanne 
Indians  would  be  much  more  easily  got  to  come  there  than  to  any  part 
ot  the  Peace  River,  on  account  of  their  being  afraid  of  the  Beaver 
Indians,  and  the  Big  Men,  though  they  seldom  meet  they  live  in 

.  The  preceding  entry  is  followed  by  a  graphic  description  of  the 
Bad  River  together  with  a  just  tribute  to  Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie, 
who  gave  it  its  appropriate  name: 

"Sir  A.  M.  K.  seems  to  have  examined  the  bad  river  with  atten- 
tion, for,  as  far  as  he  went  down  the  Peace  he  describes  it  with  great 
exactness.  It  is  certainly  well  named  and  a  most  dangerous  place, 
being  much  intersected  with  large  stones,  fallen  trees  and  embaras, 
and  the  current  run  with  such  velocity  that  a  canoe,  though  light, 
cannot  be  stopped  with  poles  and  it  is  with  great  difficulty  it  can  be 
done  by  laying  hold  of  the  branches,  and  even  that  way  we  often 
drifted  loo  and  sometimes  200  yards  from  the  time  we  began  to  hold 
the  branches  before  we  could  bring  to.  Near  its  confluence  it  divides 
into  three  branches,  all  of  which  I  suppose  to  be  navigable,  but  the 
one  to  the  right  is  the  best  route.  We  were  anxiously  looking  for 
cedar  and  maple  along  the  banks  of  the  river  but  to  no  effect,  I 
walked  myself  except  in  very  few  places  from  one  end  to  the  other, 
but  saw  no  appearance  of  either,  neither  did  any  of  the  others." 

The  succeeding  extract  refers  to  the  South  Fork,  missed  or  at  any 
rate  not  recorded  by  Mackenzie,  at  whom  Simon  Fraser  has  here 
another  tilt  on  account  of  the  importance  of  the  omission: 

"Friday,  July  i  ith.  Fine  weather.  We  set  ofif  early  and  came  on 
with  great  expedition  and  before  we  entered  the  great  Fork  passed 
several  Rapids,  but  the  current  is  slack  in  many  places.  The  banks 
of  the  River  are  well  stocked  with  wood  and  we  saw  Hemlock  and 
cedar  of  a  large  size  with  some  small  plum.  At  sunset  we  got  to  the 
River.  This  River  is  not  mentioned  bv  Sir  A.  .M.  K.  which  surprises 
me  not  a  little,  it  being  full  in  siglit  and  a  line  large  River  and,  in  the 
state  we  saw  it,  equal  in  size  to  that  of  the  Athabaska  River  and  forms 
what  Mr.  McDougall  in  his  journal  of  last  spring  calls  the  great  Fork. 
It  flows  in  from  the  right,  and  as  far  as  I  can  judge  about  10  or  12 
miles  above  the  first  Portage.  Sir  A.  M.  K.  appears  to  have  been 
very  inaccurate  in  the  courses  or  there  must  have  been  a  vast  differ- 
ence in  the  compass  he  made  use  of  and  the  one  we  had  which  is  old 


and  perhaps  not  very  good.  As  for  the  distances  I  say  nothing;  it 
is  difficult  to  determine  by  sight;  but  the  course  of  the  River  is 
different  and  ought  to  agree,  at  least  the  distance  that  leads  to  the 
Carriers  Lake  where  Mr.  McDougall  was  last  spring.  And  then 
formed  our  encampment  on  a  sandy  bank  with  no  wood  which,  with 
the  rain  that  fell  towards  the  night  and  continued  until  the  morning, 
rendered  our  situation  not  very  pleasant.  Mr.  Stuart  took  the  course 
of  the  River  and  made  minute  remarks  on  everything." 

Simon  Fraser  thus  refers  to  the  Nechaco  River: 

"Sunday,  July  13th.  The  banks  of  the  river  are  beautiful,  in 
many  places  resembling  that  of  the  River  Lac  La  Pluie,  and  the 
Liard  is  the  most  stupendous  I  ever  saw,  as  for  any  other  wood  or 
anything  else  remarkable  we  saw  none  that  is  not  clearly  mentioned." 

By  no  means  the  least  dangerous  of  the  perils  of  the  way  arose 
in  the  shape  of  grizzly  bears,  which  abounded  in  the  Nechaco  coun- 
try, then,  as  now,  as  the  following  episode  shows : 

"Sunday,  July  13th.  About  4  P.  M.,  as  we  were  advancing  inside 
of  an  Island  we  saw  two  cubs  in  a  tree  and  immediately  pulled  ashore 
to  fire  upon  them,  but,  before  we  could  get  to  them  they  were  off  and 
La  Garde  and  (Barbueller)  who  were  the  first  on  shore  pursued 
them.  The  latter  soon  met  the  mother  and  fired  upon  her  to  no 
effect  and  she  pursued  him  in  her  turn,  but  he.  being  near  the  water, 
jumped  in  and  she  after  him,  but  soon  left  him  and,  as  La  Garde  was 
advancing,  another  bear  suddenly  rushed  upon  him  and  tore  him  in 
a  shocking  manner.  Had  not  the  dogs  passed  there  at  that  critical 
moment  he  would  have  been  torn  to  pieces.  The  Bear  left  him  to 
defend  herself  against  the  dogs  and,  during  the  interval,  he  ran  off 
and  jumped  into  the  River  and  from  thence  it  was  with  much  dif- 
ficulty he  could  walk  to  the  canoe.  He  received  nine  or  ten  bad 
wounds  and  we  encamped  early  to  dress  them.  We  are  really  unfor- 
tunate in  regard  to  the  men.  One  of  the  canoes  will  now  be  obliged 
to  continue  with  three  and  no  great  help  can  be  expected." 

This,  the  last  of  these  extracts,  again  illustrates  in  a  forcible  man- 
ner the  many  difficulties  of  that  eventful  journey: 

"Friday,  July  i8th.  Early  in  the  morning  the  men  cut  a  road 
of  300  yards  in  length,  wide  enough  to  carry  the  canoes  which  they 
brought,  with  all  the  baggage  to  the  upper  end.  From  thence  they 
set  off  with  only  one  canoe,  on  account  of  the  current  being  strong 


and  several  Rapids  to  pass  which  they  could  not  ascend  with  less  than 
six  men,  and  continued  for  a  mile  and  a  half.  In  the  above  distance 
they  carried  the  canoe  and  loading,  over  a  point  of  about  twice  the 
length  of  the  canoe,  and,  from  the  upper  end  of  the  Rapid,  returned 
for  the  other  canoe,  which  was  effected  at  i  P.  M.  From  thence  we 
continued  up  a  strong  and  constant  current  where  we  made  a  small  ' 
Portage  and  soon  got  to  a  high  point  of  perpendicular  rock,  where 
we  had  much  trouble  to  pass  and  fix  lines.  Here  all  hands,  except- 
ing one  man  who  was  taking  care  of  the  other,  were  put  to  one  canoe, 
but,  as  they  were  hauling  it  up  the  last  cascade,  it  wheeled  round 
and  the  foreman  was  obliged  to  cut  the  line  and  they  went  down  to 
the  foot  of  the  Rapid  before  they  could  bring  to.  As  this  happened 
through  the  awkwardness  of  the  people,  I  made  them  unload  every- 
thing and  bring  it  up  a  very  steep  hill  rather  than  risk  anything  in 
the  canoe.  We  made  a  pretty  long  portage  rather  than  risk  anything 
in  the  canoe.  We  encamped  upon  a  beautiful  hill,  the  canoes  were 
left  on  the  water  all  tied,  it  being  too  late  to  take  them  up  the  rapid 
and  impossible  to  take  them  up  the  hill  on  account  of  the  steepness. 
The  Indians  are  ahead,  but  about  sun-set  the  Montaigne  de  Butte 
came  before  us  to  get  provisions  for  himself  and  family.  Instead  of 
feeding  us,  we  have  been  obliged  to  provide  for  them;  and  as  yet  they 
have  been  of  no  manner  of  use  to  us  and  I  am  almost  sorry  for  taking 

The  expedition  then  ascended  Stuart  River  and  on  July 
26th  entered  the  Lake  Na'kal  of  the  Indians,  named  Stuart  Lake 
by  Fraser,  in  honour  of  his  friend  and  companion  John  Stuart. 
Unfortunately  the  explorer's  journal  ends  abruptly  on  July  18,  1806, 
and  it  is  therefore  impossible  to  give  from  Fraser's  own  words  an 
account  of  the  passage  up  Stuart  River.  Although  the  explorer's 
report  is  wanting,  the  painstaking  and  Reverend  A.  G.  Morice,  O.  M. 
I.,  in  his  valuable  work  entitled  "History  of  the  Northwest  Interior 
of  British  Columbia,"  has  been  able  to  supply  the  missing  links  in 
the  chain  of  history.  He  has  gathered  together  the  traditions  of  the 
natives  and  examined  with  care  the  journals  and  letters  of  old  Fort 
St.  James,  and,  as  a  result  of  his  labours,  he  presents  a  fascinating 
account  of  the  reception  accorded  the  discoverers  by  Chief  Kwah's 
people  who  dwelt  at  the  outlet  of  the  lake.  James  McDougall,  in 
the  course  of  the  excursion  previously  referred  to,  had  visited  this 


sheet  of  water,  and,  having  met  the  Indians  of  the  neighbourhood, 
he  presented  to  one  of  them  a  piece  of  red  cloth  as  a  token  of 
friendship.  When  the  natives  beheld  the  canoes  of  the  traders  sweep 
down  the  lake,  this  man,  donning  his  red  cloth  badge,  fearlessly 
paddled  forth  to  meet  them,  much  to  the  dismay  of  his  fellow  tribes- 
men, who  feared  for  his  safety.  Toeyen,  for  such  was  his  name, 
was  welcomed  by  Fraser,  and  given  a  seat  in  one  of  his  canoes.  As 
the  explorers  approached  the  shore,  the  Indian  spoke  to  his  people, 
assuring  them  that  the  strangers  had  come  as  friends.  The  Carriers, 
who  had  in  the  meantime,  prepared  to  repel  by  force  this  invasion  of 
their  lands,  being  thus  reassured,  permitted  the  white  men  to  dis- 
embark. Fraser,  long  accustomed  to  dealing  with  savages,  adroitly 
won  their  confidence  by  the  distribution  of  largesse,  in  the  form  of 
tobacco  and  soap.  The  former  was  tasted  and  thrown  away,  but  the 
women  promptly  proceeded  to  eat  the  latter,  mistaking  it  for  fat. 
when  to  their  astonishment  the  substance  turned  to  foam  in  their 
mouths.  Still  more  were  the  natives  surprised  when  the  voyageurs 
lit  their  pipes,  and  puffed  smoke  from  their  mouths.  The  strangers 
were  taken  for  spirits  in  whom  their  crematory  fires  vet  burned,  not 
an  altogether  unnatural  conclusion,  seeing  that  these  people  burned 
their  dead.  These  strange  happenings.  Father  Morice  records,  filled 
the  Indians  with  awe,  but  when  the  use  of  the  different  articles  had 
been  explained  to  them,  their  fear  gave  way  to  admiration.  It  will 
be  seen  presently  how  they  impressed  Simon  Fraser. 

Without  delay,  the  explorer  seized  upon  the  most  favourable 
location  for  a  post,  and  began  to  erect  buildings  a  short  distance 
above  the  outlet  of  the  lake.  Thus  was  founded  the  celebrated  Fort 
St.  James,  a  place  which  has  figured  prominently  in  the  history  of 
New  Caledonia,  as  Fraser  christened  the  new  domain  of  the  North 
\^'est  Company. 

Unfortunately,  at  this  time  the  expedition  began  to  run  short  of 
supplies;  the  salmon  were  late  in  reaching  their  spawning  grounds 
and  the  situation  soon  became  serious.  In  order  to  lessen  the  dif- 
ficulty of  feeding  his  men,  Fraser  divided  his  forces  and  despatched 
John  Stuart  to  examine  the  country  to  the  southwest.  Before  separ- 
rating,  the  explorers  agreed  to  meet  later  in  the  season  at  the  con- 
fluence of  the  Stuart  and  Nechaco  Rivers.  Meanwhile,  Fraser 
superintended  the  construction  of  the  new  post  and  explored  the 


adjacent  region,  gaining  a  knowledge  of  the  country,  not  only  by 
personal  surveys,  but  also  by  gathering  from  the  Indians  all  informa- 
tion that  might  assist  him  in  his  work. 

In  due  course  Fraser  and  Stuart  met  at  the  appointed  rendezvous, 
the  latter  bringing  with  him  such  a  glowing  account  of  the  region 
he  had  just  left,  that  his  superior  decided  to  return  thither  forth- 
with to  establish  yet  another  trading  post.  Notwithstanding  the  lack 
of  supplies  and  the  inadequacy  of  their  force,  the  heroic  men  pro- 
ceeded to  the  sheet  of  water  named  Fraser  Lake  by  John  Stuart, 
after  the  leader  of  the  expedition.  Soon  the  salmon  appeared,  and 
the  rivers  and  lakes  yielded  such  an  abundant  harvest  that  the  men 
were  soon  surfeited  with  a  diet  of  fish. 

Upon  the  conclusion  of  these  operations,  Blais,  a  voyageur,  was 
placed  in  charge  of  the  fort  on  Fraser  Lake,  and  Fraser  and  his 
lieutenant  retired  for  the  winter  to  Nakazleh,  the  earliest  name  of 
Fort  St.  James. 

In  this  wise  were  the  first  permanent  posts  established  in  the 
interior,  long  before  the  country  in  which  they  are  situated  received 
its  present  name,  and  long  before  any  permanent  settlements  were 
formed  on  the  coast.  The  Spanish  settlement  at  Nootka,  formed 
in  1789,  was  abandoned  five  years  later.  Nor  were  the  efforts  of 
the  maritime  furtraders,  John  Meares  and  John  Kendrick,  to  estab- 
lish posts  more  successful.  Because  the  settlements  on  the  coast, 
although  not  founded  until  a  later  period,  grew  more  vigorously,  and 
soon  became  important,  their  rise  and  progress  have  overshadowed 
these  humble  beginnings  in  the  central  interior  in  the  early  years  of 
the  nineteenth  century.  Yet  it  remains  that  the  first  British  posts 
were  established,  not  on  the  coast  but  in  the  interior,  a  fact  that 
has  been  often  overlooked.  Humble  as  these  beginnings  were,  they 
mark  an  epoch  in  our  history,  and  Simon  Fraser  is  justly  entitled 
to  the  honour  of  being  reckoned  as  one  of  the  founders  of  British 

Fraser,  it  appears,  did  not  stay  at  one  place  in  his  first  winter 
in  the  new  country.  I'rom  the  few  surviving  letters  and  diaries  of 
that  interesting  period  it  is  known  that  sometimes  he  was  at  "Nakas- 
leh"  (Fort  St.  James),  and  sometimes  at  "Natleh"  (Fort  Fraser). 
Not  many  of  the  explorer's  letters  have  escaped  the  ravages  of  time, 
but  the  historian   is  fortunate  in  having  access  to  a  few  blurred 


pages  written  by  him  in  New  Caledonia.  Perhaps  these  letters  are 
not  written  in  polished  English ;  perhaps  they  exhibit  more  concern 
with  the  pett>'  details  of  the  furtrade  than  with  stirring  incidents; 
yet  they  are  of  surpassing  interest,  because  they  throw  light  upon 
that  early  formative  period,  and  give  reality  to  scenes  and  opera- 
tions that  have  long  been  forgotten.  In  these  letters,  the  explorer 
tells,  in  his  own  matter  of  fact  words,  the  story  of  his  hardships  and 
privations,  and  explains  the  difficulties  of  his  administration.  He 
himself  was  not  deceived  as  to  their  literary  merit.  Referring  to 
one  of  them  he  says — "It  is  exceeding  ill  wrote,  worse  worded  and 
not  well  spelt." 

Just  before  Christmas,  Fraser  was  at  "Nakasleh,"  and  on  the  21st 
of  the  month,  he  writes  to  James  McDougall,  then  in  charge  of  the 
post  at  McLeod  Lake: 

"21st  Dec.  1806. 
"Mr.  James  McDougall, 

"I  received  yours  of  30  of  October  on  the  12th  inst.  at  Natleh, 
and  I  arrived  here  on  the  i8th.  Had  it  not  been  for  the  disappoint- 
ment of  the  conveyance  of  letters,  on  account  of  the  quantity  of  snow 
in  the  mountains,  you  would  have  received  the  news  from  us  long 
before  now.  I  certainly  was  highly  disappointed  and  vexed  that 
no  canoes  arrived  to  this  quarter  which  is  a  considerable  loss  to  the 
Company,  and  a  severe  blow  to  our  discoveries.  This  is  the  first 
opportunity  I  had  of  sending  you  a  man  and  powder  but  with  this 
you  will  receive  St.  Pierre  and  3  quarts  of  good  powder.  I  think 
that  it  would  be  a  very  good  plan  to  go  inland  to  make  the  Indians 
work  but  then  you  cannot  leave  the  house  without  some  person 
to  take  care  of  it  on  account  of  the  property.  In  regard  to  the 
Indians,  settle  with  them  according  to  your  own  best  judgment.  I 
have  not  the  least  doubt  but  what  you  will  exert  yourself  to  make 
them  work  Beaver  until  the  beginning  of  February  and  after  that  to 
employ  the  best  hunters  to  make  provision.  I  am  thoroughly  con- 
vinced that  your  returns  will  fall  far  short  of  your  expectations  but 
that  is  a  misfortune  that  cannot  be  helped,  but  then  I  intreat  you  to 
be  particular  in  making  the  Indians  dress  their  furs  properly.  The 
Little  Head's  br.  in  Law  arrived  at  Natleh  on  the  12th  conducted 


by  two  men.  1  don't  know  as  yet  whether  he  will  be  of  any  service  or 
not — the  Montaigne  de  Butte  behaves  well  with  Mr.  Stuart.  Two 
men  that  Mr.  S.  sent  to  Forests  for  fish  brought  the  news  that  three 
of  the  Big  men  were  arrived  there.  Send  back  Gervis  immediately 
with  the  news  as  we  intend  to  send  the  news  after  his  return  to  the 
Peace  River.  Should  an  opportunity  ofifer  forward  the  General 
letter  to  the  P.  River.  Kunchuyse  promises  to  be  back  in  6  nights. 
Should  you  see  any  Possibility  of  getting  any  goods  brought  up  in 
course  of  the  Summer,  please  write  accordingly.  Having  nothing 
more  to  say  upon  this  subject  I  must  here  wish  you  Joy,  as  I  under- 
stand that  you  have  entered  upon  the  matrimonial  state.  I  am  Glad 
to  hear  that  the  children  are  well  taken  care  of.  I  assure  you  that 
I  am  nowise  concerned  about  them  as  they  are  under  your  Protec- 
tion, the  only  thing  I  fear  is  that  you  are  starving,  but  I  hope  it  is 
the  contrary  with  you,  so  I  conclude  my  dr  James, 

"yours  sincerely 

"Simon  Fraser." 

Again,  on  the  last  day  of  January,  1807,  he  wrote  to  James  Mc- 
Dougall,  this  time  from  Natleh,  or  Fraser  Lake: 

"Natleh,  31st  Jany  1807. 
"My  dear  McDougall 

"Yours  I  received  this  afternoon  per  the  two  men  from  your 
quarter,  whom  to  be  sure  took  much  time,  this  being  their  fifth  day 
from  Nakazleh,  indeed  they  were  not  in  a  hurry  as  they  had  plenty 
provisions,  one  half  of  22  salmon  ought  to  have  been  enough  for 
them  as  the  voyage  can  easily  be  performed  in  2  days,  3  at  most, 
allowing  the  road  to  be  bad.  Regarding  what  you  say  about  the 
woman  that  Bugne  has,  I  am  noways  apprehensive  that  the  com- 
pany can  put  their  resolve  in  execution — But  then  it  was  wrong  of 
you  to  have  given  him  leave  to  take  her,  you  knew  full  well  that  she 
was  taken  from  St.  Pierre  last  spring,  merely  to  give  up  the  custom 
of  taking  any  more  women  from  the  Indians,  and  that  he  was  prom- 
ised that  no  other  F'renchman  would  get  her.  Your  commerce  be- 
tween Blais  and  Lamalice  last  spring  ought  to  have  been  a  sufficient 
W'arning,  not  to  meddle  yourself  any  more  about  women. — Your 
conduct  at  T.  Lake  is  highly  blamable  and  your  character  as  a  Trader 


much  blasted  which  you  can  only  recover,  but  by  your  future  assi- 
duity and  attention  to  your  business,  which  I  would  be  most  happy 
at  &  will  befriend  you  as  much  as  lays  in  my  Power.  I  am  pleased 
you  own  your  fault  and  seem  sorry  for  it,  &  promise  to  do  better  for 
the  future.  The  Company  probably  will  blame  us  both  as  they  will 
be  highly  disappointed  in  their  expectations  regarding  this  Country. 
We  are  highly  unfortunate — everything  has  been  against  us  since  Last 
Spring,  &  nothing  was  of  so  much  detriment  as  the  Canoes  arriving 
so  very  late  in  the  fall.  We  had  such  a  severe  spell  of  bad  weather, 
that  is  to  say  it  was  so  very  cold  for  several  days  after  my  arrival  here 
that  I  could  not  make  the  Indians  of  your  place  set  oflf  to  return  until 
the  25th,  when  the  first  band  went  away,  &  Q'ua  and  Le  Gourmand, 
having  been  upon  a  visit  to  Steela  the  latter  did  not  come  back  until 
of  late,  but  both  of  them  set  ofT  yesterday  straight  across  by  the  winter 
Road,  they  said  they  would  have  gone  round  by  the  way  of  Scyciip 
but  that  they  were  too  ill  Clothed  &  would  starve  before  they  could 
get  to  where  there  are  beaver,  but  they  promised  me  that  they  will 
work  well  until  the  spring,  but  I  put  no  faith  in  what  they  say. 

"Those  big  men  must  be  severely  treated  to  break  them  of  the 
Custom  of  coming  to  the  Carriers.  The  Poudres  band  has  behaved 
and  worked  pretty  well.  1  heard  that  there  were  two  Indians  who 
never  saw  the  Fort  in  that  band;  Mr.  Stuart  apprehends  that  Barbue 
and  manv  others  \\\\\  not  go  to  the  Fort  until  en  canoe — Maitres  will 
answer  as  well  as  codline  for  a  cordeau  and  Mr.  S.  can  send  you 
plenty  hooks.  I  received  the  Play  Book  you  sent,  which  will  answer 
very  well  with  the  Plaything  I  brought  before.  The  Tea  Kettle  I 
could  have  done  without,  ^'our  Journal  of  last  winter  at  the  Portage 
&  Trout  Lake,  as  well  as  the  one  of  last  summer  &  this  winter,  you 
must  get  them  brought  over  to  copy,  which  must  be  sent  to  the  Peace 
River  by  ne.xt  opportunity,  which  1  e.xpect  will  be  in  the  later  end  of 
March,  as  the  Company  require  it.  Saucier  and  Gagnon  are  to  be 
the  bearers  of  this,  who  start  tomorrow  morning  to  take  each  a  Load 
of  fish  to  Mr.  Stuarts  and  in  the  mean  time  to  get  their  equipments 
&  they  will  bring  back  a  load  when  they  return.  Those  that  came 
from  there  say  that  they  lost  their  way  in  several  places.  If  true  those 
that  go  there  must  have  a  guide,  and  I  have  no  doubt  but  what  you 
can  secure  one  of  those  Beggars  that  go  over  from  here  for  that 
purpose.     E.xpedition  is  required;  the  Season  is  pretty  far  advanced 



and  much  to  be  done  yet,  I  send  my  Journal  over  to  Mr.  S.  to  copy 
and  it  must  be  done  in  order  to  send  it  down  by  the  next  opportunity 
that  it  may  go  out  to  headquarters  in  the  light  Canoe.  Besides  I  have 
another  Plan  in  view,  that  is  if  it  could  be  done  with  ease  to  get  all 
the  goods  that  will  be  required  for  going  down  the  Columbia  in  the 
Spring  as  well  as  whatever  will  be  necessary  for  your  Post  for  the 
Summer  Trade,  brought  over  from  T.  Lake  upon  the  snow,  as  1  fear 
much  time  would  be  lost  by  going  there  by  the  New  Road  in  the 
Spring.  I  don't  know  which  would  be  most  advantageous,  to  get 
the  pieces  brought  over  in  the  winter,  or  go  for  them  in  the  Spring 
en  canoe;  at  all  events  bark  must  be  had,  to  make  a  Canoe  at  Nakaz- 
leh,  as  I  e.xpect  Mr.  McLeod  will  send  us  a  canoe  maker,  &  I  have 
been  informed  that  there  is  plenty  good  Bark  very  near  your  place — 
which  is  absolutely  necessary  you  should  ascertain  as  soon  as  pos- 
sible. Here  we  know  where  there  is  wherewith  to  make  a  Canoe. 
I  cannot  think  of  anything  else  So  I  conclude  My  dear  McDougall 
as  usual 

"Your  well  wisher 

"SiMox  Fraser." 

This  letter  is  of  peculiar  interest  because  it  vividly  portrays  the 
troubles  that  beset  the  founders  of  New  Caledonia,  and  it  is  important 
because  it  shows  that  Fraser's  work  in  tiic  northern  interior,  was 
only  preparatory  for  that  which  was  to  follow.  His  great  under- 
taking was  yet  before  him.  The  North  West  Company's  occupation 
of  New  Caledonia  had  apparently  a  twofold  object,  the  annexation 
of  the  territory  abounding  in  beaver  discovered  by  Mackenzie  and 
the  establishment  of  a  base  from  which  niiglit  be  conducted  tlic 
ambitious  enterprise  of  comiucring  the  coast  region.  The  paragraph 
referring  to  the  writer's  determination  to  trace  tiie  course  of  the 
(jreat  River,  from  its  head  waters  to  its  mouth,  clearly  shows  tliat 
Frascr  knew  very  well  what  was  expected  of  him  in  that  particular. 
That  the  furtrader  had  not  confined  his  attention  alone  to  the  river 
routes  of  the  country,  is  shown  by  his  reference  to  tiie  "new  road," 
which  was  the  trail,  just  cut,  between  Nakasleh  and  Fort  McLeod, 
which,  from  this  record,  appears  to  have  been  the  first  highway,  if 
such  it  may  be  termed,  constructed  in  the  territory  west  of  the  Rocky 


While  Fraser  was  busily  engaged  in  superintending  the  opera- 
tions in  the  new  district,  John  Stuart  was  not  idle.  He  also  moved 
from  post  to  post.  In  February,  1807,  ^^  ^^^  ^^  McLeod  or  Trout 
Lake — the  "T.  Lake"  of  Fraser.  While  there  he  received  a  letter 
from  his  superior,  which  throws  a  new  light  upon  the  character  of 
Simon  Fraser,  who  held  Stuart  in  high  esteem,  and  therefore  writes 
more  openly  to  him  than  to  James  McDougall.  Fraser  was  then 
at  "Natleh,"  and,  under  the  date  of  February  ist,  he  addressed  the 
following  letter  to  his  friend  and  lieutenant: 

"Natleh  ist  February  1807. 
"My  d'"  friend 

"Yours  of  the  12th  Jany  I  received  only  yesterday,  so  you  see 
they  took  much  more  time  than  they  ought,  so  I  am  sure  you  will 
be  getting  out  of  Patience  before  you  receive  this.  It  is  with  the 
greatest  pleasure  that  I  always  receive  letters  from  you,  they  contain 
much  useful  information  &  instruction,  tho'  the  subject  of  your  last 
cannot  be  agreeable  it  is  satisfactory,  knowing  how  matters  stood 
at  T.  Lake  upon  your  arrival  there — which  you  have  written  in  a 
copious  &  lively  manner;  notwithstanding  yoyr  mind  being  obscured 
in  thought  you  wrote  with  ease. 

"I  sympathize  with  you  my  friend  under  your  Present  affliction 
for  the  loss  of  Mr.  R.  Stuart,  your  Late  Dearest  of  Brothers,  and 
hope  he  has  only  left  this  world  of  Trouble  and  vexation  to  go  to 
ever-lasting  bliss.  We  cannot  shun  that  Power  which  Rules  our 
fate;  therefore  it  should  be  our  only  consolation  to  be  Prepared  for 
our  last  and  awful  end. 

"It  is  a  true  observation  of  yours  that  when  the  head  fails  the 
Body  soon  goes  to  wreck,  which  has  been  the  decay  of  Trout  Lake 
since  last  November.  That  business  is  so  intricate  that  a  person  cannot 
easily  see  into  it.  However,  it  seems  that  Lamalice  had  an  ascen- 
dancy over  Mr.  McD.,  but  then  I  am  sure  that  he  can  change  both  his 
(  )  and  his  manners  to  the  will  of  his  master  &  his  interest. 

It  seems  then  that  the  debt  he  was  said  to  have  made  at  the  Portage 
was  only  put  in  effect  at  Trout  Lake,  while  Mr.  McD.  was  at  the 

"I  immagine  when  you  take  account  of  the  Dry  goods  that  you 
will  find  thev  suffered  less  or  more  like  the  stores.     Had  Lamalice 


behaved  honestly  he  would  have  come  to  Nakazleh.  It  is  not  a 
good  excuse  that  he  was  not  ordered.  It  was  our  last  directions  to 
him  when  he  started  from  Nakazleh  in  the  summer  that  he  was  to 
come  and  winter  there  and  if  any  person  along  the  Road  wished 
to  detain  him  not  to  mind  them  unless  absolutely  kept.  Mr.  McD. 
owns  that  he  gave  Bugne  leave  to  take  the  woman  that  St.  Pierre  had 
last  winter.  This  was  like  the  rest  of  his  conduct — he  knew  full  well 
that  she  was  taken  from  St.  Pierre  merely  to  give  up  the  Custom  of 
taking  any  more  women  from  the  Indians  and  that  St.  Pierre  was 
promised  that  no  other  Frenchman  would  get  her.  I  received  my 
order  (the  coat  and  Trowsers  are  amazing  large),  my  Equip',  also, 
which  is  extremely  bad  and  the  Trousers  so  small  that  I  cannot  put 
them  on  much  less  make  use  of  them,  and  tho'  you  were  pleased  to 
send  me  your  Capot  instead  of  mine  it  is  also  too  small  for  me.  I 
own  the  Eqt.  to  be  (Chilipi),  but  then  I  should  rather  think  that 
it  is  the  fault  of  those  who  put  it  up  at  L.  L.  Pluie  than  the  Com- 
panys.  Upon  the  note  you  mention  a  pair  of  Corduroy  Trousers 
which  I  did  not  receive  &  received  a  handk^  there  is  no  mention 
of — I  also  received  the  small  axes  and  lo  pounds  sugar  &  some  tea, 
with  which  I  will  content  myself  at  present.  A  good  net  cannot  be 
had  for  a  small  ax.  I  traded  one  of  small  meshes  which  appears 
very  good  for  an  half  ax.  I  only  got  50  salmon  for  a  small  axe  today. 
1  sent  ofif  Saucier  and  Gagnon  with  200  salmon  for  you  &  60  as  pro- 
visions for  themselves,  but  I  am  afraid  they  will  take  much  time  to 
go  there  on  account  of  the  road  being  stoped  or  filled  up  with  snow 
between  Nakazleh  and  your  place.  All  the  salmon  that  is  here  has 
been  picked  and  the  best  sent  over  before,  therefore,  I  beg  of  you 
not  to  complain  of  what  I  send  now  and  indeed  to  be  free  with  you 
dont  expect  you  will  have  occasion  to  eat  sal",  yourself.  As  you  are 
a  good  Economist  you  will  provide  something  better  and  hope  your 
returns  will  prove  better  than  you  expect.  The  powder  and  Truisies 
Lands  will  give  you  better  than  five  packs,  as  I  am  informed  they 

have  made  a  pretty  good  hunt I  expect  to  have 

the  pleasure  of  seeing  you  before  the  embarkation,  as  you  expressed 
a  wish  of  coming  to  take  the  longitude  of  this  Place,  &  if  you  can 
settle  your  Post  in  such  a  manner  that  it  will  not  sufifer  by  your 
absence  I  will  expect  you  by  the  return  of  the  Express  from  the  Peace 
River — 


"I  now  inform  you  of  a  plan  I  have  in  view  for  the  summer  expe- 
dition which  is  thus,  to  get  all  the  goods  required  at  least  what  he  had 
brought  over  to  Nakazleh  as  soon  as  possible  upon  the  Ice  by  going 
round  by  the  New  Road,  when  the  navigation  is  open  would  cause  the 
loss  of  much  time  and  I  expect  that  the  ice  will  break  up  in  this 
river  nearly  a  month  before  the  Lakes  of  the  Mountains.  Probably 
a  canoe  would  take  more  time  than  we  think  by  that  Route  and 
Guides  would  be  wanted  as  well  as  a  canoe  at  Trout  Lake,  but  by 
starting  from  Nak.  the  canoes  that  will  be  made  in  this  western 
Division  will  both  answer  for  going  down;  but  then  perhaps  the  one 
canoe  that  would  go  up  would  bring  everything  from  Trout  Lake 
to  the  confluence  of  this  River,  where  the  other  canoe  and  any  Pro- 
visions that  may  be  Procured  in  this  quarter  will  be  left  in  cache. 
I  leave  it  to  your  Judgment  to  determine  which  Plan  would  be  the 
best.  I  think  to  get  the  goods  over  immediately  would  be  the  most 
expeditious.  lo  pieces  goods  exclusive  of  Provisions  will  answer 
for  going  below,  viz.  3  Bales,  '  _>  Bale  Kettles,  '  2  Case  Guns,  i  cas- 
sette, I  case  Iron,  y^  Roll  Tobacco,  i  Keg  Powder,  1  Bag  Ball,  i 
Bag  Shot,  and  1/2  Keg  high  wines,  and  I  doubt  if  this  same  can  be 
spared.  Trout  Lake  must  not  be  left  destitute  for  the  summer  and 
something  will  be  required  for  Nakazleh.  I  have  not  the  list  of  what 
came  there  in  the  fall,  nor  do  I  know  what  is  there  now,  but  then  if  you 
think  this  a  good  Plan  you  know  (what)  would  be  necessary,  and  that 
can  be  spared  for  the  3  bales  and  the  cassette.  The  sooner  it  would  be 
sent  over  the  better  before  any  other  work  is  begun.  Besides  the 
above  articles  a  supply  will  be  wanted  for  Nakazleh,  this  can  be  done 
and  to  that  end  every  man  that  can  be  mustered  ought  to  be  sent  over 
with  a  load — all  could  be  brought  over  in  one  Trip  each  man.  Can 
Provisions  be  had  and  what  quantity?  Perhaps  it  would  be  more 
easy  and  sure  getting  Provisions  by  going  there  in  a  Canoe,  suppos- 
ing a  few  furs  would  be  had  at  the  Lower  houses  they  cannot  go  out 
this  year.  I  -will  send  over  the  few  furs  that  are  here  immediately 
with  fish  to  Nak.  to  be  in  readiness  to  send  over  all  the  furs  that  are 
there  and  to  bring  across  any  goods  that  we  may  want.  With  this  I 
send  you  over  my  Journal  since  the  qth  April  except  from  the  time 
we  arrived  at  Nakazleh  until  the  20th  Aug*  which  I  expect  you 
will  be  able  to  bring  up.  It  is  exceeding  ill  wrote  worse  worded  & 
not  well  spelt.    But  then  I  know  you  can  make  a  good  Journal  of  it. 


if  you  expunge  some  parts  and  add  to  others,  and  make  it  out  in 
the  manner  you  think  most  Proper,  it  will  make  away  with  a  good 
deal  of  your  time  and  Paper  but  I  think  it  necessary  to  send  it  to 
headquarters  in  the  light  Canoe,  as  it  will  give  our  Gentlemen  a  good 
deal  of  information  about  this  Country.  You  will  also  receive  the 
two  letters  you  sent  me  by  Blais,  I  would  keep  them  to  copy  but  I 
heard  you  say  that  you  could  make  up  a  good  Journal  from  your 
letters,  but  then  you  will  send  them  back  in  the  spring.  Your  last 
letter  I  will  copy  and  send  it  over  another  time.  With  this  I  enclose 
what  I  have  of  the  men's  acct*. 

"Please  send  over  Mr.  McD.  Journals  of  last  winter  at  the  Por- 
tage and  Trout  Lake  &'',  of  last  summer,  this  winter,  to  be  copied  by 
himself.  There  are  some  of  them  I  did  not  see  as  yet  &  it  would  be 
necessary  for  you  to  look  over  them  and  point  out  anything  that  is  not 
necessary  to  be  in  them.  All  this  will  be  giving  you  much  trouble 
and  work,  but  then  it  will  be  of  service  to  the  Company  &  some  credit 
to  ourselves,  to  have  the  Journals  in  better  order;  was  I  possessed  of 
your  abilities  I  would  willingly  undertake  doing  all  myself.  I  will 
send  over  more  of  my  Journal  by  next  conveyance.  I  have  suc- 
ceeded in  sending  back  Qua,  le  Gourmand  &  several  others  of  the 
Indians  of  Nakazleh,  and  many  of  the  stragglers  that  were  here 
dispersed  as  they  have  ate  up  all  the  salmon  those  of  this  place  had. 
They  now  go  to  trade  to  Steela,  so  I  apprehend  not  being  able  to 
procure  any  for  the  summer — had  I  men  here  I  would  go  and  trade 
there  also.  As  I  cannot  think  of  any  thing  more  at  Present  I  con- 
clude my  Dear  Stuart 

"Your  friend  &  serv* 
"Simon  Fraser." 

"Mr.  John  Stuart 

"P.  S.  I  will  be  in  want  of  a  few  small  kettles  at  this  place, 
therefore,  you  can  send  one  half  bale  which  will  serve  for  both  these 
places — &  some  Common  Cloth  &    (  )    if  any  will   remain 

after  the  men  have  all  their  Equipments.  We  have  found  Birch 
here  but  tho'  the  bark  is  not  very  good  we  can  get  enough  to  make 
a  canoe. 

"I  will  send  you  herbs  by  next  opportunity.     1  have  none  now 


Dried  but  then  you  ought  to  have  sent  me  a  token  of  Tobacco  first, 
as  for  a  calumet,  you  have  Power  to  make  one. 

"Yours  sincerely  S.  F. 

"I  will  depend  upon  you  for  cords  to  tye  our  Salmon,  Leather 
Babiche  &^ 

"if  you  send  people  with  pieces  they  will  return  from  Nakazleh. 
M""  McD  hunters  do  nothing — he  had  no  person  to  send  to  the 
Powders  band  this  Trip.  I  send  over  loo  Beaver.  It  is  bad  weather 
continually  snowing  which  will  cause  the  people  to  take  much  time 
to  perform  any  voyage.  I  am  Positively  informed  that  the  Nas- 
cudenees  have  horses  that  they  got  from  the  East.  Many  of  the 
Natlians  are  in  mourning  for  the  Deaths  of  some  of  their  Eminant 
men.  We  have  had  some  broils  with  them — nothing  spoils  Indians 
so  much  as  the  men  having  intercourse  with  them. 

"Yours  etc.  S.  F." 

On  February  loth,  1807,  Fraser  indites  another  letter  to  McDou- 
gall,  which  is  noteworthy  for  its  emphatic  expression  of  the  writer's 
opinion  of  the  Indians  of  the  country.     It  reads: 

"Natleh  loth  Feby.  1807 
"D'  McDougall 

"I  received  your  favour  yesterday  forenoon,  and  indeed  it  was 
high  time  for  the  bearers  to  return  their  9th  day;  the  voyage  might 
easily  be  performed  in  5  days.  Waka  and  Minard  started  in  the 
morning  at  about  a  couple  hours  sun,  with  a  few  furs  and  the  other 
two  men  will  be  ofif  in  the  afternoon  with  each  a  load  of  salmon  for 
the  purpose  of  conducting  the  furs  to  Trout  Lake  as  soon  as  pos- 
sible, but  the  people  that  I  send  over  at  present  must  all  return  that 
I  may  go  &  trade  salmon  at  Steela,  after  which  they  will  be  employed 
to  convey  the  furs  to  Trout  Lake.  Should  any  person  arrive  from  M. 
Stu  "  before  that  time,  you  can  send  them  back  with  a  Pack  each. 
Particular  care  must  be  taken  that  the  furs  be  well  envelloped  & 
that  the  rats  or  mice  do  not  cut  them  in  the  store.  It  is  very  Proper 
that  the  men  should  be  prevented  from  Trading  with  the  Indians, 
and  dont  allow  any  of  them  to  trade  without  permission. 

"The  Gourmand  that  says  that  I  give  the  goods  for  so  very  little 
in  return,  ask  him  what  he  got  from  me.    The  day  before  he  went 


away  he  asked  me  for  something  of  every  article  I  was  possessed  of, 
but  I  refused  him  everything — they  are  sweet  mouths,  thieves,  lyers 
and  in  short  have  every  bad  quality;  therefore  you  have  no  occasion 
to  believe  them.  It  matters  very  little  wheather  a  person  is  hated 
or  beloved  by  them,  as  they  are  a  lazy  set  of  vagabonds.  Qua  owes 
8  skins  from  this  place,  Le  Traiteur  3  do,  &  his  Big  brother  6  d" 
&  La  Vielle  Naschoes  mother  53/. 

"Almost  all  the  Nathans  are  gone  over  to  Steela  to  a  Grand 
feast  to  Burn  and  (  )  a  couple  of  Chiefs  that  died  of  late. 
When  they  return  from  there  they  will  go  to  the  Mountains  to  kill 

"I  will  expect  the  men  back  on  the  i6th  early 

"I  am  D-"  McDougall 

"Yours  Sincerely 

"Simon  Fraser. 
"Mr.  J.  McDougall." 

No  apology  is  offered  for  presenting  these  letters,  because  they 
recall  more  vividly  than  could  be  done  in  any  other  way,  the  events 
and  happenings  that  go  to  make  up  the  earliest  history  of  the  north- 
ern interior.  The  writers  were  far  too  much  engrossed  in  the  work 
of  the  hour,  to  find  time  to  give  polished  descriptions  of  events  and 
things  which  to  them  were  of  no  great  significance.  Indeed  the  fur- 
traders,  with  few  exceptions,  failed  to  realize  that  they  were  making 
history.  Perhaps  it  is  this  very  unconsciousness,  that  invests  their 
diaries  and  letters  with  such  deep  interest.  They  did  not  write  for 
publication,  nor  for  any  other  purpose  than  to  give  a  bare  account 
of  their  transactions  and  exploits. 

It  is  evident  that  Fraser  intended  to  follow  the  course  of  the 
Great  River  in  1807,  but  he  could  not  carry  out  the  plans  outlined 
in  his  letters  to  James  McDougall  and  John  Stuart,  as  the  expected 
supplies  and  reinforcements  did  not  arrive  in  time.  The  remoteness 
of  the  new  posts,  and  the  tedious  and  difficult  route  by  which  they 
were  approached,  made  it  no  easy  task  to  keep  them  adequately 
supplied  with  merchandise.  All  the  articles  required  for  the  trade 
of  the  district  had  to  be  brought  across  the  continent  from  Fort 
William  on  Lake  Superior  and  nearly  a  year  would  be  consumed  in 
carrying  the  articles  to  their  destination.     It  was  quite  impossible 


to  establish  new  posts,  or  to  explore  new  territories,  without  an 
additional  force  of  men.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  position  of  Simon 
Fraser  at  this  time  was  one  fraught  with  embarrassment.  But  in 
the  face  of  obstacles  which  would  have  disheartened  a  man  of  less 
determination,  he  doggedly  persevered.  In  1807  he  journeyed  to 
and  fro  in  New  Caledonia,  gathering  furs,  and  establishing  friendly 
relations  with  the  "sweetmouths,  thieves,  and  lyers,"  as  he  described 
the  surrounding  Indians. 

In  the  autumn  of  1807,  however,  Jules  Maurice  Quesnel  and 
Hugh  Faries  arrived  with  two  canoes,  laden  with  supplies.  They 
also  carried  a  despatch  from  headquarters,  instructing  Fraser  with- 
out loss  of  time  to  explore  the  "Great  River."  With  the  aid  of  these 
reinforcements,  the  furtrader  planted  another  post,  which  he  called 
Fort  George,  at  the  confluence  of  the  Nechaco  and  Fraser  Rivers. 
Apparently  this  fort  was  built  as  a  base  for  the  expedition  which 
was  to  descend  the  river  in  the  following  spring,  as  well  as  to  serve 
the  surrounding  district. 

It  is  a  fair  deduction  that  the  North  West  Company  wished  to 
forestall  the  Americans  on  the  lower  Columbia.  Lewis  and  Clark 
had  completed  their  memorable  journey  to  the  shores  of  the  Pacific, 
and,  after  many  perilous  adventures,  had  returned  to  St.  Louis  in 
safety.  It  was  this  news,  no  doubt,  that  induced  the  North  West 
Company  to  hurry  instructions  across  the  continent  to  the  partner  in 
New  Caledonia  to  act  without  delay.  It  should  be  borne  in  mind 
that  the  "Great  River,"  discovered  by  Mackenzie,  was  generally 

The  news  brought  by  Faries  and  Quesnel  gave  a  fillip  to  Fraser's 
to  determine  that  it  was  not  the  Columbia,  but  another  river,  which 
debouched  many  miles  to  the  northward  of  Cape  Disappointment. 

The  news  brought  by  Fairies  and  Quesnel  gave  a  fillip  to  Fraser's 
preparations.  In  May,  1808,  he  gathered  his  men  at  Fort  George, 
whence  the  little  force  was  to  proceed  into  the  unknown  territory 
to  the  south  westward.  Fraser  of  course  followed  the  practice  of 
the  furtrader  and  carefully  recorded  from  day  to  day  the  experi- 
ences of  that  memorable  excursion  and  fortunately  his  diary — or 
rather  a  report  based  upon  his  diary — has  been  preserved.  Several 
years  ago  it  was  published  by  the  late  Senator  L.  R.  Masson  in  his 
valuable  work  "Les  Bourgeois  de  la  Compagnie  du  Nord-Ouest." 
Senator  Masson's  document  is  evidently  a  report  prepared  after  the 


return  of  the  explorer — in  other  words  it  is  a  "fair  copy"  made  from 
the  original  notes  in  more  than  one  handwriting.  In  the  Academy 
of  Pacific  Coast  History  of  the  University  of  California  there  is  a  tran- 
script of  part  of  Eraser's  Journal  (covering  the  period  May  30th  to 
June  loth,  1808),  which  in  style  corresponds  to  the  letters  already 
quoted.  This  is  seemingly  a  true  copy  of  the  original.  In  substance 
these  two  journals  are  the  same,  although  in  the  fragment  preserved 
in  the  Academy  of  Pacific  Coast  History  certain  particulars  as  to 
the  courses  of  the  river  are  given  which  do  not  appear  in  the  Masson 
version.  There  is  no  reason  to  question  the  authenticity  of  the  Mas- 
son  document  which  is  one  of  the  cherished  possessions  of  the  Toronto 
Public  Library.  For  the  purposes  of  this  narrative  the  Journal 
as  printed  by  Masson  has  been  followed,  because  it  covers  the  whole 
journey,  and  because,  as  already  stated,  there  is  no  reason  to  doubt 
its  validity. 

Before  proceeding  with  the  narrative,  it  is  necessary  to  allude 
to  a  curious  thing  in  connection  with  the  Journal.  It  commences  on 
Saturday,  May  22nd,  but  the  next  entry  bears  the  date  of  Sunday, 
May  29th.  As  this  is  not  a  misprint,  it  is  hard  to  account  for  the 
days  between  the  22nd  and  the  29th  of  the  month.  It  is  certain 
that  from  the  time  of  the  departure  of  the  expedition  from  Fort 
George  until  May  29th  no  more  than  a  day's  journey  was  accom- 
plished. Witbiut  further  evidence,  which  is  scarcely  likely  to  be 
forthcoming,  it  would  be  useless  to  attempt  to  solve  the  problem. 

"Having  made  every  necessary  preparation  for  a  long  voyage,  we 
embarked  at  5  o'clock  A.  M.  in  four  canoes  at  Fraser's  River.  Our 
crew  consisted  of  nineteen  men,  two  Indians,  Mr.  Stuart,  Mr.  Ques- 
nel,  and  myself,  in  all  twenty-four." 

This  is  the  simple  and  unafifected  introduction  to  the  narrative 
of  one  of  the  most  remarkable  of  all  those  heroic  enterprises  which 
are  the  warp  and  woof  of  the  early  history  of  the  western  frontier 
of  the  North  American  Continent.  Thus  was  launched  the  expedi- 
tion which  was  destined  to  accomplish  for  the  Fraser  River  what 
Lewis  and  Clark  had  accomplished  for  the  Columbia  but  three  years 

Sweeping  down  with  the  current,  the  canoes  passed  safely  through 
Fort  George  Canyon  and  reached  Cottonwood  Canyon,  where  the 
river  contracts  into  a  narrow  channel  between  high  rocky  banks. 


Here,  one  of  the  canoes  was  nearly  wrecked.  On  the  second  day 
the  explorer  reached  a  beautiful  country,  of  which  he  observed: — 
"This  scenery  has  a  very  fine  aspect,  consisting  of  extensive  plains, 
and,  behind  these,  hills  rising  over  hills."  And  again : — "this  country 
interspersed  with  meadows,  hills,  dales,  and  high  rocks,  has  on  the 
whole  a  romantic  and  pleasant  appearance."  It  is  not  an  easy  matter 
to  fix  upon  Eraser's  position  from  day  to  day,  but  it  is  likely  that 
these  remarks  refer  to  the  countrv  between  Quesnel  and  Alexandria. 
However,  the  little  vessels,  running  with  the  stream,  soon  reached  a 
region  of  wild  and  forbidding  grandeur. 

The  land  was  populous,  for  manv  Indian  dwellings  and  villages 
were  noticed.  On  Monday,  the  30th  of  May,  Fraser  landed 
before  a  large  house,  probably  in  the  vicinity  of  Linden  Creek,  and 
here  he  conversed  with  the  natives,  from  whpm  he  learned  that  it 
would  be  dangerous  to  proceed — "before  his  intention  was  publicly 
known  throughout  the  country."  He  therefore  decided  to  remain 
at  the  house  for  the  rest  of  the  day.  Mounted  couriers  were  des- 
patched to  the  tribe  below  with  the  news  that  white  strangers  were 
about  to  pass  through  their  territories.  In  the  course  of  the  day 
Eraser's  journal  records,  "Tahowtans"  and  "Atnaughs"  rode  into 
the  village.  "They  seemed  peacefully  inclined,  and  happy  to  see 
us" — "and  observed  that  having  heard  from  their  neighbours  that 
white  people  were  to  visit  their  country,  had  remained  to  meet  us." 
When  asked  to  describe  the  river  below,  they  said  it  was  but  a  suc- 
cession of  falls  and  cascades,  and  urged  Fraser  to  discontinue  his 
voyage  and  to  remain  with  them.  Firearms  were  unknown  among 
these  people,  and  when  the  voyageurs  discharged  their  muskets  they 
"dropped  ofif  their  legs  with  fright.""  Upon  recovering  from  their 
surprise  they  were  invited  to  examine  the  effect  of  the  shot,  and, 
as  Fraser  says,  they  "appeared  quite  uneasv  on  seeing  the  marks  on 
the  trees,  and  observed  that  the  Indians  in  that  quarter  were  good 
and  peaceable,  and  would  never  make  use  of  their  arms  to  annoy 
white  people.  Yet,  they  remarked,  we  ought  to  take  great  care  on 
approaching  villages,  for  should  we  surprise  the  natives,  they  might 
take  us  as  enemies,  and,  through  fear,  attack  us." 

This  sage  advice  was  sedulouslv  followed.  Fraser  never  failed 
to  induce  the  chiefs  of  the  successive  tribes  he  visited  to  introduce 
him  to  their  immediate  neighbours  beyond. 


Day  by  day,  as  he  proceeded,  dangers  and  difficulties  increased. 
It  was  frequently  necessary  to  seek  information  from  the  Indians 
respecting  the  river  and  now  and  again  a  native  artist  would  be 
asked  to  sketch  its  course  thence  onward  to  the  sea.  But  invariably 
Fraser  received  the  same  reply,  that  the  river  below  was  a  series  of 
unnavigable  canyons,  flanked  on  either  side  by  impassable  mountains 
of  sheer  rock.  At  various  points  during  their  passage,  bales  of  dried 
salmon  were  cached,  in  case  they  should  be  needed  on  the  homeward 
way.  During  the  greater  part  of  the  voyage  the  men  lived  upon  the 
land,  that  is  to  say,  they  were  dependent  upon  the  Indians  for  their 
supply  of  provisions. 

Salmon,  dried  and  fresh,  berries,  nuts,  wild  onions,  and  other 
viands  were  sometimes  abundant;  but  often  the  men  were  in  sore 
straits  for  food.  The  voyageurs,  like  the  Carthagenians  of  old,  were 
fond  of  dog's  flesh,  and,  whenever  they  lodged  at  a  village  or  encamp- 
ment of  friendly  natives,  they  feasted  upon  this  delicacy. 

Now  floating  peacefully  with  the  tide,  now  dashing  wildly  down 
terrific  rapids,  the  canoes  went  swiftly  forward.  Quite  frequently, 
however,  the  baggage  and  even  the  canoes  themselves  had  to  be  car- 
ried over  long  and  difficult  portages,  where  deep  ravines,  steep  hills, 
and  yawning  chasms  appeared  to  ofTer  insuperable  obstacles.  The 
men  suffered  greatly;  and  often  their  path  was  rough  with  jagged 
stones,  so  that  their  moccasins  were  frequently  and  quickly  in  dis- 
repair as,  footsore  and  weary,  they  carried  their  heavy  packs  from 
point  to  point  where  they  might  again  launch  their  frail  vessels  upon 
the  turbulent  stream,  then  in  high  flood.  It  was  not  long  before  the 
accounts  of  the  natives  were  verified;  soon  the  expedition  reached 
that  part  of  the  river  which  is  but  a  succession  of  canyons  and  rapids. 

At  one  place  for  two  miles,  the  river  foamed  and  boiled  between 
''high  banks  which  contracted  the  channel  in  many  places  to  forty 
or  fifty  yards."  The  journal  continues: — "This  immense  body  of 
water  passing  through  this  narrow  space  in  a  turbulent  manner, 
formed  numerous  gulfs  and  cascades,  and  making  a  tremendous 
noise,  iiad  an  awful  and  forbidding  appearance.  Nevertheless,  since 
'it  was  considered  as  next  to  impossible  to  carry  the  canoes  across  the 
land,  on  account  of  the  height  and  steepness  of  the  hills,  it  was 
resolved  to  venture  down  the  dangerous  pass."  Five  of  the  most 
experienced  men  were  ordered  into  a  canoe,  and  in  a  moment  it  was 


under  way.  "After  passing  the  first  cascade,"  Fraser  continues,  "she 
lost  her  course  and  was  drawn  into  the  eddy  where  she  was  swirled 
about  for  a  considerable  time,  seemingly  in  suspense  whether  to  sink 
or  swim,  the  men  having  no  power  over  her.  However,  she  took 
a  favourable  turn  and  by  degrees  was  led  from  this  dangerous  vortex 
again  into  the  stream.  In  this  manner  she  continued,  flying  from  one 
cascade  to  another  until  the  last  but  one,  where,  in  spite  of  every 
effort,  the  whirlpools  forced  her  against  a  low,  projecting  rock. 
Upon  this,  the  men  debarked,  saving  their  own  lives,  and  contrived  to 
save  the  property,  but  the  greatest  difficulty  was  still  ahead,  and 
to  continue  by  water  would  be  the  way  to  certain  destruction." 

The  journal  then  proceeds: — "During  this  distressing  scene  we 
were  on  shore  looking  on  and  anxiously  concerned.  Seeing  our  poor 
fellows  once  more  safe  afforded  us  much  satisfaction  but  their  situa- 
tion rendered  our  approach  perilous  and  difficult.  The  bank  was 
extremely  high  and  steep  and  we  had  to  plunge  our  daggers  at 
intervals  into  the  ground,  to  check  our  speed  as  otherwise  we  were 
disposed  to  slide  into  the  river.  We  cut  steps  into  the  declivity, 
fastened  a  line  into  the  front  of  the  canoe  with  which  one  of  the  men 
ascended,  in  order  to  haul  it  up,  while  the  others  supported  it  upon 
their  arms.  In  this  manner  our  situation  was  most  precarious,  our 
lives  hung  as  it  were  upon  a  thread,  as  the  failure  of  the  line  or  a 
false  step  of  one  of  the  men,  might  have  hurled  the  whole  of  us 
into  eternity.  However,  we  fortunately  cleared  the  bank  before 

Again  the  party  proceeded,  and  arrived  at  the  Great  Canyon,  near 
the  point  where  Kelly  Creek  enters  the  river.  At  this  place  the  men 
donned  their  best  clothes,  and  the  two  Indians  being  clothed  only 
in  skins,  were  each  given  a  blanket  and  cape,  so  that  the  party  might 
appear  to  good  advantage  to  the  new  tribe  that  dwelt  on  the  banks 
of  the  river  below.  The  rapid  was  soon  reached,  and  Eraser's  descrip- 
tion of  it  runs  thus: — "Here,  the  channel  contracts  to  about  40  yards, 
and  is  enclosed  bv  two  precipices  of  immense  height,  which,  bending 
towards  each  other,  make  it  narrower  above  than  below.  The  water 
which  rolls  down  this  extraordinary  passage  in  tumultuous  waves' 
and  with  great  velocity,  had  a  frightful  appearance.  However,  it 
being  absolutely  impossible  to  carry  the  canoes  by  land,  all  hands 
without  hesitation  embarked  as  it  were  a  'corps  perdu'  upon  the 


mercy  of  this  awful  tide.  Once  launched,  the  die  was  cast,  our 
great  difficulty  consisted  in  keeping  the  canoes  within  the  medium, 
or,  fil  d'eau,  that  is,  clear  of  the  precipice  on  the  one  side,  and  from 
the  gulfs  formed  by  the  waves  on  the  other.  Thus  skimming  along 
as  fast  as  lightning,  the  crews  cool  and  determined,  following  each 
other  in  awful  silence,  and  when  we  arrived  at  the  end,  we  stood 
gazing  at  each  other  in  silent  congratulations  at  our  narrow  escape 
from  total  destruction." 

Having  arrived  at  the  Indian  camp  below  the  canyon,  the  river 
was  reported  by  the  natives  "as  a  dreadful  chain  of  apparently  insur- 
mountable difficulties"  and  it  was  asserted  that  it  would  be  impossible 
for  strangers  to  proceed  either  by  land  or  water,  owing  to  the  rapids 
and  the  mountainous  nature  of  the  country  through  which  the  river 
forced  its  way.  Nevertheless  the  undaunted  leader  having  prevailed 
upon  an  Indian  to  accompany  him  as  pilot  continued  his  journey. 

Of  the  country  through  which  he  passed  that  9th  of  June,  1808, 
Fraser  remarks: — "I  scarcely  saw  anything  so  dreary  and  dangerous 
in  any  country,  and  at  present,  while  writing  this,  whatever  way  I 
turn  my  eyes,  mountains  upon  mountains,  whose  summits  are  cov- 
ered with  eternal  snows  close  the  gloomy  scene." 

On  the  following  day  it  was  borne  in  upon  Fraser  that  it  was 
impossible  to  proceed  by  water,  and  it  was  therefore  decided  to  con- 
tinue the  journey  by  land  along  the  banks  of  the  river.  Accordingly, 
near  Pavilion  Creek,  a  scaflfolding  was  erected  upon  which  the  canoes 
were  placed,  covered  by  branches  of  trees  to  protect  them  from  the 
sun.  Such  articles  as  could  not  be  carried  were  buried  in  the  ground, 
some  openly  before  the  Indians,  but  others  in  a  secret  cache,  as  it 
was  deemed  inadvisable  to  place  implicit  trust  in  their  expressions 
of  good  will.  The  vessels  used  up  to  this  point  were  the  ordinary 
birch  bark  canoes  of  the  Canadian  furtrader.  The  canoes  of  the 
Indians  of  the  Fraser  are  of  a  totally  different  type,  being  dug-outs, 
of  the  form  so  familiar  even  in  the  present  day.  On  the  upper  reaches 
of  the  river,  the  natives  make  their  canoes  from  the  trunk  of  the 
Cottonwood  tree,  but  on  the  lower  reaches,  as  on  the  coast,  the  canqes 
are  made  from  cedar.  The  cottonwood  canoes  are  not  nearly  so 
symmetrical  or  so  well  finished  as  those  made  from  cedar.  Cotton- 
wood warps  rather  easily,  whereas  cedar  will  retain  its  shape 


The  explorer  had  now  entered  the  territory  of  the  Lillooets,  or  as 
he  termed  them,  the  "Askettih  nation."  These  natives  treated  the 
strangers  with  great  kindness  and  regaled  them  with  "roots,  wild 
onion  syrup,  dried  salmon  and  berries."  Here  Fraser  learned  that 
the  sea  was  distant  about  ''ten  nights"  from  the  village.  A  garrulous 
old  man  claimed  that  he  had  been  to  the  "Stinking  Lake"  where  he 
had  seen  great  caves,  and  he  gave  a  pantomimic  exhibition  of  the 
behaviour  of  the  white  men  he  had  met  at  the  coast,  strutting  up  and 
down  he  exclaimed  "this  is  the  way  they  go." 

An  idea  of  the  care  with  which  it  was  necessary  to  proceed  may 
be  gathered  from  an  entry  in  the  journal  under  the  date  of  14th  June. 
"Last  night  (it  is  recorded),  some  of  the  natives,  having  remarked 
that  we  were  not  white  men  but  enemies  in  disguise,  gave  offence  to 
our  old  chief  and  a  serious  altercation  took  place  in  consequence. 
They  stated  that  his  tribe  were  their  natural  enemies  and  that  some 
of  his  young  men  had  made  war  upon  them  in  the  Spring.  This  he 
readily  admitted,  but  observed  that  these  were  foolish  young  men 
who  escaped  without  his  knowledge.  Seeing  that  the  debate  was 
growing  warm,  we  interposed  and  the  argument  ended  amicably. 
Then  the  Old  Chief  sent  couriers  ahead  to  inform  the  Natives  that 
we  were  not  enemies;  not  to  be  alarmed  at  our  appearance  and  to 
meet  us  without  arms,  at  the  same  time  he  strongly  recommended  us 
to  be  on  our  guard." 

On  the  14th,  Fraser  reached  "the  Forks,"  in  all  probability  the 
junction  of  the  Bridge  and  Fraser  rivers.  As  it  was  deemed  important 
that  the  Lillooets  should  be  duly  impressed  with  the  mission,  the 
men  shaved  and  dressed  in  their  best  apparel  before  resuming  the 
march.  Soon  the  ambassadors  of  the  "Askettihs"  appeared,  "dressed 
in  their  coats  of  mail,"  as  the  explorer  termed  the  leather  jackets  of 
these  people.  With  all  due  ceremony  a  palaver  was  held  with  the 
ambassadors,  who  "looked  manly  and  had  really  the  appearance 
of  warriors."  The  chiefs  spoke  with  a  certain  rude  grace  and  fluency, 
and  their  oratorv  had  a  great  effect  upon  the  native  retinue.  The 
explorer  seized  the  occasion  to  speak  of  the  advantages  that  would 
accrue  to  the  Indians  if  friendly  relations  should  be  established  with 
the  white  men.  It  will  be  recalled  that  he  had  been  instructed  to 
prepare  the  way  for  the  establishment  of  trading  stations  near  the 
mouth  of  the  river. 


For  several  days  three  friendly  Indians  had  accompanied  the 
party,  an  old  chief,  a  guide  and  an  interpreter.  These  had  volunteered 
to  introduce  the  explorer  to  the  different  tribes  whose  territories  lay 
in  his  path.  So  far  they  had  faithfully  kept  their  word,  and  had 
materially  assisted  in  preparing  the  way  for  a  friendly  reception  from 
chiefs  who,  otherwise,  might  have  been  hostile  to  the  strangers.  How- 
ever, on  the  morning  following  the  palaver  with  the  Lillooet  chiefs, 
Fraser,  to  his  mortification,  found  that  these  men  had  disappeared 
in  the  night.  Evidently,  like  all  the  natives  of  the  upper  reaches, 
they  feared  the  tribes  that  dwelt  near  the  mouth  of  the  river,  especially 
the  fierce  warriors  of  the  Cowichan  nation,  whose  forays  kept  the 
clans  of  the  lower  river  in  a  perpetual  state  of  alarm.  This  untoward 
incident  gave  the  explorer  pause  for  anxious  thought.  "Here  we 
are,"  he  states  in  his  journal  after  relating  the  disappearance  of  the 
'guides,  "in  a  strange  country  surrounded  with  danger  and  number- 
less tribes  of  savages  who  have  never  seen  the  face  of  a  white  man; 
however,  we  shall  endeavor  to  make  the  best  of  it." 

Pursuing  his  journey  the  furtrader  and  his  little  following 
reached  Lillooet  on  the  15th  of  June.  "The  village  (says  Fraser) 
is  a  fortification  of  100  feet  by  24  surrounded  by  (a)  pallisade 
eighteen  feet  high,  slanting  inward  and  lined  with  a  shorter  row 
which  supports  a  shade,  covering,  with  bark,  constituting  the  dwell- 
ings." At  the  "Metropolis"  of  the  Askettih  tribe,  Fraser,  after  much 
haggling  and  bargaining  obtained  a  canoe  for  a  file  and  a  kettle; 
but  the  natives  would  not  part  with  their  provisions.  By  dint  of 
much  persuasion,  however,  thirty  dried  salmon  were  procured.  The 
wares  of  the  trader  had  already  found  their  way  to  this  country.  A 
new  copper  tea  kettle  and  a  large  gun,  of  Russian  make,  were  seen 
in  the  village. 

In  passing  from  Soda  Creek  to  Lillooet  no  less  than  fifteen  days 
were  consumed.  Soda  Creek  was  left  behind  on  May  31st  and 
Lillooet  reached  on  June  15th;  but  Fraser  was  often  obliged  to  stop 
by  the  way  to  placate  the  Indians,  and  in  these  friendly  overtures 
much  time  was  lost. 

Four  days  after  leaving  Lillooet,  the  expedition  passed  into  the 
territory  of  the  Thompson  Indians,  whom  Fraser  calls  "Haca- 
maugh."  The  men  were  handsomely  dressed  in  leather,  and  they 
possessed  many  horses,  with  which  they  helped  him  at  a  carrying 


place  near  by.  The  explorer  was  greatly  impressed  with  this  fine 
tribe.  He  thus  alludes  to  one  of  its  encampments,  not  far  from 
Lytton:  ''The  Indians  of  this  village  were  about  four  hundred  souls, 
and  some  of  them  appeared  very  old.  They  live  among  mountains, 
and  enjoy  pure  air,  are  cleanlily  inclined,  and  make  use  of  wholesome 
food.  We  observed  several  European  articles  among  them,  viz:  a 
copper  tea  kettle,  a  brass  camp  kettle,  a  strip  from  a  common  blanket 
and  clothing  such  as  the  Cree  women  wear.  These  things  we  sup- 
posed, were  brought  from  our  settlements  beyond  the  mountains; 
indeed  the  Indians  make  us  understand  as  much."  ^ 

Of  all  the  villages  visited  on  this  occasion,  scarcely  any  were 
without  articles  of  European  manufacture,  which  shows  that  inter- 
tribal commerce  flourished  among  the  primitive  peoples  of  the  trans- 
montane  region.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  Simon  Eraser  was  at  this  time 
on  the  most  frequented  of  the  few  great  trade  routes,  or  lines  of  inter- 
course, which,  in  pre-historic  times,  connected  the  littoral  with  the 
interior.  Other  lines  of  communication  followed, — the  Nass  River, 
the  Skeena  River,  and  the  Bella  Coola  River  (the  route  followed 
by  Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie  in  1793).  Erom  time  immemorial  the 
native  merchants  of  the  coast  and  of  the  interior  had  met  on  the 
banks  of  these  rivers  to  exchange  the  commodities  of  their  respective 
territories.  An  interchange  of  culture  probably  followed  those 
avenues  of  communication  and  trade;  but  the  anthropologist  or  the 
ethnologist  is  more  concerned  with  that  phase  of  the  subject  than 
the  historian — therefore  it  will  not  be  discussed  here.  Of  all  these 
lines  of  social  and  commercial  intercourse,  north  of  the  Columbia 
River,  the  one  following  the  Eraser  was  perhaps  the  most  important. 
The  wares  of  the  maritime  furtrader  were  passed  from  tribe  to 
tribe  along  this  ancient  highway  of  the  native  races,  and  so  reached 
the  remotest  parts  of  the  northern  interior. 

On  the  same  day  (June  19th)  Eraser  visited  the  great  village  at 
the  confluence  of  the  Eraser  and  Thompson  Rivers.  "Camchin,"  as 
the  natives  called  this  place,  is  beautifully  situated  on  a  high  terrace 
on  the  left  bank  of  the  Eraser,  just  below  the  point  where  the 
clear  waters  of  the  Thompson  join  the  larger  stream.  It  was  at  that 
time  an  important  centre  of  the  Thompson  Indians — perhaps  the  most 
cultured  and  enlightened  of  all  the  aborigines  of  British  Columbia. 

1  Simon  Fraser's  Journal,  Masson,  p.   i8i. 


The  town  of  Lytton,  founded  in  the  year  of  the  great  gold  rush, 
now  stands  on,  or  near,  the  site  of  the  populous  Indian  village  first 
described  by  Simon  Fraser  more  than  a  century  ago.  He  was  given 
an  impressive  welcome,  which  is  thus  recorded  in  his  Journal: 

"After  having  remained  some  time  in  the  village,  the  principal 
chief  invited  us  over  the  river  and  received  us  at  the  water  side, 
where,  assisted  by  several  others,  he  took  me  by  the  arm  and  con- 
ducted me  in  a  moment  up  the  hill  to  the  camp.  Here  his  people 
were  sitting  in  rows  to  the  number  of  twelve  hundred,  and  I  had 
to  shake  hands  with  the  whole.  Then  the  Great  Chief  made  a  long 
harangue,  in  the  course  of  which  he  pointed  to  the  Sun,  to  the  four 
quarters  of  the  World  and  then  to  us;  he  afterwards  introduced  his 
father  who  was  old  and  blind  and  carried  by  another  man,  who  also 
made  a  harangue  of  some  length.  The  old  blind  man  was  placed 
near  us,  and  he  often  stretched  out  both  his  hands,  through  curiosity, 
in  order  to  feel  ours. 

"The  Hacamaugh  nation  are  dififerent,  both  in  language  and 
manners,  from  their  neighbours,  the  Askettihs;  they  have  many  chiefs 
and  great  men  and  appear  to  be  good  orators,  their  manner  of 
delivery  is  extremely  handsome.  We  had  every  reason  to  be  thankful 
for  our  reception  at  this  place.  The  Indians  showed  us  every  possible 
attention,  and  supplied  our  wants  as  much  as  they  could.  We  had 
salmon,  berries,  oil  and  roots  in  abundance,  and  our  men  had  six 
dogs.-  Although  our  tent  was  pitched  near  the  camp,  we  enjoyed 
entire  peace  and  security  during  our  stay.  The  Indians  sang  and 
danced  all  night;  some  of  our  men  who  went  to  see  them  were  much 

The  explorer,  however,  was  evidently  not  convinced  that  his  new 
allies  were  altogether  sincere  in  their  expressions  of  friendship. 
"However  kind  savages  may  appear,"  he  observed,  "I  know  that  it 
is  not  in  their  nature  to  be  sincere  in  their  professions  to  strangers; 
the  respect  and  attention  we  generally  experience  proceed  from  an 
idea  that  we  are  superior  beings  who  are  not  to  be  overcome;  at  any 
rate,  it  is  certain  that  the  less  familiar  we  are  with  them,  the  better 
for  us."  It  is  pleasant  to  recall  that,  on  this  occasion  at  least,  the 
furtrader's  distrust  of  the  savage  was  without  foundation:  The  chief 
of  the  Thompson  Indians,  called  by  Fraser  the  "Great  Chief,"  kept 

^  Simon  Eraser's  Jmirn,Tl,   M.isson,  pp.   181-2. 


his  word  and  even  went  out  of  his  way  to  befriend  the  little  party 
of  white  men. 

Before  leaving  this  quarter,  Fraser  named  the  river,  which  enters 
the  Fraser  just  above  Lytton,  in  honour  of  David  Thompson,  astron- 
omer, surveyor,  path-finder,  explorer,  fort-builder  and  furtrader, 
also  of  the  North  West  Company.  David  Thompson  was  then 
engaged  in  exploring  the  passes  of  the  Rocky  Mountains  leading 
into  East  Kootenay.  "These  Forks,"  says  the  Journal  of  the  expedi- 
tion, "the  Indians  call  Camchin,  and  are  formed  by  a  large  river, 
which  is  the  same  spoken  of  so  often  by  our  friend  the  Old  Chief. 
From  an  idea  that  our  friends  of  the  Fort  des  Prairies  department 
are  established  upon  the  source  of  it,  among  the  mountains,  we  gave 
it  the  name  of  Thompson  River." 

This  statement  clearly  shows  how  little  was  known  at  that  time 
of  the  geography  of  the  interior  of  Northwestern  America.  Simon 
Fraser's  mistake  has  been  a  fruitful  source  of  error,  in  that  it  has  led 
some  writers  to  attribute  to  David  Thompson  the  discovery  of  the 
Fraser's  most  important  tributary,  apparently  for  no  other  reason 
than  that  it  was  named  after  that  indomitable  explorer.  As  a  matter 
of  fact  David  Thompson  never  saw  the  Thompson  River;  nor  does 
it  appear  that  Thompson  even  knew  that  this  stream  had  been  named 
after  him.  In  his  "Map  of  the  Northwest  Territory  of  the  Province 
of  Canada  from  Actual  Survey  during  the  years  1792  to  1812,"* 
made  in  18 13  and  18 14,  some  five  or  six  years  after  Fraser's  memor- 
able excursion,  the  Thompson  is  called  "Sheewap  River."  It  is 
strange  that  such  should  be  the  case  because  the  intrepid  astronomer 
and  surveyor  of  the  North  West  Company  acknowledges  that  he 
obtained  his  information  respecting  the  Fraser  River  from  John 
Stuart,  who  accompanied  Simon  Fraser  in  1808.  Perhaps  John 
Stuart  did  not  mention  that  the  stream  had  been  named  Thompson 
River;  or  perhaps  the  famous  map  maker  was  too  modest  to  give  his 
name  to  a  river  he  had  not  discovered,  or  even  seen. 

I'he  morning  after  the  memorable  reception  at  Camchin,  the 
party  again  embarked,  having  obtained  two  canoes  from  the  Thomp- 
son Indians.  The  "Great  Chief"  and  a  guide,  nicknamed  in  the 
explorer's  Journal  the  "Little  Fellow,"  accompanied  Fraser  in  order 
to  introduce  him  to  the  tribes  below,  which,  as  usual,  were  repre- 

'  Published  with   Elliott   Coues'   New   Lig;ht  on   the   Early  History  of  the   Greater   Northwest, 
New  York,  1897. 


seiited  as  being  a  ferocious  and  warlike  people.  The  men  had 
suffered  great  hardships  in  their  traverse  of  the  river  to  this  point, 
notably  in  the  canyons  between  Soda  Creek  and  Lillooet;  but  they 
now  entered  upon  perhaps  the  most  arduous  part  of  their  journey. 
Between  Lytton  and  Yale  the  Fraser  forces  its  way  through  a  series 
of  deep  chasms,  the  rocky  walls  of  which  in  many  places  tower  high 
above  the  water.  The  great  river,  swollen  with  melted  snows,  surged 
magnificently  through  the  canyons.  On  every  side  rugged  snow- 
crowned  mountains,  like  grim  sentinels,  stood  guard  over  the  foaming 
cataracts;  the  banks  were  so  steep  that  they  could  only  be  scaled  at 
imminent  risk.  Such  was  the  Fraser  River  between  Lytton  and  Yale 
in  floodtime,  in  the  old  days  before  the  railway.  The  track  of  the 
explorer  lay  directly  through  this  region  of  wild  grandeur  and 
Titanic  upheaval. 

It  was  soon  found  impossible  to  follow  the  river.  At  Jackass 
Mountain,  so  named  by  the  goldseekers  of  a  later  generation,  the 
men  were  forced  to  carrv  evervthing,  including  their  canoes,  over 
that  steep  hill.  The  ascent  was  dangerous  in  the  extreme,  as  the 
I  loose  stones  which  covered  the  mountain  continually  gave  way  under 
the  feet  of  the  men  as  they  toiled  with  their  heavy  loads.  A  false 
step  meant  certain  destruction  as  a  precipice  yawned  immediately 
below,  at  the  foot  of  which  the  river  ran  in  a  series  of  turbulent 
rapids.  The  Indians  told  the  explorer  that  several  years  before 
several  of  their  tribe  in  traversing  the  hill  had  lost  their  balance,  and, 
falling  headlong  into  the  river,  had  perished.  The  miners  of  1858 
and  1859  were  sorely  tried  at  this  same  spot. 

In  the  face  of  these  appalling  obstacles  the  expedition  worked 
its  way  downstream,  sometimes  by  land  and  sometimes  by  water. 
Neither  the  remonstrances  of  his  men,  nor  the  warnings  of  the  natives, 
had  any  effect  on  Fraser,  who  at  all  costs  was  determined  to  carry 
out  his  instructions  to  reach  the  sea  by  following  the  unknown  river 
to  its  mouth.  He  pushed  on  with  that  dogged  determination  which 
distinguished  all  his  undertakings. 

From  time  immemorial,  here,  as  at  the  Dalles  and  other  places 
on  the  Columbia  River,  the  Indians  had  foregathered  to  catch  and 
dry  the  salmon,  which  was  the  staple  article  of  diet  of  the  natives  of 
that  quarter.    Judging  from  Fraser's  remarks,  the  Indian  population 

V..I.  1-  IS 


must  have  been  large,  for  he  visited  many  encampments.  The  natives 
had  erected  stages  on  the  ledges  overhanging  the  river,  and  from 
these  they  used  their  dip  nets  with  remarkable  dexterity.  Either 
because  the  run  had  not  commenced,  or  because  it  was  a  poor  year, 
salmon  seemed  to  have  been  rather  scarce.  More  than  once  the 
explorer  observed  that  the  natives  were  without  food.  At  other 
places,  he  was  feasted  with  roasted  salmon,  wild  fruits  and  nuts,  wild 
onion  syrup,  and  other  viands  esteemed  by  the  Indians. 

On  Sunday,  June  25th,  the  Chief  of  the  Camchin  or  Thompson 
Indians  left  the  expedition  to  return  to  his  people.  The  parting  is 
thus  recorded:  "This  man  is  the  greatest  Chief  we  have  seen,  he 
behaved  uncommonly  well  towards  us,  and  in  return  I  made  him  a 
present  of  a  large  silver  brooch  which  he  immediately  fixed  on  his 
head,  and  seemed  exceedingly  well  pleased  with  our  attentions." 
Tradition  had  it  that  this  silver  brooch  was  buried  with  the  chief 
as  one  of  his  most  cherished  possessions. 

Although  it  was  Sunday,  the  party  pushed  on,  embarking  at  the 
early  hour  of  five.     It  was  a  memorable  day  in  the  history  of  the 
expedition.     The  Journal  vividly  portrays  the  difficulties  encoun- 
tered on  this  forced  march.     In  writing  of  the  road  through  one  of 
the  canyons,  probably  that  now  known  as  the  Black  Canyon,  Fraser 
could  not  restrain  his  eloquence:    "Here,"  he  observed,  "we  were 
obliged   to   carry   among  loose   stones   in   the   face  of   a  steep   hill 
between  two  precipices.     Near  the  top,  where  the  ascent  was  per- 
fectly perpendicular,  one  of  the  Indians  climbed  to  the  summit  and 
by  means  of  a  long  rope  drew  us  up  one  after  the  other.    This  work 
took  three  hours,  and  then  we  continued  our  course  up  and  down  hills 
and  along  the  steep  declivities  of  mountains  where  hanging  rocks  and 
projecting  clififs,   at  the  edge  of  the  bank  of  the   riyer,  made  the 
passage  so  small  as  to  render  it,  at  times,  difficult  even  for  one  person 
to  pass  sideways.     Many  of  the  natives   from  the  last  camp  who 
accompanied  us  were  of  the  greatest  use  on  this  intricate  occasion. 
They  went  on  boldly  with  heavy  loads  in   places  where  we  were 
obliged  to  hand  our  guns  from  one  to  another,  and  where  the  greatest 
precaution  was  required  in  order  to  pass  even  singly  and  free  from 

The  party  encamped  at  six  in  the  evening,  at  the  head  of  another 
rapid  or  canyon.    On  the  following  morning,  John  Stuart,  who  had 


been  sent  ahead  to  examine  the  river,  reported  that  "navigation  was 
absolutely  impracticable."  The  men,  therefore,  had  no  other 
recourse  but  to  follow  their  agile  guides  along  the  treacherous  path- 
ways which  had  served  successive  generations  of  native  travellers. 
The  stupendous  character  of  this  rugged  country  is  well  portrayed 
by  Fraser:  "As  for  the  road  by  land,"  he  wrote,  "we  could  scarcely 
make  our  way  with  even  only  our  guns.  I  have  been  for  a  long 
period  in  the  Rocky  Mountains,  but  have  never  seen  anything  like 
this  country.  It  is  so  wild  that  I  cannot  find  words  to  describe  our 
situation  at  times.  We  had  to  pass  where  no  human  beings  should 
venture;  yet  in  those  places  there  is  a  regular  footpath  impressed,  or 
rather  indented  upon  the  very  rocks  by  frequent  travelling.  Besides 
this,  steps  which  are  formed  like  a  ladder  or  the  shrouds  of  a  ship, 
by  poles  hanging  to  one  another  and  crossed  at  certain  distances  with 
twigs,  the  whole  suspended  from  the  top  to  the  foot  of  deep  precipices 
and  fastened  to  both  extremities  to  stones  and  trees,  furnish  a  safe 
and  convenient  passage  to  the  Natives;  but  we,  who  had  not  had 
the  advantage  of  their  education  and  experience,  were  often  in 
imminent  danger  when  obliged  to  follow  their  example."  The 
ladders  here  described  were  in  use  long  after  the  explorer's  day. 
Indeed,  some  of  them  still  existed  in  a  state  of  good  repair  at  the 
time  of  the  construction  of  the  Canadian  Pacific  Railway,  although 
the  Yale-Cariboo  Wagon  Road  had  for  several  years  superseded 
them.  The  engineers  of  the  Canadian  Pacific  Railway  called  this 
place  Jacob's  Ladder  Bluff.  It  is  some  five  or  six  miles  below  Boston 
Bar,  on  the  railway  side  of  the  river. 

At  Spuzzum,  which  was  reached  on  June  27th,  the  party  was 
"hospitably  entertained  with  fresh  salmon,  boiled  green  and  dried 
berries,  oil  and  onions."  The  burial  ground  across  the  river  from 
the  Indian  encampment  attracted  Eraser's  attention  and  he  obtained 
permission  to  visit  it.  He  thus  records  his  impressions  of  the  native 
sepulchres  at  this  place:  "These  tombs  are  superior  to  anything 
of  the  kind  I  saw  among  savages;  they  are  about  fifteen  feet  long 
and  of  the  form  of  a  chest  of  drawers.  Upon  the  boards  and  posts, 
are  beasts  and  birds  carved  in  a  curious  but  rude  manner,  yet  pretty 
well  proportioned.  These  monuments  must  have  cost  the  workmen 
much  time  and  labour,  as  they  must  have  been  destitute  of  proper 


tools  for  their  execution;  around  the  tombs  was  deposited  all  the 
property  of  the  deceased." 

The  expedition  had  now  reached  another  tribal  territory.  Spuz- 
zum  was  situated  on  "the  boundary  between  the  Hacamaugh  and 
Achinrow  nations."  It  was  observed  that  the  members  of  the  latter 
clan  differed  in  speech  and  manners  from  the  tribes  hitherto  met 
with.  These  natives  were  distinguished  for  their  fine  blankets,  woven 
from  the  hair  of  the  wild  goat,  or  from  that  of  a  white  dog  bred  for 
this  purpose.  Their  blankets  were  "as  good  as  the  wool  rugs  found 
in  Canada,"  and  were  spun  with  a  primitive  spindle  and  distaff.  It 
was  noticed  that  the  dogs  had  been  lately  shorn. ^ 

At  last  the  little  party  emerged  from  the  great  canyon.  At  four 
p.  m.  on  Wednesday,  June  28th,  the  expedition  arrived  at  an  Indian 
camp  of  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  inhabitants;  apparently  at,  or 
near  the  place  where,  in  after  years,  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company 
built  Fort  Yale.  No  less  than  eight  days  had  been  consumed  in 
passing  from  Lytton  to  this  spot.  The  Indians  were  armed  with 
bows  and  arrows,  spears  and  clubs.  Like  those  of  Camchin,  they 
had  many  ornaments — "shells  of  different  kinds,  shell  beads,  brass 
It  made  into  pipes  hanging  from   the  neck  or  across  the  shoulders, 

bracelets  of  large  brass  wire,  and  some  of  horn."  It  was  observed 
that  their  hats,  made  of  wattap,  and  some  of  "cedar  bark  painted 
in  different  colours,  resembling  ribbon."  Both  sexes  were  stoutly 
built  and  some  of  the  men  handsome,  "but,"  wrote  Eraser,  "I  cannot 
say  so  much  of  the  women,  who  seem  to  be  their  husbands'  slaves,  for, 
in  the  course  of  their  dances,  I  remarked  that  the  men  were  in  the 
habit  of  pillaging  them  from  one  another.  Our  Little  Fellow  was 
presented  with  another  man's  wife." 

The  natives  of  this  place  said  that  white  men  "had  come  from 
below  to  the  Bad  Rock,  where  the  rapid  terminates,  at  a  little  distance 
from  the  village,  and  they  showed  us  marks  in  the  rocks  which  they 
had  made,  but,  which,  by  the  bye,  seemed  to  us  to  be  nothing  but 
natural  marks." 

Having  with  some  difficulty  obtained  canoes,  Fraser  marshalled 
his  little  force  and  again  embarked.  As  the  expedition  advanced  the 
river  became  broader  and  the  country  assumed  a  different  aspect, 

*  Alexander  Caulfield  Anderson  describes  these  dogs  and  dogs'  hair  blankets  in   "Notes  on 
the  Indian  Tribes  of  North  .America." 


although  the  snowclad  summits  of  the  Coast  Range  were  still  in 
full  view.  From  Yale  to  the  Gulf  of  Georgia,  the  Fraser  is  a  broad 
highway.  No  difficulty  was  experienced  in  the  beautiful  reaches  of 
the  lower  river.  So  far  as  it  is  known,  this  was  the  first  time  that  a 
European  had  beheld  this  magnificent  country.  Noble  forests  stood 
on  either  bank,  except  where  great  meadows  stretched  far  back  from 
.the  river.  As  the  river  was  in  flood,  the  low-lying  lands  must  have 
been  covered  with  water;  near  Chilliwack  it  "expanded  into  a  lake." 
In  this  neighbourhood  the  explorer  sighted  a  "large  round  moun- 
tain," called  by  the  natives  "Stremotch."  No  doubt  this  was  Sumas 
Mountain,  a  well-known  geographical  feature  of  the  Chilliwack 
district.  In  1828,  Sir  George  Simpson,  in  passing  this  same  stretch 
of  the  river,  refers  to  a  high  mountain  which  he  called  "Sugar  Loaf 
Mountain."  Perhaps,  the  "Stremotch"  of  Fraser  and  the  "Sugar 
Loaf"  Mountain  of  Simpson,  refer  to  one  and  the  same  striking 
feature  of  the  landscape. 

Seals  were  now  seen  in  the  river,  a  sure  indication  that  the  passage 

to  the  sea  was  unobstructed,  for  these  animals  do  not  attempt  to 

ascend  rapids.    At  sunset,  camp  was  pitched  near  a  grove  of  "remark- 

i      ably  large  cedars  five  fathoms  in  circumference."    The  Journal  adds 

that  "mosquitos  were  in  clouds." 

In  that  day  the  natives  were  numerous.  Their  villages  and  fish- 
ing camps  were  found  at  every  favourable  situation.  The  explorer 
concluded  that  they  had  seen  white  people  before,  because  "they 
evinced  no  kind  of  surprise  or  curiosity  at  seeing  us,  nor  were  they 
afraid  of  our  arms."  One  of  their  large  communal  dwellings  is  thus 
described : 

"Their  houses  are  built  of  cedar  planks  and,  in  shape,  similar  to 
the  one  already  described;  the  whole  range,  which  is  six  hundred  and 
forty  feet  long  by  sixty  broad,  is  under  one  roof;  the  front  is  eighteen 
feet  high  and  the  covering  is  slanting:  all  the  apartments,  which  are 
separated  by  partitions,  are  square,  except  the  chief's,  which  is  ninety 
feet  long.  In  this  room,  the  posts  or  pillars  are  nearly  three  feet 
diameter  at  the  base  and  diminish  gradually  to  the  top.  In  one  of 
these  posts  is  an  oval  opening  answering  the  purpose  of  a  door 
through  which  one  man  may  crawl  in  or  out.  Above,  on  the  outside, 
are  carved  a  human  figure  as  large  as  life,  with  other  figures  in 
imitation  of  beasts  and  birds.    These  buildings  have  no  flooring,  the 


fires  are  in  the  center  and  the  smoke  goes  out  by  an  opening  at  the 
top." ' 

Sweeping  past  low-wooded  banks,  fat  delta  lands  and  fertile 
benches,  now,  a  century  later,  the  home  of  prosperous  and  progressive 
communities,  Fraser  entered  that  beautiful  stretch  of  river  known 
as  Queen's  Reach.  On  the  2nd  of  July,  he  passed  the  pine-clad 
hill  later  selected  by  Lieutenant  Colonel  Moody,  of  the  Royal 
Engineers,  as  the  site  of  the  capital  of  the  Crown  Colony  of  British 
Columbia.  At  that  time  a  dense  virgin  forest  covered  the  hill  where 
now  stands  the  city  of  New  Westminster.  Finding  that  the  river  at 
this  point  divided  into  several  channels,  the  explorer  followed  the 
North  Arm,  and  was  at  last  rewarded  with  a  view  of  the  Gulf  of 
Georgia,  so  named  by  Vancouver  in  1792,  but  first  discovered  by  the 
Spaniard  Eliza  in  1791,  and  called  by  him  in  the  musical  language 
of  his  country  "El  Gran  Canal  de  Nuestra  Senora  del  Rosario." 

But  the  passage  of  the  explorer  was  not  without  incident.  Shortly 
after  leaving  the  broad  expanse  of  water  above  Lulu  Island,  a  canoe 
came  alongside  and  one  of  the  natives  embarked  with  the  explorer; 
for  the  purpose,  it  was  thought,  of  piloting  the  expedition  through 
the  right  channel.  It  was  soon  remarked,  however,  that  other 
Indians,  "armed  with  bows  and  arrows,  spears,  clubs,  were  pursuing 
us  in  their  canoes,  singing  war  songs,  beating  time  with  their  paddles 
on  the  sides  of  the  canoe,  and  making  signs  and  gestures  highly 
inimicable.  The  one  who  had  embarked  with  us  became  also  very 
unruly,  singing,  dancing  and  kicking  up  a  great  dust:  we  threat- 
ened him  and  he  mended  his  manners  and  became  quiet." 

"This  was  an  alarming  crisis,"  continues  the  Journal,  "but  we 
were  not  discouraged;  confident  upon  our  own  superiority,  at  least 
on  the  water,  we  continued  and  at  last  we  came  in  sight  of  a  gulf  or 
bay  of  the  sea;  this,  the  Indians  called  Pas-hil-roe.  It  runs  in  a 
south-west  and  north-east  direction.  In  this  bay  are  several  high  and 
rocky  islands,  whose  summits  are  covered  with  snow.  On  the  right 
shore  we  noticed  a  village  called  by  the  natives  Misquiame:  we 
directed  our  course  towards  it.  Our  turbulent  passenger  conducted 
us  up  a  small  winding  river  to  a  small  lake  near  which  the  village 
stood:  there  we  landed,  but  only  found  a  few  old  men  and  women, 
the  others  having  fled  into  the  woods  on  our  approach.    The  fort  is 

•  Simon  Fraser's  Journal,  Masson,  p.  197. 


1,500  feet  in  length  and  90  feet  in  breadth.  The  houses,  which  are 
constructed  as  those  mentioned  in  other  places,  are  in  rows;  one  of 
the  natives,  after  conducting  us  through  all  the  apartments,  desired 
us  to  go  away,  as,  otherwise,  the  Indians  would  be  apt  to  attack  us. 
About  this  time  those  that  had  followed  us  from  above,  arrived."  '^ 

The  explorer  and  his  men  spent  an  hour  in  examining  the  place. 
Upon  returning  to  the  canoe  it  was  found  high  and  dry  on  the  beach, 
the  tide  having  ebbed.  While  the  men  were  engaged  in  dragging  the 
little  vessel  to  the  water,  the  natives  made  their  appearance  from  all 
directions,  armed  cap  a  pie,  and  "howling  like  so  many  wolves  and 
brandishing  their  war  clubs."  The  canoe  was  quickly  launched, 
however,  and  the  party  escaped  from  an  awkward  predicament. 

It  is  evident  that  Fraser  actually  reached  the  Gulf  of  Georgia. 
Several  writers  have  asserted  that  he  turned  back  at  the  point  where 
the  city  of  New  Westminster  now  stands;  but  if  this  had  been  the 
case  the  journey  would  have  ended  at  the  place  "where  the  river 
divides  into  several  places, "^ — which  description  can  only  refer  to 
the  reaches  immediately  below  the  Royal  City.  Eraser's  particular 
description  of  Musquiam,  however,  leaves  no  doubt  upon  the  point. 
That  village  is  situated  exactly  at  the  mouth  of  the  northern  outlet 
of  the  north  arm  of  the  Fraser  River  on  the  shore  of  the  Gulf  of 
Georgia.  If  further  proof  should  be  required,  it  is  found  in  David 
Thompson's  great  map  of  North  Western  America,  which  bears  the 
following  legend,  opposite  the  words  "Musquiame  Village,"  "Mr. 
Simon  Fraser  and  party  returned  from  the  Sortie  of  the  River." 

As  to  the  small  winding  river  and  small  lake,  it  will  suffice  to 
point  out  that  a  little  rivulet,  now  as  in  Eraser's  time,  flows  past 
Musquiam;  the  lake  was  no  doubt  formed  by  the  flooding  of  the 
lowland  between  the  village  and  the  river.  This  land  is  now  dyked 
and  therefore  not  subject  to  overflow.  It  should  be  borne  in  mind 
that  the  river  was  at  its  highest  stage  when  Fraser  descended  it  in 

.Much  as  Simon  Fraser  desired  to  reach  the  Pacific,  he  was  at 
this  point  compelled  to  turn  back.  The  hostility  of  the  natives 
and  lack  of  supplies  made  further  progress  impossible.  In  this 
respect  he  was  no  more  fortunate  than  Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie  in 
1793.    Neither  of  the  explorers  sighted  the  main  ocean.     Neverthe- 

"  Simon  Fraser's  Journal,  Masson,  p.  199. 



less  Simon  Fraser  had  accomplished  his  purpose.  He  had  reached 
the  sea,  not,  however,  by  the  Columbia,  but  by  another  river  that 
henceforth  was  to  bear  his  name.  That  he  did  not  view  the  Pacific 
Ocean  was  a  bitter  disappointment  to  the  explorer.  "Here  again," 
he  wrote  in  his  Journal  of  July  3,  1808,  "I  must  again  acknowledge 
my  great  disappointment  in  not  seeing  the  main  Ocean,  having  gone 
so  near  it  as  to  be  almost  within  view;  we  besides  wished  very  much 
to  settle  the  situation  by  an  observation  for  the  longitude.  The 
latitude  is  49"  nearly,  while  that  of  the  entrance  to  the  Columbia  is 
46    20'.    This  river  therefore  is  not  the  Columbia." 

Having  accomplished  his  purpose  Fraser  started  on  his  long 
return  journey  to  the  northern  interior.  His  difficulties  were  by  no 
means  over.  He  was  continually  harassed  by  the  natives,  who  fol- 
lowed him  with  the  set  purpose  of  annihilating  the  whole  expedition. 
It  was  only  by  proceeding  with  the  utmost  caution  that  he  was  able 
to  frustrate  the  designs  of  the  Indians  who  had  before  been  loud  in 
their  expressions  of  friendship.  Day  and  night  it  was  necessary  to  be 
continually  on  guard.  At  an  encampment  above  Chilliwack  all  the 
warriors  were  waiting  to  attack  the  white  men.  It  was  soon  dis- 
covered that  "they  were  not  assembled  for  any  good  purpose,  and 
when  we  came  opposite  to  them  the  whole  were  in  motion.  Some 
were  in  canoes,  others  lined  the  shore  and  all  were  inclining  our 
way;  at  last  it  was  with  difficulty  we  could  prevent  them  with  the 
muzzle  of  our  guns  from  seizing  upon  the  canoe;  they,  however, 
managed  to  give  us  such  a  push  with  the  intention  of  upsetting  us, 
that  our  canoe  became  engaged  in  a  strong  current  which,  in  spite  of 
all  our  efiforts,  carried  us  down  the  rapid.  We  however  gained  the 
shore  at  the  foot  of  a  high  hill  where  we  tied  the  canoe  to  a  tree. 
Here  I  ordered  Mr.  Stuart  with  some  of  the  men  to  debark  and 
ascend  the  hill  in  order  to  keep  the  Indians  in  awe;  they,  perceiving 
our  preparation  for  defence,  retired,  but  still  kept  ahead." 

The  continual  strain  so  worked  upon  the  overwrought  nerves  of 
the  vovageurs,  that  on  the  6th  of  July  they  mutinied  and  threatened 
to  desert  in  a  body.  Simon  Fraser  rose  to  the  occasion.  "Consider- 
ing this  scheme  as  a  desperate  undertaking,"  he  wrote  in  his  Journal 
after  the  trouble  was  over,  "I  debarked  and  endeavoured  to  persuade 
the  delinquents  of  their  infatuation;  but  two  of  them  declared  in 
their  own  names  and  in  the  names  of  the  others  that  their  plan  was 


fixed,  and  that  they  saw  no  other  way  by  which  they  could  save  them- 
selves from  immediate  destruction  than  by  flying  out  of  the  way  of 
danger;  for,  said  they,  continuing  by  water,  surrounded  by  hostile 
nations,  who  watched  every  opportunity  to  attack  and  torment  them, 
created  in  their  mind  a  state  of  suspicion  worse  than  death.  I  remon- 
strated and  threatened  by  turns,  the  other  gentlemen  joined  me  in  my 
endeavours  to  expose  the  folly  of  their  undertaking,  and  the  advan- 
tages that  would  accrue  to  us  all  by  remaining,  as  we  had  hitherto 
done,  in  perfect  union  for  our  common  safety.  After  much  debate 
on  both  sides,  they  yielded  and  we  all  shook  hands,  resolved  not  to 
separate  during  the  voyage,  which  resolution  was  immediately  con- 
firmed by  the  following  oath  taken  on  the  spot  by  each  of  the  party: 
'I  solemnly  swear  before  Almighty  God  that  I  shall  sooner  perish 
than  forsa'ie  in  distress  any  of  our  crew  during  the  present  voyage.'  " 

The  ascent  of  the  river  was  scarcely  less  difficult  than  the  down- 
ward journey,  but  at  last  the  expedition  reached  the  territory  of 
more  friendly  natives,  who  expressed  surprise  at  the  reappearance  of 
the  white  men.  Evidently  they  had  expected  that  the  Indians  of  the 
lower  river,  or  the  warlike  Cowichans,  would  kill  the  travellers. 

While  thirty-five  days  were  consumed  in  descending  the  river, 
the  ascent  was  accomplished  in  thirty-four  days.  In  going  to  the 
sea  Quesnel  was  reached  May  30th;  Lytton  on  June  20th;  Spuzzum 
on  June  27th;  Yale  on  June  3()th;  New  Westminster  on  July  2nd, 
and  Musquiam  on  the  same  day.  In  returning,  the  Thompson  River 
was  passed  July  14th;  Lillooet  on  the  22nd;  Chilcotin  River  on  the 
25th;  Soda  Creek  on  the  28th;  and  on  August  6th  the  journey  ended 
at  Fort  George,  the  place  of  departure. 

Such  was  the  nature  of  Simon  Fraser's  achievement;  sucii  is  the 
story  that  has  almost  been  forgotten.  Surely  this  rugged  man  is 
worthy  of  all  honour  and  respect.  His  expedition  was  the  third  to 
reach  the  shores  of  the  Pacific  overland.  He  was  the  first  European 
to  establish  posts  in  the  interior  of  the  great  territory  lying  to  the 
west  of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  These  posts  have  existed  from  that 
time  to  this.  The  country  in  which  they  are  situated  is  now,  more 
than  one  hundred  years  later,  about  to  be  developed  on  a  remarkable 
scale.  The  name  of  Simon  Fraser,  the  stalwart  pioneer  and  founder, 
should  not  be  forgotten  in  this  day.    As  the  Reverend  A.  G.  Morice 


has  justly  observed — "Less  brilliant  services  would  entitle  him  to  the 
respect  of  every  Canadian." 

Simon  Fraser  did  not  long  remain  in  New  Caledonia  after  his 
exploration  of  the  "Great  River"  discovered  by  Sir  Alexander 
Mackenzie.  He  was  given  charge  of  a  district  in  Athabasca  as  a 
reward  for  his  services  beyond  the  Rocky  Mountains.  In  1811  he 
was  at  Red  River,  and  two  years  later  on  the  Mackenzie.  In  1816, 
he  was  at  Fort  William  when  that  post  was  taken  by  the  Earl  of 
Selkirk,  against  whom  the  North  West  Company  had  waged  relent- 
less war. 

It  has  been  said  that  Simon  Fraser  refused  the  order  of  knight- 
hood, offered  in  recognition  of  his  achievement.  The  probable 
explanation  of  the  matter  is  simply  this:  That  he  declined  the  honour 
because  his  means  were  not  in  keeping  with  the  proffered  title,  nor 
sufficient  for  the  purpose  of  maintaining  the  position  with  proper 






When  Simon  Fraser  retired  from  New  Caledonia  it  fell  to  the 
lot  of  John  Stuart  to  guide  the  destinies  of  that  isolated  district  for 
several  years.  Stuart  assumed  charge  in  1809  ^r^d  he  did  not  relin- 
quish his  post  until  1824.  He  spent  much  of  his  time  at  Fort  McLeod, 
although  he  visited  Lake  Stuart,  Lake  Fraser,  and  Fort  George 
regularly.  It  does  not  appear  that  Stuart  was  particularly  enam- 
oured of  his  new  position,  for  in  1810  Daniel  Williams  Harmon,  a 
pious  but  shrewd  American  from  Connecticut,  in  the  service  of  the 
North  West  Company,  was  instructed  to  relieve  him,  or,  if  he 
(Harmon)  should  prefer  it  to  accompany  Stuart  as  second  in  com- 
mand.' Harmon  had  met  Stuart  the  year  before  at  Dunvegan,  on 
the  Peace  River,  and  had  formed  a  high  opinion  of  that  eccentric 
but  able  officer.  His  journal  of  July  19,  1809,  records  that — "A 
few  days  since,  Mr.  John  Stuart  and  company,  came  here,  from 
New  Caledonia,  for  goods;  and  today  they  set  out  on  their  return 
home.  During  the  few  days  which  that  gentleman  passed  here,  I 
derived  much  satisfaction  from  his  society.  We  rambled  about  the 
plains,  conversing  as  we  went,  and  now  and  then  stopping,  to  eat  a 
few  berries,  which  are  every-where  to  be  found.  He  has  evidently 
read  and  reflected  much.  How  happy  should  1  be  to  have  such  a 
companion,  during  the  whole  summer."  "  Perhaps  the  modest  author 
nf  these  lines  had  equally  impressed  his  guest,  and  that  may  be  the 
reason  that  Harmon  was  ordered  to  New  Caledonia  in  the  following 
year.  Harmon,  however,  was  not  overanxious  to  take  upon  himself 
the  management  of  the  western  marches  of  the  North  West  Com- 
pany, "especially  in  view  of  the  late  unfavourable  reports  from  that 
country  in  regard  to  means  of  subsistance."  ''     He  therefore  joined 

'  Harmon,  Jnurnal,  p.  i86. 
-  Harmon,  Journal,  p.  i8o. 
"  Harmon,  Jmirnal,  p.  ig6. 



Stuart  as  first  lieutenant.  The  two  men — although  very  different  in 
character — soon  became  fast  friends,  as  their  letters  and  journals 
amply  testify.  Eraser's  successor  apparently  was  not  always  the  most 
cheerful  of  companions — it  has  been  said  that  he  was  querulous  and 
exacting,  if  not  pedantic — but  his  relations  with  his  subordinates  seem 
to  have  been  cordial.  Stuart's  character  was  summed  up  rather 
tersely  by  a  contemporary,  John  M.  McLeod,  who  said — "Upon  the 
whole  he  is  a  good  man  but  a  person  would  require  to  be  possessed 
of  the  patience  of  Job  and  the  wisdom  of  Solomon  to  agree  with  him 
on  all  subjects."  '  But  whatever  may  be  said  of  John  Stuart's  tem- 
perament, it  cannot  be  denied  that  he  was  an  able  administrator,  a 
faithful  officer  and  a  loyal  friend.  His  letters,  which  are  charac- 
teristic of  the  man,  show  that  he  held  in  high  esteem  the  men  with 
whom  he  was  associated.  Therein  he  unconsciously  reveals  much 
of  his  own  character  and  disposition,  as  is  proved  by  the  following 
passage: — "I  can  retire  when  I  please — and  I  have  met  with  so 
much  of  ups  and  downs  and  disappointments  and  what  is  still  worse 
of  ingratitude  that  I  ought  to  have  done  it  long  since  and  nothing 
but  the  hopes  I  had  formed  that  my  constant  attendance  at  the  Coun- 
cil might  benefit  equally  the  Company  and  individuals  for  whom  I 
have  long  since  formed  a  regard  and  personal  attachment.  Mine 
was  no  mercenary  nor  menial  vote  and  as  regarded  myself  I  have 
nothing  to  gain  that  could  compensate  for  the  turmoil  and  vexation 
to  which  the  life  of  an  Indian  trader  is  ever  subject.  Though  neither 
young  nor  rich  I  was  perfectly  disencumbered  and  not  altogether 
dependent.  I  could  have  lived  in  contended  retirement  in  the  land 
of  my  fathers  and  now  that  I  am  removed  from  the  Council  to  a 
distant  post  (Fort  Simpson,  Mackenzie  River),  as  regarded  my 
friends,  I  may  be  considered  as  one  who  has  ceased  to  exist.  I  can 
be  of  no  use  either  to  them  or  to  myself  and  I  will  soon  be  for- 
gotten." ^  In  spite  of  their  somewhat  querulous  ring,  these  words 
reveal  that  Stuart  was  imbued  with  a  high  sense  of  duty.  He  divided 
with  Simon  Fraser  the  honour  of  founding  New  Caledonia. 

Harmon  left  Dunvegan — where  he  had  been  stationed  for  two 
years — for  New  Caledonia  in  the  Autumn  of  1810.     He  joined  John 

■•  John  M.  McLeod  to  John  McLeod,  senior,  Letter  dated  Fort  Simpson,  Mackenzie  River.  Ms. 
in  Archives  Department.    March  i6th,  1833. 

^Letter  to  John  McLeod,  Fort  Simpson,  Macken/ie  River,  8th  March,  1833.  Ms.  in  Archives 


Stuart's  ingoing  brigade  and  they  travelled  together  as  far  as  Fort 
McLeod,  arriving  at  that  wild  spot  on  November  ist.  Stuart  had 
resolved  to  spend  the  winter  at  his  favourite  post,  so  here  the  two 
men  parted.  Harmon,  with  thirteen  men,  pursued  his  way  to  Stuart 
Lake  to  assume  charge  of  the  fort  there.  He  reached  his  destina- 
tion on  November  7th,"  having  taken  four  days  to  cross  over  from 
McLeod  Lake,  a  distance  of  about  ninety  miles — a  fact  which  gives 
an  idea  of  the  roughness  of  that  pioneer  road,  for  the  furtraders 
were  not  accustomed  to  dawdle  by  the  way. 

This  new  trader,  who  now  appears  for  the  first  time  upon  the 
stage  of  New  Caledonia,  was  a  remarkable  man.  A  keen  and  intel- 
ligent observer,  pious  and  humane,  modest  but  firm,  he  was  it  may 
be  judged,  somewhat  different  from  his  contemporaries,  although 
there  were  not  wanting  even  in  that  crude  age  and  in  this  rough 
employment  strong  Christian  men — of  whom  David  Thompson  was 
a  striking  example.  Harmon  and  Thompson  would  possibly  have 
had  much  in  common  had  they  been  thrown  together,  but  their 
fields  of  endeavour  lay  far  apart.  Harmon's  name,  like  many  another 
of  the  founders  and  builders  of  the  Northwest,  has  almost  been 
forgotten,  and  would  scarcely  now  be  remembered  were  it  not  that 
he  kept  a  private  journal,  wherein  he  jotted  down  from  day  to  day 
and  year  to  year  the  happenings  of  his  post  and  his  impressions  of 
men  and  things.  Fortunately  this  journal  was-  published  shortly 
after  the  author  retired  from  New  Caledonia.  By  means  of  this 
rare  volume  those  who  care  to  do  so  may  look  back  upon  that  dis- 
tant period  and  see  the  furtrader  at  work,  and  in  so  doing  appreciate 
the  better  his  difficulties  and  privations.  The  author's  accounts  of 
the  Western  Dene  Indians,  whose  manners  and  customs  he  intelli- 
gently records,  render  the  Journal  of  exceptional  interest,  not  only 
to  the  historian  but  also  to  the  anthropologist — both  of  whom  are 
indebted  to  Harmon  for  his  trustworthy  narrative.  It  is  in  such 
rare  books,  in  the  fragmentary  journals  of  the  trading  posts,  and 
in  the  letters  of  the  explorers  that  the  historian  may  gather  the  materi- 
als wherewith  to  bridge  the  gulf  which  divides  the  present  from  the 

In  the  year  1812  John  Stuart,  the  Bourgeois  in  command  of  the 

"Harmon's  Journal  gives  the  date  as  November  171I1,  Inn  this  is  eviilemlv  a  tnisprii\t  for  llic 
next  entry  was  written  on  November  I2tli. 


district,  was  generally  to  be  found  at  Fort  McLeod,  which  was 
under  James  McDougall,  the  man  who  had  been  so  severely  rebuked 
by  Simon  Fraser  a  year  or  two  before.  'McDougall  seems  to  have 
fully  retrieved  his  reputation.  Harmon  always  speaks  highly  of 
him  and  Stuart  himself  acknowledges  that  he  was  an  ''excellent 
trader"  and  a  "real  Christian."  Harmon  was  stationed  at  Stuart 
Lake,  and  J.  M.  Quesncl  at  Fraser  Lake,  whither  he  had  been  sent 
with  ten  servants  to  re-establish  the  post  which  had  recently  been 
destroyed  by  fire.  Two  clerks,  Faries  and  McLeod,  were  also 
attached  to  the  district,  but  the  extant  records  do  not  specifically 
define  their  field  of  operations.  Faries  may  still  have  been  in  charge 
of  Fort  George.  Harmon,  however,  does  not  refer  at  this  time  to 
the  post  at  the  mouth  of  the  Nechaco  River,  and  it  may  be  that  it  had 
been  temporarily  abandoned.  As  Stuart  had  received  reinforce- 
ments, the  forts  were,  comparatively  speaking,  well  manned.  In 
November,  1812,  the  garrison  of  Fort  St.  James  consisted  of  "twenty- 
one  labouring  men,  one  interpreter,  and  five  women,  besides  chil- 
dren." '  So  even  in  that  early  day  the  establishment  at  Stuart  Lake 
had  assumed  respectable  proportions. 

These,  then,  were  the  men  who  were  engaged  in  conducting  the 
business  of  the  North  West  Company  in  New  Caledonia.  The 
monotony  of  their  existence  in  this  remote  and  inaccessible  country, 
far  beyond  the  ken  -of  their  fellows,  was  relieved  by  the  excitements 
incidental  to  the  hazardous  enterprise  in  which  they  were  engaged. 
Now  they  are  threatened  with  an  Indian  conspiracy  and  swift  destruc- 
tion, for  the  Carriers  have  not  yet  become  altogether  reconciled  to 
the  ways  of  the  strangers  in  their  midst,  although  they  were  gen- 
erally "pleased  to  see  us,  and  treated  us  with  hospitality."  *  Now  it 
is  starvation  staring  them  in  the  face,  for  when  the  salmon  fails  to 
appear  in  the  rivers  and  lakes,  the  diet  of  the  men  is  reduced  to 
berries  and  roots.  And  then  the  long  journeys  to  and  fro,  from  one 
post  to  another,  and  excursions  into  new  territory,  sorely  try  the 
patience  of  the  pioneers,  who  were  so  ill-equipped  for  such  adven- 
tures in  everything  but  dogged  determination  and  physical 
endurance.  Notwithstanding  these  difficulties  they  succeeded  in  sub- 
jugating the  savages  and  the  wilderness.    In  a  few  years  the  highways 

'  Harmon,  Journal,  p.  225. 

^Harraon,  Journal,  p.  220.  > 






















and  byways  of  rugged  New  Caledonia  became  as  familiar  to  the  fur- 
trader  stationed  in  that  district  as  the  oft-travelled  roads  of  the  more 
accessible  provinces  in  the  East. 

Harmon  lived  nine  years  in  New  Caledonia — 1810  to  1819 — and 
like  Samuel  Pepys  of  another  time  and  place  he  confided  to  his 
diary  his  innermost  thoughts;  even  the  religious  doubts  and  fears 
that  beset  his  mind  are  duly  recorded  therein.  The  general  con- 
sensus of  opinion  regarding  the  furtrader  is  that  he  was  a  blunt 
hard-living  man — a  creature  of  the  extraordinary  conditions  which 
had  called  him  into  being — a  man  wedded  to  hardship  and  danger 
and  perhaps  rather  given  to  trickery  and  licentiousness.  But  here 
is  one  who  upsets  all  such  conclusions.  What  is  to  be  said  of  a  fur- 
trader  who  sets  apart  the  first  day  of  each  month  for  prayer  and 
meditation?  This,  'strange  to  say,  was  one  of  the  pious  rules  of 
Daniel  Williams  Harmon,  who  in  the  second  decade  of  the  nine- 
teenth century,  made  his  home  at  Fort  St.  James.  As  might  be 
expected,  this  honest  man's  narrative  throws  a  strong  light  on  the 
customs  in  vogue  at  the  frontier  forts  and  the  practice  of  the  savages 
who  frequented  these  embryonic  outposts  of  empire.  Because  the 
observations  of  a  trustworthy  contemporary,  especially  when  they 
deal  with  historic  events  of  no  small  significance,  cannot  fail  to  arouse 
deep  interest,  or  at  least  to  excite  legitimate  curiosity,  the  pages  of 
Harmon's  Journal  will  be  freely  used  to  illumine  that  early  period 
of  our  history. 

Shortly  after  his  arrival  at  Fort  St.  James — which  by  the  way, 
was  not  so  named  until  many  years  later^ — Harmon  visited  the  post 
at  Frascr  Lake,  and  here  he  spent  the  first  day  of  the  New  Year 
(181 1 ).  His  entry  of  that  date  throws  a  side-light  on  one  of  the 
social  conventions  of  the  age.  On  special  occasions — for  instance 
after  a  long  and  difficult  journey,  or  upon  a  recognized  holiday — 
the  servants  of  the  Company  were  treated  to  what  was  commonly 
called  a  ''regale,"  which  was  neither  more  nor  less  than  a  plentiful 
supply  of  ardent  spirits,  generally  in  the  form  of  rum.  New  Year's 
Day  was  the  day  above  all  others  set  apart  for  relaxation  and  mirth. 
Drinking  and  dancing  and,  it  must  be  added,  fighting — for  such 
convivial  gatherings  frequently  ended  in  a  general  melee — were  the 
favourite  amusements  of  the  light-hearted  "engage,"  who  for  the 
time  being  threw  care  to  the  winds  and  drowned  the  memory  of  his 


hardships  in  heroic  libations.  The  journals  and  letters  of  the  fur- 
traders  contain  many  references  to  such  orgies,  which  were  taken  as 
a  matter  of  course  and  of  custom.  On  January  i,  1793,  at  Fort 
Fork  on  Peace  River,  the  men  of  Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie's  over- 
land expedition  saluted  their  chief  with  a  volley  from  their  muskets, 
and  they  were  rewarded  with  copious  rations  of  rum,  with  which 
they  made  merry.  At  Fort  Fraser,  on  January  i,  181 1,  the  time- 
honoured  festivities  are  duly  observed.     Harmon  relates: 

"This  being  tiie  first  day  of  another  year,  our  people  have  passed 
it,  according  to  the  custom  of  the  Canadians,  in  drinking  and  fight- 
ing. Some  of  the  principal  Indians  of  this  place  desired  us  to  allow 
them  to  remain  at  the  fort,  that  they  might  see  our  people  drink.  As 
soon  as  they  began  to  be  a  little  intoxicated,  and  to  quarrel  among 
themselves,  the  natives  began  to  be  apprehensive,  that  something 
unpleasant  might  befall  them,  also.  They  therefore  hid  themselves 
under  beds,  and  elsewhere,  saying,  that  they  thought  the  white  people 
had  run  mad,  for  thev  appeared  not  to  know  what  they  were  about. 
They  perceived  that  those  who  were  the  most  beastly  in  the  early 
part  of  the  day,  became  the  most  quiet  in  the  latter  part,  in  view  of 
which,  thev  exclaimed,  'the  senses  of  the  white  people  have  returned 
to  them  again,'  and  they  appeared  not  a  little  surprised  at  the  change; 
for  it  was  the  first  time,  they  had  ever  seen  a  person  intoxicated.'' ° 

There  is  a  sequel  to  this  story.  New  Year's  Day,  18 12,  was 
observed  with  the  usual  honours  at  Fort  St.  James.  This  time  the 
Indians  were  admitted  to  the  feast;  but,  judging  from  Harmon's 
account  of  their  behaviour,  they  had  profited  by  their  experience  at 
Fraser  Lake  the  vear  before.  Harmon  and  James  McDougall  of 
McLeod  Lake,  who  was  spending  the  holiday  with  his  friend,  dined 
with  all  the  people  of  the  establishment  in  the  common  hall.  After 
the  banquet  the  host  "invited  several  of  the  Sicau  (Sekanais)  and 
Carrier  chiefs,  and  most  respectable  men,  to  partake  of  the  pro- 
visions which  we  had  left;  and  I  was  surprised  to  see  them  behave 
with  much  decency,  while  eating,  and  while  drinking  a  flagon  or 
two  of  spirits.  After  they  had  finished  their  repast,  they  smoked 
their  pipes,  and  conversed  rationally,  on  the  great  difference  which 
there  is  between  the  manners  and  customs  of  civilized  people,  and 

*  Harmon,  Journal,  pp.  196-197. 


those  of  the  savages.    They  readily  conceded,  that  ours  are  superior 
to  theirs." 

By  means  of  such  passages  as  these  jusf  quoted,  one  may  catch  a 
glimpse  of  the  furtrader  at  play.  His  feastings  and  merry-makings, 
however,  were  few  and  far  between.  His  days  were  generally  spent 
in  toil.  Life  at  the  frontier  posts  was  often  arduous  and  not  without 
danger.  The  first  duty  of  the  bourgeois,  or  officer,  in  charge  of  a 
district  was  the  gathering  of  furs.  His  usefulness  was  judged  by  the 
measure  of  his  bales  of  peltries,  and  his  promotion  depended  entirely 
upon  his  ability  to  induce  the  native  hunter  to  bring  in  beaver.  If 
the  old  records  are  to  be  believed  the  Carriers  were  not  too  fond  of 
work.  Fraser  inveighed  against  them  as  an  "indolent,  thievish  set 
of  vagabonds,"  who  would  not  hunt  regularly  although  "dmazing 
fond  of  goods."  The  explorer  attributed  this  failing  to  the  fact  that 
they  obtained  their  supplies  from  neighbouring  tribes,  who  in  turn 
traded  with  "the  natives  of  the  seacoast,"  where  articles  were  pro- 
cured from  the  ships  of  adventurers.  In  spite  of  the  difficulty  experi- 
enced by  the  pioneer  traders  in  getting  the  Carriers  to  hunt,  the 
returns  from  New  Caledonia  were  large.  As  the  years  went  by  the 
natives  became  more  tractable  and  that  district  one  of  the  richest 
provinces  of  the  North  West  Company. 

Perhaps  in  no  department  of  all  the  vast  country  that  the  North 
West  Company  had  brought  under  its  sway  were  the  amenities  of 
civilization  less  in  evidence  than  in  the  New  Caledonia  of  that  for- 
mative period.  Nearly  all  of  the  men  who  were  stationed  there  spoke 
in  no  measured  terms  of  the  privations  they  were  forced  to  endure, 
and  the  monotony  of  their  existence.  The  fare  was  always  a  source 
of  bitter  complaint.  On  the  great  plains  bison,  game  and  wild  fowl 
were  abundant.  But  in  inaccessible  New  Caledonia  the  posts  were 
dependent  upon  the  salmon  which  spawns  in  the  tributary  streams  of 
the  lakes  of  the  northern  interior.  Fresh  salmon  in  the  summer  and 
dried  salmon  in  all  other  seasons  formed  the  New  Caledonian  stafif 
of  life.  Simon  Fraser  called  dried  salmon  "poor  stuff,"  and  suc- 
ceeding generations  of  traders  have  confirmed  his  judgment.  Occa- 
sionally the  diet  would  be  varied  with  venison,  bear  meat,  or  perhaps 
sturgeon.  The  capture  of  a  sturgeon  was  an  event  of  no  small  impor- 
tance and  it  w'as  always  duly  recorded.  "This  morning,"  wrote  Har- 
mon on  Tuesday,  May  23,  181 2,  "the  natives  caught  a  sturgeon  that 


would  weigh  about  two  hundred  and  fifty  pounds.  We  frequently 
see  in  this  lake  those  which  are  much  larger,  which  we  cannot  take, 
for  the  want  of  nets,  sufficiently  strong  to  hold  them."  It  will  be 
recalled  that  Stuart  Lake  was  first  known  as  Sturgeon  Lake. 

As  the  month  of  August  approached  the  rivers  would  be  an.xi- 
ously  scanned  by  both  white  man  and  Indian,  for  often  life  or  death 
hung  upon  the  appearance  of  salmon.  "As  soon  as  one  is  caught,'' 
writes  Harmon,  "the  Natives  always  make  a  feast,  to  express  their 
joy  at  the  arrival  of  these  fish.  The  person  who  first  sees  a  salmon 
in  the  river,  exclaims,  Ta-loe  nas-lay!  Ta-loe  nas-lay!  In  English, 
Salmon  have  arrived!  Salmon  have  arrived!  and  the  exclamation  is 
caught  with  jay  and  uttered  with  animation  by  every  person  in  the 

How  important  a  part  the  salmon  p