[About this transcript: Items inside italicized square brackets have been added for clarity. Page and chapter numbers are hyper-linked to facsimiles of the original pages, with the kind permission of the 1st-Hand-History Foundation ( www.1st-hand-history.org ).
[Walling, A. G. History of Southern Oregon, comprising Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Curry and Coos Counties, compiled from the most authentic sources. Portland, Oregon, 1884, pages 9-82.]
DISCOVERY OF THE PACIFIC.
Prehistoric--The New World Divided between Spain and Portugal--Discovery of the South Sea--Voyage of Magellan--Naming the Pacific--Cortereal and the Straits of Anian.
Intense gloom enshrouds the history of the Pacific coast prior to the sixteenth century. The investigations of the geologist have revealed how the great inland arms of the ocean gradually became land-locked seas whose receding waters left behind the deposit of alluvium brought down from the mountains by the thousands of small streams pouring into them, by which process were evolved the great fertile valleys whose names have become the synonyms of abundance; but of its history they are silent. The patient researches of the archæologist have here and there cast a faint ray of light into the encircling gloom, but the fleeting outlines thus momentarily revealed serve but to confuse the mind and render more intense the deep shadow hanging over all. What races of human beings have acted here the great drama of life, their wars, customs, manner of living, religious beliefs and the degree of civilization they attained, are all hidden by an impenetrable veil. Here and there a voiceless skeleton disentoombed from its resting place for centuries far beneath the verdant carpet of the earth it once trod, silently points to ages long before the stony lips of the Sphynx were carved or the mighty Atlantis sunk beneath the seething billows of a convulsed ocean; yet of those ages it reveals naught but the simple fact of their existence.
Rude monuments of rocks and mounds of earth, a few rough carvings in the rocky walls of towering cliffs and crude paintings on the surface of huge stones, objects of superstitious awe and reverence to the simple natives, speak of races now passed away, of whom the aborigines of to-day know nothing except the faint allusion made to them in the legends of their ancestors. These traditions also speak of the presence long years ago of a race of pale faced people who visited these shores in ships, yet so intangible are they that scarcely a theory can be founded upon them; certainly nothing positive can be proved. That the Chinese or the Tartars in the years of their great warlike strength and foreign conquests may have visited the western coast of America is far from improbable; in fact archæologists have discovered many evidences of such visits in the crumbled ruins of Mexico, Central America and Peru, and in the customs and religious ceremonies of the people whom the conquering
10 PACIFIC COAST.
swords of Cortes and Pizarro so ruthlessly slaughtered; but Oregon and Washington offer but little testimony either to confirm or confute the theory. It is quite possible, and even probable, that the traditions referred to had their rise in the visits of the early Spanish explorers. Leaving these mysteries to be revealed by the investigations of the future, let us step from out the shadow upon the lighted plain of authentic record.
Immediately upon the return of Columbus in the spring of 1493, with the startling intelligence that he had reached India in his voyage westward, for such was his belief at that time, the Spanish sovereigns applied to the Pope, who then arrogated to himself not only the spiritual but the temporal sovereignty of the universe, for special grants and privileges in all lands thus discovered. Formerly the head of the church had bestowed upon Portugal, which had for a century past been the foremost nation in making voyages of exploration and discovery, sovereign rights in the south and east, similar to those Spain now desired in the west. With an arrogance such as none but the ruler of a universe can display and a munificence to be expected only from one bestowing that which he does not possess or which costs him nothing, the successor of Peter and God's representative upon earth drew a line from pole to pole across the globe one hundred leagues west of the Azores, and assigned to Portugal all newly-discovered lands lying east of it and to Spain all lying to the westward. This partition was unsatisfactory to ambitious Portugal, and after two years of wrangling the obliging Pope moved his dividing line 270 leagues farther west.
Though the Portuguese were obedient to the Pontiff's decree and left Spain in undisputed possession of all its western discoveries, not ceasing, however, to make many voyages of exploration, this was far from being the case with the English. The sovereigns of that "tight little isle" were wont to be very independent in their conduct, and had been accustomed for some time to show little respect for the temporal authority of the Pope when it conflicted too strongly with their personal, political or territorial interests. It can well be imagined, then, that this partition of the undiscovered world into equal portions between Spain and Portugal did not deter England from making voyages of discovery to the new world and claiming sovereign rights over all lands explored, a claim which neither the Pope nor his two pet subjects dared to dispute. Following in the footsteps of her island neighbor and immemorial enemy, France, and Holland also, ignored the papal bull and in later years grasped eagerly after their share of the prize.
And what was this land towards which the eyes of the great nations of Europe were turned? It was, as they supposed, the west coast of India, the wonderful island of Zipango and the fabulously wealthy land of Cathay described by Marco Polo. Here was to be found the "gold of Ophir" which had enriched the kingdom of the mighty Solomon, diamonds and precious stones in abundance, and the fountain of perpetual youth. Imagination and legend had peopled it with wonderful nations and cities and had stored it with a wealth of precious stones and metals such as the known portions of the globe never possessed. Love of dominion and cupidity, that great ruling power in human nature, led them forward in the contest.
From 1492 to 1513, when Vasco Nuñez gazed from the mountains upon the vast "South Sea," many voyages of discovery were made, and the Atlantic coast of America
PACIFIC COAST. 11
was explored by the Spanish, Portuguese and English navigators from sunny Brazil as far north as the icy shores of Labrador. These voyages had satisfied geographers that not the India of the east, but a new continent, probably a great eastern extension of Asia, had been found by Columbus, and that this must be crossed or circumnavigated before reaching the hoarded treasures of Cathay. Indeed as early as 1498 Vasco de Gama, a Portuguese, reached India by sailing eastward around the Cape of Good Hope, and it was plainly evident that between that point (Calcutta) and the farthest point yet reached to the westward lay many wide leagues of land and water, unexplored and unknown. The idea prevailed that a great sea existed to the southwest beyond this new land of America, an idea which was strengthened and supported by statements of the natives carried as slaves to Europe in every returning vessel, and, indeed, several efforts had been made to pass into this unknown sea by going southward along the coast of America. The title of "America" had been applied to the southern half of our continent which was at first supposed to be separate and distinct from the northern half, or Asia, as it was believed to be.
It was a quiet day in September, 1513, that Vasco Nuñez de Balboa gazed from the mountain tops of Central America upon the sleeping waters of the Pacific, upon which the eye of a Caucasian then rested for the first time. Having crossed the narrow isthmus joining the two Americas from his starting point at the Spanish settlement of Antigua on the gulf of Urabà, he was guided by a native to a point from which he saw the unknown ocean glistening in the sun far beneath him. As at that point the isthmus runs east and west, the Atlantic beating against its shores on the north and the Pacific lapping its sandy beach on the south, he christened the latter the "South Sea," while the Atlantic was by way of contrast named the "North Sea;" though this latter title was soon transferred to a supposed ocean lying north of America, separated from the South sea by a narrow isthmus similar to that of Panama, and connected with it by a short strait, as will appear further on.
The announcement that this great "South Sea" actually existed led to increased exertions to discover a route by which vessels could pass around America and traverse the unknown ocean in search of the Indies. It soon became evident that America united with the supposed land of Asia lying north of it to form a either new continent hitherto entirely unknown, or a great southeastern extension of Asia equally a stranger to geography. Exertions to discover the supposed southern passage to the great South sea were then redoubled, and in five years were crowned with complete success. A Portuguese navigator, a native of Oporto, but sailing under the Spanish flag, commanded the first vessel that plowed Pacific waters, and to this expedition is due the further honor of making the first complete navigation of the globe, proving conclusively what all geographers of the time had learned to believe, that the world was round and could be encompassed by the traveler by going either east or west. The name of this celebrated navigator, whose voyage was second only to the one made by Columbus in 1492 in the knowledge it revealed of the earth's geography, was Ferdinando de Magalhaens, spelled Magallanes by the Spaniards and by English authors given as Magellan. He had made several voyages for Portugal via the Cape of Good Hope, but becoming dissatisfied had left his native land and entered the service of Spain, to again attempt for that nation the effort of reaching the east by sailing westward. His special destination
12 PACIFIC COAST.
was the Moluccas, then claimed by Spain, and to aid him on his voyage he possessed a chart upon which was designated a passage into the South sea; but instead of the open sea which it actually is, this chart exhibited a narrow strait piercing the body of the southern half of America. The origin of this chart and the authority for marking upon it such an utterly incorrect geographical feature, are unknown; but the probabilities are that the chart embraced the idea of some geographer as to what the nature of the desired passage into the South sea must be, and was founded solely upon theory. That this was probably the case is supported by the fact that a somewhat similar passage was supposed to lead through North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In fact it took nearly three centuries to prove the Straits of Anian to be utterly fabulous and mythical.
On the twentieth of September, 1519, Magellan sailed from San Lucar with five vessels and 265 men, reached Rio de Janeiro on the Brazilian coast December 13, and coasted thence to the southward, carefully exploring every promising bay and inlet. When he reached the broad estuary of the Rio de la Plata, he thought surely the long-sought strait had been discovered, but all efforts to pass through the continent by that route were completely unsuccessful. There was no passage through the huge rocky wall of the Andes. Abandoning the attempt he sailed again southward, reaching Port St. Julian, about 49° south latitude, on the thirty-first of March, where he remained five months. August 24, 1520, he again resumed his search, and on the twenty-first of October reached Cabo de las Virgenes, at the entrance of the long-sought straits, having lost one vessel by shipwreck and one by desertion. With the remaining three he passed through, naming the land to the southward "Terre del Fuego," because of the many fires seen burning there. Upon the strait itself he bestowed the title "Vitorio," the name of one of his ships, though it has always properly been known as the Straits of Magellan. His passage through them of thirty-six days was a tempestuous and dangerous one, and when his vessel's prow cleaved the waters of the great unplowed sea on the twenty-seventh of November, the contrast between its quiet and smiling waters and the foam-lashed breakers of the tortuous strait was so great and so suggestive that he bestowed the name Pacific upon it. This circumstance and title are recorded in an account of the voyage written in Italian by Antonio Pigafretta, afterward Caviliere di Rhodi, who accompanied the great explorer.
Immediately upon entering the Pacific ocean Magellan steered to the northwest to reach a warmer climate, crossed the line February 13, 1521, arrived at the Ladrones March 6, and at the Philippines on the sixteenth of the same month. Here he was killed in a battle with the natives April 27, and the survivors of the expedition, numbering 115 men, continued the voyage under the leadership of Caraballo. They touched at Borneo and other islands, and reached the goal of their voyage, the Moluccas, on the eighth of November. One of the vessels, the Vitorio, in command of Sebastian del Cano, sailed again westward from the Moluccas, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and reached San Lucar September 6, 1522, with only eighteen survivors of the 265 who started upon the expedition, having been gone three years and accomplished the first complete circumnavigation of the globe. The new ocean was variously known for a number of years as South sea, Magellan's sea and Pacific ocean, the last title gradually superseding the others until it became universal.
PACIFIC COAST. 13
This wonderful voyage naturally altered the popular idea of the new land which Columbus had discovered. The vast extent of the Pacific ocean and its apparently unlimited stretch to the northward convinced the map makers that their former idea was erroneous, and that the new land, or "Novus Mundus" as the name appears on many ancient maps, could not possibly be an eastern extension of Asia. They then came to believe that America and Novus Mundus were united by the Isthmus of Panama to form an entirely new continent, and that the true Asia lay still further to the west across the new ocean. The direct and natural result of this idea was a belief that a passage into the Pacific could be discovered by sailing around the north end of Novus Mundus as easily as Magellan had found one by going to the southward of America. In fact such a passage as this was supposed to have been discovered in the year 1500 by the Portuguese navigator, Gaspar Cortereal, the first explorer of the coast of Labrador. He passed through a strait into a sea which he believed and reported to be connected with the Indian ocean. This mistaken idea was not so proven until modern explorers demonstrated the fact that no such passage exists south of the ice-bound waters of the Arctic ocean. He had in fact passed through the straits and entered the bay afterwards entered and named by Hudson in his own honor. Upon the maps for many years straits of this character, leading indefinitely westward, were marked and called Straits of Labrador until their extent and the character of the sea into which they led were revealed by the later explorations of Hudson and others. The name Cortereal bestowed upon them, however, was Straits of Anian, though what was the significance of the title has never been satisfactorily explained. The Straits of Anian seemed in later years to become entirely disassociated in the minds of explorers from the Straits of Labrador or Hudson, and the universal idea of them seems to have been that of a narrow passage from sea to sea, between the continents of America and Asia, What caused this peculiar notion it is impossible to state, and the supposed passage is now universally referred to by historians as the "Fabulous Straits of Anian." To find it the English, French and Spanish searched diligently along the Atlantic coast, while the Spaniards, alone, sailing northward from the Pacific coast of Mexico, explored along our western shore for more than two centuries before the belief in its existence was finally abandoned.
Leaving the former and the results of their voyages to be referred to briefly further on, let us turn our attention to those voyages in the Pacific which made known to the world the geography of the northern Pacific coast.
EARLY EXPLORATIONS IN THE NORTHWEST.
Cortes Conquers Mexico and Turns his Eyes towards California--He Hopes to Reach the Indies by following the Coast--California Discovered by Ximenes--Cortez Undertakes its Conquest--Tale of the Florida Refugees--Voyage of Ulloa--Wonderful Story of Friar Marcas--Coronado seeks Cibola and Quivira--Voyage of Cabrillo and Ferrelo.
Immediately following the first discoveries by Columbus, Spain began to plant colonies in the West India islands. Her enlightened sovereigns, Ferdinand and Isabella, proposed to open at once the great storehouse of wealth this new land was popularly supposed to be. Gold and jewels were procured from the natives by every possible means, including cheating in trade and conquest by the sword, and sent back to enrich the mother country. The same year that saw Magellan set sail upon his voyage around the globe, witnessed the inauguration of another enterprise fraught with great results to the future of America. Hernando de Cortes entered Mexico with the sword in one hand and bible in the other, bent upon winning riches and power for himself and His Most Catholic Majesty, the King of Spain, and impressing upon the heathen Aztecs the beauties of the Christian religion with musketry and cannon. The details of his bloody conquest it is needless to relate.
Having subjugated Mexico and overturned in blood the throne of the Montezumas, Cortes looked westward for more countries to subdue and plunder of their accumulated wealth. On the fifteenth of October, 1524, he wrote to Spain's most powerful monarch, Charles V, that he was upon the eve of entering upon the conquest of Colima, a country bordering on the South sea (Pacific ocean), and that the great men there had given him information of "an island of Amazons, or women only, abounding in pearls and gold, lying ten days' journey from Colima." Though Colima is the name of one of the present states of Mexico, there is but little doubt that Cortes referred to Lower California. This was the opinion of Miguel Venengas, who wrote in 1749: "The account of the pearls inclines me to think that these were the first intimations we had of California and its gulf."
The idea held by Cortes was that possessed by geographers generally, that America, if not an actual portion of Asia, into which the Pacific projected a long distance northward, was at least separated from that ancient continent simply by a narrow strait; and this idea, though founded simply upon theory, was wonderfully correct. It was his plan to sail northward, along the coast until the Straits of Anian were encountered, or failing in that, to continue westward and southward until he reached the rich lands of India. The fatal defect in this theory was in not ascribing to the Pacific ocean and the American continent the magnificent proportions they were in after years found to possess.
PACIFIC COAST. 15
At the time Cortes wrote his letter the Pacific coast had been several times explored from the Isthmus of Panama as far northward as 350 leagues from that point. In 1522 he began the construction of several vessels at Zacatula to carry out his ideas, and in 1526 they were joined by a vessel which had come through the Straits of Magellan. In 1527 three of these vessels were completed and made a short voyage along the coast; but orders came from Spain to send them to India by a direct route across the ocean instead of the long way along the coast proposed by Cortes. Other ships were begun at Tehuantepec, but rotted on the stocks while the great conqueror was in Spain. In 1530 he began the construction of others. Finally, in 1532, he dispatched two vessels from Acapulco, reaching as far north as Sinaloa, both being wrecked at different points, and their commanders and all but a few of the men slain by the natives. The next year two more vessels were dispatched from Tehuantepec, one of which accomplished nothing. The crew of the other one mutinied and killed their commander, Becerra, and continued the voyage under the pilot, Fortuño Ximenes, landing upon the extreme southern point of the peninsula of California, in 1534, where Ximenes and twenty of his men were slain in an encounter with the natives. The survivors succeeded in navigating the vessel back to the main land, where it was seized by Nuño de Guzman, the governor of Northern Mexico. He was a bitter enemy of Cortes, and his rival in covering the advancing pathway of civilization with a carpet of blood.
To resent this insult, Cortes sent three vessels northward by sea, and started himself, by land, at the head of a considerable body of troops. He changed his intention, however, and embarking a large portion of his force upon the vessels which had met him at Chiametla, he set sail for the new country discovered to the west by Ximenes, which was said to abound in the finest of pearls. On the third of May, 1535, his little squadron came to anchor in the bay where the mutineers had met their fate the year before, and in honor of the day, which was that of the Holy Cross in the Roman Catholic calendar, he bestowed upon it the name of Santa Cruz. This was probably the one now known as Port La Paz. To this body of land the name of California was soon after given, though by whom, for what reason and what is the significance of the title remain perplexing questions to the present day, and this name gradually expanded in its application until in after years it signified the entire Spanish possessions on the Pacific coast, that portion above the mouth of the Colorado being known as Alta California.
Cortes landed upon this barren and inhospitable coast with 130 men and forty horses, with visions of conquest floating before his mind. He hoped to find in this new country another Mexico to yield its vast stores of gold, pearls and ornaments into his bloody hands. Two of his vessels were at once sent to Chiametla for the remainder of his troops, and returned with but a portion of them. They were again dispatched upon the same errand, one only returning, the other having gone to the bottom of the sea. Cortes then went to the Mexican coast in person, returning to Santa Cruz just in time to rescue those he had left there from death by starvation. More than a year's time had now been fruitlessly squandered, and explorations inland had revealed the fact that the land was utterly barren and worthless. With the exception of a few pearls on the coast, the Spaniards had found nothing to tempt their cupidity,
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the great controlling power which bound them together and made them subservient to discipline. Many had died and the remainder were mutinous. In the meantime the wife of Cortes, hearing of his ill success, sent a vessel to Santa Cruz with letters, imploring him to abandon his enterprise and return. News came at the same time that a Spanish nobleman of high rank, Don Antonio de Mendoza, had been appointed to supersede him as viceroy of New Spain, and had already installed himself in office in the city of Mexico. He hastened to the mainland, leaving a portion of his forces still at Santa Cruz, under the command of Francisco de Ulloa; but finding his authority in New Spain entirely gone and being much embarrassed financially by the expenses of his unprofitable venture, he sent word to Ulloa to return, and in 1537 the sandy deserts of Lower California were abandoned by the ragged remnant of that little army of adventurers who had entered it with such high hopes two years before.
About this time there arrived in Mexico four wandering refugees whose story had much to do with the nature of explorations for the next few years. They were Alvaro Nuñez de Cabeza-Vaca, two other Spaniards and a Negro or Moor. They had landed in Florida in 1527 with a plundering expedition that invaded that portion of the coast under Panfilo Narvaez. The company was almost exterminated by shipwreck, famine and battle, and these four survivors wandered for nine years through the interior of the region bordering upon the gulf until they finally arrived in Mexico. They had encountered no civilized or wealthy nations in their long journey, but had been informed, at various places, of populous countries inhabited by rich and civilized races further to the northwest.
Mendoza was moved by these stories to invade the northwest. It was the civilized nations the Spaniards were eager to subdue; not because their conquest afforded them more honor in a military sense, for their warfare was but a series of bloody butcheries of unwarlike races whose undisciplined and unprotected masses, armed simply with spears, were mowed down like grain by the cannon, musketry and steel of the mailed warriors of Spain; but because these civilized nations possessed the great stores of gold and precious jewels which were the loadstone that drew these representatives of European chivalry to the New World. The viceroy organized a body of fifty horsemen for the purpose of invading this new country, and then abandoned the idea, sending, instead, two friars and the Moor to explore and report the true facts of the case before he ventured upon more extensive efforts.
They departed in March, 1539, and on the eighth of the following July, Cortes, who still claimed the right of exploration into the unknown ocean and government over all lands discovered, having again equipped three vessels, sent them from Acapulco under the command of Ulloa. One of these was soon wrecked in a severe storm, and the other two proceeded to Santa Cruz bay and then coasted along Lower California and Mexico, completely around the gulf that lies between them, failing, however, to notice the mouth of the great Colorado river. This voyage settled many geographical questions, and the gulf was named by Ulloa the Sea of Cortes, though it was generally marked on Spanish maps as the Vermilion sea, and on those of other nations as the Gulf of California. On the twenty-ninth of October, of the same year, Ulloa again sailed from Santa Cruz, whither he had returned at the conclusion of his last voyage, and sought to examine the coast westward as he had to the east. Passing around the
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cape, now called San Lucas, he sailed slowly northward until about the first of February, 1540, he reached an island near the coast in latitude 28°, which he named Isle of Cedars. Headwinds and sickness held him here until April, and then the same causes, coupled with a lack of provisions, compelled him to abandon his purpose of proceeding further northward.
This voyage attracted but little attention, so absorbed were the mercenary adventurers in Mexico in the report of Friar Marcas de Niza of the wonderful things discovered by him and his companions in the new region whither they had been sent by Mendoza.
From these accounts, as contained in the letter addressed to the viceroy by Father Marcas, and from other evidence, it is probable that the reverend explorer did really penetrate to a considerable distance into the interior of the continent, and did find there countries partially cultivated, and inhabited by people possessing some acquaintance with the arts of civilized life; though as to the precise situation of those regions, or the routes pursued in reaching them, no definite idea can be derived from the narrative. The friar pretended to have discovered, northwest of Mexico, beyond the thirty-fifth degree of latitude, extensive territories, richly cultivated, and abounding in gold, silver, and precious stones, the population of which was much greater, and further advanced in civilization, than those of Mexico or Peru. In these countries were many towns, and seven cities, of which the friar only saw one, called Cevola or Cibola, containing twenty thousand large stone houses, some of four stories, and adorned with jewels; yet he was assured, by the people, that this was the smallest of the cities, and far inferior, in extent and magnificence, to one called Totonteac, situated more towards the northwest. The inhabitants of Cibola had, at first, been hostile to the Spaniards, and had killed the Negro; but they had, in the end, manifested a disposition to embrace Christianity, and to submit to the authority of the King of Spain, in whose name Friar Marcas had taken possession of the whole country, by secretly erecting crosses in many places.
Such was the account of the worthy friar, but the reverend gentleman drew entirely too long a bow. That such a civilization could have existed there in the sixteenth century and have completely disappeared from view by the eighteenth, is too improbable to be credited. The ancient ruins of Arizona and New Mexico and the customs and traditions of the Zuni and Moquis Indians, confirm the opinion that a semi-civilized race inhabited that region centuries ago; but nothing has been discovered pointing to such dense population, cities of "twenty thousand large stone houses," or such wealth and civilization as the friar claimed to have observed. The probability is that, encountering a semi-civilized race, and desiring to spread among them the beauties of the Christian religion, he told these exaggerated stories to the viceroy in order to induce him to invade and subdue this new country, for in those days the pathway for the bible was hewn by the sword. Related by a respectable priest who claimed to have himself witnessed the wonders he portrayed, the story was fully credited, and Mendoza sent a combined land and sea expedition to reconnoitre and open the way for a complete conquest of this great nation.
The marine portion, under the command of Fernando de Alarcon, sailed from Santiago May 9,1540, and discovered and entered the Colorado river in August, which
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was then named Rio de Nuestra Soñora de Buena Guia, in honor of the viceroy, whose shield bore the above inscription. Alarcon ascended the stream in boats a distance of eighty leagues, inquiring diligently for the seven great cities. From the Indians he received many confusing accounts of wonderful riches and remarkable objects to be found in the interior, accounts no doubt similar to those which had been the foundation of Friar Marcas' wonderful tale. Completely baffled he returned to Mexico.
The land forces, consisting of cavalry, infantry and priests, a perfect complement for the conversion of stubborn heathen, were under the command of a resolute soldier named Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, a man intensely practical and unaccustomed to drawing upon his imagination when relating facts. After traversing many miles of desert and mountain they reached a country for which Cibola appeared to be the general name, though it was found to be entirely devoid of the refinement and riches reported by Friar Marcas. The seven cities proved to be seven small villages, thinly inhabited by a race but little removed from a savage state. The climate was agreeable and the soil very fertile. Large stone houses, rudely built and unornamented, were found, which were later called cases grandes de los Azteques (great houses of the Aztecs) by the Spanish settlers, upon the theory that they had been erected by the Aztecs while living in that region prior to their invasion of Mexico. Coronado left Cibola in disgust and proceeded further towards the northwest, wandering for two years hither and thither in search of the many fabulously rich countries the Indians were constantly informing him were to be found somewhere else. Quivira in particular was the object of great solicitude because of the reported wealth of its monarch; but when he reached it in latitude 40°, it proved to be a buffalo country and its inhabitants simply a race of hunters. If the latitude is correct, he must have penetrated as far north as the Platte or headwaters of the Arkansas. He returned to Mexico in 1543 with his faith in Indian stories shaken to its foundation stones.
The next effort to explore the western coast was made in 1542, when Mendoza dispatched Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo with two vessels in search of the Straits of Anian. Cabrillo examined the coast as far north as the 38th degree of latitude, when he was driven back by a storm and forced to take refuge in a harbor called by him Port Possession, in the island of San Bernardino, in latitude 34°. Here he died January 3, 1543, and the pilot, Bartolomè Ferrelo, took command and resumed the voyage northward. He discovered near latitude 41° a cape which he named Cabo de Fortunas (Cape of Perils), being no doubt the one subsequently named Mendocino in honor of the viceroy, Mendoza. The furthest point northward reached by Ferrelo on the first of March, 1540, is given by some authorities as 44° and others 43°, either of which would be off the coast of Oregon; and to this little vessel-load of adventurous men, half clothed, living upon short allowance of food, and afflicted with scurvy, must be given the credit of making the first discovery of the coast of Oregon, the prize for which great nations disputed for centuries.
SEARCH FOR THE MYTHICAL STRAITS OF ANIAN.
Spain Abandons the Effort--Growth of the East India Trade--Voyage of Sir Francis Drake--The Bay of San Francisco--Rev. Fletcher's Romances--Other Freebooters Invade the Pacific--Maldonado's Description of the Straits of Anian--Voyage of Juan de Fuca--Its Authenticity Discussed--Admiral Fonte's Voyage--Rio de los Reyes.
The return of Ferrelo from his voyage along the coast, of Coronado from his explorations inland, and of the few survivors of DeSoto's expedition through Florida to the Mississippi, conclusively proved that "neither wealthy nations nor navigable passages of communication between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, were to be found north of Mexico, unless beyond the 40th parallel of latitude." Having established this fact, the Spaniards desisted from their attempts to explore to the northwest of Mexico, or to search for the Straits of Anian. The fact was that the discovery of such a passage between the two oceans was now looked upon as undesirable by them, in view of the valuable trade they had established with the east.
From being the most energetic in searching for the Straits of Anian, the Spaniards suddenly became extremely apathetic to outward appearance, but were by no means so actually. Their interest in that supposititious passage was as lively as ever, and they were now even more anxious that it should not be discovered at all than they had formerly been to find it. The reason for this change of ideas is very simple.
Spain was now the complete master of Central America, Mexico and the West India islands, which formed an important and almost vitally necessary intermediate station between Europe and the Indies, a point of advantage which no other nation possessed. While she was securing this important foothold in the New World, Portugal had bent her energies upon opening a trade with the Indies by way of the Cape of Good Hope, and had succeeded in establishing a most valuable commerce with that rich and populous region, which Spain viewed with envious eyes. She turned her attention from the coast of America, and dispatched several armed fleets across the Pacific to obtain lodgment in the Indies. After several unsuccessful attempts the Philippine islands were subjugated in 1564, and the practicability of crossing the Pacific in both directions, which had at first been doubted because all efforts to return had been made in the region of the trade winds, established beyond cavil. In a few years Spain's commerce on the Pacific became extremely important. Annually large vessels sailed from Central America with gold and merchandise, which were bartered for spices, silks and porcelain in the Philippine islands and China. These were landed at the Isthmus of Panama and transported across to vessels in waiting to convey them to Spain. A large trade was also carried on along the coast to Peru and Chili [=Chile].
20 PACIFIC COAST.
Exemption from interference by rival nations was the secret of the immense growth of this India trade. The annual galleon from India was loaded with a cargo of immense value, and yet the ship bore no armament for defense. No flag but that of Spain fluttered over Pacific waters, and there was no need of cannons. It was in expectation of this condition of affairs that Spain ceased her efforts to find the Straits of Anian. The discovery of such a passage would be most calamitous. Through it could come hostile ships of war and the freebooters who were wont in those days to roam the high seas in search of plunder, and prey upon the defenseless commerce of the Pacific. The length and precarious nature of the voyage into the Pacific through the Straits of Magellan, served to keep that ocean for many years free from hostile ships.
This exemption from outside interference could not last forever. Spain arrogantly claimed dominion over and the exclusive right of trade with all regions that had been even technically discovered by Spanish navigators, even if no settlement of any kind had been attempted. Foreigners of all nations were prohibited under pain of death, from having any intercourse whatever with the territories claimed by the Castilian monarch, or from navigating the waters adjacent to them. To such presumptuous conduct as this neither England nor France would submit. They willingly respected all rights of dominion acquired by actual settlement, but this sweeping claim to exclusive control of almost the entire New World they would not countenance for an instant. The result was that English, French and Dutch "free traders" made sad havoc with the Spanish shipping on the Atlantic coast of America; and though the nations were at peace, these plundering expeditions were winked at by the sovereigns, who often directly and always indirectly received their share of the booty.
These roving marauders made great exertions to discover a northern passage into the Pacific, urged on by the reports constantly received of the wonderful richness of the East Indian commerce of Spain. These reports at last overcame the fears of English seamen, and they invaded the Pacific by the passage of Magellan's tempestuous straits.
There was one bolder and more reckless, more ambitious and successful than the others, who won the reputation of being the "King of the Sea." In 1578, he thus passed into the Pacific with three vessels, and scattered terror and devastation among the Spanish shipping along the coast. He captured the East Indian galleon, on her way home loaded with wealth, levied contributions in the ports of Mexico, and, finally, with his one remaining vessel freighted with captured treasures, sailed north to search for the Straits of Anian. Through it he proposed passing home to England, and thus avoid a combat with the fleets of Spain, that lay in wait for him off the Straits of Magellan. His name was Captain Francis Drake; but afterwards the English monarch knighted him for becoming the most successful robber on the high seas, and now the historian records the name as Sir Francis Drake. When near the mouth of Umpqua river, in Oregon, he ran his vessel into a "poor harbor," put his Spanish pilot, Morera, ashore, and left him to find his way back, thirty-five hundred miles, through an unknown country thickly populated with savages, to his home in Mexico. This feat must have been accomplished, as the only account existing of the fact comes through Spanish records, showing that he survived the expedition to have told the
PACIFIC COAST. 21
result. Drake then continued his voyage until he had reached about latitude 43°, when the cold weather, although it was after the fifth of June, forced him to abandon the hope of discovering the mythical straits. The chaplain who accompanied the expedition, being the historian of the voyage, says of the cold, that their hands were numbed, and meat would feeze when taken from the fire, and when they were lying-to in the harbor at Drake's bay, a few miles up the coast from San Francisco, the snow covered the low hills. He then evaded the Spanish fleet by crossing the Pacific and returning to England by the Cape of Good Hope. For a long time it was believed that Sir Francis Drake discovered the bay of San Francisco; that it was in its waters he cast anchor for thirty-six days, after having been forced back along the coast by adverse winds; but now it is generally conceded that he is not entitled to that distinction. Who discovered that harbor, or when the discovery was made, will probably never be known. What clothes it in mystery is, that the oldest chart or map of the Pacific coast known, on which a bay resembling in any way that of San Francisco at or near the proper point, was a sailing-chart found in the East Indian galleon captured in 1742, by Anson, an English commodore, with all her treasure, amounting to one and a half million dollars. Upon this chart there appeared seven little dots, marked "Los Farallones," and opposite these was a land-locked bay that resembled San Francisco harbor, but on the chart it bore no name. This is the oldest existing evidence of the discovery of the finest harbor in the world, and it proves two things: first, that its existence was known previous to that date, second, that the knowledge was possessed by the Spanish Manilla merchants to whom the chart and galleon belonged. Their vessels had been not unfrequently wrecked upon our coasts as far north as Cape Mendocino; and as Venegas, writing sixteen years later, says nothing of such a harbor, we are led to believe that its existence was possibly only known to those East India merchants, and was kept a secret by them for fear that its favorable location and adaptation would render it a resort for pirates and war-ships of rival nations to prey upon their commerce.
With Sir Francis Drake, unquestionably, lies the honor of having been the first European to actually land upon the coast of California. The account of that event, given by Rev. Fletcher, the chaplain of the expedition, states that the natives, having mistaken them for gods, offered sacrifices to them, and that, to dispel the illusion, they proceeded to offer up their own devotions to a Supreme Being. The narrative goes on to relate that--
Our necessarie business being ended, our General, with his companie, travailed up into the countrey to their villiages, where we found heardes of deere by 1,000 in a companie, being most large and fat of bodie. We found the whole countrey to be a warren of strange kinde of connies; their bodies in bigness as be the Barbarie connies, their heads as the heads of ours, the feet of a Want [mole] and the taile of a rat, being of great length; under her chinne on either side a bagge, into which she gathered her meate, when she hath filled her bellie, abroad. The people do eat their bodies, and make accompt for their skinnes, for their King's coat was made out of them. [The farmer will readily recognize the little burrowing squirrel that ruins his fields of alfalfa, where the ground cannot be overflowed to drown them.] Our General called this countrey Nova Albion, and that for two causes: the one in respect to the white bankes and cliffes which lie toward the sea; and the other because it might have some affinitie with our countrey in name, which sometimes was so called.
22 PACIFIC COAST.
There is no part of earth here to be taken up, wherein there is not a reasonable quantitie of gold or silver. Before sailing away, our General set up a monument of our being there, as also of her majestie's right and title to the same, viz: a plate nailed upon a faire great poste, whereupon was engraved her majestie's name, the day and yeare of our arrival there, with the free giving up of the province and people into her majestie's hands, together with her highness' picture and arms, in a piece of five pence of current English money under the plate, whereunder was also written the name of our General.
It is claimed by some English historians that Drake proceeded as far north as latitude 48°; but as the claim is founded simply upon the word of this lying chaplain and is utterly inconsistent with other statements in the same narrative and is entirely at variance with an account of the voyage written by Francis Pretty, one of the crew, and published within a few years after his return, it is worthy of but little consideration. Fletcher's account was published by a second party in 1652, seventy years later and long after the death of every man who could personally dispute its assertions, and bears no marks of authenticity. Many passages are taken bodily from Pretty's narrative, which seems to have been the foundation upon which a tissue of falsehood and absurdities was erected. The assertion that snow covered the hills about San Francisco in the month of June and that meat froze upon being taken from the fire, is enough to condemn it all in the mind of anyone familiar with the fact that snow seldom falls there even in winter, and that meat never freezes at any season of the year. These facts are important; for if Drake went to the 48th degree, he must have coasted along Oregon and Washington nearly to the Straits of Fuca; but if not, then his furthest point northward was off the mouth of the Umpqua, no further than Ferrelo had gone in 1543. To the latter opinion the best authorities hold.
Other English freebooters, encouraged by the dazzling success of Drake, followed his example, and for years Spain's commerce in the Pacific suffered many ravages at their hands. Meanwhile the English and Dutch navigators continued their efforts to discover the northwest passage, while the Spanish government was constantly excited and alarmed for fear these indefatigable searchers would be rewarded with success. Rumors that the Straits of Anian had been discovered were spread from time to time, creating great consternation in Spain, Spanish America and the Philippine islands. Several navigators pretended to have passed through these mythical straits, either to give themselves importance in the nautical world, or to secure some employment in their profession or emolument for the valuable services they thus claimed to have rendered. The narrative of this character which attracted the most universal attention, was one of a voyage which was no doubt entirely fictitious, claimed to have been made by Captain Lorenzo Ferrer de Maldonado, a Portuguese, and related by him in a memorial to the Spanish Council of the Indies, wherein he petitioned for a remuneration for his valuable services and a commission to occupy and defend the passage against the ships of other nations.
In his narrative, which was precise and careful in its details, were given all the geographical ideas of the time in regard to the regions that would naturally be visited during the voyage described, nearly all of which have since been proved to be erroneous. This fact is conclusive evidence that the narrative was a manufactured one and the voyage a myth. In it the Straits of Anian are described as follows:
PACIFIC COAST. 23
The Strait of Anian is fiften degrees in length, and can easily be passed with a tide lasting six hours; for those tides are very rapid. There are, in this length, six turns and two entrances, which lie north and south; that is, bear from each other north and south. The entrance on the north side (through which we passed) is less than half a quarter of a league in width, and on each side are ridges of high rocks; but the rock on the side of Asia is higher and steeper than the other, and hangs over, so that nothing falling from the top can reach its base. [The reader must bear in mind that this narrator claims the previous course of the vessel to have been through the long and tortuous channel of the Straits of Labrador in latitude 75°, from which it sailed southwest 790 leagues to the entrance of these straits in the 60th parallel of latitude; also that the straits were supposed to be a passage between Asia on the west, and America on the east, leading from this great North sea into the great South sea.] The entrance into the South sea, near the harbor, is more than a quarter of a league in width, and thence the passage runs in an oblique direction, increasing the distance between the two coasts. In the middle of the strait, at the termination of the third turn, is a great rock, and an islet, formed by a rugged rock, three estadias (11,000 feet) in height, more or less; its form is round and its diameter may be two hundred paces; its distance from the land of Asia is very little; but the sea on that side is full of shoals and reefs, and can only be navigated by boats. The distance between this islet arid the continent of America is less than a quarter of a league in width; and, although its channel is so deep that two and even three ships might sail almost through it, two bastions might be built on the banks with little trouble, which would contract the channel to within the reach of a musket shot.
Such is the only detailed description of the Straits of Anian, and it is thus given in full because of the effect it had upon maritime explorations for two centuries thereafter. The author was evidently well posted on the maps and geographical theories of the day, and prepared his narrative with careful consideration of them; but he failed in his cunning scheme, as the Council of the Indies not only denied his petition for a reward, but also declined to entrust him with the fortification and defense of the valuable passage he claimed to have discovered. That to this story there was a foundation of fact is within the limits of possibility. There may have been made prior to the time the memorial was presented, some voyage to the extreme northern Atlantic coast of America, of which no record has been preserved. To have made the voyage claimed as high as the 75th parallel and passed through long straits into an open sea, traversing this southwest 790 leagues (about 3,000 miles) is plainly impossible. That, like Cortereal nearly a century before, he may have passed around the coast of Labrador and through the straits, which are near the 60th parallel, into Hudson's bay, is possible; and, like his great predecessor, he may have assumed that this sea could be followed until the supposed strait leading into the South sea was found. Believing thoroughly in this theory, Maldonado may have written this fictitious narrative with the hope that it would gain for him the command of an expedition to go in search of the straits and take possession of them. One thing is noticeable, and that is that in Behring's straits we find the old theory that but a short and narrow passage separated Asia and America was a correct one.
The next supposed discovery of the Straits of Anian which attracted much attention, was that claimed to have been made by Juan de Fuca while in the Spanish service in the Pacific in 1592. The only account or record of this voyage was published in 1625 in the celebrated historical and geographical volume called "The Pilgrims," edited by Samuel Purchas, being "A note made by Michael Lock, the elder, touching the Strait of Sea commonly called Fretum Anian, in the South Sea, through the Northwest Passage of Meta Incognita," Since this reputed voyage entered largely
24 PACIFIC COAST.
into the discussion and settlement of "The Oregon question," the main portion of Mr. Lock's document is given, without attempting to preserve the Old English orthography. It says:
When I was in Venice, in April, 1596, haply arrived there an old man, about sixty years of age, called, commonly, Juan de Fuca, but named properly Apostolas Valerianus, of nation a Greek, born in Cephalonia, of profession a mariner, and an ancient pilot of ships. This man, being come lately out of Spain, arrived first at Leghorn, and went thence to Florence, where he found one John Douglas, an Englishman, a famous mariner, ready coming for Venice, to be pilot of a Venetian ship for England, in whose company they came both together to Venice. And John Douglas being acquainted with me before, he gave me knowledge of this Greek pilot, and brought him to my speech; and, in long talks and conference between us, in presence of John Douglas, this Greek pilot declared, in the Italian and Spanish languages, this much in effect as followeth :
First, he said he had been in the West Indies of Spain forty years, and had sailed to and from many places thereof, in the service of the Spaniards.
Also, he said that he was in the Spanish ship which, in returning from the Islands Philippines, towards Nova Spania, was robbed and taken at the Cape California by Captain Candish, Englishman, whereby he lost sixty thousand ducats of his goods.
Also, he said that he was pilot of three small ships which the Viceroy of Mexico sent from Mexico, armed with one hundred men, under a captain, Spaniards, to discover the Straits of Anian, along the coast of the South Sea, and to fortify in that strait, to resist the passage and proceedings of the English nation, which were forced to pass through those straits into the South Sea; and that, by reason of a mutiny which happened among the soldiers for the misconduct of their captain, that voyage was overthrown, and the ship returned from California to Nova Spania, without anything done in that voyage; and that, after their return, the captain 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 again, in 1592, with a small caravel and a pinnace, armed with mariners only, to follow the said voyage for the discovery of the Straits of Anian, and the passage thereof into the sea, which they call the North Sea, which is our northwest sea; and that he followed his course, in that voyage, west and northwest in the South Sea, all along the coast of Nova Spania, and California, and the Indies, now called North America, (all which voyage he signified to me in a great map, and a sea-card of my own, which I laid before him), until he came to the latitude of 47 degrees , and that, there finding that the land trended north and northwest, with a broad inlet of sea, between 47 and 48 degrees of latitude, he entered thereinto, sailing therein more than twenty days, and found that land trending still sometime northwest, and northeast, and north, and also east and southeastward, and very much broader sea than was at the said entrance, and that he passed by divers islands in that sailing; and that, at the entrance of this said strait, there is, on the northwest coast thereof, a great headland or island, with an exceeding high pinnacle, or spired rock, like a pillar, thereupon.
Also, he said that he went on land in divers places, and that he saw some people on land clad in beasts' skins; and that the land is very fruitful, and rich of gold, silver, pearls, and other things, like Nova Spania.
Also, he said that he being entered thus far into the said strait, and being come into the North Sea already, and finding the sea wide enough everywhere, and to be about thirty or forty leagues wide in the mouth of the straits where he entered, he thought he had now well discharged his office; and that, not being armed to resist the force of the savage people that might happen, he therefore set sail, and returned homewards again towards Nova Spania, where he arrived at Acapulco, Anno 1592, hoping to be rewarded by the Viceroy for this service done in the said voyage.
* * * [Here follows an account of his vain endeavors for three years to secure a proper recognition of his services by the Viceroy or the Spanish monarch, and his resolution to return to his native land to die among his countrymen.] * * *
Also, he said he thought the cause of his ill-reward had of the Spaniards, to be for that they did understand very well that the English nation had now given over all their voyages for discovery
PACIFIC COAST. 25
of the northwest passage; wherefore they need not fear them any more to come that way into the South Sea, and therefore they needed not his service therein any more.
Also, he said that, understanding the noble mind of the Queen of England, and of her wars against the Spaniards, and hoping that her majesty would do him justice for his goods lost by Captain Candish, he would be content to go into England, and serve her majesty in that voyage for the discovery perfectly of the northwest passage into the South Sea, if she would furnish him with only one ship of forty tons' burden, and a pinnace, and that he would perform it in thirty days' time, from one end to the other of the strait, and he willed me so to write to England.
And, from conference had twice with the said Greek pilot, I did write thereof, accordingly, to England, unto the right honorable the old Lord Treasurer Cecil, and to Sir Walter Raleigh, and to Master Richard Hakluyt, that famous cosmographer, certifying them hereof. And I prayed them to disburse one hundred pounds, to bring the said Greek pilot into England, with myself, for that my own purse would not stretch so wide at that time. And I had answer that this action was well liked and greatly desired in England; but the money was not ready, and therefore this action died at that time, though the said Greek pilot, perchance, liveth still in his own country, in Cephalonia, towards which place he went within a fortnight after this conference had at Venice.
The remainder of the long document gives the details of correspondence held by Lock with Juan de Fuca during the next few years, showing that up to 1598 the pilot was still willing to go with him to England, but that in 1602, when Lock had finally finished his business in Venice and prepared to return to England, a letter to the Greek failed to elicit a response, and the writer heard a little later that the old navigator was dead.
Much controversy has been and is still being carried on among historians as to whether such a person as Juan de Fuca ever lived, or such a voyage as Lock described was ever made. Mexican and Spanish records of the period have been carefully searched by those eager to prove the truth of this narrative, without revealing any confirmatory evidence whatever. The negative the records, of course, could not establish. The voyage must stand or fall by the manner in which the narrator's geographical descriptions bear the light of modern investigation. One thing is clearly noticeable; its geographical descriptions of regions claimed to have been visited are far more accurate than those of any navigator of the preceding or subsequent century in any quarter of the globe; and the narrative is entirely free from those extravagant assertions in regard to the wonderful wealth of the people or magnificence of their cities, contained in the accounts of voyages whose authenticity can not be questioned, which assertions were always found to have been grossly exaggerated and often wholly the creatures of imagination. Prima facie, then, it is more authentic than accounts of nearly contemporaneous voyages of which undisputable records exist. Now to examine its statements by the clear light of facts. Juan de Fuca locates his passage between 47° and 48° of latitude, while the fact is that between the 48th and 49th, just such a passage as he describes exists. This is the entrance to Puget sound and is still known as the Straits of Fuca. His account of the passage, its leading off in all directions and its many islands, is substantially correct, and his error in locating the entrance a few miles to the south is a far less grievous one than those made in every account handed down to us of those times. The advanced age, length of time elapsed and annoyances of his long efforts to secure his just reward, could easily account for so slight an error when detailing the circumstances from memory alone; and it must be remembered that the account was written by Lock, a second party, and is liable to
26 PACIFIC COAST.
slight errors in statement, though probably none very material, as Lock was an intelligent and respectable merchant and appears to have been an extremely careful and methodical man. Fuca was in the passage twenty days, though he does not state that he sailed straight along through it all this time, but must of necessity have spent fully half his time in circumnavigating islands and running into bays while endeavoring to follow the main channel. At the end of this time, saying nothing about the number of miles traveled, he came out again into the open sea, supposing himself to have passed through into another ocean. Here arises the difficulty most historians have in reconciling the narrative with the facts; and the difficulty exists, not in the narrative itself, but in the fact that these historians have not sufficiently acquainted themselves with the geographical theories which obtained at the time of Fuca's voyage. They seem to think, that he must necessarily have supposed that he had gone clear through the continent into the Atlantic, an utter impossibility. Such was most certainly not the case. The Straits of Anian were at that time believed to be a passage running north and south, separating the continents of Asia and America, and extending from the South sea to the North sea. Across this North sea it was many hundred leagues around the north end of America before reaching the Atlantic. In sailing in a generally northward direction, therefore, between Vancouver island and the main land of British Columbia and finally entering again into the Pacific ocean, it was most natural for him to suppose that he had passed from the South sea through the Straits of Anian into the North sea. He did not claim to have sailed eastward, as so many historians seem to assume, for had the passage led so far in that direction he would have doubted its identity with the Straits of Anian; nor did he claim to have entered the Atlantic, but simply the North sea. It seems then that the only evidence against its authenticity is the negative one of there being no record of such a voyage in Spanish archives; and this is at least partially explained by the statement that neither the viceroy nor the king would recognize the services of the navigator. For this reason, they may have permitted no record of the voyage to be made. If Juan de Fuca made the voyage as narrated, then Spain's claim to the country for some distance above Puget sound, so far as the right of discovery is concerned, was a good one, and the title conveyed from her through France to the United States good to an equal degree. Another argument against it is the fact that even at the time Fuca was pouring his tale into the willing ear of the English merchant, another Spanish expedition was engaged in looking for this passage, and in the letter ordering the exploration the reasons for doing so are set forth at length, though no allusion is made to the Greek, who, according to Lock's narrative must have been importuning the king for his reward at the very time the letter was written. It may be argued, however, that Fuca's statements to the king may have been what induced him to order this expedition, instead of the causes set forth in the royal mandate.
In 1708 there was printed in a London magazine entitled Monthly Miscellany, or Memoirs of the Curious, a most absurd and self-contradictory account of a voyage said to have been made in 1640 from the Pacific to the Atlantic through a great chain of lakes. Though it was probably invented by James Petiver, an eminent naturalist and contributor to the magazine, yet it created a great sensation in England, France and Holland, and was received with considerable faith for more than half a century.
PACIFIC COAST. 27
The narrator states that Admiral Pedro Bartholomè de Fontè, sailed from Callao in April, 1640, with orders from the viceroy of Peru to explore the Pacific for a northwest passage and to intercept some Boston vessels which had been reported as bound upon the same mission on the Atlantic coast. Since Boston was in 1640 but a small struggling settlement and the Puritans were not looking for any northwest passage, it would seem as though this statement alone was enough to have condemned the entire narrative; but as it was not published for sixty-eight years after that date probably neither the writer nor the people stopped to consider the absurdity. The story informs us that at Cape San Lucas Fontè detached one of his four vessels to explore the Gulf of California and with the others continued up the coast. Having sailed for a long time among islands which he named Archipelago of St. Lazarus, he finally reached, in latitude 53 degrees, the mouth of a large stream christened by him Rio de los Reyes, or River of Kings. He sent one vessel further up the coast under the command of Bernardo, and then entered the river and followed it northwesterly until it opened out into an immense lake filled with beautiful islands, which he named Lake Belle. It was surrounded by a fine country, and the inhabitants were very hospitable in their treatment of the strangers. Leaving his vessels at their large town, called Conasset, on the south shore of the lake, Fontè and some of his party continued their journey down a large stream called Parmentier, though whether in boats or on foot along the bank the narrative is silent, until they entered another lake further east. This he named in his own honor, and then proceeded through a passage, called Strait of Ronquillo in honor of one of his captains, into the Atlantic ocean, having thus passed entirely through the American continent by water. It then goes on to state that he encountered a Boston ship commanded by Nicholas Shapley, with whom, also, was the owner, Seymour Gibbons, "a fine gentleman, and major general of the largest colony in New England, called Maltechusetts." After exchanging courtesies with these strangers, whom he decided to treat simply as traders and not as hostile explorers for the northwest passage, he returned by the water route to Lake La Belle and thence in his vessels to the Pacific, where he was again joined by Bernardo. The journey claimed to have been made in the meantime by this lieutenant is equally wonderful. Having coasted as far as the 61st degree of latitude Bernardo discovered a great river, up which he ascended till he, also, emerged into a large lake. He named these Rio de Haro and Lake Velasco. From the lake he went in canoes to the 79th parallel, but as the land was seen "still trending north, and the ice rested on the land," he concluded to return. He was satisfied "that there was no communication out of the Atlantic sea by Davis's strait; for the natives had conducted one of his seamen to the head of Davis's strait, which terminated in a fresh lake, of about thirty miles in circumference, in the 80th degree of north latitude; and there were prodigious mountains north of it." Satisfied from the report of Bernardo and his own observations that the Straits of Anian did not exist, Fontè returned with his fleet to Peru.
This story, so absurd in the light of modern research, and which was not published till long after the explorers, if, indeed, there were any, had become imperishable dust, was received with great credence; though it was in every particular contradictory to those of Maldonado and Juan de Fuca. For fifty years it was copied into all works upon North America and many maps of the continent had indicated upon them a pas-
28 PACIFIC COAST.
sage such as Fontè's was supposed to have been; and during the eighteenth century all explorers of the northwest coast searched for the Rio de los Reyes, while inland expeditions from the Atlantic coast kept the fact that such a river existed constantly before them.
These various narratives, so entirely unreconcilable with each other, all had their firm supporters, and efforts have been made by historians at different times to prove each one of them to be an approximately correct account of a veritable voyage, but without success. The only one that can exist for a moment in the light of the geographical knowledge of to-day is that of the Greek pilot, Juan de Fuca, and to prove that, except by inference and comparison, is impossible. They all served their purpose, however, to stimulate the spirit of exploration, which has resulted in the spread of knowledge and the advancement of civilization.
VOYAGES IN THE PACIFIC AND ATLANTIC.
Voyages of Viscaino--His Vain Efforts to have San Diego and Monterey Occupied--The Lethargy of Spain-- Explorations of Henry Hudson and William Baffin-- Dutch Navigators find the Atlantic and Pacific to be Connected by an Open Sea and name Cape Horn--Freebooters Swarm into the Pacific by the New Route--Feeble Efforts of Spain to Protect her Commerce--Attempt to Colonize Lower California--Organization of the Hudson's Bay Company.
If Juan de Fuca's statement was true, then the. Spanish monarch was simply feigning indifference about finding and taking possession of the northwest passage; for in 1595, while the old pilot was in Spain, Philip II. ordered a survey of the Pacific
coast. Of this move Torquemada says :
His majesty knew that the viceroys of Mexico had endeavored to discover a northern passage; and he had found, among his father's papers, a declaration of certain strangers, to the effect that they had been driven, by violent winds, from the codfish coast on the Atlantic, to the South Sea, through the Strait of Anian, which is beyond Cape Mendocino, and had, on their way, seen a rich and populous city, well fortified, and inhabited by a numerous and civilized nation, who had treated them well; as also many other things worthy to be seen and known. His majesty had also been informed that ships, sailing from China to Mexico, ran great risks, particularly near Cape Mendocino, where the storms are most violent, and that it would be advantageous to have that coast surveyed thence to Acapulco, so that the ships, mostly belonging to his majesty, should find places for relief and refreshment when needed. Whereupon his majesty ordered the Count de Monterey, Viceroy of Mexico, to have those coasts surveyed, at his own expense, with all care and diligence.
The phrase in italics in the above extract accounts for much of the delay in fully exploring the northern Pacific coast of America, for the viceroys of Mexico were strikingly similar to the office-holders of to-day in their manner of carrying out enterprises that were to be executed at their own expense. Writing half a century later Venegas gives the following for the anxiety of Spain to learn more of the coast. It was the fear
PACIFIC COAST. 29
That in the meantime the English should find out the so-much-desired passage to the South Sea, by the north of America and above California, which passage is not universally denied, and one day may be found; that they may fortify themselves on both sides of this passage, and thus extend the English dominion from the north to the south of America, so as to border on our possessions. Should English colonies and garrisons be established along the coast of America on the South Sea beyond Cape Mendocino, or lower down on California itself, England would then, without control, reign mistress of the sea and its commerce, and be able to threaten by land and sea the territories of Spain; invade them on occasion from the E., W., N. and S., hem them in and press them on all sides.
In compliance with his sovereign's mandate, the viceroy dispatched three vessels from Acapulco in the spring of 1596, under the command of Sebastian Viscaino. Beyond an attempt to plant two colonies, both of which were unsuccessful because of the sterility of the country and the savage hostility of the natives, nothing was accomplished by this feeble pretense of obeying instructions. The viceroy was not permitted to thus shirk the expense of making a proper survey of the coast; for though he was respited for a time by the death of the king in 1598, one of the first acts of Philip III. after being securely seated upon the throne, was to command the viceroy to attend to this matter without further delay. Viscaino was, in consequence, again sent out, this time upon a genuine voyage of exploration. His two vessels and small fragata were furnished with all the necessaries of an extended cruise, and he was accompanied by pilots, draftsmen and priests, so that advantage could be taken of all discoveries and proper records and charts made of them.
The fleet sailed from Acapulco May 5, 1602, and began exploring the coast at the southern extremity of the peninsula of California. They were much baffled by a wind blowing almost constantly from the northwest, which Torquemada says was produced "by the foe of the human race, in order to prevent the advance of the ships, and to delay the discovery of those countries, and the conversion of their inhabitants to the Catholic faith." Added to this difficulty was the terrible malady, the scurvy, which made sad inroads upon the health of the crews. They continued up the coast in spite of these discouraging circumstances, entering the ports of San Quentin, San Diego and Monterey. Here it was found that sixteen of the seamen had died and that many others were incapacitated by disease from performing duty; and it was decided to send back the ship commanded by Toribio Gomez de Corvan with the invalids. Corvan reached Acapulco after a long and terrible journey with but few of the crew of his vessel alive.
A few days later, on the third of January, 1603, the two remaining vessels renewed the voyage, and were soon separated in a gale, from the fury of which the larger one took refuge in a bay spoken of in the record of the voyage as San Francisco, where search was made for a Spanish galleon which had been wrecked there in 1595. Torquemada says: "He anchored behind a point of rocks called La Punta de los Rayes, in the port of San Francisco." It seems impossible that this could have been San Francisco bay; for one of the chief objects of the voyage was to find a harbor of refuge and supply for vessels in the Manila trade, and yet upon his return Viscaino recommended San Diego and Monterey as being the only ones at all suitable for that purpose; yet it will be remembered that in later years, before any absolute record of the discovery of this bay was made, a chart upon which such a bay was indicated was found by an Englishman on a captured Manila galleon. The probabilities are, however,
30 PACIFIC COAST.
that the bay Viscaino entered was Drake's bay, just north of the Golden Gate, the place where Sir Francis Drake a few years before had enacted his farce of taking possesion of the country in the name of the queen of England. Viscaino resumed his journey and on the twentieth of January reached a point on the coast opposite a large white bluff, in latitude 42°, which he named Cape San Sebastian. The weather being cold and stormy, his crew being nearly all disabled by the scurvy, and being unable to discover any sign of the other vessel, Viscaino turned back at this point, and reached Mexico in March. The fragata proceeded north when separated from the ship off San Francisco bay, and encountering another severe storm took refuge near Cape Mendocino. Of the remainder of its explorations Torquemada says: "When the wind had became less violent they continued their journey close along the shore; and, on the nineteenth of January, the pilot, Antonio Flores, found that they were in the latitude of 43 degrees, where the land formed a cape or point, which was named Cape Blanco. From that point the coast begins to turn to the northwest; and near it was discovered a rapid and abundant river, with ash trees, willows, brambles, and other trees of Castile on its banks, which they endeavored to enter, but could not from the force of the current. Ensign Martin de Aguilar, the commander, and Antonio Flores, the pilot, seeing that they had already reached a higher latitude than was ordered by the viceroy in his instructions, that the Captaina [Viscaino's vessel] did not appear, and that the number of sick was great, agreed to return to Acapulco."
The fragata reached Acapulco soon after the larger vessel, the ravages of the scurvy having deprived it of its commander, pilot and the greater portion of the crew on the return voyage. This disease and its cause do not appear to have been well understood at that time. The suffering it caused was most terrible, and it is remarkable what fortitude the Spaniards displayed in continuing their voyages during the prevalence of such a horrible malady. In describing their sufferings, Torquemada says: ''Nor is the least ease to be expected from change of place, as the slightest motion is attended with such severe pains that they must be very fond of life who would not willingly lay it down on the first appearance of so terrible a distemper. This virulent humour makes such ravages in the body that it is entirely covered with ulcers, and the poor patients are unable to bear the least pressure; even the very clothes laid on them deprive them of life. Thus they lie groaning and incapable of any relief. For the greatest assistance possible to be given them, if I may be allowed the expression, is not to touch them, nor even the bed clothes. These effects, however melancholy, are not the only ones produced by this pestilential humour. In many, the gums, both of the upper and lower jaws, are pressed both within and without to such a degree, that the teeth cannot touch one another, and withal so loose and bare that they shake with the least motion of the head, and some of the patients spit their teeth out with their saliva. Thus they were unable to receive any food but liquid, as gruel, broth, milk of almonds and the like. This gradually brought on so great a weakness that they died while talking to their friends. * * * Some, by way of ease, made loud complaints, others lamented their sins with the deepest contrition, some died talking, some sleeping, some eating, some whilst sitting up in their beds."
The great river said to have been discovered by this expedition attracted much attention at the time. The historian quoted above said of it: "It is supposed that
PACIFIC COAST. 31
this river is the one leading to a great city, which was discovered by the Dutch when they were driven thither by storms, and that it is the Strait of Anian, through which the ship passed in sailing from the North sea to the South sea; and that the city called Quivira is in those parts; and that this is the region referred to in the account which his majesty read, and which induced him to order this expedition." No great river exists in latitude 43 degrees; but it is well known that the navigators of that period were seldom accurate in their observations, often varying as much as half a degree, and it is quite possible the stream referred to may have been the Umpqua. A few years later it was supposed that this stream was one end of a passage extending from the Gulf of California to Cape Blanco, making of California a huge island, and this idea was supported by the knowledge of the Colorado river, which had been explored many miles to the northward. Venegas, writing in the seventeenth century, speaks of California as an island, and it was so designated on all maps until the end of the century. After this was discovered to be a mistake, the river was laid down on some maps as a large stream flowing from the interior of the continent--such a stream as the Columbia-- or as the western end of a passage leading from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Very little was known of the width of the continent; and geographers supposed it was but a short distance between the South sea and North sea. They had no idea that a passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans would have been 4,000 miles in length. Upon his return to Mexico Viscaino strongly urged the viceroy to establish supply stations at San Diego and Monterey and to thus take possession of a country which he was satisfied, from what he learned by careful inquiry among the natives he encountered along the coast, was extremely fertile and rich in the precious metals; but the viceroy had too much consideration for his personal interests, since the expense of such an undertaking would have fallen solely upon himself, and neglected to utilize the information thus obtained. Viscaino, disgusted with the viceroy's inactivity, departed for Spain to present his views at court; and after long delay and persistent importuning secured a royal mandate to the viceroy, commanding him to establish a supply station for the India trade at Monterey. This order was issued in 1606, and with it Viscaino hastened to Mexico; but before the final preparations were completed he was taken sick and died, and the colonizing enterprise was abandoned. With no enthusiastic explorer to arouse him to action and with no hostile fleets in the Pacific to annoy him, the Spanish monarch apparently thought no more of the Pacific coast or the northwest passage, and a few years later there was enough to occupy his attention at home. He ordered no more voyages of exploration, and the viceroys were careful to undertake none upon their own responsibility, nor any other enterprise unless the immediate prospective profits were great. For a hundred and sixty years Spain made no further effort to extend her explorations of the coast, nor did she even attempt the establishment of colonies at San Diego or Monterey, either for the purpose of taking possession of the country or forming refuge and supply stations for vessels returning from India. With the exception of the annual galleon which reached the coast on its return voyage in the latitude of Cape Mendocino, no Spanish vessel visited our shores for a century and a half. Not even the mythical straits, the fabulous city of Quivira, the untold riches and many wonderful objects supposed to exist in this vast unknown territory, were potent to arouse Spain from her lethargy. She made a few feeble efforts to protect her commerce at times
32 PACIFIC COAST.
during this period when attacked by roving privateers, but her attempts at colonization in Lower California, which will be spoken of later on, met with little success". There seemed to be no new Cortes, Pizarro, De Leon, Balboa or De Soto. The spirit of adventure was dead. Spain had passed her zenith and was rapidly on the decline. Wars with the Netherlands, France and Portugal were most disastrous. Power, wealth and territory rapidly decreased, and in a century she declined from the foremost position in the world to that of a second rate power, and has never been able to regain her lost ground. With such disasters crowding upon her in the Old World, her apathy in the New was but a natural result,
Though Spain had ceased her voyages of exploration, such was not the case with her powerful European neighbors, who were indefatigable in their efforts to explore and colonize the Atlantic coast of America. The English, French and Dutch planted colonies on the coast, while their hardy navigators unremittingly explored its bays, rivers, straits and sounds. Uppermost in the minds of all was the northwest passage. The stories of its discovery which have already been related, and many others unworthy of repetition, kept the Straits of Anian constantly in the public mind. In 1608 Henry Hudson passed into and to a certain extent explored the bay upon which he bestowed his name; yet he was but following the route pursued by Cortereal more than a century before, whose theory that it connected with the Indian ocean had given rise to this universal belief in the mythical straits. In 1616 William Baffin penetrated into the bay that bears his name, lying between America and Greenland, and entered a passage extending westward near the 74th parallel, but was unable to proceed because of the vast quantities of ice. This voyage and others made into the extreme north, proved conclusively that no open passage could be possible in the 75th degree of latitude, where Maldonado had located his tortuous channel leading from the Atlantic to the North sea, and geographers became convinced that if such a passage and sea existed they were the straits and bay explored and named by Hudson. The belief was natural, then, that if found at all, the Straits of Anian should be looked for in some of the many unexplored arms of Hudson's bay. For a time, however, after Baffin's voyage, England was so engrossed in her own troubles that neither Royalists nor Commoners had time or inclination to prosecute foreign explorations.
The expeditions of the Dutch were chiefly to the southward, and in 1616 Lemaire and Van Schouten made a most important discovery. It was that in passing from the Atlantic to the Pacific, it was unnecessary to tempt the dangers of Magellan's straits, but that to the south of these there existed an open sea. Though the passage of Cape Horn, named by them in honor of the city in Holland from which they came, was still a tempestuous one, it served to remove the fear all seaman entertained of undertaking to cross from one ocean to the other through the narrow and rocky channel above Terra del Fuego. This discovery was nearly as disastrous to Spanish commerce in the Pacific as that of the much feared one from the North sea could possibly have been; for there now existed no obstacle to prevent hostile vessels from entering or leaving the Pacific at will, since the open sea was too large to be guarded even had Spain the necessary vessels of war for such a purpose.
Spain was now involved in European wars, and to the disasters that were showered upon her head at home were added others in America, English, French and Dutch
PACIFIC COAST. 33
buccaneers, and especially the latter during the war for independence by the Netherlands, ravaged the Spanish settlements on the Pacific coast. Dutch privateers frequented the Gulf of California, from which they preyed upon the Spanish commerce and enriched themselves with captured booty. By their victims they were known as Pichilingues, because the bay of Pichilingue, on the western side of the gulf, was made their chief point of rendezvous.
Spain made a few feeble and spasmodic efforts to dislodge these piratical pests and protect her plundered commerce, by sending out expeditions against them and by attempting to plant a colony on Lower California as a base of defensive operations. In 1631, 1644, 1664, 1667 and 1668 such efforts were made; but they were wholly fruitless, and in no instance were the enterprises conducted with the vigor and courage displayed by the Spanish adventurers of a century before. A final effort was made in 1683 by Don Isdro de Otondo, who headed an expedition of soldiers, settlers and Jesuit priests whom he established at various points, making La Paz the headquarters and chief settlement and building there a chapel for worship and to aid in the conversion of the natives. Father Kino was in charge of the religious part of the enterprise, and set about learning the Indian language, and soon translated into their tongue the creeds of the Catholic Church. The effort lasted about three years, during which time they were visited with an eighteen months' drought, and before they had recovered from the blow, received orders to put to sea, and bring into Acapulco safely the Spanish galleon, then in danger of capture by Dutch privateers lying in wait for her. This was successfully accomplished, the treasure-ship was conveyed safely in, but the act resulted in the abandonment of the colony; and a council of chief authorities in Mexico soon after decided that the reduction of California by such means was impracticable.
After Charles II. came to the throne of England, from which his father had been driven by the austere Cromwell, attention was again turned by that nation to explorations for the northwest passage. The belief that in Hudson's bay would be found the entrance to the mythical straits, led to the organization of the Hudson's Bay Company, to which the king granted, in 1669, the whole region whose waters flow into that great inland sea. The objects of "The company of adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay," as expressed in the charter, were those of trade and the discovery of a passage leading into the Pacific ocean. It was not long, however, before the company learned that its franchise for trading purposes was an exceedingly valuable one, and that the discovery of a passage through its dominions, which would of necessity invoke competition from other organizations, was highly undesirable. From that time it not only made no effort to discover the passage, but discouraged all such expeditions, even keeping as secret as possible all geographical knowledge acquired by its agents, which policy obtains even to the present day, and which has kept as a fur-bearing wilderness the whole northern half of the North American continent.
RUSSIA ENTERS THE PACIFIC.
Russia a New Factor in the Contest of Nations--Plans of Peter the Great--Behring's First Voyage Proves that Asia and America are Distinct Continents--Voyage of the St. Paul--Behring Reaches the American Coast and Expires on the Return Voyage--Terrible Suffering of the Crew--Beginning of the Pacific Fur Trade--Result of Russian Explorations.
Though France confined her attention to inland explorations from her Canadian colonies, England to fostering her colonies in America and exploring the north Atlantic coast, and Holland to the founding of New Amsterdam and the plundering of the Spanish commerce and settlements in the south Pacific; yet the North Pacific coast was not wholly neglected during the first half of the eighteenth century. A new and almost unexpected factor made itself felt in the Pacific, and this was the powerful and autocratic monarch of Russia. Peter the Great had redeemed Russia from a state of almost utter barbarity and set it on the highway to civilization and national power. In the arts of war and peace he had patiently instructed his people, had cemented their national union, had awakened a national pride and love of power within their bosoms, had extended his domain and increased the number of his subjects, and had made of a people formerly scarcely thought of when the affairs of Europe were discussed, one of the most influential nations of the world. It was his constant aim and the legacy he left to his successors, to extend the power of Russia on all sides, to build up the nation and make it the foremost on the globe, and the czars have never relaxed their efforts to accomplish this mighty purpose. Gradually the dominion of the czar was pushed eastward until his authority extended across the whole of Siberia to the Pacific at the peninsula of Kamtchatka. The rich furs of that region became a source of revenue to the government which Peter was desirous of increasing. He wanted to extend his power still further east to the American settlements of the English, Spanish and French, though how far that was neither he nor anyone else had the least conception. To this desire is due the discovery and exploration of the northern Pacific coasts of both Asia and America. Peter commanded vessels to be built at Kamtchatka, and at Archangel on the White sea, that they might endeavor, the one in the Arctic and the other in the Pacific, to find the long-sought northwest passage, or as they viewed it a northeast passage. It was Peter's idea that vessels could sail from the Atlantic through the Arctic ocean and enter the Pacific by the way of this passage, provided America did not prove to be simply an eastern extension of Asia; but Peter died before his project was executed, and the scheme lay dormant for a few years.
In 1728 the great Catherine determined to carry out her husband's plans for Pacific exploration, and agreeably to his former instructions she ordered an expedition to be prepared on the northeast coast of Kamtchatka, which she placed under the com-
PACIFIC COAST. 35
mand of a Danish navigator of skill and courage, Vitus Behring, who had been designated by Peter for that position before his death. He sailed on the the fourteenth of July in a small vessel, and followed along the coast of Asia east and north until in latitude 67° 18' he found it steadily trending westward, and was satisfied he was then in the Arctic and following the northern coast to the west. Convinced that he had fulfilled his instructions and demonstrated the fact that Asia and America were separate continents, and being unprepared for a winter voyage, he returned to Kamtchatka. How far America lay to the eastward of Asia he knew not, for no land had been observed in that direction, and he was totally ignorant of the fact that he had, both in going and returning, passed through the narrow channel separating the two continents and been within a few miles of the American shore. This was made evident a few years later, and Behring's name was bestowed upon the straits. The elusive northwest passage had been found, though it took many years to discover that as a means of communication between the Atlantic and Pacific it was absolutely impracticable. That Behring's passage meets the requirements of the Straits of Anian as depicted by Maldonado, both in latitude and general features, cannot be denied, but to navigate the North sea as described by him and to pass through the tortuous straits he locates in the 75th parallel into the Atlantic is utterly impossible; and, therefore, Behring's straits cannot be looked upon as lending any support to the romance with which the unscrupulous Maldonado regaled the Council of the Indies.
The next year Behring undertook to reach America by sailing directly eastward, but adverse winds forced him into the Gulf of Okotsk, and he abandoned the undertaking and proceeded to St. Petersburg. During the next few years many other expeditions by land and sea, one of which was driven upon the coast of Alaska in 1732, more clearly defined the Asiatic coast, and the nature of the passage between it and America. The Empress Anne prepared for another expedition, but dying before it was ready to sail, was succeeded by Elizabeth, who dispatched two vessels, the St. Peter and St. Paul, from the Bay of Avatscha on the fourth of June. The former was commanded by Behring and the latter by Alexei Tchirikof, who had been his lieutenant on the former voyage. The vessels were soon separated in a gale and were not again united. Tchirikof returned on the eighth of October, having reached a group of islands on the coast in latitude 56 degrees, where sixteen of his men were slaughtered by the natives, and having lost twenty-one of his crew by scurvy, including the distinguished French naturalist Delile de Crayere.
Of the discoveries made by Behring and the sufferings endured by the crew of the St. Peter, the only record is that of a journal kept by Steller, the German surgeon and naturalist, which was first published in full in 1795, though its tenor and leading features were known at a much earlier date. Its nautical and geographical details are not as definite as could be desired. It seems that Behring sailed south-easterly as far as the 46th parallel without encountering land and then steered to the northeast as far as the 60th degree, when he discovered an immense snow-covered mountain which he named St. Elias because it was first seen on the eighteenth of July, the day assigned to that saint in the Russian calender. Entering a narrow passage between an island and the mainland a strong current of discolored water was observed, indicating the pres-
36 PACIFIC COAST.
ence of a large river whose size proved the land through which it flowed to be of continental proportions. The conclusion was at once reached that America had been found; but Behring, who was ill, refused to explore the coast to the southeast in the direction of the Spanish possessions, and set out upon the return voyage. Delayed and baffled by violent winds and the many islands of the Aleutian group, but slow progress was made. For two months they wandered or were driven about by furious winds in the open sea to the south of the archipelago, famine and disease claiming their victims almost daily. "The general distress and mortality," says the journal of the surgeon, "increased so fast that not only the sick died, but those who pretended to be healthy when released from their posts fainted and fell down dead; of which the scantiness of water, the want of biscuits and brandy, cold, wet, nakedness, vermin, and terror, were not the least causes." On the fifth of November they landed upon an island with the purpose of spending the winter there, and constructed huts from the wreck of their vessel which was dashed by the waves upon the beach soon after the landing was effected. Behring died on the eighth of December, and during the winter thirty of the crew followed him. The survivors, having lived upon sea and land animals killed on the island, constructed a small vessel from pieces of the wreck, and succeeded in reaching the Bay of Avatscha the following August. The little island where they had spent the winter and where were buried their commander and so many of their comrades, they named Behring's Isle; it lies about eighty miles from the Kamtchatkan coast, and consists of granite peaks thrust up from mid ocean, against which the waves dash with ceaseless fury.
No disposition was manifested by the rulers of Russia to prosecute further discoveries for more than twenty years. Individual enterprise, however accomplished something. The returning survivors of Behring's ill-fated expedition took with them the skins of animals which had served them as food during that terrible winter, and sold them at high prices. This led to short voyages eastward in quest of furs, the beginning of that enormous fur trade in the Pacific which was for years a bone of contention between nations and which led to the first settlement and occupation of Oregon. It is thus described by Greenhow:
"The trade thus commenced was, for a time, carried on by individual adventurers, each of whom was alternately a seaman, a hunter, and a merchant; at length, however, some capitalists in Siberia employed their funds in the pursuit, and expeditions to the islands were, in consequence, made on a more extensive scale, and with greater regularity and efficiency. Trading stations were established at particular points, where the furs were collected by persons left for that object; and vessels were sent, at stated periods, from the ports of Asiatic Russia, to carry the articles required for the use of the agents and hunters, or for barter with the natives, and to bring away the skins collected.
"The vessels employed in this commerce were, in all respects, wretched and insecure, the planks being merely attached together, without iron, by leathern thongs; and, as no instruments were used by the traders for determining latitudes and longitudes at sea, their ideas of the relative positions of the places which they visited were vague and incorrect. Their navigation was, indeed, performed in the most simple and unscientific manner possible. A vessel sailing from the Bay of Avatscha, or from Cape
PACIFIC COAST. 37
Lopatka, the southern extremity of Kamtchatka, could not have gone far eastward, without falling in with one of the Aleutian islands, which would serve as a mark for her course to another; and thus she might go on from point to point throughout the whole chain. In like manner she would return to Asia, and if her course and rate of sailing were observed with tolerable care, there could seldom be any uncertainty as to whether she were north or south of the line of the islands. Many vessels were, nevertheless, annually lost, in consequence of this want of knowledge of the coasts, and want of means to ascertain positions at sea; and a large number of those engaged in the trade, moreover, fell victims to cold, starvation and scurvy, and to the enmity of the bold natives of the islands. Even as late as 1806, it was calculated that one-third of these vessels were lost in each year. The history of the Russian trade and establishments on the north Pacific, is a series of details of dreadful disasters and sufferings; and, whatever opinion may be entertained as to the humanity of the adventurers, or the morality of their proceedings, the courage and perseverance displayed by them, in struggling against such appalling difficulties, must command universal admiration.
"The furs collected by these means, at Avatscha and Ochotsk, the principal fur-trading points, were carried to Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia, whence some of them were taken to Europe; the greater portion were, however, sent to Kiakta, a small town just within the Russian frontier, close to the Chinese town of Maimatchin, through which places all the commerce between these two empires passed, agreeably to a treaty concluded at Kiakta in 1728. In return for the furs, which brought higher prices in China than anywhere else, teas, tobacco, rice, porcelain, and silk and cotton goods, were brought to Irkutsk, where all the most valuable of these articles were sent to Europe. These transportations were effected by land, except in some places where the rivers were used as the channel of conveyance, no commercial exportation having been made from Eastern Russia by sea before 1779; and when the immense distances between some of the points above mentioned are considered (Irkutsk to Pekin, 1,300 miles; to Bay of Avatscha, 3,450 miles; to St. Petersburg, 3,760 miles), it becomes evident that none but objects of great value, in comparison with their bulk, at the place of their consumption, could have been thus transported with profit to those engaged in the trade, and that a large portion of the price paid by the consumer must have been absorbed by the expense of transportation. A skin was, in fact, worth at Kiakta three times as much as it cost at Ochotsk."
Such was the crude beginning of that enormous trade in furs which in a few years sprang up in the Pacific, and for which English, American and Russian traders competed. China was then, and is to-day, the greatest consumer of furs, which were for years taken to Pekin overland, as described above; but in 1771 a cargo of peltries was taken direct to Canton under peculiar circumstances. In the month of May a few Polish exiles, sent to that bleak and inhospitable wilderness for political reasons, succeeded in escaping to sea in a small vessel from a harbor on the southwest coast of Kamtchatka, being led by Count Maurice de Benyowsky, a Hungarian. They entered the Pacific and after being driven hither and thither among the islands, stopping frequently to procure furs, they finally arrived at Canton, the first vessel from the North Pacific to reach any ports frequented by ships of other nations, demonstrating the fact that the icy waters about Kamtchatka and Alaska belong to the same great ocean as
38 PACIFIC COAST.
those of the South sea that lashed the rocky bluffs of Cape Horn, or lapped the sands of the Philippines.
Other Russian voyages of exploration were made to the eastward of Kamtchatka in 1766 and 1769; and in 1774 an official account of these voyages was published in St. Petersburg, entitled "Description of the Newly Discovered Islands in the Sea between Asia and America." This was accompanied by a map which embodied the ideas of Pacific coast geography which then prevailed. By it the American coast north of California was made to run northwesterly to the 70th parallel. Between this point and the coast of Asia was represented a broad open sea dotted with islands, many of which bore the same names and were identical with the larger ones of the Atlantic group, though by no means properly located. Alaska, or Aliaska, was represented as a great island with Asia on one side and America on the other, separated from Asia by the narrow channel of Behring's straits, and it was many years before it was known that Alaska was a portion of the main land of America.
SPANISH MISSIONS AND SETTLEMENTS IN CALIFORNIA.
Spain Appeals to the Jesuits for Aid--The Society of Jesus--Plan of Father Kino--The Mission of Our Lady of Loretto Founded by Father Tierra--Attack upon the Mission--Method of Conducting Missionary Work--Expulsion of the Jesuits--The Pearl of Our Lady of Loretto--The Franciscans Invade Alta California--San Diego Founded by Father Junipero Serra--Discovery of San Francisco Bay--The Mission at San Diego Saved from Abandonment by the timely Arrival of Supplies--Founding of Missions at Monterey and San Antonia de Padua--The Growth and Downfall of the Mission System.
For a century and a half after Cortes planted the first colony on the peninsula of California, the viceroys of Mexico, in an indissolute manner, had undertaken to carry out the will of their sovereigns that colonies be established and maintained on the coast of California, but without success. When the Mexican authorities decided that such an undertaking was impossible of accomplishment, the government appealed to the powerful Society of Jesus to undertake the task, hoping thus to win by the cross what could not be conquered with the sword; but an offer of $40,000 annually from the royal treasury to aid them in establishing missions was refused by the Jesuits, and the crown abandoned the hope of accomplishing anything whatever.
At that time the Society of Jesus was the most wealthy and by reason of its secrecy and perfect discipline and the intelligence, devotion and influence of its members, the most powerful organization which has ever existed. It had its ramifications in every land where was the symbol of the cross, and its faithful subjects hesitated not to plunge into the unknown wildernesses of the New World to carry the light of Christianity to the "nations sitting in darkness" far beyond the confines of civilization.
PACIFIC COAST. 39
Their lives weighed as nothing against the glory of their Heavenly Master and the extension of Christ's kingdom upon earth. It mattered not to what nation they belonged, for the French priests in Canada and Louisiana displayed the same zeal as did the Spaniards in Mexico and California. They were imbued with the same spirit and sought the same end--the extension of the kingdom of Jesus and the power of the order which bore his name. Though the government subsidy was declined from motives of policy, the conversion of these heathen nations was determined upon, to be accomplished by the society with its own resources.
With the unsuccessful expedition of Admiral Otondo was a monk who had voluntarily abandoned a lucrative and honorable position to become an emissary of the cross. While lying at the point of death he had made a vow to his patron Saint, Francis Xavier, that if he should recover, he would devote the remaining years of his life to following the noble example of his patron. He recovered, resigned his professorship, and crossed the sea to Mexico, and eventually became a missionary and one of the most zealous members of the Society of Jesus. He was a German by birth, and his name in his native land was Kuhn, but the Spaniards have recorded it as Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. He had become strongly impressed in his visit to the country with the feasibility of a plan by which the land might be taken possession of and held. His object was not alone the conquest of a kingdom, but the conversion of its inhabitants, and the saving of souls. His plan was to go into the country and teach the Indians the principles of the Catholic faith, educate them to support themselves by tilling the soil, and improvement through the experience of the advantages to be obtained by industry; the end of all being to raise up a Catholic province for the Spanish crown, and people Paradise with the souls of converted heathen. The means to be employed in accomplishing this, were the priests of the Society of Jesuits, protected by a small garrison of soldiers and sustained by contributions from those friendly to the enterprise. The mode of applying the means was, to first occupy some favorable place in the country, where a storehouse and a church could be erected that would render the fathers' maintenance and life comparatively secure. This would give them an opportunity to win the confidence of the Indians, by a patient, long-continued, uniform system of affectionate intercourse and just dealing, and then use their appetites as the means by which to convert their souls. These establishments were to be gradually extended northward until Spain had control of the whole coast.
With no hope of reward, except beyond the grave, but with a prospect of defeat and a probability of martyrdom, Father Kino started, on the twentieth of October, 1686, to travel over Mexico, and, by preaching, urge his views and hopes of the enterprise. He soon met on the way a congenial spirit, Father Juan Maria Salva Tierra; and then another, Father Juan Ugarte, added his great executive ability to the cause. Their united efforts resulted in obtaining sufficient funds by subscription. Then they procured a warrant from the king for the order of Jesuits to enter upon the conquest of California at their own expense, for the benefit of the crown. The order was given February 5, 1697, and it had required eleven years of constant urging to procure it. October tenth, of the same year, Salva Tierra sailed from the coast of Mexico to put in operation Kino's long-cherished scheme of conquest. The expedition consisted of one small vessel and a long-boat, in which were provisions, the necessary
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ornaments and furniture for fitting up a rude church, and Father Tierra, accompanied by six soldiers and three Indians. Father Tierra, afterwards visitadore general of the missions of California, was born in Milan, of Spanish ancestry and noble parentage. Having completed his education he joined the Society of Jesus and went to Mexico as a missionary in 1675, where he had labored twenty-two years among the various native tribes. He was robust in health, exceedingly handsome in person, talented, firm and resolute, and filled to overflowing with that religious zeal which shrinks from no form of martyrdom. His associate, Father Juan Ugarte, was equally zealous and possessed of much skill in handling the stubborn and unreasoning natives.
On the nineteenth of October, 1697, they reached the point selected on the east coast of the peninsula, and says Venegas: "The provisions and animals were landed, together with the baggage; the Father, though the head of the expedition, being the first to load his shoulders. The barracks for the little garrison were now built, and a line of circumvallation thrown up. In the center a tent was pitched for a temporary chapel; before it was erected a crucifix, with a garland of flowers. * * * The image of our Lady of Loretto, as patroness of the conquest, was brought in procession from the boat, and placed with proper solemnity. Immediately Father Tierra initiated the plan of conversion. He called together the Indians, explained to them the catechism, prayed over the rosary, and then distributed among them a half bushel of boiled corn. The corn was a success, but the prayers and catechism were "bad medicine." They wanted more corn and less prayers, and helped themselves from the sacks. This was stopped by excluding them from the fort, and they were kindly informed that corn would be forthcoming only as a reward for attendance and attention at devotions. This created immediate hostility, and the natives formed a conspiracy to murder the garrison and possess themselves of the corn without restrictions. Happily the design was discovered and frustrated. A general league was then entered into among several tribes, and a descent was made upon the fort by about five hundred Indians. The priest rushed upon the fortifications and warned them to desist, begging them to go away, telling them that they would be killed if they did not; but his solicitude for their safety was responded to by a number of arrows from the natives, when he came down and the battle began in earnest. The assailants went down like grass before the scythe, as the little garrison opened with their fire-arms in volleys upon the unprotected mass, and they immediately beat a hasty retreat, and sent in one of their number to beg for peace, who, says Venegas: "With tears assured our men that it was those of the neighboring rancheria under him who had first formed the plot, and on account of the paucity of their numbers, had spirited up the other nations; adding, that those being irritated by the death of their companions were for revenging them, but that both the one and the other sincerely repented of their attempt. A little while after came the women with their children, mediating a peace, as is the custom of the country. They sat down weeping at the gate of the camp, with a thousand promises of amendment, and offering to give up their children as hostages for the performance. Father Salva Tierra heard them with his usual mildness, showing them the wickedness of the procedure, and if their husbands would behave better, promised them peace, an amnesty, and forgetfulness of all that was past; he also distributed among them several little presents, and to remove any mistrust they might have he
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took one of the children in hostage, and thus they returned in high spirits to the rancherias." The soldiers' guns had taught them respect, and the sacks of corn enticed them back for the priests to teach them the Catholic faith.
The manner in which these indefatigable missionaries overcame the indolence, viciousness and ignorance of the natives was practically the same as that pursued in all the missions afterwards established, and is thus described by Venegas:
In the morning, after saying mass, at which he (Father Ugarte) obliged them to attend with order and respect, he gave a breakfast of pozoli to those who were to work, set them about building the church and houses for themselves and his Indians, clearing ground for cultivation, making trenches for conveyance of water, holes for planting trees, or digging and preparing the ground for sowing. In the building part, Father Ugarte was master, overseer, carpenter, bricklayer and laborer. For the Indians, though animated by his example, could neither by gifts nor kind speeches be prevailed upon to shake off their innate sloth, and were sure to slacken if they did not see the father work harder than any of them; so he was the first in fetching stones, treading the clay, mixing the sand, cutting, carrying and barking the timber; removing the earth and fixing materials. He was equally laborious in the other tasks, sometimes felling the trees with his axe, sometimes with his spade in his hand digging up the earth, sometimes with an iron crow splitting rocks, sometimes disposing the water-trenches, sometimes leading the beasts and cattle, which he had procured for his mission, to pasture and water; thus by his own example, teaching the several kinds of labor. The Indians, whose narrow ideas and dullness could not at first enter into the utility of these fatigues, which at the same time deprived them of their customary freedom of roving among the forests, on a thousand occasions sufficiently tried his patience--coming late, not caring to stir, running away, jeering him and sometimes even forming combinations, and threatening death and destruction; all this was to be borne with unwearied patience, having no other recourse than affability and kindness, sometimes intermixed with gravity to strike respect; also taking care not to tire them, and suit himself to their weakness. In the evening the father led them a second time in their devotions; in which the rosary was prayed over, and the catechism explained; and the services was followed by the distribution of some provisions. At first they were very troublesome all the time of the sermon, jesting and sneering at what was said. This the father bore with for a while, and then proceeded to reprove them; but finding they were not to be kept in order, he make a very dangerous experiment of what could be done by fear. Near him stood an Indian in high reputation for strength, and who, presuming on his advantage, the only quality esteemed by them, took upon himself to be more rude than the others. Father Ugarte, who was a large man, and of uncommon strength, observing the Indian to be in the height of his laughter, and making signs of mockery to the others, seized him by the hair and lifting him up swung him to and fro; at this the rest ran away in the utmost terror. They soon returned, one after another, and the father so far succeeded to intimidate them that they behaved more regularly in the future.
Of the same priest and his labors in starting another mission he says:
He endeavored, by little presents and caresses, to gain the affections of his Indians; not so much that they should assist him in the building as that they might take a liking to the catechism, which he explained to them as well as he could, by the help of some Indians of Loretto, while he was perfecting himself in their language. But his kindness was lost on the adults, who, from their invincible sloth, could not be brought to help him in any one thing, though they partook of, and used to be very urgent with him for pozoli and other eatables. He was now obliged to have recourse to the assistance of the boys, who, being allured by the father with sweetmeats and presents, accompanied him wherever he would have them; and to habituate these to any work it was necessary to make use of artifice. Sometimes he laid a wager with them who should soonest pluck up the mesquites and small trees; sometimes he offered reward to those who took away most earth; and it suffices to say that in forming the bricks he made himself a boy with boys, challenged them to play with the earth, and dance upon the clay. The father used to take off his sandals and tread it, in which he was followed by the boys skipping and dancing on the clay and the father with them. The boys sang, and were highly delighted; the father also sang, and thus they continued dancing
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and treading the clay in different parts till meal-time. This enabled him to erect his poor dwelling and church, and at the dedication of which the other fathers assisted. He made use of several such contrivances in order to learn their language; first teaching the boys several Spanish words, that they might afterwards teach him their language. When, by the help of these masters, the interpreters of Loretto, and his own observation and discourse with the adults, he had attained a sufficient knowledge of it, he began to catechise these poor gentiles, using a thousand endearing ways, that they should come to the catechism. He likewise made use of his boys for carrying on their instruction. Thus, with invincible patience and firmness under excessive labors, he went on humanizing the savages who lived on the spot, those of the neighboring rancherias, and others, whom he sought among woods, breaches and caverns; going about everywhere, that he at length administered baptism to many adults, and brought this new settlement into some form.
This plan of subduing the natives and obtaining spiritual and temporal control over them was adhered to for seventy years. The expense of this great undertaking can be gathered from the record of the first eight years, during which $58,000 were expended in establishing six missions and $1,225,000 in supporting the indolent savages dependent upon them.
On the second of April, 1767, all members of the Society of Jesus in the Spanish dominions were arrested and thrown into prison upon the order of Charles III, against whose life they were charged with conspiring. Nearly six thousand were subjected to that decree, including the Jesuit missionaries in California and other dependencies of Spain. The execution of the decree in California fell to the lot of Don Gaspar Portala, governor of the province, who assembled the pious Fathers at Loretto on Christmas eve and imparted to them the sad news of which they had till then been entirely ignorant. When the time came for them to take their final departure from the scene of seventy years of labor and self-abnegation a most pathetic scene was enacted. With loud cries and lamentations the people broke through the line of soldiers stationed to hold them back, and rushed upon the Fathers to kiss their hands and bid them farewell. "Adieu, dear Indians; adieu, California; adieu, land of our adoption; fiat voluntas Dei," was the brief and eloquent farewell of those fifteen holy men, as they turned their backs upon the scene of their long labors and became wanderers and outcasts, under the ban of the sovereign whose power they had established where he had sought in vain to plant it for a century and a half. They left behind them the record of having become the pioneers in the culture of the grape and in the making of wine on this coast, having sent to Mexico their vintage as early as 1706. They were the pioneer manufacturers, having taught the Indians the use of the loom in the manufacture of cloth as early as 1707. They built, in 1719, the first vessel ever launched from the soil of California, calling it the Triumph of the Cross. Two of their number suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Indians, and the living were rewarded for those years of toil, privation and self-sacrifice, by banishment from the land they had subdued; leaving, for their successors, sixteen flourishing missions, and thirty-six villages, as testimonials of the justice and wisdom of their rule.
The historic village of Loretto, where was established the initial mission of California, is situated on the margin of the gulf, in the center of St. Dyonissius cove. Some of the buildings are now a mass of ruins, while others are fast going to decay, many being destroyed by the great storm of 1827. The church built by the Jesuits in 1742 is still standing, and among the relics of its former greatness are eighty-six oil paintings, some of them by Murillo, and though more than a century old still in a good
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state of preservation. It was a former custom of the pearl divers to devote the product of certain days to "Our Lady of Loretto" and on one occasion there fell to her lot a magnificent pearl as large as a pigeon's egg and wonderfully pure and brilliant. This the Fathers thought proper to present to the Queen of Spain, who in return sent to our Lady of Loretto an elegant new gown; but as this could not be worn by the virgin in the spirit land and was not of the style of garment most in fashion at Loretto, it was of no practical utility, and there is reason to believe that her majesty had the better of the transaction.
Upon the Brotherhood of St Francis the king bestowed the missions and accumulated wealth of the Jesuits in California; but soon after possession was taken by them the Dominicans laid claim to a portion. The controversy ended in the surrender by the Franciscans of all rights granted them in Lower California upon the condition that they be granted full authority in Alta California to found missions and take possession of the country in the name of the Catholic sovereign of Spain. They hoped thus to become possessed of a land where legend and imagination had located the rich mines of gold and silver from which had come the vast treasures of which Cortes had despoiled the Aztecs; and in thus gaining wealth for their order they would also spread the story of the cross and bring within the pale of the Holy Catholic Church thousands of souls then groping in the darkness of heathenism.
Father Francis Junipero Serra, at the head of the Franciscan order in Mexico, was a man cast in no common mould. He was educated from his youth to the church, was possessed of great eloquence, enthusiasm and magnetic power, and had gained reputation and experience in the missions of Mexico. Peculiarly fitted for the work before him, he entered upon it with a zeal that admitted not of failure or defeat. It was his plan to establish missions at San Diego, Monterey and some intermediate point immediately, and extend them gradually as circumstances should dictate. In pursuance of this programme an expedition was dispatched in 1769 to settle and take possession of California, with the purpose, as Joseph DeGalvez states it, "to establish the Catholic religion among a numerous heathen people, submerged in the obscure darkness of paganism; to extend the dominion of the King, our Lord; and to protect the peninsula from the ambitious rulers of foreign nations." This was to be done by the Franciscans, according to the royal decree, at their own expense, though the benefits were to inure chiefly to the crown of Spain, whose dominion was to be largely increased and a greater measure of protection afforded the American possessions and commerce.
It was deemed advisable to divide the expedition, and send a portion of it by sea in their three vessels, leaving the remainder to go from Mexico overland by way of the most northerly of the old missions. Accordingly, on the ninth of January, 1769, the ship San Carlos sailed from La Paz, followed on the fifteenth of February by the San Antonio. The last to sail was the San Joseph, on the sixteenth of June, and she was never heard from afterwards. The vessels were all loaded with provisions, numerous seeds, grain to sow, farming utensils, church ornaments, furniture and passengers, their destination being the port of San Diego. The first to reach that place was the San Antonio, which arrived on the eleventh of April, after losing eight of her crew by the scurvy. Twenty days later the San Carlos made her laborious way into port,
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with only the captain, the cook and one seaman left of her crew, the others having fallen victims to that terrible scourge of the early navigators.
The overland party was also divided into two companies; one, under command of Fernanda Revera Moncada, was to assemble at the northern limit of the peninsula, where was located the most northerly mission, and take two hundred head of black cattle over the country to San Diego, the point where all were to meet in the new land to be subdued. Revera set out on the twenty-fourth of March, and was the first European to cross the southern deserts, guarding approaches from that direction to the upper coast. He reached the point of general rendezvous on the fourteenth of May, after having spent fifty-one days in the journey. The governor of California, Gaspar de Portala, took command of the remaining part of the land expedition, and started May fifteenth, from the same place on the frontier that had been Revera's point of departure, He was accompanied by the projector of the enterprise, Father Junipero Serra himself, and arrived at San Diego on the first of July, where this, the last company to reach the rendezvous, was received with great demonstrations of joy by those who had arrived by sea and land many long weeks before.
The members of the several divisions, with the exception of those who died at sea, were now all on the ground at San Diego, and Father Junipero was not a man to waste time. In looking over his resources for accomplishing the work before him, he found that he had, including converted Indians who had accompanied him, about two hundred and fifty souls, and everything necessary for the founding of the three missions, the cultivation of the soil, grazing the land and exploring the coast, except sailors and provisions. So many of the former having died on the voyage, it was deemed advisable for those who remained to sail on the San Antonio for San Blas, to procure more seamen and supplies. They accordingly put to sea for that purpose on the ninth of July, and nine of the crew died before the port was reached. The next thing in order was to found a mission at San Diego, and it will be interesting to know what was the ceremony which constituted the founding of a mission. Father Francis Palou, the historian of the Franciscans, thus describes it: "They immediately set about taking possession of the soil in the name of our Catholic monarch, and thus laid the foundation of the mission. The sailors, muleteers and servants set about clearing away a place, which was to serve as temporary church, hanging the bells (on the limb of a tree, possibly) and forming a grand cross. * * * The venerable father president blessed the holy water, and with this the rite of the church and then the holy cross; which, being adorned as usual, was planted in front of the church. Then its patron saint was named, and having chanted the first mass, the venerable president pronounced a most fervent discourse on the coming of the Holy Spirit and the establishment of the mission. The sacrifice of the mass being concluded, the Veni Creator was then sung; the want of an organ and other musical instruments being supplied by the continued discharge of firearms during the ceremony, and the want of incense, of which they had none, by the smoke of the muskets."
This ceremony was performed on the sixteenth day of July, 1769. Two days prior to that Governor Portala had started northward with the greater portion of the force to re-discover the port of Monterey. For three and one-half months he pursued his slow, tortuous way up the coast, passing Monterey without recognizing it. On the
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thirtieth of October they came upon a bay which Father Crespi; who accompanied the expedition, says "they at once recognized." What caused them to recognize it? Had they ever heard of it before? This is the first unquestioned record of the discovery of the San Francisco harbor. In all the annals of history there is no evidence of its ever having been seen before, except that sailing chart previously mentioned. Yet the exception is evidence strong as holy writ, that in 1740 the bay had been found but had received no recorded name. Portala and his followers believed a miracle had been performed, that the discovery was due to the hand of Providence, and that St. Francis had led them to the place. When they saw this land-locked bay in all its slumbering grandeur, they remembered that, before leaving Mexico, Father Junipero had been grieved because the vistadore general had not placed their patron saint upon the list of names for the missions to be founded in the new country, and when reminded of the omission by the sorrowing priest, he had replied solemnly, as from matured reflection: "If St. Francis wants a mission, let him show you a good port, and we will put one there." "A good port" had been found--one where the fleets of the world could ride in safety, and they said "St. Francis has led us to his harbor," and they called it "San Francisco Bay."
Portala returned to San Diego, arriving January 24, 1770, where he found a very discouraging condition of affairs. The small band left at San Diego had passed through perils and difficulties of which it is unnecessary to speak in detail; but the stubborn bravery and uniform kindness of the missionaries had brought them safely through. There now threatened a danger that unless averted would disastrously terminate the expedition. Portala took an inventory of supplies and found there remained only enough to last the expedition until March; and he dicided [=decided] that if none arrived by sea before the twentieth of that month, to abandon the enterprise and return to Mexico. The day came, and with it, in the offing, in plain view of all, a vessel. Preparations had been completed for the abandonment, but it was postponed because of the appearance of the outlying ship. The next day it was gone, and the colony believed then that a miracle had been performed, and their patron saint had permitted the sight of the vessel that they might know that help was coming. In a few days the San Antonio sailed into the harbor with abundant stores, and they learned that the vision they had looked upon was the vessel herself; she having been forced by adverse winds to put to sea again, after coming in sight of land.
Upon the arrival of the San Antonio, two other expeditions set out, in search of Monterey harbor, one by sea and another by land, the latter in charge of Governor Portala. The party by sea was accompanied by the father president himself, who writes of that voyage, and its results, as follows: "On the thirty-first day of May, by the favor of God, after a rather painful voyage of a month and a half, this packet, San Antonio, arrived and anchored in this horrible port of Monterey, which is unaltered in any degree from what it was when visited by the expedition of Don Sebastian Viscaino, in the year 1603." He goes on to state that he found the governor awaiting him, having reached the place eight days earlier. He then describes the manner of taking possession of the land for the crown on the third day of August. This ceremony was attended by salutes from the battery on board ship, and discharges of musketry by the soldiers, until the Indians in the vicinity were so thoroughly fright-
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ened at the noise as to cause a stampede among them for the interior, from whence they were afterwards enticed with difficulty. This was soon followed by the founding of the mission of San Antonio de Padua.
Governor Portala then returned to Mexico, bearing the welcome intelligence that Monterey had been re-discovered, that a much finer bay had also been found farther north which they had named after St. Francis, and that three missions had been established in the new land. Upon receipt of the news, the excitement in Mexico was intense. Guns were fired, bells were rung, congratulatory speeches were made, and all New Spain was happy, because of the final success of the long struggle to gain a footing north of the peninsula.
It is needless to follow in detail the record of the Franciscans in California, their labors, privations and success. A brief summary of their rise, growth and downfall will be sufficient to enable the reader to understand all allusions to them in the subsequent pages.
By the same methods the Jesuits had practiced in Lower California, did the Franciscans seek to establish their missions on a firmer footing, suffering frequently from the hostility of the natives, but gradually overcoming all obstacles and creating populous and prosperous missions and towns. The mission of San Diego was founded July 16, 1769; San Carlos, at Monterey, August 3, 1770; San Antonio de Padua July 14, 1771; San Gabriel, near Los Angeles, September 8, 1771; San Luis Obispo, in September, 1772. Father Serra then went to Mexico for reinforcements and supplies, and returned the next spring by sea, having sent Captain Juan Bautista Anza with some soldiers to open an overland route by which more rapid and certain communication could be maintained with the home country. In 1774 Captain Anza returned to Mexico for more soldiers, priests and supplies, and after the arrival of these it was determined to enlarge the field of operations to the northward. The San Carlos was dispatched to see if the Bay of San Francisco could be entered from the ocean, and in June, 1775, the little vessel sailed safely through the Golden Gate and cast anchor where so many thousand vessels have since been securely sheltered. On the seventeenth of September, 1776, the presidio (fort) was established at San Francisco, and on the tenth of October the mission of Dolores was founded, followed in quick succession by those of San Juan Capistrano and Santa Clara.
From this time the missions grew rapidly in power and wealth, and pueblos (towns) sprang up, occupied chiefly by the families of soldiers who had served their terms in the army and preferred to remain in California. Gradually population increased, until in 1802 Humboldt estimated it at 1,300, to which he added 15,562 converted Indians, taking no account of the wild or unsubdued tribes, which we know from other sources largely outnumbered those brought within the influence of the missions. By 1822, the year Mexico declared her independence of Spain, twenty-one missions had been founded and were in a prosperous condition. Two years later Mexico adopted a republican form of government, and from that time dates the downfall of the missionary system. The Franciscans had complete control of the land claiming it as trustees for the benefit of converted natives, and discouraged all attempts at colonization as calculated to weaken their power and frustrate their designs. When, therefore, in 1824, the Mexican congress passed a colonization act, giving the
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governor of California power to make grants of land to actual settlers, it was considered a direct and fatal blow at the mission monopoly. From this time the missions were a leading element in Mexican politics, and they gradually declined before the encroachments of the civil power until, in 1845, the property which had survived the pillage and decay of the previous ten years was sold at auction, and the missions were at an end. A year later the inauguration of the Bear Flag war by Fremont was followed by the conquest of the country from Mexico, and California, redeemed from anarchy misrule and revolution, became a portion of the United States.
DISCOVERIES WESTWARD FROM THE ATLANTIC.
Foreign claims in America--Florida, Mexico, California, Alaska, Louisiana, Canada, and the English Colonies-- Treaty of Ryswick--Treaty of Utrecht--Sale of Louisiana to Spain--Carver's Explorations on the Mississippi --Oregon, the River of the West--Origin of the Name--Journey of Samuel Hearne to the Arctic Ocean-- England offers a Reward for the Discovery of a Northwest Passage.
To understand in their full significance the motives and acts of the various nations contending for dominion in the Pacific, the status of their claims throughout America must be kept carefully in view. England had colonies along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Carolina and had full possession of the vast region about Hudson's bay. France held possession of Louisiana, extending from the mouth of the Mississippi indefinitely northward and westward, and of the St. Lawrence and the great region lying to the westward embraced under the general title of Canada, and by exploring to the west along and beyond the great lakes and north along the Mississippi, had thus united Canada and Louisiana and rendered the Alleghanies the extreme western limit of England's Atlantic colonies. Spain had undisputed possession of Central America. Mexico, California and Florida; while Russia claimed Alaska and the adjacent islands, The boundary line between these various possessions was extremely uncertain and continued to be for years a fruitful source of trouble and a theme for diplomatic controversy.
In 1697 the treaty of Ryswick was concluded, which was intended to define, as clearly as the knowledge of American geography would permit, the boundaries of these various possessions. Spanish Florida was then limited on the north by the Carolina colonies, while its western limit was left exceedingly indefinite, conflicting severely with the French claim to Louisiana. North of Florida and west of the Alleghanies France claimed the entire country, either as a portion of Louisiana or Canada, including Hudson's bay, the latter claim being based upon the explorations of Labrador by Cortereal. At the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, following a disastrous struggle with
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Great Britain, France relinquished her claim to Hudson's bay, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. During the next quarter of a century the energetic Frenchmen established a chain of forts and settlements from Quebec to New Orleans, taking absolute and actual possession of the country and cutting off the westward extension of Florida on the one hand and the northeastern limits of Mexico and California on the other.
Thus matters stood until the disastrous war between England and France involved the American colonies in bloody strife and turned over the exposed settlements to the tender mercies of the Indian tomahawk and scalping knife. Worsted in the strife, France, after her colonial star was stricken from the sky by the gallant Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham, but before the final seal to her defeat was affixed by the treaty of Paris, secretly conveyed to Spain her province of Louisiana, and thus robbed her victorious enemy of one of the greatest fruits of her conquest. The terms of the conveyance, made in 1762, defined the western and southern limit of Louisiana and the eastern and northern boundary of Mexico and California, to follow the course of the Sabine river from its mouth to latitude 32 degrees, thence north to the Red river, and following that stream to longitude 23 degrees, thence north to the Arkansas and up that river to latitude 42 degrees, which line it followed to the Pacific. It was thus that even after the acquisition of Canada, England found her possessions bounded on the west by the great "Father of Waters." This was the situation in America when the Russians opened the Alaskan fur trade and Spain perfected her claim to California by planting there the missions of St. Francis.
It was now a century since the Hudson's Bay Company was chartered, and it had not yet discovered the northwest passage, though that was the leading object stated in the charter; nor, indeed, had the company made any earnest effort so to do. The belief still obtained that the Straits of Anian existed, or, at least, that some great river, such a stream, possibly, as the Rio de los Reyes, could be found flowing into the Pacific, which was navigable eastward to within a few miles of some harbor accessible to vessels from the Atlantic. If either of these existed, they were naturally to be looked for in the region dominated by the great fur monopoly. The discovery of such a means of communication was earnestly desired by the English crown, yet the company was sufficiently powerful to prevent or at least render fruitless all efforts to explore its dominions. All explorations that gave any new geographical light were conducted beyond the company's domain and contrary to its desires.
It has been shown how the headwaters of the Mississippi had been visited by French missionaries and explorers, both from Canada and Louisiana, who had established a fur trade with the natives of considerable value. Immediately after Canada fell into the hands of the English, an expedition was made into that region by Captain Jonathan Carver, a native of Connecticut, who had served with distinction in the war against France so recently brought to a successful termination. He left Boston in 1766, and traveling by the way of Detroit and Fort Michilimacinac, reached the headwaters of the Mississippi. The object of his journey, as stated in his account, was, "after gaining a knowledge of the manners, customs, languages, soil and natural productions of the different nations that inhabit the back of the Mississippi, to ascertain the breadth of the vast continent which extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean, in its broadest part, between the 43d and 46th degrees of north latitude. Had
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I been able to accomplish this, I intended to have proposed to the government to establish a post in some of those parts, about the Straits of Anian, which, having been discovered by Sir Francis Drake, of course belongs to the English. This I am convinced, would greatly facilitate the discovery of a northwest passage, or communication between Hudson's bay and the Pacific ocean." His idea that the Straits of Anian, or any other passage inland from the Pacific, had been discovered by Drake was an exceedingly erroneous one.
Just how far west Carver penetrated is uncertain, and his claim of a residence of five months in that region is a doubtful one, since the accounts of the manners and customs of the natives given in his narrative (published twenty-five years later in London at the suggestion of a number of gentlemen who hoped the proceeds of its sale would be sufficient to relieve the author's necessities; he died in 1780, in penury), are but translations into English of the writings of Hennepin, Lahontan, Charlevoix and other French explorers. To him, however, must be credited the first use of the name "Oregon," which is given in the following connection: "From these natives, together with my own observations, I have learned that the four most capital rivers on the continent of North America--viz., the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi, the River Bourbon (Red River of the North), and the Oregon, or River of the West--have their sources in the same neighborhood. The waters of the three former are within thirty miles of each other; [This is practically correct, and this point, somewhere in Western Minnesota, is probably the limit of his westward journey.] the latter, however, is rather further west. This shows that these parts are the highest in North America; and it is an instance not to be paralleled in the other three quarters of the world, that four rivers of such magnitude should take their rise together, and each, after running separate courses, discharge their waters into different oceans, at the distance of two thousand miles from their sources, for in their passage from this spot to the Bay of St. Lawrence, east, to the Bay of Mexico, south, to Hudson's Bay, north, and to the bay at the Straits of Anian, west, each of these traverse upwards of two thousand miles."
It will be observed that Carver lays no claim to having visited even the headwaters of the "Oregon, or River of the West," and the probability is that all he knew of it was gathered from the same works of the French explorers which had supplied the other leading features of his book, though, possibly, like them, he may have heard such a stream spoken of by the Indians. In many of these French narratives to which he had access, a belief is asserted in the existence of a large stream flowing westward from the vicinity of the headwaters of the Mississippi into the Pacific, founded upon information given by the natives; and on many maps of the eighteenth century such a stream was indicated, bearing variously the names "River of the West," "River Thegayo" " Rio de los Reyes," and "River of Aguilar" (the one whose mouth Aguilar reported having seen in latitude 43 degrees in the year 1603.) All that was new in Carver's account was the name "Oregon," and of that he fails to give us any idea of its meaning or origin. Many theories have been advanced, plausible and even possible, but none of them susceptible of proof, and the probabilities are that the word is one of Carver's own invention. The fact that he stands sponsor for the name of this great region, is all that entitles Carver and his plagiarisms to any notice
50 PACIFIC COAST.
in this volume whatever. The first definite account of the River of the West was one given by a Yazoo Indian to Lepagn Dupratz, a French traveler, many years before Carver's journey. The Indian asserted that he had ascended the Missouri northwesterly to its source, and that beyond this he encountered another great river flowing towards the setting sun, down which he passed until his progress was arrested by hostilities existing between the tribes living along the stream. He participated in the war, and in a certain battle his party captured a woman of a tribe living further west, from whom he learned that the river entered a great water where ships had been seen sailing and in them were men with beards and white faces. There is nothing improbable in this narrative, in the light of ascertained geographical facts, unless it be the portion relating to ships; even that is possible, or may, perhaps, be simply an embellishment of the story by the Indian or Dupratz. Several maps published about fifteen years prior to Carver's journey, on the authority of this narrative, had marked upon them such a stream with the name "Great River of the West" attached to it. This fully accounts for the valiant captain's knowledge of such a stream, though it clears up none of the darkness surrounding the title "Oregon."
In 1771 the Hudson's Bay Company sent Samuel Hearne on a tour of exploration of the regions lying to the westward of the bay, for the purpose of finding a rich mine of copper which the Indians had frequently spoken of and whose name translated into English, was The Far-off Metal River. He was also instructed to determine the question of a passage westward from Hudson's bay, in whose existence the directors had now no faith whatever, and in consequence were anxious to make a showing of great zeal in searching for it. Hearne discovered Great Slave lake and its connecting rivers and lakes, finally reaching the Coppermine river and following the stream to its point of discharge into the Arctic ocean. This body of water he conceived and reported to be a great inland sea of a character similar to Hudson's bay, between which two bodies of water there was evidently no connecting passage. He also learned from the natives that the land extended a great distance further west, beyond high mountains. The result of his journey, since it tended to prove that no passage to the Pacific from Hudson's bay could be possible, was quickly communicated to the British Admiralty by the company, though the journal kept by Hearne was not published for the benefit of the public till twenty years later.
The Admiralty were now satisfied that a further search for a strait leading westward from Hudson's bay would be futile; but still hoped that a navigable passage could be found leading from Baffin's bay into the sea discovered by Hearne and still another one from this new ocean into the Pacific. Parliament had in 1845 offered a reward of £20,000 to anyone discovering a passage from Hudson's bay, which the company had carefully rendered nugatory, and now Parliament, in 1776, again passed an act offering a like reward to any English vessel entering and passing through any strait, or in any direction, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific, north of latitude 52 degrees, which was about the southern limit of Hudson's bay. This led to a series of voyages by English navigators in the Pacific ocean, stimulated especially by the reports which about that time reached England of voyages and settlements made by representatives of Spain. The era of positive discoveries in Oregon was coming on apace.
EXPLORATIONS BY LAND AND SEA.
Struggle Between England and Spain for Dominion on the Pacific Coast--Juan Perez Discovers Port San Lorenzo or Nootka Sound--Martinez Claims to Have Seen the Straits of Fuca--Spanish Explorers Take Possession of the Country at the Bay of Trinidad--Fruitless Search for the Straits of Fuca--Heceta Discovers the Mouth of the Columbia and Names it San Roque Inlet--Bodega takes Formal Possession on George III.'s Archipelago and Searches for the Rio de los Reyes--He also takes Possession on Prince of Wales Island--Vain Search for Aguilar's River on the Coast of Oregon--Discovery of Bodega Bay--Practical Result of these Voyages and England's Solicitude--Voyage of Captain James Cook--Discovery of Hawaiian Islands--Cook at Nootka Sound--He Passes Through Behring's Straits into the Arctic Ocean--Death of Cook--Return of the Expedition -Arteaga and Bodega Follow Cook's Route.
The proceedings of the Spanish nation which had aroused England to such unusual activity in exploring the northwest, were the colonization of California by the Franciscans which has already been spoken of, and several voyages and efforts to take possession of the coast still further to the north which were made soon afterwards. The struggle between England and Spain for dominion in the unexplored portion of the New World had begun in earnest, and was embittered by the chagrin of the latter at the manner in which Louisiana had slipped from her clutch when France sold it to Spain just as it was about to be snatched from her grasp.
The first of these voyages, and it must be remembered the first voyage of exploration undertaken by Spain along the northern coast for one hundred and seventy-one years, was that of Juan Perez, who was instructed to sail as far north as the 60th parallel, and to then explore the coast southward, landing at all convenient places to take possession of the country in the name of the king of Spain. On the twenty-fifth of January, 1774, Perez sailed from San Blas in the corvette Santiago, piloted by Estivan Martinez, and stopped both at San Diego and Monterey, sailing from the latter port on the sixteenth of June. Thirty-two days later he espied the first land seen since leaving Monterey, in latitude 54 degrees, probably the west coast of Queen Charlotte's island. Simptoms of scurvy beginning to be observed among the crew, and being but poorly supplied with the requisites for a long voyage, Perez decided not to attempt further progress north in his little vessel, and so coasted along to the southward. He proceeded about a hundred miles, encountering a number of natives in their canoes, with whom he drove a profitable trade in furs, and was then driven to sea by a storm. He again discovered land on the ninth of August, casting anchor at the entrance of a deep bay in latitude 49 degrees and 30 minutes upon which, following the custom which has plastered the map of the Pacific coast with "Sans" and "Santas," he bestowed, the name Port San Lorenzo, because it was discovered upon the day specially devoted to that saint in the Roman calendar. It was beyond doubt the harbor on the west coast of Vancouver island now known as King George's or Nootka sound. Hav-
52 PACIFIC COAST.
ing enjoyed a profitable trade with the natives, who are represented as being of a much lighter complexion than other native Americans, Perez weighed anchor and sailed again to the southward. In latitude 47 degrees and 47 minutes a lofty, snow-crowned peak was observed, which was christened Sierra de Santa Rosalia, being, probably, the one subsequently named Mount Olympus by English explorers. On the twenty-first of August Perez arrived off Cape Mendocino, whose exact latitude he then determined, and a week later dropped anchor in the harbor of Monterey. This voyage added but little to the geographical knowledge of the coast, since no thorough explorations were made and land was observed only in a few places. In the journal of the voyage nothing is said of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and yet, many years later and long after the strait had been entered by the English and Puget sound explored, the pilot of the Santiago, Martinez, asserted that he had observed a wide opening in the land between latitudes 48 and 49 degrees, and that he had honored the point of land on the south side of the entrance with his own name. Upon the strength of this long-delayed assertion, Spanish geographers entered upon their charts as Cape Martinez the point of land now universally known as Cape Flattery.
The return of Perez with the information that America extended at least as far north as the latitude 54 degrees, determined the Mexican viceroy to dispatch another expedition in quest of still further discoveries as far as the 65th parallel. The Santiago, commanded by Bruno Heceta and piloted by Perez, and the Sonora, a small schooner under the command of Juan de Ayala and having Antonio Manrelle for a pilot, sailed from San Blas March 15, 1775, being supplied with the latest chart of the Pacific, in which the reports of the various voyages were woven together by the fertile imagination of Bellin, a French geographer. They were accompanied as far as Monterey by the San Carlos, to which vessel Ayala was transferred before reaching that port, and the command of the Sonora devolved upon Lieutenant Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra.
Sailing from Monterey to the northward, the two vessels doubled Cape Mendocino and anchored on the tenth of June in a roadstead, which was named Port Trinidad, for the usual reason that the day was the one devoted to the Trinity on the calendar, that fertile source of Spanish nomenclature. Nine days later the voyage up the coast was resumed, though not until the Spaniards had landed and with proper solemnity and religious ceremonies taken possession of the country in the name of their sovereign, including the planting of a cross with appropriate inscriptions as a testimonial monument of their visit. They described the harbor as being safe, spacious and a valuable one to commerce, and the contiguous country agreeable in climate and having a fruitful soil; and this discovery was considered by Spanish authorities to be an exceedingly valuable one.
Having kept out to sea for three weeks, they again sighted land in latitude 48 degrees and 27 minutes, just south of the Straits of Fuca. Since the Greek pilot had located his passage between latitudes 47 and 48 degrees, as will be remembered, in which locality it was indicated on their chart, the explorers naturally coasted to the southward in searching for it, thus sailing directly away from its entrance. A careful examination of the coast revealed no such passage, and, satisfied that it had no existence, they cast anchor near a small island off the coast in latitude 47 degrees and 20
PACIFIC COAST. 53
minutes. Here seven of the Sonora's crew, who were sent to the mainland to procure water in the only boat the vessel carried, were killed by the natives; and the island was christened Isla de Dolores, or Island of Sorrows, being the same one afterwards called Destruction Island by an English captain, because of a similar fate which befel a portion of his crew.
Disheartened by this disaster and observing alarming symptoms of scurvy among his crews, Heceta desired to return, but at the urgent solicitation of the other officers reluctantly consented to continue the voyage northward. A few days later a severe storm parted the vessels, and Heceta then abandoned the enterprise and started to return with the Santiago to Monterey. He soon observed land on the ocean side of Vancouver island, in latitude 50 degrees, and passing by Port San Lorenzo and the entrance to Juan de Fuca straits without observing them, he again saw the coast in the 48th parallel, south of which he once more searched for the passage he had so carelessly overlooked. On the fifteenth of August, 1775, he came opposite an opening in the land in latitude 46 degrees and 17 minutes, through which poured a stream of water so forcibly as to prevent him from entering. Satisfied that he was at the outlet to a great river, or, possibly, the Straits of Fuca, though too far south for this according to his chart, Heceta waited a day with the hope of effecting an entrance; but in this he was doomed to disappointment, and abandoning the effort he continued his voyage to Monterey, carefully observing the intervening coast, of which his journal contains extremely accurate descriptions. The Catholic calendar was again brought into requisition to supply a name for this new discovery, and since the fifteenth of August was the day of the Assumption, Heceta called it Enseñada de Asuncion (Assumption inlet); the sixteenth being set apart to Saint Roc, he called the northern promontory Cape San Roque, while to the low land on the south side of the entrance he gave the name Cape Frondoso (Leafy cape). Beyond question this was the first discovery of the mouth of the mighty Columbia, and Mexican charts, published soon after the return of Heceta, had indicated upon them an entrance to the land at that point, variously denominated Enseñada de Heceta, and Rio de San Roque.
In the meantime Bodega and Maurelle were persevering in their attempt to carry out the original plan of the expedition, and were still endeavoring to reach the 65th parallel in the little Sonora. On the sixteenth of August they suddenly came in sight of land both to the north and east of them, being then, according to their observations, north of latitude 56 degrees, and at a point which their chart told them was 135 leagues distant from the American shore. This proved to be the large island known as King George III's Archipelago, though supposed by the Spaniards to be a portion of the main land. A large mountain rising from a jutting headland and draped in snow, was called by them San Jacinto, though it was a few years later named Mount Edgecumb by Captain Cook. The Spaniards landed to take formal possession of the country for the Spanish crown and to procure a supply of fish and water, to both of which proceedings the natives fiercely objected, compelling the intruders to pay liberally for the fish, and the water as well, and derisively tearing up and destroying the cross and other symbolic monuments the would-be possessors of their land had erected. The voyage northward was resumed, but upon reaching lati-
54 PACIFIC COAST.
tude 58 degrees Bodega deemed it imprudent to advance farther and turned again to the southward. From that point to the 54th parallel the coast was closely scrutinized for the Rio de los Reyes of Admiral Fontè, but as the romancing admiral had located his mythical river a degree farther south their search would have proven in vain even had the stream an existence beyond its creator's fancy, and therefore their assertion that no such river existed north of latitude 54 degrees was valueless to prove Fontè's great water route from the Pacific to the Atlantic to be a myth. On the twenty-fourth of August they again landed to take possession of the country, this time at Port Bucareli, named in honor of the viceroy under whose authority the expedition was dispatched, on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island. From this place they casually observed the coast at various points until they reached the Oregon coast in latitude 45 degrees and 27 minutes, when they began a careful search for the great river Martin de Aguilar claimed to have discovered in 1603. Though they noticed currents of water setting out from the land in various places, nothing was observed indicating a stream of the magnitude described by Aguilar, and they became satisfied that none such existed in that locality; yet they observed a headland which was recognized as answering the description of Cape Blanco, being, no doubt, the one called later Cape Orford by Captain Vancouver. On the third of October the Sonora entered a bay supposed to be that of San Francisco, but which proved to be a much smaller one a short distance north of that great harbor, and was therefore named Bodega bay by the discoverer in his own honor.
By the voyages of Perez, Heceta and Bodega, and especially the latter, which was conducted under the most disadvantageous conditions, through stormy and unknown seas, in a small vessel which had lost its only boat, and with a crew afflicted with that terrible scourge of the early mariners, the scurvy, Spain justly laid claim to the first exploration of the Pacific coast from which even an approximately correct chart could be made; especially was this true of our immediate coast, for prior to these explorations the coast between Cape Mendocino and Mount San Jacinto, or Edgecumb, was so practically unknown that in regard to it the most utterly erroneous ideas prevailed.
Condensed reports of these voyages, containing the leading features, soon reached England, together with the accounts of the progress Spain was making in her scheme of colonizing California, and caused much anxiety to the government. With her Florida and Louisiana possessions extending indefinitely westward, with her California colonies already established and the possibility of her making additional settlements at some or all of the favorable localities on the northern coast where her representatives had already performed the ceremony of taking formal possession in the name of the king, the prospect of Spain soon obtaining control of the whole Pacific of America south of the 56th parallel, the limit to which Russian explorations formed a foundation for a claim by the czar, was imminent. With the zeal which England would exercise under the same circumstances, the claim of Spain would be perfected in ten years, and England be confined in North America to Canada and the possessions of her fur monopoly around Hudson's bay. The prospect was far from pleasing, and nothing but the indolence of Spain saved England from entire exclusion from Pacific North America. Yet for England to establish colonies in opposition to those of Spain was practically impossible. She had no Mexico to form a base of operation and supplies, but could
PACIFIC COAST. 55
hold communication with them only by means of a long and hazardous voyage of eight or ten months around Cape Horn or by the way of the Cape of Good Hope.
Under this condition of affairs England looked upon the discovery of a northern passage from ocean to ocean as absolutely necessary to further her interests on the Pacific coast. It was this idea of the situation which led Parliament to renew the offered reward spoken of at the close of the last chapter, and which stimulated English explorers into that great activity which resulted in revealing so much of our geography during the next fifteen years, laid the foundation for the claim to Oregon which Great Britain so strenuously asserted, and gave her title to the immense territory she now possesses on the Pacific coast.
About this time Captain James Cook returned from his great voyage of exploration in the South sea and Indian ocean, having established the fact that no habitable land existed in the vicinity of the Antarctic circle and made a voyage so extensive and important that he was universally recognized as the leading explorer of the century. To him England turned in her hour of anxiety. Here was the man above all others to whom could be entrusted the search for that passage so vitally important to British interests in the Pacific, with the assurance that whatever skill, diligence and the most thorough acquaintance with the geographical knowledge and theories of the day could accomplish would certainly be achieved. This task Cook at once undertook, and sailed upon his new quest with high hopes of winning laurels greater than those which already encircled his brow.
The instructions given to Cook by the Admiralty were very minute and particular. He was directed to proceed by way of the Cape of Good Hope, New Zealand and Otaheite and endeavor to reach the coast of New Albion in the latitude 45 degrees. To the name New Albion the English government had tenaciously clung since the time Sir Francis Drake so christened the California coast and ceremoniously took possession in the name of the queen. To England there was much in a simple name, since her adherence to it showed her resolution to claim to the last all the benefit which could possibly be derived from the voyage of that adventurous marauder; and this name was only changed for another when the basis upon which the English claim to Oregon rested was also altered. Though resolved to abate not one whit of her discovery rights, England was careful not to commit the least overt act of hostility against any rival claimants whatever. Serious trouble had commenced with her Atlantic colonies; the battle of Bunker Hill had been fought and the evacuation of Boston compelled; the whole coast from Massachusetts to Georgia was in a state of armed rebellion, encouraged by both France and Spain, who appeared upon the verge of offering substantial aid. The times were not propitious for England to assert her rights in the Pacific in a manner bordering in the least upon arrogance. Under the circumstances an extremely modest demeanor was considered exceedingly becoming, and Cook was "strictly enjoined, on his way thither, not to touch upon any part of the Spanish dominions on the western continent of America, unless driven to it by some unavoidable accident; in which case he was to stay no longer than should be absolutely necessary, and to be very careful not to give any umbrage or offence to any of the inhabitants or subjects of his Catholic majesty. And if, in his farther progress northward, he should find any subjects of any European prince or state, upon any part of the
56 PACIFIC COAST.
coast which he might think proper to visit, he was not to disturb them or give them any just cause of offence, but, on the contrary, to treat them with civility and friendship." The last charge referred especially to the Russian settlements in the extreme north.
But little positive knowledge was possessed in England of the geography of the coast north of Cape Mendocino. To be sure it was the reports of Spanish settlements in California and of several important voyages of exploration recently made by representatives of that nation, which had created such anxiety and infused such zeal into the English Admiralty; but the particulars of those voyages were not yet received. All that was really known of the northwest coast was what could be learned from the records of Viscaino's voyage nearly two centuries before, from the indefinite and contradictory accounts of Russian discoveries in Alaskan waters, and the recent report by Samuel Hearne that the continent extended many miles westward from the Coppermine river. Between Viscaino's most northern limit, latitude 45 degrees, and the extreme southern point reached by Tchirikof in the 56th parallel, there was a vast stretch of coast line absolutely unknown. Cook was consequently instructed to proceed along the coast and, "with the consent of the natives, to take possession in the name of the King of Great Britain of convenient stations in such countries as he might discover that had not been already discovered or visited by any other European power, and to distribute among the inhabitants such things as will remain as traces of his having been there; but, if he should find the countries so discovered to be uninhabited he was to take possession of them for his sovereign, by setting up proper marks and descriptions, as first discoverers and possessors." This was exactly what Heceta and Bodega had done for Spain the year before, though of this fact England was ignorant. Cook was directed to coast along to the 65th parallel, before reaching which he was expected to find it trending sharply towards the northeast in the direction of the Coppermine river, the Admiralty being of the opinion that the great North sea visited by Hearne was identical with the Pacific. From that point he was to explore carefully "such rivers or inlets as might appear to be of considerable extent and pointing towards Hudson's or Baffin's bays," and endeavor to sail through all such passages, either in his vessels or in smaller ones to be constructed on the spot from materials taken with him for that especial purpose. In case he became satisfied from the configuration of the coast that no such passage existed and that the Pacific ocean and North sea were not identical, he was then to repair to the Russian settlements at Kamtchatka, and from that point explore the seas to the northward "in further search of a northeast or northwest passage from the Pacific ocean into the Atlantic or the North sea."
To carry out these minute and exhaustive instructions, Cook sailed from Plymouth July 12, 1776, in the Resolution, the vessel he had just taken around the world, accompanied by Capt. Charles Clerke in the Discovery. The crews and officers were men selected carefully for this expedition, and the vessels were supplied with every nautical and scientific instrument which could in any possibility be needed, as well as the most accurate charts at the command of the government. After passing the Cape of Good Hope, Cook spent nearly a year making examinations about Van Dieman's Land, New Zealand, and the Friendly and Society islands. On the eighteenth of January, 1778, he discovered the Hawaiian islands, that most important station in the
PACIFIC COAST. 57
Pacific, which he called Sandwich islands in honor of the first lord of the Admiralty under whose orders he was sailing. On the seventh of the following March he was delighted with a glimpse of the Oregon coast, or New Albion, near the 44th parallel, in the vicinity of the Umpqua. Contrary winds forced him as far south as the mouth of Rogue river, when, the wind becoming fair, he took a course almost due north and did not again see land until just above the 48th degree of latitude, when he descried a bold headland which he christened Cape Flattery to show his appreciation of the flattering condition of his prospects.
It was now that Cook fell into the same error which had so sorely baffled and defeated Heceta and Bodega two years before. Like them, having reached the very southern edge of the Straits of Fuca, he turned away and searched for them to the southward, because in Lock's narrative they had been located between latitudes 47 and 48 degrees. Finding the coast line unbroken, Cook pronounced the passage a myth, and abandoning the search sailed northward, passing heedlessly by the straits for which he had been so diligently looking. He soon dropped anchor in a safe and spacious harbor in latitude 49½ degrees, which he called King George's sound, but later substituted Nootka when he learned that such was its Indian title. This was, beyond doubt, the Port Lorenzo entered by Perez in 1774, and like the Spaniard, Cook reports the natives to be of a very light complexion and to possess ornaments of copper and weapons of iron and brass. This, united with the fact that one of them had suspended about his greasy neck two silver spoons of Spanish manufacture, and because they manifested no surprise and but little curiosity about the ships, and seemed not to be frightened at the report of guns, and were eager to barter furs for a valuable consideration, especially metals of all kinds, led Cook to the opinion that they had held intercourse with civilized nations in former times. Their supposed familiarity with firearms was soon found to be erroneous, for "one day, upon endeavoring to prove to us that arrows and spears would not penetrate their war-dresses, a gentleman of our company shot a musket-ball through one of them folded six times. At this they were so much staggered, that their ignorance of fire-arms was plainly seen. This was afterwards confirmed when we used them to shoot birds, the manner of which confounded them." This discovery and other facts elicited by a closer observation caused Cook to change his opinion about their previous intercourse with white people. In speculating on this subject he says that though "some account of a Spanish voyage to this coast in 1774 or 1775 had reached England before I sailed, it was evident that iron was too common here, was in too many hands, and the use of it too well known, for them to have had the first knowledge of it so very lately, or, indeed, at any earlier period, by an accidental supply from a ship. Doubtless, from the general use they make of this metal, it might be supposed to come from some constant source, by way of traffic, and that not of a very late date; for they are as dexterous in using their tools as the longest practice can make them. The most probable way, therefore, by which we can suppose that they get their iron, is by trading for it with other Indian tribes, who either have immediate communication with European settlements upon the continent, or receive it, perhaps, through several intermediate nations; the same might be said of the brass and copper found amongst them." The indifference of the natives to the ships, in regard to which their lack of curiosity was noticeable and had been one of
58 PACIFIC COAST.
the causes which at first led him to suppose they were familiar with such objects, he attributed "to their natural indolence of temper and want of curiosity." Cook's ignorance of the vast extent of the American continent and the degree of civilization attained by the various aboriginal nations occupying it, must be his excuse for supposing that such a commodity as iron could have been transported from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific, passing from hand to hand through numerous tribes of Indians, many of them engaged in unceasing and unrelenting warfare. That such could not have been the case, even aside from these objections, we are well assured by the fact that the inland tribes through whose hands the metal must have passed knew nothing of iron or its uses, and employed flint and bones for knives, spear-heads and arrow-tips. In the region then visited by the English for the first time exist vast quantities of iron ore, and in the mountains of the mainland copper ledges abound, and though no traces have as yet been observed of the ancient working of these mines, it is more than probable that the iron and copper possessed by the natives of Vancouver island, who were the most civilized and intelligent found on the Pacific coast, were produced from the crude ore by their possessors themselves. This supposition is supported by the fact that the natives forged iron in an ingenious manner, making harpoons, weapons and ornaments, thus showing how well they understood the nature of the substance and demonstrating their ability to produce it from the native ore. The comparatively limited amount in their possession indicated that they only utilized surface croppings, and this fully explains the absence of any signs of former mining operations on the ledges. When Captain Meares visited the same locality a few years later, he was equally astonished at their familiarity with these metals. He tells us that the Indians manufactured tools of the iron obtained from him in trading; and that it was seldom they could be prevailed upon to use European tools or utensils in preference to their own, with the exception of the saw, the utility and labor-saving value of which they at once recognized. They made a tool for the purpose of hollowing out large trees, which answered the purpose better than any instrument possessed by the ship's carpenter. For an anvil they employed a flat stone and a round one did duty as a sledge; and with these implements they fashioned the red hot iron at will, attaching to the tools or weapons when desired a wooden handle, fastened securely with cords of sinew. What little brass they possessed may have been procured from the Spanish vessels which had visited them a few years before. In this connection the legend related to Meares, explaining the origin of their knowledge of copper, will be interesting. The fact that there existed a legend on the subject is sufficient evidence of the length of time the use of copper had been familiar to them. Meares says: "On expressing our wish to be informed by what means they became acquainted with copper, and why it was such a peculiar object of their admiration, a son of Hannapa, one of the Nootkan chiefs, a youth of uncommon sagacity, informed us of all he knew on the subject, and we found, to our surprise, that his story involved a little sketch of their religion. He first placed a certain number of sticks upon the ground, at small distances from each other, to which he gave separate names. Thus, he called the first his father, the next his grandfather; he then took what remained and threw them all into confusion together, as much as to say that they were the general heap of his ancestors, whom he could not individually reckon. He then, pointing to this bundle, said, when they
PACIFIC COAST. 59
lived an old man entered the sound in a copper canoe, with copper paddles, and everything else in his possession of the same metal; that he paddled along the shore, on which all the people were assembled to contemplate so strange a sight, and that, having thrown one of his copper paddles on shore, he himself landed. The extraordinary stranger then told the natives that he came from the sky, to which the boy pointed with his hand; that their country would one day be destroyed, when they would all be killed, and rise again to live in the place from whence he came. Our young interpreter explained this circumstance of his narrative by lying down as if he were dead, and then, rising up suddenly, he imitated the action as if he were soaring through the air. He continued to inform us that the people killed the old man and took his canoe, from which event they derived their fondness for copper, and he added that the images in their houses were intended to represent the form, and perpetuate the mission, of this supernatural person who came from the sky."
Cook's vessels lay in Nootka sound nearly a month, repairing the casualties of the long voyage, laying in a supply of wood and water, and permitting the seamen to recruit their impaired health. They were constantly surrounded by a fleet of canoes, whose occupants came from many miles along the coast for the purpose of trading with the strangers. They had for barter "skins of various animals, such as wolves, foxes, bears, deer, raccoons, polecats, martins, and, in particular, of the sea-otters, which are found at the islands east of Kamtchatka;" and, he might have added, in great numbers about the Straits of Fuca. "Besides the skins in their native shape, they also brought garments made of the bark of a tree or some plant like hemp; weapons, such as bows and arrows, and spears; fish-hooks and instruments of various kinds; wooden visors of many monstrous figures; a sort of woolen stuff or blanketing; bags filled with red ochre; pieces of carved rock; beads and several other little ornaments of thin brass and iron, shaped like a horseshoe, which they hung at their noses; and several chisels, or pieces of iron fixed to handles. * * 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."
About the last of April Cook sailed out of Nootka sound and resumed his explorations northward. His next object was to look for the Rio de los Reyes of Admiral Fontè, but a violent wind drove him to sea and prevented him from viewing the coast about the 53d parallel. "For my own part," he says, "I gave no credit to such vague and improbable stories, that convey their own confutation along with them; nevertheless, I was very desirous of keeping the American coast aboard, in order to clear up this point beyond dispute." He next saw land near the 55th parallel on the first of May, and soon after passed the beautiful mountain called San Jacinto by Bodega, but upon which lie bestowed the title Mount Edgecumb; and a little later he observed and named Mount Fairweather, on the mainland. Cook had now entered the region explored by the Russians, with whose voyages he was somewhat familiar, and consequently it was no surprise to him, but an expected gratification, when his eyes rested upon a giant, snow-mantled peak which he at once recognized as the Mount St. Elias described by Behring. This icy monarch is upwards of 17,000 feet in altitude, the highest and grandest peak of the North American continent
60 PACIFIC COAST.
Mount St. Elias was seen on the fourth of May, 1778; and from its base the shore line was seen to trend sharply to the west; which fact induced Cook to begin at that point his search for the Straits of Anian, hoping soon to find a passage which would lead him eastward into Hudson's bay or Baffin's bay, or northward into the great North sea spoken of by Maldonado and seen by Hearne. Russian maps of this region, copies of which he possessed, showed the whole space between Kamtchatka and Mount St. Elias to be an ocean thickly strewn with islands, the largest of which was called Aliaska, so that he had good authority for his belief in a passage into the North sea. He sailed westward, and then southwestward to the latitude 54½ degrees, minutely examining all the bays, inlets and islands encountered, especially Prince William's sound and Cook's inlet, the latter of which he probably conceived to be the entrance to a river since he named it Cook's river. Nowhere could he observe an opening through the white chain of mountains, and he became satisfied that the American continent "extended much further to the west than, from the modern most reputable charts, he had reason to expect," and that the Russians were erroneous in their idea that the region west and northwest of Mount St. Elias was but a sea of islands. The result was that he abandoned the hope of finding a passage into either Hudson's or Baffin's bay, and resolved to see how far west the continent extended and to sail into the North sea through the passage discovered by Behring just fifty years before. He therefore sailed southwesterly, and on the nineteenth of June fell in with a number of islands which he recognized as the Schumagim group, and where he saw the first evidences of the presence of Russians at any time in those waters, in the form of a piece of paper in the possession of the natives, upon which was written something in a foreign language which he supposed to be Russian. He soon after passed the extremity of the Alaskan peninsula and the islands which seemed an extension of it, and doubling this turned again eastward, soon reaching the large island of Ounalaska, which Russian accounts had frequently mentioned as an important station in their fur trade.
At Ounalaska Cook remained five days, and on the second of July sailed northward along the coast, searching faithfully for a passage eastward. On the ninth of August he reached a point which he correctly believed to be the utmost extremity of the continent, and upon it he bestowed the name of Cape Prince of Wales. The various names and titles of that worthy prince appear to have been as liberally scattered about by the loyal English explorers as were the saints of the Roman calendar by the devout subjects of Spain. Cook crossed Behring's strait from this point, finding it but fifty miles in width, and landed upon the coast of Asia. He explored the Asiatic coast of the Arctic ocean northwestward to Cape North in latitude 68 degrees and 56 minutes, and the American coast northeastward as far as Icy Cape, in latitude 70 degrees and 29 minutes, and being prevented by ice from progressing further returned to Ounalaska, where he fell in with some Russian traders, who soon convinced him that they knew far less of the geography of the North Pacific than he did. He then proceeded to the Sandwich islands to spend the winter, and was slain in an unfortunate affray with the natives on the island of Hawaii on the sixteenth of February, 1779. The death of this renowned explorer, though a sad blow to the enterprise, did not terminate it altogether; yet the results accomplished thereafter were by no means as
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great as they would have been had operations been directed by the great executive ability and geographical knowledge possessed by Cook. Captain Charles Clerke succeeded to the command, and in March, 1779, sailed from the Sandwich islands, with the purpose of passing into the Arctic sea and thence, if possible, into the Atlantic. He headed northward and on the twenty-ninth of April entered the harbor of Petropaulovski in the Bay of Avatscha, the chief military station of Russia in Kamtchatka, where he was received with great courtesy by the officials of the czar. Clerke then sailed into Behring's strait, but was prevented from advancing even as far as the year before by the vast quantities of ice, having arrived too early in the season. Being in ill health and discouraged by his want of success, Captain Clerke returned to Petropaulovski, and died near that port on the twenty-second of August. Lieutenant John Gore succeeded to the command, but deeming the vessels in too battered a condition to endure another season in that rigorous climate, he sailed at once for his native land by the way of Canton, where he had learned, through the Russians, would be found a good market for the furs he had on board.
The vessels arrived in Canton early in December, bearing the first cargo of furs taken from America proper to China, and with the exception of the cargo taken there by Benyowsky and the Polish refugees in 1770, the first to be conveyed into the Celestial Kingdom by sea. This was a very important circumstance, since it was one of the greatest factors that led to the development of the American coast north of California, The furs had been purchased from the natives at Nootka sound, Prince William's sound and other points visited, the seamen exchanging for them the merest trifles in their possession. No care was taken to buy only valuable kinds since they were not purchased upon speculation; nor was any thought taken of their preservation, many of them being ruined as an article of merchandise by being used for beds and clothing. It was only when they reached Petropaulovski and saw how eager the Russians were to purchase them and ship them overland to China that the officers realized how valuable a cargo they possessed. They pursuaded the seamen to cling to their furs until they arrived in Canton, where they assured them much better prices would be realized. The outcome was that what was aboard the two vessels was sold for more than $10,000, and the result so excited the cupidity of the crew, that, though their voyage had already been extended over a space of three years and a half, they became "possessed with a rage to return to the northern coasts, and, by another cargo of skins, to make their fortunes, which was, at one time, not far short of mutiny." The insubordinate tendencies of the crew were repressed, and the Resolution and Discovery sailed homeward from Canton, passed around the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived in England early in October, 1880, having been absent four years and three months, during which time no tidings of them had been received at home, and having lost their gallant commander in battle and his able associate by the hand of disease.
England was at that time engaged in war with both Spain and France, while the patriotic struggle of her American colonies for independence was causing her to put forth her utmost energy to uphold her authority in regions already under her dominion; she had neither time nor means to attempt anything more in foreign countries until her present troubles were overcome, consequently the lords of admiralty withheld, from publication the official record of the voyage until after the conclusion of peace,
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and it was not made public until during the winter of 1884-5. By comparison of voyages it will be seen that Cook saw no portion of America not previously visited by the Spaniards, who had formally taken possession, or by Russian explorers; but his explorations had been so careful, his observations so thorough and his records so accurately kept, that he revolutionized the ideas of Pacific geography.
There remains yet to be recorded a voyage made by the Spaniards contemporaneously with that of Cook, though each was conducted in ignorance of the other. The discoveries of Heceta and Bodega were considered highly important by the authorities of Spain, and they ordered another expedition to be fitted out to make a more thorough examination of the coast, which was not ready for sea for three years. The Princesa and Favorita, the former under the command of Captain Ignacio Arteaga, leader of the expedition, and the latter commanded by Bodega and Maurelle, sailed from San Blas February 7, 1779, only nine days prior to the death of Cook on the island of Hawaii. They visited only such places as had been seen before by Heceta and Bodega, following closely the course pursued the previous year by Captain Cook. Mount St. Elias having been reached and the coast line being observed to run steadily to the west, they were lead, as had been Cook, to look carefully for the Straits of Anian, but, like him, were disappointed. Arteaga was not gifted with the qualities that make a successful pioneer, and becoming discouraged at his want of success and by the symptoms of scurvy observed among the crew, he ordered both vessels to return to San Blas, where they arrived late in November. The observations, records and charts made during this voyage were very inaccurate and of but little value, and the expedition was productive of no benefit to Spain, nor did it reflect any glory upon the nation; yet the officers were rewarded by promotion for their good conduct. Spain had, in the meantime, become involved in war with England and was neither in the condition nor mood to pursue further investigations north of her settlements in California until peace was restored.
BEGINNING OF THE FUR TRADE ON THE PACIFIC COAST.
Cook's Return to England Produces great Results--Russian American Trading Company--Undertaking of John Ledyard--Voyage of the French Explorer LaPerouse--The East India, South Sea, and King George's Sound Companies--Meares Spends a Horrible Winter in the Arctic Regions--Berkeley Discovers the Straits of Fuca --Second Voyage of Captain Meares--He Explores the Straits of Fuca and Attempts to Enter the Columbia.
The lords of admiralty could pigeon-hole the log books of the Resolution and Discovery, but they could not so easily seal the lips of their excited crews, whose tales of the lands visited, wonderful objects and strange races of people seen, and, above all, of the ease with which fortunes could be made, by buying furs on the American coast for a song and trading them in China for valuable cargoes of silks, porcelain and tea, aroused a universal interest in the Pacific, which only the existing state of hostilities in Europe and America was potent to hold in check. The Russians, also, had learned much through the contact of their traders with the English explorers, both on the island of Ounalaska and at the port of Petropaulovski; and, being unhampered by wars, were the first to take advantage of the discoveries of Cook and reap from them substantial results. An association called the Russian American Trading Company was organized in 1781, and in 1783 an expedition of three vessels was sent to the American coast to examine it and plant colonies on the islands and continent as far east as Prince William's sound. The expedition was absent three years and successfully accomplished its mission. These settlements and the power of the Russian American Trading Company were gradually extended until through them Russia obtained complete control of the Alaskan coast as far south as latitude 54 degrees and 40 minutes, and exerted great influence in the Pacific, even establishing in later years a settlement in California, which will be referred to again in these pages.
Several unsuccessful efforts were made to open up a trade between the American coast and China, especially by John Ledyard, an American seaman who had been one of the crew of Cook's vessel. He sought both in America and France to interest capitalists, but was unsuccessful in his efforts to secure backing in his enterprise. He then undertook to cross Russia and Siberia to Kamtchatka, sail thence to Nootka sound, and then traverse the American continent to the Atlantic. In furtherance of this scheme he secured a passport from the empress of Russia, and had advanced as far as Irkutsk, when he was arrested, conducted to the Polish frontier of Russia, and released with the injunction not to again enter the empire. This action was probably instigated by the Russian American Trading Company, which did not relish the idea of a foreigner becoming so familiar with a region which it proposed to monopolize for its own benefit.
King Louis XVI., of France, dispatched an expedition under the command of a most competent and scientific navigator named LaPèrouse, in 1785, immediately after
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the publication of Cook's journal had verified the tales of his seamen and infused into
the commercial world a spirit of adventure in the Pacific. LaPèrouse was instructed to "explore the parts of the northwest coasts of America which had not been examined by Cook, and of which the Russian accounts gave no idea, in order to obtain information respecting the fur trade, and also to learn whether, in those unknown parts, some river or internal sea might not be found communicating with Hudson's bay or Baffin's bay." LaPèrouse reached the coast in the vicinity of Mount Fairweather June 23, 1786, where he remained at anchor several weeks, and then sailed southward, examining the coast and discovering that many points formerly considered portions of the mainland were, in reality, but parts of islands. Though the first to ascertain this fact he received no credit for it, since his vessels were wrecked in the New Hebrides and his journal was not published until 1797, several years after other explorers had discovered and made known the same facts.
England's anxiety to further her interests in the Pacific led her to adopt a policy which, so far as the American coast was concerned, had the effect of hampering her efforts to secure a foothold on the coast. Notwithstanding the fact that the Hudson's Bay Company had been instrumental in checking the general progress of the nation on the Atlantic coast, and had headed off or rendered futile all explorations of its territory, Great Britain seems not to have learned a lesson from experience and was ready to repeat the experiment. To the great East India Company she had granted chartered rights which have been so well improved that a vast territory, an enormous commerce, millions of subjects, in fact a new empire, have been added to the British crown, and the queen of England now subscribes herself empress of the Indies. To this company was granted the privilege of trading with the Asiatic coast and adjacent islands of the Pacific to the complete exclusion of all other British subjects whatever. To a new association called the South Sea Company a like exclusive privilege of all the commerce of the American coast of the Pacific was given. Thus all independent English traders were shut out from the Pacific entirely, and Great Britain was compelled to rely upon these two companies for the advancement of her interests in this quarter of the globe; since no vessels but those of the East India Company could carry the English flag around the Cape of Good Hope and none but those of its rival could enter the Pacific by the way of Cape Horn. But it was soon found that the interests of these two companies were antagonistic and their granted privileges conflicting, when applied to the practical demands of trade. The South Sea Company could load its ships with furs at Nootka and Prince William's sound, but it could not dispose of them in China; on the other hand its powerful rival which controlled the Chinese market was debarred from sending its vessels to trade for furs on the American coast.
The first successful voyage was that of James Hanna, an Englishman, who sailed from Macao in 1785, and procured a cargo of furs at Nootka sound, which he sold in China for $20,000. He repeated the trip the following year, but encountered so much opposition from other traders who were then on the coast, and found so poor a market in China, which had been glutted with furs, that nothing was realized from the speculation. In 1785 the King George's Sound Company was organized in England and procured special permits from the South Sea Company and the East India Company,
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which enabled it to trade in the Pacific waters. The King George and Queen Charlotte were dispatched to the American coast under the command of Captains Portlock and Dixon, and traded two years without paying expenses because of the competition and overstocked market. Two other vessels were sent by the company, which arrived in 1787 just before Portlock and Dixon took their departure; but the new discoveries made by all these traders were confined to ascertaining that the coast above the 49th parallel was fringed by hundreds of large and small islands, and that it was only these islands which had been visited by the earlier explorers.
This led to the idea that the whole northwestern continent was in fact but an immense archipelago of islands, through which it would be possible to reach the Atlantic. This was the opinion formed by Captain Meares in 1789, who assigned as one of his reasons for holding that belief, that "the channels of this archipelago were found to be wide and capacious, with near two hundred fathoms deep of water, and huge promontories stretching out into the sea, where whales and sea-otters were seen in incredible abundance. In some of these channels there are islands of ice, which we may venture to say could never have formed on the western side of America, which possesses a mild and moderate climate; so that their existence cannot be reconciled to any other idea, than that they received their formation in the eastern seas, and have been drifted by the tides and currents through the passage for whose existence we are contending." The intelligent mariner seems to have forgotten the ice encountered by Cook in Behring's strait and the terrible winter he himself spent on the Alaskan coast.
Captain Meares was a lieutenant of the British navy, off duty and on half pay. In 1787 the great East India Company fitted out two vessels to trade between Nootka sound and China, assigning the Nootka to the command of Meares and the Sea-Otter to Lieutenant Walter Tipping. This was the second venture of the company in this direction, as two small vessels had been dispatched the year before, which had enjoyed a reasonable measure of success.
The Sea-Otter is known to have reached Prince William's sound, but her voyage from that port is hidden in mystery while her ultimate fate is unknown. It is probable that she and her crew went to the bottom of the sea, for if wrecked upon the coast and her crew murdered by the natives, it would seem almost impossible that no trace of them should ever have been discovered. The Nootka, also, followed the course of the Japan current, crossed the Aleutian group between Ounamak and Ounalaska islands, and finally came to anchor in Prince William's sound, with the purpose of spending the winter there and resuming the voyage in the spring. During October, November and December their stay in the sound was quite endurable, but the horrors of an Arctic winter, with which English seamen were entirely unfamiliar, then began to crowd upon them. Ice hemmed in the vessel, snow covered it in drifts, all fowl and animal life deserted the sound, including the migratory natives who had been living there when they arrived. The sickly sun peeped over the horizon's rim but a few moments at noon, and then the almost perpetually-falling snow obscured it from view, "tremendous mountains forbade almost a sight of the sky, and cast their nocturnal shadows over the ship in the midst of day," scurvy, that horrible scourge of the sea, began its ravages among the crew, and horrors were "heaped on horror's head." From January to May twenty-three of the men died and the remainder were rendered unfit
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to perform any labor whatever. In May the birds and animals returned, the ice disappeared, the natives once more greeted their stricken visitors, the vessel was released from its icy chains, and in June Meares sailed to the Sandwich islands and from there to China, having achieved but the honor of being the first English navigator to spend the winter on the Alaskan coast. The East India Company were satisfied with these two disastrous voyages, but not so Captain Meares, who began making preparations for another visit to the American coast.
The entrance to the Straits of Fuca were seen for the first time since they were entered by the old Greek pilot by Captain Berkeley, an Englishman, though in command of a ship belonging to the Austrian East India Company. In sailing south from the coast of Vancouver island in his vessel the Imperial Eagle, Captain Berkeley noticed a broad opening between latitudes 48 and 49 degrees and just north of Cape Flattery, south of which Cook, Bodega and Heceta had made such careful search for the reputed passage. Noting the discovery upon his chart but making no effort to explore the opening, Berkeley continued south along the coast and at the Isla de los Dolores lost a boat's crew at the hands of Indians almost at the same spot where Bodega's men had been murdered; and for this reason he called the unfortunate place Destruction island.
The next voyage of importance was that of the second visit to our coast by Captain Meares. In China the Portuguese were given special privileges and exemptions, and in order to reap the advantage of this two vessels were fitted out at the Portuguese port of Macao, near Canton, having nominal captains of that nation and receiving permission from the governor to carry the Portuguese flag. Their actual commanders were Captain Meares of the ship Felice, and William Douglas of the brig Iphigenia, though those gentlemen appear upon the papers simply in the capacity of supercargoes. Nor was this alone the object of the use of Portugal's flag, since by so doing the act of Parliament excluding all British vessels from the Pacific except those of the East India and South Sea companies could be evaded. Greenhow endeavors to prove that these two vessels were actually the property of Juan Cavallo, the Portuguese whose name appears as owner in the ship's papers, and that the Portuguese captains were the bona fide commanders of the vessels; and he so far succeeds in his effort as to raise a strong presumption that, if such was not the case, these Portuguese were at least something more than mere figureheads in the enterprise. The plan of the voyage was for the Felice to go to Nootka sound and coast up and down from that harbor exploring the coast and trading with the natives; the Iphigenia was to proceed at once to Cook's inlet and trade southward to Nootka, where one of the vessels was to load all the furs and return to Macao, the other to remain there or at the Sandwich islands until spring.
In pursuance of this plan of operations the Felice sailed for Nootka sound in the winter of 1787-8, and immediately upon her arrival the construction of a small schooner was begun by her crew, to be used for trading along the coast. While this work was progressing Meares made a short voyage southward; but before going he secured from Maquinna, the chief, the privilege of erecting a house for the abode and protection of the working party left behind. The consideration for this favor was a brace of pistols and the free gift of the house and its contents when he took his final
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departure. This shows conclusively that the house was only for temporary occupancy, yet Meares, afterwards, in view of subsequent events, laid claim to having made a permanent settlement in the name of the king of England; though how he could have done so while acting, even nominally, in the capacity of supercargo of a Portuguese vessel, he fails to explain.
Having built his house, and surrounded it with a rampart of earth surmounted with a small cannon for the protection of its inmates, Meares sailed south along the coast in search of the passage which had been discovered the previous year by Berkeley. On the twenty-ninth of June, 1788, in latitude 48 degrees and 39 minutes, he observed a broad inlet, and in his narrative lays claim to its first discovery, by claiming that "the fact of the coast along which we were now sailing had not been seen by Captain Cook, and we know no other navigator, said to have been this way, except Maurelle," though in the introduction to the narrative he mentions the fact of Berkeley's discovery the year before. He says: "From the masthead, it was observed to stretch to the east by the north, and a clear and unbounded horizon was seen in this direction as far as the eye could reach. The strongest curiosity impelled us to enter this strait, which we shall call by the name of its original discoverer, John de Fuca." Duffin, mate of the Felice, was sent up the strait with a boat's crew of thirteen men and provisions for a month. They returned in a week, every one of them suffering from wounds received in a conflict with the natives. The boat had proceeded only ten miles up the strait, [Meares claimed thirty, but Duffin's statement places it at ten], and had been attacked with great ferocity and bravery by the savages who seemed not to care for the destruction caused by the fire arms nor to be frightened by the noise they made. They used their bows and arrows, clubs, stone bludgeons, spears and slings with great skill and effect, so much so that had it not been for the protection afforded by the awning of the boat few of the crew would have escaped with their lives.
Meares then sailed south in search of the Rio de San Roque of Heceta. On the fifth of July he observed a headland which he called Cape Shoalwater and on approaching nearer the coast the next day saw beyond this a promontory which he conceived to be one side of Heceta's inlet. He says: "After we had rounded the promontory a large bay, as we had imagined, opened to our view, that bore a very promising appearance, and into it we steered with every encouraging expectation. The high land that formed the boundaries of the bay was at a great distance, and a flat, level country occupied the intervening space; the bay itself took rather a westerly direction. As we steered in the water shoaled to nine, eight and seven fathoms, when breakers were seen from the deck right ahead, and, from the masthead, they were observed to extend across the bay; we therefore hauled out, and directed our course to the opposite shore, to see if there was any channel or if we could discover any point. The name of Cape Disappointment was given to the promontory (Cape Hancock), and the bay obtained the title of Deception bay. * * * * We can now with safety assert that there is no such river as that of St. Roc exists, as laid down in the Spanish charts. To those of Maurelle [Bodega's pilot] we made continual reference, but without deriving any information or assistance from them. We now reached the opposite side of the bay, where disappointment continued to accompany us, and, being almost certain that there we should obtain no place of shelter for the ship, we bore for a distant headland, keep-
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ing our course within two miles of the shore." The distant headland he named Cape Lookout, it being the one called Cape Falcon by the Spaniards and now known as Tillamook head.
Having now "traced every part of the coast which unfavorable weather had prevented Captain Cook from approaching," Meares returned to Nootka sound, where he was soon joined by the Iphigenia, which had been very successful in its traffic with the northern natives. The little schooner was then launched, the first vessel constructed on the Northern Pacific coast, and the very appropriate title of Northwest America was bestowed upon her. Leaving orders for the schooner and the Iphigenia to winter at Hawaii, Meares sailed in the Felice for China, taking with him all the accumulated furs.
Before Meares quitted Nootka sound, two American vessels entered it, bearing the happily-chosen names of Columbia and Washington, the former being a ship and the latter a sloop. The commerce of the colonies had been entirely destroyed during the long struggle for independence, but immediately after the treaty of Ghent the citizens of the new republic began to make their presence felt in every commercial mart. The seal and whale fishing around Cape Horn was resumed, and as early as 1784 an American vessel entered the harbor of Canton, while in 1787 no less than five were engaged in the trade with China. Being unencumbered with restrictions such as England had imposed upon all British vessels except those of her chartered monopolies, they could embark in the fur trade with every prospect of success, and it was as a venture in this direction that the Columbia and Washington were fitted out in Boston and dispatched to the Pacific, with an ample supply of such goods and trinkets as were the most highly prized by the Indians. John Kendrick was the commander of the Columbia and leader of the expedition, while the Washington was under the command of Robert Gray.
Soon after entering the Pacific around Cape Horn, in January, 1788, the two vessels were separated by a severe gale and were not again united until the following October in Nootka sound. The Washington kept her course northward, and in August reached the Oregon coast near the 46th parallel, where she ran aground while attempting to enter an opening in the land which was probably the mouth of the Columbia. After repelling an attack of the natives, during which the mate was wounded and one of the men killed, the Washington succeeded in again floating into deep water. She then went directly to Nootka sound, where were found the Felice, Iphigenia and Northwest America, her appearance there being an unexpected surprise to Captain Meares and his associates. A few days later the Columbia also entered the sound to join her consort, having been compelled after the storm near Cape Horn to enter the harbor of the Island of Juan Fernandez for repairs, where Captain Kendrick had been most courteously treated by the commandant of the Spanish forces stationed there. Meares soon sailed to China in the Felice, and the Iphigenia and Northwest America proceeded to the Sandwich islands to spend the winter, the two American vessels lying at anchor in Nootka sound until the following spring.
CONFLICT OF AUTHORITY AT NOOTKA SOUND.
Anxiety of Spain lest her Claims in the Pacific be Overthrown--Voyage of Martinez and Haro--Alarming Encroachments of the Russians--Spain Dispatches Martinez and Haro to Nootka Sound to Take Possession --New Venture of Captain Meares--High-Handed Conduct of Martinez at Nootka--Captains Colnett and Hodson Sent to San Blas as Prisoners--Gray Explores the Straits of Fuca--Release of Colnett--Diplomatic Controversy Between England and Spain.
The uneasiness felt by England in 1776 when reports reached the kingdom that Spain was diligently exploring and colonizing the Pacific coast of America, was now experienced in even a greater degree by Spain herself, who saw vessels of foreign nations, and especially those of her dreaded rival, entering the Pacific from both the east and the west. She had not receded in the least degree from the extreme position taken by her in the sixteenth century, and not only claimed dominion over all the Pacific coast of America, but a complete monopoly of its trade to the exclusion of the vessels of all other nations whatever.
In pursuance of this policy Don Blas Gonzales, the commandant at Juan Fernandez, was recalled and cashiered by the captain general of Chili for his hospitable treatment of Captain Kendrick, and this action was endorsed by the viceroy of Peru. The delinquent officer was informed that he should have enforced the royal ordinance of 1692, which decreed that all foreign vessels of any nation, no matter on how friendly terms they might be with Spain, should be seized whenever found in Pacific waters, unless they could exhibit a license from the Spanish court. The authorities in all ports were then specially instructed to seize all foreign vessels, since no nation had a right to any territory in America which made a passage of Cape Horn necessary in order to reach it; and the Spanish viceroy even went so far as to dispatch a cruiser from Callao in search of the Columbia, with instructions to capture her if possible.
The Spanish authorities now realized that something must be done to establish settlements north of California, their utmost limit at that time being the mission at San Francisco. Beyond that, though claiming exclusive authority and dominion, they actually knew less of the geography of the coast than either the English or Russians. An expedition was accordingly fitted out in Mexico in 1788, to be sent on a voyage of inquiry, for the double purpose of learning the extent of Russian settlements in the north, and selecting suitable locations for a number of proposed Spanish colonies. The fleet consisted of the Princesa, commanded by Estivan Martinez, former pilot of Juan Perez, and the San Carlos under command of Lieutenant Gonzalo Haro.
The two consorts sailed from San Blas March 8, 1788, and reached Prince William's sound on the twenty-fifth of May, where they lay nearly a month without making any attempt at exploration. There was a marked and radical difference
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between the English and Spanish methods of conducting operations of this character; for while the latter seemed, either from lack of energy or want of the true spirit of the explorer, to be satisfied with an occasional visit to the coast here and there, making a few almost valueless notes of what they saw, the English, on the contrary, seemed imbued with enthusiasm, exploring the shore carefully, taking continual observations, noting every peculiarity, and keeping a record of much geographical and scientific value. One of these careful English voyages was worth to the world a dozen such skimmings as the Spaniards indulged in.
About the end of June Haro sailed southwest with the San Carlos and fell in with the Island of Kodiak, upon which was a Russian trading post. From the official in charge, a Greek named Delaref, he received minute information as to the character, number and location of all Russian establishments in America. He returned to Prince William's sound to join Martinez, who had been amusing himself meanwhile by making a few cursory explorations, and the two then sailed for Ounalaska, where they remained nearly a month enjoying the hospitality of the Russian traders. With the first signs of coming winter they bade adieu to Alaska and returned to San Blas to report to the viceroy.
According to the statement given by them and forwarded to Madrid, there were eight Russian settlements on the coast, all situated west of Prince William's sound, while one was then being established in that locality; and these were occupied by 252 subjects of the empress, chiefly natives of Siberia and Kamtchatka. It was also reported that information had been received of two vessels which had been dispatched to Nootka sound to effect a settlement, and of two others then being constructed at Ochotsk for a similar purpose. The court of Spain was much agitated by this information. It revealed a state of affairs highly prejudicial to the interests of Spain on our coast. Already Russia had made settlements such as gave her title to the Alaskan regions and was developing alarming symptoms of a purpose to establish herself still further to the southward. Though the presence of English and American traders on the coast was annoying in the extreme, the conduct of Russia was positively alarming, and Spain realized that nothing but heroic remedies instantly applied would be at all effective to ward off the impending danger.
A communication was at once forwarded to the empress of Russia, remonstrating against the encroachments of her subjects upon the dominions of Spain, to which was replied that Russian subjects in America were acting under instructions not to invade the territory of other nations; but as neither the remonstrance nor the reply defined the limit claimed for their respective dominions, nothing definite was settled by the correspondence between the two powers. While this piece of diplomacy was being indulged in by the home government, the viceroy in Mexico was applying the heroic remedy. Early in 1789 he dispatched Martinez and Haro in their two vessels to take possession of Nootka sound, instructing them to treat all foreigners with courtesy, but to maintain the authority of Spain and her right of dominion at all hazards. Meanwhile other vessels were headed for Nootka sound. The Iphigenia and Northwest America, having spent the winter at Hawaii, and still sailing under the Portuguese flag and license, reaching the port in April in a most deplorable condition, so much so that they had to procure supplies and means for continuing their trade
PACIFIC COAST. 71
with the natives from the two American vessels still lying there. Meares had upon his return to China formed a trading arrangement with the representatives of the King George's Sound Company, and in the spring dispatched the Argonaut and Princess Royal to Nootka, remaining himself in China to conduct the company's affairs there in person. Since these vessels were provided with licences from both the East India and the South Sea companies, the Portuguese flag was dispensed with, and they sailed under the British colors.
On the sixth of May, 1789, the Princesa anchored at Nootka, finding there the Columbia and Iphigenia, the other two being absent on a trading voyage along the coast. Martinez at once notified Captains Douglas and Kendrick of his intention to take possession in the name of the king of Spain, examined their papers, and then landed and began the erection of a fort in a commanding position on a small island in the bay. No objection was made to these proceedings and the utmost cordial relations existed for sometime between the representatives of the three great nations. Douglas still preserved the Portuguese character of the Iphigenia, displayed that flag at her masthead, and even paid Martinez for supplies furnished by him in bills drawn upon Juan Cavallo, the reputed Portuguese owner of the vessel, ignorant of the fact that the Macao merchant had become bankrupt and that Meares had transferred the whole expedition into English hands and discarded the Portuguese feature.
A week later, on the fourteenth of May, Captain Haro arrived in the San Carlos, and the next day Captain Viana and Supercargo Douglas were invited by Martinez to visit his ship. When the guests entered the cabin of the Princesa they were told to consider themselves prisoners, while at the same time the brig was taken possession of by the Spaniards. On the twenty-sixth of May the Iphigenia, was released upon the signing by her officers of a paper certifying that they had been kindly treated and not interfered with by the Spaniards. The Iphigenia then sailed up the coast, procured a valuable cargo of furs, and returned to China, where Douglas severed his connection with the vessel. From this circumstance and the fact that she continued to sail under the Portuguese flag it would seem evident that she was in reality a genuine Portuguese vessel, and had not been included by Meares in his new arrangement with the King George's Sound Company. This being the case it is evident that upon her actions, or those of her two consorts the previous year, no claim could be founded by England, yet such was done and persistently adhered to, on the ground that the vessels were actually British though nominally Portuguese in their character.
On the eighth of June, subsequent to the release and departure of the Iphigenia, the little Northwest America sailed into port, carrying the Portuguese flag, and was immediately seized by the Spanish commandant. A few days later the Princess Royal arrived from Macao, with the British ensign displayed at her masthead. When Martinez learned from Captain Hodson that Cavallo had failed, he declared that he would hold the little schooner for what was due him on the bills drawn by Douglas, and releasing the crew from custody and permitting them to place the greater quantity of their furs on board the Princess Royal, he dispatched the schooner on a trading-voyage under the command of one the mates of the Columbia.
The Princess Royal sailed from Nootka on the second of July, and the same day the Argonaut, commanded by Captain Colnett, entered, though not till the captain was as-
72 PACIFIC COAST.
sured by Martinez that it was perfectly safe for him to do so, his timidity being caused by information imparted to him of the conduct of Martinez in relation to the Iphigenia and Northwest America. Having entered the bay and anchored between the Princesa and San Carlos, Captain Colnett arrayed himself in full uniform and boarded the Princesa in acceptance of an invitation from Martinez to pay him a visit and exhibit his papers. He descended into the cabin and a most stormy interview ensued between him and the Spanish commandant. Colnett informed Martinez that it was his purpose and intention to occupy Nootka sound in the name of King George of England, and to erect suitable fortifications for its defense; and was in turn notified that such action on his part would not be tolerated, since Spain had already taken possession. The English captain became angry and asserted his intention to carry out his purpose in the face of all opposition, whereupon Martinez sent for a file of marines and made him a prisoner; at the same time a detachment boarded the Argonaut and took possession of her in the name of the king of Spain, making prisoners of the entire crew. A few days later the Princess Royal appeared at the entrance to the sound, and was instantly boarded by the Spaniards and brought into port as a prize. On the thirteenth of July Colnett, with all his officers and the greater portion of the captured crews, was placed on board the Argonaut and sent as a prisoner to San Blas. The other ship was supplied with a complement of officers and men from the Spanish vessels, and was employed for two years in the service of Spain. The officers and crew of the Northwest America, together with some of the seamen on board the other vessels, were sent to China in the Columbia, the American captain receiving a portion of the furs captured with the Princess Royal in payment of their passage.
During all these troubles the two American vessels were unmolested, their commanders mediating frequently between the contending parties, though generally to little purpose. The Columbia remained continuously at Nootka, while her smaller consort traded and explored up and down the coast and collected a valuable cargo of furs. Captain Gray sailed in the Washington through the straits between Queen Charlotte island and the main land, and called the former Washington island, though the name seems to have lacked adhesive properties. He also sailed up the Straits of Fuca a distance of fifty miles, the Washington being the first vessel to actually enter and explore that great outlet of Puget sound. Early in the fall Captains Kendrick and Gray exchanged vessels, the latter sailing in the Columbia for China with a large cargo of furs and the passengers sent by Martinez, while Kendrick remained on the coast with the Washington to prosecute the business of collecting peltry from the natives. In September Martinez and Haro took their departure in obedience to instructions received from the viceroy, and Nootka was left without a claimant.
The Argonaut with its load of English prisoners reached San Blas on the sixteenth of August. The commandant at that port, who was Bodega y Quadra, the explorer, treated Captain Colnett with great courtesy and soon afterwards sent him to Mexico, where the merits of his case were inquired into officially by the viceroy. It was finally decided that Martinez, though simply carrying out the letter of his instructions, had acted somewhat injudiciously, and that the prisoners should be released and the captured vessels restored. Consequently Captain Colnett sailed in the Argonaut for Nootka sound in the spring of 1790, and failing to find the Princess Royal set out in
PACIFIC COAST. 73
search of her, and did not succeed in obtaining possession until a year later at the Sandwich islands.
The release of Colnett and the restoration of his damaged vessels was by no means the end of the Nootka affair. England and Spain engaged in a diplomatic controversy in regard to it, which seriously threatened to involve Europe in a general war, and that dreadful result was only avoided by the mutual dislike of both nations to precipitate such a bloody conflict. France, Spain and England had not yet recovered from their recent struggle, and none of them were anxious to renew the contest. The Columbia arrived in China with intelligence of the Nootka seizures late in the fall of 1789, and Meares, arming himself with statements and depositions in regard to the affair, hastened to England, to seek redress for his wrongs and losses. He arrived in April and found negotiations already in progress. Spain had undertaken to assert at home the same ideas of universal supremacy in the Pacific that had been the sole cause of trouble at Nootka, and had sent a communication to the king of England on the tenth of February, notifying him that certain of his subjects had been infringing upon her exclusive rights on the American coast, that in consequence the ship Argonaut had been seized as a prize and her crew imprisoned, and strongly protesting against his majesty permitting any of his subjects to either make settlements or engage in fishing or trade on the American coast of the Pacific, and demanding punishment of all such offenders. England's reply to this haughty demand was characteristic of that nation, which has always kept a protecting arm around its citizens in every quarter of the globe. It was brief and to the point, notifying the court of Madrid that since it was evident from the Spanish protest that English subjects had been imprisoned and their property confiscated, proper satisfaction for the insult and reparation of the injury must be made before the merits of the controversy would be inquired into. The tone of the reply was so belligerent that Spain at once began to prepare for war, but to avoid this if possible concluded to modify her demands, and notified England that if his majesty would in future keep his subjects out of the Spanish dominions, she would let the matter drop where it was.
Soon after this Meares arrived in England with his version of the affair, which placed it in entirely a new light. Two large fleets were ordered to be fitted for war, and a statement of the affair together with the correspondence with Spain was submitted to parliament, which voted ample supplies and endorsed the most vigorous measures for upholding the rights and maintaining the honor of England. A demand was made upon Spain for satisfaction. Much controversy followed--messages flying backwards and forwards for three months, during which Europe was kept in a high state of excitement. England made full preparations for a descent upon the Spanish settlements in America, and assembled the greatest armament the nation had ever put forth. She formed an alliance with Sweden and the Netherlands in anticipation of the union of Spain and France against her, since it was a well-known fact that a family compact for mutual aid existed between the members of the Bourbon family occupying the thrones of those two kingdoms. The king of Spain formally called upon Louis XVI. of France, for the promised aid, but the nation was even then tottering on the brink of that horrible abyss of revolution into which it soon plunged, and the
doomed monarch was powerless. The national assembly investigated the treaty, sug-
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gested that a new and more definite one be made, and ordered an increase of the navy, but offered Spain no encouragement that assistance would be given her. England's northern allies were in no condition to render her material aid, her exchequer was exhausted by her great preparations for war, serious trouble was brewing in the East Indies, and the threatening aspect of affairs in France warned her that to form a protective alliance with Spain would be far wiser than to go to war. All these considerations caused Great Britain to recede from her bellicose position and secretly seek the mediation of France. After much negotiation the treaty of Nootka was signed October 28,1790, and the threatened war was averted.
The treaty stipulated that all buildings and tracts of land on the northwest coast of America of which Spanish officers had dispossessed any British subjects should be restored; that just reparation should be made by both parties to the agreement for any acts of violence committed by the subjects of either of them upon the subjects of the other; that any property seized should be restored or compensated for; that subjects of Great Britain should not approach within ten leagues of any part of the coast already occupied by Spain; that north of that point both parties should have equal rights, as well as south of the limits of Spanish settlements in South America. These were the general features of the convention between the two nations, and were very distasteful to a large party in parliament, who opposed the treaty on the ground that England gained nothing and lost much; that formerly British subjects claimed and fully exercised the right of settlement and trade in the Pacific, whereas England had now restricted herself to limits and conditions exceedingly detrimental to her commerce and general interests. The treaty, however, was sustained by the administration majority in Parliament.
DISCOVERY OF PUGET SOUND AND THE COLUMBIA.
England Sends Vancouver to the Pacific--Kendrick Sails Around Vancouver Island in the "Washington"--Spain Again Takes Possession of Nootka and Explores the Coast--Lieutenant Quimper Explores the Entrance to Puget Sound--Malaspina Searches for the Straits of Anian--Second Voyage of the "Columbia"--Gray Builds the "Adventure" at Cloyoquot--Spain Investigates the Desirability of Holding Nootka-- Arrival of Vancouver--His Opinion that no such Stream as the Columbia Could Exist--Captain Gray Enters the Columbia--Vancouver Explores and Names Puget Sound--Negotiations at Nootka--Broughton Explores the Columbia--Vancouver in 1793 and 1794-- Northwest Company Organized--Mackenzie's Journey to the Pacific.
Commissioners were appointed by England and Spain to proceed to Nootka and execute that portion of the treaty referring to the restoration of property. Captain George Vancouver was selected by Great Britain for that service, and given instructions to explore the coast thoroughly, and especially to "examine the supposed Strait of Juan de Fuca, said to be situated between the 48th and 49th degrees of north latitude, and to lead to an opening through which the sloop Washington is reported to
PACIFIC COAST. 75
have passed in 1789, and to have come out again to the northward of Nootka." In March, 1791, Vancouver sailed in the sloop of war Discovery accompanied by Lieutenant W. R. Broughton in the armed tender Chatham, both vessels being armed for war and equipped for a long voyage, and did not reach Nootka until a year later.
In the fall of 1789, subsequent to the departure of Gray in the Columbia, Captain Kendrick passed with the Washington entirely through the Straits of Fuca and between Vancouver island and the mainland of British Columbia, the American flag being thus the first to wave over the waters of that great inland sea. It was this passage of the Washington which is referred to in the extract given above of the instructions of the lords of admiralty to Captain Vancouver.
In the spring of 1790 the Mexican viceroy dispatched a fleet to again take possession of Nootka, under the command of Captain Francisco Elisa, the fiery Martinez having been removed. Nootka was, therefore, in full possession, of the Spaniards during the time England and Spain were conducting their negotiations. Upon resuming possession of Nootka, Spain began a series of short voyages of exploration, more particularly to ascertain what settlements were being made by the Russians or other foreigners than to accomplish anything of geographical value. The most important of these was that of Lieutenant Quimper, who sailed from Nootka in the summer of 1790, in the Princess Royal, which had not yet been restored to Captain Colnett, and entered the Straits of Fuca a distance of 100 miles, carefully examining both shores of the passage. He penetrated into the entrance of Puget sound, but was prevented by lack of time from exploring the numerous arms which he observed branching off in all directions, many of them evidently extending inland to a great distance. Upon some of these he bestowed names, none of which are now used except Canal de Guemes and Canal de Haro.
The next most important was that of Captains Malaspina and Bustamente in the Descubierta and Atrevida. During the controversy over the Nootka seizures, the romance of Maldonado about the Straits of Anian was rescued from the obscurity into which it had long since passed, and received the endorsement of many able persons. In consequence of this the expedition was fitted out by Spain to ascertain the truth of the narrative, and was dispatched to the coast in the summer of 1791. Malaspina carefully explored the shore line in the region of the 60th parallel, where Maldonado located the passage, and became convinced that there could be no strait leading through the chain of mountains which bordered the coast. He then proceeded to Nootka, where he arrived in August.
During this time the coast was visited by one French, nine English and seven American trading vessels. As their objects were purely commercial, little was accomplished by any of them in the line of new discoveries of importance, though each added a little to the fast-growing knowledge of the coast. There was one, however, an American vessel, which made the greatest discovery on the coast, and added to the territories of the United States the vast region which, sneered at and reviled for years, now has unstinted praise showered upon it from the four corners of the globe, and like the stone the builders rejected at the temple of the magnificent Solomon, seems about to be made the corner stone and crowning glory of the Union. This vessel was the Columbia, commanded by Captain Robert Gray. Passing over the voyages of
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other traders and all immaterial details, we proceed directly to the valuable discoveries made by Gray.
The Columbia sailed from Boston on her second visit to the Pacific on the twenty-eighth of September, 1790, reached the coast in June, and traded and explored among the islands and inlets about Queen Charlotte's island until September. She then sailed down the coast to Cloyoquot, north of the entrance to the Straits of Fuca, where a landing was effected and the winter passed in a fortified structure which was called Fort Defiance. During the winter Gray constructed at Cloyoquot a small vessel which he named the Adventure, to be used in collecting furs from the natives. This was the second vessel built on the Northern Pacific coast, the first being the Northwest America, constructed by Meares at Nootka in 1788. In the spring the Adventure was dispatched on a trading expedition to the north, while Gray sailed southward along the coast on a voyage of exploration.
Early in the spring of 1792 the viceroy of Mexico took energetic steps to determine the question of whether the settlement at Nootka was worth contending for, in view of the expected arrival of Captain Vancouver. If there was a navigable northwest passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, then a station at that point would be invaluable to the interests of Spain, but if the continent was continuous, so that all vessels would be compelled to enter the Pacific from the south, an establishment in so high an altitude would not be of sufficient importance to make a contest for its possession advisable. To ascertain these facts a vessel was dispatched to search for the Rio de los Reyes in the latitude of 53 degrees, two others were to explore and ascertain the exact nature of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, while a fourth was instructed to seek along the coast of the mainland further to the southward for a suitable location to which to remove in case the settlement at Nootka should be abandoned. At the same time Captain Bodega y Quadra proceeded to Nootka as commissioner to meet Captain Vancouver and fulfill the terms of the treaty, with instructions to abandon Nootka if he deemed it necessary and remove all Spanish subjects to the new location further south. In April the Discovery and Chatham arrived off the coast in the vicinity of Cape Mendocino, and sailed slowly northward, careful observations being taken and a strict examination being made of the shore for the discovery of harbors or navigable rivers and especially the river of Martin de Aguilar. A point which he conceived to be the Cape Blanco indicated on the Spanish charts, Vancouver marked down upon his own chart as Cape Orford. The next instance worthy of note was his passage of the mouth of the Columbia, which was indicated on the Spanish charts he carried as Heceta inlet or the entrance to the Rio de San Roque, while on his English map it was noted as the Deception bay of Captain Meares. On the twenty-seventh of April he recorded in his journal: "Noon brought us up with a conspicuous point of land composed of a cluster of hummocks, moderately high and projecting into the sea. On the south side of this promontory was the appearance of an inlet, or small river, the land not indicating it to be of any great extent, nor did it seem to be accessible to vessels of our burthen, as the breakers extended from the above point two or three miles into the ocean, until they joined those on the beach nearly four leagues further south. On reference to Mr. Meares's description of the coast south of this promontory, I was at first induced to believe it to be Cape Shoalwater, but on ascertaining its latitude, I pre-
PACIFIC COAST. 77
sumed it to be that which he calls Cape Disappointment; and the opening to the south of it Deception bay. This cape was found to be in latitude 46° 19', longitude 236° 6' [He reckoned east from Greenwich.] The sea now changed from its natural to river coloured water; the probable consequence of some streams falling into the bay, or into the ocean to the north of it, through the low land. Not considering this opening worthy of more attention, I continued our pursuit to the N. W., being desirous to embrace the advantages of the prevailing breeze and pleasant weather, so favorable to our examination of the coast."
Vancouver rounded Cape Disappointment and continued up the shore. He says: "The country before us presented a most luxuriant landscape, and was probably not a little heightened in value by the weather that prevailed. The more interior parts were somewhat elevated, and agreeably diversified with hills, from which it gradually descended from the shore, and terminated in a sandy beach. The whole had the appearance of a continued forest extending north as far as the eye could reach, which made me very solicitous to find a port in the vicinity of a country presenting so delightful a prospect of fertility; our attention was therefore earnestly directed to this object." At one time he was of the opinion that Shoalwater bay presented a suitable harbor, but renounced the belief upon attempting to enter the bay and failing because of the presence of an unbroken line of breakers. They passed Gray's harbor in the night, and after noting the position of Destruction island and observing Mount Olympus, "the most remarkable mountain we had seen on the coast of New Albion," fell in with the Columbia a few miles south of the Straits of Fuca.
Vancouver sent an officer to the American vessel to glean information from its commander, who hesitated not to tell all he knew of the coast. Among other things the English captain, notes in his journal: "He likewise informed them of his having been off the mouth of a river in the latitude 46° 10', where the outset, or reflux, was so strong as to prevent his entering for nine days. This was probably the opening passed by us on the forenoon of the twenty-seventh; and was, apparently, inaccessible, not from the current, but from the breakers which extended across it." That Gray must have made this effort to enter the Columbia sometime the previous year is evident from the fact that Vancouver states that he was "now commencing his summer's trade along the coast to the southward." The above remarks show plainly that Vancouver had no faith in the existence of such a stream as Aguilar's river, Rio de San Roque, Oregon, or River of the West, and this is rendered more certain by an entry in his journal made upon reaching Cape Flattery, that there "was not the least appearance of a safe or secure harbour, either in that latitude, or from it southward to Cape Mendocino; notwithstanding that, in that space, geographers had thought it expedient to furnish many. * * * So minutely had this extensive coast been inspected, that the surf had been constantly seen to break upon its shores from the masthead; and it was but in a few small intervals only, where our distance precluded its being visible from the deck. Whenever the weather prevented our making free with the shore, or on our hauling off for the night, the return of fine weather and of daylight uniformly brought us, if not to the identical spot we had departed from, at least within a few miles of it, and never beyond the northern limits of the coast which we had previously seen. An examination so directed, and circumstances happily concurring
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to permit its being so executed, afforded the most complete opportunity of determining its various turnings and windings. * * * It must be considered as a very singular circumstance that, in so great an extent of sea coast, we should not until now [He was in the Straits of Fuca] have seen the appearance of any opening in its shores which presented any certain prospect of affording shelter; the whole coast forming one compact, solid, and nearly straight barrier against the sea. The river Mr. Gray mentioned should, from the latitude he assigned to it, have existence in the bay, south of Cape Disappointment. This we passed on the forenoon of the twenty-seventh; and, as I then observed, if any inlet or river should be found, it must be a very intricate one, and inaccessible to vessels of our burthen, owing to the reefs and broken water which then appeared in its neighborhood. Mr. Gray stated that he had been several days attempting to enter it, which at length he was unable to effect, in consequence of a very strong outset. This is a phenomenon difficult to account for, as, in most cases where there are outsets of such strength on a sea coast, there are corresponding tides setting in. Be that however as it may, I was thoroughly convinced, as were also most persons of observation on board, that we could not possibly have passed any safe navigable opening, harbour, or place of security for shipping on this coast, from Cape Mendocino to the promontory of Classet (Cape Flattery); nor had we any reason to alter our opinions." Such was the deliberate conclusion of this distinguished navigator after a thorough and searching examination of the coast, and yet within the limits he thus declares to be barren of harbors or navigable rivers are to be found the harbors of Humboldt bay, Trinidad bay, Crescent City, Port Orford, Coquille river, Coos bay, Yaquina bay, Columbia river, Shoalwater bay and Gray's harbor.
Had it not been for the persevering zeal of an American, the Columbia might have listened solely to "his own dashings" for many years to come, since such a decided statement from so competent an officer of his majesty's navy would have been received as finally settling the question of the existence of such a stream and have put an end to all search for one in that locality. Gray had his own ideas on the subject, and proposed to carry them out in spite of the adverse opinion of the British captain. He continued his voyage down the coast, and on the seventh of May entered a bay in latitude 46 degrees and 48 minutes, where he lay at anchor three days. This he christened Bulfinch's harbor, in honor of one of the owners of the Columbia, but it was called Gray's harbor by Captain Vancouver in memory of the discoverer, and retains that honorable title to the present day.
Gray rounded Cape Disappointment early on the morning of the eleventh of May, and the weather being favorable, set all sail and stood boldly in among the high rolling breakers whose threatening aspect had intimidated both Meares and Vancouver and caused them to assert that they were impassable. With great nautical skill and superb judgment, he followed accurately the channel of the stream, and at one o'clock anchored "in a large river of fresh water," at a distance of ten miles from the guarding line of breakers. Here he spent three days in filling his casks with fresh water and in trading with the natives who swarmed about the vessel in canoes, the Chinook village being close by on the river bank. He then sailed up stream "upwards of twelve or fifteen miles," but having unfortunately missed the main channel was unable to proceed further,
PACIFIC COAST. 79
and dropped down again to the mouth of the river. Having executed some much-needed repairs on the vessel, he took advantage of a favorable breeze on the twentieth and crossed over the bar to the open sea. To this great stream which he entered May 11, 1792, Gray gave the name borne by his vessel, Columbia, while the bluffy point to the north of the entrance, which had been named Cape San Roque by Heceta and Cape Disappointment by Meares, he called Cape Hancock in honor of that revered patriot whose bold signature was the first on the declaration of independence. The name of Adams, the patriotic statesman of Massachusetts and vice president of the republic, he bestowed upon the low point to the south which had been designated by Heceta as Cape Frondoso.
The Columbia sailed northward to the east coast of Queen Charlotte island, where she ran upon a sunken ledge of rocks and barely escaped total destruction. She managed, however, to reach Nootka sound in a badly damaged condition, where she was again made tight and seaworthy by her carpenters. To Captain Bodega y Quadra the Spanish commissioner who was awaiting the arrival of Vancouver, Gray gave a chart showing the entrance to Bulfinch's harbor and the Columbia, and in conjunction with Joseph Ingraham who had been mate of the Columbia during the Nootka difficulties and who was now captain of the Hope then lying in the harbor, made a statement of the difficulty between Colnett and Martinez, which Bodega retained for the inspection of Vancouver. Gray and Ingraham then sailed for home by the way of Canton.
Meanwhile Vancouver had been making many important explorations. With his two vessels he entered the Straits of Fuca on the twenty-ninth of April and proceeded slowly inward, making a careful examination as he progressed. In his explorations of the straits and Puget sound, so named in honor of one of the officers of his vessel, he consumed two months, carefully examining every inlet and arm of the great inland sea. Many of the familiar names of that region were bestowed by him; such as New Dungeness, from a fancied resemblance to Dungeness in the British channel; Port Discovery, in honor of his own vessel; Port Townsend, as a compliment to "the noble Marquis of that name;" Mount Baker; Mount Rainier, in honor of Rear Admiral Rainier; Hood's channel, after Lord Hood; Port Orchard, the name of the officer who discovered it; Admiralty inlet; Vashon island, after Captain Vashon of the navy; Possession sound, where he landed on the fourth of June and took possession in the name of King George of England; Whidbey island, after one of his lieutenants; Deception pass; Burrard's channel, in compliment to Sir Harry Burrard; Bellingham bay; Bute's channel. To the whole body of water to which access was had by way of the Straits of Fuca he gave the name of Gulf of Georgia, in honor of his sovereign, while the main land surrounding it and reaching south to the 45th parallel, or New Albion, was distinguished by the title of New Georgia.
As he emerged from Puget sound to proceed northward through the upper portion of the Gulf of Georgia, he fell in with the two Spanish vessels that had been dispatched early in the spring by the viceroy to explore the Straits of Fuca. Between the commanders of these rival vessels many courtesies were exchanged, and, being on the same errand, they for a time pursued their explorations together. After parting company with the Spaniards, Vancouver proceeded northward, exploring the coast of the mainland, until he reached Queen Charlotte island, near which both the Dis-
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covery and Chatham grounded on the rocks. They were skillfully extricated from their perilous position and taken to Nootka sound.
Upon his arrival there, whither the two Spanish vessels had preceded him, Vancouver opened negotiations with Bodega y Quadra in regard to restoration of lands provided for in the treaty. The only houses and lands which British subjects had ever possessed in any form, were the temporary structure Meares had erected for his men while engaged in building the Northwest America, and the small tract of land upon which it stood. Though all vestige of this habitation had disappeared before Martinez had taken possession in 1789, still Quadra expressed his willingness to surrender the tract of land to Vancouver, but the English commissioner demanded possession of the whole of Nootka sound and Cloyoquot. This Quadra refused to give, and Vancouver refused to compromise his government by receiving less, and sent an officer to England by the way of China with information of the condition of affairs. Between Vancouver and Quadra personally the utmost cordial relations existed, and since the land upon which Nootka stood had been found to be an island, they agreed to have the "honors easy" in naming it. It was therefore entered upon the explorer's chart as the Island of Quadra and Vancouver, but is now and has been for years known only as Vancouver island.
The Daedalus having arrived from England with supplies, Vancouver sailed from Nootka with the three vessels to explore Gray's harbor and the Columbia, having received from Quadra the description of those places left with him by Captain Gray. On the eighteenth of October, 1792, the Daedalus, commanded by Lieutenant Whidbey, entered Gray's harbor, while the two consorts continued to the Columbia. On the morning of the nineteenth the Chatham and Discovery attempted the passage of the bar, the former crossing safely, but the latter hauling off for fear there was not a sufficient depth of water. This circumstance led Vancouver to record in his journal that his "former opinion of this port being inaccessible to vessels of our burthen was now fully confirmed, with this exception, that in very fine weather, with moderate winds, and a smooth sea, vessels not exceeding four hundred tons might, so far as we were enabled to judge, gain admittance." It was while lying at anchor off the bar that he gained a view of a "high, round snow mountain" far up the stream, which he named Mount St. Helens, in honor of his Britanic majesty's ambassador at the court of Madrid.
The first sound that saluted the commander of the Chatham upon crossing the bar was the report of a cannon, which was answered in a similar manner by Lieutenant Broughton. It came from a Bristol brig called the Jenny, lying in a sheltered bay within the mouth of the stream, which has ever since been known as Baker's bay in honor of the captain of that little craft. This made the second vessel to enter the river before the representatives of Great Britain undertook to explore it. The Chatham lay in the river several days, during which time Broughton ascended the stream in a boat some 120 miles, as far as a point which he named in honor of the commander of the expedition, being the same upon which Fort Vancouver was afterwards built by the Hudson's Bay Company. During his stay he formally "took possession of the river and the country in its vicinity in his Britanic majesty's name, having every reason to believe that the subjects of no other civilized nation or state had ever entered
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this river before." The closing portion of this sentence sounds strangely from one who had in his possession at the time he penned it the rough chart made by Gray, which had been the cause of his being there at all. It is explained by saying that he affected to consider the broad estuary near the mouth of the stream as no portion of the river, and that in consequence Gray had not entered the river proper. This strained construction England maintained in the after controversy with the United States about the rights of discovery.
Vancouver remained in the Pacific two years longer, spending the summers of 1793 and 1794 in carefully exploring the coast of the mainland above Queen Charlotte island, searching every cove and inlet for a passage to the Atlantic, until he became as thoroughly convinced that there was no such passage as he had been that no such river as the Columbia existed. Meanwhile negotiations were carried on between England and Spain in regard to Nootka, and those two nations having allied themselves against France, the Nootka affair was dropped. In the spring of 1795 the Spaniards abandoned Nootka sound forever, the question of possession never having been settled, and thus the whole affair ended.
When the independence of her American colonies was granted by England, that nation was left without any representative in North America by whom her dominion could be extended westward, except the Hudson's Bay Company, which organization was more deeply interested in maintaining the vast region to the west and north as a fur-beating wilderness than in adding new jewels to the British crown. It was only when a rival to the great monopoly grew up and threatened to carry on successful opposition that the old company adopted a more aggressive policy.
As early as 1775 a few Montreal traders had pushed as far west as the Saskatchewan and Athabaska rivers, and opened up a successful trade, which was carried on for some years by independent traders. At last, in 1784, because of inability to contend and compete with the monopoly as individuals, these traders combined together as the Northwest Company of Montreal. This company operated in a most practical manner, its agents all being interested partners, and soon became an organization of much wealth and power. The company steadily pushed its agents and stations westward, and energetically extended the limits of its operations. In 1778 a station had been established on Athabaska river, some 1200 miles northwest of Lake Superior, but in 1788 this was abandoned and Fort Chipewyan built on Lake Athabaska, which became the base of the company's operations in the extreme west. Traders extended their operations westward to the Rocky mountains, called by them Shining mountains or Mountains of Bright Stones.
In 1789 Alexander Mackenzie, the gentleman in charge of Fort Chipewyan, discovered the Mackenzie river where it issues from Great Slave lake, and followed down its whole course to the Arctic ocean. The same gentleman started in October, 1792, to cross the continent to the Pacific. He passed up Peace river and camped until spring at the base of the Rocky mountains, engaging in trade. In June, 1793, he crossed the mountains, and descended in canoes a large river a distance of 250 miles. This he called the Tacoutchee-Tassee, and after the discovery of the Columbia was announced it was supposed to be identical with that great stream, until in 1812 Simon Fraser traced it to the ocean and called it Fraser's river. Upon leaving this stream Mac-
82 PACIFIC COAST.
kenzie continued westward some 200 miles and caught sight of the ocean July 22, 1793, being the first Caucasian, and possibly the first human being, to cross America overland from the Atlantic to the Pacific north of Mexico. The place at which he reached the ocean was in latitude 52 degrees and 20 minutes, and had been explored and named Cascade canal but a few weeks before by Vancouver.
The two journeys of this energetic trader, the careful explorations of Cook and Vancouver, and discovery of the Columbia by Gray, served to enlighten all interested nations in regard to the nature of the American continent, and to prove conclusively that neither the Straits of Anian nor the Rio de los Reyes had any other existence than in the fancy of those who, centuries before, had proclaimed them. The Northwest Company pushed its agents down to the headwaters of the Missouri, while French and Spanish traders ascended that stream from St. Louis, and engaged in trade with the natives and trapped the streams for beaver. Because of the Spanish claim to Louisiana, American traders were much confined in the limits of their operations, and were also restricted by the holding back of posts in the region of the great lakes which Great Britain should have surrendered under the terms of the treaty of 1783. These were surrendered in 1794 by special treaty, which instrument also provided that subjects of Great Britain and the United States should have unrestricted intercourse and rights of trade. From this time American fur traders extended their operations further westward and increased the volume of their trade. This was the condition of affairs in America at the close of the eighteenth century.