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1778.]

COOK SAILS FROM NOOTKA.

153

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 iron and brass, he conceived, might have been brought from Canada, or Hudson's Bay, and the silver spoons from Mexico; and he imputed the indifference of the natives, respecting the ships, “ to their natural indolence of temper and want of curiosity.”

On his arrival in this bay, Cook “honored it with the name of King George's Sound ;” but he “afterwards found that it was called Nootka, by the natives,” and it has, accordingly, ever since been known as Nootka Sound. No word has, however, been since found in the language of the people of this country more nearly resembling Nootka than Yuquatl, the name applied by them to Friendly Cove. The bay is situated on the south-west side of the large Island of Vancouver and Quadra, which was, until 1790, supposed to be a part of the American continent; and it communicates with the Pacific by two openings, the southernmost of which, the only one affording a passage for large vessels, lies under the parallel of 49 degrees 33 minutes. This southern entrance is, undoubtedly, the Port San Lorenzo, in which the Spanish navigator Perez lay with his ship, the Santiago, on the 10th of August, 1774; and from that vessel, most probably, were stolen the two silver spoons of Spanish manufacture, which Cook saw at Nootka, in the possession of one of the natives. The place possesses many advantages, which will render it important, whenever that part of America shall be occupied, as it certainly will be, by an enterprising and industrious people.

It was Cook's intention, on leaving Nootka Sound, to proceed, as speedily as possible, to the part of the coast under the 65th degree of latitude, from which he was to commence his search for a passage to the Atlantic. The violence of the wind prevented him from approaching the land for some days, and he thus, to his regret, left unseen the place, near the 53d parallel, “ where geographers had placed the pretended Strait of Fonté. For my own' part,” he continues, “I gave no credit to such vague and improbable stories, that carry 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.” At length, on the 1st of May, he saw the land, about the 55th parallel; and, on the following day, he passed near the beautiful conical mountain,

under the 57th, which had received from Bodega, in 1775, the name of Mount San Jacinto. This peak was called Mount Edgecumb by Cook, who also gave the appellation of Bay of Islands to the Port Remedios of the Spaniards, on its northern side.

After leaving these places, the English observed a wide opening on the east, called by them Cross Sound, and beyond it a very high mountain, which obtained the name of Mount Fairweather; and, as the latter was situated near the 59th parallel, they had then advanced farther north than the Spaniards, or any other navigators, had proceeded from the south along that coast, and were entering upon the scenes of the labors of the Russians. Accordingly, as they expected, on the 4th of the month, they beheld, rising from the shore in the north, at the distance of forty leagues, a stupendous pile of rocks and snow, which they immediately recognized as the Mount St. Elias, described in the accounts of Bering's voyage; and, as the coast from its base was found to “trend very much to the west, inclining hardly any thing to the north,” Cook determined to commence his survey at that point, hoping soon to discover some strait, or arm of the ocean, through which he might pass around the northwestern extremity of America, into the sea bathing the northern shores of the continent. Of the existence of such a passage he was assured by the Russian geographers, on whose maps the whole space between Mount St. Elias and Kamtchatka was represented as occupied by a collection of islands and channels.

With this expectation, the English advanced slowly along the coast, from the foot of Mount St. Elias, westward, to a considerable distance, and then south-westward, as far as the latitude of 543 degrees; minutely examining, in their way, every sinuosity on the shores of the ocean, and particularly those of the two great gulfs, named by them Prince William's Sound and Cook's River, which stretch northwardly into the land from the 60th parallel. They were, however, in each instance, disappointed; for the coast was found to extend continuously on their right, bordered every where by lofty, snow-capped chains of mountains along the whole line thus surveyed: and, as Cook became convinced that these territories formed part of the American continent, which thus “extended farther to the west than, from the modern most reputable charts, he had reason to expect,” he saw, regret, that the probability of his finding a passage eastward into Baffin's or Hudson's Bays was materially diminished, if not entirely destroyed. He endeavored, in his course, to identify the places described in the narrative of 1778.]

with

COOK REACHES UNALASHKA.

155

Bering's voyage; but this he found, almost always, impossible, though he assigned many of the names therein mentioned to spots which seemed to correspond, in some respects, with those so called by the Russians.

Whilst this survey was in progress, particularly at Prince William's Sound, the ships were frequently visited by the natives of the surrounding country, who appeared to be of a different race from those seen farther south. They were as thievish as the Nootkans, though apparently less ferocious and revengeful; and Cook gives several examples of their extraordinary apathy and indifference, which appears, from all subsequent accounts, to be their most remarkable characteristic. They, also, were well acquainted with the use of iron and copper, of which metals, particularly of copper, they possessed knives, or spear-heads, rudely made. Among them were likewise found many ornaments made of glass beads, which were evidently of European manufacture: yet the English could not learn that they had ever had direct intercourse with any

civilized nation; and Cook very justly concluded that the Russians “had never been among them, for, if that had been the case, we should hardly have found them clothed in such valuable skins as those of the sea otter.”

Proceeding south-westward from Cook's River, along the western side of the peninsula of Aliaska, the English, on the 19th of June, fell in with a group of small islands, near the 55th parallel, which appeared to correspond, in position, with the Schumagin Islands of Bering; and, while sailing amongst them, they obtained, from some natives, a note written on paper, in an unknown language, which they supposed to be Russian. Having reached the extremity of the land in that direction, they doubled the point, and, sailing again towards the east, they arrived, on the 27th, at a large island, which proved to be Unalashka, one of the Aleutian Archipelago, frequently mentioned in the accounts of the Russians as a place of resort for their traders : natives of the island only were found there; but, as its position with reference to other points in America, and to Kamtchatka, was supposed to be represented with some approach to accuracy, on the chart published at St. Petersburg, the English, after reaching it, were better able to determine their future course.

Being still anxious to discover, if possible, during that season, how far America extended to the north-west, Cook departed from Unalashka on the 2d of July, and, sailing northward along the coast, he carefully examined all its bays and recesses, in search of a passage towards the east, until he, at length, on the 9th of August, reached a point, in the latitude of 65 degrees 46 minutes, which his observations induced him to consider as the north-western extremity of all America.” This point he named Cape Prince of Wales, and thence proceeding westward, across a channel only fifty miles in breadth, he arrived at another point, supposed to be that described, in the account of Bering's first voyage, as the Tchukotskoi Noss, which was ascertained to be the easternmost spot in Asia, and was accordingly named East Cape. The passage separating these capes, which the Russians had called Bering's Strait, was suffered to retain that appellation, in honor of the navigator who first sailed through it.

Beyond Bering's Strait, the American coast was traced by the English, north-eastward upon the Arctic Sea, to Icy Cape, in the latitude of 70 degrees 29 minutes, where the progress of the explorers was arrested by the ice. In like manner, the Asiatic coast was surveyed north-westward, to Cape North, in the latitude of 68 degrees 56 minutes, the farthermost point to which it was then possible to advance in that direction; and, the warm season being by this time ended, Cook judged it prudent to retire to the south, deferring the continuation of his researches until the ensuing

He accordingly repassed Bering's Strait, and on the 3d of October his ships were again anchored in the harbor of Samagoonda, on the north side of Unalashka.

From this place, Corporal Ledyard was despatched on an exploring trip into the interior of the island, where he at length discovered some Russian traders, who accompanied him back to the ships. The chief of these traders, named Gerassim Ismyloff, was an old and experienced seaman, who had formed one of the party under Benyowsky, in their adventurous voyage from Kamtchatka to China, in 1770, and had since been engaged in the navigation and traffic between Asia and the Aleutian Islands. He readily exhibited to Cook the few charts in his possession, and communicated what he knew respecting the geography of that part of the world as well as was possible, considering that neither of the two understood a word of the language of the other. The information thus received from Ismyloff, however, only served to show the entire inaccuracy of the ideas of the Russians with regard to America, and to convince the English navigator of the importance of his own discoveries.

summer.

1779.]

DEATH OF COOK.

157

Leaving Unalashka on the 27th of October, the English ships continued their voyage southward to the Sandwich Islands, of which the two largest, called Owyhee and Mowee, (Hawaii and Mauai,) were first discovered in the latter part of November. They passed the winter on the western side of Owyhee, in a harbor called Karakooa Bay; and there, on the 16th of February, 1779, the gallant and generous Cook was murdered by the natives, in an affray.

Captain Charles Clerke, who succeeded to the command of the expedition after this melancholy event, endeavored, in the summer of 1779, to effect a passage through the Arctic Sea to the Atlantic. With this view, he left the Sandwich Islands in March, and, on the 29th of April, reached the harbor of Petropawlowsk, in the Bay of Avatscha, the principal port of the Russians on the North Pacific, where the English were received with the utmost kindness by the officers of the government; and their ships were objects of the greatest curiosity to the people, being the first from any foreign country which had ever visited that part of the world. After some days spent in Kamtchatka, Clerke sailed for Bering's Strait, beyond which, however, he was unable to advance, in any direction, so far as in the preceding year, in consequence of the great accumulation of the ice. His health at that time being, moreover, in a very precarious state, he returned to Petropawlowsk, near which he died, on the 22d of August.

Lieutenant John Gore next assumed the direction of the enterprise: but the ships were considered, by him and the other officers, unfit, from the bad condition of their bottoms and rigging, to encounter the shocks of another season in that tempestuous quarter of the ocean; and it was, thereupon, determined that they should direct their course immediately for England. They accordingly sailed from Petropawlowsk in October, and in the beginning of December they anchored at the mouth of the River Tygris, near Canton.

With the stay of the English ships in China are connected some circumstances, which gave additional importance to the discoveries effected in their expedition.

It has already been mentioned that, during the voyage along the north-west coasts of America, the officers and seamen had obtained from the natives at Nootka, Prince William's Sound, and other places which they visited, a quantity of furs, in exchange for knives, old clothes, buttons, and other trifles. These furs were collected,

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