« PreviousContinue »
officer of that vessel. To these gentlemen he also communicated the particulars of his voyage; and thus they learned, to their great regret, that they had been anticipated, by the American captain, in a discovery which was expected by them to cast considerable éclat on their expedition. Marchand had, in the month of June previous, seen a group of islands in the centre of the Pacific Ocean, of which he believed himself to be the discoverer, as they were not described in any narrative or chart then published; and, under this impression, he named them Iles de la Révolution, and had just sent an account of them to France, which was submitted formally to the National Assembly: on examining the journal of the Hope, however, he could have no doubt that this was the same group which had been found by Ingraham in April; and the fact is admitted, though with evident reluctance, in the narrative of his voyage.*
Captain Kendrick, in the Washington, which had been altered into a brig, also arrived at Macao while the Hope was lying there. He had been engaged, since 1789, in various speculations, one of which was the collection and transportation to China of the odoriferous wood called sandal, which grows in many of the tropical islands of the Pacific, and is in great demand throughout the Celestial Empire. Vancouver pronounced this scheme chimerical; but experience has proved that it was founded on just calculations, and the business has been ever since prosecuted with advantage, especially by the Americans.
Another of Kendrick's speculations has not hitherto produced any fruit. In the summer of 1791, he purchased from Maquinna, Wicanish, and other chiefs, several large tracts of land near Nootka Sound, for which he obtained deeds duly marked by those personages, and witnessed by the officers and men of the Washington. Attempts were made, by the owners of that vessel, to sell these lands at London in 1793, but no purchasers were found; and applications have since been addressed, by the legal representatives of the owners and of Kendrick, to the government of the United
The editor, Fleurieu, thus ingeniously concludes the discussion as to the first discovery of the islands : “Captain Marchand undoubtedly cannot aspire to the honor of priority; but, like the American captain who preceded him, he has not, on that account, the less pretension to the honor of the discovery; for he could not know, in the month of June, 1791, while he was navigating the great ocean, that, a month before, another navigator, standing in the same course with himself, had made the same discovery." The king of the French has nevertheless been pleased to bestow a gold medal on one of the surviving owners of the Solide, on the ground of the discovery of those islands by Marchand, as expressly declared in the report of his minister of marine, published in the Moniteur of May 25th, 1843.
States, for a confirmation of the title.* That the lands were thus sold by the savage chiefs, there is no reason to doubt; and Maquinna or Wicanish would as readily have conveyed the whole of America to any one for the consideration of a copper kettle: but the validity of the acquisition will scarcely be recognized by the civilized nation which may hereafter hold the sovereignty of the country about Nootka Sound. Neither Kendrick nor his vessel ever returned to America: he was killed, in 1793, at Karakakooa Bay, in Owyhee, by a ball accidentally fired from a British vessel, while saluting him.
At Canton, Ingraham disposed of his furs advantageously, and vested the proceeds in teas, which he sent to Boston by a vessel chartered for the purpose. He then sailed, on the 3d of April, for the north-west coasts of America, and spent the summer in trading in and about Queen Charlotte's Island, which was then the principal resort of the Americans.
The Columbia, under her former captain, Gray, left Boston on the 28th of September, 1790, ten days after the departure of the Hope; † and, without the occurrence of any thing worthy of note on her way, she arrived at Clyoquot, near the entrance of the Strait of Fuca, on the 5th of June, 1791. Thence she proceeded, in a few days, to the eastern side of Queen Charlotte's Island, on which, and on the coasts of the continent and islands in its vicinity, she remained until September, engaged in trading and exploring. During this time, Gray examined many of the inlets and passages between the 54th and the 56th parallels, in one of which — most probably the same afterwards called by Vancouver the Portland
The circular addressed by the owners of the Washington, on this occasion, is curious document. It is written in four languages, and is couched in terms the most unspecific which could have been selected. The “ inhabitants of Europe” are informed that, “in 1787, Captain J. Kendrick, while prosecuting an advantageous voyage with the natives for furs, purchased of them, for the owners, a tract of delightful country, comprehending four degrees of latitude, or two hundred and forty miles square;” and that “such as may be inclined to associate, for settling a commonwealth on their own code of laws, on a spot of the globe nowhere surpassed in delightful and healthy climate, and fertile soil, claimed by no civilized nation, and purchased, under a sacred treaty of peace and commerce, and for a valuable consideration, of the friendly natives, may have the best opportunity of trying the result of such an enterprise.” Of the situation of this tract of delightful country we learn nothing from the circular, except that it lies in America. The deeds for the lands are declared to have been registered in the office of the American consul at Macao; and these deeds, or some of them, have been lately published, referring only to the territories about Nootka Sound, which, though including all the dominions of the chiefs conveying them, do not amount to one twenty-fourth part of two hundred and forty miles square.
+ Log-book of the Columbia, from September 28th, 1790, to February 20.9, 1792.
Canal — he penetrated from its entrance, in the latitude of 54 degrees 33 minutes, to the distance of a hundred miles northeastward, without reaching its termination. This inlet he supposed to be the Rio de Reyes of Admiral Fonté; a part of it was named by him Massacre Cove, in commemoration of the murder of Caswell, the second mate, and two seamen of his vessel, by the natives, on its shore, on the 22d of August. Shortly after this melancholy occurrence, the Columbia fell in with the Hope, and the two captains communicated to each other, though apparently with some reserve, the results of their observations. They then separated, Ingraham going to China, as above related, while Gray returned to Clyoquot.
At Clyoquot, the crew of the Columbia passed the winter in a fortified habitation, which they erected on the shore of the bay, and called Fort Defiance; and they were employed in building a small vessel, which was launched, and named the Adventure. Whilst preparing for sea, they were visited by Tatoochseatticus and Wicanish, the principal chiefs of the surrounding country, with a number of followers, between whom and a Sandwich Islander on board the Columbia it soon became evident that some understanding had been established. Gray's suspicions being excited, he questioned the Sandwich Islander, who at length confessed that the Indians had formed a plan for the seizure of the vessels, and the murder of their crews, and had promised to spare his life, and make him a chief, if he would aid them by wetting the priming of all the guns at a particular time. Thus forewarned, the Americans were on their guard; and the savages, who surrounded the vessel on the following day, were kept at a distance.
In the spring of 1792, the Adventure sailed for Queen Charlotte's Island, under the command of Haswell, the first mate of the Columbia ; and Gray took his departure in the ship, on a cruise southward along the coasts of the continent, the particulars of which will appear in the next chapter.
1792 to 1796.
Vancouver and Broughton arrive on the American Coasts in 1792, and meet with
Gray, who informs them of his Discovery of the Columbia River — The Strait of Fuca surveyed by Vancouver, Galiano, and Valdes — Negotiations between Vancouver and Quadra at Nootka — Vancouver's Injustice to the Americans – Broughton's Examination of the lower Part of the Columbia River - Vancouver's Proceedings at the Sandwich Islands - He completes the Survey of the North-West Coasts of America, and returns to England - The Spaniards abandon Nootka Conclusions with Regard to the Dispute between Great Britain and Spain, and the Convention of 1790.
The viceroy of Mexico, count de Revillagigedo, on learning the results of the voyages of Fidalgo, Quimper, and Malaspina, along the north-west coasts of America, ordered three other vessels to be prepared, for continuing the exploration of those coasts. In one of them, the corvette Aransasu, Lieutenant Jacinto Caamano was directed to seek, particularly near the 53d degree of latitude, for the mouth of the Rio de Reyes, through which Admiral Fonté was said to have sailed, in 1640, north-eastward, into a lake communicating with the Atlantic; while Lieutenants Dionisio Alcala Galiano and Cayetano Valdes were to survey the Strait of Fuca, in the small schooners Sutil and Mexicana. These vessels sailed from San Blas in the spring of 1792, and arrived in May at Nootka Sound, whence they soon after departed on their respective expeditions.*
Captain Bodega y Quadra, the superintendent of the marine department of San Blas, was at the same time despatched to Nootka, to take the command of the forces in that quarter, and to treat with Captain Vancouver, who was expected to arrive there in the following summer, with regard to the lands and buildings claimed by British subjects, in virtue of the first and second articles of the convention of 1790. He was instructed, in case it should
* The works which have served principally as authorities for the accounts in this chapter are — the journal of Captain George Vancouver, three vols. 4to., published at London in 1797 — the journal of Galiano and Valdes — and the manuscript journal of the voyage of the American brig Hope, written by her captain, J. Ingraham — with others, to which reference will be made
be requisite, to abandon Nootka, and withdraw all the Spanish forces and settlers to some convenient point of the coast farther south; and, in anticipation of such a contingency, a vessel was sent from San Blas, under the command of Fidalgo, to seek for a proper spot, and make preparations on it for a permanent establishment.
Vancouver and Broughton reached the American coast in April, 1792, a little south of Cape Mendocino, whence they sailed slowly northward, to the Strait of Fuca, which they were instructed particularly to explore. On their way, they carefully examined the shores, and determined the geographical positions of all the most prominent points, comparing the results of their observations with those obtained by Cook and others who had preceded them. Near the 43d degree of latitude, they sought in vain for the river which Martin de Aguilar was said to have seen, entering the Pacific thereabouts, in 1603; and they appeared inclined to admit as identical with the Cape Blanco of that navigator, a high, craggy promontory, in the latitude of 42 degrees 52 minutes, to which they, however, did not scruple to assign the name of Cape Orford.
Vancouver also observed with attention the Deception Bay of Meares, which was represented on Spanish charts as the mouth of a river. Of this part of his voyage, he presents the following account in his journal, under date of
“ April 27th. — 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 for vessels of our burden, 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 farther south. On reference to Mr. Meares's description of the coast south of this promontory, I was at first inclined to believe it was Cape Shoalwater; but, on ascertaining its latitude, I presumed it to be that which he calls Cape Disappointment, and the opening south of it Deception Bay. This cape we found to be in latitude of 46 degrees 19 minutes, longitude 236 degrees 6 minutes [east]. The sea had now changed from its natural to river-colored water, the probable consequence of some streams falling into the bay, or into the opening north of it, through the low land. Not considering this opening worthy of more attention, I continued our pursuit to the north-west, being desirous to embrace the advantages of the now prevailing breeze and pleasant weather, so favorable to an examination of the coasts."