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they passed successively to Woahoo and Atooi; and in the latter island they remained a year, committing many irregularities, without, however, effecting, in any way, the supposed objects of their expedition, until they were at length forced to submit to the authorities of Tamahamaha, and to quit the islands.*
Expeditions were also made by the Russians to Bering's Strait, and the seas beyond it, for the purpose of determining the question as to the separation of Asia and America, which, though long before supposed to have been ascertained, was again rendered doubtful by some circumstances of recent occurrence.
With this object, Captain Otto von Kotzebue sailed from Cronstadt in the ship Ruric, which had been fitted out at the expense of the ex-chancellor Romanzof, and, in the summer of 1816, penetrated through the strait into the Arctic Sea; but, although he surveyed the coasts of both continents on that sea more minutely than any navigator who had preceded him, he was unable to advance so far in any direction as Cook had gone in 1778. In 1820, two other vessels were sent to that part of the ocean, with the same objects; but no detailed account of their voyage has been made public. In the mean time, however, the doubts as to the separation of the two continents were completely removed, by Captains Wrangel and Anjou, who surveyed the eastern parts of the Siberian coast with great care, in defiance of the most dreadful difficulties and dangers.t
Nor did the Russians neglect to improve the administration of their affairs on the North Pacific coasts. In 1817, Captain Golownin was despatched from Europe, in the sloop of war Kamtchatka, with a commission from the emperor to inquire into the state of the Russian dominions in America ; and, upon the report brought back by him, it was resolved that a radical change should be made in the management of those possessions. Accordingly, upon the renewal of the charter of the company on the 8th of July, 1819, regulations were put in execution, by which the governor and other chief officers of Russian America became directly responsible for their
* For further particulars on this subject, the reader — if he should consider the matter worth investigating — may consult Kotzebue's narrative of his voyage to the Pacific, in 1815–16, and Jarves's History of the Sandwich Islands.
+ See the agreeable and instructive narrative, by Kotzebue, of his voyage in search of a north-east passage. Wrangel's account of his expedition, which has been recently published, is a most interesting work, not only from the multitude of new facts in geography, and in many of the physical sciences, which it communicates, but also from the admiration which it inspires for the courage, good temper, and good feeling, of the adventurous narrator. Wrangel has since been, for many years, the governor general of Russian America, and is now an admiral in the service of his country.
OCCURRENCES AT THE SANDWICH ISLANDS.
conduct, and the condition of all classes of the population of those countries was materially benefited. The death of Baranof rendered the introduction of these reforms less difficult; and the superintendence of the colonies has ever since been committed to honorable and enlightened men, generally officers in the Russian navy, under whose direction the abuses formerly prevailing to so frightful an extent, have been gradually removed or abated.*
About the same time, an event occurred, of great importance in the history of a country which is, no doubt, destined materially to influence the political condition of the north-western coasts and regions of America. Tamahamaha, king of all the Sandwich Islands, died in May, 1819, at the age of sixty-three, and was succeeded in power by his son, or reputed son, Riho Riho, or Tamahamaha II. Of the merits and demerits of Tamahamaha, it would be out of place here to speak at length. He was a chief
a of note at the time of the discovery of the islands by Cook, when his character had been already formed, and the seeds of much that was evil had been sown, and had taken firm root in his mind. No sooner, however, was he brought into contact with civilized men, than he began to learn, and, what was more difficult, to unlearn. His first objects were of a nature purely selfish. He sought power to gratify his ambition and his thirst for pleasure, but he used it, when obtained, for nobler ends; and of all the sovereigns of the earth, his contemporaries, no one certainly attempted or effected as much, in proportion to his means, for the advancement of his people, as this barbarian chief of a little ocean island.
Upon the death of Tamahamaha, great changes were effected in the affairs of the Sandwich Islands. The old king had resolutely maintained the religion of his forefathers, though he suppressed many of its horrible ceremonies and observances. Riho Riho, however, soon after his accession, abolished that religion, and embraced the faith of the white men who came to his islands in great ships from distant countries. His principal chiefs, Boki and Krymakoo, (or Kalaimaku,) had been previously, in August, 1819, baptized and received into the bosom of the Roman Catholic church by the chaplain of the French corvette L’Uranie, during her voyage around the world under Captain Freycinet; and, early in 1820, a vessel reached the islands from Boston, bringing a number of missionaries of the Presbyterian or Congregationalist sects, who have been established there ever since, and have exercised, as will be hereafter shown, a powerful and generally beneficial influence over the people and their rulers.*
* Statische und ethnographische Nachrichten, aber die Russischen Besitzungen an der Nordwestküste von Amerika — Statistical and ethnographical Notices concerning the Russian Possessions on the North-West Coasts of America - by Admiral von Wrangel, late governor-general of those countries, published at St. Petersburg, in 1839. + These names are now generally written Liho Liho and Kamehamaha.
The American missionaries, immediately on entering the Sandwich Islands, began the study of the language through which their instructions were to be conveyed. This language they found to be the same throughout the group; but, as considerable differences existed in its pronunciation in different islands, they selected the most pure, or the most generally used, of the dialects, in which they formed a vocabulary, employing English letters to represent the sounds, but wisely confining each letter to the expression of a fixed sound. The History of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which may be considered as official authority on all matters connected with the missions in the Sandwich Islands, contains, at p. 112, the following clear and concise view of the system of orthography thus adopted:
“ The Hawaian (Owyheean] alphabet contains twelve letters only. It has five vowels — a, sounded as a in father ; e, as a in hate ; i, as ee in feet ; 0, as o in pole, and u, as oo in boot; and seven consonants — h, k, l, m, n, p, and w, sounded as in English. The long English sound of i is represented by ai, as in Lahaina, where the second syllable is accented, and pronounced like the English word high. The second syllable, wai, of Hawaii, the name of the largest of the islands, is pronounced like the first syllable of the English name Wyman; and, giving the letters the usual English sounds, it might be spelled Ha-wy-ee. The first syllable should be pronounced very slightly, and a strong accent placed on the second. The sound of ou (in cow) is represented by au ; as, Maui, pronounced Mow-ee. The natives do not distinguish the sounds of k and t from each other, but call the same island sometimes Kaui and Taui, without perceiving the difference. In the same way, d, 1, and r, are confounded, and the same place is called indifferently Hido, Hilo, or Hiro. The same occurs in respect to w and o. In fact, these interchangeable consonants are very slightly and indistinctly uttered, so that a foreigner is at a loss to know which the speaker intends to use."
Agreeably to this system, the missionaries have published a translation of the Bible, and many other books, in the language of the Sandwich Islands. It is, however, much to be regretted that they and their friends, from whom nearly all the information is now received respecting that part of the world, should think proper to apply their orthography exclusively, not only to the names of places and persons which have recently gained notoriety, but likewise to those with which every one has become familiar through the journals of Cook and Vancouver. Names are, indeed, not written uniformly in the journals here mentioned; but the differences are in general slight, far less than between any one of the old names and that assigned to the same object in the new system: and the best informed men, who have not studied that system thoroughly, will scarcely be able to discover that the Hawaii of the missionaries is Oryhee; that Keilakakua is the Karakakooa rendered sacred as the scene of Cook's death ; and that Kaumalii and Kamehameha are no others than their old acquaintances, Tamoree and Tamahamaha, under new titles. What would be thought of an English history of Germany, in which places and persons appeared only under their German names — in which Vienna should be written Wien ; Moravia, Maehren ; Bohemia, Boehmen ; Francis, Franz ; Charles, Karl ; &c. ?
1820 To 1828.
Bill reported by a Committee of the House of Representatives of the United States,
for the Occupation of the Columbia River - Ukase of the Emperor of Russia, with Regard to the North Pacific Coasts-Negotiations between the Governments of Great Britain, Russia, and the United States Conventions between the United States and Russia, and between Great Britain and Russia – Further Negotiations between the United States and Great Britain relative to the North-West Coasts — Indefinite Extension of the Arrangement for the joint Occupancy of the Territories west of the Rocky Mountains, by the British and the Americans.
BEFORE 1820, little, if any thing, relative to the countries west of the Rocky Mountains had been said in the Congress of the United States; and those countries had excited very little interest among the citizens of the federal republic in general.
In December of that year, however, immediately after the ratification of the Florida treaty by Spain, a resolution was passed by the House of Representatives in Congress, on the motion of Mr. Floyd, of Virginia — “ that an inquiry should be made, as to the situation of the settlements on the Pacific Ocean, and as to the expediency of occupying the Columbia River.” The committee to which this resolution was referred, presented, in January following, a long report, containing a sketch of the history of colonization in America, with an account of the fur trade in the northern and northwestern sections of the continent, and a description of the country claimed by the United States ; from all which are drawn the conclusions, — that the whole territory of America bordering upon the Pacific, from the 41st degree of latitude to the 53d, if not to the 60th, belongs of right to the United States, in virtue of the purchase of Louisiana from France, in 1803, of the acquisition of the titles of Spain by the Florida treaty, and of the discoveries and settlements of American citizens; - that the trade of this territory in furs and other articles, and the fisheries on its coasts, might be rendered highly productive; and that these advantages might be secured
to citizens of the United States exclusively, by establishing “small trading guards” on the most north-eastern point of the Missouri, and at the mouth of the Columbia, and by favoring emigration to the country west of the Rocky Mountains, not only from the United States, but also from China. To this report the committee appended “a bill for the occupation of the Columbia, and the regulation of the trade with the Indians in the territories of the United States.” Without making any remarks upon the character of this report, it may be observed, that the terms of the bill are directly at variance with the provisions of the third article of the convention of October, 1818, between the United States and Great Britain; as the Columbia could not possibly be free and open to the vessels, citizens, and subjects, of both nations, if it were occupied by either. The bill was suffered to lie on the table of the House during the remainder of the session : in the ensuing year, it was again brought before Congress, and an estimate was obtained, from the navy commissioners, of the expense of transporting cannon, ammunition, and stores, by sea, to the mouth of the Columbia ; but no further notice was taken of the subject until the winter of 1823.
Measures had, in the mean time, been adopted by the Russian government, with regard to the north-west coasts of America, which strongly excited the attention of both the other powers claiming dominion in that quarter.
Soon after the renewal of the charter of the Russian American Company, a ukase, or imperial decree, was issued at St. Petersburg, by which the whole west coast of America, north of the 51st parallel, and the whole east coast of Asia, north of the latitude of 45 degrees 50 minutes, with all the adjacent and intervening islands, were declared to belong exclusively to Russia ; and foreigners were prohibited, under heavy penalties, from approaching within a hundred miles of any of those coasts, except in cases of extreme necessity.
* This decree was officially communicated to the government of the United States in February, 1822, by the Chevalier de Poletica, Russian minister at Washington, between whom and Mr. J. Q Adams, the American secretary of state, a correspondence immediately took place on the subject. Mr. Adams, in his first note, simply made known the surprise of the president at the assertion of a claim, on the part of Russia, to so large a portion of the west
* The ukase, dated September 4th, 1821, and the correspondence between the Russian and American governments with regard to it, may be found at length among the documents accompanying President Monroe's message to Congress, of April 17th, 1822.