Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed.
Glenora Single Malt Whisky

Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.
Scottish Review

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

Sir James Douglas
Chapter I - The North-West Coast


BRITISH Columbia, as we know it to-day, has had an organic existence only since the year 1859, at the earliest, if we include the colony of Vancouver Island, since 1849. Its history, therefore, as Crown colony and province of the Dominion of Canada, is contemporary with the lives of many still living. In a previous era, however, the region had bulked large in the annals of the fur trade; and in a period still more remote it was a part of the romantic story of the conquest of the Pacific. If, therefore, we would penetrate beyond results to ultimate causes, to see the community in its making and the material which the most active of its makers found to his hand, as well as the development which sprang from that beginning, we should find that the inquiry, notwithstanding the remoteness of the region from the political life of the continent with which we are most familiar, and the recent date at which its organization was effected, leads far into the past. We must begin, indeed, if we would trace the stream of western history to its source, with a time almost coeval with the earliest European knowledge of America and but little subsequent to the landing of Columbus on its eastern shores.

The fact that the progress of colonization on this continent received a very remarkable impetus from the western side, has not always been given emphasis. Three causes have been commonly assigned for the early spread of civilization in America. The original discovery of the continent came as a result of that spirit of adventure, born of the Renaissance, which, coupling itself with the demand of the trader for a short route to the Orient, sent navigators into every sea. Two centuries before Columbus, Marco Polo and his following of mediaeval travellers had fired the imagination of the age with the glories of Cathay. The dream that a path to these might lie by the western ocean, or, when the barrier of two continents stretched itself in the way, by the rivers and mountain passes of the new land (or, it might be, by some "Strait of Anian" in the sea itself), was ever before the eyes of that daring race of sailors and discoverers who traced the coasts and penetrated the pathless wildernesses of the New World. The second compelling force manifested itself later, "when to the religious zeal of Europe, still seething j from the Reformation, came the knowledge that ! America had a native population sunken in savagery and spiritual darkness. This operated in two i directions: the heathen brought the missionary, the most dauntless of martyrs; on the other hand, those who in an age of relentless persecutions looked with longing eyes for a land of freedom, found suddenly a whole continent open to them where opposing bigotries were unknown. Of such were the Jesuit Fathers and the Puritans of New England. "If Columbus discovered the new continent," says Mr. Gold win Smith, "the Puritans discovered the New World." But a third factor, strong as these, was the lust of gain. To the covetous eyes of the Spaniard, mighty on sea and land, who had already forced his way by Cape Horn to the Pacific, stood revealed the wonderful riches of Mexico and Peru. These hapless countries he overran with fire and sword, plundered them of their gold, and trampled their ancient and remarkable civilizations into the dust. The return of the Spanish galleons laden with treasure set Europe on fire. Of all the influences that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries turned the eyes of the adventurer towards America, greed was undoubtedly the most powerful. It is of special import to the present purpose because of the far-reaching part it played in the development of enterprise on the Pacific Ocean.

It is not the intention here to outline the history of the entire Pacific coast of America, but to trace briefly the more important events which led to the discovery of the north-west portion of it and to the ultimate domination of British interests therein. And here, across the path of the story at its outset, falls, and for two centuries abides, the mighty shadow of Spain. It was fortunate for the establishment of British influence in North America and especially on the western shores of the continent, that a people so powerful as the Spaniards in the sixteenth century did not possess the genius for colonization. Impetuous and daring the Spanish spirit was; but the greed and cruelty ingrained in its very fibre cast a blight on whatever it touched and left no other monument than enduring hate. Such power could not finally prevail. War and spoliation led the Spaniards, at various times, far northward from their base in Mexico; but the vast Pacific slope, so full of latent possibilities, remained, for as long as their influence overshadowed it, unvisited and unknown.

The early operations of Spain in the Pacific, however, are of importance as the first of a series of events which have had an immediate influence upon present conditions in the northern and western portions of America. Other contributing agencies from the side of the Pacific were the Russian occupation of Alaska and the establishment of British trade interests by sea on the north-west coast. Intermingled with these were the later activities of the overland traders and discoverers of the North-West Company, the Hudson's Bay Company and the Astorians, who fought their way through the mountains to the Pacific under the flags of their nations. It will be of interest to note from the earliest point how these several influences arose and entered into combination.

Balboa was the first white man to see the Pacific—marching his men mid-deep into its surf and proclaiming the sovereignty of Spain over its mighty waters, "for all time, past, present, or to come, without contradiction,.....north and south,.....from the Pole Arctic to the Pole Antarctic." Mexico, the ancient seat of the Toltecs and Aztecs, was discovered five years later, in 1518. In 1519, it was conquered by Cortez, and the civilization of Montezuma was overthrown. Magellan, a Portuguese, who had joined the service of Spain under Charles V, had previously completed his memorable voyage around the world, sailing through the straits of his name to the Philippine Islands, where he lost his fife. This opened the way to the Orient by the Southern Ocean. Vanschouten and Lemaire, two Dutch navigators, subsequently doubled Cape Horn, passing in 1516 outside of the course held by Magellan. These and other voyages, while they threw light on one of the vexed problems of the day, disappointed anticipations both as to the nearness of Asia and the nature of the passage. They led, however, to greater zeal in the prosecution of discovery on the continent of America itself, in which, especially in southern latitudes, Spain was the leader and, at first, almost alone. There followed the conquest of Peru by Pizarro in 1532 and 1533, when the rule of the Incas, more enlightened in many respects than that of Spain herself, was overwhelmed. This epoch of blood has been made a household tale by Prescott: it is referred to here only in connection with the immediate result it had of further whetting the appetite of the Spaniards for plunder, in pursuance of which they began, soon after, a series of excursions northward.

One of the earliest of these expeditions was made, under the direction of Cortez, in 1528, by Pedro Nunez Maldonado, who surveyed the coast for one hundred leagues, as far as the river Santiago. Another was despatched in 1532, under the command of Mendoza, who penetrated to the 27th parallel of north latitude. A third set out a year later, consisting of two ships commanded by Grijalva and Becerra, the former of whom discovered the Revillagigedo Islands, while the latter reached the 23rd parallel. Nuno de Guzman, governor of the Spanish possessions on the Gulf of Mexico and the rival of Cortez, next traced the western shore of the continent as far as the mouth of the Colorado River. It is unnecessary to mention all the voyages made by Cortez himself, by Ulloa, Allarcon and Cabrillo, prior to 1543, by which time the country between the 41st and 43rd parallels— or what is now the northernmost limits of the state of California—had been reached both by sea and overland. Meanwhile the Spaniards had established themselves firmly on both seaboards of Central America and Mexico. The expeditions by land were equally as notable as those by sea, and the hardships which they involved even more terrible. The two friars, Marcos and Honorata, with Francisco Vasquez de Coronada and Fernando de Soto were the most celebrated leaders, and the wished-for goal was the discovery of new Mexicos and Perus. But Spain was not to repeat adventures like these. The actual and more important result was one that in itself she valued little—the determination of the coast of California and the exploration of a vast extent of the interior.

Coincidently with the earlier enterprises of Spain, we are introduced, amid clash of swords, decks slippery with blood and desperate battle indescribable, to the British type of adventurer in the Pacific—Francis Drake, the first Englishman to sail a ship on its waters. Sea-dog and pirate as he was, he lives forever in the memory of his countrymen as the scourge of their ancient enemies. With the immortals, Hawkins, Frobisher, and Cavendish, he was one of the founders of the navy of England. Rounding Cape Horn in 1578, he burst upon the Spanish coast, eager for revenge and treasure. The towns were unprepared for his coming, and could offer but little resistance. So inconceivable to the Spaniard was an Englishman in the Pacific, that their ships, low in the water with the gold and jewels of Peru, dipped colours and waited for him as a friend. Drake's story is so wild, so terrible, as to be almost alone of its kind. Deep was the memory of his voyage to the Spanish coast; for a century after, his name was never spoken but with horror. The age was one of relentless cruelty and reprisals, and Drake gave less perhaps than he would have received. His visit to the Pacific is important as establishing the earliest claim of England to an interest in that ocean. In the spring of 1579 he sought to return by a northern route, in order to avoid the Spaniards; but after reaching a point between the 42nd and 48th parallels—or, according to some, as far north as the southernmost islands of Alaska—and finding no avenue of escape, he retraced his steps and put in at a safe harbour for repairs. The bay a little north of San Francisco, commonly known as Drake's Bay, was the point selected for this purpose. There he remained for some time, having assumed, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, the sovereignty of the North American coast, to which he gave the title of New Albion. His ship, laden with booty, carried him, in the end, safely home by way of the Philippines, the Indian Ocean and the Cape of Good Hope, arriving at Portsmouth on September 26th, 1580. Cavendish, with hardly less of battle and plunder, followed much the same course as Drake, in the year 1587.

One who belongs to the century of Drake and whose name is inseparably associated with the waters of British Columbia, though the honour was long withheld, was Juan de Fuca, a native of Cephalonia. His real name was Apostolos Velerianos. While in the service of the viceroy of Mexico, he commanded, in 1592, an expedition northward, in the course of which he entered the strait now known by his name, between Vancouver Island and the state of Washington. He sailed some distance eastward, his course, as described by himself, corresponding in the main with the general direction of the waters as we now know them. He returned, however, before emerging northwards into the sea, somewhat rashly concluding that he had discovered the traditional Strait of Anian. For many years the voyage was regarded as apocryphal, and it was not until the strait was rediscovered by subsequent navigators in the latitude assigned to it by Juan de Fuca that the earlier sailor received his due meed of renown.

During the period covered by these and other early voyages in the Pacific, the struggle for the sovereignty of the New World and the trade of the distant West—a struggle destined to continue for nearly three hundred years—had already begun amongst the maritime nations of Europe. The powers were Spain, Great Britain, France, Portugal and Holland. The first, having established herself in Central and South America, conquered the Philippines and secured a foothold in the East Indies. Portugal extended her trade to India and the South Seas. A new France arose in the valley of the St. Lawrence. Great Britain planted vigorous colonies on the North Atlantic coast. Dutch navigators, throughout, laboured persistently in the wake of their competitors. Here was ample field for opposing interests. It was, however, the pretentions of the Spaniards to exclusive domain in the south and west that were most bitterly resented by the rival nations. By virtue of prior discovery and of the papal grant of 1493, no nation of Europe, with the one exception of Portugal, was recognized by the court of Madrid as having any claim to occupy territory in America, or to navigate the western Atlantic or any part of the Pacific. The exceptional position of Spain had been in a measure recognized by Great Britain in 1670, and confirmed by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, though the terms of these and other agreements were so vague, as applied to a new and unknown continent, that they served rather to increase than to prevent confusion. It was, however, the efforts of England to establish trade relations with the Spanish dominions which constituted the cause of nearly all the disputes between the two countries subsequent to the middle of the sixteenth century.

In connection with this keen trade rivalry, which has to do with much that follows, the difference often remarked between the policy of Great Britain and the continental powers should be borne in mind from the outset. In the development of British commercial and colonial empire, incomparably more has been effected by the enterprise of private individuals than by government initiative. Certain of the Tudor and Stuart sovereigns encouraged, and even undertook, commercial ventures, and the fact lent them a support among the trading classes which stood them in good stead during periods of political unrest and financial embarrassment. But the practice was never extended into a principle. The continental colonial policy, however, and notably that of France and Spain, was almost wholly paternal, designed to reflect the greatest possible glory on the reigning monarch. The new possessions were accordingly surrounded by a rigour of control that ultimately crippled all expansion. On the other hand, under the British policy, as exemplified on the Atlantic seaboard of America, in the voyages of British traders to the Pacific, or in the operation of the Hudson's Bay Company in the interior of the continent, enterprise was ever untrammelled and individual. To-day, as a consequence, North America is the home of a free and progressive people, while over the southern continent still hovers the spirit of its Spanish origin,—restlessness, revolt, and a lack of the genius of organization and initiative.

From the date of de Fuca's voyage, the Pacific coast between the 43rd and the 55th parallels of latitude remained for upwards of one hundred and eighty years unvisited by any European navigator. Roughly, the period embraces the whole of the seventeenth, and three-quarters of the eighteenth, century. Meanwhile, under the Spanish king's instructions, the coast of California had been surveyed again by Sebastian Vizcaino, one of whose ships reached the 43rd parallel in January, 1603. The interval also included the establishment of the Jesuit missions, and their subsequent expulsion from the Spanish dominions; sundry voyages and discoveries in the Southern Pacific; the formation and disappearance of a British colony in the Falkland Islands; the establishment of Spanish settlements and Dominican missions on the west coast of California, from which the Mexican Creole of the present day is sprung; and, most important of all, the gradual waning of the power of Spain. On the whole, the record on the Pacific was one of almost sheer stagnation. On the Atlantic coast, during the same period, nations had been born and cradled. France had founded a great colony, and had lost it to England. England had planted the seeds of the United States of America. The whole eastern continent was subdued to the Anglo-Saxon. In the great plains of the interior, an empire within an empire, the Hudson's Bay Company already bore sway. Still further north and west, Russia had made good a foothold that was eventually to include dominions twice as large as the British Columbia of to-day.

Before entering upon the period which was to decide forever to whom the ascendency in these waters should belong, namely, the closing quarter of the eighteenth century, certain final efforts of Spain to perpetuate her exclusive grasp upon the Pacific must be briefly dealt with. They followed somewhat tardily upon the conclusion of an agreement in 1763 with Great Britain and France, whereby New Orleans and Louisiana west of the Mississippi passed to Spain, while Canada, Florida and the other French possessions in North America were awarded to Great Britain.

Spain had at last awakened to the fact that the maintenance of her sovereignty in the New World called for decisive action. But official corruption, the forerunner of national decay, had long ago set in, and its effects were in no place more conspicuous than in America. Galvez, an officer of the court of Castile, was sent as visitador. On his arrival, he at once determined upon the establishment of colonies and garrisons on the west coast of California. Pursuant to this policy, an effort was made to explore the coast north of Cape Blanco, on or about the 43rd parallel, beyond the present boundary of California, to which point Vizcaino had penetrated in 1602-3. In the year 1774, Juan Perez, accompanied by Estevan Jose' Martinez, made a notable voyage from San Bias in the corvette Santiago. He was commissioned to proceed to the 60th parallel, where it was assumed the north-west passage from the Atlantic would be found, and to explore the coast line southward. After reaching the northern islands of the Queen Charlotte group, however, Perez steered homeward, passing some time in a bay which he called Port San Lorenzo,—identified by some as Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island, the anchorage of Cook some fourteen years later, but more probably, according to recent investigations, a small bay situated between Point Estevan and the Escalante Reef. Upon his return to Monterey, the Santiago was re-commissioned under command of Heceta, with Perez as one of his officers. The corvette was accompanied on her second voyage by the schooner Sonora, commanded by the celebrated Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, with Maurelle as pilot. This expedition was by far the most notable of all the Spanish voyages to the north-west coast and ranks high in the annals of discovery in the Pacific.

With varying fortunes, the vessels steered northward. Off the strait of Juan de Fuca, as they supposed, they were blown southward by a heavy gale. At the Isla de Dolores, subsequently named Destruction Island, a boat's crew was murdered by the Indians. The vessels became separated, and Heceta, losing heart, set sail for Monterey. On the way he in part redeemed the venture from failure by sighting, from twenty miles off shore, the entrance to the great Columbia River; but, with a crew so stricken with scurvy that they could neither reef sail nor drop anchor, he could venture no nearer to confirm the discovery. If what he said was true, he was the first white man to see that famous stream. The promontory of San Rouge, near by, he probably identified. Meanwhile, Quadra and Maurelle kept bravely on, despite incredible hardships and a greatly diminished crew, passing and naming a number of coast features now well-known. Anchoring finally in the Bay of Islands, on the north side of Edgecomb Mountain, Quadra took formal possession of the country in the name of Spain. Returning southward, he surveyed the coast line with the utmost care, to discover, if possible, the Strait of Anian, or, failing that, the mouth of the Columbia; but as his examination began about thirty miles south of the proper latitude, the quest at Cape Mendocino was abandoned. In steering for San Francisco Bay, then well-known, the Sonora entered a smaller bay to the north, to which Bodega gave his own name. This is the bay in which Sir Francis Drake is supposed to have refitted, known to-day as Drake's Bay. Four years later, Artfaga and Quadra, accompanied by the faithful Maurelle, made still another voyage of discovery, sighting Mount St. Elias, previously known to the Russians, and entering Prince William's Sound.

This was the third and final voyage of the Spaniards in carrying out the policy inaugurated under Galvez. Until nine years later, or the year 1788, no further attempt was made to extend the power of Spain to the northward. In the interval, events of the utmost importance had taken place, events which were ultimately to loosen forever her hold upon North America. Another and a more aggressive nation had learned of the wealth of this coast. When, in the year named, the Spaniards sought once more to assert their claim, the seeds had been planted for a controversy that brought them to the verge of war and all but set aflame a general European conflict.

That other and more aggressive nation was, of course, Great Britain. Since the days when Sir Francis Drake had swept like a hurricane along the coast of South America, laying, perhaps unwittingly, in these and other exploits, the foundation of the naval supremacy of his country, England had risen from a fourth or fifth rate power, with little territory, limited population and resources, and a small and irregular army, to the first rank among the powers of Europe. The triumph was almost wholly one of commerce. After the defeat of the Armada, trade had based itself upon the naval prowess of England and had thrust her steadily forward. By the end of the seventeenth century she had eclipsed her greatest rival of commerce on the high seas—the Dutch. So, too, in the eighteenth century, the trading class of Great Britain was the first to recognize the importance of the Pacific. The time was opportune. England was herself firmly established on the Atlantic coast. France was no longer a power in America; the Revolution and Napoleon were as yet hidden in the political future. Spain's recent endeavour to retain her grasp on the Pacific and to justify her claims to exclusive rights in its waters was but the final effort of an expiring influence. Russia, a more to be dreaded antagonist, had already fortified herself in the extreme north-west and was known to have extended to the New World her traditional policy of encroachment. Having conquered Siberia and established a trade with the natives of the Alaskan archipelago, there had been created a series of vested rights, more embarrassing to Great Britain at this juncture than all the plans of France and Spain combined. England, therefore, was alive to her interests when she decided to send expeditions at this time to delimit the shore line of the continent. But the impelling motive was commercial—to discover the passage, supposed, somewhere between l/he 40th and 60th parallels, to lead to the Atlantic. The key to the oriental trade, more important even than the New World itself, was thus the objective of the intrepid Cook and Vancouver, and the fact is eminently characteristic of British policy. It was left, too, in the end, to the enterprise of commerce—to the Hudson's Bay Company and the North-West Company—to conserve for England her splendid domain in Western America. The French Revolution and the ambition of Napoleon withdrew her energies, at a critical moment, for the defence of her own shores and the preservation of Europe ; and these far off lands, at that time as little known in the United States as in the Old World itself, were left largely to work out their own destinies.

The era of exploration that dawned with the appearance of the British trader in these waters, was included within the closing quarter of the eighteenth century. It was the final and, in many respects, the most brilliant in the history of discovery in the Pacific. Great Britain played the leading role, but Russia, France and Spain were only less active. The United States also plunged with all the ardour of young nationhood into the quest of glory over seas. With the eager spirit which had animated the earlier centuries of discovery, the unexplored remainder of America was now made known to geographers, and the outlines of the continent charted with approximate accuracy. The advantages of Great Britain lay in the superiority of her methods of navigation, the ability of her seamen, the strength of her commercial fleet and her worldwide trade, whereby she was able to utilize immediately and to the fullest extent the wealth of her discoveries. Thus it happened that of all the nations her efforts were the most persistent and her work the most painstaking and exact, and it was mainly through her navigators that the world was finally enlightened as to the character of the north-west coast. Spain and Russia, though they sent out many expeditions, added, in comparison, but little of value. The Spaniards, in particular, pursued a policy of secrecy which robbed them of much credit. But the. inferiority of their mathematical instruments would still have left them handicapped in the race with Great Britain. The work of Cook and Vancouver demanded qualities of skill, as well as of courage and endurance, that are not often duplicated in a single generation.

It is well to repeat, in connection with the voyages of these two great commanders, that their primary object was to survey the north-west coast line, within specified parallels of latitude, and to discover whether any opening existed such as might lead to the Atlantic Ocean by the supposititious North-west Passage, for the discovery of which a reward of twenty thousand pounds was offered by the British admiralty. The narrative of Juan de Fuca, though long discredited, had not been forgotten. The latitude of de Fuca's opening was between the 47th and 48th parallel. There was also the reputed strait of Admiral de Fonte, another and wholly mythical explorer of the seventeenth century, near the 53rd parallel. The famous river of Oregon, reported by Jonathan Carver, might even connect by some mysterious channel with the waters of the long sought Strait of Anian. It is not the first instance in history in which a chimera, having laid hold of the popular imagination, paved the way for results more important than were claimed for the original fancy.

In 1778, the famous navigator, Captain James Cook, arrived on the north-west coast of America. | He had two ships, the Resolution and the Discovery, and his instructions from the British government were to examine the coast line from about 45 north latitude to the Arctic Ocean, and to ascertain whether any large rivers, inlets or arms of the sea extended to the eastward. Cook first sighted the coast in latitude 44 north; but, having been blown off shore by bad weather, the strait of Juan de Fuca escaped his observation. Land was next seen in the vicinity of a large sound, latitude 49 30' north, in which Cook anchored, March 29th, 1778. After a few weeks spent in refitting his vessels and refreshing their crews, he continued on his northward voyage, his men having obtained a valuable quantity of furs during their stay. Cook named the bay in which he had passed this interval King George's Sound; but understanding afterwards that it was called Nootka by the natives, it was re-named, and has ever since been known as Nootka Sound. It was Cook's intention, on leaving Nootka, to proceed as speedily as possible to the part of the coast lying under the 65th parallel of latitude; the violence of the weather, however, again prevented him from approaching the land for some days, and he was forced to leave unvisited the region near the 53rd parallel where geographers had placed the strait of Fonte. Cook accordingly denied the existence both of Fonte's and de Fuca's channels. After discovering and naming the two large bays known as Prince William's Sound and Cook's Inlet, and having stayed a short time at Unalaska, Cook proceeded to the Arctic Ocean, passing through the strait which he named Behring in honour of the Danish navigator who had first discovered it. Turning about, he set sail for the Sandwich Islands, where he was killed, February 14th, 1779. The ships then returned to England. It was the report of these crews respecting the boundless wealth in furs—to be had almost for the asking on this coast—that aroused the European nations to action, and incited them, on Cook's narrative being given to the world in 1784, to plan still further expeditions and discoveries.

Had an independent state arisen in that early time on the north-west coast, it might fittingly have chosen the sea-otter as its emblem. To the early navigators of the North Pacific the sea-otter offered the same lure of fortune as the gold and silver of Peru to the soldiers of Spain. The tales of the dangers of the chase and of the enormous profits read like romance. So eager and relentless was the trade that the sea-otter was already rare when British Columbia placed the wapiti and the mountain sheep on its escutcheon ; it has now all but vanished, leaving no trace of the time when it played so important a part in the history of the region. With its discovery by Cook a new era begins in the story of maritime adventure in the Pacific.

The earliest expedition having the trade in otter primarily in view was made by James Hanna, an Englishman, in the year 1785. The voyage was eminently successful. Otter skins were purchased from the natives for trinkets, and sold at enormously enhanced prices in China, then the world's market for furs. About the same time, Guise, Meares and Tipping came from England on a similar errand. Meares spent the winter of 1786-7 in Prince William's Sound, where more than half his crew died of scurvy. Portlock and Dixon, fur traders sailing from London in 1785, made the discovery of the separation of the Queen Charlotte group from the mainland. The discovery was confirmed in 1788 by Duncan, who, with Colnett, arrived on the coast prior to the departure of Portlock and Dixon. This and the numerous openings found in the shore-line, all presumably channels extending far to the eastward, led to the supposition that the entire north-western portion of the American continent might be a vast collection of islands, and the story of the mythical de Fonte's voyage again began to gain credit. It was at this time also that the name of the old Greek pilot, Juan de Fuca, was rescued from oblivion by the re-discovery of the broad arm of the sea into which he declared he had sailed in 1592. Barkley, an Englishman, in command of the Imperial Eagle, a trader for furs under the flag of the Austrian East India Company, was, according to one version, the means of rehabilitating de Fuca's fame. After the sale of the Imperial Eagle in the East Indies in 1788, Barkley made a second voyage to the north-west coast in the brig Halcyon. He was accompanied on both voyages by his wife, the first white woman, so far as known, to visit these shores.

With the separation of the American colonies from Great Britain, a new element was introduced into this growing commerce of the Pacific. The moment the bond was broken, every skipper in New England seemed to turn his thoughts seaward. Great Britain being occupied in Europe and her powerful competition therefore withdrawn, the American ships were free to carry the new flag wherever the ambition of trade might lead. And it led far. Unrestrained, its sailors swept southward to Cuba, to South America, and around Cape Horn. In the year 1787, they made their first voyage to the Pacific and the north-west coast, the ship Columbia under Kendrick, and the sloop Lady Washington, under Gray of Boston, doubling Cape Horn together. The Lady Washington arrived at Nootka on the 17th September, 1788, and remained there with her consort during the whole of the following winter. They were still in Nootka Sound in 1789. The Columbia, now by an exchange of commanders, under Gray, returned to Boston by way of China, arriving in August, 1790, when she was received amid great rejoicings, medals being struck in honour of the ship that had first carried the flag of the United States almost fifty thousand miles around the world. Meanwhile the Lady Washington, under Kendrick, remained in Nootka Sound. In six weeks Gray had refitted and had started again for the Pacific. During this voyage he was destined to make one of the greatest discoveries in the annals of his country. On May 11th, 1792, he entered the mouth of the Columbia River, accomplishing what generations of navigators, Cook and Vancouver among them, had sought in vain to do. On leaving the river on May 20th, he gave it the name of his ship. The honour of the discovery has been claimed by the Spaniards, and for Broughton, the lieutenant of Vancouver, who subsequently entered the river and sailed a hundred miles against its current in the armed brig Chatham ; but it undoubtedly belongs to Gray, one of the most modest and worthy of the heroes of the Pacific. If the world places Cook and Vancouver in the niches of its naval heroes, Gray must be placed between them.

For Kendrick, the comrade of Gray, has been claimed the credit of re-discovering the strait of Juan de Fuca, though the matter is one of controversy. Metcalfe, a citizen of the United States, visited Nootka in 1789 ; and Ingraham explored the coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1791 in the brig Hope. The latter left a very important description of the geography and natural history of the islands, and of the language, manners and customs of the natives. With the exception, however, of the discovery of the Columbia by Gray, the passage of the strait of Juan de Fuca by Kendrick, and the cruise of the Hope, nothing of special importance was achieved by American enterprise at that period. For a time their traders were active and numerous, but they followed trade alone, and cared little for discovery or exploration.

The north-west coast about this-period attracted the attention of other nations than Great Britain and the United States. La Perouse, a distinguished naval officer of France, spent three months in 1788, under orders from his government, between the 52nd and 54th parallels, making a scientific examination of the coast. He was followed in 1791 by Etienne Marchand, who, in a merchant ship, followed much the same course, leaving an account of his voyage in three volumes. Malaspina, from whom the strait of that name is called, in the same year endeavoured, with two Spanish ships, to determine in more northern latitudes the existence of the Strait of Anian. Important also in this connection was the attempt of Elisa, in the summer of 1790, to explore the strait of Juan de Fuca, his lieutenant, Quimper, examining both shores for a distance of one hundred miles, but being unable, for lack of time, to follow the many channels and inlets the general direction of which was noted. Many Spanish names were given; few of them have survived. The Spaniards undertook a permanent establishment at Friendly Cove, Nootka, in 1790 ; and in 1792 endeavoured to form a settlement at Neah Bay, near Cape Flattery. From the former basis, Elisa, its commandant, sent Fidalgo, his lieutenant, to examine the coast to northward occupied by the Russians, and to enquire into the nature of their operations. He acquired but little geographical information of value. One of the Russian ships reported by him was that which, in command of Joseph Billings, in 1790, visited Unalaska, Nodiak and Prince William's Sound.

A voyage of the British captain, Meares, in 1788, which is a part of this fur-trading chronicle, owes its importance, not to any achievement of the expedition itself, but to the diplomatic results which it was the means, sometime later, of bringing about. War with Spain was, for a short season, imminent, and the termination of the "Nootka Affair," which had its origin in Meares's operations at Friendly Cove, gave to Britain the control of an important territory, though the terms of the settlement itself, as will be seen, opened the door to a further series of controversies which were not finally laid at rest until the fixing of the Oregon boundary in 1846. In the year 1788 Meares was at Canton, China, engaged, with the assistance of some English merchants, in fitting out an expedition of two vessels for the American trade,—the Felice and the Iphigenia Nubiana, commanded by himself and Captain William Douglas, respectively. The ships, though British property and navigated by British subjects, sailed under the Portuguese flag, and were ostensibly owned by Don Cavallo & Co., of Macao, the object being to escape the heavy dues levied by the Chinese authorities on the goods of nations other than the Portuguese. On February 12th, the Iphigenia sailed for Cook's River, and the Felice for Nootka Sound, the latter arriving on May 15th. The most notable native chiefs of Nootka at that time were Maquinna and Callicum, with whom Meares cultivated friendly relations, and by whom, and by the natives generally, he was warmly welcomed. It was Meares's purpose to establish at this point a post which might become the basis of the fur trade of the future. With this in view, he purchased from Maquinna a tract of land on the shore of Friendly Cove for which he paid some eight or ten sheets of copper and other articles. Here he erected a substantial structure surrounded with breastworks and armed with one cannon. The British flag was hoisted and for the first time waved above a formal British possession on this coast. At Nootka, Meares also built the first ship launched in what is now British Columbia—the North-west America. Later he explored the coast southward, narrowly missing the mouth of the Columbia, and on his return entered and examined the strait of Juan de Fuca for some distance, taking possession of it in the name of Great Britain. His ship, after again reaching Friendly Cove, was joined by her consort the Iphi-genia from Cook's River, with a large cargo of sea-otter. Later Meares sailed for China with the furs, while the Iphigenia and the North-west America repaired to the Sandwich Islands.

The succeeding events which enter into the famous Nootka affair are too intricate to be more than mentioned here. Douglas, with the Iphigenia and the North-west America returned to Nootka in the following year for the purpose of continuing the fur trade. Thereupon both vessels were seized by a Spanish ship of war commanded by Martinez, who was under orders to assert the sovereignty of the king of Spain throughout the Pacific Ocean. Nootka, which the Spanish called Port San Lorenzo, was claimed by Martinez, by right of discovery. Douglas, however, was able to show from a chart of the voyage of the Santiago in 1775 that Cook, and not the Spaniard, was the discoverer of Nootka Sound. The Iphigenia was thereupon released by Martinez, and the greater part of his stores returned to Douglas, with the warning, however, that he was to trade no more on that coast. Douglas subsequently sailed to the Queen Charlotte Islands and thence to China. Soon after, the British ships Princess Royal and Argonaut, sent from Macao by the Associated Companies to trade on the north-west coast, were seized in like manner, and, with the North-west America were pressed into the service of Spain. The crew of the North-west America was sent to China on the American ship Columbia then in those waters; but the crews of the two other ships were deported to San Bias, where they were treated with cruelty. Nootka was taken formal possession of and was occupied by Spain until 1795.

The dispute which immediately arose between the governments of Great Britain and Spain forms one of the most important chapters in the history of the north-west coast. Not only a matter of moment in itself, it was the basis for most of the controversy that followed over the possession of this territory. Spain, as we have seen, still claimed the exclusive right to the western seas. All foreign vessels found without license in these waters were regarded as enemies, even though belonging to a nation at peace with the king. No other country, moreover, was held to have rights in any territory to reach which it was necessary to pass around Cape Horn or through the Straits of Magellan.

Such were the fancies still nursed by Spain in the eighteenth century. It was doubtless the final consciousness that the encroachments of other nations on her traditional sphere of influence would effectively overthrow all semblance of her right to exclusive sovereignty that induced Spain now to make a final attempt to confirm her original claim. Whatever may be said of the undoubted priority of Spanish enterprise in the Pacific, England had been more active in the exploration of the north-west portion of it, and had inaugurated, and now enjoyed, the greater part of the trade in that part of the world. Without other grounds of sovereignty than the papal concession of three hundred years before, which embraced half the area of the world and included a continent which was not then known to exist, Spain's case, on the threshold of the nineteenth century, and within sixty years of the freedom of Italy, stood on a tottering basis.

When the news of the seizures reached England, a vigorous protest was immediately lodged with the Spanish government. Pitt, then at the zenith of his power, united a profound knowledge of Spanish decrepitude with a wholesome belief in the ability of Great Britain to defend her own interests. The Spanish government, more skilled in the arts of intrigue than of statesmanship, and seeking at first to evade the issue, was met with a demonstration in force. The principle that "British subjects have an indisputable right to the enjoyment of a free and uninterrupted navigation, commerce and fishery, and to the possession of such establishments as they should form, with the consent of the natives of the country, and not occupied by any other European nation, was enunciated with emphasis. Spain, whose power had rapidly declined, could not risk a war with England. After repeated conferences, she agreed to restore the seized vessels, to indemnify the owners for their losses, and to give satisfaction to the dignity of the British Crown. It was understood at the same time that the Spanish declaration "was not to preclude or prejudice the ulterior discussion of any right which His Catholic Majesty might claim to form an exclusive establishment at Nootka Sound." The amount of indemnity was fixed by a commission at $210,000. This was handed over to the owners of the property which had been seized, and Nootka and the adjoining territory were restored to the British Crown.

Into the final settlement a number of considerations entered which deprived Great Britain of much of the strength of her position. Pitt was undoubtedly determined, in the event of war, to strike a blow at the Spanish Empire in America. Spain, however, by the terms of the Family Compact, had the ear of France. The times were not happy for England. The French Revolution was already brewing; Europe was arming; and a series of continental alliances left Great Britain isolated. With a diminished credit, the government leaned towards a peaceful solution of the difficulty; and apart from the restitution of property and the reparation made for losses and acts of violence, the treaty left the situation in the north-west coast to all intents unaltered. In parliament it was vigorously attacked as a capitulation to Spain. Fox pointed out that it enlarged the area of dispute, and predicted a renewal of the difficulty. In this, time proved Fox right. The prestige of the country, however, had been vindicated; and the government, with a large majority at its back, was glad to be rid of an embarrassing situation. In the light of history it may be regretted that motives of temporary expediency, in this as in other instances, should have dictated the policy of Great Britain with regard to her interests in America. There were at that period only two other claimants to the Pacific coast, Spain and Russia. The latter had undoubtedly no rights south of the 60th parallel, while the former had established no title to the coast north of the 88th parallel which was superior to that of Great Britain. A decisive stroke might have secured the states of Washington, Oregon and a large portion of California, for all time to come.

Pursuant to the terms- of the Nootka convention, commissioners were appointed by the governments of Spain and Great Britain to effect the formal act of restitution. The men selected were George Vancouver, and one whose intrepidity has been already witnessed, Bodega y Quadra. Worthier representatives of the two great powers, it would have been impossible to choose. Steadfast as they both were in enforcing the claims of their sovereigns, and zealous to the last degree for the rights of their respective countries, each, nevertheless, could recognize in the other high courage, splendid ability and true greatness of character. While honour forbade compromise, they nevertheless became firm friends and to the last maintained the highest admiration for each other. Their names will forever remain associated as two of the greatest in the history of the north-west coast.

Though the commissioners had explicit instructions from their governments as to the manner in which Nootka should be handed over, they interpreted their orders in a widely different spirit. Quadra maintained that restitution was required only of the buildings and lands that had been occupied by British subjects; and as, from due inquiry, he could find no evidence of such occupation, he argued that there was nothing to be paid for by Spain. Vancouver, on the other hand, held that, under the terms of the convention, Great Britain was entitled to the possession of the whole of the territory surrounding Nootka and Clayo-quot. Widely divergent evidence was offered in support of the opposing claims. The immediate result was that the commissioners, unable to come to a satisfactory understanding, referred the dispute back to their respective governments, Noot-ka remaining in the interval under the Spanish flag.

Vancouver with his two ships, the Discovery commanded by himself, and the brig Chatham, under Broughton, who had previously surveyed the coast from Cape Mendocino northward, now proceeded to the second and most important part of his commission—the thorough exploration of the whole north-west shore line. The aim, as ever, was to solve the problem of the north-west passage; it was also to establish England's claim to the coast between New Spain on the south, and Russian America on the north. The work of Vancouver and his lieutenants in this connection was so minute as to be final. The summers of 1792, 1793 and 1794 were spent on the coast, and the observations included every bay, cape and channel from San Francisco to Behring Sea. The winters were passed at the Sandwich Islands. On his untiring energy success attended from first to last, and his work remains the most extensive nautical survey ever completed in one expedition. To Vancouver, accordingly, we owe in large measure the nomenclature of the North Pacific coast. In the names which he chose many were of persons distinguished in the official life of his day; many were of humble members of his crew.

Vancouver sailed, for the last time, from the north-west coast on October 16th, 1794. On Christmas Day of that year, being still at sea, he finds it of interest to record that the crew did not fail to drink in silence to the memory of Quadra, who had died some time before. H e was to be followed soon by Vancouver himself. The friendship of the two men was cemented by the name given by Vancouver to the great island of the mid-Pacific coast, for long afterwards known as "Quadra and Vancouver Island." In the efflux of time, the Spaniards having abandoned the coast altogether, the name Quadra was dropped and the temporary triumph at Nootka was thus avenged at the expense of one of the most noble of his race. In the settlement of the Nootka affair also, Vancouver's view in the end prevailed, and on the morning of March 28th, 1795, Lieutenant Pierce and Brigadier-General Alca, representing respectively the governments of England and Spain, completed the act of restitution, and the British flag was hoisted, never again to be hauled down.

When Vancouver was at Point Gray, in the Gulf of Georgia, near the site of the present city of Vancouver, he fell in with two Spanish vessels of war, the Sutil and the Meocicana, commanded respectively by Lieutenants Galiano and Valdez. They were small and badly equipped, and they were the last sent by Spain into the North Atlantic Ocean for purposes of discovery. The expedition has this distinction, however, that it is the only one, since that of Vizcaino, of which an adequate account has been given to the world with the sanction of the Spanish government. The journal of Galiano and Veldez was published at Madrid in 1802, by order of the king, with an introduction which included an historical sketch of the earlier voyages of the Spaniards on the coasts of America north of Mexico. The introduction is now, naturally, the most valuable part of the work. Notwithstanding its activity for a time, Spanish exploration had resulted in nothing. No colonies were established; no trade was built up; no territory was acquired. A few names dotting the maps of the coast—Haro, Valdez, Texada, San Juan, and the like—are all that remain to show the once all-powerful influence of Spain. The majority even of these have been replaced by the names given by English navigators, particularly those of Vancouver, and are known to-day only to the map-maker and the student of early coast history.

It may be added that Great Britain herself, for a long time after the date of the Nootka Treaty, ceased to take further interest in the territory which it affected. The victory, in fact, was one of diplomacy alone. For many years a thousand miles of the Pacific coast was in reality a "no man's land," and it is in no sense due to the prescience of the statesmen of the early nineteenth century that it is British territory to-day. We must remember, of course, in mitigation of the indifference felt by Great Britain as to its future, the circumstances and conditions of the times, the remoteness of the region and the almost total lack of knowledge concerning it. It was the fur trade, not the nation, which pushed its way overland into this western empire, and carried with it the supremacy of the British flag and the authority of British law.

Several terrible encounters with the Indians occurred when the trade was at its height. In 1803, the American ship Boston was destroyed by the natives of Nootka Sound, all the crew being murdered, with the exception of the armourer and the sailmaker who were kept in slavery for four years by that chief Maquinna who figured so prominently in Vancouver's and Quadra's day. In 1805, the Atahualpa, of Rhode Island, was attacked by the savages of Millbank Sound, and her captain, mate and six seamen killed, after which the sailors succeeded in repelling the assailants and saving the vessel. In the same manner the Tonquin of Boston, the first vessel of the As-torians, was in June, 1811, attacked by the natives while at anchor in Clayoquot Sound and the entire crew massacred.

We may turn now to the other great power that had entrenched itself, even more securely than Great Britain, on the north-western coast, a power that has menaced at more points than one the advance of the British Empire. In 1788 Hero, on the return of a Spanish expedition from Alaska, wrote to San Bias that he had found Russian establishments between the 59th and 60th parallels. The results of that occupation were still alive in the Behring Sea and Alaska boundary disputes of the present generation.

In Siberia, as in the northern part of the American continent, the stimulus to early adventure and exploration had come from the fur trade. By the middle of the seventeenth century the Russians had pushed their way into that vast and desolate territory, and, early in the eighteenth, had completed the conquest of the whole of northern Asia. Rich in furs of all kinds, the newly acquired possession afforded a fruitful field for exploitation, the more so on account of its proximity to the markets of China, with which trade relations were speedily established. Communication was provided by means of caravans, a system somewhat analogous to the brigades of the Hudson's Bay Company. But in trade it is what lies just beyond that lures. Expeditions from the northern rivers of Siberia had by 1648 found their way around the north-eastern extremity of Asia into Behring Strait, and at least one vessel was driven by storm in that year upon the coast of Kamtchatka. After repeated adventures of this kind and the establishment of intercourse with the natives of this far-off region, Kamtchatka was definitely included in the territory of the traders. But accounts were now brought back of still another continent looming beyond the islands of these northern seas. Was it America? Or was it a new land altogether—wedged in between the eastern shores of Asia and the western Umits of America? Peter the Great, his ambition unappeased by the subjugation of Siberia, resolved to emulate the conquests of his European rivals in the New World. To this end he equipped an expedition under Vitus Behring, a Dane attracted to the Russian service, whose heroic career received scant justice from his own age. Sailing from Kamtchatka in 1728, Behring passed through the strait which separates Asia from America and satisfied himself on the then disputed point whether the continents were two or one. In that and the following year, however, he did little to determine the relative position of the new land.

It is unnecessary, for the present purpose, to detail the various stages by which the conclusions of Behring's first voyage were confirmed and amplified. A later expedition, under the same unflinching captain, set out after an interval of three years, and was prolonged until his death. It succeeded in reaching the 53rd parallel of latitude, discovering the Shumagin Islands and the aborigines. The latter were, in the main, like those of Northern Asia, and though they had never seen white men before, they had knives and other articles of iron and copper, which it was supposed they had obtained through trade with the Siberian natives. Behring's final expedition was one of terrible hardships. He was by this time old and imbecile. Worn by sickness and anxiety, he died, on November 28th, 1741, on an island on which his ship had been driven by stress of weather. The island was afterwards named in his honour, as well as the great northern sea and strait in which so much of his activity had been displayed. With Behring were associated Chirikoff, scarcely less unfortunate, and the naturalist Groyers, who also lost his life.

The last voyage of Behring had one very important result: it laid the foundations of the trade in furs between Russia and the American continent. In the privations of the expedition, provisions failed, and the crew were forced to subsist for a time on the flesh of sea-otter—"sea beaver" as they were called by the Russians—which they hunted and killed. The skins were preserved, and on the return of the ships brought extravagant prices from the Chinese merchants. News of this character was not long in reaching the ears of the Siberian traders. From this chance beginning, a series of private expeditions were soon racing each other across the Pacific with the object of the new trade in otter. They were continued in ever-increasing numbers over a period of a quarter of a century or more. Incidentally they added much to the knowledge of the islands between Kamtchatka and America.

In all the long annals of commercial enterprise, lawful and unrighteous, the traffic of these Russian adventurers has been surpassed in horrors by one and one only—the African slave trade. The vessels were small, many of them built of green planks lashed with deer sinew or thongs of walrus hide to the timbers, and caulked with moss. The traders themselves, known to the Russians as Promish-leniks, were the riff-raff of Siberia, criminals often, though sometimes of noble, even of royal, lineage, amenable only to passion and the law of greed. Being nearly all landsmen, they sailed usually by dead reckoning alone. It is not surprising that numbers of their crazy craft were annually cast away. The crews were the victims of unheard-of cruelties, as well as suffering every conceivable hardship from cold, starvation and disease. In addition, they were attacked and murdered on every available opportunity by the natives, in revenge for the enforcement of levies, the debauching of their women, and the slaughter and enslavement of their men by the traders,—ending in a state of open war that twice wiped Russian settlement from the coast of America. Yet, prompted as were these expeditions by lust and avarice, accompanied by many of the most revolting atrocities that ever disgraced the name of humanity, it is impossible to withhold a tribute of admiration for the energy with which voyage after voyage was made, or for the courage, stubborn as it was reckless, displayed by the traders amidst their appalling difficulties. As a matter of fact, the outrages of the place and period were not confined to the Promishleniks, but characterized the whole Russian administration. They were contrary to the express instructions of the government; but, as the Russian proverb said: "God was high in the Heavens, and the Czar was far away."

The immediate successor of Peter the Great continued the policy of expansion begun by that sovereign. Synd, Krenitzin and Levaschef commanded explorations to America between 1764 and 1769. The first cargo of furs to enter Canton by ship was carried by a party of Polish exiles who escaped from Kamtchatka, and under the Polish flag cruised through Behring Sea and among the Aleutian Islands. The story of this desperate venture is in itself material for a romance. No expeditions of note followed for some years afterwards. Up to the time of Cook, notwithstanding the number of Russian vessels that had been in Alaskan waters, no exact geographical knowledge had been gained respecting that portion of the coast, and the errors in recorded latitudes and longitudes were sometimes very great.

In 1781, Ivan Golikoff, the celebrated Gregory Skelikoff, and other Russian fur merchants, organized themselves into a formal trading association. There was need enough for organization of some sort. Four years after Behring's discovery of the sea-otter, seventy-seven Russian concerns were hunting in the islands of Alaska. This was the beginning of the Alaskan fur monopoly, later to become of international importance. A rival company was formed in 1797, but was soon after absorbed into what was known as the Skelikoff United Trading Company. Still another company was projected in the following year. In 1799, however, the Emperor Paul took all the rival traders under his protection, consolidated their interests, and granted them a charter for twenty years as the Russian American Company, with sole control over the coasts of America north of the 55th parallel of latitude. Their obligations were: to organize settlements; to promote agriculture, trade and discovery; to propagate the Greek Catholic faith; and, without interfering with the rights of other nations, to extend the influence and sovereignty of Russia in the Pacific. The capital was fixed at ninety-eight thousand silver roubles.

Without going into details as to this highly organized company which, in the nature and extent of its powers and in the vastness of the territory over which it ruled, resembled the Hudson's Bay Company, it may be stated that its sway was virtually absolute in the country, even to the life of the inhabitants. All persons and property were under the control of the chief director, who lived in Kadiak, and from whom there was no appeal except to a board of governors far away at Irkutsk. Its regulations were in general just and humane; but their enforcement was entrusted to men with whom justice and humanity were subservient always to interest and expediency, and sometimes to baser passions. Baranoff, one of the most picturesque figures of his time, ruling for twenty years like a despot over the colonies from his castle overlooking the village of Sitka, may be taken as the outstanding type of the local Russian governor, iron-hearted, iron-framed, bold, shrewd, unscrupulous, alternating days of toil with nights of revel on raw and fiery vodka, a Peter the Great in miniature among vagabonds and adventurers.

It was part of the policy of Russia, in pursuance of a method already traditional, to establish her power in America to the exclusion of all other nations north of the Spanish zone. To this end, during the regime of Baranoff, Von Resanoff was dispatched to plant Russian colonies at the mouth of the Columbia and on the Californian coast. In this he failed. Searching for the estuary of the Columbia,—at the very time, it may be noted, that Lewis and Clark, the pioneers of discovery overland from the United States, were leaving their winter quarters at Clatsop,—he either missed it altogether or was unable to cross the bar, and so passed on to California. Later, however, in 1812, a Russian colony was established on Bodega Bay by Kuskoff, and was known for many years as the Ross, that is, the Russian, settlement. It continued with varying fortunes until 1841, when it was purchased by the American trader, Sutter, for $30,000. These operations are of importance in the light of the claim later advanced that the Russian American Company controlled the whole Pacific coast of America and adjacent islands, from Behring Strait to the mouth of the Columbia. That famous company, it may be added, maintained its existence through a long and chequered career, renewing its charter from time to time until 1861, when it fell into decay and was not again revived.

A word may be added in completion of this hasty outline. Baranoff died in 1819, broken-hearted by his recall. Thereafter, a more enlightened and humane policy was introduced, and many of the old abuses were removed or abated. Baron Wran-gell, who had followed Baranoff as director-general, was succeeded in 1836 by Kuprianoff. In 1840, Adolphus Etoline, a young admiral of noble birth, became governor. The splendour of his rule was in startling contrast with the ways of Baranoff, who lived in Spartan simplicity and ruled without ruffles. In still greater contrast was the luxury of Etoline's castle with the squalor of the village surrounding it. It was Etoline whom Douglas visited as an officer of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1842, in connection with affairs of business between the two companies.

During the period of Russian occupation, and especially between the date of Cook's voyage and the beginning of the nineteenth century, continuous activity was displayed in the exploration of the north-west coast, with more particular reference to the portion now included in Alaska. In addition to the voyages already mentioned, many expeditions of note were undertaken both on private and official initiative. Those of Lastochkin and Pribyloff in 1787; of Ismyloff, Bechareff, and Delareff in 1788; of Joseph Billings and Martin Sauer in 1769 and 1791; of Khwostoff and Davidoff in 1802 ; of Krusenstern and Lisiansky in 1803 and subsequent years ; of Kiskoff in 1808 ; of Kotzebue in 1816 and 1823 ; of Baron Wrangell and Etoline in 1820 and 1822; are worthy of special mention. The most important of all, no doubt, were the explorations of Krusenstern and Lisiansky, of which a full account is given in the journal of Krusenstern himself, a mine of information on all points relating to Russian enterprise on the North Pacific coast.

The story of Russia in North America is singularly sordid and unattractive where it is not merely terrible. The stern Alaskan coast has its intervals of warmth and sunshine; but there is no time in the period of Russian sovereignty that is not gloomy and forbidding, overcast with heavy clouds of human suffering and despair.

In the foregoing pages it has been sought to trace, in outline, the salient features of that long and stirring period during which the coast line of America, stretching for twelve thousand miles from Cape Horn to Behring Sea, became known—at what a price of sacrifice and endeavour!—to human enterprise. The story of the period, it was seen, divided itself naturally into three parts, corresponding in the main with the activities of three great nations,—Spain, Russia and Great Britain. We may include the last even here, because, while her occupation of the middle coast was never until later times as definite as that of her rivals in the north and south, she was finally, after a long interval of diplomacy, to establish herself permanently within her sphere, while the others have vanished from the continent. With Vancouver, the era of discovery came to an end. Thenceforward the field of the explorer was shifted to the Arctic Ocean, where his continued activity is of interest as showing the tenacity with which the British clung to the idea of a north-west passage. Merchant vessels from the United States and other countries continued meanwhile to come and go at intervals. With the establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver in 1824 a regular trade with England, by way of Cape Horn, sprang up. The date of the Beaver, the first steamship in the Pacific, was 1835. The coastwise trade developed later, until, within a few years, as the Pacific became more and more the meeting place of East and West, the merchant marine employed in its service had multiplied into a powerful fleet. We have now, however, to turn from the tale of seafaring trade and adventure to the pioneers of travel overland, to the scouts and convoys of the fur-traders who, by sled, ox-cart and canoe, opened up, over a network of trails and great rivers as perilous as the ocean itself, a way of communication across the plains and mountains of the west and on to the Pacific.


Return to Book Index Page

 

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast