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Northwest coast of America: May 15, 1826, referred to the committee of the whole House, to which is committed… United States. Congress. Select Committee on Exploration of the Northwest Coast 1826

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Array         19th CONGRESS,
1st Session.
[Rep. 213.3
Ho. of Heps*
May 15, 1826.
Referred to the Cptnmittee of the Whole House, to which is committed the bill to
authorize the establishment of a Military Post or Posts, within the Territory of the
United Stated, on the Pacific Ocean, and to provide for the exploration of its
Coasts and Waters.
Mr. Baylies, from the Select Committee to which the subject had
been referred, made the following
The Committee to whom " so much of the Message of the President of
the United States as respects the establishment of a Military Post at
the mouth of the Columbia river, and the expediency of providing for
the more perfect exploring of the Northwest Coast of America,9*
was referred, report further:
That, since their former report was submitted, they have obtained
some interesting information respecting the geographical character of
the Territory of the United States on the Pacific Ocean.
This information was derived from Samuel Adams Ruddock, who,
in the year 1821, performed a journey by land from the Council
Bluffs to the month of the Columbia river.
Ruddock was one of a trading party, which left the Council Bluffs
after the 12th of May. The party were mounted on Indian horses*
Keeping near the Platte on its North bank, they reached the Paunee
Tillage on the 18th of May, and then pursuing a course due West
200 miles, they crossed the Platte immediately below its forks on the
S6th of May ; and then keeping a course S. by W. 350 miles, reached
the ravines of the high mountains of New Mexico on the 6th of June,
through which they passed, &nd, after a further journey of 60 miles, ar*
rived at Santa Fee on the 8th.
On the 9th of June, this party crossed the Rio del Norte, and, pursuing a Northwest direction on the North bank of the river Chamas,
and over the mountains, reached Lake Trinidad ; and then pursuing
the same directkm across the upper branches of the Rio Colarado of
California, reached Lake Timpanagos, which is intersected by the
42d parallel of latitude, the boundary between the United States of
America, and the United States of Mexico. This lake is the principal
source of the river Timpanagos, the Multnomah of Lewis and Clarke* SBiitHBiaiJHHtJiiili
2 [Bep. No. 218/]
They then followed the course of this river to its junction with the
Columbia, and reached the mouth of the Columbia on the first day of
August, completing the journey from the Council Bluffs in seventy-
nine days.* '
Many geographers have placed the Lake Timpanagos in latitude
40, but they have obviously confounded it with the Lake Theguayo,
which extends from 39* 40', to 41°, and from which it is separated by
a neck or peninsula; the two lakes approaching in one direction as
near as 20 miles.
Ruddock denies the existence of the long river to which the name of
Monges has been assigned, and which makes such an imposing appearance on the recent maps : if it does not exist, the river Columbia
is the only one which flows into the Pacific Ocean from Cape Horn to
its mouth, (an extent of one hundred and four degrees of latitude,)
Which possesses any commercial advantages.
The river Multnomah, the great Southern tributary of the Columbia, of which, heretofore, so little has been known, is represented as
navigable for any vessels which can enter the Columbia, for a distance of one hundred and fifty miles from its junction with the Columbia, where it is obstructed by a rapid. At the distance of about seventy miles, it receives the Clatmus, a considerable river from the East,
and, at the distance of the eighty miles, it receives the Callapoio, a large
river, which has its sources near the ocean, and South of latitude 42.
From its first rapid to the Lake Timpanagos, the distance is about
three hundred and twenty five miles, making the whole distance from
that source to the Columbia, four hundred and seventy-five miles.
Throughout the whole length it is represented as navigable for vessels of eight feet draught at certain seasons of the year, no rapid, (and
there are several,) being worse than the rapid of the Ohio at Louisville.
The other branches of the Multnomah or Timpanagos interlock
with the branches of Lewis's river.
The course of this river is very similar to the Tennessee, being
* The distance from the City of Washington to St. Louis, in
Missouri, is ....„_>„
From thence by the Mandan Villages to the mouth of the Columbia,   =       .---	
853 miles.
2,196   do.
3,049 miles.
The route travelled by Ruddock to St. Louis
From St. Louis to Santa Fee       -
From Santa Fee to the mouth of the Colombia
853 miles.
850  do.
1,260  do.
2 963 miles.
Any person, by inspecting the map, can easily perceive that a straight course
Would shorten this distance several hundred miles, and there seems but little doubt
that, when the interior country shall become more known, that new and shorter
routes may be discovered, and advantages ascertained, of which, at present, we
have not any knowledge* [Rep. No. 213.]
nearly semicircular, and, according to Ruddock's account, it waters a
rich and delightful valley: the character of the lands on this river is
also represented as similar to the lands in Kentucky, Tennessee, and
Ohio, producing the same species of wood and timber, and the climate
is uncommonly mild.
The Committee have, also, with some care and attention, investigated the nature and character of the right of sovereignty and domain
which appertains to the United States over the territory watered by
the Columbia river, and all other territory claimed by them on the
Pacific Ocean,
This inquiry has become more interesting since the publication of
the correspondence which has taken place between the American Minister at the Court of Great Britain, and the British Commissioners.
The question submitted to the Committee was the expediency of
establishing a Military Post on the Columbia river, and of authorizing by law an examination and survey of the Northwest Coast. They
did not deem it necessary to report on the title; but inasmuch as the
President had recommended the measure, if the law passed, then the
location of the Post would be discretionary with him, and would be
determined on his responsibility; and had it not been for the extraordinary nature of the claim which has been set up, on the part of Great
Britain, to the territory in question—a claim, which may involve our
peaceable relations with that nation—-they would have avoided the
question; but it now becomes not only expedient, but necessary to lay
before the American nation the ground of their title, and the extent of
their rights.
The British Government have peremptorily denied that any right
exists on the part of the United States to the territory in question,
and claim the whole. If the United States have no rights there, it is
time that legislation on this subject should cease. If they have rights,
it will be seen that the crisis has arrived when those rights must be
enforced, or abandoned.
For these reasons, the Committee trust that'they will be excused
for laying before Congress a long, and they fear, somewhat tedious
narrative of the progress of discovery, occupation, and settlement of
all nations on the Northwest Coast, for the purpose of illustrating the
title of the United States.
Ferdinando Cortez, the Conqueror of Mexico, discovered California in 15$f6, which was the first discovery made on the Western coast
of North America by any civilized nation, and preceded the discovery
and conquest of Peru by Pizarro. He did not, however, penetrate
to the ocean. In the year 1540, Mendoza, then Viceroy of Mexico,
under the Crown of Spain,, despatched an expedition by sea and land,
under the command of Coronado, for the purpose of exploring the
Western Coast of North America as far as 53 N.; but the expedition
having penetrated as far as 36, returned.
In 1542, another expedition was sent out under Cabrillo, a Portuguese in the service of Spain, who saw land in 42 N., which he named UIHIIlllllllilllHJl«ll!ill«IIHH!l«Htil»lll»8lilSiillHlllili!IUIIIIBIIII8l!l!llilHifiWHH!
[Rep. No. 2(3.]
Capo Mendicino. He continued his voyage as far as 44 N., without
seeing land again, when the sickness of his crew compelled him to
In 1578, Sir Francis Drake, an Englishman, took possession of an
harbor North of California, in 38 (leg. 30 min, and named the country
New Albion. His. voyage by sea was continued, according to some
authorities, to lat. 40 N. according to others, to 43, but it is not certainly known; but he discovered no land beyond the harbor which perpetuates his name.
In 1582, Francisco Gualli, or Gali, in'the service of Spain, first dis-
covere(Hhe country which is now called the Northwest Coast of America, in lat. 57 deg. 30 min. N.
In 1592, John De Fuca, a Greek, in the service of Spain, was despatched, by the Viceroy of Mexico on a voyage of discovery. " Between the latitudes of 47 and 48 N. he discovered an inlet, into which
he entered and sailed more than twenty days." The account of this
voyag^lprelated to an Englishman, who published it, but, for nearly
two htfplred years it rested on his own authority, and was generally
deemed to be fabulous ; but the investigation of modern navigators
$§|s ascertained its truth, although they place the entrance of this inlet
l$ta short distance North of the latitude which had been assigned to it
by De Fuca.
In 1602, another expedition under the patronage of the Count de"
Jtfonterey, Vieeroy of Mexico, was prepared at Acapulco, the command of which was given to Sebastian Vizcaino. In lat. 36° 40' N.
lie Entered a convenient and secure harbor, which he named Monterey,
in honor of the Viceroy. He continued his voyage and descried Cape
Mendocino, as he says, in lat. 41° 30' N. A boat's crew belonging to
fafe ship saw a promontory in lat. 43 N. which they named Cape
Blanco.    This expedition then returned.
■ In 1640. De Fonte, a Spanish Admiral, discovered a strait on the
^Northwest Coast in lat. 54° 35' N. The account of De Fonte's voyage, like that of De Fuca's, was, for a long period, discredited, but
it is now ascertained to have been correct. From this time, for a period of more than one hundred and thirty years, the genius of Spain
seems to have slumbered in inaction. That spirit of active enterprise
which had pervaded the world, and which contributed a full " share
of mind, of labor, and expense, to geographical and astronomical
science," was prostrated under the paralyzing influence of political
despotism and religious bigotry, and the flag of a People scarcely
deemed worthy to be admitted into the family of civilized nations, was
the first which re-appeared on this coast under the auspices of an illustrious but savage monarch.
It was in the reign of Peter the Great, that the Russians attempted
some voyages of discovery in the North Pacific.
In 1728, Beehring made his first voyage, during which he discovered the strait which separates America from Asia, and now bears his
Jn 1741. during the reign of the Empress Anne, a second voyage of
[UlHl'.W MmaHumnwm buh ngwctflgtfu wrmcthh waw itnnggHUgffflnmfnH        BSfflfflttl
[Rep. No. 218.]
discovery was attempted under the same commander, in which he discovered the Aleutian Islands, the Peninsula of Alaska, and Mount St.
Elias, and the Continent. The coast was first discovered in lat. 55*
30' N. and, although high pretensions, on the part of Russia, have
been recently asserted, yet no farther discoveries were made by her
subjects until the North Pacific became thronged with the vessels of
all the commercial nations.
In 1774, a voyage was made to this coast by the Spanish Captain
Perez ; he was the first who visited Nootka Sound, in lat. 49° 30',
and he saw land in lat. 55 N.
In 1775, another voyage of discovery was projected by Orsua, the
Viceroy of Mexico. By his direction a squadron was despatched on
this object under the command of Heccta, Jlyala, and Quadra. In 41°
7' N. they ran into a harbor which they named de la Trinidad. Continuing their course North, they came into the vicinity of the Island
de Dolores, where they had an hostile encounter with the savages. The
next land which they saw was in lat. 57° 2' N. They entered the
port of Gruadaluppe, in 57° 11' N., and the harbor of Remedios, in 57°
18' ; here they erected a cross, and took formal possession of the
country. In 55° 17', they saw the harbor of Buckarelli. In 38° 18',
they entered a harbor which they called Bodega, in honor of one of
their commanders, and which is now, by the permission of Spain, occupied by the Russians.
In 1778, Captain James Cook, then on his third voyage of discovery under the patronage and direction of the British King, leaving the
Sandwich Islands, first made the coast of New Albion, in 44° 33'; at
the distance of ten or twelve leagues, U the land formed a point at the
Northern extreme, which Captain Cook named Cape Foulweather."
Being baffled by the winds, he stood off and on, and gained another
view of the land further South, " the North point of which Captain
Cook called Cape Perpetua, lat 44° 6'. The Southern extreme he
named Cape Gregory. It lies in lat 43° 30'." A gale of wind coming on, no choice was left to Cook ; he was obliged to " stretch to the
Southward and get clear of the coast." Being arrested in the progress of his voyage by adverse winds, for several days, he made no further progress. Favorable weather succeeding, he continued his course
North, and again descried the coast in lat. 47° 5'. He then stood to the
North, with a favorable breeze, and, after proceeding some distance he
reached Nootka, on Vancouver's Island, where he landed, and called the
place King George's Sound. This place is to the North of 49% and
South of 50°. While his ships lay in the Sound, he explored a small part
of the neighboring country. When he left Nootka, he bore N. W. and
soon discovered Mount Edgcumbe in 57°; and afterwards, in 58°, a
large inlet, which he named Cross Sound: and some days afterwards,
he discovered a long range of coast, and named a point Cape Suckling.
He landed at an Island, where he left a bottle, in which lie deposited
coins, and papers containing the names of his ships and the date of his
discoveries. Afterwards he reached an inlet, and anchored under a
rape which he called Cape Hinchinbroke.    He partially explored the [Rep. Noi*213/J
inlet, which he named Prince William's Sound ; it was situated in
lat. 60° 30' N. Alter he had left the inlet he passed a high promontory, which he named Cape Elizabeth. Still keeping near the coast, he
discovered a large river, or rather a narrow inlet, which he partially
explored. This inlet was afterwards very properly called, by Lord
Sandwich, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Cook's River. Here
another bottle was buried, with British coins, &c. This inlet was
situated in about 59° N. He continued to run down the Peninsula of
Alaska, meeting occasionally with Russians, until lie doubled the Cape
and reached Cape Newenham, in about 58° N., of which he took formal
possession, by again burying a bottle with coins, &c. Continuingon
his Northern course, he discovered many islands and headlands, and
reached Cape Prince of Wales, the most Western land of Continental
America, in about 66° N., forming the American side of Behring's
Strait, which he penetrated, and reached the Icy Cape, supposed to be
the extreme North point of North America, in lat. 72. After coasting the Continent of Asia for some distance, he returned to the American coast, and anchored at Norton's Sound, from which he commenced his homeward voyage ; and, after passing Oonolashka, and
some other islands, amongst which was Samganoodha, where he had
another interview with the Russians, who were then settled upon all
the principal islands between Oonalashka and Kamschatka, for
the purpose of collecting furs. He then run for the Sandwich Islands, which be reached in thirty days, where he was unfortunately
Some of Cook's crew having purchased furs at Nootka, disposed of
them at an immense profit at Canton. Captain King, who published
the last volume of Cook's voyages, after stating this fact, suggested
that this traffic might become very lucrative. In consequence of this
suggestion, the British merchants were induced, soon after the termination of the American war, as early as 1784, certainly as early as
1785, to adventure largely in this traffic. Ships were despatched to
this coast, whose principal rendezvous was at Nootka, and places
further North. Nor were the merchants of the United States backward in availing themselves of the commercial advantages of this remote coast; and Boston has the honor of having opened the way to
this region, as early as 1787. Captain John Kendrick, in the ship
Columbia, and Captain Robert Gray, in the Washington, both owned
in Boston, were the first of the Anglo-Americans who explored those
seas, so full of wonders, and of wealth. In 1789, Captain Gray, in
the Washington, entered the long lost strait of De Fuca, which he explored for 50 miles. Many voyages were subsequently made, both
from England and from Boston. Some British and mercantile adventurers in the East Indies, possessing botli sagacity and enterprize,
fitted out two small vessels, for the purpose of supplying the Chinese
market with furs and ginseng. The traffic proving advantageous, in
1788, they determined to form a permanent settlement at Nootka :
their agent, Mr. Mears, purchased some land of the natives, and built
a house, which was secured and fortified; in the next year more land
^^^^^^^@SI^ [Rep. No. 218.]
was purchased, and a permanent settlement was commenced. In
May, 1790, two Spanish ships of war arrived in tho Sound. An English vessel was seized, and the Captain and crews were made prisoners. Possession was forcibly taken, both of the lands and the buildings. The British flag was torn down, and the Spanish flag was
elevated; and a declaration was made, that all the lands between Cape
Horn and lat. 60 N. were the undoubted property of the King of
Spain. Another vessel was subsequehtly captured, and the cargo
sold. The Spanish minister at the British court, demanded, that
British subjects should be forbidden to frequent the Northwest Coast,
and complained, that the fisheries there pursued, were in violation of
the rights of the King of Spain. The King of Great Britain demanded instant satisfaction for this insult; but Spain asserted a positive claim to exclusive sovereignty, navigation, and commerce, in the
territories, coasts, and seas, of that region. This claim the British
government refused to admit, and renewed the demand for satisfaction.
The King of Great Britain communicated by message, an account of
the whole transaction to Parliament, and the Parliament, by an address unanimously adopted, pledged themselves to support him, and
voted £ 1,000,000, to carry into effect such warlike preparations as
might be necessary; but war was prevented by negotiation, and a
convention was signed in October, 1790, " by which the restoration
of the buildings and vessels, and the reparation of the losses sustained
by the British subjects were secured ; the right of navigation and
fishery was equally conceded to both nations ; those parts of the Northwest Coast of America, which were to the North of those occupied by
Spain, were left free ; and those to the South of the Spanish settlement
were declared to be the exclusive property of Spain."
To this period, that long range of coast, stretching from 44° 33'
to 47° 5', was wholly unknown ; it had not even been descried.
On the 11th day of May, 1792, the Oregon, or Great River of the
West, was discovered by Captain Robert Gray, then on his second
voyage, and commanding the ship Columbia; he entered the river
and gave it the name of his ship. *
*Below is the humble account of this great discovery, extracted from the original
log-book of Captain Gray, and now in the possession of Charles Bulfinch, Esq. one
of the owners of the ship Columbia, by whom it has been communicated to the
Extract from the Log-book of the Ship Columbia,
u May 7, 1792. A. M. Being within 6 miles of the land, saw an entrance in do.
which had a very good appearance of a harbor :f lowered away the jolly boat, and
went in search of an anchoring place, the ship standing to and fro, with a very strong
weather current. At 1, P. M. the boat returned, having found no place where the
ship could anchor with safety. Made sail on the ship—stood in for the shore. We
soon saw, from our mast head, a passage in between the sand bars. At half past
3, bore away, and run in N. E. by E. having from four to eight fathoms, sandy bot*
torn: and, as we drew in nearer between the bars, had from 10 to 13 fathoms. Having a
t Bulfinch's harbor—now sailed Whitby's Bay. 8
[Rep. No. 2IS.]
From Captain Gray, Vancouver, who had been sent out by the
British Government to receive possession of Nootka, gained his first
knowledge of the existence of this river. He sent his Lieutenant
there,* who made a partial survey of its mouth.
very strong tide of ebb to stem, many canoes came along side. At 5 P. M. came
to, in five fathoms water, sandy bottom, in a safe harbor, well sheltered from the
sea, by long sand bars and spits.    Our latitude observed this day was 46, 58, N.
" May 10. Fresh breezes and pleasant weather—many natives along side. At
noon, all the canoes left us. At 1. P. M. began to unmoor: took np'the best bower
anchor, and hove short on the small do. At half past 4, being high water, hove up
the anchor and came to sail and a beating down the harbor.
"May 11. At half past 7, we were out clear of the bars, and directed our course
to the Southward, alongshore. At 8, P. M. the entrance of B«'s harbor bore
North, distance four miles; the Southern extremity of the land bore S. 5. E. ^ E.
and the North do. N. N. W. Sent up the maintopgallant yard, and set all sad. At
4, A. M. saw the entrance of our desired port, bearing E. S E. distance six leagues :•
in steering sails, and hauled our wind in shore. At 8, A. M. being a little to windward of the entrance of the harbor, bore away, and run in E. N. E. between the
breakers, having from five to seven fathoms water. When we were over the bar,
we found this to be a large river, of fresh water, up which we steered—many canoes
came along side. A' 1, P. M. came to, with the small bower, in ten fathoms; black
and white sand: the entrance between the bars bore W. S. W. dis ant ten miles t
the North side of the river a half a mile distant from the ship, the South side do. two
and a half miles dis'ance ; a village on the North side of the river, W. by N. distant
three quarters of a mile. Vast numbers of natives came alongside—people employed in pumping the salt water out of our water casks, in order to fill with fresh, while
the ship floated in.    So ends.
*' May 12. Many natives alongside. Noon : fresh wind; let go the best bower
anchor, and veered out on both cabl s. Sent down the maintopgallant yard—filled
up all the water casks in the hold. The latter part, heavy gales, and rainy, dirty
"Mas 13. Fresh winds and rainy weather—many natives alongside. Hove up
the best bower anchor.    Seamen and tradesmen at their various departments.
" May 14. Fresh gales and cloudy—many natives along side. At noon, weighed
and came to sail, standing up the river, N. E. by E. We found the channel very
narrow. At 4, P. M. we had sailed upwards of twelve or fifteen miles, when the
channel was so very narrow, that it was almost impossible to keep in it. Having
from three to eighteen fathoms water, sandy bottom, at half past 4 the ship took
ground, but she did not stay long before she came off without any assistance- We
backed her off, stern foremost, into three fathoms, and let go the small bower, and
moored ship with kedge and hawser. The jolly boat was sent to sound the channel
out, but found it not navigable any further up ; so, of course, we must have taken the
wrong channel.   So ends, with rainy weather—many natives alongside.
" Tuesday, May 15. Light airs and pleasant weather: many natives, from differ,
ent tribes, came along side. At 10, A.. M. unmoored and dropped down with the
tide to a better anchoring place. Smiths and other tradesmen, constantly employed.
In the afternoon, Captain Gray and Mr. Hoskins, in the jolly boat, went on shore
to take a short view of the country.
" May 16. Light airs and cloudy. At 4, A. M. hove up the anchor, and towed
down about three miles, with the last of the ebb tide—came into six fathoms, sandy
bottom, the jolly boat sounding the channel. At 10, A. M. a fresh breeze came up
river. With the first of the ebb tide we got under way and beat down river. At
1, from i!s being very squally, we came to, about two mills from the village Chinoak,
which bore W. S. W.    Many natives alongside—fresh gales and squally.
H May 17. Fresh winds and squally—many canoes alongside : caulker caulking
the pinnace ; seamen paying the ship's sides with tar ; painter painting the ship ;
smiths and carpenters at their departments.
" May 18. Pleasant weather. At 4, in the morning, began to heave ahead : at
half past came to sail, standing down fiver with the ebb tide ; at 7, being slack water
and the wind flattering, we came to, in five fathoms, sandy bottom : the entrance between the bars bore b. W. by W. distance three mdes.   The North point of the
HSHlffiH [Rep. No. 218.] 9
In 1793, Sir Alexander M'Kenzie, in the service of the Northwest Company of Canada, crossed the mountainous ridge which separates the Morth American dominions of Great Britain from this region, and embarked on a river which he supposed to be a branch of
the Columbia, or as he calls it, the Great River of the West, North of
lat. 55, and after proceeding some distance, abandoned the river and
proceeded to the Pacific Ocean by land. The course which he pursued
over land was generally between 52° 30' and 53° SO', varying occasionally, however, about a degree of latitude from either line. He
reached an arm of the sea, at a place which he called the Village of
Rascals in 52° 23'; to the South of this point he did not explore. He
mistook the river Tacoutche Tesse, for the North branch of the Columbia, with.which, it is now discovered to be unconnected. It is said
this river discharges itself about Birche's Bay of Vancouver, in latitude 49°.
In 1799. Baranoff, a Russian, effected a settlement at Norfolk Sound,
in 56°, N. L. This settlement was destroyed in 1802, and re-established in 1804. it will be recollected that Russians had been previously settled at the Aleutian islands, and other places North of Norfolk
In 1803, an expedition was ordered by the Government of the United
States, to explore the waters of the Missouri to their sources, and
those of the Columbia from their sources to the Pacific Ocean. This
expedition was placed under the command of Captain Meriwether
Lewis and Captain William Clarke.    The object of the expedition
harbor bore N. W. distant two miles, the South bore S. E. distant three and a half
miles. At 9, a breeze sprung up from the Eastward ; took up the anchor and came
to sail; but the wind soon came flattering again. Came to with the kedge and
hawser—veered out fifty fathoms. Noon, pleasant: latitude observed, 46 17, N.
At 1, came to sail with ihe first of the ebb tide, and drifted down, broadside, with
light airs and strong tide; at three quarters past, a fresh wind came from the Northward : wore ship and stood into the river again. At 4, came to, in six fathoms;
good holding ground, about six or seven miles up—many canoes along side.
May 19 Fresh winds and clear weather. Early, a number of canoes came along
side ; seamen and tradesmen employed in their various departments. Captain Gray
gave this river the name of Columbia's river, and the North side of the entrance, Cape
Hancock, the South Adams's Point.
" May 20. Gentle breeze and pleasant weather. At 1. P. M. being full sea, took
up the anchor and made sail, standing down river. At 2, the wind left us, we being
on the bar, with very s-rong tide, which set on the breakers, it was now not possible
to get out without a breeze to shoot her across the tide; so we were obliged to bring
up in 3& fathom, the tide running 5 knots At three quarters past 2, afresh wind
came- in from seaboard ; we immediately came to sail and beat over the bar, having
from five to seven fathoms water in the channel. At 5 P. M. we were out, clear of
all the bars, and in 20 fathoms water; a breeze came from the Southward : we bore
away to the Northward—set all sail to the best advantage. At 8, Cape Hancock bore
S. E. distant three leagues; the North extreme of the land in sight bore N. by W.
At 9, in steering and topgallant sails.    Midnight, light airs.
*;' May 21. At 6 A. M. the nearest land in sight bore E. S. E. distant eight leagues.
At 7, set topgallant sails and light stay sails. *t 11, set steering sails fore and aft.
Noon, pleasant agreeable weather; the entrance of JBulfinch's harbor bore S. E. by
E. £ E. distant five leagues. *£&>
2 Mii)ii;t!tmmiBHHiUtlnmMtMI!iiillMH
[Rep. No. 213.]
was completely achieved ; the Missouri was explored to its several
sources in the Rocky Mountains, and two great branches of the Columbia, from their sources to the ocean, On which the exploring party
wintered in 1805-6, and built a small work which they called Fort
Clatsop. The great Northern branch, upon which the name of the
river is continued, was not explored for any great distance, and the
Multnomah, the great Southern tributary river, was explored by Captain Clarke for about twenty miles.
The result of the labors of these enterprising and intelligent men is
now before the public, which exhibits a lucid account of the most extraordinary inland voyage ever effected by man, not even excepting
that of Orrellana, who explored the Amazon. The consummate prudence, intrepidity, patience, fortitude, and success, which distinguished
this party, has no parallel in the narratives of veracious history, and
scarcely in the fictitious tales of romance.
So flattering were the accounts of Lewis and Clarke, "relative to
" the resources of the interior" of this country, that, in the year 1810,
John Jacob Astor, an enterprising merchant of the city of New York, '■
was induced to send out a company by sea, " well supplied with provisions and seeds of every description, necessary in a permanent occupation of the coast," which was contemplated.
P This little colony consisted of one hundred and twenty men when
"it arrived in the Columbia; and after ascertaining its soundings,
" they removed some miles above Fort Clatsop, and built the town of
''Astoria, where a portion of them cultivated the soil, whilst the others
" engaged in the fur trade with the natives. The soil was found to
"be rich, and well adapted to the culture of all the useful vegetables
" found in any part of the United States; as turnips, potatoes, onions,
" rye, wheat, melons of various kinds, cucumbers, and every species
" of peas. In the course of a year or two it was believed their inter-
M est would be promoted by cultivating and securing the friendship
" and confidence of the tribes inhabiting the waters of that great river;
" to which end the town of Astoria was maintained by about thirty
"men, whilst the rest established themselves at five other points, to
" become fixed stations, to raise their own vegetables, trade with the
" natives, and receive supplies of merchandise from the general depot
" at Astoria, and return to it the fruits of their labor. One of these
" subordinate establishments appears to have been at the mouth of
" Lewis' river, one at Lanton, a third on the Columbia, six hundred
"miles from the ocean, at the confluence of the Wantana river, a
"fourth on the east fork of Lewis' river, and the fifth on the Mult-
This colony continued to thrive until the commencement of the late
war with Great Britain, when, apprehending the danger of their situation, they were induced to transfer to some of the Agents of the Northwest Fur Company of Canada, the whole amount of their stock in
trade for an inadequate consideration.    It was, nevertheless, a fortu-
Report made to the Hoose of Representatives, January, 1822.
WmmmmfflSBBSmffim [Rep. No. 218.]
nate transfer, as the British Sloop-of-War Raccoon, appeared soon
after in the waters of the Columbia, and they were compelled to surrender the fort, of which the enemy took possession, and retained it
until when it Was surrendered, in pursuance of a provision
in the treaty of Ghent, to Mr. Prevost, the authorized agent of the Government of the United States.
Although the partners of the Northwest Company continued to occupy the posts which had been established by Asror's Company, yet
the sovereignty of the United States over the territory was asserted
and acknowledged by all the subjects of Great Britain in that region,
as well as by the British Government; but the question of boundary
is not yet settled between the two nations.
From a celebrated literary work1* the committee have gained some
knowledge of the extent of the British claim on the Northwest coast of
America, and of the progress of discovery and settlement in a region,
the length of which is estimated at 550, and the breadth, from the
Rocky Mountains to the Pacific ocean at 350 geographical miles, and
to which the name of New Caledonia has been assigned.    This information is contained in the review of the travels of a Mr. Harmon who
was nineteen years in the service of the Northwest Company, eight
and half of which were spent Westward of the Rocky Mountains.
This Company, rivalling the East India Company in enterprise, perseverance, energy,  and grasping ambition,  and almost emulating
them in their pretensions to a power almost sovereign, in a few years
after the return of McKenzie, penetrated the Rocky mountains in another, and more Northerly direction, byja passage in 56° 30' where the
Peace river descends towards McKenzie's river through a chasm, and
flows by that channel into the Polar ocean.    Its current is represented as " not very rapid," and obstructed by few falls.    The portage
is but twelve miles.    " Two branches, one from the North, the other
"from the South, unite at the mouth of the passage; the latter having
" held its course along the foot of the mountains two hundred miles;
"the former, or Finlay's branch, having its sources in the Great
" Bear's lake, nearly West from the junction one hundred and fifty
" miles.    This lake has not yet been visited, but is represented as of
" immense extent, stretching far away to the Northward and West-
| ward.
"The whole of this vast country is intersected with rivers and
" lakes. Harmon thinks one-sixth of its surface water. The largest
" of the Jakes is named Stuart's lake, 400 miles in circumference. A
"post has been established on its margin in 54° 30' N. 125° W.f
* Quarterly Review.
f "Distant about 180 miles from the Observatory Inlet of Vancouver, the head of
[j which lies in 55° 15' N. longitude 129° 44' W. where, by this time, the United
"Company of the Northwest and Hudson's Bay, have, in all probability, formed an
*' establishment, and thus opened a direct communication between the Atlantic and
** Pacific, the whole way by water, with the exception of a very few miles across the
" Highlands which divide the sources of the rivers, and give them opposite direc-
" lions."—I Same workO
RtmHmtnutniMB wiujHiiui»tumimui*iuiiHUHUtitu»fllHllimttllHltHlt8litit»!HtUUU!liinKiilltHllumiimmnPUUIllU1
[Rep. No. 213.]
" Fifty miles to the Westward of this is Frazer's lake, 80 or 90 miles
rtin circumference. Here, too, a post was established in 1806, A
"third, of 60 or 70 miles in circumference, has been named McLcoji's
"lake, on the shores of which a fort has been built in latitude 55, lon-
"gitude 124, W. The waters of this lake fall into the Peace river ;
"those flowing out of the other two are supposed to empty themselves"
rt into the Pacific, and are probably the two rivers pointed out by Vancouver, near port Essington. The immense quantities of salmon
" which annually visit these two lakes, leave no doubt, whatever, of
"their communication with the Pacific; and the absence of tbtis fish
"from McLeod's lake makes it almost equally certain that its outlet
" is not into that ocean."
With respect to the extent of the British claim on the South, the
reviewers say that a river called the Caledonia, k* holding a parallel
|| course to the Tacoutche Tesse, falls into the sea near the Admiralty
*'inlet of Vancouver, in latitude 48, and forms a natural boundary
"between the new territory and that of the United States, falling in
" precisely with a continued line on the same parallel with the Lake
"of the Woods, and leaving about two degrees of latitude between it
"and the Columbia." In this assertion, however, they have fallen
into a mistake. The parallel of latitude established as the line of
boundary between the United States and Great Britain, between the
Lake of the Woods and the Rocky Mountains, is the forty ninth, and
not the forty-eighth. *
The committee have deemed it expedient to place before the House
of Representatives this minute, but they fear tedious, narrative of the
progress of discovery and occupation on the Northwest coast, \hat the
entire history (so far as they are informed) of the claims of all civilized nations to any portions of this coast should be fairly presented for
their consideration.
They have come to the conclusion that the United States have an
incontestible claim to this coast from the forty-second parallel of latitude, North, nearly to the mouth of the strait called on the map the
strait of John De Fuca, uniting on the East with our territory West
of the State of Missouri, and including a part of the region called New
Caledonia, extending on the North beyond the forty-ninth parallel of
latitude; and that they have a better title than any other nation to the
countries watered by the strait of De Fuca, and the waters themselves.
It is a principle which has sometimes been operative in the adjustment of the boundaries between nations who claim sovereignty in a
country inhabited by savages only, that an actual occupation of the
subjects of any civilized nation on the waters of a river, shall give to
that nation a preferable right to purchase of the aborigines all the
lands which are watered by such river and its tributaries, and beyond
such waters to a point equi-distant between them and other waters
which may flow in a different direction. This principle, it is said,
governed Great Britain and France in the formation of the treaty of
Utrecht.    The committee do not know that it has become an absolute
HHHHml fRep. No. 213.]
rule in the decision of questions concerning controverted boundaries,
but experience has proved it to be a safe rule, and well adapted, not
only to the interest, but to the peace and happiness of nations.
By the treaty made with Spain in 1819; the United States acquired
all the rights of that nation North of the forty-second parallel of North
latitude. It is therefore important in this discussion to inquire whether Spain had any rights there : if she had, they were acquired by
discovery, for Spain acquired no title by occupation, unless, after the
forcible dispossession of the British, the temporary occupation of Nootka should have imparted it. The Northwest coast was unquestionably
first discovered by Spaniards, or by navigators in the service of Spain.
Gualli, in 1582, De Fuca, in 1592. De Fonte, in 1640, Perez, in
1774, and the expedition under Heceta. in 1775, all preceded the
English navigators.
The discussion of the Russian title cannot throw any additional
light on this subject; Russia has- expressly renounced by treaty all
claim to territory South of 54° 40', except her settlement in California.
The only controversy respecting the title to this territory to be
apprehended, is with Great Britain.
The discoveries of Sir Alexander McKenzie, are entirely unconnected with this region. There is no evidence that the Northwest
Company, or any other subjects of the British King, occupied any
post on the Pacific Ocean or its waters, (previous to the occupation
of the Columbia by Astor's Company, in 1810.)
The American title is founded on occupation, strengthened (as the
committee believe) by purchase, by prior discovery of the river, and
its exploration from some of its sources in the Rocky Mountains to
the Ocean. Great Britain can have no title so strong as this. The
occupation, it is true, was not authorized originally by the Government of the United States, but they subsequently sanctioned it by demanding and receiving the surrender of the Fort; and the posts of
the United .Northwest and Hudson's Bay Company for all national
and legal purposes, are now, and have been for several years, in the
possession of the United States.
Upon the principle assumed, to what limits can the claim of the
United States be extended? As the waters of the Oregon and the
Mississippi almost unite in the chasms and valleys of the Rocky
Mountains, no difficulty exists in ascertaining the extent of this Territory-towards the East. On the South, some of the branches of
Lewis's river are believed to have their sources south of the forty-
second degree of latitude; the sources of the Multnomah, the
great tributary branch of the Oregon, are still further South. The
length of the great northern branch of the Columbia river is not
ascertained, probably it extends to 5s5°, possibly to 54° 40' if it does
reach 54° 40' on the principle already assumed, a long extent of the
boundary of the United States ; would be on the line already estate IIUIIIUtlHI
[Rep. No. 218.]
fished between them and Russia, which would include a large part of
New Caledonia.*
After completing their examination of the American title to domain
and sovereignty over this region, the committee proceeded to the
examination of the claim of Great Britain which the correspondence
Mr. Adams, in his letter to Mr. Rush, dated July 22, 1823, asserts
the positive right of the United States, to all the lands watered by
the Columbia certainly as far as latitude 51°, and concludes *'As,
" however, the line runs in latitude 49 to the Stony. Mountains,
| should it be earnestly insisted on by Great Britain, we will consent
"to carry it in continuance, on the same parallel to the Sea."
Mr. Rush writes, August 12, 1824. He says when he made propositions for the adjustment of the boundary of the Northwest Territory. " The British Commissioners 'totally' denied that any right
existed on the part of tho United States, to Territory there." *♦ They
" said that Great Britain considered the whole of the unoccupied
"parts of America, as being open to her future settlements as here-
" tofore. They included within these parts, as well that portion of
" the Northwest Coast lying between the 42d and 51st degrees of
*' latitude, as any other parts. The principle of colonization on that
" coast, or elsewhere, on any portions of those continents not yei
" occupied, Great Britain was not prepared to relinquish."
We do not propose to enter into the discussion of the principle
asserted by Mr. Monroe, that no part of the continent of North
America is now to be considered as open to European colonization.
Fop ourselves we can only say that we are not disposed to quarrel
with any nation for colonizing any portion of the American wilderness, without the limits of the United States-
The British Commissioners denied that any right was acquired in
this country in consequence of the original discovery of the Columbia river by Captain Gray.
Perhaps a mere discovery which was not followed by occupation
might not impart a positive title to a country held by its aboriginal
savages. But where there are conflicting and adverse claims, prior
discovery ought to incline the balance in favor of the nation by whom
the discovery was made. Supposing there was a simultaneous occupation on the same waters; in that case, the original discoverers
would have the best right to occupy.
The committee have investigated the British claim to this Territory with some care and attention.
In the first place, the commissioners in their conferences with Mr.
Rush, asserted the superiority of the British claim, over that of all
other nations, to that part of the coast which was situated between
latitude 37, and latitude 48, on this ground, that it had been originally
* Captain Kcndrick purchased of the natives of this Coast, a tract of Jand extending through several degrees of latitude. The deeds were deposited iu the office of
the American Consul, at Canton. In 1796, this land" was advertised for sale in the
city of London, by Mr. Barrel!, the agent of the owners of th* ship Columbia. [Rep. No. 218.]
discovered and explored by Sir Francis Drake, that he had made a
formal claim to all the territory comprehended within those limits
in the name of Queen Elizabeth.
2d- Purchase from the natives, before the United States were an
independent power.
3d. " That upon the river Columbia, or upon rivers that flowed
" into it, West of the Rocky Mountains, her subjects had formed
" settlements coeval with, if not prior to the settlement by American
citizens at its mouth." These, if we understand the correspondence,
are the evidences of title on which Great Britain rests her claim to
this Territory. And never was a great nation driven to such miserable expedients, to cover that inordinate ambition, which, not satisfied
with half the world, seeks to add this little Territory to her unwieldy
Colonial Empire.
Hackluyt, who made the first English collection of voyages, who
lived in the time when Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the Globe,
(while some of his crew were yet liviftg,) informs us that he reached
no higher point than 43. \
Purchas, we take his words from the London edition of his voyages
published there in 1617, 38 years after Drake's return from this
famous expedition, and 21 years after his death (he died in January,
1596,) says, " Sir Francis Drake sailed on the other side of America
"to 40 degrees of Northerly latitude." And again "this our English Knight landed on this coast in 38 degrees."
In Lediard's Naval History of Great Britain, published in 1735,
there is a compilation of all the authentic accounts of voyages then
made. Speaking of the voyage of Sir Francis Drake, he says, " He,
" therefore, boldly resolved to attempt finding a passage by North
6i America, and sailed to the North latitude of 2 or 3 and 40 degrees
fi on that coast, to discover if there were any Strait on that side, by
" which he might return the nearest way home. But then meeting
m with nothing but severity of cold, thick clouds, and open shores
" covered with snow, though it was then the beginning of June, became
I back."
I now come to the most minute and best written account of this
voyage which exists.; it is from a collection of voyages published by
John Harris. D. D. F. R. S. published in London, in 1744 :
Sir Francis Drake, (he says) after sailing up the coast of South
Amerfca, attacking many towns, and making many prizes, reached
the haven of Guatulco, (on the west coast of Mexico) and attacked and
captured that town.   The account continues—
'•The Admiral now thinking he had in some measure revenged both
the public injuries of his country, as well as his own private wrongs,
upon the Spaniards, began to deliberate upon his return home; hut
which way he should take, was the question to be resolved : to return
by the straits of the South Sea, (and as yet no other passage had been
discovered) he thought would be to throw himself into the hands of the
Spaniard^ who would probably there wait for him. with a far greater
strength than he could now cope with; for he had at this time hut one
Mm* •naiiniMiHiimmimiisufl
[Rep. No. 213.]
ship left, not strong, though it was a very rich one. AlFthings considered, he resolved to go round to the Moluccas, and so follow the
course of the Portuguese, to get home by the Cape of Good Hope; but
being becalmed, he found it necessary to sail more northerly, to get a
good wind; upon which design they sailed at least 600 leagues, which
was all the way they made, from April 1, to June 3. June 5, being
got into 43° of north latitude, they found the air excessive cold ; and
the further they went, the severity of the weather was more intolerable. Upon which score they made toward the land, till they came into
38° north latitude, under which height of the pole they found a very
good bay, and had a favorable wind to enter the same."
He then describes the people, their habits, manners, customs, his
transactions with them, and then says, | these circumstances, though
trivial in themselves, are of consequence in asserting our first discovery of California."
He then describes an interview with people from the interior.
"King, lords, and common people." "The King (says he) made a
solemn offer of all his kingdom, and its dependencies, to the Admiral,
desiring him to take the sovereignty upon him, and professing that he
himself would be his very loyal subject. And that this might not
seem to he mere compliment and pretence, he did, by the consent of
his nobles there present, take off the illustrious crown of feathers from
his own head, and fix it upon the Admiral's ; at the same time investing him with the other ensigns of royalty, did, as much as in him lay,
make him king of the country. The Admiral accepted of this new
offered dignity, as her majesty's representative, in her name, and for
her use; it being probable, that from this donation, whether made in
jest or in earnest, by these Indians, some real advantages might hereafter redound to the English nation and interest in these parts." He
describes their adoration of him and his people, by the offer of sacrifices, which were rejected with abhorrence. "The Admiral and his
people travelled to some distance up in the country." He describes
the animals—the multitude of deer and rabbits. " The earth of the
country (says the writer) seemed to promise very rich veins of gold
and silver, there being hardly any digging without throwing up some
of the ores of them. The Admiral called it Nova Mbion, partly in
honor of his own country, and partly from the prospect of white cliffs
and banks, which it yields to them that view it from the sea. At his
departure hence, he setup a monument with a large plate, upon which
were engraven her majesty's name, picture, arms, title to the country,
the time of their arrival there, and the Admiral's own name, in this
country, the Spaniards had never set footing, nor did they ever discover the land by many degrees to the southward of the place.
"Sailing from hence, they lost sight of land till October 13th, upon
which day in the morning, they fell in with certain Islands, in 8° of
north latitude."
From these accounts there is no evidence on which the British nation can claim a prior discovery of this coast.
mm i BBHH
q g hs * wrnTT tf I nw i •
[Rep. No. 213.]
Haekluyt says Drake reached 43.
Purchas, 40.
Led i a rd, between 42 and 43.
Harris, 43.
Even Great Britain would not attempt to wrest from us, on such
problematical evidence, any territory North of 42, on the ground of
prior discovery.
Admitting the whole to be true ; yet Cabrillo, in 1542, thirty-six
years before, while in the service of Spain, penetrated to 44, and saw
land in 42. ijgm
The claim of prior discovery rests wholly oil the account of Francis
Fletcher, Drake's chaplain: and he is the only person who pretends
to say that Drake's discoveries were extended to latitude 48; and
this is his account ?
"From Guatulco we departed the day following, viz : (April 16)
setting our course directly into the sea : whereupon we sailed 500
leagues in longitude, to get a wind, and between that and June 3d,
1,400 leagues in all, till we came into the forty-second degree of latitude."
The night following, June 3d, he says, " We found such an alteration of heat into extreme and nipping cold, that our men in general
did grievously complain thereof, some of them feeling their healths
much impaired thereby ; neither was it that this chanced in the night
alone, but the next day, (June 4) the ropes were stiff, and the rain
which fell was an unnatural frozen substance; so that we seemed
rather to be in the frozen zone, than any way so near unto the sun, or
these hotter climates." He says further, that "the meat as soon as
it was removed from the fire, would become in a manner frozen up,
and our ropes and tackling in a few days, were grown to that stiffness, that what three men before were able with them to perform, now
six men, with their best strength and utmost endeavors, were hardly
able to accomplish."
" The land (he says^ in that part of America, bearing further out
into the West than we before imagined, we were nearer on it than we
were aware, and yet the nearer still we came unto it, the more extremity
of cold did seize upon us. The 5th of June, we were forced by contrary winds to run in with the show, which we then first descried,
and to cast anchor in a bad bay, the best road we could for the present
meet with; where we were not without some danger, by reason of the
many extreme gusts and flaws that beat upon us, which if they ceased
and were still at any time, immediately upon their intermission, there
followed most vile and thick and foetid fogs," &c.
| In this place was no abiding for us, and to go further North the
extremity of the cold (whi<S had now utterly discouraged all our men)
would not permit us, and the winds being directly against us. having
once gotten us under sail again, commanded us to the Southward,
whether we would or no; from the height of forty eight degrees, in
which we now were, to 38 degrees, we found the land by coasting it
to be but low, and reasonably plain: every MH (whereof we saw many, 18
[Rep. No. 213.]
but none very high) though it were in June, and the sun in the nearer
approach unto them, being covered with snow."
"In 38° 30' we fell in with a convenient and fit harbor, and June
17, came to an anchor therein, where we continued till the 23d of July
following ; during which time, notwithstanding it was in the height of
summer, and so near the sun, yet we were continually visited with the
like nipping cold we had felt before." He even says that had it not
been for their necessities they would have kept their beds on account
of the cold; neither says he could we at any time in the whole \4 days
together, find the air " so clear as to be able to take the height of sun
or star."
The account of this Reverend Gentleman deserves some examination. On the 3d of June, he says they were in latitude 42, on the 5th
of June, in 48, for they were then compelled by contrary winds to alter
their course and proceeded no farther North, so they must have run six
degrees of latitude, and several degrees of longitude, in two days or
less, with a crew diseased and disheartened by excessive cold, so much
that six men were required to do the common work of three!* The men
were paralyzed by the frost, the rigging frozen stiff, the rain an unnatural and frozen substance, and the meat frozen as soon as it was
removed from the fire, in latitude 42, on the third day of June !
Captain Cook, when on the same spot, (March, 1) says "such moderate and mild weather appeared to us very extraordinary when we
were so far North, and so near an extensive continent at this time of
On the 18th of April, Vancouver was on the same spot; he says
"the weather was delightfully pleasant." Speaking of the hills
which he descried on shore, he says, they were beautifully green,
with a luxuriant herbage. At night the Northernmost land in sight
was Cape Mendecino, latitude 43."
Again, after having run to the Port of Sir Francis Drake, in 38,
Fletcher says, "they found the weather from the 17th of June to the
23d of July, so cold, that they would have kept their beds, had not
their necessities required exertion !
Vancouver, who travelled a few leagues in the country, surrounding
this Port, in November, 1792, speaking of the mountainous ridge
which lay between his path and the sea, says, "as we advanced, its
sides and summits exhibited a high degree of luxuriant fertility interspersed with copses of various forms and magnitude, verdant open
spaces, and enriched with stately forest trees of different descriptions." About noon he arrived at "a vary pleasant and enchanting
lawn, where he rested. It required some resolution to quit so lovely
a scene, the beauty of which was greatly heightened by the delightful
serenity of the weather.** He continues, "we had not proceeded far
from this delightful spot, when we entered a country I little expected
to find in these regions. For about twenty miles it could only be
compared to a Park which had originally been planted with the true
* Fletcher says they sailed 1400 leagues, the other accounts say 600. [Doc. No. 213]
old English oak; the underwood that had probably attended its early
growth, had the appearance of having been cleared away, and left
the stately lords of the forest in complete possession of the soil,
which was covered with luxuriant herbage, and beautifully diversified with pleasing eminences and valleys, which, with the range of
lofty rugged mountains that bounded the prospect, required only to
be adorned with the neat habitations of an industrious people to produce a scene not inferior to the most studied effect of taste in the disposal of grounds."
Yet in this delightful terrestrial paradise, thus seen and thus described by Vancouver, under a November sun, this bucaneering
Parson almost perished with the cold in the middle of July!
Father Charlevoix deemed the whole account of the discovery of
New Albion by Sir Francis Drake to be fabulous, by reason of the
errors, absurdities, aud falsehoods of Fletcher.
Pinkerton wholly discredits Fletcher's account of Drake's voyage,
and says that his real design was to discourage all hopes of finding a
passage by this way into the North Sea.
And yet, on this miserable tale of this miserable priest, a tale discredited by their own historians, by contemporary authors, by subsequent authors, Great Britain attempts to setup a claim of territory ;
and, to strengthen that claim they urge as a purchase, the ridiculous
surrender of the country in latitude 38, 4 degrees S. of the American
line by the nathcs to Sir Francis Drake, who could not tell whether
they were in jest or in earnest! and contend that it applies to the
whole tract of country between 37 and 48 !
Great Britain denies that the United States acquired any right
whatever to territory on this Coast from discovery, purchase, or occupation ; yet she founds a claim to the same territory, because she entertains a fancy that in 1578, Sir Francis Drake made a purchase of
territory around the Port which perpetuates his name. And a purchase which they do not even pretend was followed by occupation.
Of whom did he purchase ? If the purchase was made at all it was
made in 1578.
Since, then, centuries have rolled away. The Indian tribes are.
constantly migrating, wave succeeds to wave in melancholy succession—they rise and disappear, and leave no trace of former existence.
For aught we know, the Creeks or Cherokees might then have kindled their council fires on the shores of the Pacific. For aught we
know their places may now be occupied by the remnants of the Mexicans. —The Shawnecs of Lake Michigan once inhabited the banks of
the Floridian Suwanee. The Tuscaroras of Lake Ontario once dwelled
in North Carolina. New tribes may have succeeded to the old.
New lights may have been acquired which not even English laws can
The other fact upon which the British Commissioners rested the
claim of their nation, might, if true, be material, viz : " a settlement
of their subjects upon the branches of the Columbia, coeval with, if
not prior to the settlement by American citizens at its mouth
mmniMffii 20
[Rep. No. 213.]
This fact we deny. Great Britain never had a settlement on that
river or any of its branches prior to Astor's settlement in 1810.
Where was it ? Who asserts it ? Who knows it ? What document
proves ^| ? What book of travels,'geography, or history relates it ?
It is stated, indeed, in the Quarterly Review, that there was a trading
post established on some of the Lakes as far North as 55, and North
of the line established between Russia and the United States, as early
as 1806; but the Reviewers do not even pretend that this establishment was on the waters of the Columbia, or its tributaries.
After a careful examination of the British claim, tlie Committee
have unanimously come to the conclusion, that it is wholly unfounded:
and that the navigators of Great Britain were not the original discoverers of any part of the region which is included between the Mexican and Russian boundaries. Nevertheless, the minute examination.
which has been made by them, of parts of this coast, ought, perhaps,
to secure to "the nation who patronised them, something more than
could be claimed as a positive right; but we think the offer of Mr.
Rush, to continue the boundary along the forty-ninth parallel of latitude, from the Rocky Mountains to the Ocean, was as great a concession as would be compatible with our interests, our honor, or our
It is a question, at first, somewhat difficult of solution, why Great
Britain should have become so extremely anxious to wrest from the
United States a Territory, comparatively of limited extent, and considering the vast domains in Asia, Africa, Australasia, and America,
which she has yet to populate and to reclaim, comparatively of little value—yet a little reflection will suggest the answer.
Great Britain adopts no plans of policy from caprice or vanity ;
her ambition is developed in a system of wise and sagacious projects,
to check, to influence, and to control all nations, by means of her navy
and her commerce; in prosperity and in adversity ; in peace and in
war; she has pursued this grand design, with an energy and perseverance, which does infinite credit to her political sagacity and foresight.
Great Britain and Ireland may be assimilated to huge fortifications
on the Western frontier of Europe. She sends forth her fleets. Every 74 is a floating fort, which can move rapidly along the whole extent of the European coast*
At the Strait of the Mediterranean Sea, the Southern extremity of
Europe, she holds an impregnable fortress, from which she can act
either upon the Southern coasts of France and Italy, or the coast of
Barbary, near the Eastern extremity of the Mediterranean; the Ionian
Islands, and Malta, will enable her to act with a controlling power,
upon Egypt, the Grecian Archipelago, Greece, and a great part of
the Turkish Empire. In a single week she can annihilate their commerce, and destroy their maritime cities. From Gibraltar, she can
also act upon the Northwestern, ami, from St. Helena, upon the Southwestern coasts of Africa. [Rep. N8. 213]
The extreme Southern part of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, now
in her possession, will always enable her to control the Southern part
of that vast Peninsula, and its whole Eastern coast, from Cape Town
to the Red Sea.
From the Isle of France, her operations upon the African coast can
be effectually aided; and the possession of that island, establishes,
firmly, her power to control the whole commerce of the Indian
Ocean. Her continuous settlements and fortifications, on both coasts
ofHindostan, flanked by Ceylon, in the same manner as she flanks'
Europe, will always render her invincible in that quarter.
Neither has she neglected North America. Nova Scotia, Bermuda, and Trinidad, are almost in line. From the two first, she can
act with powerful, effect upon the whole coast of the United States.
Trinidad is almost connected with "the Continent of South America,
at the very point where the Carribean Sea, which washes the whole
North coast of South America, unites with the Atlantic, a point equally
formidable to the Republic of Colombia, the Dutch and French possessions on the Continent, and the Empire of Brazil.
These front stations afford her, at all times, the means of concentrating all her flying artillery of the deep, upon any selected point.
These stations enable her in war, to strike with a thousand arms; and,
if not to annihilate, at least to control and check the v/hole commerce of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Always alive to her great interests, she early discovered the importance of the Pacific Ocean, to her commercial projects.
Holding the vast Island of New Holland and Van Diemen's Land,
she is already possessed of the naval empire of the Southeastern Pacific; no long period^will elapse before the Burmese Empire will fall
before her arms; and the possession of Cochin China will advance
the flag of St. George to the shores of the Northern Pacific, and sooner or later, will enable her to control the commerce of China, which
exists only at Canton, to which she will be a near, a dreaded, and a
dangerous neighbpr.
She now claims the sovereignty of the Sandwich Islands. Taheita
is obedient to her power. What then remains to enable her to encom-r
pass the globe ? Columbia River and De Fuca's Strait! Possessed
of these, she will soon plant her standards on every island in the Pacific Ocean.
Except the Columbia, there is no river which opens far into the interior, on the whole Western shore of the Pacific Ocean. There is
no secure port or naval station, from 39 to 46.
The possession of these waters will give her the command of the
Northern Pacific, enable her to control the commerce and policv of
Mexico, Central America, and South America. These rich nations
will be her commercial colonies. " She will then gather to herself all
nations, and her ambition will span the earth."
The Committee entertain no disposition to seek a controversy with-
Great Britain, on a question of doubtful right; neither have they any
disposition, in defence of an incontestible right, to avoid it.
Will fPli
[Rep. No. 213]
Tlie indifference of America stimulates the cupidity of Great Britain. Our neglect daily weakens our own claim, and strengthens
hers : and the day will soon arrive, when her title to this Territory,
will be better than ours, unless ours is earnestly and speedily en-


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