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Remarks on the voyages of John Meares, Esq. in a letter to that gentleman Dixon, George, -1800? 1790

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Array       REMARKS 
ARES,   Esq.
HEN voyages, of whatever nature, whether for the
purpofes of exploring countries hitherto unknown, or
of promoting ufeful and important branches of commerce, are undertaken, and the refult of them is deemed of fufficient importance
to be publicly communicated to the world, we naturally expect to
meet both with entertainment and inftru&ion. It has indeed
been the cuftom perhaps formerly, for travellers both by land and
water, to indulge their ideas in defcribing countries which perhaps
never exifted but in their own imagination, and this from a fup-
pofition that no one would be hardy enough to contradict them
JB by
Pa REMARKS    on
by actual obfervation;   and confequently when  mankind were
agreeably entertained, their end was anfwered.
However, in this enlightened age, we  naturally expect, not
only agreeable entertainment, but information which may be depended on; and more efpecially in works where fo difcovery, is
added the elucidation of a branch of commerce, which, though
yet in its infancy, may hereafter be of the utmoft importanceJx).
this country.     Of this nature I conceived the work lately pub-
lifhedby you, entitled,  " Voyages made in the years 1788 and
1789, from China to the North-weft coaft of America.   To which
are- prefixed, An Introductory Narrative of a Voyage performed
hi 1786, from Bengal, in the Ship Nootka; Obfervations on the
probable Exiftence of a North-weft PafTage; and fome Account of
the Trade between the North-weft coaft of America and  China,,
and the latter country and Great-Britain," to be, and accordingly
perufed it with eagernefs and attention; and more efpecially, as
having myfelf been engaged in the fame employment,  I naturally expected to find my knowledge of the geography of the
North-weft coaft of America increafed, and that your labours had
been properly devoted to encourage difcovery, navigation, and
J commerce.. MEARES's   VOYAGES. 7
commerce. Guefs, then, Sir, my furprize, when I found your
pompous publication fcarcery any thing more than a confufed
heap of contradictions and mifreprefentations,
To point out half your abfurdities, would fill a volume large as
your own, and require much more time than I at' prefent can
lpare; however, the duty I owe the public and myfelf, obliges
me not to pafs them over in filence: I (hall, therefore, without
further preface, point out fome of your numerous errors, as they
occurred to me on peru(ing them. .
In page'38 of your Introductory Voyage, you fay, " Before I
conclude this note, I fhall remark on the declaration of Captain
Dixon, in the account of his voyage, that the diforder which fo
feverely afflicted my crew, arofe from their uncontrolled applica-
tion to fpintuous liquors*
fj In the firft place, the afTertion is not founded in fact; and
fecondly, Captain Dixon's crew and himfelf being vifited by a
fimilar affliction, I have an equal right to retaliate the fame accusation upon him."
As § REMARKS    on
As I am not the author of the above declaration, whether true
or falfe, I have nothing to do with it. I remember, on reading
that part in the book alluded to, that I enquired of Mr. Beresford,
on what authority the pafTage was inferted ; his anfwer was, From
Captain Meares's own people. Mr. Beresford is at prefent in
London, and can, I doubt not, give a fatisfactory anfwer to any
queftion that may be afked him on this head. '
In page 201, Voyages to the North-weft,coaft of America, you
have the following note; " On enquiring of Captain Duncan, concerning his diftrefTed condition, he told me that he had met Captain Dixon, in the Queen Charlotte; and, though that fhip was on
her return to China, and abundantly flocked with every thing;
and though (he belonged to the fame owners with the Princefs
Royal, the provident commander thought it much better to carry
all his ftores back to China, than to fpare any of them to the latter
veffel, though they would have been fo great an alleviation to the
the hardfhips of her voyage."
Any perfon, on reading the above note, would naturally con<-
elude, that, at the time I met with Captain Duncan, I had lately
come* K
eome from China with plenty of ftores of every kind on board,
and yet fo inhumane as to refufe any of them to a fellow-creature
and countryman in diftrefs; efpecially as you fay in the note,
" carry them back to China."
The fact, however, was directly to the contrary. I fell in
with Captains Duncan and Colnett near the place where you met
them, after having been from England twenty-three months', and
never near China during. that period. They had been from
England.only eleven months. I fupplied them with a puncheon
of molafles, a hogfhead and a harnefs-cafk of Sandwich Ifland
pork, what trade they wanted, and a copy of my charts.
. Captain Duncan had alfo a copy of whatever part of my logbook he chofe; for which purpofe, he was on board the Queen
Charlotte, together with Mr. John Etches, all one night.
Wine, tobacco, and portable foup, they  had procured  from
Captain Barclay,   when in King George's Sound (which place
they had left only two or three days), and for which I afterwardsv
paid him near 400 Spanifh dollars in China, agreeable to the re- '
C queft I0 R EM A R K S    on
queft of Mr. John Etches.    My  four krout was all expended,
and I had neither porter nor cheefe ;   Indeed I never had much
of either; the greater! part of that I had on leaving England, was
fent  me as  a  prefent   by  my late  worthy  commander, John
Gore^Efq. of Greenwich Hofpital, and Captain Stephenfon of
In page 54 of your "Obfervations of the probable exiftence
of a North-weft paffage, &c." fpeaking of the King George and
Queen Charlotte, after giving a pompous account of their outfits,
&c. you obferve, that " their voyage was tedious and dilatory \
and their fuccefs, both with refped to commerce or difcovery,
by no means adequate to their fuperior equipment."
In order to afcertain what additions I made to the geography
of the North-weft coaft, be fo kind, Sir, as take the trouble ©f
comparing my chart with any former one ; a copy of which, extending from lat. 510 N. to 55° 30' was given to you I believe
by John Henry Cox, Efq. of Canton, fome time before you failed
for the coaft of America; at the fame time, he gave you a copy
of Captain Barclay's chart from Nootka Sound to the Southward,-
.■■;4 § along asm
along the coaft as far, or nearly fo, as you went; together with a
chart of the coaft, or at leaft that part of it, which Don Francifco
Maurelle had touched at, and all the information that could be
"obtained from Captains Hannah, Lowrie, and Guife.—A fhort
ftatement of what I did reflecting commerce, will eafily fettle that
I collected-on the North-weft coaft, 2000 fea-otter (kins, 100
fur-feal, feveral land-beaver, land-otter, martin, fox, bear, marmott,
and other (kins ; befides a large quantity of inferior pieces of fea-
otter fkins. Now, Sir, thefe, according to your probable arithmetic, fhould have been fold in China for confiderably more than
200,000 Spanifh dollars ; but, ftrange to tell, even with the addition of Captain Portlock's, which made the number of fea-otter
fkins 2552, and confiderably added to the number of other forts
of inferior value, they only fetched 54,857 Spanifh dollars at the'
Chinefe market; yet believe me, Sir, I neither divided any of them
amongfl mypeople,nor fold<37zy on my own account.—If you would wifh
to be informed why they fold for fo fmall a firm, pleafe to enquire
of Mr. Richard Cadman Etches, as you feem to be well acquainted
with him \ he, I doubt not, can give you every fatisfaction on
\A i2 REMARKS    on
that fubject.'—As a further proof of our "fuccefs in commerce"
I fhall here prefent you with a comparative ftatement of the quantity of fea-otter fkins brought to China by different fhips, which
Mr. Cox very obligingly favoured me with.'
Sea-otter fkins.
Captain Hanna, firft voyage 560
Ditto fecond ditto 100
And of flips and pieces 300 fold as      60 fkins
Captains Lowrie and Guife ; •* 604
Captain Meares, firft voyage «. ^,57
Captain Barclay » » 800
Captains Portlock and Dixon
Total number of fea-otter  (kins S°33'y all which, including
434 cub, and 34 fox (belonging to the King George and Queen
* Charlotte), lb.
Charlotte), fold for 146,842 Spanifh dollars in China; and, taken
at a mean, makes nearly 29-5 dollars per (kin.
I fhould have been happy to have included in the above ftate-
ment, the furs brought to the Chinefe market by yourfelf your
fecond voyage, and ^lfo thofe belonging to the Prince of Wales
and Princefs Royal. Thefe accounts you had it in your power to
have laid before the public; but, for reafons bed known to yourfelf, you have thought proper to keep them fecret. However,
from what I have already done, the world will be able to judge
whether your ftatement of real and probable lofTes is accurate, or
In the paragraph juft quoted, you fay, " They (the King
George and Queen Charlotte) were authorifed to make fettle-
ments, and form factories." I fhould be glad to be informed by
you, Sir, how it was poflible for this to be done, when all my
people, to a man, had figned articles to return with the (hip ?
You proceed in the fame page,    " After thefe (hips had fepa-
fated) the Queen> Charlotte proceeded to the fouthward of Prince
D William's i4
RE MARKS    on
William's Sound ; and continuing her courfe to that part of the
coaft named by Captain Cook, Behring's Bay," fhe entered a
port which then received the. name of Port Mulgrave. Captain
Dixon then proceeds to the Cape Edgcumbe of Cook, and from
thence traces the coaft till he arrived in a port which was
honoured with the appellation of Port Banks j and finally discovered the northern part of thofe iflands, whofe foutherh extremity
was firft difcovered, as has been already mentioned, by Captains
Lowrie and Guife. The fhip then takes her courfe down the
weftern fide of thefe iflands, and, rounding the fouthern, extremity
of them, proceeds partly between them, and what was at that
time fuppofed to be the Continent of America; but, apprehenfive
of being entangled among thefe iflands, fhe quitted them at once,
and proceeded on her voyage to China."
For what I did, after parting company .with Captain Portlock,
I refer to the AccounW.of my Voyage ; and fhall only remark,
that, after being on the coafts of Queen Charlotte's Iflands for a
month, the time drew near (Aug. 15, 1787) when I was, by my
inftructions, to expect Captain Portlock in King George's Sound.
This circumftance,   and not the  " apprehenfion pf being enr
Qpit tangled MEARESV VOYAGES. 15
tangled among thofe iflands," induced me to leave them, and
fteer for that place ; off which I fell in with Captains Colnet and
Duncan, as has already been related. They informed me, that
Captain Portlock was not in the Sound, neifher were there any
furs to be procured ; as a Captain Barclay had lately left it, and
.failed to the Southward ; in confequence of which, I determined
to fteer for Sandwich Iflands.
That Captains Lowrie and Guife faW the Southern parts of
Queen Charlotte's Iflands in 1786 I do not difpute ; and I hope
you will admit, that both Captain Portlock and myfelf fell in with
thefe iflands in company the fame year, near Hippah Ifland;
but if this is to be called a difcovery, I am inclined to think the
Spaniards may claim a right to it; for it appears by the general
chart to Captain Cook's laft voyage, that they muft have feen
this land in the year 1775, and I dare venture to fay knew as
much of it then as either Captains Lowrie, Guife, Portlock, or
myfelf did in 1786. What I obferved of them the enfuing year
is fairly ftated, both on my chart, and in the voyage to which it
is annexed.
In REMARKS    on
In the voyages to the North-weft coaft of America, (peaking of
Owhyhee, p. 343, you obferve, that " Though feveral European
veffels have been off the ifland, yet the Iphigenia alone had
anchored in Karakakooa Bay, &c."
As it appears by a note in p. 38 of your Introductory Voyage,
that you have read the voyage performed in the Queen Charlotte*
.and confequently an account of her tranfactions at Owhyhee, it
appears ftrange that you fhould fo roundly affert, that no veffel,
the Iphigenia excepted, had anchored there fince the death of
Captain Cook/~ This, however, is but of a piece with the reft
of your mifreprefentations; and to refute it, I (hall only refer to
the account of my voyage, page 50, &c.
A little further (page 354) you tell us of Captain Douglas be-
v   ing informed by a chief at Owhyhee, " That Taheo had been
furnifhed by the Captains Portlock, Dixon, &c. with a quantity
of arms and ammunition, on the exprefs condition that he would
not afford any fupplies whatever to Captain Meares or his affo-
■      m*  t
Pray what could induce you to infert fo pretty a ftory ? It
certainly muft be from a firm belief of its being a fact; but you
ought firft to have confidered the -corroborating circumftances ;
which as you feem not to have done, I will endeavour to do
for you.
fo., >o
When I was laft at the Sandwich Iflands, you muft have been
at,.or near China, and, as I thought, had taken leave of them for
ever;. neither at that time had I the moft diftant idea of feeing
them again.
Admitting this to be the cafe, is it probable that I fhould give
arms and ammunition to Indians, on the " exprefs conditions" of
not affording (upport to a perfon whom I had every reafon to
think would never come near the place ? The fuppofkion is ridiculous, and fcarcely deferves a ferious refutation : .But I declare,
that I never gave or traded away at the Sandwich Iflands, or any
other place, to an Indian, either mufquet, piftol, or a grain of
powder ; and I defy you to ' prove the contrary. Yourfelf and
your affociates, however, feem not to have been very delicate in
this refpect; for it appears  by  your  own  account *, that  you
* Voyages to the North-weft Co.aft of America, page 196, &c.
have furnifhed the Indians with dangerous and destructive weapons, and the confequence was " a moft (hocking fcene of blood
and maffacre." Pray how do you reconcile actions like this with
that I milk of human kindnefs" which you endeavour to make
ithe public believe you are poffeffed of ?
In your " Obfervations on the probable Exiftence of a North-
Weft Paffage," fpeaking of Captain   Barclay, you  obferve,   that
M he performed the whole of the voyage in twelvemonths, which
employed the King George and Queen Charlotte upwards of two
Have yon forgot, Sir, that Captain Barclay went no farther to
the Northward than King George's Sound, and was only three
months on the coaft, and that the King George and Queen Charlotte were there two feafons? Pray, good Sir, recollect your-
felf, and I truft I (hall hear no more of fuch invidious compari-
Your mifreprefentations are not, however, confined to me alone.
Captain Duncan next comes in for his fhare. You obferve, that
| He occupies almoft a whole fummer in this ftation,   (Queen
Charlotte's MEARES's   VOYAGES.
Oharlotte's Ifles), and yet, ftrange as it may appear, quits the
<;oaft of America without knowing [that Captain Douglas had
already taken the fame courfe."—Vide Obfervations on the probable Exiftehce, &c. page 54.
I acknowledge myfelf entirely at a lofs to know What you
-mean by this affertion ; for, if you wifh it to be underftood that
Captain Douglas was gone to China, that certainly was not the
cafe; and if you mean to infmuate that he was in the Archipelago before Captain Duncan, there again you muft be wrong; for
at the time you faw Captain Duncan off King George's Sound,
ln his way to Ohina, we find Captain Douglas at Crofs Cape by
your own account ^#
In your Introductory Voyage, page 10, fpeaking of (kin-
canoes, are thefe words: " The canoes of this make, extend from
the ftraits of the two continents along the coaft as far as Cape
Here you ought to have added, " for any thing you knew to
the contrary " for I affert it as a pofitive fact, that the wood canoe
«   „ 32-J.
* Voyages to the North-.weft<!oaft, page 353.
brought 20 REMARKS    on
brought to England by me, and'which I prefented to Sir Jofeph
Banks, came from Port Mulgrave,   which is fituated  in 590 $y
North latitude,  and   1400 Weft longitude; and that during the'
whole of my ftay there, I never faw oney£/«-canoe.
But your knowledge' is certainly unbounded, and fuch as I
believe no mortal before yourfelf ever poffeffed; for I find in your
Introductory Voyage, page 4, the following remarkable pafTage :
" It had, indeed, been one continued fog ever fince we croffed
the latitude 2>$° > and from that time we had not been able to
make more than two obfervations. We very fortunately had a
time-piece on board, which proved- of the greateft utility." It
would be of the utmoft fervice to the world, and more particularly thofe who are any way interefted in navigation, if you would
inform them what became of your invaluable time-piece. Pray,
what were her principles, and who was the maker ? for fhe certainly muft have been wonderfully conftrudted. I had a pocket'
time-piece, made by Mr. John Arnold of London, who I have
hitherto thought to be one of the firft makers in that line in this
kingdom, if not in the world:, hut I now find myfelf miftaken;
for I am free to confefs, that mine was not of the leaft utility to
me at fea, unlefs I could fee both the fun and the horizon.
•In your Introductory Voyage, page 38, you take notice of a
very extraordinary race of people, and add, " They had never
been before feen by any navigator; and had not a favourable
wind fprung up in the night, we intended to have pa'ffed a few
days among them. The latitude of this part of the coaft is in
560 38' North, and the longitude 12^0 25" Eaft of Greenwich."
According to the latitude juft quoted, this fhould be near the
"North fide of the entrance into Port Banks ; but the "land, as laid
down both in your chart, and mine, muft err i° ^o' in longitude,
as we differ that diftance from your own obfervation, which I
make no doubt muft be very accurate, as you have fet it down to
the greatefl minutice, viz. feconds: But as to your being the firft navigator that ever faw thefe extraordinary people, is to me by no
means equally clear j for I had been for fome time at anchor in
Norfolk Sound, trading with the natives there j had left that place,
and even Port Banks, by the 26th of June, and you did not--ar-
rive there before the 1 ft or 2d of July. I alfo faw the fame kind
of people at Port Mulgrave in May * : be/ides ajl this, the Spaniards muft certainly have feen them fo early as 1775.
* Vide Dixon's Voyage, page 172.
F We REMARKS    on
We are told in page 56 cf the " Obfervations on the probable
Exiftence, &c.""fhat I The Wafhingtoh entered the ftraits of John
de Fuca, the knowledge of which fhe had received from us.
You alfo obferve, that " The track of this veffel is of great
moment." Be fo good, Mr. Meares, as to inform the. public
from what authority you introduce this track in your chart ?
I have read your amufing and- infruclive book again and again,
and cannot find any account of it; I therefore ftrongly fufpect
it never was taken from any actual furvey, but has been introduced into your chart merely as a pretty variety to fill up a
blank; and I cannot think of any thing it refembles fo much
as the mould of a good, old houfewife's butter pat.
Tn your Account of the Trade between North-weft America
and China, (page 68), you obferve, that "Two, of the fmall
number of (hips which have failed hither, have been wrecked,
and others have proved unfortunate, either from the bad management or ignorance of their conductors."
I befeech you, in the next edition of your valuable book, to
alter this p adage; for, as it ftands at prefent, I *am afraid it is
rather too pointed at your own conducl.
The reception you met with at the Sandwich Iflands, on yovtt
return from the Weftern coaft of America to China, was very
flattering; your account of it * fays, " We remained here a
month, during which time the iflanders appeared to have no
other pleafuje, but what arofe from (hewing kind'nefs, and exer-
cifing hofpitality to us." And what return, I would wifh to afk,
did you make for all this kindnefs and hofpitality ? If your
anfwer is not at hand, I can furnifh you with a true one; you
fired four-pound fhot amongft them on (hore. Should you wifh
to know from what authority I make this^affertion, I anfwer,
from Mr. Rofs your chief mate. — The laft time I was at
Onehow, the natives gave me to underftand fomething about the
matter, though I could not rightly comprehend what fhip had
done it; but on my mentioning the circumftance to Mr. Rofs,
he frankly owned it was Captain Meares's, and that it was in
confequence  of   a  quarrel   which originated  on  fome of the
#   T
Introductory Voyage, page 39.
Indians 24
Indians dealing either the cat-block or fifh-hook," I do not at
prefenf recollect which: Mr. Rofs added, that he and feveral of
your people were on (hore the day after this affray happened,
when the inhabitants produced fome of the fhot you had ordered
to be fired amongft them, and wanted much to know for what
reafon you had done it; at the fame time they ufed him and the
people with him exceedingly well. I fhould have imagined that
a perfon of Mr. Meares's feeling and humanity, might have fettled
a bufinefs of this kind amicably, or at leaft without adopting
fuch rigorous- meafurjes: your conduct, however, on this occafion,
clearly points out the reafon for their cool behaviour to yoUr-
the laft time you vifited them, and which has already been
In your " Obfervations on the Probability of a North-weft Paf-
fage, &c." (peaking of Captain Cook, you fay, " The weather in
this important part of the voyage was fo unfavourable, that the
ihips were prevented from approaching the coaft; for, though the
Felice and Iphigenia did explore thefe latitudes, (560 to
470 North) yet there is every reafon to lament that Captain Cook
was himfelf prevented from fuch an examination as would have
ptpceeded from him."
Give me leave here, Sir, to compliment you on your modefty;
you fay that  the  Felice and Iphigenia « did explore" the latitudes juft mentioned; yet, in the fame breath, you lament that
Captain Cook was prevented from doing it. — No notice however is taken by you of what either Captains Duncan or Barclay
have done towards furveyinglhis part of the coaft ; this country
is indebted only to the Commanders of the Felice and Iphigenia;
for you tell us, (page 17), | Thus has been unveiled the whole
of the American coaft, particularly thofe parts between the latitude 500 and S5° North, and 47° and 480 North ; and furely this
furvey gives room for fomething more than conjecture  on the
I find in the fame Obfervations, (page 50), fpeaking of the
Straits of John de Fuca, the following paffage : " If it fhould
be afked why thefe Straits were not penetrated, or at leaft fome
attempt made to penetrate them ? the anfwer is at hand • the
deftruction  of our  commercial  enterprize  by the (hips  of his
Catholic Majefty."
What a pity! the Dons fhould be made to pay well for this; for
long before this time, you would probably have been in England
by 26 REMARKS      on
by way of the North-weft paffage; for difcoverihg which, there
is a reward of ^20,000: I hope and truft you will not forget to
include this, either in the atlual or probable loffes you have fuf-
Having in your " Obfervations, See. on the probable exiftence
of a North-weft Paffage," page 48, favoured us with an attempt to
prove the probability of a communication between Cook's  River
and the Southernmoft part of Baffin's Bay, or the Northernmoft
part   of Hudfon's Bay, into the Atlantic Ocean, you proceed,
I For it fhould be remembered, that in the higheft known latitude
of Cook's River, no impediment was obferved to the further pro-
grefs of (hips, either from rocks, fhoals, or a want of a due depth
of water; the channel, on the contrary, appearing capacious and
extenfive, and abounding with whales."     I fhould be glad to
know on whofe authority you make the above afTertion ? for I
cannot find, after perufing your account of Captain Douglafs's
voyage, and your own alfo, that either of you were fo high up this
river, or higher than 6o° 30' North latitude ; or that you had boats
higher than the narrows; and Captain Cook, in his chart of that
river, [vide Cook's Iaft voyage), evidently fhews the contrary; for
he has laid down a large fhoal above the narrows, on wEieh the
(hip grounded ; and the depth of the water, as put down on that
chart, (an authority which I prefume you are not difpofed to controvert)   decreafes.
Neither do I find in his book the Ieaft notice taken of their
feeing any whales. However, fhould any future navigator, on the
credit of your affertion, (which, begging your pardon, I fcarcely
think they will), go up there to catch whales, and be difappointed,
for their encouragement, I can venture to affirm, they may obtain
plenty of frefh falmon.
Again, at page 57, after producing a,variety of what you call
" corroborating proofs" of former writers, are thefe words : " If s
thefe particulars can be fuppofed to have any weight, how much
will it be encreafed when it is known that (hips have reached
between 61 and 62 degrees of latitude in Cook's River, where a
navigable ftrait of confiderable extent appeared to their view, free
from ice, or impediments of any kind^ and where the rife and
fall of the tide was fo great that there muft be other extenfive
channels for the reception of the waters which can only be Eaft ?'"*
Had 28    • • jl .REMARKS    on
Had Captain Cook been living, what anfwer would he have made
to this bold affertion ? or what reafon could he have affigned,
" when there was no impediment of any kind in his way," why
he did not pufh boldly on, and at once make the paffage fo long
looked for in vain ? But though that illuftrious navigator is no
more, refpectable authority may eafily be found to controvert any
affertions of this kind.
Captains Burney and Bligh, of the navy, were both of them
-with Captain Cook when he difcovered the river juft mentioned.
Captain Bligh, at that time mafter of the Refolution, furveyed it,
laid down the fhoal and the various foundings which I have
already noticed; and, I doubt not, is fully competent to determine, whether in the higheft " known latitude" of Cook's River
4*    If
there are any impediments in the way of navigation.
For the purpofe of combating vulgar prejudices, and unpopular
doctrines,   you   | beg leave  to  introduce  the   voyage  of the
Iphigenia*."    Why produce that voyage, when you have it in your
power to produce a much better ?    I mean Captain Duncan's. —
# Obfervations on the Probable Exiftence of a North-weft Paffage, page 45.
As you confefs to have Mr. Arrowfmith's chart, on which
Captain Duncan's track is laid down, in your poffeffion, it is but
too plain that you have been furnifhed from it with the greateft
part of the materials to conftruct your own; yet, in no part of
your work do you acknowledge the obligation, except one ; and>
ftrange to tell! in that very place you- differ from Mr. Arrowfmith's chart no lefs than 190 45/ to the weftward.
The part where you exercife your talents in fo wonderful a
manner, is the fea feen by Mr. Hearne. Go on, Sir; make one
remove more, and you will open a North-weft paffage.
Speaking ftill of the Iphigenia, you obferve, " This fhip enters fo far to the Eaft, that fhe paffes, by three degrees, the weftern boundary of Mr. Hearne's fea in 72°, (but placed by Mr.
Arrowfrnith, in his chart lately publifhed from Mr. Turner's
charts and journals, in the latitude of 68° 15' North, and longitude of 228° Eaft of Greenwich) when a clear and extenfive
paffage is feen without impediments,"
Well might the (hip be to the Eaftward of that place; for, as I
obferved before, (when fpeaking of your own chart), that part
H placed 3o REMARKS    on
placed by Mr. Arrowfmith in longitude 2470 45' Eaft, you have
removed to 2 2 8° Eaft, which is only i9°45'to the^weftward of
him; but, not contented with that, you have laid down the
land i° 30' to the eaftward at Princefs Royal Ifland, Nepean's
Sound, Banks's Ifland, and in general, all that fide of the channel.
i On what authority you have deviated in your chart from Captain Duncan (as laid down by Mr. Arrowfmith) I know not,
there being no reafon whatever affigned for it in your publicationj
neither can I by any means learn why we are favoured with
Capes Mendozino and Mendocino, in your very cor'recl delineation
of the American coaft; as the moft correct chart extant, fo far as
relates to that part of the coaft, has only one Cape Mendocino;'
the other is called Cape Blanco, which cape you have been pleafed
to remove i° 39' to the Northward of its real fituatlon.—By the
fame happy method (difcovered I believe only by you) of removing land at pleafure, you have placed Port Sir Francis Drake '
in latitude 490 North, but which I prefume can only be found
in 470 30' nearly.
In your inftructions to Captain Douglas, (Appendix No. 5.)
are thefe words; " I recommend you to make the coaft to the
4 South- 9 t
Southward : and as you have the credit of difcovering the great
ifland, the North-weft fide of which, comprehending near four
degrees of latitude, is entirely undifcovered ; I therefore recommend your making Cape Saint James, the Southern extremity of
the great ifland, as the firft point on the Continent of America.
As you fteer along the North-weft fide of the great ifland-, you
will explore it minutely, to the height of 540 North; where re-
fides a chief, whofe diftrict is large, and where Captain Dixon
procured in a few hours, two hundred cloaks, or fix hundred
IfW* ~% IPS **m
In the paffage now quoted, and other parts of the fame inftruc-
tions to Captain Douglas, concerning this great ifland, as you are
pleafed to call it,. and to whom.', you give the honour of the difcovery, you frequently make ufe of the name " Cape Saint
James" Pray how did the Cape obtain that name? And how
came you to be informed that I had vifited this great 'ifland at
or near the latitude 540 North, and where I purchafed fuch a
number of fkins ? Why not fay at once to your affociate, | I
was favoured by Mr. Cox with an account of this place, together
with a copy of a chart which Captain Dixon gave him in China?" .
Thisv\ 3| REMARKS   on
This would have been telling the plain truth at once: but this I
prefume did not fuit your purpofe ; palpable falfhoods, or ftudied
mifreprefentations, feem to be the moft ftriking traits of your
very extraordinary performance.
A little further on in the fame inftructions, you fay, " Let
your orders to Mr. Funter be clear and explicit. When you fe-
parate at Cape Saint James, he will proceed into the great channel, and fteer. up the North-eaft fide of the great ifland, as high
as 540 30' North, and be employed alternately between the ifland
and the main land of America; a plan of which is now in your
poffeffion, as well as information of the various chiefs, and their
places of refidence:—the paper! of intelligence reflecting this,
which I fortunately procured, accompanies thefe inftructions."
You will pleafe to recollect, Sir, that you have told us, in the
inftructions juft quoted, that you received fome information from
the Princefs Royal; and, in another place you mention 1 Port
Royal:" So that it is no difficult matter to unveil jour fecret, and
learn from whence you obtained your plan and information re-
fpecting the North-weft fide of the great if and, and the oppofite
fide of the channel.
I have MEARES's   VOYAGES. 33
I have already mentioned Captain Barclay's chart, and (hall
now give the pofition of different places on the North-weft coaft,
as I have taken them from the Memoire of a Map publifhed by
Mr. Dalrymple in 1789 ; Captain Barclay's daart, given me by
John Henry Cox, Efq. not being at this time in my poffeffion.
The pofitions from Captain  Barclay's  chart juft  mentioned
Long. Weft oi
' 125
.  I25
. 0
Point Fear
Deftruction River
Cape Flattery
Center of Tallock Ifland
South point of De Fear's entrance.
North point ditto
South point Barclay s Sound v
Weft point ditto
Weft point Nootka
Whether 34 REMARKS    on
Whether or not this chart has been of fervice to. you, the moft
fuperficial reader of your voyage will be able to difcover: but
your gratitude feems to keep pace with your other intellectual
endowments, as I do not find in the whole courfe of your work,
the fmalleft acknowledgement made for the many advantages
you derived from it. *£$•
The fame may be fald reflecting the ufe you have made of
Captain Duncan's' chart, different pofitions from which I would
have given, but at prefent it is not in my pofieffion.
I now come to take fome notice of the agreement of your own
charts one with another, and here I confefs myfelf entirely at a
lofs in regard to the interior part of America; for they differ
from each other fo very materially in this particular, that I cannot find any other method of reconciling them, than by fuppofing
that parts of them are taken from different authorities, andjthe.
remainder probably laid down from your own furvey when on
the lakes of Canada; as, from the following paffage in your
Voyages to the North-weft coaft of America, page 222, I find
you were ftationed there in the early part of your life: " And
here, I truft, it will not be confidered as an impertinent digreflion,
if V
if I exprefs my gratitude to that example of profeflional rigor and
perfeverance, which in my early years were fet before me, on the
oppofite fide of this continent; where ability and courage alleviated,
in fome meafure, the chagrin of unfuccefsful war. The campaigns in Canada owe their only honour to the naval warfare on
the lakes of that country; and it was my good fortune when a
youth, to be inured in fuch a fchool to the hardfhips and?
difficulties of naval life, and to learn there, that temper and perfeverance muff be added to profeflional knowledge, in order to
furmount them. I am ready to acknowledge, that for the little (kill
I may poffefs as a profeflional man, as well as the patience I have
exercifed, and the perfeverance I have exerted in this or any
other voyage,. I am indebted to the rigid difcipline which necef-
farily arofe from the continual action, hazard, and conflict of the
fervice in which I was firft engaged."
If you mean to fhew the world the charts now in queftion for
examples of your fkill as a profeflional man, they, I am afraid,
will give the nautical part of it,, but an indifferent opinion of
your abilities in that line of life which you were brought up in,,
and which  you now profefs; however, be all this as it may, it
never- 1/
36 REMARKS    ok
never was my intention to find fault with, or cavil at you on
that account: Few men arrive at perfection in any line of life, and
the greater part of mankind feldom advance beyohd mediocrity;
yet, though we frequently find real merit and unaffected modefty
joined together, we much oftener meet with two very oppofite
qualifications (if the old proverb is to be believed) "joined
hand in hand."
Whatever may be your abilities, it was furely in your power
(wherever you have found your own inexperience aided by the
information of others, to acknowledge from what fource you derived your information; or, if they fortunately fucceeded in
making any interefting difcoveries, or throwing new lights on the
branch of commerce in which you were engaged, you furely
-might have let them enjoyed their hard earned portion of merit
in quiet, and not have endeavoured, by detracting from others, to
add to your own. But, no, this you could not poflibly do j and
therefore a fpirit of envious detraction,,and faftidious mifreprefen-
ta^ion, is met with almoft in every page of your work. I could
not therefore fufrer it to be ufhered into the world unnoticed.
I am aware that my obfervations on the different pafTages in
your book do not proceed in a regular line; but I made them as
they occurred to me, or rather, I have felected as many of them
as I have had leifure to do, for all your inconfiftences would
(as I have already obferved) fill a quarto volume.
I am, Sir,
Yours, &c. &c.
James Street, Covent Garden j
December i, J 790.
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