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Journal of a tour on the North West coast of America in the year 1829. Containing a description of a… Green, Jonathan S. (Jonathan Smith), 1796-1878 1915

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One hundred sixty copies reprinted for
1915 No   119    of 150 copies printed.    Also
10 copies printed on Japan Vellum. PREFACE
The Lower Northwest Coast was first occupied,
in 1811, by a band of hardy adventurers sent out
by John Jacob Astor. The venture not proving
successful, was relinquished to the Northwest
Company in 1813, who in turn gave way, and
were succeeded in 1821 by the Hudson's Bay Company.
The History of these three Companies is well
known; each played a distinct and important
part in the early history of the Northwest, all
were inspired by a common motive, namely,
PROFIT. Little or no thought was given to the
permanency of the Region, and none whatever
to its native inhabitants.
As early as 1820 the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, began receiving reports about the Northwest Coast, and in
1829 determined to send a missionary there to
explore the Country and report on the possibility of founding a Mission and planting a small
Upon the report here chronicled rests the
foundation of the Oregon Mission, the era of the
Settler, and the beginning of that series of events
which brought this country to the very verge of
war with Great Britain. Prior to the Voyage of the Rev. Jonathan S.
Green a few desultory notes appeared, from time
to time in the Missionary Herald; paragraphs of
little consequence in themselves, tablets of information or conjecture, painfully gleaned, labor-
ously  sought,  brought  together  and  arranged
chronologically.   These have a decided value, and
are here presented to the reader, so that he will
have before him in this little pamphlet, every
scrap of information  relating to the subject,
which appeared in this early publication.
April, 1915.
(M. H. Sept., 1821) |
Oct. 23 (1820). The Thaddeus, Capt. Blan-
chard, and the Ship Volunteer, Capt. Bennett,
arrived from the N. W. coast, having spent a few
days at Owhyhee. The crew of the Thaddeus are
in good health.
Oct. 24. Captains Blanchard and Bennett
visited the school, and heard a class read intelligently one of Mrs. Barbauld's hymns. This class
had begun with the alphabet of a new language,
since the sailing of the Thaddeus from this place,
only five months ago. The gentlemen favored us
with their company at tea, and with some important information from the coast. They visited
Norfolk Sound, where is a small Russian settlement, a fort, a church and a school under the care
of two competent instructors, and open for the
reception of native youths along the coast.
They dined with the Governor, a respectable
man who treated them with civility and hospitality. The priest of the Greek church there is,
by their account, not distinguished for piety, or
purity of morals. To promote the civilization of
the natives, the Russian Government encourage
the   marriage   of   their   Colonists   with   native females. North West Indian boys are sent a
considerable distance to attend school.
The time is doubtless approaching when the
rude and barbarous, and long neglected inhabitants 3f the dreary N. W. coast will be enlightened with science and Revelation, and be brought
under the peaceful sceptre of Jesus. A desire
for instruction begins to be manifested among
them. Two or three sprightly boys applied to
Capt. Bennett to be taken on board his ship, and
carried away to some place of the world, where
they could be instructed. Some of the savages
when they heard of missionaries being sent to
teach the Sandwich islanders, inquired why they
were not sent to them. When they were told
(jocosely perhaps) that they had nothing for
missionaries to eat, they replied, "We would give
them such as we have."
There is a young female from the N. W. coast
now in this village, brought hither to save her
life, having been a prisoner and devoted to death;
and one young man, who has once or twice been
at our house, but neither have yet attended the
school. | A letter from brother Loomis by Capt.
Bennett mentions, that he has one fine N. W. boy
under his instruction at Toeaigh.
Some men who have visited the N. W. coast,
say it is impossible to propagate the Gospel there.
But they forget, that God has made of one blood
all nations, and provided a Savior for all, and
designed his Gospel for every heathen nation,
however barbarous or inaccessible, as they have
10 never learned that he can, with infinite ease, remove every obstacle to the promulgation of his
law or his Gospel. Impossible to propagate the
Gospel? So it is with man but not with God.
Impossible to propagate the Gospel on the N. W.
coast? So it is on any other coast or island, without a divine blessing, but with it the weakest
instruments are effectual, and the feeble agency
of mortals is attended with the energy of Omnipotence. The energy of the Holy Spirit is irresistible, and can as easily transform the roaming
savage of the north into a humble child of God,
as a persecuting Saul into the zealous Apostle of
the Gentiles. The Gospel can be propagated on
the N. W. coast.   It must be; it will be.
Mission to the Sandwich Islands
(July Number, 1822)
Letter from the Governor of Kamtschatka
Dec. 5, 1820. Today the brig Pedlar returned
from the north, and our friend Capt. Pigot soon
called upon us, having visited the Russian settlement at Kamtschatka and Norfolk Sound. He
passed through Bering's straits on a fair day,
and had a fine view of the two continents at once.
He penetrated as far north in the Frozen Ocean,
as Kotzebue's sound, which is properly a large
bay, making into the American continent, and
was lately discovered by the Navigator, whose
11 name it bears. There the Pedlar fell in with
two Russian ships of discovery which may perhaps visit these islands.—But we are especially
interested in the communication from the Russian governor of Kamtschatka, addressed to Mr.
Bingham, as a missionary to the Sandwich Islands, bearing marks of the spirit of the age, and
of more than the ordinary interest of a respectable stranger, in favor of our own enterprise.
The letter is dated,—
Kamtschatka, St. Peter and St. Paul,
f.     Sept 5, 1820. |
Rev. Sir:
With exhalted sentiments of Christianity, I
had the happiness to peruse your evangelical epistle, which was handed me by Mr. Clarke.
I can not help observing, that its date, with
the important contents, and the auspicious events
of the Sandwich Islands, which prepared the way
for your great work, appear to me to be stamped
with something marvelous. The deep impression
which this glorious event has made upon my
mind, continues yet to occupy my imagination;
and I firmly believe in the interposition of divine
Providence in behalf of your great undertaking.
I beg you will accept my warmest thanks for
the favor you have done me, in communicating
news so gratifying to my feelings, and you shall
have my fervent prayers unto our Lord for the
preservation of your precious life, consecrated for
the happiness of the people, where you have de-
12 voted yourself to pass the remainder of your days,
and where all your enjoyments and labors are
closely connected with eternity.
You wish to know, honored Sir, the moral condition of the people of Kamtschatka. I have the
satisfaction to inform you, that, except a few
wandering tribes, all the Aborigines enjoy the
sweet blessing of the Gospel of our Lord, and
even these wandering tribes are visited by our
priests, to recommend to them the principles of
Christianity; but, since through all the extensive
empire of our beloved sovereign, so justly styled
by you, the "great patron of benevolent institutions," the character of the pious and devoted
missionary stands so high, that they need not
doubt his protection, but rather command it,
wherever the name of Alexander is pronounced;
I should be very happy to see any missionaries,
who would choose to visit the peninsula of Kamtschatka, and offer them all the assistance in my
I have the honor to inform you, that as I am
now about to send our post away for St. Peters-
burgh, a copy of your epistle is prepared to be
transmitted to our Minister and the President of
the Bible Society, Prince Gallitzen, who will not
fail to present it to our Emperor. I am quite
proud of the idea that Kamtschatka's post, barren by itself, will announce, this time, to all
Christendom, the most glorious event for the
Kingdom of our Lord of heaven and earth.
With sentiments of high esteem, yours faithfully Peter Rickord.
13 It is pleasant to know, that this new correspondence may be the means of giving joy to
many of the friends of Christ in Asia and Europe
as well as in America; and to think, that this
little band of pilgrims, away in the uttermost
parts of the earth, have found a friend and neighbor, even in Kamtschatka.
Letter to a Chief on the North-West Coast
Jan. 8, 1821. By the brig Lascar we wrote to
the head chief of the most important tribe on the
North-West Coast, called Capt. Skittegates, who
has expressed a desire to know something about
the missionaries here, and to inquire, "why they
do not come to him." We send (sic) our letter
to Skittegates by the hand of Mr. Conant, our
friend, who understands so much of the language
of the Kigane tribe, as to be able to make known
its contents. We have endeavored to make this
chief acquainted with the design of this mission,
and with the intention of good men, to send missionaries to our brother Skittegates and his people ; to plant the tree of peace on the North-West
Coast that all its tribes may sit under its
branches, and eat of the fruit together, and make
the children of Skittegates take hold of the words
of the Great Spirit, and love Jesus Christ, who
died for their sins. We also proposed to Skittegates that if he would send us one or two of his
own children, we would take good care of them,
and teach them good things, and send them back
14 in some good ships, when they are sufficiently
prepared to be useful to their countrymen. We
authorized Mr. Conant to tender to the chiefs
of that dreary coast, the assurance that a mission
would be attempted among them, as soon as there
could be a fair prospect of security and usefulness there. This chief has said, we are told, that
he would protect missionaries, if they would come
to live with him. We requested Capt. Meek to
bring us one or two promising youths, if he could
obtain them, to be educated here, with a view to
their future usefulness to the tribe. This will
doubtless lead to inquiries among the northern
tribes, and may prepare the way for a mission
among them. It may kindle a fire in that frozen
region, which shall shine even on the tops of the
stony mountains, and terminate in the evangelizing of that wretched portion of our lost race.
Mission to the Sandwich Islands
(November Number, 1823)
Sept. 11, 1822. Ship Henrietta, Capt. Martin,
arrived from the N. W. Coast, where he has been
during the whole time of our residence here. He
is surprised to see the change among the people
since he left this place. He brings a very interesting letter from Capt. G-^^fof the brig Owhy-
hee, dated Tumbas, Aug. 9, 1822. The following
is an extract from his letter:
?  PL
15 "Some of the better informed chiefs have heard
of your being at the islands, and of your object.
They have frequently expressed a wish for their
children to be under your care and tuition. A
chief by the name of Skittegates, is very desirous
to visit the Islands, with his family, and to be
under your instruction. I hope and trust these
people will become enlightened, and Christians."
Capt. Martin gives us a similar account. We
have before given some account of this Skittegates, a chief of the Kigane tribe on the N. W.
Coast, and have some time since written him a
letter and we can not but indulge the hope that
he will yet be brought under the influence of the
Gospel, and made to bow at the feet of Jesus,
the King and Redeemer of the nations.
Mission to the Sandwich Islands
(July Number, 1827)
The Prudential Committee contemplate sending
a reinforcement to the Sandwich Island Mission,
next autumn, if Providence permit,—a necessity
which must be apparent to all, who have attended
to the progress by the mission and to the present
state of the Islands. ... It will be proper to
say here, though in few words, that a mission to
the North-West Coast will soon be expedient; and
that whenever it is expedient, it had better be attempted, probably, by some of the missionaries
from the Sandwich Islands.   From these Islands
SSS access to the coast will be easy, and may be frequent ; and for some of the missionaries, such an
enterprise may furnish a desirable change of
climate. The mission on the N. W. coast might
be regarded as a branch of the Sandwich Island
mission, and labors and laborers might be interchanged, as should be deemed expedient, and the
expense of the new mission, thus undertaken, and
thus conducted, would be considerably less, than
it must be, if sent originally from this country.
Northwest Coast
(December Number, 1827)
As to the North West Coast of our own continent, the duty of sending a mission thither has
been a subject of conversation and reflection from
the beginning of the Board. It is now time to
act. By the testimony of numerous travellers it
is ascertained, that various tribes of Indians inhabit the country west of the Rocky Mountains,
from California northward to very high latitudes.
Some of these tribes are stated to be peaceable
and inoffensive, in their manners and habits; and
though others have exhibited much of the savage
character, it is universally acknowledged, that
they have been provoked to deeds of cruelty by
the aggressions of visitors from civilized lands.
When the late reinforcement sailed for the
Sandwich Islands, one of the missionaries had it
17 specially in charge to visit the coast of America,
if practicable, and learn the state of the people,
and propose to them, the establishment of a mission for their benefit. Nothing can be plainer,
than that a most persevering application should
be made to the different tribes along the coast,
till they shall consent to receive the Gospel.
It is by no means improbable, that the first mission which shall be fitted out for this region will
be accompanied by a little colony; which though
distinct in its organization, and in some sense
secular as to its object, will be formed and sent
forth, with the same views, and for the accomplishment of the same great end; viz., the planting of Christian institutions on the shores of the
The tide of emigration is rolling westward
so rapidly, that it must speedily surmount every
barrier, till it reaches all the habitable parts of
this continent. How desirable then that the
natives of this wilderness should hear the Gospel,
before they are prejudiced against it by the fraud,
injustice, and dissolute lives of men, who give
up the blessings of Christianity, that they may
not be troubled with its restraints. How noble
an object is here; and how worthy of American
enterprise;—to convey the inestimable treasure
of divine truth to pagan tribes, scattered over a
vast extent of territory, and to prepare the way
for future settlers from the Atlantic coast, and
the valley of the Mississippi. In this manner, early
provision will be made for the religious wants of
18 the adventurous voyager and the fearless man of
the woods, who shall meet in these remote
regions; and thus will a foundation be laid for
churches, schools and colleges, and all that bright
array of moral influences, which accompany
Christian institutions, and form a well organized
civil community. In a word, thus may be sent
forth another Plymouth colony, which shall extend
its beneficent influences over millions of intelligent, enlightened and happy men, through successive ages, to the end of the world; another
Plymouth Colony, with all its advantages, which
two centuries of unexampled progress in arts and
knowledge have put into the possession of the
church, and with all the encouragements which
can be derived from the providence of God, as displayed before our admiring eyes within the last
thirty years.
Though such a colony, as has been briefly described, would be founded in religious principles
and undertaken from religious motives, yet it
would be a secular establishment, governed by
its own constitution, and not under the direction,
or the expense, of any Missionary Society. The
mission to the natives, closely united with the
colony in affection and motive, would derive essential aid from it; and thus both enterprises
would strengthen and encourage each other.
19 Northwest Coast
(August Number, 1828)
The friends of missions have been strongly desirous, for a number of years, to see a mission
established on that part of the North-West Coast
of this continent, which belongs to the United
States, and the pages of this work have contained
repeated references to such a mission as a probable and not distant event. At no time, however,
have the Prudential Committee been in possession
of that full, precise, and certain knowledge of
the coast and its inhabitants, which would enable
them to determine on the most suitable place for
commencing such an establishment. As will be
seen in the following article, there are strong
objections to the mouth of the Columbia river;
and the coast, both north and south, has not been
explored sufficiently to determine the most eligible
site for a colony, with which, should one be
formed by the friends of religion, it is desirable
to connect the mission. It is understood, also, in
respect to the territory immediately north of the
Columbia, that the right of possession is yet left
undetermined by the treaties between Great Britain and this country.
We shall present our readers with such of the
more important and authentic information, as
we have been able to obtain, and as will comport
with our limits. The principal sources are original and valuable correspondence addressed to
20 a member of the present Congress, to which the
Corresponding Secretary had access during his
visit to Washington last spring, and communications from an intelligent gentleman who had spent
several years on the coast, to Mr. S. Adams, member of the Theological Seminary in Andover, and
quoted by him in an essay read before the Society of Inquiry respecting Missions in that Seminary. This essay was published in the Boston
Recorder of August 10, 1822.
The country which is the subject of these
notices, is thus defined by Mr. Adams:
"The tract of country to be considered in this
article, is situated in the north-west part of the
American continent. It extends from the Pacific
ocean to the Rocky mountains, a distance varying
from 400 to 700 miles; and from the 42° to the
55° north latitude, making the length from north
to south 780 miles. The 42° is the southern
boundary of the Missouri territory belonging to
the United States. This boundary if run due east
across the continent, would pass 22 miles south
of Boston. On the north, the line of division is
not yet settled. I have assumed 55° for the purpose of giving definite limits to that portion of
territory to which my remarks will be chiefly
Speaking of the Columbia, the correspondent
of Mr. Adams says:
"The entrance of this river is in latitude 46
deg. 15 min. between Cape Disappointment on
the north, and Point Adams on the south. From
both sides a shoal or spit of land projects re-
21 ducing the navigable channel to a mile in width,
across which is an extensive bar or sand flat, with
only about four fathoms of water at high tide.
The westerly wind, which prevails in high latitudes the greater part of the year, rolls a heavy
swell towards this bar, and there meeting a strong
current setting out from the river, causes a
tumultuous sea, which breaks entirely across the
entrance, even in the mildest weather, and renders
it altogether inaccessible when it is rough and
tempestuous. The coast from Cape Flattery in
lat. 48 deg. to Cape Oxford in 43 deg. runs about
N. N. W. and S. S. E. and is what seamen call a
straight iron bound shore, and for the whole extent, there is not, except this river, an opening
or place of retreat of any kind, where a vessel
could find shelter, under any circumstances, with
the wind on shore; and as this, as before observed, is the prevailing wind, and having the
whole sweep of the Pacific ocean, blows frequently
with great violence for many days in succession;
to approach the Columbia is at all times hazardous, and from October till April, extremely dangerous. The egress is also difficult, and can not
be safely attempted, but with a leading wind and
steady breeze. After waiting in vain, through
the greater part of the month of August, for a
favorable time, I once attempted to beat out in a
very fast sailing ship, of less than 200 tons burthen, with a moderate wind and settled weather.
I succeeded, but was in imminent danger of losing my ship, which became entirely unmanageable
in the narrowest and most dangerous part of the
passage, owing to the heavy and irregular sea,
where the oceanic swell meets the outset of the
This account/'
-continues Mr. Adams,—"is
corroborated by the testimony of several distin-
22 guished navigators. Capt. Mears, in 1788,
finding breakers extending entirely across the
entrance, called it Deception bay, and the high
bluff on the north Cape Disappointment, Vancouver in 1792 could not enter. His tender, a
brig of 130 tons succeeded in getting in, and
when ready to depart, waited several weeks for
a favorable chance, and had her deck washed repeatedly in crossing the bar. Mr. Gray, from
Boston, was once nine days attempting to enter,
and Mr. Shaler attempted it eight days, in a distressed condition, both without success. I have
been thus particular in describing the mouth of
this river, to show that this situation is far less
favorable to the colony contemplated by Congress
at that place, than some other situation on the
coast. Capt. S. who is practically acquainted with
the whole coast, supposes that a better situation
will be found on the southern side of the strait
of Juan de Fuca, in the vicinity of Port Discovery, in lat. 48 deg. .02 min. and long. 122 deg.
37 min. about 100 miles further north than the
mouth of the Columbia. This port he represents
as one of the finest harbors in the world; easy of
access at all times, and very favorably situated
for an extensive inland navigation. It is also
much nearer the most valuable fur trade, for
sea-otters are not often found south of 51 degrees.
"I should not have dwelt so long on this point,
did it not appear to me as important to select the
best situation, or to avoid a bad one, for a missionary station, as for a colony of other settlers.
It is to be hoped also that a Christian mission
may yet be united with the contemplated colony."
We shall now confine ourselves chiefly to the
correspondence first mentioned.
23 II
One of the writers, who has had good opportunities for observing the interior country westward of the Rocky mountains, says, that the
country, for a considerable distance around the
mouth of the Columbia river, is very barren,
affording but little vegetation and no game; that
the climate is unfavorable; and that the natives
are poor, and have no resources around them to
better their condition. He thinks it probable,
that a more eligible situation may be found about
a hundred miles south of that river. The Indians
describe a river, or bay, about that place, to which
access by land is easy, and the country in all respects more desirable. The writer has not visited
the mouth of the Columbia, and makes the statements respecting it as the result of inquiry.
If the country south of the river on the coast,
and four hundred miles east, should be found rich
in furs, have a good harbor, and grass, game,
and water, and a good passage over the Rocky
mountains in a direction eastwardly, the fur trade
will take that course; but the writer does not
think this combination exists.
The great salt lake, west of the mountains, lies
in lat. 42°, long. 38° from Washington. The
writer knows a person who explored the country
from the head of this lake to the gulph of California, last year, and found it barren, and destitute of the means of subsistence.
If a good harbor can be found about lat. 43°,
it will have great advantages over the mouth of
the river.    The route by which the writer has
24 usually passed to the waters, which run into the
Pacific, is in a direct line from Fort Atkinson to
the point in the Pacific just mentioned. This
route is now good for pack-horses, and there are
but trifling obstructions to carriages. In the
spring of 1827, a heavy four-pound cannon,
mounted on a carriage, accompanied Gen. Ashley's
expedition westward. It was drawn by two stout
horses to the vicinity of the great salt lake west
of the Rocky mountains, and back to Lexington,
Missouri, by September. The horses found no
difficulty in keeping up with the party, travelling
twenty miles a day, and looked better when they
returned, than when they set out. After staying
five days, the same horses were sent back with
the same load, and the writer has no doubt that
the party reached their destination, one hundred
and fifty miles beyond the dividing line between
the waters of the Pacific and the gulph of Mexico,
before the winter became severe.
The writer does not think there are inducements
to form a colony on the coast, unless valuable
minerals should be discovered. Though the soil
of some valleys and many mountains, in the
vicinity of the large salt lake, is very rich, and
would produce good grain, yet the country is
greatly deficient in timber, and would be exposed
to hostile natives.
A military establishment at the mouth of the
Columbia, he says, would not overawe the Indians, the principal tribes of whom are too remote.
Infantry would not answer, there should be four
25 hundred mounted men to pursue Indians, enforce
obedience to laws, and protect our citizens in
trade.   The men must subsist as hunters do.
An intelligent and conspicuous agent of the
North West and Hudson Bay Company made the
following statements to the writer above quoted,
which are corroborated, substantially, by the
journal of Lewis and Clark.
The Columbia, he says, is navigable from the
great falls to its mouth, with the exception of
two obstructions, which occasion short and not
difficult portages. The country by land, for the
distance of 150 or 200 miles, is almost inaccessible
for a man on foot, and entirely so for pack-horses.
There are a few small and fertile valleys, which
are inundated in the spring. There is but little
vegetation, except pine timber, of which there is
an abundance. The climate, for several months
every year, is rendered very disagreeable by almost incessant rains.
Another writer, in the correspondence before
mentioned, says, that the country on the Northwest Coast is such as forever to prevent agriculture. About lat. 40°, a mountainous ridge commences, covered with spruce and hemlock, which
widens as you go north. The country from the
mouth of the river to the distance of 100 or 150
miles eastward, is taken up with these mountains.
The bottom lands are narrow; the largest are just
below the last rapids, at the head of tide water,
150 miles from the sea by the course of the
river.    The Columbia washes the bases of the
26 m
mountains on each side. The tributary streams
below the rapids have more or less bottom lands,
but the constant rains, and the overflowing of
these lands until June, would prevent agriculture.
The favorable accounts of the climate have arisen
from the summer visits of ships. From April to
September the weather is fine, the sky clear, the
river scenery beautiful, and rendered more delightful by alternate land and sea breezes. But the
winter, from October to March, is exceedingly
disagreeable; for though the snow does not fall in
great quantities, there is hail, and much rain,
with heavy winds blowing from the southwest.
Lewis and Clark state that above the tide
waters of the Columbia the country is naked and
dreary; that below, it is thickly timbered, chiefly
with pine; and that in the neighborhood of the
coast, there are great quantities of excellent timber. Horses are found among the natives in considerable numbers.
The population of this extensive territory, has
been variously estimated from 80,000 to 150,000.
It will be perceived, that the results of personal
observation in this article, are confined chiefly to
the Columbia and its banks, and a portion of the
interior in the vicinity of the Rocky mountains.
Capt. S. does, indeed, mention a fine harbor on
the north, but does not go into particulars; and
whatever may be its merits, it lies in a part of
the territory, which colonists probably would not
be disposed to occupy until it is decided whether
it belongs to the United States, or to another
27 power; though this uncertainty may not be a serious objection to a mission in that territory. As
to the probability of a harbor between the mouth
of the Columbia and our southern boundary, in
lat. 42°, it rests entirely on the testimony of
natives, and seems to be expressly denied by
several nautical men.
On the whole, more definite and certain information appears to be needed before an expensive
mission is sent from this country direct to the
North-West Coast. The Rev. Jonathan S. Green,
a member of the late reinforcement to the Sandwich Island mission, was instructed to proceed in
the Parthian, or some other vessel, direct to the
coast, and to ascertain, if possible, where a mission could be planted with advantage. The results
of his investigations will probably be known the
next spring.
It is hoped that the government of the United
States will soon take effectual measures to remove
the uncertainty which now rests upon so large
a portion of this interesting coast.
Northwest Coast
(September Number, 1829)
It has long been the wish of the Prudential
Committee to ascertain the condition of the savages, on the western side of this continent. They
have not as yet found it practicable to send an
28 explorer thither; though one of the missionaries
at the Sandwich Islands, is authorized to visit
the coast, when he can have a good opportunity.
The following paragraphs form the principal part
of a letter, from a respectable ship master to Mr.
Bingham, by whom it was sent to the Missionary
Rooms.   It is dated in 1827.
Dear sir,—Your very friendly communication
I received with great pleasure; and be assured,
I should long since have complied with your request, of giving you some account of the state of
the natives on this coast, had I felt competent to
the task. It is a difficult one in my situation; although continually cruising from port to port,
and sometimes, as some would suppose, having a
fair opportunity of seeing the condition, and judging of the prospects, that these miserable heathen
have before them. Still, as I possess barely sufficient knowledge of their language for the purpose
of trading, and am mostly occupied with this, it
can hardly be expected, that I should give you a
very correct idea of their manners, customs, good
or evil doings, other than what happens to fall
under my own observation; and as I am not in
the habit of visiting the shore often, my opportunities of observing are but few:—but as far as
I have observed, they are by far the most miserable, unhappy, vicious race of beings, that I have
ever seen, or ever read of. I have understood that
the Missionary Board had it in contemplation,
some time since, to send a mission family to this
coast. It is well they did not carry it into effect;
for I do really believe it is a too hazardous attempt. For a time (and that would be short),
while the novelty of having whites living among
them lasted, no doubt but every thing would go
29 on well; but the missionaries would soon lose
their lives, for many would glory in taking the
life of an innocent white for old grudges, or supposed offences long ago committed. They never
forget nor forgive offences. They are almost always in a state of warfare even among their own
families. If happily a cessation of hostilities
takes place, it is merely to give the weaker party
an opportunity to obtain revenge by secret murders.
Being in this state, you can not but suppose,
that crimes of the most horrid nature are often
occurring, and but few, very few good qualities
are observable in them. The only one I have observed is fondness for their children. As regards
their ideas of a hereafter, as near as I can learn
from them, they have a general idea of a future
state, but are unbelieving as to rewards and punishments for deeds done in this life; but suppose
that their second state will be somewhat similar
to the rank they hold in this, with very few exceptions; as, for instance, a few make their appearance a second time in the form of fish, animals, etc. The greater proportion live in a style,
which their heirs may choose for them to enjoy;
as, in case of a chief's dying, the heir to his property sacrifices one, two, three, and sometimes, I
believe as many as ten slaves to attend him to the
next world, to carry him water, and the necessaries of life. And, as the number of slaves increases the consequence of a chief in this world,
so he will be considered in the next, a greater or
lesser chief, according to the number of his attendants. But this sacrifice of human life is
gradually growing out of custom, on such parts
of the coast as are mostly frequented by American traders, as many now conceive manumitting
30 their slaves answers the same purpose as destroying them.
Infanticide is common among the slaves only,
and for which they pretend two excuses. The
first is the command of their mistress; the other,
that their poor mothers have no wish that their
wretched children should undergo the sufferings,
which they have themselves experienced.
Their funeral ceremonies are these. A chief or
chiefess dying, after being washed, dressed, and
painted, is kept in a chest for a few days in their
house. The head is then severed from the body,
and put into a small box, and suspended upon
poles, near (commonly in part of,) their hut; the
body is consumed by fire, and the ashes buried; a
common person is entirely consumed by fire. A
slave is thrown on the beach, to be washed away
by the tide.
I had not forgotten your request to convey to
you one or two of the native boys; but must acknowledge I had not made up my mind respecting
it. In the first place, the short time, which the
parents would consent to the absence of children,
would hardly allow of their obtaining sufficient
knowledge to be of any service there; and in case
of their death or non appearance at the time stated
for their return, it no doubt (by their custom)
would be attended with some violence offered to
some of the traders visiting here. Many of the
chiefs (supposing I should leave the coast this
fall,) have offered to entrust their sons to my care
to be returned the following spring. The period I
should remain at the islands would not probably
exceed three months; this I conceive would not
afford sufficient time for instruction, and moreover would be attended with some considerable
risk. However, on my leaving the coast, if the
parents will consent to their absence for a year
31 or more, to be put under your care, I may take
them upon these conditions; but you certainly will
have a much greater task in reforming the N. W.
Indian boys' minds, than probably you have had
with the Island boys.
The foregoing account appears to be candid.
But it must be observed, that the writer's sphere
of observation was very limited. That the natives
of the N. W. coast are extremely barbarous is
beyond all question. As little can it be doubted
that their condition is very miserable, in every
respect. But it is too much to conclude, that the
life of a missionary would be very insecure among
them, after making them fully acquainted with
his object, and trusting himself fearlessly in their
Mission to the Sandwich Islands
Rev. Jonathan S. Green embarked at Honoruru,
on the 13th of February, 1829, in the bark Volunteer, Capt. Charles Taylor, for the Northwest
Coast, for the purpose of collecting information
with reference to the establishment of a mission
there. This service was specially assigned to Mr.
Green, by the Prudential Committee, before his
departure from this country; and would have been
entered upon sooner, if a passage could have been
obtained in any vessel affording the facilities
necessary for accomplishing the object.
32 The vessel which takes Mr. Green is expected
to go immediately to the Russian settlements at
Norfolk Sound, thence to the Kigane and Tongas tribes, passing between Queen Charlotte's
Island and the main land, and visiting other places
most frequented by vessels in the fur trade; thence
up the Oregon or Columbia river, to the establishment belonging to the Hudson Bay Company, and
thence down the coast to Port St. Francisco, the
southern limit of the United States' territory on
the Pacific. Mr. Green, according to this plan,
will have a range of about 20 degrees along the
coast.   Mrs. G. remains at Honoruru.
Northwest Coast
(April Number, 1830) |j
A letter has been received in this country from
Mr. Green, dated North-West Coast, Aug. 10th.
Almost six months had then elapsed since he
parted from his family and associates at the Sandwich Islands. In reference to a portion of the
northwestern tribes he says,—"The tribes inhabiting the coast which I have already visited, between the 53d and 57th degree of north latitude,
are few in number, and wander over a hard and
cold country. They are a very intelligent people,
but savage and bloody. I have been able to tell
them in their own tongue, the object I have in
view in coming hither, and the wishes of the
33 f
Christian public in my own country to do them
good. I have told them of God and their duty,
and with some of them have had a very pleasant
intercourse.—Were it not for the introduction of
ardent spirits among them, I should hope that
something could be done for their benefit. What
a fearful account will that man have to render
to God, who first introduced among these dying
men this soul-destroying poison!"
Mr. Green expected the vessel to revisit Norfolk Sound, and to go from thence to California,
before returning to the islands.
"I have no idea," he adds, "that the business
of investigation on the coast will be finished this
season. The country about the Columbia river,
I have little doubt, is the place for a mission establishment. Capt. D., who is now in that river,
gave me considerable information respecting the
country. He says it is a very fine one—that the
climate is delightful, and the land excellent, and
that the Indians are numerous and less savage
than those on this part of the coast. I hope I shall
yet visit that country, and that soon an establishment may be formed in that neighborhood."
Mr. Green had not returned to the Islands at
the latest dates, which are about the middle of
October. His infant child died at Honoruru, early
in the month of August.
34 Northwest Coast
(November Number, 1830)
Report of an Exploring Tour On the North-West
Coast of North America in 1829,
By Rev. J. S. Green
The tour, of which some account is now to be
given, was undertaken by Mr. Green in pursuance
of instructions from the Prudential Committee,
and has been referred to repeatedly in this work.
The difficulties he had to encounter in obtaining
precise and authentic information, must often
have been very great, but they appear always to
have been met with an active and persevering
spirit of research; and the care of Providence in
shielding him from harm while on that barbarous
coast, is to be gratefully acknowledged.
The voyage was performed in the barque Volunteer, captain Charles Taylor, and commenced on
Friday, Feb. 13, 1829. §      U§i
On the 10th of March, the snow-clad hills of
the North-West Coast were distinctly seen. The
next day we cast anchor in Norfolk Sound, latitude 57° north, longitude 136° 10' west. Here
I began my inquiries, with the earnest desire that
I might be instrumental of awakening in the
bosom of wandering savages a solicitude for
Christian instruction, which should never sleep
till the glorious gospel of the blessed God should
cheer them with its life-giving efficacy.
35 From Norfolk Sound Capt. Taylor coasted, for
the purpose of trade, as far south as the 53d °
north latitude. Between these extremes we
visited ten tribes of Indians, remaining a few
days at each port, and repeated our visit several
times during the season. Wherever it appeared
safe, I went on shore. I improved every opportunity to learn the native character, and from gentlemen trading on the coast and from the Indians
themselves I endeavored, as far as possible, to
ascertain whatever in their character and prospects would interest the Christian public, while
I labored to the extent of my ability to show them
their necessitous circumstances, and the inestimable value of Christian instruction.
In giving the results of my observations and
inquiries, I shall briefly describe the country,
state the number of inhabitants, speak of their
language and physical condition, of their government and religion, of the influence of foreigners, and of the intercourse which I have had
with them during the season.
Description of the Country
New Archangel, the Russian settlement, is situated at the bottom of a deep bay, which affords
an excellent harbor for ships. The settlement is
defended by a fort built on a considerable eminence. This, with the house of the governor,
stores, shops, and dwelling-houses, has, at a little
distance, a commercial appearance.    A nearer
36 inspection is unfavorable to the beauty of the
place, as the buildings are all of hewn logs, plastered and painted. The fort, however, is sufficiently strong for the defence of the place. The
Sitka Indians have built their village under the
guns of the fort, so that the Russians can easily
defend themselves from their depredations, while
they can afford protection to this tribe from the
attacks of their enemies.
The country in the neighborhood of the settlement is exceedingly unpromising in its appearance. Nor does it much improve on acquaintance.
The lands will produce the common vegetables.
Grass also will grow, but on account of frequent
rains it is cured with great difficulty. This is
true of all this part of the coast. There is no
back country capable of producing the necessaries of life. The land is cold and broken,
heavily timbered with spruce and hemlock, and
uniformly rises from near the shore into lofty
mountains covered with snow most of the year.
The weather is disagreeable, never excessively
cold, but almost uniformly wet. The southeast
wind prevails. The past season, with the exception of three weeks in July, this wind has
blown nine days in ten, and for the most part,
has been accompanied with rain. Timber and
water may be obtained in any quantities. Sea
and wild fowl are plenty. There is, also, an
abundance of fish of various kinds and an excellent quality, but I believe it may safely be
affirmed, that this will never be a country for
37 M^
land speculation. While furs may be obtained,
the love of gain, will prompt the merchant to
send hither his goods; but when these shall become exhausted, nothing but Christian philanthropy will induce any man to visit these dreary
Queen Charlotte's Island furnishes an exception to these remarks. This is the garden of this
part of the coast. Compared with other land in
the neighborhood, it is a level, fruitful, delightful country. From Point Rose, the north-east
part of the island, to a place called Skidegass, a
distance of more than forty miles, there is not a
single hill of any importance. I did not go on
shore, but the land appears to be warm, and produces potatoes of a most excellent quality. This
island, I doubt not, would yield vegetables of
any kind that can be expected north of 52°. The
weather is said to be finer than at any other place
in the vicinity. The island might doubtless furnish sustenance for a numerous population.
Number of Inhabitants
This is a subject on which it is difficult to obtain satisfactory information. The Indians can
only compare one tribe with another. They lead
a wandering life, have their summer residence
and their winter villages; so that it would be
difficult to make a calculation from actual observation. I have taken much pains to ascertain
their probable number.    According to a calcu-
38 lation made at my request by several American
gentlemen trading on the coast, I think the number included in all the tribes between the 57°
and 53° parallels of latitude, does not exceed
15,000. Of these there may be, who speak the
Sitka language, 6,500, Nass, 5,500, Queen Charlotte's Island 3,000; total 15,000.
These tribes reside near the sea. They occupy
King George the Illd's, Prince of Wales', and
Pitt's Archipelagoes. The Nass Indians live on
the continent. Several of these tribes traffic
with Indians in the interior. These they represent to be numerous, though I could learn but
little respecting the interior country, or its inhabitants. The Indians, whom I have visited,
monopolize the trade with foreigners, being able
with their superior implements of war to prevent
other tribes from visiting the shore.
The Indians on the coast are without doubt
decreasing. This they readily admit, and this is
the concurrent opinion of all who have been acquainted with them for a few years. Some thirty
or forty years since, the small-pox made great
ravages among them. This disease they call Tom
Dyer, as some suppose from a sailor of this name
who introduced it, though it is probable that it
came across the continent. Many of their old
men recollect, and they say, that it almost desolated their country. I can not learn that any
general sickness has been prevalent since that
time, but their vices are fast hastening them to
ruin.    Their wars are frequent and bloody, in- temperance is infusing into their life-blood her
secret but deadly poison, infanticide is common,
and unless a redeeming agency is exerted upon
them they will soon become extinct.
Their Language
The Indians on this part of the coast are
divided into numerous petty tribes. In speaking
of them I have classed them into three grand
divisions. The Sitka, the Nass, and the Skide-
gass or the Queen Charlotte's Island Indians.
Each of these divisions has a distinct language.
At Nass, I have seen a native of Queen Charlotte's Island, and have witnessed his want of a
medium through which to communicate his ideas.
Each of these languages is gutteral. The Sitka
I think is peculiarly soft and musical. The Nass
to my ear is harsh and disagreeable. Traders
have uniformly chosen the Queen Charlotte's
Island language as a medium of intercourse with
the natives of different tribes, and this ship dialect is now tolerably well understood by all who
do business with foreigners. Soon after my arrival on the coast I obtained the words in common use, and with the assistance of several intelligent natives, I increased by vocabulary as
I had opportunity. I thus obtained nearly 700
words of the Queen Charlotte's Island language.
Though my object was rather to acquire enough
of their language to communicate a few ideas,
than to obtain a correct knowledge of it, yet I
40 did not entirely neglect the latter. In the ship
dialect there is no distinction of mood and tense,
nor is there any uniformity in the structure of
sentences. Such a distinction and uniformity
the Indians are careful to preserve.*
Mr. G. gives a short vocabulary of words from
these several languages, and then proceeds:
I need not say, that my stay on the coast has
been too short, and my intercourse with particular tribes too slight, to make much progress in
the investigation of their language. Whether
there is any analogy between these languages,
and if so how strong it is, must be determined
by some future philologist, who, with greater
skill, shall possess more ample means to pursue
such an investigation.
Appearance and Condition of the Indians
The Indians on the North-West Coast are of
rather more than middling size, of well built,
athletic frames, of a light copper color, with high
cheek bones, and their hair black and straight.
The dress of the men commonly consists of a
* For example,  a trader would say,—
Kaigan stuttle king Hauxin.
"I  desire  to  see  Hawaii."
An Indian would say,—
Hawaii  kanghi te  gudunk
"Hawaii  to  see I desire."
A   trader,—
Kaigan cluto Nass sit down.
"I have been  to Nass."
An Indian,—
Nass sit down to cluto kegone.
"Nass there I have been."
The letters here used have the English sounds.
41 blanket merely, though a garment made in English style, and sometimes nearly an entire suit,
is occasionally worn. The women dress more
decently, having generally a kind of loose gown,
over which they throw their blanket. Both men
and women wear ornaments in their ears and
noses, and fasten beads and other trinkets
around their necks and ankles. They are all fond
of painting, and when they have materials they
exhibit no small degree of skill in deforming
their faces. When they cannot obtain foreign
paint, they apply a composition of native earth
and soot. But that which renders them objects
of admiration among themselves, and of ridicule
to all who visit them, is the steetgar, or wooden
lip, of the females. It is difficult to conceive how
so absurd an appendage should be regarded as an
ornament. This operation is as follows. The
under-lip is perforated near the centre, and a
brass wire of the size of a knitting needle, with
a head to secure it from falling, is inserted. This
continually corrodes the flesh till the orifice becomes sufficiently large to admit a piece of wood,
which being larger at the extremities than in the
middle, retains its place till the incision becomes
of sufficient size to receive the regular steetgar.
This is of an oval form, and resembles a small
oval dish, concave on both sides, with a groove
along the middle of the outside edge to receive
the divided lip. At first the steetgar is small, but
being continually succeeded by larger ones, it becomes at length of an enormous size—say three
•—■ inches long, one and three-fourths of an inch
broad, and half an inch thick. The blood nearly
forsakes the lip, and the speech, as well as the
appearance of the face, is greatly affected. It
can easily be removed, but in this situation I
could never persuade one of the women to show
her face.
In their persons and habitations they are intolerably slovenly. They seem, for the most part,
to have a mortal aversion to the external application of water. With their long hair filled with
fish-oil, and sometimes decorated with feathers,
their faces daubed with dirt and paint and their
blanket, which they wear unwashed till covered
with filth and vermin, they present to the eye
an affecting exhibition of degradation. Their
habitations are generally wretched hovels, without doors, windows, floor, or chimney; and their
domestic arrangements correspond to their dress
and external appearance. They occasionally build
a decent house, and erect before it a mast or log
of wood of great size carved and painted fantastically. At the opening of a house of this kind,
the owner makes a feast, to which he invites his
friends and the principal men of the tribe. The
guests on such occasions eat and drink to satiety;
and after dancing to the music of their rude drum,
they receive presents of slaves, blankets, skins,
etc., and retire. This ceremony costs a man no
small share of his property; but it confers upon
him great honor, which, to a North-West Indian,
43 is an equivalent. On such occasions a slave is
sometimes killed, at other times liberated.
These tribes are more industrious, I believe,
than most savages. The men hunt, take their
fish, build their houses, and furnish them with
domestic furniture. The women assist in curing
their winter provisions, make their own garments, and, from a kind of grass, manufacture
hats of a good quality. Formerly, from the wool
of the mountain sheep they wrought blankets and
other garments, coarse indeed, but durable and
curious. Nor are they destitute of ingenuity.
This they exhibit in the construction of their war
canoes, in the carving of busts, in the manufacturing of hats and baskets, spoons, knives, pails, and
other dishes, curious stone pipes, masks, and
other curiosities. Considering how few mechanical implements they possess, these indicate no
inconsiderable skill.
Polygamy extensively prevails. Every man
may have as many wives as he chooses to support. Shebasha, a chief of a tribe of that name,
is said to have no less than ten wives. Many
have two and three. The influence which this
practice has upon domestic happiness may easily
be conceived, though I have not had opportunity
to learn the precise extent of it. Their women
are treated with more deference than they are
among most heathen nations. They are generally
consulted by their husbands, when engaged in
trade. When the husband is intoxicated, the
wife, if sober, subjects him to her authority; and
44 in case of resistance, I have seen her beat him
unmercifully. They seem peculiarly fond of
their children,—infanticide prevailing to the
contrary notwithstanding. This shocking practice, I scarcely need say, is confined to the unmarried.
Slaves are considerably numerous, and are in
high demand. They are obtained of tribes farther south, and are objects of frequent barter.
They do all the drudgery, and though they seem
to live in common with their owners, yet they
are an unhappy class of beings. Their life is
at the disposal of their masters, and at the death
of a chief one or more of his slaves is uniformly
sacrificed. These Indians are much addicted to
gambling. They employ sticks six or eight
inches long, and nearly an inch in circumference.
These they paint with different colors, shuffle,
and conceal in their garments, or in a kind of
soft material made of the bark of the cedar, and
in their games they frequently stake all their
To every tribe there are several chiefs, but
their authority is rather nominal than real. Formerly it is said to have been much greater than
at present. In war they take the lead; at other
times all authority is disregarded. These men
possess a kind of independence, which scorns
everything like restraint.   The Indians on Queen
45 Si
Charlotte's Island say, "We are all chiefs." They
have nothing like laws. Every man has influence
in proportion to his property, and his property
is generally proportioned to his strength. Physical force governs. Poverty they consider disgraceful. He who has strength and skill enough
to obtain property will acquire influence, and he
who has sufficient influence to gather around him
a class of warriors, is to all intents a chief. He
neither fears nor submits to any man.
On the subject of religion, the ideas of the
Indians are exceedingly vague. I have taken
much pains to ascertain what notions they cherish of a Supreme Being, and of a future state
of existence; and I think it may emphatically
be said of them, "They are atheists, head and
heart." Of a Creator, powerful, wise, and good,
they seem to have no idea. In answer to the inquiry, which I have frequently made, "Who
formed the sea, the land, and the creatures which
inhabit them?" they have generally replied, "We
know not." The most intelligent among them,
however, have told me that the old men on every
part of the coast have a tradition, that the
"yealth," or north-west crow, is the creator of
the world. There is no doubt that they have a
superstitious regard for this bird. Certainly to
no higher origin do they ascribe the formation of
this goodly frame, and the being who, made in the
46 image of God, was placed upon its surface to subdue it, while others entertain notions too ridiculous to be repeated. They believe in the existence
of a malignant being, whom they call Nimkelsus,
the author of all evil, sickness, war, etc., but
they have very confused notions respecting him.
They say he resides a great way off, but whether
they regard him as matter, or spirit, I could not
ascertain. Of a future state of existence, their
ideas are equally confused. They imagine that
those who die of sickness go into the interior to
some undefined place; those who are drowned
continue to exist, but remain in the sea; those
who die in battle go to the house of the sun. This
they regard as highly honorable, and most of
their warriors choose to die in this manner, and
some of their chiefs have obtained a military suit
in which they wish to be dressed when they fall.
All who are killed in war are burned. The reason for this practice I could not ascertain. If
the warrior thus slain be a chief, a slave is killed
to accompany him. They seem to have no idea
of a future retribution for deeds done in the
body. In conversing with them on this subject,
I have supposed and stated a case as strong as
possible;—that of a drunken, thieving, quarrelsome Indian, who should first embrue his hands
in the blood of his own family, and then destroy
himself; and that of a sober, honest, peaceable
man, who should devote himself to the good of his
family and tribe; and I have asked them, what
distinction there would be in their condition; and
ji ii
47 they have uniformly replied, "We know of none."
The Sitka Indians at Norfolk Sound, did indeed
say, that while the good man would have a passage through the clouds to the house above, the
bad man would be entangled in them, and tormented by being driven about by the winds; but
I suspect they gathered this notion from the
Kodiac Indians, who have been partially instructed by the Russians. I could not learn that
they have any religious rites, or worship any
being good or evil. They have, indeed, a kind
of image, which they preserve with great care
as a safe-guard from evil. Le Koote, a chief of
the Turn Garse tribe, with some apparent reluctance pawned one of these images to Capt. Taylor
for rum. It is a small piece of wood carved in
the form of a wolf's head.
In every tribe there is a class of men called
"Shargers," who may be styled the Indian priesthood. They have cunning enough, and it requires no small share, to outwit a North-West
Indian. From this fact alone it may be inferred,
that these men are exceedingly superstitious.
These Shargers are thought to have the power of
inflicting disease upon an absent person, which
can be cured only by their agency. When they
wish to secure a particular object, which it is
in the power of another to bestow, they assure
the possessor that some disease is about to fasten
upon his wife, or child, which, for the object
desired, they will undertake to ward off. They
are a kind of conjurors, and pretend to fortel
ana future events, discover lost property, cause wind,
rain, etc. It is said they have a regular induction
into office, and when called upon to "sharger,"
employ various ceremonies, such as eating brimstone, and drinking sea-water. They are easily
distinguished from other Indians by their hair,
which is braided up with the hair of the dead.
For a sufficient compensation, they sing at the
birth of children, over those who are sick, and
cry at their funerals. By these means they acquire wealth and influence.*
The practice of the Indians on the North-West
Coast comports with their theory. They are
atheists in heart. That they live "without God,"
and are devoid of all consciousness of accountability, is certain. They appear to have no sense
whatever of obligation.    Gratitude is a flame,
* To illustrate the influence of the Shargers, take the following
incident, which occurred in July of the present year. At that
time the brig Griffin was lying in Port Shebasha. Several of the
Bilballa Indians who reside at a pTacer~called mil-Bank Sound, a
short distance south of Shebasha, were at this port. Among these
were some of their Shargers. The officers of the brig informed
me, that they observed, on a certain day, the Indians on shore
in a state of great commotion, running about with great celerity,
followed by the Shargers. So great was their perturbation, that
several of their canoes, filled with women and children, came along
side of the brig for protection. Among these were several who
had lost pieces of flesh from their arms, bitten, as they said, by
these Shargers, who were determined to eat them. Failing to
destroy the living, they hasted to a place where two children had
been interred, and taking them from their repose, they passed
close by the brig, carried them to the village, and, as the Indians
declared, ate of their flesh. The individuals who were bitten and
the chiefs declared, that this was "lux"—"good." In August I was
at the same place, when the Shebasha Indians confirmed the report.
A Turn Garse Indian being present, I asked him if the same ceremony was practised among all the tribes on the coast. He said
it was so formerly, but was now confined to a few tribes. These,
he said, were eminent Shargers. A Kiganu Indian was on board
the brig when this incident occurred. On being asked, why the
Indians did not defend themselves .from the violence of the Shargers,
he replied, "Hush, not good to speak thus"—so strong is their
49 which no favor can kindle in their icy bosoms.
Indeed, with scarcely an exception, to do them a
kindness, is to increase their insolence, so that
the man who to-day should heap on them the
richest benefits, they would stab to the heart
to-morrow, should he refuse to accede to their unreasonable demands. In their barter (exchanging furs for goods) they are to the highest degree insolent. They are exceedingly skillful in
the disgusting phraseology of magnifying the
value of their own property, and depreciating
that of their neighbor. They will also give him
the lie with the greatest possible impudence. Not
only are they destitute of everything that is
lovely, and of good report, but they are inconceivably wicked. The smallest confidence can
not be placed in their statements, when they have
a motive to dissemble. All their movements on
board-ship must be narrowly watched, for they
will steal whatever they can lay their hands upon,
even if it is of no conceivable value to them; and
when detected, they seem devoid of shame. They
are exceedingly fond of spirituous liquors, and
when intoxicated they are wrought up to the
highest pitch of frenzy. Murders are frequent
among them, and the different tribes are almost
constantly involved in quarrels, which result in
bloody wars. Revenge is sweet to them. The
most inconsiderable provocation awakens their
vengeance; nor will they cease to hunt their foe,
till they drink his blood.
50 Influence of Foreigners
With regard to foreign influence, I am fully
of the opinion that in every respect it has been
baneful. I know not of a single benefit, which it
has conferred upon these unhappy men, while
the miseries, which, through this channel, have
flowed in upon them, are incalculably great.*
With their bows and arrows they once roamed
their forests, and hunted their game, the skins
of which afforded them comfortable clothing,
while they subsisted upon their flesh. They were
perhaps often engaged in petty warfare with
each other, though they say they were not; but
as they had no fire-arms, nor poisoned-water,
their wars were less bloody and destructive. The
introduction of these has opened upon them the
flood-gates of desolation. Besides, most men
from Christian countries have seemed to forget
that, in these ends of the earth, the Omniscient
God has watched their movements, and marked
in the book of his remembrance all their abera-
tions from the path of duty. Hence they have
exhibited anything but a Christian spirit. They
have plunged into the slough of sensual indulgence, and have thus strengthened the practice
of infanticide, if they did not introduce it.   Lest
* Some years since, a trader left a few English potatoes at Queen
Charlotte's Island, and instructed the natives in the cultivation of
them. This is doubtless a benefit to the Indians, but not less so
to the traders themselves. For years, at very little expense, they
have been able to furnish their vessels with most excellent potatoes.
Last year. I am told, Capt. B. left swine on this island. These, if
they increase, will be another benefit. I mention these things, as
I would do justice to the gentlemen, concerning whose movements
and influence I have been obliged to speak.
51 they should fail to reap their golden gains, they
have suffered the Indians to be insolent, till
every idea of justice is eradicated from their
minds. They have taught them, if example may
be said to teach what a people so intelligent easily
learn, to dissemble and defraud, to profane the
name of God, and trifle with damnation. They
have then put into their mouths the elements of
mischief, and into their hands the implements
of death. And now it is said they are savage
and blood-thirsty. And what wonder? They
may, indeed, have the ferocity of the roamers of
their own native wilds, may naturally resemble
ravening wolves; but foreign intercourse has
added to their ferocity disease and madness. And
who now shall tame them?
To give you a summary of my intercourse with
these tribes during the season, I shall make
several extracts from my journal, omitting, however, many items of information, some of which
I have already communicated; particularly many
things pertaining to their religious belief, which
I gathered at Norfolk Sound. These I omit, as
they so much differ from the notions entertained
by other tribes which speak the same language,
that I strongly suspect they are indebted for
them to their neighbors the Russians.
New Archangel, Norfolk Sound, March 12,
1829.—This morning I called upon His Excellency Peter Chesticoff, governor of the Russian
settlement at this place, and delivered him a let-
52 ter of introduction, which J. C. Jones, Esq. had
kindly given me. He received me very politely,
and assured me that he would afford every assistance in his power to aid me in the prosecution of my object. He invited me to visit him
whenever it should be convenient. He speaks
tolerably good English, and is much of a gentleman.
Saturday, March 14.—This is the Russian Sabbath. In the morning I called upon Captain Benjamins, a gentleman who has resided here about
twenty years, and accompanied him to the house
of worship. It is well known, I suppose, that
the Russians are of the Greek church. The
building in which they assemble for worship, is
indifferent in its external appearance, though it
wears aloft a cross, and has no fewer than six
bells to call men to bow down to its pictured
saints and the crucifixes which adorn its interior.
About fifty men and women were all who could
devote an hour of this their holy day to the worship prescribed by the church, of which they are
all members. The officiating priest in his robes
had rather an imposing appearance. He read
prayers in the Slavonic language, bowed, and
crossed himself, kissed his bible, burned incense,
and brought out upon his head the consecrated
host, with other ceremonies too numerous to mention. Wax candles were burning in various parts
of the house. The worshippers occasionally paid
money to one of the attendants for the privilege
53 of having a taper light up before the picture of
some favorite saint. They appeared devout,
crossed themselves frequently, and occasionally
prostrated themselves before the priest. A few,
chiefly small boys, chanted during the service.
What addresses there were made to the understanding, or appeals to the heart, I know not.
There is something rather imposing in their
rites, but how unlike the simplicity of the gospel.
"God is a Spirit." Captain Benjamin tells me,
that one of their priests has been here twelve
years. All that he does is to read prayers, solemnize marriages, and attend funerals. Instruction
in the shape of written addresses, or sermons, is
seldom communicated, and when it is so, these
discourses are prepared by some of the higher
orders of ecclesiastics at home, the inferior clergy
being considered incompetent to the task. Yet
nothing has this man found an heart to attempt
for the poor heathen around him.
After service Governor Chesticoff invited me
to walk home with him, and see several Indians
who were then at his house. I accompanied him,
and found ten, some of the principal chiefs and
their wives, of the Sitka tribe, waiting our arrival. They were accompanied by an Indian from
the Fox Islands, who has been with the Russians
several years, and is now a member of the Greek
church. He speaks Russian, and is employed by
the company as an interpreter. I rejoiced exceedingly that I might tell these degraded men
my object in visiting their shores.   Through my
BHBH interpreter I informed them who I was, whence
I came, and whither I was going. I assured them
that a sincere desire to do them good had promoted the American church to send an agent to
ascertain the condition of the Indians on the
North-West Coast. I told them of the Sandwich
Islands, of the former character of the inhabitants, of missionary efforts made among them,
and of their present condition and prospects. I
told them of the improvement, which had been
effected in the character of the Indians in the
United States, and I endeavored to show them,
that it was of great importance they should receive the gospel. They seemed much gratified
with the interview. After gleaning considerable
information respecting their manners, customs,
and religious notions, I left them.
Monday, 16.—An exceedingly fine morning.
The sun from a serene sky sheds his beams upon
the mountains of snow, and forcibly reminds me
of a New-England spring morning. Oh, when
shall the sun of righteousness illumine these dark
ends of the earth? About 10 o'clock, A. M., I
went on shore, and waited upon the governor.
He kindly furnished me with his Indian interpreter, who speaks Russian, and with a Russian
who speaks tolerably good English, and we immediately visited the Indian village. It is built
on the beach, directly under the guns of the fort,
and contains forty or fifty houses. These are
built of slabs, split, and driven into the ground
55 end-wise. The roof is a little sloping, and covered
with the same materials. In the middle of the
house is the fire-place, from which the smoke
ascends through a large opening in the roof. In
the front of the house is a small aperture, through
which, not without difficulty, admission is gained.
We walked to the farther end of the village before we entered any of their habitations. As we
proceeded, the odor of fish which they were curing about their doors, was very offensive, while
dogs numerous and surly, and crows shockingly
tame, seemed inclined to dispute our way. Having reached the house of a considerable chief,
we entered. The chief was not at home, but we
sat and addressed the men, women, and children,
who had collected around the fire. Through my
interpreter, I told them my object, what had been
done at the Islands, and what the gospel could
do for them. I told them of the bible, which disclosed the character of God, and Jesus Christ,
which taught men to be good, made them happy
in this world, and prepared them for heaven; and
I asked them if they did not wish to be instructed,
to receive teachers, have the bible, learn to read,
and become good and happy. After calling at
several of their hovels, we at length found a chief
to whom I repeated much that I had said before.
I assured him that I had nothing to do with
trade—that at great expense I had come to see
the Indians, and learn their situation—that I
should visit other parts of the coast, and ascertain if possible where instruction would be re-
56 ceived. I asked this chief, if he would protect a
man who should come and live with his people
and afford them instruction. He said he would—
that they all were ignorant, and wished to have
teachers sent to them. Still I am aware that they
have no correct idea of the nature of instruction,
and are thinking of deriving pecuniary benefit
from a plan of this kind. I then returned, having made my object known to seventy or eighty
of those benighted men.
In the evening I had another interview with
Governor Chesticoff. He said he had learned, by
his interpreter, that the Indians were highly
gratified with my visit. The intelligence of my
arrival and object will, he thinks, spread widely
among different tribes.
In the course of the evening I asked his Excellency, whether he could and would permit a
missionary family to reside at this place under
his protection, to acquire the Sitka language, and
labor to gain access to the minds of the savages.
I assured him that I had no pecuniary or political
object to secure, but wished to benefit the poor
Indians. I stated that my object was to visit
the whole coast, if possible, and find the most
favorable place for a missionary station; that I
indulged the hope of finding such a place farther
south, but if this could not be effected, if no situation could be discovered where a mission family
could be safe without a garrison, perhaps the
American churches, which took a deep interest
in the welfare of the Indians on this coast, might
57 think it desirable to send hither a family if permission could be obtained to learn the language,
and gain the confidence of the natives, till it
should be expedient to go farther south, and settle on Queen Charlotte's Island, or somewhere in
that vicinity. The governor assured me, that he
regarded my object as a most philanthropic
one,—said there could be no doubt that my request would be granted, and that it would certainly be in accordance with his feelings. He
said, however, that it would be proper to ascertain the views of the Greek church, and that, to
effect this, he would write to Petersburg, and
request an answer to my inquiries. Perhaps, he
added, his own church would judge it best to
christianize these Indians, and convert them to
its belief.
Governor Chesticoff has certainly been exceedingly polite and attentive. I_gave him several
of our Hawaiian tracts, the Januarj^and Februy7
ary numbers of the Missionary Herald idr~T828,
Mr. Dwight's address on the Greek revolution,
and Mr. Stewart's Journal of a residence at the
Sandwich Islands. These, he said, he would keep
in remembrance of me. He also gave me a little
remembrance, as he said, of Peter Chesticoff. As
we expect to leave on the morrow, I expressed the
hope that we might meet in a better world, and
bade him adieu. He shook me cordially by the
hand, and wished me the blessing of God on my
benevolent agency.
58 Tuesday, 17.—As we were unable to get to sea,
I called upon Captain Benjamins this morning,
and requested an introduction to the two Greek
ecclesiastics who reside at this place. We first
called upon the younger one, who officiated at
church the last Sabbath. His father is a Russian, his mother an Indian woman belonging to
one of the Fox Islands, a cluster which lies south
of Kamtschatka. He is a pleasant looking young
man, and of good reputation. He left this
country several years since, and in Siberia acquired an education for the church, married a
Russian woman, and returned to this place. As
he intends soon to visit the Fox Islands, I made
several inquiries, through Captain Benjamins, respecting his intentions of benefiting the Indians.
He is familiar with their language, and expects
to devote his life to the promotion of their welfare. I asked him what he thought of the Indians on this part of the coast, particularly of
the Sitka tribe. He said, their ideas of the subject of religion were very confused, that they
needed instruction, and he thought they might be
christianized. He acknowledged that no suitable
efforts had been made to effect so desirable an
object,—said that to benefit the heathen their
language must be acquired. I told him my object
in visiting the coast, and gave him a summary account of the efforts which the American church
is now making to send the gospel to degraded,
perishing pagans. I was exceedingly desirous of
learning what were his views of the doctrines of
59 the gospel, but as I could not converse excepting
through the medium of an interpreter who speaks
broken English, I judged it inexpedient to attempt the thing. I wished him the blessing of
God on his labors among the heathen; he reciprocated the wish, and we parted.
We then called upon the old priest, who has resided here twelve years. I made a few inquiries
respecting the Indians, but he seemed to know
but little about them. He seemed to regard them,
however, as in a hopeless condition. Some of the
Indian women, he said, whom the Russians had
taken for wives, had been baptised, but, he added,
it is of no use, they remain as before. He said the
place would soon be abandoned, and then nothing
could be done for them.
Mr. G. was told, that this old priest had six
daughters, not one of whom had been taught to
read. He considers the state~bTmorals among the
Russians as exceedingly bad, and ma^t, onjfchis
account, as well as from the effects of religious
and political jealousy, an American mission would
not find sufficient favor, to justify its commencement in this place. The fact, also, that the interior furnishes no supplies, and that nothing can
be raised at New-Archangel, would render the
mission expensive.
April 4, 1829.—About ten days since we left
Norfolk Sound. Nothing of the kind can be
more disagreeable, than to be driven about on this
coast.   The weather is frequently so thick, that
60 the land, though near, can not be seen, so that
sailing from place to place is attended with no
inconsiderable danger. Such has been our situation for several days. In coasting to the south
we stopped at Cooyou and Henega, so called from
being the residence of two small tribes of Sitka
Indians. At these places I saw but few natives,
nor did I glean any additional information.
Intercourse with Various Indian Tribes
This evening we cast anchor at a place called
Clement City. Here we found the Tum-Garse Indians, a small tribe who also speak the Sitka language, and reside in this neighborhood. Just before we cast anchor, Le Koote and Jones, the two
principal chiefs of the tribe, came on board-. They
can talk a little English, and I tried to interest
them in my agency. With the assistance of Capt.
Taylor, I made them understand my object. They
said it would be well for them to receive instruction.
9. Today we entered Observatory Inlet, and,
proceeding about twenty miles, reached a place
called Nass, lat. 55°. Here it is that the English
Hudson-Bay Company design to form a settlement, the present season. They intend, if possible, to monopolize the trade on this part of the
coast, and an establishment at this place would
be of great service to them. The country is exceedingly rough.   The Nass men are a powerful
61 tribe, and have the reputation of being peculiarly
savage. They reside at this place only a part of
the year. Here they obtain the "shrow," a fish
from which they prepare, in great quantities, an
oil which they regard as a great luxury, and
which furnishes an article of trade. Before the
Indians made their appearance, Capt. Taylor
ordered the boarding nets to be put up, and he
stationed watch on different parts of the deck.
This net, made of strong cord, prevents the Indians from coming over the ship's sides. When
they came to trade, they were admitted, a few
at one time, through a port hole, and all their
movements narrowly watched. The Nass men
seem to combine the "man-brute" with the "man-
devil." They appear more dirty and degraded,
than any Indians whom I have yet seen, while, at
the same time, they_exhibit an intelligence
strongly marked. This intellectual strength,
without one softened feature, assumes the aspect
of a desperate fierceness. To some of the principal men I explained, as I was able, the object for
which I came hither.
In the evening Capt. Taylor kindly offered, on
my account, to make inquiries of Le Koote, the
Turn Garse chief who accompanied us from
Clement City, respecting his belief of a Supreme
Being, and a future state. I thankfully accepted
the proposal, and Le Koote gave us a long account of the religious notions of his tribe. Among
other things he said, that of those, who at death
went to the place above, some were not well re-
62 ceived, and being sparingly furnished with food
and drink, returned and assumed another body.
A chief of a neighboring tribe, he added, who was
killed on board an American ship, appeared to
his wife, and assured her that he was the identical child about to be born of her. After the birth
of the child, the scars of the wounded chief were
found on him, which circumstance fully confirmed her belief in the statements of her husband. When Le Koote had finished, he wished to
know what I thought of his narration. Instead of
replying directly, I desired Capt. T. to tell him,
that God, the great Chief above, had given us a
book, which taught us our duty, and disclosed our
future state. He complied, and among other
things informed him, that this book forbade murder, stealing, quarreling, and drunkenness; upon
which the chief interrupted him with the interrogation;—"Why, then, is rum brought hither?"
10. Today, it being rainy, the cabin has been
filled with Indians. The sensation which I experience at such times, arising from the heat and
effluvia, are well nigh insupportable. Among
others, there were present two chiefs belonging to
the Shebasha tribe. They speak the Nass language. About six weeks since, a party of the
Kumshewa Indians, from Queen Charlotte's Island, visited the Shebasha tribe for the purpose
of trade. In the course of their negotiation a dispute arose, when the Shebasha men attacked the
Kumshewa party, and killed several of them. The
63 residue fled, but in crossing over to their island,
others were drowned. This intelligence being
communicated to the tribe, the Kumshewa men
prepared to take vengeance. They immediately
went over to seek redress, but, ere they arrived,
the Shebasha tribe had abandoned their village,
and started for this place. Their houses were demolished, and their property, which was left behind, carried off. How greatly do these bloody
men need the gospel.
20. I have obtained a small vocabulary of Indian words, and am beginning to stammer a little in their language.
22. This morning we found ourselves near
Queen Charlotte's Island. We came down opposite the Kumshewa village, and several of the
Indians came off to us: the tribe^several
of whom were killed by the Shebashajnen. Some
of the sufferers in that quarrel were on board.
One lost a child, another a sister, another his
wife, besides receiving a wound himself. Their
badge of mourning is a face painted horribly
black, with their hair cut very short. I told them
my object, and endeavored to show them the happiness of living in peace with their fellow men.
23. This afternoon we cast anchor in Cordoo
sound, at a place called Kiganee, lat. 54° 41 minutes. The Kiganee tribe is a small one, consisting, probably, of five or six hundred men, women
64 and children. They formerly belonged to North
Island, a small island separated from Queen Charlotte's only by a narrow strait. Their language
is the same. The Masset Indians, who now occupy North Island, are here at present on business. Eadinshu, one of their chiefs, with several
Kiganee men, was seen on board. After learning
my object, he gave me an apparently hearty
"kill-sly" (salutation), and entreated me to go to
North Island, which he assured me was a much
better country than this.
24. Though the weather has been unpleasant,
yet, as I wished to see the Indians at their own
houses before they became inflamed with rum, I
went on shore in the morning, and spent several
hours. I visited both the Masset and the Kiganee
Indians, called at several of their houses, and
labored to interest them in my object. They were
hospitable, and heard me with attention. Though
I can but stammer in their language, yet I can
tell them distinctly that trade is no part of my
object—that I came hither to see and talk with
them—to persuade them to receive instruction,
to abandon their vices, to become good and happy.
I told them of Jehovah, the great and good Chief
above, who made the sea, and land, the whites,
and the Indians. . I told them of the Sandwich
Islands, of the former character and condition
of the inhabitants, of missionary efforts, and of
their  present  situation  and  prospects.    These
— statements I have repeated again and again, and
have labored to make them understand me.
As I was going from house to house, I saw a
bust at the mouth of a cabin, curiously carved and
painted. I asked what it was. My Indian guide
said it was Douglass, a chief of this tribe, who
not long since died in a drunken frolick. He
went with me to examine it. He drew back the
board which closed the mouth of the tomb. The
remains of the chief were deposited in a box, or
coffin, curiously wrought, and gaily painted. They
usually deposit their dead in similar boxes, though
they commonly elevate them several feet from
the ground.
25. We have had much company today, so that
I have been busily employed in the study of Indian character and language. I have had frequent opportunities of speaking to them on the
subject of my embassy. This evening I have
gathered many items of Indian tradition from
an intelligent native. To the crow he attributes
the formation of the world, and its original inhabitants. He thinks all, especially those who
die in battle, will go to some good place, where
they will live luxuriantly. He has no idea of
happiness other than sensual. I told him of Jehovah, the God of the Bible; of his power, omnipresence, and goodness; of the distinction between good and bad men; and of their future destiny; and I assured him that I greatly desired to
give him the Bible in his own language.
66 26. Sabbath evening. This morning, the day
being pleasant, and the Indians about the ships
very numerous, Capt. Taylor proposed that I
should preach on deck. He said all hands should
come aft, that the Indians might have an opportunity to see how we conducted public worship.
He informed the Indians of my intention, and
they were seated. About 10 o'clock A. M. I took
my stand by the companion-way, in the midst
of two hundred Indians, or more, fifteen Englishmen, and ten Sandwich Islanders, and invoked
the presence and blessing of that God, who made
of "one blood all the nations of the earth;" after
which I addressed my English audience from the
annunciation of the angels to the shepherds of
Bethlehem. I was exceedingly gratified with having this opportunity of pleading with the men belonging to the ship to accept of that Savior, who
bled for them, and whom they greatly dishonor.
The Indians were as attentive as could have been
expected. They seemed particularly struck with
the fact, that I addressed some one above. This
afforded me an opportunity of explaining the design of prayer. As many of them have lingered
about the ship during the day, I have had frequent
opportunities of speaking with them. I gave
them the history of the six days' creation, of the
institution of the Sabbath, and I tried to explain
to them the distinction between this and other
28. In the afternoon I went on shore, and spent
W!58SW! several hours in delightful solitude. I made what
observation I could of the land over which I
travelled. On my return, I met Kowe, a Kiganee
chief, who has been on board the Volunteer most
of the time since the Sabbath. He is a sober man,
appears very friendly, and affords me great assistance in studying the language. I have had
much conversation with him, and have given him
many interesting items of Bible history.
May 1.—What evidence have I that this is a
polluted, ruined world! The exhibitions of
heathenism which I witness daily are painful, but
they are not so heart-rending as the scenes
which are here acted by men from Christian
countries.   ...
2. Kowe is still with me, and I spend a considerable portion of my time in making and answering inquiries. I learned from him today, that
all the young women of the tribe visit ships for
the purpose of gain by prostitution, and in most
cases destroy their children, the fruit of this infamous intercourse. I repeated what I had before said on this subject. I told him, also, of the
resurrection, and the coming judgments, and I
endeavored to inform him how he could prepare
for that awful day. I am greatly encouraged to
persevere in my efforts to communicate instruction. Blessed be God, I have already announced
to them truths, of which they had never heard,
68 nor conceived.    May it be the dawning of light
which shall increase to the perfect day.
Towards evening I went on shore to walk for
exercise, but the howlings of drunken Indians,
and the approach of some of them with their muskets, alarmed me, and I hastily clambered over
logs and rocks, and made my way towards the
place where several of the ship's crew were cutting wood. Before I reached the place, I saw the
boat, which brought me on shore, approaching.
On their way to the ship, the sailors had been
hailed by some of the Indians, who assured them
that my life had been threatened, and they
earnestly advised that I should be carried on
board ship. I immediately returned, nor shall I
venture on shore again among drunken Indians.
One week since, I walked this shore with perfect
safety, entered the houses of the natives, and told
them of God, and Jesus Christ, and of the evil
of sin; but now, American rum has imparted to
them the temper of infernals. My heart aches in
view of their degradation. In the forcible language of another I do most earnestly pray,
"Mighty Redeemer, at whose presence foul spirits
flee, come and deliver them."
3. Sabbath evening. Kowe has been with me
part of the day, and I have tried to do him good.
To explain the design of prayer, I offered up, in
his hearing, a few broken petitions in his language. I told him something of Jesus Christ, and
endeavored to explain to him the nature of Chris-
69 tian forgiveness. Had I a few words to express
moral ideas, I could preach to them "Jesus."
Kowe asked me the meaning of language, which
he has frequently heard on board ships, profaning
the name of God, and Jesus Christ, and calling
for damnation. I trust he will always remember
that such language is wicked, and that all who
use it are exposed to the wrath of God.
4. Monday. I rejoice in this season of monthly
concert, though I have none to whom I can say,
"Let us go to the house of the Lord." I have
many things, however, to remind me of the necessity of united, fervent prayer. Oh, what is it
to be without the knowledge of Jesus Christ! In
answer to some of my inquiries, Eadinshu, chief
of the Masset tribe, acknowledged that he knew
nothing of the destiny of the soul, nor whether
it were desirable to go to heaven at death; but
he said he greatly desired instruction. What
would it be to pour the light of heaven on his
darkened mind, to lead him to the cross of Christ!
11. I have been on shore again today to visit
the Indians. The two chiefs, Sankart and Kowe,
received me with great cordiality; and I spent
some time with them very pleasantly. I saw
one Indian partly intoxicated, and I pointed him
out to several children who sat near me, and
warned them to avoid his example. I gathered
several additional words in the language, and, to
the extent of my ability, I labored to interest them
■■ ££*E
in my object. Kowe, I find has been very communicative of the statements I have made him.
He told me today, that many of the Indians think
I am imposing upon them; but I believe that I
have convinced him of the sincerity of my desires
to benefit him and his tribe. He proposes to accompany me to the Islands, to take with him a
little daughter, and leave her to receive an education. This I have encouraged, and I have also
advised this tribe to remove to North Island, and
cultivate the soil. The chiefs say they will remove, if I will come and live with them.
Perilous Rencounter at Kiganee
12. Who can tell what a day may bring forth?
The southeast storm, which for several days has
raged with violence, had subsided; the sun shone
delightfully pleasant; the hill echoed to the music
of the birds; and my heart felt a corresponding
emotion, as I beheld the beauties of nature. I
walked the deck, and raised my heart to him
who framed these hills, and placed among them
intelligent beings, capable of studying his perfections, glorifying his name, and enjoying his
favor and I besought God to make them acquainted with the precious gospel. I thought of
my visit on shore, yesterday, of the cordiality with
which I was received, of the instruction which I
imparted; and I indulged the hope, that ere long
something could be done for the salvation of
those dying men.   Little did I think that a piti-
71 X
less storm was about to beat upon my budding
About 7 o'clock, Capt. Taylor arose, and gave
immediate orders to prepare for leaving the harbor. Our anchor was soon weighed, and we began to move. As we had half a mile, or more, to
go, before we reached the entrance of the harbor, I was on deck several times, before we were
at sea. I observed that there were several Indians on board, and that one of them was bantering with Capt. Taylor. I went down again. Soon
after I heard the Indians ordered to be off. The
clamor which ensued excited my attention, and,
perceiving that it increased, I ran on deck, and
was distressed to find that a quarrel had commenced. It seems that on being ordered to leave
the ship, one of the Indians gave Capt. T. a
severe blow on the face. This being returned,
the Indian seized a billet of wood, and seemed disposed to repeat the blow. The officers and sailors flew to the arm-chest, which stood on the forecastle. The Indians pushed forward, and a scuffle
ensued. By this time I was obliged to provide
for my own safety; for an Indian drew his knife,
and made towards me. He was not more than
six feet from me, when I saw his bloody design.
The expression of his eye, when it caught mine,
I shall not soon forget, nor the feelings which
it awakened in my bosom. Having no means of
defence, I ran below, passed through the cabin,
and entered Capt. Taylor's state-room. Here,
while I besought the gracious Savior to shield us in this hour of peril, I drew from beneath the
captain's pillow a loaded pistol, and waited (I
need not say with what emotions) the result. My
anxiety was greatly increased, when I heard the
discharge of muskets on deck, fully believing that
the work of death had begun. The attention of
the Indian, who began to follow me, was diverted
by one of the ship's crew, who, perceiving his object, interposed. Blessed be God, who preserved
me from the dreadful necessity of shedding blood.
After waiting two or three minutes in my retreat,
and not hearing any one in the cabin, I came out.
The firing on deck continued. I started to go up,
but met some of the crew with the first officer of
the ship in their arms. He had received a severe
wound. Capt. Taylor committed him to my care
till we should be farther out at sea. I ran on
deck, and with gratitude to the Savior, I trust,
perceived that we had passed the entrance to the
harbor, which is not more than thirty rods wide,
and that the firing had ceased. But oh, what a
scene! One poor Indian lay on deck a bloody,
ghastly corpse. Others were supposed to have
fallen overboard, and others still were slightly
wounded. A buck shot passed through the hat
of the second officer, and several were lodged in
the sides of the ship. I returned to the cabin, and
examined, as well as I was able, our wounded
officer. The ball entered his left arm near the
shoulder, came out at his bosom, and grazed the
right arm near the wrist. I did what I could to
staunch the blood, and relieve his excruciating
73 pain. We hope the wound is not desperate, but
as we have no one on board who can judge correctly of his situation, or administer skillfully to
his necessities, we are endeavoring to reach Norfolk Sound. We have on board five Indians, whom
Capt. Taylor detains as hostages. He assured
those who came along side after the quarrel, that
these hostages should be restored, provided that,
during our absence, no violence should be offered
to other vessels trading on the coast, which may
soon touch at this port. He also addressed a note
to those traders, briefly mentioning the circumstances which had occurred. This the Indians
promised to deliver to the first trader who should
I regard our preservation as signally merciful.
The harbor is on many accounts, the worst one
on the coast;—the entrance being narrow, the
harbor small, and so completely overlooked by
hills, that an Indian may easily shoot a man
standing on deck. It would, therefore, be next
to desperation, to think of leaving the harbor,
while these heights were occupied by those men,
whose aim is deadly. When we left, the wind was
so light and variable, that we were in danger of
running upon the rocks at the mouth of the harbor, and the captain once gave orders to let go
the anchor. Before he could be obeyed, a favorable breeze struck us, and he countermanded the
orders. Had we cast anchor, our situation would
have been exceedingly critical. The Kiganee and
the Masset tribes could have mustered four or
74 five hundred warriors, and with their bleeding
companions before their eyes, no stronger motive
was necessary to urge them forward to deeds of
desperation. What thanks do I owe to the God
of all my mercies for saving me from the ravages
of the bloody knife.
"This life, which thou hast made thy care,
Lord, I devote to thee."
This occurrence has greatly distressed me. It
has rolled back to midnight gloom, what I had
fondly hoped was the dawn of cheerful day to
these dark places. Were I an infidel, I should say
the time has gone by for planting the standard
of the cross on these shores. Once the heralds
of the gospel might have labored here with safety,
but this time will never return.—We have as hostages two chiefs. One of them, Sankart, I greatly
esteem. He is one of the best Indians I have
seen on the coast. While at Kiganee, he was on
board very frequently, was admitted to the table,
and occasionally lodged in the cabin. But now he
is a prisoner, is not allowed to enter the cabin,
and possibly will be confined still more closely;
nor can this be dispensed with till all the traders
on the coast are informed of the quarrel. Still,
as he is entirely innocent, this treatment will
have a tendency to embitter his mind, and make
him averse to intercourse with foreigners.
The fact is, these Indians have been treated
precisely as they would have been, had they no
75 souls. Traders have said (for the language of
actions is easily understood), I will pursue that,
course which will enable me most effectually to
gratify my ruling passions—the love of pleasure,
and the love of gold. Hence one trader, instead
of treating them as accountable beings, sacredly
bound to do to others as they would that others
should do to them, has suffered the Indians to be
insolent, to abuse his people, and abuse himself.
If a difficulty has arisen, he has purchased a
peace; thus effacing from their minds all sense
of obligation. Another has been stern and unyielding, and unnecessarily punctilious, perhaps,
to maintain his authority. Which of them has pursued the best policy, I pretend not to decide. One
thing, however, is plain, the latter of these men,
following the former, has found no little difficulty in dealing with them; and in many cases
traders have fallen in consequence of the very insolence, which has been encouraged by other traders. And the death of an Indian is a subject of
mirth among sailors. Eager are the claimants
to an honor so great as that of having shot him.
While I blessed God that he had saved us from
the fury of these men, I felt deeply how dreadful
a thing it is to send a fellow creature to the bar
of God. I
Kiganee has always been much visited by traders. More or less boards are sawn on board ships
during the season, and sold at the Sandwich Islands. At this place timber for this purpose and
for masts has been obtained.   Tim Garse is now
76 the only place, on this part of the coast, where
wood and water can be obtained without being
purchased, and it is not improbable that soon
there will not be a single place where men will
venture on shore; nor, as things are now conducted, can it be regretted. Until the gospel shall
make these wretched men free, foreign intercourse will only provide materials for strengthening their chains; will furnish ingredients for
embittering their cup of misery. If the Kiganee
tribe, for instance, becomes so hostile that it will
be deemed unsafe to admit females on board ship
for infamous purposes, what an amount of guilt
and suffering will be saved. Lust and blood are
said justly to be characteristic of pagan nations.
Compassionate Savior, let it no longer be said
that the same foul stains pollute the hands of
those who have been baptized in thy name.
At Norfolk Sound
15. Early this morning I went on shore at Norfolk Sound and waited on Governor Chesticoff.
He received me with his usual politeness, and, being informed of our circumstances, he very obligingly sent on board his surgeon to examine our
wounded officer. He judged it best to remove
him on shore. I saw his wound dressed after his
removal. The surgeon expressed a hope that it
would not prove mortal.
Governor Chesticoff has shewn a truly liberal
spirit.   He assured me today, that he had always
77 treated American traders with attention. Not
only have they been permitted without cost to lie
in the harbor as long as they pleased, but he has
uniformly when necessary helped them in and out,
which had sometimes cost him thirty or forty men
during several hours.
I saw the lieutenant governor, Mr. Kleburcoff,
the two ecclesiastics, and most of the gentlemen
whom I had before seen. They treated me with
politeness. They have a kind of sympathy for
our wounded officer, though they say, "If American gentlemen will sell muskets and powder to
the Indians, they must suffer the consequences."
Again at Kiganee—Settlement of the Difficulty
21. At sea. Yesterday* we passed Kiganee
point, and having ascertained that no violence
had been offered to one of the vessels, which during our absence, had been into this harbor, Capt.
Taylor sent on shore three of our five hostages.
The chiefs still remain, but are treated with less
severity. This evening I have had a long and
pleasant conversation with Sankart. I assured
him that I greatly regretted the late unhappy
occurrence at Kiganee, that I felt a sincere attachment to this, and indeed to all the tribes
on the coast, that I was much pleased with my
visit on shore just before the quarrel, and that
I then cherished a strong hope that I, or some
of my brethren, would ere long come and instruct
them; but that now I could not tell how it would
78 be, though I greatly feared it would be unsafe,
and that the poor Indians would remain ignorant
of God and Jesus Christ—would continue to indulge their sinful propensities, and would all
perish. He seemed to feel the force of my words,
and exceedingly regretted that any disagreement
had happened. I then endeavored to tell him more
of God and duty. I gave him some idea of the
fall and ruin of man, of the interposition of
Jesus Christ, of his life and death, his resurrection and ascension to heaven; of the condition
on which he would save sinners, of the happiness of the good, and the misery of the wicked.
I assured him that we should certainly see each
other again when all the tribes of men should be
gathered together in one great congregation, and
I expressed an earnest desire that we might then
go and dwell with God and Jesus Christ, and
good men, and be always happy. I became much
interested in my attempt to shed a ray of light
on a mind shrouded in darkness. I felt that to
sit down thus by the side of a poor pagan, and
stammer to him about Jesus Christ, and try to
shew him the way which leads to heaven was a
post of honor infinitely desirable. 0 that I could
be useful to these dying men! Who can tell, I
have sometimes said to myself, while my bowels
have yearned over this interesting chief, what
will be the result of my stammering to him on
this subject? Perhaps God may impart to him
the Holy Spirit to render efficient so feeble an
agency—may sanctify his heart, and permit us
79 at length to meet in heaven, monuments of the
same rich grace.
30. We are at Nass. The Indians are numerous, and inconceivably noisy. I have been astonished today to witness their savage manners,
their efforts to make a good bargain, and their
insolent requital of favors. Here is a people,
whom I would recommend to the attention of
those who talk of the efficacy of moral lectures
to subdue the obduracy of the heart.
June 2.—Today we left Nass, and are now at
sea. I am affected with an incident which has
just occurred. Sankart, when at Nass, wished
to see a chief of that tribe, with whom the Kiganee men had a quarrel, two or three years since,
and a large party of whose men they killed. As
this chief was from home, Sankart did not shew
himself till we were about to leave, when he made
some proposals of accommodation. This evening a canoe approached with five or six men in
it. We took them to be Nass Indians, and a report being in circulation that this tribe are meditating vengeance, our friend was evidently perturbed. When they came on board, and informed
us that a large company were on their way to
Kiganee for the purpose of trade, I ran below,
and repeated their statements to our Kiganee
chief. His countenance betrayed the emotions of
his soul, when he declared, that "they lied, that
war, not trade, was their object."   But he soon
80 ascertained that they were friends, and his fears
were dissipated. Thus, with all their other
miseries, these wretched men constantly live in
fear of each other.
4. According to an understanding with other
vessels trading on the coast, just before noon
we cast anchor in Kiganee harbor. As we passed
the narrow entrance, I observed several flags
waving in the air, while the Indians from the top
of their houses, were blowing feathers in token
of peace. Kowe was soon on board, and a long
conversation with the traders ensued. Kowe declared, that the Indians who begun the quarrel
were fools, that they had been drinking, and
were greatly in fault; but that he and the tribe
generally were disposed to live in peace. Soon
two canoes, containing some of the principal
chiefs, the shargers and friends of the deceased
Indians, came along side. They approached the
ship singing, and plucking from a fowl their ;
hands full of feathers, which they blew into the
air. Kowe was on deck as a mediator. They
were anxious, they said, to be on good terms with
traders, and to settle the quarrel; and as a proof
of an amicable disposition, they would be content
with a small present. On their making a definite
proposition, much conversation took place. They
said this was the custom among the Indians, and
could not be dispensed with. At length an offer
was made them. A long consultation was held
by the Indians in the canoes, and several of them
81 arose and harangued. One of them spoke with
great rapidity and force, and employed considerable action. Of the shargers, one made a long
speech, in which he descanted on the benefits of
peace, and assured them that he had seen Kowe,
a chief of great celebrity, long since dead, and
that he declared that it would be well for the
tribe to be at peace with "the iron men." They
soon after accepted the proposal which was made
them, and the deck was immediately filled with
Indians. Presents, in such cases, go to the
brothers of the deceased. Brothers, indeed,
among all these tribes, inherit as sons do among
these tribes.
I rejoice to find that the boasts of our sailors,
that they killed this and that Indian, had no
foundation in fact. Two only were killed, the
one whom I saw on deck, and a woman in a
canoe. Another was severely wounded with a
handspike, but he will recover. I improved this
opportunity of beseeching them to abandon the
use of rum, that they might escape its attendant
evils; but alas! how feeble is their power of resisting temptation.
June 10, 1829.—We are still at Kiganee—four
vessels—detained by southerly winds. This detention is to me exceeding painful. Nothing can
be so pernicious to the poor Indians. While a
single vessel remains in port, they will do very
little business, but spend their time lounging
about deck, or in a still more criminal manner.
82 I have had much conversation with Capt.
Dominis, and Mr. Young, his first officer, respecting the country about the Columbia river. They
speak of it in terms of commendation, as being
a fertile country in a delightful climate. The Indians are numerous, and less bloody than on this
part of the coast. Captain Dominis says, it is
unquestionably the place where a missionary station should be established. As he is soon to return to the river, he offered me a passage. I am
extremely anxious to accompany him, but as
there is little probability of being able to find a
passage thence to the islands short of eighteen
months, I must abandon the idea, especially as
Capt. Taylor has not entirely relinquished the
design of going thither before we return to Oahu.
14. Sabbath. This morning we left Kiganee.
The other vessels preceded us. As we approached
the mouth of the harbor we observed the Indians
collected on the rocks. Some had their muskets,
and appearances seemed rather threatening. All
faces gathered paleness. Capt. Taylor ordered
the guns to be cleared away, and everything was
in readiness to repel an attack. I do not think
that they intended to fire upon us, though had
some mischievous fellow discharged a single
musket, the consequences would have been horrible to them. Just before we left, I had a pleasant interview with my good friend Kowe. I besought him to remember what I had told him, to
83 —
love God and Jesus Christ, and to avoid sin, that
he might be a good and happy man.
24. Today we ran round "Point Rose," the
northeastern part of Queen Charlotte's Island,
and sailed down the eastern side of the island
to Skidegas. The day was pleasant, and the
prospect, for this part of the coast, delightful.
Just before we cast anchor, we passed the village
of Skidegas. To me the prospect was almost enchanting, and, more than any thing I had seen,
reminded me of a civilized country. The houses,
of which there are thirty or forty, appeared tolerably good, and before the door of many of them
stood a large mast carved in the form of the human countenance, of the dog, wolf, etc., neatly
painted. The land about the village appeared to
be in a good state of cultivation. The Indians
do not raise much, excepting potatoes, as they
have not a variety of seeds; yet, from the appearance of the land, I presume they may greatly
vary their vegetable productions. Several of the
tribe met us before we cast anchor, and remained
till evening. To these I soon made known my object. They appeared pleased, and most earnestly
solicited me to go on shore. They offered four
or five of their principal men as hostages, and
they repeatedly assured me that all would be
well. Though I am anxious to see the country,
and visit this village, yet I am not quite clear that
I ought to go. I could not effect much by a single
visit, and there are too many chiefs here, to en-
84 sure safety from the fact of having on board a
In the afternoon I told two of their principal
men the story, which I had so often repeated at
Kiganee—of God—of his power and goodness—
of his works and word. They listened to my
statements with a good degree of attention, and,
when I had finished, they insisted upon my giving them a small drink of rum! In vain did I
tell them that the great chief above had prohibited this practice; in vain, that it would occasion their ruin—that I drank none, and heartily
wished every drop of this poison was thrown into
the sea:—my reasoning had no effect upon them,
and I plainly assured them that I should give
them none. One of them, who appeared more
thirsty than his fellows, was not a little offended,
and immediately left the cabin. On board the
ship of a north-west trader is a place very unsuitable to preach temperance to an Indian, and
indeed to attempt any thing in the form of Christian instruction.
25. The sun shines from about three, A. M.,
till nearly nine, P. M., and yet the days are not
sufficiently long for the Indians to do their talking. My patience is exceedingly tried. The
Skidegas men exceed all that I have yet seen for
keenness in trade. One reason why they are so
troublesome is, that their skins are the sea-otter,
there being very little land fur on the island.
One  of these  skins  is  worth  more than  ten
85 beavers, and being scarce and eagerly sought, the
man who has taken one calculates to banter at
least two days before he sells it, and during this
time he claims special privileges, expects that he
shall have free access to the cabin to eat, drink,
and lounge, and he must have things in style, too,
or he will be highly offended. They make a
regular business of bantering-—talk till they are
weary—take a short nap on deck, or in the cabin
—after which they will resume the business with
renewed vigor. So uniformly do those Indians
torment us when they have these skins, that I
dread to see one brought over the side of the ship.
This tribe is a small one, probably not numbering five hundred souls. They, as indeed all
the tribes on the island, are less addicted to roving than other Indians on the coast. They will
become still less so, I think, when the sea-otter
shall desert their shores, and they find the advantage of cultivating their land. Here they
manufacture, from grass, hats of an excellent
quality, some of which they value as high as
two dollars. Their pipes, which they make of
a kind of slate-stone, are curiously wrought. They
are fierce for trade, bringing for sale fish, fowls,
eggs, and berries, and offering them in exchange
for tobacco, knives, spoons, carpenter's tools of
various kinds, buttons, and clothes. Many of
these articles they have pilfered from other vessels.
They are the greatest beggars imaginable; nor
have they a particle of humility, even when they
86 assume this posture. They seem to think that all
are under sacred obligation to give them whatever they condescend to solicit; so that if they
are denied, they will highly resent it, and cry,
"stingy"—"hard fellow," etc. Today I obtained
the Indian words corresponding to a few English
ones, which one of this tribe had learned; but as
he perceived that I was anxious to increase my
stock of words, he said I must give him a leaf of
tobacco for every additional one. At present I
pay little attention to them, though I have been
not a little molested by their impudent demands.
July 1. Off Norfolk sound. I have been on
shore again at this place, and as usual, received
the kind attentions of Governor Chesticoff. Our
wounded officer, though somewhat better, is too
weak to be removed. I saw nothing new—staid
but a short time—and am now at sea.
11. This morning we were driven by a storm
into Kiganee harbor. The Kiganee men, I find,
have nearly deserted their village, and the few
that linger here are disturbed with the apprehension, that the Nass men are meditating vengeance, on account of the murder of their relatives. Nor is this apprehension unfounded. They
are certainly making preparation to attack them,
and they declare that they will destroy the whole
tribe. This they may easily do, as the Nass men
are numerous, and are enlisting other men in
their quarrel.    Their good friends, the traders, are constantly furnishing them with muskets and
ammunition, and lest their courage should fail
they afford them plenty of New-England rum.
The Kiganee tribe will probably soon become
nearly or quite extinct.
18. This morning as we approached the harbor of Turn Garse, Captain Taylor requested me
to pray on deck, being about to bury one of his
crew, a native of the Sandwich Islands. I cheerfully complied, though I almost started at the
sound of my own voice.
August 12.—During the last month I have had
but few opportunities with the Indians who speak
the Queen Charlotte Island language, and though
I have occasionally stammered a little with other
tribes, yet, for the most part, I have been only
a witness of their degradation, resulting from
drunkenness and its attendant vices. And so
painful a post of observation is this, that, had
it been possible, I should long since have deserted
it. To face an enemy without hope of conquest,
or even the ability of resistance, is exceedingly
disheartening. May I be content, if I can do no
more, to hang on the wings of evil, and to retard,
much as possible, her desolating progress.
This opens the way, my dear Sir, to say something of my trials while on this agency. Trials
I expected. To be long absent from my beloved
family and dear associates—to go where I should
have no sympathizing friend—to be deprived of
88 all religious enjoyments, save those which are
found in secret communion with God—and
for months to dwell closely allied with the enemies of the Savior;—these I regarded, from the
first, as trials of no ordinary character. But
they have been greater than I anticipated. To
witness the wretchedness of the degraded
heathen, without God, and without hope—to detect their dishonesty, and see them throw around
their unlawful gain the cloak of deceit—to witness them degraded to the level of the brutes,
and in these circumstances to be put in jeopardy
by them, and to be an almost passive spectator
of all this guilt and misery, I need not say has
been truly distressing.   .   .   .
31. Norfolk Sound. We arrived here on the
28th inst. I have dined with Governor Chesticoff,
and since our arrival spent some time on shore,
but have gathered no additional information relative to the object of my tour. After repeated
visits I am confirmed in my opinion, that this is
an unsuitable place to attempt anything for the
Indians. I am almost certain, that no Russian
here could cordially approve of such efforts. Nor
have I any very sanguine expectations, that anything will be attempted by the Greek church.
After leaving Norfolk Sound, we encountered
a severe northeast wind, which drove us far to
the westward. We endeavored to enter the
Straits Juan de Fuca, but, on account of an easterly wind, did not succeed.   We then made for
dmiCi the Columbia River, spent several days in the
latitude of the river, and at length made land in
the immediate vicinity of the country I so much
desired to visit. Cape Disappointment and Point
Adams, between which land the river empties,
we distinctly saw, and for several hours were
within a few miles of them. Captain Taylor was
no less anxious than I was to enter the river, but
after arriving so near, we reluctantly abandoned
the idea. So tremendous was the swell from the
southwest, that Captain Taylor judged that it
would break in twenty fathoms of water. The
danger of crossing a sand-bar having four fathoms only of water, at such a time, is obvious. I
am fully of the opinion that we could not have
succeeded, had we attempted it. Soon after we
left, we encountered a violent storm, so that we
found it more pleasant, as well as safe, to be at
sea. The swell continued heavy, till we arrived
on the coast of California. How long we should
have been obliged to wait off the mouth of the
Columbia, before we could have entered, it is
impossible to say.
September 30.—We arrived on the coast off
California, and cast anchor in the Bay of St.
Francisco. After remaining here a few days we
visited Monterry, where we continued till October 18th. At these places I saw several English and American gentlemen, from whom I
gathered considerable information respecting the
90 country.    This, with the result of my own observation, I shall briefly communicate.
California—Catholic Missions
Upper Mexico, or New California, lies, as it
is at present defined, between 32° and 42° north
latitude. The eastern limits I cannot accurately
describe. It is calculated that the country contains 376,000 square miles. It is a pleasant and
fruitful country, enjoying the most salubrious
climate, and producing the necessaries and many
of the luxuries of life. At Monterry I ate excellent pears of the second growth, the first fruit
being ripe in March, or April. The vine and
olive may be successfully cultivated, also most
of the tropical fruits. The hills are covered with
horses and cattle, by means of which most of their
commerce with foreign vessels is carried on.
There is a deficiency of water, and this season
the country is afflicted with a severe drought.
Yet, from what I have seen and heard, I am persuaded that this might be made an exceedingly
delightful country.
Of inhabitants there are about 5,000 nominal
whites. Most of them are "Creoles"—descendants of Spaniards and Indians. The old Spaniards have been driven from the country. Of
Indians, there are thought to be 50,000 between
St. Diego and St. Francisco:—20,000 of these belong to the missions, the most northern of which
is near the latter place.   Between this and the
■".irarn northern limits of California the natives are very
numerous, amounting probably to 50,000 more.
The state of education in California is very
low. There are few books and no regular schools
in this country. Of the male inhabitants, it is
said that not more than one in five, and of the
females, not more than one in ten, can read. Boys
are educated to ride on horseback and throw the
"laza," or noose, with which they take wild cattle and horses; girls to dress and dance. This is
the highest ambition of parents and children, and
with these qualifications are the latter succeeding
the former on the transient, but infinitely momentous, stage of human life.
Of their government I know very little, excepting that it is in an unsettled state. Foreign residents, and all who trade on the coast, complain
exceedingly of embarrassment from this source.
Of four ports on the coast, no two of them are
under the same regulations, and almost every
mail announces some change in their laws which
regulate commerce. Port charges are very high,
and duties on foreign goods are enormous. As
might be expected, this leads to the practice of
smuggling, which I believe is very common.
The religion of California is the Roman Catholic. No other sect is tolerated. Many of the
foreign residents have embraced the religion of
the country, so far at least as they have found
necessary to enable them to marry ladies of the
country—it being impossible, with their present
laws, for a Protestant to marry in California.
92 While at St. Francisco I visited the mission of
that name, and when at Monterry I visited that
of St. Carlos. Both of these missions are situated
about a league from the presidio of St. Francisco
and Monterry. These missions are smaller than
several others farther in the interior. That of
Carlos, which is in a better condition at present,
than the one at St. Francisco, is built much like
a presidio. It is a square area, the sides of
which are about 200 yards in length, inclosed by
buildings used for work-shops, store-houses, the
house of the "padre," and the church. At St.
Francisco I was introduced to the only priest of
the establishment, Padre Thomas des Tenega, of
the order of St. Francisco, a Spaniard, who has
been here about twenty years. He is of a thin
visage, and I should think of feeble health. The
padre was very hospitable. He gave me a pressing invitation to visit the mission the next day,
which was to be a great feast-day in honor of St.
Francisco. It being the Sabbath, I declined accepting the invitation, for though my curiosity
might have been gratified by witnessing the ceremonies of the church, yet I could not conscientiously be present at an exhibition of "bull baiting," which was immediately to succeed the
church service. He appeared to be a man of considerable information, and of a facetious temper.
He showed me the interior of the church, pointed
out the several saints which adorned the walls,
and smiled when he showed me some paintings,
93 which, though they might petrify with terror the
uninstructed Indians, were really ludicrous.
At the mission of St. Carlos I was introduced
to padre Ramond, and padre Saria, who for many
years had been stationed at that place. The latter is the prefect, or president of the spiritual
affairs of all California. They are both aged, intelligent men, of good reputation. They seemed
gratified that I had visited them, and made many
inquiries respecting the mission at the Sandwich
Islands. I gave them a short account of the
operations of the American Board. Father
Ramond took much pains to show me the church,
the holy water, paintings, images, etc., assuring me, at the same time, that they only worshipped what these represented. I admitted that
he might possibly employ them for this purpose,
but I strongly suspected that the ignorant paid
to them that homage which is due to God alone.
He shook his head at such a suggestion, but as we
could not converse, excepting through an interpreter, we dropped the subject. Each of these
missions has about 300 Indians. There are
twenty-one missions in upper California.
Those in the interior of the country are in a
much more flourishing condition than those near
the sea coast, the country being more favorable
for cultivation, and temptations to sin in some respects being less numerous and strong. The average number of Indians belonging to this mission,
is said to be one thousand. At each is one or
more European padre, who has a few soldiers as
94 a guard. These missions serve as inns, or resting places, for hunters and travellers, as there
are no taverns in the country. Under the Spanish government, the influence of the padres was
very great. Indeed the whole country was under
their control. Their establishments of course
have been, and continue to be, in a great measure,
secular. They have accumulated large herds of
cattle, horses and sheep, have traded with foreigners, and enriched their missions. Having
this influence, and possessing these means, they
have generally secured the good will of visitors,
who speak of their hospitality in terms of commendation.
But to benefit the native inhabitants of California, was the professed object for which they
came hither. And what has been the result of
their labors with the Indians? On this subject
I would speak with candor and kindness. The
natives of this coast are, I admit, less intelligent
than those who live farther north. Their countenances are dull and heavy, and they exhibit
little evidence of possessing native strength of
mind. In one respect, however, this has been
favorable to their civilization and Christianiza-
tion, as they have been pacific in proportion to
their obtuseness of intellect. |;Such men the missionaries from the Roman Catholic church, more
than fifty years since, gathered around them, and
formed into societies under their immediate and
constant superintendence, for the purpose of affording them instruction in the arts of civilized
95 life, and in the doctrines and duties of Christianity. All this they attempted without giving
them the Bible, or employing means to elevate
them to the rank of thinking, intelligent beings.
They fed them, taught them to cultivate the
earth, to build themselves houses, and manufacture their own clothes. A few prayers in the
Spanish language they obliged them to commit to
memory, and having baptized, they pronounced
them good Christians. In 1792 Vancouver visited
the missions of St. Francisco and St. Carlos.
After describing the establishments and the
method of controlling the Indians, he says:—
"The missionaries found no difficulty in subjecting these people to their authority. It is mild
and charitable, teaches them the cultivation of
the soil, and introduces among them such of the
useful arts as are most essential to the comforts
of human nature and social life. It is much to
be wished that these benevolent exertions may
succeed, though there is every appearance that
their progress will be very slow; yet they will
probably lay a foundation, on which the posterity
of the present race may secure to themselves the
enjoyment of civil society."—Their efforts were
at that time regarded in the light of an experiment. Little impression could be made on the
minds of adult Indians, whose habits were confirmed ; but here were their children, whose minds
were unoccupied, and upon which they could have
stamped their own image. In the light of an experiment, therefore, these efforts can be regarded
96 no longer. And what is the result? After fifty
years of toil, where are the smiling villages of
industrious, intelligent mechanics? Where the
happy neighborhoods of agriculturists? Where
are found scenes of domestic bliss? Where are
the indications of improved society? Where are
seen those who have ceased to do evil, and learned
to do well? None of these are to be found. It
is admitted by all, with whom I have conversed
on the coast, Catholic and Protestant, that these
converted Indians, as they are called, are exceedingly degraded—much more so than their uncivilized neighbors. They are exceedingly uncleanly
in their persons and habitations, are beastly
drunkards, notorious gamesters, and are so many
of them diseased in consequence of lewdness, that
they are constantly dying off. They frequently
run away from the missions, and lead on the untutored Indians to deeds of desperation. It is
painful to see how little has been effected by
men, many of whom doubtless have sincerely desired to benefit these Indians. But the history
of these efforts among the pagans of California
may not be lost, may not fail to be useful to the
church. Had the gospel been preached in its
purity and simplicity to these men, had they been
taught to read, and had the simple statements of
the bible met their eyes, what, by the blessing of
God would have been effected? If the preaching
of the gospel and the perusal of the bible, have
changed to a moral garden, the barren rocks, and
to perennial spring the ever during winter, of
97 Greenland, what could not the same means have
effected on the pleasant hills, and the verdant,
blooming vallies of New Albion ?
In concluding my report, I cannot refrain
from expressing an ardent solicitude that the
labor and expense which have been inseparable
from my agency, may not be altogether in vain.
My investigations and inquiries have embraced
the western coast of America, from California
to Norfolk Sound. I did hope to place my feet
on the spot, in reference to which I might say to
my beloved patrons, "Send hither the messengers
of the churches, and let them plant the standard
of the cross." But though I am unable to say
thus with my eyes upon a definite spot, still I rejoice that something has been attempted in behalf
of these perishing pagans. For more than forty
years, our enterprising countrymen have coasted
these shores, and realized immense profits from
their commercial intercourse with the natives.
Surely the American church will not regret, even
should nothing more be done, that a few hundred
dollars have been expended to investigate the
moral condition, and to ascertain whether anything can be effected, to relieve the moral necessities, of a multitude of their fellow men, for
whom the Savior died. An honest statement of
the condition and prospects of these men, dear
Sir, I have endeavored to lay before you. With
respect to the Indians whom I have visited, it
will be seen there are great obstacles to be surmounted, before they receive so precious a bene-
98 fit as the gospel of Jesus Christ. The want of
country susceptible of cultivation, the small number of Indians who speak the same language, and
the existence of almost constant bloody wars
among the different tribes, are discouraging circumstances. But the greatest of all obstacles is
found in the strong feelings of animosity, which
they have to foreigners. This nothing will overcome but an acquaintance with men, who, in their
intercourse with them, shall be governed by
higher motives, and pursue a different course.
Here are fifteen thousand pagans, men possessing an unusual share of intelligence, capable
of being benefited by Christian instruction,
of being blessings to the world—now the slaves
of every lust, groping in unbroken darkness their
way to ruin, and who unless they soon receive
the gospel, will inevitably perish. Their wants
are pressing, and they appeal to the hearts of all
who know the worth of the soul, the evil of sin,
the preciousness of Jesus Christ, and the utter
insufficiency of all means to subdue the heart, save
the preaching of the cross. This would certainly
melt their hearts of stone—would tame their
bloody dispositions. For, after all that I have
said of these men, I do not believe that they are
as degraded, nor as savage, as the natives of New
Zealand and the Marquesas Islands. The introduction of the gospel among them would not only
bless these tribes, but, by the smiles of the Savior,
the Indians in the interior would be savingly
benefited.   A flame might thus be kindled, which
99 would penetrate the surrounding darkness, and
dispel the mists of superstition and ignorance,
which for ages have brooded over all this part
of the earth. What might not men of the faith
and activity of a Brainerd effect, in behalf of
these dying pagans?
To the south, many tribes of Indians are scattered along the coast to Cape St. Lucas, the southern point of California. Of many of these tribes
nothing definite is known. Nootka Sound, about
latitude 50°, was formerly much visited by traders, but, as furs have been scarce, vessels have
not been there for several years. The natives had
become hostile long before their trade ceased.
The straits Juan de Fuca, latitude 48° 30 minutes, are becoming a place of resort for the purpose of trade. They are easily entered, and the
country about them is said to be an excellent
one. The natives are unacquainted with the use
of firearms and ardent spirits. About the Columbia river and its branches, the Indians are
exceedingly numerous. From a Mr. McKay, who
has resided in that country seventeen years, I
have the names of thirty-four tribes, many of
which he represents as powerful. They are said
to be a superior race of men, and though savage,
* On my return to Oahu, I saw Captain Thompson, of the brig
Convoy, who left the Columbia river about a month since. He
confirmed the account of the river and country about it of Captain
Dominis. He regards the Indians as friendly. Respecting the loss
of an English brig there, last March, Captain Thompson says, there
is no evidence that a solitary individual reached the shore, or
that the Indians had the slightest agency in their death ; on the
contrary, that the probability is, that all the crew perished in the
river. Capt. Thompson saw the brig soon after she struck the
bar, and he immediately sent a boat to her assistance. The crew
of the boat went as near the brig as safety would permit, they saw
100 are less bloody than the tribes further north. One
of the Chonook tribe, who resides near the mouth
of the Columbia, I saw on board Captain Dominis' brig. I was pleased with his appearance.
He gave me several words of his own language,
but I had no medium, through which I could converse with him. These Indians have suffered
from their intercourse with foreigners. Captain
Simpson, an officer of the Hudson-Bay Company,
assured me that they had learned every vice, but
not a single virtue, of their white neighbors.
Indeed, to seek a place on the coast where the
Indians have not suffered in consequence of their
intercourse with foreigners, will be, I am persuaded, a fruitless attempt. The Russian-Fur,
the North-West, and the Hudson-Bay, companies
and traders from the United States, have occupied  every  post  of  importance  from  Norfolk
no one on board, nor could assistance be afforded. The English
from evidence circumstantial and slight, came to the conclusion
that a part of their friends were murdered by the Indians, and,
according to their uniform custom, they determined to seek redress. They applied to Captain Dominis (this he told me), for
men to chastise the Indians. He humanely refused to aid them.
After several weeks, they obtained a large party of men, marched
to the Indian village occupied by the tribe whom they charged
with the murder of their countrymen, and demanded the goods
which had been taken from the wreck of the brig. The Indians
brought out a few articles, and delivered them up. The English
were dissatisfied, and demanded a large quantity of goods, which
they averred the Indians had taken, and they declared that unless
their demands were speedily complied with, death was their portion!
what could be done? The poor savages were in the power of the
English. In vain did they plead their innocency, many of them
were massacred, their village burned, and the head of a chief taken
as a memento of their love of justice. This was brought to Honoruru
not long since and exhibited. Capt. T. who made most of the above
statements to Mr. Chamberlain, assured him that, after the murder
of these Indians, he spent a considerable time, several weeks Mr.
C. thinks, on shore among the Indians with perfect safety. I have
made these remarks, that no apprehension of danger, may be felt
in consequence of the loss of the English brig, and of the statement
which will doubtless be made of the bloody dispositions of the
101 .
Sound to the Columbia river. The love of gain
brought these men hither, and, to secure this object, all their movements have concentrated. It
is useless to inquire, what might have been done
here forty years ago ? What can be done, or what
should be attempted, now? And there can be no
doubt, I think, that a counteracting influence
might and should be exerted. The natives of the
North-West coast are an intelligent race of men:
—they certainly have perceived the spirit, by
which men who have visited them have been influenced. This spirit they have caught, and this
spirit they now breathe. But let them have an illustration of that charity, which "seeketh not her
own"—let them become acquainted with those who
breathe the temper of the gospel, and they would
learn and acknowledge its heavenly origin, and
by the blessing of God become subjects of its purifying and saving efficacy.
But, for the commencement of operations which
shall ultimately bless the whole coast, a regard to
Christian economy would urge to the selection of
the most favorable situation. On making this decision it would be exceedingly pleasant, were the
limits of the United States on this coast permanently defined. For, though your benevolent
wishes and efforts embrace all lands, yet, as we
have territory on this coast, it seems desirable
that missionary efforts should commence here.
This would be especially desirable, should the mission be connected with a small colony.
Somewhere in the vicinity of the Columbia
102 river such a colony, I doubt not, would find a
salubrious climate, a fertile soil, and ultimately
a country of great importance. Mr. Smith, an
American hunter, of whom you have probably
heard, on his way from California to the Columbia last winter, discovered a considerable river
in the latitude of 42° 30 minutes. This he judged
to be navigable at the mouth. Should his opinion
prove correct, the country about this river would
probably be most favorable for such an object.
An establishment here, in addition to the good
which might be effected in behalf of the native
inhabitants, would have a happy influence on the
interests of the Sandwich Islands mission. Timber, fish, and other necessaries, could be obtained
for the islands, while it would afford a better
than New-England climate for those, whose
strength had withered beneath the influence of a
tropical sun.
With regard to the country at present included
within the limits of California, everything, so far
as Christian enterprise is concerned, will depend
on the question, "What shall be the southern
limits of the United States?" If these are permanently established where they now run, nothing can be done in California, unless indeed the
Mexican government should tolerate the Protestant religion. But should the division be made
so far south as to include within the limits of the
United States the bay of St. Francisco, as it is
rumored, I should regard this as a post of great
importance.   The bay is a beautiful one, afford-
103 ing safe anchorage for ships of any burden, and,
with the river which falls into it, facilitating intercourse with various parts of the country. An
arm of the bay extends in a southerly direction,
and is navigable for boats to the missions of St.
Clare and St. Josephs. The country about these
missions is said to be beautiful and fertile. Another part of the bay extends in a northeasterly
course a considerable distance into the country,
and receives the Sacramento, said to be a fine
river navigable for small vessels more than
one hundred miles. At St. Francisco I saw
a Mr. Sterns, a gentleman from New England,
who was then returning to Monterrey from a tour,
the object of which was to explore the country on
both sides of this river. Under the Mexican government he has a grant for a large tract of land
in California, on which he is obligated to settle
twenty families. He gave me a very favorable
account of the country. It is occupied at present
by native population alone. This is great, and
these Indians are probably less inimical to foreigners than any on the coast. It is the opinion
of foreign residents at St. Francisco and Monterrey, that, should the United States' government
have possession of this country, settlements would
be rapidly formed. In California, and indeed in
Mexico, there is a great want of enterprise. The
Indians, miserably deficient as they are in industry and skill, perform nearly all the manual
labor that is performed in the country. The
Mexicans will neither work themselves, nor are
(9 they willing that foreigners should be more industrious. They are exceedingly jealous of all
foreign powers, particularly of the United States.
An illustration of American enterprise they
greatly need, and if the line of division fall as I
have now supposed, they will shortly have it.
Should God in his holy providence so order it, I
indulge the pleasing hope that the American
church would without delay send hither, and, in
the name of Zion's King, take possession of some
portion of this goodly country. The influence
of a Protestant establishment on the Mexicans in
the neighborhood, might be exceedingly happy;
if not, access to the minds of the native population might be secured before it should be possessed by unprincipled, vicious men.
Shall not, then, the eye of Christian benevolence be directed to this portion of the world?
Will not prayer to God be made, that he would
order things in infinite mercy with respect to it,
that he would give this country to those who will
labor to enlighten and bless the perishing inhabitants, or dispose those who now govern it to
permit the gospel in its purity to be proclaimed?
Will not all who watch the dawn of millennium
day, pray and labor, that on these shores, and
upon these hills, the voice of the Christian ambassador may be heard, and meet the echo of his
who, warmed with the same benevolent desires,
is now proclaiming Christ and redemption to the
wanderers on the other side of the Rocky Mountains?
THE END     


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