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The far West coast Denton, Vemon Llewellyn, 1881-1944 1924

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       THE
 FAR WEST COAST
 BY
 V.   L.   DENTON 
WITH   12   ILLUSTRATIONS 
AND   7  MAPS
I924
TORONTO
J. M.  DENT & SONS LTD. All rights reserved
PRINTED  IN   GREAT  BRITAIN INTRODUCTION
The sixteenth century may be said to have belonged to
Spain. Hers was the glory of exploration and conquest
in a new-found hemisphere j great colonies were added,
almost overnight, to her empire, and she stood strong
and arrogant, ready to challenge a world. Then came
disastrous defeats on land and sea. The gage so recklessly
thrown down had been as dauntlessly accepted by the
Island Power of the North, and the seventeenth century
as truly belonged to England as the sixteenth had belonged
to Spain.
But our story is not of warring empires whose great
navies line on line swept grandly through the tiny seas of
the Eastern Atlantic; nor may we dwell for long upon
that ocean's western shore. Far into the heart of the vast
Pacific the tale shall lead us, where men and ships are
dwarfed to veriest specks which crawl laboriously a little
space and then are lost to view. Bordering so vast a sea,
with so long a coast-line, the western coast of America
remained an unknown, mysterious waste long after a
million hardy sons of France and England tilled the
nearer Atlantic slope.
The lure of the west, the love of adventure in rough,
uncharted spaces, will soon remain but as fragrant memories
to be revived from time to time by those of us who curiously
open a dusty volume and read in quaint and stilted phrase
the simple record of a wondrous age.   For now great cities
grace our western gates.   Where once the sea-otter slept
v VI
INTRODUCTION
peacefully, cradled in the long Pacific swell, great ships of
steel throw the hollow waves aside, hurrying to bear a
nation's commerce.
Could a short one hundred years have wrought such a
change ? In the tales here to be related, some of the halting
steps which led to the present lusty youth of our Pacific
littoral are described. It is hoped that these stories may
help in the truer appreciation of those who led the way
to the far west coast.
One who would seek the trails of long ago must plod
many a useless mile, unless he be so fortunate as to have
guidance and direction along the way. In this regard Mr.
Forsyth and his staff at the Provincial Library, Victoria,
have been of the greatest assistance. Valuable comments
upon the proof sheets were provided by Judge F. W.
Howay of New Westminster and by Professor W. N. Sage
of the University of British Columbia. To my good friend
E. W. Reid of Vancouver I am indebted for many an
hour of inspiration and many a prod to flagging zeal.
V. L. D.
Provincial Normal School.
May 30, 1924. CONTENTS
CHAP.
Introduction        ......
.   I. The Straits of Anian   .....
II. How the Russians crossed Siberia
III. Vitus Bering ......
IV. The Second Voyage     .....
V. Captain James Cook, the Great Circumnavigator
VI. Explorations in the South Pacific
VII. The Search for Antarctica—The Second Voyage
1772-1775        	
VIII. Cook's Third Voyage    .....
IX. Along the Coast of New Albion  .
X. Karakakooa Bay ......
XL Lieutenant John Meares and the Fur Trade on
the North-West Coast of America .
XII. Meares makes a Second Venture, and decides t
erect a Permanent Factory at Nootka .
XIII. The Nootka Sound Controversy .
XIV. Captain George Vancouver ....
XV. The Making of the Great Chart .
XVI. Vancouver and Quadra meet at Nootka
XVII. Completing   the   Survey,   1793,   1794,   and   the
Return to England in 1795
Bibliography        ......
Index ........
PAGE
V
I
12
18
31
47
57
85
102
123
139
161
169
190
215
235
260
273
293
295
vu "■'IB'JH li! L LIST  OF  ILLUSTRATIONS
An Elizabethan Galleon of the Type of "The Golden
Hind"      .        .        .        .        .        .
From the Armada Section of the Naval History Portfolio
(British Museum).
A Russian Sable     ........
From a specimen in the Natural History Museum, London
Captain Cook's House, Grape Lane, Whitby   .
From a photograph.
The *' Endeavour " Bark ......
Maori Tribesman    . . . . . . . .
Captain James Cook .......
From an engraving after the original portrait by Dance
in the Gallery of Greenwich Hospital.
Australian Bushman with Boomerang    ....
Bread-Fruit   .........
The Island of Otahiti    .......
Lieutenant John Meares ......
From an engraving after the picture by W. Beechey in
Meares' Voyages.
Captain George Vancouver    ......
From a photograph of the original in the National Portrait
Gallery.
South-Sea Islanders in their Canoes      ....
LIST   OF   MAPS
North America to illustrate the Straits of Anian, De Fonte
and Juan de Fuca       ......
Sketch showing Route of Captain Bering across Siberia
Sketch showing Track of Captain Bering's Voyages, 1728 and
174^ ........
New Zealand as Captain Cook charted it, 1769-1770
Sketch showing track of Captain Cook's Second Voyage  .
North American Coast visited by Captain Cook on Third
Voyage      ........
Captain Vancouver's Circumnavigation of Vancouver Island
ix
PAGE
9
30
49
58
97
103
109
115
119
173
221
230
4
21
39
69
89
129
249 I  BELIEVE
That God has poured the ocean round this world
Not to divide, but to unite the lands.
And all the English captains that have dared
In little ships to plough uncharted waves—
Davis and Drake, Hawkins and Frobisher,
Raleigh and Gilbert—all the other names—
Are written in the chivalry of God
As men who served His purpose.   I would claim
A place among that knighthood of the sea;
And I have earned it, though my quest should fail,
For, mark me well, the honour of our life
Derives from this i to have a certain aim
Before us always, which our will must seek
Amid the peril of uncertain ways.
Then, though we miss the goal, our search is crowned
With courage, and we find along our path
A rich reward of unexpected things.
Press towards the aim: take fortune as it fares! -
From Henry Hudson's Last Voyage, by Henry Van Dyke. THE   FAR   WEST   COAST
CHAPTER I
THE  STRAITS  OF ANIAN
In which is related the story of Juan de Fuca.
Always in the heart of man springs Desire. It may be
good or it may be evil. It may be one of pleasure or it
may be one which moulds itself around the commercial
pursuits of the time. And men yet congregate in the marts
and discuss, as from time immemorial they have done,
how much easier it would be to do this or that if only
such and so were available. Through this budding process
of vain desire and speculation come the first faint tentative
beliefs, which soon wax strong and sturdy and blossom forth
as accepted facts. For there are always those who are
willing to help the doubter by most positive statements,
and then, presto! "Of course we were right, does he not
say he has been there, right through them?"
Once established, such beliefs die slowly; Dame Rumour
is a hardy wench. Then the world, ready at length to
hang its head and admit itself in error, straightway turns
about and smilingly says: "Oh! that was a myth!" Such
a one was once the famed Straits of Anian. It ranks
with the tales of an Ophir, an Atlantis, or of a land of
warrior Amazons.
The desire for a passage through North America from
the Atlantic to the Pacific was but intensified by the
discoveries of Magellan and the golden harvest which
Spain began to reap in Mexico and Peru. England's
merchants were particularly anxious to find a short, direct,
and commodious passageway around or through North S-H
job
m
53g
KffiS
«=3
-- — -
2 THE STRAITS  OF ANIAN
America. To this end many small and privately financed
expeditions were despatched westward across the Atlantic,
there to search the rocky shore for such an opening. France
had definitely explored and rejected the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, and the openings behind Newfoundland.1 No
passageway there. The Cortereals, Espanola and Verra-
zano, had cruised the coast from Newfoundland to the
tip of Florida.—No opening there. Then it must lie
farther north.
So farther north the hardy English sailors pushed the
bluff bows of their tiny fifty-ton sloops and pinnaces. Up
between Greenland and Labrador, trending a little westward at last; how eloquent of old desire are the names of
those cold and stormy passages—Frobisher Bay, Davis
Strait, Hudson Bay and Fox Channel! But the elusive
passage lay always just beyond; the very difficulty of the
task seemed but to rivet the more firmly the belief
that a passage did exist, that it would be found, and
then if England found it, what a pre-eminence of trade
would be hers!
Martin Frobisher (1576-8) was no whit behind the rest
in his belief that the inlet which now bears his name would
have led him to the South Sea if only he could have gone
on. Sir Humphrey Gilbert was one of the noted men of
his day who wrote at length upon the possibility of such a
passage and the necessity for the discovery and use thereof.
It was then that fact gave way to fancy, when tales of
an old pilot who had cruised the Spanish Main were listened
to with eagerness and gained credence as they spread from
mouth to mouth. Or again it might be some sentence in
an old forgotten manuscript which, suddenly brought to
light, revived men's fainting hearts to further trials across
the ice-strewn sea. Whatever the tales brought back to an
expectant Europe may have related, in 1570 geographers
began placing in their charts of the land we now call North
America a northern passageway through  the continent.
1 Jacques Cartier, 1534—42. JUAN  DE FUCA 3
This passage or strait was generally made to extend from
the region of Labrador, south-westerly to the Pacific
between latitudes 40 to 50 north. Ortelius in his
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of 1574 places the Kingdom of
Anian at the western entrance to this passageway. Later
the passageway itself became known as the Straits of Anian.
Just where the name of Anian was discovered or how it
came into general use is not exactly known. Bancroft
says that "there was once a province of Ania somewhere
in Asia, as described by the early travellers and geographers. ''   Hakluyt mentions a voyage by Annus Cortreal, who
. . . about the yeere 1574, which is now about eight yeeres
past, sent a Shippe to discouer the Northwest passage of
America, and that the same shippe arriuing on the coast of
the saide America, in fiftie eyghte degrees of latitude, found
a great entrance exceeding deepe and broade without all
impediment of ice, into which they passed aboue twentie
leagues, and founde it aiwaies to trende towarde the South,
the lande lying lowe and plaine on eyther side; And they per-
swaded them selues verely that there was a way open into
the south sea.
Martin Chacke, a Portuguese, and N. de Morena, a Spaniard,
both affirmed the existence of the Straits; the former that
he went through them on his way home from the Indies;
the latter that Drake had put him ashore at the Straits of
Anian when that Englishman was on his way home in 1579.
Morena even offered to lead the Spaniards of Mexico to the
Straits. This does not exhaust the fables perpetrated on
a gullible public between 1550 and 1600. Now let us
consider the chief prevaricator of them all:
Juan de Fuca
His real name was Apostolos Valerianos: of Greek
parentage, he was born on the island of Cephalonia, but
had early entered the Spanish marine, where he rose to be
a pilot.    In November, 1587, he was pursuing his usual NORTH   AMERICA   TO    ILLUSTRATE    THE
STRAITS    OF    ANIAN,    DE FONTE    AND   JUAN    DE    FUCA
240   lenp/tvefe    "250    £ast   of      zee   Greenw/ch   2
30
8artho/Qm*tft £<?/({,, JUAN  DE FUCA 5
vocation when Cavendish captured the Santa Anna off
the coast of Southern California. The English privateer,
having made a thorough search of the vessel, burned her,
while the crew were permitted to make the best of their
way to Mexico, there to relate all that had happened. Five
years later de Fuca claims to have been despatched by the
Viceroy of Mexico in charge of two ships to cruise northward, find the Straits of Anian, and follow said Straits
through to the Arctic or Atlantic as the case might be;
it being the purpose evidently of the Viceroy to fortify
the Straits in the interests of Spain.
It is from the pages of Purchas His Pilgrimes that we
learn of the home-coming of the old Greek pilot, and that
which befell in the far-off days of 1596. At that time there
resided in Venice one Michael Lok, an Englishman. Lok
was, as he relates, engaged in a lawsuit "against the
Companie of Merchants of Turkie, and Sir John Spencer,
their Governour in London," to recover a pension due to
him for agent's services at Aleppo. While awaiting the
settlement of the lawsuit, there arrived in Venice one
John Douglas, a sea captain, and the Spanish pilot Juan
de Fuca.
And John Dowglas being well acquainted with me before, he
gave me knowledge of this Greeke Pilot, and brought him to
my speech: and in long talke and conference betweene us, in
presence of John Dowglas: this Greeke Pilot declared in the
Italian and Spanish languages, thus much in effect as followeth.
First he said, that he had bin in the West Indies of Spaine
by the space of fortie yeelres, and had sailed to and from
many places thereof, as Mariner and Pilot, in the service
of the Spaniards.
Also he said, that he was in the Spanish Shippe, which in
returning from the Hands, Philippinas and China, towards
Nova Spania, was robbed and taken at the Cape California,
by Captaine Candish Englishman, whereby he lost sixtie
thousand Duckets, of his owne goods.
Also he said, that he was Pilot of three small Ships which
the Vizeroy of Mexico sent from Mexico, armed with one m<
6 THE STRAITS  OF ANIAN
hundred men, Souldiers, under a Captain, Spaniards, to
discover the Straits of Anian, along the coast of the South
Sea,1 and to fortifie in that Strait, to resist the passage and
proceedings of the English Nation, which were feared to passe
through those Straits into the South Sea. And that by reason
of a mutinie which happened among the Souldiers, through
the [misconduct] of their Captaine, that Voyage was over-
throwne, and the Ships returned backe from California coast
to Nova Spania, without any effect of thing done in that
voyage. And that after their returne, the Captaine was at
Mexico punished by justice.
Also hee said, that shortly after the said Voyage was so ill
ended, the said Viceroy of Mexico, sent him out againe Anno
1592 with a small Caravela, and a Pinnace, armed with
Mariners onely, to follow the said Voyage, for a discovery of the
same Straits of Anian, and the passage thereof, into the Sea
which they call the North Sea, which is our North-west Sea.
And that he followed his course in that Voyage West and
North-west in the South Sea, all alongst the coast of Nova
Spania, and California, and the Indies, now called North
America. (All which Voyage hee signified to me in a great
Map, and a Sea-card of mine owne, which I laied before him)
vntill hee came to the Latitude of fortie seuen degrees, and
that there finding that the Land trended North and Northeast, with a broad Inlet of Sea, between 47. and 48. degrees
of Latitude: hee entred thereinto, sayling therein more than
twentie dayes, and found that Land trending still sometime
North-west and North-east, and North, and also East and
South-eastward, and very much broader Sea then was at the
said entrance, and that hee passed by divers Hands in that
sayling. And that at the entrance of this said Strait, there is
on the North-west coast thereof, a great Hedland or Hand,
with an exceeding high Pinacle, or spired Rocke, like a
piller thereupon.
Also he said, that he went on Land in diuers places, and
that he saw some people on Land, clad in Beasts skins: and
that the land is very fruitful!, and rich of Gold, Silver, Pearle,
and other things, like Nova Spania.
And also he said, that he being entred thus farre into the
said Strait, and being come into the North Sea already, and
finding the Sea wide enough euerywhere, and to be about
1 The Pacific. JUAN DE FUCA 7
thirtie or fortie leagues wide in the mouth of the Straits,
where hee entred; hee thought he had now well discharged
his office, and done the thing which he was sent to doe: and
that hee not being armed to resist the force of the Salvage
people that might happen, hee therefore set sayle and returned
homewards again towards Nova Spania, where hee arrived at
Acapulco, Anno 1592, hoping to be rewarded greatly of the
Viceroy, for this service done in this said Voyage.
Also he said, that after his comming to Mexico, hee was
greatly welcommed by the Viceroy, and had great promises of
great reward, but that having sued there two yeares time, and
obtained nothing to his content, the Viceroy told him, that he
should be rewarded in Spaine of the King himselfe very
greatly, and willed him therefore to goe into Spaine which
Voyage hee did performe.
The account continues the story of how de Fuca came
to Spain; that he was welcomed at Court with many
pleasant words, but that no material reward could be
secured. Accordingly he "stole away out of Spaine" and
journeyed through Italy on his way to Cephalonia, where
he desired to spend the remainder of his days, "he being
very old." And now we come to the crux of the matter.
Because the Spaniards had treated him so cavalierly and
slighted his just demands,
. . . and understanding of the noble minde of the Queene
of England, and of her warres maintayned so valiantly
against the Spaniards, and hoping that her Majestie would
doe him justice for his goods lost by Captaine Candish, he
would be content to goe into England, and serve her Majestie
in that voyage for the discoverie perfectly of the North-west
passage into the South Sea, and would put his life into her
Majesties hands to performe the same, if shee would furnish
him with onely one ship of fortie tunnes burden and a Pinnace,
and that he would performe it in thirtie dayes time, from one
end to the other of the Streights, And he willed me1 so to
write into England.
Accordingly Lok wrote to the Lord Treasurer Cecil, to
Sir Walter Raleigh, and to Master Richard Hakluyt.   He
1 Michael Lok.
 >- 8
THE STRAITS OF ANIAN
prayed that these gentlemen would 1 disburse one hundred
pounds of money, to bring him into England with myself,
for that my owne purse would not stretch so wide at that
time." Lok heard that the idea met with favour but that
the money was not to be had. In the meantime the pilot
had journeyed on to his countrymen in Cephalonia.
In July, Lok about made up his mind to return to England. Thinking that he could possibly afford to take de
Fuca with him, he wrote to the old man and in November
received a reply. Other letters followed back and forth
all of the same tenor. De Fuca was willing to go at any
time, if Lok would send him the money to make the
journey. Apparently Lok was not able to do so and there
the matter rested till 1602, when no reply was received
from the last letter sent, and the old pilot was supposed
to have died.
This is all that is known of de Fuca. Diligent search
among the voluminous Spanish Archives and in all that
relates to Mexican affairs of that date (1592) fails to find
any reference, either to the expedition de Fuca claimed
to have made, or to the pilot himself. That he was a pilot
on the Mexican and Californian coasts there is no need to
doubt. He may even have made the voyage across the
Pacific to the Philippines and back. But that he ever saw
the strait which to-day bears his name is seriously held
in doubt by modern historians. It is a curious fact, not
without its droll humour, that John Meares in 1788 should
have been one of the first to affix de Fuca's name to the
strait to the north of Cape Flattery, for Meares was
himself a prevaricator of most magnificent proportions.
Now let us try to put ourselves back into the days of
1600, and examine the conditions which made such statements possible of belief. The art of shipbuilding was in
its infancy; not only were the vessels of rude construction,
but their fines were poor. They were indifferent sailers,
and there was a tendency to build a high unwieldy stern,
which did not help the sailing qualities.   Voyages in such JUAN DE FUCA
vessels were slow and uncertain. If the coast along which
they voyaged proved barren, if harbourage could not be
found, if storms drove them out to seek safety in the open
sea, then the water supply would fail, the health of the
crews would give way, and the dread scurvy would appear.
Thus would the voyage be cut short, a return must be made,
and the whole purpose of an expensive expedition set at
—■.
AN ELIZABETHAN GALLEON OF THE TYPE OF  THE GOLDEN HIND
From the Armada Section of the Naval History  Portfolio
(British Museum).
naught. What a temptation then to invent a few stories
to indicate that something had been accomplished in return
for the cost of the venture! Then, too, the art of finding
the latitude and longitude of places, or of a vessel's station
at any given time, was but rudely developed. The instruments in use were crude, the results often from a degree
to five degrees out. So that to-day in trying to locate just
where some old navigator made a landfall, we are often
sadly at a loss where to place his cape or bay.   Within a 10
THE STRAITS OF ANIAN
hundred miles of coast there may be several similar
promontories—mere verbal description does not always
satisfy by any means. The charts themselves varied as
greatly as the tales and records brought home by the sailor
men. What was once correctly delineated, as in 1550, has
been known to be incorrectly shown on a chart of 1650.
What wonder, then, if in an age of world discovery, in
an age when colonial empires were rising on the vaguely
delineated shores of two great continental masses each
larger than Europe itself—what wonder if a few should
trade upon the ignorance of the stay-at-homes and seek
to make capital out of fantastic lies? And especially were
perfectly honest men likely to be led astray by reasoning
upon insufficient data. It was accepted as a fact, for instance, that since a passage had been found around South
America by way of Cape Horn, that therefore a similar
passage must prevail around North America in order that
the tides and currents and circulation in the several oceans
might be properly maintained! It remained but to find
this passage. Then would the English, Dutch, or French
have a short and easy route to the Indies, then would
Spain and Portugal meet a greater challenge than ever
before. It was just as much to the interests of the Spanish
to prevent such a measure if possible. But as decade after
decade passed away and still the expected passageway
could not be found, Spain was lulled to sleep in her secure
possession of almost the whole of South America, all of
Central America and the Pacific coast of North America,
far into the misty north. Spain ceased to explore, and
settled down into a decadent and satisfied middle age;
from 1600 to 1774 she rested, passive, mighty, opulent,
and apparently secure.
We shall learn in a little, how, towards the beginning
of the eighteenth century, the Russians awoke to their
Siberian possibilities and, under the urge of Peter the
Great, set in motion the designs which gave them a firm
foothold on what is now Alaska;   and how their daring JUAN DE FUCA n
traders pushed their way farther along the Alaskan Peninsula until the success of their operations awoke the Spanish
government to renewed activity. But all too late. Not
only did Captain Cook chart the unknown coast from
forty-three degrees to the Arctic Ocean, but the hungry
fur traders of other nations began to infest the western
shores of America, exploring, charting, trading, giving to
the world the bits of their knowledge. Spain was forced
to act in very self-defence. The outcome was the celebrated Nootka affair, the virtual elimination of Spain
and the arrival of two lusty contenders—Britain and
the United States. CHAPTER II
HOW THE RUSSIANS CROSSED SIBERIA
A tale of Cossack daring and brutality.
From the days of Drake (1579) and of the Juan de Fuca myth
(1592) the western coast of America north of the California peninsula remained an unexplored, uncharted waste bordering an equally
unknown Pacific Ocean, down to the day of Vitus Bering (1725-
1741). Instead of a gradual northward expansion by Spain, or
failing that, a leap westward by the French of the St. Lawrence and
Great Lake region, we have the strange spectacle of a self-taught
Russian potentate setting in motion the forces which should first
solve the mystery of the North Pacific.
It will therefore be in order to present this phase of the exploration by a short account of the Russian development of Siberia, and
then recount the voyages of Bering and ChirikofE.
Eight years before the famed Armada entered the English
Channel to sweep the hated English from the seas, Yermac,
the Cossack, with five thousand followers crossed the Urals.
He encamped at Tchingi, a small town on the banks of
the Tura. There he mustered his troops, but found his
army considerably reduced, for "part had been exhausted
by fatigue, part carried off by sickness and part cut off in
skirmishes with the Tartars." With a bare fifteen hundred
effective men at his command, Yermac boldly advanced
against Kutchum Chan. And the Tartar prince, having
made every preparation to resist the invader, resolved
to defend his crown to the last extremity.
For in those days Siberia was partly divided among a
number of separate princes, and partly inhabited by tribes
of independent Tartars. Kutchum Chan ruled over that
tract of country which stretched from the banks of the
Irtish and Obi to those of the Tobol and Tura.   And who
12 HOW RUSSIANS CROSSED SIBERIA   13
was Yermac ? A fugitive Cossack of the Don, who for years
had terrorised the province of Astrakan and the trade
route across the Caspian Sea. But Tsar Ivan Vassihevitch
in 1577 sent a large force to these regions, and, as the tale
is told, "part were slain, part made prisoners, and the
rest escaped by flight." Retiring northward through the
province of Kasan, Yermac and his band next appeared
at Orel, on the banks of the Kama, where an outpost
Russian settlement was located. There the finger of fate
lured him over the Urals, and down to conquest in the
Tartar Kingdom of the Obi.
Battle was joined on the banks of the Irtish, near the
confluence of the Tobol with that stream. The Tartars,
although superior in numbers, were routed, and Kutchum
Chan escaped with difficulty, so complete was the victory,
and Yermac, pressing hard upon the heels of the flying
foe, marched without delay to Sibir, the residence of the
Tartar prince. But the news of the defeat had sped before
him, and, making triumphal entry, this erstwhile outlaw
Cossack of the Don seated himself upon the throne without
the least opposition.
With no reinforcements to recruit his dwindling forces,
Yermac soon perceived the growing insecurity of his
position. He therefore decided to tender his newly-won
domain to the Tsar at Moscow. An ambassador was despatched with a tale of all that had happened, and a present
of the choicest and most valuable furs. Arriving at Moscow,
he was received with every mark of satisfaction; service
was held in the cathedral; Yermac and his followers were
pardoned, and presents were in turn sent to all who had
taken part in the enterprise. To Yermac the Tsar Ivan
sent a fur robe which His Royal Highness had worn,
"and which was the greatest mark of distinction that
could be conferred upon a subject." Five hundred Russian
soldiers were also sent as reinforcements under Prince
Balkosky, and the conquest of Siberia had begun in earnest.
At the junction of the Tobol and the Irtish a fortified 5SBSS
14
HOW THE RUSSIANS
^
post or Ostrog was built and Tobolsk became in time the
metropolis of all that region. The same process was repeated
on the Obi, and Tomsk was constructed to dominate the
upper valley of that great Arctic river. By ascending
any one of a dozen eastern tributaries it was found that a
low irregular height of land separated them from streams
flowing to the West. There Yeniseisk was established,
and the disunited Tartar tribes forced to pay tribute.
Ever eastward the course of empire held its way; by 1630
the steady Russian penetration of Siberia had reached the
Lena. First Irkutsk, then a few years later Yakutsk, were
built, and the third great Arctic river valley of Northern
Asia was added to the Tsar's eastern empire. Within ten
years hardy spirits voyaged up the Aldan, then up the
Maya. Now on horseback and snowshoes across the
Stanovoi Range they made their way by the rugged
Yudomskaya Krest. Here a boiling mountain torrent,
the Urak, led them to the sea, and Okhotsk Ostrog arose
amid the sand dunes and beach stones. The great continent
had been mastered by 1640.
No similar feat is known to history. By the middle of
the seventeenth century no white man had penetrated
even half-way across what is now Canada or the United
States. Montreal, the product of Maisonneuve's daring,
eked out a precarious existence subject to constant Iroquois
attack. The New England colonies were just taking root,
and Virginia felt no need of crossing the Alleghanies in
quest of land or adventure.
For the ensuing hundred years the story of Siberia is
the story of the trade in sables. What had been so dashingly won was as gallantly held; not for purposes of settlement, nor that mines, fisheries and timber resources might
be developed, but that each year a great rich caravan of
furs might wend its way to Moscow, the governing centre
of that vast new territory. Within general terms the
Siberian fur trade was conducted as a state monopoly
from Moscow, with the beautiful sable the standard of CROSSED SIBERIA
15
exchange. Over each province was a voivode or chief
factor, who was an employe of the state, and supposed
to carefully guard its interests in the collection of the rich
fur harvest from the territory under his control. But the
value of his trust, the distance from the centre of control,
and the lawlessness of the times proved too much for the
average voivode, whose sole endeavour seemed to be to
increase the returns brought in by each prikaschik, not
that he might win golden opinions from his Tsar, but that
he might sequester yearly a larger amount for himself,
and thus retire at the end of his term a man of wealth
and substance.
The mode of operation of this far-flung government
monopoly may have still further perverted the morals of
those engaged in it. Instead of barges carrying articles
of trade with which to entice the Yakuts and Tunguses to
part with their furs, we would find good store of arms and
ammunition, and food supplies for the semi-military posts
scattered along the great rivers of the north. In the province of which Yakutsk was the commercial centre there
were, in the year 1675, some twenty-five stations, many
of them hundreds of miles from the governing centre on
the banks of the Lena. Upon each tribe adjacent to the
station a tribute was laid, and each year at agreed time and
place the natives gathered for this purpose. If tribute
was refused, then war was declared, and the recalcitrant
band exterminated. It was also the custom to demand
hostages, not only to secure the prompt payment of tribute
but to act as some safeguard against sudden attack and
destruction from an outraged people. What furs remained
after the tribute had been paid were secured in the usual
way of barter.
Such a system based upon the ever-ready appeal to force
could not but still further brutalise those who employed
it, and a mutiny at some far-off station was not uncommon;
a marauding band of deserting Cossacks would sometimes
terrorise a whole river valley until in the course of time ■^yit; ;^iSU^ttiffii38irett*&aB»««q^
1
1
16 HOW THE  RUSSIANS
failing ammunition, disease, and mutual jealousies drove
the survivors to the nearest agent for pardon and reinstatement. Roads, bridges, settlements, there were none.
The great river systems of the Obi, Yenisei, and Lena,
with their thousands of lateral tributaries, provided an
almost continuous system of waterways from the Stanovoi
Mountains to the Urals. Rafts, barges and long partly
decked boats or "koshi" were quickly constructed from
the adjacent forests. Hastily constructed, they were as
quickly discarded once their purpose had been served.
Instead of the picturesque Indian of the Great Lakes in
his birch-bark canoe, we see in those far-off Siberian days
surly Yukagirs ground down under the merciless heel of
a Cossack jack-boot. No staid Hudson's Bay Company
ever entered Siberia to supply the natives with their
hearts' desire in trinkets or with fowling-piece and trap,
that the valuable peltries might be the more readily secured.
In addition to his routine duties, an agent would occasionally construct a rude map of the district surrounding
his post. These drawings were for years the only means of
gaining any idea of the general contour of the country.
One of these men, Michaelo Staduchin, rose above the
ordinary level of his compatriots through his bold and
adventurous journeys along the frozen Arctic shore of
the continent. In 1644 he discovered and explored the
Kolyma River, and five years later Deshnef led a party
of hunters to the Anadyr.
There the Russians came in contact with the warlike
Chukchees who inhabited this far north-eastern corner
of Asia. But the severity of the climate, added to the
hostility of the natives, long prevented exploration of the
peninsula between the mouths of the Kolyma and Anadyr.
It became in time a terra incognita, and around it grew
up a mass of guess-work and fable usual to those times.
Geographers became more and more curious about the
northern extent of Asia, and equally curious were they
regarding its eastern extent.    Did Siberia connect with CROSSED SIBERIA
17
America, or did a great wide sea exist between them?
In the year 1700 no one knew. No exploration had been
made of the coast of North America beyond Cape Blanco,
nor had adventurers pushing westward advanced much
beyond Lake Superior and the line of the Mississippi.
In the light of exploration westward across America
by either French or English, the rapidity with which the
Russians overran Siberia during the seventeenth century
is little short of marvellous. In fact the exploitation of the
Siberian fur trade antedates its North American counterpart by a clear hundred years. But there the comparison
ceases to weigh against us, and nothing in later Siberian
history compares with the marvellous Anglo-Saxon development of the resources of North America from 1750 to 1850.
nun CHAPTER III
VITUS BERING
1681-I74I
How he crossed Siberia and voyaged to the Arctic.
The story of Bering is the concluding chapter to the Russian
exploration and conquest of Northern Asia. It is a tale of vast
spaces, of wind-swept wastes, of frozen tundra and of tossing
seas. Again, it is a tale of bearded men, toiling with heavy
loads over the rocky ledges of a frozen mountain torrent.
Betimes the scene will change; it is summer, and all is bustle
and preparation as the bags of flour are tumbled into the rude
koshi. Down the main river, up a branching tributary, ever
eastward, the voyagers strain to far Yakutsk or even to
remote wind-swept Kamchatka. Shall they find what there
they seek? Mayhap 'twill be a grave in some lonely isle far
from the ken of human kind. No friendly chart to guide them
on their way, they can but face the dangers boldly and trust
as blindly to a safe return.
The time now drew near for the solution of the question
as to the juncture of Asia and America, and of many
another fable which had grown up around the seas to the
south of Kamchatka. The remarkable reign of Peter the
Great was drawing to a close, but the restless mind of the
Tsar continued to plan arid put into execution great projects for the glory and advancement of his empire. In 1719
he had sent Luzhin and Yevreinof across Siberia with secret
instructions to explore certain of the northern Kurile
Islands. A boat had been built at Okhotsk and these
navigators had ventured as far south as the fifth island of
the Kurile group, but, losing their anchors in a storm, they
had returned. No attempt had been made to carry out
certain instructions to explore the Kamchatkan coast
northward, to ascertain a possible juncture with America.
18 VOYAGE TO THE ARCTIC 19
Upon the submission of their report, the Tsar determined upon an expedition which should finally settle the
geographical extent of his dominions eastward and northward. If a sea separated the two continents, then it might
be possible, he thought, to establish a trade route through
the Arctic, round north-eastern Siberia, and down the coast
to Japan and China. English and Dutch attempts to find
a sirnilar route to the northward of America had come to
naught; where they had failed the Russians might succeed,
and thus win both honour and profit for their empire.
As best fitted to carry out the undertaking, Peter chose
a captain from his navy, that navy upon which so much
of the great ruler's time and energy had been expended.
When all others failed him, surely this creation of his own
heart and brain would not falter. Vitus Bering, to whom
this signal honour was given, was then in his forty-fourth
year. Although a Dane by birth, he had entered the
Russian Navy as a sub-lieutenant at the age of twenty-two.
He steadily rose in the service and early won the confidence
of his superiors by his energy, foresight, and excellent
seamanship. At twenty-six a full lieutenant, three years
later a lieutenant-captain, 1710 found him serving in the
Black Sea squadron. There he distinguished himself in a
dash through the Dardanelles, bringing his ship safely
around to the rendezvous in the Baltic. By 1720 he had
risen to a captaincy of the second rank, "and took part
until peace was concluded,1 in the various manoeuvres in
the Baltic under the command of Gordon and Apraxin."
Owing to the failing health of the Tsar, the assembling
and outfitting of the expedition was turned over to the
Admiralty, which was at that time controlled by Count
Apraxin. Bering received written instructions from the
Emperor substantially as follows:
I. At Kamchatka or somewhere else two decked boats are
to be built.   II. With these you are to sail northward along
1 Peace of Nystad, 1721. 20
VITUS  BERING
the coast, and as the end of the coast is not known this land
is undoubtedly America. III. For this reason you are to
inquire where the American coast begins, and go to some
European colony; and when European ships are seen you
are to ask what the coast is called, note it down, make a
landing, obtain reliable information, and then, after having
charted the coast, return.
Bering was given as his lieutenants Martin Spangberg
and Alexei Chirikoff. In this he was fortunate. Both men
proved to be capable, trustworthy officers, and the latter,
Chirikoff, has been spoken of as the brains of the Russian
navy. Subordinate officers as well as sailors, carpenters,
and mechanics were commissioned in St. Petersburg, and
left the capital in charge of Chirikoff, 24th January, 1725.
It was the dead of winter, and the snow, instead of impeding
the venture, but lent speed to the flying hoofs of the shaggy
ponies as the great sleigh-loads of supplies were rushed
eastward on the long journey to the Pacific.
On the 28th the Tsar died. The master mind that had
so boldly planned for his loved country was now at rest,
and it speaks well for the organisation which he had gathered
together that the Kamchatkan expedition suffered no
delay in its initial stages. The remainder of the party
under the command of Bering left the capital on the fifth
of the ensuing month. They overtook the advance guard
on the fourteenth and by the middle of March all had arrived
at Tobolsk. After a rest of several weeks, during which
boats and barges were collected and stores of food replenished, the command embarked on the Irtish. Down to
the junction with the Obi, then up that river to the Ketya,
they followed the latter eastward to Makofska Ostrog.
Here a portage of about forty-five miles brought them
to the Yenisei.
Two months had been passed since leaving Tobolsk.
Spring had given way to summer, the hills and dales were
clothed once again in a resplendent green to delight the
eye of the casual visitor in these vast unfrequented spaces. ^a£2? 22
VITUS BERING
Entering the Tunguska, the great eastern tributary of
the Yenisei, their course was ever against the stream,
making progress slow and wearisome, while the lessening
water in August exposed many a rock to the frail prows
of their hastily constructed boats. The last of September
found Bering and his party at Ilenisk, where it was decided
to go into winter quarters.
During the winter of 1725-26 preparations were actively
carried on for the next season's advance. Spangberg and
thirty men were despatched overland to the Kut, a tributary of the Lena, and there "fourteen lodkas and eighteen
good sized barges were built." Bering visited Irkutsk
and made himself thoroughly conversant with the nature
of the task that lay before him. With the opening of
navigation in May the expedition set out upon the broad
waters of the Lena. Yakutsk was reached in June. The
capital of Eastern Siberia at that time boasted three hundred houses and represented the last considerable outpost
of Russian occupation. It must form the base of supply
for the new and dreaded journey across the Stanovoi
Range to Okhotsk.
Bering now divided his command into three sections,
one under each lieutenant, and the third under the command of the leader himself. Spangberg got away on the
7th of July with two hundred and four men in thirteen
boats. To him were given the heavy supplies destined
for the shipbuilding operations which must be undertaken
at Okhotsk. His route was down the Lena to the Aldan,
then up this river to the Maya, then up the Yudoma",
through a pass in the mountains, Yudomskaya Krest,
to the Urak, and down this river to the sea. For the larger
part of the way the boats must make progress against
the current. They were late in starting, for winter comes
early within latitude 6o° north; and the fact that these
men ever reached Okhotsk is due entirely to the pluck
and obstinate courage of Spangberg himself.
Bering was the first to reach Okhotsk.   Travelling over- VOYAGE TO THE ARCTIC
23
land with two hundred pack horses, he covered the six
hundred and eighty-five miles in forty-five days, and
arrived at his destination on the 1st of October, 1726.' But
here new difficulties met him. The eleven huts which
comprised the town were already occupied by Russian
fishermen, winter was approaching, and shelter must be
secured. All went to work with a will, and soon rows of
log shanties began to take form to the noise of hammer,
axe and saw. December found them housed, and with a
ship on the stocks nearing completion.
On the 21st of December a messenger from Spangberg
brought news of that leader's dangerous plight. Winter
had descended on his convoy while yet over two hundred
and fifty miles west of the Krest. Leaving the rafts and
the bulk of the provisions under guard at the junction of
the Yorbovaya and the Yudoma, Spangberg and his men,
"with what provisions they could take with them on hand-
sleds, started out for Okhotsk on foot. Meanwhile, the
severity of the winter increased, the mercury congealed,
and the snow was soon six feet deep. This forced them to
leave their sleds, and for eight full weeks after the 4th of
November these travellers sought shelter every night in the
snow of Siberia, wrapped in all the furs they could possibly
get hold of." Their provisions gave out, and but for
the accidental discovery of Bering's trail, all would have
perished. The frozen flesh from dead horses and stray bags
of abandoned flour sufficed to maintain their strength for
the last lap of this terrible journey to the sea. Bering had
meanwhile despatched forty-seven sledges to their relief,
and on the 6th of January, 1727, Spangberg was given a
warm welcome in the newly-erected houses by the sea.
With the return of spring, work was resumed on the
ship Fortuna, which was successfully launched on 8th June.
In addition an old vessel, built some years before by the
tribute gatherers, was secured and repaired. The summer
was spent moving the collection of stores at Okhotsk
across the sea to the mouth of the Bolshoya River, in
c
V 24
VITUS BERING
BSE
South-western Kamchatka, a distance of another six
hundred and fifty miles. As shallow water prevented a
near approach to the beach, the work of unloading proved
to be long and laborious. It had been the intention to
transport all the supplies and material that fall to the lower
Kamchatka Ostrog by way of the Bolshoya and Bistraya,
thence across a portage to the Kamchatka, and down that
river to the sea. In the estuary Bering planned to build
a vessel in which to prosecute his exploration northward,
according to the instructions he had received.
Accordingly, early in the summer, shipwrights had been
despatched overland to the lower Kamchatka to begin
the construction of the ship. But when the main party
were ready to begin ascent of the Bolshoya in September,
the low water made navigation, even in small boats, impossible, and the attempt was abandoned. So perforce
everything must wait for sledge transport. Then Bering
and his command struggled on through the winter snows
and intense cold of this inhospitable region, a distance of
five hundred and eighty-five miles. For time was pressing.
Three years had elapsed, no voyage of discovery had as
yet taken place, and the expense to the government had
been large: they were now far from Yakutsk, their base
of supplies:   all felt the need of haste.
A much easier and more rapid route would have been
secured had the Fortuna sailed to the mouth of the Kamchatka by way of Cape Lopatka. But Bering subsequently
justified his choice of the long and tedious overland route
across the peninsula "by saying that he chose the harder
course for fear an accident might happen if he came all
the way by water." In the fight of subsequent voyages,
his judgment in this case was seriously at fault, but in
the year 1727 the voyage to the south of Cape Lopatka
was an almost untried route, and Bering was no doubt
strongly opposed to any venturesome course with his
precious supplies so far from any base of renewal.
The new vessel,  the Gabriel, was launched in June, VOYAGE TO THE ARCTIC
25
and measured sixty feet in length, with a beam of twenty
feet. The vast amount of labour involved is not indicated
in that simple statement. Let it be understood that the
ironwork absolutely necessary for the construction of a
ship of that size, as well as canvas for the sails, and the rope
for the rigging and anchor cables, all had been freighted
by boat along the tortuous Siberian riverways. Again,
as has been described, long hauls on sledges had been
found necessary over hundreds of miles of wind-swept
tundra or by rocky mountain gorge. And finally, when
these very necessary articles had arrived at Kamchatka,
trees had to be felled, squared or sawn into the proper
shape by hand, and the frame sheathed with half-
seasoned planking. The tar for the cordage and caulking
of the seams was also prepared from the trees of the
near-by forest, and with an entire absence of the proper
facilities for its manufacture it proved to be a most
tedious operation.
At length the little Gabriel stood ready to put to sea.
Provisions were securely stowed in the hold, and the crew
clambered on board to the cheers of their friends on shore.
Anchor was weighed on 13th July, and the long-awaited
voyage of adventure had begun. The cape at the mouth
of the river was rounded the next day, and with a fair
breeze a course was laid to the northward with the rugged
shore-line of the peninsula standing out bold and clear
to the westward.
Without particular adventure, day followed day with
much the same tale to recount. A week brought them to
the parallel of 6o°; on the 27th, Cape St. Thaddeus was
sighted. Rain and fog delayed their progress the next
day, and on the 30th an abortive attempt was made to
secure anchorage and fresh water. The voyage continued
with days of calm alternating with fog, rain and wind.
Holy Cross Bay was skirted, but no anchorage could be
found along its desolate shore; then two days later, 6th
August, Transfiguration Bay was discovered.   Here fresh 26
VITUS BERING
water was secured, and an abandoned dwelling of the
Chuckchees was seen.
The next day, still skirting the shore, the sailors spied
some natives in a boat rowing out to the vessel. Nothing
that the Russians could offer sufficed to entice the wary
Chuckchees near the ship, but at a safe distance they continued to gaze in astonishment at this, to them, monstrous
wooden shape. At last, one bolder than his fellows jumped
into the sea, and with the aid of two inflated bladders
swam to the ship. By the aid of Koriak interpreters,
the native informed the Russians that they had passed the
mouth of the Anadyr River: that his people knew of the
Russians, and had gone as far as the Kolyma on their deer
sleds, but never by water: that there was an island in the
sea on which dwelt some of their people, but knew of no
other islands or lands. Pleased with a few presents, the
swimmer made his way back to the boat, and the occupants
paddled back to the shore.
On the 9th our explorers doubled Cape Chukotski,
which Bering placed in latitude 640 18' north. Two days
later an island appeared to the eastward, to which Bering,
in honour of the day, gave the name of St. Lawrence. During
the 12th and 13th of August the Gabriel passed through
the strait, meeting head winds and cloudy weather. The
Siberian shore was kept in view, and no sign of land was
seen to the eastward. On the 14th, East Cape was passed
in latitude 66° 6' north. Here the Asiatic coast was seen
to swing abruptly to the west. On the 15th they were out
of sight of land, and the same northerly course was held
till the next day. Then in latitude 670 18' north the order
was given to turn the ship about.
No land had been seen to the eastward; for all he knew
the continent of America might be a thousand miles away:
no land was now to be seen to the northward, and the coast
of Siberia along which they had been cruising for the past
month had retreated to the westward, and was now out
of sight.    Bering concluded that he had carried out his VOYAGE TO THE ARCTIC
27
instructions,—Asia and America were not joined, but
evidently separated by some great arm of the Pacific.
To determine the exact position of the American continent
another voyage must be undertaken. The summer was
spent, soon stormy autumnal gales would be upon them,
and shipwreck upon such a coast was dangerous in the
extreme. In fact the weather broke a few days before
reaching Kamchatka, the sails were torn from their fastenings, the anchor cable broken, and the anchor lost. In view
of these very cogent and weighty reasons, a longer stay
in the Arctic seas was deemed perilous in the extreme,
and it was decided to return with what speed they could
to Kamchatka. It will always be a matter for regret that
a few days' sail to the westward were not attempted before
abandoning the voyage. That some risk was present in
such a course is not to be denied, and Bering's critics have
made the most out of this over-cautious side of the
commander's character.
On the return, while passing southward through the
strait, the island of St. Diomede was discovered and
named. At its narrowest point, the strait is only
thirty-nine miles in width, and on clear days it is quite
possible to see the low-lying American shore on the one
hand, and the more rugged Asiatic shore on the other.
But once again on the return southward cloudy weather
and heavy fogs prevailed, and no land was seen to eastward.
This was one of the heart-breaking tragedies so common
to all maritime exploration; a fog, a sudden storm, the
night descending, and an important river mouth is passed,
a long-sought inlet is missed, or, as in this case, the immediate proximity of a great continent is hidden from its
eager searchers.
On the homeward voyage the wind and sea so battered
and strained the Gabriel that the greatest care was needed
to reach the Kamchatka River mouth. During September
the vessel was hauled out near the fort, and the crew prepared
winter quarters.   There the winter of 1728-29 was passed. 28
VITUS BERING
During this time Bering became convinced of the
nearness of some large body of land to the eastward.
He noted that
The waves were more like those of a sea than of an ocean.
The driftwood did not indicate the flora of eastern Asia, and
the depth of the sea grew less toward the north; the east
wind brought drift ice to the mouth of the river after three
days, the north wind on the other hand, after five days. The
birds of passage came to Kamchatka from the east. The reports
of the natives corroborated his inferences. They declared that
... in the year i7r5 a man had stranded there, who said
that his native land was far to the east and had large rivers
and forests and very high trees. All this led Bering to believe
that a large country lay toward the north-east at no very
great distance.
Accordingly, a second attempt at exploration was made
in the summer of 1729. But three days out from port a
strong gale with heavy seas forced him to turn about. The
little Gabriel scudded before the storm, a south-west
course was taken, and, rounding Cape Lopatka, he touched
at Bolsheretsk on his way to Okhotsk. The observations for latitude and longitude taken on this short
voyage and the maps drawn therefrom gave to the world
the first accurate idea of the form and extent of the Kamchatkan peninsula. Added to this was the knowledge gained
of a safe southern passage from Okhotsk to Kamchatka
River mouth, which was to prove of great value in all
subsequent voyages and explorations, by avoiding the
long overland route from Bolsheretsk to lower Kamchatka Ostrog.
Bering now decided to return to St. Petersburg. Arrangements were made for the care of the vessels Gabriel and
Fortuna, and for the upkeep of the supply depots already
established. The remainder of the command then set out
upon their long return journey across Siberia. What must
have been the feelings of the hardy explorers when entering
Yakutsk after an absence of three years! How they would VOYAGE TO THE ARCTIC
29
tell of their trials, of their hair-breadth escapes from death
in a thousand forms; how eagerly would the inhabitants
of this far-flung outpost listen to their absorbing narratives!
There would be talk of Gama Land and other fabled and
mysterious continental masses lying out in these seas
beyond Kamchatka. There were fabled islands, too, with
great store of gold and silver for the fortunate finder.
But gradually the mists were being brushed aside. The
eighteenth century did much to clarify the world's geographical concepts. Bering on this his first expedition had
delineated for the first time the Kamchatkan peninsula,
and the coast of Asia to its most north-easterly cape. He
had proved that Asia and America were nowhere connected south of 670 north latitude, that open water extended
to the west north of Siberia as far as he could see, and that
the coast trended suddenly in that direction. A voyage
down the Lena to its mouth and thence eastward to
Kamchatka would of course prove this point.
With, as he thought, these pleasant tidings, the journey
across Siberia to St. Petersburg was undertaken. The 1st
March, 1730, found him in the capital, his reports ready
for delivery, and eagerly looking forward to re-union
with his family. Then followed a time of most intense
disappointment; certain academicians, Joseph Nicholas
d'Lisle, Gerhard F. Muller, and others, cast doubt upon
his maps and his conclusions. It is under such circumstances one most admires the sturdy honesty of Bering.
He refused to exaggerate his statements in support of
his discoveries, nor would he retract one inch from his
statement of. discovery made and charted. He even volunteered to lead an expedition again into these wilds, and by
a further exploration eastward from the mouths of the Obi
and Lena substantiate his conclusions as to the termination
of Siberia at East Cape and prove as well the untenable
position taken by his detractors—that Asia and America
were connected north of 670, the point where Bering had
turned homeward on that August day in 1728.
^£3 3<>
VITUS BERING
It seems to us at this distance laughable, as well as
tragic, that armchair professors who had never been east
of the Urals should have the conceit to attack Bering's
worth. It is unfortunate that these doubts cleverly cast
upon the labours of the great Dane have persisted even to
this day; have given rise to controversy and debate, even
to denial that he accomplished anything of note either on
this his first or on his second and last expedition. It is
of interest to observe that Captain Cook was one of the
first to assert Bering's greatness, and to perpetuate his
name by giving it to the strait between Asia and America.
A RUSSIAN SABLE
From a specimen in the Natural History Museum, London. CHAPTER IV
THE SECOND VOYAGE
Bering and Chirikoff cross the North Pacific.    They find America
and return.
But Bering found his new sovereign, Anna Ivanovna,
strongly in favour of further Siberian exploration. Even
the armchair professors caught the growing interest.
Learned disputations waxed long and furious. All available maps and plans were searched. Bering's delineation
of coast-line was compared and rejected by these and
accepted by others. Exploration suddenly became a craze,
a fashionable fad. So plans were laid for an expedition
greater than any ever before undertaken by a European
state. It was sought to dazzle Western Europe with the
magnitude of the undertaking, and little regard was
had for the unwieldy personnel which was required. -
Three main fines of exploration were to be followed out.
The northern coast of Siberia from the mouth of the Obi
around to Kamchatka was to be explored and charted.
The North American coast was to be sought and explored
as far south as the Spanish possessions in Mexico. And
the Asiatic coast from Kamchatka to Japan was also to
be visited and charted. Added to this were instructions
"to supply Okhotsk with more inhabitants, to introduce
cattle-raising on the Pacific coast, to found schools in
Okhotsk for both elementary and nautical instruction,
to establish a dockyard in this out-of-the-way corner, to
transport men and horses to Yudomskaya Krest, and to
establish ironworks at Yakutsk and other places." As if
this were not enough, a scientific exploration wing was
added to the expedition. There were geographers, and map
31 32
BERING AND CHIRIKOFF
1
makers, those who were to study the flora, others to observe
the fauna, of the great Siberian domain and report their
findings. But these men could not bear to be separated
from their families—then, the families could accompany
them, so ran the beneficent royal order. Hundreds of men
were employed in moving by successive stages this part
of the expedition alone. As might be expected, this part
of the expedition accomplished very little, except in the
way of piling up expense and halting the progress of that
section whose ultimate goal was Kamchatka and the
discovery of the North American coast.
To Bering was entrusted the command of the whole
affair. With renewed courage and unbounded patience
he set himself to the task. And a most thankless one it
proved to be.
A year of planning and gathering of material and the
huge unwieldy expedition was in some sense ready to start
from St. Petersburg. Bering had as captains directly under
him the same Spangberg and Chirikoff, " eight lieutenants,
sixteen mates, twelve physicians, seven priests," and
various soldiers and sailors; altogether about five hundred
and seventy men. Spangberg set out in February with
shipwrights and carpenters for Okhotsk. They took with
them the supplies necessary for their purpose. Bering
followed with the main body in March, bound for Tobolsk.
There a boat named the Tobol was constructed, and
launched on 2nd May, 1734. In a fortnight all was in
readiness, and under the command of Lieutenant Ofzyn
set sail down the Irtish for exploration and survey work
eastward from the mouth of the Obi.
Bering then moved the remainder of the expedition to
Yakutsk, which was to be the far-western base of operations. Shipbuilding was again undertaken, and two fair-
sized vessels were constructed. By June of 1735 these
were ready to descend to the mouth of the Lena. The sloop
Yakutsk was to sail westward to the mouth of the Yenisei,
the Irkutsk was   to   sail  eastward,  and,   rounding  the THE SECOND VOYAGE
33
north-east part of Siberia, sail down to Kamchatka. The
beginning of July found these expeditions under way. Two
years had passed since Bering had left St. Petersburg,
and although he had spared no efforts much remained
to be done.
It is nearly seven hundred miles from Yakutsk to
Okhotsk, and to transport the heavy supplies of cordage,
chain, iron spikes, and nails for the shipbuilding, as well
as the tools used in such construction, barges must be used.
Three years were required for a convoy of such material
to reach the coast; the suffering and hardships on the
way were most exacting. To the indomitable pluck and
steady perseverance of the commander we owe it that all
these difficulties were overcome, and that, in the summer
of 1737, the main force of the expedition was once again
gathered at Okhotsk.
But food supplies were exasperatingly slow in coming
over the mountains from Yakutsk; Bering was unable to
keep his full force of men at work, and frequently had to
send bands of them off on hunting and fishing expeditions
in order to lessen the demands upon the scanty food supply
at his base. The cost to the government had (1738) reached
the immense sum of three hundred thousand roubles, and
letters of complaint, admonition and warning came through
to Bering by every post. To a man already worn down
by the executive responsibilities connected with such an
immense undertaking, the policy of complaint adopted by
the home government could but tend to drive another
than a Bering to despair.
Every energy was now concentrated on the building of
two vessels, "with the result that by June, 1740, two ships
were launched. Each measured eighty by twenty by nine
feet, brig-rigged, two masts, and bearing fourteen small
cannon. On 4th September, the St. Peter and the St. Paul,
accompanied by two others carrying provisions, left
Okhotsk." Crossing the sea to Bolsheretsk, the two freight
boats were left because Bering feared for their safety
-*—
L-dB&S? 34
BERING AND CHIRIKOFF
while the two ships proceeded around the southern end
of Kamchatka and entered the new harbour of Avatcha
on 6th October. Here the expedition wintered, while
the supplies were brought overland from the mouth of
the Bolshoya. In the spring two scientists joined the
expedition, the astronomer Delisle de la Croyere and
Steller, a naturalist.
Bering took command of the St. Peter, Chirikoff the St.
Paul. On board the former was Steller, signed as naturalist
and surgeon, and it is due to his pen that we have such a
vivid account of this ill-fated expedition. The total complement of each ship amounted to seventy-six persons.
All was in readiness the latter part of May, but a favourable
wind was not secured till 4th June, 1741, when the order
to proceed was given. The course was south-east in an
endeavour to discover, if possible, the Gama Land reported
by the Dutch to have been seen in that direction. By the
12th the boats had reached the latitude of 460 09' north
latitude, with, of course, no land in sight.
It was now decided to give up this vain pursuit and
change course to east by north, striking across the Pacific
to locate the western shore of North America. Up to the
20th all went well; then stormy weather was encountered
and the ships became separated. Although both the
commander and Chirikoff spent several precious summer
days in an effort to rejoin one another, their efforts were of
no avail. Left to his own devices it must be remarked
that Chirikoff displayed unusual resource and decision.
Giving up the fruitless search for the St. Peter, on the
23rd a general easterly course was pursued: day followed
night.with monotonous regularity in the waste of waters
that make up the bosom of the broad Pacific. Three weeks
had passed since parting from their consort: it was
now July, and signs of land gladdened their hearts; driftwood, seals, wild ducks and other aquatic birds which were
never found far from land. On the 15th land was seen in
latitude 550 21/ north  (between Capes Addington and THE SECOND VOYAGE
35
Bartholomew of Vancouver's map). Skirting the shore
toward the north, harbourage was eagerly sought, but
everywhere the rocky coast presented a bold and rugged
appearance. High mountains, snow-capped and gored
with the winter's avalanche, assured the weary voyagers
that this was no island but the solid bulwark of the long-
sought continent of North America. At last on the 17th
the St. Paul was anchored at what appeared to be the
entrance of a bay in latitude about 580 north (Latuya
Bay of La Perouse). The pilot, Dementief, with ten
armed sailors was ordered to take the large row-boat and
examine the opening; the water was running low and it
was very desirable that the empty casks be filled at the
first opportunity. Approaching the land, the boat was soon
lost to sight behind a projecting bluff. After several days
of waiting for the return of Dementief, the captain decided
to send the boatswain in charge of the remaining boat in
search of the missing men. He too entered the channel
to the bay and was lost to view of those on the St. Paul.
Smoke from fires within the bay could be seen from the
ship, but no sign of the unfortunate Russian sailors. Now
ensued another period of anxious watching; but all in
vain: they remain to this day one of the mysteries of that
coast. Whether set upon and murdered by the natives
or drowned in the dangerous tide rips of the treacherous
entrance we know not. The sea keeps well her secrets.
On the 26th a council was held aboard ship. With both
boats lost it was now impossible to make a landing, obtain
water or collect wood. It was therefore decided to run
for Kamchatka, which it was hoped to reach before their
dwindling supply of water gave out. The great overhanging
arc of the continent in these latitudes continually forced
them to. the southward. August passed with fog, and an
occasional gale, anon a glimpse of a snow-clad mountain
warned them of the proximity of the coast. During
September they passed by the Aleutian Islands. On the
9th they found themselves embayed, and while awaiting 36 BERING AND CHIRIKOFF
a favourable wind the Adakh islanders came off in their
kyaks to view with fearful curiosity this monstrous floating
house of wood. Ten days later the westernmost island of
all was passed, and the long journey to Avatcha was without
further incident other than the increasing illness of the
crew. The dread scurvy had made its appearance, as it
always did on these long voyages with the crew in cramped
quarters. It was further noted that lack of fresh drinking
water tended to greatly aggravate the distemper. During
the latter part of September nearly all the officers, including Chirikoff, were unable to leave their bunks, and when the
Kamchatkan coast was sighted on the 8th of October,
Yelogin the mate alone remained on deck. Two days later
the St. Paul entered the harbour of Petropavlovsk amid the
feeble rejoicings of the sick and decimated crew.
The astronomer, Croyere, who had for weeks been confined
to his berth, apparently keeping alive by the constant use
of strong liquor, asked to be taken ashore at once, but as
soon as he was exposed to the air on deck he fell and presently
expired.   Chirikoff, very ill, was landed at noon the same day.
We have traced thus far the remarkable trip of this
Russian navigator because to Chirikoff is due the honour
of first sighting the western coast of North America in
a latitude north of 460. He is accorded the further honour
of excellent seamanship in bringing his vessel safe to
port and escaping the rigors of a winter on the wild and
unknown coast of America. The reports of Croyere and
copies of the ship's journals were made up and forwarded
to St. Petersburg, where Chirikoff later appeared and was
received with due honour.
Let us follow the fortunes of the commander himself
and his ship the St. Peter. Sailing more to the north of
east than Chirikoff, Bering first sighted land on the 16th
of July in latitude 5 8° 14' north. " The lookout reported
a towering peak and a high chain of snow-covered mountains, without doubt Mount St. Elias, and the extending WF%
THE SECOND VOYAGE
37
range." Adverse winds prevented a closer inspection of
the coast until the 20th, when Kayak Island, some miles
to the westward, was discovered. Here anchorage was
secured under the lee shore in twenty-two fathoms.
It would seem from all accounts that every one on board
was delighted with the happy termination of their long
quest. No one doubted that the great snow-capped range
to the eastward was the coastal range of the great continent
of North America. Although their reckoning for latitude
was seven minutes over the mark and the longitude eight
degrees out of the way, still great credit is due to these
men, considering the instruments in use at that time.
The captain alone seemed oppressed with forebodings
of ill, and shrugged his shoulders in answer to his officers'
eager congratulations. Bering was already suffering from
the insidious scurvy, and seemed completely worn o*it by
his past fifteen years of hardship and privation. For some
days he had been confined to his bed and seemed unable
to share in the general delight of all that the search for the
continental shore had at last been crowned with success.
One account has it that
He had no enthusiasm or joy in life, and his depressing
spirit dampened what little ardour his men possessed. . . .
Later, in his cabin, in the presence of two of the men, he
expressed himself somewhat in the following manner:
I We think we have now discovered everything, but we do
not stop to think where we are, how far we are still from home,
and what may yet happen. Who knows but perhaps contrary
winds will come up and prevent us from returning? We do
not know this country, nor have we provisions enough for
wintering here."
It is unfortunately necessary to record the fact that
among the officers of the ship the best of friendliness did
not prevail. This is particularly true of Steller, the surgeon-
naturalist of the expedition. Although Bering had urged
him to join the expedition in the first place, he now treated
Steller with scant courtesy, and Steller W&S no whit behind 38
BERING AND CHIRIKOFF
pai
in his attitude to Bering. After repeated requests, Steller
was permitted to go ashore in one of the boats despatched
for fresh water. Accompanied by a fellow-student he made
the most of the few hours on shore to examine and collect
various plants, and, in a spot which the natives had
recently abandoned, he collected many interesting articles
of curious workmanship. In a sort of underground storehouse he found smoked salmon, bows and arrows, hand
drills for making fire, 1 and herbs dressed in a manner
customary with the Kamchatkans." These and other
articles led Steller to believe that Asia and America were
somewhere much more nearly united than their present
position would indicate, and that intercourse of a sort
existed between the natives of the two continents.
The larger boat under Lieutenant Khitroff had also been
busy with exploration of the several islands in the bay,
and similar objects of native manufacture had been secured.
As some return for their depredations, the Russians left
in one of the native houses an iron kettle, some tobacco,
a Chinese pipe, and a piece of silk. Repeated calls brought
the ardent naturalist aboard, thirsting for new adventures
on the morrow. But Bering had other plans. Rising
early, he found the wind favourable, and at once gave
orders to up anchor and away. His officers pleaded for
delay, both to explore the country they had come so far to
see, as well as to fill some twenty remaining water casks.
Steller added his note of angry protest. But Bering
was obdurate; he pointed out the lateness of the season,
their ignorance of the seas and weather, and deemed it best
to effect a speedy return. When one considers the ultimate
ending to the voyage, little criticism can be levelled vat
this most sage decision of the commander.
Sailing south-south-west, through rain, fog, and stormy
weather, the first portion of the homeward journey passed
without mishap or adventure. ' On the 25th the course was
changed slightly to south-west, and on the 31st of July,
the weather clearing, a north-west course was taken in o
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BERING AND CHIRIKOFF
order to keep near the land, and, if possible, gain further
information of its general contour and appearance. This
proved their undoing; the St. Peter became entangled in
the maze of islands off the Alaskan coast, storm succeeded
storm, the scurvy raged unchecked among the crew, and
the water ran low. If those twenty casks had only been
filled! The months of August and September are a tale of
misery and bewilderment unsurpassed in seafaring annals.
The coast of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands curve in a
gigantic sweep to the south-west; time after time the
commander, attempting to steer westward, was frustrated
by land, low, barren, lashed by a mighty surf. Time after
time he tried to beat to the southward to weather these
obstructions, only to be baffled by contrary winds, tremendous seas and strong currents. A mere resum6 of the
course pursued can be given here.
On the 2nd of August the St. Peter lay off Ukamak
Island; the next day the coast of the mainland was seen
stretching across the horizon to the north and west; turning toward the south the Kodiak Islands were encountered;
these were no sooner safely weathered than a storm arose,
and it was with difficulty that the ship was kept from being
dashed on the shore. From the ioth to the 29th of August,
storms and baffling winds permitted but a snail's pace to
the south and west clear of the land. "Bering had now
reached the Shumagin Islands, having spent nearly forty
days in going from Kayak to Nogai, which can be made
in about one tenth of the time in fair weather." Here the
scurvy claimed its first victim, a sailor by the name of
Shumagin, and the islands were named after him. The
water casks were replenished at this anchorage, where they
were delayed the best part of a week by stormy and adverse
winds. The 7th of September, however, found the St. Peter
clear of the Shumagin group and well on her way to the
south. By the 24th (seventeen days later), after constant
buffeting with variable winds, the Atka Islands were
sighted.    A strong south-west gale then drove the ship THE SECOND  VOYAGE
4i
back on her course. For eight days the gale continued, and
the sailors almost gave up hope. Twenty-four of the crew
were helpless with the scurvy, two had died, and the commander himself was growing weaker each day. The officers
considered the advisability of finding a harbour and
wintering on the American coast. To this Bering refused
to agree. Then the fight with adverse winds continued—
October proved to be as pitiless as September had been
harsh. The St. Peter was. navigated as wind and wave
permitted. On the 25th Amchitka was sighted, on the
29th Semichi Island was passed.1
But the long voyage was nearly at an end. The Aleutians
had been left behind, and the ship's officers decided on a
course along latitude 520 as providing a safe approach
to Avatcha. If the wind should blow from the north it
would be possible to double Cape Lopatka and find a haven
at Bolsheretsk or Okhotsk. On the 30th two islands
came in view, and some on board maintained that they
were two of the northern Kuriles. Being in doubt, the two
lieutenants Waxel and Khitroff, who were now in virtual
charge of the navigation of the vessel, decided to sail to
the northward. The 4th of November found them in
latitude 560; as this was beyond the latitude of Avatcha
the course was changed to the south-west. Then on the
morning of the 5th, land was sighted to the westward.
Kamchatka at last!
It would now be but a question of a few hours, a day
perhaps, to find their greatly desired refuge. Sail was
shortened, and the vessel cruised along the coast. The
glad news spread like wild-fire through the ship—the sick
crawled on deck to rast longing eyes on the mountains to
the westward. The commander himself as he lay on his
cot gave way to the pervading enthusiasm.
But their joy was of short duration. At noon an observation showed them to be still a clear degree too far north
for Avatcha.   The bay into which the St. Peter had been
1 East of Attu. AND  CHIRIKOFF
so cheerfully navigated in a vain endeavour to find the
entrance to Avatcha, they were now as anxious to leave,
especially in view of an approaching gale. During the
night the storm broke in all its fury, the starboard shrouds
of the mainmast were torn asunder, and the mast so badly
sprung as to render it useless. Morning of the 6th brought
a realisation of the perilous position of ship and crew. A
council of the officers was now convened in the commander's
cabin to discuss their situation. The state of the crew was
wretched in the extreme; ten sailors were all that could
report for duty, and these men were so weak that they
must perforce assist each other to and from duty at the
tiller. Khitroff and Waxel were in favour of trying to make
a landing in the bay they had found the previous day,
take the sick on shore and prepare to winter. They argued
that the state of the crew, the condition of the masts, and
the lateness of the season made any further navigation
not only dangerous, but almost impossible. They affirmed
positively that the coast confronting them was a part of
Kamchatka, and that it would be possible in the spring
to find their way to Avatcha either overland or, if the ship
could find safe anchorage, by sea.
To all of this Bering stoutly objected. He pointed out
the herculean efforts already made, that their observations
showed them to be but a few days' sail from port, and that
they still had five water casks and could use the foremast.
Confined as he had been to his bed for the past two months,
he was unable to judge correctly the state of crew or vessel;
he was daily growing weaker from the ravages of the scurvy,
and it was but natural that he should earnestly desire the
comforts to be found in the post of Petropavlovsk. It is a
question which will always remain undecided, as to which
was the better counsel. This much is certain, the indomitable spirit of the commander was not to be crushed even
in this dire extremity.
His counsel was overruled, anchorage was sought in
the bay, and this was successfully accomplished during the THE SECOND VOYAGE
43
night, but not before two anchors had been lost, and the
St. Peter for a time placed in imminent danger of shipwreck.
The bay into which they had entered lies on the northeast coast of what has since been called Bering Island. The
island, some ninety miles in length, lies but a few days'
sail from the Kamchatkan coast, between latitudes 540
and 560. To the south and west lay Avatcha, to the north
and west could be found the mouth of the Kamchatka
River, and the fort at which Bering had passed the winter
of 1728-29. In his voyage of 1729 he had come very close
to these islands,1 but in storm and rain had passed them
by. The islands were totally uninhabited, and have so
remained to this day. Void of the trees or shrubbery which
we are accustomed to see in such profusion along our
Pacific seaboard, their scarred mountains, barren and rocky,
wrapped in the swirl and snow of bleak November, wear
no inviting aspect. A short strand merged into a bank
of varying height which led to the base of the bare and
rugged mountains. However, to the sea-weary and dying
Russians any hillside of solid earth appeared a welcome
refuge. Steller superintended the transfer of the sick to the
shore, some of whom died upon exposure to the biting
November air. Shelters of driftwood roofed with canvas
were hastily constructed, and in these the sick were at
first housed. Later pits were dug in a sandy bank and
covered over with driftwood; in these underground shelters
the crew proceeded to pass the winter. Twelve sailors had
died previous to the landing on the island; by the 10th
of November nine more had succumbed, and when the last
death occurred in January, thirty-one of the crew of
seventy-seven had passed to the great beyond: servants
of the Russian government, but martyrs in the cause of
that most fascinating of all adventure, the search for
the unknown land.
The commander was landed on the 10th and placed
1 The Commander group, of which Bering and Copper Islands
are the largest. «£3
44
BERING AND  CHIRIKOFF
ISIS
raifc
im
in a dug-out next to one occupied by Steller, who did his
best to nurse him back to health. But " before leaving
Okhotsk he had contracted a malignant ague, which
diminished his powers of resistance, and on the voyage
to America scurvy was added to this. His sixty years of
age, his heavy build, the trials and tribulations he had
experienced, his subdued courage, and his disposition to
quiet and inactivity all tended to aggravate this disease;
but he would nevertheless," says Steller, " without doubt
have recovered if he had gotten back to Avatcha, where he
could have obtained proper nourishment and enjoyed the
comfort of a warm room. In a sandpit on the coast of
Bering Island, his condition was hopeless. For blubber,
the only medicine at hand, he had an unconquerable
loathing. Nor were the frightful sufferings he saw about
him, his chagrin caused by the fate of the expedition, and
his anxiety for the future of his men, at all calculated to
check his disease. From hunger, cold, and grief he slowly
pined away. . . . He died on the 8th of December, 1741,
two hours before daybreak," and was buried not far from
the huts of the encampment.
It is of little avail to lament at length upon the untimely
end of this intrepid seaman. A word of recapitulation
will suffice and the tale is told. Let his deeds speak for
him. Born in Denmark in a humble home, early to sea,
enjoying little if any of the advantages of an education,
he rose step by step, in his chosen profession by the sheer
strength of his energy. Bering was at all times a dependable man in an age and in the service of a country not at
all noted for staunchness of character or integrity of command. From the deck of a man-o'-war to the head of,
an expedition overland through the heart of a great
continent is a far cry, and few there are who seem
to have recognised the difficulties he must have faced
in the new undertaking.
Clothed with absolute power over some six hundred men,
the records show him to have been kind and considerate
<gssE THE SECOND VOYAGE
45
to a fault. Above all, he was a patient man; patient in
service, long-suffering with the contemptible Siberian
voivodes, with a tenacity of purpose that finally overrode
all mundane obstacles and launched him forth on the sea
of his dreams. For Bering possessed that qualification
which alone lifts one man above his fellows. He was
gifted with a rare breadth of vision, which enabled him to
visualise a great enterprise, lay out the several steps, and
by perseverance see them through to the end. " Whatever faults Bering had," says one, "it cannot be said of
him that he shirked a task because it was hard or
unpleasant." In the final analysis, he gave his life without
complaint in the service of his adopted country.
The survivors were in a sorry plight. It was now the
dead of winter in latitude 550 north. Heavy snowstorms
added to the discomfort of wind and cold and the long
nights of darkness in rude dug-outs. A gale had driven the
St. Peter on shore. The food retrieved from the wreck at
length ran low, and famine would have been added to their
already sore trials had not the island teemed with animal
life. Long uninhabited by either Kamchadale or Innuit,.
the wild fife on the island knew no fear of human kind and
proved an easy prey to the resolute sailors of the St. Peter.
Arctic foxes proved to be a pest; so numerous and
so tame were they that Steller and his assistant killed
sixty their first day on shore. Along the shores of the bay
were to be found sea-otters, whose valuable fur sold readily
in China for one hundred roubles a skin. Sea-lions and fur
seals provided the shipwrecked crew with food, oil, and
clothing, while from the flesh of the sea-cow excellent
food was obtained. This was a huge animal twenty to
thirty feet long and weighing about three tons.1
With the advent of spring exploring parties determined
their insular position.    It was therefore decided to break
1 It seems to have frequented the Commander Islands in great
numbers, but within twenty-five years was completely exterminated
by hunters from Kamchatka. iSS
SHSS
46
BERING AND CHIRIKOFF
up the stranded St. Peter and build a smaller vessel With
which to reach Avatcha Bay. By the 10th of August
the new craft was ready for launching. " She had a
thirty-six foot keel, measured forty-two feet from bow to
stern, and drew five and a half feet of water." A few
pounds of flour (all that remained) and some cured meats
provided the utmost in the way of food for their trip
to Petropavlovsk. On the 13th, forty-six men crowded
themselves on this frail bark and by dint of a sail, supplemented by long oars, the mainland of the Kamchatkan
peninsula was sighted after four strenuous days. Coasting
slowly southward, they made the harbour on the 27th,
and disembarked. There they were received with every
manifestation of joy, while the more devout among the
crew held service in the church for their safe return to
home and loved ones.
The expedition cannot by any means be considered as
void of results. Apart from the scientific knowledge gained
of the relative position of the continents of North America
and Asia, a new fur el dorado had been disclosed. The glossy
sea-otter furs carried home by the crew of the St. Peter
brought them unexpected riches. The tales of vast numbers of seals and other marine and animal life led many
an expedition to the Commander Islands and beyond.
Within a generation the natives of the whole Aleutian
archipelago had been laid under tribute, the Russian Bear
had crossed the straits and begun the quiet penetration
of a new continent. CHAPTER V
CAPTAIN  JAMES  COOK,  THE  GREAT CIRCUMNAVIGATOR
His early life and training. Being the story of the man who earned
the right to be considered the chief explorer and cartographer
of the vast Pacific Seas.
It will be necessary to pass over the next period (1741-1778)
with the remark that during those years the Russians gradually
spread their stations through the Aleutian archipelago of
islands, using Petropavlovsk as their Siberian base, and Una-
laska as their American base. The news of the Bering explorations soon ceased to excite curiosity among the court
circles of Europe. The Russian government threw around
the region a mantle of impenetrable silence. The fact that
very valuable fur lands had been discovered was as jealously
guarded as was the right to hunt in those regions of Eastern
Siberia or the North-West of America.
An English navigator on a quest for the North-East Passage,
in charge of vessels outfitted at the expense of the British
government, was the first to give to the world the general
outline of North America from the latitude of Oregon to Icy
Cape, in the far Arctic Sea. His sailors found the key to the
fur treasure-house of the Russian trading companies, the news
was published broadcast, and he who sailed might share.
From a clay biggin on the Yorkshire moors to the position
of post-captain in the Royal Kavy is a long road to travel
by one's own exertions, but the final reward of tireless
industry and never-flagging zeal. To become the foremost navigator of his day is an honour which has been
accorded to but few men in our long and glorious history
as an empire; yet this statement may be safely made
in regard to Captain James Cook, with none to deny
its simple justice.
47 raa
;:kh
M:
^^%,
48
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
The village of Marton is situated in the northern part
of Yorkshire, about six miles from Stockton-upon-Tees.
There James Cook was born in the year 1728. His father
was a day labourer, and often worked for a Mr. Mewburn,
who was a well-to-do farmer of the neighbourhood. The
home of the Cooks at this time was a clay biggin of two
rooms, typical of the humble abodes in which the workmen of that region lived. When James was eight years old
his father secured a better position with Mr. Skottowe, of
Ayton, and the family moved to Airy Holme Farm. The
lad was now sent to the village school, where he showed
more than the usual aptitude in his studies. But school
days were over all too soon, and James must needs help
his father and elder brother with the farm work until he
had grown to be a sturdy lad of seventeen. We can now
but infer what took place, in the absence of any authentic"
record. A peep through the doorway and we would see
the family circle in earnest discussion. An opening in a
general store at Staithes had been found, and Mr. Skottowe
had probably advised the youth to accept it.
So to Mr. Saunderson's store James repaired. There he
found a picturesque little village nestling "in a narrow
cleft in the cliffs " about ten miles north of Whitby. The
inhabitants were mostly fishermen who plied their calling
in the stormy waters of the North Sea. And the tales
young James heard no doubt fired his imagination and
whetted a natural desire to engage in something more
venturesome than the common tasks assigned him by
Mr. Saunderson.
It required but a trivial incident to provide a means of
severing the ties which bound him to the store. A bright
South Sea shilling had duly come to Staithes in the pouch
of a returning sailorman. It was exchanged at the little
store for some prosaic commodity of stout Yorkshire
manufacture, quite different from a like purchase in the
far-away lands of India and the Spice Islands of renown.
In the course of the day James had occasion to go to the =5
CAPTAIN COOKS HOUSE, GRAPE LANE, WHITBY
From a photograph. 5o
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
till and, noticing the shining silver piece, so unlike its
fellows, read its curious legend and resolved to keep
it. He thereupon deposited one of his own shillings in
the till, pocketed the odd and newer coin, and proceeded
about his daily tasks. That evening the proprietor noticed
its absence and made inquiries about it. The matter was
explained to the apparent satisfaction of all concerned;
but, if we may be allowed to judge of the youth's feelings
at that time from the haughty temper he evinced in later
years, James did not forget the suspicions of the storekeeper, and in a short time was able to secure his father's
permission to go to Whitby. The South Sea had beckoned,
and the lad had acknowledged its salutation.
He now became apprenticed for three years to John'
Walker, who was a member of a firm engaged in coal
shipping from that port. The years of apprenticeship were
evidently as pleasant as they were profitable, and very
soon the best of feeling existed between Mr. Walker and
his charge. In fact this early friendship never waned, and
by means of letters and an occasional visit the celebrated
navigator of later years evinced his esteem and indebtedness to the man who had given him his opportunity.
In those days Whitby was of some importance as a
shipbuilding centre, and the industry was mainly carried
on by the merchants interested in the coasting trade. Cook
thus early had an opportunity to attend to the outfitting,
as well as to the sailing of vessels, a training which was
to stand him in good stead on more than one occasion. His
early training in seamanship was acquired in the Freelove,
employed in the coal trade between Newcastle and London.
No better school for the training of mariners is to be found
to this day than the stormy waters of the North Sea.
His heart was in his work, and he studied diligently,
when occasion permitted, to learn the theory of navigation
as well as its practice. This was especially true of the long
winter evenings. With the Freelove laid up for overhauling
and repairs, Mary Prowd, the housekeeper, would provide EARLY LIFE
5i
him with a table and light in a quiet place for reading
and study.
The years of apprenticeship at an end, Cook continued to
sail in the North Sea and Baltic trade. At length in 1752,
about five years from the time of his arrival in Whitby,
he secured the appointment of mate in the Walkers' new
vessel, the Friendship. For the ensuing three years he
served in that capacity and learned to wield control over
the horny-handed sailors of the crew. In his illuminatirig
life of Cook, Kitson makes the following summary:
This was rapid promotion for a youth with nothing to back
him but his own exertions, and tends to prove that he had
taken full advantage of the opportunities that fell in his way,
that he must even then have displayed a power of acquiring
knowledge of his profession beyond the average, and that he
had gained something more than a smattering of seamanship.
In June of '55 the Friendship lay at anchor in the
Thames. Stirring times were toward. The English \vere
girding, their loins for a titanic trial of strength with
Imperial France to the southward. Forces under Braddock
had been despatched to Virginia, and the struggle for the
Ohio valley had begun in earnest.
A press of seamen was taking place in all the great
seaports of Britain, for in those days that method was
employed to man England's ever-increasing navy. These
great oaken walls, though they protected her from invasion, and enabled her to carry on a war in each of the
seven seas, were now in need of men. Voluntary enlisting
could ill supply the ordinary peace demand of the Navy,
and when emergency called recourse was had, perforce,
to the rough and ruthless press gang.
The moment was propitious; able seamen were scarce,
the demand greatly exceeded the supply; new ships were
outfitting in all haste at the great Navy yards. Cook had
little doubt but that his eight years of training and his
present standing (that of mate) would be welcomed on
in ass
52
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
some stout ship of His Majesty's Fleet. So, rather than
be pressed, he decided to enter the Navy as a volunteer,
"having a mind," as he is reported to have said, "to try
his fortune that way." He accordingly repaired to a
rendezvous at Wapping, and was duly entered on the
muster roll of the Eagle as an A.B.
Letters of recommendation were meanwhile secured
from his friends and employers, the Walkers of Whitby,
and within a few weeks he was raised to the position of
master's mate. Then in October, Captain Hugh Palliser
succeeded Hamer in the command of the Eagle. Cook
was giving most satisfactory service, and, with the friendly
assistance of the Walkers, Captain Palliser recommended
him for a master's warrant. In October of '57, James
Cook became master (or navigating officer) of the new
ship Pembroke.
The ensuing ten years were full of the most strenuous endeavour. In February of '58, the Pembroke became
one of Admiral Boscawen's fleet of seventeen sail, convoying
one hundred and twenty-seven transports to Halifax for
the projected attack upon Louisburg. After the fall of
that fortress the fleet wintered at Halifax, and in the
spring acted as convoy to Wolfe's command in the attack
on Quebec. Cook took part in and witnessed the stirring
scenes of that hectic summer of '59, and in the fall prepared
to pilot the Pembroke down, to the winter base at Halifax.
But Lord Colville, captain of the Northumberland, had
been appointed to the command of the North Atlantic
squadron, and to Cook fell the honour of appointment to
the master's berth on the flagship. There is no doubt that
his record during the capture of Louisburg and again
at the siege of Quebec won him this coveted position.
The season of 1760 was spent at anchor near Quebec,
and the long summer days might well have been*spent
in pleasant ramblings ashore by one so inclined. It would
appear, however, that the new master of the Northumberland could find a more profitable manner of employing EARLY LIFE
53
his time, something that would be of service to his superior
officers and of value to his country. And during that
summer Cook made himself master of the navigation of
the St. Lawrence, from the sea to Quebec. The existing
French charts were revised, new soundings were taken,
and additional charts were made. Once again persistent
industry added to native worth brought him merited
recognition, and, shortly after the opening of the new year,
Lord Colville awarded him fifty pounds, in consideration
of the extra work he had undertaken that summer of
1760. Though the sum may seem insignificant, recognition
had been won—Master Cook of the flagship was different
from other masters.
Again the fleet wintered at Halifax. The Northumberland, in fact, spent the whole season of 1761 maintaining
watch and ward at that important naval base. The fall
of '62 brought news of the capture of St. Johns by the
French. Thither sailed the Northumberland in all haste,
and lent her aid in the re-capture of the city and the
policing of the surrounding waters. Cook, who had been
employing his spare time in a survey and chart of Halifax
harbour (1761-62), was now called upon to assist Mr. Des-
barres, an engineer, in making a survey of the harbour of
St. Johns and the waters adjacent, for it was now decided
that a complete fortification of the harbour should be
made, to render it immune from future raids. This task
completed, the Northumberland returned to England,
arriving at Spithead, 24th October. In the following month
Cook signed off, and, freed from matters nautical, was at
liberty to enjoy a well-earned rest amid the pleasures of
London town.
Before the year was out he had met, courted, and married
Elizabeth Batts, of the parish of Barking. Shortly afterwards the happy couple moved into their own home at
Mile End, Old Town. Those who follow the sea have
little time to enjoy the comforts of a home, and yet
none there are among landsmen who appreciate at any 54
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
truer worth the strengthening influence of home ties.
With no anchor to windward Jack cuts but a sorry
figure ashore.
A few short months had passed when Cook received an
appointment from the Admiralty to carry out the complete survey of the coasts of Newfoundland. As this was
special work with good pay, the opportunity was not one
to be lightly turned aside in lieu of some safe billet in fiome
waters. The ist of May, 1763, then, found him aboard
the Antelope, outfitting at Portsmouth, and in due course
the ship arrived at St. Johns. As the Islands of St. Pierre
and Miquelon were to be handed over to the French,
pursuant to the terms of the Treaty of Paris, a hurried survey of the coasts of these islands was ordered by Captain
Graves.1 Cook carried this out with all speed, much to the
satisfaction of his superior officer and of the Admiralty.
The fall was spent in coastal survey of the shore contiguous to St. Johns. The approach of winter put an end
to the work for that year, and Cook returned to England
in November.
He returned to St. Johns in June of the following year
(1764), and at once took charge of the schooner Grenville,
which the Lords of the Admiralty had set aside for his
use in the survey. In the meantime Captain Palliser had
succeeded Graves as Governor of Newfoundland and a
distant acquaintanceship now crystallised into a warm
friendship. From this time onward Cook did not lack
the hearty support of a friend well placed to aid him.
Cook carried on the survey of the Newfoundland coast
from Noddy's Harbour to the Bay of St. Genevieve with
great industry. Notwithstanding a severe injury to his
hand through the bursting of a powder horn, the work was
pushed ahead with vigour and only ceased with' the
approach of winter weather. He returned to England in the
Grenville, and while the vessel was undergoing needed
repairs and alterations at Deptford, her master proceeded
1 Of H.M.S. Antelope, and Governor of Newfoundland. EARLY LIFE
55
to London and set to work upon the preparation of his charts
for submission to the Admiralty. Thus the winter passed.
The return of spring (1765) saw the crew of the Grenville
assembled, and, with stores aboard, crossing the broad Atlantic to again continue the survey of the rough and rugged
Newfoundland shore.   (Great Garnish—Long Harbour.)
Again in the late fall the return to England—more work
on the charts and the publishing of them. On the 20th of
April, 1766, the Grenville left Deptford, and arrived at Bon
Ton Bay 1st June. While off the Burgeo Islands near
Cape Ray on the 5th of August, Cook was fortunate in
securing a fine day to observe an eclipse of the sun. The
survey of the south-west coast was completed this year,
and the Grenville arrived in the Channel the latter part
of November. During the winter Cook gave a resume of
his observations on the eclipse to Dr. Bevis, " a prominent
Fellow of the Royal Society, who communicated them to
that body on 30th April, 1767." By means of this Cook
once again raised himself from the ordinary level of surveyors in general. Something had been accomplished beyond his daily routine duties, and the favourable notice
which he received from that powerful society was the key
which in time unlocked the gates to those far-off South
Seas whence came that bright shilling of boyhood days.
One_more year, that of 1767, was spent in the trusty
Grenville completing the survey of the Newfoundland coastline. Returning to Deptford in November, the winter
was spent in preparing charts and sailing directions, all of
which were published by permission of the Admiralty.
Five seasons had been spent in the survey, and under the
most trying conditions of weather; days of fog alternating
with gales of wind as only a Newfoundland climate can do.
Besides, the coast of the island is deeply indented, which
made the navigation of the Grenville most difficult and
entailed much work in the small boats. In writing of
this period in Cook's life, Admiral Wharton says that the
charts were " admirable," that " the best proof of their
E r3K
S3:
56
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
excellence is that they are not yet wholly superseded by
the more detailed surveys of modern times," and that
" their accuracy is truly astonishing."
Work well done merits a reward. Nor is it needful
that the reward be in gold; rather should it be in the
opportunity for more and larger service. The next chapter
will tell us how these years of toil were compensated. CHAPTER VI
EXPLORATIONS IN THE SOUTH  PACIFIC
Captain Cook visits Tahiti,  circumnavigates New Zealand,  and
charts for the first time the east coast of Australia.
The year of 1768 loomed large with promise. While
Cook was busily engaged upon the completion of his charts
of Newfoundland, the Royal Society began active preparations for the observation of the forthcoming transit of
Venus in June of '69. It was decided to send trained
observers to North Cape, to far-away Fort Churchill on
Hudson's Bay, and to " any place not exceeding 30 degrees
of southern latitude west from Your Majesty's Royal
Observatory in Greenwich Park." So runs the desire of
the society as set forth in a memorial to the King, and
praying for assistance, as the cost of the undertaking was
beyond their means. The government of the day quickly
came to the rescue with a grant of £4,000, and it remained
but to select the personnel of the various expeditions.
It was necessary that the expedition to the South Seas
be gotten under way at once in order that the slow-sailing
vessel of that day might be able to reach a favourable
station prior to the date of the transit. The society at
first offered the position to Mr. Dalrymple. He had spent
some years in the employ of the East India Company
and upon his return to England had published a book on
the discoveries in the South Pacific. This had brought
him prominently before the public and made him a well-
known character, one interested in geographical research
and discovery. But Dalrymple proved to be somewhat
conceited. He demanded the entire command and management of the vessel which was   to convey him to his
57 58
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
station. As he held no naval rank the Admiralty refused to
permit such a procedure, and the society determined to find
a more suitable person.
The choice naturally fell upon Cook. His years of survey;
his finely executed maps and charts just printed; as well
as his interest in astronomy and proven ability to observe
such phenomena, a report of which Dr. Bevis had but
recently read to the society's members;   all these things
THE " ENDEAVOUR  BARK
tended in a most natural manner to bring him to the
favourable consideration of the committee of the society.
And then there was the added and conclusive qualification,
naval rank, that of master of the Grenville.
So, on the 25th of May, Cook received an official communication from the Admiralty to the effect that he
had been appointed First Lieutenant of the Endeavour
bark, and that he was to command the expedition to the
South Seas. »
Proceeding to Deptford he went on board and began THE SOUTH PACIFIC
59
preparations for the long voyage. The vessel was a comparatively new, Whitby built, bark of three hundred and
sixty-eight tons burthen. Bluff of bow, wide in the waist,
narrow of stern, she was well fitted for the task ahead.
Stores of all kinds for a long voyage would find ample
room within her spacious oaken walls; there would be
fitting accommodation for the crew of seventy, and, when
occasion demanded it, she could be run ashore upon some
muddy bank, careened and repaired, without danger to
masts and upper works.
The months of June and July were spent in the endless
details of outfitting for sea. Supplies of every material
which would ensure the success of the venture must be
selected and in proper quantities; supplies ranging from
the medicine chest to food and clothing for the crew;
from articles to trade with the natives of the South Seas
to ship's stores, cannon and ammunition. A complete set
of instruments for the work of observation as well as for
the usual navigation of the ship must be assembled. In
this part of the work Cook received every assistance from
the members of the Royal Society. Mr. Charles Green was
appointed assistant observer, and the society furnished
the following instruments: two reflecting telescopes of
two feet focus, with a Dolland's micrometer to one of them
and movable wires to the other; an astronomical quadrant
of one foot radius and stand; an astronomical clock and
alarm clock; a brass Hadley's sextant; a barometer, a
journeyman clock; two thermometers and a dipping needle.
In addition to his routine duties Cook was also called
upon to provide room for a party of ten, who were to
accompany the expedition in the interests of science and
the advancement of knowledge other than that of astronomy. Joseph Banks, a Fellow of the Royal Society and a
gentleman of wealth, had become interested in the expedition, and had received permission to accompany it.
He selected Dr. Solander as naturalist, with H. Sporin as
assistant.   Three artists and four servants completed the 6o
CAPTAIN JAMES  COOK
party. The presence of Banks and Solander added interest
to the voyage from a public viewpoint, but undoubtedly
strained the accommodation of the vessel to the utmost.
It is greatly to the credit of Captain Cook that he at all
times maintained the most friendly relations with his
scientific confreres and that the voyage terminated without
a single unpleasant episode, something unique in scientific
expeditions of those days.
On the 14th of August the Endeavour arrived at Plymouth, where twelve marines were signed on, and additional stores were taken on board. Banks and his party
arrived from London on the 20th, and six days later the
commander gave the eagerly awaited order to up anchor
and away.
The Voyage to Otaheite
While the good ship Endeavour sturdily wings her way
to the southward a line of recapitulation may be in order.
The expected transit of Venus over the sun's disk was
considered an event of the greatest importance by the
astronomers of those days. Much valuable information was
expected through the proper observation of the transit,
and the locations from which to make the observations
were chosen with great care. It had at first been thought
to use one of the islets of the Friendly Island group which
had been discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642. But while
the Endeavour was fitting for sea, Captain Wallis had
returned from his voyage round the world. He reported
to the Royal Society that a more fitting place would be
George's Island,1 which he had discovered on his voyage.
Here a good harbour was to be found and a shore suitable
for the erection of a temporary observatory. Accordingly,
Lieutenant Cook was instructed to proceed to this" island
—now known as Tahiti—and to observe the transit.
However, this was not the sole object of the voyage.
1 Named Otaheite in Cook's Journals. SI
THE SOUTH PACIFIC
61
Kippis tells us that "when his chief business was accomplished, he was directed to proceed in making further
discoveries in the great Southern Seas." No time limit was
set for a return to England. Delays due to wind, wave, or
accident upon some unknown coast prevented any limitation as to time; nor were the necessary expenses due to
such an undertaking at any stage a bar to its successful
completion. Never had an expedition left England's
shores in higher spirits, with a better personnel, or with
greater opportunity to startle the scientific world with
tales of new-found lands, of strange peoples, and curious
animal life.
Let us now follow the Endeavour on her long voyage to
the Society Islands, and thereby learn something of the
route chosen, as well as secure a glimpse of the ports
visited on the way.
On the way south through the Atlantic, it was customary
for sailing vessels of those days to stop at ports a moderate
distance from one another, in order to replenish the water
casks, and that supplies of fresh meat and vegetables might
be secured. This lessened the onset of the scurvy, which
was then (1769) the seaman's scourge. The Endeavour made
her first call at Funchal Roads, the harbour of the Madeira
Islands. Thence crossing the Atlantic to the Brazilian
coast the ship anchored in the harbour of Rio de Janeiro
on the 25th of November. No very flattering reception
awaited the members of the scientific expedition in this
port. The Portuguese governor became very suspicious,
would permit no one but the lieutenant on shore, and even
provided an armed guard to accompany him as he made
his purchase of supplies. In his endeavour to understand
the purpose of the expedition, the doughty governor
formed the idea that the transit of Venus meant the passing of the North Star through the South Pole, and
promptly  decided that all Englishmen were crazy.
With stores replenished, the Endeavour headed out to sea,
bound southward round the Horn. The nth of January the ?££
ras
62
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
land of Tierra del Fuego was in sight and harbourage was
sought in the Bay of Good Success. Again the water casks
were filled, and wood secured for the galley fire. Head
winds and tempestuous seas tested the staunch bark off
Cape Horn, and for thirty-three days the crew manned
the braces, reefed sail, and tacked ship in a persistent battle
with the elements. Cruising up the Chilean coast, March
found the Endeavour in latitude 380 44' south, and longitude
no° 33' west, and the weather gradually growing warmer,
much to the joy of the sailors. Anchor was cast in Matavai
Bay the middle of April.
Permission was secured from a native chief to erect a
small fort on a part of the shore which lay under the protection of the ship's guns, and soon all was in readiness
for the observation of the transit. The 3rd of June dawned
clear and cloudless; a more perfect day could not have
been secured for the observation. Cook remarks in
his journal—"The whole passage of the planet Venus over
the sun's disk was observed with great advantage by Mr.
Green, Dr. Solander and myself. . . . We all saw an atmosphere or dusky cloud round the body of the planet," etc.
The greatest care was exercised in making the observations
as accurate as possible, and we may be sure that the report
to the Royal Society was a model of precision.
In fact Cook had with his usual thoroughness found
time to prepare an elaborate chart of the group of islands
of which Tahiti was the most important. To these he gave
the name Society Islands because of the friendliness of the
natives. Every means was employed to learn the language
of the people, their customs and religion, and the whole of
this detailed information was duly reported and printed
upon the return of the expedition to England. It may be
said that the manner of conducting the voyage introduced
a standard for scientific exploration in that and the succeeding century. The voyages of Captain Cook have been
common property from that day to this, and are still a
very necessary part of every public library. THE SOUTH PACIFIC
63
The Exploration of New Zealand
South and west of the Society Islands, where the
\Endeavour swung at anchor in Matavai Bay, stretched a
vast unknown waste of water from the longitude of Cape
Horn to the position of Tasman's track in 1642. A hundred
years and more had passed since that courageous Dutch
navigator had seen the southern end of Van Diemen's
Land1 and the north-west coast of Staten Land.2 A part
of the unknown ocean was now to be explored. Leaving
Tahiti on the 18th of July (1769), Cook gradually increased
his latitude until he was well south of the tracks of
other navigators. Cruising westward, the 25th of August
was celebrated as the anniversary of leaving England. A
month later, the Endeavour was in latitude 330 south and
1620 west longitude. The 3rd of October found them a few
degrees farther south, and a good ten degrees farther west.
Various signs now indicated to their experienced eyes
nearness to land—at first birds were seen, then a seal asleep
upon the water, floating sea-weed, then a piece of wood
covered with barnacles, and on the 6th of October land
was seen to the westward. As the ship approached the
shore it appeared to be of large extent both to the north
and to the south—while back from the shore the ground
rose in a series of hills, terminating in a lofty range of
mountains far inland. On the afternoon of the 7th the
opening to a bay, which seemed to extend well inland,
was seen, but it was not until noon of the next day that
they were able to find safe anchorage therein and make
a landing. Smoke ascending from different places along
the shore proved that this part of the land was inhabited,
but no canoes came off to greet the arrival of the ship as
was the custom amongst the natives of the Society Islands.
Some natives were seen standing on the shore near the
mouth of a small river, but upon the approach of the
1 Now Tasmania.
2 Now New Zealand. 64
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
pinnace and yawl they ran away. The next day every
effort was made to make friends with the Maoris, but to
no avail. As the water in the river proved to be salty,
the natives hostile, and no supplies other than a little
wood could be secured, Cook named it Poverty Bay.
Cook had fallen in with the east coast of the North Island
of New Zealand, which had never before been visited by
Europeans. Abel Tasman in 1642 had discovered the
western coast and had named it Staten Land.1 He too had
found it impossible to open friendly relations with the
natives and gave the name of Murderer's Bay (now Golden
Bay) to the place where the Heemskirk and Leehaan for
a short time lay at anchor.
Cruising southward, Cape Table was discovered and
named. "It is of considerable height, makes a sharp
angle, and appears to be quite flat at the top," writes
Cook. Below the cape an island was found to which the
name Island of Portland was given, " from its very great
resemblance to Portland in the English Channel." In this
manner the coast was followed as far south as latitude
400 34', where Cook deemed it wise to alter his course. No
really good harbour had been found, and the coast-line continuing in its regularity there seemed to be little likelihood of finding one, so the ship was brought round, and
stood to the north, with a fresh breeze from the west. The
high bluff head, with yellowish cliffs, which they were
abreast of at noon, was called Cape Turnagain, "because
here we turned back." By the 22nd of the month (October)
the Endeavour was well to the northward of Poverty-Bay,
and a small bay was at length discovered where wood
and water could be secured in safety. The natives also
appeared to be more friendly, and a brisk trade in fish,
sweet potatoes and yams was begun.
With stores aboard the voyage was continued. East
Cape was rounded on the 30th, and on the 9th of Novem-
1 The map as Tasman left it in 1644 remained practically unaltered until after this voyage of the Endeavour. THE SOUTH PACIFIC
65
ber fine weather permitted the observation of a transit of
Mercury across the sun's disk. Several days were spent
in exploring the bay in which the ship now lay at anchor.1
Through the courtesy of the natives a party of officers
from the Endeavour was conducted to one of the peculiar,
fortified Maori villages. Many such palisaded forts had
been seen at different times during the preceding months,
and the scientists were most anxious to become acquainted
with the interior design. Upon returning to the ship all
agreed that the hill-top upon which it stood had been
converted into a very strong position where a few determined men could defend themselves against many times
their number. The Endeavour sailed on the 15th, and
the cruise to the northward was continued.
The remainder of November and the month of December
were spent in the leisurely survey of the coast; now rounding
a promontory, now exploring and charting a bay—gaining
in every possible manner an accurate idea of the country,
its vegetation, the natives and their customs. At work
of this nature Cook was an adept. His long years of training as surveyor of Newfoundland stood him in good stead,
and the many dangers to be encountered on an unknown
shore were skilfully avoided. By the 17th (December) the
ship was off the northern extremity of the land, and to
this Cook gave the name of North Cape. Keeping at a
good distance from the shore, owing to the strong currents
encountered, the Cape was at length weathered (21st December). Christmas Day was spent at sea amid such cheer
as the ship afforded.
Violent storms ushered in the new year, and but for
the excellent seamanship displayed by the commander the
voyage might easily have terminated in shipwreck and
disaster. In summing up this part of the voyage, Cook
very candidly remarks: "We were three weeks in getting
fifty leagues, for at this time it was so long since we passed
Cape   Brett.    During  the   gale we were   happily  at   a
1 Cook's Bay. 66
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
considerable distance from the land, otherwise it is highly
probable that we should never have returned to relate
our adventures."
Cook now sailed down the western coast of the North
Island, keeping as close to the shore as possible. But
meeting in turn with squalls from the north-west, winds
from the west and gales from the south, the exploration was
carried out with great difficulty and not without considerable danger. That he fully realised his position is shown
by the following observation: "Nothing is to be seen but
long sand hills, with hardly any green thing upon them,
and the great sea which the prevailing westerly winds
impel upon the shore must render this a very dangerous
coast. This I am so fully sensible of, that were we once
clear of it I am determined not to come so near again if
I can possibly avoid it, unless we have a very favourable
wind indeed." For two weeks the battle was maintained.
Cook was determined to keep in sight the western shore
line as he tried to weather his way to the southward, and
he did it. No better example of the man's persistence is
to be found in this voyage than the exploration of the
northern and western coasts of this island.
On the 12th (January) the Endeavour came in sight of
a high peak, towering into the clouds like that of Teneriffe
(12,180 ft.). To this was given the name of Mount Egmont,
in honour of the Earl of that name.1 But the weary buffeting with adverse winds on a lee shore was soon to be at
an end. Two days later land was seen stretching along
the southern horizon almost across their course, and some
leagues to the westward. Away to the east of south the
sea was clear as far as they could see. A course was laid
which would bring the ship over to the new land, which
%was seen to be "of a considerable height, distinguished by
hills and valleys, and the shore seems to form several
bays, into one of which I intend to go with the ship in
1 Earl of Egmont, First Lord of the Admiralty from 1763 to 1766.
Altitude of mountain, 8,300 feet. THE SOUTH PACIFIC
67
order to careen her (she being very foul) and to repair some
few defects, recruit our stock of Wood, Water, etc." The
next day a commodious inlet was entered, and soon a safe
anchorage was secured in a snug cove.
To this inlet they gave the name of Queen Charlotte
Sound, while the large bay, of which they thought this
inlet formed a part, was in reality the passage between
the North and South Islands, known to-day as
Cook's Strait.
While the operations necessary to the repair of the ship
were proceeding, Cook and the other gentlemen on board
occupied their time in exploration. The sound was found
to extend for some twenty-five miles into the land, and its
shores were inhabited by small tribes of Maoris, who soon
came off in their canoes to stare at the ship, cast a few
stones, and, as ever, stood ready to open an attack if the
opportunity could be secured. But by mingled firmness
and kindness the natives were at length won over. A few
presents, a desire to trade, yet instant readiness to defend
the ship from attack were the means employed. Evidence
was soon forthcoming that the Maoris were cannibals,
and that they made a common practice of eating those of
their enemies whom they slew in battle. This horrible
custom made the whole ship's company doubly careful,
and no untoward incident marred their stay in the sound.
On the 22nd, while exploring the eastern side of the
inlet, Cook decided to land, climb a near-by hill, and thus
get a better view of the surrounding country. Higher
hills cut off his view to the southward up the inlet, but he
was well rewarded for his trouble. From his new vantage
point he could see below him a great strait or passage
extending far to the eastward. He resolved to explore this
passage at the first opportunity, and remove any doubt
as to its connection with the ocean to the eastward. But
there was to be no hurried departure of the ship from the
present secure berth. The captain was as thorough in his
repair of the ship as he had been persistent in his survey 1
68
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
=§5
Jjstt
HI
;;5£i
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uss
of the North Island, as the following extract from his
Journal will testify.
Saturday, 17th. Fresh Gales, Westerly. This day we got the
Tiller properly secured, which hath been the Employment of
the Armourers and part of the Carpenters since we anchor'd
at this place; the former in repairing and making new Iron
work, and the latter in fixing a transom, for the want of which
the Tiller has often been in danger of being broke. Coopers
were employ'd repairing the Casks; some hands with the long
boat getting on board stones to put into the bottom of the
bread room to bring the ship more to the stern; while
others were employ'd cutting wood, repairing the rigging,
and fishing.
At the end of three weeks all was in readiness to continue
active exploration of the strait. The Endeavour cleared
the entrance to the sound on the 7th of February and stood
to the eastward. Passing through the strait, the coast of
the North Island was cruised as far as Cape Turnagain,
which completed the circumnavigation of this island. A
course to the southward was now decided upon in order
to explore the shore-line to the southward of the strait
they had just passed through. Each day brought new
vistas of mountain, bay and cape. Each night an offing
must be secured lest they find themselves dashed upon
some projecting arm of this unknown shore—a shore never
before coasted by any European. The remainder of February passed in this manner, the ship being navigated ever
farther to the southward. The 10th of March found them
in latitude 470 19' south, a heavy swell coming from the
south-west by west, and no land in sight in that quarter.
To the southernmost land of Stewart Island Cook gave the
name of South Cape. This was successfully weathered, and
the voyage prosecuted to the westward. An attempt was
made to find an anchorage off the south-western extremity
of the land, but darkness coming on Cook was afraid to
venture farther up the inlet he had selected. He gave to
it the name of Dusky Bay, and on his second voyage was i90 Longitude  West of Greenwich       iss
Bartholomew. £d/n.. 7o
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
fortunate enough to explore it and admire the magnificent
scenery which this bay affords.
The ensuing two weeks were spent in a run up the coast
to Cape Farewell, the unsettled condition of the weather
making a landing out of the question. Rounding the Cape
on the 24th, they passed across the mouth of Tasman Bay,
and, on the 26th, entered an inlet just to the west of Queen
Charlotte Sound.1 There the empty water casks were
refilled, wood was secured, and final preparations made
to leave the New Zealand coast. Cook tersely remarks:
"As we have now circumnavigated the whole of this
country, it is time for me to think of quitting it." But what
a wealth of perseverance, what a nicety of seamanship,
what an eternal vigilance is compressed within that short
statement! A century and a half later Captain Wharton
is moved to write the following appreciation, discussing
the accuracy of the charts made during the exploration of
the New Zealand coast:
But the astonishing accuracy of his outline of New Zealand
must be the admiration of all who understand the difficulties
of laying down a coast; and when it is considered that this
coastline is 2400 miles in extent, the magnitude of the task
will be realised by everybody. Never has a coast been so well
laid down by a first explorer, and it must have required
unceasing vigilance and continual observation, in fair weather
and foul, to arrive at such a satisfactory conclusion; and with
such a dull sailer as the Endeavour was, the six and a half
months occupied in the work must be counted as a short
interval in which to do it.
After some deliberation it was decided to continue the
voyage in a westerly direction to the coast of New Holland,2
thence along this coast to its northern extremity. Once
this point was reached a further decision must be made
for the voyage home. Accordingly the ship was got under
sail and the 1st of April found her out of Admiralty Bay
and the mountains of New Zealand showing low on the
1 Admiralty Bay. a Australia. THE SOUTH PACIFIC
eastern horizon. For the next two weeks the journal of
the voyage makes mention of gentle breezes, light airs
next to a calm, and calm serene weather. On the 16th
April, 1770, strong gales were encountered: "Before 5
o'clock we were obliged to close reef our Top sails, having
a strong gale, with very heavy squalls." This weather
continued for several days. Birds were then seen, a Port
Egmont hen, a pintado bird, some albatrosses, sure signs
of approaching land. On the 18th at 6 p.m. " saw land
extending from N.E. to W., distance 5 or 6 leagues."
This proved to be the south-eastern shore of Australia,1
and the ship was now steered to the northward along
the coast. To the prominent and unusual contortions
of the coast-line names were given. Thus Cape Howe,
Cape Dromedary, and Cape St. George received the names
which they bear to this day. Jervis Bay was seen, but no
entry was made. " The N. point of this bay, on account
of its Figure, I nam'd Long Nose ... 8 leagues to the
northward of this, is a point which I call'd Red Point;
some part of the Land about it appeared of that Colour."
So the voyage continued, until, the weather moderating,
it was possible to approach nearer to the shore, and on the
28th anchor was cast in a large bay. Some natives were
seen on the beach, but when the captain, accompanied
by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander and Tupia, went ashore in
the boats they all made off into the woods, except two
men who seemed bent upon opposing the landing. Cook
describes the scene very well, and as it illustrates his
method of dealing with the inhabitants of these regions
it is given as written in the journal:
As soon as I saw this I order'd the boats to lay upon their
oars, in order to speak to them; but this was to little purpose,
for neither us nor Tupia could understand one word they said.
We then threw them some nails, beads, etc., ashore, which
they took up, and seemed not ill pleased with, in so much
that I thought that they beckoned to us to come ashore; but
1 Cook's landfall was Cape Everard of present charts.
F xztzt
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72
CAPTAIN  JAMES COOK
in this we were mistaken, for as soon as we put the boat in
they again came to oppose us, upon which I fir'd a musquet
between the 2, which had no other effect than to make them
retire back, where bundles of their darts lay, and one of them
took up a stone and threw at us, which caused my firing a
second musquet, load with small shott; and altho' some of
the shott struck the man, yet it had no other effect than
making him lay hold on a Target. Immediately after this we
landed, which we had no sooner done than they throw'd 2
darts at us; this obliged me to fire a third shott, soon after
which they both made off, but not in such haste but what we
might have taken one; but Mr. Banks being of opinion that
the darts were poisoned, made me cautious how I advanced
into the Woods.
The next morning, while the sailors were busy with the
usual routine of securing wood and water, the captain
took the pinnace with the intent of sounding and exploring
the bay. Again the natives fled at his approach and it
was quite impossible to make friends with them. Landings
were made at places where the natives were seen to have
been busy around small fires, and here fresh mussels were
found broiling in the hot embers. Great heaps of oyster
shells bore a mute testimony to the habits of the inhabitants,
and the size of the shells was particularly remarked upon.
But to the scientists of the Endeavour this bay proved to
be a veritable wonder-house of new and strange plants.
Because of the number of specimens secured by Banks
and Solander the name Botany Bay was decided upon.
Cook describes it as capacious, safe, and convenient; with
an entrance a little more than a quarter of a mile broad.
With necessary stores aboard, the Endeavour sailed out
of Botany Bay on the 6th of May. About noon the entrance to another large bay was seen, to which Cook gave
the name of Port Jackson. No attempt was made to enter
as there were many hundred miles of coast ahead, and the
ship stood in no need of refreshment. But in the year of
1788, Captain Phillip decided upon Port Jackson as the
most favourable location for the establishment of the first THE SOUTH  PACIFIC
73
penal colony sent to these shores, and in this manner the
city of Sydney was begun. Broken Bay was passed in
the evening, and with a favourable wind the ship was
steered along the shore all night," at the distance of about
3 Leagues from the land, having from 32 to 36 fathoms,
hard sandy bottom."
On the 10th Port Stephens was passed; the next morning they were abreast of a high point of land, " which made
in 2 hillocks; this point I called Cape Hawke." Farther
up the coast Smoky Cape received its name, as one may
easily conjecture, from the great quantity of smoke arising
from a bush fire in the vicinity. The shore continued
to be low and sandy, with here and there hills, none of any
great height. On the 15th Cape Byron received its name.
The next day a low ledge of rocks stretching out some six
miles from the coast arrested their hitherto somewhat
uneventful passage and gave the captain an anxious hour.
Inland could be seen a " peaked mountain, which bears
S.W. by W. from them, and on their account I have
named it Mount Warning." And to the point of land
off which these shoals lay, Cook gave the name of Point
Danger.1 On past Morton Bay, where the city of Brisbane
now stands; around and over Breaksea Spit they held
their way, ever keeping as near the land as possible,
charting the coast, selecting names, many of them most
appropriate, for the more prominent coastal features.
Life on board the Endeavour was no sinecure for the ship's
officers. Yet no hint of weariness is to be found within
the covers of the journal. Always the restless energy of the
man drove him on to farther and still farther shores.
Imbued with the thirst for accurate discovery and exploration, only inaction was painful. These must have been
the supreme days of all days for Cook; the transit happily
observed, New Zealand charted, and now the unknown
shore of  a vast  island  continent  undergoing a similar
1 Point Danger is the boundary point on the coast between New
South Wales and Queensland. 74
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
SSI
I
treatment at his capable hands.   Truly a wonderful day
to have lived, to have enjoyed to the very last dregs: what
, then could matter?
Anchor was cast in Bustard Bay * on 22nd May. But a
short stay sufficed, and early in the morning of the 24th
they weighed, and with a gentle breeze at south made sail
out of the bay. Cape Capricorn was passed the next day,
and soon shoal water caused Cook to anchor inside
Keppel Island and send the boat ahead to sound. Although he did not know it, he had entered upon a most
dangerous course. From Cape Capricorn to Torres Strait
shoals infest the coast; in places there were innumerable
small flat islets; outside of these, at some considerable distance from the shore, stretches the great Australian
Barrier Reef. The wonder is that he ever got through.
From Saturday the 26th to Sunday the 3rd of June the
account is the same. Shoals, dangerous and strong tides,
muddy bays, flow land — to seaward chains of islands
paralleling the coast. The latitude of Cape Conway was
found to be 200 26' south, a small advance in eight days.
From the 3rd to the 10th the same tale is told. Their
latitude was now 150 45' south. Evening coming on, Cook
decided to haul off shore and get, as he thought, into deeper
water, and by morning be in a position to examine a
few islands which could be seen in the distance. These
he thought might be the islands discovered by Quiros,
and which the geographers of those days placed in this
very latitude.
The breeze was favourable, the night was moonlit, and
in standing off shore the water deepened gradually from
fourteen to twenty-one fathoms. What a relief it, would be
to get well away from the lagoon-infested sandy shore-line
of this New Holland coast, whose navigation had proved to
be so dangerous and trying for the past fortnight. But now
the water as suddenly shoaled to twelve, ten, eight fathoms.
1 A seventeen-and-a-half pound bustard was shot here, hence
the name. THE SOUTH  PACIFIC
75
Before an anchor could be let go, however, the lead as
suddenly showed twenty and then twenty-one fathoms.
All went well till just before eleven o'clock, when the
depth lessened to seventeen fathoms—"and before the
Man at the Lead could heave another cast, the ship struck
and stuck fast." Boats were manned in all haste, sails
were taken in, and soundings were made. These showed
that the ship had struck upon a coral reef, parts of which
were bare at low tide.
No time was lost in repining. Anchors were skilfully
placed in an endeavour to pull the vessel off, but to no
avail. Every effort was then made to lighten her. Water
casks were emptied overboard, some of the guns were unceremoniously dumped into the sea, stone ballast was got
up from below and rumbled over the side. Then followed
much of the usual useless paraphernalia which is bound
to accumulate on a long voyage — empty casks, hoop-
staves, "oil jars, decay'd stores, etc." In this manner
the vessel was lightened of between forty and fifty tons of
material, but as this was found to be insufficient to float
her, "we continued to lighten her by every method we
could think of."
It was a busy scene, yet orderly. Cook was everywhere,
directing, encouraging and at the same time careful that
no indispensable material was carelessly discarded. Daylight came at last, but only to mock them with its brilliance
and show to one and all their desperate situation. Night
descended, on exhausted bodies and a ship stuck fast on
a coral reef miles from the nearest shore of an unknown
island continent.
Their situation was indeed one of great danger. Fortunately there was little wind, and the weather continued fine
the whole twenty-four hours the ship remained upon the
reef. But their labours were not to go unrewarded, and
about twenty minutes past ten (p.m.) the ship floated,
"and we hove her into Deep Water, having at this time
3   feet  9   inches  Water  in   the  hold   .   .   .   after  this afe»
w
S3S
ii
76 CAPTAIN JAMES  COOK
turn'd all hands to the Pumps, the leak increasing upon
us." In this wise it was now thought best to make for the
mainland as quickly as possible. Sail was forthwith got
upon the ship, and she stood in toward the shore. As the
ship continued to leak in a most dangerous manner it was
decided to try fothering, as a last resource. For this
purpose a sail upon which oakum and wool were lightly
sewn was drawn under the ship's bottom by means of
ropes. When the sail came in contact with the leak some
of the oakum would be drawn into the torn places by the
inrush of the water, and so help to plug the larger apertures
of the badly damaged hull. This device proved successful,
and in a short time one pump could keep the water down
with ease. Hope now revived of being able to save the
vessel if a convenient place could be found for laying her
ashore. Diligent search was made by the officers in the
small boats, while the ship remained at anchor in shallow
water a mile from the shore. A narrow channel was at
length discovered leading into the mouth of a small river,
upon whose gently sloping banks the ship could be laid
while repairs were made to the broken planks. But stormy
weather prevented them from entering until late on the
17th of June, 1770. All had good reason to be thankful for
their deliverance from the dangers of the past week, and
the crew set to work with a will to remove the stores on
shore, lighten the ship of everything she contained, then
lay her on a carefully selected sloping bank so that the
carpenters might make the necessary repairs.
While these operations were being successfully carried
out, the gentlemen, Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, the captain
and others had opportunity for rambles ashore, and a fairly
thorough exploration of the surrounding country was made.
On the 24th a most curious animal was seen, and I
shall give the description in the captain's own words: "It
was of a light mouse colour, and the full size of a Grey
Hound, and shaped in every respect like one, with a long
tail, which it carried like a Grey Hound; in short, I should THE SOUTH PACIFIC
77
have taken it for a wild dog, but for its walking or running,
in which it jump'd like a Hare or Deer." About two weeks
later Mr. Gore, while on a short excursion up the river, shot
one of these peculiar animals. The following description
completes the tale:
The head, neck and shoulders very small in proportion to
the other parts. It was hair lipt and the Head and Ears were
most like a Hare's of any animal I know; the Tail was nearly
as long as the body, thick next the Rump, and Tapering
towards the end; the fore legs were 8 inches long, and the Hind
22. Its progression is by Hopping or Jumping 7 or 8 feet at
each hop upon its hind Legs only, for in this it makes no
use of the Fore, which seem to be only design'd for Scratching
in the ground, etc.
This animal was called by the natives Kanguroo, and
the name has been retained to the present day with slightly
different spelling.1
July passed, August came, and the ship had been successfully repaired, floated, re-laden, and made ready for sea.
To the estuary they now quitted Cook gave the name of
Endeavour River. On its banks to-day stands Cooktown,
the seaport to a near-by gold-mining district. Proceeding
with great caution, the ship followed a winding channel
out to the north-east. Past Cape Flattery and Higard
Island an opening in the Barrier Reef was discovered, and
on the 13th of the month the ship passed through to the
deep water beyond.2 For nearly three months they had
been tangled among sandy islets, shoals and reefs. They
had sailed "360 leagues by the Lead without ever having
a Leadsman out of the chains when the ship was under
sail." Probably the like had never happened before
nor since.
Sailing northward, the Endeavour eventually passed out
of sight of land, and Cook, being anxious to prove whether
New Holland connected with New Guinea or no, gave orders
1 The first time this animal was properly identified.
2 Now known as Cook's Passage. 78
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
to steer west in order to again get within sight of land.
By evening of the 15th. they were not only in sight of
land, but the dreaded Barrier Reef lay there as before, extending away to the southward as far as could be seen and
a like distance to the northward. The wind now changed
to east and north, which made it a practical impossibility to
weather a northerly spur of the reef. Then it fell quite
calm. Daybreak showed the mountainous surf breaking
on the reefs a bare mile to leeward, and the waves
carrying the ship toward them with relentless progress.
The pinnace and longboat were manned, and sent ahead
to tow, but their united efforts were barely sufficient to
delay the onward drift of the ship toward certain destruction. Anchoring was out of the question; no bottom
could be found with one hundred and forty fathoms of
line, the reef rising almost perpendicularly from the ocean
depths. They were now so near the reef that but one wave
length separated them from instant destruction, when a
light breath of air was observed to just distend the sails.
With the aid of the boats, whose crews had not ceased to
row with the greatest energy, the course of the ship was
stayed and a hundred yards gained. At length the ship
was worked into comparative safety some two miles to the
eastward and away from the reef, but the flood tide beginning, their utmost endeavour could barely maintain
their present position. In this predicament it was resolved
to try a narrow opening which was now observed to lie
about a mile to the westward. Mr. Hicks was sent to
examine it in one of the boats, and upon reporting
favourably, the ship was steered toward it. Passing safely
through, anchor was cast in the calm lagoon-like sea witnin
the reef, where soundings gave them nineteen fathoms over
a coral and shelly bottom. To this opening in the reef
Cook gave the name Providential Channel, and truly Providence aided the crew of the Endeavour at the most critical
time of the whole voyage.1
1 No other navigable opening is to be found within a score of miles. ,.,,.,,..,,
THE SOUTH PACIFIC
79
After consultation with the other officers it was agreed not
to again attempt the passage of the reef, but to stay within,
and make the best of their way to the northward through
the shoals, keeping the mainland in sight and in this way
prevent a similar occurrence to the one just described.
Cook was determined to find out whether New Holland
was connected with New Guinea or no, and to do this it
was necessary to keep the mainland in sight, lest he overrun the passage if one there was. It was a bold policy to
pursue, yet one indicative of the pertinacity of the man
and the only one which would with certainty lead to
discovery of importance.
The daily record is the same, as the Endeavour was
navigated with the greatest care through the maze of
shoals and islets which dot the broad expanse of water
between the mainland and the Great Barrier Reef. Two
boats were generally kept constantly ahead sounding.
Look-outs high up in the rigging swept the sea for a fair
passageway up which the vessel might advance. Progress
was necessarily slow. In five days they had not made a
hundred and fifty miles to the northward. But on the
21st of August, 1770, the mainland was seen to end in a
long and moderately high promontory. This was named
Cape York, after Edward Augustus, Duke of York, a
brother of George III.
A course was then laid to the westward in order to
establish this point. The ship was then successfully navigated through a channel between the innumerable islands
which infest the sea between Australia and New Guinea.
To this passage Cook gave the name of Endeavour Strait,
after the ship. Before leaving the vicinity of Cape
York, Cook had landed on an island, named Possession
Island in honour of the ceremony performed there, and
had taken formal possession of the country whose coast
he had been the first to explore and map, naming it New
South Wales.
Once clear of the islets and shoals of Torres Strait the CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
course of the ship was toward the north-west in an
endeavour to fall in with the coast of New Guinea, where
refreshment for the crew might be secured and thus help
out the dwindling stores aboard. The 26th of August
found them out of sight of land and well on their way.
Three days later the low-lying shore of New Guinea was
sighted. Cape Valsche was weathered on the 31st,
and the coast was kept in sight for several days as the
Endeavour now pursued a more northerly course. On
the 3rd of September the ship was anchored as close to the
shore as the shallow nature of the sea would permit, and
Cook went ashore in a small boat accompanied by Mr.
Banks and Dr. Solander. The natives (Papuans) proved
hostile and no attempt at trade was made. Upon regaining the ship Cook decided to leave New Guinea at once,
and, by sailing to the southward of Java; pass through the
Sunda Straits, and so to Batavia, where a large Dutch
settlement and convenient harbour would permit of
examination and proper repairs to the vessel, which still
continued to leak.
. Rounding Timor Island, the north side of Savu was
skirted. Here a landing was made on the 18th and negotiations opened with the Dutch governor for supplies of fresh
beef, fruits, etc. Fair promises were made by this individual, but there proved to be a sad lack in their performance.
Indeed at this time the Dutch frowned upon any foreign
vessel attempting to touch upon or trade "with the natives
of these islands over which the Dutch claimed sovereignty.
But the captain was altogether too adroit for the worthy
governor and, by judicious presents to the native chiefs,
secured at a reasonable price nine buffaloes, a number of
fowl, and a large quantity of syrup. With these welcome
stores aboard sail was set and the vessel pursued her
westerly course.
The 1st of October found them rounding Java Head and
entering Sunda Strait. But adverse winds, powerful currents
and the slow sailing qualities of the Endeavour made the THE SOUTH PACIFIC
81
passage of the straits a most tedious procedure. From Java
Head to Batavia is one hundred and twenty miles, yet it took
the ship nine days to complete this part of the trip and it
was also found necessary to anchor upon fifteen different
occasions. At four o'clock in the afternoon of the ioth
of October the Endeavour swung idly at anchor in Batavia
Road. There a gladsome sight met the eyes of the sea-
weary mariners, two years away from home, and for the
larger part of that time completely out of touch with their
own kith and kin. Cook mentions sixteen large ships as
present in the harbour (three of them English, the remainder Dutch), besides a number of small vessels. It will
thus be seen that Batavia was a busy port in those days
and the centre for Dutch East India trade amongst the
islands contiguous to Java.
The long two years' voyage thus far fortunately concluded, let us note one extraordinary feature. Not one
man was on the sick list when the Endeavour arrived in
Batavia harbour. Not one case of scurvy was to be found.
Lieutenant Hicks, Mr. Green, and Tupia were the only men
aboard the ship who were at all below the average of the
general good health of the entire crew. Surely the scientific world of those days did well to recognise the merit of
a commander who could so successfully overcome the seamen's scourge of the preceding centuries. " Of the
many ships which had arrived at Batavia after voyages
across the Pacific, none but had come to an anchor with
crews decimated and enfeebled through scurvy."
To the governor of the island Cook now addressed
himself, desiring to secure permission to heave down the
ship so that proper repairs might be made to the damaged
hull. This worthy functionary, His Excellency the Right
Honourable Petrus Albertus Van der Parra, was pleased
to lend every assistance the port provided. Accordingly
the Endeavour was warped alongside a wharf, the stores
taken out, and the ship keeled over, first to starboard, then
to port.    The keel was found to be in a very damaged 5CK
~s
tsxstz
E
ft
82
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
condition; a great quantity of the sheathing was gone and
two of the planks were within an eighth of an inch of
being cut through. And " here the worms," so runs the
journal, "had made their way quite into the timbers, so
that it was a matter of surprise to every one who saw her
bottom how we had kept her above water, and yet in this
condition we had sailed some hundreds of leagues, in as
dangerous a navigation as in any part of the world,
happy in being ignorant of the continual danger we were
in." This entry bears the date of the 9th of November.
The rainy, unhealthy season was approaching, but much
remained to be done.
By the 16th the repairs were complete and the ship began taking on stores. This proceeded slowly, owing to the
increasing illness of the crew. Nearly every one was now
down with fever, some indeed died, and Cook was able to
muster but an odd dozen hands to forward the work of
loading and getting ready for the long voyage homeward
which still remained to be accomplished. A month later
this entry appears—" Employ'd taking on board Provisions;
Scraping and Painting the ship." It was not until the
day after Christmas that the Endeavour passed out to sea.
The long, dreary, heat-infested days were over. The good
ship, once more stout and firm, gladly lifted her wave-
worn bow to the rolling breakers and the fever-stricken
crew stretched out gaunt faces to the clean fresh breeze
of the ocean spaces. Seven of the crew had died at
Batavia, including Mr. Monkhouse, the surgeon. Forty were
on the sick list when the Endeavour put to sea, with the
remainder of the crew in a weakened condition. Throughout it all Cook himself seems to have led a charmed
existence. He was continually alert and active, superintending every phase of the repairs, yet he was able
to come through the three plague months in Batavia in
perfect health. Men of lesser mould would not have lived
to tell the tale.
Passing out through the Straits of Sunda, a course was THE SOUTH PACIFIC
83
laid for the Cape of Good Hope. Between the 24th of
January and the 6th of February sixteen of the crew
entered upon the seaman's last long voyage. Cook redoubled
his efforts to keep the ship clean and in a healthy condition. On the 26th he "clear'd ship between decks and
washed her with vinegar " ; on the 1st of February this
operation was repeated, lime was put in the water casks
in an endeavour to purify the drinking water. But every
precaution seemed of little avail, and the sick grew gradually worse and succumbed one by one. This was a most
distressing circumstance when viewed in the light of the
fine record of the preceding two years. Before the end of
February five more succumbed, making a total of twenty-
three members of the crew who died during the voyage
to the Cape from the dysentery contracted at Batavia.
On the 5th of March the Endeavour fell in with the coast
of Africa off Point Natal in latitude 320 south. With a
south-east wind it was necessary to secure an offing, and
then beat down the coast. The Endeavour, while staunch,
was not a fast sailer, and this part of the voyage proved
to be most wearisome to the decimated crew. Cape
L'Agulhas was passed on the nth, and, rounding Cape of
Good Hope on the 13th, anchor was cast in Table Bay two
days later. The first consideration was to find quarters
ashore for some twenty-eight convalescent members of
the crew. This was speedily accomplished, and then the
usual procedure of taking on fresh stores was begun.
The latter part of March was spent in this manner, as
well as in overhauling and repairing sails, a never-ending
task for the nimble fingers of the sailors detailed for
this work.
While in Table Bay Cook took advantage of the opportunity afforded him to sign on a sufficient number of
sailors to make good the losses he had suffered through
illness, and when the Endeavour put to sea on the 14th of
April, 1771, it was once more with a full complement.
Just prior to his departure word was brought by an in- ■
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
coming vessel that war was daily expected between England
and Spain. This news, however, did not deter the captain
from his decision to sail at once for England. The voyage
as far as St. Helena passed without incident. Anchoring
in the roadstead of St. Helena on ist May, Cook found
two British warships swinging at anchor and twelve
Indiamen.
The Endeavour joined the convoy which put to sea on
the 14th. But her slow sailing qualities made Cook decide
to let the convoy proceed homeward ahead of him, and
on the 24th, when some eight degrees north of the equator,
the rearmost ships of the convoy were out of sight. June
came, and dragged its weary length through to the end.
No time is so long as that which counts each day the
lessening hours which separate us from a sight of home and
dear ones there. The 10th of July this entry appears in
the journal: "At noon we saw land from the Mast Head,
bearing N., which we judged to be about the Land's
End. ... At 2 in the p.m. saw the Lizard land, and at
6 o'clock the lighthouse bore N.W., distant 5 Leagues."
Two days later this entry appears: "At 3 o'clock in the
p.m. anchor'd in the Downs, and soon after I landed in
order to repair to London."—(Signed) Jams Cook.
The long voyage was at an end. CHAPTER VII
THE SEARCH FOR ANTARCTICA—THE SECOND VOYAGE,
llll      1772-1775      :liiiif
In which the demon scurvy is roundly trounced.
After interviewing the Lords of the Admiralty, we may
be sure that Cook repaired to his cosy home at Mile End.
There he learnt that his youngest child had died, as well
as his daughter Elizabeth, who had just passed her second
birthday when he sailed from Plymouth in August of 1768.
Such were the pangs of disappointment which tempered
the joys of farnily reunion in those far-away days. The
returning sea-farer, through lack of any means of communication, was kept perforce in complete ignorance of
his family's welfare until port had been made and friendly
faces met him at the wharf.
One would naturally think that the leader of such a
strenuous expedition would be entitled to a long period of
rest and recuperation on shore; that time would be given
in which to renew old acquaintances about town, visit
his parents at Marton, and see the Walkers of Whitby.
Even a jaunt down to old Saunderson at Staithes, were
the good man alive, would, no doubt, add to the pleasure
of a week in Yorkshire. Had not his fame spread far and
wide? Out of the vast spaces of the southern ocean great
fertile islands had been re-discovered, completely charted,
and in a manner added to the Empire's possessions. A
large part of the New Holland coast had been likewise
treated, and formal possession of that land announced
by the lieutenant of the Endeavour. His brother officers,
the Royal Society, all those who followed the sea in a seagirt isle gave him due meed of praise and acclaim.
85 86
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
But the business of the Admiralty may not wait. Besant
sums up the next few months very well: "It would seem,
however, as if there were little leisure for anything but
business. He had first to put in order, and to deliver to
the Admiralty, all his notes, journal, log books, and observations, with the drawings and charts." This done he found
time to write a paper for the Royal Society, called "An
Account of the Flowing of the Tides in the South Sea, as
observed on board His Majesty's Bark, the Endeavour."
A further paper on the scientific results of the voyage
soon followed. James Cook, one-time mate of the coal
barge Freelove, was coming into his own. His opinions
in the nautical world of Britain were eagerly read, and
the Admiralty, in recognition of his services, promoted
him to the rank of commander.
November brought new responsibilities. In the previous
year Dalrymple had published a Collection of Voyages.
This stay-at-home geographer and dry-land sailorman had
managed to swallow the Antarctic Continent fable. His
book raised the controversy afresh. When Cook returned
in '71 those who firmly believed in the existence of such
a continent were eager to point out that Cook's discoveries
in no wise proved them in the wrong, and, in fact, his
discovery of New Zealand seemed but to add fresh fuel
to the controversy. The Admiralty at length became interested in the question and Lord Sandwich was instrumental
in securing the consent of the government for an expedition
"which should endeavour to clear up and finally settle
the controversy concerning the continent." The command
of this expedition was offered to Cook, and he accepted
it at once, 28th November, 1771.
From that time until he sailed we must think of him as
attending in his usual thorough manner to the thousand
and one details of the selection and preparation of the
vessel for the projected voyage to the Antarctic Seas. The
Admiralty had decided to once and for all lay the Antarctic Continent Ghost, and had wisely selected, as leader, THE SECOND VOYAGE
87
the one man who, above all others, had shown himself
efficient in seamanship, dogged of purpose, skilled in observation, and in every respect master of his craft. Owing
to the dangers consequent upon such an undertaking,
Cook prevailed upon the Admiralty to purchase and outfit two vessels, for, true to the resolve he had made after
those harrowing hours upon the coral reef of Australia,
Cook had decided never again to venture upon such a
lengthy voyage in a single vessel, the danger of loss of
the vessel, crew, and records of the expedition being too
great to warrant the less expensive method.
In his introduction to the second voyage, Captain Cook
gives a clear and lucid account of the initial preparations
as undertaken by the Navy Board. Excerpts from this
account are given below in order to throw an added light
upon the painstaking care with which he went about the
preparations for the voyage.
I Soon after my return home in the Endeavour, it was
resolved to equip two ships, to complete the discovery of the
Southern Hemisphere. The nature of this voyage required
ships of a particular construction, and the Endeavour being
gone to Falkland Isles, as a store-ship, the Navy Board was
directed to purchase two such ships as were most suitable
for the service. At this time various opinions were espoused by different people, touching the size and kind
of vessels most proper for such a voyage. ..." Here
follow the proposals—large ships of forty guns, East India
Company ships, good sailing frigates, three-decked ships,
etc. After discussing at some length the necessity for
care in selection of the type of ship, Cook decides that a
vessel used in exploration should be "of a construction
of the safest kind, in which the officers may, with the least
hazard, venture upon a strange coast. A ship of this kind
must not be of a great draught of water, yet of a sufficient
burden and capacity to carry a proper quantity of provisions and necessaries for her complement of men, and for
the time requisite to perform the voyage.    She must also
G axes*
2§
tits
:tai
88
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
be of construction that will bear to take the ground; and
of a size which, in case of necessity, may be safely and
conveniently laid on shore, to repair any accidental danger
or defects. These properties," he declares, are to be
found only in "north country built ships, or such as are
built for the coal trade. ... In such a vessel an able sea-
officer will be most venturesome, and better enabled to
fulfil his instructions, than he possibly can in one of any
other sort of size."
To the lack of care and foresight in selecting their
vessels, Cook lays the true cause of the many failures and
even disasters which dogged the track of many a would-be
discoverer of that century. In nearly all authentic and
short accounts of the life and voyages of Captain Cook,
this point has been quite overlooked, although without
doubt it was one of the chief assets of the three great
voyages undertaken by this navigator, and it is the point
most strongly emphasised by the captain himself.
Two such ships were accordingly purchased of Captain
William Hammond, of Hull. They were both Whitby
built by the same person who built the Endeavour, and
were, in the opinion of the captain, as well adapted to the
intended service as if they had been built for the purpose.
The larger of the two was of 462 tons burthen, and was
named Resolution. The other was of 336 tons burthen,
and was named Adventure.
Space will not permit of remarks anent copper sheathing,
which was just at that time coming into vogue, but Cook
was averse to the new method and preferred to have them
sheathed with wood. Cook took command of the Resolution and Tobias Furneaux, who had been sec<md lieutenant with Captain Wallis, was promoted to the command
of the Adventure. Several of the officers who had accompanied Cook in the Endeavour were to fill similar positions
on the Resolution, and amongst the roster of able seamen
is a name afterwards to become famous in the settlement
of the Nootka  Sound  controversy,   George Vancouver.  90
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
The crew of the Resolution numbered 112; that of the
Adventure 81 men.
Probably no vessels ever before this time sailed from a
port so well and thoroughly equipped. All the knowledge
which science in those days could supply was called upon to
this end. It was resolved to test out every kind of antiscorbutic thought to be of use in fighting this dread disease
of the slow-sailing vessel of 1771. Wheat was substituted
in the place of so much oatmeal, and sugar in lieu of so
much oil; and when completed, each ship had two and a
half years' provisions on board. In addition the following
were supplied as anti-scorbutics—malt, sour-crout, salted
cabbages, portable broth, saloup, mustard, marmalade of
carrots, and inspissated juice of wort and beer. We shall
see later how Cook handled this phase of the voyage and
the additions made to science in this regard. It may be
stated here that had the voyage no other result than the
finding of proper means for the prevention of scurvy on
long voyages, then the voyage might be termed an entire
success and Captain Cook deserving of every honour as
a benefactor to all those who go down to the sea in ships.
In order that every contingency might be provided for
in case of shipwreck upon some barren coast, " the frame
of a small vessel, of twenty tons burthen, was properly
prepared, and put on board each of the ships." Fishing
nets, lines, hooks of all kinds and description were among
the stores provided by a generous Navy Board, as well
as articles of trade with the natives of such islands
or lands where the ships might touch for refreshment.
Since the voyage was to take the vessels to high latitudes
in the southern hemisphere, supplies of warm clothing
were requisitioned: these were to be issued to the seamen
as occasion might demand.
" In short, nothing was wanting that could tend to promote the success of the undertaking, or contribute to the
conveniences and health of those who embarked in it."
In  addition to  the usual complement of lieutenants, THE SECOND VOYAGE
9*
master, and master's mates, midshipmen, sailmakers,
armourers, sailors and marines, the Admiralty engaged the
services of William Hodges, a landscape painter. He was
to make drawings and sketches of places of interest visited
during the voyage, of the aboriginal people met with, their
dress and modes of life. Nor was natural history neglected,
and John R. Forster and his son were selected to fill this
position. Wales and Bayley were selected by the Board
of Longitude to make observations and thus relieve the
captain from much routine work. The Board furnished
them with the very best instruments obtainable and the
results of their labours were published upon the return of
the expedition in 1775.
Exploring the Antarctic
For our purposes it will suffice to note briefly the route
followed, and state the results of this expedition. The
Resolution and Adventure sailed from Plymouth the 13th
of July, 1772. The first stop was at Funchal Roads, the
line was crossed on the 8th of September, * arriving at
Table Bay the end of October. While lying at anchor there,
Cook noted the arrival of two Dutch East Indiamen from
Holland. They had "been five months en voyage, and from
the crew of the first, forty-one had died "by the scurvy
and other putrid diseases," while the second vessel had
lost one hundred and fifty in the same manner. Added to
this a large number of the remaining seamen were so ill
that they were conveyed to hospital on shore at once.
This terrible record was no exception to the rule in those
days, and explains to some extent the length of time it
had taken to forward exploration in the far reaches of the
Pacific. Of the crews of the Resolution and Adventure it
may be said that they were in excellent health. There had
been but two deaths since leaving England; one by drowning, one by illness.    Attention to some of the ordinary 92
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
rules of sanitation so well known by all to-day was bringing
its own reward.
The latter part of November the expedition sailed to
the southward. Three weeks later the floating ice islands
of the Antarctic were sighted, and the middle of December
found the ships on the edge of an immense field of solid
ice in latitude 550 south. A course was then laid to the
eastward, following the edge of the ice pack. By the 8th of
January (1773) Cook had reached 6i° south along the
31st meridian. Sailing on eastward, a week later he
crossed the 67th parallel, where further progress was found
impossible, solid fields of ice blocking the way.
Turning northward to the latitude of 48, an easterly
course was followed through part of February, during which
time the vessels became separated. The Resolution again
sought the ice pack, this time in the longitude of 950 east.
Cook was determined to comb the Antarctic, and either
discover or dispose of for ever the fabled continents of
that sea. At 620 south he was forced to select a more
northerly course and continued to the east between the
parallels of 58 and 59. The middle of March found him
on the 146th meridian; still no land in sight, nor any signs
of land in the vicinity. He was actually sailing over lands
which had for two hundred years fancifully bedecked the
mariners' charts. He was pushing back the northern limits
of Antarctica to within the parallel of 6o° south, and to
the same amount extending the limits of the great cold
southern ocean.
Cook now steered for New Zealand, and on the 26th
moored in Dusky Bay. They had been one hundred and
seventeen days at sea, had covered three thousand six
hundred and sixty leagues in that time, and without once
sighting land. But one sailor on board was ill of the scurvy.
This was entirely due to the precautions taken before
leaving England) in supplying the ship with sweet wort,
portable broth and sour-crout. Already the voyage had
been a success in proving the efficacy of these as anti- THE SECOND  VOYAGE
93
scorbutics. Cook also gives credit to the frequent airing
and cleansing of the men's sleeping and living quarters,
a course which he rigorously followed on all his voyages.
Exploration was resumed in May. The Adventure was
located in Queen Charlotte Sound.1 A few weeks later the
ships again put to sea. Passing through Cook Strait, that
part of the sea east of New Zealand was cruised as far south
as latitude 45, and as far east as the 133rd meridian of
west longitude, a space that had not been visited by any
preceding navigator. Due to the appearance of scurvy
on board the Adventure, it was decided to re-victual at
Tahiti, and port was made the middle of August. In
October, the expedition revisited New Zealand, the
Adventure again losing touch with her consort. The Resolution then pursued her way alone down the 179th
meridian to latitude 620 south. Steering eastward, Cook
followed tne ice edge as close as he dared go, finally reaching 66° south in longitude 1590 west. Again a thrust north
to 47, then a zig-zag south-east to 62; longitude now 116
west. Cook came to the conclusion that no large land
mass existed between New Zealand and South America.
The previous year he had demonstrated the same thing
to be true from the longitude of Africa to New Zealand.
He had now, the latter part of January and in longitude
1060 west, latitude 710 11/ south, proved the same to be
true of that part of the Antarctic from the longitude of
New Zealand to that of South America. In March, refreshments were secured at Tahiti, and June, July and August
were spent in a leisurely survey of the Polynesian islands
to the westward of the Society group, arriving eventually
in Queen Charlotte Sound of New Zealand. With the
return of spring to the southern hemisphere, Cook again
set out on an easterly course, this time along the 50th
parallel. He made the run to the Straits of Magellan in
thirty-eight days, the first time such a thing had been
attempted. At this point Cook sums up his explorations
1 Not far from Tasman Bay at the north end of the island. ..
:
rssSt
M
94
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
in these words: " I have now done with the Southern Pacific
Ocean, and flatter myself that no one will think that I
have left it unexplored; or that more could have been
done, in one voyage, towards obtaining that end, than
has been done in this." Here was the consciousness of
work well and truly done, and posterity has answered in
the affirmative.
Rounding Cape Horn, January of 1775 found the
Resolution cruising the Southern Atlantic. There ice-
scarred South Georgia was discovered. Continuing easterly
along the 58th parallel, Cook finally linked up with his
exploration of 1772 south of Africa. The Resolution was
accordingly headed to the northward, having, as Cook
tersely remarks, "no business farther south."
He had now completed his circuit of the great Antarctic
Ocean in a latitude ranging from 550 to 650 south. It had
been traversed in such a manner " as to leave not the least
room for the possibility of there being a continent, unless
near the pole, and out of reach of navigation. . . . Thus
I flatter myself that the intention of the voyage has, in
every respect, been fully answered; the southern hemisphere sufficiently explored, and a final end put to searching after a southern continent." Of the continental mass
which Cook did believe existed over the South Polar regions,
it was found to lie in such a high latitude and to experience
such an extreme of cold that he was positive no commercial importance could in any manner attach thereto. Nor
could large areas ever be seen, ringed as it was with floating
ice islands of huge size and of enormous extent. On parting
from them he wrote: "Lands doomed by nature to perpetual frigidness; never to feel the warmth of the sun's
rays; whose horrible and savage aspect I have not words
to describe—such are the lands we have discovered; what
then may we expect those to be which lie still farther
to the south?"
And what were the conditions of crew and vessel after
all these years at sea ?   Of the former it may be said that THE SECOND VOYAGE
95
not one man was ill; all were in good health, due to the
precautions taken by the lieutenant commander. At every
anchorage fresh water had been secured, without which
no crew could long remain in good health. Diligent
search had been made for fresh meat to supplant the
heavily salted or pickled meats. Whenever an over-supply
had been secured the remainder had been put in pickle,
but one of considerably less strength than that in general
use. Fresh vegetable material of every description which
could be boiled and made into a soup or broth had also
been procured whenever diligent search rewarded their
efforts. From the standpoint of the health of the crew
it would seem that the voyage might have been continued
indefinitely. And this will bear repetition, that of no
voyage of like duration could this have been said. Always
the dread scurvy had made its appearance, always a large
number of the crew sickened and died miserably at sea.
The brave remainder, often more dead than alive, navigated
the vessel to the nearest port, there to remain for many
weeks recuperating, while the officers sought far and wide
for more sailors to fill the empty hammocks. It may be
truly said that in this, his second great voyage, Captain
James Cook mastered the demon scurvy, and, by giving
his record to the world, was the direct cause of promoting
and adding to the security and happiness of all who go
down to the sea in ships.
Other features now made a return to England an imperative matter. The biscuits were by this time in a state
of decay, so infested with weevil as to burn the mouths
of those who tried to eat them. The sails and cordage
were much worn, so much so that something was
giving way every hour; and little was left in the great
store rooms of the vessel with which to effect replacement or repairs.
A course which would bring them to Table Bay was
accordingly decided upon, and one and all bade farewell
to the Antarctic which had been their goal of endeavour
1 JSS
t!KT
KlSi
96 CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
for the past three years. With what speed the baffling
winds would permit, the good ship made her way all too
slowly for the anxious hearts of the crew, now longing
for a sight of bronzed English faces on the ships of the East
India Company, surely to be found at call in the spacious
Cape Town harbour, and the 21st of March found them
safely at anchor in the much-desired haven.
A salute of thirteen guns was made, the compliment
as duly returned by the Dutch officer in command of the
port. Boats put off from the Resolution, one to the Ceres,
an English East Indiaman homeward bound from China,
another to the quay to present Cook's compliments to
the governor and politely ask for supplies. By the Ceres,
due to sail, letters, charts, etc., were sent to the Admiralty
Board in London. From the governor came kind permission to purchase needful stores. A spectacular and
fitting entry to the fringe of civilisation after years of
wanderings in far distant seas!
News now came, in the shape of a letter, bearing intelligence of the Adventure. It appeared that, after the
separation from the Resolution in the storm near the New
Zealand coast, the Adventure had gained the shelter of
Queen Charlotte Sound about a week after the departure
of the Resolution from that anchorage. While refitting, the
large cutter had been sent to a distant part of the sound
to gather wild celery, where the natives had attacked the
boat, captured her and killed the crew of ten. When
Captain Furneaux learned of this sad occurrence, he had
no other recourse than to leave the sound and proceed, by
way of Cape Horn, to Cape Town. Refitting there, he sailed
for England, where the Adventure arrived on the 14th of
July, 1774.
This was in a manner satisfying intelligence to those
who had for long feared the total loss of their consort.
Repairs to the Resolution were hastened, and on the 26th
of April, 1775, the homeward journey was begun. The
middle of May found her at St. Helena, where Governor THE SECOND VOYAGE
97
Skettowe treated his distinguished visitors with every
courtesy. The voyage was resumed on the 21st, and a
week later, Cross Bay on the north-west side of Ascension
Island was entered, and for several days the crew of the
Resolution were actively engaged catching turtles. Twenty
of   these monsters were   secured, averaging 400 pounds
MAORI TRIBESMAN
each. They proved to be a welcome addition to the larder,
and no doubt Cook's idea was to proceed in such a leisurely
fashion as to bring home his crew in as fine a state of health
as possible, besides avoiding the high prices he would have
paid for fresh beef, either at the Cape from the Dutch
or at St. Helena from the English East India Company.
His native thrift ever showed itself in such devices. And
what an illuminating picture of those days, of the manner
in which voyages were conducted, before the days of the CAPTAIN JAMES  COOK
squat, rust-streaked tramp drove the picturesque white
wings from the sea lanes.
Cruising northward past the island of Fernando de
Noronha, off the Brazilian coast, past the eastern edge of
the Sargasso Sea, 13th July found our company off the
Island of Fayal, one of the Azores. A week was spent here,
the officers as guests ashore were most hospitably treated;
then once more the voyage was resumed. Ever northward the ship bore them, nearer and nearer came the beloved shores of the homeland—at last land was sighted
on the 29th near Plymouth. The next morning the
Resolution was anchored at Spithead, and that same day
Cook and several of the gentlemen on the ship landed
at Portsmouth, and set out for London. Another long
voyage had come to a happy end, weary seamen might
now receive their dearly loved shore leave, then, in some
tidy inn, the centre of an admiring throng, relate a tale
of distant lands far down below the old earth's brim.
Spain enters the Lists
In order to understand the exploration and subsequent
development of trade along the western coast of America
between the years 1776 and 1800, it seemed advisable to give
the preceding brief account of the man who made such voyages
a possibility. While it is true that a resume of Captain Cook's
fife takes us far from the west coast of North America, we see
where the great additions were made to geography during
the years following Bering's voyages from Kamchatka. With
the southern hemisphere delineated in 1775 in a manner
approaching the charts of to-day, there remained but three
hazy outlines: the Arctic shores of America from Hudson's
Bay to the vicinity of East Cape in Siberia; the Pacific Coast
of America from San Francisco Bay to Kodiak Island, and
that part of the Alaskan shore northward to the Arctic Sea;
the coast of Japan and China from the Kurile Islands southward to the vicinity of Formosa. In an age of discovery, when THE SECOND  VOYAGE
99
the tools at hand had been greatly improved, it would be
strange indeed were there no revival of interest regarding
these dim coasts. The following chapters tell the tale and
introduce Captain Cook in charge of the first English expedition to the North Pacific.1
The country most concerned in these Pacific explorations
was undoubtedly Spain. Her government had heard with
grave misgiving of Russian encroachment in the far north.
She now witnessed the further discoveries by the English
in the far southern Pacific waters. It behoved her to do
something to assert her claim to the sovereignty of that
ocean and its bordering American coast. Accordingly,
about the year 1774, the port of San Bias was fortified,
warehouses were erected, and shipbuilding actively carried
on. That same year Juan Perez, in command of the corvette Santiago, was despatched northward from San Bias
on a reconnaissance voyage. He was instructed to examine
the coast as far as the 65th degree of north latitude. If
Russians were encountered, their posts were to be noted,
and the amount of coast-line which they had occupied.
Sailing late in January of '74 and touching at Monterey,
the trend of the coast was followed in a vague manner to
the 53rd parallel, where mountains were seen to the
eastward—the Queen Charlotte Islands of to-day.
Although badly in need of water, no anchorage could be
found, and Perez turned southward without attempting
to reach latitude 650. On the homeward voyage an attempt
was again made to anchor, this time in the vicinity of
Nootka Sound, midway of the west coast of Vancouver
Island. But a sudden storm almost drove the Santiago on
a dangerous reef, and Perez continued on his way southward without having once landed on that coast which he
had come so far to explore. He arrived at Monterey
27th August.   "Beyond a cursory examination of one or
1 At least since the days of Drake, 1579.
■ 100
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
isa
two points, and ascertaining the general trend of the coast
line, little was accomplished by this expedition."
Nothing daunted, the Mexican viceroy outfitted another
expedition the following year. Don Bruno Heceta took
command of the Santiago, and a little schooner, the Sonora,
was assigned to Lieutenant Quadra, an enterprising official
in the San Bias district. In July of '75 the expedition had
reached latitude 47, and came to anchor near Point Grenville, a few miles north of the Grays Harbour of to-day.
Upon landing, formal possession of the country was taken
in the name of the Spanish monarch. These were the first
Europeans to set foot, so far as we know, upon the west
coast south of the confines of Alaska, and north of the
Spanish settlements in Southern California.
In a brush with the Indians the Sonora lost part of her
crew, and Heceta was for returning to Monterey at once.
Quadra on the other hand held out for a continuation of
the voyage northward. Becoming separated in a storm,
Heceta improved the opportunity to sail homeward, but
Quadra carried on, and reached the Alaskan coast islands
in the vicinity of Mount Edgecumbe and Norton Sound.
He had sailed to latitude 57, two hundred miles beyond
Perez, and in a schooner but twenty-seven feet in length,
mustering a crew of fifteen. The voyage has been aptly
described as "an effort as heroic as it was foolhardy in
such an unseaworthy and ill-equipped craft."
On the homeward voyage Quadra landed on the west
coast of Dall Island, and took formal possession of the
country for his sovereign. The Sonora reached San Bias in
November, and was welcomed with much acclaim. While
the endeavours of Quadra deserve the highest praise, they
exemplify more the bold and resourceful nature of the man
than the record of any practical addition to geographical
knowledge. The most that may be said is that a few widely
separated bits of coast had been seen along > hitherto unknown shore-line. No continuous exploration had been
made of even a hundred miles of coast.  What inlets, bays, THE SECOND VOYAGE
I 01
gulfs or islands lay along that shore no one in San Bias
could tell from a perusal of the charts brought home. In
a very general way the trend of the coast had been laid
down almost up to that portion seen by Bering tlnTty-four
years before. With the voyage of Captain Cook along
these shores, and the multitude of fur traders who followed,
the shore-line of the far west coast of America began to
take on actual form and contour. CHAPTER VIII
cook's third voyage
voyage to the Pacific Ocean to determine the position and
extent of the west side of North America; its distance from
Asia; and the practicability of a Northern Passage to Europe.
Performed under the direction of Captains Cook, Clerke and
Gore, in His Majesty's Ships the Resolution and Discovery, in
the years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780.
The Last Year at Home
After reporting to the Admiralty, Cook repaired to his
little home at Mile End, Old Town. But he was almost
immediately summoned to- attend an audience with the
king (9th August). In reward for his services the king
handed him his commission as post-captain, and appointed
him to the command of H.M.S. Kent. Three days later he
was further rewarded by a captaincy in Greenwich Hospital.
This carried a salary of £200 per annum, together with
certain other emoluments, and was considered to be an
easy, well-paid billet. It was thought that he who had led
so strenuous a life would enjoy the relief from exacting
cares which this appointment ensured. Cook, however,
had no notion of rusting out on shore like some worn discarded anchor, and he was careful to reserve for himself
the right to re-engage in active service at any time, should
occasion warrant the move.
The 19th of August, 1775, found him again at Mile End,
writing to his old friend Walker of Whitby. Then came
months of worry and much hard work preparing the
journal of his voyage for publication. This seems to have
kept him busy till June of '76, and the manuscript was
102 THE THIRD VOYAGE
103
completed just prior to setting sail on his third voyage of
discovery and exploration. At the same time other matters
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
From an engraving after the original portrait by Dance in the Gallery
of Greenwich Hospital.
of moment were attended to in the captain's usually thorough
manner. On the 29th of February, 1776, Captain Cook
was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.    The week
H
^ 104
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
following he was formally admitted to this distinguished
body, and there read a paper on the "Prevention and Cure
of Scurvey." In this he embodied the facts learned by
investigation and experiment during his two voyages to
the southern seas. It may be said to mark a decided change
for the better in the lot of the common sailor, both of the
mercantile as well as of the purely naval service. In
recognition of his valuable services to mankind, the Society
later in the year awarded to Cook the Copley Gold Medal
for the best paper contributed during the year.
Now it had been noised abroad that the Admiralty had
in mind the sending out of still another expedition to the
Great South Sea, and even into the far reaches of the
North Pacific. It was proposed that two vessels be sent
to the Pacific by way of the Cape of Good Hope; thence
by way of New Zealand to the Society Islands where
Omai1 should be repatriated. From there a northward
course would be taken to the coast of North America.
Somewhere north of 45° north latitude2 a port was to be
found, and refreshments for the crew secured. The coast
was then to be investigated in the hope of finding a passage
either through the continent to Hudson's Bay, or failing
in that, by way of Bering Strait and the Arctic Ocean.
If no passage were found the first season the expedition
was to winter at Petropavlovsk, and make another attempt
the next year. All new lands discovered were to be formally taken possession of by the expedition in the name
of the king.
At the same time the Admiralty proposed to send an
expedition by way of the. Atlantic to explore Davis Strait
and Baffin's Bay "with a view of obtaining information
as to the existence of any passage into the Pacific." Perhaps
the two expeditions might join hands in mid-Arctic regions,
1A South Sea Islander who had accompanied Captain Furneaux
to England in the Adventure.
2 In order not to conflict with the Spaniards, who occupied the
coast as far to the northward as San Francisco Bay. THE THIRD VOYAGE
i°5
and be of assistance to each other! For some years there
had been a standing offer from the Admiralty of £20,000
to any British merchant ship discovering a passage from
Hudson's Bay to the Pacific. The offer was now enlarged
to include the Royal Navy, and the passage might be either
east or west so long as it was north of latitude 520. By
both sending out expeditions and offering a huge reward,
the Admiralty hoped to find such passage should one there
be, and at the same time obtain control of the passage
in the interest of the empire.
It was an ambitious plan. Not since the days of Peter
the Great and Vitus Bering had such inducements been
offered, nor had such large government expenditure been
authorised in behalf of that elusive will-o'-the-wisp the
North-East Passage. It might also be noted that the
conflict with the Thirteen Colonies had begun its chequered
career, but the preparations for this great struggle do not
seem to have had any effect upon the prosecution of the
venture under review, nor is any mention made of it in
the early part of the journal of the voyage.
After discussion of the plan with Lord Sandwich, Sir
Hugh Paliister and Mr. Stephens, Cook decided to apply
for the command of the Pacific Coast expedition. The
quiet backwaters of Greenwich Hospital did not appeal
to his active mind and in fact he had never taken up his
residence there. His offer was immediately accepted by
the Lords Commissioners of the Adrmralty and Cook at
once repaired to Deptford, where the Resolution was undergoing extensive repairs. As consort, the Discovery, another Whitby built ship, was secured, and the command
given to Charles Clerke, who had been second lieutenant
on board the Resolution during the second voyage.
From the 9th of March to the 15th of June, 1776, the
vessels were taking on stores. These included not only the
usual food supplies for the sailors but all that had been
found so successful during the preceding voyages in
conquering the scurvy.    Warm clothing was also carried io6
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
in addition to the usual allotments, as the voyage was to
lead this time to the far northern Pacific and possibly
well within the Arctic Circle itself. Both ships were provided with a proper assortment of iron tools and trinkets,
which Cook informs us would enable them " to traffic and
to cultivate a friendly intercourse with the inhabitants
of such new countries as we might be fortunate enough
to meet with." The most accurate watches obtainable
were furnished them by the Admiralty in order that the
observations should be accurate and the charts made be
of service to future navigation. It is notable that on
this voyage Cook decided to perform the duties of observer
in person, a position which heretofore had been filled
by a trained astronomer. The captain was now considered
competent to fill this difficult post as well as carry the
responsibility of the whole voyage and the general oversight
of both vessels; a task fit to try the best of men. But
Cook at this time seemed the embodiment of tireless
energy. No multiplicity of detail ever worried him—and his
journals are full of the joy of endeavour which brimmed his
cup with the sweets of accomplishment.
To Mr. Anderson was given the dual post of surgeon
and naturalist, and to Mr. Webber that of artist. Many
members of the crews of the second voyage enlisted for
service in this voyage, and probably no expedition ever
sailed from England's shores carrying a more experienced
and more loyal crew.
An element of interest also attaches to Omai, the South
Sea Islander, who had accompanied Captain Furneaux
from Huahaine to England. " Being the first native of
the South Sea Islands brought to England he was sought
after as a wonder, and became the ' lion' of a season;
he was introduced to fashionable parties, conducted to
the splendid entertainments of the highest classes, and
presented at court. When he departed from England he
was loaded with presents, but few of which were calculated
to be of real service.    He carried with him a coat of mail, THE THIRD VOYAGE
107
a suit of armour, a musket, pistols, cartouch-box, cutlasses,
powder and ball; a portable organ and an electrical
machine.'' One can but smile at the curious array of
material. Yet the possession of such a collection of warlike
implements and the knowledge of their use could not but
make Omai a most wonderful person when set down in
his native habitat. In fact we shall learn that the King
of Huahaine made him a chief, "gave him his daughter
in marriage, and honoured him with the name of Paari
(wise or instructed)."
For his own part Omai left London with a mixture of
regret and satisfaction. When the conversation would
be about England and those who had honoured him with
their protection or friendship his spirits were sensibly
affected and it was with difficulty he could refrain from
tears. But the instant the conversation turned to his
own islands, his eyes began to sparkle with joy. The
captain and his charge boarded the Resolution where she
now lay at anchor off the Nore, and on the 30th of June
joined the Discovery at Plymouth.
Contrary winds detained the vessels in the sound for
the best part of a fortnight; then the Resolution sailed for
the Cape of Good Hope with orders for the Discovery to
follow. Captain Clerke was detained in, London, having
taken refuge " within the Liberties of the Fleet prison."
He had become financially involved through the inability
of a friend to meet certain obligations which Clerke had
guaranteed, and the worthy captain had taken this novel
means of eluding the moneylenders, who, as usual, wished
to extract their pound of flesh.
Let us then follow the fortunes of the Resolution. On
the 14th of July, 1776, she was within sight of the Lizard,
five days later sufficient sea room to the west had been
gained and the long southern route was begun. " We
passed Cape Finisterre, on the afternoon of the 24th, with
a fine gale at north-north-east." On the 30th of July,
I at six minutes and thirty-eight seconds past ten o'clock
ill io8
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
at night, apparent time, I observed with a night-telescope,
the moon totally eclipsed." A call was made at the island
of Teneriffe for supplies and the ship anchored in the road
of Santa Cruz. No less than eighteen sail of various
nationalities were found at anchor in the road, an interesting
side-light on the sea-borne commerce of those days, when
it was the custom to make calls at convenient ports for
refreshment of crew and officers alike.
Continuing southward past the Cape Verde Islands, the
close sultry weather with continual rains caused much
discomfort. The deck seams had been poorly caulked and
there was not a dry spot between-decks. To combat
this condition Cook redoubled his efforts, drying the interior of the vessel by fires, and airing spare sails and the
men's bedding on such days as the weather permitted.
The line was crossed on the ist of September, with the
usual ceremony of ducking those who had not crossed
the equator before. Day followed day in monotonous
tropical sameness. The least sign of bird life was sufficient
to cause a flutter of excitement, an albatross, a few petrels,
and after passing the southern tropic some penguins were
seen. At last the Cape of Good Hope was sighted on the
17th of October and the following day anchor was let
go in Table Bay.
The Discovery arrived on the 10th of November and
Captain Clerke informed his commander that he had sailed
from Plymouth on the ist of August. Cook's journal
omits to tell us how Clerke escaped from the Fleet Street
sanctuary and gained the security of his own quarter-deck.
The remainder of November was occupied in fitting out
each ship for the long journey into the heart of the Pacific.
The ist of December found both vessels out beyond Penguin Island and heading south-east to get into the track
of the roaring forties.
Christmas Day was spent in a small harbour among
the islands discovered by Kerguelen in 1772, but it was
not until the 27th that leave could be granted the hard- THE THIRD  VOYAGE
109
working sailors in which to celebrate the day. Christmas
Harbour, as their anchorage was named, was but a barren spot, the weather was wretched, fog alternating with
wind and rain, so that small cheer was to be had from a
ramble ashore to explore the mysteries of this practically
unknown land. For some days the vessels coasted the
shore-line of this lonely island group, then, on the last of
the month, a course was laid for
New Zealand.1
After three weeks and three
days of voyaging ever eastward,
the welcome shores of Van
Diemen's Land 2 came in sight
to the northward. The ships
put into Adventure Bay on the
south-east shore of the island,
and proceeded to recruit their §|||
wood and water. The following jj|tfrF
day they were agreeably surprised
by the appearance of some
natives, eight men and a boy.
Let the journal tell the story:
They approached us from the
woods,    without   betraying    any
marks of fear, or rather with the AUSTRALIAN bushman with
greatest confidence imaginable; for boomerang
none of them had any weapons,
except one, who had in his hand a stick about two feet long, and
pointed at one end. They were quite naked, and wore no ornaments ; unless we consider as such, and as a proof of their love
of finery, some large punctures or ridges raised on different
parts of their bodies, some in straight, and others in curved
lines. They were of the common stature, but rather slender.
Their skin was black, and also their hair, which was as woolly
as that of any native of Guinea; but they were not distinguished by remarkably thick lips nor flat noses. They had
pretty good eyes and their teeth were tolerably even, but
1 The islands mentioned are in latitude 490 S.-68° E. 2 Tasmania. 110
CAPTAIN JAMES  COOK
very dirty. Most of them had their hair and beards smeared
with red ointment; and some had their faces also painted
with the same composition.
So much for the appearance of the native Tasmanian
in the days of long ago, when the white man first saw him
under natural conditions.
The captain tried them with presents, but the natives
either threw them down in disgust or returned them. But
two pigs, which had been brought on shore, were at once
seized upon by the Tasmans as prizes of great value. The
native carrying the stick was at length persuaded to show
its utility. He set up a piece of wood as a mark at about
twenty yards distance, and proceeded to throw at it.
"But we had little reason to commend his dexterity,"
so runs the account, "for after repeated trials, he was still
very wide from the object." Then follows an amusing
touch. "Omai, to show them how much superior our
weapons were to theirs, then fired his musket at it, which
alarmed them so much, that notwithstanding all we could
do or say, they ran instantly into the woods."
The next day a larger group of natives were encountered,
and some of the women were observed to wear large pieces
of kangaroo skin tied over the shoulders and round the
waists. It seemed to be used mainly as a support for their
children when carried on their backs. All these natives
seemed to be in a most wretched or shall we say primal
state of civilisation. Blackened coals near the beach, and
ascending columns of smoke in the distance, gave every
evidence to their use of fire, while large heaps of mussel-
shells showed the Englishmen what food the natives were
in the habit of eating. But their refusal to eat freshly-
caught fish, the absence of weapons, and the miserable
shelters made of sticks covered with bark, alike bore mute
witness to the simple habits of the native inhabitants.1
1 The aborigines of Van Diemen's Land, "after a protracted
resistance," have all been conveyed to Gun Carriage Island, in Bass
Straits, "which has been given up to their undisputed possession." THE THIRD VOYAGE
in
The Voyage to New Zealand
The 30th of January, 1777, dawned bright and clear—
and with a light breeze from the west the ships cleared the
bay and made all sail to the eastward. Twelve days later
anchor was cast in Queen Charlotte Sound. Preparations
were at once begun for a stay of several weeks. Empty
water casks were got on shore, tents were erected, and an
observatory made in order to check up the ships' watches.
Two men were appointed to brew spruce beer; the carpenter and his men set about cutting a supply of firewood
for the vessels; "a boat, with a party of men, under the
direction of one of the mates, was sent to collect grass for
the cattle; and the people that remained on board were
employed in refitting the ship, and arranging the provisions. In this manner, we were all profitably busied during
our stay." A busy scene, full of action and colour. It
needed but the native Maoris to complete the tableaux,
and these were not wanting.
The ships had been at anchor but a short time when
several canoes filled with Maoris came alongside. Few of
them would venture on board until Omai, who understood
their dialect, assured them of the captain's kindly intentions and that no revenge was to be taken for the massacre
of the boat's crew belonging to the Adventure.1 The news
spread along the sound to the other Maoris and soon the
shores in the immediate vicinity of the tents were dotted
with the rude huts of the natives. This was considered a
very fortunate state of affairs by the captain, as the natives
were expert fishermen, and every day, when the weather
would permit, some of them would go out to catch fish.
By the simple process of barter large quantities of fresh
food were then easily secured for the crews of both
vessels. It was by attending at all times to the securing
of fresh food that the excellent state of health of the
crews was maintained.
1 See account of this on page 96, Second Voyage. 112
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
Nor does Cook appear in the least to have held the
Maoris in fear. Their numbers did not cause him alarm;
ever he seems to have trusted in his ability to get along
with the natives by peaceful means. He did not neglect
any necessary precaution on the other hand; boats were
not permitted to go far up the sound, and those away on
short errands went well armed. The captain at length,
with a well-armed boat's crew, visited the cove where the
crew of the Adventure's boat had been set upon and killed.
By means of Omai every possible circumstance surrounding
the affair was gathered from the natives, who told about
it in the frankest manner. It would seem that there had
been no premeditation in the assault which had been made.
A Maori had been caught stealing some object from the
boat, and had been severely whacked by the lone member
of the crew left in charge. His cries had aroused the
assembled natives. They at once fell upon the other
members of the crew, who were seated at some distance,
peacefully eating their supper. In a few moments every
Englishman was dead, and shortly afterwards the boat itself
was torn in pieces.
Cook, in the most generous and broad-minded manner,
wisely decided to pass over the incident as an unfortunate
occurrence, which no attack of his could remedy or
repair. Rather did he try the more to make fast friends
of the natives of the sound, and in this it would seem
he quite succeeded.
The Voyage to Tahiti
With everything in readiness, the 25th of February, 1777,
found the Endeavour standing out of the sound, the
Discovery following, and, passing through the strait, a
course to the eastward was laid. March passed and April
came as the ships pursued their eastward journey, ever
tending to the northward to reach Matavai Bay, and
once again renew old friendships.   A few new coral-rimmed THE THIRD VOYAGE
ii3
islands were cliscovered, but the absence of good anchorage
forbade any but the most cursory investigation of them.
By the middle of the month the small islets of the Pakner-
ston group were seen. A landing was effected, and several
boat-loads of fresh cocoa-nuts were secured, but of the much
desired fresh water there was none. Cook now decided to
touch at Anamooka, where he hoped to secure the necessary
supplies of fresh water and grass. The first fortnight of
May was accordingly spent at a snug anchorage on the
north side of the island. The natives of this group—the
Friendly Isles—as their name implies, gave a most cordial
welcome to their unexpected visitors; trade was brisk,
all the products of which the land boasted could be easily
secured for a few nails, beads, a hatchet, etc. One can gain
but a remote idea of the extraordinary value a South Sea
Islander was wont to set upon a bit of iron.
Proceeding to Lefooga, a most enjoyable week was spent
by one and all. The natives brought down from their
plantations great heaps of yams, cocoa-nuts, plantains and
bread fruit. The chiefs presented the captain with hogs
and fowls, while in return presents were duly despatched
from the ships to the chiefs. Nor did the entertainment cease with these exchanges. On one afternoon the
islanders formed themselves into a great circle around
an open grassy space. To this carnival the English were
invited. The first number on the programme might be
called single combat with native clubs made from green
branches of the cocoa-nut tree. After parading around the
circle, the club men divided, half to one side, half to the other.
Soon they successively entered the lists and entertained us
with single combats. One champion, rising up and stepping
forward from one side, challenged those of the other side,
by expressive gestures more than by words, to send one of
their body to oppose him. If the challenge was accepted,
which was generally the case, the two combatants put themselves in proper attitude, and then began the engagement, which continued till one or the other owned himself
lit II4
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
conquered, or till their weapons were broken. As soon as each
combat was over, the victor squatted himself down facing
the chief, then rose up and retired. At the same time some old
men, who seemed to act as judges, gave their plaudit in a
few words, and the multitude, especially on the side to which
the victor belonged, celebrated the glory he had acquired in
two or three huzzas.
This was followed by wrestling matches, boxing matches,
and other feats of strength. About three thousand people
viewed the exhibition, and throughout there was the best
of good humour on all sides, though, as Cook relates,
" some of the champions received blows, which, doubtless,
they must have felt for some time after."
Feenou, the head chief of this group, now asked that the
marines be paraded so that he might see the English
manoeuvre. Cook readily granted the request and never
were British seamen more vociferously applauded. Several
volleys were fired at the conclusion of the entertainment,
and this lent a fitting climax to an afternoon of friendly
sport. That evening Cook arranged to set off fireworks
which quite astonished the islanders. In return, a dance
by a chorus of twenty young women was arranged for,
and the English visitors were delighted with the soft music
of the rude orchestra, the beauty of the performers, as well
as by the intricate mazes of the dance.
Thus ended a gala day at Lefooga. The mild nature
of the climate, the tropical luxuriance of the surrounding
foliage, the bright lights at night, the concourse of happy
people, all left a most pleasing impression on the visitors.
Coming as it did after many months of sailing, buffeted
by wind and wave, this seemed the Lotus Land of all
endeavour. Why journey on to the far north, to the cold
and ice of Alaska ? Why not remain here, mid sunny glades,
in a gentle clime, with friendly joyous people? But
England's sons have sterner duties to perform, the island
was soon low on the horizon's edge, as the vessels resumed
their voyage to Tahiti. THE THIRD VOYAGE
It was now the 17th of July, and high time that the
voyage be continued, if the Society Isles were to be visited,
Omai repatriated and the objects of the northern cruise
undertaken. Cook had apparently given up the idea of
searching the North American coast this season (1777).
Contrary winds had assailed them after leaving New
Zealand, and in order to save the cattle he had on board,
BREAD-FRUIT
it had been deemed best to put in at the Friendly Isles
rather than risk the run to Tahiti with scanty stocks
of fodder. The cattle, which the journal frequently
mentions, consisted of male and female kine, sheep, goats,
swine, and turkeys. It was the intention of the Admiralty
to leave pairs of them at different places throughout the
South Pacific in the hope that the natives would care for
them, that these new shores would soon be stocked
with these useful animals and thus be of much value to
the natives as well as providing varied means of refreshment n6
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
to trading vessels of the future. Surely this was a laudable
undertaking. But the mildness of the climate, added to
the apathy of the native inhabitants, led Cook to frequently
remark that he had little hopes of the scheme succeeding.
It is true that the islands of Polynesia boasted hogs of a
kind, but they were small of size and in no way comparable
to the heavy English breeds. There are those who believe
that the Maoris of New Zealand did save some swine left
there, or that, becoming wild, they propagated themselves
under natural conditions; for when the English took
formal possession of those islands the Maoris were found
in possession of good-sized herds of a large breed. The
like cannot be said of the gifts to the chiefs of the Friendly
or Society Islands.
Nature had been too lavish with her gifts, life was easy,
the temperature mild, the food abundant. Fish were a
never failing source of supply; the yam was their potato;
the bread-fruit their loaf, the cocoa-nut furnished them
with sweetest milk. Why should one care for the stubborn
goat, or the ever hungry cow and her troublesome offspring? To the end that some ship might call and pay
much in iron, beads or cloth for these animals? The
South Sea Islander could not understand that condition,
could not see into the future that far. His thought was
on his present happiness.   What else mattered?
The journal of the voyage tells us in a most pleasing
manner of the reflections of officers and crew upon leaving
the Friendly Isles, a portion of which is reproduced:
Thus we took leave of the Friendly Islands and their
inhabitants, after a stay of between two and three months;
during which time, we lived together in the most cordial
friendship. Some accidental differences, it is true, now and
then happened, owing to their great propensity for thieving;
but, too often encouraged by the negligence of our own people.
But these differences were never attended with any fatal consequences; to prevent which, all my measures were directed,
and I believe, few on board our ships left our friends here without regret. The time employed amongst them was not thrown THE THIRD  VOYAGE
117
away. We expended very little of our sea provisions; subsisting in general upon the produce of the islands, while we
staid; and carrying away with us a quantity of refreshments
sufficient to last till our arrival at another station, where we
could depend upon a fresh supply. . . . We found that the
best articles for traffic at these islands are iron tools in general.
. . . Axes and hatchets; nails, from the largest spike down
to the tenpenny ones; rasps, files, and knives are much
sought after. Red cloth, and linen, both white and coloured;
looking-glasses and beads, are also in estimation; but of the
latter, those that are blue are preferred to all others; and
white ones are thought the least valuable.
Of the people Cook has this to say:
The natives of the Friendly Isles seldom exceed the common
stature; but are very strong and well made, especially as to
their limbs. They are generally broad about the shoulders;
and though the muscular disposition of the men, which seems
a consequence of much action, rather conveys the appearance
of strength than of beauty, there are several to be seen who
are really handsome. Their features are very various; . . .
we met with hundreds of truly European faces. . . . Their
eyes >and teeth are good; but the last neither so remarkably white, nor so well set, as is often found amongst Indian
natives, though, to balance that, few of them have any uncommon thickness about the lips. . . . The general colour is
a cast deeper than the copper brown; but several of the men
and women have a true olive complexion. . . . There are
few natural defects or deformities to be found amongst them
. . . they may be considered as uncommonly healthy; not
a single person having been seen, during our stay, confined
to the house by sickness of any kind.
All the officers were struck with the attention to personal
cleajiliness exhibited by the natives. They were seen to
bathe frequently in the warm pools of brackish water
near the low-lying coral strands. Afterwards they
would anoint themselves with quantities of cocoa-nut oil,
rubbing the whole body over briskly, and producing
thereby that smooth skin which was the constant envy
of the sailor folk. n8
CAPTAIN JAMES  COOK
On the morning of the 12th of August the familiar
shores of the island' of Tahiti appeared on the horizon's
edge. Cook decided to draw what provision he could from
the south-eastern part of the island before proceeding to
Matavai Bay, on its northern shore, where the principal
settlements were to be found.
Accordingly the vessels came to anchor in Oheitepepa
Bay. Omai was at once recognised by his friends of
former days and lost no time in making a triumphal
landing, where, some time afterward, the captain found
him mightily haranguing the multitude who gathered to
hear his story. On the 23rd the vessels proceeded to
Matavai Bay.
The next morning Otoo, the king of the whole island,
attended by a great number of canoes full of people, came
from Oparee, his place of residence, and having landed at
Matavai Point, sent a message on board expressing his
desire to see the captain. Cook, accompanied by Omai and
a number of the officers, at once landed and found the
king seated in the midst of a vast concourse of curious
natives. After the exchange of suitable presents the king
and his retinue repaired on board the Resolution, where
the officers entertained them with a suitable repast.
During the following weeks both vessels were thoroughly
overhauled against the long cruise to the northward. The
natives maintained a friendly demeanour and no untoward
incident marred the stay of the vessels and their crews.
This was largely due to the careful oversight and strict
control exercised by Captain Cook and his officers. Every
detail was carefully arranged; trade was carried on each
day for produce which the islanders brought to the ships'
sides in their canoes; the sailors were permitted to purchase
such articles of native manufacture as appealed to them,
but any departure from the strictest honesty was severely
punished, be it English sailor or Otaheitan native. And it
may be readily seen that the Society Islanders soon came
to anticipate with trust and pleasure the visits of the THE THIRD VOYAGE
English who came so mysteriously over the horizon's edge
in their great white-winged vessels.
But one thing remained to be done. Omai had yet to be
repatriated. He had selected the island of Huahaine as
his future residence, and Cook, in his usual thorough
manner, decided to see Omai properly established there
before bidding farewell to the Society Island group. The
middle of October, accordingly, found the ships anchored
in a snug bay on the west side of the land. Negotiations
were at once begun with the principal chiefs of the island,
The Island of OTAHITI
land was secured, and a house was built for Omai. Cook
also supplied him. with a stallion and a mare, a boar and
two sows, and a goat and kid. It was hoped that Omai
had seen enough of these animals in his travels to appreciate their utility, and that through his care the islands
would become stocked with these animals. Of weapons
he had a liberal supply—"a musket, bayonet, and car-
touch-box, a fowling-piece, two pairs of pistols, and two
or three swords or cutlasses." The possession of these
articles seemed to give Omai the greatest satisfaction.
They no doubt raised him in the estimation of the tribal
chiefs, who might have been inclined to belittle Omai's
accomplishments. But the mysterious power latent in
i 120
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
such weapons was for long to hold them in awe and wonderment, and Omai soon became a man of means and authority
in the island.
It was the 8th of December before Captain Cook was
ready to leave on his long sail to the northward. With
mingled feelings of regret and expectation the crews saw
the shores of Ulietea and Bolabola fade away in the distance. Those sunny isles were left; far to the northward
they must fare. What awaited them in their new adventure ?
Would they discover another New Zealand and chart its
indented shore? Would more groups of coral islets to the
north be encountered, where curious natives would throng
the beach to give them joyous welcome? No one knew:
the great Pacific lay before them; theirs to sail it and
unravel some of its mystery.
The principal object of the voyage was now under way.
Seventeen months had elapsed since leaving England—
months of leisurely progress from port to port. It is true
that baffling winds had delayed them in their voyage from
New Zealand to Tahiti, but it was excellent management
on the other hand that the crews of both vessels be given
several months in which to recuperate from the long
voyage to that point. Else the ever-latent seeds of scurvy
might break forth in all their virulence and thwart the
captain in his ultimate design—the search for the northeast passage to Hudson Bay. Hence the many weeks
spent in and around the Friendly and Society Islands may
not be considered as wasted. There quantities of fresh
vegetable food could be had, to say nothing of fresh pork
and fresh fish. And Cook had learned by hard experience
that on such a diet the sailors were most readily fortified
against the ravages of the scurvy. Had he been aware of
the Hawaiian Islands and the prolific vegetation of those
islands, he would no doubt have acted differently; his
northward voyage would have been accelerated by several
months at least. We must not, however, try to jttdge
Captain Cook by the light of twentieth century information. THE THIRD VOYAGE
Just north of the equator, and in longitude 157 west,
a low coral atoll was discovered. It proved to be uninhabited, but Cook in his practical way sent the ship's
boat in shore to make a more thorough examination. Fish
in abundance were found near the encircling reef, which
is always found in the vicinity of such islets, but to the
sailors' great delight giant green turtles of one hundred
pounds or more in weight were secured. While the ships
swung at anchor the boats made many a trip to the islet,
returning laden with turtle or fish as the case might be.
Both Christmas and New Year were passed at this anchorage, and in view of this Cook gave the name Christmas
Island to the little atoll.
From the 2nd to the 18th of January, 1778, the vessels
held their northward way; but at daybreak in the morning
of the 18th an island made its appearance, bearing northeast by east; and soon after more land was seen bearing
north; "and entirely detached from the former. Both
had the appearance of high land." A strong easterly wind
prevented the ships coming rapidly up to the distant
shore, and it was not till the 19th that the officers on
board the Resolution were near enough to examine the
coast through their glasses, and see that the land was
inhabited. Canoes were seen putting off, and much to the
delight of the English the islanders were found to speak
the same language as that of Otaheite. Fairly safe anchorage
was at length discovered in a shallow bay, the boats were
sent ashore for fresh water, and a brisk trade was opened
up with the natives for the vegetable products of the
island which resembled closely those secured at the Society
Islands. To this island group Cook gave the name Sandwich
Islands, in honour of the Earl of Sandwich. Five of the
islands were seen by the English at this time, and from the
natives it was learned that still others lay to the eastward.
The island which afforded them their present anchorage
was called Atooi;*  three smaller ones to the south-west
1 Kawai of recent maps. /SSL- ..«•—^
122
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
were  Oneeheow,   Oreehoua  and Tahoora,  while  to  the
eastward lay another larger island, Woahoo.1
Owing to the absence of good harbours, the heavy surf
which continually roiled in upon the shores made a protracted stay out of the question, and the ist of February
found the ships sufficiently well provided with water and
provisions to continue their voyage to the American coast.
This was accordingly done, Cook leaving the group without having seen the large islands to the east, the principal one, Hawaii, having of late given its name to the
whole archipelago.
1 Oahu; upon its southern coast is the city of Honolulu. CHAPTER IX
ALONG THE  COAST OF NEW ALBION
From Cape Foulweather to Nootka, and northward to Alaska.
Sailing northward for the next fortnight, "and being
now in the latitude of 370 N.," a more easterly course
was pursued. On the 7th of March the coast of New
Albion was seen "Extending in from north-east to
south-east, distant ten or twelve leagues." The latitude
was now 440 33' north, and a few miles to the northward Cape Foulweather was located and named. Strong
weather now conspired with the uncharted coast-line
to hinder their progress. But in such a struggle the
pertinacity of the commander was bound to win through.
Day and night, in fair and foul weather, he hugged the
coast, refusing to admit defeat. Long years of experience
in such matters made the task merely one of routine duty.
It was their custom to make a secure offing by nightfall
—ply back and forth—and the next day take up the
charting and examination of the shore where night had
interrupted their labours.
Cook noted the regularity of the coast-fine a£ once. In
his journal the following remarks are recorded, giving us
some idea of how the land appeared to the officers on
the vessels:
The land appeared to be of moderate height, diversified
with hills and valleys, and almost everywhere covered with
wood ... in some places it rises higher within. It was
diversified with a great many rising grounds and small hills;
many of which were entirely covered with tail trees; and
others, which were lower, and grew in spots like coppices;
but the interspaces and sides of many of the rising grounds
were clear.     The whole, though it might make an agreeable
123 124
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
summer prospect, had now an uncomfortable appearance, as
the bare grounds toward the coast were all covered with snow,
which seemed to be of a considerable depth between the little
hills and rising grounds. . . . The coast seemed everywhere
almost straight, without any opening or inlet; and it appeared
to terminate in a kind of white sandy beach; although some
on board thought that appearance was owing to the snow.
So unsettled and stormy did the weather become that
the Resolution and Discovery were a full two weeks battling
with gales in a futile endeavour to maintain their position
near Cape Foulweather. In fact, on the 13th March, 1778,
they had been blown as far south as latitude 42 and it was
not until the 22nd that they were able to regain the coast
north of latitude 45. In doing so Cook missed the mouth
of the Columbia River, his landfall on the 22nd being
in latitude 470 3' north. From here the shore-line was
examined with care until evening, when the ships lay to
and the next day resumed their quest. And now let the
journal tell its own story:
At this time we were in forty-eight fathoms' water, and
about four leagues from the land, which extended from north
to southeast half east, and a small round hill, which had the
appearance of being an island, bore north three quarters east,
distance six or seven leagues, as I guessed; it appears to be
a tolerable height, and was just to be seen from the deck.
Between this island or rock, and the northern extreme of the
land, there appeared to be a small opening, which flattered
us with the hopes of finding a harbour. These hopes lessened
as we drew nearer; and, at last, we had some reason to think
that the opening was closed by low land. On this account I
called the point of land to the north of it Cape Flattery. . . .
It is in this very latitude where we now were, that geographers
have placed the pretended strait of Juan de Fuca. We saw
nothing like it; nor is there the least probability that ever
any such thing existed.
With the evening shadows creeping over the face of the
waters and rendering further search dangerous, Cook stood
off to the south-west to gain an offing, intending the next NOOTKA AND  ALASKA
125
morning to resume his search north of Cape Flattery.
But during the night another violent gale descended upon
the coast, as Cook says: " having a very hard gale, with
rain, right on shore." Seven days later the vessels regained the coast, but in latitude 490 20/ north. Again
had stormy weather, like some diabolical demon, snatched
from his grasp a discovery of paramount importance,
for he was now some seventy miles north of the strait
and an equal distance up the coast of Vancouver Island.
Cook's trained eye noted at once the changed appearance
of the shore-fine. The land before him he described as
full of high mountains, whose summits were covered with
snow, while the valleys right down to the shore itself were
covered with high straight trees, " that formed a beautiful
prospect, as one vast forest." An inlet was soon discovered and, entering this, anchor was cast in a snug cove
upon the north-west side. Nearly two months had passed
since leaving the sunny shores of Atooi. Latterly storms
and cold, rain and sleet had been their lot. This was
their first anchorage on the North American shore, and a
most welcome respite after their battle with the elements
for the past month.
The natives viewed these strange floating visitors with
mingled feelings of curiosity and alarm. A few of the more
venturesome spirits leaped into their canoes and paddled
in a wide safe circle around the Resolution and Discovery.
Gaining confidence, other canoes put off from the shore
until more than thirty encircled the ships. It was an odd
spectacle; from time to time a native would arise and in a
loud tone harangue the ship. From his gestures the officers
thought that an invitation to land was being extended,
for not a word could the English understand. Tiring of
his efforts, the first orator would seat himself, when others
would arise, and in a similar manner address the ships.
One native varied the usual procedure by singing a song,
whose melody and sweetness was favourably remarked
by the captain.   Another, by his appearance a chieftain,
•. 126
CAPTAIN JAMES  COOK
s
had arrayed himself in the savage finery due to such an
occasion. His head was bedecked with white feathers,
and his features brightly painted. Standing erect in his
canoe, he rattled a large carved bird made of wood, the
while he mightily harangued the vessels and those within
them. Cook tried by every wile to entice some of the
more venturesome Indians on board, but with no success.
The next day, however, a sort of rude barter was opened
up between the members of the crew and the occupants
of the canoes, now grown more friendly. In return for
knives, chisels, pieces of iron and tin, nails, looking-glasses,
buttons, etc., the Indians gave cleverly tanned skins of
the bear, wolf, fox and deer; " and in particular," says
Cook, " of the sea otters, which are found at the islands
east of Kamschatka." Of all the furs with which the Indians seemed so plentifully supplied, those of the sea otter
were the most beautiful. The Indians were accustomed
to make great cloaks of this fur, cloaks which encased them
from neck to ankle, but so eager were they for the precious
iron, a knife, a hatchet, or a chisel, that they willingly
parted with their most prized ceremonial robes of state.
A king's ransom for a bauble! Well did some of the hardy
English sailormen know the value of their purchases from
the Indians; well and truly did they improve the occasion;
and, as we shall learn a little later, well did they reap a
rich reward in far-away China.
The third day the number of canoes increased to over
one hundred. Cook estimated no less than five hundred
natives had assembled in the cove, to which was later given
the name Friendly Cove, and to the large inlet that of
Nootka Sound. The Indians now began to come on board,
and, through the kind treatment they received, seemed to
have lost all fear of the strange white men. The commander,
in his usual precise and business-like way, lost no time in
getting under way the necessary repairs to the ships. Tne
caulkers were set to work; the observatories were carried
ashore and placed on a large rock well within gun range of NOOTKA AND ALASKA
127
the Resolution. A party was detailed to cut wood and to
make arrangements for securing a supply of fresh water.
Repairs to masts and rigging were also undertaken. ' Everything was well ordered, proper guards and look-outs were
maintained watch and watch, so that the naturally observant native found no chance to catch the English off their
guard, overwhelm the vessels and capture the whole of
that wonderful iron which these big winged canoes seemed
to possess in such magic quantities! The fate of the Tonquin
a few years later is ample proof that such a danger was
ever present.
It was not until the 19th of April that Cook was able
to leave the supervision of repairs to less capable hands
and in a well-armed row boat proceed on a tour of the
sound, which stretched off to the east and north with long
arms making into the land. A week later, preparations
for sea having been completed, the ships dropped down
the sound. Some of the natives remained on board
till the last minute importuning the English to come again
and promising to have ready a large collection of furs.
And Cook makes this very simple yet wise conclusion:
I make no doubt, that whoever comes after me to this
place, will find the natives prepared accordingly, with no inconsiderable supply of an article of trade, which they could
observe we were eager to possess, and which we found could
be purchased to great advantage.
Everything being now ready, in the morning of the 26th
I intended to have put to sea, but both wind and tide being
against us, was obliged to wait till noon, when the S.W.
wind was succeeded by a calm; and the tide turning in our
favour, we cast off the moorings, and with our boats towed the
ships out of the cove. After this, we had variable light airs
and calms till four in the afternoon, when a breeze sprung
up northerly with very thick hazy weather. The mercury in
the barometer fell unusually low; and we had every other
forerunner of an approaching storm, which we had reason to
expect would be from the south-ward; this made me hesitate
a little, as night was at hand, whether I should venture to
sail or wait till the next morning.  But my anxious impatience 128
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
to proceed upon the voyage, and the fear of losing this opportunity of getting out of the Sound, making a greater impression on my mind than any apprehension of immediate danger,
I determined to put to sea at all events.
The strong signs of an approaching storm did not deceive
them. They were hardly out of the sound before the wind,
in an instant, shifted from north-east to south-east-by-east,
and increased to a strong gale with squall and rain, and so
dark a sky that one could not see the length of the ship.
" Being apprehensive, from the experience I had since
arrival on this coast, of the wind veering more to the S.
which would put us in danger of a lee shore, we got the
tacks on board and stretched off to the S.W. under
all the sail the ships could bear." By daylight the next
morning both vessels were fortunately well clear of the
coast. But by mid-afternoon " it blew a perfect hurricane." The vessels were then brought to with their heads
to the southward and rode out the gale under fore-sail
and mizzen stay-sails. Noon of the 28th it cleared up
sufficiently to take an observation, latitude 500 1/ north,
is the record in the journal. This day the course of the
Resolution was north-west-by-north. The night brought
a return of wind, squall, and rain. In such a case a safe
offing from an uncharted shore-fine was a vital necessity,
although Cook expresses his regret that he must continue
to sail northward out of the sight of coast. On the
30th he altered his course more to the northward " in
order to make the land." Continuing the narrative he
says: " I regretted very much indeed that I could not do
it sooner, for this obvious reason, that we were now passing
the place where geographers have placed the pretended
straits of Admiral de Fonte."
An observation at noon placed them in latitude 530 22'
north, longitude 1340 46' west. Between the 26th and the
30th the south-east gales had blown the Resolution and her
consort three hundred miles to the north and west. The
great gulf lying between Cape Scott and the Queen Charlotte NORTH   AMERICAN   COAST
visited   by Captain Cook on 3r<tvoyage
The farther progress of the ships Northward
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Bartholomew, Ldm. 130
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
Islands had been passed by amid storm and lashing of
mighty seas. The vessels were now (30th April) about
one hundred miles off the coast of Graham Island, but the
officers knew naught of the configuration of the coast to
the eastward, nor that the mainland lay a good 40 east of
their present position. Like one groping in the dark,
earnestly desiring to touch the much-desired object, yet
fearful of traps and pitfalls for unwary feet, Cook now
steered north-easterly, and at seven in the evening of the
ist of May land was sighted in latitude 550 20' north.
Cook was off what is now known as Prince of Wales
Island. During the night he coasted northward under
easy sail at a distance of eight or ten leagues from the shore,
the Discovery following. Passing the entrance to Chatham
Strait in the early morning of the 2nd, noon found the
vessels off Baranoff Island, in the latitude of Sitka Sound.
Here a large mountain to the northward came into view,
and to this Cook gave the name of Mount Edgecumbe.
On past Salisbury Sound and up the coast of Chichagof
Island the vessels held their way with a fair north-east
wind and settled weather. No attempt at landing was
made, Cook being anxious to get well north in the early
spring so as to prosecute the main endeavour of the voyage
—the discovery of a north-east passage into either the
Atlantic or Hudson's Bay, should such a one exist.
On the 3rd, Cook passed and named the entrance to
Cross Straits, while a high peaked mountain to the northward obtained the name of Mount Fair Weather. Here
the mainland of the continent was seen for the first time
since leaving the vicinity of Cape Flattery. It was no
ordinary bulwark which met their curious gaze. Mount
Fair Weather is the beginning of a great chain of mountains
which here parallel the coast for over a hundred leagues.
When Cook saw them the mountains were covered with
snow "from the highest summit down to the sea-coast."
The great valleys were filled with glaciers whose scintillating fronts jut out over the narrow shore, only to break NOOTKA AND ALASKA
131
off with resounding roar and splash into the ocean. It was
in this very latitude that Vitus Bering in 1741 fell in with
the continental shore of America, a shore which provides
neither safe anchorage nor any form of sustenance for the
unwary navigator who should through necessity desire
harbourage and refreshment there.
The next day, far to the northward, "the summit of an
elevated mountain appeared above the horizon . . . and,
as was afterward found, forty leagues distant." What
could this be? Searching the only available chart, that
prepared by Bering over thirty years before, Cook decided
that this must be Mount St. EHas, seen by Bering on his
last voyage. Accordingly, on the chart which Cook and
his officers were now preparing, this giant of the north
land was so named. Throughout his years as an explorer
and cartographer Cook was most punctilious to perpetuate
the names given by former discoverers, a trait which was
not so conspicuous in his contemporaries.
From the 4th to the 9th of May light airs and calms
impeded their progress. At this time Cook noted the shore
trending more and more to the westward. On the nth he discovered and named Kaye's Island in longitude 1430 2' west.
As the Resolution had for some time been leaking, Cook tried
to navigate his vessels into a bay lying behind this island;
but the wind veering to due north made him abandon the
idea. However, the commander went ashore in a row
boat and climbed the rugged cliffs of the island's southern
extremity. "At the foot of a tree, on a little eminence, not
far from the shore, I left," writes Cook, " a bottle with a
paper in it, on which were inscribed the names of the ships,
and the date of our discovery. And along with it I enclosed
two silver twopenny pieces of his Majesty's coin of the
date of 1772." In such wise the navigator of olden days
left mute record of his visit of discovery, and on such
evidence did wily diplomats lay claim to the new places
of the earth. To the break in the coast at this spot Cook
gave the name Comptroller's Bay. 132
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
Coasting westward, another inlet was discovered. Into
this the vessels were successfully navigated, the wind having
changed to south-east, with every appearance of a break
in the weather. A snug anchorage was found within
Cape Hinchinbroke, and preparations made to await
clearer weather, the fog having shut down on them and
excluded the distant shores from view. Here Cook came
in contact with the Innuits, or Esquimaux-like inhabitants
of Southern Alaska. Several of these came off cautiously
in their skin canoes or bidarkas, but refused to be enticed
aboard. The next day the ships were moved some distance
up the sound, which was now seen to be of considerable
extent, and with great arms extending into the land. At
length a safe anchorage was found in what Cook was
pleased to call Snug Corner Bay, and, after heeling the
Resolution, the carpenters were put to work to stop the
leak. Armed boats under command of Mr. Gore were sent
to explore the inlets at the head of the sound, but as these
were found to terminate it was decided to put to sea the
way they had entered. However, a shorter passage was
found to the south-westward, and Montagu Island was
discovered and named. To the broad expanse of land-locked
waterways which he had just left Cook gave the name of
Prince William's Sound. Its shores had proved to be
occupied by several hundred of the Alaskan natives, and
after several days the sailors had begun brisk trade in iron
and beads in return for the valuable sea-otter cloaks of
the natives. The latter were found to be of as thievish a
disposition as any met with at Nootka or elsewhere, and
in addition to this they evinced a readiness to quarrel
and fight which made them treacherous individuals
to harbour.
Rounding Kenai Peninsula, the broad expanse of Cook
Inlet held out hopes of a navigable channel through the
land to the northward. Several days were spent in following up this possible clue, only to find the inlet came to a
definite end with a large river flowing in at the head of it. 1
NOOTKA AND ALASKA
133
It was now June; if the cruise into the Arctic were to be
accomplished that season they must hurry. To quote from
the journal of the voyage, this is the situation as it appealed
to Cook following his exploration of what is known to-day
as Cook Inlet: "The delay thus occasioned was an essential
loss. The season was advancing apace. We knew not how
far we might have to proceed to the south; and we were
now convinced that the continent of North America extended farther to the west than from the modern most
reputable charts we had reason to expect. ... It was a
satisfaction to me, however, to reflect that, if I had not
examined this very considerable inlet, it would have been
assumed, by speculative fabricators of geography, as a fact
that it communicated with the sea to the north, or with
Baffin's or Hudson's Bay to the east; and been marked,
perhaps, on future maps of the world, with greater precision, and more certain signs of reality, than the invisible,
because imaginary, Straits of de Fuca and de Fonte."
How Cook did love to score off those old-world map makers
and shatter their fond beliefs!
It was the 8th of June before our seafarers were clear
of the inlet and once again in open water, this time beating
down the coast, which here trends to the southward,
extending into the long arm of the Alaskan peninsula.
Past Kodiak Island, then the Shumagin Islands and scores
of lesser islets, they felt their way through fog and mist,
ever fearful of becoming embayed in some maze of reefs
or, on the other hand, if the open sea were sought, losing
touch with the Continental shore and passing by some
favourable passage through to Bering Sea. But the winds
remained fight, and somewhat variable; progress was slow,
but the coast-line was held in sight. At length, near the
latter end of June, the passage between Unalaska and
Unimak Islands was discovered. On the northern side
of Oonalashka, as Cook spelled it, a harbour was found.
There the vessels lay at anchor several days, replenishing
their water supply and trading with the natives for peltries ■5NiiyiSS8«ss=s™"'""
134 CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
and fresh fish. The natives called the harbour Samgan-
oodha, and appeared to be quite used to Europeans and
their ways; as Cook wisely suggests, through intercourse
with Russian fur traders from Kamchatka. But none of
the Russian traders were met with at this time by the
English navigators.
By the 9th of July the northern side of the peninsula
had been examined up to the shallow waters of Bristol
Bay. From here to Cape Newenham the coast was charted
with considerable care. But farther north the shoals
which extend across Kuskokwim Bay made a close examination of the shore-line an impossibility except in the
small boats, and this was not attempted. On the 28th
their latitude was 590 55' north, longitude about 1700 west,
about midway between Nunivak Island and St. Matthew
Island. Continuing northward, Cook passed to the east of
St. Lawrence Island and struck the mainland of the
continent in latitude 640 27' north, having passed by the
mouths of the Yukon and Norton Sound. Progress was
slow owing to the shallow nature of the water, the almost
incessant fogs, and the variable breezes. It was not until
the 9th of August, 1778, that the westernmost extremity
of the continent was passed, and to this point Cook gave
the name Cape Prince of Wales.
The next day the vessels stood over to the Asiatic shore
and cast anchor in a large bay. This was necessary in
order to secure shelter from the wind, which bade fair to
drive them into the shallows which everywhere seemed
to guard against too close an inspection of the American
shore-line. During the 10th and nth the vessels passed
through the strait and proceeded easterly along the
northern shore of Alaska in the direction of what is known
to-day as Kotzebue Sound. Following the trend of the
coast north and then east, they at length reached latitude
700 44' north. Here great fields of ice were encountered,
stretching as far as the eye could see and effectually barring
their progress.   Turn which way he might Cook could find NOOTKA AND ALASKA
135
no opening or lead through the solid pack in front of him.
He describes the appearance of the ice in these words:
We were at this time, close to the edge of the ice, which
was as compact as a wall, and seemed to be ten or twelve
feet high at least. But farther north, it appeared much higher.
Its surface was extremely rugged, and here and there we saw
upon it pools of water. ... At this time the weather, which
had been hazy, clearing up a little, we saw land extending
from south to southeast by east, about three or four miles
distant. The Eastern extreme forms a point, which was much
encumbered with ice; for which reason it obtained the name
of Icy Cape.
It was now decided to follow the ice pack westward in
order to see if by any chance a channel could be found
through it in any direction, east, north or west. From the
19th to the 29th the ice sheet was skirted, generally along
latitude 690; then the rocky Asiatic shore came into
view and forced the vessels to turn about. There was no
way out. The ice formed a great arc, stretching from ley
Cape across to the Asiatic shore, which it joined in (about)
longitude 1800. The season was now far advanced, the
northern winter would soon set in: it was therefore decided
to pass down through Bering Strait and make for winter
quarters at the Sandwich Islands. In the spring another
attempt would be made to seek the north-east passage
to the Atlantic.
On the evening of the 2nd of September East Cape was
rounded and, still keeping the Asiatic shore in view, they
passed by St. Lawrence Bay on the morning of the 3rd.
Always fair to those who had preceded him on voyages of
discovery, Cook pays a graceful compliment to the great
Bering, who in 1728 sailed up this coast in his little ship
the Gabriel.
In justice to the memory of Bering, I must say that he has
delineated the coast very well, and fixed the latitude and
longitude of the points better than could be expected from
the methods he had to go by.
K tftt-,,	
136
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
In view of the .uncertainty in those days regarding the
coast of the American continent to the east of St. Lawrence
Island, Cook now decided to employ the rest of the period
of warm weather in a more particular survey of the coastline south of Cape Prince of Wales. A late Russian map
had placed a large island, Alaschka, in this very latitude.
While doubtful of its existence, Cook was determined to
make a closer survey of the coast down to Cape Newenham
than had been possible in his northward cruise. Accordingly
he sailed north of St. Lawrence Island, eastward to the
American coast, which he fell in with about the present
city of Nome. The sound which was then explored gave
some hopes of a passage to the Arctic, but as the vessels
proceeded up past Cape Darby the shoaling water indicated
that this would prove to be but another fruitless errand.
The ships' boats were then ordered out, under the command of Lieutenant King, to make a tour as far as possible
to the head of the sound, and to assure themselves of its
eventual ending. While waiting for the boats to return a
cove was found where wood and water could be secured.
Of the former they were in dire need, no supplies having
been taken aboard since leaving Prince William Sound.
On the evening of the 16th Mr. King returned with the
news that the sound temiinated some thirty miles beyond
the point where the vessels had turned back, and that
there was no channel of any kind connecting with the
Arctic. Cook then remarks: "In honour of Sir Fletcher
Norton, Speaker of the House of Commons, and Mr. King's
near relation, I named this inlet Norton's Sound."
Cruising along the southern side of the sound, Stuart's
Island was named. About thirty miles farther on, the water
shoaled to less than eighteen feet, forcing the vessels off
the coast to the westward league after league. The small
boats were sent ahead to sound, but no channel could be
found. From Point Shallow Water, which Cook called the
most westerly point of the continent at this part, down to
Nunivak Island, no exploration was made that season. NOOTKA AND ALASKA
*37
In his journal he frankly admits his inability to do so,
saying: "Probably it is accessible only to boats or very
small vessels; or, at least, if there be channels for larger
vessels, it would require some time to find them. . . .
From the mast-head, the sea within us (to the south and
east) appeared to be checkered with shoals; the water
was very much discoloured and muddy, and considerably
fresher than at any of the places where we had lately
anchored. From this I inferred that a considerable river
runs into the sea in this unknown part." As usual, Cook's
keen observation was not at fault. The mighty Yukon
pours its flood into the sea at this very part of the coast,
and is building up year by year the vast sandbanks which
drove our explorers a good forty miles out to sea to get
around them.
The remainder of the month of September was occupied
in the voyage southward to Oonalashka. On the way the
Resolution sprang a leak, and, upon arrival at Samga-
noodha harbour the carpenters were put to work making
the necessary repairs. During this time some Russian fur
traders paid them a visit. Their leader, Ismyloff, seemed
to be a bright, intelligent fellow, and gave Captain Cook
much valuable information regarding the islands of the
Aleutian archipelago. The English gained the impression
that the Russians had done little or no exploration upon
the continent itself since the voyages of Bering and
Chirikoff in 1741. To the mainland the name Alaschka
was given by Russians and natives alike. With a slight
change in spelling it has been retained to this day for that
far northern portion of America.
A stay of three weeks in harbour sufficed to make all
necessary repairs to the vessels, re-stow the cargo, take in
ballast, replenish wood and water, and, that which Cook
never neglected, refresh his crew with such products as
the country afforded. Cranberries, hurtle-berries, heath-
berries, and partridge-berries were found at this season
in great profusion on the island.   The sailors in relays 138
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
of thirty or more were sent into the country to gather
these berries as well as "wild purslain, pea-tops, a kind
of scurvy-grass, cresses, and some others." These were
used either in soups or as salads. By means of fresh
fish—sea-trout, salmon, cod and halibut—latent seeds of
scurvy were eliminated, the crews were kept in a fine
state of health, and ready to stand those months at sea
when exigencies of wind and weather and an inhospitable
coast made a landing out of the question. CHAPTER X
KARA.KA.KOOA BAY
Cook's death—A second attempt to locate the passage—The expedition returns to England.
Monday, the 2nd of November, found both vessels safely
through the passage to the east of Oonalashka, and heading
down the broad Pacific for winter quarters at the Sandwich Islands. After an uneventful voyage of three weeks
and three days the volcanic shore of Maui was seen rising
above the southern horizon.
The ships came up under the land, and for some time
there ensued a brisk trade in the vegetable produce of the
island. A course was then taken to the south-eastward,
where a larger island gave promise of finding a harbour.
Plying off and on along the northern shore of what we now
know to be Hawaii, the officers secured some sugar-cane
in way of trade from the natives, who kept coming off from
the shore in their large double canoes, laden with every
product the island boasted. Cook decided to brew some
of the sugar cane and make a beer for the crew. But when
the cask was broached not one of the crew would taste the
beer. The commander then gives us a curious insight into
the beliefs and actions of the average British tar of a
hundred years ago:
It has the taste of new malt beer; and I believe no one will
doubt of its being very wholesome. And yet my inconsiderate
crew alleged that it was injurious to their health. . . . Every
innovation whatever, on board a ship, though ever so much to
the advantage of seamen, is sure to meet with their highest
disapprobation. Both portable soup and sour krout were,
at first, condemned as stuff unfit for human beings.    Few
139 140
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
commanders have introduced into their ships more novelties, as
useful varieties of food and drink, than I have done. ... It
has, however, been in a great measure owing to various little
deviations from established practice, that I have been able
to preserve my people, generally speaking, from that dreadful
distemper, the scurvy, which has perhaps destroyed more of
our sailors, in their peaceful voyages, than have fallen by
the enemy in rnilitary expeditions.
These are high words and were not written in any sense
of self-praise, but rather in a spirit of indignation that all
his efforts to promote the welfare of the men under his care
met with so little goodwill on their part.
From the ist of December to the 16th of January, 1779,
the vessels plied along the northern, eastern and southern
shores of Hawaii, stopping frequently to allow the natives
to come off in their canoes with fresh vegetables, pigs and
fowls for trade. In this the islanders proved themselves
to be adept canoe men, excellent swimmers and perfectly
at home in the billowing seas which tossed the great English
vessels about like corks and rolled on but to break in tremendous surf upon the coast. A harbour in Karakakooa
Bay1 was at length discovered in the far western side of
the island, and there anchor was dropped on the 17th of
January, 1779.
Here ends the journal of the great navigator. Whatever
of further comment is necessary will be taken from the
journal of Captain King, who succeeded to the command
of the Discovery upon the death of Captain Clerke.
As soon as the native inhabitants of the bay found that
the vessels had anchored, hundreds of them put off from
the shore in their canoes and soon the decks and rigging
of both ships were covered with them. In the resulting
confusion Captain Cook had recourse to the services of a
principal chief named Pareea. By means of a few presents,
Pareea was induced to clear the decks and have the canoes
removed to a convenient distance.   The common people
1 Kealakekua Bay of later maps. HIS DEATH
141
seemed to obey their chiefs with the greatest alacrity and
goodwill, many of them bounding over the side into the
sea in their hurry to obey.
The story of the succeeding fortnight is one of entire
satisfaction and pleasurable enjoyment on the part of the
English sailors and the natives. Trade was brisk, and in
return for a few bits of iron, quantities of cocoa-nuts, plantains, sugar-cane, yams, etc., were secured, as well as fresh
meat in the shape of hogs and fowls. In fact so many hogs
and pigs were brought to the vessels by the natives that
many casks of salted pork were laid down, much to the
delight of the thrifty commander, who well knew that
these supplies could not be purchased elsewhere at one
hundred times their present cost.
Officers and sailors alike were given shore leave and
everywhere met with the most courteous treatment from
the inhabitants. Whenever Captain Cook went ashore he
was accorded the greatest possible honour. Kaireekua
and other native priests attended him, and showed a
respect amounting to veneration. They had conceived the
idea that the captain was a reincarnation of their god
Orono, who some time in the legendary past had left the
island in a canoe and sailed away into the heart of the
Pacific. Believing that Orono had now returned, the priests
of Hawaii clothed Captain Cook "with the sacred cloth
worn only by the god, conducted him to their temples,
sacrificed animals to propitiate his favour," and the people
prostrated themselves before him as he walked through
the village or out into the country district.
The begirming of February, 1779, found preparations
under way for a departure from this friendly and contented
place. The rudder of the Resolution had been repaired as
well as the head rail-work. Provisions too were growing
less on shore, and the chiefs had been making subtle
inquiries regarding the probable date of the vessels' departure; but promising that if the sailors would come again
next bread-fruit season more supplies could be purchased.
m
=i!:= SKE
142
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
Whatever hallucinations the priests may have had, the
chiefs proved themselves to be hard-headed administrators
and foresaw a period of want for their own people if the
present drain upon the resources of the island were long
continued. Captain Cook was equally alive to this state
of affairs, and, accordingly, early on the morning of the
4th the ships sailed out of the bay intending to visit in
turn the western islands until such time as it became
necessary to fare away to the Alaskan coast for further
exploration.
Then befell a period of stress, storm and accident.
Proceeding northerly along the coast, about midnight of
the 6th they encountered a violent gale, peculiar to such
latitudes. The fore and main topsails on the Resolution
were split and the sails destroyed. By noon the next day
there was fair weather and a fight breeze. Midnight of the
7th the gale returned in all its fury; this time it was necessary to get down the top-gallant yards. The next morning
it was found that the foremast had been damaged, and a
closer inspection proved it to be in a most dangerous
condition. In this plight it was deemed necessary to find
some safe anchorage immediately, where the mast could
be taken out and the necessary repairs effected. Captain
Cook was in doubt what course to follow. Should they
proceed to the westward on the chance of finding a safe
cove on some one of the almost unknown islets known to
lie in that direction ? Or should they return to Karakakooa
Bay, which was a day's sail to the east and south—a bay
which they knew and one which afforded them the necessary conveniences for their repairs ?
It was decided to return to Karakakooa. Every evil
force of wind and wave, at whose envious fling and surge
the doughty captain had so often laughed and come off
the master, seemed to have merged in a concerted effort
to lure him to his destruction. Early on the morning of
the nth, anchor was cast in the bay in virtually the same
place as one month before.    It took two days to get the HIS DEATH
143
foremast out and ashore, where the carpenters were at once
put to work on it. The sailmakers were also sent ashore
—all on the south side of the bay near a "morai" or native
rude stone temple—and there set to work repairing the
damaged canvases.
In the meantime what had happened to the natives of
the northern and western shores of the bay where the
villages were located ? Where were the thousands of happy
natives who had once so clamorously assailed the ships?
Mr. King describes the scene in graphic words: "We were
surprised to find our reception very different from what it
had been on our first arrival; no shouts, no bustle, no confusion ; but a solitary bay with only here and there a canoe
stealing close along shore. . . . Our anxiety was at length
relieved by the return of a boat, which had been sent on
shore, and brought us word that Terreeoboo| was absent
and had left the bay under the taboo." 2 It is easy to be wise
after the event; we may now conjecture the cause of these
actions on the part of the natives. The chiefs were not
all friendly to the English; some sort of council had been
held, plans had been laid to annoy their unwelcome visitors
so that they would go away. If intrigue there was, the old
chief, Terreeoboo, was at no time party to it or cognisant
of it.    With this in mind the stage is set for the final scene.
On the morning of the 12th, Terreeoboo and his retainers
arrived at the bay and at once came off to the Resolution
to visit Captain Cook. The taboo was removed and the
natives returned at once to their former friendly intercourse. This was but the calm before the storm. The
next afternoon, while the sailors of the Discovery were busy
filling the water casks at a well near the beach, some
chiefs arrived and drove away those of the natives who were
helping in the work. A marine was detailed to go to the
sailors' assistance, but the conduct of the natives became
only the more unfriendly; some picked up stones and crowded
1 The head chief or king of the island.
2 A sort of blanket interdict. n
144 CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
down on the little watering party in a threatening manner.
Mr. King was sent for, and upon his arrival the islanders
ceased their hostile attitude and permitted the completion of
the work. From other incidents related in the journal it
would seem that Lieutenant King was held in high esteem
by the natives, who thought he was Orono's son. However,
this much is clear: some of the chiefs had come upon a
party of sailors and Hawaii ans working together in a
friendly manner and had incited the latter to sudden
hostility, showing not only the design which lay behind the
act, but the fickle and uncertain temper of the mass of the
common people.
Shortly after this slight unpleasantness a canoe was
seen leaving the Discovery in great haste and pursued by
one of the small boats. Lieutenant King rightly concluded
that some theft had been committed and gave chase along
the shore to head off the fugitives; but to no avail, the
islanders escaping into the woods. Mr. King and those with
him followed on in a vain endeavour to locate the absconding natives, only to return about dusk without having
caught up with them. In the meantime a chief, Pareea
by name, had arrived on the scene and demanded the canoe
from the guards who had been left to hold it as security
for the stolen goods. 1 A scuffle ensued," Pareea was
knocked down, and some natives, who had collected as
crowds will, armed themselves with beach stones and drove
the English sailors into the water. Pareea then quieted
the natives, restored to the sailors their pinnace, which
had been drawn up on shore, and tried to smooth over the
difficulty as best he might. He then resumed possession
of his canoe and paddled away across the bay to the
village on the farther shore. Had he forgotten and forgiven? He appeared to have done so, but in reality
he had not, and the subsequent happenings show how
this must have lent added fuel to the malcontents amongst
the natives.
That night the cutter of the Discovery was stolen, as HIS DEATH
145
was afterward found, by Pareea's order. Captain Cook
now decided to use stern measures for the recovery of the
boat and at the same time teach the natives a lesson. In
all such cases amongst the Friendly and Society Islanders,
it had been his custom to secure possession of the person
of some noted chief, take him aboard ship, and hold him as
hostage until the stolen article should be returned. A
strong landing party, under the direct command of Captain
Cook, was at once got ready and proceeded to the village
in the row boats. In the meantime a cordon of boats had
been stretched across the lower end of the bay with orders
to prevent any canoes from leaving. Before the landing
party were clear of the Resolution two large canoes were
seen trying to slip out of the bay, and the large cannon on the
ships had fired a few shots at them to halt their progress.
Upon this, at the time seemingly minor incident hangs the
deciding issue of the next hour.
Captain Cook, accompanied by Mr. Phillips, and nine
marines, then set off in the pinnace for the village of Kow-
rowa, where Terreeoboo resided. At the same time the
launch with its armed party was called in from picket
duty in support of the pinnace. The captain and his
marines at once landed, marched into the village and
inquired for the chief, Terreeoboo. He had just wakened;
knew nothing of the loss of the cutter and readily acceded
to Cook's invitation to spend the day aboard the Resolution.
While walking toward the pinnace, suddenly one of the
king's wives rushed up and " with many tears and entreaties
besought him not to go on board. At the same time, two
chiefs who came along with her, laid hold of him, and
insisting that he should go no farther, forced him to sit
down." The natives, to the number of many hundreds,
now began to collect along the beach and to crowd round
the central actors in the tragedy. To better use their
arms in case occasion should require it, the marines drew
up in line along the shore about thirty yards from the place
where Terreeoboo was seated.
I 146 CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
Captain Cook continued to urge the king to accompany
him; the chiefs as firmly refused to let the old king move.
It was now evident to all that the plan had failed; the
numbers of the natives continued to increase, and if force
were to be used, many would be killed. The captain
accordingly ceased his urging and was proceeding slowly
to the shore when news arrived which set the vacillating
temper of the natives on fire.
A canoe, having attempted to leave the bay, had been
fired upon, and a chief of the first rank had been killed.
This news had just arrived at the village. Immediately
the women and children scuttled off into the woods while
the men put on their war mats and armed themselves
with spears and stones. A general melee now ensued.
The marines fired, but the islanders, excited beyond fear,
rushed to the attack and killed four of them, three more
were dangerously wounded, and Lieutenant Phillips shot
his assailant just as the man was in the act of striking
him the second time.
In the meantime Captain Cook had retreated to the
water's edge, facing the natives, who apparently desired
to attack him, yet dared not. Seeing the confusion into
which the marines had been thrown, he then turned round
to signal the launch to cease firing and row in to him. As
he did this a native stabbed him in the back and he fell
"with his face into the water. On seeing him fall, the
islanders set up a great shout, and his body was immediately
dragged on shore and surrounded by the enemy, who,
snatching the daggers out of each other's hands, showed
a savage eagerness to have a share in his destruction. Thus
fell our great and excellent commander!"
Whether or no Cook erred in going ashore on such an
errand is of small moment at this late date. He was doing
his duty as he saw it, in a fearless manner as was his wont.
We may, however, regret that the life of the great navigator
should be cut off in such a manner by the crazed natives of
an unknown island bay.   Officers and crews of both vessels HIS DEATH
147
were stunned by the sudden catastrophe. Until that
moment they little realised how much they had one and
all come to depend upon the master-mind of the commander. Their attachment to him partook of a most
sincere and altogether enviable admiration. For the past
three years their daily fife had been controlled and ordered
by the direction of his masterly will. Now that he was
gone their little universe seemed shattered, all out of
order, and quite disarranged.
The pinnace and launch now returned to the Resolution.
No attempt was made to recover the bodies of the slain,
due partly to the cowardice of the lieutenant in charge of
the launch, and partly to the wholesome dread of the vast
concourse of excited natives which now covered the beach.
A council was hurriedly held on board the Resolution,
Captain Clerke presiding, as senior officer. It was at length
decided to send Lieutenant King and several armed boats
over to the village to hold a parley with the natives and
try to secure from them the body of the captain and those
of the marines. Under no circumstances were the boats
to land, and there was to be no firing unless attacked.
The islanders in a great crowd assembled on the beach,
arming themselves ready for any attack. King learned that,
the captain's body had been carried up into the country,
but that Terreeoboo promised it should be brought back
the following day. Content with this promise as the best
that could be done under the circumstances, the boats
returned to the Resolution. An uneasy night was spent in
hourly expectation of an attack, but none was attempted.
The next day the hill-sides of the bay disclosed many
additional war parties coming in from the interior, and the
whole population seemed to be girding itself for some
expected trial of strength with the occupants of the two
vessels in the harbour,
Meanwhile work on the foremast of the Resolution was
rushed, the stick having been safely brought off to the ship
the previous day, and certain necessary alterations in the
■U 148
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
cornmissions of the officers were made. Lieutenant Gore
was made captain of the Discovery, and Midshipman
Harvey promoted to the vacant lieutenancy. So the 15th
passed, night came, and the guards were stationed. No
attack had yet been made by the natives in their canoes:
would one be made this night ? Later in the evening a
single canoe cautiously approached the ship. It was
occupied by two natives, who loudly proclaimed their
friendship, and that they had something belonging to
Captain Cook. Coming on deck one deposited a bundle
of flesh on the deck wrapped up in a piece of native
cloth. As for the rest, he said the body of the captain had
been dismembered, given to the various chieftains, and
then burnt.
The disconcerting and revolting news but strengthened
the determination of the officers to secure possession of
the captain's remains, and if necessary teach the natives
a lesson that the forbearance of the past two days could
be changed to one of retribution if necessary. By noon
the next day it was observed that many of the assembled
war-parties were leaving the bay and returning over the
hills to their homes. This augured well for a change of
attitude on the part of the inhabitants. The next day
fully-armed boats of both ships were sent to the watering
place to replenish the casks, but, the islanders proving
hostile, the sailors and marines set fire to the near-by
houses, and the cannon of the Discovery dislodged the
assailants. This had the desired effect, and during the
next two days presents were brought by various chiefs
and a sort of rude peace was concluded.
On the morning of the 20th the foremast was stepped,
much to the satisfaction of the sailors, who now felt more
secure than at any time during the past week. About noon a
procession of natives approached the beach and the ships'
boats sent to meet them brought back the pitiful remains
of the captain. The following day these were consigned
to the deep with the usual military honours.    On the HIS DEATH
149
evening of the 22nd the ships unmoored and passed silently
out to sea past throngs of the wondering natives who lined
the shores, "and, as we passed along," says Lieutenant
King, "received our last farewells with every mark of
affection and goodwill." With natures like that of their
own clime we may not harshly blame them. Smiles and
sunshine, then a sudden lowering of black clouds, and the
storm breaks loose in fury unchained. A few moments
the passionate gust will rage—then the sun breaks through,
again we come bearing flowers and smiles.
While the Resolution and Discovery visit the islands to
the westward, let us examine into the life of the brilliant
navigator whose career was so suddenly ended. Surgeon
Samwell of the Discovery has left a manuscript relating to
the serious events just described, and he has this to say
regarding his much-esteemed commander:
The character of Captain Cook will be best exemplified by
the services he has performed, which are universally known,
and have ranked his name above that of any navigator of
ancient or modern times. Nature had endowed him with a
mind vigorous and comprehensive, which in his riper years
he had cultivated with care and industry. His general knowledge was extensive and various; in that of his own profession
he was unequalled. With a clear judgment, strong masculine
sense, and the most determined resolution; with a genius
peculiarly turned for enterprise, he pursued his object with
unshaken perseverance;—vigilant and active in an eminent
degree; cool and intrepid among dangers; patient and firm
under difficulties and distress; fertile in expedients, great and
original in all his designs; active and resolved in carrying them
into execution. These qualities rendered him the animating spirit of the expedition; in every situation he stood unrivalled and alone; on him all eyes were turned; he was our
leading star, which, at its setting, left us involved in darkness and despair.
His constitution was strong, his mode of living temperate.
He was a modest man, and rather bashful; of an agreeable,
livery conversation, sensible and intelligent. In his temper he
was somewhat hasty, but of a disposition the most friendly, I5<>
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
i'jm
benevolent, and humane. His person was above six feet high,
and though a good-looking man, he was plain, both in address
and appearance. His head was small, his hair, which was a
dark brown, he wore tied behind. His face was full of expression; his nose was exceedingly well shaped; his eyes, which
were small and of a brown cast, were quick and piercing;
his eye-brows prominent, which gave bis countenance altogether an air of austerity.
He was beloved of his people, who looked up to him as a
father, and obeyed his commands with alacrity. The confidence we placed in him was unremitting; our admiration
of his great talents unbounded, our esteem for his good
qualities affectionate and sincere.
Writing at this late date one cannot hope to approach
the sincerity of appeal contained in such a heart-felt
message. It is well to remember that this is but one of
many such character studies written by contemporary
men in various walks of life, who one and all pay loud
tribute to the greatness of the master circumnavigator.
From the 22nd of February to the 13th of March, Captain
Clerke directed the navigation of the vessels to the westward, calling in turn at the principal islands of the Sandwich
group. Their course lay across the Alenuihaha Channel,
around the southern coast of Maui, thence south of Lanai
and up to the western part of Molokai.1 Contrary winds
and baffling currents prevented a close inspection of the
shores they passed. Crossing over Kaiwi Channel on the
26th, they coasted the northern shore of Oahu. A large
bay was seen, but the weather being hazy and the wind
blowing strongly on shore it was not deemed wise to
attempt an anchorage. Rounding the north-west extremity of the island a large open road was discovered
and anchor was let go " in thirteen fathoms water, with
a sandy bottom." A little river which entered the bay
held out hopes of a good watering place, but the water
proved to be brackish for some distance up the stream and
the design was abandoned. It is interesting to note here
1 On this island there is now a large leper settlement. HIS DEATH
I5i
that the officers of the ships were struck with the unusual
beauty of this island, and Mr. King is fain to remark:
' The banks of this river, and indeed the whole we saw of
the northwest part of Woahoo (Oahu), are well cultivated,
and full of villages; and the face of the country is uncommonly beautiful and picturesque." This seems quite
in keeping with modern ideas of Oahu and its equally
beautiful south-east coast.
The next day the Resolution, accompanied by the Discovery, crossed the Kaieie Waho Channel to Kauai, and on
the 29th anchored in the familiar roadstead of the previous
year.1 Their principal object in so doing was to obtain
a full supply of fresh water with which to begin their
northern cruise. For it had been decided to once again explore the Arctic Ocean to the north of Bering Strait in an
endeavour to find if by any chance a north-east passage
existed. A week was spent in the Kauai road, then a few
days at Nihau and the preparations for departure were
considered to be complete. " On the 15th of March, at
seven in the morning," the ships put to sea, and sailing
westward along the 20th parallel of north latitude, a sharp
look-out was kept for new islands which might lie in these
hitherto unexplored wastes. Two weeks later, being then
in the same latitude but well under the 180th meridian,
their course was changed to north-west-by-north with
Avatcha Bay their rendezvous.
During this voyage the health of Captain Clerke began
to give way. It is thought by some that he had contracted
the germs of consumption while in the Fleet Street prison
prior to joining the Discovery at Plymouth. The journal
of the voyage mentions his indisposition while the ships
lay at anchor in Karakakooa Bay, but it was now apparent
to all that he was a very sick man and had not long to live.
In such a state of health the projected voyage to the
northward was to him little better than suicide, but no
thought of his own comfort or discomfort adorns the simple
1 On the south-west coast.
L 152 CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
record of the voyage. There is a quiet bravery in the mere
performance of one's daily duty, which at times transcends
the more spectacular or muscular type. On the 18th of
April, and while the vessels were approaching the 5°fh
parallel, this entry appears:
To add to Captain Clerke's difficulties, the sea was in
general so rough, and the ships so leaky, that the sail-makers
had no place to repair the sails in, except his apartments,
which, in his declining state of health, was a serious
inconvenience to him.
On the 23rd April the coast of Kamchatka was sighted.
The mountains showing through the mist were seen to be
covered with snow, while the coast showed a straight and
uniform outline devoid of inlet or bay, altogether a " dismal
and dreary prospect." In this connection it may not
be amiss to give the reader some idea of the trials
which navigation upon the Siberian coast in the month of
April may entail.
The wind continued blowing very strong from the northeast, with thick hazy weather and sleet, from the 24th till the
28th. During the whole time, the thermometer was never
higher than 30^°. The ship appeared to be a complete mass
of ice; the shrouds were so incrusted with it, as to measure
in circumference more than double their usual size, and, in
short, the experience of the oldest seaman among us had never
met with anything like the continued showers of sleet, and the
extreme cold, which we now encountered. Indeed, the severity
of the weather, added to the great difficulty of working the
ships, and the labour of keeping the pumps constantly going,
rendered the service too hard for many of the crew, some of
whom were frost-bitten, and others laid up with bad colds.
We continued all this time standing four hours on each tack,
having generally soundings of sixty fathoms when about three
leagues from the land; but none at twice that distance.
On the 25th, we had a transient view of the entrance of Awatska
Bay,1 but, in the present state of the weather, we were afraid
of venturing into it. Upon our standing off again, we lost sight
1 Avatcha Bay.
2 HIS DEATH
153
of the Discovery, but, as we were now so near the place of
rendezvous, this gave us no great uneasiness. On the 28th,
in the morning, the weather at last cleared, and the wind
fell to a light breeze from the same quarter as before. We had
a fine warm day, and as we now began to expect a thaw, the
men were employed in breaking the ice from off the rigging,
masts, and sails, in order to prevent its falling on our heads . . .
about three in the afternoon, a fair wind sprang up from
the southward, with which we stood in, having regular soundings from twenty two to seven fathoms.
However, the welcome accorded our weary mariners by
the people of the little town of St. Peter and St. Paul
more than made up for the inclemency of the weather,
and the resulting fatigue. The commander of the principal
Russian Ostrogs of Southern Kamchatka was at this time
residing at Bolcheretsk, on the western side, 135 miles
away. Accordingly, Captain Gore and Lieutenant King
made an overland trip to Bolcheretsk by dog team.
Wrapped in great bear skins, and guided by native Kam-
chadales, the trip proved both novel and entertaining.
Major Behm met the sailors with every mark of respect,
ministered to their wants in every way he could, and
accompanied them back to Petropavlovsk.
What provisions the two small places provided were
given the officers, and the doughty major would not hear
of pay, claiming that the work the English were engaged
upon was of a scientific nature and a benefit to all people;
that his sovereign would, he was confident, so consider it,
and would wish him to aid them in every way. Such
consideration touched the hearts of every man on the
ships, and the three rousing cheers which broke forth
when the major went ashore on his way to Bolcheretsk
bore ample testimony that his many kindnesses were
appreciated.
A packet of letters, maps, and journals of the voyage to
date had been made up and were entrusted to the worthy
major's care. By fast express across the vast Siberian
plains it passed from sledge to pony, from pony to river .B3P«-
154 CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
boat, until six months had elapsed. Then this entry
appeared one morning in the London Gazette under date
of nth January, 1780: x
Captain Clerke of His Majesty's Sloop the Resolution, in a
letter to Mr. Stephens, dated the 8th June, 1779, in the
Harbour of St. Peter and St. Paul, Kampschatka, which was
received yesterday, gives the melancholy account of the
celebrated Captain Cook, late Commander of that Sloop, with
four of his private Marines having been killed on the 14th of
February last at the island of O'why'he, one of a group of new
discovered Islands in the 22nd Degree of North Latitude, in
an affray with a numerous and tumultuous Body of the Natives.
So the news came to the waiting Admiralty and to the
widow at Mile End, Old Town.
Now let us follow the fortunes of the expedition on their
northward journey. On the 13th, 14th, and 15th of June
the Resolution and Discovery were employed in getting
out of Avatcha Bay, a tedious process with fog, head
winds, and a rudely charted channel. The next day they
resumed their northward cruise, keeping as close to the
shore as possible in order to chart its general contour.
It is not necessary to follow the course of this part of
the voyage in detail, but the following may prove to be
of interest in marking from time to time the progress of
the expedition. The ist of July found them in latitude
620, off the Gulf of Anadyr; three days later they passed
by St. Lawrence Island; on the 5th the straits were
navigated, and a course to the north-east was decided on.
On the 7th solid field ice barred their passage in latitude
68°. " The whole presented," so runs the journal, " a solid
and compact surface not in the smallest degree thawed
and appeared to us likewise to adhere to the land." The
northern passage through the Arctic Ocean to Hudson's
Bay, Baffin's Bay or any other bay, it was apparent to all,
was a delusion and a dream.   If solid fields of ice bound
1 Kitson, page 491. HIS  DEATH
155
the continental shores to the polar regions in the month
of July, what possible chance remained of finding a channel
in any other month of the year?
Yet they had come from afar to prove this thing to the
hilt; let assurance be made doubly sure: so back along the
pack-ice edge they sailed over toward the Asiatic shore,
buffeting the floating ice, ripping the frail sheathing from
their bows, until the Discovery signalled she dared go no
farther. Then, and with still no passageway found, it
was decided to abandon the fruitless search and fare away
to Avatcha Bay, make repairs, and then—could it really
be true?—then home!
The end of July, 1779, saw the expedition safely through
the strait, and making as quick a run down the Kamchatka
coast as the slow sailing qualities of the vessels would
permit. On the 17th of August, the journal tells us, Captain
Clerke "was now no longer able to get out of his bed," and
five days later this is entered: "At nine o'clock in the
morning, departed this life Captain Charles Clerke, in the
thirty-eighth year of his age." He had proved to be a
capable, zealous officer and was much beloved by the crews
of both vessels. Lieutenant King now assumed the responsibility of navigating the vessel into Avatcha Bay, which
was not many miles distant, and on the 24th the Resolution
and the Discovery swung idly at anchor before the little
village of Petropavlovsk.
There the vessels remained for six weeks, undergoing
extensive repairs to hull, rigging and sails. Fresh provisions
of flour, beef and fresh fish were also secured during this
needed interval. On the 29th both crews walked in solemn
procession to the grave at the foot of a tree overlooking
the harbour: there the last rites were read over the remains
of Captain Clerke, while the vessels in the harbour boomed
minute-guns, followed by three volleys from the marines.
One cannot help thinking on how many far-flung shores
similar simple rites have been accorded the empire's
sons, who have risked their lives in peace and in war 156
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
that the realm they love may endure. Nay more, that
it may increase and grow strong, a beacon-light to
all nations.
The command of the expedition now devolved upon
Captain Gore. He proceeded to take charge of the Resolution, advancing Lieutenant King to the command of the
Discovery. When all was in readiness for departure, it was
agreed to sail down the coast of Kamchatka, investigate
the Kurile Islands, thence along the eastern coast of
Japan, then over to the Chinese shore and to Macao, their
next place of rendezvous in case of separation. The vessels
cleared the bay on the 9th of October, and three days later
passed Cape Lopatka. On the 16th the vessels were in
latitude 450 27', and in the very portion of the sea supposed
to contain the De Gama land of the old chart-makers.
They accordingly turned more to the eastward in an
attempt to find some trace of this much-charted land, as
well as those areas known as Company's Land, Staten
Island, etc. Although the weather badgered the ships with
violent gales and high seas, a constant search was maintained along the 150th meridian, and to the westward of
it, for six days, but no lands greeted their view, and once
again an arm-chair theory was annihilated, one which had
persisted for upward of a century and a half. On the
25th the search was abandoned and the vessels that day
approached the 40th parallel on their journey to the
southward. The next day the coast of Japan was sighted.
As they came up to the shore the land was seen to be of
a moderate height, abounding with wood, and with a
"pleasing variety of hills and dales." The smoke of several
villages was seen, and the houses near the shore were seen
to be in pleasant and cultivated situations. No attempt
to land was made, however, and the vessels proceeded
on their way down the coast. Three days later two large
junks were seen, whose crews hurried them to shelter as
the English vessels approached.
A succession of gales then drove the vessels far off the HIS DEATH
157
coast, and, in view of the leaky condition of the ships,
the rotten nature of the cordage, which now broke upon the
least strain, it was decided to make for the China coast
without further delay. This was accordingly done and
the vessels were brought to an anchorage in the Typa on
4th December, 1779.
After three weeks of negotiations with the Cantonese
merchants the needful ships' stores were purchased, and
the officers began to make preparations for sea. Captain
King, however, had carried ashore with him in his quest
some twenty sea-otter skins, "chiefly the property of our
deceased Commander." These furs he proceeded to dispose
of at the best price obtainable. After much haggling
eight hundred dollars were offered by the Chinese fur
merchant, and the deal was closed. When one stops to
realise the great purchasing power of a dollar in those days
the sum Captain King received for the twenty peltries
is astonishing. In the meantime the sailors had not been
less active, as the subjoined account will testify:
One of our seamen sold his stock alone for eight hundred
dollars; and a few prime skins, which were clean and had been
well preserved, were sold for one hundred and twenty each.
The whole amount of the value in specie and goods, that was
got for the furs, in both ships, I am confident did not fall short
of two thousand pounds sterling; and it was generally supposed that at least two-thirds of the quantity we had originally
got from the Americans were spoiled and worn out, or had
been given away, and otherwise disposed of, in Kamtschatka.
When, in addition to these facts, it is remembered that the
furs were at first collected without our having any idea of
their real value; that the greatest part had been worn by the
Indians, from whom we purchased them; that they were
afterward preserved with little care, and frequently used for
bed-clothes, and other purposes, during our cruise to the
north; and that, probably, we had never got the full value
for them in China; the advantages that might be derived from
a voyage to that part of the American coast, undertaken with
commercial views, appear to me of a degree of importance
sufficient to call for the attention of the public. ss=
158
CAPTAIN  JAMES   COOK
And the subsequent happenings leading up to the
Nootka Sound controversy are proof positive that the
"public" did take notice of the "commercial views"
Captain King expresses.
The sailors were wildly excited at their proceeds from
the miniature fur sale, which had been held for some days
on the deck of the Resolution. They were clamorously
insistent to return at once to Cook's River, Prince William
Sound, Nootka, anywhere along the rugged coast, and
secure a larger and greater cargo of sea-otter skins, which
the Chinese bought so readily. The eagerness of the
sailors was little short of mutiny, and they were with
difficulty restrained. Captain King, himself, was almost
persuaded of the feasibility of the plan. On the nth of
January two seamen deserted and all search that could
be made for them was of no avail. It was supposed
these men were determined to engage in the fur trade;
with this defection the scene closes, but we may well
imagine the solemn resolves which some of the crew
would make, that when once discharged in England—well,
we would see!
While at anchor in the Typa the officers received further
intelligence of the war between England on the one hand
and the revolting colonies, France, and Spain on the
other. This gave them some alarm lest they be captured
on the way home by some enemy frigate. But the East
India Company agents at Canton assured them there was
little danger of any such capture being contemplated. In
fact recent despatches from England were to the effect
that all French ships of war carried directions from their
government not to molest the ships that had sailed under
the command of Captain Cook. The same orders were
said to have been given by the American Congress to the
vessels employed in their service. In this wise the vessels
set sail on 12th January, and three months later to .the
very day anchored at the Cape. Here they were royally
entertained by Baron Plettenberg, the Dutch governor. He had become strongly attached to Captain Cook
during the latter's stay in that port on former visits,
and was now most anxious to learn complete details of
the voyage.
On the 9th of May, 1780, the voyage was resumed. Their
course lay to the westward of St. Helena and Ascension
Islands; about the middle of June the equator was crossed,
"for the fourth time during the voyage." Still keeping
clear of the usual trade routes, and well out in mid-Atlantic,
they steered for the Irish coast, intending to put into Port
Galway. But strong southerly gales forced them to the
northward, and it was not until the 22nd of August at
eleven in the morning that both ships came to anchor at
Stromness. At this point Captain Gore despatched Captain
King to London to acquaint the Admiralty with their
arrival, "and on the 4th day of October the ships arrived
safely at the Nore, after an absence of four years, two
months, and twenty-two days."
Following upon the receipt of the news from Siberia,
early in 1780, the king at once gave orders that a pension
of £300 a year be granted to Mrs. Cook. A coat of arms
was also granted in recognition of the services rendered
the nation by Captain Cook. Nor was the Royal Society
one whit behind the government in its desire to do honour
to a distinguished member. A special gold medal was
struck in Cook's honour and duly forwarded to Mrs. Cook
by the then president, Sir Joseph Banks.
Of the six children, two sons at that time survived.
James,the eldest, had been educated at the Royal Academy,
Portsmouth, and had then joined the navy, where he " rose
to the rank of Commander in 1793." Hugh, the youngest,
that same year entered Christ's College, Cambridge. But
the scarlet fever made its appearance and the young lad
succumbed. He had been in residence but two months
and was but seventeen years of age. In January of
'94 James took command of the sloop Spitfire. His new
command lay at Portsmouth, and in endeavouring to join i6o
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
the vessel, his row-boat was upset in the rough sea running
at the time, and all the occupants were drowned. Mrs.
Cook was now thrice widowed, but is said to have maintained the greatest fortitude throughout her bereavements.
She survived her son James by forty-one years, and died
at Clapham at the ripe old age of ninety-three. CHAPTER XI
LIEUTENANT JOHN  MEARES AND THE FUR TRADE  ON
THE NORTH-WEST COAST OF AMERICA
Foreword
In preparing the narrative of the early fur-trading days
along the North-west coast of America some unusual
difficulties were encountered. In the first place a large
part of the subject matter had for long been one of a
controversial nature between Britain and Spain. Exaggeration, concealment of this or that important fact, even
fair-sized lies, have alike tended to distort the truth about
the exciting events in far-off Nootka.
Meares himself has been the chief obstacle. He is a
lovable rogue, full of high-sounding phrases and grand
ideas. Never downcast, always hopeful, he will tell you
a barefaced falsehood on one page, while on the next he
regales you with a beautiful paragraph descriptive of
some islet, bay, or Indian chieftain. He must have been a
born actor and quite unconscious of the fact, forever seeing
things as they ought to have been, but seldom as they
really were.
That he was persistent in what he undertook is amply
proven in the narrative. Brave to a degree but tricky in
the extreme, his seamanship questionable, his reputed
discoveries and " butter pat" maps as unreliable as they
are laughable, he barely escapes the fate history awards
a Juan de Fuca.
Yet John Meares may be said to have set two nations
on the verge of war and then to have recouped a doubtful
venture by the acquirement from one—Spain—of a huge indemnity.    Where may one find a parallel to such audacity ?
161 162
JOHN  MEARES
This is the story of a fur trader on the North-west coast
of America, and is intended to present in a simple readable
form the picture 01 the times from the death of Captain
Cook in 1779 to the arrival of Captain Vancouver in 1792.
The complete journals of Cook's last voyage were in
the hands of the British Admiralty in the year 1780. But
owing to the unsettled times publication was delayed
until the year after the Treaty of Versailles, 1783. Considerable mention is made in the concluding remarks of
Captain King, who brought the Discovery safely home
from China, of the great value set by the Chinese on
certain furs of skins of the sea otter. These furs had been
secured from the Indians for bits of iron, beads or other
trinkets of little value, by the crews of the Discovery and
Resolution. King further recites in his narrative the great
desire of his sailors to return at once to Nootka for further
trade with the Indians.
One would naturally expect that statements from
such a reputable and trustworthy source would encourage
some adventurous spirits to make such a voyage. Accordingly we find Captain James Hanna in 1785 sailing from
China to Nootka in a small vessel, and returning with a
cargo of 560 sea-otter skins, which he successfully disposed
of in Macao. The undoubted success of this voyage could
but add speed to those who might be making preparations
for a similar undertaking. And the year 1786 is notable
for the number of expeditions which outfitted for the
American coast.
From Bombay sailed the Captain Cook and the Experiment, under Captains Lowrie and Guise. These vessels
spent some time at Nootka and traded northward as far
as Prince William Sound, returning to China in the autumn.
From London came the King George and Queen Charlotte,
under Captains Portlock and Dixon. Messrs. C. and J.
Etches were the prime bankers of this enterprise and they
had secured from the South Sea Company of that time
a licence to enter this trade. THE FUR TRADE
163
Meares also mentions the Sea Otter and the Lark as
having sailed from China in pursuit of the fur trade. In
addition to these we have the Nootka and Sea Otter outfitting
from Calcutta under the command of John Meares—with
William Tipping in subordinate command.
Eight vessels of varying tonnage: truly the quest of
the sea-otter had begun in earnest. It is with the fortunes
of the Nootka and Sea Otter, or the Meares expedition, that
we wish to deal here, and as the narrative proceeds sorrowful happenings and strange meetings on far distant coasts
will be recorded. Not all expeditions have happy homecomings, and certainly the first attempt of John Meares
to enter the sea-otter trade was anything but pleasant
and profitable. But let this following brief account tell
its own story.
Upon the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles (1783)
Lieutenant John Meares had retired from service in the
Royal Navy. Taking command of a merchant ship bound
for India, he arrived in due course at Calcutta. There he
was instrumental in forming a company to engage in the
fur trade on the North-west coast of America.
Two small vessels were purchased: the Nootka of 200
tons, the Sea Otter of 100 tons, burthen. The latter was
placed under the command of Captain Tipping and put
to sea the latter part of February. Proceeding by way of
Malacca, where a consignment of opium was unloaded,
she continued her voyage across the Pacific with orders to
rendezvous with Captain Meares in Prince William Sound.
The Nootka sailed from Calcutta by way of Madras, thence
to Malacca, which was left on 29th May, 1786, and the long
voyage across the Pacific really began. A northerly route
was chosen, and the ship touched at the Bashee Islands
26th June. "We remained here four days," says Meares,
I during which time we obtained great plenty of hogs, goats,
ducks, fowls, yams, and sweet potatoes, in return for
unwrought iron."   Meares now steered to the north-east, 164 JOHN MEARES
and after passing the latitude of 250 north is fain to remark:
"we had one continual fog, which was oftentimes so thick
that it was impossible to see the length of the vessel."
Land was sighted the ist of August, and it proved to be
part of the island archipelago off the western coast of
Alaska, now known as the Aleutian Islands. The fog
continued to be so thick that it was impossible to see any
object at twenty yards distance from the ship. Under these
circumstances the navigation of the ship was perilous in
the extreme; dangerous swift currents run in and out
through this maze of islands, the sounding line is of little
use for they are but the submerged tops of a sunken coast
range and slope precipitously beneath the waves. The
sound of the heavy surf dashing on the rock-bound shore
was the only warning the mariner of those days could rely
upon, and the vessel sheering off from one danger was as
likely to encounter another as to find open water and safety.
But on the 5th of August the fog cleared, and the vessel
was soon in safe anchorage at Unalaska. Here a Russian
settlement was found. Meares describes the peculiar manner
of life on these frozen and inhospitable shores so well that
the following excerpt from his journal is given:
The Russians of these isles, came from Ochotsk and Kam-
schatka in galleots of about fifty tons burthen, having from
sixty to eighty men in each. They heave their vessels up in
some convenient place, during their station here, which is for
eight years; at the end of which time they are relieved by
another party. They hunt the sea-otters and other animals
whom nature has cloathed in furs. The natives of the different
districts are also employed in the same occupation, and are
obliged to give the fruits of their toil, as a tribute to the Empress of Russia, to whom the trade exclusively belongs. In
return, they receive small quantities of snuff, of which they
are immoderately fond; and, obtaining that favourite article,
they are content with their wretched condition, from
whence, as far as respects any exertion of their own, they
will never emerge.
The houses of the Russians are constructed upon the same
TTan.    ■ — ■ ■■ THE FUR TRADE
165
principles as those of the natives, but on a plan of larger
extent. They consist of cavities dug in the earth, and a stranger
might be in danger of falling into them, without having the
least suspicion that he was within the verge of any habitation;
as the only entrance into these subterraneous places of residence, is through a round hole at the top of them, and by a
post with steps cut in it, as the means of descent. Indeed,
such an accident happened, on the first evening of our landing,
to the first officer and surgeon of the Nootka. On their return
from a Russian village, they suddenly disappeared through
one of these holes, and intruded themselves, in a very unexpected manner, to a household of the natives. The fright on
the occasion was mutual; the one hurrying out of the place
as fast as their fears could carry them, leaving the fallen
gentlemen, in expectation that the invaded people . . . would
instantly give the alarm, and call their friends to revenge the
innocent invasion by murder and massacre. They found,
however, on their return above ground, that the natives had
fled in extreme confusion and affright. The next morning,
the accident was explained; and a small present of tobacco
made the poor people ample recompense for the alarm of the
preceding evening.
The sides of these dwellings are divided into compartments
for the purpose of sleeping, the skins of animals serving them
for their beds; and in the centre is the place for dressing and
eating their victuals. . . . Their diet consists entirely of fish
with the oil of the same for sauce. The only vegetable these
islands produce is wild celery, which the natives eat as it is
pulled out of the ground. . . . The only animals on these
islands are foxes, some of which are black, and whose skins
are very valuable.
The rest of August was spent in a run down the coast of
Alaska in an endeavour to get below the Russian settlements so that furs might be secured from the natives.
Anchor was cast under Cape Douglas at the entrance to
Cook's River. The weather proving stormy, it was the 20th
of September before they were able to leave their anchorage
and proceed to the rendezvous at Prince William Sound.
Evidences were found that some vessel had lately been
there, and Meares decided that the Sea Otter, fearing to
■' i66
JOHN MEARES
remain longer in these high latitudes, had returned to
China with her season's trade. But she was never heard
of again; the Pacific had claimed still another for its
mounting tale of the lost at sea.
Meares was in a quandary—it was now October, gales
of wind, accompanied with sleet and snow, held little hope
of finding a safe harbour to the southward. Their only
alternative once they should quit their present anchorage
was a straight run to the Sandwich Islands. But the men
were becoming dissatisfied with this voyage through fog
and sleet and snow along a rock-bound and dangerous
coast. Once at Hawaii it might not be possible to persuade
them to return for further trade in the spring. So he
decided, in view of this and the small number of furs he
had been so far able to collect, to remain for the winter
in the sound. Meares much preferred to face the rigours
of a northern winter within latitude 6o° north, than the
disappointment and anger of the Calcutta merchants at
the failure of the venture.
Preparations were accordingly made for an inhospitable
winter in the sound. The vessel was unrigged, a log house
was erected on shore; spars and canvas were used to cover
the sides, and form a roof over the top deck. The work was
partly completed by the time that the snow on shore
became so deep that no more timber could be secured.
Ice formed around the ship, and for a time skating was
indulged in, much to the enjoyment of the crew. Then the
sun almost disappeared, and they "had at noon but a
very faint and glimmering light. . . . While tremendous
mountains forbade almost a sight of the sky and cast
their nocturnal shadows over us in the midst of day, the
land was impenetrable from the depth of snow, so that we
were excluded from all hopes of any recreation, support
or comfort, during the winter, but what could be found in
the ship and in ourselves. . . . The new year set in with
added cold, and was succeeded by some very heavy falls
of snow, which lasted till the middle of the month.   Our THE FUR TRADE
167
decks were now incapable of resisting the intense freezing
at night, and the lower parts of them were covered an inch
thick with a hoary frost, that had all the appearance of
snow, notwithstanding three fires were kept constantly
burning twenty hours out of the twenty-four."
By the middle of January twelve were down with the
scurvy, by the end of the month four had died, but more
were afflicted, until twenty-three of the crew were seriously
ill—^including the ship's surgeon. The end of February
brought no relief, five more were prostrate and so ill "that
none of them had sufficient strength to get out of their
hammocks—four more died in the course of the month."
During March the surgeon and pilot died, leaving them
without the medical advice of which they stood in such
sore need. It would appear that but three men of the
whole ship's company remained in a state of health that
permitted them to succour the sick seamen.
Every advantage [Meares writes] that the sick could
receive from the most tender and vigilant attention, they
received from myself, the first officer and a seaman, who were
yet in a state to do them that service. But still we continued
to see and lament a gradual diminution of our crew from this
terrible disorder. Too often did I find myself called to assist
in performing the dreadful office of dragging the dead bodies
across the ice, to a shallow sepulchre which our own hands
had hewn out for them on the shore. The sledge on which
we fetched the wood was their hearse, and the chasms in the
ice their grave.
April passed with stormy winds, but with a welcome rise
in the temperature. Seven more of the crew succumbed to the
disease and were buried with what ceremony the little company could muster. With the return of warm weather in May
the spirits of the crew revived and the Indians daily brought
them fresh fish and fowl. On the 19th there arrived a boat,
conducted by canoes, in which was Captain Dixon of the
Queen Charlotte, from London. He was welcomed [says
Meares] as a guardian angel with tears of joy.
Dixon reported two ships were anchored in the sound
M n
■
168
JOHN MEARES
some twenty miles below the Nootka at Port Etches; his
own and the King George, under Captain Portlock, who was
the commander-in-chief of this fur-trading expedition, sent
out from London in 1785 by the King George Sound Company; that they had wintered at the Sandwich Islands
and were now on a trading venture along the coast. Now
rival traders of those days were not noted for their humanity
to each other, even in times of direst want, and although
Captain Portlock rendered some assistance to the crew of
the Nootka, Meares was made to pay roundly for every
service rendered.
The reduced strength of the crew of the Nootka made
it almost necessary for Portlock to lend some seamen from
the strength of his vessels; accordingly two able-bodied
seamen were furnished Meares. A month was spent in
caulking seams, stowing ballast, and overhauling the
rigging, in which work the ship's carpenter from the King
George proved of invaluable assistance. In return for their
assistance, for which Captain Meares paid in articles for
trade as well as sight drafts on Canton, Portlock demanded
at the last moment a bond of one thousand pounds that
Meares would refrain from fur trade that season, and that
he sail direct to the Sandwich Islands—and thence to
Canton; thus eliminating at least one competitor for that
year. As will readily be seen, this meant the ruin of the
enterprise of which Meares was the moving spirit. All his
suffering in Prince William Sound would go for naught.
Ill luck seemed at this stage to dog his every step. Would
not men of less perseverance have given up in despair?
Meares signed the document. Once clear of the sound on
the 21st of June, fair weather and favourable winds wafted
them on their way to Owhyhee—where a stay of a month
put every man in condition. Sailing thence on the 2nd of
September, anchor was cast in the Typa, a harbour near
Macao, on the 20th of October, 1787. CHAPTER XII
MEARES MAKES A SECOND VENTURE,  AND  DECIDES  TO
ERECT A PERMANENT FACTORY AT NOOTKA
Neither the hardships of the voyage nor the small returns
seemed to daunt the spirits of Meares and his friends in
the venture. Fortunes were being made by others; the
Indians were anxious to trade valuable sea-otter and beaver
skins for trinkets of iron, beads of glass and hatchets and
knives of steel. The wealthy Chinese were very anxious
to secure these furs for their ceremonial robes of state,
and in turn willingly paid forty to fifty dollars for a
prime sea-otter skin, which cost the fur trader a mere
fraction of that sum. Captains Portlock and Dixon are
known to have secured on their voyage of 1786-87, 2552
skins, which brought them in China the sum of 54,857
dollars. Other traders that year (1787) secured another
2481 skins, which were probably sold for a similar amount.
Three months after his arrival, in January of 1788,
Meares was successful in purchasing two vessels for the
further prosecution of the fur trade—the Felice of two
hundred and thirty tons and the iphigenia of two hundred
tons burthen. He assumed command of the former, while
the latter was entrusted to the care of Captain Douglas.
On this voyage fifty Chinese artisans were employed, in
addition to the usual European crew, it being the intention
of the venture to erect a post or factory at Nootka or some
convenient place, and there build a small vessel for the
coasting trade.
Sailing from Typa the latter part of January, 1788, a
southerly course was maintained through the maze of
islands of Oceania. Great heat, violent storms and constant dangers from sunken and uncharted reefs were their
169 a—rr-
170
JOHN  MEARES
daily menu. At the south-eastern end of Mindanao
the Felice parted company with her consort, which
lay to- in the harbour of Zamboingan to secure a
new foremast. The Felice, baffled by north-east winds,
found herself on 4th April safely north of the Ladrones,
then, with better weather, a general north-east course for
Nootka Sound was maintained. Anchor was cast "in
Friendly Cove, in King George's Sound, abreast of the
village of Nootka, in four fathoms of water, and within a
hundred yards of the shore, after a passage of three months
and twenty-three days from China.
" In a short time the ship was surrounded with a great
number of canoes, which were filled with men, women
and children; they brought also considerable supplies of
fish, and we did not hesitate a moment to purchase an
article so very acceptable to people just arrived from a
long and toilsome voyage."
Accompanying Meares in the Felice was an Indian chief,
Comekcla by name. This enquiring Nootkan had been
taken to China the previous year, and now, decked out in
scarlet coat, brass buttons, a breastplate of shining copper,
and a military hat "set off with a flaunting cockade,"
prepared to go ashore. As if this dress were not sufficiently
startling, "he contrived to hang from his hair, which was
dressed en queue, so many handles of copper saucepans,
that his head was kept back by the weight of them, in such
a stiff and upright position, as very much to heighten the
singularity of his appearance." In addition to these
strange copper ornaments he had succeeded in wresting
from the cook an enormous spit; this Comekcla held in
his hand as a spear. The whole village came down to the
beach to bid him welcome and, all the while the centre
of admiring eyes, he was led to the principal house of the
town where a great feast of whale blubber and oil was
prepared; a delectable repast among the Nootkan Indians,
and one, let us hope, that Comekcla was still able to enjoy.
Now it so happened that the two important chiefs of NOOTKA
the sound, Maquinna and Callicum, were absent when the
Felice cast anchor in Friendly Cove. But these two personages arrived on Friday the 16th, accompanied by a
number of war canoes. "They moved with great parade
round the ship, singing at the same time a song of a pleasing though sonorous melody: there were twelve of these
canoes, each of which contained about eighteen men, the
greater part of whom were cloathed in dresses of the most
beautiful skins of sea otter, which covered them from their
necks to their ancles. Their hair was powdered with the
white down of birds, and their faces bedaubed with red
and black ochre, in the form of a shark's jaw, and a kind
of spiral line, which rendered their appearance extremely
savage. In most of the boats there were eight rowers on a
side, and a single man sat in the bow. The chief occupied
a place in the middle, and was also distinguished by an
high cap, pointed at the crown, and ornamented at the
top with a small tuft of feathers."
After twice circling the ship the canoes were brought
alongside and the two chiefs came on board. Maquinna
"appeared to be about thirty years, of a middle size, but
extremely well made, and possessing a countenance that
was formed to interest all who saw him. ... A present
consisting of copper, iron, and other gratifying articles
was made to Maquinna and Callicum, who, on receiving it,
took off their sea-otter garments, threw them, in the most
graceful manner, at our feet, and remained in the unattired
garb of nature on the deck.—They were each of them in
return presented with a blanket,—when, with every mark
of the highest satisfaction, they descended into their canoes,
which were paddled hastily to the shore."
Negotiations were at once opened with Maquinna for the
purchase of a piece of land, upon which a house was begun,
for the accommodation of those members of the crew who
were to construct a small coasting vessel. The chief "not
only most readily consented to grant us a spot of ground
. . . but promised us also his assistance in forwarding our =====
172
JOHN  MEARES
works. . . . Great advances were made in building the
house, which on the 28th was completely finished."
This was of two storeys—the ground floor was to be used
as a workshop, the second floor as a combined dining-room
and dormitory. To the natives of the sound it appeared no
doubt a wonderful creation. Around the house as an added
means of protection was thrown up a strong breast-work,
with a cannon placed in such a position as to command
the Indian village near by. On the beach the carpenters
now laid down the keel of a vessel of some forty tons
burthen, and soon all were busily employed; some in
cutting timber in the adjacent forest, others in shaping
the logs into the necessary forms, and still others busy at
the forge making bolts, nails, etc., for the frames.
A month having passed in these activities, Captain
Meares resolved to sail southward along the coast for some
distance in search of further trade and adventure. The
10th of June saw the Felice safely out of the sound and
on the way to the village of Wicananish, situated in
Clayoquot Sound, some leagues to the southward of
Nootka. Here a brisk trade in fine sea-otter skins was
carried on for some days.
Proceeding southward the Felice touched at the entrance
to the Strait of Juan de Fuca (which had been discovered
by Captain Barkley in the Imperial Eagle the previous
year). It was desired to carry on trade with the Indians
who inhabited the southern side of the entrance at
Tatooche. But the chief of Tatooche and the natives in
general proving surly and in some respects openly hostile,
the ship continued her voyage that evening, Captain
Meares intending to give the strait some attention on his
return from the south.
From Cape Flattery to the mouth of the Columbia the
coast was observed and charted with a considerable degree
of accuracy. Meares was anxious to find harbourage where
the ship could remain in security for some days, while a
trade with the Indians was carried on.   Spanish charts of NOOTKA
173
the time told of a river, St. Roc, somewhere in these
latitudes, and of safe anchorage, but try as he might no
iSri     V5
LIEUTENANT  JOHN  MEARES
From an engraving after the picture by W. Beechey in Meares* Voyages.
place of safety could be found. Bays there were, but they
were shoal, and sand-bars appeared to stretch across the
entrance in each case. The captain mentions Shoal Water
Bay, Quicksand Bay, and Deception Bay as names given 174
JOHN MEARES
i-52
to represent the kind and condition of the harbourage to
be found in latitude 460 north. Although it was July, the
weather was stormy and treacherous. Meares frequently
mentions the difficulties this occasioned in attempting to
find some navigable opening in the shore-line.
"The wind veered to the north, and blew very strong with
a great sea: . . . and the land was everywhere covered
with a thick mist." Again: "A prodigious easterly swell
rolled on the shore—as we steered in, the water shoaled to
nine, eight and seven fathoms, when breakers were seen
from the deck, right ahead."
"In the offing it blew very strong, and a great westerly
swell tumbled in on the land." Continuing the narrative,
we read: "As we had met with nothing but discouragement, we here gave up all further pursuit, and closed our
progress to the southward: we therefore hauled our wind,
in order to proceed again to the northward."
The discovery of the great Columbia River had been
almost within his grasp. But this was fated to fall to the
honour of Captain Gray in the ship Columbia, three years
later.1 Deception Bay and Cape Disappointment still
stand as indicating how near Meares had been to the
accomplishment of this by no means easy task. A week had
passed since he left the strait, for it is no business of the
fur trader to pass days exploring an inhospitable coast in
thick weather, when his base of supplies is in China and
his ship in constant danger.
On the nth anchor was cast in Barkley Sound, which
Captain Barkley had explored and named the previous
year. Here a brisk trade with the Indians was at once
begun—while this was in progress the long-boat under the
command of Robert Duffin, the first officer, was despatched
to explore the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A week later the
boat returned (20th July). It had entered the strait for
some distance and preparations to land were being made
when the Indians had come off in their war canoes to the
1 See voyage of Captain Vancouver, page 234. NOOTKA
attack. It would appear that the conflict had been severe
and that the Indians had pressed their onslaught with
vigour and determination. Four of the boat's crew were
suffering severely from barbed-arrow wounds. "The rest
of the people were bruised in a terrible manner by the
stones and clubs of the enemy; even the boat itself was
pierced in a thousand places by arrows, many of which
remained in the awning that covered the back part of it;
and which by receiving the arrows, and breaking the fall
of large stones thrown from slings, in a great measure saved
our party from inevitable destruction."
Meares claims that the long-boat had penetrated thirty
leagues into the strait—that there the strait was fifteen
leagues wide, with a clear easterly horizon. This is one of
his distressing exaggerations. At any rate the long-boat
immediately returned to the Felice in Barkley Sound,
and the next day Captain Meares put to sea.
26th July found him safely at anchor in Nootka Sound.
All now bent their energies to the completion of the little
vessel, which was to bear the honour of being the first
ship launched from these northern shores. On the 27th
of the ensuing month the little settlement at Nootka were
gladdened by the arrival of the Iphigenia. It will be
remembered that she had parted company with the Felice
at the Philippines; thence choosing a more northerly course
had approached the coast in the latitude of Prince William
Sound, and had spent the summer trading southward.
Captain Douglas had much to relate in the way of trade
and adventure. But in order to more fittingly celebrate
his safe arrival a holiday was decreed for all and sundry of
both crews. One may easily imagine the scene: the groups
of new arrivals inspecting and commenting upon the little
vessel on the ways; the house and its miniature earthworks
would be examined; the Indian village near by would be
a source of wonder and amusement; over all the August
sun sliining through the haze of approaching autumn.
Dangers of the sea would quickly vanish, to give place to m
176
JOHN  MEARES
pictures of green forests, peaceful shores, odd people in
strange dress, and the feel of firm land beneath the feet.
No one can pack more hilarity and enjoyment into a few
hours or days on shore than the deep-water sailorman, and
we may rest assured that the day was fittingly observed.
The next and succeeding days' work was pushed with
added vigour, all hands turning their attention to the
speedy conclusion of their immediate enterprise—the
launching of the sloop. Three weeks had passed in this
manner when, on the 17th of September, a strange sail
was seen in the offing.
The long-boat [says Meares] was immediately sent to her
assistance, which, instead of the British vessel we expected,
conveyed into the sound a sloop, named the Washington, from
Boston in New England, of about one hundred tons burthen.
Mr. Grey, the master, informed us, that he had sailed in
company with his consort, the Columbia, a ship of three
hundred tons, in the month of August, 1787, being equipped,
under the patronage of Congress, to examine the Coast of
America, and to open a fur trade between New England and
this part of the American Continent, in order to provide funds
for the China ships, to enable them to return home teas and
China goods. These vessels were separated in an heavy gale
of wind, in the latitude of 590 south, and had not seen each
other since the period of their separation: but as King
George's Sound was the place of rendezvous appointed for
them, the Columbia, if she was safe, was every day expected
to join her consort at Nootka.
The master of the Washington was very much surprised at
seeing a vessel on the stocks, as well as on finding any one
here before him; for they had little or no notion of any
commercial expedition whatsoever to this part of America.
Gray's arrival was quite opportune, for three days later
the North West America was launched. Meares gives a
graphic though somewhat wordy description of the launching, parts of which are here given:
The vessel was then waiting to quit the stocks; and to give
all due honour to such an important scene, we adopted, as far
jj^^v. NOOTKA
as was in our power, the ceremony of other dock-yards. As
soon as the tide was at its proper height the English ensign
was displayed on shore at the house, and on board the new
vessel, which at the proper moment was named the North
West A merica, as being the first bottom ever built and launched
in this part of the globe.
It was a moment of much expectation. . . . Maquinna,
Callicum, and a large body of their people . . . were come
to behold it.
He then goes on to describe the presence of the Chinese
carpenters, the Sandwich Island chief, Tianna, and the
Americans—and continuing the narrative we read:
But our suspense was not of long duration; on the firing
of a gun the vessel started from the ways like a shot. Indeed
she went off with so much velocity, that she had nearly made
her way out of the harbour; for the fact was, that not being
very much accustomed to this business, we had forgotten to
place an anchor and cable on board, to bring her up, which
is the usual practice on these occasions; the boats, however,
soon towed her to her intended station, and in a short time
the North West America was anchored close to the Iphigenia
and Felice.
Four days later Meares sailed for China, leaving Captain
Douglas in charge of the establishment at Nootka, with
orders to winter at the Sandwich Islands, and to return to
Nootka the following spring to carry on the trade with the
Indians of those regions. Captain Gray wintered at Nootka,
where he was in due course joined by Kendrick, his commander in the venture, in charge of the ship Columbia.
All was apparent peace and quiet. To Meares on his
homeward journey the future held bright prospects. From
his base at Nootka an ever-increasing fleet of coasting
vessels would venture forth to barter with the Indians in
the secluded bays and passages of the tortuous northern
coast. Surely a monopoly of the whole region could be
thus secured, and annual shipments of great value be
received at the company's headquarters in China.
This was not to   be.     Other  nations were  jealously
Sfil
B j n 178
JOHN MEARES
watching this growing trade, and, in this very year of
1788, a Spanish expedition under Martinez and Haro
had been investigating the Russian settlements in Alaska.
Upon returning to San Bias, Martinez had reported to
Florez, the viceroy of Mexico, that the Russians contemplated the establishment of a settlement at Nootka; this
was to be done in view of " the commerce which the
English from Canton are carrying on at Nootka," * and of
the Russian claim to the North-west coast through the
discoveries of Bering and Chirikoff in 1741. Martinez
then urged upon the viceroy the need of Spain to forestall the Russians and by immediate action " occupy the
said port and establish a garrison in it." To this end he
volunteered his services. Florez acted quickly, and instructed Martinez to begin preparations for the expedition.
Two vessels were outfitted, the Princessa mounting twenty-
six guns, and the San Carlos sixteen guns. They set sail
from San Bias on the 17th of February, 1789, six weeks
after Martinez had reported in his letter to the viceroy.
The instructions given Martinez were as minute and
exact as it was possible to make them. He was to endeavour
to secure the goodwill of the Indians; four missionaries
accompanied the expedition to assist in this as well as
in the propagation of their religion. A formal establishment was to be erected at Nootka, and Spanish sovereignty proclaimed. Directions were also given as to the
manner in which he (Martinez) was to deal with (a) the
English he might meet and (b) the Russians who were
expected to arrive, (c) the vessels of the Independent
American Colonies, should they appear on the coast of
North California. The coast from Prince William Sound
to San Francisco Bay was to be fully explored and charted.
Throughout the instructions there runs a tone of measured
regard in relation to the way Martinez was to conduct
himself—and in view of the violence of his actions a few
months later the following excerpt is given, showing in
1 From a translation of Martinez' report:  Manning, page 300. NOOTKA
179
what manner the letter and the spirit of the instructions
by Florez were disregarded:
No. 10. If Russian or English vessels should arrive, you will
receive their Commanders with the politeness and kind treatment which the existing peace demands: but you will show
the just ground for our establishment at Nootka, the superior
right which we have for continuing such establishments on
the whole coast, and the measures which our superior government is taking to carry this out, such as sending by land
expeditions of troops, colonists and missionaries, to attract
and convert the Indians to the religion and the mild
dominion of our august Sovereign.
No. 11. All this you ought to explain with prudent firmness, but without being led into harsh expressions which may
give serious offence and cause a rupture; but if, in spite of
your greatest efforts, the foreigners should attempt to use
force, you will repel it to the extent that they employ it,
endeavouring to prevent as far as possible their intercourse
and commerce with the natives.
The Princessa arrived in Nootka Sound on 5th May,
1789. In the harbour at anchor lay the Iphigenia, under the
command of Captain Douglas, and the American ship
Columbia in command of Captain Kendrick. The Columbia and her consort the Lady Washington had wintered in
the sound, but the latter had lately left on a trading
cruise in northern waters. The iphigenia and the North
West America had returned from the Sandwich Islands in
April, the latter also leaving for an initial trading venture.
At first all went well; Douglas was invited to dine with
Martinez on his vessel, then a few days later Kendrick
invited the officers of the iphigenia and Princessa to dine
with him, and the following day Captain Douglas extended
the same courtesies to the Spanish and American officers.
With the Spaniard in possession of the harbour it was now
necessary for Captain Douglas to present his instructions
and the passport of his ship. If these were found in good
order, under ordinary conditions the ship would be given
clearance and permitted to put to sea.   And just there the i8o
JOHN MEARES
H
first trouble began. It would appear that Meares, in an endeavour to escape the high port charges at that time levied
on all other nationals,1 had sailed from Macao under Portuguese colours, and with a Portuguese passport signed by
the governor of Macao, and purporting to belong to John
Cavallo, a resident merchant of that place. Martinez was
unable to reconcile these apparently correct papers with
the visual evidence, viz.: " I found a packet boat with its
captain (flag) and passport of the Portuguese nation,
but its supercargo (who was really the captain), its pilot,
and the greater part of its crew English." On the 13th,
Viana, who was made to appear to be the captain, Douglas
in the r61e of supercargo, and Adamson, the first pilot,
repaired to the Princessa, there to undergo a searching
oral examination. The Spaniard took exception to certain
clauses in the instructions, refused to credit any explanation offered, and placed the officers under arrest.
All accounts agree that errors had been made in the
translation of the instructions from the Portuguese to the
Spanish language. Whether this error was afterwards
discovered, we do not know, but twelve days later the
Iphigenia was restored; the reason for this step as given
by Martinez being " on account of the difficulty of sending
the captured vessel to San Bias, owing to the scarcity
of men to man her."
Truly a strange reason in the light of later events. To
safeguard himself from the possible displeasure of the
viceroy of Mexico he had ordered a complete inventory to
be taken of the ship's cargo and a bond to be executed,
obliging the owner Cavallo to pay the value of the vessel
and contents should she be subsequently considered a
lawful prize for " having been found anchored in the port
of Nootka without having a passport, permission, or licence
from His Catholic Majesty for navigating or anchoring in
seas or ports belonging to his dominion."   This was signed.
1 Or perhaps to escape the monopolies of the South Sea Company
and the East India Company.
-^ NOOTKA
181
by Viana and Douglas and witnessed by the American
skipper Kendrick, and by Ingraham. The 31st (the last
day of May) saw Douglas once again in full command,
and with the hills of Nootka fading in the distance, ostensibly bound for Macao by way of the Sandwich Islands.
But after darkness hid him from view he daringly turned
his ship to the northward and for the space of a month
prosecuted the trade in furs, refusing, as he said, to run
to Macao " with only between sixty and seventy sea-otter
skins which I had on board."
A week later the North West America returned to Nootka.
in quest of supplies. She was promptly seized by Don
Martinez and her crew held as prisoners. A prize crew
was put on board, the name changed to Gertrudis, and she
was employed the remainder of the season in the sea-otter
trade by the Spaniards. The 215 otter skins on board at
the time of the seizure were also appropriated by the
captors. While these events had been transpiring the
operations on shore had been actively prosecuted. The
Spaniards had fortified a hill which commanded the harbour
entrance, and placed a garrison therein. A lodging house
or barracks, a workshop and a bakery had been built.
Nothing remained but to take formal possession of the
harbour and district in the name of King Carlos.
But let us pick up one of the other important threads
of the story. What had become of Captain Meares and
his ship the Felice! His passage to China in the previous
fall had been without particular incident, and in due course
he arrived at Macao, 5th December, 1788. He thereupon
sold the cargo of furs and also the ship. Shortly afterwards two vessels in the employ of Etches and Co., of London, made port en route to the west coast of America. On
board as supercargo was Mr. John Etches and with him
Meares made an agreement looking toward the elimination
of the existing competition and the establishment of a
monopoly in the growing sea-otter trade. A joint stock
company was formed, to take over all the vessels and 182
JOHN MEARES
property employed in this trade, and the command of the
spring sailing was entrusted to Captain James Colnett. He
was also given charge of all the business of the company
on the American Coast (i.e. of the Iphigenia, North
West America, and the house and land at Nootka).1 The
Princess Royal, in command of Captain Hudson, left China
in April; the Argonaut, Captain Colnett in charge, followed
in May of 1789. These vessels were fully outfitted for a
three years' cruise, and the Argonaut carried in addition
a small vessel in frame, and a number of Chinese artisans.
The instructions given to Captain Colnett directed him
to make Nootka his base of operations. There he was to
erect a substantial house on the land purchased the preceding year by Meares, and thus lay the foundation of a
permanent settlement. Trade was to be carried on with
the Indians and commercial treaties entered into with
them. Each fall a ship was to be sent to China with the
season's furs. Each spring a supply ship would leave
China for Nootka. Such in brief were the plans of the new
company, The Associated Merchants of London and India.
In total ignorance of the occupation of Nootka by the
Spaniards, of the seizure of the iphigenia and the North
West America, the Princess Royal approached the harbour
on the evening of 15th June.  Two launches now sped out
1 Permission to use a portion of the beach at Friendly Cove was
undoubtedly secured by Meares in May of 1788. He built a house
and. framed a vessel. The Indians remained friendly. Whether a
purchase, outright and in perpetuity, was then contemplated by
Meares and so understood by Maquinna is a very doubtful point.
One is driven to the conclusion that two years later much more
was made of this "purchase" by Meares than the very simple
transaction in 1788 warranted. De Roquefeuil, in the ship Le Borde-
lais, visited Nootka in 1818. Being curious regarding this point,
he questioned Maquinna and learned "that Meares's house had been
built with the permission of Macouina, but that there had not been
any act of cession or treaty between them."
The house which Meares had built was torn down that fall by
Captain Douglas. He took the boards on board the Iphigenia and
gave the roof to Captain Kendrick before sailing to the Sandwich
Islands. We are reasonably certain that the house did not exist
at the time of Martinez' arrival in May of 1789. NOOTKA
183
from the entrance. They were hailed by Captain Hudson,
who could not ascertain their purpose or intent in the
gathering darkness. Then Martinez, Kendrick and Funter
came on board, and passed the night as guests of Captain
Hudson. The next morning the launches towed the
Princess Royal into the harbour. That night was spent
as guests of Captain Kendrick on board the Columbia;
the following day, the 17th, Hudson was formally notified
by Martinez in a note that the port of Nootka now belonged
to Spain. A demand was also made that he give his reasons
for anchoring in the sound. Fitting reply was made, that
owing to the long voyage across the Pacific the ship stood
in need of wood and water and of certain repairs, and that
as soon as these wants were attended to he was ready to
leave.  To this reasonable request Martinez agreed.
While this was going forward the Spaniards proceeded
to formally take possession of Nootka Sound and the lands
adjacent thereto. The document is a flamboyant affair in
the usual style of those days, and was attended with all
the pomp and ceremony the Spaniards were able to muster.
For a few brief weeks Don Martinez was enjoying his power
to the full. His subsequent actions would seem to indicate
that the wine of success had turned his head as it has a
fashion of doing with those of a shallow and conceited
nature. The following is an interesting part of the
ceremony, which took place on 24th June, 1789:
Then the chaplains and friars sang Te Deum Laudamus, and
the canticle having been concluded, the commander said in
a loud voice:
"In the name of His Majesty the King Don Carlos the III.,
Our Sovereign whom may God keep many years, with an
increase of our Dominions and Kingdoms, for the service of
God, and for the good and prosperity of his vassals, and for
the interests of the mighty lords and kings, his heirs and
successors, in the future, as his commander of these ships, and
by virtue of the orders and instructions which were given to
me in bis Royal Name, by the aforesaid His Excellency the
Viceroy of New Spain, I take, and I have taken, I seize, and
N 184
JOHN  MEARES
I have seized, possession of this soil, where I have at present
disembarked . . . for all time to come, in the said Royal
Name, and in the name of the Royal Crown of Castille and
Leon, as aforesaid—as if it were my own thing, which it is,
and shall be and which really belongs to the King aforesaid,
by reason of the donation and the bull Expedio Notu Proprio
of our Most Holy Father Alexander VI., Pontiff of Rome, by
which he donated to the Most High and Catholic Monarch
Ferdinand V. and Isabel his spouse . . . one-half the world
by deed made at Rome on the 4th day of May in the year
1493, by virtue of which these present lands belong to the
said Royal Crown of Castille and Leon. . . ." etc.
And as a sign of such possession he drew his sword which
had hung by his side, and with it he counted the trees, the
branches and the lands; he disturbed the stones on the beach
and in the fields without encountering any opposition, asking
those present to be witness of these facts. . . . Then taking
a large cross on his shoulders, and the crews of both ships
having been formed in marching column, armed with guns
and other weapons, the procession marched out, the chaplains
and friars chanting the Litany of Rogation—the whole troop
responding—and the procession having halted, the commander planted the cross in the ground, and made a heap of
stones at the foot thereof—as a sign and in memory of the
taking of possession in the name of His Majesty Carlos III.
King of all Spain.1
The Princess Royal was permitted to sail on the 2nd of
July; as she passed out of the harbour she was observed
by her consort, the Argonaut, just arriving from China.
Again two launches approached the incoming ship, and
Martinez, boarding her, introduced himself with a letter
from Captain Hudson. This time Martinez pretended that
his ships "were in great distress from the want of provisions and other necessaries and urged the English commander to go into port in order to supply their needs,
inviting him to stay for some time."2   Colnett hesitated.
1 From the translation in Howay and Scholefield's History of
British Columbia, vol. I. page 141.
2 Manning, pp. 332-334. NOOTKA
185
Funter, of the captured North West America, who was one
of the launch party, had informed him of the June happenings, and had advised him to anchor outside the cove until
morning. Perceiving that the captain of the Argonaut was
unwilling to comply with his request, Martinez redoubled
his persuasions and promised on his honour "that if I
would go into port and relieve his wants I should be at
liberty to sail whenever I pleased." The Argonaut was
thereupon towed in and anchored about midnight between
the two Spanish men-of-war.
The next day Captain Colnett prepared to supply Martinez with certain stores, which had been agreed upon,
and indicated his intention of sailing out to sea at once.
But the wily Spaniard delayed, making first one pretext,
then another. Finally he demanded the ship's papers, and
Captain Colnett took them on board the Princessa. He then
refused permission for the Argonaut to sail that day. Then
a quarrel arose; the English captain "declared that he
would sail at once, with or without permission, unless the
Spaniard fired on him, in which case he would haul down
his colours and surrender." Further words led to an angry
scene, then Martinez, secure in his superior strength,
ordered Colnett to be seized and made prisoner. The
Argonaut was then boarded by the Spaniards, the crew
and officers made prisoners, and the Spanish flag run
up to the masthead.
It is needless to recount the pillage of the ship's cargo,
and the personal belongings of the officers and crew, of
how the North West America was outfitted and employed
in the fur trade by the Spaniards, or of how Captain
Colnett, hoodwinked and thus basely used, went temporarily insane. The whole proceeding was a miserable
blunder for Martinez to make; within a twelvemonth
England and Spain were arming, and the haughty Martinez,
shorn of his command, had been ordered to Spain to answer
to the plea of non-support entered by a neglected wife
and daughter. i86
JOHN  MEARES
But the tale is yet to be enlivened with one more seizure
by the Spaniards. On the 13th the Princess Royal, having
been blown far to the southward in a gale, had managed
to beat back opposite the ill-fated sound. Wishing to
ascertain whether the Argonaut had arrived, Hudson left
his ship outside and proceeded in with the launch. He was
invited on board the Princessa; there friendly disguise
was thrown aside, he was seized, disarmed and made
prisoner. "Seeing the futility of resisting, he advised his
lieutenant to surrender. The vessel was taken at midnight
and brought in the next morning."
The two prizes were immediately sent to San Bias,
where their fate was to be decided by the viceroy. On
board were the English crews as prisoners. Martinez
himself reached that port on 6th December. But one of
his many strange actions remains to this day somewhat
of a puzzle. Why did he not molest in any way the two
American ships, the Columbia and the Lady Washington?
The Columbia lay in the sound during the whole of the
transactions of May, June and July. Captain Kendrick
accompanied him on every occasion, appeared to be hail-
fellow-well-met and general confidant of the haughty Don.
The Washington was permitted to enter and leave at will
on short trading cruises up and down the coast. Mr. Duffin,
second in command to Colnett, and a man of fair and
impartial judgment, also notes this favourite treatment of
the Americans. In writing to Meares he says: "I am
sorry to inform you that the Spaniards have taken the
chief part of our copper, all our guns, shot and powder,
with the spare canvas, etc. The former he means to trade
with, as I am informed he sends his furs to Macao by
Captain Kendrick, who also trades for him on shares."
It would thus seem that, while Martinez dealt in a most
harsh, brutal, and high-handed manner with all British
ships, he made it a point to be very friendly, even to the
extent of a trading partnership, with the American skippers.
It seems that Kendrick had decided to remain on the coast another winter. To do this he needed stores and provisions.
These were transferred from the Columbia, which he quitted,
changing places with Gray. Certain seamen were also taken
from the Columbia and placed on board the Washington.
This left the Columbia short-handed; how could the deficiency be met? Evidently by making use of some of the
captured English seamen. For Martinez had agreed to
return the crew of the North West America to China by
the Columbia. While Martinez apparently provided these
men with a free passage to Macao, yet the fact that their
presence was so soon made use of is certainly one more
proof of the "full friendship and alliance" which Funter
and his men declared to have existed between Kendrick
and Martinez.
On the other hand it may be urged that the American
skippers had no intention of forming a settlement or
factory on that coast; the English did so intend. More
Chinese artisans had been brought by Colnett. A second
ship, in frame, lay in the hold of the Argonaut; land had
been purchased from the Indians the preceding year,
and a house had been erected. Martinez was fully aware
of these happenings and of the contemplated plans.
Colnett had been at small pains to disguise his intentions.
If the land actually belonged to Spain then Martinez
was in small measure overstepping his rights, but this
point must be established, else such high-handed actions
would be sure to bring a prompt protest and as prompt
action from England.
The first news of these happenings on the far-away
coast of North America to reach England came by way of
a letter from Anthony Merry, the British Charge-d'affaires
at Madrid. The account furnished was meagre and left
much to be imagined. Later, in February of 1790, an
official letter from the Marquis del Campo arrived, recounting the Spanish occupation of Nootka, and the presence
of certain American and Portuguese ships at Nootka—and
that " the English prisoners have been liberated through i88
JOHN MEARES
the consideration which the King has for his Britannic
Majesty." The British Government replied that a just
and adequate satisfaction should be made for a proceeding
so injurious to Great Britain, that the vessel seized must
be restored, and that details of the ultimate satisfaction
which might be found necessary must await further and
more complete information on the whole affair.
Meanwhile Meares had learned from the returned men
on the Iphigenia certain of the events herein described;
from the crew of the North West America, which returned
to China 2nd November, 1789, on the Columbia, he learned
the rest of the sad story. Collecting these accounts Meares
took passage for England, where he arrived in April, 1790,
and presented his famous memorial. This paper, dated 30th
April, was considered by the Cabinet and confirmed them
in their attitude. On the 5th a brief recital of the main
points at issue was sent in a message from King George
III. to both Houses of Parliament. It was also pointed
out that certain negotiations had been under way with
Spain, but that " no satisfaction is made or offered, and a
direct claim is asserted by the Court of Spain to the
exclusive rights of sovereignty, navigation and commerce in
the territories, coasts and seas in that part of the world."
And " having also received information that considerable
armaments are carrying on in the ports of Spain, has
judged it indispensably necessary to give orders for making
such preparations as may put it in His Majesty's power
to act with vigour and effect in support of the honour of
his crown and the interests of his people." Parliament
at once voted £1,000,000 to enable His Majesty to act " as
the exigency of affairs might require."
The British Government acted quickly, and full preparations were made for war with Spain. Meanwhile negotiations continued, the British Government claiming restitution of the vessels, mdemnification to Meares and refusing
to agree to Spain's claim to sovereignty of the whole
Pacific coast.   After many weary months of uncertainty, NOOTKA 189
popular resentment forced matters to a climax, and Spain,
fearing the growing strength of England, agreed to the
terms in the main as presented by England. On 28th
October, 1790, King Carlos III. signed the Nootka Sound
Convention, war was averted and the great fleets once
more returned to their bases.
In conclusion it might be well to remark that Meares
was paid a large indemnity by the Spanish Government,
in satisfaction of a statement of losses submitted. The
vessels seized, viz. the Princess Royal, the Argonaut, and
the North West America, were all returned to the Meares-
Etches company. The British prisoners were released.
The land and buildings at Nootka, " of which the subjects
of His Britannic Majesty were dispossessed, about the
month of April, 1789, by a Spanish officer, shall be restored
to the said British Subjects." And it was further agreed
that, for the future, the subjects of both nations were to
have equal rights in the trade, commerce, and settlement of all that portion of the Pacific coast of North
America north of the parts of the said coast already
occupied by Spain.
The indemnity paid to Meares and his associates
amounted to " two hundred and ten thousand hard dollars
in Specie." CHAPTER XIII
THE NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVERSY
Now let us exarnine a little more closely the various
happenings in Europe which led up to the voyage of
Captain Vancouver to Nootka Sound.
By treaty with England (1713), as well as by the neglect
of other European nations, the western coast of America
north of the Gulf of California had long been considered
by Spain to be part and parcel of her great American
empire. From the days of Drake to the days of Bering
no foreign prow had parted the swell of the North Pacific.
On the other hand a mere dozen circumnavigators had
rounded the Horn in quest of adventure, fame and wealth.
By far the greater number of even this handful had kept
close to the equator, and the great $outh Sea rolled on, to
thunder on many a coral isle still uncharted and unknown.
From Valparaiso to San Diego the coast of the Americas
was barred to the foreigner. But not content with this
vast stretch of virgin domain, the shadow-like power of the
Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) was extended to include the
whole western coast of North America from San Diego to
the tossing ice pans of the misty north.
Out of those mists ventured a few hardy Russian fur
traders following in Bering's track. Gradually the Aleutian
Islands were secured by discovery, trade and settlement.
Ever southward the bold hunters pushed their way, invading Prince William Sound, enslaving the native inhabitants,
and living in rude huts modelled after the plan of those
whom they dispossessed. News came to Madrid of these
encroachments on her domain. But the power of the once
mighty nation to cope successfully with such a situation
190 NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVERSY 191
was but a mere shadow of its former strength. The
ability of the Spanish people to colonise further areas
seemed exhausted. Instead of boldly dotting the Califor-
nian coast with strategic outposts (if she really wished
to hold these shores inviolate), a tiny reconnaissance vessel
under command of Juan Perez was, in 1774, despatched
northward from San Bias in Mexico.
No formal acts of "taking possession" of new-found
shores were made by this expedition. But the next year a
more ambitious venture was despatched from Mexico under
Heceta and Quadra. When in latitude 50, Heceta turned
back, but Quadra pushed on to 58, and formally took
possession of the land for the King of Spain. However,
following her usual custom, Spain made no open contribution to the world of these voyages and of her intentions.
Rather were the journals of the commanders filed away in
true mediaeval fashion. The Russians might have the cold,
rock-bound north: what Spaniard wished that land? But
publish these recent voyages, add something of geographical
interest to a waiting world ? Not so! that would but draw
the attention of some daring, scheming foreign power. So
must have reasoned the average Spanish executive of
that day and generation. "Better let well enough
alone" seems to have been the motto, faithfully but most
unwisely followed.
A new era had begun, an era of scientific exploration,
which was to culminate in the complete re-charting of all
the vast Pacific, which was to add multitudes of islands,
both great and small, where before blank seas swept their
ancient way. Captain Cook and his intrepid sailormen
led the van. Each voyage was faithfully described, charts
were made, thousands of copies both of journals and charts
were printed. He who ran might read. No secrecy here;
" Let in the fight of day," might well have been the motto
of the English explorations of that date. What a powerful
lever such publicity became when announced " acts of
taking possession" were acquiesced in by an informed
1
?.V."
SBJ
Ajm 192
THE  NOOTKA SOUND
world! How much more powerful than the Spanish
method of procedure!
In 1778 such an exploration was made by Cook of the
Nootka Sound region. He made a careful chart of the
sound, and gave it a name. Although he found two silver
spoons in the possession of some Indians, he could not
find that this port had ever before been visited by white
men. The journal of the expedition was duly published,
but no diplomatic protest came from Spain. When that
protest did come, it was too late. Not only did the Cook
expedition give to the world the first authentic sailing
chart of the Nootka Sound region, but it described the furs
of the coast as well, and told how eager the Chinese were
to buy the furs the Indians parted with so easily.
This led to trade. From 1785 to 1788, vessel after vessel
set out on the sea-otter quest. If Spain deemed these shores
worth claiming, why did she not send her voyagers up from
Mexico to reap the rich harvest? But no such quest remained to the Spaniard of that day. Gone was the adventure of a Cortez, the iron courage of a Pizarro; sloth had
replaced adventure, a dog-in-the-manger attitude had eaten
into the body politic, until in fits of jealous madness acts
were performed which almost led to national disaster.
Some such sudden accession of energy led to the Martinez
expedition of 1789. We hear of dramatic meetings at
Nootka, the seizure of British trading ships, the imprisonment of British sailors, and the fortification of Nootka
itself, under instructions from the Mexican viceroy.
Meares learned of the loss of his vessels from the officers
of the iphigenia, and the sailors of the North West America
who had reached China on Captain Gray's ship.
Gathering together his sworn depositions, Meares at once
set sail by way of the Indian Ocean and the Cape of Good
Hope for England. There he planned to lay before the
British government an account of these high-handed
proceedings of haughty Don Martinez. But this news
must travel by a long circuitous route.  The first intimation CONTROVERSY
193
of what had occurred came by way of Mexico to Spain on
30th December. Accordingly we find Anthony Merry, the
British Charge-d'affaires at Madrid, listening to strange
rumours, which seemed to warrant a report to London.
And in January of 1790 he sent the following despatch
covering the incidents he had heard:
Accounts have just been received here from Mexico, that
one of the small Ships of War on the American Establishment, commanded by a Subaltern Officer of the name of
Martinez, has captured an English vessel in the Port of
Nootka (called by the Spaniards San Lorenzo) in Latitude
50 North of the Coast of California. There are different
relations of this event. Some of them state that the Vice-roy
of Mexico, having had notice that the English were forming
an Establishment at the above-mentioned place, ordered a
ship there to take possession of it; that M. de Martinez found
in the port Two American Vessels, a Portuguese from Macao,
a Russian from some Port of Her Imperial Majesty's Eastern
Dominions, and an English one, which had come direct from
a Port of Great Britain, with People and Necessaries on
Board, to form a Settlement: That the American, Portuguese
and Russian ships were suffered to depart, it appearing they
had only gone there to trade for Furs; and that the English
one alone had been detained. Other Accounts mention, That
the Spanish Ship had sailed from St. Bias on a Voyage, which
it is said, is annually performed, to reconnoitre the North-West
Coast of the Continent: That, when she put into Port Nootka,
the English Vessel was not yet arrived: That the latter was
seized as soon as she appeared: That the Russian and Portuguese Ships were also captured; and that only the Americans
were suffered to go away. The Name of the English Vessel,
or of the Master, is not mentioned in any of the Statements
of the Transaction which I have yet been able to see; but
they all say that she had been fitted out by a Company of
Merchants in London, for the Purpose of forming a Settlement;
and that it had been discovered that she was to be followed
by Two others. The different Accounts also add that she
had been manned with Spanish Seamen, and dispatched with
the News to the Vice-roy of Mexico.
On the 25th of January the government in London 194
THE NOOTKA SOUND
received a second letter from Mr. Merry containing an
account of Martinez' voyage to Unalaska in 1788, and
relating briefly the seizure of Portuguese and English
vessels. In addition he wrote that Spain had commenced
an establishment at Nootka "by building some Houses
and Stores of Wood, and by erecting a Battery at the
Entrance of the Port." The letter further states that a
second English vessel had arrived at Nootka, and that she
had been captured, and sent to San Bias, Mexico. It may
well be imagined that such rumours would cause the
utmost disquiet in the English court circles. What was
Spain up to now? Where was this Nootka anyway? So
began a hasty turning over of charts, a searching of records
and discussions pro and con.
At last came official communication from Spain under
date of 10th February, and, in order that the Spanish
stand in the matter may be clearly understood, the letter
is printed in full:
My Lord: Continuing the frequent expeditions which the
King, my master has ordered to be made to the northern
coasts of California, the Viceroy of Mexico sent two ships,
under the orders of Don Estevan Jose Martinez, ensign of
the navy, to make a permanent settlement in the port of San
Lorenzo, situated about the fiftieth degree of latitude, and
named by foreigners "Nootka" or "Nioka," of which possession had formerly been taken. He arrived there the 24th of
last June. In giving his account to the Viceroy, M. Martinez
said that he found there an American frigate and sloop, which
had sailed from Boston to make a tour of the world. He also
found a packet-boat and another vessel belonging to a Portuguese established at Macao, whence they had sailed with
a passport from the governor of that port. He announced
also that on the 2nd of July, there arrived another packet
boat from Macao. This was English and came to take
possession of Nootka in the name of the British King. She
carried a sloop in pieces on board.
This simple recital will have convinced your excellency
of the necessity in which the Court of Madrid finds itself of
asking His Britannic Majesty to punish such undertakings in CONTROVERSY
195
a manner to restrain his subjects from continuing them on
these lands which have been occupied and frequented by the
Spaniards for so many years. I say this to your excellency as
an established fact, and as a further argument against those
who attribute to Captain Cook the discovery of the said fort of
San Lorenzo. I add that the same Martinez in charge of the
last expedition was there under commission in August of
1774. This was almost four years before the appearance of
Cook. This same Martinez left in the hands of the Indians
two silver spoons, some shells and some other articles which
Cook found. The Indians still keep them, and these facts,
with the testimony of the Indians, served M. Martinez to
convince the English Captain.
The English prisoners have been liberated through the consideration which the King has for His Britannic Majesty, and
which he has carefully enjoined upon his viceroys to govern
their actions in unforeseen events. His Majesty flatters himself that the Court of St. James will certainly not fail to give
the strictest orders to prevent such attempts in the future,
and, in general, everything that could trouble the good harmony happily existing between the two crowns. Spain on
her side engages to do the same with respect to her subjects.
I have the honour to be, etc.,
The Marquis Del Campo.
His Excellency M. the Duke of Leeds.
(Dated, Manchester Square, February 10, 1790.)
Not only is the Spanish note most harsh and peremptory,
it is inaccurate as well. It is such a communication as a
strong overbearing nation of that age and time might
address to a weak and timorous state. No self-respecting
European power could afford to submit tamely to such
reproof. The British nation of 1790, virile and alive to any
and every subtle suggestion of inferiority, could not afford
to ignore or meanly submit to the mediaeval demands
of Spain. Now was the time and opportunity to assert in
no unmistakable terms the new doctrine of the open door
and equal privilege in those wild spaces of the earth as
yet undeveloped by the pursuits of commerce. 196
THE NOOTKA SOUND
35E
It will be noted that in the first paragraph the Spaniards
claim to have taken possession of Nootka at some time
previous to the arrival of Martinez in 1789. But this had
not been done. Martinez arrived at Nootka on 5th May,
not 24th June, as the note would have us believe. The
latter date is the one on which "formal possession"
actually took place. Again, in the second paragraph
Spain would have the English government believe the
Nootka region to have been "occupied and frequented
by the Spaniards for so many years." Evidently this
claim is based on the voyages of Perez (1774), Heceta and
Quadra (1775 and 1779). But of these three voyages the
most that may be said of them is that the ships touched
at a few places on the coast, a few bits of coast-line were
seen here and there, and the vessels returned to Mexico.
No trade sprang up with the Indian inhabitants, no
settlement was attempted, and for the ensuing eleven
years Spain left the north-west coast absolutely unvisited,
unfrequented and unoccupied.
Nor is the note fair in its statement of seizures made by
Martinez. It would seem perfectly plain that Spain
attempted, on the one hand, to magnify discovery,
occupancy and ownership, while, on the other hand, she
sought to belittle the actual seizures of British vessels
and the imprisonment of their crews. But one vessel is
mentioned (the Argonaut). No reference is made of the
Princess Royal, which was also sent as prize to San Bias.
Full accounts of this seizure were in the hands of the Spanish authorities when the note was forwarded to Campo.
Nor is the North West America mentioned. It would
indeed have been difficult to explain away the building of
that little sloOp in the very port which Spain now claimed
to have "occupied and frequented for so many years."
But the English prisoners have been liberated! The
truth of the matter is that Captain Colnett and his sailor-
men were not set at liberty until nth May, and the
Mexican viceroy, Revilla-Gigedo, is now known to have
^arti^^^-^
■M CONTROVERSY
197
released his prisoners before he had received permission
from Spain. An order for the release was forwarded from
Madrid 23rd March, but this order did not reach Mexico
city till June.
After full consideration, the British Cabinet instructed
the Duke of Leeds to forward a reply. Taking the note at
its face value, adding to it the letters received from Merry,
native shrewdness and wit enabled the government to
take a firm stand in the matter from the very beginning.
Leeds replied that while he intended to await more
precise information, he had in the meantime His
Majesty's orders:
To inform your excellency that the act of violence spoken
of in your letter as having been committed by M. Martinez
in seizing a British vessel under the circumstances reported
makes it necessary henceforth to suspend all discussions of the
pretensions set forth in that letter until a just and adequate
satisfaction shall have been made for a proceeding so injurious
to Great Britain. In the first place it is indispensable that the
vessel in question shall be restored. To determine the details
of the ultimate satisfaction which may be found necessary
more ample information must be awaited concerning all the
circumstances of the affair.
At the same time, the Duke of Leeds wrote Mr. Merry
"to be extremely guarded" in what he might have to say
on the subject; it being a matter of equal delicacy and
importance, in which he ought to be very cautious of giving
even a hint, which might be construed into a dereliction of
our right to visit for the purposes of trade, or to make a
settlement in the district in question, "to which we
undoubtedly had a compleat right, to be asserted and
maintained with a proper degree of vigour, should circumstances make such an exertion necessary."
This may be considered the first intimation which we
have of the real plans and purposes of the then British
government in regard to Nootka Sound and adjacent
territories.    It is clear that Pitt had decided to contest 198
THE NOOTKA SOUND
Spain's claim to sovereignty in the Nootka region. Were
those statesmen farseeing enough to look ahead to the day
when Quebec province would need a western outlet ? At
least the fact remains that the government of that day
had made up its mind to use this incident to check Spain's
growing ambitions. Hence the sharp reply and the demand
that satisfaction be given before discussion could or would
be held on the point of Spanish sovereignty.
The effect of this communication upon the Spanish
court was duly reported by Mr. Merry in a series of letters
received in London during April. At first Mr. Merry wrote
that the Spanish premier, Count Florida Blanca, had
"expressed much dissatisfaction at the answer he had
received from the Court of London, on the subject of the
seizure of the English vessel at San Lorenzo ... he gave
me to understand, that it was not the matter itself in
question which affected him so much, as the fear, that,
from the manner in which we have taken it up, we may
at any time make use of it as a ground for quarrelling."
Again, Mr. Merry wrote that his excellency "dwelt much
on the circumstance of our demanding satisfaction before
any discussion had taken place of the matter of right on
either side, etc." Evidently the count was endeavouring
to draw from the British Charge at Madrid some inkling
as to the probable firmness of the British government,
and whether that government intended to prepare for
war. At any rate the Spanish government suddenly
decided to take stock of their warlike equipment, as the
following excerpt from another of Mr. Merry's despatches
will show:
[5th April] The alarm, which the Court of Spain has taken
at our answer about the Affair of Nootka, is so great, that
they have given orders for reports to be immediately sent
from the Spanish arsenals of the quantity of copper for
sheathing ships, which there is in the storehouses, and of
the number of ships of the line which can be got ready for
sea at a short notice.
— CONTROVERSY
199
On the 20th of April there arrived an answer from Spain
to the British ultimatum of 26th February. The claim of
full sovereignty to the north-west coast was again reiterated, but late advices from Mexico were to the effect
that the captured vessel as well as the crew had been
released. The viceroy of Mexico being "convinced that
nothing but ignorance of the rights of Spain could have
encouraged the individuals of any nation to resort to that
coast, with the idea of making an establishment, or of
carrying on commerce there." (Mention is as yet made
of but one vessel having been captured and released.)
More honeyed words follow regarding the friendship of
the two peoples, etc., etc. Then the conclusion:
For these reasons . . . His Catholic Majesty considers and
understands this Affair to be at an end, without entering into
disputes or discussions on the indisputable rights of his crown;
and He flatters Himself that His Britannic Majesty will
command all his subjects to respect them, according to the
request contained in the Marquis's first letter.
The Spanish note had ignored the demand for satisfaction which the note from England had expressly
stipulated to be a "condition of further negotiation."
Preparations for war were being secretly but actively
carried on in every seaport of the Peninsula, and the
firmness with which Spain reiterated her claims to full
sovereignty over the Nootkan region lent but added
assurance to the British government that a distinct and
serious crisis had now arrived.
Whatever might have been the British reply we may
never know. For who should arrive on the scene at this
very time but John Meares and his bombastic memorial.
If ever a stage had a finer setting, history does not disclose
it. The dispute was in full swing, each contestant heated
by the terse communications which had passed to and
fro; a match thrown into a powder magazine could not
have produced more instantaneous results than Meares
and his memorial!
0 200
THE NOOTKA SOUND
A cabinet meeting was called immediately (30th April,
1790) and an address prepared and forwarded to the king:
Your Majesty's servants have agreed humbly to submit to
Your Majesty their opinion that Your Majesty's Minister
at the Court of Madrid should be instructed to present a
memorial demanding an immediate and adequate satisfaction
for the outrages committed by Monsieur de Martinez; and that
it would be proper in order to support that demand and to
be prepared for such events as may arise, that Your Majesty
should give orders for fitting out a squadron of ships of the line.
Four days later a messenger was despatched to Mr.
Merry at Madrid instructing him to represent to the
court of Madrid that the last communication delivered by
the Marquis del Campo was considered by His Britannic
Majesty as unsatisfactory, and that it did not afford that
reparation which His Majesty had a right to expect on
this occasion, that no satisfaction whatever had been
made or offered to His Majesty "for a proceeding so offensive to the honour of his crown." Mr. Merry was further
directed to impress on the Spanish government that the
British now demanded:
(a) The entire restitution of all the captured vessels, with
their property and crews;
(6) an indemnification to the individuals concerned in the
said vessels, for the losses sustained by their unjust detention
and capture;
(c) and above all, there must be "adequate reparation to
His Majesty for the injury done by an officer commanding
His Catholic Majesty's Vessels of war, to British subjects,
trading, under the protection of the British Flag, in those
parts of the world, where the subjects of His Majesty have an
unquestionable right to a free and undisturbed enjoyment
of the benefits of commerce, navigation and fishery; and
also to the possession of such establishments, as they may
form with the consent of the natives, in places unoccupied
by other European nations."
(d) a speedy and explicit answer to these demands was to
be secured by Mr. Merry. CONTROVERSY
201
These demands state the British case in a complete
and comprehensive manner. From them there was no
turning or wavering. The old Spanish pretensions to the
whole western coast-line of North America were to be
broken down, and, in those unoccupied parts, England's
sons were to be henceforth free to trade and traffic as their
business might direct. Whether Spain was right and
Britain wrong is a matter for those who love fine-spun
argument. If the reconnaissant voyages of Quadra and
Heceta (1775) and of Captain Cook (1778) be dismissed,
the question of prior occupancy depends upon Meares'
statement of land purchased from Maquinna at Nootka
(1788).    And even that claim is held in serious doubt.
We must remember, however, that in 1790 no love was
lost between the two nations: that it was an easy matter
for the governing officials to fan to white heat the latent
hates of a fierce and sea-roving people, especially with such
good tinder as that provided in Meares' memorial.
Having sent the final demands to the Spanish court,
let us look behind the scenes and follow the remaining
moves of the players. The very night that saw the special
messenger despatched to Madrid witnessed as well a press
of seamen throughout the ports of England. And the
nation awoke on the morning of the 5th of May to the
fact that war with Spain was a most imminent matter.
Ships of the line were hurriedly commissioned, officers on
leave were as quickly recalled, and in every port the utmost
activity prevailed. For a fortnight past similar proceedings had been under way in the great seaports of Spain.
If England's demands were to mean anything, she must
be ready to enforce them.
It is rather remarkable that the whole affair had been
kept a profound secret up to the morning of 5th May.
With curiosity at fever heat, newspapers, magazines and
pamphlets were quickly published to inform and stimulate
a waiting public.
That same day a message from the king to Parliament
.. 202 THE NOOTKA SOUND
informed that body of the main outlines of the affair.
Parliament further learned that the negotiations with
Spain had so far proved unsuccessful. Spain had refused
to give satisfaction for her high-handed acts, and had
claimed full sovereignty over all the lands in the region in
dispute. It was now known that Spain was arming and
the king had given orders to put the country in a state
of preparedness. An appeal was then made for the
necessary supply to carry on Britain's warlike activities.
On the 6th of May the House of Lords and the House
of Commons sent addresses to the king, assuring him of
their support in the matter. The Commons close their
address with these words:
We feel it our indispensable duty to assure His Majesty of
the Determination of His faithful Commons to afford His
Majesty the most zealous and effectual support, in such
measures as may become requisite, for maintaining the
dignity of His Majesty's Crown, and the essential interests
of His Majesty's Dominions.
At the same time, notices were sent by fast sailing vessel
" to the several Consuls on the coast of Barbary, and to
Major-General O'Hara, Commanding at Gibraltar. Lord
Heathfield, the Governor of that important fortress,
solicited and obtained His Majesty's permission to resume
his command, and set out on his return to the garrison.
The Seventh Regiment of Foot was ordered to embark
without delay to the same place, to join their Colonel,
His Royal Highness, Prince Edward."
The following is also a quotation from an old account
of the time. Throwing as it does an interesting sidelight on Lord Dorchester and Canada of those days, it is
given below:
Lord Dorchester, the Governor of Canada, who had signified
his intention of returning to England, the ensuing summer,
was directed to remain in his government, where his experience and abilities were judged to be of the greatest importance. CONTROVERSY
As it was doubtful whether, consistently with the exigencies
of the state, a reinforcement of troops could be sent out this
year to Canada, his Lordship was directed to take proper
measures for embodying the Militia in that province, should
such a measure in the course of events appear to him to
be necessary, etc., etc.
with particular instructions that he (Dorchester) try in
every way to maintain a friendly attitude with the
United States and that he prevent them in so far as he
was able from engaging on the side of Spain in case war
broke out.
Notices to the West Indies, to far-away Bengal—the
necessary business which must be attended to before
I going to war 1 is little realised by the average person,
either of that day or this.
From the middle of May, on through June and July the
diplomats of England and Spain wrangled over the Nootka
question. Fitzherbert had been sent to Madrid clothed
with large powers and armed with full instructions to insist
on satisfaction, restitution, indemnification and abandonment of the claim of sovereignty to the Nootkan region.
On behalf of the Spanish government, Count Florida
Blanca tried every diplomatic wile and artifice to avoid
the main and direct issue: that of acknowledgment of lack
of sovereignty over the lands in question.
While these discussions were taking place each contestant sought help from continental allies. From the
Dutch a favourable reply was received and a fleet of ten sail
of the fine under Admiral Kinsbergen left the Texel on 17th
June and joined the English fleet at Portsmouth three
weeks later. Prussia also agreed to support England in
case war should be declared.
Spain in no wise lessened her own activities. Communications had been opened with Montmorin, the French
Minister for Foreign Affairs, requesting aid against England
should war break out. After some delay, a favourable
reply was received at Madrid, that the King of France 204
THE NOOTKA SOUND
(Louis XVI.) was ready to do all he could in the interests
of his dear friend and ally. But the advancing giant of
the French Revolution had already cast his paralysing
shadow over the puny Paris government and no strong
and well-directed effort could be assured. For the Bastille
had fallen the previous year, the National Assembly had
begun its stormy sessions, while the king himself was
become virtually a prisoner of the excited Paris mob.
However, the middle of May (1790) the Assembly was informed of a royal order providing for the speedy armament
of fourteen ships of the line, and of the urgency in being
prepared should England and Spain go to war. After
much debate, the order was confirmed by the Assembly,
and the necessary supply was voted. But Spain could
not feel at all sure of her ally in the light of the chaotic
condition into which France was rapidly drifting.
On the other hand his interests in the West Indies and
the Mississippi valley were a source of grave anxiety to
the Spanish sovereign. In event of war, there was the
fear that England might attack her long-treasured Mexican
possessions and might even oust her from the Mississippi
valley, thereby gaining not only Nootka and the Northwest coast, but the whole great hinterland of the continent. And, as a matter of fact, Pitt entertained
those very plans.
The condition of France was as much a source of satisfaction to England as it was a source of worry and despair
to Spain. From time to time the cabinet through Fitz-
herbert renewed the demands and pressed for an immediate
and definite reply. When artifice could no longer avail,
Florida Blanca gave way on the point of satisfaction: at
length restitution and indemnification were promised;
finally sovereignty was thrown open to negotiation. In
order that something binding might be had in the matter,
which now seemed to be on the point of adjustment,
the following Declaration and Counter Declaration were
signed on 24th July. DECLARATION
His Britannic Majesty having complained of the capture of
certain vessels belonging to his subjects in the port of Nootka,
situated on the Northwest Coast of America, by an officer in
the service of His Catholic Majesty, the undersigned counsellor and principal secretary of state to His Majesty, being
thereto duly authorized, declares in the name and by the order
of His Majesty, that he is willing to give satisfaction to His
Britannic Majesty for the injury of which he has complained,
fully persuaded that His said Britannic Majesty would act
in the same manner toward His Catholic Majesty under
similar circumstances; and His Majesty further engages to
make full restitution of all the British vessels which were
captured at Nootka, and to indemnify the parties interested
in those vessels for the losses which they may have sustained,
as soon as the amount thereof shall be ascertained; it being
understood that this declaration is not to prejudice the
ulterior discussion of any right which His Catholic Majesty
claims to form an exclusive establishment at Nootka.
In witness whereof I have signed this declaration and sealed
it with the seal of my arms at Madrid the 24th of July, 1790.
Count Florida Blanca.
COUNTER DECLARATION
His Catholic Majesty having declared that he was willing to
give satisfaction for the injury done to the King by the capture
of certain vessels belonging to his subjects in the Bay of
Nootka; and Count Florida blanca having signed, in the name
and by the order of His Catholic Majesty, a declaration to
this effect, and by which His said Majesty likewise engages
to make full restitution of the vessels so captured and to
indemnify the parties interested in those vessels for the losses
which they shall have sustained, the undersigned ambassador
extraordinary and plenipotentiary of his Majesty to the
Catholic King, being thereto duly and expressly authorized,
accepts the said declaration in the name of the King: and
declares that His Majesty will consider this declaration with
the performance of the engagements contained therein, as a 206 THE NOOTKA SOUND
full   and   entire  satisfaction  for  the  injury  of  which  His
Majesty complained.
The undersigned declares at the same time that it is to be
understood that neither the said declaration signed by Count
Florida blanca nor the acceptance thereof by the undersigned
in the name of the King, is to preclude or prejudice, in any
respect, the rights which His Majesty may claim to any
establishment which his subjects may have formed, or may
desire to form in the future, at the said Bay of Nootka.
In witness whereof I have signed this counter declaration
and sealed it with the seal of my arms at Madrid the 24th
of July, 1790.
Alleyne Fitzherbert.
Word of the signing of these initial documents reached
London the 5th of August. The government officials were
highly elated with the successful course which the negotiations were taking under the skilled manipulation of Fitzherbert. There remained but to adjust the " right of
sovereignty " to those lands of the North-west coast from
San Francisco Bay to Prince William Sound. But this
feature of the negotiations contained such elements of
danger that the British government did not dare reduce
the navy to a peace footing, nor was it considered wise
to halt the preparations already well under way.
From the middle of July Spain had maintained at sea
a fleet of thirty-four ships of the line, together with sixteen
smaller craft. England had gathered together the greatest
naval armament known to history in those days. To these
vessels had been added the Dutch fleet under Kinsbergen.
It is a matter of record that Spain earnestly desired to
secure a mutual disarmament, but to all these overtures
the British government turned a deaf ear, although it
was known full well that some chance encounter of armed
vessels might precipitate the very war the diplomats were
endeavouring to avert.
In the meantime discussions were begun between Fitzherbert and Florida Blanca, which it was hoped would
lead to a definite settlement of the Nootka lands. CONTROVERSY
207
On the 17th of August a messenger was despatched to
Fitzherbert with instructions for the regulation of his
conduct in these negotiations. In addition a draft treaty
of five articles was forwarded, and Fitzherbert was authorised to propose these to the Spanish minister.
Article One arranged for the restoration to the Meares-
Etches company of the buildings and land at Nootka.
Article Two arranged for an agreement that England
had equal right with Spain in the navigation and carrying on of fisheries in the Pacific Ocean or South Seas;
that her subjects could land on the coasts, carry on commerce with the natives, or make settlements in unoccupied places.
Article Three provided for the security of the present
Spanish possessions and the limitations of English settlements to that portion of the coast north of latitude 3101
and the prohibition of trade with the Spanish settlements to the south of that line. Nor were British vessels
to approach within five leagues of said Spanish coast
(that south of 310 north).
Article Four provided that north of 310 the subjects
of either crown should have equal right to make settlements,
with full liberty of trade.
Article Five arranged for control of the southern tip
of South America. (It is of little value to the main
discussion.)
Fitzherbert duly presented the five articles to the
Spanish court, and on 13th September Florida Blanca
held a conference with him on the subject. Spain now
proposed to desert her French alliance in view of the manner
in which the National Assembly and French populace had
acted. In fact His Catholic Majesty wished now "to
establish an intimate concert and union with England."
Florida Blanca pleaded for delay in order to send to
America  that  they might  locate  quite  definitely  "the
1 With  secret instructions to raise this  to the line of 400 if
necessary. 208
THE NOOTKA SOUND
northern and southern limits of the Spanish settlements
as proposed." In the meantime a preliminary agreement
might be made, he thought, which would meet the
British view.
But the more Spain gave way the harder Pitt pressed
for exact compliance with the terms of the five articles.
Instead of meeting the Spanish proposals in a friendly
manner, not only did the British government refuse to
have anything to do with the consideration of a temporary
agreement, but instead sent to Fitzherbert on 2nd October
a draft of a treaty with instructions to present this draft
to the Spanish government. Ten days were to be allowed
in which to decide on an answer. "If at the end of that
time an answer had not been received the ambassador
was to quit Madrid." With the sending of this ultimatum,
for it can be considered as nothing less, the British government made further active preparations for war. In cabinet
circles there was little hope of peace; we may almost
say little desire that a peaceful termination to the affair
be secured.
On 12th October Fitzherbert received the draft and final
instructions to govern him in his conversations with the
Spanish court. Three days later he handed Florida Blanca
the treaty. On the 16th the count made objections to
certain of its provisions, but the ambassador refused to
make any change. On the 19th a special junta was called.
It consisted of eight of the principal ministers, and sat in
lengthy session up to and including the 25th. The junta
declared that it was impossible to accept the British terms
and declared for war.
In the meantime Florida Blanca and Fitzherbert continued their discussions. Minor points were conceded, and
on the 23rd the final revised draft was given Florida
Blanca for submission to the Spanish monarch. "When
their conference was closed, the Spanish minister said that
he was still in doubt whether the reply which he should
give the next morning would be for peace or war."   But CONTROVERSY
209
with the coming of a new day came the welcome tidings
to the British embassy that the king would sign! Despite
the advice of the junta, the Nootka Sound Convention
was signed on 28th October.
THE NOOTKA SOUND CONVENTION
Their Britannic and Catholic Majesties being desirous of
terminating, by a speedy and solid agreement, the differences
which have lately arisen between the two Crowns, have considered that the best way of attaining this salutary object
would be that of an amicable arrangement which, setting
aside all retrospective discussions of the rights and pretensions
of the two parties, should regulate their respective positions
for the future on bases which would be conformable to their
true interests as well as to the mutual desires with which
Their said Majesties are animated, of establishing with each
other, in everything and in all places, the most perfect friendship, harmony, and good correspondence. With this in view,
they have named and constituted for their plenipotentiaries,
to wit, on the part of His Britannic Majesty, Alleyne Fitzherbert, of the privy council of His said Majesty in Great
Britain and Ireland, and his embassador extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary to His Catholic Majesty; and on the
part of His Catholic Majesty, Don Joseph Monino, Count of
Florida blanca, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Spanish
Order of Charles III., Counsellor of State to His said Majesty,
and his principal secretary of state and of the cabinet, who,
after having communicated to each other their full powers,
have agreed on the following Articles:
lirg
■It
Article I
It is agreed that the buildings and tracts of land situated
on the Northwest Coast of the continent of North America, or
on the islands adjacent to that continent, of which the subjects
of His Britannic Majesty were dispossessed about the month
of April, 1789, by a Spanish officer, shall be restored to the
said British subjects. .
53=
210 THE NOOTKA SOUND
Article II
Further, a just reparation shall be made, according to the
nature of the case, for every act of violence or hostility which
may have been committed since the said month of April, 1789,
by the subjects of either of the contending parties against the
subjects of the other; and in case any of the respective
subjects shall, since the same period, have been forcibly dispossessed of their lands, buildings, vessels, merchandise, or
any other objects of property on the said continent or on the
seas or islands adjacent, they shall be replaced in possession
of them or a just compensation shall be made to them for the
losses which they have sustained.
Article III
And in order to strengthen the bonds of friendship and to
preserve in the future a perfect harmony and good understanding between the two contracting parties, it is agreed that
their respective subjects shall not be disturbed or molested
either in navigating or carrying on their fisheries in the Pacific
Ocean or in the South Seas, or in landing on the coasts of those
seas in places not already occupied, for the purpose of carrying
on their commerce with the natives of the country or of
making establishments there; the whole subject, nevertheless,
to the restrictions and provisions which shall be specified in
the three following articles.
Article IV
His Britannic Majesty engages to employ the most effective
measures to prevent the navigation and fishery of his subjects
in the Pacific Ocean or in the South Seas from being made a
pretext for illicit trade with the Spanish settlements; and
with this in view it is moreover expressly stipulated that
British subjects shall not navigate nor carry on their fishery
in the said seas within the distance of ten maritime leagues
from any part of the coast already occupied by Spain.
Article V
It is agreed that as well in the places which are to be restored
to British subjects by virtue of the first Article as in all other
parts of the Northwest Coast of North America or of the CONTROVERSY
211
islands adjacent situated to the north of the parts of the said
coast already occupied by Spain, wherever the subjects of
either of the two powers shall have made settlements since
the month of April, 1789, or shall hereafter make any, the
subjects of the other shall have free access and shall carry on
their commerce without disturbance or molestation.
Article VI
(A similar provision relating to that part of South America
south of the latitude of Chiloe Island.)
Article VII
In all cases of complaint or infraction of the articles of the
present convention the officers of either party without previously permitting themselves to commit any act of violence
or assault shall be bound to make an exact report of the
affair and of its circumstances to their respective Courts, who
will terminate the differences in an amicable manner.
Article VIII
The present convention shall be ratified and confirmed
within the space of six weeks, to be counted from the day of
its signature or sooner if possible.
In witness whereof we, the undersigned plenipotentiaries of
their Britannic and Catholic Majesties, have, in their names
and by virtue of our full powers, signed the present Convention,
and have affixed thereto the seals of our arms.
Done at the palace of San Lorenzo the 28th of October, 1790.
alleyne frtzherbert.
The Count of Florida Blanca.
The treaty was formally ratified the latter part of
November. The Convention was received with rather
mixed feelings by the other members of the Spanish
cabinet, and especially by those of the junta whose recommendations had been so arbitrarily cast aside. Strong
opposition developed to Florida Blanca and his policies.
The great nobles grew jealous of his power over the king
and the count did not long survive the treaty, for whose JS
212
THE NOOTKA SOUND
articles he had striven so mightily. In February of 1792
he was dismissed from office, to be succeeded by a man by
no means his equal in breadth of view or executive ability.
Far different was the reception by the British court
circles of the news that the Convention had been signed.
Leeds sent congratulations to Fitzherbert; the House of
Lords "accorded enthusiastic thanks and congratulations
to the king and his ministers for the able manner in which
the whole affair had been handled," the Commons added
their approval. In a short time Fitzherbert was raised
to the peerage as Baron St. Helens.
For six months the country had been girding itself
in preparation for an immediate outbreak of war. It now
became possible to reduce to some extent the "great
armament," and to enter once again full-heartedly into
the greater game of trade and colonial expansion. But
what had been gained in the long-drawn-out dispute with
Spain? What had Spain lost? What advantage accrued
to either contestant ?
In the first place we may consider that at no previous
time in the empire's history had British ships been as
free to sail the Seven Seas as they were now free to do.
Any pretensions, whether enforced or no, which the Spaniard had thought to assert regarding the exclusive sovereignty to the navigation of Pacific and South Sea Oceans
had been, by the Nootka Convention, once and for all
completely frustrated.
In the second place, England had formally demanded
and received from Spain an acknowledgment of equal
sovereignty over the lands of the Pacific littoral of North
America lying to the north of the Spanish settlements,
which at that date (1790) extended no farther than San
Francisco Bay. It may in a sense be claimed that the
present seaboard of British Columbia as the Pacific Coast
Province of the Dominion owes its existence to the firmness
of the British government of those days. It was not the
value of the sea-otter trade which influenced the ministry m
CONTROVERSY 213
to make this demand an essential part of the treaty. Nor
was it by any means merely a desire to humble the proud
Don. Rather was it an effort to establish the principle
that a Papal Bull of 1493 could in no wise bind and cripple
commercial expansion of 1790. That prior discovery, no
matter how painstaking and complete, carried no right to
sovereignty if hushed up in official archives and denied
the rightful publicity an eager world desired. The manner
in which the voyages of Perez (1774), Heceta and Quadra
(1775), and Captain Cook (1778) had been handled by their
respective governments were cases in point. The former
account had been withheld, the latter had been published
officially and speedily translated into the several European
languages. The one was secret, the other fair and above
board. Pity it was that a great nation should have
acted upon such motives, that it should have fallen so low
as to be afraid to give honour to its sons who had braved
the tempests of the north in frail cockle-shells from distant
Mexico. And finally, that when discovery is allowed to
lapse, is not followed up by use and occupation, then is
that discovery of no value as a claim to sovereignty. Its
virtue departs with the onrushing years. To those hardy
sons who make use of the land falls the eminent right of
domain. This principle was championed by England in
1790, and has remained in general acceptance from that
time to the present.
In the third place may be considered those minor
demands which at one time bulked so large. Satisfaction
was demanded, and at length granted by Spain. This
was accomplished by His Catholic Majesty stating that he
was willing to grant said satisfaction. A sort of diplomatic
bow, but you must bow first if / ask it! No more may
Spanish governors of small out-flung posts forcibly take
possession of a British vessel, throw the crew in irons, and
send them prisoners to Mexico or any other port. The
hauling down of a British flag by foreign hands was to be
considered henceforth a most dangerous procedure;  even
SS 214    NOOTKA SOUND   CONTROVERSY
though that flag be at the masthead of a small trading
vessel in Nootka Sound. An indemnity was to be paid,
all losses to the Meares-Etches Company to be made good;
the vessels were to be returned as well as the lands and
houses erected by Meares at Nootka in 1788. That was
a costly appointment which Florez, viceroy of Mexico,
made, when he sent young Martinez north to Nootka in
the spring of '89.
But the lands at Nootka which had been formally seized
by Martinez must be as formally returned to the original
owners. It was therefore decided that each government
appoint a commissioner. These government agents were
to proceed to Nootka and there carry out the intent and
purpose of Article I. On the part of Spain, Don Bodega
y Quadra was appointed to act as commissioner; on the
part of England, Captain George Vancouver was chosen
to fill that post. Both met at Nootka in the summer
of 1792. It will be the duty of the next chapter to
introduce the commissioners and relate their conferences
at historic Nootka. CHAPTER XIV
CAPTAIN  GEORGE VANCOUVER
A short account of his early life and of his voyage round the Cape
to the Pacific.
The signing of the Convention resulted in a withdrawal
of the.great " armament " which England had maintained
at sea for the past six months. And in order that
the " repossession" of the lands at Nootka might be
as formal as the Spanish act of possession in 1789, it was
decided that each government should send an agent or
commissioner to Nootka Sound where the formal abandonment by the Spanish official would be made and the lands
as formally received by the British representative.
Spain selected Bodega y Quadra, who, after receiving
his instructions, left San Bias in Mexico and arrived at
Nootka in May of 1792.
England appointed Captain George Vancouver as her
commissioner, and with two ships, the Discovery and the
Chatham, he left Falmouth on the ist of April, 1791,
arriving at Nootka the 28th of August of the following year.
Who was this man, and why was he selected for this
responsible position? are questions which may well be
asked. Let us examine then his early life and training
to gain a satisfactory answer.
George Vancouver was born on 22nd June, 1757, at
King's Lynn, Norfolk. At the early age of thirteen he joined
the British navy and began that life of adventure and
discovery so dear to the hearts of all healthy boys the wide
world over. And in 1770 opportunities for adventure
were still abundant. The North Polar seas were an uncharted frozen waste. No Nordenskiold in his Vega had
p 215 216   CAPTAIN GEORGE VANCOUVER
traversed the ice-strewn fields north of Eurasia from Nova
Zembla to East Cape. No Nansen in his Fram had conquered the seas between Point Barrow and Davis Strait.
Hearne had not yet made his trip down the Coppermine,
nor had any hardy soul crossed North America nor dashed
through the canyons of the Rockies down to the shores of
the great South Sea. Africa was still a dark continent;
no Livingstone had carried a torch of light and love
through its gloomy depths; no Stanley had startled the
world with vivid accounts of the mighty Congo.
New Holland and Staaten Land, the talk of 1650, had
been well-nigh forgotten by 1750. Added to all these
unknown spaces remained the great Antarctic regions.
Here the men of 1770 placed a great continental mass.
It was supposed to extend as far north as the region of
Cape Horn, to be of unknown extent in the South Pacific,
very likely protruding northward at the misty Staaten
Land once seen by Tasman. The great Antarctic continental mass thus envisioned was supposed to be peopled
by divers races and tribes of men, and by strange and
unusual animals and birds. It but awaited the hardy
and adventuresome mariner to seek, to explore, to conquer,
and grow rich.
Portugal's bid for power had long ago ended in collapse;
the Dutch had been curbed by Cromwell and the later
Stuarts; Spain remained outwardly an arrogant power,
but if the truth were known, a hollow sham. France had
lost the greater part of her colonial possessions in 1763
at the end of the Seven Years' War. England had acquired
mighty possessions, and in 1770 stood in a conspicuous
and commanding position among all maritime nations—
a real Mistress of the Seas.
It is no wonder, then, that the next quarter-century, or
the end of the eighteenth century, should find many of
the unknown spaces of the earth thoroughly charted and
explored by seamen of England. Though thirteen colonies
broke away and set up a government of their own, we find VOYAGE TO THE PACIFIC 217
the foundations of a strong British dominion being laid
in the vast spaces of the north; we find New Zealand and
Australia re-discovered and definitely added for all practical
purposes to the empire, while Hastings in India followed
up Clive's work in the great peninsula of the Demean.
During these stirring times there flashed across the
scene the great navigator, Captain James Cook. From
1765 to 1779 he accomplished three circumnavigations.
No other single commander of England before his time
nor since ever did so much in the way of opening up new
lands and regions for the trade of British merchants.
Returning in 1771 from his first circumnavigation,
Captain Cook was at once engaged by the Admiralty to
lead a second voyage of discovery and exploration into
the far South Seas. On the roll of the Resolution we find
the name of George Vancouver, in the humble capacity of
able seaman. For three years he was to be thrown into
almost daily contact with the greatest navigator of that
time. In all that meant training in good seamanship, his
was a master tutor. On no voyage did Cook evidence more
determination to succeed than the years he spent limiting
and defining the probable extent of the South Polar ice
cap, and at the same time exploding the theory of a great
Antarctic continental mass.
When the Resolution dropped anchor in Portsmouth on
13th July, 1775, Vancouver had just passed his eighteenth
birthday. He had circumnavigated the globe, seen strange
lands and peoples, and become thoroughly versed in the
art of seamanship. His services would now be eagerly
sought for the next voyage of Captain Cook to this same
ocean, and in 1776 we find him, now a midshipman, again
a member of the expedition. This was to be his captain's
last voyage, but one to have a very important bearing
on Vancouver's career ten years later. Certainly no better
training could have been found in those days than this
close association with the foremost navigator of that time,
and Vancouver is fortunate in this respect.    That he 218   CAPTAIN GEORGE VANCOUVER
improved his opportunities is evident from the fact that
he was appointed to a lieutenancy in the sloop Martin
soon after his return to England in 1780.
He joined the Fame the next year, and saw service with
Rodney's fleet in West Indian waters, and was present at
the great Battle of the Saints, 12th April, 1782. Returning
to England, he appears two years later in the Europa,
where he served for the ensuing five years. Then at the
suggestion of Commodore Alan Gardner, Vancouver was
appointed to go out with Captain Henry Roberts as second
in command of a scientific expedition to the South Seas,
which the Admiralty proposed to finance. Preparations
were immediately made for the voyage, the Admiralty
bought a new ship, completing on the ways at Randall and
Brents's on the Thames, and named her the Discovery.
But threatened war with Spain brought all further
preparations to a standstill, and the ensuing series of
events might well be told in Vancouver's own words:
Toward the end of April1 the Discovery was, in most respects,
in a condition to sail down the river,2 when intelligence was
received that the Spaniards had committed depredations on
the coast of north-west America, and that they had seized
on the English vessels and factories in Nootka Sound. This
intelligence gave rise to disputes between the courts of London
and Madrid which wore the threatening appearance of being
terminated by no other means than those of reprisal. In consequence of this an armament took place, and the further
pacific equipment of the Discovery was suspended; her stores
and provisions were returned to the respective offices and
her officers and men engaged in more active service. On
this occasion I resumed my profession under my highly
esteemed friend Sir Alan Gardner, then Captain of the Coura-
geaux, where I remained until the 17th of November following^
when I was ordered to repair to town3 for the purpose of
attending to the commands of the board of Admiralty. The
uncommon celerity and unparalleled dispatch which attended
the equipment of one of the noblest fleets that Great Britain
1789.
2 Thames River.
3 London, VOYAGE TO THE PACIFIC
219
3523
ever saw, had probably its due influence upon the court of
Madrid, for in the Spanish Convention, which was consequent
upon that armament, restitution was offered to this country
for the captures and aggressions made by the subjects of
his Catholic Majesty; together with an acknowledgment of an
equal right with Spain to the exercise and prosecution of
all commercial undertakings in those seas, reputed before to
belong only to the Spanish Crown. The extensive branches of
the fisheries, and the fur trade to China being considered as
objects of very material importance to this country, it was
deemed expedient, that an officer should be sent to Nootka
to receive back, in form, a restitution of the territories on
which the Spaniards had seized, and also to make an accurate
survey of the coast, from the 30th degree of north latitude
north-westward toward Cook's River; and further, to obtain
every possible information that could be collected respecting
the natural and political state of that country. The outline of
this intended expedition was communicated to me, and I had
the honour of being appointed to the command of it.1
Very explicit instructions were issued by the Admiralty
to Vancouver regarding his voyage to Nootka, and the
manner in which he was to receive back from a Spanish
commissioner who would meet him there, "the buildings
and tracts of land, situated on the north-west coast above
mentioned, or on islands adjacent thereto, of which the
subjects of his Britannic Majesty were dispossessed about
the month of April, 1789, by a Spanish officer." Two ships
were provided, the Discovery, of three hundred and forty
tons burthen, and the armed tender Chatham, of one
hundred and thirty-five tons burthen. The Discovery was
a well-built vessel, copper fastened throughout and sheathed
with copper, mounting ten four-pounders and ten swivels;
the Chatham was smaller and mounted fewer guns.
Lieutenant W. R. Broughton was placed in charge of
the smaller vessel, while Vancouver had with him in the
Discovery three lieutenants, Zachariah Mudge, Peter
Puget, and Joseph Baker. The whole ship's complement
amounted to one hundred men; that of the Chatham
1 Captain Rogers was on duty in the Mediterranean. 220   CAPTAIN GEORGE VANCOUVER
forty-five men. Accompanying the expedition as botanist
was Archibald Menzies, a surgeon in the Royal Navy, but
a man well versed in botanical lore, and one who lent
considerable strength to the personnel of the expedition.
All that had been learned on the long voyages of Captain
Cook was brought to bear in providing necessary stores of
food and medicines to ward off the dread scurvy, and
throughout the years the ships were absent from
England, very little sickness was experienced by either
officers or crew.
The selection of Vancouver as captain of this expedition
rather than Rogers was due primarily to the fact that the
latter was on duty in the Mediterranean, while Vancouver
was near at hand, and at once available. It is probably
true that while Rogers would have answered all requirements as commander for an expedition to the South Seas,
Vancouver had the added advantage of having been
actually at Nootka with Cook on his third voyage. In fact
it was through the publication of Cook's third voyage that
the eyes of the Pacific fur traders had been turned toward
the north-west coast of America. It may also be noted that
Vancouver makes special mention of Sir Alan Gardner as
his "esteemed friend"—and there is small doubt that
Gardner used his influence to aid his erstwhile lieutenant
in securing the command of the expedition.
Whatever the immediate causes may have been which
led the Board of Admiralty to select Vancouver, it was a
happy selection on the part of the Board and a most
fortunate appointment for the individual concerned. As
a result Vancouver's name is indelibly stamped on this
coast, a great island bears his name, and Canada's great
ocean port on the Pacific bears its daily meed of praise in
honour of the man who first piloted a ship through the
maze of islands and inlets which fringe and cut the rugged
coast of British Columbia.
The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight. CAPTAIN GEORGE VANCOUVER
From a photograph of the original in the National Portrait Gallery. 222   CAPTAIN  GEORGE VANCOUVER
That has been eternally true; Vancouver was no exception. Although but thirty-four years of age, he had
been almost continuously at sea for the preceding twenty
years. In that time he had twice circumnavigated the
globe. He had risen from the lowest rank to the command
of a vessel, had associated with people of culture and good
breeding, and in every nautical manner made himself an
accomplished seaman. He was now to try a hand at
geographical research; he was to be for some years the
supreme arbiter of the actions of one hundred and forty-
five men, and he was to eventually pit his wits against
those of Don Quadra in far-off Nootka. Thus there was
added to the expedition a political flavour which in small
wise pertained to the voyages of his illustrious predecessor,
Captain Cook.
Altogether it was an appointment which carried with it
every opportunity for success and fame. But, as in