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Memoir, historical and political, on the northwest coast of North America, and the adjacent territories;… Greenhow, Robert, 1800-1854 1840

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The following correspondence, between the Chairman of the Committee of the Senate on the Oregon Territory and the Secretary of State, together with extracts from the Journal of the Senate, will serve to show
the circumstances under which this Memoir has been written and published.
Washington, January 25, 1840.
Sir : I am informed that your department is in possession of much information relating to the territory of Oregon, its geography, resources,
and the title of the United States to the same. If consistent with yoitr
duty, I would be pleased to \)e put in possession of such papers and
documents as you may think proper to send me, requesting that you wi|J
mark such as you would rather not have printed or made public.
Your obedient servant,
L. P. MNN,
Chairman of the Select Committee
on the Territory of Oregon.
Hon. John Forsyth, Secretary of State.
Department of State,
Washington, January 25, 1840.
Sir : I have had the honor to receive your letter of this day's date, asking for information relative to the territory of Oregon, its geography knd
resources, and the $tle of the United States to the same. Mr. Greenhow,
the translator and librarian of this department, has been for some time
past, by my direction, employed in collecting and arranging historical information on the subject of the northwestern coasts of America; I send
you the result of his labors^ and submit it to the uiscretion of'me committee to be printed or n&t, as they may think most advisable. Not having had the leisure to compare the statements in the Memoir with the va
rious works and documents yjpon which they are founded, I can voueta
only for the zeal, industry, and good faith of Mr. Greenhow, by whom
they were prepared.
I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
Secretary of State*
Hon. Lewis F. Linn,
Senator of the United States.
/ a
Prom the Journal of the Senate of the United States.
" Monday, February 10, 1840.—On motion by Mr. Linn,
| Ordered, That a history of the northwest coast of North America and
the adjacent territories, communicated to the Select Committee on the
Oregon Territory, be printed, with the accompanying map; and that two
thousand five hundred copies^in addition to the usual number, be printed
for the use of the Senate." •
"Wednesday, February 12, 1840.—On motion by Mr. Linn,
I Ordered, That the history of the northwest coast of North America,
ordered to be printed on the 10th instant, be printed under the direction
of Mr. Greenhow."
The Memoir relates principally to the southern and middle portions
of the northwest coast of this continent and the adjoining territories,
which have for many years formed the subjects of discussions between
the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, and Russia; and
it is designed to show the origin, nature, and extent of the several claims,
in order to afford the means of correctly estimating the justice of each.
In prosecuting these objects, it has been found necessary to trace the
whole progress of discovery and settlement, not only in the territories
above mentioned, but also in those farther north, in which the exclusive
right of the Russians to form establishments has been recognised by the
other Powers, and in the region called California, on the south, which
constitutes a part of the Mexican republic. With this view, the original
authorities have been carefully examined and compared, and the facts
thus elicited are here related concisely or at length, as their general importance or their bearing upon the chief objects of the Memoir appeared
to justify.
Expeditions for the purposes of discovery, trade, or settlement, and
disputes between the Governments or the people of distant civilized nations, have afforded, as yet, the only materials for the history of this
section of America; and those materials have remained scattered through
the annals of other countries, the journals of voyages and travels, and
official or private reports and letters, the correctness of which could not
be ascertained without great labor and research. Accounts of all these
expeditions and discussions are here presented, arranged in the form
of a regular narrative, so as to embrace a complete history of the west-
em portion of our continent—if it be allowable to speak of the history of
a country which still remains almost entirely in a state of nature.
This work is, however, not strictly a history; nor is it merely an argument in support of the title of the United States to the possession
of the territories in dispute. The writer has endeavored, agreeably to
the directions of Mr. Forsyth, to afford a clear and distinct view of the pretensions of each of the claimant Powers, and of the circumstances
on which they are based. Although he has, for the sake of completeness, introduced some facts and reasonings not directly relevant to those
objects, he has, on the other hand, suppressed none which, if given,
might have led to conclusions more nearly just.
In illustration of the Memoir, a geographical account of the western
section of North America has been prefixed to it, together with a map of
those countries, drawn from the best authorities which could be procured.
The geographical account has been necessarily much compressed, the
limits of the work not permitting details; while the map is, on the
whole, much fuller than any other of that part of the world which has
yet been published. With regard to the correctness of the descriptions, the coast will, it is believed, be found represented with sufficient
accuracy, both in the account, and on the map; but the interior of the
continent, from the Pacific to the Rocky Mountains, and, indeed, to the
vicinity of the Mississippi, has been as yet so imperfectly examined, that
very little precise topographical information respecting it can be procured.
Great care has been taken to present the dates of the several occurrences, and the authorities on which they are recounted, so that the
reader will have the means of satisfying himself as to the truth of
each statement; with regard to the reasonings and deductions, he must
rely upon his own powers of discrimination.
Washington, May 12,1840.
fl ■■*
Introduction  ---------
Great natural divisions of the western section of North America
Political divisions     --------
Claims of Great Britain, Russia, the United States, and Mexico   -
General view of the whole coast     ------
Description of the northernmost territories of the western section
Description of the southern portion, or California - - - -
General view of the mountain-ridges of the western section
Particular description of Oregon, or the country drained by the Columbia
First region of Oregon, or low country        -
Second region, or middle country     ------
Third region, or upper country -------
The Columbia and its branches
• 12
- 14
- 16
• 17
• 18
America discovered, and supposed to be connected with Asia    -
Treaty of Partition between Spain and Portugal - - - - -
First voyage from Europe to India, by Gama, around Alrica     -
Discovery of the Strait of Anian (probably Hudson's Strait) by Cortereal
Discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Balboa -
Discovery of Mexico by Grijalva  -------
Voyage of Magellan from Europe to India, westward across the Pacific
Conquest of Mexico completed by Cortes, who explores the adjacent coasts in
search of rich countries and passages for ships between the Atlantic and the
Pacific      ----------
Voyages of Hurtado Mendoza, Grijalva, and Becerra in the north Pacific, by
order of Cortes    ---------
Becerra discovers the southern extremity of California   - - - _
Voyage of Cortes in the Gulf of California -
Cabeza Vaca completes his journey across the continent, from Florida to the
Californian Gulf ---------
Voyage of Ulloa, who discovers the west coast of California to the 30th degree
of latitude ----------
Journey of Friar Marcos de Niza, who pretends to have discovered a rich
country, ealled Cibola, northwest of Mexico     -
Expeditions of Alarcon and Coronado in search of Cibola -
Voyage of Cabrillo and Ferrelo, who discover the west coast to the 43d degree
of latitude ----------
Expedition of Villalobos from Mexico to India, and discovery of the Philippine
Islands      ----------
Death of Cortes       ---------
Expedition of Legaspi from Mexico to India; conquest of the Philippine Islands,
and discovery of the mode of navigating the Pacific from west to east, by Ur-
danete ----------
Establishment of the Spanish trade between America and India
Prohibitory measures of the Spaniards against the trade or settlement of other
nations in America --------
Voyage of Francis Drake, who visits the northwest coast - - 38,
Voyage of Gali from China to Mexico, in which he sails along the northwest
coast        ----------
Voyage of Cavendish around the world ------
• 21
■ 21
. 22
• 39
• 22
- 22
- 22
37 tl
Attempts of the English to discover passages for ships between the Atlantic and
the Pacific Oceans, causing great uneasiness to the Spanish Government
Pretended northern voyage of Maldonado from the Atlantic to the Pacific
Voyage of Juan de Fuca along the northwest coast ,        - - -
Voyage of Cermenon, who is wrecked on the Bay of San Francisco
Spanish Government orders colonies to be established in California
Voyage of Vizcaino in the Gulf of California      -
Survey of the west coast to the 43d degree of latitude by Vizcaino
Supposed discovery of a great river, near the 43d degree, by Aguilar, in one of
Vizcaino's vessels - - - - - - --
Discovery of Hudson's Bay by Hudson    ------
Discovery of the navigation around Cape Horn, by Lemaire and Van Schouten
Supposed northern voyage of Fonte from the Pacific to the Atlantic
Voyage of De Vries in the Pacific, north of Japan -
Charter given to the Hudson's Bay Company by King Charles II. of England -
Unsuccessful attempts of the Spaniards to plant colonies in California   -
The Jesuits undertake the reduction of California for the King of Spain
The Russians conquer Kamschatka ------
Father Kuhn, a Jesuit, ascertains that California is connected with the American continent      ---------
Peter the Great, Czar of Russia, forms plans for exploring the seas east of Kamschatka, and for extending his dominion to America    - - - -
Louis XIV., King of France, grants Crozat -
Supposed extent of Louisiana at that time -
Treaty of Utrecht between Great Britain and France, no boundary-line established in America agreeably to its provisions   - - - -        150,216
Voyage of Beering, by order of the Empress Catherine of Russia, from Kamschatka into the Arctic Sea        -------
The sea east of Kamschatka ascertained t& be a part of the Pacific
Voyage of Beering and Tschirikof to America   - - - - -
Beering discovers the American continent near Mount Saint Elias
Beering is wrecked on one of the Aleutian Islands, where he dies
Tschirikof discovers America near the 56th degree of latitude, and returns to
Kamschatka        _____----
The survivors of Beering's crew return to Kamschatka, and begin the fur trade
between that country and the islands eastward of it     -
France cedes Louisiana to Spain   -------
France cedes Canada to England - -
General peace; British and French voyages of discovery -
Voyage of Synd      --------.,
Journey of Carver through the country west of Lake Superior
Voyage of Krenitzin and Levashef from Kamschatka     - - - -
Expulsion of the Jesuits from America    ------
Establishment of the first colonies on the west coast of North America by the
Spaniards - --
Journeys of Hearne, west and northwest from Hudson's Bay, to the Arctic Sea
Dispute between Great Britain and Spain about the Falkland Islands   -
First voyage from Kamschatka to China, by a party of Polish exiles, under
Count Benyowsky __.__--_
Voyage of the Spaniards, under Perez, along the northwest coast to the 53d degree of latitude    ---------
Voyage of the Spaniards, under Heceta, Bodega, and Maurelle, to the 58th degree of latitude    - - - - - - - --70
Heceta discovers the mouth of a river, named by him San Roque, now called
the Columbia       ---------72
Captain Cook sails from England for the Pacific, in search of a northern passage from that sea to the Atlantic - - - - - 78
Cook examines the northwest coast of America to the 70th degree        - 79
Death of Cook and of his successor Clerke      - - - - 83
The English, under Gore, on their way to England, carry to Canton the first
furs which entered that place by sea     - - - - - -     83
Voyage of the Spaniards under Arteaga, Bodega, and Maurelle, to Prince William's Sound       ---------84
Association of merchants in Siberia for carrying on the fur trade - 88
Expedition under Shellikof, who establishes settlements on the Island of Kodiak     88
Publication of the Journals of Cook's Voyage     - - - - -     86
Preparations begun in many countries for carrying on the fur trade between
Northwest America and China - - - - - - -87
<r IX
Year. Page.
1786. Voyage of the French, under La Perouse, from Mount Saint Elias to Monterey 88
1787. Berkely discovers the Strai of Fuca - - - - - 91
Voyages of Ponlock and Dixon   - - - - - - - 92
Sept. 30. The ship Columbia, Capt. Kendrick, and sloop Washington, Captain
Gray, sail together from Boston for the north Pacific   - - - -     89
Forma.ion of the Northwest Fur trading Company of Montreal - -   139
1788. Captains Kendrick and Gray arrive at Nootka, where they spend the following
winter --.--.-_-- 90
Voyages of Meares and Douglas from Macao to the northwest coast       - -   100
Meares attempts to find the River San Roque, and pronounces that none such
exists        - - - - - - - -- -93
Voyage of the Spaniards, under Martinez and Haro, to observe the progress of
the Russians on the north Pacific coasts - - - - - -     96
Attempt of Ledyard to pass, through Russia and America, from Paris to the
United States       - - -- - - - - -94
1789. Martinez and Haro sent by the Viceroy of Mexico to occupy Nootka   - 97
Complaints addressed by the Spanish Government to that of Russia against the
encroachments of Russians in America - - - - -     97
The Spaniards occupy Nootka, and seize vessels which are said to be the*property of British subjects   - - - - - - -        104,212
Captain Gray first sails around Queen Charlotte's Island, to which he gives the
name of Washington Island        - - - - 92
The Spaniards quit Nootka; which they, however, reoecupy in the following
spring, under the command of Elisa      .... - -   117
1790.'     The owners of the vessels seized at Nootka complain to the British Government,
which demands satisfaction from that of Spain - - 111
The King of Spain asks aid from Louis XVI. of France to resist the demand,
which is refused by the National Assembly of France - - - -   113
Spain promises satisfaction to Great Britain -----   114
Oct. v!8. A convention is signed between those Powers, respecting the navigation of thePacific and the right of occupying its vacant American coasts       -   114
Remarks made on that convention in the British Parliament       - - -    115
The Spaniards from Nootka endeavor to explore the northwest coasts   - -   118
Voyages of Fidalgo and Gtuimper - - - - - - -118
Voyage of ihe Russians, under Billings, from Kamschatka - 122
Observations on the nature and duration of the engagements entered into between Great Britain and Spain by the convention of i 'ctober 28        - -   171
1791. Captain Vancouver sent from England with two ships to explore the northwest
coasts of America, and as commissioner to receive the lands and buildings at
Nootka, to be restored by the Spaniards according to the convention of 1790 118
Voyages of the Spaniards under Malaspina and .Elisa     - - - -   118
Voyage of Marchand in the French ship Solide ----- 119
Seven vessels arrive from the United States in the north Pacific, to be employed
in the fur trade    - - - - - - - - -119
Captain Ingraham, in the Hope, from Boston, discovers the Washington Islands 119
Captain Gray, in the Columbia, from Boston, discovers the mouth of the great
river seen by Heceta. in 1775, but cannotienter it - 120
Captain Kendrick, in the Washington, irom Boston, discovers a new passage
from Nootka Sound to the sea, and purchases lands near Nootka from the
savages    ----------   121
He commences the trade in sandal-wood ------   122
Unsuccessful voyage of the Russians from Kamschatka, under Hall and Sarets-
chef - - - - -   122
1792. Voyages of the Spaniards unde^Caamano, and Galiano and Valdes     - -   122
The Spaniards endeavor, unsuccessfully, to establish a new settlement on the
Strait of Fuca    v --------   123
dueen  Charlotte's, or Washington  island, explored and frequented by the
American furrfraders     - - - - - - 92,123-
Captain Gtuadra arrives at Nootka as commissioner on the part of Spain to exe-
? cute the convention of 1790        - - - - - - 132
Vancouver arrives on the American coast, near Cape Mendocino - -   123
He examines the eoast northward to the Strait of Fuca, and pronounces that
there is no large river or inlet there       - - - - - -   125
Gray, in the Columbia, on his way to examine the river which he had found in
the preceding year, meets Vancouver near the Strait of Fuca, and informs him
of the discovery, which Vancouver doubts ----- 125
Gray discovers Bulfinc&& Harbor, and enters the great river, (May 11,) which he
names after his ship, the Columbia        ------   128
M ■£ii
Observations on this discovery       ------- 129
Vancouver surveys the Strait of Fuca, partly in company with the Spanish vessels Sutil and Mexicana, under Galiano and Valdes     ...          - 131
Observations on the Journal of the Voyage of the Sutil and Mexicana -          - 132
Vancouver and Gluadra meet at Nootka    ------ 132
Letter addressed to Gluadra by Gray and Ingraham, (August 3,) detailing the
occurrences at Nootka in the summer of 1789   - 132*812
Vancouver's false synopsis of that letter    ------ 134
Negotiations between Vancouver and Gluadra, as related by Howel       -          - 134
The commissioners agree to wait for orders from their Governments     -          - 134
Gluadra communicates accounts and charts of Gray's discoveries to Vancouver 135
Survey of Bulfinch's Harbor by Vancouver's lieutenant, Whidbey         -          - 135
Survey of the Columbia by Lieutenant Broughton, who attempts to appropriate
to himself the merit of first entering the great river       -          -          -          - 136
Vancouver winters at the Sandwich Islands; his proceedings there - - 137
Expedition of Rodman and a party of Americans from the mouth of the Missouri
across the continent, to the Pacific         ------ 140
1793. Vancouver surveys the northwest Archipelago ----- 137
He winters at the Sandwich Islands, the sovereignty of one of which is ceded to
Great Britain by Tamahamaha ------- 138
Death of Gluadra    --------- 138
Alava appointed Spanish commissioner in place of Gluadra - - - 138
Expeditions of Mackenzie across the continent to the Pacific, which he reaches
near the 53d degree of latitude   ------- 140
1794. Vancouver completes his surveys of the northwest coast, and sails for England 141
1795. The Spaniards abandon Nootka    ------- 141
1796. Broughton arrives as British commissioner at Nootka, which he finds occupied
only by the savages         -                      ------ 141
. Spain declares war against Great Britain ------ 143
1797. Death, of Vancouver, and publication of his Journals        -          -          -          - 139
Observations on his Journals         -                      -          -          -          -          - 139
Whole of the direct trade in furs from the northwest coast to China carried on
by Americans, from 1796 to 1814           ------ 143
Formation of the Russian-American Company, which receives a charter (1799)
from the Emperor Paul  -------- 145
1800.      Foundation of Sitca, or New Archangel, by the Russians, under Baranof         - 145
Louisiana ceded by Spain to.France, which (1803) cedes it to the United States 149
Observations on the extent of Louisiana   ------ 150
1803. Voyage of Krusenstern and Lisiansky from St. Petersburgh to the north Pacific 146
Destruction of the ship Boston, of Boston, by the savages at Nootka Sound       - 142
1804. Lewis and Clarke begin their expedition across the continent   $£&        -          - 152
1805. They reach the mouth of the Columbia     ------ 152
1806. And return to the United States     ------- 153
Frazer, and others in the employ of the Northwest Trading Company, cross the
Rocky Mountains, and form the first British establishment in that part of
America on Frazer's Lake         -_-___- 155
Krusenstern and Lisiansky complete their voyage of circumnavigation -          - 147
1807. Convention signed at London between the plenipotentiaries of Great Britain and
the United States, for the settlement of boundaries in America, but not concluded      -          -          -          -          -          -          -          -          -- 154
1808. Missouri Fur Company at Saint Louis -   -          -          -          -          -          - 156
Henry establishes a trading-post on the Lewis River       -          -          -          - 156
Russian Government complains to that of the United States of the misconduct of
American fur-traders in supplying the natives on the northwest coasts with
arms         ---------- 147
Negotiations on that subject ineffectual     -          -          -          -          - 148
1810. Formation of the Pacific Fur Company at New York, by J. J. Astor - - 156
Parties sent by sea from New York, and by land from Saint Louis, to establish
factories on the Columbia          _..-.__ 157
1811. Foundation of Astoria, near the mouth of that river - _ _ - 157
Adventurous journey of the land party under Hunt - - - - 158
Destruction of the ship Tonquin, which had carried out the other party, and her
crew, by the savage^ near Nootka          ------ 158
1812. War declared by the United States against Great Britain - - - 158
The Russians establish themselves in California near Port San Francisco        - 148
1813. Property of the Americans on the Columbia sold to the Northwest Company - 160
Astoria taken by a British ship of var, and its name changed to Fort George   - 161
1814. Peace of Ghent between Great Britain and the United States     - 163 Year.
Agreeably to which, (1815,) the Americans demand the restitution of Astoria  -
The Russians attempt unsuccessfully to tafce possession of one of the Sandwich
Islands      - - - - - - .
Messrs. Preyost and Biddle sent in the ship Ontario to take possession ol Astoria,
Discussions on the subject between the British and American Governments
Astoria restored formally by the British authorities to those of the United States
Negotiation between Great Britain and the United States -
Negotiation ended by the convention of October, 1818     - - -        169, 219
Negotiation between the United States and Spain, terminated by the Florida
Treaty, (February, 1819,) in which the 42d parallel of latitude is made the
boundary between the territories of the two Powers west of the Rocky Mountains ---------        170,
Charter of the Russian-American Company renewed for twenty years  - *
Florida Treaty ratified       - - - - - - - -
Mexico becomes independent of Spain      -
Coalition of the Northwest and the Hudson's Bay Companies    - - -
Act of British Parliament for regulating the fur trade, and establishing a criminal and civil jurisdiction in the-Indian territories, which are granted to the
Hudson's Bay Company - - -
Ukase of the Russian Emperor, claiming all the west coasts of America north of
the 51st parallel   ---------
Discussions between the Russian and the American Governments on this subject
Propositions made on the part of the United States for a joint convention respecting Northwest America, between the United States, Great Britain, and Russia
Propositions for a joint convention declined by the other Powers
Proceedings in the Congress of the United States - - 173, 178,
Negotiation between the United States and Great Britain broken off      -
Negotiation between the United States and Russia terminated by a convention,
fixing the parallel of 54 degrees 40 minutes as the limit between the parts of
the coast on which either Power could form establishments .  -        180,
Convention of a similar nature between Great Britain and Russia -        181,
Revival of the fur.jgrade between Saint Louis and the Columbia countries
Renewal of negotiation at London between the British and American Governments        ----------
Convention prolonging for an indefinite period the third article of the convention
of October, 1818+.a*. - - - 185,223
Observations on the pretensions advanced by the parties in this negotiation
First trading expedition from Missouri to the Rocky Mountains in which wag
ons were employed --_-_--.
Debates in Congress with respect to the occupation of Oregon    -
Negotiations between the Governments of the United States and Russia, respect
ing the renewal of the 4th article of the convention of 1825     -
Hudson's Bay Company's expedition to take possession of the River Stikine ren
dered fruitless by the Russians   -------
Particular account of the Hudson's Bay Company's system and establishments •
Captain Bonneville's trading expedition from Missouri to the Columbia
Captain Wyeth's attempts to form American trading establishments beyond the
Rocky Mountains -._...-.
Establishment of American colonies on the river Wallamet
Reflections on the fur trade in America, and on the future destinies of the countries beyond the Rocky Mountains ------
A.—Respecting the part of the northwest coast seen by Drake in 1579      - - 201
B.—Respecting the pretended northern voyage of Maldonado from the Atlantic to the
Pacific in 1588 205
C.—Account of the voyage of Juan de Fuca in the north Pacific in 1592, extracted from
Purcha^'s Pilgrims     - ..__.__-   207
D.—Correspondence at Nootka in 1792, between the Spanish commissioner Quadra, and
Messrs. Gray and Ingraham, the commanders of two American vessels, respecting
the occurrences at that place in 1789 ------   212
E.—Showing that the 49th parallel of latitude was probably not adopted as the line of separation between the British and French territories in America, agreeably to the
treaty of Utrecht, in 1714       - - - - - - - -   216
F.—Containing extracts and copies of treaties between various nations respecting the
northwest coast of America   - - - -   si*  - - - -   219
Since the following pages were printed, the author has discovered two errors, which, though
not bearing upon any important question, he regrets, and is anxious to correct; particularly as
the misstatements are injurious to the memory of Captain Cook, one of the noblest men whom
any age or country has produced.
In order to correct these errors,
1. Substitute lor the two last sentences of the second paragraph, in page 46, the following:
IThe Cape Blanco, mentioned as the northern limit of Aguilar's progress along the coast;, is
probably the same on which Vancouver, in 1792, bestowed the name of Cape Orford.
2. Expunge the last sentence but one of the third paragraph in page 79, containing the
words—" In this part of his voyage he recognised the Cape Blanco of Aguilar, near the 43d
parallel, but he thought proper to bestow on it the name of Cape Gregory."
I. The northwest coast is the expression usually employed in the United States, at the present time, to distinguish the vast portion of the
American continent, which extends north of the 40th parallel of latitude
from the Pacific to the great dividing ridge of the Rocky Mountains, together with the contiguous islands in that ocean, f The southern part of
this territory, which is drained almost entirely by the River Columbia,
is commonly called Oregon, from the supposition (no doubt erroneous)
that such was the name applied to its principal stream by the aborigines.
To the more northern parts of the continent many appellations, which
will hereafter be mentioned, have been assigned by navigators and fur-
traders of various nations. The territory bordering upon the Pacific
southward, from the 40th parallel to the extremity of the peninsula
which stretches in that direction as far as the Tropic of Cancer, is called
California; a name of uncertain derivation, formerly applied by the Spaniards to the whole western section of North America, as that of Florida
was employed by them to designate the regions bordering upon the Atlantic. The northwest coast and the west coast of California, together,
form the west coast of North America; as it has been found impossible to
separate the history of these two portions, so it will be necessary to include them both in this geographical view.*
In order to show that the fortieth parallel of latitude is not assumed arbitrarily, and without adequate grounds, as the southern limit of the
northwest coast, it would be sufficient to cite;the fact, that this line
crosses the American continent exactly midway between its most northern and its most southern points; but there are physical reasons for the
assumption, no less strong than those based on such geometrical considerations.    Almost immediately under the said parallel the coast makes an
• * In the following pages, the term coast will be used,"sometimes as signifying only the seashore, and sometimes as embracing the whole territory, extending therefrom to the sources of
the river; care has been, however, taken to prevent misapprehension, where the context does
not sufficiently indicate the true sense. In order to avoid repetitions, the northwest coast will be
understood to be tlte northwest coast of North America; all latitudes will be taken as north latitudes, and all longitudes as west from Greenwich, unless otherwise expressed. angle at a point called Cape Mendocino, from which one line runs due
north for a great distance, while the other takes a southeast direction.
Moreover, this cape is the western extremity of a ridge of lofty mountains, extending continuously from the Pacific to the Rocky Mountains,
nearly in the course of the 40th parallel, and completely dividing the
region of which the waters flow southward from that drained by streams
entering the Pacific north of the cape. This transverse ridge, generally
called the Snowy Mountains, appears, indeed, to be the boundary indicated by nature between California, on the south, and Oregon, or the
country of the Columbia, on the north; not only does it serve as a barrier of separation almost impassable, but the differences in climate and
productions between the territories on either side of it are much greater
than could have been supposed, considering merely their respective distances from the equator. California is essentially a southern country,
while Oregon exhibits the peculiarities of the north.
The coasts of this section of America have been carefully surveyed
by distinguished scientific navigators, and they may be found accurately
delineated on charts; with regard to the interior, however, little exact
geographical information has been yet obtained. From all that can be
learned respecting the continent north of the 58th parallel, it is a waste
of rocky snow-clad mountains, incapable of sustaining a population, and,
indeed, almost impenetrable. Of California, or the country south of the
40th parallel, no accounts are to be procured, except as to the portion immediately contiguous to the sea. It is only of the territory included between these two lines of latitude, which is drained principally by the
great River Columbia, that we can speak with any confidence; even of
this territory, all descriptions must be conveyed in general and qualified
terms, and much remains to be done in it by the astronomer before our
maps can present any other than very imperfect representations of its
In the following geographical sketch, an attempt will be made to combine the results of information and inquiry, relative to the western section of Noith America, in such a manner as to produce distinct impressions of its most prominent and characteristic features, adding only those
details which may be requisite or useful- in order to illustrate the statements and views contained in the political and historical memoir. In
so doing, it has been found convenient to adopt the territorial divisions
indicated by nature, rather than those which have been agreed on between the Governments of various distant nations. The boundaries set-
.41ed by these conventions will, however, be first described, and general
ideas of the political questions at issjae, with regard to this part of the
world, will thus be easily communicated.
II. By the Florida treaty, concluded in 1819 between the United States
and Spain, a line drawn along the 42d parallel of latitude, from the
Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, was fixed as the northern limit of the
Spanish territory and the southern limit of that of the United States in
western America. By a subsequent treaty between the latter Power and
Mexico, the same line was admitted to separate the possessions of the
two republics, Mexico taking the place of Spain.   The Mexicans, accord- ingly, claim the country as far north as the 42d parallel ^but the Russians effectually bar the exercise of any Mexican authority beyond the
Bay of San Francisco, near the 38th degree, by means of their colonies
and garrisons in that quarter, established in 1812, and ever since maintained in defiance alike of Spain and of her republican successors.
By the convention of 1824, between the United States and Russia, it
was agreed that the Russians should make no settlements on the west
coasts of North America, or the adjacent islands, south of the latitude of
54 degrees 40 minutes, and the United States should establish none
north of that parallel.
By the convention of 1825, between Russia and Great Britain, it was
in like manner stipulated that the British should occupy no place on the
coasts or islands north of 54 degrees and 40 minutes, and that the Russians should make no settlement south of the same latitude; it was, moreover, agreed that a line drawn from that parallel northward, along the
summits of the mountains, within 20 miles of the sea, to its intersection with the 141st meridian of longitude west from Greenwich, (passing
through Mount Saint Elias,) and thence, along that meridian, to the Arctic Sea, should be the " limit between the Russian and British possessions *m the continent of America to the northwest."
Thus two lines of boundary appear on the map of Northwest Amejrica,
running completely across it: one northward, from the latitude of 54ide-
grees 40 minutes, to the Arctic sea, as settled between Great Britain and
Russia; and the other following the course of the 42d parallel, from the
Pacific to the Rocky Mountains, as agreed on between the United States
and Mexico. Of the intermediate region, no part has been as yet definitively assigned by convention to any one nation; the Americans claim
the portion north from the 42d parallel, and the British claim that soutk
from the other line of boundary—each party to an exteaj; undefined, but
so far as to secure for itself the large and valuable country drained by the
Columbia River. These nations have provisionally compromised their
pretensions by an arrangement, made in 1818, and continued in 1827 for
an unlimited period, to the effect, that anyuterritory in that section of
America, claimed by either, should be equally free and open for navigation, trade, and settlement, to the citizens or subjects of both; the Government of each being at liberty to abrogate the arrangement, after;^giv-
ing due notice of twelve months to tb^t of the other.#
III. The political^ questions at issue between thejGovernm£nts of Great
Britain, the United States, Russia, and Mexico having been summarily
stated, we will now present a—
The northern extremity of the west coast &£ America is Cope Prince of
Wales, in latitude of 65 degrees 52 minutes, which is also the westernmost spot in tike whole continentfdffcis situated on the eastern side of
* The Russian settlements in America ai&undetlthe control of the Russian-American Com-
jKMvifa of which a particular account will be fom$l at page 143 of the memoir. For notices-M
the Hudson's Bay Company, to which belong all the British establishments west of the Bocky
Mountains^^fee pagetr 75 and 192; and, for copies of the treaties, see Appendix [F.] Beering7s Strait, a channel fifty-one miles in width, connnectingthe Pacific with the Arctic (or Icy, or North Frozen) Ocean, on the western
side of which strait, opposite Cape Prince of Wales, is East Cape, the
eastern extremity of Asia. Beyond Beering's Strait the shoros of the
two continents recede from each other. The north coast of America has
been -traced from Cape Prince of Wales northeastward, to Cape Barrow, in latitude of 71 degrees 23 minutes, which is probably the north-
ernmost point of America, and thence eastward for more than a thousand miles, though not continuously to the Atlantic ; no vessel has, however, yet proceeded beyond Beering's Strait as far as Cape Barrow.
The southernmost point of the west coast of North America is Cape
San Lucas, in latitude of 22 degrees 52 minutes, the extremity of the
great Peninsula of California, which stretches from the American continent on the Pacific side, nearly in the same direction, and between
nearly the same parallels of latitude as that of Florida on the Atlantic.
The Californian peninsula joins the main land under the 33d parallel;
south of which, it is separated from* Mexico, on the east, by the long
arm of the ocean called by the Spaniards the Ver^miWmn Sea and the Sea
of Cortes, but more generally known as the Gulf of California.
The coast extending between these two capes is not less than four
thousand miles in length, and is bordered by a continuous line of mountains, which in most places overhang the sea, and are nowhere distant
from it more than eighty miles. From Cape San Lucas the general direction of the shores is northwest as far as Cape Mendocino, near the
40th degree of latitude \ thence it runs almost due north to Cape Flattery, at the entrance of the Strait of Fuca, near the 48th degree, where
it makes an angle by turning to the east. South of Cape Flattery the
coast is comparatively regular and free from great sinuosities, and there
are only a few islands, all of which are small, in its vicinity; north waiil
of that point, to Cape Spenser near the 58th degree, it is, on the contrary,
indented by numerous bays and inlets penetrating the land, and it is
completely masked by islands separated from each other and from the
continent by narrow and intricate channels. These islands compose the
Northwest Archipelago; they lie together in a recess of the continental
coast between Cape Flattery and Cape Spenser, in length about seven
hundred miles, and in breadth about one hundred and twenty; and they
are, indeed, simply a continuation, through the sea, of the mountain-
chain which forms the westernmost rampart of America. Beyond Cape
Spenser the American coast makes a bend, running northwest to the
foot of Mount Saint Elias, the loftiest peak on the continent, and the
most striking landmark on its western shore ; thence westward nearly in
the course of the 60th parallel, and then southwest to the extremity of
the Peninsula of Aliaska, in 54 degrees 40 minutes, around which it
again turns to the north, and continues in that course to Cape Prince
of Wales. Aliaska is, lifte California, formed by the projection of a lofty
mountain-ridge into the Pacific ; from its extremity, and as if in continuation of it, a chain of islands, called the Aleutian Archipelago, extends
westward, across the sea, to the vicinity of the opposite Asiatic Peninsula of Kamschatka.
IV. Of the northwesternmost division of the American coast, extending
from Cape Prince of Wales, southward, to the extremity of Aliaska, little
need be said.    The part of the PacificQnorth of the Aleutian Islands, which bathes those shores, is commonly distinguished as the Sea of
Kamschatka, and sometimes as Beering's Sea, in honor of the Russian
navigator of that name who first explored it. From this sea several
arms run up into the main land of America, of which the largest are
Norton Sound, on the south side of the peninsula terminated by Cape
Prince of Wales, and Bristol Bay, called by the Russians Kamischezgaia
Gulf, on the northwest <side of Aliaska. The upper part of Bristol Bay
receives the waters of a large lake called Lake Shellikof; a little west of
the outlet of which, on the shore of the bay, stands the small Russian
factory, or fur-trad^g establishment, of Alexandrowsk, the only spot on
this whole coast occupied by civilized persons.
The Aleutian Archipelago is considered by the Russians as consisting
of three groups of islands. Nearest Aliaska are the Fox Islands, of which
the largest are Unimak, Unalashka, &no\tJJmnak; next to these are the
Andreanowsky Islands, among which are Atscha, Tonaga, and Kanaga,
with many smaller islands, sometimes called the Rat Islands ; the most
western group is that first called the Aleutian or Aleoutsky Islands, which
are Attou, Mednoi, (or Copper Island,) and Beering's Island. On the latter Beering was wrecked and lost his life in 1741. These islands are
nearly all, like Aliaska, rocky, mountainous, and volcanic; they are of
little value in an agricultural point of view, but the Russians derive great
advantage from the skins and furs of animals in and about their shores,
for procuring which they have several establishments in the Archipelago, particularly on Unalashka. The original inhabitants are a hardy
and bold race, whom the Russians had great difficulty in subduing; these
people are, however, at the present day, employed by their masters in
fishing and hunting for furs in every part of the Pacific, and they compose a large proportion of the population of all the Russian settlements
in America. There are other islands in the Sea of Kamschatka, of which
the largest are Nunivak, near the Ame^can shore, under the 60th parallel,
and Saint Lawrence or Clerke'slslana,at the entrance of Beering's Strait.
V. Kamschatka is a large peninsula formed of volcanic mountains, extending from the Asiatic continent southward to the latitude of 52 degrees*
10 minutes, under which its southernmost point, Cape Lopatka, is situated. West of the peninsula, between it and the main land of Asia, is
the Sea of Ochotsk, which is separated from the Pacific on the southeast by the Kurile Islands, extending southwest from Kamschatka towards Japan. The principal place in Kamschatka is Petro-Paulowsk, or
the Harbor of Saint Petey and Saint Paul, on the Bay of Avatscha, vg.
latitude of 53 degrees 58 minutes; it is a small town, the inhabitants of
which are all engaged directly or indirectly in the fur trade.
VI. The next natural division of the coast is that included in the great
bend between the southwest extremity of Aliaska and Cape Spenser.
Here are to be remarked two deep gulfs, extending northward into the
continent to the 62d degree, through each of which it was for some time
hoped that a passage would be discovered communicating with the Atlantic. The westernmost of these gulfs was originally called Cook's
River, but is now generally named ©41 English maps Cook's Inlet, and
is known by the Russians as the Gulf of Kenay; the other, which is
\ only separated from the former by a peninsula, received from the British
navigators the appellation of Prince William's Sound, and is distinguished by the Russians as the Bay of Tschugatsch; it is unnecessary
€ fc&
"here to say more of them than that they contain many islands, and that
the Russians have several factories on the shores of each. Farther eastward are Comptroller's Bay and Admiralty, or Beering's, or Mulgrave, or
Yakutat Bay, where it is generally believed that Beering first landed in
America in 1741. In the reports of Beering's voyage, it is stated that
the mouth of a large and rapid river was found on this part of the coast;
none such, however, has been discovered, though a considerable stream
called by the Russians Reca Mednaia, (or Copper River,) empties into
Comptroller's Bay at some distance from the ocean.
On this coast are several islands, of which the most extensive is Kodiak, at the entrance of Cook's Inlet, separated from Aliaska on the west
liy the Strait of Shellikof; its surface is rugged and mountainous, and it
is indented by many deep bays, on one of which, called the Gulf of
Ckiniatskoy, on the east side of the island, is situated Saint Paul, one
of the largest Russian settlements in America. South of Kodiak, near
the southern extremity of Aliaska, are the Sehumagin Islands, called
after a seaman of Beering's ship, who died and was buried on one of them.
Mount Samt Elias is on the northeast side of the bend, nearly under
the 60th parallel of latitude; its height is estimated at seventeen thousand
feet, and that of Mount Fairweather, a little farther south, at fourteen
thousand. They are both volcanic, as are nearly all the mountains in
this part of America.
The region bounded on the west and south by the divisions of the
American coast above described is believed to be a frozen waste, traversed
in all directions by mountains, and utterly4ncapable of affording a support to a population except in the immediate vicinity of the ocean. It
is used by'tfae Russians only for the purposes of the fur trade, which is
earned on at the cost of a dreadful sacrifice of comfort and of life ; and,
as the animals yielding furs are daily diminishing in number, this part
4? fee world must, no doubt, ere| long be abandoned by all civilized
VII. The Northwest Archipelago is contained, as already stated, in a recess of the coast of the continent, between the 48th and the 58th parallels,
(between which also extend the islands of Great Britain and Ireland on
the western side of Europe.) This Archipelago was first minutely examined by British navigators, who have bestowed on the islands names de-
Tivedvalmost exclusively from the lists of the royal family, the ministry,
the parliament, the peerage, the army, and the navy of Great Britain;
none of which names are, howevei, or probably will be at any future period, used by the occupants of the islands. To"present all these names
would be a tedious and useless labor; and little more will be attempted
than to afford some idea of the principal groups.
King George the Third's Islands are the most northwestern; the two
largest of these are, respectively, called by the Russians who occupy
them Chichagoff's and Baranoff's Islands. Near the western side of the
latter, and diarided from it by a narrow strait, is a small island, in the
middle of which rises a beautiful conical peak, named by the Spaniards
in 1775, Mount San Jacinto, and by the English under Cook, three years
afterwards, Mount Edgecumb. On the southeast side of this strait,
called by the Spaniards Port Remedios, by the British Norfolk Sound,
and by the Russians the Gulf of Sitca, stands Sitca, or New Archangel,
the capital of all the Russian possessions in America.   It was estab- lished on its present site in 1804; and, by the most recent accounts, it
contains about a thousand inhabitants, more than three-fourths of whom
are Aleutians. The fort mounts sixteen short eighteen-pounders, and ten
long nine-pounders, and is garrisoned by about three hundred persons.
The Admiralty Islands are between the first described group and the
main land, being separated from the former by the Chatham, Canal, and
from the latter by Stephen's Passage. The part of the sea between these
two groups and the continent on the north is called Crops Sound, from
which the Lynn Canal, an extensive bay, stretches northward behind
Mount Fairweather. South of trie King George's and the Admiralty
Islands are the groups of the Dwke of York, the Prince of Wales, and
Revillagigedo, (the last called after a Viceroy of Mexico,) between which
are Prince Frederick's Sound, the Duke of Clarence's Strait, and other
All the islands above mentioned are north of thesparallel of 54 degrees
40 minutes, which is the latitude of the southernmost point of the Prince
of Wales's Islands, and are therefore all, wijfch the coasts of the continent
in their vicinity, among the territories on which the Russians claim the
exclusive right of maMng
the United States and Great Britain
settlements, in virtue of their treaties with
as before stated at page 3.
Between the 52d and 54th. parallels, ek£enctera large island, of triangular
shape, which will be found on the map, bearing the>iname of Queen Charlotte's, or Washington's Island. Its western coast was discovered by the
Spaniards in 1774; from which time to 1787 it was considered, like |H
the other islands of the Archipelago, as forming part of the continent In
the last mentioned year, Captain Dixon, commanding the merchant ship
Q,ueen Charlotte, of London, becoming convinced that it was an^suMf&l
territory, bestowed on it the name of his vessel; but it was first circumnavigated in the summer of 1789, by Captain Gray, in the sloop Washington, of Boston, who, without knowing -any thing of Dixon's voyage,
Called the country Washington's Island. It was the favorite resort ofithe
early American fur-traders in the north Pacific; and the manuscript Journal of Captain Ingraham, who commanded the brig Hope, of Boston, in
that sea, from 1791 to 1793, contains mifltfte descriptions and charts of
several ports, particularly on its>eastern side$which are not noticed in any
published accounts or maps. The limits of this sketch do not adnlit of minute descriptions, or many interesting facts relative to the island in question might be related on the authority of Ingraham. He describes the*
soil and climate as being well adapted for agricultural purposes^lpa-rtifcur
larly in* the vicinity of Oummashawah Bay, a fine harbor on the east coast,,
in latitude of 53 degrees 3 minutes; and of Hancock's River, on the nbrth
side, called by the Spaniards Port Estrada, which was after it had beegL
surveyed and named by the captain of thfe brig Hancock, froni ^Boston.!
Pirn's, Burkefyj and the Princess Royal groups, are composed of .manjr-
smali islands, situated very near the continent, east of£Q,ueen Charlotte's
islands.    On one of these, called Dundas Island, the British HtidMn's.
Bay Company have a trading-post.
The largest and southernmost island in the northwest Ar%hipelago^f&
that called Quadra and Vancouver's IsUffiid, extending, $$§ -p^fgreatest
length, from nolfthwest to southeast about 200 miles, between the parahfete
of 48^ and 51 degrees, and separated from the^contlaent on the sou1ti$ad
east by the arm of the sea^&alled the Strait of Fuca.   The S|k>t on rWs
m island most worthy of note is Nootka S&umd, an extensive bay communicating with the Pacific in latitude of 49 degrees 34 minutes, and affording
excellent harbors for vessels in many places, particularly in Friendly Cove,
on the north side, about ten miles from the ocean. This place was for
many years the chief rendezvous of the fur-traders on the northwest coast;
•and some of the most important eventts in the history of that part of the
world. occurred there, as may be seen in the 6th and 7th chapters of this
memoir. The name of Nootka was first applied by Cook, who believed
it to be that employed by the natives ; no word has, however, since been
found in use among thern more nearly resembliag Nootka than Yuquotl,
their name for Friendly Cove. A few miles southeast from Nootka is
another bay called Clyoquot; and further in the same direction, at the en-
-trance of the Strait of Fuca, is a third called Nittinat, in which are many
The Strait of Fuca extends between the island last described aniJfcthe
CQntinent, from Cape Flattery, directly eastward, about one hundred and
twenty miles, and thence northwest about two hundred and fifty miles,
communicating with the ocean in the north through an entrance, called
by the Americans Pintard's, and by the British Queen Charlotte's Sound.
The southern part of the strait is about forty miles in width; the part
running northeast is in some places nearly as wide, but generally much
-narrower, and is filled with islands. This passage was discovered, in
1592, by Juan de Fuca, a Greek pilot, who declared that he had sailed
through it into the Atlantic; his statement was, however, disproved in
1792 by Vancouver, Galiano, and Valdes, who surveyed it together, and
determined that it was only a great sound. The island which it separates from the continent, in that year received its present long and inconvenient appellation, by agreement between Vancouver and the Spanish commandant, Quadra.
VIII. The parts of the continent contiguous to these islands have received from British navigator^ many names, such as New Norfolk, New
Cornwall, New Hanover, and New Georgia; all of which have become obsolete. The country north of the 58th parallel is almost unknown. Two large
rivers, the Peace River and the Turnagmtn, flow from it eastward through
the Refeky Mountains into the Mackenzie, which empties into the Arctic
Sea; another river, called the Stikine, has also been lately discovered
entering the Pacific east of Duke of York's Island, in latitude of 56 degrees 50 minutes, which is said to be three miles wide at its mouth and
one mile wide thirty miles higher up.
The country on the Pacific, between the 49th and 58th parallels, is usually dis$mguisjhLedv^y the British fur-traders as New Caledonia; and, from all
accounts, it resembles the northern part of Scotland in its ruggedness, its
lakes, and its barrenness. Its principal lakes are Stuart's, Babine, and Fra-
zer's Lakes, all situated between the 54th and the 56th parallels. Babine
Lake communicates with the Pacific by a large stream called Simpson's
Rixter; Frazet^s and Stuart's Lakes are head-waters of Frazer's River,
which flows from them nearly due south about four hundred miles, and
enters the ocean in latitude of 49 degrees. The soil of New Caledpnia
is everywhere steril, very small portions only being fit for cultivation;
and the climate, though much milder than that of the other countries of
America between the same latilpdes, is generally too severe for the production of the esciilent grains and vegetables.    The British Hudson's
Sit Bay Company have several establishments for carrying oh the fur trade
in this country, of which the principal are Fort Alexandria, on Frazer's
River, about three hundred miles from the sea, and Fort Langly, at the
mouth of the same stream. From these, and other ports in New Caledonia, communications are maintained with Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia, by way of the rivers, and by steam and sail-vessels on the sea.
The coast of Oregon extends from the Strait of Fuca to Cape Mendocino ; it will be hereafter particularly described.
IX. Cape Mendocino presents two points running out into the ocean,
about ten adles apart, of which the southernmost, in latitude of 40 degrees 19 minute%is the highest and the most prominent.
From it the coast of California extends southeastward, about one thousand, four hundred miles, to Cape San Lucas. On this coast are several
harbors, of which the principal will be described.
Port Bodega, communicating with the Pacific in latitude of 38 degrees:
19 minutes, is supposed to be the harbor in which Drake lay with his
irfessel in 1579. Here the Russians made their first settlement in California in 1812. Their chief establishment at present is Ross, immediately
on the ocean, about thirty miles farther north; it contains about four hundred inhabitants, and from it the northern factories receive their supplies
of provisions.
Port San Francisco joins the Pacific, by a passage about two miles
wide, under the parallel of 37 degrees 55 minutes. At a short distance
from the sea it expands into a large bay, offering, as admitted by all the
navigators who have visited it, one of the finest harbors in the world, and
possessing every requisite for a great naval establishment. It receives
two rivers, the Jesus Maria and the Sacrarhento, at its northern extremity,
and another called the San Joaquin from the south. The Sacramento is
navigable for small vessels to the distance of eighty miles from its mouth,
beyond which little is known about its course; |t it is believed, however,
to rise in the northeast angle of California, near the junction of the Snowy
Mountains with the Rocky Mountains. This bay is much frequented by
British and American whaling vessels, and it is, no doubt, destined to be
the centre of an extensive commerce. Particular accounts of its numerous advantages may be found in the Journal of the Voyage made by
Captain Beechey through the North Pacific in the years 1824-'25.
Monterey Bay is conttuned in a semicircular recess of the coast, opening westward, about twenty miles in width, between its northern point,
Cape Alio Nuevo and Cape Plnos on the south.^Just within Cape Pinos
there is good anchorage for vessels, where they are protected from the
prevailing northwest winds, and are only in danger from the violent gusts
which sometimes blow from the southeast along the whole Californian
Port Sate Diego, in latitude of 32 degrees 51 minutes, near which the
Sj»hiards planted their first colony on the west coast of California in
1769, is a long arm of the sea, extending southeast from its mouth into
the land, and defended against the billows by a sand-ridge.
The Bay of San Jose, near the 23d degree, immediately east of iGape
San Lucas, at the southernmost part of the peninsula, is probably the
same in which the Spaniards first anchored when California was discovered by them in 1535, an$ which received from Cortes the name of
Portrf&mta Cruz. It is one of the places where the pearl-fishery has
been most successful.
/ Near the Californian coast are many small settlements, which were
originally established by missionaries of the Franciscan order from Mexico, and were intended chiefly for the purpose of civilizing and converting the natives. During the subsistence of the Spanish authority, these
missions were fostered by the Government, and were maintained by
means of supplies sent from Mexico ; but, since the downfall of that
Power, they have not only received little assistance from Mexico, but
have, moreover, been taxed for the support of the republic, of which the
Indian neophytes were declared to be citizens. These Indians are, however, unfortunately, among the most indolent and unintellectual of the
human family; incapable of being affected by any other considerations
than those addressed to their present and immediate hopes and fears.
The missionaries treated them as children; and those who have been removed from under the care and authority of these priests have uniformly
sunk at once into misery and vice. The Mexican population is little, if
at all, better than the aboriginal; the soldiers and colonists sent there being generally criminals banished to this—the Botany Bay of the republics
There is no rain on the coast of California from March to November;
daring the other months the rains are generally incessant, though in
some years very little falls. The dews in summer are, however, so heavy
as to prevent the destruction of vegetation. Near the sea, the temperature
is at all times salubrious and agreeable, the heat of the sun in summer be-
ing moderated by constant breezes; but farther inland it is said to be most
Oppressive. Agriculture has been, as yet, little practised in this country;
the inhabitants subsisting almost entirely on the meat of the wild cattle
which cover the plains. The soil and climate appear to be favorable to
the growth of every vegetable substance necessary for the subsistence
and enjoyment of man; but no large portion of the territory will probably
be found productive without artificial irrigation.!
Of the interior of California little is known. The northern part, or
continental portion, called New California, is said to be traversed by
mountain-ridges, between which are extensive plains; some covered with
grass, forming prairies, others sandy and destitute of vegetation, and others
again being marshes. It appears to be certain that very little of the
water which fells on this country from the clouds finds its way directly
to the sea; as the line of mountains which borders the coast is traversed
only by a few inconsiderable streams, besides those emptying into the
Bay of San Francisco.
The peninsula, or Old California, is about seven hundred miles in
length, and one hundred and thirty in breadth where it joins the continent, under the 33d parallel; farther south its breadth is less, not exceeding fifty miles in some places. The whole territory consists of mountains ; its climate is hot and dry, the soil is barren, and the inhabitants are
few and miserable, deriving their support almost exelusivel^from the sea.
The €kaf of California, or Sea of Cortes, or VermiUion Sea, which
separates the peninsula from the main land of Mexico on the east, is
about seven hundred miles in length, varying in breadth from sixty to
one hundred ahd twenty. At its northern extremity it receives two large
rivers—the Gila,flowing from the east; and the Colorado, which rises in
the north among the Rocky Mountains, about the 40th degree of latitude,
near the sources of the Lewis, the Platte, the Arkansas, and the Rio del
Norte.   The northern part of the territory, on the eastern side of the gulf, is called Sonora, and the southern part Sinaloa; they together form
one department of the Mexican republic. The harbor of Guaymas in Sonora, jftear the 28th degree of latitude, is said to be one of the best in
America, and the town has a large and increasing trade; at the entrance
of the gulf, on its eastern side, is another rising commercial place, called
Mazatlan ; and farther south is San Bias, among the principal ports of Mexico on the Pacific. The old Mexican towns of Culiacan, on the river of the
same name a little north of Mazatlan, and Chiametla, between the latter
place and San Bias, are now nearly deserted.
X. We next proceed to take a—
It has been already said, that the whole western coast of North America
is bounded by a continuous chain of mountains; and it may now be added,
mat the whole interior of the continent, to a considerable distance from
the Pacific, is traversed by lofty ridges, separated from each other by valleys or plains of small extent. Of these interior ridges, the principal in
every respect is that known by the general name of the Rocky Mountains, forming the northern portion of the great chain of highlands which
staetcnus from the Arctic Sea to the Strait of Magellan, dividing, except in
a few places, the territories drained by streams flowing into the Atlantic,
from those whose waters enter the Pacific. Throughout its whole course,
thi^f*chain lies nearer to the western shores of the*continent than to the
eastern, and therefore much the greater quantity of the water which America supplies to the ocean is discharged into the Atlantic.
The general course of the Rocky Mountain ridge is from north-norths
west to south-southeast. Between the 58th degree of latitude and the
48th, it is nearly parallel to the Pacific coast, from which its distance is
about n^e hundred miles; from the 48th degree to the 40th, the coast, runs
due south, so that the distance between it and the ridge is constantly increasing, and on the 40th parallel exceeds seven hundred miles. The
name ofj&ocky Mountains is sot applied to any part of the chain south of
the last-mentioned latitude; the parts north of the 50th degree are sometimes called the Chipewyan Mountains.
The highest points in the Rocky Mountains, and probably in North
America, if not in the whole western continent, are those abou$j the 52d
degree of latitude, near the northernmost sources of the Columbia rivexS
Mr. Thompson, the astronomer ftf the Hudson's Bay Trading Company,
has measured several of these peaks, of which, one called Mount Brown
is estimated by him at sixteen thousand feet, and another, Mount Hooker,
at fifteen thousand seven hundred feet above the ocean level. It has been
: stated that the same gentleman has recently found other points farther
north, which he considers to be more^han ten thousand feetfjrigher than
either of those above mentioned. About the 42d parallel are also many
lofty peaks, particularly among the Wind-river Mountaifis, a spur or offset,
waieh extends (southeast from the main chain, and from whichiflow many
of the head-waters of the Missouri and the Yellow Stone Rivers. North of
the 56th degree the ridge diminishes in height, and near the Arctic Sea
it is Only a line of hills.
Near the 42d degree of latitude, three otber extensive ridges are united
to the Rocky Mountains; one on its eastern side, running towards the
if m**£
Mexican Gulf, and forming the eastern wall of a great valley or basin,
through which flows the river Bravo del Norte ; another, stretching southwest to and through the peninsula of California, between which and the
Rocky Mountains is a vast region, drained principally by the rivers Colorado and Gila, emptying into the northern extremity of the Cahfornian
Gulf; the third ridge is that commonly called the Snmoy Mountains, running westward to the Pacific, in which it terminates at Cape Mendocino,
and completely separating Oregon, or the country of the Columbia, on the
north, from California on its southern side. From the place of union of
these chains also flow the head-waters of the Bravo, emptying into the
Mexican Gulf—of the Colorado—of the Lewis, the principal southern
branch of the Columbia which falls into the Pacific —and of the Missouri,
the Yellow Stone, the Platte, and the Arkansas, all of which are discharged into the Mississippi.
Near the place of union of these chains is a remarkable depression of
the Rocky Mountains, called the Southern Pass, affording a short and
easy route for carriages between the head-waters of the south branch of
the Platte, on the east, and those of the Colorado, on the west; from
which latter, is another pass through the mountains, northward, to the
Lewis River. I There are other depressions of the great cliain farthet
north, between the Yellow Stone, on the one side, and the Salmon River
and Flathead branches of the Columbia, on the other; but they ofles
much greater difficulties to the traveller than the Southern Pass, which
is, and will probably continue to be, the principal avenue of communication between the United States and the territories of the Far West.
In latitude of 53 is the great cleft, from which the Columbia flows, on
one side, to the Pacific, and the Athabasca, on the other, to the Mackenzie
emptying into the Arctic Ocean. Farther north, the Peace and the Turn-
again Rivers, which rise near the Pacific, pass through the Rocky Mountains into the Mackenzie.
Respecting the Snowy Mountains, very little exact information has been
obtained. They appear to run in an unbroken line, from Cape Mendocino
to the Rocky Mountains, between the 39th and the 42d parallels of latitude, and to be united with the other ridges extending northward and
southward. Whether they are to be considered as a distinct chain, or as
formed by the union of branches from the others, is a question interesting
only to the geologist; certain it is, that they present a complete barrier
between California and the country of the Columbia.
XI. The remainder of this sketch will be devoted entirely to the consideration of—
Oregon, considered as comprehending the territory drained by the Columbia river, together with the seacoasts of that territory, ties withjn the
following natural boundaries : on the east, the Rocky Mountains, extend
ing about nine hundred miles, from the 54th parallel to the 41st; on the
South, the Snowy Mountains, in their whole length about seven hundred
miles, from the Rocky Mountains to Cape Mendocino, on the Pacific, near
the 40th degree of latitude; on the west, the Pacific Ocean, from Cape
Mendocino, about five hundred miles due north, to Cape Flattery, afcthe
entrance of the Strait of Fuca, near the 48th degree of latitude; and on the north, the Strait of Fuca, from Cape Flattery, about one hundred and
twenty miles eastward, and thence by a line running northeast, along the
summit of the highlands separating the waters of the Columbia from
those of Frazer's River, to the Rocky Mountains, which it would reach
about the 54th degree of latitude. Such are the natural boundaries of the
territory drained by the Columbia, the surface of which may be estimated
at about three hundred and fifty thousand square miles.
The coast of Oregon on the Strait of Fuca is about one hundred and
twenty miles in length, eastward from Cape Flattery, where the strait
joins the Pacific under the parallel of 48 degrees 23 minutes. The shores
are composed of low sandy cliffs, overhanging beaches of sand or stones;
from them the land ascends gradually to the foot of the mountains, which
rise abruptly to a great height within a few miles of the sea. The only
harbor immediately on the strait is Port Discovery, situated near the
southeast angle, which Vancouver pronounces perfectly safe and convenient for ships of any size; it runs southward from the strait into the land,
and is defended from the violence of the waves by Protection Island,
which stretches partly across its entrance on the north. A few miles farther east a long arm of the sea, called Admiralty Inlet, penetrates the
continent, southward from the strait, more than one hundred miles, terminating near the 47th degree of latitude in a bay named by Vancouver
Puget's Sound; Hood's Canal is a branch of this inlet, extending, south-
westward, and many smaller branches are given off on each side. The
country surrounding Admiralty Inlet is described by Vancouver as beautiful, fertile, and in every respect agreeable ; and the bay, with its numerous arms stretching into the interior, must offer great advantages for
commerciafcitercourse hereafter. The Hudson's Bay Company has trading-posts on these waters, of which the principal is Fort Nasqually, at
the southernmost part of Puget's Sound.
On the Pacific, the coast of Oregon extends five hundred miles in a
line nearly straight from north to south, presenting in its whole length
but two places of refuge for vessels. The northernmost of these is Bulfinch's, or Gray's Bay, disct&ered in May, 1792, by Captain Robert Gray,
of Boston ; it is situated in latitude of 46 degrees 58 minutes, and offers
a secure anchorage for small vessels, sheltered from the sea by sandy spits
and bars. | It appears to be of little importance as a port, in its natural
state," says Vancouver, u as it affords^but two or three situations where
boats can approach sufficiently near the shore to effect a landing;" yet
should the country become settled, this and other disadvantages may, perhaps, be corrected by artificial means. The other harbor is the mouth of
the River Columbia, about thirty miles south of the former, which was also
discovered by Captain Gray, and received from him the name of his ship;
it will be described particularly hereafter. Port Trinidad, so called by
the Spaniards who anchored there in 1775, is an open roadstead in latitude 41 degrees 3 minutes, entirely unprotected from the ocean, and, according to Vancouver, unworthy to be called a harbor. Several small
rivers fall into the Pacific south of the Columbia, of which the principal
are the Klamet and the Umqua, both discharging their waters near the
43d parallel. Vessels drawing not more than eight feet water may enter
the Umqua; at the mouth of which the Hudson's Bay Company have a
On this coast are several capes; none of which, however, project far
. ■ Si
into the ocean. The most remarkable is Cape Blanco, discovered by the
Spanish navigator Aguilar in 1803r> and named by Vancouver in 1792
Cope Orford; it lies nearly under the 43d parallel, and is the extremity of
a line of highlands which separates the valley of the Umqua, on the north,
from the Klamet, on the south. The only island between Cape Flattery
and Cape Mendocino, which has been thought worthy of a name, is one
close to the continent, near the latitude of 47^ degrees, called by the Spaniards Isla de Dolores, or Isle of Grief, in commemoration of the murder
of some of their men on the contiguous main land; it afterwards received the appellation of Destruciietn Island, from a similar loss there sustained by a British vessel in 178?*;?
XII. The territory drained by the Columbia present^ a constant succession of mountain-ridges and valleys, or plains of small extent. The
principal ridges are two in number, besides the Rocky Mountains, running nearly parallel to each other and to the coasts; and the country
is thus divided into three great regions, which differ materially in climate,
soil, and productive powers. The first region, or low country, is that
between the coast and the chain of mountains nearest to the sea; the second region i& between the mountains nearest the sea and the middle ridse,
called the Blue Mountains; and the third region, or high country, is between the Blue Mountains and the Rocky Mountains. All these divisions are crossed >hy the Columbia, the main stream of which is formed in
the middle region, by the union of several branches flowing from the
Rocky Mountains, and receiving in their course supplies from innumerable smaller tributaries draining the intermediate countries.
The chain of mountains running nearest the Pacific, southward from
the Strait of Fuca, has received many names, no one of which appears to
have been generally adopted. It is called the California Mountains; the
Klamet Mountains, from the Indian nation which occupies a part of the
territory on its western side; and the Cascade Mountains, from the cascades or cataracts formed by the Columbia, in passing through the ridge.
Mr. Kelly, a na£m$$& American citizen, has proposed to call it the President Range, and has accordingly assigned to the seven highest peaks,
respecfeiy, the names of the Chief Magistrates of the United States, from
Washington to Jackson, in succession.* These mountains are of considerable elevation, and many of their summits are visible from a great
distance at sea, espeeifdly the most northern, called Mount Olympus,
near Cape battery. Mr. Wyeth speaks thus rapturously of the view
of them from the top of one of the Blue Mountains: " The traveller going
west, sees the high points of the California Mountains, about one hundred
and sixty miles distant, some of which rise about sixteen thousand feet
above the level of the Pacific. All other views in Amesica sink into littleness in comparison with this.    From one spot, I have seen seven of
* Kelly's Mount Washington is the same called by Vancouver Mount Hood, rising due east
of the mouth of tfee Columbia, at the distance of about one hundred miles; Mount Adams; £f
the Mount St. Helen^^ of the, same navigator, under the 45th parallel; Mount Jefferson received that name from Lewis and Clarke, in 18(>5:f it is the lofty peak in latitude of 44J degrees, which the British fur-traders have thought proper to call Mount Vancouver; M#w&
Madison is the Mount Maclaughlin of the British maps; Mount Monroe is in latitude of 43 degrees 20 minutes; Mount John Quincy Adams is in 42 degrees 10 minutes; Mount Jackson is a
stupendous pinnacle, under the parallel of 41 degrees 40 minutes, called by the British Mount
put. 15
the high points of this range, extending from north to south, their perfect
whiteness and steep conical shape causing them to appear like huge sugar-
The distance from the coast to the foot of this chain is in some places
one hundred miles, in others much less. The intervening country is
crossed in various directions by low ridges connected with the principal
chain, some of which run parallel to it, while others stretch towards the
ocean. Between these ridges are valleys, of which the two most extensive
lie immediately at the base of the great chain, and are drained by rivers
flowing into the Columbia; the waters from the others falling directly into
the Pacific. Of the two rivers which empty into the Columbia, the
northern, called the Coioilitz, has been imperfectly examined, and little has
been reported concerning it. The southern, described by Lewis and Clarke
as the Multonomah, but now more generally known as the Wallamet,
has been traced more than two hundred milesjtdue south, from its entrance into the Columbia, through a valley which is said to be the most delightful and fertile part of Northwest Americano
The climate of this region is more favorable to agriculture than those of
the other parts of Oregon, although it is certainly adverse to great productiveness. The summer is warm and very dry. From April to October,
while the westerly winds prevail, rain seldom falls in any part of Oregon ; during the other months, when the south wind blows constantly,
the rayis are almost incessant in the lower region, although sometimes the
dry season there continues longer. Farther from the Pacific, the rains
are less frequent and abundant; and near the Rocky Mountains, they are
reduced to a few showerjfein the spring. In the valleys of the low country
snow is rarely seen, and the ground is not often frozen, so that ploughing
Biay generally be carried on during the whole winter. In 1834 the Columbia was frozen for thirteen days, but this was principally in consequence of the accumulation of ice from above. " This cojuntry," says Mr.
Wyeth, " is well calculated for wheat, barley, oats, rye, pease, apples, po-
tatoes^jand allfthe roots cultivated in the northern States of the Union;
Indian corn does not succeed well, and is an unprofitable crop. The
yield of wheat, with very poor cultivation, is about fifteen bushels of thg
best quality t^the acre. Horses and neat cattle succeed tolerably well;
the winter being $nild, they are enabled to subsist upon die produce of the
open fields. Hogs live and multiply, but cannot be made fat on the range
of the country. The agriculture of this region must always suffer from
the extreme dryness of the summer. The products which ripen earliest
sustain the least damage, but those which come late are often injured."
Of the soil of this region, the same acute observer says: " The upends are tolerably good, but the cost of clearing the enormous growth
of timber on them would be beyond their worth; it is too thick and
heavy to allow of crops being obtained by giisqtti^glthe trees; and it must
be removed or bsgrnt, the labor of which is beyond the conception of those
acquainted only with the forests of the United States. There are, however, prairies sufficiently numerous and extensive for the cultivation of
the next century, which, being chiefly on the second bottoms of rivers,
are extremely fertile, and above inundation."   The forests in tips part of
* Letter from Nath. Wyeth, in the report of the commiftee of the House of Representatives
on the Oregon Territory, presented February 16, 1838.   See page 19b' of this memoir. 'HI Jj:
America are, from all accounts, magnificent. Ross Cox describes a f&
growing near Fort George, or Astoria, on the Columbia, about eight miles
from the sea, which measured forty-six feet in circumference at ten feet
from the ground, one hundred and fifty-three feet in length before giving
off a branch, and not less than three hundred feet in its whole height.
Another tree, of the same species, is said to be standing on the banks of
the Umqua, the trunk of whichSis fifty-seven feet in circumference, and
two hundred and sixteen feet in length, below its branches. Cox adds,
that P prime sound pines, from two hundred to two hundred and eighty
feet in height, and from twenty to forty feet in circumference, are by no
means uncommon."
XIII. The Blue Mountains extend from north to south, though the
whole territory of the Columbia, between the Rockjr Mountains and the
chain which borders the coast. Their course is not so regular or clearly d#£
fined as those of the other chains; and they appear to be broken into several ridges, somcof which run towards the Rocky Mountains on the east,
while others join the westernmost chain. These mountains are steep and
rocky, generally volcanic, and some of them covered with eternal snow;
they are crossed by both branches of the Columbia, which also receives
several tributaries from the valleys on their western sides.
The middle region of Oregon, between the mountains nearest the coast
on the west and the Blue Mountains on the east, is more elevated, more
dry, and less fertile, than the low country. It consists chiefly of plains,
between ridges of mountains, the soil of which is generally a yellow sandy
clay, covered with grass, small shrubs, and prickly pears. Timber is
very scarce; the trees, which are small, and of soft useless woods, such as
cotton-wood, sumach, and willow, being only found in the neighborhood
of the streams. The climate during the summer is universally represented as most agreeable and salubrious; the days are warm, andWie
nights cool; but the want of moisture in the air prevents the contrast of
temperature from being injurious to the health. The rains begin later in
the year, and end sooner, than in the lower country, and they are less
constant and heavy. Ther#is little snow in the southern valleys; farther
north it is more common.
Few attempts at cultivation have been made in this region, and they
have not been, upon the whole, successful. Wyeth conceives that " the
agriculture of this territory must always be limited to the wants of a pastoral people, and to the immediate vicinity of the streams and mountain!^
and irrigation must be resorted to, if a large population is to be supported
in it. This country, which affords little prospect for the tiller of the soil,
is perhaps one of the best for grazing in the world. It has been much
underrated by travellers who have only passed by the Columbia, the
land along which is a collection of sand and rocks, and almost without vegetation; but a few miles from the Columbia^ towards the hills and
mountaifls, the praMes open wide, covered with a low grass of a most nutritious kind, which remains good throughout the year, lln September
there are slight rains, at which time the grass starts; and in October and
November there is a good coat of green grass, which remains so until the
ensuing summer; and about June it is ripe in the lower plains, and, drying without being wet, is like made hay; in this state it remains until the
autumn rains again revive it.- The herdsman in this extensive valley
(of more than one hundred and fifty miles in width) could at all times
<r keep his andmals in-good grass, by approaching the mountains in summer, on the declivities of which almost any climate may be had; and the
dry grass of the country is at all times excellent. It is jjyi this section of
the country that all the horses are reared for the supply of the Indians and
traders in the interior. It is not uncommon that one Indian owns some
hundreds of them. I think this section, for producing hides, tallow, and
beef, is superior to any part of North America; for, with equal facilities for
raising the animals, the weather in winter, when the grass is best, and
consequently the best time to fatten the animals, is cold enough to salt
meat, which is not the case in Upper California. There is no question
that sheep might be raised to any extent, in a climate so dry and sufficiently warm, where very little snow or rains falls. It is also, I think, the
healthiest country I have ever been in, which, I suppose, arises from the
small quantity of decaying vegetable matter, and there being no obstruction from timber to the passing winds."
XIV. The third and last natural division of Oregon is the high country,
included between the Blue Mountains on the west and the Rocky Mountains on the east. The southern part of this region is a desert, of steep
rocky mountains, deep narrow valleys, called holes by the fur-tracers, and
wide plains, covered with sand or gravel, generally volcanic, which can
never be rendered capable of supporting more than a very small number
of inhabitants. The distinguishing features of this territory are, its extreme dryness, and the great difference in temperature between the day and
the night. It seldom rains, except during a few days in the spring; there
is little snow in the valleys in winter, though a great deal falls occasionally on the mountain tops; and no moisture is deposited in dews. Mr.
Wyeth saw the thermometer, on the banks of Snake River, in August,
1832, mark eighteen degrees of Fahrenheit at sunrise, and ninety-two
degrees at noon of the same day; and he says that a difference of forty
degrees between sunrise and noon is not uncommon. Such circumstances are alone sufficient to render any attempts at cultivation in this
region entirely fruitless; and a great portion of the surface is moreover so
strongly-impregnated with salts of various kinds, that plants could not flou-
ufeh in it, even were a sufficiency of heat and moisture regularly supplied.
In this region, nevertheless, are situated the sources of all the principal
branches of the Columbia, the northernmost of which rises near the 54th
parallel, and the southernmost near the 42d; they, of course, receive their
waters from the mountains, as very little can be furnished by the valleys.
There are also many lakes in this part of America, some of which communicate with the Columbia; the others have no outlets, and their waters are
therefore necessarily salt.#   The largest of these collections of salt water,
* Whenever water runs on or through-the earth, it finds salts, which it dissolves, and carries
with itself to its recipient, if that recipient have no outlet either above or under the surface of
the earth, by which it communicates with some lower recipient, and thus its waters are not
taken from it except by evaporation, the salt carried into it by streams must necessarily be
constantly accumulating there, as evaporation does not abstract a single saline particle. If the
facts here stated be admitted as true, the deductions cannot be denied; and it is believed that
no case can be cited in contradiction of either. In like manner, the surfaces of great plains or
valleys, from which the water is not carried off either by streams or by infiltration, are always
impregnated with salt. Of this, the high plains of Mexico, and the valleys immediately wes\
of the Rocky Mountains, offer examples; the soil of the parts not regularly drained being so
salt as to render vegetation impossible, even where all the other requisites are furnished in
abundance. The reverse is not always true; nevertheless, the saltness of a large body of water,
or of a large extent of ground, affords strong reasons for suspecting that there^is no regular
drain from it into a lower recipient. 18
is that called by the Indians LakeYouta, and represented on the old
Spanish maps as Lake Timpanogos, situated in one of the valleys or hollows produced by the interlocking of the Snowy Mountains with the other
chains, near the-Rocky Mountains.: Very little is known as to the extent
and position of this lake, except that it is very large, that it is surrounded
by high mountains, and that it receives on its northern side a considerable stream, called the Bear Aiver. Captain Wyeth places its northern
extremity in latitude of 42 degrees 3 minutes. In one of the maps attached to Mr. Irving's account of Captain Bonneville's Adventures in the
Far West, that point is represented under the parallel of 42 degrees 50 minutes ; while in the other map illustrating the same work, it is placed still
farther north by half a degree. In the map annexed to this memoir, Lake
Youta is made .to extend from 40^ to 41^ degrees, on the authority of
Arrowsmith; w&ich position appears more conformable than any other
with the best accounts.
The northern part of the upper region about the Clarke River is less
barren than that which has been just described; the valleys are wider, the
rains more frequent, and the soil is freed from salt by the numerous streams
which traverse it.
The country east of the Rocky Mountains, for more than two hundred
miles, is almost as dry and barren as that immediately on the western
-side; offering no means of support for a population, except in the vicinity
of the rivers, which flow through it from the great chain into the Mississippi. The interposition of this wide desert-tract between the productive
regions of the Mississippi and those of the Columbia, must retard the settlement of the latter countries, and exercise a powerful influence over
their political destinies.
XV. The Columbia River now remains to be particularly noticed, and
it will be traced from the sources of its principal confluents to the ocean.
The northernmost stream of the Columbia is Canoe River, which rises
near the 54th degree of latitude, and near the 52id is joined by two other
streams, at a place called by the fur-traders Boat Encampment. Of the
two stt*eam§vwhi#i join Canoe River, one flows from the south along the
base of the Rocky Mountains; the other rises in a great gorge of that chain,
under the parallel of 53 degrees, its head being a small lake, within a few
feet of which is another, whence the waters run into the Athabasca, one of
the branches of the Mackenzie. Of this gorge, Cox says : " The country
aroifed our encampment presented the wildest and most terrific appearance of desolation. The sun, shining on a range of stupendous glaciers,
threw a chilling brightness over the chaotic mass of rocks, ice, and snow,
by which we were environed. Close to our encampment, one gigantic
mountain, of conical form, towered majestically into the clouds, far above
the others; while at intervals, the interest <^|the scene was heightened by
the rumbling noise of a descending avalanche." The ground about this
spot is higher than any other in North America, and probably on the
whole western continent.
After a course of about two hundred miles due south from the point of
union of the three streams above mentioned, the Columbia receives Mac-
gillivray's River, and a little lower down Clarke's, or the Flathead. River,
both flowing from the Rocky Mountains. Clarke's river is nearly as large
as the Columbia, above the place of their junction; its sources are situa»
ted within a short distance of those of the Missouri, and, as the interven-
ft in^tidge is not very high, it will doubtless form one of the great channels
of communication between the eastern and the western sides of the continent. In its course it spreads out into a lake, about thirty-five miles
long and five or six broad, which is situated in a rich Valley, surrounded
by lofty snow-clad mountains.
The Clarke rushes down into the Columbia, over a ledge of rocks, a little
before the passage of the latter through the Blue Mountains, where it forms
the Kettle Falls. Just below these falls, on the south side of the river, in
latitude of 48 degrees 37 minutes, is situated Fort Colville, one of the principal establishments of the Hudson's Bay Company; the country around
Which is fertile and agreeable, producing wheat, barley, oats, Indian corn,
potatoes, peas, and various garden vegetables, in abundance. Thence the
river flows due west, receiving in its course the Spokan from the southeast, about one hundred miles, to its junction with the Okanogan, a
large stream from the north, where the Ijudson's Bay Company have
anofher fort, called Fort Okanagan. This place was first occupied by the
Astoria, or Pacific Fur Company, in 1811; from it the Columbia runs
s$uth to the latitude of 46 degrees 8 minutes, and there joins the Lewis,
or Snake, the great south branch of which will now be in like idanner
traced from its sources.
^he head-waters of the Lewis River are in the angle formed by the
Rocky and the Snowy Mountains, between the42d and the 44th degrees,
near the sources of the Colorado, the Platte, the Yellow Stone, and the
Missouri. Thence it flows westward along the foot of the Snowy Mountains to the Blue Mountains, through one ridge of which it passes near
the 43d degree of latitude, making there the Salmon, or Fishing Falls.
It then runs northwestward to its junction with the Columbia, receiving
on its Way the Malade, the Wapticacos, or north branch, and the Koos-
koosee, or Salmon River, from the east, and the Malh&ur, the Burnt River,
and Powder River from the west, besides numerous smaller streams on
each side. The Salmon River is believed to be that on affcd near which
the party sent from the United States, in 1811, to form an establishment
at the mouth of the Columbia, experienced the dreadful sufferings depicted by Mr. Irving in his Astoria.
The Columbia, below the junction of its two great branches, receives
the Walla-walla, the Umatalla, John Day's River, and the Falls R^&er from
the south, and then passes through the range of mountains nearest the
Pacific, under the 46th parallel of latitude. At the mouth of the Walla-
walla is Fort Walla-walla, or Nezperces, belonging to the Hudson's Bay
Company, near which is some land tolerably well adapted for'cultivation.
Below this river the Columbia descends considerably, forming many rapids
before entering the mountains. The Falls a*e represented by Wyeth as
impassable at low water, but passable at Mgh water both up and dowfe.
Five miles below them are the Dalles, or narrows, where the river rushes
through a space not more than one hundred and fifty feet wide, walled in
by basaltic columns on both sides; and thirty-six miles lower, are the
Cascades, which are falls impassable at all times. The tifl.e comes up to
the foot of the cascades, and the navigation is good for'fvessels drawing not
more than fourteen feet to this point, which is one hundreld and twenty-
five miies from the ocean.
At the distance of about one hundred miles from the Pacific, on the
north side of the Columbia, and a quarter of a mile from it, stands Fort 20
Vancouver, the principal establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company
west of the Rocky Mountains. It consists of a number of wooden buildings within a stockade, serving as dwelling-houses, stores, magazines,
and workshops ; and near it are other small buildings inhabited by the
laborers, together with a saw-mill and grist-mill. The whole number of
residents at the place is about eight hundred, of whom a large proportion
are Indians or half-breeds. Several hundred acres of land near the fort
are under cultivation, producing wheat, barley, oats, pease, potatoes, &c,
in abundance; and the stock of cattle is also considerable.
The Multonomah, or Wattamet^ enters the Columbia in the south,
about twenty miles below Vancouver. It is navigable for small vessels
to the distance of twenty miles from its mouth—or, rather, from its
mouths, for it divides into two branches before entering the Columbia,
and thus forms a long narrow island, on which Captain Wyeth endeavored unsuccessfully to establish an American trading-factory in 1835.
At the head of the navigation is a fall, where the river crosses a ridge of
jjjdls; before reaching which, it flows through prairies of the richest
ground, varying in breadth from a few feet to several miles. In this delightful valley the Hudson's Bay Company have formed a settlement for
its retiring servants; and another has been made by American citizens,
under the direction of Methodist missionaries, which is said to be in a
. prosperous condition. A large body of emigrants to this place sailed from
New York in the latter part of 1839; and other persons are said to be
now in that city preparing for their departure for the same point.
Astoria, the first settlement made on the Columbia by the Americans
in 1811, is on the south side of the river, eight miles from its mouth;
«& consists at present of only a single house, occupied by the Hudson^
Bay Company, and called Fort George.
The Columbia, twenty-five miles from the sea, varies in width from
seven miles to one, and that part of the river has been, in consequence,
sometimes considered as a bay or inlet; this view is, however, contradicted by the fact, that the water continues to be fresh and potable to the
immediate vicinity of the Pacific, except when the stream is very low, or
the wind has long blown violently from the west. The river enters the Pa~
cific between two points of land: one, on the north, called Cape Disappointment, or Cape Hancock, in latitude of 46 degrees 18 minutes; the
other, called Point Adams, being seven miles southeast from the former.
From each of these points a sand-bar runs into the water; above which
the waves of the Pacific, on the one side, and the torrents of the Columbia, on the other, meet with terrific violence, producing a most formidable line of breakers. £| These circumstances render the entrance and departure of vessels hazardous at all times, and almost impossible when
the winds are high. The depth of the water, between the bars, is thirty
feet at the lowest; no vessel drawing more than fourteen feet can, however, proceed far up the river, on account of the irregularities of the
This river, like the others in Northwest America, abounds in fish, particularly in salmon, which ascend all its branches up to the Blue Mountains,
and form the principal means of subsistence for the natives of the first and
middle regions. Of those natives, the limits of the present sketch do not
admit a detailed description; they are supposed to be in number about
twenty thousand, all savages incapable of civilization.
Preliminary observations*—Early attempts of the Spaniards to explore the western
coasts of North America—Voyages made by authority of Hernan Cortes—Discovery of California |by Becerra, in 1535—Voyage of Cortes in the Gulf of California—Discovery of the west coast of California by Ulloa, in 1539—Expeditions of Coronado and Alarcon—Voyage of Cabrillo, in 1542—Establishment ef
direet intercourse by the Pacific, between Mexico and India—Visit of Francis
Drake to the northwest coast in 1579*
The territories first seen by Europeans on tb§ western side of
the Atlantic were naturally supposed to be parts of Asia, or to lie
in the immediate vicinity of that continent, the eastern limits ojf
which were then unknown; and,, as the circumference of the
earth was moreovertat that time, considered to be much less than
it really is, hopes were enter^Lned among the maritime nations
of Europe that some route for their ships to India, safer and shorter than any around the southern extremity of Africa, would be
gpeedily discovered.
It was under the influence of such expectations that the united Spanish Sovereigns concluded with the King of Portugal the
celebrated Treaty of Partition, founded oni^e bull issued in 1494,
by Pope Alexander VI. Agreeably to this treaty, the Spaniards were
to make no attenipts to communicate with India by seajthrough
eastern routes, whicji became in a manner the property of Portugal ; whll^, on the other hand, they were to possess exclusive
control and use of every west$pg|phannel of intercourse with
those coujQtries, which might be discovered. This and other important questions of jurisdiction having been thus definitively
settled between the two greatest maritime Powers of Europe,
lender the guaranty ofithe highest authority then recognjged
among civilized nations, each of the parties to the treaty contin-
ued its researches within the limits assigned to it.
1495. 22
In these examinations, the Portuguese were the most successful. They soon found their way by the Cape of Good Hope to
India, where they firmly established their pre-eminence; while
the Spaniards were vainly exploring the Atlantic coasts of the
New World, in search of some opening through which they might
penetrate with their ships into the ocean bathing the southern
side of Asia. At length, in 1513, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the
Governor of the Spanish ctiiony of Darien, on the Atlantic, after a
short march across the mountains overlooking that place, arrived
on the shore of a sea, which was supposed to be no other than
the long-sought Southern ocean; and, as the proximity of this
sea to the Atlantic was at the itome* time demonstrated, farther encouragement was afforded for the hope that the two great waters
would be found united in a position the most favorable for the
prosecution of the desired objects. The researches of the Spaniards were$ inconsequence, directed particularly towards the isthmus of Darien; and were conducted with zeal, until the feet of
the entire separation of the oceans in that quarter was determined.
In the mean time, however, Fernando Magalhaens, or Magellan, a Portuguese in the service of Spain, discovered the strait
which has ever since borne his name, and, having passed through
it with his ships, continued his voyage westward to India. The
grand geographical question, as to the possibility of circumnavigating the earthy was thus solved; but not in a manner sa^fectory
to the Spaniards. The strait of Magellan was intricate, and beset by dangers of every kind; and it was itself almost as distant
from Europe as India by the eastern route. Moreover, the sea intervening between the new continent and Asia proved to be
much wider than had been supposed; and, in every part of it,
which was traversed by vessels for many years after its discovery,
llie winds were found to blow constantly from eastern points;
These cliemnstances, as they-successively became known, contributed to depress the hopteis of the Spaniards, with regard to the
establishment of their dominion in India; other events, however,
occurred at the same time, whfeh consoled them in part for the
disappointment, and fixed their attention upon the New World.
While Magellan's voyage was in progress, the rich and populous empire of Mexico was discovered, and it was soon after conquered by the Spaniards, under Hernan Cortes. Within the ensuing ten years Peru and Chili were likewise subjected to the
authority of the Spanish monarch; and the silver of America began to be considered as ample compensation for the loss of the
spices and diamonds of India. The briBiant results of these extraordinary enterprises attracted from Europe crowds of adventurers, all eager to acquire wealth and distinction by similar means,
who, uniting in bands under daring leaders, traversed the new
continent in various directions, seeking rich nations 'to plunder.
Fortunately for the cause of humanity, these expeditions were
fruitless, so far at least as regards the object for which they were
undertaken; on the other hand, much information was speedily
acquired by means of them, respecting the geography of coasts 23
ftnd regions, which would not otherwise have been explored, perhaps, for centuries.
Among those who were at this period engaged in endeavoring
to discover new kingdoms in America, and new passages between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the most zealous and persevering was Hernan Cortes. Scarcely #had he effected the establishment of the Spanish authority in Mexico, ere he commenced preparations for exploring the adjacent seas and countries ; in expeditions of which nature he employed a great portion
of his time, as well as of his private fortune, during the whole
period of his residence in that kingdom. In prosecution of his
plans, the interior, as well as the coasts on both sides of the region
connecting Mexico with South America, were minutely explored,
until it had been ascertained that no wealthy nations occupied
those territories, and that the two seas were entirely separated by
land throughout the whole extent. This arduous task having
been accomplished, the enterprising conqueror of Mexico directed
his attention towards the northwest.
At that period, the most northern settlements of the Spaniards
in the American continent were: on the Atlantic side, Panuco,
situated near the spot now occupied by the town ofTampico,
within a few miles of the Mexican Gulf; and, on the Pacific, Cu-
llacan, a small place near the eastern side of the entrance to the
Gulf of California. Northward of these settlements, which were
both in the vicinity of the tropic of Cancer, nothing was known
of the continent, except with regard to some isolated portions of
lfe eastern coasts.
It should here be observed, that the accounts which have descended to us of all voyages performed before the middle of the last
century, and of all Spanish voyages to a much more recent period, are very defective, especially as regards geographical positions.
Seldom, indeed, is it possible to identify a spot by means of the
descriptions contained in those accounts. This arises, in the first
place, from the circumstance that such narratives were usually
written by priests, or other persons unacquainted with nautical
matters, who paid little attention to latitudes and bearings. In
the next place, the instruments employed in those days for determining the altitudes and relative distances of heavenly bodies
were so imperfect, both in plan and in execution, that observations
made with them on land, and under the most favorable conditions
of atmosphere, led to results which were far from accurate; while
at sea, when there was much motion in the vessel, or the air was
not absolutely clear, those instruments were useless. To these
causes of error are to be added the want of proper methods of
calculation, as well as of knowledge of various modifying circumstances, such as refraction, aberration, &c. Hence, it followed
that the statements of latitude, given in the accounts above mentioned, are of little value as indicating the positions of places, and
are at best only* Approximative; while those of longitude, being,
* Letter of Cortes to Charles V., written from Mexico, in, 1533. 24
1531. when given at all, deduced merely from the notes of the vessel's
course and rate of sailing, are entirely worthless. It is scarcely
necessary to add that this uncertainty as to the geographical situations of places produced confusion with regard to names;
and, accordingly, we find that there are few remarkable spots on
the northwest coast of America, discovered before the middle of
the last century, which have not at different times been distinguished by many different appellations.
Respecting the voyages of discovery, made by order of Cortes
in the Atlantic seas, little is to be found on record; and no notice
of them is required for our present purposes. The first expedition,
under his auspices, towards thf northwest, took place in 1532,
and terminated most disastrously.
1532. This expedition was commanded by Diego Hurtado de Menr
doza, a relation of Cortes, who sailed from Acapulco in a small
ship, accompanied by another under Juan de Mazuela; they
advanced together along the southwest coast of Mexico, as far
north as the 27th degree of latitude, and were there separated by
a storm: after which nothing more was heard of the vessel commanded by Mendoza. The other ship, under Mazuela, was obliged, after the storm, to put back to the river of Cul^acan, the
nearest Spanish port, where she was deserted by the greater part
of her crew. Those who remained then endeavored to $arry her
to Acapulco; but she was stranded on the shore of the province
of Jalisco, near the place where San Bias now stands; and her
crew, with the exception of three, were murdered by the savage^
The vessel was subsequently seized and rifled by Nufio de Guzman, the chief of a roving band of adventurers, wh<|, assuming
the title of Governor of Jalisco, pretended toqct for the Sovereign
of Spain, independently of Cortes.
1533. A year having elapsed after the departure of these vessels, without any news being received of them, Cortes despatched two
others in the same direction, under Hernando de Grijalva and
Diego de Becerra, who sailed together from Tehuantepec on the
30th of October, 1533.
Grijalva, being soon separated from his companion, took a westward course, and reached a group of small islands at the distance
of a hundred and fifty miles from the main land, (now called the
Revillagigedo islands.;) after which he returned to Mexico, without having effected any other discovery.
Meanwhile, Becerra, likewise sailing westward from Tehuantepec, found land almost immediately under the tropic of Cancer,
and anchored in a small bay, where his men, having obtained
some valuable pearls, became anxious to fix themselves fpr a time.
This Becerra refused to permit; and he was preparing to continue
his voyage, when a mujny took place, in the course of whicj^he
was murdered, and the command was assumed by Fortunio Xim-
enes, the pilot. In pursuance of their plan, the mutineers then
landed, and began to construct habitations on the shore-ef the
bay; but, while thus engaged, they were surprised by a body of
savages, who kflled nearly the whole of mem. Thi survivors
escaped with the vessel, and succeeded in navigating her over to the little port of Chiametla, on the coast of Jalisco, where she was
also seized by the lawless Nuno de Guzman.
It may be mentioned, at once, that the land thus discovered by
Becerra was the southern extremity of the peninsula of California. The bay in which his ship was lying at the time of his assassination is supposed to be that now called the bay of La Paz,
and sometimes the bay of San Jose.*
When Cortes became assured of the seizure and spoliation of 1534.
his vessels by Guzman, he prosecuted that person before the Au-
diencia, or royal court of justice of Mexico, which immediately decided in his favor. The pretended Governor of Jalisco, however,
proved refractory, and refused to make restitution; whereupon,
the conqueror assembled a body of troops, and marched at their
head to Chiametla, in order to recover his Vessels, and re-establish his authority in that country. On his approach, Guzman
fled, with his adherents, to the interior; and Cortes having been
joined at Chiametla, agreeably to his orders, by three vessels, determined to proceed with them in person to the new country discovered by Becerra in the west, which was said to be so rich in
pearls and precious stones.
He accordingly embarked with his forces at Chiametla, and on    1535.
the 3d of May, the day of the Invention or Pinding of the Holy April 15.
Cross, agreeably to the Roman Catholic calendar, he reached the
bay in which Becerra had been murdered.   In honor of this day,
the name of La Santa Cruz (the Holy Cross) was bestowed upon   .
the country, as well as on the bay; and possession having been
solemnly taken of the whole in the name of the Sovereign of
Spain, preparations were commenced for the establishment of a
colony on the spot.   These arrangements being completed, Cortes
took Ms departure with two vessels, to examine the coasts of the
new territory towards the north and east, for the purpose of assuring himself whether or not it was united to the American continent.
Of the voyage made by Cortes in the arm of the sea between
California and the continent, the accounts are so confused and
contradictory that it is impossible to ascertain his route. It appears, however, that, although he crossed this sea several times,
he did not reach its northern extremity. After some time spent
in this manner, during which his vessels were frequently in danger of destruction from storms, and their crews were suffering
from want of provisions, he at length returned to Santa Cruz,
where he found the colonists in the utmost distress from famine
and privations of all sorts. Under these circumstances, he resolved to go back to Mexico, in order to procure supplies; which
he accordingly did, leaving the colony in charge of his lieutenant,
Francisco de Ulloa.
On arriving at Aeapulbo, in the beginning of 1536, Cortes learn-    1536.
ed that, during his absence from Mexico, he had been superseded
* The accounts of these voyages are derived from Herrera's History of the Spanish Empire in America, and from Navarrete's Introduction to the Journal of the
voyage of the Sutil and Mexicana.
•A - =**«?■
July 8.
Sept. 7.
Oct. 18.
Oct. 29.
Nov. 7.
Mar. 25.
in the government of that country by Don Antonio de Mendoza,
a nobleman of high rank, who had already made his entrance into
the capital as Viceroy. The conqueror thus saw himself, in a
moment, despoiled of his power, in the territory which had been,
through his exertions ^ added to the Spanish dominions; and the
blow was. the more severe, as his private property had been almost entirely expended in his endeavors to make new discoveries. He was, however, not to be depressed by these difficulties;
and as he still possessed the right, in his quality of Admiral of the
South Sea, to prepare and despatch vessels upon the Pacific, he
immediately resolved to engage in another expedition towards the
northwest, where he hoped to find the means of retrieving his
fortunes. He accordingly recalled Ulloa and the colonists from
Santa Cruz; and having with difficulty succeeded in raising the
necessary funds, he equipped three ships for the contemplated
voyage, which was not commenced until 1539.
The command of this expedition was intrusted to Francisco de
Ulloa, Cortes being obliged to remain at Mexico in order to attend to some important suits at law, in which he had become involved. Ulloa quitted Acapulco on the 8th of July, 1539, and,
after losing one of his ships in a storm near the coast of Culiacan,
he sailed with the two others towards the west, as far as the harbor of Santa Cruz, which, as well as the surrounding country,
began by this time to be called California* To ascertain the
extent of this country, and whether it was connected with America or with Asia, or was detached from both those continents,
were the first objects of the voyage; in pursuance of which, the?
Spanish navigator directed his course from Santa Cruz northward,
through the arm of the ocean separating Cahfoniiafrom the main
land of Mexico on the east In this course he proceeded, exam-
ining both shores, until he had convinced himself that the two
territories were united near the 33d degree of latitude. He then
returned southward to Santa Cruz, through the same arm of the
ocean, to which he gave the appropriate name of Mar de Cortes,
(Sea of Cortes.) This great gulf has since received a variety o$
appellations, of which that principally used by the Spaniards is
Mar Vermejo, (Vermillion Sea.) Among all other nations, it is
known as the Gulf of California.
Having thus ascertained the continuity of California with America in the northeast, Ulloa next proceeded to examine the western
sides of the new country. With this view, he sailed from the
harbor of Santa Cruz, around the southern extremity of the land
which is now called Cape San Lucas; thence he advanced along
the coast, northward, struggling almost constantly against the violent northwest winds which prevail in that part of the Pacific,
until he reached the 30th degree of latitude. By the time of his
arrival at that parallel, many of the men in both vessels were disabled by sickness, and the stock of provisions was much reduced ;
* With regard to the origin or the signification of the word California, many speculations have been offered, none of which are euher satisfactory or ingenious. 27
1527 to
in consequence of which, it was determined that one^of the ve%$ *540-
sels should go back to Mexico, carrying th%sj#k and the news of
their discoveries, while Ulloa should remain in the other for the
purpose of examining the coast still farther. The necessary arrangements having been accordingly made, the two vessels parted Aprils
at the Isle of Cedars, (now called Isla de Q&ros, or Isle of Mountains,) situated near the coast, in the 28thi$Legree of latitude. The
vessel called the Santa Agueda, bearing the sick and the despatches, reached Acapulco in safety before the end of May, 1540.
Whether or not Ulloa ever retained to Mexico, is not known with
certainty.* Thus terminated the lasjt expedilfepai of discovery made
by authority of Hernan Cortes.
In the mean time, the Viceroy, DonAntonio de M^pdoza, who
succeeded Cortes in the gove^pine^ii of Mexico, had also, become
interested in the examination of the coasts and countries north of
that kingdom; his attention having been thus directed by the accounts of some persons who had made a long and toilsome peregrination across those regies.
These person^Alvaro Nunez, (better known in history as Ca-
beza Vaca, or Bull-head,) two other Spaniards, and a negro, had
landed, in 1527, near Tampa Bay, in IJast Florida, among the
adventurers under Panfilo Narvaez, who invaded tfoat country in
search of mines or n^ons to plunder; and after the destruction
of their comrades by starvation, shipwreck, and the arrows of the
savages, had wandered for ni|*e years through ftfcests and deserts,
until, at length, they reached Culiacan, near the Gulf of California, in 1536. Although these adventurers had themselves seen
no signs of cultivation or wealth in the territories thus traversed,
yet.ithey had received from the savages, on their way, many confused accounts of rich and populous kingdoms^^ituated still farther northward; and the Viceroy, having heard their statements,
thought proper to endeavor to ascertain the truth of the reports.
For this purpose he was induced, by the advice and solicitation
of his friend, the celebrated Bartolome de las Casas, to employ
two Franciscan friars, in place.of th#soldiers who were usually
sent on such expeditions; in order that the native might be in this
manner preserved from the violence which military men would
not fail to exercise, if opportunity should be offered for the gratification of their cupidity.
The friars, Marcos de Niza and Honorato, with the negro who
had accompanied Cabeza Vaca, and some Indians, according]^
departed from Culiacan oajjie 7th of March, 1539. What route,
they took it is impossible now to discover. The reverend explorers, however, returned before the-end of the year, (without the
negro,) bringing accounts of co#ntrie£ which they had visited in
the northwest, abounding in gold and precious stones, and i|^-
+ Our knowledge of TJJloa's voyage is derived chiefly from the narrative of Francisco Preeiado, one of the officers of the Santa Agneda, which is interesting, though
by no means exact. It may be found in Italian, in the Collection of Ramusio, vol. iii,
page 288; and in English, though badly translated, in the reprint of Hakluyt, vol. iii,
page 503.
Mar. 7. ££5s
1539. habited by a population more numerous and more civilized than
either Mexico or Peru.
According to the letter* addressed to the Vteeroy by friar Marco*, upon his return, these ric& and delightful countries were sit-
uated beyond the 85th degree of latitude, in the vicinity of the
sea, and were separated from those previously knowA to the Spaniards by esrtensive tracts of forest and desert, through which it
would be necessary to pass in order to reach the golden region.
The fiiar describes with minuteness Ms roulfcj as well as the situation, extent, and divisions of the new couilfitles; dwelling particularly on the magnificence and greatness of a city called Cibola,
the capital of a province of the same name, which he describes as
containing more than twenty thousand large stohe houses, all
richly adorned with gold and jewels. The people of this place,
as ike letter sayfc, were at first hostile to #te strangers, and had
killed the negro; but, in the end, they had eviffeed a disposition
to embrace Christianity, and to'flfabmit to the authority of Spain;
in consequence of which, the friars had secretiy taken possession
of the whole cotltitry for their Sovereign, by setting up crosses in
various parts.
These, and other things of the like nature, gravely related by ecclesiastics, who professed te have witiiessed what they described,
were admitted as true by#he Viceroy; and he accordingly prepared, without delay, to conquer these new countries, which were
considered as belonging of right to his Catholic Majesty, as well
as to convert theii^ inhabitants to Christianity. For these purposes, he raised a body of soldiers and missionaries, wlio were to
pursue the route described by friar Marcos, under the command
of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, the governor of the territory
immediately north of Mexico, called New Gallicia. At the same
time, in orde#0f there should be occasion, tojiupport these forces,
a small squadron was sent along ttie western Sbast, towards the
north, trader #ie direction of Fernando de Alarfcon.
Cortes also claimed the right, as Admiral of the South Sea, to
attempt the conquest of these countries by means of a naval armament y and a violent dispute in consequence arose between the
1540. $wo chiefs. The conqueror, however, had expended all Ms disposable funds upon ^tfie equipment of the sfcajpsf which he had
sent out under Ulloa, before the return of friar Marcos from the
north; and he had, therefore, only to console himself with the
hope that those vessi&sraight accidentally have reached the shores
of the golden land before its invasion by the forces of the Viceroy. In tms expectation he was disappointed, as already shown,
This extraordinary man, sootpafter the conclusion of Ulloa's voyage, returned to Spain, where he passed the remaining seven
years of his life in vain efforts to procure restittraorf %f his prop-
* See Ramusio, vol. iii, page %$7; and Hakluyt, vol. iii, page 438.
t Herrera says that trfltfa was sent by Cortes to subdue the countries discovered
lljifriar Marcos. THs is, however, an error, if the dates given by him and the other
historians of that period be correct:'9 erty and honors, in the vast and valuable dominions which he    1540.
had rendered subject to the crown of Castile.
# Fernando de Alarcon, the commander of the naval forces sent
by Mendoza for the conquest of Cibola, sailed from the harbor of
Santiago, on the west coast of Mexico, with two ships of wa¥,and May 9.
advanced northward along that coast to the extremity of the Cal-
ifornian gulf, where he found the entrance of a large and rapid
river. Having embarked, with a portion of Ifis crew, in boats, Aug. 26.
upon this river, to which he gave the name of Nuestra Senora de
Buena Guia, (Our Lady of Safe Conduct,) he ascended one of its
branches, (probably that now called the Colorado,) to the distance
of eighty leagues from its mouth. Throughout this whoRf distance he found the stream broad and rapid, and the Country on
either side; rich and thickly peop^fd, though occupied only by
savages. In reply to the inquiries made by him respecting Coro
nado's party, and the rich territories of which they were in search,
he received a number of confused stories of kingdoms abounding
in gold and precious stones, and inhabited by civilized nations;
of rivers filled with crocodiles; of droves df buffaloes; of enchanters, and other wonderful or remarkable objects. At the extremity of his course up the Aver, he received what he considered definite information respecting Cibola, and was even assured that
he migh'^reach that country by a march of ten days into the interior. He, however, suspected some treachery on the part of
those who gave such assurances; and fearing lest he should be
cut off in case he proceeded farther onwards, he descended the
river to his ships, and returned to Mexico before the end of the
year. His report to the Viceroy displays great self-conceit, and
violent animosity against Cortes and Ulloa. Mendoza was, how-
everf so little satisfied withfiis conduct, that he was, immediately
after his return, dismissed from the service.
&*Phe land forces sent under Coronado exhibited much greater
perseverance in their search for the rich kingdoms believed to be
situated in the northwestern part of America. According to the
letter of their general,f who appears to have been a person of sober and resolute character, this body of soldiers and priests, after
leaving Culiacan, followed the route described by the two friars, April 22.
and found the forests and deserts mentioned in their narrative.
Having toiled through these dreary regions, however, they had
ample cause to distrust the other statements of the reverend discoverers. They indeed reached a country called Cibola, situated nearly in the position assigned by the missionaries to their
golden land; but they there saw before them only a half-cultivated territory, thinly inhabited by a people not absolutely bar-
barbnfes, but yet entirely destitute of that wealth and refinement
which had been attributed to them in the reports made to the
Viceroy.    The magnificent cities were small Indian villages, the
* Letter of Alarcon to the Viceroy, in Ramusio, vol. iii, page 303; and in Hakluyt,
vol. iii, page 505.
t Ramusio, vol. iii, page 300; Hakluyt, vol. iii, page 447. c
largest not containing more than tw%hundred houses; and the
immense quantities of precious metals and stones dwindled down
into " a few turquoises^'and. " some little gold and silver, supposed
to be good." In fine, as Coronado says in his despatch written
from Cibola, " the reverend father provincial had told the truth in
nothing which he said respecting kingdoms, provinces, and cities,
hi this region; for we have found all quite the contraryr."
The Spaniards, although they were thus disappointed in thejft
hopes of plunder, yet did not like to return empty-handed to Mexico, and petitioned their leader to allow them to settle in Cibola,
which was a pleasant and agreeable country. To this request
however, Coronado would not assent; and he could only be prevailed on to continue the march northward for some time longer,
in search of other rich countries, which were said by the people
of Cibola to lie in that direction. Of the remainder of their journey aflter quitting Cibola, we have a very imperfect account. It
appears that they rambled for two years through the region between the Pacific and the great dnfiding chain of mountains, deriving their subsistence chiefly from the flesh of the buffaloes,
which were there found in large numbers.    The northjern limit
1541. of their wanderings was a country called by them Quivjira, near
the ocean, and under the 40th degree of latitude, inhabited by a
kind and intelligent people, from whom the Spaniards learned
that the coasts were occasionally visited by ships laden with rich
goods and adorned with gilded images.*   With information of
1542. this nature the adventurers returned to Mexico in 1542, to the
great disappointment of Mendoza, who doubtless expected more
real results from the labor and expense bestowed by hkp. on the
equipment and pay of the body.
1541. Before the return of Coronado's party from the northwest,! the
Viceroy had prepared another naval armament, which was to proceed in that direction, from one of the ports on the Pacific, under
the command of Pedro de Alvarado, one of the most celebrated heroes of the conquest. But, just as it was about to depart, a rebellion
broke out among the Indians of the province of Jalisco; and the
forces which had been assembled for the expedition on the ocean
were all required to re-establish the Spanish authority in the disturbed territories. In the course of thepampaign which ensued, Alvarado was killed by a kick from his horse; and the difnculties in
Jalisco continuing, Mendoza could not carry into effect his views
with regard to the countries northwest of Mexico until the following year.
1542 The disturbances in Mexico having beenj at length quieted,
two of the vessels which had been prepared for the expedition to
the North Pacific were placed under the command of Juan Rodriguez de Cabrillo, a Portuguese navigator of considerable rep-
Jnne 27. utation at that day.    These vessels sailed together from the port
* In this account there is nothing improbable.   Japanese vessels have been found
upon the northwest coasts'of America twice since 1814.
tHerrera, decade 7, book 2, chapter 11.    +Herrera,4lecade 7, book 5, chapter 3. 31
July 2.
Jan. 3.
of Navidad, in Jalisco; and, after a short passage, reached the harbor of Santa Cruz, whence they proceeded around Cape San Lucas, in order to explore the west coast of California, which had
been discovered two years before by Francisco de Ulloa.    Without attempting to trace minutely the progress of Cabrillo along
this coast, or to enumerate the various bays, capes, and islands
I visited by him, scarcely any of which can now be identified, suf-
, fice it to say that, by the middle of November, he had advanced Nov. 1
i as far north as the 40th degree of latitude; having!$>een, like Ulloa, incessantly opposed by violent northwesterly winds.    From
this height the Spaniards were driven back to a harbor, which
they hadjfeefore entered and named Port Possession, supposed to be
| in the small island of San Bernardo, near the main land under the
134th parallel. Here Cabrplo sunk under the fatigues to which he
had been subjected, and died, leaving the command of the ships
' to the pilot, Bartolome Ferrer, or Ferrelo.]
The new commander, being no less enterprising than his prede-
jcessor, resolved, if possible, to attain some of the objects of the
expedition before returning to Mexico.    He accordingly sailed
from Port Possession; and, after having been several times driven
[back, at length, on the 1st of March, he found himself, by obser- March 1
vation, in the 44th degree of latitude.    Here the crews of both
I vessels were suffering from cold, fatigue, and want of proper nourishment; in consequence of which, it was resolved that the attempt to proceed farther northward should be abandoned. Agreeably to this resolution, the navigators directed their course towards the south, and arrived in safety at Navidad on the 14th of
April, 1543.
It is not easy, from the accounts.which we possess, to ascertain
precisely what was the most northern point on the American
coast seen by the Spaniards in this expedition. Navarrete,* after
examining the journals and other papers relating to the voyage,
which are still preserved in the Archives of the Indies, pronounces
that the 43d parallel of latitude is to be considered as the northern limit of the discoveries made by Cabrillo and Ferrelo. The
same writer has also remarked, that the latitudes assigned in those
documents to all the places visited by the ships, which can now
be identified, are about a degree and a half too high. Conformably with this observation, it would appear that a promontory,
named by Ferrelo the Cape of Risks, (Cabo de Fortunas,) in
commemoration of the perils encountered in its vicinity, may be
that situated in the latitude of 40 degrees 20 minutes, which afterwards received the name of Cape Mendocino.
While the expeditions thus made under the authority of the
Viceroy Mendoza were in progress, Hernando de Soto and his
band of adventurer^ were performing their celebrated marchf
through the region north of the Mexican Gulf, which was then
known by the general name?of Florida.    Without attempting to
* Introduction to the Journal of the Sutil and Mexicana, page 34.
tThere are several accounts of ^his expedition; among which, the best known are
those by Garcilasso de Ja Vega, and by an anonymous Portuguese. 32
delineate the course of their wanderings, suffice it to say that
they traversed, in various directions, the vast territories now composing the southern and southwestern States of the American
Union, and then descended the Mississippi from a point near the
mouth of the Ohio to the Gulf, over which they made their way in
boats to Panuco. From the accounts of the few who survived
the fatigues and perils of this enter|«ise, added to those of Alvaro
EJttfiez and Vasquez de Coronado respecting the couiitrie&which
they had severally visited, it was considered absolutely certain
that neither wealthy nations nor navigable passages between the
AtLantkrand the Pacific oceans were to be found north of Mexico,
unless beyond the 40th degree of latitude. Having arrived ^W
this conclusion, the Spaniards desisted from their efforts to explore the northwest division of America, and did not renew them
until nearly fifty years afterwards. In the mean time, circumstances had occurred which served to show that ttieUiiscovery Gt
any means of facilitating the entrance of ships from Europe into
the Pacific would be deleterious to the interests of Spain in the
New Wifa&d.
Before the middle of the sixteenth century; the Portuguese had
established their dominion over a larg^>portion of the coasts and
islands of the East Indies, between which and Eihrope they w#e
carrying on an extensive and valuable trade by way of the Cape
of Good Hope. The Spaniards, in the mean time, viewing with
feelings of jealousy and vexation this advancement of the power
and wealth of their rivals, had endeavored likewise to obtain a
footing in southern Asia, for whiekpurpose naval armaments had
been despatched thither from Spain, through the straits of Magellan, and also from the ports of Mexico on the Pacific. These
expeditions had, howeveiy'piOvetl unsuccessful. The squadron
sent from Mexico in 1542, under Admiral Viilalobos, crossed the
Pacific in safety, and reached the group oMslands, since called
the Philippines^ of which possession was taken for the King of
Spain. The forces of ViHalobos were, however^ soon dispersed,
and none of his vessels returned to Mexico.
In 1564 the Spaniards made another effort to establi&h themselves in the East Indies, the issue of whichrwas more fortunate.
The Philippine islands were in that .year entirely subjugated
by Miguel de Legaspi, who had beeti sent for the purpose with a
squadron from the port of Navidad, on the west coast of Mexico;
moreover, a discovery was effected during this expedition, which
proved highly important, and without which, indeed, the other
results would have been of little valfce. Until that period, no one
had ever erossed the Pacific from Asia to America; all who had attempted to make such a voyage having endeavored to sail di-
fectly westward, through thfc part of the* ocean lying feetween the
tropics, where the winds blow eonltantty from eastern points.
Three of Legaspi's snips, however, by taking a northeastern
course from the Phihppines, entered a region of variable winds,
and were thus enabled to reach the vicinity of the Caluornian
coast, about the 40th parallel of latitude, from which the prevail-
fig northwesters soon carried them to Mexico. 33
The Spaniard^, thus gained—what they had so long desired—
a position in the East Indies; and all doubts as to the practicability of communication witk;those countries, by means of the
Pacific, were completely dissipated. Various other obstacles to
the navigation of that ocean being in like manner removed about
the same period, the commercial intercourse between the Spanish
provinces in America and in Asia rapidly increased. Large ships
sailed regularly from Acapulco, laden with precious metals and
European merchandise, for Manilla and Macao, from which places
they brought back the silks and spices of the Indies, either for
consumption in.Sjexico, or for transportation to Sp&aac; wflile an
extensive trade in articles no less?.valuable was carried on between Panama and the ports of Chili and Peru. The voyages
made for these purposes were in general long, but comparatively
safe; and as the Pacific was for some years free from all intrusion on ,^e part of other nations, little care or cost was bestowed
upon the defence of the vessels, or of the towns on the coast.
The ships proceeding from Acapulco to Manilla were carried,
by the invariable easterly or trade winds, directly across the ocean,
to their port; in returning, they frequently made the land on the
northwest coast of America, the most prominent points of which
thus became, in the course of timop tolerably well known. The
accounts of two or three of these return voyages have beep preserved; but the information obtained from them is of little use, in
consequence of their rwant of exactness. In Hakluyt's Collection
may be found a letter,* addressed in 1584 to the Viceroy of Mexico, by Francisco Gali, or Gualle, containing a description of his
passages from Acapulco to Macao, and thence back to Acapulco;
on which jjetter g^eat stress is laid by Navarrete and other writers, as showing the extent of Spanish .discoveries in the North
Pacific during the sixteenth century. Gali there prelates that he
left Macao on the 24th of July, 1584, and, proceeding by the
usual northern route, reached the American ooast, in sight of
which he sailed for a long distance before arriving at Acapulco.
Where he first saw the land of America, the letter does not precisely state. After describing his course from the vilflnity of Japan, east and east-by-north, he says: $Being by the same course,
upon the coast of New Spain, under seven-andrthirty degrees and
a half, we passed a very high and fair land, with many trees,
wholly without snow, &c. From thence, we ran southeast,
southeast-by-south, and southeast-byleast, as we found the wind,
to the point called el Cabo de San Lucafy whifch is the beginning
of the land of Califtpsgda on the northwest side, lying under two
and twenty degrees, being five hundred leagues distant from Cape,
Mendocino." No mention is made otuny land seen north of 37J-
degrees; Navarrete, and after him Humboldt, however, insist that
Gali reached the vicinity of the American continent, under the
parallel oi fifty-seven and a half degrees; and thata'the first land
* Vol. iii, page 596, of the reprint.  The letter is "translated out of Spanish into
Dutch, verbatim, by John Huyghen Van Iiinschoten," and from Dutch into English. 34
seen byihim was the western side of the largest island of King
George the Third's gafrup. This assertion is supported by no evidence ; and is irreconcilable with the account given by the navigator in his letter, the geiraineness of which is not denied.*
Torquemada, in his History of th$ Indian Monarchy, (vol. i,
page 717j) mentions the voyage of a ship called the San Augus-
tin along the western side of California, in 1595, under the command of Sebastian Rodriguez CermeSon, who had been directed
to examine the coast in search of a place suitable for the establishment of a colony and marine depot; nothing, however, is~
stated respecting the course of the ship, except that she was lost
in the bay of San Francisco. We have accounts of two or three
other visits made by Europeans to this part of America during fhe
sixteenth century, which will be noticed hereafter.
While the commerce of the Spaniards in the Pacific was thus
increasing, their Government was adopting those measures of restriction and exclusion, which were maintained with so litde relaxation during the whole remaining period of its supremacy in
the American continent. The great object of its policy was to
secure to the monarch and people of Spain the entire and perpetual enjoyment of all the advantages which*could be derived from
She territories claimed by them in virtue of the Papal cession of
1493; and, with that view, it was considered absolutely necessary,
not only to prevent the establishment of foreigners in any part of
ithose territories, but also to discourage the rapid advancement of
the Spanish p:wrances themselves in population, wealth, or other
resources. Agreeably to these ideas, the settlement, and even the
exploring of new countries in America, were ffestrained; colonies
were rarely allowed to be planted near the coasts, unless they
might serve for purposes of defence; and when voyages or journeys of discovery were made, the results were generally concealed
by the Government The subjects- of all foreign nations were
prohibited, under pain of death, from touching the section of the
Mew World supposed to belong to Spain, or from navigating the
seas in its vicinity.
Against these excluding regulations, the Englislfj after they had
thrown of&itheir allegiance to the head of the Roman Catholii
church, began first to murmur, and then to act Their Government required from that of Spain an acknowledgment of their
rights to occupy vacant portions of America, and to trade with
such as were already settled^ and these demands having been refused, Queen Elizabeth did not hesitate to encourage her subjects,
openly as well as secretly, to violate laws which she declared to
* The rtfcly authorities with regard to Galfs voyage, cit^d by Navarreteffn addi-
tion to the letter from the navigator contained in Hakluyt, are two letters addressed
by the Viceroy of Mexico to the King of Spain in 1585'; the originals of which are
preserved in the Archives* of the IndiesTTT nese two letters are merely mentioned iii
a note. The account of the voyage given by Navarrete is, however, with, the exception of the difference as to the highest degree of latitude reached by Gali, precisely the same as that contained in Hakluyt. Humboldt, as usual, copies Navarrete in all things relating to the discovery of the northwest coast. The question is
of no importance at present
m 35
be unjustifiable and inhuman. The Gulf of Mexico and the Weifc rf
Indian seas were, in consequence, soon haunted by bands of daring English, who, under the equivocal denominations of free-traders and freebooters, set at defiance all prohibitions with regard to commerce or territorial occupation, and frequently plundered the ships of the Spaniards, as well as the towns on their
coasts. About the same time, the French Protestants began their
attempts to form settlements in Florida; and the revolt in the
Netherlands, which terminated in the freedom of the Butch provinces, shortly after produced a formidable increase in the number
of these irregular foes to the supremacy of Spain.
The Pacific was for some years preserved from such hostile
invasions by the dread of the difficulties and dangers of the passage through the straits of Magellan; and the Spaniards began to
regard as bulwarks^of defence those obstacles to communication
between Europe and the western side of America, which they
had previously been so desirous to remove or counteract. The
reports of the extent and value of the trade in the Pacific, and of
the riches accumulated at various places in its vicinity, did not,
however, fail in time to overcome all apprehensions on the part
of the English,^ whose ships at length, itit-1578, appeared upon
that ocean, under the command of the most able and adventurous
navai^eaptain of the age. It is scarcely necessary to say that this
captain was Francis Drake. As he is generally supposed to have,
during the voyage here mentioned, effected important discoveries on the northwest coasts of America, it will be proper to notice
his movements in that quarter of the world particularly; and to
determine, if possible, how far such suppositions are based upon
authentic proofs. The most material facts on the subject, as collected from the only original evidencef which has yet been made
public, are the following:
Francis Drake sailed from Plymouth in December, 1577, with
five small vessels, which had been procured and armed by himself and other private individuals in England, ostensibly for a
voyage to Egypt, but really for a predatory cruise against the dominions and subjects of Spain. The Governments of England
and Spain were then, indeed, at peace with each other; bm mutual hatred, arising from causes already alluded to, prevailed between the two nations, and the principles of general law or morals were not at that period so refined as to prevent Q,ueen Elizabeth from favoring Drake's enterprise, with the real objects of
which she was doubtless well acquainted.
For some months after leaving England, Drake roved about the
Atlantic, w4$i&ut making any prize of value; and then, having
refitted Ms ships on the eastern coast of Patagonia, he succeeded
* The first attack made by the English on the Spaniards, in the Pacific, took place
in 1575. In that year, a party of freebooters, headed bySheir captain, John Oxen-
ham, crossed the isthmus of Panama, and built a vessel on the south side, in which
they made several valuable prizes; they, however, at length fell into the hands of
their enemies, and were all, with the exception of five boys, put to death at Panama.
t See Appendix A to this memoir.
Dec. 13.
■ r"    i?
1578. jp. conducting three of them safely through the dreaded straits of
ept. 5. jjjageiia^^to the Pacific. Scarcely, however, was this accomplished, ere the little squadron was dispersed by a storm; and the
chief of the expedition was left with only a schooner of a hundred tons burden, and about sixty men^ to prosecute ^is enterprise against the power and wealth of the Spaniards on the west-
ern side of America.
December. Notwithstanding these disheartening occurrences, Drake did
not hesitajif| to proceed to the parts of the coast occupied by the
Spaniards, whom he found unprepared to resist him either on land
or on sea. He accordingly plundered their towns and ships with
little difficulty; and so deep and lasting was the impression produced by his achievements, that, for more than a century aftefr
wards, his name was never pronounced in those countries without exc^ing feelings of hqjror and detestation.
1579. At lengthjin the spring of 1579, having completed his visita-
ApriL   tion 0f the American coast by the plunder of the town of Guatul-
co, near Acagulco in Mexico, Drake considered it most prudent to
direct his course towards England; and, fearing that he might be
intercepted by the Spaniards if he should attempt to repass the
straits of Magellan, he determined to cross the Pacific to the East
Indies, and thence to continue his voyage around the Cape of
Good Hope, to his country. With this view, he left Guatufco on
the 16th of Aprjj^ but, instead of proceeding directly westward,
which would have been his true line of navigation, he, for some
reason not clearly shown in the accounts of his expedition, sailed
towards the norfli, and on the 2d of June following had reached
the 42d parallel of latitude. There his men began to suffer from
cold; and his farther progress appeared to be difficult, if not im-
jjpssible, on account of the violence and constancy of the northwest winds. Under these circumstances, (whether from accident
or intentionally is not certain,) he fell in with the American coast,
and anchored near it The place, however, proving insecure,
he quitted it without landing, and sailed along the shore to the
south, until he found a safe and commodioHS harbor about the
38th degree of latitude, in which he remained with his vessel
Jnne 17 ^om tne ^^tn °^ ^une to ^e 23d of July,
to This period was spent by the EngJ^tfi in repairing their vessel,
July 23. and making other arrangements for the long voyage in prospect
The natives of the suxrounking country, who came in crowds to
the shore of the harbor, at first exhibited signs of hostile intentions. They were, however, soon conciliated by the kind and
forbearing Conduct of the strangers; and their respect for Drake
increased to sijg^an extent, that, when they saw hjjn about to depart, they earnestly ejatreated him to jspnaiifT among them as their
king. The naval hero, though not disposed to undertake in person-the duties of sovereignty over a tribe of naked savages, nevertheless " thought meet not to reject the crown; because he knew
not what honor and profit it might bring to bis own country.
Wherefore, in the name and to the use of her Majesty Q,ueen
Elizabeth, he took the sceptre, crown, an&rdignity of the country
into his hands j wishing that the riches and treasure^hereof might 37
so conveniently be transported for the enriching of her kingdom *57&
at home." The investiture accordingly took place with due ceremony; Drake bestowing upon* the country thus legitimately
added to the English dominions the name of New Albion, and
erecting on the shore of the bay a monument with an inscription commemorative of the transfer.
The preparations for continuing the voyage having been completed, Drake quitted his new made fellow-subjects, to their great
regret, on the 23d of July, and, steering directly across the Pa- Jury 23.
cific* reached the vicinity of the Philippine Islands in sixty-eight Sept. 30.
days; thence he pursued his course through the Indian seas, and
around the southern extremity of Africa into the Atlantic, and
arrived in England, with his booty undiminished, on thei25thiof   1580.
September, 1580. ^P*- p
With regard to the harbor on the northwest coast of America,
in which the English repaired their vessel, nothing can be learned
from the original accounts of their expedition, except that it was
situated between the 38th and the 39th parallels of latitude; and
that a group of small islands was found in the ocean, at a short
distance from its mouth: whence we are led to conclude that
it was either the Bay of San Francisco, or another bay a few
miles farther north, now called Po?*t Bodega, to each of which this
description applies. As to the extent of the portion of that coast
seen by Drake, the accounts are at variance. In the earliest and
apparently the most authentic relations and notices of his voyage,
the 43d degree of latitude is given as the northern limit of his
course in the Pacific; while in others, of later date, and more
questionable authority, it is maintained that he examined the
whole shore of the continent from the 48th parallel to the 38th.
Burney, in his History of Discoveries in the Pacific, (vol. i, page
356,) has devoted several pages to the subject. He there pronounces that " the part of the American coast discovered by Drake
is to be reckoned as beginning im/mediately north of Cape Mena%r
cino, and extending to the 48th degree of north latitude;" and this
opinion has been since almost universally adopted. There are,how-i
ever, strong reasons for rejecting the decision of Burney, whose review of the evidences in this, as in all cases in which his countrymen were concerned, is entirely ex parte. An exposition of
these reasons would require more space than could be with propriety allotted to it in the body of this history ; it has thereforebeen
consigned to the Appendix, [A,] and the conclusion only will be
here presented, which is : that in all probability, the English under Drake, in 1579, saw no part of the west coast of America north
of the 43a? degree of latitude, to which parallel it had been discovered by Cabrillo and Ferrelo, in 1543.
The success of Drake's enterprise encouraged other English 1580.
adventurers to attempt similar expeditions through the Strait of
Magellan; and it likewise served to stimulate the navigators of
that nation, in their efforts to discover northern passages of communication between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Of their
predatory excursions, none appear to have been attended with
success, except that of the celebrated Thomas Cavendish, or Can- wi^m
1587. dish, who, during his circumnavigation of the globe, rendered
his name almost as terrible to the Spaniards as that of Drake, by
his ravages on the western coasts of America, In this voyage,
Candish lay for some time near Cape San Lucas, the southern-
Nov. 15. most point of California, and there captured the Santa Anna, a
Spanish ship, richly laden, on her way from Manilla to Acapulco,
which he set on fire after plundering her and landing her crew
on the coast The miserable persons, thus abandoned in a desert country, must soon have perished, had not the hull of their
yessel, after the extinction of the fire by the waves, been driven
on shore in their vicinity; this carcass they contrived to repair,
so as to render it sea-worthy, and, embarking in it, they succeeded
in reaching a Mexican port. Among them was Juan de Fuca, a
Greek pilot, of whose subsequent discoveries on the northwest
coast of America an account will be ginen in the next following
Fabulous or uncertain accounts of voyages in the north Pacific—Apprehensions of
the Spanish Government with regafdFto the discovery of northern passages between the Atlantic and the Pacific—Voyages of Fuca in 1998!, and Vizcaino, in
1602—Establishments of the Jesuits in California—First colonies planted by the
Spaniards on the western side of California^ jbetweeft 1769 and 1774.
During the latter years of the sixteenth and the first of the seventeenth centuries, the navigators of England were engaged in
exploring the northwestern coasts of the Atlantic, in hopes of discovering some passage through wiiich they might enter the Pacific, with less difficulty and loss of time than by sailing around
the southern extremity of America. The Spanish Government
was, as the historians of that period fully testify, much alarmed
by these efforts of its most hated and most dangerous enemies to
facilitate communications between the two seas; and the uneasiness thus occasioned was from time to time increased by rumors
of the successful issue of voyages made for that purpose by subjects of various European nations.
The earliest of these rumors related to the discovery supposed
to have been made by the celebrated Portuguese, Gaspar de Cor-
tereal, in 1500, of a passage called the Strait of Anian, uniting the
two oceans, north of that part of America which was, and still
is, known by the general name of Labrador. Cortereal did certainly, about the year last mentioned, explore the coasts of Newfoundland and those of the continent in its vicinity; and it is possible that he may also have penetrated through Hudson's Strait
into Hudson's Bay, which he would then most naturally have
considered as a western ocean. Whatever may have been the origin or basis of the rumor respecting the discovery of the Sttait of
Anian,* the Spaniards and other European nations long continued
to be persuaded of its truth. Expeditions were made in search
of the passage; and nearly all of those who pretended to have
accomplished northern voyages between the Atlantic and the
Pacific, asserted that they had sailed by way of the Strait of
The number of persons who claimed the merit of discevewng
navigable passages through or around the northern parts of Amer-
* The Strait of Anian Was said to have been so named by Cortereal, after two
brothers who sailed with him. The author of an article in the London Quarterly
for October, J$16, conceives that the passage was more probablr thus denominated, because the navigator " deemed it to be the eastern extremity of a strait, whose westewfr
end, opening into the Pacific, had already received that name." In order to show
the value of this conception, it is only necessary to observe that Cortereal's voyage
took place in 1500, and that the ocean on the western side of America was not discovered until thirteen years afterwards.
/ 10 /0
i$a at the period here referred to, appears to have been considerable. The chroniclers of the time have preserved the names of
several; and although their stories are now known to have been
as false as those respecting the acquisition of the philosopher's
stone, or the elixir of life, yet some of them should be noticed,
on account of the influence which they exerted upon the progress
of research in the northwestern part of the New World.
The most celebrated fable of this class, is the one of which a
Portuguese, named Lorenzo Ferrer de Maldonado, is the hero.
He is said to have sailed from the Atlantic, in 1588, through a
strait communicating with that sea near the 62d degree of north
latitude, into the Pacific, which he entered by a very narrow
opening situated under -tne 60th parallel; having, in the course
of thi$ navigation, been obliged to proceed as far north as- the
75th degree. This supposed voyage is mentioned by several
Spanish authors of the seventeenth century. It was however
forgotten, and rejnained in oblivion, until 1790, when it was again
brought before the world by an eminent French geographer, M.
Buache,who endeavored to establish the truth of the most material parts of the statement* in a memoir read by him before the
Academy of Sciences of Paris. In consequence of his observations, the Spanish Government ordered the commanders of the
vessels which were in that year sent to explore the northwest
coasts of America, to search for the western extremity of the strait.
They did so, but in vain; and it is now certain that no sjich passage exists. With regard to the origin of the story, Navarrete informs us that a person named Maldonado, an unprincipled adventurer, who had written some works on geography, presented
to the Council of the Indies, in Spain, a narrative or memoir of a
voyage which he pretended to have made at the time, and in the
manner above related, accompanied by a petition that he might
be rewarded for his discovery, and intrusted with the command
of forces, in order to occupy and defend the passage against other
nations^.. Navarrete adds, that this proposition was rejected by
the Council, but that the papers resj)ectmg it were retained, and
are still preserved among the Archives of the Indies. In 1812,
Signor Carlo Amoretti, of Milan, found in the Ambrosian library a
Spanish manuscript, purporting to be a copy of this samejnarra-
tive or memoir, and published a translation of it in French, with
notes and commentaries in support of the assertions of the writer.
Whether the said manuscript be indeed a copy of that presented
by Maldonado to the Spanish Government, or not, is a question
as yet unsolved; and it is, moreover, a question which may as
well remain without solution, as the subject no longer possesses
any claim to attention. Equally useless is it at the present day
to inquire whether or-not this Maldonado* made a voyage in the
* The^joestion as to the truth df the story of°Maldonado's voyage isTOscussed in
the introduction to the account of the expedition of tl^Satil and Mexicana, and in
the London <a,uarterlyReview for October, 1816.   The article in the Review is well
written, but filled with inaccmracietfCin all'tfiat relates to the Pacific.   The writer
■ considers the account translated by Amorefti to be the fabrication mot some German. 41
north Pacific as far as Beering's Strait, the discovery of which
has been ascribed to him, upon evidence the most slender, tfap-
ported by presumptions the most gratuitous.*
No less destitute of truth is the story of the expedition of Admiral Pedro Fonie, from Peru to the Atlantic, through northern
seas stad rivers; which is9 however, to be referred to a much fijfter
date titan that of the voyage of Maldonado, a.4 it fifit appeared in
a periodical work entitled " Monthly Miscellany, or Memoirs of
the CuriouSy published at London in June, 1708.f According
to this storyyAe adrriiml sailed from Callao in April, 1640, to the
aofth Pacific, where he discovered a group of islands near the
American continent, named by him Islas de San Lazaro. Among
these islands he proceeded 260 leagues, and then, in -the latitude
of 53 degrees, he entered a river called by hiiri Rio de Ids Reyes,
which he ascended in a northeasterly direction, penetrating the
Ulterior of America, until he reached a great lake containf tig many
islands. There he left his ships, and going (in boats, we are to
Infer) down another river whieh flowed from fhe lake eastwardly,
he at length came to a sea, where he found a large ship at anchor.
She proved to be a trading-vessel from Boston, in Massachusetts ; and her commander, Shapley, informed the admiral that he
had arrived at hfe actual pos^an by a northern course from that
port. Being thus oohvinced of the existence of an ui&iterfupted
connexion by water between the two oceans, across the northern
section of America, the Spaniards retained to their ships, and
fcen sailed baek to Peru, through the Rio de los Reyes and the
The above sketch of the supposed expedition of Admiral Fonte
will be sufficient for present purposes. The original account is
long, and is filled with confused and trifling details, the inconsistencies in which should have prevented it from recefring any
credit. It was, however, for soma^timeJgeneralfy" believed to be
true, or partly true; andits probabilitywas maintained so lately as
in 1797, by the scientific Fleurieu, in his Introduction to the Narrative of Marchand's Voyage. The feet of the exJstentfB of a number of islands in the siituation assigned to the Archipelago of San
Lazaro, indeed, affords some reason for the assumption that the
story may have been fomnded on discoveries really made in that
part of the Pacific. NavarreteJ treats the whole account as an
absurd fabrication; and takes the opportunity to defend the Government of his country from the charge brought against it by
* Viz; upon a passage in the Bibliotheca Flispana-Nova, of Nicolas Antonio,
published in 1679, to the effect-that the author had seen in the possession of a bishop,
a manuscript account of the discovery of the Strait of Anion, by Loretffccf JrVrrer de
Maldonado, in 1588 This passage, and an abstract of the relation of Maldonado,
taken from Amorelti's publication, may be found in Burncy's History of Voyages in
the Pacific, vol. v, page 166: the abstract is in the appendix [B] to this memoir.
t The whole aec©jptnf of thispretcW^ed vafytLgb may be found in Burney's History
of Voyages in the Pacific, vol. iii, page 185; and in DobbsfcHSsiory of Hudson's Bay.
The story belongs to the class.of fictionsndw commonljr<eafiJed hoaxes.
t Introduction to the Narrative of the Voyage of the Sutil and Mexicana, page 76.
A 42
Fleurieu, of concealing the results of attempts made by its orders
to explore unknown seas and regions.
One other account of a supposed voyage from the Pacific to the
Atlantic remains to be noticed ; which should not, however, be
classed with those above mentioned, although ifcls certainly A»
roneous as regards th© most material point, and was probably
known to be so by the original narrator. All the information as
yet obtained respecting this idoyage may be found in a note* or
declaration written by Michael Lock, an English merchant or
agent in the Levant trade, and published under his name, in 1625,
in the celebrated geographical and historical collection called " the
Pilgrims," by Samuel Purchas.
From Mr. Lock's declaration, it appears that, in 1596, he met
at Vefcice an aged Greek, calling himself Apostolos Valerianos,
who stated, that he had been employed fbr more than forty years,
under the name of Juan de Fuca, as seaman and pilot in the
Spanish service; that he had been one of the crew of the Ma-
nilia ship Santa Anna, plundered by Cavendish near the coast of
California, in 1587, on which occasion he had lost property of
his own to the value of sixty thousand ducats; and that he had
subsequently, in 1592, acted as jfilot in a voyage, made by order
of the Viceroy of Mexico, in search of "the Straights of Anian,
and the passage thereof into the North sea." In this voyage, as he
said, "he followed his course west and northwest, along the coasts
of Mexico and California, as far as the 47th degree of latitude;" between which parallel and the 48tf>, he entered r a broad inlet of the
sea, and, sailing therein more than twenty days, he found the
land trending some time northwest and northeast, and north, and
also east and southeast, and very much broader sea than was at
the entrance; and he passed by divers islands in that sailing.
Being entered thus far ialto the said straight, and being come info
the North sea [/the Atlantic] already, and finding the sea wide
enough everyw&gre, it being about thirty or forty leagues broad
at the month of the straights where he entered, he thought he
had well discharged his office, and, not being armed to resist savages, he set sail, and returned homeward again to Acapuleo."
The Greek added, that neither the Viceroy of Mexico nor the
Spanish Government had rewarded him for this service," and
understanding of the noble mind of the Queen of England, and
of her wars maintained so valiantiy against the Spaniards, and
hoping that her Majesty would do him justice for his goods lost
by Captain Candish, he would be content to go to England
and serve her Majesty in a voyage for the perfect discovery of the
northwest passage into the South sea, and would put his life into
her Majesty's hands, to perform the same, if she would furnish
him with only one ship of forty tons burthen, and a pinnace; and
*" A note made by me, Michael Lock the elder, touching the strait of sea commonly called Fretum Anian, in the South sea, through the northwest passage of
Mela Incognita,"—Purchases Pilgrims: London, 1625, vol. iii, p. 849. The whole
account will be foiled in ihe appendix [ C ] to this memoir. 43
that he would perform it, from one end of the straights to the
other, in thirty days time."
Mr. Lock goes on to say that he had endeavored, in consequence, to interest the Government of his country in the affair;
and had held correspondence on the subject with various eminent
persons in England, as also with Juan de Fuca, from whom he
gives the copy of a letter stating his readiness to engage in $ie
proposed enterprise. The English Government, however^showed
no willingness to favor the project; considering the whole4tory,
probably, as a fabrication on the part of the old Greek for the purpose of advancing his own interests. The hundred pounds required in order to bring him to London could not be raised;
and when Mr. Lock last heard of him, he was dying in the island
of Cephaionia, in 1602.
These are the most material circumstances relative to Juan de
Fuca, and his supposed discoveries in the northern seas, as recorded by Mr. Lock'and transmitted to us with the respectable
endorsement of Purchas. Several English writers of the same
period allude to the subject, but they afford no additional particulars ; and nothing whatsoever has hitherto been obtained from
any other sotirce, tending to prove directly that such a voyage
was made, or that such a person as Juan de Fuca ever existed.
The account appears to have obtained no credit in England; and
to have been almost unknown out of that kingdom, until after
the publication of the journals of the last expedition of Cook,
(1785,) who conceived that he had, by his examinations on the
northwest coasTof Ameriea, ascertained its entire falsehood. Subsequent discoveries in that part of the world have, however,
served to establish a strong probability in favor of the general
correctness of the old Greek's assertions; inasmuch as they show
that his geographical descriptions are as nearly conformable with
the truth as those of any other navigator of his day. Thus
Fuca says that between the 47th and 48th degrees of latitude he
entered a broad inlet of sea, through which he sailed for twenty
days, the land trending northwest and northeast, and north,
and east and southeast; and thai in his course he passed by numerous islands. Now the fact is, that, between the 48th and 49th
parallels, a broad inlet of sea extends from the Pacific eastward,
apparently penetrating the American continent, to the distance of
about one hundred miles; after which, it turns northwest by-west,
and, continuing in that direction about two hundred and fifty
miles farther, crossed and divided by many islands, it again communicates with the. Pacific.
The discrepancies here to be observed are few and slight, and
are certainly all within the limits of supposable error on the part
of the Greek, especially when his advanced age, and the circumstance that he spoke only from recollection, are considered; while,
on the other hand, the coincidences are too great and too striking
to be fairly attributable to chance. Of those who have examined
the subject, some have rejected the whole account given by the
pilot as false; others, on the contrary, maintain not only that he
performed the voyage as stated, but that he was even convinced of
ill 1596.
his having reached the Atlantic in the course of it. A mean between the two opinions* seems to be the most reasonable con»-
clusion. It ^should be admitted that Filca entered the strait
now bearing his name, and that he may have passed entirely
through it; but that he, an experienced navigator, should have
conceived that by sailing thirty leagues east, and then eighty
leagues northwest-by-west, he had arrived in the Atlantic, is wholly
This will suffice with regard to the voyage of Fuca, the truth
<w$ lalsehood of which is, at the present day, a question of little or
no moment
Some reports of the discovery of a northern passage between
the Atlantic and the Pacific, and of the existence of rich nations in
that direction, induced the Spanish Government, about the year
1S95, to order that measures should be taken to ascertain the fects
on Ihose subjects. The Count de Monterey, Viceroy of Mexico,
accordingly fitted out three vessels, which were despatched from
Acapolco in the spring of 1596, under the command of Sebastian
Vizcaino, a soldier well acquainted with marine affairs. Nothing
important, however, was gained by^this expedition ? Vizcaino
did not proceed beyond the limits of the Gulf of California; and,
being disappointed in his attempts to form establishments on the
shores of that sea, he returned to Mexico before the end of the
same year.
Other and more peremptory orders for the immediate survey
Sept. 27. aj^j settlement of the western coast of California were received
by the Viceroy of Mexico, from Madrid, in 1599; and he, in consequence, began preparations for an expedition, on a greater and
more complete scale of equipment than any of those previously
made in that direction. Two large ships and a small vessel were
provided for the purpose at Acapulco, and furnished with ali the
requisites for a long voyage of discovery; and, in addition to their
regular crews, a number of pilots, priests, draughtsmen, and other
proper persons, were engaged, composing, together, says Torque-
mada,t " the most enlightened corps ever raised in New Spain."
The navigation was placed under the direction of Toribio Gomez
de Corvan, as admiral; but the command of the whole force was
iittrusted to Sebastian Vizcaino, who bore the title of Captain
General of California.
The vessels sailed from Acapulco on the 5th of May, 1602, and,
having reached the western side of California before the middle
June ift o#the following month, the survey was immediately commenced
from Cape San Lucas, the southern extremity of the peninsula.
May d
* It is needless to quote the opinions of Forster or Fleurieu, as they both wrote b^'
fore the publication of the Journals of Vancouver, by who n thejpassage now called
the Strait of Fuca was explored. Navarrete considers the account of the pilot's
voyage false, because he can find no mention ol it among the Archives of the Indies,
or id the old Spanish historians; and Humboldt,as usual, contents himself with
adopting the conclusions of Navarrete.
f Monarquia Indiana, vol. i, page t>94. Torquemada's account is abridged from
the journal of Friar Antonio de la Ascension, the cttaplain of the admiral's ship.
It contains little respecting the movements of the other two vessels.
mm 45
The prosecution of the undertaking was attended wilh great dif- 1620.
ficulties; the scurvy soon appeared in the squadron, and the
Spaniards had their perseverance put to the! test by the northwest
winds, which almost constantly opposed their progress along the
coast. Vizcaino, however, made the best use of the time which
he was obliged to spend in harbors, by examining the shores and
the adjacefift inland territories; and he thus collected a large
amount of valuable information on those subjects, in the form of
notes, plans, and sketches, wj(ich are said to lie still mouldering
among the archives of the Spanish Government.* '
By the beginning of December, after their departure from Aca- Dec.
pulco, the ships had advanced no farther north than the 32d degree of latitude, near which a good harbor was found, and named
Port San Diego. Proceeding onwards, they*reached another harbor under the 3Tth parallel, combining, in the opinion of Vizcai-
no, every requisite for the maintenance of a colony, and ferine
supply and repairs of vessels on their way from India to Mexico.
On this place he bestowed the name of Monterey; in honor of the
Vicerdy, to whom he immediately sent letters by one of his ships,
urging the establishment of colonies and garrisons at several points
Prom Monterey, the remaining ship in which Vizcaino sailed    1663.
With the admiral, and the small vessel commanded by ensign
Martin de Aguilar, departed on tbe 3d of January, 1603, and by
the 7th they had reached the vicinity of Cape Mendocino, when
they were driven back by a violent gale, during which they were
separated.    The ship took refuge in the Bay of San Francisco, Jan. 10.
where search was made in vain for the wreck of the San Augus-
tin, which had been lost there while on her voyage from Manilla,
in 1595 ;f she, however, soon got to sea again, and, passing he- Jan. 13.
yond Cape Mendocino, was for several days tossed about at random by the storms.    On the 20th of January she was opposite a  Jan. 30.
high white promontory, which received the name of Cape Blanco
de San Sebastian, and was- found by a solar observation to be in
Mote latitude of 42 degrees* P By this time there were but six persons on board capable of doing duty; and as the smaM vessel did
not appear, Vizcaino, with the assent of the other officers, resolved
to direct his course towards the south.    This was accordingly
done, and the ship entered Acapulco on the 21st of March, with
only three effective men among her crew.
The small vessel, after her separation from the ship, sailed Jan. 19.
northward for some distance along the coast, as far as the latitude
of 43 degrees, " wTiere," says Torquemada, H the land forms a
cape or point, which was called Cape Blanco, and from which the
coast begins to run to the northwest; and near it was found a
rapid and abundant river, with ash trees, willows, brambles, and
* Introduction to the Journal of the Satil and Mexicana, page 68. A chart of the
west coast of California, as laf north as Cape Mendocino, was compiled from these
documents, of which a copy may be found in the atlas of the work above mentioned.
t As before mentioned at paj
tge 34.
f sstf;
other Castilian trees, on its banks; but it could not be entered on
account of the strength of its current" From this point Aguilar
turned to the south; his vessel reached Acapulco, but he and all
the other officers, and many of the men, died of scurvy on the
voyage thither.
Considerable doubts have been cast, and not without reason,
upon the accuracy of the account of Aguiiar's discoveries beyond
Cape Mendocino. It is certainly incorrect on one point, for we
know that the coast does not " begin to turn towards the northwest" at the 43d degree of latitude, or at any other point between
Cape Mendocino and the 41th degree. Moreover, it is scarcely
credible that Aguilar should, at so stormy a season, and with so
inefficient a crew, have ventured so near to a lee. shore, entirely
unknown to him, as to/be able to distinguish, without a glass,* the
species of the trees growing on it The great river which he is
said to have found about the 43d degree of latitude has not yet
been identified ; although several streams* none of them large, do
certainly enter the Pacific near that parallel. The account of the
discovery of this river has attracted much more attention than it
merited, or than the unfortunate Aguilar (if he actually saw such
a stream) could have anticipated, in consequence of an idle opinion expressed, or rather recorded, by Torquemada, that it might
prove to be the long^sought Strait of Anian, or might lead to the
wealthy city of Quivira, believed to exist in that part of the world.
The Cape Blanco mentioned as the northern limit of Aguflar's
progress along the coast, is supposed by Gook to be a remarkable
promontory ^situated under the 43d parallel, to which the English
navigator, however, did not scruple to apply the name of Cape
Gregory. In like manner, Vancouver shas bestowed the appellation of Cape Orford upon another great projection from the continent, near the 42d degree* although he considered it to be
identical withthe Cape Blanco de San Sebastian of Vizcaino.
Upon comparing the accounts-of this expedition with those of
the voyage of Cabrillo, in 1542-'3, it will be seen that the same,
or nearly the same, portions of the west coast of America, were
observed on both occasions; and that Vizcaino, consequently, did
no more than survey minutely what had been already discovered
by his predecessors.
Vizcaino endeavored, after his return to Mexico, to prevail upon
the Viceroy to establish colonies and garrisons at San Diego, Monterey, and other points on the coast which he had surveyed, for
the purpose of facilitating the trade with India, as well as to prevent the occupation of that coast by other nations. His efforts
being unavailing in Mexico, he went to Spain, where he finally
obtained from King Philip 411. royal orders for the execution
of his projects. He, however, unfortunately died in Mexico in
1609, while engaged in preparing for the enterprise; and no farther
measures were taken, either by individual Spaniards or by their
* The invention of the tel-scope took place in 1609. government, to settle the west coast of Califernia,or to extend the
limits of discovery in that direction, until 160 years afterwards.
This part of America remained, in the mean time, almost forgotten, except by persons engaged in the navigation from India
to Mexico, who were obliged to make themselves acquainted with
the situation of the principal headlands and islands* south of
Cape Mendocino. One of these navigators brought to Mexico, in 1620.
1620, an account of a channel wh|$h he pretended to have discovered near the 43d parallel of latitude, connecting the Gulf of
California with the Pacific; and, as this statement corresponded
with that of the discovery of a great river at the same position by
Martin de Aguilar, it was readily received as.true. AccojcJingly,
in all maps of this part of the world, published during the ^remainder of the seventeenth century, California is represented as
an island, separated from the continent bffca straitif The error
was corrected in 1700 by Father Kuhn, (or Kino, asithe Spaniards
write his name,) a German Jesuit, who explored the regiont^bout
the northern extEftmity of the gulf.
Shortly after the period of Vizcaino's expedition, the French, 1607.
the English, and the Dutch, successively established colonies on
the Atlantic side of North America, as well as &i the West Indies,
where the English and French already held some possessions;
and geographical discoveries were also about $he same time made
by the navigators of those nations, which were, or appeared to be,
seriously prejudicial to the interests of Spain in-the New World.
*Pms, Henry Hudson ascertained the existence of the great in- 1600.
terior sea north of Canada, from which it was confidently expected that some passage to the Pacific would be speedily found;
and Lemaire and Van Schouten entered that ocean through the
open sea, south of the promontory, whiehyi» honor of their native
city in Holland, they called Cape Horn. Thejiiavigation between
the Atlantic and the Pacific was so much facilitated by the latter
* In a work printed at ManjHa in4712>ijalledl^" Navegacion Especulativa y Practical' minute directions are given for sailing alongtliis part of the American coast.
t In ihe curious map of North America, at page 854'oHhe 3d volume of Purchas's
Pilgrimage, published in 1635, the seals rep resetted between Caludftlfa-and the continent, as far north astfhe 45th degree. On this map are laid down, by name, Cape
Blanco, Cape San Sebastian, and many other points discovered by Vizcaino. In
the geographical and historical atlas of Mitchell and Senex, published at London
in 1721, California appears as an island, extending fttem CapeNSan Lucas to the
45th degree of latitude ; the northernmost part of the island is called Nova Albion.
North of it are placed a number of small islands, near the continent, with the names
of GLuisiento, Colubra, \yanguino, Maquino, &c, affixed to them. Whence were
these names derivedJH
A veteran buccanier, Captain Coxton, who flourished in the latter part of the
17th century, asserted that he had, in 1688, discovered a river emptying into the Pacific from the American continent, north of Cape Mendocino, up which he had sailed
into a great interior :sea called^the LoJceif Ithoyaga, containing many islands, m-
habi'ed by a numerous and warlike populfuion This lake may be found on several
old maps of that part of North America; for instance, in the atlas of Mitchell and
Senex, above mentioned. Northwest Araerica^was indeed at that time„the terra
incognUissima. Bacon laid the scene of his Atlantis there; and Brobdignag, according to the very exact account of its discoverer, Captain Lemuel Gulliver, was
situated immediately north of the Strait of Fuca, about the 50th parallel of latitude.
The position of Utopia (or no tchere) is not clearly expressed in the narrative of
Master Ralph Hythloday; but it seems to hare been near California. 1616
discovery £that voyages to the western side of America were no
longer considered as dangerous enterprises; and the Spanish commerce on those coasts was almost ever afterwards harassed by
pirates^lor quasi pirates, of various classes and denominations.
The Gulf of California was, during the seventeenth century, the
principal resort and rendezvous for these depredators, especially
for those from Holland, who, under ^ftie name of Pichilings, kept
the inhabitants of the southern coasts of Mexico in constant anx-
For the purpose of protecting these coasts from such inflictions,
as well asrof obtaining advantage from the pearl-fishery on the
eastern side of California, Several attempts were made by the Government, as well as by individuals and companies in Mexico, to
establish garrisons, colonies, and trading-posts in that peninsula.*
Of the expeditions thus made, it is needless here to relate the particulars, as they are unconnected with the principal subject of
this memoir; suffice it to say, that they all terminated unfortunately, from want of funds, from the barrenness of the country
and the hostility of its inhabitants, and, above all, from the indolence and viciousness of the persons sent out as colonists. The
last of these expeditions made by command of the Spanish Government was under the direction of Don Isidro de Otondo, who,
in 1683, conducted from Mexico a number of soldiers, settlers, and
priests, of the order of the Jesuits, and distributed them at various
points on the western side of the Californian gulf; the colonies,
however, all disappeared wit&n a few months after they had been
planted, and ft was then resolved by a council of the principal authorities of Mexico that the reduction of California by such means
was impracticable.
The Jesuits who had accompanied Otondo in his expedition,
while concurring with the counciMii^ts opinion, nevertheless insisted that the objects-might be attained by another course, viz:
by the conversion to Christianity and civilization of the natives
of that part of America, which task they offered themselves to
undertake. Their proposition met with little encouragement from
the heads of the government in Mexico. Being, however, not disheartened, the fathers penonbulated the whole kingdom, preaching and exhorting the authorities and the people to aid them in
the prosecution of an enterprise so pious and so politic. By such
means, and by the co-operation of their brethren in Spain, they
raised a small fund, and finally, in 1697, procured royal warrants
authorizing them to undertake the reduction of California for the
King, and to do every thing which might be necessary for that
wirposeydrf their men expense. On receiving these warrants, Father
Salvatierra, the principal missionary, sailed with a few soldiers
and laborers to the land which was to be the scene of their operations, where he was soon joined by Fathers Kuhn, (or Kino, as
* Accounts of these expeditions maybe found in the History of California, by
Father Venegas; and in .Navarrete's Introduction to the Journal of the Sutil anil
Mexicana. 49
the Spaniards call him,) Picolo, Ugrarte> and others^#tll men of
education and courage, zealously devoted to the business before
On arriving in California, the Jesuits had to encounter the same
obstacles and difficulties which had rendered vail all previous
attempts to form establishments in that region* They were attacked by the natives, to whose enmity several of the fathers ^11
victims; their owri men werej^iijsubordinate, and Were generally
more inclined to fish for pearls, than to engage in the regular labors required for the support of settlers in a new country; and
their operations were for some* lime confined within the narrowest
limits, by the want of jjmds. Their brethren and friends in Spain
occasionally obtained orders for small sums from ths fioveritment
for their use; but the Mexican treasury, onr^hich these ordeiii
were drawn, w^is seldom able,to meet them when presented,* and
the value of the assistance thus afforded was in all cases much
diminished before it reached th#se for whomfit was intended.
By perseverance and kindness, however, the Jesuits triumphed
over all these difficulties. Within a short? time after their entrance
into California, they founded several stations or missions ~f and be«
fore the middle of the last centuijjr, their establishments ext^ndeti^
at short distances apart, along the whole eastern side of the peninsula, from th&jnouth of the Colorado in the nortlj, to CapeJSan
Lucas. Ef¥ih of these stations contained a church, a small fort,
and a storehouse; and it formed the centre of a district, in which
the Indians were j^duced, by the most gentle means, to labor
regularly for their own support, to live at peace among themselves,
and to receive instruction in the doctrines of the Roman Catholic
religion. To tjie^e ends were the efforts of the fathers exclusively directed, jlamigraJlion from other countries being always
discouraged by .(j$em. That their exertions in this way were calculated to produce temporary-good, cannot be denied, as theiin-
dividual objects of them must have been rendered more happy
and comfortable-jtfeuMi they would have otherwise been; but it ap**
pears to be eqi*ally certain, that neither the Jesuits nor any other
rn|fasionaries have ever s*jicceede4 in fitting a CaliforjiiaH Indian
to become a u#ajulfc*nember oj^society.
These Missionaries, likewise, exerted themselves assiduously
in acquiring a knowledge of the geography, natural history, laiiq
guages, &>§., ofjfhe country wfcifch they haqfc taken under the&r
charge; and so far as regards the middle and Eastern parts oiUhe
peninsula, and the region farther north^ watered by the Colorado
and the Gila, nearl^ all the information which we now possess
has been derived $jtrough!|(he labors of the Jesuits. Respecting
the western side of the peninsula they added little or nothing to
the stock of "knowledge, allliieir efforts to examine that portion
having been unsuccessful.    One of the most material points as-
j * It appeara, from the History of California, by Venegas, (part 3, section 4,) that
in 1702 the Mexican fieasury was exhausted by the expenses of expeditions for the
cjonquest of ^exas, and for establisbjnjrforts'and garrisons at Pensacola, and other
places on the north coast of the Gulf of Mexico. *m\
certained by them was the fact of the connexion of California
with the American continent, which, after having been doubted
or denied for almost a century, was completely established by
Father Kuhn, an indefatigable German, in 1700.
The results of these researches were communicated to the world,
from time to timei^hrough the medium of a periodical publica
tion, entitled " Lettres Edifiantes etCurieuses, ecrites des Missions
JStranghresi" (Edifying and Curious Letters written from the Foreign Missions,) which was conducted at Paris by Jesuits, for several year^f from 1716. But the most Complete account of California,* to 1750, is to be found in the Natural and Civil History of that
country, generally attributed to Father Miguel Venegas, though
now known to have been composed chiefly by another priest of
the order, named Andres Marcos Burriel. Respecting this work,
which appeared originally at Madrid in 1757, and has been since
translated into all the principal European languages, it may De
here observed, thai the portions dedicated to the laborsof the Je&
tiits are highly interesting, and that they bear with them the
marks of truth; hut that the notices of events which occurred
prior to the entrance of the missionaries into tlte country are often
at variance with those given by the older writers, and sometimes
evidently erroneous. The observations of the author upon the
policy of the Spanish GovemmtiHt towards its American dominions are replete ^Hth wisdom, and indicate more Mberaiity, as well
as boldnesfc on his part, than could have been reasonably expected, considering the circumstances under which he wrote and published.
The Jesuits received, as before mentioned, little assistance from
the Spanish Government in the prosecutioii of their plans with
regard to California. That Government, indeed, was not only at
all times disinclined to favor projects from which no immediate
increase of its revenues or political strength could be anticipated,
butjwas also particularly jealous* and mistrustful as to ihe proceedings ofithe Jesuits in the New World. Suspicions were entertained at Madrid that kkiose proceedings were not dictated solely by philanthropic and religious motives; but that the body aspired to the separation and exclusive'control of jtaany portions, if
not of the whole, of the Spanisn empife4fi America. These suspicions became stronger as the influence of the Jesuits increased;
the power possessed, or believed to be possessed, by their order,
however, preserved them for some time from any direct open attack on the part of the Government. At length, in 1767, a royal
decree was issued by King Charles III. for their expulsion from
his dominions; it was executed without difficulty,f and the
^Wttyoticia de la California y de su Conquista, sacada de la historia manuscrita del
Padre Miguel Venegas, y de otras noticias." (" Account of California, and of its conquest, drawn from the manuscript historyxjff~Father Miguel Venegas, and from other
sources.")   The English translation, published in 1759, is miserable.
;<fJL large military force was sent from Mexico, for the purpose of dislodging the
Jesuits in California. Gaspar de Portola, the commander of this expedition, is said
to have been much ashamed and mortified on finding that his efforts were directed
only against a few old priests, and their half starved simple Indian converts. 51
missionaries in California were obliged, at a moment's warning,
to quit forever the establishments which they had so long and so
sedulously been engaged in rearing.
In 1769, immediately after the expulsion of the Jesuits from
California, the Spaniards established the first colony and garrison
on the western coast of that territory. This measure was effected
in prosecution of a scheme of reform and defence, which had
been^iievised at Madrid, with the view of rendering the trans-Atlantic dominktos of Spain "feiore profitable to the mother country,
and more dependent;jnpon its' authority; as well as of securing
them against apprehended encroachments of foreign nations.
Since the days of Sebastian Vizcaino, who had so strenuously
recommended the settlement of this part of America, the Spanish
power had, from a variety of causes, been constantly declining.
On the Atlantic side of'the New World several valuable territories, wh&ch had long been occupied by the subjects'of his Catholic Majesty, as well as others to which his claims were less obvious, had passed into the hands oHhis bitterest foes; and at*
though his authority was lull undisputed on>the western side of
thd*contihentf yet llis pretensions to the exclusive dominion of
the Pacific had become obsolete.    The buccaneers had led the
way into that ocean. They were followed by the armed.squadrons
of Great Britain and Holland, with one or other of which nations
Spain was almost incessantly at war; and, during the short intervals of peace, came the exploring ships of those Powers and of
France, whose voyages of discovery were always regarded by
the Court of Madrid as ominous of evil to its American colonies.
The results of these exploring expeditions were communicated to
the world without delay, and in the mosfcfull and authentic manner possible; the Journals of the respective navigators being published immediately after their return, illustrated by charts^ tables,
and drawings, affording accurate ideas of the objects and events
described.   New channels of commercial intercourse were thus
opened to all; and new principles of national law, adverse to the
subsistence ofithe monopolies enforced by Spain, were gradually
introduced and adopted by the othef maritime Powers of Europe.*
After the peace of 1763, the exploring voyages of the Frendi
and British were more frequent, and were conducted in a manner which gave to them distinctly the characters of political movements.    The irritation and jealousy which) they occasioned at
Madrid were etill farther increased upon the establishment of col-
[ onies, by each of the abovementioned nations, among-the islands
of the Falkland group, at the very threshold of the Pacific.   The
French Government, indeed, soon withdrew its- subjects from.
*" Sir Benjamin Keene, one of the ablest foreign ministers this country ever had,
(he was ambassador from Great Britain to the Court of Madrid fiom 1754 to 1757,)
used to say, that if the Spaniards vexed us in the first instance, we had means
enough to vex them without infringing upon treaties; and the first step he would recommend would be, to send out ships of discovery to the South seas."—Lord Lans-
down^s speech in Parliament on the Convention with Spain $ delivered December \%t.
1790.  ParHamentary Histoiy, vol. xxvii, page 944.
17S6. 52
those islands, at the request of the King of Spaifc; the British
cabinet, however disregarded all hints and remonstrances respecting its alleged encroachments upon «tbe territories of his Catholic Majesty, and there were strong indications of designs on its
part >t»invade other portions of those territories in a similar manner. The exploring ships had confined themsefipes to the southern and intertropical parts of the ocean; there was, however, no
reason for expecting that they would noti&time advance towards
the shores of the north Pacific?, where their presence could not
but be injurious to the interests and security of the Spanish do*
Serious grounds for apprehensions on the part of the Spanish
Government were also afforded by the Russians, whose dis*
coveries and settlements on the northernmost coasts of the Pacific
were about that time beginning to attract the attention of other
European nations. Ofsilhese proceedings JHtie was known with
certainty, except that the Russians had built vessels on ffc|#eastern side of Asia, and had discovered extensive territories beyond
the sea which bathes those shores. Whether the territories thus
found were islands, or parts of Asia or of America, and whether
those continents were or not united in the north, were questions
then undetermined. The lact that this ambitious and enterprising Power had formed establishments on the Pacific, was sufficient toiereate alarms ;atlMadrid; which were rendered more seifc
©us by the knowledge, afterwards obtained, that new armaments
on a large scale were in preparation at Kamschatka.
IncDrdenlo avert the evils £hus supposed to be impending, the
Spanish Government devised a series of measures, which were to
be successively applied as circumstances might, seem to indicate
o^ttq allow. Of these measures*, one of the principal objects, was
the occupation and settlement of jhe vacant, territories of America bordering upon the ocean; to effect which, endeavors were
made without delay. In the beginning of 1768, orders were given
tortile Viceroy of (Mexico to have those coasts explored as far
northward as lit might be practicable to advance; and at the same
thne to establish colonies upon them, sufficiently near each ?other
for mutual support/;in case of need, against savages or foreigners.
The execution of these orders was committed chiefly to Don
Jose de: Galvez, a high offioejribf the Council of the:Indies, who
had been sent to Mexico in 1765 to superintend the application of
the new measures in the nouthern section* of Spanish America,
The wast coast of America, had at that time beeBj discovered
only as far north as the 43d degree of latitude—that is to say,
jss far north as Sebastian Ynicaino had sailed in 1603; and all the
information concerning it, being derived from the accounts of the
old navigators, amounted fo~Httle more than descriptions of harbors and promontories south of that parallel. Upon examining
the manuscripts of Vizcaino relating to hifc voyage, notices and
charts were found of several places upon this coast, which he
considered well adapted for settlements; and, in consequence o£
his recommendations, it was determined by the Viceroy and Galvez that the first establishments should be made at die spots
r'*Wk '■ 53
which had received from^Ajs discoverer the names of San Diego    1768.
and Monterey.
Great difficulties were to be overcome in order to carry tjus determination into effect. Few persons could be found in Mexico
willing to subject themselve