British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical Quarterly Jan 31, 1955

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Published by the Archives of British Columbia
in co-operation with the
British Columbia Historical Association.
Willard E. Ireland,
Provincial Archives, Victoria.
Editorial communications should be addressed to the Editor.
Subscriptions should be sent to the Provincial Archives, Parliament Buildings,
Victoria, B.C. Price, 50tf the copy, or $2 the year. Members of the British
Columbia Historical Association in good standing receive the Quarterly without
further charge.
Neither the Provincial Archives nor the British Columbia Historical Association
assumes any responsibility for statements made by contributors to the magazine. We
"Any country worthy of a future
should be interested in  its past."
Vol. XIX Victoria, B.C., January-April, 1955 Nos. 1 and 2
After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific.
By Stuart R. Tompkins..           1
Esquimalt: Defence Problem, 1865-1887.
By D. M. Schurman...         57
Sir Joseph Trutch: British Columbia's First Lieutenant-Governor.
By John Tupper Saywell        71
Convict Colonies for the Pacific Northwest.
By Richard H. Dillon        93
Notes and Comments:
British Columbia Historical Association       103
Kamloops Museum Association.   ._   110
Rossland Historical Museum Association    111
New Westminster Historic Centre  _.     111
Royal Canadian Navy Maritime Museum, Esquimalt   112
Plaque to Commemorate David Thompson on the Columbia River  112
Peace River Historical Society  _ _  113
Contributors to this Issue  _. 114
The Northwest Bookshelf:
Rich:  Rae's Arctic Correspondence, 1844-55.
By Morris Zaslow. _      115
King:  Solomon Mussalem.
Grigg:  From One to Seventy.
Mclntyre:   The True Life Story of a Pioneer.
By Willard E. Ireland  118
Reid:  Mountains, Men and Rivers.
The first successful attempts to determine whether Asia was joined to
America and to ascertain the geography of the adjacent parts of these
two continents were made by Bering in his two memorable sea voyages
of 1728 and 1741. But it required more than fifty years to complete the
map of the Northern Pacific. This work was accomplished through a
long series of voyages between 1741 and 1800—some by private traders
and others sponsored by the governments of various states. Unfortunately, the first-hand accounts of the traders' voyages, if ever there were
any, have for the most part disappeared, and we must rely largely on
secondary authorities. Their results have been embodied in various
works dealing with the history of Alaska and of the Russian-American
Company. Some years ago in the Washington Historical Quarterly
(January, 1913) Professor Golder compiled a list of these voyages in
so far as he was famiUar with them. That is the only one we have to
date. It must be borne in mind that any list is bound to be incomplete,
for there is little doubt that records of some of them have disappeared.
Innokentii's Zapiski ob ostrovakh Unalashkinskago Otdyela (3 vols, in
2, St. Petersburg, 1840) gives the names of Russian explorers of whom
nothing else is known, a fact which compels the author to accept the view
that the entire story can never be told.
Since the advance of Russian exploration in turn threatened to
encroach on Spanish possessions and ultimately threatened conflict with
Great Britain, it is of some importance to know the part played by the
voyages of various nations in the progress of discovery. I have therefore
combined with the Russians who can be identified the official Spanish
expeditions which began in 1774 and extended to 1792, and the memorable voyages of Cook and Vancouver (1778-1779 and 1790-1794
respectively), as well as the voyages of English and American commercial companies after 1785.
A glance at the area which remained to be mapped in the years 1741
to 1795 and at the people who inhabited it shows something of the
magnitude and diversity of the problems of the early voyagers.   The
* The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance he received from his secretary, Elizabeth Harper John, in the preparation of this article, more particularly
in that part dealing with the natives.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIX, Nos. 1 and 2.
1 2 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
Aleutian Islands form a chain extending some 900 miles westward from
the tip of Alaska Peninsula, in reality a continuation of the Alaska range
of mountains. The five major groups which they comprise are the Near
Islands (i.e., those nearest Kamchatka), the Rat Islands, Andreanof
Islands, Islands of Four Mountains, and Fox Islands. The three large
islands of Unimak, Unalaska, and Umnak are members of the Fox
Islands group. The Aleutians possess a tremendous advantage in that
they are ice-free and the surrounding waters are open to navigation the
whole year around. Unalaska, visited for the first time probably in
1759, was for many years the principal centre of the Russian fur trade,
though it became a permanent post much later.
Not until Sarychev came to the area with the Billings expedition of
1790-1792 were detailed charts of the Aleutians compiled. The early
explorers discovered that the ordinary dangers of landing on an exposed,
unknown coast were, in Aleutian waters, compounded by the uncertainty
of the tides and the presence of countless pinnacle rocks. Rip tides were
a frequent hazard. Not only are the Aleutians exposed to the full force
of the Pacific, with very few sheltering harbours, but the islands are the
meeting-ground of two conflicting sea areas and two conflicting weather
areas, a circumstance which makes stormy sailing at almost any time of
the year.
The coastal region of Alaska fronts upon waters almost equally
treacherous. Together with the Aleutians, it forms a great arc of some
1,500 miles. The dominant feature of the southeasterly coast of Alaska
and of the British Columbia coast is the submerged mountain chain
which crops out to form countless islands, with the inundated valleys
creating a maze of passages among them. The complex task of mapping
this coastal labyrinth was slowed by the dense fog and snow-storms
which make winter sailing hazardous.
The Pribilof Islands, discovered by Pribylov in 1786, are the breeding-place to which the fur-seals migrate in the spring from the southern
coast, passing through the Aleutian chain, and whence they return every
fall. Uninhabited by man but swarming with animal life, they were a
bonanza for the Russian hunters.
The natives whom the Russians first encountered were the Aleuts,
although the term itself does not appear in Russian sources until 1747.
The Aleuts inhabited the Aleutian and Shumagin Islands and the Alaska.
Peninsula eastward to the Ugashik River on the north and to Pavlof Bay
on the south. They are subdivided, chiefly on dialectal grounds, into
two groups:   the Unalaskans, who live on the Fox Islands, Shumagin 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 3
Islands, and the western part of Alaska Peninsula; the Atkhans, who
inhabit the Andreanof, Rat, and Near Islands. They are members of the
Eskimoan linguistic stock, but their language and the mainland dialects
are not mutually intelligible.
The western Eskimo, interspersed with Aleuts in only a few areas,
occupied the Alaskan coast from Prince WilUam Sound and parts of the
Alaska Peninusla, thence along the shores of Bering Sea and the Arctic
Ocean as far as Point Barrow. All the islands in the Bering Sea except
the Aleutians and Pribilofs were also peopled by Eskimos. Those who
figured most prominently in contacts with the early traders were the
Aglemiut Eskimos, who occupied the upper part of the peninsula and
Nushagak Bay, and the Kanagmiut Eskimos, who inhabited Kodiak
and surrounding islands, and the adjacent coast of the peninsula.
An Athabaskan group, the Tinnehs, occupied the coast of Cook
Inlet and much of the interior of Alaska to the east, including the valley
of the Yukon.
To the south along the coast were the tribes which comprise the
culture area of the Northwest Coast, falling into the foUowing Unguistic
divisions: The Tlingit, the Haida, the Tsimshian, the BeUa Bella, the
BeUa Coola, Kwakiutl, Nootka, and the SaUsh on Vancouver Island and
around the delta of the Fraser. The Tlingit appear in Russian sources
as the Kalush (variants—Kaliuzhi, Koloshi, or Kaloshi). They appear
also on occasion under clan names such as Agalagmut, Kenai, and
Certain aspects of the general aboriginal culture of the areas had a
marked bearing on the course of their relations with the early traders.
The social organization was quite loose, with the village as the largest
political unit, although there were some casual natural groupings according to language and contiguity. Thus there existed no tribal, or even
band, organization to co-ordinate resistance to Russian exploitation.
Subsistence was drawn largely from the sea, so the natives were accom-
pUshed seafarers and, particularly in the case of the Aleuts, had the
highly developed skills needed for hunting the sea-otter. This made
them perhaps the most valuable natural resource which the Russians
found—a reservoir of skilled labour at hand to be utilized in large-scale
hunting operations. The natives were used to long trading voyages and
were sophisticated traders weU before the Russians arrived. In the
Northwest Coast culture area proper, great emphasis was placed upon
the accumulation of material wealth, although the prestige of the chiefs
and leading men rested ultimately upon the generosity with which the 4 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
wealth was given away. The European voyagers had therefore not to
introduce a radically new trade economy, but only to adapt to their own
uses an already estabUshed culture pattern. Bancroft, in his Alaska,
suggests that the astuteness displayed by the natives in trade and barter
was the reason for the development by the Russians of the elaborate
coercive methods for obtaining furs without having to cope with their
equals in bartering. The natives fell into the trade quite readily, and
later navigators found that the coastal natives had assumed the role of
middlemen between the inhabitants of the interior and the white fur-
traders. One such instance was in August, 1786, when Dixon was told
by natives on Cook Inlet that they had sold out of marketable skins but
would soon obtain additional supplies from inland tribes.
The Aleuts seem at first to have taken the Russians for supernatural
beings, to whom they rendered homage and made offerings. A series of
Russian atrocities soon corrected that notion, and the early story of
Russian-Aleut relations is a grim one.
The Russians first merely traded with the natives for furs, but they
soon devised more effective methods for large-scale fur collection. They
impressed natives to hunt for them, having discovered that it was not
only needless but dangerous for themselves to disperse in smaU hunting
parties. The Aleuts were made to give hostages, usually women and
children, for the safety of the Russians and the performance of their
obUgations. They were then issued traps and sent out to hunt for the
season while the Russians loafed about the villages. Returning hunters
surrendered their traps and furs in exchange for trade goods, and the
Russians moved on to another island to repeat the operation. Still
another method of getting furs was to furnish supplies to the Aleuts
during their periodic famines, taking a lien on the following season's
As the Russians moved southeast down the coast in search of fresh
sources of fur-bearing animals, they took large numbers of Aleut hunters
with them. The Tlingit and western Eskimo bitterly resented the Aleut
intruders, failing to realize that they were only the helpless tools of the
Russians. A state of warfare developed, so terrifying the Aleuts that
even armed Russian escorts failed to save them from panic, especially
when intruding in the Tlingit areas of Comptroller, Yakutat, and Lituya
The Russian methods coloured the relations of the coastal inhabitants
with the traders of aU nationaUties. The custom of interchanging hostages while engaged in trade was carried eastward by the Russians and 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 5
became so weU established that it was forced upon the English, Americans, and Spaniards. Portlock found it necessary to conform to the
custom at various places in order to obtain trade, but as a rule he
demanded four or five natives in exchange for one or two saUors from
the ship.
The Russians extended to Northwest America the practice already
prevalent in Siberia of claiming as tribute, or yassak, a portion of the
fur-catch. Actually, the Crown received only a very smaU share, often
none at aU, and the coUection of yassak proved to be a convenient cloak
for all kinds of demands upon the natives. Bancroft states that in early
times at least half of the trade was probably coUected in the form of
tribute by means of force or threats, while at the same time the authorities at home were being asked to relinquish its collection " because it
created discontent among the natives."
The collection of yassak in Siberia had grown up as a substitute for
the payment of the soul's tax exacted from peasants in Russia. The
excesses and irregularities of the traders who had extended the practice
to the Northwest Coast so distressed the Empress that she moved to
correct the evil by abolishing altogether the collection of tribute by the
traders and Cossacks. Bancroft, in his Alaska, cites an imperial ukaz
of 1779 prohibiting the coUection of tribute by the promyshlenniki and
Cossacks, a reform measure stemming directly from the representations
of Krenytsin to the Empress. The prohibition apparently was not rendered effective at that time, for in 1787 the Empress inquired by what
decree a tribute was being levied upon the Aleutian Islands and forbade
collection of any tribute not established by the authorities. In 1788 the
collection of tribute on aU islands was forbidden under severe penalties.
That the suspension of yassak was designed only to stop the excesses
of the traders, and not to reUnquish the government's right to levy tribute,
is shown in the instructions to Captain Billings in 1785 to take a careful
census of the male population of the islands and to lay the foundation for
the levying of tribute in the future. The commander of the companion
vessel, Chernyi Orel, made agreements with the Aleuts for the future collection of yassak. It is from Sarychev's account that we learn that " up to
this time yassak had been determined in every settlement and village by
the election of promyshlenniki, not more than two or three men who
were called yasashnye " (II, pp. 122-123). The permanent settlement of
the yassak question came only in 1799, when the Russian-American
Company was granted the right to use the services of the natives in lieu
of the tribute which was the prerogative of the Russians. 6 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
The founding of permanent Russian posts came quite late in the
period under consideration. Shelekhov estabUshed the first known
Russian post in Alaska on the southeast side of Kodiak Island at Three
Saints Bay in August, 1784. A rival fur company established a post at
Cook Inlet in 1786, and another at Nuchek on Hinchinbrook Island,
Prince WiUiam Sound, in 1793. English, French, Spanish, and American competition in the fur trade caused the Russians to extend their
sphere of operations to the southeast. Baranov established a post at
Yakutat in 1796 and another, New Arkhangel, 6 miles north of present
Sitka, in 1799.
A strange, complicating factor in the exploration of the Northwest
Coast was the accumulated geographical misinformation which had
grown out of the much pubUcized apocryphal voyages. A Greek pttot,
Juan de Fuca, alleged that he had been the pilot of a vessel which had
sailed from Mexico in 1592 to discover the Strait of Anian, and that
he had found the fabled passage between latitudes 47 and 48 degrees.
The story gained some credence in England, where Michael Lok spent
much of his fortune in financing voyages to rediscover the passage.
In the following century a London magazine editor created and pubUshed as true the "Memoir" of Bartholomew de Fonte, reporting
a voyage from Callao, the port of Lima in Peru, to discover the Northwest Passage, which he found in the latitude of 53 degrees. The fantasy
was poorly constructed and aroused no great excitement at the time.
The tales might have died out harmlessly, but in 1752 the French
geographers Joseph Nicholas DeUsle and Philippe Buache pubUshed
a map which embodied the " discoveries " of de Fuca and Fonte, and
included for good measure another strait just north of Cap Blanc,
alleged to have been discovered by Martin de Aguilar in 1603. Also
included were the mythical lands of Jeso and Gama Land, said to exist
in the western Pacific Ocean. The maps met heavy criticism at once,
but they circulated widely and had much influence on ideas of geography.
It was not until the explorations of Vancouver and the Spaniards in
1792 that it was conclusively proved that there was no northwest
passage in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and even then there remained
the possibiUty of Fonte's passage in 53 degrees north latitude which
required investigation. The fruitless search for Gama Land drew many
Russian vessels, including those of Bering, to the south on hazardous
voyages which cost the lives of many men. The noted navigator Andrean
Tolstykh lost his life in the search for Gama Land. 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 7
Geographers were further misled in 1788 when there was published
in Madrid, in Almodovar's Historia, the account of the alleged voyage
of discovery of Captain Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado in the year 1588.
Maldonado had sailed from the Atlantic through the 290-league Strait
of Labrador to the Pacific, where he emerged at 75 degrees north latitude. He then sailed southwest to 60 degrees, where he found the Strait
of Anian, an excellent short cut, since it was only 15 leagues long and
could easily be passed with the tide in six hours. The information was
seized upon by Philippe Buache de la Neuville, the son of the associate
of Delisle, who in 1790 read a paper on it before the Academy of
Sciences in Paris. This stir caused the Spanish Government to order
the voyage of Malaspina to the Northwest Coast to search once more
for the elusive strait.
The inconvenience, not to say the hazards, caused the explorers of
the Northwest Coast by the circulation of false maps constituted one
more obstacle to the completion of their tremendous task.
In this account of the voyages from 1741 to 1795 there is necessarily
some overlapping with Henry R. Wagner's Cartography of the Northwest
Coast, but, inasmuch as Wagner paid little attention to Alaska and the
Aleutian Islands, I feel that I am not dupUcating his work. I might
also add that no attempt is made to give a bibliography covering the
Spanish voyages, which can be drawn from Wagner.
Judge F. W. Howay, in the Transactions of the Royal Society of
Canada, 1930 to 1934, has compiled with great care a list of the commercial vessels trading into the North Pacific after 1785, and while
these voyages are included with our list, no effort has been made to give
the full sources. The reader is therefore referred to Judge Howay's
articles in that connection.
In view of the unsatisfactory and confused nature of the materials
on which it is based, this list will inevitably be incomplete and will
contain inaccuracies. All that can be hoped is that it will approximate
the truth, and that it will enable the reader to form a clearer idea, not
only of the way in which the various voyages gradually introduce some
measure of clarity into the prevailing views on the geography of these
regions, but also of how the explorations of the nationals of various
countries interlocked with one another and brought the several governments into conflict for possession of these regions. 8 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
In the accounts of the voyages, sources are given in an abbreviated
form.   We give below a complete entry for each title:—
Andreyev, A. I. (ed.): Russkie Otkrytiya v Tikhom Okeane i Severnoi
Amerike v XV111 i XIX Vyekakh, Vsesoyuznoe Geograficheskoe
Obshchestvo, IzdatePstvo Akademu Nauk, Moscow and Leningrad,
1944.   [Cited as Andreyev.]
Bancroft, Hubert Howe: The History of Alaska [Works, XXXIII], San
Francisco, 1886.   [Cited as Bancroft, Alaska.]
Bancroft, Hubert Howe: History of the Northwest Coast [Works,
XXVII and XXVIII] (2 vols.), San Francisco, 1886. [Cited as
Bancroft, Northwest Coast.]
Beniowsky, Moriz August, Graf von: Memoirs and Travels of Mauritius
Augustus, Count de Benyowsky, Written by Himself (trans, by
WilUam Nicholson) (2 vols.), Dublin, 1790. [Cited as Beniowsky.]
Berkh, V. N.: Khronologicheskaya Istoriya Otkrytiya Aleutskikh Ostro-
vov, St. Petersburg, 1823.   [Cited as Berkh.]
Cook, James: A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean . . . , (3 vols.), London, 1784.   [Cited as Cook.]
Coxe, William: Account of the Russian Discoveries between Asia and
America, to Which Are Added the Conquest of Siberia, and the
History of the Transactions and Commerce between Russia and
China, 3rd ed., London, 1787, and 4th ed., London, 1803. [Cited
as Coxe.]
Dixon, Captain George, R.N.: A Voyage Round the World in 1785-
1788 [in a series of letters, edited], by George Dixon, 1789, n.p.
[Cited as Dixon.]
Espinosa, Jose de, y Navarrete, Martin Fernandez de: Relacidn del
Viage Hecho por los Goletas "Sutil" y "Mexicana" en el Aho
1792, Para Reconocer el Estrecho de Fuca; Con una Noticia de
las Espediciones Executadas por los Espaholes, Madrid, 1802.
[Cited as Navarrete.]
Fleurieu, Charles Pierre Claret, Comte de: Voyage Round the World
Performed During the Years 1790, 1791, and 1792 by Etienne
Marchand, Preceded by a Historical Introduction (2 vols.), London, 1801.   [Cited as Fleurieu.]
Greenhow, Robert: The History of Oregon and California, Boston,
1845. (First edition published in London, 1844.) [Cited as
Greenhow.] 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 9
Howay, F. W.: "A List of Trading Vessels in Maritime Fur Trade,
1785-1794," Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society
of Canada, Section 2, Third Series, XXIV (1930), 111-134.
[Cited as Howay, 1930.]
Howay, F. W.: "A List of Trading Vessels in the Maritime Fur Trade,
1795-1804," Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society
of Canada, Section 2, Third Series, XXV (1931), 117-149. [Cited
as Howay, 1931.]
Jane, Cedl (trans.): A Spanish Voyage to Vancouver and the Northwest Coast of America, Being the Narrative of the Voyage Made
in the Year 1792 by the Schooners Sutil and Mexicana to Explore
the Strait of Fuca, London, 1930.   [Cited as Jane.]
J.L.S.: Neue Nachrichten von denen neuentdekten Insuln in der See
zwischen Asien und Amerika . . ., Hamburg and Leipzig, 1776.
[Cited as J.L.S.]
Jochelson, Waldemar: History, Ethnology, and Anthropology of the
Aleut, Washington, 1933.   [Cited as Jochelson.]
Khlebnikov, Kiril Timofeyvich: Zhizopisanie A. A. Baranova, Glavnogo
Pravitelya Rosiiskikh Kolonii v Amerikye, St. Petersburg, 1835.
[Cited as Khlebnikov.]
La Perouse, J. F. G.: A Voyage Round the World in the Years 1785-
1788 (3 vols.), Boston, 1801; New York, 1835. [Cited as La
Mackenzie, Alexander: Voyages from Montreal on the River St. Lawrence, through the Continent of North America, to the Frozen and
Pacific Ocean; in the Years 1789 and 1793, London, 1801.
[Cited as Mackenzie.]
Martinez y Zayas, Juan: "Viage a la Costa comprehendido entre la
Boca Sur de Fuca, y el Puerto de San Francisco . . . 1793,"
MS., in Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CaUf. [Cited
as Martinez.]
Meares, John:   Voyages Made in the Years 1788 and 1789 from China
to the Northwest Coast of America, London,  1790.    [Cited as
Morse, Hosea Ballou:   Chronicle of East India Company Trading to
China, 1635-1834 (4 vols.), Oxford, 1926.   [Cited as Morse.]
Pallas, Peter Simon:   Neue Nordische Beytrage, trans, by James R.
Masterson and Helen Brower in Bering's Successors, 1745-1780,
Seattle, 1948.   [Cited as Pallas.] 10 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
Polonskii, A.: List of Journeys of Russian Hunters in the Pacific Ocean
from 1743 to 1800. MS. of 99 sheets in the Archives of the
Geographical Society (in Russian).   [Cited as Polonskii.]
Portlock, Captain Nathaniel: A Voyage Round the World; but More
Particularly to the Northwest Coast of America . . . 1785-
1788, London, 1789.   [Cited as Portlock.]
Russia—Archives Department: Papers Relating to the Russians in
Alaska, 1732-1796 (21 vols.). Photostat copies of originals in
Russian Archives in the University of Washington Library, Seattle.
[Cited as Papers Relating to the Russians in Alaska, 1732-1796.]
Sarychev, Gavrilo: Puteshestvie Flota Kapitana Sarycheva po sieverno-
vostochnoi chasti Sibiri, . . . flota Kapitan Billings s 1785 po
1793 god (2 vols.), St. Petersburg, 1802.   [Cited as Sarychev.]
Sauer, Martin: An Account of a Geographical and Astronomical Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia, London, 1802. [Cited as
Shelekhov, G. I.: Rossiiskago Kuptsa Imenitago Ryl'skago Grazhdanina
Grigor'ya Shelekhova Pervoe Stranstvovanie s 1783 po 1787, St.
Petersburg, 1793.   [Cited as Shelekhov, Stranstvovanie.]
Shelekhov, G. I.: Rossiiskago Kuptsa Grigor'ya Shelekhova Prodol-
zhenie Strantsvovaniya v 1788 godu, St. Petersburg, 1792. [Cited
as Shelekhov, Prodolzhenie.]
[Sokolov, A. P.]: Proekt Lomonosova i ekspeditsiya Chichagova, St.
Petersburg, 1854.   [Cited as Proekt Lomonosova.]
[Staehlin von Storcksburg, Jakob]: " Kratkoe Izvestie o novoizobryeten-
nom Syevernom Arkhipelagye " in Mesyatsoslov istoricheskii i geograficheskii, St. Petersburg, 1774.   [Cited as Mesyatsoslov.]
Strange, James: James Strange's Journal and Narrative of the Commercial Expedition from Bombay to the Northwest Coast of America,
together with a Chart Showing the Tract of the Expedition [Records
of Fort St. George], Madras, 1929.   [Cited as Strange.]
Tikhmenev, P.: Istoricheskoe obozryenie obrazovaniya Rossiisko-Amer-
ikanskoi Kompanii (2 vols.), St. Petersburg, 1861-1863. [Cited
as Tikhmenev.]
Tompkins, Stuart R., and Moorhead, Max L.: "Russia's Approach to
America," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, XIII (April, July-
October, 1949).   [Cited as Tompkins & Moorhead.]
Vancouver, George: A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean
and Round the World . . . , (3 vols.), London, 1798. [Cited as
Vancouver.] 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 11
Veniaminov, I.: Zapiski ob ostrovakh Unalashkinskago Otdyela (3 vols.
in 2), St. Petersburg, 1840.   [Cited as Innokentii.]
Wagner, Henry R.: The Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America
(2 vols.), Berkeley, 1937.   [Cited as Wagner.]
Wickersham, James: A Bibliography of Alaskan Literature, 1724-1924,
Cordova, Alaska, 1927.
Commercial voyages by the Russians began immediately after the
return of Bering's second expedition. The unusuaUy high prices commanded in the Chinese market by the sea-otter skins brought back by
Bering were probably the principal stimulus for the voyages.
Yemel'yan Basov of Tobolsk, in partnership with the Moscow merchant Serebrennikov, buUt a small shitik named Kapiton, in which he
sailed to Bering Island, returning to Kamchatka in the following year.
[Berkh, pp. 2-3.]
Again Basov, now in partnership with the merchant Trapeznikov
of Irkutsk, sailed in the Kapiton. He apparently made a rich haul of
sea-otters, seals, and blue foxes at Bering and neighbouring islands. In
1746 he went farther east, sighting many islands but never landing
because of very stormy weather.   [Berkh, pp. 2-3.]
Basov's success on his first voyage prompted a group of merchants,
Yakov Chuprov, Chevaevski of Ladoga, and Trapeznikov of Irkutsk,
to emulate his example. In September, 1745, Chuprov safled as skipper
of the Evdokia, with the peasant Mikhail Nevodchikov of Tobolsk as
navigator. This vessel, the first commercial expedition to reach the
Aleutians proper, probably got as far as the island of Agattu. They also
visited Attu, where they committed outrages against the natives, the
memory of which is perpetuated in the name of Massacre Bay on the
south side of the island. Another bay is called Nevodiskov, an obvious
corruption of Nevodchikov. On the return journey, in September, 1746,
the vessel was wrecked on Karaginskii Island, off the coast of Kamchatka, losing the entire cargo. The crew wintered there and made their
way home in July, 1746.   [Berkh, pp. 2-3.]
Ivan Rybinskii, of Moscow, and Stepan Tyrin, of Yaroslavl, were
members of the company which dispatched the shitik loann to Copper 12 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
Island under the command of Andrei Vsevidov. There is some disagreement as to the date; Berkh gives as the date of departure 1747, whUe
Bancroft, on the authority of Neue Nachrichten, gives the date of 1746.
[Berkh, pp. 13-14; J.L.S., pp. 18-19; Bancroft, Alaska, p. 109.]
A group of merchants, including Rybinsku, Fedor KholodUov of
Totemsk, Nikifor Trapeznikov and VasiUi Balin of Irkutsk, Kozma Ner-
stov of Totma, Mikhail NikiUnich of Novoyanski, and Fyodor Zhukov
of Yaroslavl, petitioned successfuUy for permission to send an expedition
in search of furs. Andrean Tolstykh, of Selengjnsk, was named to
command the ship Sv. loann. The expedition wintered on Bering Island
and returned to Nizhne-Kamchatsk August 14, 1747, with a good catch
of furs.   [Berkh, pp. 11-12; J.L.S., pp. 18-19.]
Another shitik, loann, went in 1747 to the nearer Aleutians, returning in 1749 with a valuable cargo of sea-otters and foxes. [Berkh,
p. 13.]
Basov set out again, this time in his own vessel, Sv. Petr, going to
Copper Island, whence he returned apparently in the same year with a
substantial catch.   [Berkh, p. 14.]
These voyages started a " fur-rush." Merchants who had come east
to Siberia to make their fortunes trading with the natives abandoned that
pursuit and turned to the sea.
A group composed of Ivan Zhilkin, of Solvychegda, Afanasu Bakhov,
of Ustyug, and Novikov, of Yakutsk, constructed a vessel, the Perkup i
Zant, on the Anadyr, whence it put to sea in the summer of 1747. The
expedition, commanded by Bakhov, reached Bering Island in September.
In October the vessel was wrecked by a storm whUe it lay at anchor off
Bering Island, but the crew constructed a smaU boat from the ruins of
Bering's ship which had been wrecked there in 1741, named it the
Kapiton, and put out to sea in it in the summer of 1748. SaiUng northeast, they sighted land, and Berkh speculated that if they had continued
to it, they would have been the first to discover the American mainland,
of which information up till then had been based merely on conjectures.
The expedition returned to Kamchatka in August, 1749.   [Berkh, p. 16.]
It is rumoured that Basov made a fourth voyage, probably to Copper
Island.   [Berkh, pp. 2-3.]
The Sv. loann, under Vsevidov, made a trip to the nearer Aleutian
Islands, returning in August, 1752.   [Berkh, pp. 18-19.] 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 13
Also in 1749, some Cossacks made the voyage to Bering Island in
Tolstykh made another voyage in 1749, going to the islands discovered by Nevodchikov—Attu and Agattu. He spent two winters on Attu,
and returned to Kamchatka in 1752.   [Berkh, p. 17; J.L.S., p. 26.]
In August, Nikifor Trapeznikov sailed in the Boris i Gleb, which he
had built, operating under the agreement that, in addition to levying
yassak, he would give the government one-tenth of his catch. He discovered the island "Atkhu " (probably Atka), which seems to be the
farthest point east that had been reached, and returned in 1752. [Berkh,
p. 18.]
Rybinsku and Tyrin sent out the shitik Sv. loann to the Near Islands,
whence it returned in August, 1753.    [Berkh, pp. 18-19.]
The Sv. loann, belonging to Yemil'yan Yugov, of Irkutsk, came to
grief on the shores of Kamchatka, where the crew wintered. [Berkh,
pp. 20-21.]
Trapeznikov's vessel, Petr, safled under command of Nakvashin to
the Andreanofs and visited Atka Island. [Polonsku, cited in Jochelson,
p. 3.]
The Jeremiah, under the navigator Bashmakov, of Arkhangelsk,
sailed to the Aleutian Islands, where it was wrecked off the island of
Adak, in 1752. The Russians remained on the island hunting till July,
1754, when they returned.   [Polonskii, cited in Jochelson, p. 3.]
Rybinskii sent the ship Sv. Simeon i Anna, under the Cossack Vor-
ob'ev, to Copper Island. The ship was wrecked on one of the smaller
adjacent islands, and a smaUer craft, the Jeremiah, was constructed from
the wreckage. The Jeremiah made its way back to Kamchatka. [Berkh,
pp. 23-24; Coxe (4th ed.), p. 124, refers to the original vessel as the
Simeon and John.]
Yugov again set out in the Sv. loann. Apparently Yugov hunted for
three years around Bering and Copper Islands, on the latter of which he
died. The vessel returned in July, 1754. [Berkh, pp. 20-21; Coxe
(4thed.),pp. 120-121.]
It was in 1751 that Mikhail Nevodchikov drew a map of the newly
discovered islands (Attu, Agattu, and Semichi) and forwarded it to the
Russian Senate. 14 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
Trapeznikov sent out the Boris i Gleb under Alexei Druzhinin. The
expedition twice suffered shipwreck, but the crew was rescued by Trapez-
nikov's ship Sv. Nikolai.   [Berkh, pp. 24—25.]
It was in 1752 that the first authentic information of the Bering
expedition (the second Kamchatka expedition of 1741) was given to
the world and the map pubUshed at Paris by Joseph Nicolas DeUsle.
Since some of the information given in Delisle's map was incorrect, the
Russian Government instructed the historian Gerhard Frederich Muller
to pubUsh in Berlin a reply. It is contained in Lettre d'un Officier de la
Marine Russienne a un seigneur de la Cour, published at first separately
and later in the Nouvelle Bibliotheque Germanique (Berlin, 1753).
The merchants Andrei Mikhailov Serebrennikov, Fedor Kholodilov,
and Semen Krasirnikov decided to build a ship and send it out on a
voyage of exploration and discovery, to seek new islands and, if possible,
the mainland of America. The ship put to sea in July under the command of Petr Bashmakov, of Arkhangel'sk, and sailed to the east, visiting
some unknown islands. A storm carried it farther to the east, where it
was wrecked, according to Berkh, near the island of Umnak. Although
the crew clashed with the natives there, they remained on Umnak untU
1754, when they built a boat out of the wreckage of their own vessel and
returned to Kamchatka. [Beniowsky, pp. 27-28, credits Serebrennikov
with the discovery of Fox Islands, although he underestimated the distance traversed to the 29th meridian east of Bolsheretsk, falling 5 degrees
of longitude short. See also Berkh, pp. 25-27. Their evidence is contradicted by Veniaminov, who denies that this vessel reached Umnak.]
Fedor Kholodilov sailed in his own ship in August, 1753, to Bering
Island, where he wintered. Putting to sea again in June, 1754, he went
eastward to an unknown Aleutian island, where he wintered, returning
to Kamchatka in 1755 with a catch of 1,600 sea-otter skins. [Berkh,
pp. 27-28.]
Semen KrasiPnikov put to sea in 1754, wintered on Bering Island,
and in 1755 proceeded eastward to an unknown Aleutian island. Intimidated by an overwhelming number of natives, he turned back to Copper
Island, where the vessel was wrecked by a storm and part of the crew
perished.   The survivors managed to get to Bering Island in a baidar, 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 15
where they were rescued by Trapeznikov's ship.    [Berkh, pp. 28-29;
Coxe (4thed.),pp. 134-136.]
Trapeznikov's vessel was the Sv. Nikolai, commanded by the Cossack
Durnev. It proceeded to the Near Islands, then farther east, returning
in 1757 with a cargo valued at 187,268 rubles.   [Berkh, pp. 29-30.]
In August, Trapeznikov, BaUn, and Zhukov commissioned a ship, the
Sv. Adrian i Natalia, under the command of Andrean Tolstykh. Toltsykh
wintered on Bering Island, then proceeded to Attu, where he encountered
the Sv. Nikolai under Durnev. Tolstykh remained at Attu a year, returning to Kamchatka in 1757. [Berkh,p.31; Coxe (4thed.),pp. 136-137.
Coxe called the island "Ataku."]
The small ship Kapiton, bmlt by Basov and Novikov on Bering Island
in 1747 [see above; see also Berkh, pp. 2-3; and Coxe, p. 126], was
confiscated by the government because it was buUt of the wreckage of a
government-owned vessel, and its use was given for seven years to Ivan
ZMlkin, of Solevychegda. Sent out on a voyage of exploration under the
Cossack Studentsov, it was driven ashore on Kamchatka. After some
difficulty it was refloated, but not in time to proceed this year on its
voyage to the Aleutians.   [Berkh, p. 32.]
The Kapiton again set out under command of Studentsov. It proceeded first to Bering Island, whence they sailed in August to the Near
Islands, thence eastward to anchor at an unknown island, where the
vessel was wrecked by a storm. The survivors fought off the hostile
natives, passed two winters on the island, and finaUy managed to build
from the wreckage a new boat. Putting to sea in their makeshift craft,
they reached another island, where they found the wreckage of Serebren-
nikov's vessel, which they repaired and used for the return voyage in
1761.   [Berkh, p. 32.]
The Vladimir, owned by Nikifor Trapeznikov and Semen KrasU'nikov
and commanded by Dmitrii Paikov, set out in 1758 and wintered on
Bering Island. Setting out again in 1759, Paikov saUed to the south in
an unsuccessful search for land, then turned back north to the island of
Atkha.   Finding no suitable harbours there, he went on to the Amlia, 16 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
where he wintered. To faciUtate hunting operations, Paikov divided his
crew into three parties: the first proceeded to the island of "Sigdak";
the second, under the Cossack Shevyrin, went to Atkha; the third
remained with the vessel. The second party was exterminated by the
natives, and Paikov recalled the first party, preparatory to returning to
Kamchatka. At Atkha he encountered Bechevin's Sv. Gavrilo, outward
bound, and the two captains decided to pool their resources. The
Vladimir started home in June, 1761, while the Sv. Gavrilo moved on
to Umnak and then the Alaska Peninsula, wintering in Isanotski Strait.
[Berkh, pp. 37-40; Coxe (3rd ed.), p. 68; Jochelson, p. 3.]
A merchant named Nikiforov built at Nizhne-Kamchatsk the ship
Julian, for which he selected as navigator the myeshchanin of Yar'ensk,
Stepan Glotov. Glotov sailed to the east on September 2, 1758; contrary winds forced him to Copper Island, whence he proceeded to Bering
Island to winter. From there he set out in August, 1759, on a voyage
of discovery, putting in at the islands of Umnak and Unalaska, where
his crews found excellent hunting. It was necessary at first to fight off
the natives, but peace was made and gifts were exchanged; the natives
pledged their fealty to Elizabeth and agreed to pay yassak, which the
Russians collected for the years 1761 and 1762. On the return of the
vessel in 1762, the Cossack Ponomarev, who had gone along to levy
yassak, drew up a map showing eight large islands northeast of Unalaska.
In 1764 one of the merchants who had been interested in the voyage was
sent to the imperial court at St. Petersburg, where he presented some
fine fox-skins to the Empress and gave her an account of the fur trade
in the North Pacific. He exhibited a map, probably that prepared by
Ponomarev, which was deposited with the Admiralty. See Tompkins
and Moorhead, " Russia's Approach to America," for the international
repercussions of this voyage. [Berkh, pp. 35-37; Mesyatsoslov, 111 A;
Ponomarev and Glotov, Report in Andreyev, pp. 23-29.]
It was in 1758 also that G. F. MiiUer published his Nachrichten von
Seereisen, together with a map, to further correct DeUsle's erroneous
account of the discoveries made by Bering.
The Petr i Pavel, commanded by A. Serebrennikov and owned by
the merchant Rybinskii and his associates, set out in search of lands
thought to lie south of the Aleutian Islands. Nothing is known as to
where they prosecuted their search for furs, but they returned to Nizhne-
Kamchatsk in 1761 with 2,000 sea-otter skins.   [Berkh, p. 40.] 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 17
The merchants Shuiskii Postnikov, Krasil'nikov of Tula, and the
Kul'khovs of Vologda sent out the Zakharii i Elizaveta under Captain
Stepan Cherapanov. The vessel sailed from Okhotsk to the Aleutians,
and it is assumed that it visited the Near Islands. It returned to Okhotsk
in 1762.   [Berkh, p. 40.]
The Sv. Gavrilo, sent out by the Irkutsk merchant Bechevin in 1760,
has been mentioned above in connection with the Vladimir, which set
sail in 1758. Apparently it was commanded by Ponomarev, but it is
uncertain whether it sailed from Bolsheretsk or Okhotsk. After parting
company with the Vladimir in 1761, it proceeded to Unalaska and the
island of Unga. The excesses of the crew there provoked retaliation from
the natives, who drove the vessel away from Unga. The Sv. Gavrilo then
put in at Umnak, and the outrages of this party were among the chief
causes of the native rising on the Fox Islands in 1764. The vessel
returned to Kamchatka in 1762 with a cargo valued at 52,000 rubles.
[Berkh, pp. 41-42;  Innokentii, I, p. 116.]
Andrean Tolstykh was owner and commander of the Adrian i
Natalia, which wintered in 1760-1761 on Bering Island and the next
year visited Attu, Agattu, Adak, and " Semichu." Proceeding under an
imperial sanction, Tolstykh carried out a thorough reconnaissance of
the Andreanof Islands. Upon his return in 1764, in recognition of his
services, the government remitted its customary 10-per-cent levy on the
profits of the voyage. The Cossacks Lazarev and Vasyutinski, who had
accompanied the expedition for the purpose of levying yassak, wrote a
description of the Andreanofs (see Andreyev) and were raised to the
level of " local nobles " as a reward for their services. [Berkh, pp.
52-57;  Coxe (4th ed.), p. 79.]
Berkh mentions also an expedition to the Aleutians of the Lala
merchant Teretii Chebaevskii, who returned in 1763 with a cargo valued
at 104,218 rubles.
A large joint-stock company, including Nikifor Trapeznikov, VasiUii
Popov, Jakob Potasov, and Ivan Lapin, dispatched four vessels, three
of which were lost. The Zakharii i Elizaveta, under the command of
Alexei Druzhinin, wintered in Petropavlovsk and proceeded in July,
1763, to Umnak, where she met the vessels of Glotov, Korovin, and
Medvyedev. [See below.] Druzhinin then directed his ship's course to
Unalaska, where two of his three hunting parties were wiped out in an 18 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
uprising of the natives. He was forced to abandon vessel and take
refuge on the ship of Korovin.   [Berkh, p. 63; Tikhmenev, I, p. 3.]
The second of the vessels, the Svyatata Troitsya, under Ivan Korovin,
reached Unalaska in August, 1763, in company with Medvyedev's ship.
After he picked up the survivors from Druzhinin's ship, his own vessel
was wrecked, and his company had to escape in baidars to Umnak.
There they found the wreck of the third vessel, name unknown, and the
bodies of the captain, Medvyedev, and the crew, all murdered by the
natives. The fourth of these iU-fated vessels, name and captain unknown,
proceeded to Unalaska and the Alaska Peninsula, and was lost in
Isanotski Strait. [Berkh, p. 58; Innokentii, I, pp. 118-119; Veniami-
nov's discussions of these early voyages suggest that in addition to the
above there were a number of others, of which aU records have been
The merchants Terentii Chebayevskii, Ivan Lapin, and Ivan and
Vasillii Popov sent out the Adrian i Natalia under the command of
Glotov. This vessel proceeded to Umnak, where Glotov joined forces
with Druzhinin for a little whUe. He soon went on to Kodiak, where
the hostility of the natives prevented effective hunting operations.
Returning to Unalaska, he found that Korovin had just picked up the
survivors of Druzhinin's party, and for a short time he joined forces
with Korovin, then later with Glotov. In 1766 he returned to Kamchatka.   [Berkh, p. 63; Tikhmenev, I, p. 3.]
Shalauroff set out in 1762 from the Kolyma River, but his expedition was forced to turn back to Nizhne-Kolymsk because of unfavourable weather. He tried again in 1764 under the sanction of the government, but he never returned and his fate is unknown. [Sauer, p. 96;
Coxe (3rd ed.), pp. 263-269, says that Shalauroff set out in 1761,
wintered at the mouth of the Kolyma, and came back to the mouth of
the Lena, 1763-1764. He speculates that Shalauroff and his crew were
killed about 1767 near the Anadyr by the Chukchi.]
The merchant Olednikov sent out the Petr i Pavel under Solov'ev
to the Aleutian Islands. Solov'ev proceeded to Umnak, Unalaska, and
the Alaska Peninsula. Returning to Unalaska he picked up the survivors of the crews which had been massacred by the natives [see above,
1762], and exacted a frightful vengeance from the natives. He returned
to Kamchatka in 1766.   [Berkh, pp. 47-62; Beniowsky, I, p. 267.] 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 19
Another Petr i Pavel, sent out by Grigorii and Petr Panov, had a
less eventful voyage to the Fox Islands, whence it returned in 1766.
Delarov commanded the ship.   [Berkh, p. 72.]
Under orders of Saimonov, then Governor of Siberia, Lieutenant
Synd, who had been a member of Bering's party, saUed from Okhotsk
on a voyage of discovery. His vessel, the Sv. Pavel, proved unseaworthy,
and he set out again in 1765 in the Sv. Ekaterina. He may have convoyed some commercial vessels, though this point is uncertain. The
territory which he covered is also uncertain, but he may have reached
the American mainland, touching it on or about Seward Peninsula. He
returned to Okhotsk in 1768. [Coxe (4th ed.), pp. 264-266; Bancroft,
pp. 157-158.]
It was in this year also that three vessels were secretly dispatched
from Arkhangel in the hope of finding open sea that would enable them
to pass around the northern coast of Europe and Asia to enter the
Pacific through Bering Sea. This voyage was promoted by the Russian
scientist Lomonosov as part of an ambitious scheme to explore the sea
routes between the Atlantic and Pacific. They were to meet another
expedition to be sent from Okhotsk to carry out the thorough exploration of the Aleutian Islands. The above three vessels, commanded by
Chichagov, Panov, and Babayev, reached the northwest coast of Spitzbergen and returned without fulfilling their mission in 1766. [Proekt
Lomonosova, pp. 142 ff.] News of this leaked out to the Spanish
Ambassador, who reported it to his home government. [See Tompkins
and Moorhead.]
The merchants Blasov and Mostovskii, backed by Lapin, Oryekov,
and Shilov, were this year authorized by decree of the Empress, issued
by the chancery of Okhotsk, to send out an expedition. In view of
irregularities, elaborate instructions for the conduct of the expedition
were given the commander, Gerasim Izmailov, and the peredovchik,
Lukanin. They sailed first to the Fox Islands, then to Unalaska, where
they had considerable trouble with the natives in 1766. Attempts to
collect yassak had caused difficulty with the natives, but in spite of that
they returned with a substantial catch of fur.   [Berkh, p. 45.]
The newly formed company of Lapin, ShUov, and Oryekov built
two vessels, the Sv. Petr and the Sv. Pavel, at Okhotsk. The Sv. Petr,
under command of Andrean Tolstykh, sailed southward from Bolsher-
etsk, searching for the mythical Gama Land.   The vessel was wrecked 20 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
in a storm off the coast of Kamchatka, and Tolstykh was drowned. The
Sv. Pavel, under Ocheredin, sailed to the Aleutians, passing one winter
on Umnak and another on Akutan. Hunting operations were constantly
hampered by the hostility of the natives, and in 1768 the natives made
concerted onslaughts on the vessels of Ocheredin and Popov, both then
trading at Unalaska. The Sv. Pavel returned in 1770. [Berkh, pp.
76-80; Bancroft, Alaska, pp. 153-154.]
The Tula merchant Semen KrasU'nikov and his company dispatched
the ship Vladimir under the command of Sapozhnikov. He is supposed
to have visited the Fox Islands, where he obtained a catch of sea-otters,
blue foxes, and fur-seals.   [Berkh, p. 81.]
It was in 1766 that Shilov went to Moscow, where he was presented
at court to teU of the Pacific trading activities. He gave Catherine skins
and a map of the Aleutian chain east to Umnak. In recognition of his
services she remitted the customary government tax of 10 per cent on his
Grigorii and Petr Panov again sent out the Sv. Petr i Sv. Pavel, which
returned in three years with a rich cargo and at once set out on a third
voyage, for which no return is recorded.   [Berkh, p. 82.]
Ivan Popov sent out the newly constructed ship loann Ustyuzhskii.
Her captain and destination are unknown, but she is supposed to have
passed a year in the Aleutian Islands. She returned at an unknown date
and was sent out on a second expedition, from which she returned in
1770 with a substantial catch. She immediately made a third voyage,
from which she returned in 1772.   [Berkh, p. 82.]
Peloponisov (obviously the first Greek who appears as a participant
in these voyages) and Popov formed a company and sent out a ship, the
Sv. loann Predtecha, which left Nizhne-Kamchatsk in 1767, possibly
reached the Aleutian Islands, and returned in 1772.   [Berkh, Appendix.]
Ivan Zasypkin, Afanasii Oreykhov, and Ivan Mukhin sent out the
ship Nikolai, which returned in 1773. Where its catch was obtained is
not recorded.   [Berkh, p. 85.]
An official voyage was undertaken this year under the express instructions of the Empress Catherine, who felt that exact scientific information 1955 After Bering:  Mapping the North Pacific 21
should be obtained with regard to the location of the Aleutian Islands
and the mainland of America. This voyage was part of the scheme
fathered by Lomonosov to complete the mapping of the northern and
eastern coasts of Siberia "and the Aleutian Islands and to complete the
work of Bering. Two vessels were commissioned — the galUot Sv.
Ekaterina, under Lieutenant Krenitsyn, and the hooker Sv. Pavel, commanded by Lieutenant Levashev. Krenitsyn was in supreme command.
The expedition seems to have made a false start in 1766, but did not
finaUy carry out its task until 1768-1769. It proceeded eastward along
the Aleutian chain to Unalaska. Krenitsyn seems to have wintered in
Isanotski Strait, whUe the Sv. Pavel wintered at Unalaska. The expedition encountered the Sv. Pavel, of Ocheredin, which was entrusted with
a dispatch to the home government. One of the chief tasks of this
expedition was the compilation of a chart marking the track of the vessels
both going out and returning. In the harbour of Unalaska and Isanotski
Strait, careful observations were made and distances accurately computed, thus clearing up for the first time the confusion in the geography
of the Aleutians. It might be noted that previous expeditions had been
under the impression that one had to reach the Aleutians by proceeding
northeast, and thus the Fox Islands and the Alaska Peninsula were presumed to be far to the north of their actual locations. Lomonosov conjectured that this error was due to the ignorance of the inexperienced
pilots of the local variations of the magnetic compass. [Coxe (4th ed.),
pp. 248-263; Proekt Lomonosova 143, letter of Lomonosov to Cherny-
shev, September 15, 1765.]
Peloponisov and Popov sent out the ship Sv. Adrian. The vessel
suffered partial shipwreck on its return trip in 1773, but managed none
the less to limp back to Kamchatka.   [Berkh, p. 85.]
A company made up of Matvei Okoshnikov, of Vologda, and Pro-
kopii Protodyakanov, of Yakutsk, sent out from Okhotsk the Prokopii,
which returned in 1773 with a very meagre catch of fur.   [Berkh, p. 85.]
VasUn Serebrennikov, of Moscow, dispatched the ship Sv. Aleksandr
Nevskii, which returned four years later.   [Berkh, p. 86.]
Vasilii Shilov, Ivan Lapin, and Afanasii Oryekhov selected Ivan
Maksimov Solov'ev to command the ship Sv. Pavel, which sailed from
Okhotsk in July, 1770. It visited Unalaska, Umnak, and neighbouring
islands and returned in 1775 with a good catch of furs.   [Berkh, p. 86.] 22 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
Gerhard Friedrich MiiUer this year pubUshed a new map of the
Russian Empire to correct mistakes in his earUer map of 1758. [MuUer,
Istoriya Sibiri, I, p. 105.] This map incorporated discoveries made by
This year saw one of the most fantastic incidents in the history of
naval activity in these regions. A prisoner of war captured in the disturbances in Poland in 1768, Mauritius Augustus, Count de Beniowsky,
succeeded in organizing a conspiracy among his feUow prisoners at
Bolsheretsk. The prisoners revolted, secured arms, overpowered the
garrison, and killed the commandant, Captain Nilov. They then seized a
ship in the harbour, the Sv. Petr i Pavel, upon which they embarked
for a voyage to freedom. With Beniowsky were a number of Russians,
at least one of whom, Izmailov, had made previous voyages. It is quite
impossible to trace the exact course followed, but Beniowsky claimed
that they sailed across the Bering Sea, touched on the coast of America,
and then turned southward, entering the Pacific and proceeding southward until they finally reached the port of Macao. Here the party
apparently broke up, and Beniowsky and some of the crew proceeded to
Europe—how is not known—and the others found their way back as
best they could. Ismailov had been put ashore on one of the Kurile
Islands to find his way back to Siberia. Beniowsky's expedition contributed little to maritime discovery, but it created a profound impression
in administrative circles, since it disclosed the comparative ease with
which determined prisoners could escape from exile and led to a shake-up
in the administration.   [Beniowsky, Vol. I.]
The company of Oryekhov, Lapin, and ShUov this year fitted out
the Sv. Vladimir under the command of Potap Zaikov. Zaikov left
Okhotsk on September 22, 1772, and put into the mouth of the Borov-
skaya River, 16 versts north of Bolsheretsk. The following year he
sailed again on June 12, 1773, and passed through the Kurile Islands
in a southeasterly direction in search of Gama Land. Unsuccessful, of
course, he turned back to winter on Copper Island, which he explored
very carefuUy. Putting to sea again in July, 1774, he sailed to the
island of Attu, where he decided to spend the winter hunting for fur.
In July, 1775, he left Attu, and sailed along the Aleutian Islands to
Umnak, where he met the Sv. Evyel, commanded by Burenin, with whom 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 23
he joined forces. Leaving a party on Umnak with Burenin, Zaikov
proceeded eastward in August to make further discoveries. On August
3, 1775, he entered Isanotski Strait, where he wintered. Zaikov apparently spent three years at Unimak. In May, 1778, he started home.
Putting in to Umnak he found Burenin and divided the catch with him.
He wintered in Umnak and set out again in May, 1779, stopping at
Attu to pick up a party which he had left behind. On June 12 he
reached Bering Island and in September finaUy put into Okhotsk. The
seven years' voyage was remarkably successful. Zaikov apparently had
some nautical training, for he was able to correct the observations of
Krenitsyn, which had placed the Aleutian Islands 5 degrees too far west,
and it was Zaikov who drew up the first accurate charts of the Aleutian
chain.   [Berkh, p. 87 ff.; PaUas, III, 274-288.]
Petr and Grigorii Panov sent out a vessel of unknown name in 1772;
there is no information as to the destination or the success of this voyage.
[Berhk, p. 94.]
Dmitrii Polutov sailed from Bolsheretsk on September 8, 1772, in
command of the Arkhangel Mikhail, a ship owned by the Totem merchant
Alexei Kholodilov. A storm on September 20 drove him on the shore
of Kamchatka, but the vessel was relatively undamaged. In July, 1773,
he again put to sea, reaching Bering Island, where he wintered. Polutov
set out again on July 17, 1774, and on September 7 dropped anchor
off Unalaska. There he spent two years hunting among the neighbouring
islands. June 15, 1776, he proceeded to Kodiak, where he put into
a bay on the eastern side of the island which penetrated the land 15
versts. The hostile attitude of the natives boded Ul for his trade with
them, and he decided to return to Unalaska. Thence he proceeded to
Attu, August 2, where he wintered. He departed on July 25, 1777,
and reached Nizhne-Kamchatsk that summer.   [Berkh, pp. 94—96.]
Baidars frequently went from the mainland to Bering and Copper
Islands, but records of such trips were rarely kept. However, Berkh
records that in 1772 and 1774 the baidar of Ivan Novikov made two
trips to the Near Islands and brought back rich cargoes.
The Sv. Evyel, sailing under command of her owner, Fedor Burenin,
set out from Nizhne-Kamchatsk. Burenin put in at Copper Island,
Attu, and finally Umnak, where, as we have seen, he joined forces with
Zaikov.    He returned home in 1779.   [Berkh, p. 97.] 24 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
A new map of discoveries in the North Pacific was issued in 1773 by
the Geographical Department of the Academy of Sciences.
This year Jakob von Stahlin published in the periodical Mesyatsoslov
an article, "A New Northern Archipelago," accompanied by a map
which purported to give the results of recent explorations in the North
Pacific. This pubUcation found its way to Spain through the Spanish
Ambassador and did something to stimulate Spanish interest in Russian
The merchants Protod'yakanov and Okonishnikov dispatched the
Sv. Prokopii on its second voyage. It returned in 1776 with a catch
which barely paid the expenses of the voyage, and the discouraged
owners got out of the business.   [Berkh, p. 99.]
The merchant Osokin, of Tobol, sent out his own Sv. Pavel, but it
suffered shipwreck at some unknown location and became a total loss.
[Berkh, p. 99.]
News of the Russian explorations in the region induced the Spanish
Government to send its first recorded voyage into the North Pacific.
The expedition was headed by Juan Perez in the vessel Santiago, which
saUed from San Bias, on the west coast of Mexico, January 25, 1774.
Although ordered to explore north to the 60th parallel, Perez reached
only 55 degrees north latitude. He apparently put in at Nootka Sound
(although there is some question as to the accuracy of this observation),
then proceeded northward along the west coast of Vancouver Island
and the mainland to 55 degrees. He turned back south on July 22 and
reached San Bias in September. [For the numerous authorities for this
voyage, the reader is referred to Wagner, I, pp. 172-174.]
A second Spanish expedition occurred in the year foUowing Perez's
first voyage. Bruno Heceta, in the Santiago, headed the expedition.
A second vessel, the Sonora, was commanded by Juan Francisco de la
Bodega. The expedition sailed from San Bias on March 16, 1775.
On August 17 the mouth of the Columbia River was discovered, but
so many of his men were Ul that Heceta could not dispatch a party
to explore it. The vessels had separated about August 1 in latitude
47 degrees, Heceta turning back south and Bodega continuing north
in an effort to carry out his orders to sail to 65 degrees.   The Santiago 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 25
anchored in Monterey on August 29. Bodega reached approximately
58 degrees on August 22; there heavy weather and illness of much of
the crew forced Bodega to turn back to the south. The Sonora reached
Monterey on October 7. [For an account of the voyage and of the six
extant accounts of the expedition, see Wagner, I, pp. 175-179.]
Grigorii and Petr Panov sent out the Sv. Aleksandr Nevskii to the
Aleutian Islands, whence it returned in 1779. No further information
on this voyage is available.    [Berkh, p. 100.]
Oryekhov, Lapin, and ShUov sent out the Sv. Pavel under the command of Gerasim Izmailov. Ivan Lukanin was peredovchik; i.e., the
leader of the hunting parties. We have no information from Russian
sources as to their destination, but the fact that Captain Cook encountered Izmailov at Unalaska in 1778 indicates that the expedition made
its headquarters on that island. Izmailov, who had sailed with Beniowsky as far as the Kurile Islands in 1771, was extremely well informed on
the geography of the North Pacific. He and Cook exchanged information from which both profited. Cook speaks as though the Russians
had a permanent post at Unalaska, but this is somewhat open to doubt.
Izmailov returned in 1781. [Berkh, p. 101; Bancroft, Alaska, p. 183;
Cook, II, 496-504.]
Grigorii Shelekhov, in partnership with Luka AUn, sent out another
Sv. Pavel, from Nizhne-Kamchatsk with Sapozhnikov in command. It
returned from the Aleutian Islands in 1780 with a cargo valued at 75,240
rubles.    [Berkh, p. 101; Bancroft, Alaska, p. 183.]
Shelekhov also formed a partnership with Lebedev-Lastochkin for
the purpose of hunting and trading on the Kurile Islands. They dispatched at least one vessel to the Kuriles, but no specific records of the
voyage are extant.    [Berkh, p. 100; Bancroft, Alaska, p. 182.]
Grigorii and Petr Panov, Shelekhov, and Solov'ev sent out the
Varfolomei i Varnava from Nizhne-Kamchatsk in the summer of this
year. It returned in 1781 with a small cargo. [Berkh, pp. 101-102;
Bancroft, Alaska, p. 183.]
Grigorii Shelekhov and Ivan Golikov built the Sv. Andrei Pervoz-
vannyi and sent it to the Aleutian Islands. The vessel was wrecked,
but its very valuable cargo (133,000 rubles) was saved. This seems
to have been the first venture in which Shelekhov and Golikov, who were 26 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
afterwards to organize the Russian-American Company, were associated.
[Berkh, p. 102.]
Yakov Protasov sent out the Zosim i Savvatiya, which returned in
four years with a smaU cargo.    [Berkh, pp. 102-103.]
This year occurred the first of the explorations undertaken by the
British in the North Pacific. Captain James Cook was placed in command of two vessels, the Discovery and the Resolution, with the principal
objective of locating, if possible, in these regions some passage which
would provide a route between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The
quest was stimulated by an account of the voyage aUeged to have been
made by Admiral de Fonte through the " River of the West," in which
he was aUeged to have passed through the continent from the Pacific
to the Atlantic. [See above, Introduction, for discussion of the apocryphal voyages.] Cook's orders were to search for this passage as far
north as the latitude in which it was assumed that the River of Fonte
entered the Pacific. If he failed to locate it, he was then to proceed
north to the 60th parallel, work his way along the coast of Alaska to
Bering Sea, and pass northward into the Arctic Ocean.
Cook left England in 1776 and arrived on the Northwest Coast in
March, 1778, at Nootka Sound. Turning northward, he examined the
various inlets in search of the supposed "River of the West," finally
coming to the conclusion that no such passage existed. He then sailed
farther north to about the 60th parallel, and entered and explored Prince
William Sound and Cook Inlet. From Cook Inlet he passed east of
Afognak and Kodiak Islands and continued southwest to Unimak Pass
and Unalaska Island, where he found evidence that Russians had been
there before him. Sailing north from Unalaska, he entered the estuary
of the Kuskokwim River, where shallow water compelled him to set his
course southwestward to the open sea. As a result, he missed the mouth
of the Yukon River. He finaUy passed through Bering Strait into the
Arctic, heading northwest until he was stopped by ice. Tacking back
south to clear the ice, he then turned to the northeast until he was again
stopped by ice. Since it was now late in the year, he decided to leave
these northern regions. But before doing so he reconnoitred the coast
of Northeast Siberia and the northwest coast of the North American
Continent, taking care to fix the position of aU the prominent landmarks
in and about Bering Strait. Coming down through Unimak Pass, he
called at Unalaska, where he at last encountered the Russians.    It was 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 27
his impression, probably erroneous, that the Russians had a permanent
settlement there. He managed a series of interviews with IzmaUov,
with whom, as we have seen, he exchanged information on the geography
of these regions. Cook then saUed for the Hawauan Islands, where,
unfortunately, he was kiUed in 1779. Cook, a competent navigator
and very shrewd student of geography, cleared up most of the map difficulties that navigators and geographers had experienced. He sketched
in a general way the outline of Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and the
adjacent coast of Siberia in pretty much the form that they exist on
modern maps. The first navigator to attempt the Northwest Passage
from west to east, he exploded the myth of Fonte's " River of the West."
Cook's work was resumed by his men in 1779 under command of
Captain Clerke. They passed northward through Bering Strait into the
Arctic in an attempt to force their way through the ice to the east, but
they faUed. On the return they put in at Petropavlovsk, where Clerke
died and was buried. The vessels then began the return voyage to
England, where they arrived in 1780. The journals and reports of Cook
were sent back overland across Siberia to St. Petersburg, where they were
deUvered to the British Ambassador. It is quite likely that the Russian
scholars had access to them, whether openly or clandestinely, since
PaUas, in a map pubUshed in 1780, showed the outline of Alaska pretty
much as Cook had proved it to be.   [Cook, Vols. II and III.]
The Panov brothers, associated with Arsenii Kuznetzof, constructed
the Sv. Nikolai, which they sent out from Petropavlovsk. It returned
after seven years with a rich cargo.   [Bancroft, Alaska, p. 184.]
The same firm also sent out the vessel Kliment, commanded by
Ocheredin, to the Aleutian Islands. The vessel wintered off Kodiak
(where the natives refused to permit a landing) in 1779, when the expedition suffered heavy loss from disease. In the spring they hastened to
the Fox Islands. Details of the rest of the voyage are lacking, but the
Kliment returned to Kamchatka in 1785 with a profitable load of furs.
[Berkh, p. 104; Shelekhov, Stranstvovanie.]
Shelekhov and the Kamchatka merchant Kozitsyn sent out another
ship named Sv. Nikolai, which made three successive voyages to the
Aleutian Islands. No further information appears for any of the voyages.
[Berkh, p. 105.]
Shelekhov and GoUkov sent out the Sv. loann Predtechya, which
seems to have proceeded as far as the Near Islands.   Over a period of 28 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
six years a substantial catch was collected, and the vessel returned to
Okhotsk in 1784.   [Berkh, p. 105.]
The third Spanish expedition, which had been ordered by the Spanish
Government for the year 1776, was delayed until 1779. It consisted of
two vessels—the Princesa, under command of Ignacio Arteaga, and the
Favorita, under command of Bodega. They saUed from San Bias on
February 11. After reconnoitring part of the Alexander Archipelago,
they continued northward, making a landfaU off Cape St. EUas. They
apparently crossed the entrance to Prince WiUiam Sound, caUed in the
accounts the " large ensenada," then saUed south and west past the Kenai
Peninsula. On August 7 they began the return voyage, probably passing
within sight of Afognak and Marmot Islands. They reached San Bias on
November 21.   [Wagner, I, pp. 191-196.]
The Panov brothers this year again sent out the Sv. Evyel from
Kamchatka to the Near Islands, where it spent five years. It was finaUy
wrecked, but its cargo was rescued, brought back, and sold. [Berkh,
p. 105.]
Shelekhov dispatched the Sv. loann Ryl'skii, which proceeded to the
Aleutian Islands. She was wrecked on the shore of Kamchatka on her
return voyage in 1786.   [Berkh, p. 106.]
Two Moscow merchants, Zhuravlev and Krivoroshov, sent out the
Sv. Prokopii from Okhotsk. It, too, was wrecked on the shores of
Kamchatka.  [Berkh, p. 107.]
In July, 1781, a Greek, Evstratu Delarov, saUed for the Aleutian
Islands, perhaps on the Aleksandr Nevskii, owned by the merchants
Oryekhov, Lapin, and Shilov. He passed his first winter out at Bering
Island, the second at Unalaska, and the third at Prince William Sound,
and the winters of 1784 and 1785 at Unga. He returned to Okhotsk in
1786. [Berkh, pp. 108-109; Sauer, p. 197.] Delarov was to become a
leading figure in the eastward expansion of the Russian fur trade.
Three other vessels saUed in 1781. The Sv. Pavel, dispatched by Alin
and Shelekhov, and the Sv. Alexei, sent out by the merchant Popov, each
returned after five years with a valuable cargo. The Sv. Georgii, fitted
out by Lebedev-Lastochkin and Shelekhov, was commanded by Gerasim
Pribylov, who is credited with the discovery of the islands which bear his
name.   He discovered the island of St. George in 1786 and left a party 1955 After Bering:  Mapping the North Pacific 29
of promyshlenniki there to winter. He discovered the near-by islands of
Peter and Paul in 1787. Pribylov stayed out for eight years, returning
home in 1789.   [Berkh, p. 107.]
Yakov Protassov sent out from Nizhne-Kamchatsk the sole vessel
whose departure was recorded in this year. It returned in 1786 with a
cargo consisting largely of fur-seals.   [Berkh, p. 109.]
The commanders of three vessels meeting at the Fox Islands decided
that hunting resources there had been exhausted and banded together to
go to Prince WUliam Sound. The ships were the foUowing: The Sv.
Alexei, owned by Kholodilov, Oryekhov, and Panov and commanded by
Evstratii Delarov; the Mikhail, owned by KholodUov and commanded
by Polutov; and the Aleksandr Nevskii, owned by Oryekhov, Lapin,
and Shilov and commanded by Potap Zaikov. The latter had seen Cook's
map, which showed the existence of the sound.
They made their way to Prince WiUiam Sound, but, so far as is
known, none of the vessels actuaUy entered the sound proper. Zaikov
anchored off Kayak Island, from where he prosecuted his trade with the
natives, but without significant success owing to their suspicion and hos-
tiUty. He did, however, reconnoitre the mouth of the Copper River and
learned from his interpreters the names of most of the tribes Uving along
the coast to the south and east. Weighing anchor early in September,
he proceeded westward along the coast to the island of Katalla, where
he encountered further difficulties with the natives. The other vessels
of the expedition met with no greater success; indeed, more than one
party of hunters was cut off and annihilated. Despairing of prosecuting
a successful trade, the crews concluded to cut their losses and return.
They made their way back separately to Okhotsk. We know that
Delarov did not return till 1786; the time of the arrival of the others is
not known accurately.
Polutov and his crew left behind a record of cruelty in their treatment
of the natives which was to bode the Russians no good in their future
relations with the Indians. [Berkh, p. 112; Shelekhov, Stranstvovanie,
pp. 20-21; Tikhmenev, II, Prilozhenie, pp. 1-8.]
Lebedev-Lastochkin sent out the Sv. Pavel, under the command of
Stepan Zaikov.  After first going to the XVIII Kurile Island to rescue the 30 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
brigantine Natalia, which had been cast ashore there by an earthquake,
he returned to Okhotsk; then he went on to the Aleutian Islands in the
next year. The ship was finaUy wrecked on the PribUof Islands in 1789;
the cargo was saved, but was not sufficient to pay the expenses of the
voyage.   [Berkh, p. 109.]
This year Shelekhov and Golikov, who had formed a momentous
partnership for estabUshing a permanent post in the fur-hunting area
off the American mainland, made their first venture toward that end.
Shelekhov himself took charge of the expedition of three ships—the
Three Saints, or Trekh Svyatitelei, commanded by Izmailov; the Sv.
Mikhail, under Olesov; and the Sr. Simeon and Prophetess Anna, which
was lost the first winter out. The two remaining ships became separated,
and Shelekhov, in the Three Saints, went on to Bering, where he wintered. Leaving there on July 16, 1784, the Three Saints proceeded eastward to Kodiak, where they landed and laid out a permanent fort on
Three Saints Bay on the southeastern coast of the island. Shelekhov
remained on Kodiak through 1785, sending out parties in aU directions
to look for furs. In the spring of 1786 the Sv. Mikhail, which had been
delayed for two years, finaUy reached Kodiak, where Shelekhov, dissatisfied with its pUot, turned the vessel over to SamoUov, to whom he gave
instructions to continue his explorations eastward. In the spring of 1786
Shelekhov sailed homeward, reaching Petropavlovsk in the late autumn.
He left at once by land for Okhotsk, then proceeded westward by stage
to European Russia, where he met the Empress Catherine, to whom he
presented an account of his voyage and a request for exclusive trading
privUeges.   [Shelekhov, Stranstvovanie, pp. 19-63.]
No ships were sent out by the Russians in this year.
The Totem merchant Panov sent out the Sv. Georgii from Nizhne-
Kamchatsk. It returned two years later with a cargo of 1,388 seals and
183 blue foxes.   [Berkh, p. 114.]
The return of the Cook expedition in 1780 had apprised EngUsh
merchants of the valuable furs to be obtained in the North Pacific, and
in 1785 a vessel, the Sea Otter, sailed from China under command of
James Hanna. It crossed the Pacific and reached the coast of America,
where Hanna was eventuaUy able to estabUsh friendly relations with the
natives and obtained a considerable cargo of furs.   Hanna is known to 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 31
have been at Nootka and to have named Fitzhugh Sound, which Ues just
north of Vancouver Island. He located and anchored in Sea Otter's
Harbour, of which no positive identification is now possible. The success
of Captain Hanna soon tempted other EngUsh vessels to make the
venture. [Meares, Voyages, Introduction, p. U; Howay; Bancroft,
Alaska, p. 242.]
English Voyages
The Sea Otter, under command of Captain WUliam Tipping, and the
Nootka, under Captain John Meares, left Bombay in March, 1786, and
traded in Alaskan waters that summer. Meares visited the Russian
estabUshment at Unalaska, where he was entertained by Delarov. From
Unalaska he proceeded east to Prince WUliam Sound, where he spent the
winter of 1786-1787, he and his men suffering great hardships from the
cold and scurvy. In the spring, Captain Dixon, in the King George,
encountering him there in great distress, did what he could to reUeve him
and his crew by lending him suppUes, but he reminded Meares that he
was engaged in iUegal trading since he was violating the monopoly exercised by the East India Company and the South Sea Company in these
waters and exacted a promise from him that he would immediately quit
the coast. This promise Meares broke, continuing to trade off the coast
of Alaska after the departure of Dixon.
The Sea Otter, under Captain Tipping, was hailed by Captain WU-
Uam Laurie in Prince WiUiam Sound in September, 1786. This was the
last seen of Tipping or his vessel, which was either wrecked or taken by
the natives.   [Howay; Wagner, I, p. 206; Bancroft, Alaska, p. 260.]
Another Sea Otter, under Captain James Hanna, from India arrived
at Nootka in August, 1786. Hanna foUowed the coast as far as Cape
Scott, and coUected furs, leaving for China on October 1. [Strange;
Bancroft, Alaska, p. 243.]
Two vessels were sent out by the King George's Sound Company—
the King George, under Captain Nathaniel Portlock, and the Queen
Charlotte, under Captain George Dixon. They left England in 1785,
wintered in the Hawaiian Islands, then proceeded to Prince WiUiam
Sound, where they hunted for furs during the 1786 season without success. They wintered again in the Hawaiian Islands and were back on the
coast in 1787.   [Bancroft, Alaska, p. 262; Wagner, I, pp. 206-207.]
This year the Lark, a vessel of the East India Company commanded
by Captain William Peters, reached Petropavlovsk in August on its return 32 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
from Kodiak. Shelekhov met Captain Peters and made arrangements
to purchase his entire cargo. Peters then set out on his return voyage,
but the vessel suffered shipwreck on Copper or Bering Island and aU but
two of the crew were lost.   [Dixon, p. xvu; Howay.]
The Captain Cook, commanded by Captain Henry Laurie, and the
Experiment, under Captain Guise, sailed from Bombay on December
8, 1785, and reached the west coast of Vancouver Island in the early
summer of 1786. They then proceeded northward across Queen Charlotte Sound and the Gulf of Alaska to Prince WUliam Sound, which they
left in September to return to Bombay. The trained seamen in command of this expedition took accurate observations throughout their
voyage.   [Wagner, I, p. 206; Howay; Strange, p. 32.]
French Voyages
A French Government expedition consisting of two vessels — the
Astrolabe, under de Langle, and the Boussele, under La Perouse—appeared on the Northwest Coast in 1786. They located and entered
Lituya Bay, but their landing parties came to grief in the rip tide at the
entrance to the bay. La Perouse then proceeded across the Pacific to
Petropavlovsk, whence he dispatched Count de Lesseps with his report
across Siberia and Europe to Paris. The expedition then made its way
southward and was lost in the South Sea Islands. [La Perouse, pp. 167-
169, 202; Wagner, I, pp. 199-200.]
When Portlock and Dixon left the Hawauan Islands in March, they
sailed to Prince William Sound, where they found Captain Meares' ship
Nootka frozen in and the crew in great distress. Meares was helped with
suppUes of various kinds and was warned that he had no right to trade,
but was encroaching on the monopoly of the South Sea Company and
the East India Company, from which Portlock and Dixon held licences.
It appears that he promised to leave the coast, but apparently he did not
keep his promise at once and continued to purchase furs before his
return to China. [See under year 1786.] Turning southward, Port-
lock and Dixon encountered the vessels of Captains Charles Duncan and
James Colnett near Nootka. They continued their voyage to England,
by way of the Hawauan Islands, and reached London in 1788. [Port-
lock, pp. 102-117; Dixon, pp. 60-69.]
The King George's Sound Company sent out from England in 1786
the Princess Royal, commanded by Captain Charles Duncan, and the 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 33
Prince of Wales, commanded by Captain James Colnett. They arrived
in Nootka Sound in July, 1787, then proceeded northward through
Hecate Strait and through various passages of the Alexander Archipelago.
They gathered furs around the Queen Charlotte Islands, then returned
to winter in the Hawaiian Islands.   [Howay.]
The Austrian East Indian Company, which consisted of supercargoes
in China in the service of the East India Company and several directors of
the latter company in England, sent out the Imperial Eagle from Ostend
under the Austrian flag on November 23, 1786. The vessel arrived in
Nootka Sound in June, 1787. Its commander, Captain Charles WUliam
Barkley, is generally credited with the discovery of the Strait of Juan
de Fuca (July, 1787). He also discovered Clayoquot Sound and
Barkley Sound, but he traded largely south of the strait and apparently
never reached Alaskan waters.   [Howay.]
The Zosim i Savvatiya, owned by Jakob Protasov, sailed in 1787
from Kamchatka and returned four years later with a rich cargo. The
region in which it traded is not known.   [Berkh, p. 115.]
Another Russian vessel, the galyut Sv. Georgii, sailed in 1787. But,
although it stayed out until 1793, its cargo did not even pay the expenses
of the voyage.   [Berkh, pp. 114-115.]
The first American vessels — the Columbia, under Captain John
Kendrick, and the Lady Washington, under Captain Robert Gray—were
financed by Boston merchants. The ships arrived in Nootka Sound in
September, 1788, at the end of the season, and wintered there. In 1789
they traded along the Northwest Coast in the neighbourhood of the
Queen Charlotte Islands. They returned to Clayoquot Sound, on the
west coast of Vancouver Island, in July. The Columbia sailed at once
for China under command of Gray. Kendrick remained behind for a
time in the Lady Washington, but he later sailed for China, where he
arrived on January 26, 1790. Their northernmost point was 55 degrees
43 minutes.   [Wagner, I, p. 209.]
A fourth Spanish expedition was dispatched northward in 1788—
the Princesa, under Captain Esteban Jos6 Martinez, and the San Carlos,
under Captain Gonzalo Lopez de Haro. The new expedition was inspired
by reports of the EngUsh and French voyages and rumours of renewed
Russian expansion. The instructions were to proceed northward with a
view to discovery and to find out, if possible, how far the Russian settlements extended.    They sailed northward to the neighbourhood of the 34 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
60th paraUel of latitude, where they took possession of the country in the
name of the Spanish monarch. Near the entrance to Prince WiUiam
Sound they encountered natives who handed them two documents—one
in Russian dated 1784 and the other in English dated 1787—and informed them that there were Russian establishments on Kodiak. A longboat was sent ashore at Kodiak, and de Haro met the Russian com-
andant, Delarov, who had arrived there November 12, 1787. Delarov
informed de Haro, among other things, that the Russians intended to
occupy Nootka Sound in the foUowing year. De Haro then left Three
Saints Bay, the scene of the meeting, to rejoin Martinez, who had sailed
westward, passing along the southern coast of the Alaska Peninsula.
Upon reaching Unalaska, they again took formal possession of the
country. Martinez encountered Potap Zaikov, who apparently represented the Lebedev-Lastochkin Company at that point, and was given
the same information that de Haro had received: that he had been
advised by an EngUshman, " Grek," who visited there in 1785 that the
Russians purposed to occupy Nootka the following year. From Unalaska, Martinez and de Haro sailed for San Bias, where they arrived in
October.   [Martinez, MS.; Wagner, I, pp. 202-206.]
The only expedition of this kind that is known to have been considered by Catherine was that proposed by Captain Trevenen in 1787,
but its execution was prevented by the outbreak of the Swedish War,
foUowed by the Turkish War, the troubles in Poland, and the outbreak of
the Napoleonic Wars.
As we have seen, Delarov had been commissioned by Shelekhov to
take full charge of the affairs of the company. In April, 1788, the Three
Saints, owned by Shelekhov and Golikov, arrived at Kodiak with Izmailov and Bocharov on board. Acting under Delarov's instructions,
Bocharov put to sea to explore the entrance to Prince WiUiam Sound,
whence he proceeded eastward along the Alaskan coast to Yakutat Bay,
which he explored thoroughly and claimed for Russia. The farthermost
point reached was Lityua Bay, already discovered by La Perouse. From
there the vessel returned to Kodiak.   [Shelekhov, Prodolzhenie, p. 42.]
In 1788 John Meares arrived off the Northwest Coast with two trading-vessels. After visiting the Alaskan coast in 1786 and 1787, he had
returned to Canton and organized a new company, the Merchant Proprietors. The company placed two ships—the Felice Adventurer and the
Iphigenia Nubiana—under command of John Meares and William
Douglas respectively. To circumvent the monopoUes of the East India
Company, the vessels were provided with Portuguese papers, Portuguese 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 35
flags, and Portuguese commanders, with the EngUsh captains to appear
in the capacity of supercargoes. The vessels left China in January,
1788, and arrived at Nootka Sound in May. There, ship carpenters who
had been brought along began the buUding of a smaU tender. While this
boat was under construction, Meares proceeded south to the Strait of
Juan de Fuca and penetrated along the coast of what is now the State
of Washington as far south as TiUimook Bay. On the return voyage in
July, he dispatched a longboat to reconnoitre the strait. Meares returned
to Nootka Sound, where he was joined by Douglas, who had just returned
from Prince WilUam Sound on September 20. The tender, christened
the Northwest America, was successfuUy launched—the first ship built
on the Northwest Coast. A few days later Meares departed for China
in the Felice Adventurer, whUe the Iphigenia and Northwest America
sailed for the Hawaiian Islands.   [Meares, pp. 306-311.]
The Princess Royal and Prince of Wales, having wintered in HawaU,
spent the 1788 season on the coast trading for furs. Their navigators
drew up an important chart of the Strait of Juan de Fuca; although they
did not penetrate beyond Claaset, the chart contained the first reaUy
definite information about the strait. Meares, not always reUable, claims
to have encountered the Prince of Wales, under a Captain Hutchins, at
Prince WiUiam Sound, and that the vessel anchored in Spring Corner
Cove in 1788.   [Howay; Meares, Introduction.]
An American vessel, the Eleanora, under Captain Simon Metcaffe,
is said to have arrived off the Northwest Coast from China, but there is
no record of its activity.   [Howay.]
On Meares's return to China, a new deal was made with the Etches
brothers of the London Company, effecting a consohdation of the London Company with the Merchant Proprietors. The Felice Adventurer
was sold, and a new ship, the Argonaut, was purchased. Meares remained in Canton to act as manager of the company, and two vessels
were sent out—the Argonaut, under Captain James Colnett, and the
Princess Royal, under Captain Duncan. Their instructions were to
establish a post, presumably at Nootka Sound, although there is some
doubt of this.   [Meares Memorial.]
The Iphigenia Nubiana, under Captain Douglas, and the Northwest
America, under Captain Robert Funter, having wintered in the Hawaiian
Islands, returned to the Northwest Coast in the early spring of 1789,
arriving at Nootka Sound late in April.   [Howay.] 36 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
Gray and Kendrick, who had wintered at Nootka Sound, saUed
southward on a trading trip. Gray returned to Nootka Sound on April
22 to find Captain Douglas and the Iphigenia; the Northwest America
had left for the north. Captain Gray also departed for northern waters.
On the way out of Nootka Sound on May 3, he met the Princesa, commanded by Martinez, and, some days later, the San Carlos, under de
Haro. In Nootka Sound on May 6 Martinez found the Iphigenia in
considerable distress, which he endeavoured to relieve. On the foUowing day, however, reinforced by the arrival of de Haro in the San Carlos,
he took possession of the Iphigenia as a prize of war and made its crew
prisoners. On May 26 he released Captain Douglas and restored the
Iphigenia to him, on the understanding that he would saU for the Hawaiian Islands. Douglas also agreed that the case should be submitted to
the Viceroy to decide whether the Iphigenia was a lawful prize, and
that in case the decision was in the affirmative, its owner should make
payment. He further agreed to instruct the commander of the Northwest America to discuss with Martinez the sale of that vessel to him.
The Iphigenia sailed on June 2, ostensibly homeward bound; but after
leaving Nootka Sound, Douglas proceeded northward on a trading
MeanwhUe, on June 9 the Northwest America returned and was
taken over by Martinez, who renamed it the Santa Gertrudis. He placed
it under command of R. D. CooUdge, a former first mate of the Lady
Washington, and dispatched it on a trading voyage, apparently with a
Spanish crew, since the British crew was shipped on the Columbia to
China. On June 14 Captain Hudson arrived in the Princess Royal from
China, with the information that the owners of the Iphigenia were bankrupt and the bUls given to Martinez for suppUes purchased were worthless.   Hudson then sailed on north to trade.
On July 3 the Argonaut, under Captain Colnett, reached Nootka
Sound, and two days later Martinez took possession of the vessel as a
prize and made the captain and crew prisoners. When the Princess
Royal returned under Captain Hudson on July 14, it, too, became a
prize of war and its crew were taken prisoners. Both vessels were sent
southward to San Bias with Spanish crews, carrying the EngUsh crews
as prisoners. MeanwhUe, during the season of 1789, Martinez carried
out some explorations in the Princesa, the San Carlos, and a third vessel,
the frigate Aranzazu, which had arrived from the south.
On the arrival of the Columbia in Canton, Meares heard of the
events that had been transpiring at Nootka.   He therefore left Canton 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 37
at once for London, where he arrived early in 1790, and shortly presented to the House of Commons a memorial relating the incidents and
asking the British Government to support his interests. The Spanish
Government had already been informed of the incident, and so were
not taken by surprise when the British Ambassador at Madrid lodged
a protest. The result was an international crisis which was not finaUy
settled for some months, and in which the decision was never very clear-
The Fair American, under Captain Metcalfe, also visited Nootka and
was captured by Martinez, who later released it. The vessel then sailed
to Hawau, where she was again captured and her crew murdered by the
natives.   [Howay.]
The Eleanora seems to have been on the coast again in 1789. She
was sighted around the Queen Charlotte Islands in September and off
Nootka in October, when she would not come within hailing distance.
The ship Mercury sailed from the Baltic under Swedish registry, but
with an English captain, Coxe, on a voyage around the world. Since
Sweden and Russia were then at war, Coxe carried instructions to raid
the Russian settlements in the Aleutian Islands. He caUed at the Pribilof
Islands and at a post on the Aleutian Islands, where, instead of raiding,
he succoured the population.   [Sauer, p. 212.]
A new Spanish expedition was ordered in 1790 to occupy and fortify
Nootka as soon as possible. The leader of the expedition, Francisco
Eliza, commanded the Concepcidn; Salvador Fidalgo commanded the
San Carlos; and Manuel Quimper was in charge of the Princesa Real.
The three vessels saUed from San Bias on February 3, 1790, and in the
foUowing month estabUshed the required fortification at Nootka.
It was now deemed necessary to check into Russian activities in
Alaska, so Fidalgo was dispatched northward in the San Carlos, leaving
Nootka on May 4. Fidalgo saUed to Prince WiUiam Sound, where he
took possession of these closely staked regions in the name of the King
of Spain. He then proceeded to Cook Inlet, where he spent some time
cleaning and repairing the ship and sending out longboats to contact
(1) There are many accounts of the Nootka Sound incident. Readers are
referred to W. R. Manning, The Nootka Sound Controversy (Annual Report of the
American Historical Association, 1904; this work includes Meares's memorial to
the House of Commons). 38 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
two posts of the Lebedev-Lastochkin Company in the area. He later
caUed on Delarov at Three Saints Bay on Kodiak, and there learned of
the presence of BilUngs's vessel on the coast. Fidalgo then returned to
San Bias, which he reached on November 13, where he reported that
bad weather had prevented his reaching Nootka.
The original intention of the Spaniards had been to deliver the Princesa Real (the former Princess Royal, seized in 1789) to Captain Colnett
at Nootka. But Colnett did not arrive at Nootka until January, 1791,
so Francisco Eliza seized the opportunity to send the vessel south to
make a detaUed examination of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Quimper
set out from Nootka on May 31. Since his orders allowed him only
two months to accomplish the task, his reconnaissance was necessarily
hurried, but he paused to take possession of the area for Spain at several
points. Quimper left the Strait on August 3, but fearing that the strong
west wind would prevent his reaching Nootka, he sailed back to San
Bias, where he arrived on November 13.   [Wagner, I, pp. 219-222.]
According to the records of the East India Company, the Princess
Royal, with a cargo and Spanish crew, arrived at Macao from Manila
on August 11, 1791. They had with them an " order from the Governor
and Captain General of the Philippine Islands to deliver here to Messrs.
James Colnett and Thomas Hudson the Princess Royal in the same state
as she was when she was detained by an officer of the Royal Navy in
the port of St. Laurence in Nootka situated in the Septentrional Coast
of California." Unfortunately the vessel was driven on shore and lost
her mast; and when the proposal was made to the EngUsh Select Committee to accept the vessel as she was, they refused to accept delivery.
It would seem, therefore, as though the vessel was returned to the Northwest Coast under its Spanish crew, for we find a vessel listed by Menzies
caUed the Princesa, under Salvador Fidalgo, present on the coast in 1792.
This is the only information that we have on the former English vessel
the Princess Royal.   [Morse, II, pp. 183-186.]
The brig Argonaut, seized by Martinez in 1789, was restored to
Captain Colnett on June 4, 1790, together with $40,000 of compensation. The latter spent the summer trading on the coast, wintered at
Clayoquot Sound, and returned to Nootka in February, 1791, then
sailed via the Hawaiian Islands for Canton, where he arrived in the
summer of 1791.   [Morse, II, p. 183; Howay.]
The American schooner Grace, owned and commanded by William
Douglas, formerly of the Iphigenia Nubiana, is recorded as appearing on
the coast in 1790.   The Polly, another American schooner, is also listed 1955 After Bering:  Mapping the North Pacific 39
as appearing there under the command of William Douglas. Howay
suggests that either Douglas was the owner and erroneously reported as
commander of the Polly or that the Polly and the Grace were actually
the same vessel listed under different names. We know at any rate that
Douglas died on board the Grace while she was returning to China in
1791.   [Howay.]
The Eleanora, previously on the coast in 1788 and 1789, may also
have traded there in 1790, but there is again no record of her activities.
This year Captain Joseph Billings, in command of the Slava Rossii,
left Petropavlovsk on a voyage of discovery along the Alaskan coast.
Billings had been commissioned by the Empress Catherine to complete
the exploration of the northeast coast of Siberia and the neighbouring
mainland of America. The years 1785 to 1789 had been spent in an
unsuccessful attempt to follow the Asiatic coast from the easternmost
point reached by previous explorers to Bering Strait. Admitting failure
there, he returned south to Petropavlovsk, where he constructed two
vessels, the Slava Rossii and the Chernyi Orel, for his Alaskan venture.
Billings's first voyage eastward did little more than go over the ground
previously traversed, as far as Cape Saint Elias. On reaching this point,
in accordance with his instructions, Billings assumed the title of commodore and turned back.   [Sauer.]
It was in 1790 also that the Trekh Svyatitelei left Okhotsk, bringing
Alexander Baranov to supersede Delarov, who had been established on
Kodiak as manager of the Shelekhov-Golikov interests since 1788. The
vessel was wrecked at Unalaska, and Baranov had to continue his voyage
by baidarka with native crews the following spring. After exposure to
great perils and after being sick almost to death, he succeeded in reaching Kodiak.   [Khlebnikov, pp. 5-8.]
Another Lebedev-Lastochkin vessel, the Sv. Pavel, had saUed from
Okhotsk in 1786, presumably under command of Petr Kolomin. In
1789 Kolomin had put ashore a party of some thirty-eight men to establish a post on Kasilov River, emptying into Cook Inlet. Then, in 1790,
there arrived the Sv. Georgii Pobyednosnyi under Grigorii Konovalov.
Although it, too, was a Lebedev-Lastochkin ship, Konovalov would not
join forces with Kolomin; on the contrary, he committed outrages
against the other post which finally caused Kolomin to appeal for aid
to Alexander Baranov, the manager of the Shelekhov post at Three Saints
Bay, who finally had to intervene in the interests of peace. [Tikhmenev,
II, Pril, pp. 49-53.] 40 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
One of a series of scientific expeditions sponsored by the Spanish
Government after the peace with England in 1783 came to the Northwest Coast in 1791. Alejandro Malaspina and Jose Bustamente y
Guerra, both commanders in the royal navy, were placed in command
of the Descubierta and the Atrevida respectively. They left Cadiz in
1789 and departed from Acapulco in 1791 for the Northwest Coast.
Malaspina's instructions to explore the coast at 60 degrees north latitude
were inspired by Buache's report in the Academy of Sciences in Paris
on the alleged discovery of a northwest passage at that latitude by Maldonado. [V. supra, pp. 6-7, for a discussion of the apocryphal voyages.]
Malaspina examined Yakutat Bay at about 59 degrees, then saUed west
to Hinchinbrook Island and south to Middleton Island; he then turned
back east and south, returning to San Bias on October 10. [Wagner, I,
pp. 225-229.]
Eliza, stUl in command at Nootka, was ordered to undertake further
explorations in 1791. He set out from Nootka on May 4 in the San
Carlos, accompanied by the Santa Saturnina under Jos6 Maria Narvaez.
Rough weather and the lateness of the season convinced EUza that he
could not begin his explorations at 60 degrees north latitude as ordered,
so he proceeded to Clayoquot Sound, where he made extensive explorations. The final result of his efforts was fairly reUable information about
the east end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Rosario and Haro Straits,
the Gulf of Georgia up to Texada Island, and the coast of Vancouver
Island below Hornby and Denman Islands.   [Wagner, I, pp. 223-224.]
There occurred in this year the only commercial voyage undertaken
by French nationals. A ship, La Solide, owned by the House of Baux
and commanded by Captain Etienne Marchand, left Marseilles on
December 14, 1790. Its first landfall on the Northwest Coast was within
sight of Cape Edgecumbe, a point of Kruzof Island in latitude 57 degrees,
but it seems to have traded mostly in the neighbourhood of the Queen
Charlotte Islands and as far south as Barkley Sound. La Solide left for
Macao early in September and finally reached Toulon on August 14,
1792. [Fleurieu, Voyage Round the World Performed during the Years
1790, 1791, and 1792 by Captain Etienne Marchand, cited by Wagner,
I, p. 212.]
The former British ship Mercury appeared on the coast this year as
the Gustavus HI, under Swedish colours. [See above, 1789.] Howay
lists her owner as John Henry Coxe and her commander as Thomas
Barnett. 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 41
The British ship Fairy, owned by William Douglas and commanded
by WilUam Rogers, traded on the coast during the season of 1791, then
saUed to Canton.   [Howay.]
The Felice Adventurer may have been on the coast in 1791, for
there is a record that she saUed for the coast from Macao on May 4,
1791.   [See Jane.]
The British brigantine Venus, under Captain Hervey, was also active
on the coast this year.   [Howay.]
There seems to have been a brig Nootka on the coast in this year,
owned by John Henry Coxe, associated with Henry Beale, saUing under
Prussian registry. This apparently was the Nootka, which was originaUy
fitted out by the Bengal Fur Company and sent to the Northwest Coast
under Captain John Meares in 1786. After Meares's voyage, she was
sold at Macao to a Portuguese merchant, who then sold her to Coxe.
The vessel appeared at Canton on July 19, 1791, under English colours.
[Morse, H, p. 184.]
The Lebedev-Lastochkin Company sent out the Sv. loann, under
command of Stepan Zaikov, whose own Sv. Pavel had been wrecked.
Alexei Popov was peredovchik. The instructions were to proceed to
Cook Inlet to join the Sv. Pavel and Sv. Nikolai, vessels of the same
company which were supposed to have preceded the Sv. loann there.
[Berkh, p. 117.]
The Billings expedition reassembled at Petropavlovsk in the spring
of 1791. The new vessel Chernyi Orel, under Captain Robert Hall, was
to rendezvous, if possible, with Billings at Bering Island. BUlings did not
encounter HaU there, however, and proceeded to Unalaska in the hope
of finding him there. Disappointed again, Billings left provisions there
and left for St. Lawrence Bay on the coast of Siberia. From there he
proceeded into Bering Strait as far north as latitude 65 degrees 23 minutes 50 seconds, then returned to St. Lawrence Bay. Billings turned the
Slava Rossii over to Gavrilo Sarychev and set out overland through the
Chukchi country to the mouth of the Kolyma River. Sarychev returned
to Unalaska, where he found Hall. The two vessels wintered in Iliuliuk
Harbour under conditions of severe privation, then returned to Petropavlovsk in 1792.   [Sauer; Sarychev, II.]
The Grace, having traded on the coast again in 1791, sailed in the
autumn for China. Her owner and captain, WilUam Douglas, died en
route and was succeeded by R. D. CooUdge.   [Howay.]
CroweU and Creighton's brigantine Hancock sailed from Boston in
November, 1790, and arrived on the coast in July, 1791, after an event- 42 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
ful passage via Cape Horn and the Hawaiian Islands. She saUed to
China in the faU of 1791 and returned to the coast in 1792 and 1793.
The Columbia Rediviva, which had returned to Boston from her
northern voyage, was fitted out once more and saUed from Boston on
September 28, 1790, again under command of Captain Gray. After
reaching Clayoquot on June 5, 1791, Gray pUed up and down the coast
between the 54th and 56th paraUels of latitude, and explored Portland
Canal, which he took to be Admiral de Fonte's " River of the West."
He left the Queen Charlotte Islands on August 19, going to Clayoquot
to winter.   [Wagner, I, p. 211.]
The Lady Washington, under Captain Kendrick, was back on the
coast in 1791, arriving from China on June 13 at the Queen Charlotte
Islands, where the natives tried to capture the vessel. Kendrick sailed
south to Nootka, where he purchased a considerable area of land, then
to Clayoquot, whence he departed for China late in September. [Howay.]
Joseph Ingraham, in command of the Hope, left Boston on September 7, 1790. He discovered four islands of the Marquesas group and
called at HawaU before he arrived on the Northwest Coast in June, 1791.
There he traded in the neighbourhood of the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Thence he sailed to China, where he arrived on December 1, 1791.
[Greenhow, pp. 226-227; Howay.]
Other American ships on the coast in 1791 were these: The Eleanora,
a veteran of the 1788, 1789, and 1790 seasons, and the Argonaut
[Howay]; the Jefferson, commanded by Captain Roberts of Boston, and
the Margaret, commanded by Captain Magee of New York [Greenhow,
p. 226]. We have no record of the movements of these vessels.
This year was memorable for the expedition of the British Admiralty
commanded by Captain George Vancouver. Since Vancouver not only
visited Nootka Sound, but made a very workmanUke examination of the
Strait of Juan de Fuca, and of the Strait of Georgia, as well as the passages of the Alexander Archipelago, he had ample opportunity to inform
himself on the movements of commercial vessels and to record them for
posterity in the published account of his voyage.
Vancouver had two vessels—the sloop Discovery, under his own
command, and the Chatham, under command of Broughton. He proceeded by way of Tahiti and the Hawauan Islands, and sighted the 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 43
American coast in latitude 39 degrees 27 minutes on April 27, 1792.
Coming north along the coast of present Oregon, he encountered Captain
Robert Gray in the Columbia and learned of his alleged discovery of a
river (the Columbia) which so far he had been unable to enter. Vancouver entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca and foUowed its south shore to
Admiralty Inlet. From there the Discovery's boats were dispatched for
reconnaissance; the result was a thorough exploration of Puget Sound.
The vessels then proceeded into the Gulf of Georgia and reconnoitred
its east coast. On June 24 Vancouver met and joined forces with
Captains Galiano and Valdes in the Sutil and Mexicana. Passing up the
coast, the two companies co-operated in exploring the intricate passages
at the north end of the Strait of Georgia. Leaving the Spaniards, Vancouver then found his way into Discovery Passage and Johnstone Strait,
finaUy emerging into Queen Charlotte Sound. He doubled back by
Nootka to the Strait of Georgia, where he now resumed examination of
the mainland side, foUowing it on north and west of Johnstone Strait as
far as Burke Channel. There he encountered Captain Shepherd, of the
brig Venus, who informed him that Bodega awaited him at Nootka, and
that the British ship Daedalus was also at Nootka with new instructions
for him. Vancouver returned to Nootka, where his negotiations with
Bodega faUed. Both commanders then turned south. Vancouver, leaving the Chatham to examine the estuary of the Columbia River, saUed to
HawaU via San Francisco and Monterey. [Vancouver, I, and pp. 1-51
in II.]
The Fenis and St. Joseph was a brig which sailed from Macao under
Portuguese colours. Howay Usts her commander as either Joseph
Andrew Tobar or John de Barros Andreada, and Robert Duffin, formerly
of the Felice and Argonaut, as her supercargo; but Menzies recorded
Duffin as captain. This was the vessel on which Lieutenant Mudge sailed
on October 1, 1792, to carry Vancouver's dispatches to China. [Howay;
Menzies, p. 124.]
The Felice Adventurer (Meares's vessel which had sailed under the
Portuguese flag in 1788) appeared in distress at Queen Charlotte Islands
in July, 1792. She had saUed from Macao, lost much of her crew in
Prince WUliam Sound, and eventuaUy put into Nootka to appeal for aid.
[Howay; Menzies, p. 124.]
Vancouver recorded the presence of the Iphigenia, which he
described as a British ship under Portuguese colours, commanded by
Captain Viana. This leads Howay to suggest that it may be the same
ship which Menzies called the Felice Adventurer. 44 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
But, since Viana's captaincy was only a legal fiction adopted by
Meares and associates, his name might weU have been used on the papers
of either vessel; so it is quite likely that both the Iphigenia and Felice
Adventurer were on the coast in 1792.
The Florinda, a sloop out of Macao under Portuguese colours,
appeared on the Northwest Coast under a Master Coles. [Menzies, p.
124; Howay.]
Probably the "Portuguese" vessels Usted above were all actuaUy
British vessels sailing under Portuguese colours in order to evade the
monopolies claimed by the British East India Company and the South
Sea Company. There was also much legitimate British commercial
activity on the coast in this year. The Jenny of Bristol, owned by Siden-
ham Teast and commanded by Captain James Baker, traded up and
down the coast in 1792. She put in at Nootka on October 7 and shortly
thereafter set out for Bristol via Cope Horn. She was back on the coast
in 1794. [Howay.]
The Butterworth, under Captain Brown, and her companion vessels
—the Prince Lee Boo, of Master Sharp, and the Jackal, of Master Alexander Stewart—traded principally in the vicinity of the Queen Charlotte
Islands. The three vessels wintered in Hawaii, whence they returned to
the coast the following season.   [Howay; Menzies, p. 124.]
The Halcyon, under her owner, Charles WiUiam Barkley, traded in
Alaskan waters in 1792. Her consort, the Venus, under Henry Shepherd, had also been on the coast in 1791. The Venus traded this year
in the vicinity of Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte group.
[Howay; Menzies, p. 124.]
The Three Brothers, under Lieutenant WiUiam Alder, and the Prince
WilUam Henry, of Master Ewen, traded on the coast together without a
Ucence from the South Sea Company. They wintered on the coast, and
the crew of the Three Brothers buUt a tender, whose name is not known.
[Howay; Menzies, p. 124.]
The British barque Phoenix, out of Bengal, under Master Hugh
Moore, was on the coast in 1792 and returned in 1794. [Menzies, p.
124; Howay.]
The Spanish Government sent out two experienced navigators—
Dionisio Alcala GaUano, in the Mexicana, and Cayetano Valdes, in the
Sutil—to examine the continental shore at the east end of the Strait of
Juan de Fuca, with a view to a settlement. In the Gulf of Georgia they
encountered Vancouver, as we have seen, and worked with him in an
examination of the mainland coast of the gulf-   On July 13 they parted, 1955 After Bering:  Mapping the North Pacific 45
and while Vancouver went through Johnstone Strait and Discovery
Passage, the Spanish vessels worked their way through the maze of
islands and channels closer to the mainland, without entering Queen
Charlotte Sound.   [Jane; Wagner, I, pp. 231-233.]
Colnett had stated to EUza that he thought he had discovered the
strait of Admiral de Fonte in approximately 53 degrees north latitude.
To investigate that possibility, the Viceroy of New Spain sent Jacinto
Caamano north in the frigate Aranzazu, under orders to explore the coast
in the neighbourhood of latitude 53 degrees. Caamano saUed to Bucareli
Bay, off Prince of Wales Island, and began a meticulous examination of
the bays in that neighbourhood. His quest took him across Dixon
Entrance several times and led to a reconnaissance of Clarence Strait as
well as a number of bays. Caamano then reconnoitred the mainland
coast and adjacent islands pretty thoroughly as far south as latitude 52
degrees. He then broke away from the mainland to sail south, passed
the north end of Vancouver Island, and anchored in Nootka on September 7. He then proceeded south to Monterey in October. [Wagner, I,
pp. 233-235.]
Other Spanish vessels present on the coast are Usted by Menzies as
foUows: The Princesa, under Salvador Fidalgo; the Santa Gertrudis,
under Alonso de Torres; the Activa, under a Captain Menendez. The
latter may possibly have been Salvador Melendez Valdes, who, according
to Wagner, was a prominent Spanish navigator on the Northwest Coast
in this period.
La Flavie, flying the new French tricolour and commanded by a
Captain Magon, appeared on the coast in 1792. Her actual owner,
according to Sauer, was a Russian subject named Torckler, whose purpose was to supply provisions for the distant Russian outposts. La
Flavie arrived at Kamchatka in September, 1792, with Uquor as her
principal cargo, and Mr. Torckler as her supercargo; the Russian
Government had earUer notified the officials of Russian America of his
impending arrival and recommending fuU co-operation with Torckler.
Oddly enough, La Flavie passed as just another French vessel when she
encountered other vessels, although the Spaniards [see Jane] thought she
seemed delinquent in pursuing her announced objective of discovering
the fate of La Perouse.   [Sauer, p. 287; Howay.]
The year 1792 marks an epoch in Russian activities on the Northwest
Coast, for in that year sailed the last ship of the independent traders.
The Zosim i Savvatiya, owned by the merchant Kiselev, of Irkutsk, put
to sea in 1792 and returned only in 1797.   She went out again, spending 46 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
time off Bering and Copper Islands, and then off the " Nearer " Aleutian
Islands. The discoveries made on the second voyage are described as
" notable," but are not specified. She returned from the latter voyage
in 1803.   [Berkh, pp. 119-123.]
Baranov, in the ship Mikhail, encountered Captain Moore's Phoenix
in Prince WilUam Sound.   [Tikhmenev, II, Pril., p. 36.]
The Gustavus, previously on the coast in 1789, 1790, and 1791,
seems to have been there again in 1792.   [Howay.]
Most important of the American activities on the coast in 1792 was
that of Gray's Columbia. He had wintered at Clayoquot, where he set
up the Adventure, which was placed under command of Captain Robert
Haswell. Late in March the two vessels saUed to the south. Gray, in
the Columbia, entered and named the present Grays Harbor, where he
remained from May 7 to May 11. On May 12 he crossed the bar at the
mouth of the Columbia River, which Gray named in honour of his own
vessel. He gave up the ascent of the river when the ship ran on to a
shoal; concluding that he had missed the channel, he turned back and
left the river on May 20th. Sailing north, he anchored, May 28 to 30,
in " Columbia's Cove " near Woody Point. On June 5 he entered
Queen Charlotte Sound. He continued along the north shore of Vancouver Island untU May 12, when he headed for Columbia's Cove, where
he had appointed a rendezvous with the Adventure. He encountered
the companion vessel near the rendezvous on June 17. Together they
sailed for the Queen Charlotte Islands, where, on July 1, they passed
Cape St. James, turned north, and passed the entrance to Barrel Sound
(Houston-Stewart Channel). The Columbia now lost the Adventure
and turned back south to Nootka, where she remained from July 24 to
August 23. She then returned north to Barrel Sound and met the
Adventure on August 30. The two ships proceeded north to Port Montgomery on Moresby Island in latitude 52 degrees 30 minutes. They then
returned to Nootka, then to Neah Bay, where on September 28 Gray sold
the Adventure to Bodega. Leaving the Northwest Coast, he went to
China and then to Boston, where he arrived on July 25, 1793. [Wagner,
I, pp. 211-212.]
Three other American vessels, all veterans of previous seasons, saUed
together from China in April, 1792—the Grace, under Captain Coolidge;
the Hope, under Captain Ingraham; and the Hancock, under Captain
Graham. Since the Grace had no legal papers, she planned to trade to
the north to avoid capture. Her two companions traded in the Queen
Charlotte area.   [Howay; Menzies, p. 124.] 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 47
The Margaret, owned by T. H. Perkins, James Magee, J. and T.
Lamb, R. Sturgis, and E. Johnson, saUed from Boston in October, 1792,
under command of James Magee. She arrived on the coast in April,
1792, coUected furs around the Queen Charlotte Islands, then went on
to China via HawaU. She was on the coast again in 1793. [Howay;
Menzies, p. 124.]
Menzies lists two other American vessels present on the coast in
1792—the Jefferson, out of China, under a Captain Roberts, and the
Lady Washington, of Captain Kendrick, also arriving from China.
Vancouver, having wintered in the Hawaiian Islands, now made his
second exploration of the Northwest Coast. He arrived at Trinidad
(41 degrees 31 minutes) on May 2, 1793, then proceeded up the coast,
correcting the previous year's observations of latitude as he went. On
AprU 26, at Restoration Bay in Burke Channel, he met the Chatham,
which had carried charts, etc., back to England. The company together
now examined Fisher's Channel and Johnstone's Channel up to Roscoe
Inlet. Johnstone, master of the Chatham, examined the extremities of
Burke Channel, and probably Seaforth Channel; he then proceeded
north to examine Tolmie and Finlayson Channels. The two vessels then
moved up Principe Channel, across Browning Entrance to Chatham
Sound. There they encountered Captain WUliam Brown with the Butter-
worth, Prince Lee Boo, and Jackal, and named Brown Passage for him.
They now explored Portland Canal and Observatory Inlet, Revillagigedo
Channel, and Behm Canal, where they anchored at Port Stewart. The
ships next proceeded up Clarence Strait to the north end of Prince of
Wales Island, where they anchored at Port Protection. Whidbey took
a small boat on to Affleck's Canal on Kuiu Island, the farthest extent of
the 1792 voyage. Vancouver now brought his ships down the west side
of the Prince of Wales and Queen Charlotte Islands to Nootka, thence
south and west to Hawaii, where he again wintered. [Vancouver, II,
pp. 240-431.]
News of Gray's rediscovery of the Columbia River inspired a renewal
of Spanish exploration. The Viceroy dispatched the Activa, under Francisco de Eliza, and the Mexicana, under Juan Martinez y Zayas, with
orders to explore the coast from Juan de Fuca Strait to San Francisco,
and to explore the Columbia River. The river was to be examined to
its source, for the Viceroy meant to found a settlement there to maintain 48 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
Spanish rights if the source of the river were in or near New Mexico.
EUza, in the Activa, turned back after reaching 44 degrees, blaming high
winds and lack of water for his failure. Martinez y Zayas went further
north, sighting Vancouver Island on July 24 and reaching Neah Bay on
the 26th, then proceeded to Puerto de San Juan (Port Discovery) on the
north coast. Returning south, he examined Grays Harbor, moved down
the coast to Baker Bay, and on August 11 started up the Columbia
River. He had gone only 14 miles when he ran aground; unable to
find another channel, he turned back on August 12, and by September
17 reached San Francisco.   [Wagner, I, pp. 236-238.]
L'Emilie was a French brig of 150 tons which had left France in
July, 1792, assuming American colours because of the impending war
between France and England. She spent the 1792 season on the Northwest Coast, then saUed for China. Her master, Mr. Owen, died and
was succeeded by Mr. Trotter. At Macao the ship was seized by the
British.    [Howay.]
Several American vessels made their initial appearance on the
Northwest Coast in this year. The Amelia, of Providence, R.I., commanded by Mr. Trotter, arrived at Nootka in May, 1793, and sailed for
the Alaskan coast on June 29 in the company of the Jefferson. The
Jefferson, owned by J. and T. Lamb et al., of Boston, and commanded
by Josiah Robert, had been at St. Ambrose Island for the 1792 hunting
season. She then wintered in the Marquesas Islands, where her crew
built the schooner Resolution. The two vessels spent the seasons of
1793 and 1794 on the Northwest Coast, then proceeded to China. The
Jane, owned by Ebenezer Dorr, of Boston, and commanded by Elias
Newbury, traded in the vicinity of the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1793,
meeting the Jefferson at Cloak Bay on July 20. At the end of the season
she sailed to China and thence to Boston, where she arrived on August
10, 1794.    [Howay.]
There were also a number of vessels which were veterans of previous
seasons on the coast. The Butterworth, Prince Lee Boo, and Jackal
were the vessels of Captain Brown's British expedition which had spent
the 1792 season on the coast. The Butterworth returned to England at
the end of the 1793 season. There was also the Iphigenia, the British
ship under Portuguese colours, which had been present in 1788, 1789,
and 1792. The British schooner Prince William Henry, under Captain
Ewen, which had been on the coast in 1792, traded along the coast
again in 1793, then sailed for China, whence it returned in 1795. With
the Prince William Henry was a consort, the Three Brothers, which had 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 49
also been there in 1792, and a tender (name unknown) which the
company had built while wintering at Friendly Cove in 1792-1793.
La Flavie, which had wintered at Kamchatka, traded along the coast
during the season of 1793, then sailed for Canton. The American brig
Hancock, a veteran of the 1791 and 1792 seasons, reappeared in 1793.
The Margaret, of Boston, which during the winter had taken the furs
collected in 1792 to China, now returned to trade along the coast during
the 1793 season, tended by a small schooner (name unknown) which
her crew had built at Friendly Cove during the preceding winter. The
Lady Washington, active on the coast in 1788, 1789, and 1791, returned
to the field in 1793.    [Howay.]
The year 1793 was memorable for the arrival on the coast of the
intrepid fur-trader Alexander Mackenzie, the first explorer to make the
traverse from the great plains to the sea. Mackenzie, who had some
years earlier followed the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean, in May,
1793, left his post at the junction of the Smoky and the Peace Rivers
and began the arduous journey by canoe across the CordiUera by way
of the Peace River pass, Giscome portage, and the Fraser. Finding the
descent of the Fraser too perilous, he abandoned his canoes and found
his way on foot across country to the Bella Coola River, where, having
procured canoes from the Indians, he followed that river to the point
on Dean Channel now known as Mackenzie's Rock, where his observations gave him a latitude of 52 degrees 20 minutes 48 seconds; his
observation for longitude, admittedly inaccurate owing to the loss of his
chronometer, placed him 128 degrees 2 minutes west of Greenwich.
Though the relative defencelessness of his party and the hostility of the
natives forced him to turn back when he might conceivably have gamed
contact with Vancouver, then on the coast, Mackenzie rightly claimed
that this voyage across the Rocky Mountains, as weU as his former
descent of the Mackenzie, conclusively proved, if proof were needed,
the non-existence of de Fonte's " River of the West" or any passage
that could be traversed by ships through the continent from Atlantic to
Pacific.    [Mackenzie.]
In mid-March, 1794, Vancouver set out from the Hawaiian Islands,
purposing to explore Cook's Inlet thoroughly and then move east to
connect that survey with the ones of the preceding years. Sailing northeast from Hawaii, on April 3 he passed Chirikof Island, then between
Barren Islands and Cape Elizabeth up Cook's Inlet. Upon discovering
the end of the inlet, he changed the name from Cook's River, which 50 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
Cook had given it, to Cook's Inlet. The northernmost latitude which
he reached was 61 degrees 29 minutes. Vancouver found the Russians
thickly estabUshed in this area. He visited a Lebedev-Lastochkin establishment at North Foreland, and thought the Russians there strove to
impress upon him that the American Continent and adjacent islands as
far east as Kayak Island belonged exclusively to the Russian Empire.
[A petition of Ivan Golikov to the Empress Catherine, giving incidents
of Vancouver's visit in 1794, states that Vancouver was told that in two
years a naval force of four or five vessels would occupy the coast up to
Prince WUliam Sound; Golikov's claim was that the Russian-American
Company's rights extended beyond Lituya Bay to Chilkat and Beaver
Bays. See Papers Relating to Russians in Alaska, 1732-1796, XV,
p. 117.]
From Cook's Inlet, Vancouver went east to Prince WiUiam Sound,
which he examined. He then came past Kayak Island to Yakutat Bay,
which he caUed " Behring's Bay." Puget, in the Chatham, made a
thorough examination of Yakutat Bay; at Port Mulgrave he encountered
George Purtov, leading a party of 9 Russians and some 900 Indians
from Kodiak and Cook Inlet. From Yakutat Bay he proceeded southwest along the coast past Mount Fairweather to the entrance of Cross
Sound. The latter was entered at the first favourable weather, and
Vancouver anchored off the south shore of the sound. From here he
dispatched three boats under Captain Whidbey to reconnoitre the continental shore to the east. Whidbey proceeded along the coast, explored
Glacier Bay to its farthermost recesses, and issuing from the bay he
passed through Icy Strait, keeping to the northern shore and turned up
into what is now Lynn Canal, which was penetrated as far as possible.
Returning, Whidbey proceeded south along Chatham Strait as far as
he felt safe and then rejoined Vancouver. Now coming south with both
his vessels along the west side of Chichagof and Baranov Islands and
around Cape Ommaney, Vancouver sent boats to explore Chatham
Strait and neighbouring waters. He anchored at Port Conclusion, an
inlet of Kuiu Island, which had been the farthest extent of his operations
in 1793. Two parties were dispatched—one under Whidbey and one
under Johnstone—to explore the maze of waterways and islands which
had hitherto not been examined. On return of these parties, his mission
accomplished, he returned to Nootka on September 2, and remained
there until October 15. He entered the mouth of the Shannon in September, 1795.    [Vancouver, III, pp. 83-489.] 1955 After Bering: Mapping the North Pacific 51
Purtov reported to Baranov that he had contacted not only the
Chatham under Puget, but also the Jackal, of Captain Brown, when he
came to Yakutat Bay on a hunting expedition. The natives there captured a number of his Kodiak hunters, and, at his request, Captain
Brown sent along an armed yawl with six sailors to assist in recovering
the prisoners. This is only one of several instances of co-operation
between the British and Russians in areas of contact. Purtov reported
also that the Yakutat Bay people were suppUed with firearms and
powder, which they had obtained from European trading-vessels along
the coast. [Yegor Purtov and Demidov Kulikalov to Baranov, August
9, 1794, Tikhmenev, II, Pril, pp. 60-67.]
There were only two new-comers among the vessels on the Northwest
Coast in 1794—the Arthur, a British brig out of Bengal under Captain
Barber, and the Nancy, of New York.    [Howay; Vancouver, III.]
The Eleanora, previously on the coast in 1788, 1789, 1790, and
1791, returned in 1794 and was captured by the Indians while trading
in Houston Stewart Channel in the Queen Charlotte Islands. The Jackal
and Prince Lee Boo, having made a winter voyage to China, returned to
the coast for the 1794 season. They then sailed for China via Hawaii,
where Captain Brown was killed and the two vessels were held by the
natives for a short time. The Jenny, which had been reported on the
coast in 1792 as a three-masted schooner, returned in 1794 as a 78-ton
ship, commanded by John William Adamson and owned by Sidenham
Teast, of Bristol. She traded up the coast from Cape Disappointment
to Kaigahnee, Alaska, then sailed for China at the end of the season.
The Phoenix, formerly there in 1792, returned to the coast in 1794,
trading around Sitka, the Queen Charlotte Islands, and on down to
Friendly Cove. Howay beUeves that she probably wintered in the
Columbia River. The Prince William Henry, a veteran of the 1792 and
1793 seasons, was on the coast again.    [Howay.]
The Lady Washington, on the coast in 1788, 1789, 1791, and 1793,
traded there again through the 1794 season. Her captain, John Kendrick, was killed accidentally by a shot fired in salute from the Jackal
in Honolulu Harbor on the way to China at the end of the season. The
Jefferson and its tender, Resolution, having wintered at Clayoquot, traded
largely around the eastern and northern shores of the Queen Charlotte
Islands during 1794. The Jefferson sailed for China and Boston via
Hawaii in August, 1794; the Resolution sailed in March, 1794, for the
Columbia River and disappeared. Howay deduces that the Fairy, of
Boston, owned by the estate of WiUiam Douglas and commanded by 52 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
Captain WUliam Rogers, which had been on the coast in 1791, was
there again in 1794.    [Howay.]
Only four British vessels appeared on the Northwest Coast in 1795.
The Jane, of Bristol, was at Nootka, Cape Scott, and Cook's Inlet late in
the season, then saUed on to HawaU, China, and on back to England.
The Phoenix, which had wintered in the Columbia River, resumed her
trading voyage in March. She spent the summer in the vicinity of the
Queen Charlotte Islands and left in September for China with a large
cargo of furs. The Prince William Henry, now commanded by WilUam
Wake, reappeared on the coast. Kow, the chief at Cloak Bay, complained that he had piloted the vessel into Kaigahnee (Dixon Entrance)
and had then been held by Wake for ransom. The Ruby, of Bristol,
owned by Sidenham Teast and commanded by Charles Bishop, traded
in the Queen Charlotte Islands area during 1795. She wintered in the
Columbia and was badly damaged in leaving that river when she sailed
for the Hawaiian Islands and China, where she was sold in 1796.
American commercial interests were represented by three vessels.
The Dispatch, of Boston, owned by Dorr and Sons and commanded by
EUas Newbury,2 arrived on the coast in May and traded through the season. She saUed to the Hawaiian Islands in October, and thence to China
and Boston. Newbury was killed on July 10 at Kaigahnee by the accidental discharge of a pistol held by Chief Ettarge. The Mercury, of
Providence, R.I., commanded by Captain Barnett, was a hard-luck vessel
which traded on the coast in 1795 with a crew composed in part of captured Hawaiians, seized to replace crewmen who had deserted the ship
in Hawaii. The captive sailors were returned to Kauai Island at the end
of the season, as the Mercury made its way to China. The Union, of
Newport, R.I., owned by Crowell Hatch and Caleb Gardiner and com-
(2) There is some confusion as to the spelling of the surname of the commander of the Dispatch. Many of the commercial papers relating to this expedition
are to be found in the Ebenezer Dorr Papers acquired some years ago by the
Archives of British Columbia. In an insurance policy placed by Dorr on the
master's share of the proceeds of the venture after the death of the latter, the name
is given as " Norberry." In the ship's contract with the crew, his own signature
could be deciphered as either " Nordbery " or " Nordberry," and in the agreement
itself it is " Nordbery." Since, in this latter document, the master appears to have
corrected the spelling himself by inserting a " d " and making no correction of the
single " r," it would appear that his correct name was Nordbery. 1955 After Bering:  Mapping the North Pacific 53
manded by John Boit, traded successfully through the season from May
to September. The vessel then sailed for Boston by way of the Hawauan
Islands and China.   [Howay.]
The year 1795 seems to be a good point at which to conclude this
account of the voyages and expeditions which finally cleared up most of
the cartography of the Northwest Coast and Alaska. Many details had
still to be filled in; toward this, the major countries interested—Russia,
Great Britain, and the United States—all made their contributions during
the nineteenth century; but the major part of the work of mapping the
adjacent parts of the American and Asiatic coast had already been done.
The year 1795 also saw the death of Shelekhov, who had already
accumulated a fortune in the fur trade and had been pressing for a grant
of monopoly from the Russian Government. This ambitious project was
now taken up by his widow, Natalie, and his partner, Ivan Golikov. The
Empress Catherine had shown great reluctance to meet the wishes of
Shelekhov, but the accession of a new sovereign in the person of the
Emperor Paul opened up fresh possibUities. While Paul had an ungovernable temper and seems to have been both hated and distrusted, his
extremely emotional nature exposed him to influences that could be
brought to bear on him through persons in his confidence. It is not
surprising, therefore, that the first success attained by the Shelekhov-
Golikov interests was a merger of their interests with those of Mylnikov
in 1797. Two years later the further grant of the monopoly to the new
company excluded all rivals from the trade in the Aleutian Islands and
Alaska and made their monopoly complete. The chief factor of the
company in America, Alexander Baranov, had already done much to
put their fur trade on a sound basis. But, as a matter of fact, as Sauer
tells us, the Shelekhov interests had ever since 1790 exercised a de facto
monopoly of all the trade to the east of Unalaska. Only two independent
trading-vessels are mentioned after that period: one owned by a man
named Sukhanin [Sauer, pp. 275-276], of whom nothing else is known,
and the other that of Kiselev, the Zosim i Savvatiya, which put out from
Okhotsk in 1792 and returned in 1798 [Berkh, p. 120].
The period from 1741 (the last voyage of Bering) to 1799 (the
grant of the charter of monopoly to the Russian-American Company)
is a unique interlude in the history of Russian economic development.
From the time of the acquisition of Siberia in the late sixteenth century,
the exploitation of the fur trade and to a large extent of the natural 54 Stuart R. Tompkins Jan.-Apr.
resources had been through government monopoly [Fisher, Russian Fur
Trade, 1550-1700]. In European Russia sinular trends are seen in the
means adopted by Peter to promote Russian industry and commerce,
either through direct government control or in government-granted
monopolies to private individuals and other measures of government
intervention. Private enterprise was not highly developed, either because
of an absence of the urge among the population themselves, or because
the government discouraged it; but after the discovery of the fur resources of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska, this long-hidden and discouraged private initiative took an astonishing spurt. It was the Siberian
merchants and their hirelings, the promyshlenniki, who provided the
capital and buUt the ships to fare forth on these venturesome voyages
into relatively unknown and stormy waters of the North Pacific. The
vessels they constructed were crude, and their seamanship was of the
most amateur kind, but their daring, resourcefulness, and hardihood were
astonishing. The control of the government, so absolute within the
boundaries of the land portion of the Russian Empire, did not reach
across the sea; and while they were nominaUy subject to the Russian
Government, the Russian State had no maritime laws or courts or any
government agency such as the British Board of Trade to keep their lawlessness within bounds. They kUled and plundered and exploited the
natives without pity. Many of them lost their lives or suffered shipwreck, but some accumulated substantial fortunes, and up to almost the
end there was no lack of fresh recruits in the fur trade.
It was under Catherine that this private enterprise flourished under
official patronage, but after Catherine's death the normal Russian urge
to bring everything under governmental control reasserted itself. An
extensive monopoly was granted to the Russian-American Company,
which exercised almost despotic control for a quarter of a century. By
replacing, in the office of the chief factor, merchants Uke Baranov by
naval officers, the company and its operations really became a branch
of the government, and its activities a means to further Russian expansion
rather than to collect dividends on its shares. But Russia was in no
position to assert her control through naval power, and eventually when
this fact was brought home to them, the government disposed of its
American possessions in order to concentrate on its efforts on the Asiatic
There are other reasons why the year 1795 marks the end of one
era and the beginning of another. The Nootka Sound incident of 1789
and the subsequent treaties with Spain were, in effect, the abdication by 1955 After Bering:  Mapping the North Pacific 55
Spain of her pretensions in the North Pacific. This was not realized
at first by the Spanish Government, but her inabiUty to raUy the support
of revolutionary France compeUed her to come to terms with Great
Britain, and subsequent negotiations disclosed the British Government's
interpretation of the agreement of 1790 as giving her a definite foothold
in the Northwest Coast. With the appearance of the fur-traders of the
North West Company, beginning in 1812, and later of the Hudson's Bay
Company, Great Britain made her claims effective, and the Spanish flag
disappeared from this part of the Pacific Coast.
It is to be noted that the year 1793 saw the outbreak of war on a
world-wide scale between Napoleon and the first coaUtion; Britain was
involved in war with France for over twenty years, and the exigencies
of war compeUed the British merchant marine to curtaU its far-flung
activities. The way was thus left open to the vessels of the cities of the
United States eastern seaboard, particularly Boston. Indeed, with the
Russians the word "Boston man" became synonymous with "American"
during the two decades that followed, and there developed a profitable
three-cornered commerce between New England, the Northwest Coast,
and China, which lasted down to 1835.
Stuart R. Tompkins
University of Oklahoma,
Norman, Okla. ESQUIMALT:   DEFENCE PROBLEM, 1865-1887
Esquimalt, situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British
Columbia, is to-day the west coast headquarters of the Royal Canadian
Navy. One hundred years ago it was nothing but a good harbour conveniently near the growing town of Victoria in the days when gold was
British Columbia's chief attraction. The next year it became a base for
the Royal Navy, and by 1865 it had become headquarters for the North
Pacific Squadron. Strategically, its location was not fortunate, as British
trade with the west coast of North America was slight and the main
Pacific trade routes from the Horn to Asia and Australasia passed well
to the south of the equator. Its chief merit lay in the fact that, although
not the best position, it was the only position from which the Royal Navy
could operate in the northwest Pacific, as Great Britain possessed no
territory on the western side of the Americas and the Falkland Islands
were 7,280 knots away via Cape Horn. The isolation of Esquimalt was
bad enough in the days of sailing-vessels that could keep at sea for long
periods; the advent of steam, when cruising range depended upon coal,
made it even worse. Furthermore, there was no regular contact overland
between the new Dominion of Canada and British Columbia, and it was
generally agreed that British North America was indefensible against
attack from the United States. Nevertheless, the Royal Navy, believing
that an unfortunate base was better than none at all, kept Esquimalt as
the headquarters for the North Pacific Squadron until the turn of the
In 1871 British Columbia entered the Canadian Confederation on
terms that included the promised construction of a transcontinental railway. This railway, it was expected, would add greatly to Esquimau's
strategic importance, for it would mean cable connection with England
and rail connection with the Imperial post at Halifax.1 To improve
facilities at Esquimalt, it was proposed, shortly after British Columbia
joined the federation, that a graving-dock should be estabUshed,2 to be
(1) Even so, the fact that the route finally selected for the railway ran close to
the frontier in several localities rendered traffic disruption by hostile American
overland action a relatively simple military operation.
(2) G. P. de T. Glazebrook, Canadian External Relations, Toronto, 1942, p.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIX, Nos. 1 and 2.
57 58 D. M. Schurman Jan.-Apr.
financed jointly by the Dominion, Provincial, and Imperial Governments.
The graving-dock was eventually taken over completely by the Canadian
Government and was officially opened on July 20, 1887.3 The Canadian
Pacific Railway was completed in 1885, and the first through traffic
began in 1886. Thus it was not untU 1887 that the Admiralty could see
any advantage in enlarging the naval base at Esquimalt. In that year the
defence of this point was tentatively apportioned between the Imperial
and Dominion Governments: the War Office assumed responsibUity for
the proposed armament, and the Dominion Government for the proposed works.
Students generally have found little between the years 1865 and
1887 to interest them in the history of Esquimalt. For the historian of
Imperial defence, however, the events of these years, between the establishment of North Pacific Naval Headquarters and the time when Canadian and Imperial Governments agreed to share responsibUity for land
defences, are interesting and instructive. In 1865 Esquimalt was a
matter of interest to the naval authorities alone; in 1887 it concerned not
only the Admiralty, but the War Office, the Colonial Office, the Federal
Government in Canada, and, to some extent, the Provincial Government
of British Columbia as well. Aside from the obvious fact that Esquimalt
became Canadian territory with British Columbia's entry into Confederation in 1871, this was the result of new trends in Imperial defence
between 1865 and 1877; trends which were, in many respects, the direct
result of the coming of steam to the Navy.
Although there were some who claimed that the advent of steam had
" bridged the Channel," others4 argued that steam did not really make
England more accessible to an invading force, owing to the problems of
supplying fuel to warships with restricted coal capacity. Nevertheless,
it was generally agreed that steam, with its attendant problem of filling
empty coal-bunkers, had introduced new problems of commerce protection to a nation extremely dependent upon overseas trade, and that a
serious effort should be made to grapple with these problems rather than
to accept them, in an unenlightened manner, as insoluble.
(3) F. V. Longstaff, Esquimalt Naval Base: A History of Its Work and Defences, Victoria, 1941, p. 39. This pioneer work, though limited in scope, is invaluable as a source book of information about Esquimalt.
(4) Notably Lord Palmerston. For a treatment of these problems, see W. C. B.
Tunstall, " Imperial Defence," Cambridge History of the British Empire, Vol. XI,
and Howard D'Egville, Imperial Defence and Closer Union, London, 1913. Tunstall treats the transition period as a unit and D'Egville pays special attention to the
brothers Colomb, naval tractarians. 1955 Esquimalt:  Defence Problem, 1865-1887 59
The serious nature of the coal problem became apparent during the
Franco-Prussian War, when the Admiralty5 realized that many coaling-
stations in foreign hands would be virtuaUy useless in war-time. From
this it was but a step to the realization that the Royal Navy's traditional
role as the protector of British commerce was imperUled by the defenceless condition of those overseas bases in British hands upon which the
Navy depended for its coal. Accordingly, at Admiralty instigation, the
War Office began to look seriously into the problem of coaling-station
defence. In 1875 a memorandum containing recommendations for the
defence of British coaUng-stations was prepared by the Office of the
Inspector-General of Fortifications;6 these recommendations were apparently given only summary consideration; they were not acted on by
the Secretary of State for War.7 This initial recognition of the great
importance of overseas coaUng-stations, although it did not stimulate
Government action, brought to the fore the intimate connection between
coaling-stations and commerce protection; it also made it clear that the
Royal Navy did not consider that it should be held responsible for the
defence of those stations.8
Esquimalt was referred to in the 1875 memorandum, but only inci-
dentaUy as one of eleven overseas bases.9 However, mention was made
of the fact that Esquimalt was, at this time, whoUy undefended both by
men or by guns.
(5) Granville to Admiralty, luly 12, 1870, states that ships of the Royal Navy
could coal in neutral ports only once in three months. Milne Papers, MIN/141/1,
National Maritime Museum.
(6) Memorandum by Colonel Sir W. F. D. Jervois, K.C.M.G., C.B., R.E., with
reference to the defenceless condition of our Coaling Stations and Naval Establishments abroad, lanuary 7, 1875, Carnarvon Papers, Public Record Office, 30/6-122.
(7) Ibid. This memorandum was passed to Mr. Gathorne-Hardy, January 9,
1875, and to the Cabinet, January 12, 1875. The Jervois memorandum was, however, supported by H.R.H. the Commander-in-Chief and was seen by the Secretary
of War and First Lord of the Admiralty in December, 1875, according to a memorandum dated December 12, 1875.
(8) Ibid. Jervois pointed out the cardinal Admiralty rule regarding fixed defence, viz.: " the fleet is required for cruising, and cannot be kept in harbour to
guard its own supplies." This is henceforth herein referred to as the " freedom of
action doctrine."
(9) The others included: (1) Port Royal, Jamaica; (2) Antigua; (3) Ascension; (4) Simons Bay, Cape of Good Hope; (5) Port Louis, Mauritius; (6) Trincomalee, Ceylon; (7) Singapore; (8) Hong Kong; (9) King George's Sound,
Western Australia;  (10) Falkland Islands. 60 D. M. Schurman Jan.-Apr.
In 1877 the coaling-station question was again revived, this time as
a result of the deterioration of Anglo-Russian relations to a point where
war seemed to be a distinct possibUity. On this occasion the Defence
Committee10 was inclined to give more than cursory consideration to the
defence of coaling bases. The protection of the overseas bases was
regarded almost as important as that of seaports in the United Kingdom.11
The several stations were grouped in order of their importance, excluding
the four Imperial fortresses of Halifax, Bermuda, Gibraltar, and Malta,
which were traditionaUy placed in the same category for defence purposes
as fortified positions in Great Britain itself. Priority was determined by
utility of location in relation to the protection of sea-borne commerce
and other naval requirements.
Esquimalt posed special problems. It was admittedly remote from
the mam lines of commerce and yet it was readUy defensible in the
physical sense and it was the only naval base on the west coast of the
American continents. Furthermore, negotiations with regard to the proposed graving-dock were in progress and could not be dropped or
ignored. The War Office, preferring to act on the principle that those
stations close to the trade routes should receive the greatest attention,
would have placed Esquimalt low on the priority list, but owing to the
insistence of the Admiralty, Esquimalt was finally placed eighth on the
list of priority.12 Two schemes were put forward for the defence of the
north Pacific base. The first, intended only to meet a temporary situation, proposed that one gun-boat be based on Esquimalt, and that six
heavy and six light guns and other works, at an estimated cost of £9,000,
be provided, along with a garrison of 688 men.13 The second, more
permanent scheme, contemplated the provision of eight heavy and six
(10) A permanent War Office Committee originally set up to put into effect the
recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Defences of the United Kingdom, 1859-60.   The Duke of Cambridge, Commander-in-Chief, was Chairman.
(11) Memorandum by the Defence Committee at their meeting of the 5th of
June, 1877, with reference to the Defence of Commercial Harbours at Home, and
of Coaling Stations Abroad, Public Record Office, 30/6-122.
(12) The priority of importance was, as follows: (1) Simons Bay, (2) Hong
Kong, (3) Singapore, (4) Jamaica, (5) King George's Sound, (6) Trincomalee,
(7) Mauritius, (8) Esquimalt, (9) St. Lucia, (10) Falkland Islands, (11) Ascension, (12) Fiji.
(13) Public Record Office, 30/6-122. See table attached to a memorandum
drawn up by Inspector-General of Fortifications approved by the Defence Committee in May, 1877. The total estimated expenditure on the twelve stations was
£243,000. 1955 Esquimalt:  Defence Problem, 1865-1887 61
Ught guns and expenditures amounting to £120,000 out of a total sum
of £2,297,412 intended for aU twelve bases.14
No immediate action was taken to implement either of these schemes.
By 1878, however, as the Anglo-Russian situation appeared to grow
worse, the coaling-station problem again became urgent,15 and a special
interdepartmental Colonial Defence Committee was formed to reexamine the problem in the light of the changing international situation.
This committee, caUed the Milne Committee, after its Chairman,
Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, was appointed to deal only with the
emergency,16 but it continued to deal with problems of naval-base defence
until the spring of 1879, when it was dissolved. A Royal Commission
was then appointed at the instigation of the Colonial Secretary, Lord
Carnarvon, "to enquire into the Defence of British Possessions and
Commerce Abroad."17 This Commission, like its predecessor, the
Colonial Defence Committee, was interdepartmental in composition, a
fact which attests to the importance now attached to the whole question
of coaUng-stations. Another development of significance was the role of
the Colonial Office, not only as a participant in these inquiries, but, in
both the Colonial Defence Committee and the Royal Commission, as the
originating and controUing body. The purposes of the Colonial Defence
Committee or Milne Committee and the Carnarvon Commission differed
in that the former was set up to recommend emergency measures in
1878, while the latter was set up to deal with various problems of Imperial defence on a permanent basis; both, however, may be looked upon
as joint contributors to the final reports of the Royal Commission.18
(14) Ibid. Appendix B attached to Defence Committee memorandum of June
5, 1877.
(15) In 1877, when the Inspector-General of Fortifications was asked to estimate the speed of a possible Russian advance on Turkey, he concluded his memorandum with a strongly worded warning about coaling-station defence. This memorandum is dated April 18, 1877, Public Record Office, 30/6-115.
(16) Colonial Office to War Office, February 16, 1878, Public Record Office,
30/6-124, p. 1.
(17) Public Record Office, CO. 323/356 General, 1884. The purpose, progress, and significant dates in the Commission's first year of existence were set out
in a memorandum drawn up for Lord Kimberley on June 1, 1880, by Under-
Secretary Blake at the Colonial Office. The Commission was appointed September
8, 1879.
(18) The Royal Commission issued three reports, the last one on July 22, 1882.
See Public Record Office, 30/6-126. 62 D. M. Schurman Jan.-Apr.
To its surprise, the Milne Committee found that there was not sufficient ordnance avaUable to arm aU the coaUng-stations, of whose
importance there was now no question.19 Furthermore, there were no
Regular Army troops stationed in, or free for service in, British Columbia. Nevertheless, some defence measures had to be taken. The international situation appeared critical, and the Admiralty was prevaUed
upon to loan naval guns from their Esquimalt stores for land defence,20
although it did so with reluctance, accompanied by suggestions that, since
the Canadians were concerned over the defence of Victoria, they might
possibly be asked to assist in the defence of the naval base.21 The Milne
Committee considered that such a request was not unreasonable; but the
Colonial Office, although it agreed to approach the Canadian Government, was pessimistic of the outcome22 and pointed out to the War
Office that Esquimalt was by definition a purely Imperial responsibUity.23
The Canadian reaction was clearly unexpected. Surprisingly enough,
Canada not only offered to supply men, but also to construct works at
Esquimalt as an emergency measure.24 Words were followed by action,
and in May, 1878, Lieutenant-Colonel de la Chevois T. Irwin, Canadian
Assistant Inspector of ArtiUery, went to Victoria to supervise work on
the earthwork and batteries untU their completion at the end of August.
As the threat of war gave way to peaceful settlement at the Congress
of Berlin in June, 1878, the enthusiasm aroused by the emergency
quickly waned on both sides of the Atlantic. No provisions had been
made to pay Canada for its assistance25 or for the naval guns, and by
September Sir Michael Hicks Beach, the Colonial Secretary, was writing
(19) Milne to Colonial Office, March 14, 1878, Public Record Office, 30/6-124,
No. 9.
(20) Admiralty to Colonial Office, May 15, 1878, ibid., No. 101. These guns
were old worn naval guns whose return to England had been delayed on the advice
of Major-General Sir Edward Selby Smyth, General Officer Commanding the militia in Canada.   See F. V. Longstaif, op. cit., p. 43.
(21) Colonial Office to Admiralty, April 10, 1878, Public Record Office,
30/6-124, No. 36.
(22) Colonial Office to the Governor-General, May 15, 1878, ibid., No. 100.
(23) Colonial Office to War Office, May 18, 1878, ibid., No. 109.
(24) Governor-General to Colonial Office, May 11, 1878, ibid., No. 88a, and
same to same, June 19, 1878, ibid., No. 124. For details concerning the military
aspects of the situation, see Reginald H. Roy, " The Early Militia and Defence of
British Columbia, 1871-1885," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, XVIII
(1954), pp. 1-28.
(25) Colonial Office to War Office, June 13, 1878, Public Record Office,
30/6-124, No. 171. 1955 Esquimalt:  Defence Problem, 1865-1887 63
to the Governor-General for a detaUed report on Canadian efforts and
suggesting the suspension of aU work until that report could be studied
in England.26 Later in the year an uneasy War Office suggested that
Canadian efforts might be checked by an Imperial officer.27 The Colonial Office warned the War Office that Canada's prompt help in the
emergency ought not to be Ughtly dismissed,28 and in the end both a
Canadian and an Imperial officer were sent jointly to inspect the Esquimalt defences.29 MeanwhUe the Canadian Government had made it
quite clear that its assistance at Esquimalt was not to be taken as a
precedent, and that the Dominion had no intention of becoming deeply
involved in any scheme of Imperial defence on a permanent basis.30
Hence, when the Carnarvon Commission was appointed in the summer
of 1879, the actual armament situation at Esquimalt was really little
improved over what it had been in 1865.
The Commission's report on Esquimalt, issued in 1882,31 was based
mainly on the appreciations of Lieutenant-Colonel J. W. Lovell, R.E.,
the Imperial officer sent to investigate Esquimalt in 1879, and that of
his Canadian-appointed colleague, Lieutenant-Colonel T. Bland Strange;
on a War Office memorandum drawn up to assist the Commission in
December, 1880; on the report of Colonel William Crossman, a special
War Office investigator; on the evidence given to the Commission in
1882 by Sir Astley Cooper Key, First Sea Lord; and that of Sir John A.
Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada, given earUer in July, 1880.
There was Uttle of the startling or the original in the final report. The
soldiers did not display much grasp of the strategic significance of Esquimalt. They agreed that it was useful and should be fortified, but then-
reasons were varied and uninspired. Strange thought the base important
but argued for strengthening the fortress as necessary for the protection
of the graving-dock.32    LoveU admitted that Esquimalt was poorly
(26) Colonial Office to Governor-General, September 6, 1878, ibid., No. 325.
(27) War Office to Colonial Office, December 10, 1878, ibid., No. 357.
(28) Colonial Office to War Office, December 19, 1878, ibid., No. 359.
(29) This was in the summer of 1879. They were Lieutenant-Colonel R. A.
Strange, the Canadian appointee, sent from Kingston, and Lieutenant-Colonel J. W.
Lovell, R.E., the British appointee, sent from Halifax.
(30) Governor-General to Colonial Office, May 19, 1879, Public Record Office,
CO. 812-14, No. 33.
(31) Third and Final Report of the Royal Commission appointed to enquire
into the Defence of British Possessions and Commerce Abroad, 1882. Public Record Office, 30/6-126.
(32) Strange's report, November 7, 1879, ibid., Appendix 4, No. 124. 64 D. M. Schurman Jan.-Apr.
located but urged strong fortifications on the basis that it was the only
northern Pacific naval station.33 LoveU thought the Milne Committee's
recommendations, based as they were on the possibUity of attack by
smaU unarmoured ships, inadequate and indicative of the smaU importance attached to the base by the Committee. He envisaged that in a
future war the North Pacific Squadron would probably join the China
Squadron and be continually at sea, thus leaving Esquimalt open to
attack by enemy ironclads.34 LoveU did not eliminate the idea of war
between the United States and Great Britain, and therefore emphasized
the need for continued Canadian participation in this aspect of Imperial
defence. The fact is that LoveU, not putting forward any weighty arguments for the defence of Esquimalt, simply urged that if it were to be
fortified at aU, it should be fortified strongly. On the basis of the evidence of Strange and Lovell, but not on their conclusions, the War Office
issued a preliminary memorandum35 on the defences of Esquimalt in
December, 1880. It declared Esquimalt indefensible against a determinedly hostile United States, and only suggested that we " throw troops
and stores into Esquimalt in a comparatively short time " in an emergency.36 The memorandum went on to say that if the Royal Navy
insisted on its land defence, provision should be made, but only against
possible attack by Russian cruisers. UnenthusiasticaUy it concluded that
as far as the United States was concerned, Esquimau's security must be
gambled on peace between the Americans and the British. It was on
this basis that Colonel Crossman recommended that works costing
£194,500 be provided, to be manned by a garrison of 1,300 men.37
The evidence given by Sir John A. Macdonald before the Carnarvon
Commission38 strongly influenced the Commission's view with regard to
(33) Ibid., Appendix 4, No. 124, Enclosure 2. Lovell's report was received by
the Colonial Office, March 18, 1880. See Public Record Office, CO. 812-16, No.
(34) If the North Pacific Squadron were to join the China Squadron, it is difficult to understand (a) of what importance Esquimalt would be to naval operations,
and (b) how its destruction could benefit an enemy.
(35) Third and Final Report of the Royal Commission . . . , 1882, Appendix 4.
(36) This, of course, anticipated the early completion of the Canadian Pacific
(37) Third and Final Report of the Royal Commission . . . , 1882, Appendix 4, p. 24.
(38) See Alice R. Stewart, " Sir John A. Macdonald and the Imperial Defence
Commission of 1879," Canadian Historical Review, XXXV (1954), pp. 119-139. 1955 Esquimalt:  Defence Problem, 1865-1887 65
Esquimalt, even as it vitally affected the Commission's attitude to Canadian defence generally. Sir John began with the realistic premise that the
possibility of war with the United States was so remote that it should
not enter into the Commission's considerations. His view was that any
attempt to define proportionate colonial and Imperial defence responsibUity in peace-time would only lead to colonial opposition to defence
commitment, on financial grounds, and that such unfavourable peacetime publicity might well restrict what otherwise might be a generous
colonial response to Empire defence requirements in an emergency.
Throughout his evidence he refrained from discussing Canadian coast
defence, except to indicate that in an emergency the Canadians could be
expected to render a good deal of assistance. As far as Esquimalt was
concerned, it was, to Macdonald, a base from which Canadian grain-
shipping could be protected when the Canadian Pacific Railway should
be completed. However, when asked why Esquimalt should be fortified,
he gave the stock Admiralty answer: "It is supposed that Esquimalt is
the proper place for a rendezvous for the North Pacific Squadron. It is
a good harbour, and defensible, and it is in immediate proximity to the
coal-fields of the island."39 When asked whether it would be worth
whUe defending Esquimalt if Canadian produce did not ship from British
Columbia in quantity, he properly refused to comment on what was
clearly a more general Imperial strategic problem. General Sir Lintorn
Simmons, a member of the Commission, attempted to persuade Macdonald to agree with the view that, should another port in British
Columbia carry the bulk of Canadian commerce, it would be better to
defend that port instead of Esquimalt, but Macdonald was persistently
the poUtician rather than the strategist, and his answers were noncommittal. In brief, the Canadian Prime Minister made it clear that, to
his mind, Esquimalt was a matter of Imperial and not of Canadian concern. Refusing to discuss strategic details and degrees of responsibilities,
he simply confined himself to presenting non-miUtary factual evidence
and speculating realistically upon poUtical possibilities, arriving at the
general conclusion that Esquimalt was, although useful for ensuring
Canadian trade protection, fundamentaUy a British problem.
In contrast with those of Sir John, the views of Admiral Sir Astley
Cooper Key, given to the Commission almost two years after Macdonald
(39)  Third and Final Report of the Royal Commission   .   .   .   , 1882, Appendix 4, p. 126. 66 D. M. Schurman Jan.-Apr.
had given evidence, were blunt and simple. 40 Another naval base was
badly needed in the north Pacific but Esquimalt, at least, was in existence
and was available. It should be strongly defended; strongly enough, that
is, to resist attack from any source, including the United States. If
Esquimalt was to be a British fortress, it should be heavily armed. What
other argument could there be?
The final recommendations of the Royal Commission were not
unanimous. In the opinion of the majority of the members,41 Esquimalt
was strategically indefensible and almost valueless. This conclusion was
not, at the time, unreasonable; the main British trade routes were well
out of reach of Esquimalt; the base itself was extremely vulnerable to
attack from the United States; there was little in British Columbia which
was likely to invite aggression on the part of the distantly based Russian
fleet; and, in the event of war, the ships based upon Esquimalt would be
moved away to join the China Squadron. It was difficult, the Commission stated, to justify the expenditure of the £194,500 and 1,300 men
required to maintain Esquimalt in a proper state of defence. Despite the
cogency of these arguments, the Commission would not go as far as to
urge that Esquimalt be whoUy abandoned. There were too many poUtical considerations which could not be ignored, such, for instance, as the
deUcate question of British-Canadian relations and the money and time
spent on investigating the base. The members of the Commission fully
appreciated Canada's undertakings to British Columbia both to construct
the transcontinental railway and to use Federal influence in persuading
Great Britain to maintain Esquimalt as a naval base, particularly in view
of the Admiralty's promise to construct a graving-dock there. It was
because of these frankly non-miUtary features that the majority of the
Royal Commissioners recommended that, if the Canadians would construct the works and provide a garrison, the British Government should
supply the actual guns and professional assistance.
This compromise, however, was rejected by two of the Commissioners, who submitted a minority report. They were Sir Alexander
Milne and Sir Henry Barkly. One of them, Sir Alexander Milne, who
had chaired the Committee which had preceded the Royal Commission
in 1878, argued that the proposal to remove the squadron from Esquimalt was beyond the scope of the Commission and " an interference with
(40) Ibid., Digest of Evidence, p. 608. Key was then First Sea Lord at the
(41) Ibid., pp. 23, 24, and 25. 1955 Esquimalt:  Defence Problem, 1865-1887 67
the Executive Departments of the State." He returned to the views
which he had advocated previously, and stated that Esquimalt should be
defended to the degree recommended by his Committee in April, 1878.
Milne's arguments—and they really reflected the views of the Admiralty—included Esquimau's value in peace-time as a base from which to
show the flag and from which to ferry diplomatic representatives to the
Orient. In war he agreed that it would probably be advisable for the
Royal Navy ships based on Esquimalt to join the China Squadron; in
this respect he accepted the principal contention of the majority report.42
The determination of the minority Commissioners to defend Esquimau's
usefulness in peace-time may have sprung from some sense of conviction,
but a more likely explanation is to be found in the interdepartmental
rivalry which existed within the Commission, and the firm resolution of
the Admiralty not to let the War Office have it all its own way. This idea
emerges from Sir Alexander Milne's remark in a letter to Barkly that,
despite his desire not to disrupt the unanimity of the report, " it is Simmons43 versus the Navy that I won't stand."44
What was the true significance of Esquimalt in view of the fact that
the efforts of the defence planners between 1875 and 1882 produced so
Uttle in the way of concrete defences? For contemporaries, perhaps, the
lessons were slight, but for the historian, writing in a defence-conscious
era, the subject is not without interest and importance. To begin with,
it iUustrates some of the basic problems of British-Canadian relations
which were to emerge with greater emphasis and clarity a generation later
during the Laurier regime in Canada. Both the Canadian Government's
statements disclaiming financial responsibiUty for Esquimau's permanent
defences after the crisis of 1878 had passed and the views of Sir John A.
Macdonald underUne the deep-lying aversion of colonial governments to
any binding permanent responsibility with regard to Empire defence. At
the same time, that Government's action during the 1878 crisis and
Macdonald's evidence indicated the reserves of Imperial sentiment in
Canada that could be tapped in an emergency, providing rigid definition
were not attempted beforehand.   From the view-point of Imperial de-
(42) Because of the prevailing winds and lack of coal-supplies, Milne thought
that this journey would be made by sailing south of the equator and then proceeding to Hong Kong, completely under sail propulsion.
(43) General Sir John Arabin Simmons, G.C.B., R.E., Governor and Commander-in-Chief at Malta, was at this time a member of the Royal Commission.
(44) Milne to Barkly, May 20, 1882, Milne Papers, MIN/141/1, National
Maritime Museum. 68 D. M. Schurman Jan.-Apr.
fence considered as a whole, this apparent contradiction between policy
and sentiment was a source of strategical weakness, since no British long-
term plans could include Canada, except in so far as they might contemplate some vague and undefined assistance in time of crisis. Indeed, in
the British Government's handling of the Canadian defence problem,
political considerations, of necessity, had to take precedence over military ones, and the emphasis was placed upon the maintenance of poUtical
friendliness at the expense of immediate military efficiency. This is
clearly apparent in that section of the majority report of the Royal Commission concerning Esquimalt. Such a policy, however satisfactory from
the standpoint of the poUtician, for the moment did nothing to relieve
the anxiety of the soldiers responsible for Imperial defence.
However, the discussions which arose out of the coaling-stations
problem brought to the forefront the lack of sympathy and co-operation
between the departments of government involved in them. It was in
frank recognition of this fact that both the Milne Committee and the
Royal Commission were organized on an interdepartmental basis. Yet
neither the small Committee nor the more imposing Commission succeeded in resolving conflicts that a century of departmental exclusiveness
had produced. Recommendations might be worked out in some harmony (although in the case of Equimalt even that hope became barren),
but recommendations were useless as long as the power to give them
effect was lacking. What appeared to be missing was not technical advice, but rather co-ordination of the kind which would result from the
presence of a strong political personaUty who could guide the work of
the technical advisers toward a common purpose without keeping both
ears tuned to the rumblings or grumblings within any one department.
Most of the obstacles to effective interdepartmental co-operation came
from the Admiralty. The sailors had their own standards of what constituted naval necessities, and whatever one may suspect, it is impossible
to determine whether those standards were arrived at by inductive or
deductive reasoning. The War Office, on the other hand, sprawling and
divided as it was, did attempt to deal with the coaling-station problem in
a reasonable way. In fact, the work performed in the Fortifications
Department between 1875 and 1877, involving, as it did, a whole conception of maritime defence adapted to modern needs, while at the same
time recognizing the special role of the Navy, was a tribute to the understanding of the soldiers. The Admiralty, however, was prepared to accept the views of the soldiers just as long as they were in agreement with 1955 Esquimalt:  Defence Problem, 1865-1887 69
those of the sailors, but no further: when a prominent soldier in a Royal
Commission should go so far as to recommend the abandonment of
Esquimalt as a serious naval base, further co-operation, discussion, or
agreement was impossible. But a strong directing poUtical head was
absent, and the tide had been running against further expenditures on
Imperial defence since Edward CardweU had withdrawn the Imperial
garrisons. Why should any poUtician be expected to take a firm stand
when, to the public in general, the defence of colonial ports meant only
further expenditure outlays of British moneys with no corresponding
repayment in votes?
D. M. Schurman.
Sidney Sussex College,
A recent issue of this Quarterly honoured Professor Walter N. Sage,
the dean of Provincial historians and one of the most ardent advocates of
the study of local history. As a young man, Professor Sage took an
active interest in the history of British Columbia, and for over a quarter
of a century he has maintained his interest. His enthusiasm he has
passed on to his many students; he has convinced them that Provincial
history is not only fun and fuU of intrinsic interest, but also that it is an
admirable training-ground where young scholars can learn and practise
the rudiments of historical method. A good deal of Professor Sage's own
work was on the transition period in Provincial history when the people
of British Columbia, frustrated by recession and stimulated by Canadian
federation, examined possible alternatives to their unhappy poUtical and
economic state. In the course of his researches, Dr. Sage discovered that
Sir Joseph WiUiam Trutch, the first Lieutenant-Governor of the Province
after confederation, played an important part in the transition to responsible government.1 This article covers much of the same ground; it
should be viewed not as a successor to his work, but as a supplement.
It is perhaps fitting to record that it was Professor Sage who first suggested to the author a study of the office of the Lieutenant-Governor, a
study of which this is but a minor part.
British Columbia was the second Province to enter the Canadian
confederation. The Manitoba experiment had not been a happy one,
and even while the terms of union were being negotiated with the British
Columbians, the Federal Government could not be certain that it had
succeeded.   British Columbia was in every way better fitted for its new
* This paper was read, in part, before the Victoria Section of the British
Columbia Historical Association in May, 1954. It is the first of three short essays
on interesting and important periods in the history of the office of the Lieutenant-
Governor in British Columbia. The author would like to thank the Social Science
Research Council, Washington, D.C, the Canadian Social Science Research Council, and the Humanities Research Council for grants that have made possible a
study of the office of the Lieutenant-Governor in Canada.
(1) Walter N. Sage, "The Position of the Lieutenant-Governor in British
Columbia in the Years Following Confederation," in R. Flenley (ed.), Essays in
Canadian History Presented to George Mackinnon Wrong for His Eightieth Birthday, Toronto, 1939, pp. 178-203.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIX, Nos. 1 and 2.
71 72 John Tupper Saywell Jan.-Apr.
status as a Province of Canada than Manitoba had been. There were
no serious racial or religious antagonisms to obstruct the normal functioning of representative and responsible government, although it must
be admitted that society was not as stable, mature, or cohesive as was
that in the eastern Provinces. Partial representative government had
been enjoyed for a number of years in the Crown Colony and, peopled
as it was from Great Britain, Canada, and the United States, there was
abroad a fair amount of political experience. An administrative machine
of sorts, which had extended its control over most of the Province
(although spasmodically and perhaps ineffectively in the Interior), was
in full operation. The Colonial Governor was, to be sure, the most
powerful political figure in the Colony, but the basis was there for
responsible self-government within the confederation.
Demands for responsible government had been heard in British
Columbia for a long time; in fact, the drive for confederation with
Canada was intimately related to it. " The most prominent Agitators for
confederation," Governor Musgrave informed the Colonial Secretary,
" are a small knot of Canadians who hope that it may be possible to
make fuller representative institutions and Responsible Government part
of the new arrangements." Musgrave, who had been sent to British
Columbia to accelerate confederation, condemned responsible government as ". . . inappUcable to a Community so smaU and so constituted
as this—a sparse population scattered over a vast area. . . ."2 He
realized, however, that government by Governor and CouncU could not
continue for long, and gained the approval of the Colonial Office to a
constitutional amendment that gave the elected members of the Legislative CouncU a majority.
(2) Musgrave to Granville, October 3, 1869, MS., Archives of B.C. A year
later he informed Sir John A. Macdonald that " notwithstanding all the boasted
eagerness of the Community for Confederation the only men I can depend on are
the officials. DeCosmos and the leading Demagogues . . . would throw Confederation to the winds tomorrow if without it they could obtain 'Responsible
Govt.', which to them does not mean rational self-government . . . but official
plunder and possession of public office." Musgrave to Macdonald, November 24,
1870, Macdonald Papers, Vol. 342, Public Archives of Canada. Musgrave was not
alone in this opinion; Philip J. Hankin, his Colonial Secretary, wrote in a similar
vein to the Duke of Buckingham, under date of March 11, 1870: " What they all
try to hold out for here, is Responsible Governt; & that they certainly are not fit
for. Some of them hope by that means to get into Office." Willard E. Ireland,
"An Official Speaks Out: Letter of the Hon. Phillip J. Hankin, Colonial Secretary,
to the Duke of Buckingham, March 11, 1870," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, XIII (1949), p. 37. 1955 Sir Joseph Trutch 73
An attempt to have responsible government included in the terms of
union was narrowly defeated in the Legislative CouncU when the terms
were being discussed. During the negotiations with the Macdonald
Government in Ottawa it was agreed that this constitutional change
should be introduced simultaneously with confederation or very soon
thereafter. This does not appear to have been the work of the three
British Columbia delegates, none of whom were particularly enthusiastic
about responsible government, but has generally been attributed to H. E.
Seelye, a Victoria newspaper-man. Seelye had been sent to Ottawa by
the British Colonist, the owner and editor of which were prominent
leaders in the struggle for responsible government and confederation, to
impress upon the Federal Government the people's desire for the former,
as weU as to cover the negotiations. He succeeded, so we are told, " in
convincing the Dominion Government that his contention that the
province was sufficiently advanced to entitle it to representative institutions was correct."3 J. S. Helmcken, one of the colonial negotiators,
wrote in his diary that the Federal Government was not " particularly
anxious about Responsible Govt." but would put " no objection in its
way."4 In a dispatch from Ottawa on the same day, Seelye reported that
" the utterances of every member of the Cabinet are ' the colony must
have free and popular government.' . . ."5 It is a Uttle difficult at this
date to imagine confederation without responsible government, at least,
in theory if not in fact. If responsible government were not effected, the
Lieutenant-Governor would have much more power than his colleagues
in the other Provinces; since the Lieutenant-Governor was a Federal
officer, this would mean that the Province would be in great part governed from Ottawa. This would mean in turn that it would not be a
province, in the sense that the others were, but a pseudo-province or a
partially self-governing territory, not unUke the Northwest Territories
before 1905. Macdonald and his colleagues doubtless realized this, even
if British Columbians, to whom neither responsible government nor the
federal system was famiUar, did not.
The decision, however, had been formaUy reached, and Musgrave,
the diligent official that he was, began to prepare the way for the
constitutional changes that were soon to come.   In the spring session of
(3) W. A. Harkin (ed.), Political reminiscences of the Right Honourable Sir
Charles Tupper, Bart., London, 1914, p. 88.
(4) Willard E. Ireland, " Helmcken's Diary of the Confederation Negotiations,
1870," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, IV (1940), p. 125.
(5) Victoria British Colonist, July 21, 1870. 74 John Tupper Saywell Jan.-Apr.
the Legislative CouncU in 1871, he secured the passage of an Act which
provided that upon union with Canada a new constitution, with a fully
representative Assembly and a responsible Executive Council, would
become operative.6 This did not necessarily mean that responsible government in fact would be introduced at once, for that feature of our
governmental system is an unwritten part of the constitution. Indeed,
British Columbia gained provincial status on July 20, 1871, but it
was some time before fully responsible government was established in
In choosing the first Lieutenant-Governor the Federal Cabinet was
seriously hampered by its ignorance of conditions and people on the
West Coast. Musgrave was the logical man to initiate the new dispensation, despite his disapproval of responsible government, but he had
injured his leg and wished to return to England as soon as possible to
receive first-rate surgical treatment.7 Although a member of the Macdonald Cabinet may have been momentarily considered,8 the Prime
Minister came to the conclusion that only a native could successfuUy
inaugurate the new system, as an intimate knowledge of the Province
was considered essential. Macdonald had been much impressed by
Joseph Trutch when the latter had been in Ottawa discussing the terms
of union, particularly since he had shown himself to be a determined
and informed advocate of the transcontinental railway. As a former
government surveyor and Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works,
Trutch had gained an unsurpassed knowledge of the Province and had
shown some capacity as an administrator. After leaving Ottawa in July,
1870, Trutch had corresponded with Macdonald and had become, in a
sense, his chief adviser in British Columbia. In March, 1871, Macdonald decided that Trutch would have to be connected with the Federal
Government " in some way or other,"9 and in June concluded that he
(6) "An Act to amend and alter the Constitution of this Colony," cap. 3, Acts
passed by the Legislative Council of British Columbia during the Session from Sth
January to 28th March, 1871, Victoria, 1871. See also Musgrave to Kimberley,
February 18, 1871, MS., Archives of B.C.
(7) Musgrave to Lisgar, April 17, 1871, G. 20, Vol. 137, Public Archives of
(8) Tilley, for one, wanted the position. Macdonald to Cartier, March 11,
1871, Confidential, Macdonald Papers, Vol. 518, Public Archives of Canada.
(9) Macdonald to Cartier, March 17, 1871, Private, ibid. "Trutch is going to
England he says at Mr. Musgrave's request to push the matter through the Colonial
Office. I told him that he must return via Canada so that I might be at Ottawa and
settle his future relations with the Canadian Government.   I said that I still felt 1955 Sir Joseph Trutch 75
would be most useful as Lieutenant-Governor.   There were, however,
a number of factors that qualified his avaflabUity:—
I thought it best to discuss the Trutch matter in Council. Our colleagues seem
to have a great deal of doubt as to the policy of appointing him, even for a time,
as Lieut. Governor. It could not be announced that the appointment was only a
temporary one, and therefore the effect of it must be considered as if it were for
five years. They say, and there is much force in the objection, that Trutch is
known to have strong opinions as to the Terminus of the Pacific Railway, and that
he has property the value of which will be affected by the selection. His speech
also as to the Railway has caused great indignation in British Columbia, and his
appointment it is feared, might cause the first elections to go against us. This
would be most disastrous.
On the whole I think we must not make up our minds to appoint Trutch until
you are up here again when we can discuss the matter in all its bearings. But if
we do not want Trutch as Lt. Governor, we shall certainly want him as Senator
or in some other public capacity. If therefore you think it well to bring him out
with that object there can be no harm in sending him a telegram asking him in
general terms to come over, without specifying the object.*"
Macdonald and Cartier, the duumvirate of the Conservative Party,
either succeeded in persuading the rest of the Cabinet or overrode their
objections, for Trutch was appointed Lieutenant-Governor. He accepted
the appointment reluctantly and only on the understanding that it would
be temporary, as he wished to play a more grandiose and lucrative role
on the railway that was to be buUt from coast to coast.11 Macdonald did
not see any complications in British Columbia, and there were none.
" He will have an easier time than you have had," he informed Archibald,
the first Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, "but his task wiU not be
nearly so interesting."12 Cold comfort this for Archibald, who, when he
received that letter, faced a Fenian invasion in Manitoba.
Trutch's appointment was not very weU received in British Columbia,
although one can hardUy reach a sound conclusion by reading the Victoria newspapers, the editors of which were his political enemies. He
was placed in the uncomfortable position of having to initiate a system
the importance of his being connected with the Dominion Government in some
way or other, and for the reasons given to him by you and myself at Ottawa. To
this he assented."
(10) Macdonald to Cartier, June 5, 1871, Private and Confidential, ibid.
Cartier agreed to this suggestion and Trutch was asked to come to Ottawa. See
Victoria British Colonist, June 25, 1871.
(11) Macdonald to R. W. W. Carrall, October 5, 1872, Private, Macdonald
Papers, Vol. 521, Public Archives of Canada. See also Macdonald to Archibald,
July 12, 1871, ibid.. Vol. 519.
(12) Ibid., Vol. 519. 76 John Tupper Saywell Jan.-Apr.
of government that, as a member of the Legislative Council and a negotiator of confederation, he had strenuously opposed. Macdonald had
attempted to pave the way and had let it be known in British Columbia
that the new Lieutenant-Governor was " fully prepared to adminster
Public Affairs under the principles of Responsible Government."13 After
his arrival in Victoria from Ottawa, where he had been long closeted
with Macdonald and Cartier, Trutch took the first opportunity to outline
his policy. He referred to his previous opposition to responsible government but declared that " having now undertaken to carry that system into
operation in our Province it is not only a matter of duty but a point of
honor for me to strive to the utmost to ensure its successful working."14
There were, however, many difficulties that made inexpedient any
immediate changes:—
I regret that under the peculiar transition state in which we now are I do not
see the practicability of immediately forming a responsible ministry. In the first
place because there are no constituted representatives from whom such a ministry
can be selected, and also because it would be a presumption in me, as I think, to
anticipate the votes of the people of British Columbia by naming any one individual
as possessing their confidence beyond others.
I propose, therefore, as I am now advised, and unless a necessity not now
foreseen should occur, not to make any such selection until the election which will
take place at the earliest practicable date, and in the meantime to take mainly on
myself the responsibility of carrying on the necessary current business of the
country, trusting that my action whilst so doing will be favorably considered.15
Trutch also made it clear that few appointments would be made until a
responsible administration was formed. Disappointed poUticians, already
grasping for the spoils of office, complained a Uttle, but his was a logical
course of action. " I quite approve," wrote Macdonald, " it puts our
position in a proper Ught & beyond mistake."16
The matter was hardly as simple, however, as Trutch suggested in
his statement of poUcy. He did plan to appoint several ministers to
assist him until the elections had been held, and it was inevitable that
these men, if they wished to make use of the opportunity, would have
secured a head start in the race for more permanent poUtical office.
Macdonald at least reaUzed this. He attempted to get Dr. J. S. Helmcken to become Trutch's first minister, despite the former's intimation
that he planned to retire from poUtical life.
(13) Macdonald to Helmcken, July 17, 1871, Private, ibid., Vol. 519.
(14) Victoria British Colonist, August 16, 1871.
(15) Ibid., August 19, 1871.
(16) Macdonald to Trutch, September 12, 1871, Private, Macdonald Papers,
Vol. 519, Public Archives of Canada. 1955 Sir Joseph Trutch 77
I can, from my own experience, quite understand that political life is not
conducive either to domestic comfort or pecuniary advantage; still someone must
undertake the task and make the sacrifice. I hope sincerely that you will do so.
It will give Trutch very great confidence in the performance of his responsible task,
if he has you as his chief adviser. Let me take the liberty of urging you very
strongly in the interests of British Columbia, and, I may say of the Dominion, to
come to the rescue and aid Trutch in the formation of his first Government.
Your first and principal duty will be to endeavour to get competent men to
come forward as representatives of the people, and to use all legitimate influence
in getting honest men returned. If the Government succeeds in this respect, they
may count upon holding the reins of power for four years, during the existence
of your first Parliament.!''
This letter was obviously written on Trutch's request; he hoped and
planned that the minister to be selected would become his Premier after
the first election.
Helmcken refused the call:—
Educated under a very different system to that now introduced, I feel that I cannot
change to suit the alteration and indeed loathe the very idea of having to become
obsequious, if nothing more degrading, to keep a number of supporters together.
. . . There are several here more capable than myself of advising the Governor
should he require any advice. ... I do not think that any Ministry will be
allowed to do much wrong—whatever the faults of the inhabitants may be, they
are sufficiently moral and highminded to stop any grossly wrong legislation. The
Governor can at all events kick the Ministry out. Rely upon it the respectable
classes will give a hearty support to the Governor whenever it may become necessary and nothing will make him as popular as putting his foot upon any immoral
proceedings. You may be sure that I will give Gov. Trutch all the support I can,
and may have more influence outside than in the Government.18
FoUowing Helmcken's emphatic refusal, Trutch had to look elsewhere.
Two members of the old Legislative CouncU were appointed to temporary positions in his first Executive CouncU, and he succeeded in persuading John Foster McCreight, a leading Victoria barrister,19 to fiU the
essential post of Attorney-General. McCreight was the key man; in the
Lieutenant-Governor's opinion he commanded "the respect and confi-
(17) Macdonld to Helmcken, July 17, 1871, Private, ibid., Vol. 519.
(18) Helmcken to Macdonald, August 23, 1871, ibid., Vol. 343.
(19) The original Executive Council, appointed August 18th, 1871, included
Charles Good, Colonial Secretary; E. Graham Alston, Attorney-General; and
B. W. Pearse, Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works. Book of the Oaths of
Office, M.S., Department of the Provincial Secretary. McCreight took his oath of
office as Attorney-General on August 24, 1871. For biographical data regarding
McCreight see Patricia M. Johnson, "John Foster McCreight," British Columbia
Historical Quarterly, XII (1948), pp. 79-92, and her second article, "McCreight
and the Law," ibid., pp. 127-149. 78 John Tupper Saywell Jan.-Apr.
dence of the community to a greater extent than any other members of
the profession—although he has hitherto consistently abstained from
poUtics."20 These appointments, Trutch emphasized, were only " for the
time being, and until the Elections, which wiU be held at the earliest
possible period, admit of more permanent arrangements being made."21
Premier as well as Lieutenant-Governor, Trutch set his assistants
to work preparing for the elections—estabhshing electoral divisions,
appointing Returning Officers, and the like. His hands were fuU during
his first few months in office: a number of Indian tribes were upset and
threatened to become troublesome; the San Juan Island dispute had
blossomed once again; British authorities decided to remove the last
naval vessel from Esquimalt; and the Province was bankrupt. All attention was focused on the elections, however, and Trutch was just a Uttle
uneasy as to the result. " I think I can manage to get some decent men
to take a hand in the government," he wrote, "although most of our
representatives will be a queer kittle cattle I fear."22
The Lieutenant-Governor does not seem to have taken a hand in the
elections themselves. Doubtless he used his influence to secure McCreight's election at the head of the poU in Victoria, thus vindicating his
policy and securing added justification for asking McCreight to head the
first responsible ministry. Although some candidates labeUed themselves
" reformers," the election saw a contest of personalities, not of parties.
There were no party lines in British Columbia, and there were to be none
during the nineteenth century. As a consequence, Trutch was able to
choose McCreight as his Premier, and on the latter's recommendation he
appointed two other of the elected members of the Legislature to the
Executive CouncU.23   The Lieutenant-Governor unquestionably had a
(20) Trutch to Macdonald, August 22, 1871, Macdonald Papers, Vol. 278,
Public Archives of Canada. Another Councillor had been appointed a day or two
before, but he was dismissed as soon as McCreight consented to take office.
Minutes of the Executive Council, August 24, 1871, Archives of B.C., and
McCreight to Trutch, August 22, 1871, MS., Archives of B.C.
(21) Trutch to Charles Good, August 17, 1871, Lieutenant-Governors' Papers,
Miscellaneous Letterbook, Archives of B.C.; Trutch to the Secretary of State,
August 26, 1871, Despatches to Ottawa, Archives of B.C.
(22) Trutch to Macdonald, October 9, 1871, Macdonald Papers, Vol. 278,
Public Archives of Canada.
(23) On November 14, 1871, A. Rocke Robertson was sworn in as Colonial
Secretary and Henry Holbrook as Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Trutch to the Secretary of State, November 14, 1871, Lieutenant-Governors'
Papers, Despatches to Ottawa, Archives of B.C., and Minutes of the Executive
Council, November 14, 1871, Archives of B.C. 1955 Sir Joseph Trutch 79
share in the formation of the Government, but McCreight was recognized
as Premier and the choice of Ministers an act for which he was
Trutch beUeved that his Executive Council was satisfactory, as
honest, capable, and representative as could be expected. His feeling
was not too widely shared in the Province, however, particularly in
Victoria, where the editors of the two daUy newspapers, both members
of the newly elected Legislature, desired a place in the sun. These men,
Amor deCosmos of the Standard and John Robson of the British
Colonist, were individually the two strongest political figures of the day
largely as a result of their instruments of propaganda and influence; both
had been instrumental in securing confederation and both had fought
for responsible government. The three Cabinet Ministers, on the contrary, had little political experience; all three (and the Lieutenant-
Governor) had opposed responsible government, and two of them had
even opposed confederation. On the whole, the Cabinet was extremely
weak. There was a good deal of truth in Robson's assertion that " the
present Ministers will be cob-webs for the next House to sweep away."25
The Lieutenant-Governor continued to direct the ship of state until
the Assembly met in February, 1872. The Minutes of the Executive
Council show that he attended every meeting, as indeed in theory the
Lieutenant-Governor still does, and that he took a significant part in its
work. Informally he shared with McCreight and the Cabinet the work
of preparing legislation for the approaching session. Trutch was in
doubt as to his own position and sought Macdonald's advice.
I wish you would also if you please give me a hint as to how far my speech in
opening the House is supposed to express my own opinions or to be simply an
expression of the policy of my responsible Ministers, as I confess I am somewhat
puzzled on this point—of course I know how this would be in the House of
Parliament at home—or at Ottawa but are we under the same understanding
(24) H. P. P. Crease to C. W. Frank, November 13, 1871, Crease Papers,
Letterbook, Archives of B.C.
(25) Victoria British Colonist, November 15, 1871. In addition to McCreight,
the Cabinet then included only A. Rocke Robertson and Henry Holbrook. The
latter was Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, but on January 19, 1872,
George A. Walkem was sworn to this office and Holbrook continued in the
Cabinet as President of the Council without salary.
(26) Trutch to Macdonald, October 9, 1871, Macdonald Papers, Vol. 278,
Public Archives of Canada. 80 John Tupper Saywell Jan.-Apr.
He later apologized for troubling the Prime Minister, but justified his
request on the grounds that:—
I am so inexperienced as indeed are all in this Province in the practice of
Responsible Govt . . . that I step as carefully and as guardedly as I can—and
while teaching others I feel constantly my own extreme need of instruction on this
subject.   .   .   .27
Macdonald answered that if the Lieutenant-Governor had formed a
responsible ministry before the Legislative Assembly convened the
Speech from the Throne should be on the advice of his Ministers. " This
is the Constitutional doctrine," he rightly observed, but " at the same
time from your position you can exercise a legitimate influence in pressing upon them the various topics that should be mentioned or avoided."28
Macdonald was a little concerned about the stability and permanence of
the McCreight Administration and took an early opportunity to deliver
another lecture on responsible government, fearing, perhaps, that Trutch
might be inclined to play an overzealous role.
I congratulate you on your Administration. Mr. McCreight's reputation stands
high, and you were very fortunate in securing him. When your Legislature meets,
however, you will ascertain whether they have the confidence of the people or not,
and you will gracefully accept any Ministry that may be indicated by a vote of that
august body.
In anticipation of a defeat generaUy considered inevitable, the Prime
Minister outUned the procedure to be foUowed by the Lieutenant-
If your present Ministry is defeated, you will of course send for the person who
acts as leader of the Opposition. If there is no organized Opposition with a leader,
but only a number of individuals dissatisfied with the existing Ministry, and each
acting on his own hook, I think your course will be to assume that the mover of
the Resolution which amounts to a vote of want of Confidence, is the man to be
sent for, if his Resolution carries. Give him Carte blanche as to the individuals
composing his Council and accept with perfect equanimity his nomination. The
responsibility is his and not yours, and it will be for the Legislature to approve or
reject the new Government.29
The Cabinet, ably and persistently aided by the Lieutenant-Governor,
drafted a legislative policy that pleased even the factious opposition.
The British Colonist described the Throne Speech as " an able State
Paper.   .   .   .   Bold and liberal   .   .   .   loyal and statesmanlike."30
(27) Trutch to Macdonald, November 21, 1871, ibid., Vol. 278.
(28) Macdonald to Trutch, October 27, 1871, Private, ibid., Vol. 519.
(29) Macdonald to Trutch, December 18, 1871, ibid., Vol. 519.
(30) Victoria British Colonist, February 17, 1872. 1955 Sir Joseph Trutch 81
Trutch was not unwilling to take a good measure of the credit: " I have
done all I could to place my Ministry fairly before the House and before
the country," he boasted, " and unless they make any compromising
mistakes there is every reason to expect that they will continue to be
supported as they now are by at least two thirds of the Members."31
Once the session began, Trutch seems to have considered his essential
task almost completed. At Council meetings, which he still attended,
few poUtical matters were discussed; all the work of government was
being done in cabinet.
Although ineffectively led in the Legislative Assembly, the Government struggled through the session. In the absence of anything remotely
resembling party lines or party discipline, the Government was dependent
upon a constantly fluctuating number of supporters. Generally fortunate
enough to secure good majorities, McCreight refused to accept an adverse
vote as a sign of lack of confidence—and rightly so. Some Bills, obviously inspired by the Cabinet, were introduced by private members,
and in this way was avoided the stigma that would result from a defeat
of the Government. Robson and de Cosmos vigorously denounced this
system in their editorials, and to call their bluff McCreight finaUy stated
that any interference with the Budget would be treated as a vote of non-
confidence. The Budget passed unscathed. The session on the whole
was as successful as could be expected. Macdonald congratulated his
officer: ". . . the Province of British Columbia may now be considered as fairly launched, with a responsible crew on board; so that
hereafter the duties of Lieut. Governor will be rather of a sinecurist
Although Judge Crease observed early in May, 1872, that " Trutch
stiU runs the mill . . . it's a one man government still (in disguise),"33
there is Uttle evidence to suggest that the Lieutenant-Governor interfered
at all m poUtical or " party " affairs after the close of the session.   No
(31) Trutch to Macdonald, February 20, 1872, Macdonald Papers, Vol. 278,
Public Archives of Canada. The policy was as much the Cabinet's as his, in all
probability, but the speech appears to have been his own. Just a day before the
session began, he laid before Council the speech " which he proposed to read to
the Legislative Assembly and the same was approved of by Council." Minutes
of the Executive Council, February 16, 1872, Archives of B.C.
(32) Macdonald to Trutch, April 16, 1872, Private, Macdonald Papers, Vol.
520, Public Archives of Canada.
(33) H. P. P. Crease to the Honourable Hector Langevin, May 1, 1872, Crease
Papers, Letterbook, Archives of B.C. 82 John Tupper Saywell Jan.-Apr.
doubt his influence and advice were important and at times invaluable,
but he appears to have left his Cabinet to itself. Formal Council meetings were held over which he presided, but only routine matters were
discussed, Minutes of Council approved, or subjects peculiarly within
his competence as a Federal officer—defence, Indian affairs, relations
with Canada—introduced. In the Province, however, as Crease's comment suggests, it was still believed that he continued to exercise the power
behind the throne—as weU as to occupy the throne itself—that he had
assumed during the first nine months of office, and that suspicion has
persisted up to the present. Robson attempted to imitate the Upper
Canadian Reformers of the 1830's and raised the cry of irresponsible
government. The Lieutenant-Governor was accused of using Federal
patronage for the benefit of his Government, of influencing and dictating
policy, and using his influence to pervert the normal functioning of the
poUtical and constitutional system.34 The Cabinet had no awareness of
its proper position: " The Premier has been dancing attendance on his
' Master,' as if he were a mere lacky. There is not a Minister, who, even
if he had an opinion of his own (an extremely problematical proposition),
would dare to express it. And this is called Responsible Government! "35
A year earlier such assertions would have been reasonably accurate.
But by October, 1872, Trutch was less incUned to take an active part in
poUtical affairs than some of his colleagues in the eastern Provinces.
He informed Macdonald of the press attacks being made on him and
took time out to point out how inaccurate they were.
And I may further tell you that although during the initiation of this new
system of govt, in this Province and up till the end of the Session of the Assembly
I took of necessity a more direct part in the management of public affairs than
under ordinary circumstances belongs to a Lt. Governor—during the past six
(34) Victoria British Colonist, October-November, 1872. McCreight did not
lose sight of the importance of the Lieutenant-Governor and his influence: "I
believe that nearly every person who has been obliged by circumstances to watch
closely the working of responsible institutions in this Province will be inclined to
admit that whilst their success is a problem which is yet unsolved, legitimate means
may at times at least be wisely and properly used for the purpose of strengthening
the executive. It seems also clear that a Lieutenant Governor of ability and in a
position to dispense hospitality especially during the session of the Legislative
Assembly might both properly and constitutionally be of great service in promoting
harmonious action in that body." McCreight to Trutch, Bay 10, 1872, Attorney-
General's Letterbook, Archives of B.C.
(35) Victoria British Colonist, November 10, 1872. 1955 Sir Joseph Trutch 83
months I have kept carefully aloof from the discussions and confidence of the
Ministry in their political or party matters being well aware that it is not expedient that I should be or supposed to be—a partizan in such matters within the
Trutch was, in fact, becoming bored. The office, he said, " is becoming
less interesting as its duties are less responsible and give less occupation.
... It presents no inducements for the exercise of mental energy."
It was " an honorable leise becoming and acceptable " to an old man,
but " tedious and irksome to one at my time of Ufe—of naturaUy active
mind, and habituated for years past to such exciting business avocations
as are characteristic of aU new countries."37
The Legislative Assembly was to meet on December 17, 1872, in
its second session, and the British Colonist of that morning made its final
bitter attack on the Government: " The Ministers are the appointees of
an appointed Governor. They are not the legetimate [sic] offspring of
the new constitution. They are the results of accident,—peradventure
the offspring of personal prejudice! "38 Behind this vicious attack was
an aUiance of Robson and de Cosmos to defeat the McCreight Administration. The Premier was fully aware of this combination of disappointed journalists but made no attempt to evade defeat. In fact, in the
Throne Speech was inserted a statement deliberately designed to call
forth a vote of confidence. McCreight was defeated by one vote. There
was no recognized Leader of the Opposition, nor did the mover of the
resolution seem to be a likely prospect for Premier.39 Trutch at once
sent for de Cosmos, editor of the Victoria Standard and a member of the
Federal Parliament. Although the selection was as wise as any, the
Lieutenant-Governor realized that he had not secured a stable government. His acute perception of the political situation was shown in a
letter to Macdonald:—
There will be a grand fight throughout the Session I expect as the House is divided
into three nearly equal sections, McCreight's, De Cosmos' and Robson's the latter
having (to his infinite disappointment) not been included by De Cosmos in his
Cabinet. Whether De Cosmos's Ministry will stand depends on McCreight as
Robson's friends will oppose bitterly. I fancy McCreight will in general help De
Cosmos—although on some questions he must with his friends vote against him—
and if the Robson wing of the House join McCreight on any of these points as I
think they will try to do De Cosmos will be in a minority.
(36) Trutch to Macdonald, October 24, 1872, Macdonald Papers, Vol. 278,
Public Archives of Canada.
(37) Trutch to Macdonald, November 25, 1872, ibid., Vol. 278.
(38) Victoria British Colonist, December 17, 1872.
(39) Thomas Basil Humphreys, the member for Lillooet. 84 John Tupper Saywell Jan.-Apr.
" My great object," concluded the Lieutenant-Governor, " will be to
maintain the strictest impartiaUty."40
This incident may be taken as the final step, the convincing proof,
that the transition to responsible government had been made. The
Lieutenant-Governor wiUingly accepted the defeat of the Government
he had originally appointed and toward which he had felt very kindly;
he accepted as Premier a man for whom, in times past at least, he had
had Uttle use, whom he had bitterly opposed politically, and who had
recently attacked him vigorously and bitterly in the press. All this
occurred at a time, it should be remembered, when it would have been
an easy matter indeed to assist McCreight in a Cabinet reconstruction—
an easier matter actually than the formation of a new ministry. What is
notable in this period of transition is not that the Lieutenant-Governor
exercised considerable political and administrative power for eighteen
months, but that he ceased to be politically effective so soon. In the
absence of organized and disciplined political parties, with the poUtical
scene dominated by personal feuds and factional rivalries, in a political
society where few men would refuse office under any circumstance, it
would have been relatively easy for the Lieutenant-Governor to play a
key role for a much longer time. Many Lieutenant-Governors have
attempted to do so under much less auspicious circumstances.
Using the records of the Executive CouncU as his authority, Dr.
W. N. Sage suggested that the transition to responsible government was
not accomplished for many years after 1872. The Lieutenant-Governor's attendance at Council meetings, however, has very little bearing
on the subject. In theory the Lieutenant-Governor still presides at
Council meetings; that is why they are seldom, if ever, held. In other
Canadian Provinces the Lieutenant-Governors continued to attend meetings long after responsible government had been introduced—we know,
for example, that the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia attended such
meetings at least until 1873, while the Council records suggest that he
remained in Council until 1876. As far as responsible government is
concerned, the real significance lies in the distinction between the Executive Council and the Committee of the Council, less formally known as
the Cabinet. Until Trutch formed his responsible ministry the two were
synonomous; from that time they began to separate; and by the end of
the first session they were quite distinct.   The Cabinet had become the
(40) Trutch to Macdonald, December 31, 1872, Macdonald Papers, Vol. 278,
Public Archives of Canada. 1955 Sir Joseph Trutch 85
governing instrument, and the Council had been relegated to a purely
formal meeting. Very little of a political nature was discussed in Council; the Lieutenant-Governor was presented with the recommendations
of the Cabinet in the form of Minutes or Orders in Council; only such
matters with which he was specificaUy concerned as a Federal officer
were discussed.
This brings us to the second major feature of Trutch's activities as
Lieutenant-Governor. The office is a Federal office, and the Lieutenant-
Governor is a Federal officer charged with some specified and many
unspecified duties on behalf of the Federal authority. For aU his actions,
he is responsible to the Central Government, which appoints, pays, and
can dismiss him. When an administrative system exists through which
the Federal Government can work, the functions of the Lieutenant-
Governor, except in time of crisis, are more or less routine and uninteresting. In British Columbia, on the morrow of union, there was no
Federal administrative machinery at all; even the Provincial machine was
extremely loosely organized. Moreover, the poUtical machinery of the
party in power in Ottawa had not yet been extended to British Columbia,
and the Conservatives lacked poUtical contacts in the West. The appointment of Trutch indicated that Macdonald and Cartier had a good deal
of confidence in him, and he became, in fact, Macdonald's chief political
adviser in British Columbia.
There is no point in detailing aU the work that Trutch did as a Federal administrative officer; the Macdonald-Trutch correspondence and
the latter's communications with the Secretary of State for the Provinces
are in Ottawa, available to aU who wish to see them. His advice on the
mails, customs and excise services, local taxation, Courts and Judges,
and the like was all the Federal Government had to go on, and was, as a
consequence, carefully considered and generally foUowed. The administrative burden of the Federal elections in 1872 and 1873 was thrown
upon his shoulders, although he was not asked to assure the return
of men "good and true," as was Archibald in Manitoba. As he had
replaced the Colonial Governor, he was, in one sense, responsible for
Imperial matters as well, and corresponded not only with Macdonald,
but also with the Governor-General and the Foreign Office on the San
Juan dispute, naval and military defence, and the pensioning of Imperial
Trutch paid special attention to Indian affairs and defence. He
laboured for two years, with varying success, to get the Federal Govern- 86 John Tupper Saywell Jan.-Apr.
ment to adopt an intelUgent and consistent Indian poUcy. An elaborate
memorandum that he prepared on the subject was cited as late as 1920
as the sole authoritative pronouncement on Indian affairs.41 His concern
for Provincial defence began in the winter of 1871-72,42 when the
Province was thrown into an uproar by rumours of a Fenian invasion.
The rumours were credible, for it was in October, 1871, that the Fenians
had attempted to take Manitoba. Trutch at once consulted the Royal
Naval officers at Esquimalt and worked out an elaborate plan for the
defence of the capital. He succeeded in preventing the projected withdrawal of aU Royal Naval vessels from Esquimalt and convinced the
Federal Government that it was high time the miUtia was organized in
the Province.43
Trutch's work as a poUtical adviser is naturally of more interest,
although it was much less important. Before leaving Ottawa in the
summer of 1871, he had been long closeted with Macdonald and Cartier
and had been informed, one may imagine, that he was to be minister of
patronage in British Columbia. Soon after his arrival he assured one
eager aspirant for whatever offices might be going that his opinion would
be asked, he felt, on all appointments; and indeed it was. The most
important appointments were those to the Senate. Sir Hector Langevin
had come to British Columbia to size up the situation, and he and Trutch
worked together on this matter. Langevin sent the results of their discussions to Ottawa for Macdonald's consideration in a long letter, which,
because of the personalities discussed, deserves quotation in full.
Since my arrival here, I have had a long conversation with Mr. Trutch about
the Senators for British Columbia. He agrees with us that there should be one
for the main land and two for the Island. The gentleman he suggests for the main
land is Mr. Clement Francis Cornwall, Barrister, who lives on the main land about
80 miles from Yale, is a man of good position, a good confederate and certainly
in every way the best man in that quarter. He is an Englishman and conservative.
Mr. Carrall, it appears, does not wish to go into politics again. He is under the
impression however that the Ottawa Government would be disposed to do something for him, on account of his share in the confederation arrangements. Mr.
Trutch says that Mr. Carrall would be content and pleased if we were to do for his
friend, Dr. Powell, what we might be disposed to do for him, viz: to appoint him a
(41) Memorandum by Sir Joseph Pope, 1920, attached to Trutch to Macdonald, October 14, 1872, ibid., Vol. 278.
(42) See Reginald H. Roy, " The Early Militia and Defence of British Columbia, 1871-1885," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, XVII (1954), pp. 1-28.
(43) Papers of the Deputy Minister of Militia and Defence, File 6278, Public
Archives of Canada. The author would like to thank Mr. Reginald H. Roy, of the
Provincial Archives of B.C., for drawing his attention to this point. 1955 Sir Joseph Trutch 87
Senator. The question about Powell is, in so far as I am concerned, whether he
would be a supporter of ours. His brother, the Dy. Adjt. Genl, being an old Grit
of the Brown crew, we must be careful. I shall however see him to day. He is lo
meet me on some other business. I shall know better after this his political leanings, and moreover Mr. Carrall will meet me at Cariboo or on my way there, and
I shall also ascertain quietly from him how things are.
The third name suggested for a Senatorship is Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken,
our friend. He expects to be offered the position as I know by Mr. Trutch and by
a letter he wrote to me yesterday. I shall have an interview with him today and
know better how matters stand. He is very popular here and Mr. Trutch is very
anxious to have him as his chief adviser; but the question with Dr. Helmcken just
now is money. He is not a wealthy man, and has a large family. He does not see
how he can support his family in politics. However I believe that after talking
quietly with him to-day, I shall be able to put matters in such a shape that, should
we be disposed to give him the Senatorship, he may be sure to accept it. He is the
son in law of Sir James Douglas, and his appointment would be a hundred times
more popular than that of the Knight Commander who besides is old and would
be quite satisfied with Mr. Helmcken's appointment. Sir James comes to see me
today also.   .   .   M
On September 18, after consultations with aU those involved and with
Trutch, Langevin wired Macdonald that Helmcken, CornwaU, and
Carrall should be appointed.45 Macdonald was hi full agreement and
asked Trutch to offer the position to Helmcken,46 but the doctor refused
and the appointment went to W. J. Macdonald, upon whom Trutch and
Langevin had agreed if any one of the three refused.
Although Trutch did not openly campaign or intrigue in the first
Federal elections in British Columbia, one may safely assume that he
used his considerable influence to secure the return of candidates pledged
to support the Macdonald Administration. Before the members-elect
left for their first session in Ottawa, Trutch spoke at length to their leader,
de Cosmos. The latter "asked Trutch for a programme of what he
thought he ought to do or not to do on behalf of B. Columbia in the
Commons and he was fully posted with Mr. Trutch's general ideas on
the subject and took notes of the various points. He promised very fairly
among others, to support the Ministry and if he only keeps his word you
wiU find him as useful as any three members of the B.C.' Lot.' "47   In the
(44) Langevin to Macdonald, August 21, 1871, Private, Macdonald Papers,
Vol. 226, Public Archives of Canada.
(45) Langevin to Macdonald, September 18, 1871, Private, ibid., Vol. 226.
(46) Trutch to Helmcken, October 9, 1871, Helmcken Papers, Archives of
(47) Crease to Langevin, January 20, 1872, Private, Crease Papers, Archives
of B.C. 88 John Tupper Saywell Jan.-Apr.
second election, in 1873, he had a good deal more to do. He promised
Macdonald that he would do all in his power to secure the re-election of
Henry Nathan, since Macdonald seemed to desire it.48 He also secured
a seat for Sir Francis Hincks, one of Macdonald's key colleagues, who
had been unable to win a seat in Ontario. When asked by Macdonald to
find a seat for Hincks, Trutch asked Arthur Bunster to withdraw, and the
latter, although sure of his election, did so " on my assuring him that I
would acquaint you and Sir Francis that such was the case so that should
you feel so inclined and have an opportunity to acknowledge in a material
shape the action taken on this occasion you should be made aware who
is the person to whom such obligations are really due."49 With the elections over, Trutch looked forward to a period of peaceful repose, but
Macdonald soon had more for him to do.
After his failure to reconcile the groups competing for the glory and
gold in constructing the railway that was promised in 1871, Macdonald
decided to create a third group, composed of members of the two other
groups with a little new blood added, and grant the charter to it. To give
the company legal existence—an existence that was essential before the
London money market could be approached—the Government decided
to raise 10 per cent of the proposed $10,000,000 by subscription. Of
this million dollars, $77,000 was to come from British Columbia. Early
in November, 1872, Macdonald informed Trutch of the project and
asked him to get two or three people to raise the required deposit. " The
Shareholders must be good friends of the Government," he wrote, " and
must look forward to profitable contracts in the construction of the
Railway."50 Trutch had Uttle difficulty in accomplishing this task. The
mere mention of the railway, however, fired his enthusiasm and stimulated his ambition.
What about Joseph Trutch, asked the Lieutenant-Governor? He
reminded Macdonald that he had only accepted the office of Lieutenant-
Governor on the understanding that it was to be temporary, that it would
be held only until the inaugural period was over, and that his services
would be rewarded by high office on the transcontinental railway. The
time, so it seemed, had come, and Trutch laid his position before the
Prime Minister.
(48) Trutch to Macdonald, July 16, 1872, Macdonald Papers, Vol. 278, Public
Archives of Canada.
(49) Trutch to Macdonald, August 28, 1872, ibid., Vol. 278.
(50) Macdonald to Trutch, November 9, 1872, Confidential, ibid., Vol. 522. 1955 Sir Joseph Trutch 89
As I understand that you are now engaged in arranging definitely for the construction of our Railway this appears a proper occasion for me to revert to the
desire I expressed when I last saw you in Ottawa to be actively connected with that
great undertaking in some fitting position and to recall the expectations which I
was led by assurances from yourself and Sir George to entertain that I would take
charge of this Government during its initiation last year and this, my wishes in this
respect should be realised when the plans for carrying out the enterprise were
Moreover, now that responsible government was working satisfactorily,
the position of Lieutenant-Governor bored Trutch. It also cost him
The Prime Minister was sympathetic and assured Trutch that there
would be no difficulty in meeting his wishes. However, the Lieutenant-
Governor took no chances and had the Federal members of Parliament
working actively for him.52 By the middle of February all seemed
settled; Nathan informed Helmcken that Trutch was to become an
engineer, and urged him to take the office of Lieutenant-Governor.53
Macdonald wrote, as foUows, to Trutch:—
I have gathered from you that your ambition is to be charged with the very interesting work of constructing the Railway through British Columbia and the Rocky
Mountains. I have not a doubt of being able, from my influence with the Board,
to secure you this appointment and I have as little doubt that the remuneration
will be fixed at a satisfactory rate.54
Trutch was extremely pleased, as one may imagine, and planned to visit
Ottawa as soon as Sir Hugh AUan returned from London. He was not
exactly certain what " supervision " meant, however, and suggested that
he might best "seek for an extensive Contract on the Railway for the
economical working out of which any past experience would give me
special facilities."55 Trutch also inquired whether he could not continue
as Lieutenant-Governor as well!
All this should not be taken at face value. Macdonald was a canny
Scot, at his best in politics rather than finance. " Old Man Tomorrow "
he was called, and for good reason. Who knew what the future held?
What harm was there in keeping Trutch happy?   What position Trutch
(51) Trutch to Macdonald, November 25, 1872, Private, ibid., Vol. 278.
(52) Nathan to Helmcken, February 1, 1873, Helmcken Papers, Archives of
(53) Nathan to Helmcken, February 24, 1873, ibid.
(54) Macdonald to Trutch, February 13, 1873, Private, Macdonald Papers,
Vol. 522, Public Archives of Canada.
(55) Trutch to Macdonald, March 12, 1873, ibid., Vol. 278. 90 John Tupper Saywell Jan.-Apr.
might have obtained had not the Pacific scandal broken the Government,
it is impossible to say. It should not be forgotten that before appointing
him Macdonald and Cartier had given careful consideration to his position as regards the raUway, for it was weU known that he possessed
property, the value of which would be affected by the selection of the
western terminus. While Nathan was at Ottawa it was unlikely that the
Conservative chieftains would forget this. A letter to Helmcken suggests
that Trutch was very closely involved, too closely perhaps for Macdonald's liking.
Whom do I represent—the interests of Victoria or Trutch? That is easily
answered. . . . Did I come here to spend 4 months to destroy what chance
Victoria might [have] of becoming the Terminus? Our first duty is to our constituents. ... I did not come here at Trutch's expense to advocate his wishes
alone. You are one of thirteen to carry on a work for the benefit of the whole
Dominion.   Therefore be friendly but be very very cautious.56
The whole scheme coUapsed when the Conservatives left office later in
the year. Even had Mackenzie foUowed in his predecessor's footsteps,
Trutch had nothing to hope for from him.
Mackenzie no sooner took office in Ottawa than he pubUcly and
officiaUy repeated his previous statements made while in opposition, that
Macdonald's pledge was absurd and impossible. British Columbia was
outraged, and talk of secession was in the air. As soon as he learned of
Macdonald's fall, Trutch's first thought was to resign, but from this
course he was dissuaded, and in fact he spent the last two years of his
term as Lieutenant-Governor attempting, as a Federal officer and as an
individual sincerely desiring the fulfilment of the terms of union, to
secure some reconciliation between Ottawa and Victoria. WhUe the
Federal Government laboured to find some settlement of the dispute,
some acceptable means of escaping from a promise that it had neither
the courage nor the vision to uphold, Lord Dufferin, the Governor-
General, asked Trutch " to keep the pretensions of his people within
reasonable bounds."57
It is needless for me to add that the Imperial Government would regard with
extreme uneasiness and regret anything approaching to a disturbance of the har-
(56) Nathan to Helmcken, February 24, 1873, Helmcken Papers, Archives of
(57) Dufferin to Carnarvon, February 26, 1874, Private, B 119, PRO 30/6/26,
Public Archives of Canada. 1955 Sir Joseph Trutch 91
monious relations which have been so happily established between Canada and
the noble province over which you preside.58
Macdonald, too, whose statesmanship often overrode petty political feuds
and personal rivalries, urged Trutch to stay on " in the interests of B.C.
and the Dominion generaUy."59 Although he faUed to see how he
could influence the course of events in any way, Trutch did agree to serve
out his term: "I shaU make it my aim to bring about something approaching to a harmonious understanding in order to secure the commencement as soon as possible of the construction of the Railroad."60
To this task he turned his attention. Although in reaUty in complete
agreement with the claims of the Province (and with the Conservative
opposition in Ottawa), the Lieutenant-Governor did what he could to
keep discussion on a sane and rational level. Mackenzie later stated
that the Liberal Government received no assistance from Trutch, but
J. D. Edgar, who went to British Columbia in the summer of 1874 to
try to arrange a settlement, reported that Trutch:—
. . . throughout the whole of my visit, was always most obliging in giving me
upon all public questions very full information, which his large experience in the
Province rendered of the highest value. He also manifested an earnest wish to see
a definite and amicable settlement of the railway question speedily arrived at
between the General and Provincial Governments.61
No such settlement was really possible as long as Mackenzie reigned in
Ottawa; and when Macdonald returned in 1878, Trutch had long since
been replaced by A. N. Richards, an appointee of the Liberal Administration, who, within a few months of his appointment, had destroyed his
usefulness by making several public statements in which he dogmatically,
almost belligerently, supported the poUcy of the Mackenzie Administration.
Trutch was an extremely able Lieutenant-Governor. Knowing very
little about responsible government, he successfully introduced that system in British Columbia, in a society where poUtical experience was at
a premium.   Charged with integrating the new Province into the Federal
(58) Dufferin to Trutch, February 21, 1874, Private and Confidential, Mackenzie Papers, Vol. 2, Public Archives of Canada.
(59) Trutch to Macdonald, March 10, 1874, Private, Macdonald Papers, Vol.
278, Public Archives of Canada.
(60) Trutch to Macdonald, May 25, 1874, Private, ibid., Vol. 278.
(61) Edgar to the Secretary of State, June 17, 1874, cited in William Leggo,
The History of the Administration of the . . . Earl of Dufferin . . . , Montreal, 1878, p. 337. 92 John Tupper Saywell Jan.-Apr.
system, he did as he was bid, quietly and efficiently, and flooded Ottawa
with extremely sound advice. Asked to keep Dominion-Provincial relations reasonably free from hostility and bitterness, he did all in his power
to do so, while his own views, if given free rein, would have led him to
take a much different attitude. During his five years of office he committed no major political, administrative, or constitutional blunder.
When his term expired in 1876, Trutch could look back with pride to a
series of outstanding accomplishments.
John Tupper Saywell.
University of Toronto,
Plans for the settlement of convicts as colonists in North America
are of very early origin, dating back to the tune before Jacques Cartier
sailed for New France. When the court favourite, Francois de la Rocque,
Seigneur de Roberval, was given the task of founding a French colony
in Canada, he was not only authorized to recruit volunteer settlers, but
also to send over convicts should voluntary emigrants be difficult to find.
Eventually in April, 1542, he sailed from France with three ships, bringing a mixed group of freemen and convicts. After vain attempts to find
a passage to the Orient, he abandoned the enterprise since no suppUes
nor reinforcements arrived from France and, in consequence, he sailed
home, defeated.1
A second attempt to found a lasting colony in New France met with
similar failure. In 1578 Troilus de Mesgouez, Marquis de la Roche, was
commissioned to occupy the Canadian territories. His first expedition
in 1584 ended in shipwreck, but he tried again in 1598. Since the
French peasantry and yeomanry did not flock to the recruiting agents, he
was forced to carry prisoners as colonists. Sixty of these unfortunate
wretches were landed on Sable Island as the nucleus of what was expected
to be a great settlement. Five years later they were rescued, and this
effort at permanent settlement came to an end.2
Across the continent both American and British traders early hoped
to make settlements on the Pacific Northwest coast. John Meares in
1789 had some seventy Chinese artisans on the Argonaut who were to
form the kernel of a colony at Nootka Sound, but Spanish interference
brought his plans to nought. In 1809 the American ship Albatross,
commanded by Captain Nathan Winship, left Boston on a voyage to the
Columbia River on an expedition interested not only in the fur trade,
but also in the establishment of a settlement. She carried aU the necessaries for such an enterprise, for in addition to her crew of twenty-two
an additional twenty-five Kanakas and domestic animals were taken
aboard in the Sandwich Islands.   Had not the Indians been so hostile,
(1) H. P. Biggar (ed.), A Collection of Documents relating to Jacques Cartier
and the Sieur de Roberval, Ottawa, 1930, passim; George M. Wrong, The Rise and
Fall of New France, Toronto, 1928, I. pp. 68-74.
(2) Ibid., I, pp. 134-136.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIX, Nos. 1 and 2.
93 94 Richard H. Dillon Jan.-Apr.
there is Uttle doubt that the Albatross would have planted the first white
settlement on the north Pacific Coast two years before the Astoria
venture, but as it was she remained up the Columbia River only a few
days in June, 1810.3
As early as 1788 the idea of colonizing nascent British Columbia
with felons and debtors occurred to certain gentlemen in England.
Richard Cadman Etches, who, with his brother John, had fitted out the
Prince of Wales and Princess Royal for trading on the sea-otter coast,
was one of the first to make such a suggestion.4 On July 17, 1788, he
wrote to Sir Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society and prime
mover in many of Britain's eighteenth-century voyages and expeditions,
humbly submitting a plan which he hoped Sir Joseph would endorse and
bring to the attention of the Government. Etches proposed the settlement of the British Columbian coast with convicts as was being done in
New HoUand, as Australia was then called. He strongly believed that
the Government should extend the New South Wales programme to the
Pacfic Northwest, sending out a certain number of convicts—perhaps
100—with a few soldiers to keep an eye on them. The convict-settlers
would have their way paid and all regulations laid down, for the colonization of New HoUand would be adopted in North America. Etches
candidly admitted that his interest arose from a commercial point of view
and carefully added that his organization should be " given such power
over the Commercial part, for a limited time as they should approve."
From this it would appear that Etches was concerned, if not jealous, of
the hold of the Hudson's Bay Company on British North American trade.
He further urged Banks to support his programme, stating that his plan
"would not only secure the complete discovery of that extensive and
unexplored part of the World, but would open and secure a source of
commerce of the most extensive magnitude to this Country."
(3) Anna Jerzyk, "The Winship Settlement in 1810 was Oregon's Jamestown,"
Oregon Historical Quarterly, XLI (1940), pp. 175-181; H. H. Bancroft, History
of the Northwest Coast, San Francisco, 1886, II, pp. 130-135; Harold W.
Bradley, The American Frontier in Hawaii: The Pioneers, 1789-1843, Stanford
University Press, 1944, p. 29; S. E. Morison, The Maritime History of Massachusetts, 1783-1860, Boston and New York, 1923, pp. 58-59; "The Voyage of the
Albatross reprinted from the Weekly Message of Port Townsend, Washington,
January 9, 1868," in Papers of the Hawaiian Historical Society, No. 8 (Honolulu,
1909), pp. 20-23.
(4) Letters outlining the proposal of Richard Cadman Etches were reproduced
in F. W. Howay, " Four Letters from Richard Cadman Etches to Sir Joseph Banks,
1788-92," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, VI (1942), pp. 125-139. 1955 Convict Colonies 95
Banks listened to the Etches plan but thought that convict colonies
for the carrying-on of the fur trade could not be established because of
the great expense to the Government. Etches came back to the argument
in a second letter dated July 20, 1788, to point out that the expenses
would not be large and, in any case, a given number of convicts could
be transported and maintained for as little expense in this manner as by
any other means of disposal. Moreover, such establishments as he
envisioned on the coast would be impossible without the protection and
support of the Government. Once set up permanently, they would
secure the commerce of the area and the convicts' labours would be of
great service to a national objective. Elaborating on his plan, Etches
suggested that the passage of a certain number of convicts be paid, with
provisions, stores, arms and ammunition, and implements of husbandry
sufficient to form one or two small factories. A small vessel should be
appointed with a lieutenant to command, who would be granted fuU and
ample powers to keep his convict-pioneers in subjection. This would
not be expensive, and the ship could survey the whole coast and the
islands from King George's Sound to Cook's River. Hogs could be
brought from the Sandwich Islands, and fish were known to abound in
the region to be occupied by the new colony, and timber was abundant.
He felt that the two small factories with the armed cruising ship would
be ample security for the whole area from 45° to 60° north latitude and
would lay a firm foundation for opening communications with the Indians
in the back settlements. The addition of four large armed shallops
would make possible the survey of all outlets for trade from this area.
Having heard that a British ship had landed in " Nyphon " and had been
received in a friendly manner, Etches also suggested that these " Japanese
Islands " might be tried as a market, once the fur trade was secured
under his plan. In this second letter he suggested that the Government
might prefer to do all the settlement entirely by contract—contracting
for the passage, victualling, or even " taking the whole Establishment
upon ourselves, provided we were protected, either by powers gave us,
or an Arm'd Cruiser, which I presume wou'd be the most complete and
ample security."
Other individuals became interested in this proposal and entered into
correspondence on the subject. Two letters have come to light in the
Banks Papers in the Sutro Branch of the California State Library and
are here printed for the first time.5
(5) Grateful acknowledgment is made to the Sutro Branch, California State
Library, San Francisco, Calif., for permission to reproduce these documents from
the manuscript material relating to Sir Joseph Banks in their collection. 96 Richard H. Dillon Jan.-Apr.
Patrick Wilson, Professor of Astronomy in the University of Glasgow,
supported the plan. In a letter dated September 12, 1789, directed to
Dr. James Lind, physician of Windsor, he wrote of a friend, whom he
did not name, who had plans that showed " with much seeming plausibility, the advantages that might arise in regard to disposing of Convicts
in some settlement to be made about Nootka—or to forward them by the
way of Hudson's Bay across the Continent; and about Nootka to embark
them for New South Wales." Presumably this letter was brought to the
attention of Sir Joseph Banks by Dr. Lind.
Another native of Glasgow, Henry Robertson, M.D., wrote a letter
to an unnamed friend, dated November 28, 1789, which eventually
reached the attention of Banks, in which it was suggested that all proposals for the establishment of convict colonies in Canada should wait
upon a thorough survey of that quarter of the globe to get a picture of
conditions there. He pleaded imperfect knowledge of present " occurrences," including his ignorance of the arrangements of the Government
toward the troops destined for the Botany Bay service. It was reported
that the marines stationed there were to be ordered home, and Robertson
hoped that the Government might be persuaded to order them to Nootka,
as the readiest and least expensive way of beginning exploration on the
Pacific side of the mountains, while another party might work westward
from Hudson Bay and Nelson River. As for convicts as settlers, Robertson mentioned the importance of the chain of great lakes occupying vast
distances of the inland country beyond Hudson Bay and felt that "by
them Convicts would be separated & shut in from all Intercourse on the
South Side & from the Nature of the Seasons & Climate there can be no
communication on the North Side not by our permission." Should the
strictest custody over the convicts be necessary, he suggested that they
be taken to the islands in the lakes where useful employment in agriculture could be found for them.
Robertson's high hopes for convict settlement of the western portion
of British North America, unsupported as they were by any true idea of
the physical characteristics of the country, were matched by his pessimism toward the New South Wales venture. He felt that Australia's
wide open shores, together with its immense inland area to range over,
would make the keeping together of any considerable number of convicts
impossible and would prevent their being consolidated into any regular
form of society. His abysmal ignorance of the North American Continent is evident by his suggestion that, should it prove necessary, the
fur-traders could drive live stock from the eastern settled portions of 1955 Convict Colonies 97
British North America to the West, even as far as Nootka. Moreover,
with grain and live stock in abundance there would be ample provisions
for both convicts and troops as well as ordinary settlers. Once a strong
colony had been established, the convicts might either be kept in North
America or passed on to New Holland. The prospect of trade with the
Russian settlements in Alaska and Kamchatka also appealed to him.
He sketched a grand design in which convict colonies in what was later
to become British Columbia would play a great part so that " the several
Members of our Empire might link & connect together & form a solid
& compact whole, comprehending every thing from St. James' & even to
Botany Bay."
While none of the plans for convict settlements ever came to pass,
largely because of their complete impracticability, none the less they are
of interest as reflecting the state of knowledge concerning the northwestern portions of the American Continent and the imagination with
which the potential development of this newly discovered region was
Richard H. Dillon.
Sutro Branch,
California State Library,
San Francisco. Calif. 98 Richard H. Dillon Jan.-Apr.
Glasgow 12 Sep 1789
Dear Sir
The author of the enclosed printed Sheet,6 of which very few copies have
been circulated, is my particular friend, a Gentleman of the best character,
and of a truly liberal and patriotick mind.
Upon his seeing lately anounced in the publick Prints a new Attempt
after the North West Passage under the Auspices of Sir Joseph Banks, he
has begd of me to procure him, if I could do so with propriety, some information as to the Reality of such an Expedition. His curiosity proceeds
entirely from being strongly impressed with the infinite Consequence of some
practicable communication with the Pacifick, in that direction, either by
Land or by Water. Then his impressions will more fully appear by the views
insisted upon in his printed Sheet.
As the Author is a Person of a very modest temper, and by no means
wedded to his own Notions, so he is extremely desirous of having the opinions
of competent judges in relation to any thing to be found in his printed
Were his views, in the main, confirmed by any respectable authorities
about London, in regard to the probable Utility of exploring the Tract
between Hudson's House and the Pacifick I have some Reasons for thinking
that an Expedition of Discovery would soon be set on foot by a Society of
Gentlemen connected wt. the Author.
Whether his views are well founded in regard to the Hudson's Bay Company I will not pretend to determine; but, without impinging upon them at
all, much probable advantage seems to depend upon an inland Expedition
towards the Pacifick, in the way of co-operating with those who shall explore
the same Object from the Ocean—
Captain Dixon found the Continent of America lying 150 miles to the
Eastward of the Islands in Queen Charlottes Sound. Captain Cook by skirting said Islands to the westward saw nothing of the " true Continent," in their
Extent, and the whole American Coast from Nootka, [itself an Island] to
Cook's River, to say 10° Latitude, abounding so much with Islands, may it
not be doubted how far the Main Land of America has been made known
by Captain Cooks Attempts?
At any Rate the Land Passage between Hudson's House, and the Pacifick
is shortened 150 miles according to Dixon, and possibly might be found
much further shortened, if explored by a Party Marching across the Continent westward.
For the sake of my friend I have taken the Liberty of insisting so much
upon his Ideas; begging as a particular favour that you will take the Subject
under your consideration, and as soon as convenient write me yr. opinion,
and concerning Capt Portlock's voyage.
If you thought the previous topick worthy to be mentioned, or brought
under the view of your friends Sir Joseph Banks, and Doctor Blagden, their
(6) This item does not appear to have survived. 1955 Convict Colonies 99
opinion, and your own, of the Authors views would, I know, be felt by him
as a very high gratification—and if favourable I believe might soon give
Rise to some Expedition. But I must refer the taking of so great a Liberty
entirely to Yourself—I beg you will accept of my best compliments and that
you will make the same acceptation to Mrs. Lind
I ever am My Dear Sir
Yours most faithfully
Pat Wilson
(turn over)
Dr. Lind—See P.S.
My friend has several other Papers in M.S.S. by him upon similar
topicks—in one of which he shows, with much seeming Plausibility, the
Advantages that might arise in regard to disposing of Convicts in some
settlement to be made about Nootka—or to forward them by way of Hudson's
Bay across the Continent; and about Nootka to embark them for New South
Wales &c Ac-
Endorsed:   Doctor James Lind
Glasgow 28th Novemr
~      c- 1789
Dear Sir
I hope you recd. mine 25th Current as well as the parcel containing the
papers for Sir J. B. both addressed for you to Care of I & A. A.—The parcel
was accompanied by a letter to Sir J B from Mr. Wilson
We are apprehensive that Sir J. B. may be looking for a scheme respecting the Convicts more in Detail; but on Reflection it will no doubt occur
that much Detail might be premature in any Scheme relating to a Country
unexplored—It seem'd more reasonable to abide by what is touch'd upon
towards the conclusion of the Canada Mss; that all proposals may be made
with better Effect by a previous Survey of that Quarter of the World " with
a view to gain a full & accurate Information of the Actual State of circumstances there." I presume it will be allowed that on the general Principles
of exploring every Motive & Reason will apply to such a survey equally as
to the many Enterprizes which have now for a course of years been prosecuted towards various Parts of the Earth, known & unknown, & that it
would be unaccountable if after seeming to take the utmost Extent of the
Globe for the Range of our Discoveries, we should be found at last to come
to a Stop at those Limits which ought to constitute a Part of our Dominions,
& where there would fall to us immediately & of Course every Advantage
of Power & Dominion for promoting Commerce or enlarging the Sphere of
general Intercourse & Improvement.—Till the proper Search is made under 100 Richard H. Dillon Jan.-Apr.
the Direction of proper persons the utmost that can be expected are general
Probabilities. Of these, I have taken it upon me to Cite same, & hope not
without some Reasonable ground of Authority; & hope further that it will
Do me no Prejudice with Men of Judgment, that I wish'd for the present to
rest in these, & to wait for more Light & Information before venturing to
offer any Specifick Plan in Detail.
Besides being baulked in Regard to what remains to be begun, my
Distance from the general Centre of Intelligence has hitherto precluded me
from a perfect Knowledge of present & actual Occurrencies. You will
recollect different Instances of this Nature. One is our Ignorance of the
Arrangements of Government respecting the Troops destined for the Botany
Bay Service. It has been Reported that the Marines now there are to be
ordered home. Were this true there might be a Hope that Government
might be persuaded to order them towards Nootka as the readiest & least
expensive Mode of beginning a Search on that Side, while Measures were
taking to set on Foot another to meet it from this Side. A Party from this
Side thro' Nelson River might be at Hudson's House before Autumn next,
& then the Distance between the Two must be so moderate as to render their
Junction practicable & certain. We are to remember that the Hudson's Bay
Co. have never had above 30 Men in any one Station, & that according to
Dr Smith & others they have not had at any Time 150 Persons in all over an
Extent larger than the half of Europe. This is one Proof that the natives
cannot be formidable. Another is that Capt. Cook found such as he met
with without the Use or Knowlege of Fire Arms.
In Regard to Convicts besides the Favour of Sail & Climate (as mentioned elsewhere) let it be observed that a Continuation of great Lakes, some
of them larger than those of Canada, occupy a vast Extent of Inland Country
beyond Hudson's Bay. These lye to the Southward, & by them Convicts
would be separated & shut in from all Intercourse on the South Side & from
the Nature of the Seasons & Climate there can be no communication on the
North Side but by our permission. Should even the strictest Custody of
Convicts be required, it might be found in the Islands of those Lakes, which
might at the same time afford means of useful Employment for them in
Agriculture or otherwise. Circumstances seem far different in New Holland
the Shores of which are open on all sides & in all Seasons & with an immense
inland Range it does not appear how any considerable Numbers can ever be
kept together or consolidated into any regular Form of Society. It would
seem no less hopeless than difficult & expensive to effect every thing by
Troops alone. To create a Society from Soldiers & Convicts must be looked
upon as a questionable Experiment because without a Precedent. Is is not
as in America where Convicts were kept & reclaimed without any Interference of Troops. This happened by those parts attracting a Stock of all
the civil Ranks & Orders of Society, an Advantage which from the Distance
of New Holld. can hardly be expected there. Thus have we to Desiderate
a proper Ground of Success in that Quarter.
Within Hudsons Bay Circumstances may prove more favourable. There
the Vicinity of Canada may turn to good Account.    In upper Canada two 1955 Convict Colonies 101
Classes of People, the Fur-Traders & Farmers may be expected to concur
cordially in forwarding a direct Search towards Nootka thro' Nelson's River;
& both with good Effect. The Fur-traders knowing the interior Regions to
an immense Extent, understanding the language & familiar to the Habits
of the Natives as well as to the labours & Means necessary for traversing
unpeopled Countries would be able & compleat Guides, & the more might
be expected from them, since in acting this Part instead of their being
diverted from their usual Traffick & Occupations, they would acquire new
Advantages for both, by a nearer & more direct Approach to China, the chief
Mart of the World for Furs.
The Class of Farmers in upper Canada would likewise give and receive
Benefit by becoming Furnishers of Supplies for Subsistence Stores for which
might be erected by them in the Bottom of the Bay accessible to shipping.
Live Stock in particular might easily be drove by them to that Quarter, to
be from thence conveyed at once by Water, thro' Nelson's River to Hudsons
Should it be thought necessary, the Fur-Traders might Drive Live Stock
thro' the interior Country to any Point desired, even to Nootka: & with
regard to Live Stock let it be remembered that whatever may be the Trouble
in the first Instance it need never recur again, since by providing a sufficient
Number for breeding, each Station might in all future Times have a Sufficiency for its own Demands. A sufficiency of Grain might in due time be
had in like Manner, in a Country said to be fertile & kindly. Thus there
might soon be ample Provision not only for Troops & Convicts but for
general Settlers, or a Colony properly constituted & thro' the strength of
a Colony, Convicts might be either passed on to New Holland, or retained
in North America, with much Advantage both in respect to Expence &
A Resort of general Settlers for the Establishment of a regular Colony
may be reckon d on as the natural Consequence of the Trade which would
immediately take place on opening a Communication between the Waters
of the Atlantic & Pacific.—Here seems to be the most inviting Point of
Connection—the Nexus utruisq Mundi—where in Process of Time a Trade
may centre proportioned to the Extent & Magnitude of both Oceans Furs
offer a certain & immediate Beginning for Trade & in those we have the best
medium for introducing the commodities of the East, those of China & Japan
more especially for which we may have the Demand or Consumpt of the
whole continent of North America.
In the Consideration of secondary or lesser Circumstances there seems
lo be a prospect of an Accession of Trade by a Communication with the
Russian Settlements on the Pacific which beginning at Kamtschatka arc
continued all along to the American Coast in the Neighbourhood of Cooks
River. We learn from Cooks Journal & Coxes History how necessitous
& feeble these Establishments are & a Glance of the Map may satisfy us that
the best Conveyance for their Supplies must be thro' Hudsons Bay & that
of Course their Dependence on us may be what we please to make it.—
Indeed a solid permanent Establishment on the Pacific towards Nootka duly 102 Richard H. Dillon Jan.-Apr.
connected with the Atlantic by a Land Passage seems to be the only thing
wanting to render our Authority & Sway supreme thro' the whole of the
Pacific. In such a Station we shall be possessed of a fixed Point, a Fulcrum,
on which we may be able to poize & weigh up a World. By beginning in the
South-Pacific we are on the wrong Side & must labour unsuccessfully,
because working against Nature. Our Province is the North. It is the
native & proper Seat of our Strength, whence it may spread far & wide, & be
every where effectual.
All this is independent of certain local Advantages peculiar to Canada
to be look d for in a different Quarter, as to which the Mss; particularly
wrote on that Subject must be left to speak for itself: only let it be observed
here, that if this Part of the design should be brought to bear, the several
Members of our Empire might link & connect together & form a solid &
compact whole, comprehending every thing from St. James' even to Botany
Bay—A Consummation surely most devoutly to be wished for, but must be
wished for in Vain, if confining ourselves to such Means as are common to,
& may be assumed by, every Maritime Power, we neglect those which are
peculiar to us, & which may be improved so as to preclude all scope for
Competition against us
Thus do we dream in obscure Corners, & while we give you who are
present with the great World, an Opportunity of laughing at us, let us beg
with the antient Poet
Si quid noville in rectius istis,
Candidus imperit.
Yours in haste [signed] H R
Endorsed: Copy of a Letter from Henry Robertson Esqr. of Glasgow
to a friend at London to whom were forwarded the Papers lately delivered
to Sir Joseph Banks.
MS. 1789
Nov. 28
HB 1:4
The annual meeting of the British Columbia Historical Association was held
in the private dining-room of the Grosvenor Hotel, Vancouver, B.C., on Friday
evening, January 21. The President, Captain C. W. Cates, was in the chair and
some sixty members were present, including representatives from Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo, West Kootenay, and Boundary Sections, who were all welcomed
by the President. Reports from the various sections were presented as follows:
Victoria, by Mr. Russell E. Potter, Chairman-elect; Vancouver, by Mr. Bruce
Ramsey, Secretary; West Kootenay, by Mrs. A. D. Turnbull, Secretary; Nanaimo,
by Miss Patricia Johnson, Secretary; Boundary, by Mrs. Rupert Haggen, Secretary; East Kootenay and Fort St. James, by Mr. Willard E. Ireland. In addition,
greetings were brought from the Kamloops Museum Association and the Cariboo
Historical Society.
The outstanding feature of the President's report was the continued extension
of the Association with the admission of the Boundary Section, which Section was
visited by the President during the year, and the admission also of the East
Kootenay Section.
The Treasurer's report indicated that after all accounts had been paid there
remained a bank balance of $461.65. Membership rose appreciably during the
year from 435 to 461, as follows: Victoria Section, 121; Vancouver Section, 108;
West Kootenay Section, 17; Nanaimo Section, 19; Fort St. James Section, 40;
Boundary Section, 83; East Kootenay Section, 9; and members-at-large, 64. While
the latter group had declined, it was pointed out that once the Quarterly became
available it was anticipated that delinquent members would renew. The Editor
greatly regretted the delay in publication, but every effort was being made to bring
the Quarterly back on schedule. The thirty-second report of the Marine Committee was presented by Major F. V. Longstaff.
A number of items of new business were discussed, including a resolution to
continue efforts to secure the appointment of a Provincial Historic Sites Board
'and the endorsation of plans to commemorate suitably the centenary of the founding of the Mainland Colony of British Columbia in 1858.
The 1st Vice-President, Mrs. A. D. Turnbull, took the chair while the President
delivered the annual address on Reminiscences of Sailing Day Experiences of the
Cates Family. Captain James Warren Cates, father of the speaker, came of an
old sea-faring family, who first arrived in North America in 1623 and settled on
the coast of Maine. In 1862 the family moved to Nova Scotia. During the
elapsed period of 239 years every male member of the family was a sailor. In
consequence, Captain Cates was well qualified to discuss sailing. The sea is the
oldest of all routes of travel. In the ancient pyramids of Egypt are to be found
models of ships in use in pre-Biblical times. The Mediterranean was one of the
first waterways. Later larger and better ships of the western and northern European regions replaced the vessels of the Egyptian and Phoenician traders.   The
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIX, Nos. 1 and 2.
103 104 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
speaker pointed out how man's ingenuity had served in the development of better
ships—reacting to the stimulus of war as in the case of the Merrimac and the
Monitor in the American Civil War and to the stimulus of mass migrations of
peoples in times of peace. Another stimulus was the development of the first
steamship: in 1800 the Charlotte Dundas plied the waters of the Firth of Forth.
Sailing-men despised the first dirty, unreliable, strange steamers and set out to
prove that sail was in every way superior to steam. As a result, the ocean packets
emerged, and for eighty years were successful in meeting the competition of steam.
Some of these packets achieved enviable records for speed, the Champion of the
Seas logging 21 knots for twenty-four consecutive hours. The McKay brothers,
of Shelbourne, Nova Scotia, began building their famous clipper ships in Boston,
which soon proved themselves the swiftest ocean-going vessels in the world and
held their own against steam until the late 1840's.
The clipper ships were aided by the California gold-rush of 1849, which provided passengers and cargoes in abundance. When that rush was over, the Fraser
River gold-rush began, and once again ships were in demand. By 1866 the main
gold-rushes were over, but the development of the fisheries, forests, and coal
mines took up the slack in shipping and kept vessels coming to British Columbia.
A new type of ship appeared, however—a type of schooner which was better
adapted to British Columbia's irregular coast-line with its many channels and
inlets. The clipper ship remained the queen of the seas, but the schooner was
the queen of the inner waterways. Tugs were developed to aid the ocean-going
vessels to navigate the inland waterways and harbours. Tugs such as the Alexander, Mogul, and Lome went out to meet the sailing-ships and assist them into
harbours. The Cates family was active in this field, developing their own tugboat company and thus contributing to the commercial development of the
One of the interesting features of this address was the sea chanties which
Captain Cates sang in a strong, nautical baritone. He explained that the chanties
usually had their origin in a shipboard task or event, such, for example, as that
used when turning the capstan or unloading cargoes. The " Stately Southerner "
described the encounter of Captain John Paul Jones' ship of that name with a
British man-of-war. In addition, Captain Cates illustrated his lecture with
excerpts from books, journals, and newspapers to reveal the hardships, perils, and
unusual experiences endured by sailing-ships and the men who manned them.
He also explained the derivations of some nautical terms. A vote of thanks was
moved by Mr. William Barraclough and seconded by Mr. Russell Potter.
The report of the scrutineers was then read; a total of 179 valid ballots were
returned. The new Council met immediately following the adjournment of the
annual meeting, when considerable business was transacted and the following
officers for 1955 were elected:—
Honorary President Hon. Ray G. Williston.
President Mrs. A. D. Turnbull.
1st Vice-President Dr. W. N. Sage.
2nd Vice-President        ....       Mrs. J. H. Hamilton.
Honorary Secretary -----   Mr. Russell E. Potter.
Honorary Treasurer     ...       -       Miss Patricia Johnson. 1955 Notes and Comments 105
Members of the Council—
Mr. H. C. Gilliland.
Dr. J. C. Goodfellow.
Dr. M. A. Ormsby.
Mr. Norman Hacking.
Mr. J. K. Nesbitt.
Mrs. R. B. White.
Councillors ex officio—
Captain C. W. Cates, Past President.
Mr. Russell E. Potter, Chairman, Victoria Section.
Mr. W. Erskine Blackburn, Chairman, Vancouver Section.
Mr. James Armstrong, Chairman, West Kootenay Section.
Mr. William Barraclough, Chairman, Nanaimo Section.
Mrs. David Hoy, Chairman, Fort St. James Section.
Mrs. Jessie Woodward, Chairman, Boundary Section.
Mr. W. A. Burton, Chairman, East Kootenay Section.
Mr. Willard E. Ireland, Editor, Quarterly.
Victoria Section
The regular meeting of the Section was held in the Provincial Library on
Friday evening, November 28, with Miss Madge Wolfenden in the chair. The
speaker on this occasion was Mr. C. P. Lyons, of the British Columbia Parks
Service, who presented an illustrated lecture on The Alaska Highway. The history
of the building of the road was traced. Completed twelve years ago, it was
originally opened for military use, but five years ago it was opened to the public.
Behind it lies a story of discovery, exploration, hardship, and peril. The coloured
illustrations were much enjoyed, providing ample evidence of the great scenic
beauties along the route. Mrs. J. E. Godman proposed a vote of thanks to the
The annual meeting of the Section was held in the Provincial Library on
Friday evening, December 17, with Miss Madge Wolfenden presiding. In the
absence of the Honorary Treasurer, Mr. A. F. Flucke, the financial statement was
read by Mr. W. W. Bilsland, and indicated a paid-up membership of 133. Other
reports on the year's activities were submitted and approved. The chairman's
address, The Adventures of Captain W. H. McNeill, was an excellent outline of the
career of one of the worthies of the fur trade. At the beginning the maritime fur
trade was exclusively British, but gradually it was absorbed by American traders,
and by 1800 became practically a monopoly of the City of Boston. It was there
that William Henry McNeill was born in 1801, and at an early age he went to sea.
His first voyage of which a record survives was to the Sandwich and Marquesas
Islands in the Paragon in 1819. By 1823 he had become a master mariner and
was given command of the ship Convoy in the autumn of 1824. Since no logbooks have survived for the period 1820-24, it is not possible to trace his movements, and it is conceivable that he may have visited the Northwest Coast before
1825. During 1825-27 McNeill, in the Convoy, cruised and traded between the
Sandwich Islands and the Northwest Coast, visiting the Queen Charlotte Islands, 106 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
the coastal region near present-day Port Simpson, and Sitka and other Alaskan
ports.   He thus became thoroughly conversant with these northern waters and
familiar with the lives and habits of the native peoples.    By midsummer of 1832
the Hudson's Bay Company was in desperate straits in so far as suitable ships for
the coastal trade was concerned.    Chief Factor Duncan Finlayson was sent from
Fort Vancouver to Honolulu to try to secure a ship and crew.   There he found
McNeill and his brig Lama, which he bought for the company for £1250 and
engaged McNeill and his two mates.    Soon after reaching Fort Vancouver the
Lama and Captain McNeill were busily engaged in the business of the company.
In 1838 he was given command of the steamer Beaver.   Although he never became a British subject, he sailed the seas, made extensive examinations of the east
and southern shores of Vancouver Island, and in 1849 was placed in charge of
Fort Rupert, the new post then being built at the north end of Vancouver Island
because of the coal discoveries in the vicinity.    McNeill received his chief factorship in 1856, and five years later he was appointed to Fort Simpson, where he
remained until his retirement in 1863.   His remaining years were spent quietly in
Victoria, where he died in 1875.   Miss Kathleen Agnew expressed the appreciation
of the meeting to Miss Wolfenden.    The report of the scrutineers was read, and at
the conclusion of the meeting the newly elected Council met, when the following
officers were elected for 1955:—
Chairman        ------    Mr. Russell E. Potter.
Past Chairman     -----       Miss Madge Wolfenden.
Vice-Chairman Mr. J. K. Nesbitt.
Honorary Secretary      ...       -       Mr. W. W. Bilsland.
Honorary Treasurer Mr. A. F. Flucke.
Members of the Council—
Miss Kathleen Agnew. Mr. H. C. Gilliland.
Mrs. K. C. Drury. Mrs. J. E. Godman.
Mr. Wilson Duff. Mr. G. H. Stevens.
Miss W. A. Copeland {co-opt.).   Mr. E. G. Hart (co-opt.).
Miss K. Graham (co-opt.). Major H. C. Holmes (co-opt.).
Mrs. G. M. Welsh (co-opt.). Mr. R. P. Wilmot (co-opt.).
The first regular meeting in the new year was held on Friday evening, January
28, in the Provincial Library, with Mr. R. E. Potter in the chair. A resolution
passed by the Council outlining a new procedure for the election of the Council
was presented to the effect that the Council should consist of fifteen members who
may serve a maximum of three consecutive terms; that the retiring chairman
shall be the chairman of a nominating committee of three (the other two members
being named by the Council) to present a slate of fifteen names to the annual
meeting of the Section, with the right of nominations from the floor preserved.
This procedure was endorsed by the meeting and ordered to be followed in the
election of Councillors for 1956. It had been arranged that the Past President,
Captain C. W. Cates, would be in attendance to read his presidential address as
presented at the annual meeting in Vancouver, but due to the inclement weather
it had not been possible for him to reach Victoria, and in his stead Mr. Willard E.
Ireland, Provincial Librarian and Archivist, read a paper entitled Rumours of
Confederate Privateers Operating in Victoria, Vancouver Island, prepared by Pro- 1955 Notes and Comments 107
fessor Benjamin Gilbert, of the Social Science Division of San Jose State College,
California, for publication in this Quarterly. The threat of privateering by Confederate vessels in the Pacific during the American Civil War was a major problem
for the United States Government. One such threat arose from the appearance
of the Confederate warship Shenandoah in the Pacific. Her activities gave rise to
rumours that other Confederate vessels were being outfitted at Victoria for
depredations against American ports and shipping. Professor Gilbert traced the
origin of these rumours, outlined the manner in which Confederate activities in
Victoria, real or imaginary, caused alarm, giving rise to friction between the
United States, British, and colonial governments, as well as some harsh words
between British and American subjects. Fortunately, no Confederate privateer
appeared or was outfitted in British Columbia waters. The only real damage
inflicted Confederate plots along the entire Pacific Coast was the delay of gold
shipments and additional expense to the American Government in guarding her
commercial route to the Isthmus of Panama. Dr. T. B. Williams moved a vote
of thanks to the reader and the author of this interesting paper.
A meeting of the Section was held in the Provincial Library on Friday evening,
February 25, with Mrs. J. H. Hamilton in the chair in the absence of Mr. Russell
E. Potter. The speaker was Mr. Wilson Duff, Provincial Anthropologist, who
spoke on Historic Backgrounds of British Columbia's Indians. In covering the
history of the native Indians, Mr. Duff took his audience back into pre-history.
To assist him he drew from a wide range of sources—the geologist, the archsolo-
gist, the physical anthropologist, the atomic physicist, and the linguist. During
the Ice Age, approximately 11,000 years ago, this Province was covered by the
main glacier accumulation, and as the area was more heavily glaciated the ice
took longer to recede in British Columbia than in any other area of North
America. When the ice had disappeared and the climate had become warmer,
large areas were at last fit for human habitation. Migratory tribes moving on
foot across the Bering Strait came into the valleys of Alaska and down the ice-
free corridors as they opened up. The story of the evolution of the culture of
these people of Mongoloid origin who were living in British Columbia when the
white man arrived was outlined. It is a story which could be as old as 10,000
years.   A vote of thanks was moved by Mrs. K. C. Drury.
Mr. J. K. Nesbitt presided at a meeting of the Section held in the Provincial
Library on Thursday, March 31, when Mr. A. F. Flucke, of the staff of the
Provincial Archives, spoke "on The Progress of Mining in British Columbia. The
history of mining was outlined from the first discovery of coal in 1836 at Beaver
Harbour, Vancouver Island, to the present day. The social effects of mining were
stressed, particularly in the way in which the various mineral discoveries contributed to the development of the Province in the increase in population, the
growth of towns, the expansion of government services, and the wealth derived
from profits, wages, and taxes. After his address a number of interesting slides
were shown depicting a wide variety of mining activity in different regions of the
Province.    Mr. J. H. Hamilton moved a vote of thanks to the speaker.
A regular meeting of the Section was held in the Provincial Library on Thursday evening, April 28, with Mr. Russell E. Potter in the chair.   The speaker on
that occasion, Mrs. John Hope, a granddaughter of the Honourable Robert and
9 108 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
Mrs. Dunsmuir, was introduced by Mrs. J. E. Godman. Mrs. Hope, in an informal
manner, gave some interesting and amusing reminiscences of the Dunsmuir family.
In thanking the speaker, Mr. J. K. Nesbitt read a number of newspaper accounts
dealing with the social activities of the family.
Vancouver Section
The regular meeting of the Section was held in the private dining-room of the
Grosvenor Hotel on Friday evening, November 26, with Dr. M. A. Ormsby in
the chair. The speaker on that occasion was Mr. Willard E. Ireland, Provincial
Librarian and Archivist and editor of this Quarterly, who had chosen as his
subject Your Archives. Despite general interest in the history of British Columbia,
many people were relatively uninformed as to the objects of the Provincial Archives
and the richness of the collections that it has acquired. In an informal address,
Mr. Ireland outlined the work of the department, illustrating it with many amusing
anecdotes on the means whereby material is acquired. He outlined the function
of the various divisions of the institution: the Northwest Library, which attempts
to acquire everything in print written by a British Columbian, about British
Columbia, or published in British Columbia; the Photograph Division, containing
now over 35,000 identified photographs of people, places, and events; the Map
Division, now being reorganized; the Manuscript Division, containing, as it does,
private as well as official records of historical events from the era of discovery
onwards. In addition to its collecting activities, Mr. Ireland also outlined the
services it offers to the public—searches in response to inquiries, reproducing
photographs for illustration, and publications, including, in addition to the British
Columbia Historical Quarterly, the Memoir series and the B.C. Heritage Series of
brochures undertaken for the Division of Curriculum of the Department of
The annual meeting of the Section was held in the Grosvenor Hotel on Tuesday
evening, December 14. Reports of the year's activity were received and indicated
that the affairs of the Section were in a satisfactory condition. The speaker at the
meeting was Mr. Norman Hacking, marine editor of the Vancouver Daily Province
and one of the leading authorities on marine history in British Columbia, who had
chosen as his topic Bodega y Quadra: Spanish Explorer. Earlier in the year
Mr. Hacking had been visiting in Mexico, and in Acapulco had his interest in
Spanish maritime activity on this coast renewed, for it was from this port that in
1792 the Sutil and Mexicana sailed for the Northwest Coast on the expedition that
was to bring them into close contact with Captain George Vancouver. The
commander of the port of Acapulco for many years was Don Juan Francisco
Bodega y Quadra, and later he became the last Spanish governor at Nootka
Sound. He was a descendant of a famous beauty and heiress named Dona Juana
de la Quadra, who married Don Pedro de Ulloa, a ranking officer in the army of
Cortes, who had conquered Mexico. Quadra was born in Lima, Peru, and educated
at the Royal Naval Academy at Cadiz in Spain. He was a sailor at heart and
spent much of his time on the sea. In 1775 he sailed into North Pacific waters in
command of the 27-foot schooner Sonora, reaching the shores of Alaska. Later
he became the naval commander of Acapulco, which he fortified against English
pirates.   In 1792 he was sent by the King of Spain to Nootka Sound as governor 1955 Notes and Comments 109
to arrange the evacuation of the Spanish fort under the terms of the Nootka Sound
Convention, and there he met Captain Vancouver. They became good friends, an
indication of which was Vancouver's decision to name the great island he had
just circumnavigated Quadra and Vancouver's Island. After the evacuation of
Nootka Sound, Quadra returned to Acapulco, where he died about two years later
at the age of 50. He has been described as " brave, courteous, honourable, noble
in appearance and charming in manner." His estate at Taxco remained in the
possession of the family until 1835, when most of the noble Spanish families in
Mexico returned to their homeland.
The report of the scrutineers was received, and the following officers were
elected for the ensuing year:—
Honorary Chairman      ...       Mr. E. G. Baynes.
Honorary Life Member    -       -       -   Dr. W. N. Sage.
Chairman     -----       Mr. W. Erskine Blackburn.
Past Chairman Dr. Margaret A. Ormsby.
Vice-Chairman      - Mr. Norman Hacking.
Honorary Secretary - - - - Mr. Bruce Ramsey.
Honorary Treasurer ... Mr. J. E. Gibbard.
Members of the Council—
Mr. J. A. Byron. Mr. G. S. Hugh-Jones.
Captain C. A. Cates. Mr. D. A. McGregor.
Mr. T. H. S. Goodlake. Dr. D. L. McLaurin.
Rev. F. G. St. Denis.
Nanaimo Section
The regular meeting of the Section held on November 9 was attended by
representatives of the Pioneer Society, the Native Sons of British Columbia, Native
Daughters of British Columbia, St. John Ambulance Brigade, Boy Scouts, Girl
Guides, Sea Cadets, and Ladies' Guild of St. Paul's Anglican Church to consider
final plans for the celebration on November 27 of the centenary of the landing of
the passengers from the Princess Royal. Reports on the progress to date was
outlined by Mr. George Molecy and included a pageant re-enacting the landing
at Pioneer Rock in the morning, the dedication of the time capsule in the afternoon, and a dinner at the Plaza Hotel in the evening.
The meeting of the Section held on December 7 was principally for the purpose of clearing up details in connection with the very successful Princess Royal
The annual meeting of the Section was held on Tuesday, January 11, when the
following were elected for the ensuing year:—
Chairman - Mr. William Barraclough.
Vice-Chairman    - Mr. R. J. Walley.
Secretary-Treasurer  -       -       -       Mrs. A. Yates.
Corresponding Secretary      -       -   Mrs. William Barraclough.
Treasurer - Ven. Archdeacon A. E. Hendy.
At a regular meeting held on Tuesday evening, March 8, the speaker was
Captain C. W. Cates, Past President of the British Columbia Historical Association, 110 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
who repeated for the benefit of the members of the Section his presidential address
delivered at the annual meeting of the Association held in Vancouver.
East Kootenay Section
Although one of the smaller sections of the Association, interest has been keen
in the East Kootenay Section, and through the efforts of the Recording Secretary,
Mr. John F. Huchcroft, a great deal of pertinent historical data for the region has
been drawn together, particularly in relation to the explorations of David Thompson and early placer gold-rush days. Officers of the Section for 1955 are:—
Honorary Chairman -       -       Mrs. F. W. Green.
Honorary Vice-Chairmen     -       -   Mr. J. A. Byrne, M.P.
Mr. Leo Nimsick, M.L.A.
Mr. R. O. Newton, M.L.A.
Chairman - Mr. William Burton, Cranbrook.
Recording Secretary     - Mr. John F. Huchcroft.
Corresponding Secretary   -       -       Mrs. Viola Wilson.
Treasurer    -----   Mr, J, W. Awmack.
Mrs. W. A. Burton. Mr. Donald A. MacDonald.
Mrs. M. E. Jorden. Mr. Alfred B. Smith.
The annual meeting of the Kamloops Museum Association was held in the
City Hall Committee Room on Friday evening, January 21, to hear reports on the
year's activity. During the past year the museum had undergone its first redecorating since its conversion to this purpose, and much of the credit for this accomplishment was given to Mr. R. B. A. Cragg, former House Committee convenor. During
the tourist season the museum was open six afternoons and evenings a week, and
during the off-season it was open Wednesday afternoon and evening and Saturday
afternoon. A total of 2,719 persons registered, coming from nine States of the
American Union and ten other countries. Plans are under consideration to make it
possible to secure the services of a paid curator during the summer months. Many
additions to the collection were reported by the Photography and Natural History
Committees, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that the present quarters are
inadequate. During the year the civic grant of $600 was renewed, and the Treasurer reported a bank balance of $596.15, even after the renovation costs had been
met. The President, Mr. J. J. Morse, in his report, paid tribute to the late George
Brown, who, with Burt R. Campbell, David Power, and T. S. Keyes, had been
the first to take active steps to preserve the historical material connected with the
Officers for the year 1955 were elected, as follows:—
Honorary President      ...       -    Mr. Burt R. Campbell.
President Mr. J. J. Morse.
Vice-President Mrs. Earle Lehman.
Secretary-Treasurer    -       -       -       -       Mrs. David Arnott.
City Representative       ...       -   Alderman T. J. O'Neill. 1955 Notes and Comments 111
Committees were appointed, as follows: The executive officers to constitute the
House Committee; Mr. J. J. Morse to chair the Indian Artifacts Committee;
Mr. Burt R. Campbell and Mr. R. G. Pinchbeck jointly to chair the Photographic
Committee, and David Arnott to chair the Natural History Committee.
The first annual meeting of the Rossland Historical Museum Association was
held in the banquet-room of the Bowling Alleys, Rossland, on Thursday evening,
March 31. Mr. F. Etheridge, President of the Rossland Rotary Club, was present
and handed the key to the museum to Mr. Gordon German along with a cheque for
$100 as a gift from the club toward the operating expenses of the Association.
He took the occasion to thank the many individuals who had assisted in bringing
into existence the organization which will fill an important need in the life of the
community. Mrs. A. D. Turnbull, President of the British Columbia Historical
Association, spoke briefly in complimenting Rossland for the establishment of the
first historical museum in the district. The Chairman, Mr. Gordon German, outlined a number of projects that could be undertaken. The speaker on this occasion was Mrs. A. F. Coombes, whose subject, Things I Remember, was a most
interesting series of reminiscences of one of Rossland's native daughters. She
recounted vividly such events as the powder-house explosion, the building of the
water reservoir and installation of the water system, the coming of electricity to
the city. She told of the mines and the life of the miners; the winter carnivals
with the skating and toboggan races, hockey games, and ski jumping; the Miners'
Union Day celebrations with the drilling contests. In closing she recalled the
pioneers, both men and women, all of whom contributed to make Rossland a
bigger and better community.
The following six Directors were elected by acclamation: Mrs. A. F. Coombes,
Mrs. L. Couture, Mr. G. T. German, Mr. R. F. Mitchell, Mr. I. D. McDonald, and
Mr. D. D. Martin. Immediately following the annual meeting the Directors met,
when the following officers were elected:—
Chairman Mr. Gordon German.
Vice-Chairman Mr. J. D. McDonald.
Secretary-Treasurer    -----    Mrs. A. F. Coombes.
The year 1954 witnessed considerable improvement in the administration and
physical resources of the Irving House. New resident caretakers were appointed
and living accommodation was redecorated. The museum room was rearranged,
with the addition of a display cupboard. A special collection of Indian baskets
and of birds and animals has become a focal point of interest. The exterior of the
house was redecorated, retaining the original colours, and a site set aside for a
proposed coach-house to accommodate the historic Dufferin coach. On June 15,
in commemoration of the ninety-fifth anniversary of New Westminster becoming
a port of entry, a new flag was presented and raised. During the year 1,825
visitors signed the register and an increasing number of groups have made arrange- 112 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
ments to visit the centre. Many gifts were received during the year, including
financial contributions to the trust fund set up for extension work. The dining-
room facilities have been well patronized, and many pleasant social gatherings
have been held in the House. On November 20, in connection with the Douglas
Day celebrations, Dr. W. N. Sage, retired head of the Department of History at
the University of British Columbia, was the guest speaker. At the annual meeting
the following officers were elected for 1955:—
President   -       - Mr. H. Norman Lidster.
1st Vice-President - Mr. William Murray.
2nd Vice-President     -----   Miss Janet Gilley.
Secretary-Treasurer ...       -       Mrs. Stephen Young.
One of the last official acts of His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor was to
officiate at the formal opening of the Royal Canadian Navy Maritime Museum on
Signal Hill, Esquimalt, on Monday afternoon, April 18. A royal guard was
paraded for the occasion, with the band of H.M.C.S. Naden in attendance. His
Honour was welcomed by Admiral J. C. Hibbard. Provincial and civic dignitaries
were invited for the function and were given the opportunity of examining the
material already acquired. The Museum building is itself a museum-piece, for the
ten-room red brick structure was originally built toward the end of the last century
to house a corps of the Royal Engineers then stationed at Esquimalt. The bricks
were brought round Cape Horn from England in a sailing-ship, as were the fittings
for the fireplaces. The Museum is open to the public from 10 a.m. to noon and
from 1 to 4 p.m. daily except Monday and Tuesday.
Authority to establish the Museum was received from Ottawa late in 1953, and
a Naval Maritime Museum Committee was struck under the chairmanship of
Commander W. F. T. McCully. This action had been stimulated by the presentation of a number of historic items by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich,
which had been informed of interest in the area by His Royal Highness the Duke
of Edinburgh, who had visited H.M.C. Dockyard in 1951. A wide range of
materials has been acquired, much through the generosity of private donors, and is
very effectively displayed. This includes relics of such early naval officers as
Captains Cook and Vancouver, photographs of early days on the Pacific station,
and many items of interest from World Wars I and II. There are eighteen ship
models on display and many examples of early firearms and cannon. Recently
Commander McCully turned over the chairmanship of the committee to Commander C. H. Little. Volunteer curator is Mr. H. L. Cadieux, a master mariner
employed in H.M.C. Dockyard as a harbour-craft operator and a reserve officer.
On Sunday, November 7, 1954, more than 250 persons assembled near the
Castlegar ferry-slip to participate in the dedication of an 8-foot cut-stone monument with attached bronze plaque commemorating the work of David Thompson 1955 Notes and Comments 113
in the discovery and exploration of the Columbia River. The monument, constructed by Mike Guercio and Gino Nutini, of Trail, was erected by the Historic
Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. The ceremony was sponsored by the
Castlegar and District Chamber of Commerce, whose president, Mr. N. T. Oglow,
was chairman on this occasion. Rt. Rev. F. P. Clark, Bishop of the Diocese of
Kootenay of the Church of England, performed the dedication. Mr. H. W. Her-
ridge, member of Parliament for Kootenay West, performed the ceremony of
unveiling and spoke on the career of David Thompson, whom he described as
" a great Canadian whose life should be an inspiration to all, particularly to the
younger people who are growing up in the Columbia River valley." Mr. Herridge
reviewed the events in Thompson's life leading up to his historic descent of the
river from its source to its mouth in 1811, during which undertaking he passed the
site marked by this cairn on September 5, 1811. Dr. C. H. Wright, of Trail, then
introduced Dr. W. N. Sage, British Columbia and Yukon representative on the
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, who spoke briefly on the achievements of David Thompson, whom he noted was not only one of the greatest land
geographers of North America, but also " one of the finest Christian gentlemen
who ever lived and a courageous explorer and fur-trader." During the course of
the ceremony a framed photograph of the monument was presented to Dr. Sage,
and a copy of Thompson's map of the Columbia River compiled on the basis of
his explorations was on display.   The inscription on the plaque reads, as follows:—
David Thompson on the Columbia
The Columbia was the mystery river of the Pacific Northwest.   Captain Robert Gray, American
fur trader, discovered its mouth, 1792.    Lewis
and Clark explored its lower waters, 1804-06.
David Thompson of the North West Company discovered the headwaters in 1807, and in 1811 by
circuitous routes traversed the whole main stream
of the river.   On his way back from the Pacific
he explored from Kettle Falls to the Big Bend
by way of the Arrow Lakes.   He passed this spot,
Castlegar, 5th September, 1811.    The riddle of
the Columbia was solved.
This Society was organized in March, 1952, and holds its meetings in the
Dawson Creek district, usually meeting on the first Sunday afternoon in each
month. It has as one of its objects the collection of stories from old-timers of
the district and has been successful in securing the publication of many of them
in the local newspaper. In addition, it co-operates with the Women's Institutes
of the Peace River Block in the writing of local histories. It has also secured
tape recordings of interviews with a few old-timers, and four of these interviews
were released over radio station CJDC. In August last, at the exhibition in
Dawson Creek, the Society set up a display reminiscent of pioneer days in one of 114 Notes and Comments Jan.-Apr.
the rooms in the high school.   Efforts are also being made to secure space from
the Village Commission for a museum in the proposed civic centre.
Officers for the current years are:—
President   -------   Mr. A. Davie.
Vice-President Mrs. M. C. Simmons.
Secretary-Treasurer    -----   Mrs. Alice Carlson.
Mrs. A. Knoblauch.
Mr. D. McFee.
Mr. J. A. McKenzie.
Mr. M. C. Simmons.
Stuart R. Tompkins, Ph.D., of the University of Oklahoma, has been a frequent contributor to this Quarterly, particularly in the field of Russian activity in
the Pacific Northwest.
D. M. Schurman is a Nova Scotian by birth and attended Acadia University,
graduating in 1950 with his Master of Arts degree. In 1950 he proceeded to
England for further study as a research student at Cambridge University, and
from 1952 to 1955 was a Research Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, receiving his
Ph.D. degree in 1955. The subject of his particular investigation was " Imperial
Defence, 1868-1887."
John T. Saywell is on the staff of the Department of History at the University
of Toronto and currently is at work on a doctoral dissertation on the role of the
office of Lieutenant-Governor in Canadian constitutional practice.
Richard H. Dillon is in charge of the Sutro Branch of the California State
Library situated in San Francisco. THE NORTHWEST BOOKSHELF
Roe's Arctic Correspondence, 1844-55. Edited by E. E. Rich, assisted by A. M.
Johnson, with an introduction by J. M. Wordie and R. J. Cyriax. London:
The Hudson's Bay Record Society, 1953.   Pp. cvi, 401, xiv.   111. and maps.
Dr. John Rae's correspondence is the first volume from The Hudson's Bay
Record Society to deal with the company's long and honourable association with
the course of Arctic exploration. Judging by the great value to scholarship and
the reader interest of this volume, it is to be hoped that this venture will merit an
encore and in due course other volumes on this general theme will flow from the
archival treasure-house of the Hudson's Bay Company. From the physical point
of view, the volume is well up to the high standards of printing, binding, and
illustration set by other volumes of the Society. Mention should be made in
particular of the two fine folding maps locating places mentioned in the text.
As the title suggests, the volume is primarily a collection of letters, but of
almost equal importance is the lengthy, erudite introduction by J. M. Wordie and
R. J. Cyriax, eminent British authorities on Arctic exploration. The bulk of this
section, intended as a background for the letters that follow, is an extensive
biography of Dr. John Rae. From this account it appears that Rae came to
America, the fur trade, and to exploration almost by accident (or was it fate?).
The son of a well-to-do Orkney businessman who was the Hudson's Bay Company's agent in Stromness, Rae studied medicine at Edinburgh and gained his
Royal College of Surgeons licence at the tender age of 19. He accepted the
position of surgeon on the Hudson's Bay supply ship for the summer of 1833, only
to be stranded at Moose Factory by the freezing-in of the vessel, and by the following summer he had joined the company's service. Ten years later saw him
still at Moose Factory, when Governor (later Sir) George Simpson appointed him
leader of a company expedition to explore the remainder of the Arctic coast of
America, a sector lying between Castor and Pollux Rivers (reached by Dease and
Simpson in 1839) and a point south of Hecla and Fury Straits on the west coast
of Melville Peninsula. Thus an exploring career was launched which a decade
later brought Rae fame and fortune.
In four great expeditions Rae explored virtually the entire remaining Arctic
coast-line and the southwest and south coasts of Wollaston and Victoria Lands,
and, again by accident, learned the fate of the long-overdue Franklin expedition
which had sailed in 1845 in an attempt to discover the Northwest Passage. Rae's
greatest feats on these expeditions were his speedy " dashes " over snow and ice on
snowshoes; from his bases at Repulse Bay in 1846-47 and 1853-54 and Fort
Confidence in 1849-50 and 1850-51 he executed four such movements, often
traversing better than 20 miles a day. As far as possible, the expeditions lived
off the country, collecting supplies of food and fuel at the bases. They travelled
lightly, even sheltering in snow houses to reduce the weight of bedding carried.
Small boats were also Rae's forte; he used these in his explorations of 1848 and
1851 as well as in travelling to and from his bases.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIX, Nos. 1 and 2.
115 116 The Northwest Bookshelf Jan.-Apr.
After his first voyage Rae spent the winter of 1847-48 in England, and again
in 1851-52 he spent approximately a year on leave. During these intervals he
arranged the publication of a book, received the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society, and obtained company approval for his fourth expedition to
map the west coast of Boothia and complete the exploration of the Arctic coast.
This expedition met with many delays, but during its course Rae encountered
Eskimos who reported that some years earlier a large band of white men had
travelled south from King William Land toward the mouth of Back's River leaving
members of the party dead of starvation all along the way. At the end of the
season, his exploring task uncompleted, Rae returned to England with the tragic
news, substantiated by personal articles purchased from the Eskimos. His was the
first report of the fate of the Franklin expedition, and after some delay Rae and
his men received the Admiralty's £10,000 reward. Rae, who had been promoted
to chief trader in 1847 and chief factor in 1850, had already given notice of
retiring from the company's service on his return, and now he was able to carry
out his desire in comparative affluence. Later he travelled to Red River (1859),
Greenland (1860), and British Columbia (1864), married, published scientific
papers, was elected to the Royal Society in 1880, and died in London, aged 79, in
The introduction is rounded out by a section on Rae's exploring techniques
and achievements, a fine summary of the course of Arctic coast explorations from
1818 to 1839, and a history of the Franklin expedition and the search. These are
useful both for the purposes of the volume and for students of Arctic exploration,
while the biography of Rae, so far as this writer is aware, is the most detailed
hitherto published. This reviewer, however, cannot help but wish that the authors,
who display such skill in tracing obscure men and obscure ships, had devoted a
little of their erudition to an evaluation of the character of their main subject, his
attitude toward exploration and the fur trade and to his place within the company
and his relations with the company's hierarchy, questions raised but left unanswered
in the correspondence. At the very least, such loose ends as the outcome of Rae's
demands for a gratuity for his fourth expedition or his relations with the company
and its personnel subsequent to his retirement ought to have been discussed.
The intended purpose of the volume, however, is to present part of the
correspondence of Dr. John Rae rather than his biography. Rae's letters, eighty-
eight items, constitute the text, while some twenty letters to or about Rae are
included in Appendix A. A second appendix contains lists and biographical notices
on Rae's expedition companions. The correspondence is almost entirely with
George Simpson or Archibald Barclay, secretary of the committee in London.
The letters vary from brief notes to five- to twenty-page reports of his travels,
these latter being the most important items of the collection. While the contents
of many of them were published in contemporary journals, this volume makes
them readily available to modern readers in their original form. Repetition is
unavoidable in view of Rae's having to report the same news in separate letters to
Simpson and to the committee, but both accounts have their value since those to
the committee are detailed and precise while those to Simpson contain more
personal anecdotes and comments. Most of the other letters deal with preparations
for, or interim reports on, the four expeditions.   Other letters, notably two from 1955 The Northwest Bookshelf 117
Portage la Loche in 1850, discuss fur-trade matters—Rae was in charge of the
Mackenzie River district in 1850-51—and throw much light on the organization
and operation of the trade in the remote Mackenzie, Yukon, and Liard posts of
a century ago. Finally, a few letters deal with the Admiralty reward and the
gratuity for the final expedition.
For the most part, the correspondence deals with concrete practical matters,
with few scenic descriptions, pen portraits, or even few comments on the hardships of exploration. Many of Rae's letters to Simpson, with whom he was on
intimate terms, contain extremely frank opinions of rival explorers, metis employees, many of the men of his expeditions, his fellow-traders, and " their Honours
in Fenchurch Street," the committee. Rae, " a pushing energetic character," was
certainly not an easy man to please, and Simpson usually replied by adroitly flattering Rae on his ability to surmount such human frailties as well as natural
Simpson's seventeen letters, many of them brief notes, show a knowledge of
the intricacies of exploration which accounted to a degree for Rae's success, and
they illustrate his concept of the company's role, which led him to encourage and
support Rae's exploratory journeys. He was Rae's patron and strongest supporter,
selecting him for his first expedition, arranging for his promotions, advising him
on dealings with his publisher, looking after every request for supplies and equipment, and in 1854 even campaigning for a knighthood for his protege. He had
only few criticisms of Rae's conduct—once at the apparent failure to be credited
sufficiently by Rae for his role in the first expedition's success and again on some
unguarded remarks by Rae in a letter to Richardson which found its way into
print. Rae's decision to retire from the company appears to have been a genuine
disappointment to the ageing chief, and in later letters he offered Rae the management at York Factory or Red River if he would reconsider his decision.
The main questions, unresolved by the correspondence or the introduction,
are the circumstances surrounding Rae's retirement. Monetary considerations
undoubtedly played a part in Rae's timing of his retirement. Under the deed poll
a chief factor of four years' standing was entitled to receive the equivalent of four
years' returns from the senior employees' pool of company profits, and Rae's
retirement was planned to take place on his return from the fourth expedition for,
as he said, " next spring I shall have been four years a CF. which I suppose will
entitle me to the retired allowance and I suppose their honors will give me something extra" (p. 249).
By this time—whether a cause or an effect of Rae's impending retirement—
the tone of correspondence was deteriorating visibly on both sides. Rae's letters
lose something of their courtesy and display an irritability, if not quarrelsomeness, over such incidentals as the quality of wine provided for the expedition or
the placing of company supplies for York Factory in his boat, while Simpson's
reply gives vent to sarcasm: "I hope your Esquimaux friends may furnish you
with better drink." When Rae returned to England in triumph, he embarked on
an impatient exchange of letters with the Admiralty and an angry one with the
committee over its coupling consideration of a gratuity for the exploration, with
the results of Rae's claim for the Admiralty award. Undoubtedly there lay behind
this disagreement in 1854 a long history of resentments and misunderstandings 118 The Northwest Bookshelf Jan.-Apr.
between Rae and the committee (hinted at in numerous deprecatory comments
by Rae on the committee), presumably over his devotion to exploration. One
has an uneasy feeling that the correspondence might have offered something further on this aspect of Rae's career as Arctic explorer—for example, on the committee's reception of Rae's proposal for the fourth expedition, on the reason why
Rae in May, 1853, already anticipated difficulty in collecting a gratuity for the
expedition, or the letter to Rae of December 15, 1854, which elicited so angry a
reply (pp. 290-291).
This small gap should certainly not diminish the sincere appreciation which
students of Canadian exploration must express to the company, the society, the
editors, and the authors in making available in a convenient and readable form
such a wealth of archival material and of academic research. Rae's Arctic Correspondence, 1844-55, is a real contribution on an interesting but often overlooked
aspect of Hudson's Bay Company history and on one of its most famous servants.
Morris Zaslow.
Department of History,
University of Toronto.
Solomon Mussalem.   By Herbert Baxter King.   Mission City:  The Fraser Valley
Record, 1955.   Pp. ix, 143.   Map and ills.
From One to Seventy.   By D. H. Grigg.   Vancouver:  Mitchell Printing and Publishing Co. Ltd., 1953.   Port.   $1.65.
The True Life Story of a Pioneer.   By Fred Mclntyre.   Syracuse, Indiana:  Nonpareil Press, 1955.   $5.50.
In the recording of local history, as in historical writing generally, biography
and autobiography may well be considered as significant ancillary fields. In so
far as British Columbia is concerned, in recent years relatively little material of
this sort has appeared in print, and for that reason alone the three books under
review, though differing widely in interest and in competence of production, are
none the less of some considerable interest.
Dr. H. B. King has rendered a real service in writing the biography of Solomon Mussalem, who for twenty-two years served as Reeve of the Municipality of
Maple Ridge and took an active part in the development not only of that district,
but of the Lower Fraser Valley generally. It is more than just a biography, for
Dr. King had a secondary object in mind, of sociological interest, in recording
something of the making of a Canadian in the first half of this century. For that
purpose Solomon Mussalem was a perfect subject, for here is the life story of a
Canadian born in Syria of an ancient Lebanese family, richly endowed with the
traditions of his race, who emigrated to this continent under the impetus of three
great forces—the lure of great wealth reputed to be characteristic of life in
America, the love of adventure, and the search for freedom from the oppression
and tyranny in his native land under Turkish domination. His first Canadian
home was Carleton Place, Ontario, where he soon became a pedlar working out
of Arnprior. Then he moved westward to Winnipeg and ultimately in 1909 to
Prince Rupert, then in the throes of the boom consequent upon the construction 1955 The Northwest Bookshelf 119
of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. At the end of the First World War, after
a temporary sojourn in Vancouver, Mussalem settled in Haney. There he put
his roots down, and the process of Canadianization began to bear fruits in terms
of public service to his adopted land. This book is written in a delightful manner,
is well illustrated, and creditably produced.
From One to Seventy is the autobiography of D. H. Grigg, now a resident of
White Rock, who came to British Columbia in 1892 and has lived almost his
entire life in the Lower Mainland area. It is naturally a highly personal narrative
but has some significance in representing the activity and thinking of what for
want of a better term we call "the common man." There are portions of the
book that are of particular value, for Mr. Grigg was long associated with the
logging industry on the Lower Mainland, and some of his descriptions of logging
techniques and life in the logging camps are extremely informative.
Fred Mclntyre has been for the last fifteen years a resident of Cranbrook.
There is much more adventure in his autobiography, The True Life Story of a
Pioneer, than in that of Mr. Grigg, and in many ways it is a better-written narrative. Born in Michigan, at an early age he moved with his family to South Dakota,
where he grew up and eventually became a school-teacher. The lure of the sea
drew him, and there is an interesting chapter covering his life on a sailing-ship
from Tacoma to Great Britain by way of Cape Horn. He served in the Caribbean
with the American Navy during the Spanish-American War, and upon demobilization returned to school-teaching in South Dakota. However, again the call to
adventure led him to the Klondike for two years, which is related in a chapter
full of interesting details of the rugged life in that gold-crazy region. Upon his
return from the North, Mclntyre married and homesteaded in northern Michigan,
but in 1910 pulled up stakes and joined the trek of homesteaders to Saskatchewan,
settling not far from Moose Jaw. There he remained until his removal to Cranbrook in 1941, and his account of homesteading experiences is told with great
honesty and provides a wealth of detailed information. This book is well worth
the effort it takes to read it, for, unfortunately, it is printed in cramped type, two
columns to a page. Like the biography of Solomon Mussalem, it is a study in
the process of Canadianization—a field so frequently ignored.
Willard E. Ireland.
Provincial Library and Archives,
Victoria, B.C.
Mountains, Men and Rivers.   By J. H. Stewart Reid.   Toronto:   The Ryerson
Press, 1954.   Pp. x, 229.   $4.
Mountains, Men and Rivers is another book on British Columbia history.
It is not a terribly exciting book, but it is filled with interestng anecdotes, some of
them brought to light for the first time, which is welcome, for one of the curses
of most of our books on British Columbia history is that old stuff is always hashed
up and warmed over. Dr. Reid is professor of history and chairman of the
Department of History at United College, Winnipeg. He is Scottish born, educated
at New Westminster and the University of British Columbia, and has taught in
the schools of this Province.   He won the Native Daughters of British Columbia 120 The Northwest Bookshelf Jan.-Apr.
prize for research in British Columbia history and in 1947—48 a Rockefeller travelling scholarship. With Edgar Mclnnis he co-authored The English-speaking
In his foreword Dr. Reid gives some of the reasons why he wrote his book.
One of these was the "sincere hope that it may bring to the attention of some
more skilled craftsman than I am the rich mine of material for historian, novelist,
dramatist, or just plain journalist, which exists in the story of British Columbia."
This, it must be admitted, is a most generous reason for doing all the hard work
Reid obviously did for his book. It is evident, too, that he is one of those who
believes that what is needed is a first-class fictionalized history of Britsh Columbia
—a story that will excitingly portray all the glamour in which our history abounds.
So far most of our books have been too thesis-like; in other words, while interesting enough to the serious student and those who make a hobby of history, far
too dull to appeal very much to the average reader.
Dr. Reid most certainly loves British Columbia, is fascinated by its background.
His research is magnificent and quite splendid in his desire to share his research
with others. In this way he is doing a very great service to the Province. He
tells of the importance of men and women in the evolution of British Columbia.
"The real story of the founding of British Columbia is, of course, not the one
which tells of its discovery or of its exploration, or even of the establishment of
government and law, and the complex machinery of modern living. The real
story is that of the pioneers themselves. About the men and women who first
came to British Columbia not nearly enough has been said. For example, pages
and pages have been written describing the establishment of law in the new colony,
but the whole story could probably better be told by a few words about the chief
law enforcer. Judge Matthew Baillie Begbie, and a few more about one of the best-
known law-breakers, the notorious Ned McGowan." This is quite true, for no
history book can be made truly exciting, made to come to life, unless it is filled
with flesh and blood, with the goings and the comings and the daily doings of
human beings, what they were like, how they lived—all this painted in words
before a massive backdrop of the times in which they lived. Readers of books
are human beings, and they are first and foremost interested in other human
beings. Men and women who lived a century ago must live again through the
skill of the writer's words.
Dr. Reid does a very good job of bringing to the fore, if not to life, the
pioneers of British Columbia, and he tells of them simply and sympathetically, if
not thrillingly. His is a quite pedestrian way of presenting these pioneers, proving
once more that pioneers to live for everyone must be cleverly fictionalized. One
of his chapters is " The Founding Fathers—and a Mother or Two," and here are
mentioned many of those who helped put British Columbia on its feet.
The author, who has studied much of this Province's past, is unbounded in
his appreciation of those who laboured here and have gone: " The pages of pioneer
history in British Columbia are filled with the names of thousands of others, of
men and women who travelled the road to the gold fields, met varying fortune
there, and lived to establish a new Canadian province. They had to face the
mountains which dominate the whole of its area; they had to run the rivers which
provided the only convenient passes through these mountains.   In scaling those 1955 The Northwest Bookshelf 121
mountains, and taming those rivers, the pioneers had written a story so full of
romance, so rich in human interest that it should be told again and again, and
yet again."
Dr. Reid pays a tribute to the staff of the Provincial Archives, and all those
who have been helped there will whole-heartedly agree: "In my experience, I
have found no better organized, better administered, and more generally helpful
provincial archives department than that of British Columbia." Mountains, Men
and Rivers, while by no means in the best-seller class, which does not necessarily
mean that a best seller is always a good book, certainly deserves a place on the
shelves of those who have a British Columbia section in their libraries.
Victoria, B.C. James K. Nesbitt.
Printed by Don McDiarmid, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty
in right of the Province of British Columbia.
Organized October 31st, 1922
His Honour Clarence Wallace, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.
Hon. Ray Williston  Hon. President.
Mrs. A. D. Turnbull      - President.
Captain Charles W. Cates ... Past President.
Dr. W. N. Sage       -       -       -       -       - 1st Vice-President.
Mrs. J. H. Hamilton  2nd Vice-President.
Russell E. Potter - Honorary Secretary.
Miss Patricia M. Johnson ... Honorary Treasurer.
H. C. Gilliland. Dr. J. C. Goodfellow. Dr. M. A. Ormsby.
Norman Hacking. J. K. Nesbitt. Mrs. R. B. White.
Russell E. Potter W. Erskine Blackburn James Armstrong
(Victoria Section). (Vancouver Section). (West Kootenay Section).
William Barraclough Mrs. David Hoy Mrs. Jessie Woodward
(Nanaiir.o Section). (Fort St. James Section). (Boundary Sect'on).
W. A. Burton Willard E. Ireland
(East Kootenay Section). (Editor, Quarterly).
To encourage historical research an.l stimulate public interest in history; to
promote the preservation and marking of historic sites, buildings, relics, natural
features, and other objects and places of historical interest, and to publish historical
sketches, studies, and documents.
Ordinary members pay a fee of $2 annually in advance. The fiscal year
commences on the first day of January. All members in good standing receive the
British Columbia Historical Quarterly without further charge.
Correspondence and fees may be addressed to the Provincial Archives, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, B.C.


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