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The Nootka Sound controversy Manning, William R. (William Ray), 1871-1942 1904

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 paavaa- ~aa~  —1:----^ The University of British Columbia Library
Instructor in History at Purdue University; Fellow of the University of Chicago, 1902 to 190k.
[The Justin Winsor prize of the American Historical Association was awarded to the
author of this monograph.]
By William Rat Manning, Ph. D.
Chapter I. Introchiction    283
II. The English plans for occupying Nootka Sound  286
III. The Spanish plans for occupying Nootka Sound—The
conflicting claims before 1789  300
IV. Martinez's  operations at Nootka  before Colnett's
arrival  312
V. The quarrel and the seizure   331
VI. The English prisoners in Mexico  344
VII. Attempts at peaceable settlement  362
VIII. Europe prepares for war  380
IX. England's first demand granted  395
X. America's relations to the controversy  412
XI. The national assembly and the family compact—
Effect on the negotiation  424
XII. English ultimatum—Spanish defiance  439
XIII. The Nootka Sound convention—Its reception and
results  -  450
XIV. Subsequent negotiations and final settlement of the
Nootka Sound dispute  463
Bibliography    472
281 Preface.
The French revolutionary period contains so much of
greater importance that, historians have neglected the Nootka
Sound incident. Of the few writers who have discussed it,
the majority have written from a partisan standpoint, or,
if impartial themselves, have drawn their information from
partisan pamphlets. The consequence is that many errors
regarding it have crept into the "work of the best writers.
The purpose of this monograph is to give a more extended
account, drawn largely from unpublished sources, and to correct as many of the errors as possible.
Besides working over the documents that have been published and the accounts that have been written, a thorough
search has been made in the archives of the Indies at Seville,
in the national historical archives at Madrid, and in the British Museum and the public record office at London. A less
thorough search has been made in the archives of foreign
affairs at Paris and the archives of the Department of State
at Washington. More than 500 pages of unpublished documents relating to the dispute have been transcribed and used.
The classified bibliography at the close will make clear the
sources of information and their relative value.
; My acknowledgments are due to the following persons
for valuable assistance: To my wife, who worked with me
continually for two and a half months in the Spanish archives and the British Museum, and who has criticised my
manuscript and read the proof sheets; to Prof. J. F. Jameson,
whose untiring interest has been a constant source of inspiration, and to whose aid and painstaking suggestions are
largely due any merits that the monograph may possess; $o
Prof. A. C. McLaughlin, for research in the archives at
Washington; to Prof. F. J. Turner, for manuscripts and
other material from his own collection. Besides these, I
wish to make special mention of the kindness and assistance
of Senor Pedro Torres-Lanzas, director of the archives of
the Indies at Seville, and of Senor Vicente Vignau y Bal-
lester, director of the national historical archives at Madrid.
Chicago, July, 1904.
282 *l
Chapter I.
Nootka Sound is a small inlet on the western shore of
Vancouver Island. It was christened and made known to
the world by Captain Cook in 1778. A few years afterwards a flourishing fur trade sprang up between the Northwest Coast and China. Nootka became the center of this
trade, though it remained for several years without any
settlement except an Indian village. On account of its sudden and growing importance, the Russians, English, and
Spaniards all laid plans for occupying the port. It happened
that all planned to carry out the project in the year 1789, a
year that meant so much for the subsequent history of the
world. Though the Nootka incident can make no claim to
rank in importance with the great events of that year, yet it
was destined to have an influence on the movements then
started and to be influenced in turn by them.
The Russian plans were not acted upon, but the plans of
the other two were. An English expedition from India and
a Spanish from Mexico each sailed in the spring of 1789 to
establish a colony at Nootka. The promoters of neither
knew anything of the other. The Spanish commander
arrived first and took possession. Nearly two months later
the Englishman came. A quarrel ensued. The Spaniard
seized the Englishman, imprisoned him, his officers and crew,
and sent them to Mexico as a prize. A consort vessel
arrived a few da,js later and met the same fate. Two other
English vessels had been seized earlier. One of them had
been released on bond and the other had been confiscated
without adjudication.
The Viceroy of Mexico, instead of acting on his own
responsibility, reported the matter to the Government at
Madrid.   The Spanish Court complained to the British that
283 284
subjects of the latter had violated the territorial sovereignty
of the former, and demanded that the offenders be punished
to prevent such enterprises in the future. The British Cabinet rejected the Spanish claim to exclusive sovereignty Over
the territory in question, and suspended all diplomatic relations until Spain should have offered a satisfactory reparation for the insult which His Britannic Majesty felt that
his flag had suffered. Each Court refused to grant the
demand of the other and stood firmly on the ground originally taken. To support their respective claims, both Governments made the most extensive armaments. Each nation
also called upon its allies for assurances of support and
entered negotiations for forming new alliances. For a time
it seemed that all Europe would be drawn into war over
what, on the face of it, appeared to be an insignificant quarrel between two obscure sea captains.
Speaking of the controversy Schoell says that a few huts
built on an inhospitable coast and a miserable fortification
defended by rocks were sufficient to excite a bloody war between two great European powers and gave birth to a negotiation which for several months absorbed the attention of
all of the maritime powers of Europe." Similar statements
were made by other writers Avithin a few years after the
incident.1 Most historians who have touched upon it have
either treated it from a partisan standpoint or have considered it of too little importance to merit careful inquiry
into the facts."
But far from being merely a dispute over a few captured
vessels and a comparatively unimportant trading post, it was
the decisive conflict between two great colonial principles,
of which England and Spain were, respectively, the exponents. Spain still clung to the antiquated notion that|;he
fact of the Pacfic Ocean's having been first seen by a Spaniard gave his Government a right to all of the lands of the
"Schoeli, Histoire des Traites de Paix, IV, 112.
" See Humboldt, Alex, .von, Essai Politique, II, 460.
c Oscar Browning, .the writer of Chapter X, in Volume VIII, of the Cambridge Modern History, recently published, gives the least prejudiced and
most accurate account. However, it is very brief. He introduces the Incident as an Important episode in the foreign policy of Pitt. He says : "An
event occurred on the other side of the world which nearly brought about a
European conflagration." In preparing his brief discussion he consulted the
documents in the public record office. NOOTKA  SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
continent which were washed by it. This fact, added to the
gift of the Pope, was sufficient to convince the Spanish mind
that Spain had a valid title to the whole of the western coast
of both Americas. On the other hand, England had long
been acting on the now universally accepted principle that
mere discovery is an insufficient title, and that land anywhere on the globe not controlled by any civilized nation
belongs to that nation which first occupies and develops it.
The controversy is of further importance because of the
fact that it tested the triple alliance of 1788 between England, Prussia, and the Netherlands. It also afforded the
occasion for overthrowing the Bourbon family compact of
1761. It marked the end of Spain's new brief period of
national greatness, which had resulted from the wise reign
of Charles III. It was also the beginning of the collapse
of Spain's colonial empire. Duro, one of the leading Spanish historians of the present, says that it inaugurated a
period of degradation disgraceful to Spanish history, and
began a series of pictures which cause anyone to blush who
contemplates them with love for the fatherland.11
The settlement of the controversy determined the subsequent position of England and Spain on the Northwest
Coast. Later, after the United States had bought the Spanish claim, the Nootka Sound affair became a part of the
Oregon controversy. For a time the dispute threatened to
change the course of the French Revolution.6 It menaced
the existence, or at least the expansion, of the United States.
It promised to substitute English for Spanish influence in
Latin America.
" See Duro, Armada Espanola, VIII, 8-16.
6 See Hassall, The French People, 341. Chapter II.
As early as 1785 instructions were given looking toward
the establishment of an English trading post on Nootka
Sound. In this year an English commercial company instructed the commander of one of its vessels to establish a
post on the northwest coast of- America for " securing the
trade of the continent and islands adjacent." King Georges
[Nootka] Sound was suggested as.being "in every respect
consistent with the intent of forming such establishment."'1
The fur trade between the western coast of America and
China was at the time in its infancy, but the profits accruing
from it soon made it of great importance. Captain Cook,
in his voyage of 1778, had brought the possibility of the industry to the attention of English shipowners, " By the
accidental carrying away of a small collection of furs, whose
great value was learned in Siberia and China, he originated
the great fur trade which became the chief incentive of all
later English and American expeditions to these regions." 6
He remained a month in Nootka Sound. A number of
English expeditions visited the place between this date and
1789, as did also several Spanish, French, and American. •
Only such of them will be discussed asdiave a direct bearing
on the Nootka Sound controversy, and these only at such
places in the narrative as' their bearing becomes important.
A sufficiently full account of the others may be found in the
first volume of Bancroft's " History of the Northwest Coast."
•The first English expedition to claim serious attention is
that of 1788.   It was commanded by John Meares,0 a retired
0 Richard Cadman Etches to Captain Portlock, London, September 3, 1785.
(Meares, An Answer to Mr.'Dixon, 10.) The instructions were not carried
out by this commander, but the same company was interested in the expedition which reached Nootka for that purpose in 1789. Nootka Sound was for
a time called King Georges Sound by the English and San Lorenzo by the
"Bancroft. Northwest Coast, I, 172.
c Sometimes written " Mears."
lieutenant of the royal navy. Two years before this he had
been placed in charge of an expedition to the same coast by
soriie merchants under the protection of the East India
Company.0 He had two vessels, the Nootka, commanded by
himself, and the Sea Otter, commanded by a subordinate.
The latter was lost at sea. The former spent the winter of
1786-87 in Prince William Sound, on the Alaskan coast,-
where, according to Meares's account, the most terrible hardships were suffered, and so many of the crew were lost that
not enough remained to man the ship.& After disposing of
his cargo of furs in China c he made preparations for the
expedition of the following year, during which he set up
the first English establishment on the coast. It was this
post which, rightly or wrongly, furnished the chief basis for
the stubborn persistence of the English ministry in its demands on Spain in the controversy two years later. The
purpose of discussing this expedition is to study what
Meares did at Nootka and find just what rights, if any, were
thereby acquired for England.
It was intended that this expedition should be preliminary
to the planting of an English commercial colony. In mentioning the fact that one vessel was destined to remain out
much longer than the other, Meares says that she was to leave
the coast of America at the close of the year and go to the
Sandwich Islands for the winter. The next year she was
1 to return to America, in order to meet her consort from
China with a supply of necessary stores and refreshments
sufficient for establishing factories and extending the plan
of commerce in which we were engaged."d Probably to
prove the feasibility of constructing such factories, Meares
took with him on this preliminary trip the material and
workmen for building a small trading vessel, which would
necessitate the erection of some sort of establishment to protect the workmen and tools during the process of construc-
" Meares, Memorial, appendix to Voyages.
6 This condition and the terms on which relief was offered him by Port-
lock and Dixon, who reached the place in the spring, led to a bitter personal
quarrel between Meares and Dixon, which produced several mutually recriminating pamphlets.
0 Meares, Voyages. Introductory voyage, I-xl. In this Meares quotes the
letters which passed between him and Portlock in May, 1787, which gave rise
to the quarrel.
d Id., 2. 288
tion. In the instructions for the voyage no mention is made
of the vessel to be constructed or of any establishment, either
temporary or permanent, but plans were laid for a second
expedition. Speaking of the proposed meeting of the two
vessels constituting the expedition, which meeting was to
be at Nootka at the close of the summer trading season
of 1788 previous to the sailing of one vessel to 'China with
the furs collected, the proprietors instructed Meares to appoint | a time and place of rendezvous, that you may receive
the instructions and refreshments we may send you next
The larger vessel, the Felice, was commanded by Meares
and was to proceed directly to Nootka, arriving as early as
.possible and remaining the entire season at Nootka and in.
the neighborhood. During the summer of 1788 it is this
vessel and the operations of its commander that furnish the
center of interest. The second vessel, the Iphigenia, commanded by Captain Douglas, subject to Meares's orders,
was to spend most of the trading season on the coast of
Alaska in Cooks River and Prince William Sound. When
trade should slacken she was to move southward, endeavoring to reach Nootka Sound by September 1, where the two
vessels were to meet.6 During the first season the voyage
of the Iphigenia is unimportant, but on its return to Nootka
from the Sandwich Islands in 1789 it furnishes for a time
the chief interest.
It is well to notice at the outset the double instructions
and the double national character of the expedition, though
the importance of the fact will become more evident later.
As far as the instructions" to Meares are concerned, or his
repetition of them to Douglas, the ships were purely English in character, Daniel Beale, of Canton, China, being
the ostensible agent. But later, when one of them came
into conflict with the Spaniards, it was just as purely Portuguese to all external appearances. It was flying Portuguese colors and was commanded by a Portuguese captain,
with instructions in his own language, given bv a merchant
1 The Merchant Proprietors to John Meares, esq., Commanding the Felice
and Iphigenia, China, December 24, 1787.     (Id., Appendix I.)
of the same nationality living at Macao, China.0 In these
papers the real commanders appeared as supercargoes.
In Meares's narrative of the voyage no mention is made of
the deception, but later, in his memorial to the British
Government, he said that it was 1 to evade the excessive high
port charges demanded by the Chinese from all other European nations excepting the Portuguese." l Dixon, in one of
his pamphlets, says that the principal motive in using the
Portuguese colors was to evade the South Sea Company's
license.0 Bancroft mentions both of these motives and suggests that the trick is not permissible unless directed against
a hostile nation in time of war.* It seems to have been expected that it would enable them to avoid some anticipated
danger or difficulty. However, as will .be seen, this very
double nationality was the first thing to arouse suspicion and
get the Iphigenia into trouble.
The vessels sailed from China in the latter part of 1788.
Besides the regular crew, each carried a number of European
artisans and Chinese smiths and carpenters. The latter,
Meares says,, were shipped on this occasion as an experiment
because of their reputed hardiness, industry, and ingenuity,
and also because of their simple manner of life and the low
wages demanded. He observes that I during the whole of
the voyage there was every reason to be satisfied with their
services," and adds: K If hereafter trading posts should be
established on the American coast, a colony of these men
would be a very important acquisition." Of the 90 men
on the two ships 50 were Chinese. In view of the importance of the Chinese element in the population of the
Western States, it is a significant circumstance that they
figured so largely in this very first venture.    And,  con-
° See Cnapter IV below.
6 Meares, Memorial, Appendix to Voyages. He explains that this ruse was
at first successful, but was later discovered through the financial failure of
the Portuguese merchant who had allowed ills name to be thus used.
0 Dixon, Further Remarks on Meares's Voyages, 55. His hostility to
Meares prejudices any statement made by him.    See above, p. 287, note b.
" Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 193. This author devotes some 10 pages
to a discussion of this expedition.
Greenhow, Oregon and California, 172-178, attempts to prove that the
expedition was purely Portuguese. His account is too prejudiced to be of
much value. The chief purpose of his book was to prove that America had a
better claim to the Oregon country than England. If this expedition had been
purely Portuguese, England could have acquired no possible claim through it,
H. Doc. 429,58-3 19 290
sidering the subsequent rush of these people to the New
World, it is worthy of notice that on this occasion | a much
greater number of Chinese solicited to enter into this service
than could be received," and those who were refused " gave
the most unequivocal marks of mortification and disappointment."0 1 On the voyage the artisans were employed in preparing articles of trade for the American market. * * *
The carpenters Avere also at work in preparing the molds
and the models for a sloop of 50 tons that was designed to be
built immediately on our arrival in King Georges Sound, as
such 1 vessel would be of the utmost utility not only in collecting furs, but in exploring the coast." In speaking of the
work necessary for the enterprise, Meares says: " Our timber
was standing in the forests of America, the ironwork was as
yet in rough bars on board, and the cordage which was to be
formed into ropes was yet a cable." 5 On May 13, after a
passage of three months and twenty-three days from China,
they I anchored in Friendly Cove, in King Georges Sound,
abreast of the village of Nootka." c
The natives received them in a friendly manner, and operations were soon begun to carry out their shipbuilding enterprise.    Meares says:
Maquilla [the Indian chief, sometimes called " Maquinna"] had
not only most readily consented to grant us a spot of ground in his
territory whereon a house might be built for the accommodation of
the people we intended to leave there, but had promised us also his
assistance in forwarding our works and his protection of the party
who were destined to remain at Nootka during our absence. In return for this kindness, and to insure a continuance- of it, the chief
was presented with a pair of pistols, which he had regarded with an
eye of solicitation ever since our arrival. *
This is Meares's account of the transaction to which he referred in his memorial two years later as a purchase of land.
It was by this transaction that the English Government
claimed to have acquired a title not only to this spot,but to the
" Meares, Voyages, 2, 3.
0 Id., 88.
c Id., 104.    This date should probably be changed to May 12.    When the
English and Spanish met at Nootka in 1789 their calendars were onet day
apart.    (See  below,  p.   312,  note  a.) . Since  there  are  no  conflicting  dates
given for the events at Nootka in 1788, those found in the journals of the
English commanders are followed.
whole of Nootka Sound." There is nothing in his narrative
which indicates that at the time Meares had any thought of
acquiring a permanent title, either for himself or for. his Government. Neither is there any unmistakable indication to the
contrary. Under these circumstances any title to sovereignty
thus acquired would have to depend on subsequent operations.
With the assistance of the natives, work on the house advanced rapidly, and on May 28, fifteen days after their
arrival, it was completed. It had two stories. On the
ground floor were a workshop and storeroom and in the upper story were a dining room and chambers for the party.
"A strong breastwork was thrown up around the house, enclosing a considerable area of ground, which, with one piece
of cannon, placed in such a manner as to command the cove
and the village of Nootka, formed a fortification sufficient to
secure the party from any intrusion. Without this breastwork was laid the keel of a vessel of -10 or 50 tons, which was
now to be built agreeable to our former determination." 6
While this was being done the ship had been repaired and
refitted for a trading cruise to the southward. All was in
readiness for departure on June It. On the day previous
the party to be left at Nootka was landed with articles to
continue the brisk trade which had sprung up, and also
supplies for the completion of the new vessel and enough
provisions to fit it for a voyage to China should misfortune
prevent the return of the Felice or the arrival of her consort, the Iphigenia. A formal visit was paid to the .chief,
Maquilla, to acquaint him with the intended departure and
to secure his attention and friendship to the party to -be left
on shore. Meares adds: "As a bribe to secure his attachment he was promised that when we finally left the coast he
should enter into full possession of the house and all the
goods and chatties thereunto belonging."c   This statement
" The purchase is confirmed in the information of William Graham, London, Alay 5, "1790 (inclosure No. VI, with Meares's Memorial, appendix to
Voyages). It was also confirmed by Duffin in conversation with Vancouver
in 1792. (Vancouver, Voyages, II, 370-372 i Both of thesn have strong
English prejudices. The purchase is denied by Gray and Ingraham. (Green-
how, Oregon and California, 414.) They strongly favored the Spanish.
They say that the Indians denied having sold land to the English. That
there was a purchase was practically conceded, however, even by the Spaniards, since Quadra offered to Vancouver in 1792 the land on which Meares's
house had stood in 1788.     (See Vancouver, Voyages, II, 335 ff.)
"Id., 115-116.
c Id., 130. 292
is quoted by Greenhow as conclusive proof of the merely temporary character of the establishment.0 If the promise was
made in good faith, it would seem that the position was well
taken, did not the subsequent conduct of Meares indicate the
contrary! On the occasion of this visit other presents were
made to the chief and members of his family. The narrator
continues: | Maquilla, who was glowing with delight at the
attentions we had paid him, readily granted every request
that we thought proper to make, and confirmed with the
strongest assurances of good faith the treaty of friendship which had already been entered into between us."6
Nothing further is said of this treaty or of its terms. If
some more tangible evidence of it appeared, it might be a
valuable link. The mere statement that such was made is of
interest as indicating the policy of Meares, which, however,
would have been the same whether he expected to retain an
establishment at Nootka or simply to make subsequent visits
for trading. It is possible, too, that the treaty was only a
temporary arrangement to last during the one visit.
The Felice, with Meares and most of the crew, spent the
next two and a half months in a combined trading and
exploring cruise to the southward, returning to Nootka once
during the time and-remaining two weeks. This trip has no
direct bearing on the Nootka incident, but throws some
side lights on Meare's policy and the national character of
the expedition. He tells of a treaty made at Port Cox and
gives .something of its terms. It established trade relations
with three chiefs. Apparently it excluded all competitors,
though this is not so stated;c but on seeing a vessel pass
Nootka, some two months later, he at once set out for Port
Cox lest the chief should be tempted " to intrude upon the
treaty he had made with us."d On reaching the place he
found large quantities of furs, indicating that the treaty had
been kept. It may be, however, that no opportunity had
been presented for breaking it. The chief inquired earnestly
concerning Meares's return next season/
In another place Meares says: " We took possession (ff the
a Greenhow, Oregon and California, 175.
" Meares, Voyages. 131.
c Id., 146, and Memorial in appendix.
" Id., So.
8 Id., 204. Wl
Straits of Juan de Fuca in the name of the King of Britain,
with the forms that had been adopted by preceding navigators on similar occasions." a In mentioning, this ceremony
in his memorial he makes the additional statement that he
purchased a tract of land within the said straits. A party
sent to examine the straits was attacked by the natives after
a few days and abandoned the enterprise.'' This subsidiary
expedition plays an important part in the controversial writings on the conflicting claims to the Oregon country. On
August 21 the Felice returned to Nootka. Three days later
her consort, the Iphigenia, arrived.
In less than a month more the new vessel was completed.
On September 20 it was launched with what Meares considered very impressive ceremonies. It was christened
"the North-West America, as being the first bottom ever
built and launched in this part of the globe." He says that
the British flag was displayed on the house and on board
the new vessel/ This statement regarding the use of the
British flag should be noticed, since Greenhow states, and
Bancroft gives it a qualified indorsement, that " there is
no sufficient proof that any other [than the Portuguese flag]
was displayed by them during the expedition."d Statements are made by other men that the Portuguese flag was
used at Nootka during the summer.6 In the engraving in
Meares's narrative illustrating the launching, three British
flags are represented.^    There is at least one other very plain
" Meares, Voyages, 173, and Memorial in' appendix.
6 Id., 173-179.
1 Id., 220.
J Greenhow, Oregon and California, 172; and Bancroft, Northwest Coast,
I, 194.
" Dixon, Further Remarks on Meares's Voyages, 24. This writer, in his
controversial pamphlet, quotes from a letter of Captain Duncan, who had met
Meares near the entrance to Nootka Sound in 1788. This letter makes the
statement that Meares had " at that time a small vessel on the stocks at
Nootka, where, he told me, he had a fort, guns mounted, and Portuguese colors
flying." It was written January 17, 1791, and can hardly be given absolute
credence, since Dixon was so prejudiced against Meares. Greenhow is too
partisan to be fair, and the Americans, Gray and Ingraham, and Haswell,
whom Bancroft quotes on the point, were very pro-Spanish. On the other
hand, Meares's statements can not be taken for truth unless It is very plain
that there is no reason for his telling anything else.
' Meares, Voyages, 220. It is doubtful whether this testimony can be considered of any value. As to the truthfulness of the picture, it is interesting
to notice the Indian village in the background. He had said that before this
the entire village had been moved some 30 miles up the sound for the winter. AMEEICAN  HTSTOEICAL  ASSOCIATION.
indication of the use of the British flag by the expedition.
It is found in the instructions of Meares to Funter, who
was to command the North-West America. They are dated
Friendly Cove, Nootka Sound, September 10, 1788, and say:
| You are on no account to hoist any colors until such time as
your employers give you orders for this purpose, except on
taking possession of any newly discovered land; you will
then do it, with the usual formality, for the Crown of Great
Britain." « If these instructions were really given, and the
statement is true which is quoted above regarding taking
possession of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, it must be admitted that Meares considered at the time that his expedition was English and that Whatever rights might be acquired
by it for any nation were acquired for England.
Four days after the new vessel had been completed
Meares departed for China in the Felice, carrying with
him the furs collected by both vessels. The North-West
America was placed under the orders of Douglas, the commander of the Iphigenia. , Before departing, Meares had
given him extended orders regarding Avintering at the Sandwich Islands, and his conduct on the coast during the next
season." On Ooctober -27 the two remaining vessels left
Nootka. for the winter.0
In the instructions just mentioned nothing is saad regarding any settlement to be made at Nootka the succeeding
year. There is a statement, however, in the narrative that
indicates unmistakably the intention of planting a colony of
some considerable extent. The writer says, that early in
September, when the natives were leaving for the winter
settlement up the sound, | Ave made these chiefs sensible in
how many moons Ave should return to them, and that Ave
should then be accompanied by others of our countrymen,
and build more houses and endeavor to introduce our manners and mode of living to the practice of our Nootka friends."
He speaks of their pleasure at hearing this and of their
promise of large quantities of furs; then narrates an elabo-
rate ceremony of coronation performed by the chief, Maquflla,
« Meares, A'oyages, appendix. Memorial, VI.
^"^r^i0 Do"glas> Felice> ™endly Cove, in King Georges Sound, September 20, 1788.    (Meares, Voyages, Appendix V.)
and his companions, which, he says, was intended as a recognition of his superiority and sovereign power 0A7er them.a
If Meares understood that by this childish act of crowning
he acquired for Great Britain sovereign rights over the district, he makes no effort to emphasize the fact. The statement, if true, is of more value as showing a definite intention
to establish a colony the folloAving year. It is not impossible, however, that both of these are cunningly contrived and
rather overdrawn fabrications of a later date to strenghten
his case before the Government or in the eyes of the public.
Greenhow and Bancroft both seem to draw a line between
Meares's narrate and his memorial, considering the former
more trustworthy since the latter Avas written for the express
purpose of conAnncing the cabinet of the justice of his cause.
If the narrative were the original log of the vessel instead of
a subsequent account simply using that log as its basis, the
reason for the distinction would be clear. But besides the
indications in the preface and the date, NoA^ember 16. 1790,
attached to the preface, there are internal eAridences that the
narrative was not written, at least not completed, until
Meares knew of the operations of the Spaniards at Nootka
in 1789. Hence there is no reason why it should not be
influenced by the same partisanship and selfish interest.6
But whether he really did or did not make the statement
to the chiefs in September, 1788, concerning planting a colony the next year, he proceeded exactly as he would be expected to have proceeded had he made it. The question as
to what became of the house built in 1788, whether it was
given to the chief as promised, or Avhether it was torn down
by Douglas before leaving for the Sandwich Islands, according to the testimony of the American captains, Gray and
" ATeares to Douglas, Felice, Friendly Cove,-in King Georges Sound, September 20, 1788.     (Meares, Voyages, Appendix A7, p. 217.)
b Note his reference to the killing of Callicum by the Spaniards in 1789.
(Meares, A'oyages, 118; also see 217, 21S, referring to Colnett's expedition of
1789.) His" preface would lead one to think that the writing of his narrative was entirely an afterthought. He mentions as his motives the wishes of
friends, the political circumstances of the moment [the diplomatic controversy
with Spain], and public expectation. He says: " I little thought it would he
my future lot to give this part of my maritime life to the world. If I had
looked forward to the possibility of such an event I should have enlarged my
observations and been more minutely attentive," etc. But the fact that in his
list of subscribers he gives the names of a number of men living in China
shows that before leaving there, at least, he expected to publish his narrative. All of this tends to depreciate the value of his statements where his
interests are at stake. AMEEiCAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION.
Ingraham,0 does not greatly affect the case, if the Englishmen really intended to continue the occupation in 1789, as
they unquestionably did. If there were nothing else to consider, and if the title to sovereignty rested wholly on actual
occupation, whether that occupation be by persons of a public or private character, then England had a better claim
than Spain to the sovereignty of Nootka Sound at the beginning of the vear 1789. But there are other things to con-
sider. It remains to be seen whether or not they outweigh
this English advantage.
The next man to demand careful attention in studying the
English preparations for occupying Nootka'is Capt. James
Colnett, also a lieutenant in the royal navy. He had been a
midshipman with Captain Cook and had served for several
years on a man-of-war.6 In the autumn of 1786 he left
England, in command of the ship Prince of Wales, OAvned by
Etches & Co.. of London. This company held a license from
the South Sea Company good for five years after September 1, 1786, for trading in the South Sea and other parts of
America.0 Colnett went to the South Sea by way of Cape
Horn. He reached the northwest coast in 1787, collected
a cargo, and continued his voyage to China, where he disposed of it.d While in China he became identified with
Meares's project for planting a colony at Nootka. The
latter, after his arriAral in China in the autumn of 1788, had
set about preparations for the expedition of the succeeding
year. While he was engaged in this, Colnett reached Canton. Since the latter carried a license from the South Sea
Company, Meares saAV an advantage to be gained by enlisting his services, as this Avould give governmental sanction
and protection to the proposed establishment.   Meares and
° Gray and Ingraham to Quadra, Nootka Sound, August 3, 1792. (Greenhow, Oregon and California, 414.)     (Prejudiced.)
0 Colnett, Voyage, vii.
c Spanish translation of an extract from the " License from' the governor
and company of merchants of Great Britain for trading in the South* Sea
and other parts Of America, to Richard Cadman Etches and Company to
trade in the places where the South Sea Company has the privilege by an act
of Parliament." (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.) It was
signed by the secretary of Ihe company and dated August 4, 1785. They
were forbidden to trade south of 45" on the northwest coast. (See Colnett
to the Viceroy, October 1, 1789 ;  Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
d Spanish translation of Colnett to the Viceroy] October 1, 1789.     (Id.) NOOTKA SOUND CONTEOVEESY.
his associates formed a joint stock concern with Etches &
Co., through the agency of John Etches, who accompanied
Colnett's expedition as supercargo. As the Prince of Wales
was to return to England, a new ship was purchased and
named the Argonaut, and Colnett was transferred to it.
The small ship, the Princess Royal, which had accompanied
him on the former voyage, continued with him on this. Besides having command of the vessels, all of the concerns of
the company on the American coast were committed to his
.charge, including the proposed colony.0
A clear notion of the character of the expedition thus
placed under the command of Colnett may best be obtained
by a careful examination of the instructions given to him
before his departure from China. The copy of these that
was submitted with Meares's Memorial is dated Macao,
April 17, 1789, and signed " J. Meares, for Messrs. Etches,
Cox & Co.6 A Spanish translation of the same, copied from
the papers that fell into the hands of the Spaniards, is
signed " Daniel Beale, for himself and for Messrs. Etches,
Cox & Co." c While this discrepancy has no importance in
discovering the intent of the' expedition, it casts a side light
on the veracity of Meares. The Spanish copy is preferably
to be trusted, since no motive is apparent for their changing
the signature. In these instructions strictly honorable dealings and careful attention to their needs is enjoined in all
his intercourse with other vessels, whether English or foreign. Cruelty to the natives is to be prevented under penalty of condign punishment for offenders. He was to form,
a treaty, if possible, with the \Tarious chiefs, especially those
near Nootka.    The purpose was to monopolize the trade of
* Meares, Memorial, appendix to A^oyages. Also Colnett to the Viceroy,
October 1, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.) The latter
represents Colnett as the chief promoter, while the former represents Meares
in that capacity. Colnett says that the Prince of Wales had broken her keel
and was not in a condition to make another such a voyage, so that the correspondents of bis company offered him the Argonaut. It seems that some difficulty had arisen over the fact that the license which Colnett bore was for his
use on the Prince of Wales. He told the Viceroy that if he had apprehended
any disadvantage arising from his change of ships it would have been easy to
have named the new ship the Prince of Wales also. He had not considered it
6 Meares, Memorial, appendix to Voyages, Inclosure II.
c Translation of the instructions given by the owners of the English ship
Argonaut to its captain, James C61nett, not dated. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.) 298
the district and so conquer competitors honorably and creditably. They were so anxious to form such treaties that he
was authorized to protect allies from insult from all persons.0 The factory planned. Avas to be a " solid establishment, and not one that is to be abandoned at pleasure."
. Colnett was authorized to fix it at the most convenient place,
so that the colony would be protected from the least sinister
accident.6 It was to receive the name " Fort Pitt." E. Duf-
fin Avas to be im-ested with the superintendence of it.
The object of the post was to attract the Indians for commercial purposes and to furnish a place to build small vessels
and to lay them up for the winter season. During each
winter some vessels were to be sent to the Sandwich Islands
for provisions, and natiA'es of those islands, both men and
women, were to be encouraged to embark for the American
colony. When this settlement should have been effected
trading houses were to be established at other places along
the coast where they would be the most advantageous. Preparatory to this rewards were to be offered the first season to
men Avho would reside with different Indian chiefs for the
purpose of collecting furs and assuring the natives of the
return of the vessels, thus encouraging them to keep back
their furs from competitors. The Iphigenia, Avhich went
out the preceding year under Meares's command, and also
the North-West America, which he had built on the coast,
Avere to be under the command of Colnett. The rest of the
instructions are of no interest to the Nootka Sound Affair."
With these instructions and with provisions for three
years the tAvo vessels sailed from China, the Princess Royal
"This policy of protecting allied chiefs against their enemies was begun
by Meares during the previous year. He loaned firearms and furnished ammunition to the Nootka Indians for an expedition against a neighboring
tribe which had committed depredations on one of their villages. (See
Meares, Voyages, 196.)
'' Nootka was not especially mentioned, but the intention was so evident that
mention was unnecessary. The option as to the place in which it was. to be
established probably did not refer to a possible choice between Nootka\Sound
and some other part of the coast, hut to the selection of the most favorable
spot on the sound. As showing Meares's tendency to distort facts, he says
in his Memorial: " Colnett was directed to fix his residence at Nootka Sound,
and, with that in view, to erect a substantial house on the spot which your
memorialist had purchased the preceding year, as will appear by a copy of his
Instructions hereto annexed."
0 Meares, Memorial, appendix to Voyages, Inclosure II; and MS. Arch. Gen.,
de Indias, 90-3-18. I NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTEOVEESY.
in February and the Argonaut in April, 1789.° They carried, " in addition to their crews, several artificers of different professions and near 70 Chinese, who intended to become
settlers on the American coast."6 The plans are seen to
have been large with hope for the future, and there seems to
have been every reasonable prospect for success. Should
they be successful it would mean not only a fortune for the
merchant adventurers and a worthy monument to the Avis-
dom of the projectors, but it would mean also the definite
planting of the British flag on an unoccupied coast and the
extension to that coast of the sovereignty of Great Britain.
But while these plans were taking shape other plans were
being laid elsewhere, which, before the arrival of Colnett's
expedition, had totally changed the appearance of things at
Nootka. A discussion of these will occupy the next tAvo
" Meares, Voyages, 106.
0 Meares, Memorial, appendix to Voyages, Inclosure II. It is seen that a
majority of the settlers for the proposed colony were Chinese, conformably to
the idea that Meares expresses in his narrative and to which reference was
made in the early part of this chapter. There is a discrepancy in the statements concerning the number of Chinese. In several Spanish manuscripts the
statement is made that there were 29. The name of each Is given. (See MS.
Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.) Chapter III.
The Spanish name of most importance in connection with
affairs at Nootka is that of Estevan Jose Martinez. Besides
playing the chief role in the drama enacted there in 1789,
which proved to be but the prelude to a greater drama
played in Europe the folloAving year, it was he who first
suggested the planting of a Spanish colony at this point.
This is contrary to the notion prevalent in the minds of
the diplomats when the controversy Ava~s at its height, a
notion which has been more or less accepted ever since, viz,
that one or more of the Governments concerned had engaged
in the enterprise Avith malice aforethought, having some
ulterior end in Ariew. These suspicions will be discussed
in their proper place. At present it suffices to show, from
documentary sources, the actual genesis of the original
Spanish expedition.
On the return of Martinez, late in 1788, from a voyage to
Alaska, where he had gone under a royal commission to
investigate the Russian settlements on the coast, he reported
to Florez, the Viceroy of Mexico, as folloAvs:
Cusmich also told me that, as a result of his having informed his
Sovereign of the commerce which the'English from Canton are carrying on at Nootka, he was expecting four frigates from Siberia to sail
next year for the purpose of making an establishment at Nootka,
situated in latitude 49° 36' north and in longitude 20° 15' west from
San Bias. He assured me that his Sovereign has a better right to.
that coast than any other power on account of its having been discovered by the Russian commanders, Behring and Esterieol [Chiwkov],
under orders from the Russian Court in the year 1741. For this
reason it seems to me advisable that an attempt should be made next
year, 1789, with such forces as you may have at hand, to occupy the
said port and establish a garrison in it. According to what is learned
from the work of Cook and from what I saw on my first expedition to
that place (which I made in 1774), it possesses qualifications which
adapt it to this purpose. By accomplishing this we shall gain possession of the coast from Nootka to the port of San Francisco, a distance of 317 leagues, and authority over a multitude of native tribes.
[I say this, at the same time] offering myself to carry out the project,
and to-grove the feasibility of it I will sacrifice my last breath in the
service of God and the King, if you approve it. «
This letter was Avritten from the port of San Bias on December 5, 1788. Only eighteen days later the Viceroy wrote
from the City of Mexico to the home Government that he had
determined to occupy Nootka at once, although the royal
orders did not Avarrant him in so doing.6 On the same day
Martinez Avas commissioned to carry out the enterprise, and
his instructions were sent to him.0 In his letter to Madrid,
the Viceroy says ': the essential object of this new expedition
is no other, as I haA7e indicated, than the anticipation of the
. Russians in taking possession of the port of San Lorenzo or
Nootka." Ten days later, in justification of his action, he
wrote that it Avas true he was forbidden to incur expenses Avith-
out special royal order, but since this was an extraordinary
case, demanding prompt action, he begged for the royal ap-
proval.1* This approval was granted, but not until April 14,
I789,e when Martinez Avas already well on his way to Nootka.
It could not have been known in America in time to affect the
e\rents at Nootka. Far, then, from there being any ground
for the suspicion that the Spanish Government had ordered
the seizure of English vessels, which resulted from this undertaking, the Madrid Government did not so much as know
that the expedition was to be sent until long after it had
° Martinez to Florez, San Bias, December 5, 178S. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.) La Perouse, of a French scientific expedition, had
reported that Russian settlements were being made on the American continent
north of California. The Spanish expedition was sent under a royal order of
January 25, 1787. Martinez, of the Princesa, was in command, and Lopez de
Haro, of the San Carlos, was subordinate. They reported six settlements, having in all about 500 inhabitants. An autograph copy of Martinez's diary of
this expedition, containing 213 pages, is in the same bundle as the above letter.
It contains also the diary of Mendosia, second pilot. Greenhow, Oregon and
California, 185, gives a short account of this voyage, which he says is based on
a copy of Martinez's diary obtained from the hydrographical office at Madrid.
Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 184, also gives a brief account, likewise taken
from a copy of Martinez's diary.
6 Florez to Valdez, Mexico, December 23, 1788. (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias,
Seville, 00-3-18.)
0 Florez to Martinez, December 23, 1788.     (Id.)
* Florez to Valdez, Mexico, January 2, 1789.     (Id.)
| Florez to Revilla-Gigedo, Alexico, September 2, 1789.     (Id., 90-3-14.)
this, mention is made of a royal order of April 14, giving approbation. 302
sailed. Further, eTren in the mind of the Viceroy, there was
not the slightest thought of any interference with the English, the expedition being directed solely against the Russians. It is also seen that whatever glory it promised for
Spain, or whatever opprobrium attached to Spain because
of the unfortunate events connected with it, must be placed
largely to the credit of Martinez. But he was not wholly
responsible, since his plan was authorized by the Viceroy and
later approved by the home Government.
It is a fact of some significance, as an indication of the
political sagacity of the Viceroy, that he apprehended much
more danger to Spanish dominion on this coast from the neAv
United States than from England or even Russia. While
the English were only mentioned in connection Avith the
known plans of Russia, considerable space was devoted to
discussing a probable attempt of the American colonies to
obtain-a foothold on the western coast. As proof he mentioned the fact that an American ship, which had touched at
the islands of Juan Fernandez in the same year, had continued its voyage to the coast. He expressed a suspicion
that it had this end in vieAv.0 He .told also of an OArerland
trip made in 1766-67 from the English colonies,6 and closed
his observations on this point Avith the prophetic statement:
" We ought not to be surprised that the English colonies of
America, being noAv an independent Republic, should carry
out the design of finding a safe port on the Pacific and of attempting to sustain it by crossing the immense country of the
continent above our possessions of Texas, New Mexico, and
California." He added: • " Much more might be said of an
active nation Avhich founds all of its hopes and its resources
on navigation and commerce," and mentioned the immense
value to them of a colonj' on the west coast of America. He
continued: u It is indeed an enterprise for many years, but I
firmly believe that from now on we ought to employ tactics to
forestall its results; and the more since we see that the Russian projects and those which the English may make from
Botany Bay, Avhich they have colonized, already menace us."
It was, then, he said, to dissipate for the future the dormant possibilities of the present that he was taking the
" The ship was the Columbia.     See the latter part of this chapter.
6 That of Jonathan Carver from Boston. NOOTKA   SOUND.  CONTROVERSY.
extraordinary step of formally occupying the port of Nootka
without royal authorization.01
After thus setting forth to the GoArernment at Madrid the
reasons for his action, the Viceroy outlined the plans for the
expedition. It was to consist of the two vessels, the Prin-
cesa and the San Carlos? which had constituted the expedition of 1788. They were also to retain the same officers-
Martinez as commander, and Haro subject to his orders.
They were to sail from San Bias early in February. A
packet boat Avould folloAv in March with supplies and reinforcements, and would bring back an account of the occupation. Later, according to events, explorations of the coast to
the northward and. southward would be made. A land expedition was to folloAv, including a chief, a detachment of
troops, missionaries, colonists, and live stock.0.
Since the Avhole of the Nootka affair grew out of measures
taken by Martinez a\ hile on this trip, it is worth Avhile to examine in detail the instructions under which he Svas operating. After alluding to the happy termination of Martinez's
voyage just ended, the Viceroy referred to the Russian plans
for occupying Nootka to anticipate the English, and said
| these designs of either nation are as pernicious to our country as their claims are unfounded." The Russian commanders failed to explore the ports, Florez continued, and the
English captain, Cook, did not see Nootka until 1778, four
years after the expedition of Perez " on which you yourself
went as second pilot. For these and many other weighty
reasons our just and superior right, to occupy the coaste discovered to the northAvard of California and to forbid colonies
of other nations is clear. These important objects, indeed,
are embraced in the delicate expedition which I now place in
your charge."
The following are his instructions:
1. The two- A'essels and their commanders were named.
2. They were to have the same officers and sailors as on the last
voyage, with some increase of troops, and an armament correspond-
" Florez to Valdez, Mexico, December 23, 1788. (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias,
Seville, 90-3-18.)
' San Carlos el Filipino seems to have been the full name. It is here and
often elsewhere in the documents spoken of simply as FA Fili/iiuo. In English
writings it is usually called the San Carlos.-
c Florez to Valdez, Mexico, December 23, 1788. (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias,
§0-3-18.) 304
ing to the crew, and the crew were to be drilled in the vise of that
3. The expedition should sail not later than February 15.
4. In March the Aranzazu should follow with reenf or cements and
supplies for Nootka, as well as other settlements of New California.
5. This vessel should bring back an account of what should have
happened and an estimate of the necessary supplies and reenforce-
ments which would be returned by it or by the Goncepcion, or both.
6. A plan of the port of Nootka, copied from Cook's "work, was to
serve as a guide.
7. Kindness, voluntary trade, and opportune gifts were to capture
the good will of the natives; in this endeavor the discretion of the
four missionaries was to be used. These were to begin at once to
propagate the gospel.
8. A formal establishment was to be set up for a meeting place to
treat with the Indians and for protection from the weather and
from enemies.-
9. This would be a manifestation of Spanish sovereignty. Part of
the people were to be kept in this during the day, but returned to
the ship at night for greater security.
10. " If Russian or English vessels should arrive, you will receive
their commanders with the politeness and kind treatment which the
existing peace demands; but you will show the just ground for our
establishment at Nootka, the superior right which we have for continuing such establishments on the whole coast, and the measures
which our superior Government is taking to carry this out, such as
sending by land expeditions of troops, colonists, and missionaries,
to attract and convert the Indians to the religion and the mild
dominion of our august Sovereign."
11. "All this you ought to explain with prudent firmness, but without being Jed into harsh expressions which may give serious offense
and cause a rupture; but if, in spite of the greatest efforts, the foreigners should attempt to use force, you will repel it to the extent
that they employ it, endeavoring to prevent as far as possible their
intercourse and commerce with the natives."
12. " For use with the Russians, you will keep in mind and avail
yourself of the well-founded political reasons for Spain's being in
intimate friendship with their sovereign Empress, viz, that the ships
of that nation, both naval and merchant, are admitted to the Spanish
ports of the Mediterranean and given such assistance as they may
need, without which they could not subsist in those seas; that consequently it would be a grave offense for the vessels of His Catholic
Majesty to suffer hostilities in America at the hands of the Russians,
furnishing just cause for a breach between two friendly powers; and
that in this case Spain would count on the powerful support of her
French ally, besides withdrawing from Russia the privilege of obtaining supplies in the Mediterranean at a time when she finds herself
engaged in war with the Turks, with Sweden, and possibly with
13. " To the English you will demonstrate clearly and with established proofs that our discoveries anticipated those of Captain Cook,
since he reached Nootka, according to his own statement, in March
of the year 1778, where he purchased (as he relates in Chapter I,
book 4, page 45, of his work)0 the two silver spoons which the Indians
stole from yourself in 1774.''
14. " You will have more weighty arguments to offer to vessels of
the Independent American Colonies, should they appear on the coasts
of northern California, which hitherto has not known their ships.
However, by a letter of the most'excellent Senor Viceroy of Peru, it
is known that a frigate, which is said to belong to General Washington, & sailed from Boston, in September of 1787, with the intention of
approaching the said coasts, that a storm obliged her to stop in distress at the islands of Juan-Fernandez, and that she continued her
course after being relieved."
•15. "In case you are able to encounter this Bostonian frigate or
the small boat which accompanied her, but was separated in the
storm, this will give you governmental authority to take such measures as you may be able and such as appear proper, giving them to
understand, as all other foreigners, that our settlements .are being
extended to beyond Prince Williams -Sound, of which we have already
taken formal possession, as well as of the adjacent islands, viz, in
10. A plan of Prince Williams Sound was inclosed, for it was
intended that a careful survey of the entire coast should be made
between it and Nootka.
17. The San Carlos was to make this expedition after the establishment at Nootka should be completed.
15. 19. Instructions for the exploration.
20. The coast from San Francisco to Nootka was to be explored
in like manner, the latter port being the rendezvous. The yiceroy
would do all he could to contribute to the Avelfare of the enterprise
thus placed under Martinez's charge.
21. Great care was enjoined in the treatment of the Indians and
of any establishments or vessels of .foreign nations that might be
22. The means to be employed to preserve health.
23. Good wishes for Divine favor and for the success of the voyage.
As an argument for use with the English, in addition to
what he had given in section 13, the Viceroy added, in a
postscript, reference to the instructions giAren by the Eng-
° This reference to Cook's Voyages reads: " But what was most singular,
two silver tablespoons were purchased from them, which, from their peculiar
shape, we supposed to be of Spanish manufacture."
'An obvious error, since General Washington had nothing to do with it.
This was the Columbia. Her consort was the iMdy Washington. Confusion
arising from the name of the latter perhaps caused the error.
H. Doc. 429,58-3-
lish Admiralty to Captain Cook, July 0, 1776. Cook, he
said, was not to touch at any port in the Spanish dominions on the west coast of America unless forced by unaA^oid-
able accident, in which case he Avas not to remain longer
than absolutely necessary^ and was to avoid giving the
least cause for complaint to any of the inhabitants of the
country or to vessels of His Catholic Majesty.8
The vessels sailed from San Bias February 17, 1789.6
These instructions, as well as those given to the English expedition of the same year, look toAvard a permanent establishment at Nootka, which Avas to be used as a basis for future
operations on the coast. Each expedition was sent without
any knowledge that the other was even thought of. The instructions given to the commander of each were such as to
leave no doubt in his mind as to his perfect right to carry
them out. It Avas impossible for both to obey; hence a clash
was inevitable. Before studying the occurrences at Nootka a
brief examination should be made of the conflicting claims,
with an attempt to discover the respective rights in the
spring of 1789 before either expedition reached the common
The first Englishman known to have visited Nootka Sound
is Capt. James Cook. In the spring of 1778 he spent the
month of April in the sound, which he explored and mapped
carefully; and, being unable to learn that any European had
before visited this particular part of the coast, he gave it the
name of King Georges Sound, but later concluded that it
would be better to call-it by the native name Nootka. He
obtained supplies of water, wood, fish, etc. The natives were
friendly to him, and he found among theni several articles,
including the two silver spoons mentioned in the above instructions, which, together with the conduct of the natives,
indicated that Europeans had previously been somewhere in
«Florez to Martinez, Mexico, December 23, 1788. (MS. Arch. %Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.) In the above transcript of the instructions, sections 10 to 15, inclusive, are quoted in full since they were intended to guide
Martinez in his intercourse with foreigners. It will be interesting later to
compare his actions with these instructions. Only the substance of the other-
sections is given, since they have no important bearing on the subject.
* Instrumento de posesion, June 24, 1780. (Id.) Revilla-Gigedo in his
Informe gives the date February 19 for the departure from San Bias. (See
Bustamante [Cavo], Los Tres Siglos, III, 127.) NOOTKA  SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
the neighborhood, at least. No mention is made of his having taken possession of the place for England." it seems
that the Englishmen who Avere interested in the expedition
of 1789 had no knowledge that any European had visited
the place earlier than this visit of Captain Cook.6 If they
had such knowledge, they intentionally ignored it. This
was looked upon as a real discovery and it Avas assumed that
thereby England acquired such rights as discovery can give.
Although Sir Francis Drake's landing on the California
coast in 1579 was mentioned,0 yet it seems not to have been
looked upon as of Arery much value in establishing a claim,
and, of course, Avas not so far north. During the years subsequent to 1785 English trading ships frequently visited
Nootka. Although they were purely private undertakings,
this fact had considerable value in strengthening the English
claim, since they tended to develop the resources of the country. The details of these voyages are not in place here.d
These, then, constitute the ground for the English claim up
to the visit of Meares in 1788 and his erection of a house and
building of a ship, which were treated in the last chapter.
It was clearly brought out in the diplomatic contest of
1790 that a Spanish expedition had examined with some
care the whole coast up to about 55°, and had spent some
time in this \rery port of Nootka or its immediate neighborhood four years before Captain Cook's visit. After the
Spanish explorations of the sixteenth century, which had
extended some distance up the California coast, there was a
long period of inactivity in this part of the world due to
the decay of the Government at home. When the temporary revival of national life came under Charles III there
was also a revival of exploring enterprises on the western
coast of America. Word reached Madrid through the
Spanish ambassador at St. Petersburg that the Eussians
° Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 170-172; Greenhow, Oregon and California,
151-153; Cambridge Modern History, VIII, 289.
" Deposition of the officers and men of the Northwest America. (Inclosure
X, with Meares, Memorial, appendix to Voyages.) They say that the sound
was discovered by the late Capt. James Cook. Similar statements are made
c Instructions of the Merchant Proprietors to John Meares. (Meares, Voyages, Appendix I.)
■* Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 173-181, gives an account of the most
important. 308
were making settlements on the American coast north of
California. In consequence of royal orders issued the previous year, an expedition, under the command of Juan Perez,
was sent from Mexico in 1774 to investigate. He had orders
to examine I he coast as high as 60°, but did not get beyond
55°. As he was returning he anchored early in August in a
port Avhich he called San Lorenzo, and which was later
identified with Nootka Sound. Some question was raised
as to its identity, but there seems to be little doubt. The
latitude agrees very closely—too closely, Bancroft says. The
anchorage must have been in the immediate neighborhood."
Eevilla-Gigedo says it is believed that the commander took
possession of Nootka, but Bancroft, Avho examined the
diaries, asserts that he did not land anywhere to take possession for Spain. Martinez, who became so important in
the expedition of 1789, Avas second pilot on this expedition
of Perez. It Avas Avhile at San Lorenzo in 1774 that the two
silver spoons were stolen from him by the Indians. They
are frequently mentioned in the Spanish manuscripts, and
are accepted as proof positive that this expedition was at
Nootka, and as thereby proving the superiority of the
Spanish claim.6
In 1775, the next year after Perez's voyage, another was
made by Heceta [Ezeta] Avith Quadra accompanying in
a small A^essel. The former approached the coast in the
region of Nootka, but did not enter, thereupon turning his
course southward. Quadra, in the little vessel, pressed on-
Avard to about the fifty-eighth degree. This expedition made
landings and took formal possession for Spain of at least
three points beteween 47° and 58°.c In 1779 a third
expedition sailed from Mexico to explore the coast still
farther north. It reached the sixty-first degree, Prince
William Sounds   By these three expeditions the Spanish
a Informe of Eevilla-Gigedo, Bustamante (Cavo), Los Tres Siglos, III, 117-
119. This gives a brief description of the voyage and the steps leading to it.
Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 149-158, gives a description based* on the
diaries of the voyage.    Greenhow, Oregon and California, also describes it.
6 Florez to Valdez, Mexico, December 23, 1788. (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias,
Seville, 90-3-18.) See also above transcript of the instructions of Florez to
c Revilla-Gigedo, Informe, Bustamante (Cavo), Los Tres Siglos, II, 199;
Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 158-106, gives a full account.
Government considered that this entire coast from California
northward had been sufficiently explored and that formal
possession had been taken at enough places to establish thoroughly the Spanish claim. So a royal order Avas given in
1780 that voyages for this purpose should cease.0
The first two of these Spanish voyages were earlier than
that of Captain Cook and included practically all that he
explored, though they did not examine it so thoroughly.
Hence, as far as discoA^ery alone is concerned, these should
have given Spain rights superior to any that England
could have acquired by Cook's enterprise, not only to Nootka
Sound, but to the Avhole of the Northwest Coast. But,
unfortunately for the Spanish claim, there is a serious flaAv
in the title at this point, arising from the fact that the
results of these voyages Avere not published, except in brief
accounts.6 It is a serious question whether a discoArery
which Avas not made known to the world could give a claim
superior to one gained by a subsequent voyage whose results
were made known. Reason and justice Avould seem to say
it could "not. But, besides these explorations, Spain still
clung in theory at least to her ancient claim to sovereignty
over the entire American continent west of the line drawn
by the treaty of Tordesillas (1494), and sanctioned by Pope
Alexander VI, who had drawn the arbitrary line the previous year, dividing the world betAveen Spain and Portugal.
Only as a matter of necessity had she gradually conceded
the right of other nations to occupy the eastern coast of
North America, and for the same reason had recently conceded the Russian control of the western coast down to
Prince William Sound. This is illustrated by the facts
arising out of the forced entrance of the American ship,
Columbia, into a port of the islands of Juan Fernandez in
1788, referred to in the instructions of the Viceroy to Martinez above.
The Spanish governor of the islands, Bias Gonzales, after
relieving the vessel's distress, had allowed it to go on its way
to the Northwest Coast, knowing its destination.0   For this
"■Informe of Revilla-Gigedo, Bustamante (Cavo), Los Tres Siglos, III, 123;
Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 172.
* Cook, A'oyages, II, 332, says : " Some account of a Spanish voyage to this
coast in 1774 or 1775 had. reached England before I sailed, but the foregoing
circumstances sufficiently prove that these ships had not been at Nootka."
c Bias Gonzales to Juan Kendrick, Isla de Juan Fernandez, June 3, 1789
[1788].     (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.)
J 310
act he had been summoned before the captain-general of
Chile and cashiered. The captain-general was supported by
.the Viceroy of Peru and apparently by the home Government.0 This harsh treatment was based on a royal decree
of 1692, ordering all viceroys, governors, etc., to prevent foreign ships from navigating the south sea without permission
from Spain,6 since no other nation had, or ought to have,
any territories which it Avas necessary for them to pass
around Cape Horn to reach. It is needless to say that this
claim was not respected by other governments. The Viceroy's assertion of the right of Spain to occupy the coasts and
exclude colonies of other nations, quoted above from his
instructions to Martinez, is another evidence. It had long
been conceded by other nations that discovery alone, or even
discovery with formal acts of taking possession, can not give
a valid title. It is essential that some effort be made to
use the land discovered and to develop its resources; and,
before the claim is fully established, actual and continued
possession must be taken.
With discoArery, exploration, and formal acts of possession
Spanish activity ceased, there being no serious effort to make
any use of the territory in the Avay of trade, and no steps
being taken to occupy the country until they were aroused
to do so by reports coming from the north in 1788 that the
Russians were intending to occupy. In other words, either
from lack of enterprise or from policy, the Spanish did not
seem to care to deA^elop the country or make any use of it
themselves, but did wish to prevent any other people from Their reason -for this policy of obstruction was
probably an idle pride in retaining a shadowy sovereignty
over this vast territory; or, possibly, a wish to retain it as a
field for future enterprise; or, more likely, the hope of beino-
able to control the Pacific outlet of any water passage to the
Atlantic that might later be discovered along this coast. In
the face of modern national enterprise, something more tangible was necessary in order to retain control. *
" Bias Gonzales later appealed to the Government of the United States to
intercede In his behalf, and Jefferson, the Secretary of State, took up the
matter. This will he referred to later. (See Jefferson to Carmichael, April
11, 1790, Writings A', 155.)
"Royal order of November 25, 1692. (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville,
90-3-14 ;   Greenhow, Oregon and California, 184.)
The English people, not from any fixed national policy,
but from individual initiative, were taking these necessary
steps and the Government was practically compelled to follow them up. As soon as Captain Cook's voyage of 1778 had
made known to the English people the possibilities of
the fur trade in this region, shipoAvners immediately turned
their attention thither. Between 1785 and 1790 no fewer
than 12 or 15 British vessels visited the coast to trade with
the natives, several of them making return voyages, and most
of them making shorter or longer stops at Nootka.0 As has
been stated, steps were taken from the very first to establish a post at Nootka as a center for these trading .operations.
A temporary one was actually set up by Meares in 1788, and
an expedition was sent out for the purpose of making this
permanent the following year. Thus, up to 1789, the English were exercising more control over the region than the
Spanish. Had the English plans of this year not miscarried,
and had the Spanish expedition of the same year not been
sent, the question as to the respective rights, at least to
Nootka and the immediate neighborhood, would probably
never seriously have been raised.
° See Razon de las Embarcaciones que han hecho Descubrimento al Norte de
California. Firmado abordo de la Fragata Princcsa en el Puerto de San
Lorenzo de Nutca a 13 de Julio de 1789, Estevan Jose Martinez. (MS. Arch,
©en. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18; Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, Chs. VI, VII.)
I Chapter IV.
Martinez's operations at nootka before colnett's
It was on the 5th ° of-May, 1789, that the Spanish ship
anchored in Friendly Cove of Nootka Sound bearing Martinez Avith his instructions for occupying the port and
planting a permanent colony that should be a substantial
proof of the Spanish claim and serve as a center for spreading Spanish sovereignty over all the *coast. » Just ten days
before this 6 Colnett had sailed from China with instructions
and equipment to make it an English port/ During the
next two months, while the Englishman was crossing the
Pacific, the Spaniard was making good use of the time.
When the latter reached Nootka there seems to have been no
visible sign that the English had eArer occupied the place or
even. intended to occupy it. The only eAddence of civilization Avas one vessel under a Portuguese captain Avith Portuguese instructions and a Portuguese flag. It soon became
known' that there was also an American ship a few miles
away up the sound.
It has never been conclusively proved that the house which
Meares built the summer before had entirely disappeared.
In a letter written three years later to the Spanish com-
" This is the date according to the Spanish documents. The English, give
May 6. This difference of one day between the English and Spanish dates
for the events at Nootka continues during the summer of 1789. For some
time no explanation appeared. But Prof. C H. Hull suggested that It was
probably due to the fact that the English vessels came from Europe by way of
China, while the Spanish came from Mexico. Since the present custom of
dropping a day from or adding one to the calendar in mid-Pacific, or upon
crossing the international date line, was apparently not observed at that
time, the suggestion seems to be a plausible explanation. On the strength
of it the Spanish dates have been adopted Instead of the English. Since all
previous writers in English have given the dates according to the English
documents, the dates given in this monograph will disagree with those of all
previous accounts.
" Meares, Voyages, 106.
0 See Chapter II, ante.
mandant at that time the American captains, who had spent
the Avinter of 1788-89 at Nootka, declared that when Martinez arrived there was no trace of Meares's house in the
cove; that there had been a house, or rather a hut, when
they arrived in the fall, but that, prior to his sailing for the
Sandwich Islands, Captain> Douglas had pulled it to pieces,
had taken the boards on board the Iphigenia, and had given
the roof to Captain Kendrick, who had used it as- fireAvood.0
While there is no proof that the statement of these gentlemen is not true, yet they Avere too plainly prejudiced in
f aAror of the Spanish to permit their testimony to be taken
for its full face value in the absence of any corroborating
eAadence. There is, however, some indirect evidence to support their statement, and its Aralue is the greater because of
its being indirect, and still greater because it comes from the
side of the English to whose interest it would have been to
maintain the contrary. This appears in the extract which
Meares quotes from the journal of the Iphigenia. In the
entry made two days after his return from the Sandwich
Islands and two weeks before the arrival of Martinez the
writer<saj7s: " [We] sent some sails on shore and erected a
tent to put our empty casks in." 6
If their house had •still been standing they would doubtless
have used it for this purpose instead of erecting the tent.
Further, the fact that no mention is made of the house in
this journal is pretty conclusive proof that it was not in
existence on their arrival. Meares's narrative of the departure of the Iphigenia in the preceding autumn is silent on
the subject. In fact, there is no statement made even in
Meares's memorial that his house was still standing; but
the memorial is so written, doubtless intentionally, that the
casual reader would infer that the house was still there and
that evidences of English occupation were unquestionable.
This is doubtless what has led most historians who have
touched upon the subject, among whom are some of the best,
into the error of implying or openly declaring that there was
a Gray and Ingraham to Quadra, Nootka Sound, August 3, 1792. (Appendix
to Greenhow, Oregon and California.) Quadra was the Spanish commissioner sent in 1792 to carry out the Nootka convention, and was collecting
evidence to strengthen the Spanish case.
6 Extract from the journal of the Iphigenia, entry for May 22. (Inclosure
XII, with Meares, Memorial, appendix to Voyages.)
1 314
a substantial English colony when the Spanish expedition
It was also this failure of Meares to tell the whole truth
that led the British Parliament and ministry into the error
of believing that their rights to the place were unquestionable and that the conduct of the Spanish commandant was
little better than high-handed robbery.6 It is, then, pretty
safe to assert that there was no indication whatever of
English occupation when Martinez arrived, and that he Avas
consequently perfectly justified in taking possession for Spain
and in maintaining his position by force if it should become
necessary. The question, therefore, is not, Was he justified
in his first act? but, Were his subsequent acts of violence
necessary to maintain his position ?
Captain Kendrick, of the American ship Columbia, which
Martinez found at Nootka, and Captain Gray, of her consort, the Lady Washington, which was out on a trading
" See Lecky, England in the Eighteenth Century, V, 206-207, who says:
" The Spaniards had never penetrated to it, but by virtue of a bull of Alexander VI they claimed a sovereignty over all lands comprised between Cape
Horn and the sixtieth degree of north latitude; in other words, the entire
western coast of both South and North America, and when, after a considerable interval, they discovered the existence of a British settlement in these
parts they determined to suppress it. Two Spanish ships of war accordingly
hastened to Nootka Sound, took possession of the British settlement, hauled
down the British flag, replaced it by the flag of Spain, captured four English
vessels, and treated their crews with extreme harshness and indignity." His
failure to investigate the subject is further shown by his statement in the
next sentence: "These events took place in April of 17S9." This error in
date is doubtless derived from the indefinite statement of the date in Article
I of the Nootka convention of October 28, 1790.
Worthington C. Ford, United States and Spain in 1790, p. 18, is still further in error. He says : " The 'Spaniards had laid claim to nearly the whole
of the western coast of America, from Cape Horn to the sixtieth degree of
north latitude, and had watched with a feeling of jealousy, aggravated -by a
sense of injury, the establishment of a British settlement in Nootka Sound,
on Vanconvers Island. This inlet of the sea had been first explored by Captain Cook in one of his voyages, and on the establishment of the English in
India became a trading station, colonized by the English and recognized by
grants of land from the natives. After three years of undisturbed possession
the little settlement was surprised by the arrival of two Spanish ships of war
from Mexico, which seized an English merchant vessel, the Iphigenia, imprisoned her crew, looted the vessel, and pulling down the British flag on $ie settlement raised that of Spain, and subsequently treated all comers *as Intruders."
Baumgarten, Geschichte Spaniens zur Zett der franzoesischen Revolution,
282, after speaking of the arrival of Martinez and his seizure of the Iphigenia,
says : " Martinez ergriff darauf Besitz von einer der kleinen Inseln, erbaute
auf derselben eine Batterie, bemaechtigte sich der englischen Gebaeude, nahm
die britische Flagge herunter and pflanzte die spanische auf."
6 See discussion of the negotiations of 1790 below. NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVERSY.
cruise at the time, were slightly involved in the relations
between the Spanish and English commanders. But the
vessel under Portuguese colors furnishes the center of interest for the first month of Spanish occupation.
This A'essel was the Iphigenia, Avhich had sailed from
China in company with the Felice, under Captain Meares, in
the spring of 1788, but which had separated from the latter
vessel, had spent the summer in trading on the coast of Alaska
and had rejoined her consort in the autumn at Nootka, where
they again separated, the Felice, under Meares, sailing for
China Avith the furs collected by both vessels, and the Iphigenia, under Douglas, accompanied by the small vessel, the
Northwest America, built at Nootka during the summer,
going for the Avinter to the Sandwich Islands.0 Returning
to the American coast in the spring of 1789, the Iphigenia
had reached Nootka sixteen days before the arrival of Martinez. Four days after her the little vessel, her consort,
arrived, and preparations were immediately made to send
the latter out on a trading cruise, that they might not be
worsted in competition by the American sloop, the Lady
Washington, Avhich had just returned from a six Aveeks'
cruise to the.southAvard and would soon set out on a similar
trip to the northward. In four days more the necessary repairs were made, and on April 27 the Northwest America set
out to trade with the natives to the northward,6 not returning,
and consequently not being of any further interest for six
weeks, at the end of Avhich time she assumes considerable
The double national character of the expedition to which
the Iphigenia belonged has already been discussed.0 I When,
on   May 5, the   Spanish ship   appeared, it was  evidently
thought better—for  reasons  which
not disclosed—to
present the appearance of a Portuguese rather than an
English ship. During the first few days all of the commanders seem to haA*e been on the best of terms. According
to the journal of the Iphigenia, Douglas was invited to dine
on board the Spanish ship on the day of Martinez's arrival.
" See ante, Chapter II.
6 Extract from the journal of the Iphigenia.
Memorial, appendix to Voyages.)
c See ante, Chapter II.
(Inclosure XII, with Meares, -
Three days later the officers of the Iphigenia and of the
Spanish vessel all Avent to dine with Kendrick, the captain
of the American ship, and the next dag0he officers of the
American and Spanish ships dined on boaasd the Iphigenia.
Thus, up to the 9th of May the utmost harmony prevailed.
Douglas had acquainted Martinez with the distressed condition of his ship and the latter had promised to relieve him
as far as lay in his power. On the 8th the Portuguese instructions and passport of the Iphigenia had been presented to Martinez.0 These seem to be what started the
difficulty.    In his account to the Viceroy, Martinez says:
On my arriA'al in it [the port of San Lorenzo de Nootka] I found
a packet boat, with its captain (flag) and passport of the Portuguese
nation, but its supercargo (who was really the captain), its pilot,
and the greater part of its cmv English.**
The passport was signed by the governor and captain-
general of the port of Macao, in China, and began :
Be it known that from the port of this city is sailing for the coasts
of North America the sloop named the Iphigenia Xnbi'iiKi. It belongs
to Juan Carvalho," a subject of the same master of this port, and is of
200 tons burden, having artillery, powder, balls, arms, and munitions
necessary for its defense, and carrying as its captain Francisco Josef
Viana, also a subject of the same Crown, and of competent ability."2
The instructions were addressed to Viana, captain of the
sloop Iphigenia Nubiana, and signed by Juan CarAralho.
Besides the perplexity of the double nationality of the vessel,
Martinez's suspicions Avere aroused by what he considered
an obnoxious clause in the instructions.    It read:
In case of your meeting" on your voyage with any Russian, Spanish,
or English vessels, you will treat them with the greatest possible
friendship and permit them (if they demand it) to examine your
papers that they may see the object of your voyage, taking care at
the same time to avoid surprise, if they should attempt to divert you
from your A'oyage. In such case you will resist force by force and
protest against such violent and illegal proceedings before a tribunal
at the first port in which you arrive, giving also an estimate of the
A'alue of the ships and cargoes.   You will send to us at Madao a copy
0 May 9, according to the English account.
6 Martinez to Florez, San Lorenzo de Nootka, July 13, 1789. (MS. Areh.
Gen: de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.)
"Variously spelled in the documents—" Cavallo," " Carvallo," " Caravallo,"
" Caravalia," and " Caravalho."
* Spanish translation of the passport of the Iphigenia, signed Macao, October 17, 1787.    (Arch. Gen. de'Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.) NOOTKA   SOUND  CONTROVERSY.
of said protest, with a narrative of all that shall have occurred, and
another such to Francisco Josef Bandieras and Geronimo Ribeiro
Nores, our correspondents at Lisbon, and likewise to the Portuguese
ambassador, at the Court of the nation of the aggressor, in order that
our So\'ereign may demand satisfaction. If, perchance, in such conflict you should have the superiority, you will take possession of the
vessel and its eargo, conducting them, with the officers, to Macao, in
order that they may be condemned as legal prize and the officers and
crew punished as pirates.0
Rightly or wrongly, Martinez thought that these instructions justified him in demanding an explanation. Since this
is the first of the vessels seized, and in order to shoAV that the
Spanish commander considered that he was acting under
instructions and with full authority, the AA'hole of the first
of a series of affidavits regarding the affair is here quoted:
On board the frigate of His Majesty named Our Lady of the Rosary,
alias the I'rincesa, on the 13th & day of the month of May, 1789, I, an
ensign of the royal navy, Don Esteban Jose Martinez, appointed commander in chief of this expedition by the most excellent Senor Viceroy Don Manuel Antonio Florez for occupying and taking possession
of this port of San Lorenzo de Nootka, where I am anchored, declare:
That, in virtue, of the Instructions and other superior orders, dated
the 23d of December of the year last passed, 1788, and according to an
order of His Majesty in Arto. 17, Tito. 5, Trato. 6, of the royal orders
for the navy, I ought to order and have ordered to appear before me
Don Francisco Josef Viana, an inhabitant of Lisbon and captain of
the packet boat named the Iphigenia Nubiana. coming from Macao,
which I found on the 5th of the present month anchored in this aforesaid port, and likewise that he should be accompanied by the so-called
supercargo, M. William Douglas, in order that each one, in so far as
he is involved, may vindicate himself, in view of the charges which I
have to make against them, according to the cited article of the royal
orders, on account of sections IS and 19 of the instructions which the
said captain presented to me on the 8th of the present month.
This affidavit was signed by Martinez before the notary,
Canizares. FolloAving it is one by the interpreter of the expedition saying that he delivered the above order, and then
comes a long one giving an account of the interview that f ol-
Viana, the captain, Douglas, the supercargo, and Adam-
son, the first pilot, immediately answered the summons, and
repaired on board the Princesa.   Martinez began by demand-
° Spanish translation of the instructions of Carvalho to Viana, Macao, October 23, 1788 [1787].     (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.)
* May 14, according to the English account, is the date usually given. 318
ing an explanation for their having anchored in a port of the
Spanish dominions without a license from that Monarch.
They replied that they were there in virtue of their passport
from the governor of Macao; that, as to this port's belonging to the Spanish dominions, they were ignorant of it, since
the fact had not been published at the European Courts; and
that they were informed by the first article of their instructions that this coast had been discovered by the Portuguese
Admiral Fonte in 1640.° To this last Martinez responded
that Portugal Avas at that time under the dominion of Spain.
He likcAvise charged them to tell who this Carvalho was that
had given such despotic instructions as the minister of a sovereign would hardly have given; to which they answered
that he Avas the owner of the vessel. He then charged them
with articles 18 and 19 of their instructions (the objectionable clauses quoted above). They replied that the articles
in question had been misinterpreted; that they ordered
Viana, in case his crew mutinied and he met with the vessel
of a foreign nation, to appeal to that vessel for assistance in
imprisoning his own crew and conducting them to Macao,
and that the mutinous crew were the ones to be punished as
pirates. Martinez insisted that this was not the true import
of the articles, but a clumsy pretext. Considering their defense unsatisfactory, according to the cited article of the orders for the roj^al navy, Martinez demanded in the name of
the King that they should surrender themselves as prisoners
of war. The affidavit giving account of this was signed by
Viana, Douglas, and Martinez before Canizares.6
This is Martinez's account of the arrest, written at the time
or very soon thereafter, since it bears the signature of Viana
and Douglas, and they would have been most unlikely to sign
it if they had not been compelled to do so while in captivity.
It is very doubtful whether Martinez was truthful in his
report of the clumsy fabrication offered by Viana and Douglas in defense of the objectionable clause. To have offered
such, expecting it to be believed, they would have had to be
either very stupid or absolutely certain that Martinez and all
his associates were entirely ignorant of the Portuguese lan-
• Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 115-118, gives an account of the supposed
voyage of Fonte, which he thinks was never made. Nothing is said of Fonte's
heing a Portuguese, and the expedition is said to have been under orders
from Spain and the vicesoys.
"MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.
guage—a very unlikely circumstance. This false defense
may have been invented by the Spanish commander to give
more color to the justice of the arrest. It would be more
charitable and- possibly more just to suppose that owing to
his imperfect understanding of the language that they used,
or its imperfect translation by his interpreter, he understood
them to say this when they really said something very different. It is quite evident that his first translation of what-he
considered the objectionable clause in their instructions was
incorrect. For in his rendering of it in the above account of
the investigation he makes the clause read that Viana was to
treat with respect all English, Russian, and Spanish vessels
whose force was superior to his own, but, if he had the
superior force, he Avas to seize them and carry them to Macao,
where their crews should be tried as pirates. This is what
he referred to Avhen he spoke of their being so despotic. It
is impossible to understand hoAv, in a correct translation, he
could have seen anything so obnoxious as he claimed to see.
If, however, this rendering had been the correct one, it would
have made the Iphigenia virtually a pirate ship, and Martinez would haAre been fully justified. But if his first translation was faulty, his later one Avas correct, as will be seen by
comparing the quotation from it given above with the
instructions of the Merchant Proprietors to Meares, the English commander of the expedition. They correspond almost
word for Avord, differing only in the details necessary to give
the appearance of a Portuguese instead of an English
a Appendix I to Meares, Voyages. It is interesting to compare the instructions of Meares, the English captain of the Felice and commander of both vessels, with the instructions of Viana, the pretended Portuguese captain of the
Iphigenia. These two correspond much more closely than those of A7iana
and Douglas. The latter*s were subinstructions given by Meares at sea. It
may be that Juan de Mata Montero de Mendcza, the pretended Portuguese
captain of the Felice, bore subinstructions from Viana similar to those of
Douglas. The differences between Meares's and Viana's instructions are
more striking than their similarities. The former is told that the coast was
first discovered by Drake, in 1579 ; the latter by Fonte, In 1640. The former
is told to proceed alone to America if be finds himself retarded by the slow
progress of the Iphigenia; the latter is to do the same if detained by the bad
sailing of the Felice. The former is instructed to direct Douglas to go to
Prince Williams Sound, then to Nootka; the latter is directed to make this
voyage. In the former's instructions there is nothing corresponding to the
latter's instructions to report to the Portuguese correspondents at Lisbon,
and to the ambassador at the court of the aggressor. There are other interesting contrasts. The minute instructions regarding trade are common to
the two. 320
This error of Martinez is brought out in Douglas's account
of the investigation.    He says:
[Martinez] told me my papers were bad; that they mentioned
I was to take all English, Russian, and Spanish vessels that were of
inferior force to the Iphigenia. and send or carry their crews to
Macao, there to be tried for their lives as pirates. I told him they
had not interpreted the papers right; that though I did hot understand Portuguese I had seen a copy of them in English at Macao,"
which mentioned, if I was attacked by any of those three nations,
to defend myself, and, if I had the superiority, to send the captain
and crews to Macao to answer for the insult they offered. The
padries and the clerk read the papers over, and said they had interpreted the papers right.6
The American commanders say that the capture was due
to a misinterpretation.0 If Martinez did make this mistake
and later Avas led to restore the vessel by the discovery of it,
he remains entirely silent regarding it, giving other reasons
for the release, as will be seen.
Between May 13, Avhen the Iphigenia was seized, and May
25, when she was released, part of her officers and crew were
detained on board Martinez's ship, the Princesa, and part
on the San Carlos, the other Spanish ship, which had
reached Nootka a week later than the commander's. Of
the conduct of the Spanish during these twelve days while
they held the Iphigenia prisoner there are the most divergent accounts in the different sources.
According to the account of Douglas, a deaf ear was
turned to his plea that he had been forced to enter the port
because of the distress of his vessel, which was such that, had.
he entered a port of the Spanish dominions of South America he would have been alloAved to repair his damages and
"This is not exactly an untruth, but it is a deception. It would indicate
that he had no instructions in English. His instructions are quoted in full
a few pages before this extract from the journal of the Iphigenia in Appendix II to Meares, A'oyages. It is worthy of note that they do not direct him
to seize vessels at all, but only to guard against surprise and repel force by
force. It should be noted also that the extract quoted by Meares in the
appendix to his Memorial, V, purporting to be from this letter to Douglas, does not agree with the full letter as quoted, hut thatJMeares has, in
this extract, added two sentences from his own Instructions, which relate to
his reporting the outrage if captured and to his seizing his opponent should
he have the superiority.
6 Extract of the journal of the Iphigenia. (Inclosure XII witft Meares,
Memorial, appendix to A'oyages.)
c Gray and Ingraham to Quadra, Nootka Sound, August 3, 1792. (Appendix to Greenhow, Oregon and California.) NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
depart in'peace, and that consequently to take him prisoner
in a port to which the King of Spain had never laid claim
.was a piece of injustice that no nation had ever attempted
before. His offer t6 leave the port immediately in spite of
his distress, if permission should be granted, was refused;
he and his crew Avere most inhumanely treated, and their
valuable personal effects and even their very clothes were
stolen; Spanish colors Avere hoisted on their vessel and it was
looted of its provisions and articles for trading with the
natives and anything else that the Spaniards fancied. When
his vessel was restored a very meager supply of provisions
was sent on board, and an account presented Avhich listed
five times the quantity actually sent and charged fiAre times
their cost; he was compelled to sign a paper saying that
Martinez had found him in distress and in want of everything, had supplied him with all necessary to take him to
the Sandwich Islands, and had not interfered with his
navigation; another paper was forced upon him by which
he agreed that, if his papers should be found to be bad, the
vessel was to be delivered up at Macao, and before he Avas
allowed to sail a letter was demanded from him to Captain
Funter, of the North-West America, ordering the latter to
sell the schooner to Martinez; but, not having authority
either to sell or to order another to sell, he said nothing in
the letter that he left about selling the vessel, but advised
Funter to act to the best of his judgment for the benefit of
his employers."
According to the account of the American captains, on the
other hand, the officers of the Iphigenia | were treated with
all imaginable kindness, and every attention paid them."
The vessel while in the possession of the Spaniards, from being a
wreck was put in complete order for the sea, being calked, rigging and
sails repaired, anchors and cables scut from the Princesa. etc. On the
26th Don Martinez supplied them with every kind of provisions they
AA'ere in need of, for which Captain Douglas gave him bills on Cravalia,
the before-mentioned merchant of Macao. On the 31st the Iphigenia
sailed and was saluted by the Spanish fort, and the commodore
accompanied them out of the harbor, giving every assistance with
boats, etc. When Captain Douglas took his leave of the commodore
he declared he should ever entertain a sense of Don Martinez's kind-
a Extract of the journal of the Iphigenia.    (Inclosure XII,  with Meares,
Memorial, appendix to Voyages.)
H. Doc. 429,58-3 21 322
ness, deeming his conduct relative to the vessel no more than his duty
as a King's officer. Upon the whole, we both believe the Iphigenia's
being detained was of infinite service to those who were concerned
in her.a
Vancouver, in giving the substance of a letter written later
by Viana to Quadra, represents Viana as saying that he was
imprisoned, was well treated, and on being liberated his
vessel and cargo were completely restored and he was furnished what lie needed.6
It is plain that neither the account of Douglas nor that
of the American commanders can be accepted for its full
value,4 but that the truth lies betAveen them. The fact that
the former on his release turned northward and spent a
month trading, and later made a successful trip to the Sandwich Islands and China, sIioavs that his ship was not so destitute of provisions as his journal would make it seem; and
the fact that he purchased a cargo of furs from the natives
shows that he had not been so nearly robbed of his articles of
trade as he declared. Further, knowing that this journal
passed through Meares's hands before it Avas published, and
knowing this gentleman's tendency to distort the truth, when
there was a possibility of thereby strengthening his case, one
can not help suspecting that the journal was tampered with
so that it would exhibit Martinez's treatment of the vessel in
as unfavorable a light as possible. But the testimony of the
American commanders must be discounted also, since their
prejudice in favor of the Spaniards is A7ery conspicuous.
This would be suspected because of their intimacy with Martinez ; but the extravagant statements of the letter itself show
a decided prejudice. It Avas written three years after the
eA>ents which it discusses, and errors in date indicate that it
Avas produced merely from memory. The statements from
Viana's letter are too indirect to be of much value.
In the series of affidavits which Martinez submitted to the
Viceroy concerning the arrest and detention of the vessel,
there is Avhat appears to be a wholly unimpassioned account.
These affidavits seem to haA^e been written and sworn to before the notary, each on the day on which the event .that it
a Gray and Ingraham to Quadra, Nootka Sound, August 3, 1792.    (Appendix
to Greenhow, Oregon and California.)    The dates in this letter are not accurate.    The more important agree with the Spanish dates, but the rest with
neither Spanish nor English.
6 Vancouver, Voyages, II, 343. NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
records occurred. The first one, in which Martinez gives
his reasons for calling to account the officers of the Iphigenia, is quoted in full above. The second, in which the interpreter says that he delivered Martinez's orders, has been
referred to, and the substance has been given of the third
which recounts the investigation of Douglas and Viana and
their arrest. The fourth tells of the formal act of seizing
the vessel, the replacing of the Portugese colors'by the Spanish, and the imprisonment of the creAV. These four are
dated May 13. A letter to Martinez, dated May 15, written
by Tovar, who had been placed in command of the captured
ship, tells of a bundle of papers Avhich he had found belonging to Douglas. In the fifth affidavit, dated May 16, Martinez says that in vieAv of this letter of Tovar he had ordered
the papers of Douglas to be taken in charge, and the sixth
affidavit, of the same date, is signed by the English interpreter and says that no suspicion attached to Douglas's papers.a
On May 17, in the seventh affidavit, Martinez says that on
account of the difficulty of sending the captured vessel to
San Bias, owing to the scarcity of men to man her, he has
concluded to release her, but has ordered an inventory to be
made, that he maAr bind the oAvner to pay the A'alue of the
ship and cargo in case the Viceroy shall declare her to haAre
been good prize. The inventory Avas completed May 22, and
signed on board the Iphigenia the same day by Tovar, the
temporary commander, and by Viana, the Portuguese captain,.in whose presence it had been made. The eighth affidavit, signed on May 25, declares that the inventory should
be embodied in the account. An itemized list follows, covering five pages of manuscript and indicating that the
Iphigenia was by no means destitute of general supplies,
though there might have been a lack of those necessary to
man the ship. Immediately folloAving the inventory is the
bond signed by Viana and Douglas, captain and supercargo
of the Iphigenia, for Juan Carvalho, the OAvner, and by
Kendrick and Ingraham, of the American ship, as witnesses,
and finally by Martinez, all in the presence of Canizares, the
" See note a, p. 320, where it is pointed out that in the instructions of
Douglas nothing is said about carrying vessels to Macao. In the journal of
the Iphigenia Douglas says that the interpreter told Martinez in his presence
that there was nothing objectionable in Douglas's papers. 324
notary. This obliges the owner to pay the value of the ship
and cargo, as shown by the attached inventory, in case the
Viceroy should decide that the vessel was good prize on
account of having been found anchored in the port of Nootka
without having a passport, permission, or license from His
Catholic Majesty for navigating or anchoring in seas or'
ports belonging to his dominion.0 The ninth affidavit,
signed May 26, formally submits to the Viceroy the preceding account of the measures taken in view of the instructions submitted by the captain of the Iphigenia?
On May 31, after a dinner on board the Spanish commander's ship, at which the Iphigenia's officers and those of
the American ship Avere present, the Iphigenia Avas accompanied out of the harbor by the officers of the other two,
and, after a fareAvell salute from the Spanish guns, sailed
away, ostensibly for Macao, by way of the Sandwich
Islands. At midnight Douglas gave orders to turn north
for a trading cruise, having, as he says, " no idea of running"
for Macao with only between 60 and 70 sea-otter skirisj
which I had on board." c
The next occurrence of interest at Nootka was in connection with the North-West America.   Mention has been made
of Martinez's futile attempt to get a letter from Douglas
ordering Captain Funter to sell the schooner to Martinez.
It will be recalled that this vessel, on returning from the
SandAvich Islands, had reached Nootka four days later than,
her consort, the Iphigenia, had been repaired as soon as possible, and had set out on a trading trip before the arrival of
the Spanish commander.    Having carried on a profitable;
trade for six weeks, and being seriously in need of provisions, she returned to Nootka June 8 in hope of meeting
there the vessel that was expected from Macao with stores;!
For some reason not wholly plain Martinez took possession
of the schooner as soon as she arrived.    Meares saysAhat the
"An English translation of this bond is given by Meares.    (Inclosure IV,
with Memorial, appendix to Voyages.) „
'All the papers relating to the Iphigenia—her passport, instructions, the
inventory, the bond, and the affidavits—are inclosed with Martinez to Florez, J
San Lorenzo de Nootka, July 13, 1789.    (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville,
0 This is an interesting comment, showing Douglas's inconsistency in saying that the Spaniards had robbed the ship of everything of value. NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
Spanish' commander Avas angered when he learned that the
letter which Douglas had left for Funter was not the desired
order for the latter to sell his schooner, and gave vent to his
anger by seizing the vessel.0 The American captains say
that Avhen Martinez learned later of the bankruptcy of Car-
valho, on whom he had accepted bills in payment for supplies furnished to Douglas, he justified himself as holding
the schooner in security for the debt.6 Martinez gives a
partial explanation in an affidavit of June 12. Learning, he
said, that the schooner belonged to Carvalho and was connected with the Iphigenia, Avhich he had seized on account
of her instructions, he therefore took possession of this vessel
also, and submitted an inventory to the Viceroy, together
Avith that of the larger ship. He fails to explain why he did
not release her; but he doubtless considered explanation
unnecessary, since he had given as his only reason for not
detaining the larger Aressel his inability to man her.c He
would not have been consistent in not detaining her unless he
had released her also on bond; and there was no need for
doing that, since she required so few men. Doubtless the
.other two motives suggested had their influence also.
The English commanders give the same extravagant account of robbery and barbaric treatment at the hands
of the Spaniards that were given in the case of the other
vessel—the Spanish flag Avas hoisted; the officers and men
were imprisoned; the vessel Avas repaired, refitted, rechris-
tened the Gertrudis and sent on a trading trip for the benefit
of the Spaniards, in which they bartered away the articles
of trade that they found on board; every possible effort was
made by briber}'' and intimidation to induce Funter and
some of his men to man the Aressel for the Spaniards and
shoAV them where trade was good, but without avail; the
men were kept in confinement for a month and then shipped
for China on board" one of the American vessels, which they
were compelled to assist in manning to keep from being
* Meares, Memorial, appendixto A'oyages.
* Gray and Ingraham to Quadra, Nootka Sound, August 3, 1792. (Appendix to Greenhow, Oregon and California.)
c Deposition of Martinez before Canizares, on board the Princesa, June
12, 1789. (MSS., Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.) With this is an
inventory of the vessel and cargo, and other affidavits telling of the helpless
condition of the vessel. An English translation of the inventory is given on
the last page of the appendix to Meares, Voyages. AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION.
wrecked." It must be admitted that at the best the provocation was sufficient to excuse some exaggeration, which is
the more to be expected when it is noticed- that the account
was not written until several months after the occurrence
of the events recorded. But that the Spanish commander
meant to shoAV a certain amount of justice and even generosity is eAddent from the fact that' he later transferred to
another English vessel all of the furs collected by the
schooner except twelve, which Avere either lost or detained by
the Spaniard.6 And still later, Avhen Funter and his men
were sent to China on the American vessel, Martinez shipped
to their credit 96 skins to pay their wages besides the cost
of their passage.'' He also transferred provisions from an
English ship to the American captain for the maintenance
of Funter and his men.d The purpose seems to have been
to punish the owners, but to avoid Avorking immediate hard- ■
ship to the officers and creAv.
Another event of the Spanish operations is the taking
formal possession of the port, which occurred June 24.c In
the seven weeks that had interArened since the arrival of
the Spanish expedition, besides the seizure and disposition
of the tAvo A^essels just discussed, a fort had been constructed
on the top of a high hill which commanded the entrance to
the port, and had been occupied by a garrison and a battery
of ten cannon. Three houses had also been built—a workshop, a bakery, and a lodging housed The ceremony had
not been performed earlier because they were awaiting the
" Deposition of the officers and men of the schooner North-West America,
Canton, Decemher 5, 1789, and Information of AVilliam Graham, London, May
5, 1790. (Inclosures VII and X, with Meares, Memorial, appendix to Voyages.) The American vessel on which these men were shipped was the
'Hudson's receipt to Funter for 203 sea-otter skins, July 2, 1789. (In-
closure VIII, with Meares, Memorial, appendix to Voyages.)
"Martinez's certificate of 96 skins being shipped on board the Columbia,
Nootka, July 14, 1789. (Appendix to Meares, Voyages.) The English ship
to which the furs, taken from the schooner, were at first transferred had
been seized in the meantime, so that the furs again fell into Martinez's hand.
This was the Princess Royal, to be discussed presently.
« John Kendrick's receipt for provisions on board the Columbia, July 13,
1789.    (Inclosure XI, with Meares, Memorial, appendix to Voyages.)
e Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 216, says, incorrectly, that possession had
been taken before the departure of the Iphigenia.
'Florez to Valdez, Mexico, August 27, 178!). (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias,
arrival of the Aranzazu, that it might be given greater
solemnity; but that ship not coming, it was decided to delay
no longer.0 The instrument of possession is a long, very
formal, and high-sounding document. The right of Spain
is based on the discovery of Nootka in 1774 and the bull of
Pope Alexander VI of May 4, 1493. The instrument bears
the signatures of Martinez and Haro, commanders of the
two vessels; of Tovar, the first pilot; of the two chaplains,
and of the four missionaries, and is attested by Canizares,
the notary.6 From the fort and the vessels a salute of 21
cannon was fired in honor of the King, and at a splendid
banquet on board the commander's ship all of the officers of
the Spanish ships, and several foreigners, drank to that
sovereign's health.
These foreigners, Martinez says, were of the English
nation and the American Congress [Colonies], and the ceremony Avas performed Avithout any contradiction by them."
Through Kendrick and Ingraham, officers of the American
ship, he had made the Englishmen understand that the
Spaniards had been the first discoA^erers of the port. He
had proved this by having the Americans—since they
also understood the Indian dialect—talk with the natives,
who had described the clothes of the first comers. And as
a further and more conclusive proof he laid before the
Indians the flags of various nations, including the old
Spanish flag,* and the last Avas recognized by the old chief
as the one borne by the first vessel/
One more occurrence should be noted before the arrival
of the English expedition under Colnett that gave rise to
the most important event of the summer. This occurrence
is the coming of the Princess Royal^ commanded by Hud-
"Martinez to Florez, San Lorenzo de Nootka, July 13, .1789. (MS. Arch.
Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.)
6 Instrument of possession, San Lorenzo de Nootka, June 24, 1789. (MS.
Arch. Gen. de indias, Seville, 90-3-18.)
c Martinez to Florez, San Lorenzo de Nootka, July 13, 1789. (MS. Arch. Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.)
d The Spanish flag had been changed by a royal decree of May 28, 1785.
The purpose was to remove the confusion due to the similarity between it
and those of the other Bourbon dynasties—France, Naples, Tuscany, and
Parma. Red and yellow were the colors adopted. (Fernandez Duro La
Armada Espanola, Madrid, 1901, A'lII, 349.)
"Martinez to [Florez], San Lorenzo de Nootka, July 13, 1789. (MS. Arch.
Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.) AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION.
son, subject to the orders of Colnett. This vessel left China
earlier .than her consort and reached Nootka on June 15,°
where she remained a little more than two weeks. A letter
written by Hudson, a copy of which is in the Spanish
archives, gives a detailed account of his stay at Nootka on
this occasion. On his approach in the evening he was
met by two launches. Being alarmed, he demanded to
snow whether they were armed and received answer in
English that they were, but only with a bottle of brandy.
Martinez, of the Spanish ship, Kendrick, of the American,
and Funter, of the captured English schooner, came on
board and remained all night. The next morning, the 16th,
they were towed into the harbor, and saluted by the guns of
the two Spanish ships and the fort. In the afternoon Hudson and Martinez accompanied Kendrick up the sound 6
miles to his vessel, the Columbia, where they remained that
night. On the 17th Hudson returned to his vessel, where he
received a note from the Spanish commander demanding
his motive for anchoring in the sound, and informing him
that the port belonged to the King of Spain. On the 18th
Hudson replied that during his voyage of sixteen weeks
and three days from Macao in continual storms his ship
had been badly damaged | this, with the failure of wood
and Avater, had caused him to anchor Avhere he was, and he
hoped that Martinez would permit him to supply his losses,
upon which, with permission, he would depart. In a note
of the same day Martinez replied that Hudson's explanation
was perfectly satisfactory and that he might supply his
needs and depart Avhen he wished."
This shows that the utmost harmony and good will prevailed. Hudson's A^essel was present when the Spaniards
took formal possession of the port, and he was doubtless
one of the Englishmen who were at Martinez's sumptuous
banquet and are mentioned as not disputing the act of possession. This is the English vessel, also, to which Mirtinez
transferred the furs taken from the North-West America,
as mentioned above.
"June 14 is sometimes given as the date. This probably arises from the
indefinite statement In the Information of William Graham that she arrived
on or about June 14. (See Inclosure VII, with Meares, Memorial, appendix
On July 1, his ship being ready to leave, Hudson notified
Martinez that he intended to sail the next morning. The
latter, after a little hesitation,- gave his consent, and also
furnished Hudson with a circular letter to all commanders
of Spanish ships which he might encounter ordering them
to let him pass. The next morning, July 2, the launches
from the American ships towed the Princess Royal out of
the harbor; and having had to wait all day for a breeze
she sailed away at 10 o'clock in the evening, returning
eleven days later, at the close of the important events to be
discussed in the next chapter.0
Comparing the actions of Martinez, which have been discussed in this chapter, with his instructions given in the
foregoing chapter, it is seen that it would not be difficult
for him to justify his seizure of the Iphigenia and the North-
West America. The last clause of the eleventh article orders
him to endeavor, as far as possible, to prevent intercourse
and commerce with the natives. It is difficult to see how
he could have carried this out in any other way. Knowing
the general policy of Spain, which was to prevent all foreigners from trading with the Spanish dominions, and feeling himself responsible for maintaining that policy along
this whole coast, he might, easily have felt it his duty to
employ harsh means, being satisfied that nothing less would
be effectual. Having in mind the recent treatment accorded
to the governor of the islands of Juan Fernandez because
he allowed a vessel that had been in his power to continue
its voyage to these very coasts, it is not strange that he
should be unwUling to incur similar disgrace because of too
great leniency.6 It would seem, however, that he was inconsistent in not seizing also the Princess Royal, unless, indeed,
he believed what he embodied in the circular letter which he
gave to Hudson for other Spanish commanders. In this'
he declared that the purpose of the voyage was discovery;
that he had seen Hudson's commission to that effect. Martinez may have known nothing to the contrary at the time,
and what he said was doubtless true;   but it Was not the
"Hudson to Florez, San Bias, September 18, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.) With this letter are copies of the letters of June
18 [17] and 19 [18] from Martinez to Hudson, and Hudson to Martinez of
the latter date, referred to above.
* See latter part of foregoing chapter. 330
whole truth.    But if he was too lenient this time, he did not
err in that direction on Hudson's return, as will appear.
If Martinez felt it necessary to treat the English ships
with such harshness, can his mild treatment of the American
ships be justified? These are the very ships that are referred to in articles 14 and 15 of the above-mentioned instructions. It Avill be recalled that he was there given authority,
in case of his meeting Avith them, to deal Avith them as appeared proper. The suspicion Avas mentioned in another
place that the purpose of these ships Avas to find a port in
which to establish a colony. On encountering them at
Nootka, Martinez inspected their papers and found that this
was not their purpose, lie says that his interpreter found
nothing in their papers derogatory to ihe rights of Spain;
that their purpose was to circumnavigate the globe; that
there seemed no reason for interfering Avith their course nor
placing them under bond, as he had clone the packet boat from
Macao; but that, nevertheless, he had required them, in the
name of his Sovereign, not to return to these seas or coasts
without bringing a passport and special permit, since that
Monarch had prohibited every foreign nation from naviga
ting the coasts of Ameri
His al
loAviuff the
ships to trade unmolested for the two months hardly seems
consistent, unless his reason was what might be implied from
the latter part of the letter just referred to. He tells of the
assistance afforded him by the American commanders in his
dealings Avith the English and the Indians, since they conversed in both of those languages. He might have considered it better to allow them for a time to violate the letter of
the strict Spanish regulations than to lose their services in
establishing himself in a position to prevent all such violations in the future. His intimacy with the Americans Avas
so noticeable that the Englishmen frequently accused the latter of collusion Avith the schemes of the Spaniard.6
■ —— .—_  *	
"Martinez to Florez, San Lorenzo de Nootka, July 13, 1789. (MS. Arch.
Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.) With this letter explaining his dealings
with the American ships, Martinez inclosed a copy of the passport given to
Kendrick by Bias Gonzales, governor of the islands of Juan Fernandez.
»Muriel, Historia de Carlos IV, I, 106, touches upon the subject-matter of
this chapter. Chapter V.
The English ship from China, the Argonaut. Captain
Colnett, AA;hose equipment and instructions have already been
discussed, arrived at Nootka late in the evening of July 2,
1789. She had neared the coast some distance north the
previous evening. Sailing southward, she Avas visited in
the morning by some Indians, who told of five vessels in
Friendly CoA^e, but could not identify them. ' The officers
conjectured that the ships belonged to Mr. Etches, one of
the merchants interested in their proposed colony. They
hastened to join them. As their vessel approached the
entrance they saw the sloop Princess Royal "pass out and sail
away. This increased their confidence, since she Avas their
consort. Shortly after they passed the sloop they saw two
launches approach in the growing darkness. A voice in
Spanish asked permission to come on board and was answered
in the affirmative. The leader of the party was the Spanish
commander, Martinez. Tavo hours earlier he had been notified from the port of the approach of a ship. Thinking it to
be the Aranzazu, which he had been anxiously expecting for
some Aveeks from San Bias Avith provisions, he had hastened
to Avelcome her in.
The events that follow this meeting of Martinez with Colnett, the commander of the English expedition, are the real
genesis of the Nootka controversy. Had the vigorous measures of the Spanish commander stopped with the seizure of
the two vessels already discussed, the matter would probably
neArer have reached the cabinets of London and Madrid.
Since these events are so important, a detailed account is
giA'en. This is drawn from fi\re separate narratives, all Avrit-
ten by men who were present and took part in them. One is
the letter of Martinez, written at the close of the events, giving his official account to the Viceroy.   Another is a letter
331 sees
from Colnett to the same official, Avritten some three months
later. These two are unpublished. The third is a second account by Colnett, written nine years later, appearing as a
footnote to his published narrative of a subsequent voyage.
The fourth is a series of letters, written while the events were
in progress, by Duffin, second in command to Colnett, but
really in control during most of the time. The fifth is the
letter, written three years later, by the American captains,
who were eyewitnesses of most of the eA7ents.°
At the first meeting each commander was disappointed at
finding the other A^ery different from the person whom he
expected. Martinez at once presented to Colnett a letter
from Captain Hudson, Of the Princess Royal, saying that the
bearer Avas commander of tAvo ships of His Catholic Majesty
anchored in Friendly Cove; that the Avriter had received all
possible aid from him and had departed. The letter had
been written that very morning, and put Colnett somewhat at
his ease. He invited Martinez and his party, among whom
were the officers of the American ships, down into the cabin,
where they drank freely together. The Spaniard Avas very
courteous, declared that the vessels under his command were
in great distress from the Avant of provisions and other necessaries, and urged the English commander to go into port in
order to supply their needs, inviting him to stay for some
time. Colnett, in his letter to the Viceroy, says that he consented to stay, provided he should be permitted to build a
sloop, for which he had the materials on board; but this
being refused, he said that he could not stay longer than the
next day.
° To save frequent repetition, one reference is given to all five of these accounts. The particular source of the more important statements is sufficiently clear from the text:
First. Martinez to Florez, San Lorenzo de Nootka, July 13, 1789. (MS.
Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 00-3-18.)
Second. Colnett to Florez [written at San Bias in September, 1789]. (MS.
Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.) I
Third. Colnett, Voyages, 96-102, note.
Fourth. Duffin to Meares, Nootka Sound, July 12 [11], 1789; same to
same, July 13 [12], 1789; same to same, July 14 [13], 1789. (Inclosure
XIII, with Meares, Memorial, appendix to A'oyages.)
Fifth. Gray and Ingraham to Quadra, Nootka Sound, August 3, 1792.
(Appendix to Greenhow, Oregon and California.)
The Information of William Graham, London, May 5, 1790, and the deposition of the officers and men of the North-West America, Canton, China, December 5, 1789 (Inclosures VII and XI, with Meares, Memorial, appendix'to
Voyages), give accounts, but add little of value to the others. NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY
On the other hand, Martinez says that Colnett claimed to
have come under authority from the King of England, with
orders to take possession of Nootka, construct a fort, establish a factory, and plant a colony, for which he had brought
29 Chinese laborers; that having learned this his interpreter
made the Englishman understand that Martinez had already
taken possession of the port in the name and under an order
of the King of Spain; that thereupon the English captain
claimed the land for His Britannic Majesty on the ground
of Cook's discoATery, adding that his company had purchased
the rights to the place which Avere acquired the previous
year by the Portuguese company, their vessels, the Iphigenia
and the North-West America, being also included in the purchase. To refute the Englishman's arguments, the Spaniard declared that a Spanish expedition had discovered the
port four years earlier than Cook; ° that he himself had accompanied the expedition, and from him the spoons had been
stolen which Cook tells of purchasing; that the Portuguese
company had done wrong in selling land Which was not
theirs but belonged to the King of Spain, not only this port
being the property of that Crown, but all the coast as far
as Prince Williams Sound. Colnett, the Spaniard continues,
was unable to reply to these well-founded arguments. The
American captains say:
Colnett asked if he would be prevented from building a house in
the port. The commodore, mistaking his meaning, answered him he
was at liberty to erect a tent, get wood and water, etc., after which
he was at liberty to depart when he pleased; but Captain Colnett
said that was not Avhat he wanted, but to build a blockhouse, erect
a fort, and settle a colony for the Crown of Great Britain. This was
Colnett, in his published account, says that he hesitated,
being uncertain whether to enter the port, but—
The Spaniard, observing my unwillingness to comply with his request, assured me on his word and honor, in the name of the King
/>f Spain, whose servant he was, and of the Viceroy of Mexico, whose
nephew he declared himself to be, that if I would go into port and
relieve his wants I should be at liberty to sail whenever I pleased.
Martinez's plea of distress and his solemn promise, with
Hudson's letter, the Englishman says, influenced him to
"See previous discussion of the voyage of Perez, 1774, in Chapter III, ante.
; 334
enter the harbor, and, as there Avas a calm, he allowed the
Spanish boats to assist in towing his Aressel into the cove.
Among the party that had come o'ut in the launches was the
pilot of the captured English schooner. He told Colnett of
the situation in. the cove—the Spanish Avar ships, the fort,
.the formal possession, the seizure of the Iphigenia and
North-West America, and the arrival and departure of Captain Hudson. He advised Colnett to anchor outside the
cove until morning, but the latter^ depending on the Spaniard's honor, entered and brought up between the Spanish
ships at about midnight.
The next morning, July 3, everything seems to have been
harmonious. Colnett A^sited the fort and other Spanish
establishments, and on invitation of Martinez took breakfast
on board the Spanish vessel, the Spanish commander returning the compliment by dining on board the Englishman's
ship. The latter Avas urged to delay his departure for a
day, but being unwilling to do so it Avas arranged that the
Spaniard should send a launch in the afternoon to toAV the
English A'essel out, and on the return of the boat Colnett
should send the supplies, a list of Avhich had already been
agreed upon. The launch not coming as soon as expected,
a request Avas made that it be sent at once. Martinez asked
to see Colnett's papers before the latter should depart.
After some hesitation the Englishman took them on board
the Spanish ship. The Spaniard Avas still in doubt Avhether
he should allow the Argonaut to depart, sometimes saying
that she could, at other times that she could not. Finally
he declared that she could not go that clay. He produced a
book in which he showed what he said was an order from the
King of Spain to seize all English vessels found on the coast.
Colnett declared that he would sail' at once, with or without
permission, unless the Spaniard fired on him, in which case
he would haul clown his colors and surrender. Thinking it
presumption for Colnett to talk as if he Avere an agent of the
English King, though he was really sent only by a commercial company. Martinez declared himself the personal rep:
resentative of the King of Spain and commander in chief
of the port. Colnett replied that he had been in His Brit-
tannic Majesty's service for twenty years, and that he then
carried a goA'ernmental license, which he produced.    He en- NOOTKA  SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
deavored to show the injustice of the Spaniard's conduct,
reminding him of his promise on his word and honor, made
the evening before. AYarm words followed, and each Commander seems completely to have lost his temper. Each tells
of Auolence, either threatened or inflicted, by the other. At
Martinez's order Colnett was seized and made a prisoner.
From the accounts it is impossible to decide Avhich officer
was the more at fault in the quarrel. It was the unfortunate
outcome of anger on both sides, and doubtless was not premeditated by either. The real explanation appears to be
that given in the letter of Duffin. Eight days after the
quarrel he wrote: " I have every reason to suspect there was
a misunderstanding between the tA\<> parties, for the linguist
spoke English very imperfectly, and in all likelihood interpreted as many words wrong as right." It seems, then, to
have been a faulty translation that caused the quarrel which
later threAV two continents into a feverish excitement in anticipation of war.
After the seizure had been made, however, a plausible
excuse was not wanting to the Spaniard. He says that he
imprisoned Colnett because the latter would likely haAre gone
elsewhere on the -coast and established a post from which it
would have been impossible to dislodge the English without
the,force of arms. This is doubtless exactly what would
have happened, and in vieAV of Martinez's instructions and
of what he knew to be the policy of his country Avith regard
to the coast, he was entirely justified, from the Spanish
standpoint, in preventing by force Avhat he could not have
prevented otherAvise. Indeed, had he alloAved the English
expedition to depart unmolested, and had the English colony
been established elseAvhere, he probably Avould have been
seriously taken to task for not attempting to prevent it.
Martinez's account to the Viceroy Avas such as to make it
seem that he at no time had any intention Avhatever of allowing Colnett to leave. He says nothing of his promise and
pledge to that effect which the English connnander says that
he made. But though the Spaniard concealed the fact from
his superiors, the other accounts indicate unmistakably that
he really intended, at first, to allow the Argonaut to depart,
and that his promise to her connnander Avas made in good
faith.   Possibly he had begun to doubt whether the Viceroy
would approve his proceedings respecting the two vessels
already seized, and did not wish to involve himself further
until he had that official's decision. In view of this he may
have concluded,to let all other vessels pass without scrutinizing them too closely. His treatment of the Princess Royal
indicates such intent, and his promise to Colnett was consistent with it. After a day's consideration, he may have concluded to go through the form of an investigation, at least,
that he might make a plausible report of it, but with the
deliberate intention of closing his eyes to anything that
might prove derogatory to Spain. However the fact may
be accounted for, it is clear that Martinez was wavering
between two opinions and that the quarrel forced his decision. Duffin, in his letter of July 12 [11], Avhich seems to be
the fairest of all the accounts, speaking of events after the
seizure, says:
The commodore's passion now began to abate a little, and he sent
for me from the San Carlos, where I was imprisoned. When I came
to him, he seemed to profess a very great friendship for me, and
appeared to be exceedingly sorry for Avhat, he said, his officers compelled him to do. He declared to me that he had given Colnett permission to depart, and would ha\'e assisted him all in his power
but that Captain Colnett insisted on erecting a fort opposite his.
A little further on, after tellinsr of Colnett's turning: over
to him all control of affairs, the same writer continues:
I have endeavored to convince the Spaniards, had we known this
place had been taken possession by the King of Spain, we would not,
on any consideration, have come near it; I have likewise wished to
persuade him to peruse the South Sea Company's grant and our
instructions, which he refuses, and tells me it would avail nothing
now to do it, as his officers insist on his going on with what he
acknowledges he too rashly and hastily began, and without deliberating what might hereafter be the consequence.
That the English captain was somewhat to blame for what
had occurred is clear from his own behavior, as mated in
Duffin's letter of July 14 [13]. The writer, speaking of
Colnett, says:
I have endeavored to persuade him to draw out every particular
concerning our being captured, to send to his employers, which he
refuses. His objection is that he has involved himself and everyone
else in difficulties that he is not able to extricate himself from, aid
therefore declares to me that he will have no more concern with the
charge of the vessel. NOOTKA   SOUND  CONTROVERSY.
This refusal to give the particulars of his arrest occurred
after his recovery from what Duffin spoke of at the time as
insanity, but what Colnett himself refers to as delirium.
Meares's publication of Duffin's statement concerning the
commander's insanity caused some hard feeling when Colnett learned of it; and the statement was publicly denied
later by Meares." Whatever it may be called, the immediate
cause was his capture. The malady lasted for ten days.
As a result of it, the whole control was left in the hands of
Duffin, the second in command. The latter's statement concerning the captain is as follows: •
Captain Colnett has been in such a state of insanity ever since the
vessel has been captured by the Spaniards that we are obliged to
confine him to his cabin. Yesterday morning he jumped out of the
cabin window, and it was with great difficulty his life was saved.
His constant cry is that he is condemned to be hanged. I sincerely
hope for his speedy recovery, but am aprehensive he never will
recover his former senses again. - I understand from the boy, Russell,
that it is a family disorder and that they all have symptoms of
madness more or less.
The next day he Avrote: | Captain Colnett is much better
to-day, and, in general, discourses very rationally." It Avas at
this time that Duffin made his vain attempt to draw out the
particulars of the capture.    Duffin seems to blame Colnett.
On the afternoon of July 3, immediately after seizing
Colnett, Martinez had taken possession of the Argonaut, had
run up the Spanish flag, and had imprisoned all of the officers and crew, removed them from their own ship, and confined them on board the two Spanish vessels. Of the events
that followed during the next ten days, Avhile preparations
were being made to send the vessel to San Bias for the
Viceroy to decide whether she was good prize, there are
greatly diA^ergent accounts, as in the case of the other captured ships. It is significant that the further the writing
was removed from the event the blacker is the picture drawn
in the English accounts of the Spaniard's cruelty. Doubtless the most authentic is the one first written—the letters
of Duffin, already referred to.
After a little time Colnett and Duffin, with two other officers, were allowed to return to their own ship.    On the 11th
" Meares, An Answer to Mr. George Dixon.
H. Doc. 429.58-3 22
i tarn
Duffin wrote: 11 am at present in possession of my cabin, as
are also the rest of us, and the commodore behaves with great
civilitv, bv obliging us in every liberty that can be expected
as prisoners." This is pretty strong evidence that there was
nothing Arerv barbaric about Martinez's treatment, since
Duffin had no motive for concealing the truth. What he
wrote had to be by stealth, he says, and Avas taken by Mr.
.Barnett, an Englishman of the creAv of the North-West America, who Avas going to China on board the American ship.
Under these circumstances he Avould probably not haATe represented the Spaniard's conduct more faA'orably than it deserved. Many of the supplies and stores on board the English ship Avere appropriated hy the Spaniards; but not without arrangement for compensation, as Avould be inferred
from later English accounts. Speaking of their appropriation, Duffin says:
They have taken of our stores to themselves all our pitch, tar, canvas, twine, some provisions of all kinds, guns, ammunition, the chief
of our copper, and many other articles that we were not acquainted
with, all the officers being prisoners, some on board one vessel and
some on board the other. We have great expectations that the vessel
will be delivered up at San Bias. The commodore promises me, if she
is, everything that he has taken to himself shall be replaced at that
port; but there has been a number of things taken out of the vessel
by theft that he knows nothing of. Nevertheless, if any, and the vessel is returned, they must undoubtedly make it good.
According to the same writer, Martinez tried to buy all of
the copper on board, offering to giAre bills for the same, but
it was refused on the ground that if his orders allowed him
to capture the vessel they would undoubtedly allow him to
capture the cargo also. The Spaniard, he says, Avanted the
copper to trade for furs, Avhich he shipped to Macao by Captain Kendrick [of the American ship Columbia'], Avho traded
for him on shares. This is the Avay in Avhich the man in
command at the time spoke of what later accounts designate as plundering by the Spaniards.
That the promise of compensation was made in good faith
is proved by the documents which Martinez submitted to the
Viceroy. One is dated at San Lorenzo de Nootka, July 5,
1789, and is a " List of the provisions and other stores which
have been taken at the expense of the royal treasury from
the captured English packet boat Argonaut, for my subsist- NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVERSY
ence in this port; all of which are to be restored to Capt.
James Colnett from the royal treasure of the department of
San Bias, in case the Most Excellent Senor Viceroy of New
Spain releases the vessel." An itemized statement carefully
describing each article is given. Another document dated
July 13 is a " List of the artillery, balls, and other armament
found on board the captured English ship . 1 vgonaut, belonging to the free commercial company of London, which
remain in my possession at the disposal of his excellency,
awaiting his superior determination." Inclosed with these
is a | List of the names of the captain, officers, crew, and
passengers Avhich the Argonaut carried." Among the officers there Avere 12 Englishmen and 1 Spaniard; of the sailors, 4 were English, 7 Portuguese, and 3 Filipinos; the
passengers were 29 Chinese; to these were added Colnett's
servant, who was a Sandwich Islander, and Duffin's, Avho was
Bengalese.   In
there Avere
Another list
includes only the 16 Englishmen, and states that they are to
be sent to San Bias on board the captured ship Argonaut.
Still another list includes the Portuguese, the Filipinos, the
Chinese, and the two servants, who Avere to be sent on the
Aranzazu and the other vessels that might come from San
Bias. The one Spaniard had entered the service of Martinez.0
On July 13, after the above documents relating to the capture of the Argonaut Avere sealed up and the vessel Avas ready
to be sent as a prize to San Bias, the Princess Royal, which
had left ten days before, returned and was seized by Martinez. He says that his motive for the seizure was his wish
to prevent her from carrying news of the capture of the
other vessel to the company, and thus to forestall their taking measures against him before he could be reenforced.6
This seems a poor excuse since the Englishmen shipped on
board the American vessel could carry the news just as well.
Hudson's letter to the Viceroy gives his account of the
seizure.   On leaving Nootka on July 2 he had intended to
"All of these are inclosed with Martinez's account to the Viceroy, referred
to above.    (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-18.)
"Martinez to Flore?, San Lorenzo de Nootka, July 13, 1780. (Id.) This
letter is of the same date and appears in the same bundle as that referred to
above giving account of the Argonaut.
I 340
sail northward, but a storm had driven him southward and
he had been unable to return for several days. On July 13
he had succeeded in getting back opposite the entrance to
Nootka Sound, and being anxious to know whether Colnett
had arrived, and, if he had, wishing to get from him some
needed supplies and instructions for his future conduct, he
determined to enter in his launch, leaAdng his A^essel in the
open. He had no fears of maltreatment since Martinez
had dealt so liberally with him before. He was met
by a Spanish launch, Avas told that Colnett was there
and was sick and in trouble, was requested by Martinez
to enter the port, and was, invited on board the Spanish
launch. He found it completely armed. His own pistol
was taken.from him and his launch was taken into possession. When he reached the Princesa Martinez informed
him that he was a prisoner, as was also Colnett, and that
the fault was all the latter's. Hudson was urged to give
orders for his ship to come in, but refused, and the Spaniards prepared to take her by force. Seeing the futility
of resisting, he advised his lieutenant to surrender. The vessel was taken at midnight and brought in the next morning.
Captain Hudson does not mention here his brutal treatment
at the hands of the Spaniards, Avhich is related in other English accounts."1 He says that he was allowed to go on board
his OAvn ship or anywhere else in the port that he chose.
The two English vessels left Nootka for San Bias, where
they were to await the disposition of the Viceroy. The
Argonaut sailed July 13, in charge of Tovar as prize captain.
In Colnett's letter to the Viceroy he tells of the hardships
that he suffered on the voyage. His belongings had been,
transferred to the mate's cabin, a very small room. Each
night at S o'clock he was locked in this, and the door was not
opened until morning. He was not allowed to have any intercourse with his officers except in the daytime.    The com-
" See information of William Graham. (Inclosure VII, with Meares,-Me-
morial, appendix to Voyages.) He says that Hudson was beaten and thrown
down 'the hatchway by the Spanish crew, who said: " Get down, you English
dog." This and other such extravagant statements were probably invented
to produce the desired effect on the English mind. This document is dated
London, May 5, 1790, which was only a week before the Memorial was presented, and was the time when the excitement was at its height. NOOTKA  SOUND  CONTROVERSY.
mandant at Nootka had either asked or taken ■ all of his
chickens and other fresh provisions, so that he had a slight
attack of scurvy. His mouth, he said^ ulcerated, and the
captain of the prize refused to allow him to have his bread
toasted for fear of destroying his teeth! Whenever there
was a storm the hatchways were closed, and he almost
smothered. The heat increased each day. One night he
asked repeatedly for a glass of water, but it Avas too great a
favor, and he had to wait until morning. His OAvn condition Avas bad enough, but Avhen he got to San Bias he learned
that the men of his crew had suffered much more than he.
They had been closely confined in irons for many days,
though there were only 8 of them and four times as many to
guard them." Their chests had been broken into, and most
of their clothes and personal belongings had been taken.
Colnett had lost many articles that he valued very highly.
After their arrival at San Bias, August 15, they received
better treatment.6 The Princess Royal arrived at San Bias
on August 27, just a month after she had left Nootka. She
carried 12 English and 2 Portuguese prisoners."
On August 29, Hanson, second pilot of the Argonaut,
committed suicide. The only known cause Avas melancholy,
according to the statement of the Viceroy drawn from a detailed account sent to him by the commandant of San Bias/
In Colnett's published account he says that it was because
of Hanson's despair at the treatment which he had received.
The same writer states that several others became sick and
died.e Colnett may have exaggerated somewhat the hardships of the voyage, but the letter seems to be a truthful account. Their condition, at the best, was a bad one, and they
Avere probably confined more closely than was necessary and
their wants not attended to as they might have been. It is
likely, hoAvever, that most of the harsh measures taken by
0 There were also 8 officers on board. These with the S sailors were all of
the Englishmen that had come to Nootka on the Argonaut. The Portuguese,
Filipinos, Chinese, etc., were to be brought to San Bias later on another
6Colnett to the Viceroy, San Bias [September], 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
0 Florez to Valdez, Mexico, September 26, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-14.)
* Id., inclosing Comancho to Florez, San Bias, September 3, 1789. Co-
mancho was commandant of the port.
• Colnett, Voyage, 96-102, note. 342
the. prize crew were the result of excessive caution rather
than wanton cruelty.
Martinez's operations at Nootka after sending his prizes
to San Bias are of minor interest. He carried on some explorations in the neighborhood, studied the customs of the
natives, and made, in his diary, a full report of the country
and its inhabitants. On December 6 he reached San Bias,
haAung returned in consequence of an order from Florez
dated February 25, 1789." This date shows that the events
at Nootka during the summer had nothing to do.with his
recall, since the order Avas given shortly after the expedition
had sailed.
When Martinez reached San Bias he had with him an
American ship and schooner which he had captured just as
he was leaving Nootka. He had hesitated for some time,
uncertain Avhether he should set them free, but had finally
decided to take them to San Bias to be acted on by the Viceroy. Revilla-Gigedo, who had succeeded Florez in the vice-
royaky, set them free, on the ground that the Americans
had not molested the Spanish settlements.* The names of
the A'essels do not appeal- in this letter. They Avere doubtless
the Eleanora and the Fair America, under Captain Metcalf."
Martinez also brought Avith him the 29 Chinese that he had
taken from the Argonaut. To save the expense of keeping
them the Viceroy said that he had decided to haAre them
brought to Mexico, liberated, and given employment; or, if
they preferred, they would be sent to the colonies and mission settlements of California.3 Meares, in his memorial,
declared that, these Chinese laborers were detained at Nootka
by Martinez and put to Avork in the mines that had been
opened on the land belonging to Meares.    Nothing ippears
o Revilla-Gigedo to Araldez, Mexico, December 27, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen.;
de Indias, Seville, 90-3-19.) There are several letters together of the same,
date. This is No. 195. No. 194 states that a copy of Martinez's diary is
inclosed, but a note on a small slip of paper inserted says that the diary is
not being sent on account of Martinez's not having sent a duplicate of it. The
diary does not appear in the bundle and probably was never sent. Bancroft,
Northwest Coast, I, 212, says: " I have not been able to obtain the original
diaries of the Spanish expedition of 17S9, nor has any preceding writer in
English seen them."
"Revilla-Gigedo to Valdez, Mexico, December 27, 1789. (No. 198, MS.
Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-19.)
' Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 212.
d Reference cited, note b above, No. 195. NOOTKA  SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
in the Spanish documents concerning any such mines. It
has been stated elsewhere that Meares gave 70 as the number
of Chinese taken to Nootka by Colnett. This is probably
an exaggeration, since the number 29 is repeated several
times in the Spanish documents, and in two places a complete list of their names is given." From what will be stated
later, it seems that the Viceroy's scheme for liberating them
in Mexico Avas not carried out.6
"Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 211, repeats Meares's statement that there
were 70 Chinese.
5 Muriel, Historia de Carlos IA', I, 107, treats briefly the seizure of the
Argonaut and Princess Royal. MMM
Chapter VI.
Florez, the Viceroy, who had sent the Nootka expedition,
had no news from Martinez until late in the summer.
Shortly after the arrival at San Bias of the first prize, the
Argonaut, the commandant of that port dispatched a special
messenger to Mexico. This messenger arrived August 26,
bearing Martinez's letters and the papers from the captured
ships. The Viceroy's anxiety Avas far from being relieved
when he found himself involved, not with the Russians, but
with the English. The question now was what should be
done with the prizes sent for his adjudication. He was
embarrassed by the fact that he Avas to retire from the vice-
royalty within a few weeks, and Avhatever measures he might
determine upon would have to be carried out by his successor. He decided to take no decisive step without the neAv
Viceroy's concurrence. • Within a day after the messenger's
arriA^al the more important documents had been copied and
Florez had written his report. They Avere hurried off to the
Government at Madrid. In this report he told briefly o E
Martinez's voyage to Nootka, of his taking formal possession of the port and fortifying it, of his finding the American vessels and allowing them to continue their voyage,
and of his seizing the Iphigenia and the Argonaut,\rele&s-
ing the former on bond and sending the latter as a prize.
To this account he added some reflections concerning the im-,
portance of retaining the port of Nootka. He would send
reinforcements and supplies to Martinez at once. The question as to whether the vessels Avere good prize he would
leave to his successor.6
Two days after sending this account to the home Government, Florez sent orders to the commandant and commissary
"Previous accounts give scarcely anything on this subject. This account
is drawn almost wholly from manuscripts in the Spanish archives.
6Fiorez to Valdez, Mexico, August 27, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias,
Seville, 90-3-18.)
at San Bias for the temporary disposition of the prize. The
officers and men were to be kindly treated and supplied with
lodgings and other accommodations according to their rank.
Fresh food was to be furnished at public expense, an account
being kept of the cost. All of their clothing was to be
turned over to them, but no arms. They were to be given
complete liberty within the port, but were to be closely
watched to see that no one abused his privileges. A complete inventory should be made in the presence and with the
help of the English captain. The latter should sign it and
receive a copy for his security and protection, whatever the
fate of his vessel. The perishable part of the cargo was to be
sold and the rest deposited separately in the royal storehouses. The ship, after being unloaded, was to be examined,
cleaned, and repaired at governmental expense, with the approval of the English commander, Avho should have a copy of
the account.0 The fact is not stated in this order, but in a
letter to Madrid it appears that the ship, when repaired, was
to be used in collecting supplies and reenforcements for Martinez at Nootka.6 From Colnett's publised account, it seems
that the Englishmen were induced to do the work on the ship
in the false hope of an early release.    He says:
Under a promise that our detention could not be long, they persuaded
us to heave dOAvn and repair the Argonaut, new copper her bottom,
and fit new rigging. The idea of release stimulated us to work on
the ship with great alacrity. So much so that our exertions threw
several into fevers; and on the vessel being nearly ready, the Government threw off the mask, informing us she was to be employed for
their use, and laughed again at our credulity.0
After receiving news of the arrival at San Bias of the second English prize, the Princess Royal, Viceroy Florez wrote
again to the Madrid Government. This" letter was dated
September 26, and told of the steps taken with regard to the
captured ships since his account written a month before. He
had considered the matter carefully, and, although he had
decided to leave the disposition of the prizes to his successor,
yet he gave his own conclusions.   He knew of no precedent
° [Florez] to the commandant and commissary at San Bias, Mexico, August
29, 1789.     (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-14.)
6 Florez to Valdez, Mexico, August 27, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias,
Seville, 90-3-18.) This is another letter of the same date and found in the
same bundle as the one referred to in note & on the preceding page.
"Colnett, A'oyage, 96-102, note. AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION.
for the. capture except the conduct of the Viceroy of Peru
toward the governor of Juan Fernandez, on account of the
latter's not having detained the American ship Columbia-
when he found she was bound for California.11 This, he said,
Avas based on the royal order of 1692, a copy of which he inclosed.6 He added that conditions had changed in a century. However, he would not disapprove the conduct of
Martinez, since, he said: "Article 11 of my instructions, ' to
repel force by force and to prevent hostile ships from making establishments and trading Avith the Indians of our
coasts,' ° could not haA'e been enforced without detaining the
vessels." He concluded: "For the sake of economizing expenses and avoiding hard feelings betAveen our. court and
that of London, it seems to me best to allow both vessels to
return to Macao, placing their commanders under bond, as
Martinez did the captain of the Iphigenia." Everything
taken from the Aressels he would restore or pay for,
deducting the cost of keeping the men and the expense
for repairing the ship. He had not time to attend to this,
but would leave it to his successor, if that official approved.'*
On August 27, the day that Florez had written his first
hurried account to the -home Government, he had also writ-
ten an account to Bevilla-Gigedo, who was soon to succeed
him in the viceroyalt;/. The correspondence that followed
is valuable as showing the divided opinion in official circles
regarding the justice of the seizures, and as illustrating the
evolution of the new Viceroy's final decision regarding the
prizes. In the first letter Florez explained briefly that, as a
result of the last expedition ordered by the King, he had,
without loss of time, sent Martinez to take possession of
Nootka. lie then recounted the grave consequences, which
made it necessary to take most prudent measures, and added:
For my part I have not ventured to enter upon them, in view of the
fact that I am so soon to surrender 1 he government to your excellencv.
« See Chapter III, ante.
*The King to the officials of New Spain. Madrid, November 25, 1692.
(MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-14.) The Viceroy of Peru had reported that an English vessel had been encountered in the Straits of Magellan. This order directs officials to exclude all foreign vessels from the South
Sea unless they carry a special license from the King of Spain.
0 See his instructions in Chapter III, ante.
* Florez to Valdez, Mexico, September 26, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias,
Seville, 90-3-14.) NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
I look upon this business as more important than any other, and If
you rank it the same I hope you will hasten your coming.0
Three days later the ncAv Viceroy, who was attending to
some public business at Veracruz, replied that he came fully
instructed from the higher authorities of all ,the steps taken
by Florez in the Nootka matter, of their approval by the
junta of state, and the consequent royal order. In view of
the attempt to represent the English expedition as a governmental enterprise, he especially commended Florez for having inserted in Martinez's instructions the order of the English Admiralty office to Cook telling the latter not to touch at
Spanish ports except in case of necessity and then to leave
as soon as possible. He thought that that Avise council
would not noAV have sent an expedition Avith such contrary
instructions. He believed it had come simply from Botany
Bay or some establishment in India. He said thai i( did not
appear necessary for Florez to await his coming to take steps
regarding the captured ships, since Florez was so well informed. As to the possibility of another English expedition being sent to dislodge Martinez, he thought there was
no danger. England Avas too remote, and the Spanish
could supply reinforcements when necessary. The English
Cabinet would not undertake anything so likely to fail. In
the end the unhappy affair would be settled between the
Spanish and English Courts. However, he would not delay
his coming to Mexico a moment longer than necessary.6
On September 2, the same day that Florez received the
letter just revieAved, he answered it. In his answer there is a
tone of impatience Avhich seems to be partly because Revilla-
Gigedo had not dropped everything else to attend to the
prizes, and partly because the latter's approAral was not enthusiastic. The new Viceroy had suggested that since the
English expedition did not appear to have been sent by the
Government it would have been better if Martinez had told
the captains to return when they chose to the parts from
whence they had come. Florez retorted: " I explained to
your excellency that, according to the documents which Mar-
" Florez to Revllla-Glgedo, Mexico, August 27, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-14.)
' Ucvilla-Glctedo to Florez, Veracruz, August 30, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-11.)
m 348
tinez sent to me, these prizes have been made with good cause,
and I think your excellency Avill indorse my opinion Avhen
you have given careful attention to their contents." He inclosed copies of them and called attention to the positive
representations of the English captain. He continue*!?*
" Whether the English Court had any part in the plan let
occupying Nootka, or Avhether it did not, we have often seen
them lay claim to ports and territories occupied by the merchants or subjects of their nation; and there is no doubt but
that they have read}/ naval forces incomparably greater than
those which we can send from San Bias." He enlarged on
the insufficiency of vessels in that port for present needs, and,
told of the preparations that he was making to use the captured ships to convejr reinforcements and supplies to Martinez. In closing he said : " But since your.excellency can not
give it the preferential attention asked I have suspended my
orders relative to Nootka affairs until your excellency gives
me your final decision concerning the liberating or retention
of the English ships." a
The loyalty with Avhich Florez supported Martinez, and
his resentment when lie found Revilla-Gigedo inclined to
disavow the seizures, may have arisen from a personal relation, since, as stated aboAre, Colnett says that Martinez represented himself as the nephew of Florez.6
After having read the copies of Martinez's letters and
documents, which Florez had sent, Eevilla-Gigedo replied,
September 9, that he Avas pleased to find that his opinion of
the unofficial character of the English expedition was confirmed ; that Colnett had been sent, not as a governor, but as
a merchant; that he was not to establish a fortification but a •
factory, which was to be located not necessarily at Nootka,
but wherever it might be with convenience, and that Fort
Pitt was simply the name to be given to the factory. Had
the English expedition taken any sort of possession of
Nootka, he said that it would doubtless have afforded some
subsequent claim. But since it had not succeeded, and since
the English captain had asked permission to sail, all such
fears ought to have vanished.   There was the more reason
• [Florez] to Kevilla-Gigedo, Mexico, September 2, 1789.
de Indias, Seville, 90-3-14.)
* See preceding chapter, p. 333.
for this, since not only had England been prevented from
taking possession, but Spain actually possessed it. Since
Florez had already referred the matter to the Spanish Court,
it seemed to him that they could take no further step until
the decision of His Majesty should arrive. He agreed that
in the meantime the captured ships should be used to convey supplies to Martinez if no others were available. He
had read with pleasure the timely and prudent orders of
Florez for caring for the captured ships and prisoners.
The Aveakened forces at San Bias were being strengthened
and the necessary ships could be constructed. A new commandant of that port with reinforcements had set out from
Veracruz the preceding day.0
In this Revilia-Gigedo maintained his former position
that Martinez had insufficient ground for making the captures. He seems not to have considered what would have
been the consequences if the English ships had not been
seized and had established a colony elsewhere on the coast.
He gave a qualified approval of the steps taken by Florez
Avhile awaiting an ansAver from the home Government, but
he did not definitely commit himself on the question to
which Florez had tried to elicit an answer—that is, whether
he would declare the ships good prize.
On September 16 Florez replied that he had decided to
continue his preparations for sending supplies and reenforce-
ments to Nootka, since Eevilla-Gigedo had approved using
the captured ships for that purpose.6
The neAV Viceroy took control of the government October
18." A few days later he wrote to the home Government
concerning Nootka affairs:
When my predecessor, Don Manuel Antonio Florez, surrendered
this government to me we had many extended conferences, but either
because of forgetfulness or on account of preference for other weighty
affairs, he did not mention the matter of the English ships captured
at Nootka. He ought to have done it, since he left the business for me
to settle. * * * My verdict has always been opposed to the seizure of the vessels, but since my predecessor has seen fit to refer the
matter to the home Government, I have concluded that I ought to do
°Revilia-Gigedo to Florez, Veracruz, September 9, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen.
de Indias, Seville, 90-3-14.)
6 LFlorez] to Revilia-Gigedo, Mexico, September 16, 1789. (MS. Arch.
Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-14.)
"Informe of Kevilla-Gigedo, Bustamante [Cavo], Los Tres Siglos, III, 130. AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION.
nothing further until I have received the decision of the King. Since
there were no others available at San Bias, be had made use of the
captured ships, he said, to bring arms from Acapulco to that port.
After their return from this trip he would send them in January with
supplies and reinforcements for Nootka. By the time these operations
should be completed the King's orders for detention or release would
have come."
About the time that the new Viceroy took possession of
the government, letters arriAred from the captains of the
captured English vessels. Mention has been made of the
letter which Florez wrote to the commandant and commissary at San Bias immediately after receiving news of the
arrival of the first prize. Besides this letter giving orders
for the care of the prisoners, the repairing of the vessels,
and making an inventory of the cargo, he seems to have
given instructions for obtaining a full statement of their
case from the English commanders. Their letters were addressed to Florez. These are the accounts of Colnett and
Hudson to which frequent reference has been made above.6
In closing, Colnett said:
Your excellency will pardon me for'venturing to Avrite such a long
letter, in which I have dwelt on affairs of such little importance. But
if 1 have done so, it has been at the instance of the commandant of
this port, who has told me that it Avas your excellency's wish. As
reflecting the treatment received at San Bias [he said], I beg permission to add that all of the bad treatment which I received at
Nootka and the cruelty which was practiced on me in my passage
from thence hither has been entirely wiped out by the attentions
and humanity of the ofncii>l whom I find here in the position of commandant, Don Jose Comancho.c
This letter bears no date, but that of Hudson which
accompanied it is dated September IS.3 Inclosed with these
letters Avas a copy of an inventory giving the original cost
of each article. It Avas signed by Colnett and Duffin, and
apparently included the cargo of the Argonaut only. On
October 1 Colnett wrote another letter, in concluding which
he said:
"Revilia-Gigedo to Valdez, Mexico, October 27, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
6 Chapters IV and V.
• Spanish translation of Colnett to Florez, San Bias [September 18], 1789.
(MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
d Spanish translation of Hudson to Florez, San Bias, September 18, 1789.
(MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.) NOOTKA  SOUND   CONTROVERSY!
The climate of San Bias has proved to be very bad for me and my
officers and crew. We should consider it a great favor if you would
permit us to make a journey on"horseback some miles inland, or allow
part of us to pass a few days at some distance from the porta
It fell to the lot of Revilia-Gigedo to answer the letters.
On October 21 he Avrote to Colnett:
I have read the representations which you and Captain Hudson
made to my predecessor, the Most Excellent Senor Don Manuel
Antonio Florez. lie has turned over to me all of your complaints
against the proceedings of the commandant of Nootka, Don Estevan
Jose Martinez. My dealings shall be based on the laws of reason,
' equity, and justice. This is all that I can or should say at present.
I assure you and Captain Hudson that yourselves and all the people of
your vessels shall be treated with such attention as is demanded by
the friendship and harmony existing between our Sovereigns. 6
Having thus temporarily disposed of the question of the
captured ships, the Viceroy busied himself about carrying
out a I royal order of the 14th of last April for sustaining
with vigor our new establishment at Nootka." He wrote to
his superior at Madrid how he had planned to send, in the
following January, a new expedition of three vessels with
complete equipment, supplies, and reinforcements. It was
to be commanded by a military official. He was to succeed
Martinez as commandant of Nootka, and was to receive from
Martinez complete instruction regarding the country and its
inhabitants. This would contribute the greatest possible
security to the establishment in that port. But the plan had
been completely OA^erthrown by the return of Martinez with
all of his ships to San Bias December 6." At first this had
caused the Viceroy great inquietude, but soon he had modified his plan and was again pushing it to completion. The
new commandant Avas to be Eliza, and Martinez should
accompany him in the office of pilot. The Spanish possession of Nootka was to be vigorously maintained if any foreign power should attempt to dispute it. One of the three
ships Avas to be the captured Princess Royal. The Argonaut
had already gone to Acapulco and returned to San Bias
loaded Avith artillery to furnish armamennt for the expedi-
" Spanish translation of Colnett to the Viceroy, San Bias, October 1, 1789.
(MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
" [Revilia-Gigedo] to Colnett, Mexico, October 21, 1789. (MS. Arch. (Jen.
de Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
" See last chapter,
if 352
tion.a   This new enterprise may be dismissed for the present
to follow the fate of the English prisoners.
Before turning to the dealings of the Viceroy with the
Englishmen it is interesting, though not essential to the nar-
rative, to notice the final exit of Martinez from the stage that
his rashness had brought into prominence. In a letter of
February 26, 1790, the Viceroy mentioned a royal order of
October 13, 1789, " informing me that at^ the instance of
Dona Gertrudis Gonzales, Avife of Don Estevan Jose Martinez, ensign of the navy, the King had resolved that I
should arrange to transfer this official to those dominions
[Spain], or that in case his continuance at San Bias was necessary to the service that I should Avithhold a third part of
his salary, to be applied to the support of his wife and of
one daughter 17 years old." a Thus it appears that while
Martinez was getting himself and his Government into trouble in America his family in Spain was in trouble because
he had neglected their support. The Viceroy gave orders
at once for Martinez's return from Nootka on the first vessel
coming to San Bias, in order that he might go to Spain and
rejoin his family. His services were no longer necessary,
it was said, there being enough officials without him. It
should be noticed that this order was given more than two
months before news reached Spain of Martinez's operations
at Nootka. So that could have had no influence on his
The request for a change of climate made by Colnett in his
second letter to the Viceroy, mentioned above, was granted.
In Colnett's published account he says: " We were removed.;
60 miles up the country; here we were allowed great liberty
and better treatment," ° and permitted to remain " the six
latter months of our captiAdty." d This was at a place called
Tepic. Not only was this favor granted, but the English
commanders were alloAved to go in person and plead their
case before the Viceroy. Speaking of Bodega y Quadra, the.
new commandant of San Bias, Colnett savs:
" Revilia-Gigedo to Valdez, Mexico, December 27, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen.
de Indias, Sevilla, 90-3-19.)
" Revilia-Gigedo to Valdez, Mexico, February 26, 1790. (MS. Arch. Gen.
de Indias, Seville, 90-3-26.)
<• Colnett, Voyage, 96-102, note.
To this officer I am greatly indebted for his kind attention and
obtaining permission for me to go to Mexico to claim redress for our
past treatment0
In Kevilla-Gigedo's first account of the matter to the
home government he had mentioned the English captain's
complaint of the bad faith and worse treatment of Martinez.
He said he had offered to giAre them a hearing in court, but it
would be impossible to do this Avithout giving Martinez a
hearing at the same time.6 When writing this he supposed
that Martinez was at Nootka and would remain until relieved of his command. But although Martinez returned
to Mexico shortly thereafter, still the trial Avas not held,
since he had to go again to Nootka as pilot of the expedition
under Eliza. The Viceroy, in his published " .Informe," tells
of the promised trial and why it Avas not held:
The captain of the Argonaut, James Colnett, and that of the Princess Royal, Thomas Hudson, his subaltern, asked and I gave them permission to come to this capital. They produced their complaints
against Martinez and I ordered the case to be drawn up. But it could
not be continued, because the defendant and some of the Avitnesses
were necessarily employed in the royal service and the plaintiffs
wished to be set free as soon as possible."
Speaking of his stay at the capital, Colnett says:
On my arrival at Mexico and during my residence there I was
treated by the Viceroy, Don Revilia-Gigedo, with greater politeness
and humanity, and, indeed, by all ranks of people in that city.°
The time of the arrival of the English captains at Mexico
seems to have been about the first of the year. They received
no definite answer to the question whether their ships should
be condemned or released until late in April. The Viceroy
was waiting for an answer from the home Government to
the first account of the seizures which Florez had written
the previous August. This account had not reached the
Government until December 30.^ Florez's second account
was received three days later.6   Thus by the second day of
| Colnett, Voyage, 96-102, note.
»Revilia-Gigedo to Valdez, Mexico, October 27, 1789. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
§ Informe of Revilia-Gigedo, April 12, 1793. (Bustamante [Cavo], Los Tres
Siglos, III, 132.)
d Valdez to Floridablanca, December 30, 1789. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional,
Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)
e Valdez to Floridablanca, January 2, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional,
Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)
H. Doc. 429.58-3 23 m
the new year the Government had a full account of the seizures and copies of all of the documents. No reply was.made
until January 26. When this reply reached the Viceroy,
greatly to his surprise and disappointment, it gave him no
advice, but instead it asked for his determinations concerning the question whether the ships were good prize.
Revilia-Gigedo resoh^ed to wait no longer for advice, and
so took the responsibility upon himself. In answer to the
request from Madrid, he wrote, on May 1, 1790, his conclusions, as follows:
They have been to liberate the English prisoners on the conditions
shown by inclosed letters. Colnett, who came to Mexico with my consent to present his complaints, will now return to San Bias, where
he will receive his ship, the Argonaut. Embarking there with all of
the English and Chinese,0 he will return to Macao or wherever he
wishes. At Nootka he will receive from the commandant, Don Francisco Eliza, the sloop Princess Royal, which will be turned OArer to
her master, Thomas Hudson. These foreigners are warned not to
delay, trade, nor establish themselves on our Spanish coasts under
threat of punishment for violation. I have felt compelled to release
them, considering that I ought not to hold as good prize a few little
vessels found on a distant and deserted coast of our colonies of
California; and considering the uselessness of burdening the royal
treasury with some 60 men, whose scanty sustenance has to be provided for in the feeble and expensive establishment of San Bias in
order that the just sentiments of humanity might not be violated,
and that the plans of my predecessor might be carried out*
This action of Revilia-Gigedo and the grounds here given
for the release of the English ships are consistent with the
position taken by him as soon as he heard of the affair,
namely, that the vessels ought never to have been seized.
It will be interesting to notice the subsequent change in his
Colnett had been informed of the decision of the Viceroy
on April 27.° On the same day orders were sent $o San
Bias for carrying it out. The commandant, Bodega y
Quadra, was to surrender the Argonaut to Colnett in good
condition, and was to give orders to Eliza at Nootka to
"Florez's plan, mentioned in the last chapter, for taking the Chinese to
Nootka and liberating them, had evidently not been carried out.
"Revilia-Gigedo to Valdez, Mexico, May 1, 1790. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
<= Revilia-Gigedo to Colnett, Mexico, April 27, 1790. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.) NOOTKA  SOUND  CONTROVERSY.
surrender the Princess Royal to Hudson in the same condition. The small schooner, since it could not be taken apart
to be put on the larger vessel, was to be paid for. All belongings were to be returned to the prisoners. The supplies
deposited in the royal storehouses were to be given back,
an equivalent was to be given for everything applied to the
royal service, and whatever had been lost was to be paid
for. All this was to be done in such a manner as to avoid
complaint.0 Besides having all of their belongings restored,
the commissary was to pay wages to all, extending from
the day of their capture until they were released. Colnett
was to be paid as a lieutenant of the navy, and all others
according to their rank as regulated by the scale of wages
for the South Sea. A general account was to be made of all
expenses occasioned by the captured ships.6 The Viceroy
argued, in a letter to the home Government, that the English
South Sea Company, under whose license Colnett was navigating, should repay to the royal treasury of Spain all
expenses occasioned by the captured ships. His reason was
that their agents made the seizure necessary by coming to
the coast of California, where they could neither establish
themselves nor enjoy commercial advantages by right.0
In the packet which Revilia-Gigedo sent on May 1 he
inclosed a letter from Colnett to the British ambassador at
Madrid, presenting his complaints against Martinez/ The
Viceroy added that he hoped these would be considered
when Martinez reached Spain.
The Viceroy considered that he was treating Colnett very
liberally, and it does seem that he had allowed about all that
could be expected if his orders should be faithfully carried
out. Colnett, however, was not fully satisfied and presented
a number of formal requests. He enumerated a list of
things which he requested should be sent from Mexico to fit
out his ships.   These were granted.   He asked that all of the
"Revilia-Gigedo to Bodega y Quadra, Mexico, April 27, 1790. (MS. Arch.
Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
* Revilia-Gigedo to the commissary of San Bias, Mexico, April 27, 1790.
(MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
c Revilia-Gigedo to Valdez, Mexico, May 1, 1790. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
a Copies of this letter from Colnett to the British ambassador at Madrid,
one to Cadman, Etches & Co., one to Colnett's mother, and one to P. Stephens, of the Admiralty office at London, all dated May 1, 1790, are in Madrid.
(Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)
y ■ta
wages of both crews be paid to him as commander, which
was granted also. He demanded payment for himself as
commandant of an expedition, but he was allowed pay only
for a lieutenant, Avhich was less than half as much. He
demanded the return of the schooner which he had brought
in the Argonaut, but which Martinez had taken. He was to
have pay for it. He Avished the Princess Royal to return to
San Bias for her creAv, but he was compelled to wait until
he should get to Nootka for her. He demanded a money
payment of not more than £3,000 to reimburse himself for
personal valuables and nautical instruments lost. The Viceroy refused this, since he had ordered that all of these should
be returned or paid for at San Bias. He asked for a special
interpreter to be appointed for him, but this was refused as
unnecessary. His request for the return of his servant, a
Sandwich Islander, was at first refused, but later granted.
The Viceroy was attempting to keep this man, who was said
to be chief of one of the islands, ostensibly that he might be
converted to the Catholic religion; but probably the real
reason was to use him in getting an opening for a Spanish
settlement on the Sandwich Islands. He had flattered the
vanity of the savage by promising to send him to see the
King of Spain. Colnett's persuasion prevailed. The most
important request Avas that for a passport which should
allow greater privileges than the Viceroy's order for his
release had granted.0
The Viceroy had forbidden the Englishmen to make any
establishment, to trade, or even to tarry on the coast; and
in his first reply to Colnett's demands he repeated the prohibition. Three days later Colnett wrote again, using very
plain language. He called attention to the instructions
under which he had sailed with a license from the British
Government. Those instructions required him to trade wjth
the Indians and to form an establishment for that purpose.-
The Viceroy's instructions had ordered him to sail directly
to Macao, without stopping on the coast. He pointed out
the inconsistent position in which he was placed. The
right of Spain to the coast was a point to be settled—he
-Colnett to Revilia-Gigedo, Mexico, May 3, 1790, and answer, Revilia-
Gigedo to Colnett, Mexico, May 4, 1790. (MSS. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Seville!
hoped, in a friendly manner0—between the Cabinets of
Madrid and St. James. It was clear that the right was not
recognized by the English, as was shown by the patent and
instructions which he bore. That same year the privilege
granted to his company would expire. Let Spain see, in
a friendly manner, that it should not be renewed, but the
Viceroy should not oppose the pacific execution of a commercial undertaking attempted in good faith and at so great an
expense. He demanded a passport with only one prohibition, namely, to trade with Spanish ports.6
Colnett's arguments had the desired effect. On May 11
the Viceroy sent him a passport with only the one prohibition and expressly stating that he might carry on his operations in places not actually under Spanish dominion.0 In
the letter inclosing the passport he trusts that, they will not
think of making an establishment on the coast or of trading
to the prejudice of the Spanish nation.3
It is noteworthy that in this passport the Viceroy reversed
his decision of ten days before and declared that Martinez's
seizure of the vessels was well founded.    He cited laws and
royal orders which he said not only absolutely forbade the
navigation, establishment, and trade of foreign nations on the
American coasts of the South Sea, but ordered them to be
looked upon and treated as enemies.    His reason for freeing
the English ships, he now said, was to preserve harmony and
a good understanding between the subjects of His Catholic
Majesty and the King of Great Britain.    The change in his
mental attitude seems to have been brought about by the
stubborn persistence with which Colnett urged his demands
in the meantime.    By the latter part of May, when he wrote
again to the home Government, the Viceroy had formulated
his decision.   He declared:
The coasts north of California are truly and justly the dominions of
our Sovereign.   According to the royal order of November 25, 1692,
a Had Colnett and the Viceroy known of the feverish excitement In Europe
at this very time in expectation of a war over this quarrel between sea captains this veiled threat would not have seemed so obscure.
'Colnett to Revilia-Gigedo, May 7, 1790. (MS. Arch. Gen. de Indias,
Seville, 90-3-21.)
0 Passport signed by Revilia-Gigedo, Mexico, May' 11, 1790. (MS. Arch.
Gen. de Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
4 Revilia-Gigedo to Colnett, Mexico, May 11, 1790. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.) mm
of which my predecessor sent a copy, and according to the treaty, to
which it refers, of 1670, ratified and confirmed by article 2 of that of
1783, all of the vessels which Don Estevan Jose Martinez, ensign of
the royal navy, found in Nootka were legitimate prizes. The release
of the packet boat Argonaut and the sloop Princess Royal has been'
the result of pure generosity.0
This is a complete reversal of his decision quoted above
from his letter of twenty-six days earlier. In his " Informe "
of three years later the Viceroy cited in addition as grounds
for his decision an article of the orders of the royal navy,
and also a royal order of October 18, 1776, | to detain, seize,
and prosecute any foreign ship which arrives in our ports
of the South Sea.6
A royal order had been finally-given, March 23, definitely
instructing the Viceroy to liberate the captured ships. In
a letter of June 26 Revilia-Gigedo said that the royal order
of March 23 had been completely satisfied by his accounts of
May 1 and 27. He was pleased that he had conformed so
happily to the decisions of the King.0
According to Colnett's published account, he found on
his return to San Bias that the Argonaut was in a bad condition on account of the treatment she had received. He
says that the Viceroy's liberality in alloAving wages was
counterbalanced by the charges for maintenance, traveling
expenses, medical assistance, and an allowance of eight
months' provisions. He says also that before he was allowed
to sail he was compelled to sign a paper expressing his complete satisfaction with their usage.5 That paper was signed
July 8,1790, and is as follows:
I have the honor of informing your excellency that to-day I have
been dispatched from San Bias; and I also have the satisfaction of
adding that I have reason to be content with the treatment* of the
commandant and commissary of this department
With all proper submission, I ask permission of your excellency
to add that the money which I have received here is little more than
the amount of my individual loss, and is not the fifth part of the
damages by the most moderate calculation.   Since I shall have to
"Revilia-Gigedo to Valdez, Mexico, May 27, 1790. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
" Informe of Revilia-Gigedo, April 12, 1793. (Bustamante (Cavo), Los
Tres Siglos, III, 132.)
c Revilia-Gigedo to Valdez, Mexico, June 26, 1790. (MS. Arch. Gen. de
Indias, Seville, 90-3-21.)
''Colnett, Voyage, 96-102, note.
turn matters over to the company which employs me, I hope that
your excellency will have consideration in keeping with your known
generosity, and will Dot allow them to suffer such losses.**
This, if true, indicates that Colnett's apprehensions of
illiberal treatment at San Bias were well founded. On his
arrival at Nootka the Princess Royal was not there. June
11 of the next year she was dispatched from San Bias to be
surrendered to Colnett or some other representative of the
company in China.6 Colnett fell in with her and she was
handed over at the Sandwich Islands."
This closes the Nootka affair as far as events on the American continent are concerned. Before the Viceroy had
finally decided to liberate the prisoners, the matter had been
taken up by the home Governments, and all Europe was
ablaze Avith excitement OArer an expected war. The center of
interest ncrw shifts to the diplomatic controversy, which is
the most important phase of the Nootka incident.3
"Colnett to [Revilia-Gigedo], San Bias, July 8, 1790. (Arch. Gen. cle
Indias, Seville, Sec. Estado, Audieneia de Mexico, 1790.)
6 Revilia-Gigedo to Floridablanca, Mexico, December 30, 1791. (Arch. Gen.
de Indias, Seville, Sec. Estado, Audieneia de Mexico, 1791.)
"Colnett, Voyage, 96-102, note.
"• The obscurity of the facts discussed in this chapter is illustrated by the
following quotations :
" It has been generally supposed from later diplomatic correspondence that
the Viceroy in restoring the vessels acted on his own judgment; but it appears from his own statement that he acted probably in accordance with
orders from Spain, dated January 26, 1790." (Bancroft, Northwest Coast,
I, 223.)'s conclusion Is exactly contrary to the fact, as has been
shown above. The Viceroy did act on his own authority, finally, as has been
shown ; and this communication of January 26 gave no orders. The Viceroy's statement, to which Bancroft here refers, is the Informe of Revilla-
I Gigedo, published by Bustamante, which is very brief and sometimes misleading. Bancroft devotes a little more than one page to discussing the subject-
' matter of this chapter. Besides this Informe he had the note in Colnett's
Greenhow, Oregon and California, p. 200, speaking of the restoration of the
English ships, says: " It was at length decided that * * * they should
be released, with the understanding, however, that they were not again to
enter any place on the Spanish-American coasts, either for the purpose of
settlement or of trade with the natives." This was the Viceroy's order at
first, but in the passport he gave permission to touch at places not under
Spanish control, as shown above. The same writer, speaking of Colnett's
failure to get the Princess Royal at Nootka, as promised, says: " On arriving
at the sound Colnett found the place deserted." The sloop was not there, but
there was a substantial Spanish settlement, as will be shown later.
" La autoridad superior de Nueva Espana no sancionfi el hecho [Martinez's
' seizure of the English vessels] ; apenas llegO a su notlcia, atendiendo a las
buenas relaciones en que estaban los Gobiernos de ambos Estados y a la igno-
rancla en que suponia 6. las proprietaries de los bajeles, orden6 la immediata
soltura de estas con sus cargamentos."    (Duro, Armada Espanola, VIII, 10.) mmm
What has been discussed so far might be briefly summarized as follows: As far as discoveries and explorations,
which could give definite claims, are concerned, the Spanish
were the earlier; but the English were made in ignorance of
the Spanish, and the results of the English were published
first. Spain could claim a prescriptive title from the fact
that she had maintained for so long an undisputed claim, and
from the additional fact that the land was contiguous to her<
settled Mexican dominions; but the English were the first to
attempt to deArelop the country by exploiting the fur trade.
The .first actual establishment was made by the English, and,
although it Avas temporarily abandoned in the autumn, it was
with the evident intention of reneAving, enlarging, and jnak-
ing it permanent in the spring; but unfortunately for what
was, in the autumn of 1789, an unquestionably superior
claim, it was counterbalanced by the arrival of a Spanish expedition in the spring of 1790, a few days before the English
returned to resume their occupation, and when there were no
signs of previous or intended occupation. The fact that the
Spanish expedition was public while the English was private, favored the former. From these recapitulations it is
plain that there was abundant ground for disputing the respective rights.
As to the justice or injustice of the seizures at Nootka,
there is also room for dispute. The Iphigenia, by pretending to be a Portuguese when she was really an English
ship, aroused a just suspicion, and what was probably a
harmless trick, meant solely to deceiA^e the Celestials, as-
This work was published in 1902, and is considered the best on the Spanish
The error, which is a common one, of thinking that they were released by
the Viceroy immediately, doubtless arises from the Spanish minister's statement in his memorial of June 13, 1790, to the British ambassador, published
In the Annual Register, XXXII, 296. This states that the Viceroy released
the vessels without declaring them lawful prize, and allowed them to» return
to Macao under bond as the Iphigenia had been disposed of. These two statements are exactly contrary to the fact. The Viceroy did declare them lawful
prize, and did not place them under bond. What the Spanish minister said
had been done was what Florez had said, in his second account to the home
Government that he thought ought to be done, but which he left his successor, Revilia-Gigedo, to do. The Spanish minister had inferred that the new
Viceroy would do this, but that official had not done it, as has been shown.
Oscar Browning, Cambridge Modern History, VIII, 290, says more correctly that they " were released by the Viceroy on the ground of the friendly
relations existing, between the two nations, and the probability that the
traders were ignorant of Spanish rights." NOOTKA  SOUND  CONTROVERSY.
sumed a grave appearance when the added suspicion of
piracy was aroused. But this suspicion of piracy was
based on a mistake made by the Spaniard in translating
the ship's instructions. Having seized her on the ground
of this double suspicion, for the sake of consistency and to
hide his blunder, Martinez justified his rash act on a totally
different ground, but one which was plausible from the
Spanish view. When the Argonaut arrived her captain
made the mistake of rashly declaring his purpose before
he knew his opponent's strength, and of manifesting too
much impatience to get out of the power of a man who
would probably have allowed him to depart in peace had
he been patient. Then a quarrel, caused largely by the mistakes of a blundering interpreter, ended in the Spaniard's
making another rash seizure, this one without so much as
having had the Englishman's papers translated.
When the matter was transferred to the officials in Mexico, the outgoing Viceroy, instead of shouldering the responsibility and acting at once, attempted to shift it to his
successor. The failure of the two to agree led to an aAvk-
ward delay of seAreral months. Then after the new Viceroy
finally declared. that the vessels were not good prize, a
quarrel with the liberated Englishman led him to reverse
his decision, so far as the principle Avas concerned, though
his change did not affect the fact of the Englishman's
The whole episode to this point seems to have been a series
of blunders, and would not merit careful consideration had
not the consequences been so serious for the home Governments. I
Chapter VII.
The Spanish name of greatest importance in the diplomatic contest with England in 1790 is that of Count Floridablanca. He was of humble origin. His ability as a diplomatist was established while ambassador to the Papal Court,
especially in the suppression of the Jesuit order. " This result [says Tratchevsky] was due in great measure to the skill
and energy of the Spanish ambassador at Rome, Don Jose
Monino. As a recompense, Charles III conferred on him the
title Count Floridablanca, and soon made him prime minister (1777)." ° He retained this position fifteen years. " His
integrity and love of labor won for him the entire confidence
of Charles III, who found in him the industrious and respectful servant whom he sought.6 He was a great worker,
of clean morals, beneficent, but very proud." e He Avas a
devoted servant of monarchy and an enthusiastic adherent
to the principle of aristocracy. But on account of his recent
elevation to the rank of a noble he did not enjoy the favor of
the upper classes. Zinovief, the Russian ambassador, wrote:
" The nobles and the soldiery despise him, and he, in turn,
takes no pains to hide his aversion to them. No one of the
great nobles enjoys any considerable importance at Court or
in the confidence of the King. Floridablanca seems intentionally to push eA^eryone else aside that he alone may enjoy
the Sovereign's favor. Even the King's confessor, who, it
seems, should have nothing to fear, has to yield to him.
*    *    *   Everybody trembles before him."d
a Tratchevsky,   L'Espagne  &  l'Epoque  de  la  Revolution  frangaise,   Revue
Historique, XXXI, 5.
"Desdevises du Dezert, L'Espagne de l'Anclen Regime, II, 39.
• Grandmaison, L'Ambassade frangaise en Espagne pendant la Revolution, 7.
* Quoted by Tratchevsky, work cited above, p. 5. The Russian ambassador
was thoroughly familiar, in an official way, with Floridablanca. The former
had been at the Court of Madrid before the latter became prime minister and
remained until after the latter's retirement. He was an ardent admirer of
the great Spanish minister. His dispatches in the archives at Moscow were
the chief source for Tratchevsky's article.
This enviable position was enjoyed by the great minister until the death of Charles III (1788). He was retained
by Charles IV, but it was not long before his position began
to be undermined by court intrigues:    Baumgarten says:
The Queen sought occasions to cast reproaches upon him over a
multitude of trifles, and, according to the testimony of Sandoz, this
mighty man was more busily engaged in these bagatelles than in the
weighty affairs of state." * * * The Queen found willing accomplices among the Count's associates in the cabinet. By 1790 his power
was greatly diminished, so that he entered the contest with England
considerably handicapped.^
The controversy between England and Spain did not seem
so one-sided at that time as it does when viewed in the
light of "the subsequent history of the two countries. The
thirty years' reign of Charles III, which had just closed, is
the most glorious period of Spanish history, with the single
exception of her period of preeminence in the sixteenth century. DesdeAuses du Dezert says: | In Charles III Spain
had a real King, the only one she had had since Philip II." °
Speaking of his position in Europe, the same author says:
His foreign policy was wise. He rightly considered England as
the true enemy of Spain. He feared for the Indies; he beheld them
invaded by English merchants and adventurers, by English merchandise and ideas. To protect the colonies he hurled upon them a new
current of Spanish emigration, and decreed liberty of commerce between the Peninsula and America. He allied himself Avith France in
order to combat England; and, notwithstanding some reverses, the
war was closed to the advantage of Spain, which country in 1783 again
took her place as a great European power.*
When the conflict came, in 1790, although nearly two years
of the reign of Charles IV had passed, little was known of
the weakness of the King, the corrupting influence of the
Queen, and the intrigues in the ministry. Europe of the
time saw in Spain a country rapidly forging to the front,
' Baamgarten, Geschichte Spaniens zur Zeit der franzoesischen Rev., 268.
Sandoz was the Prussian ambassador at Madrid. His dispatches sent to
Berlin furnish the chief basis for Baumgarten's work.
* Id., 268-276. In these pages the author discusses the internal conditions
of Spain, the court intrigues and ministerial complications. On April 25,
1790, there was a reorganization of the ministry. The department of justice, which Floridablanca had hitherto controlled, was taken from him, and
with it went an extensive appointing power that had contributed much to his
prestige. He was even given an associate in the department of foreign affairs,
who should act when sickness or absence incapacitated the Count.
" Desdevises du Dezert, L'Espagne de 1'Ancien Regime, II, 14.
" Id., 18. 364
with a rejuvenated kingship, and a minister second only to
Pitt.6 Led by this minister, Spain had less than a decade
before been largely instrumental in humiliating England;
and since then she had persistently refused to make any
commercial concessions to her vanquished antagonist. The
Same minister now dared to intervene betAveen the Czar and
the Porte. He was also negotiating for an alliance between
Spain, France, Austria, and Russia.6 If this quadruple
alliance should prove successful the outlook for England
Avould be dark, notwithstanding her triple alliance with
Prussia and Holland.
Such, briefly, was the political condition of Spain, internally and externally, Avhen neAvs arrived of the occurrences
at Nootka Sound which have been discussed in the foregoing chapters.
As stated above, it was at the very beginning of the year
that the intelligence was received which was soon to throw all
Europe into a war fever. On January 2, 1790, Valdez °
sent to Floridablanca the second installment of letters and
documents concerning the occurrences at Nootka. Three
days earlier he had sent the first bundle.* These two packages contained a complete account of the affair, with copies
of all the documents. Valdez asked for His Majesty's pleasure concerning the matter.
On January 4, Anthony Merry, the English charge d'af-
° Grandmaison, I/Ambassade frangaise en Espagne pendant la Rev., 8.
This quotes the following from Comte de Vaudreuil to Comte d'Artois, July
2, 1790, published in Pingaud, Correspondance Intime pendant l'Emigration, I,
219 : " C'est un homme loyal, qui pursuit tonjours et sans se rebuter ee qu'il
a une fois entrepris. Soyez stir que M. Floridablanca est (sans en excepter
m6me M. Pitt) une des meilleures tgtes de tous les cabinets de 1'Europe."
* Baamgarten, Geschichte Spaniens znr Zeit der franzoesischen Rev., 283.
c The Viceroy's letters were addressed to Valdez. He was minister of
marine and, before the reorganization of the ministry mentioned abov$, also
treasurer for the Indies. At that reorganization the finances of theVndies
were transferred to the regular department of finance, at the head of which
was the ungrateful Lerena, who was the leader of the ministerial opposition
to Floridablanca in spite of the fact that he owed his entire political advancement, and even his position in the ministry, to the Count. Valdez was the
man who was made associate to Floridablanca in the foreign office. He also
retained the ministry of marine. (See Baumgarten, Geschichte Spaniens zur
Zeit der franzoesischen, Rev., 268-276.)
d See Chapter ArI, ante, for a complete discussion of the contents of these
letters from the Viceroy. The first was written August 27, 1789, on receipt
of the news of the arrival of the Argonaut at San Bias, and the second, September 26, after the arrival of the Princess Royal. The letters from Valdez
of December 30 and January 2 give both numbers and dates of the letters
from the Viceroy, showing that they contained full accounts.
faires at Madrid wrote to the Duke of Leeds, British secretary for foreign affairs, giving a very confused account based
on rumors. Word had just arrived from Mexico, he said,
that a small Spanish ship of war had captured an English
vessel in the port of Nootka. There were conflicting accounts of the event. Some said " that the Viceroy of Mexico,
having had notice that the English were forming an establishment at the above-mentioned place, ordered a ship there
to take possession of it." Others said that the Spanish ship
was there simply to reconnoiter the coast. There were also
conflicting accounts of what was done with Russian, Portuguese, and American ships found in the same port, some stating that all were allowed to go free except the English;
others, that all were seized and only the American released,
Merry had not yet been able to learn the name of the English vessel or her master. All accounts agreed that she had
come for the purpose of forming a settlement, that other
Aressels were to folloAv, and that the captured ship had been
manned with Spanish seamen and sent to Mexico.0
This was the first account to reach London.6 It is not
strange that mistaken notions w^re formed. Fired by hatred
for the Spaniards, it was natural that the English should
consider the act much more atrocious than it was. The in-
definiteness and inconsistency of the accounts gave room for
° Merry to Leeds, Madrid, January 4, 1790. (A Narrative of the Negotiations Occasioned by the Dispute Between England and Spain in the Tear
1790, 1.)
This Narrative is a very rare book, and very valuable for the subject in
hand. No previous writer on the Nootka controversy has consulted it. Probably only a few copies were printed. The King's own copy is now in the
British Museum. That obtained for use in this study is the only other copy
that Messrs. Henry Stevens, Son & Stiles, antiquarian booksellers of London,
have noted during the whole of their business experience. Neither date nor
name of publisher nor author is given. The British Museum catalogue-gives
1791 (?) as the date. It is evidently an official account prepared in the for
eign office especially for the King. In a letter from J. B. Burges, under secretary for foreign affairs, to Lord Auckland, dated Whitehall, November. 12,
1790, found in B. M. Add. MSS. 34434, f58, he mentions an " interesting Narrative, which, at leisure hours, I have prepared for the King, of the whole of
this business." A careful comparison of the printed Narrative with the documents In the public record office reveals the identity of the printed Narrative
with the Narrative mentioned by Burges in this letter. The comparison also
revealed the fact that the printed account is full and faithful. It is necessarily condensed, but nothing of importance is omitted.
The British charge^ is the same Merry who, later, as minister to the United
States, was connected with the Aaron Burr conspiracy.
'This news reached London January 21. It is usually stated that the
British Court knew nothing of the matter before receiving the Spanish note
of February 10. 366
full play of the imagination. The Spanish Court, which
had complete accounts, either did not study them carefully
enough to get at the whole truth, or intentionally kept the
British Court in the dark. No English account arrived for
nearly four months. Such a period of uncertainty and suspense prepared a fertile field in which the exaggerated
accounts then arriving produced a fruitful crop of error.
Three days after sending the above confused account
Merry inclosed an extract from a letter written in Mexico,
which he had seen. This letter seems to have been unofficial.
Respecting the genesis and purpose of the Spanish expedition it is true to the facts. It tells briefly of the expedition
of 1788 to investigate the Russian settlements, of the discovery that the Russians intended to occupy Nootka, and of
the Viceroy's prompt action to anticipate them. But respecting the events at Nootka little is told except the seizure of
an English Aressel and its arrival in Mexico as a prize.0 On
January 15 the British charge wrote of a conference with
Floridablanca on the subject. | The Count aA7oided explaining to him the particulars of the transaction, or avowing
clearly the seizure of the vessels; neither did he enter upon
the question of our right to trade or to form an establishment in that part of the continent of America." He said
that he would direct the Marquis del Campo, the Spanish
ambassador at London, to impart the circumstances to the
Duke of Leeds.6
In virtue of this promise Floridablanca instructed Campo,
January 20, regarding the communication which he was to
make to Leeds. This communication will be studied pres-
ently.c   A week after sending his harsh instructions the
° " Narrative"' cited on foregoing page. *
6 Id., 9.
' That these instructions were written January 20 Is stated in Campo to
Floridablanca, London, February 28,1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid,
Sec. Estado, 4291.) The date is significant when it is noticed that on the
same day he wrote a querulous letter to Montmorin, minister for foreign affairs at Paris. He expressed pity for France and her King and complained
that in the present circumstances that country was not in a condition to support Spain as she should. He made no mention of the Nootka affair or of the
sharp protest which he was sending to the British Court the same day. But
he evidently had it in mind and was thinking of the complications to which it
might lead. (See Floridablanca to Montmorin, Aranjuez, January 20, 1790,
MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.) The same is printed
In Calvo, Recueil Complet des Traites de l'Amei'ique Latine, III, 104.) NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVEEST..
Count attempted to smooth matters over in another conference with Merry. He wished to see the present harmony
between the two courts preserved and improved, and " hoped
that no event might happen which might cause Great Britain to deviate from her present pacific system." °
The first three letters from Merry had reached London before February 2. On that day the Buke of Leeds wrote cautioning him to be extremely guarded in what he should say,
until definite instructions could be sent after Campo's communication should have been received. He declared that
England undoubtedly had a complete " right to visit for the
purposes of trade, or to make a settlement in, the district in
question." 6 When this positive declaration by the British
Cabinet at the very first is compared with the demand of
the Spanish Court, received a few days later, it is seen that
a conflict was inevitable unless one side should yield.
The expected communication from Campo was received by
Leeds February 11. Since it Avas this note that started the
diplomatic controversy, and since it has not before been
made public, it is worth while to quote it in full. It is dated
I Manchester Square, February 10, 1790," and is as follows:
My Loed : Continuing the frequent expeditions which the King, my
master, has ordered to be made to the northern coasts of California,
the Viceroy of Mexico sent two ships, under the orders of Don Este-
van Jose Martinez, ensign of the navy, to make a permanent settlement in the port of San Lorenzo, situated about the fiftieth degree of
latitude, and named by foreigners "Nootka," or " Nioka," of which
possession had formerly been taken. He arrived there the 24th of
last June. In giving his account to the Viceroy, M. Martinez said
that he found there an American frigate and sloop, which had sailed
from Boston to make a tour of the world. He "also found a packet
boat and another vessel belonging to a Portuguese established at
Macao, whence they had sailed with a passport from the governor of
that port. He announced also that on the 2d of July there arrived
another packet boat from Macao. This was English, and came to
take possession of Nootka in the name of the British King. She carried a sloop in pieces on board.
This simple recital will have convinced your excellency of the necessity in which the Court of Madrid finds itself of asking His Britannic Majesty to punish such undertakings in a manner to restrain
his subjects from continuing them on tbese lands which have been
occupied and frequented by the Spaniards for so many years.   I say
" Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain in 1790, 12.
this to your excellency as an established fact, and as a further argument against those who attribute to Captain Cook the discovery of
the said port of San Lorenzo, I add that the same Martinez in charge
of the last expedition was there under commission in August of 1774.
This was almost four years before the appearance of Cook. This
same Martinez left in the hands of the Indians two silver spoons,
some shells, and some other articles which Cook found. The Indians
still keep them, and these facts, with the testimony of the Indians,
served M. Martinez to convince the English captain.
The English prisoners have been liberated through the consideration which the King has for His Britannic Majesty, and which ha
has carefully enjoined upon his viceroys to govern their actions in
unforeseen events. His Majesty flatters himself that the Court of St
James will certainly not fail to give the strictest orders to prevent.
such attempts in the future, and, in general, everything that could
trouble the good harmony happily existing between the two Crowns.
Spain on her side engages' to do the same with respect to her subjects.
I have the honor to be, etc.,
The Mahquis del Campo.
His Excellency M. the Duke of Leeds."
One who has read the foregoing chapters will recognize
many misleading statements in this letter. The first sentence falsely gives the impression, though it does not make
the positive statement, that the King of Spain had ordered
the occupation of Nootka. Hence there was some ground
for suspecting that the Spanish Government had ordered
Martinez's violent proceedings. Martinez arrived at Nootka
almost two months earlier than the date given in the note.
June 24 was the date of the formal act of possession. This
error seems to have been due to carelessness, since no motive
is apparent, and the correct date is given in the documents
which Floridablanca had at hand. The note does not mention the fact, clearlv stated in the same documents, that the
first packet boat and the other vessel accompanying it from
Macao were really English, though nominally Portuguese;'
and the impression is given that they were allowed to go
absolutely free as were the American vessels. No mention
whatever is made of the Princess Royal which was also sent
as a prize to Mexico, though this is plainly stated in the
documents.   Instead of telling that four English ships were
•Translated from a manuscript copy In French found In the Archives dea
Affaires Btrangores, Paris;   Bspagn'e 1700, 5 P*'» Mols, f. 96.    The contents
of the note are partially reflected In published memoirs written subsequently.
(8ee Klorldablanca to Fltzherbert, June 13, 1790, Annual Register, XXX11,!
captured, the impression is given that there was only one.
The gravest misstatement is that the English prisoners had
been liberated. As pointed out above, this was probably
inferred from the statement in the second letter of Florez
that he thought that they ought to be liberated, but would
leave his 'successor to do it—a very insufficient ground for
such a positive assertion. As a matter of fact, they were
not liberated for more than three months after Floridablanca wrote the instructions which this note embodied.0
But the gravity of the note did not lie in its errors or prevarications. The serious part of it was the demand that
the English King should punish his subjects for doing
what Leeds had declared to Merry only a few days before
they had a perfect right to do, namely, to trade and make
settlements on the Northwest Coast. The further request
that the English Government should give strict orders to
prevent such the future was virtually demanding that England should forever refrain from exercising
this right. Such demands could only be acquiesced in when
made upon a weak government by a strong one. English
pride could not brook them.
The narative which was prepared in the foreign office and
published by the Government6 says:
II is Majesty's ministers conceiA'ing the circumstance of seizing a
British ship in time of peace to be an offense against the law of
nations and an insult to His Majesty, lost no time in talcing the only
step in their power."
A fortnight after receiving the Spanish note Leeds replied in a tone equally imperious. After reviewing the
facts as given by Campo and referring to the demands of
the Spanish Court, he said:
As yet no precise information has been received relative to the
events mentioned in your excellency's letter, but while awaiting such
I have His Majesty's orders to inform your excellency that the act
of violence spoken of in your letter as having been committed by
M. Martinez, in seizing a British vessel under the circumstances reported, makes it necessary henceforth to suspend all discussion of
the pretensions set forth in that letter until a just and adequate satisfaction shall have been made for a proceeding so injurious to Great
■ See Chapters III and VI, ante, which show the falsity of these statements.
" See footnote a, p. 365.
0 Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 12.
In the first place it is indispensable that the vessel in question
shall be restored.   To determine the details of the ultimate satisfaction which may be found necessary more ample information mustp
be awaited concerning all the circumstances of the affair."
This haughty tone surprised the Spanish ambassador.
In his note to Floridablanca inclosing Leeds's answer, he
The reply which this ministry has finally given to my letter will
surprise your excellency as it has surprised me. I refrain from comments on it. At first I thought of going to the Duke of Leeds to
express my astonishment, but after considering the matter carefully
I haA'e concluded that I ought to refrain, fearing lest in the heat
of conversation something might be said which might exasperate.
Since it is a formal reply and in writing I could not have obtained
its withdrawal. Besides, anything which I may say in reply will be
better if it comes from there (Madrid), which is the source.*
This quotation is a postscript to a letter which had been
written after delivering the Spanish note to Leeds, but evidently before receiving the answer. In the letter he had
said that Leeds listened to him calmly, but avoided any discussion of the matter. He had tarried a little time and then
withdrawn to Avrite his account and urge anew that orders
be sent disavowing the seizure. He was not convinced that,
as might be suspected, the English expedition had been ordered by the Court. ' He.believed it to have been an enterprise of some remote officials.0
It should be noticed in connection with this reply to the
Spanish Court that Pitt was at this very time listening to
the schemes of Colonel Miranda, the famous South American
agitator. It is quite possible that this had much to do with
the imperious tone assumed by the British Cabinet. As
previously stated, the Spanish note was received February!
11. On February 14 Miranda met Pitt, on the latter's invitation. He had previously proposed his 1 grand plan " for
the advantage of England in comiection with South* America, and that plan was considered at this meeting.    Miranda
"Leeds to  Campo,  Whitehall,  February  26,   1700.    (MS.  Arch.  Hist." Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)    Oscar Browning, Cambridge Modern His*
tory, VIII, 290, says that the original of this reply, now in the public reeordB
office, is in Pitt's own hand.
Muriel, Historia de Carlos IV, I, 108-109, gives briefly the substance of the
Spanish note of February 10 and the British reply of February 2G.
"Campo to Floridablanca, London, February 28,  1790.    (MS.  Arch.  Hisfci
Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)
explained the new form of government to be introduced and
discussed the existing situation. The plan was admitted to
be beneficial, but was to be put into execution only in case
of a war with Spain. Pitt asked him to write down the
substance of what he had said, adding a statement of all the
products of South America, the exports and imports, and the
population, and the military and naval forces of both South
America and Spain. Miranda .did so with as much accuracy and detail as possible, and submitted his statement to
Pitt on March 5.° In the meantime, on February 25, Leeds's
reply had been delivered to Campo. It will be interesting to
watch the progress of these conferences between Pitt and
Miranda and note the coincidence of some of them with the
critical periods of the Spanish negotiation.
While awaiting the reply from London, nothing out of the
ordinary seems to have, occurred at the Spanish capital.
When Leeds cautioned Merry to be guarded in what he
might say, he also asked the charge for all the information
he could obtain concerning recent Spanish naval moA'ements.
Merry's replies indicated a pacific attitude, externally at
least, on the part of the Spanish Court.   March 1 he wrote:
Count Floridablanca gave me no hint of his having any.intention of
arming; and, notwithstanding the reports which have continued to
prevail here Avith regard to the naval preparations in the Spanish
ports, I can not, on the most diligent inquiry, find that any are yet
commenced, except for the equipping of 3 ships of the line, 6 frigates,
and 3 sloops of war for the purpose of forming a fleet of exercise.
[On March 15- he wrote:] The King of Spain has given orders to
grant free license to Prince Edward to pass and repass from Gibraltar
to Spain, and to pay him the same honors as to an Infante de
After the English reply reached Madrid, Merry's reports
were very different. March 22 he wrote that Floridablanca
was much dissatisfied with the English reply, but still seemed
anxious that peace should be preserved. Merry thought that
the Count's ill humor was caused by the fear lest Great
Britain should use the matter as a ground for a quarrel.c
" Miranda to Pitt, London, September 8, 1791. (Am. Hist. Eev., VII, 711,
6 Narrative of the Negotiations between Great Britain and Spain, 13, 14.
"Id., 15. mmm
On the same day that Merry wrote the last-mentioned letter an important session of the supreme junta of state Avas
being held. The question considered was as to the reply that
should be made to England. The matter had been discussed
in the preceding junta. At this meeting of March 22 Valdez, the minister for marine, presented in writing his version
of the proper reply. Though it is not given, its import may
be divined from the report which accompanied it. He told
of abundant military preparations at the principal places in
the Indies, of Avhat was needed to complete their equipment,
and the orders that could be given to insure their security.
He also reported on the state of the Spanish navy, telling of
the ships at the three naval stations Cadiz, Ferrol, and Car-
thagena. There were 45 ships of the line and 32 frigates
ready to be armed at once; and in addition 24- of the former
and 7 of the latter could be prepared in a short time. The
chief of the council for the Indies, Porlier, also presented his
opinion in writing. Others gave oral advice, and it was left
to Floridablanca to formulate the reply to the English Court.
Valdez received royal orders to collect a squadron at Cadiz
to be ready for emergencies, and to take the steps necessary
to put Honduras, Trinidad, and Porto Pico in a state of
defense." \
On March 24 an order was sent to the Viceroy of New Spain
to liberate the English ship in case this had not already been
done.6 As stated in the preceding chapter, the vessels had
not been released at this time, but were liberated before this
order reached the Viceroy.
Merry had another conference Avith Floridablanca on
March 27. He reported to his GoA^ernment that the Count
had concluded from Leeds's reply that the British Court intended to use the matter as a ground for quarreling. The
Spanish minister lamented the fact and hoped that th.6 necessity for Spain's coming to an understanding with other
courts might be avoided. He said that he would endeavor
to soften his reply to the British Court. Merry thought
that in vieAv of the condition of Spain Floridablanca would
not suffer the matter to come to extremities.0
» Minutes of the supreme junta of state, March 22, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist.
Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)
* Report of Valdez to the supreme junta of state, dated March 28, presented
March 29, 1790.    (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)   I
0 Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 17. NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
At the next junta, which was March 29, the minister for
marine presented another report. This was dated March
28 and was embodied in the minutes of the session of the
folloAving day. In it Valdez says that in consequence of
the reply which the junta of one week before had agreed
should be sent to the Court of London by Floridablanca,
and in compliance Avith the precautionary measures which
the department of marine was ordered to take in the Indies
and in Spain, he had proceeded promptly, with His Majesty's approval, to execute the orders which follow in the
report. Vessels were to be armed at once in Ferrol,
Carthagena, and Cadiz, and, the real purpose being kept
as secret as possible, a sufficient number were to be collected
at the last-named port to form a respectable squadron for
use in case later occurrences should make it necessary. The
vessels that needed it were to be cleaned and repaired as
rapidly as possible. Those out of port were to be detained
under arms at Cadiz when they returned. Provisions were
being collected. The officials of Havana, Santo Domingo,
Porto Rico, and Trinidad were ordered to strengthen their
positions. At the same session Floridablanca read the reply
which Campo, the ambassador at London, was to present to
the English Ministry.0 The contents of this reply will be
examined presently.
This glimpse into the inner workings of the Spanish Cabinet reveals a warlike activity. But externally every possible effort j?&s made to maintain a peaceable demeanor.
Floridablanca made especial efforts to keep the British
charge in the dark and quiet any alarm which the warlike rumors might arouse. According to the dispatches of
the Prussian ambassador, Sandoz, to his Government at
Berlin, the Count—
confided to Merry in the greatest secrecy the intelligence that French
emissaries had scattered seditious pamphlets in Mexico and Havana,
and thereby had stirred up the greatest possible ferment, which
threatened an outbreak every moment. The King had concluded that
the most efficacious measures must be taken with the greatest haste
in order that these first dangerous agitations might be nipped in the
0 Minutes of the supreme junta of state, March 29, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist.
Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.) In these minutes is a Spanish rendering of the instructions sent to Campo. They will be studied in the form of
a letter in French which Campo presented to Leeds. mmmm
bud, and consequently he had decided to employ his whole force
against it if necessary. To make this seem more probable, he indulged
in a tirade against the French ReA'olution.a
In dispatches of April 5 and 6 Merry told of the alarm
in Spain and of the naval activity, but he still thought
Floridablanca desirous of avoiding war if possible. The
fleet of exercise which he had mentioned before was assembling at Carthagena.6 April 12 he reported that the fleet
of exercise had been ordered to Cadiz. Other ships were
being armed in that port and the other two naAral stations.0
Three days later he reported as being fitted for immediate
service at Cadiz 14 ships of the line, 10 frigates, and 2
sloops. He told of three treasure ships that had recently
arrived from Spanish America with some 5,000,000 Spanish
dollars on boards On April 22 he wrote of still larger
armaments. Twenty ships of the line were reported ready
for service.e
Such was the tenor of the dispatches from Madrid arriving at London when, on April 20, Campo presented the
second formal note from the Spanish Court on the Nootka
Sound controArersjr. This embodied the reply agreed upon
in the sessions of the Spanish junta of March' 22 and 29. It
is as follows:f
Mr Lokd : Having given an account to my Court of the reply which
your excellency was pleased to make on the 26th of last February
to my memoir on the detention in the port of Nootka of an English;
packet boat uaemd the Prince of Wales, 9 in consequence I have
received an order to inform the Ministry of His Britannic Majesty
as follows: In spite of the' incontestable rights of Spain to exclusive
sovereignty, navigation, and commerce, founded on the most solemn
treaties, on the discovery of the Indies and the islands and tbe
continent of the South Sea, on ancient laws, and on immemorial pos-
" Baumgarten, Geschichte Spaniens zur Zeit der franzoesischen Rev., 287.
This is based on a dispatch of April 19 from Sandoz. The author SJiys that'
not only Merry but even Sandoz, who knew Floridablanca's character so well,
believed this. Shortly afterwards the Prussian ambassador considered every-'!
thing so peaceable that he left his post for a time, turning over the business I
to his attach^, " a condition," says the author, " to which is due the fact that 1
we are less exactly informed concerning the further progress of these impor-|
tant negotiations."
6 Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 18-20.
« Id., 36-38.
"Id., 39.
"Id., 69.
' Not before published, though later memoirs give a partial account.
o An error.   Colnett's license was for the Prince of Wales.   (See Chapter II.) NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
session, which rights this Crown has continually exercised over the
territories, coasts, and seas above mentioned, including the right
always exercised of capturing transgressors—[in spite of all this]
tbe Viceroy of Mexico, as appears from the latest information, has
already liberated the above-mentioned English vessel and crew. He
did this because he^was convinced that nothing but ignorance of the
rights of Spain could have encouraged the individuals of any nation
to resort to those places -with the idea of establishing themselves
or of carrying on commerce there. The Viceroy also had at hand
positive orders which had been giA'en to him instructing him to have
all possible regard for the British nation and to avoid even the least
act that could disturb the good harmony and friendship which happily subsists between the two Courts. For these reasons, and in
order to give a further proof of the King's desire to preserve and
strengthen this friendship, His Majesty understands and considers
this affair as closed, without entering into disputes or discussions
over the indubitable rights of his Crown. His Catholic Majesty
flatters himself that the British King will order all of his subjects
to respect these rights, as I had the honor of setting forth and recommending to your excellency formerly.
It is with the most respectful sentiments and the most constant attachments that I have the honor, etc.,
The Mabquts' del Campo.
His Excellency M. the Duke of Leeds."
The tone of this letter explains the feverish preparations
for war which the Spanish Court began as soon as the reply
was decided upon. It ignored the demand for satisfaction,
the granting of which the English reply of February 26 had
made the indispensable condition of further negotiation. It
assumed that Spain was right and England wrong. It distinctly avowed the seizure and made the release an act of
pure generosity. As justification, it asserted the most extensive claims to exclusive dominion. It reneAved the former
demand that England prevent her subjects from infringing
upon that dominion. To support the positive position taken,
Spain was making extensive preparations for war. If
granting the first Spanish demand would have been incompatible with British pride, yielding to the second would have
been inconsistent with British honor. Only one answer could
have been expected from the British Court.
* MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291. The same with
slight modifications is to be found in Narrative of the Negotiations between
England and Spain, 20. But this work is so rare that it is little more accessible than the manuscripts. Muriel, Historia de Carlos IV, I, 109, mentions
this letter. HH
Shortly after the presentation of the above Spanish memorial an event occurred Avhich greatly influenced the British
Cabinet and made them urge their demands more vigorously. This was the arrival of Meares. He came just at the
opportune moment. The blood of the English ministers
was already up. In the absence of any authentic account to
the contrary, they accepted the exaggerated statements ofc
Meares.   The foreign office | Narrative " says:
From him a more full and probably a more authentic account of this
transaction was obtained than had already been in possession of Government.**
His Majesty's ministers, who till now had proceeded with that caution which the uncertain nature of the intelligence they had received
rendered essentially necessary, no longer having room to doubt of the
insult offered to the British flag, and the injury sustained by British
subjects from the unwarrantable and unprovoked hostility of the
Spanish commander, lost no time in taking those measures which were
best calculated to vindicate the honor of His Majesty and the British
nation.6 -
This event Avith the arrival of the reports from Merry,
mentioned above, caused the British Government to turn its
most serious attention to the Nootka business.
At a cabinet meeting held in the night of April 30 the following recommendations to the King were agreed upon, and
submitted by Grenville to George III the next day:
Upon consideration of the information which has been received
from Mr. Meares of the detention and capture of several British
vessels at Nootka Sound, on the coast of America, and of the circumstances of that transaction, as also of the papers which here have been
delivered by Monsieur del Campo relative thereto, Your Majesty's
servants have agreed humbly to submit to Your Majesty their opinion
that Your Majesty's minister at the Court of Madrid should be
instructed to present a memorial demanding an immediate and
adequate satisfaction for the outrages committed by Monsieur de
Martinez; and that it would be proper, in order to support that demand and to be prepared for such events as may arise, thsft; Your
Majesty should give orders for fitting out a squadron of ships of the
In a note of May 1 the King asked whether a press would
be necessary for equipping the proposed squadron.   The
a Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 24.
"Id., 35.
0 Grenville to George III, May 1, 1790, inclosing cabinet minute of April
30, 1790. (Fortescue MSS. I, 579; Hist. MSS. Com. Report, 13, App. 3.)
This gives the names of the; seven cabinet members who were present. NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
next day Grenville replied that the Cabinet thought a press
necessary and that it should take place Tuesday night, May
4, between 12 and 3 o'clock, as that time would create least
observation. The same day that Grenville's note was written the King answered it requesting a privy council for the
next day, May 3, to consider the arrangements for the press.
The council Avas to be composed of the cabinet ministers, as
the more secret the business could be kept the more possibility there would be of collecting some seamen in the first
After these days of martial activity in the British Cabinet
Leeds replied to Campo's letter of April 20. He informed
the Marquis, May 5, that the unsatisfactory answer which
the latter had been instructed to make to the English demand
for satisfaction made it necessary for His Majesty to direct
his minister at Madrid to renew the representations. Owing
to this change in the seat of negotiations, Leeds said it Avas
impossible for him to enter into the particulars of Campo's
letter.   He concluded:
I can therefore at present only observe in general to your excellency that although on cases properly stated it will be His Majesty's
desire—which he has manifested in repeated instances—to take any-
measures necessary for preventing his subjects' interfering with the
just and acknowledged rights of Spain, he can never in any shape
accede to those claims of exclusive soA'ereignty, commerce, and navigation to which your excellency's representations appear principally
"to refer; and particularly that .His Majesty will consider it his
indispensable duty to protect his subjects in the enjoyment of the
right of carrying on their fisheries in the Pacific Ocean.*
Each nation stood firmly on the ground originally taken.
Each had made its first demand apparently expecting immediate compliance. When such was stubbornly refused each
suspected that the other had some ulterior end in view and
was using the matter in hand only as a pretext. The misunderstanding: arose OA^er.the fact that neither the Briton
nor the Spaniard could understand the mental attitude of
the other regarding the matter in dispute. The Spanish
mind had for centuries been accustomed to think of the
a George III to Grenville, May 1; Grenville to George III, May 2, and
George III to Gienville, May 2.     (Fortescue MSS., I, 579, 580.)
"Leeds to Campo, Whitehall, May 5, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional,
Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.) [n English and apparently the original. Muriel,
Historla de Carlos IV, I, 110, reviews this reply briefly. 378
American continent as the exclusive possession of Spain.
The accident that had given a portion to Portugal, when the
Pope drew his arbitrary line between the dominions of the
two maritime nations, was accepted without question by the
abnormally religious mind of the Spaniard. That Spain
had yielded the bleak northern shore of the Atlantic was of
little consequence, since she retained the sunny southern portion, where, alone, the Spaniard could feel at home. With
the exception of Portugal's comparatively insignificant holding, Spain still possessed practically the whole of both Americas south of the northern line of Florida and west of the
Mississippi Biver. That Russia had recently settled on the
icebound coast of the far-away nortlrwest was hardly
known and less to be regretted. Being accustomed to think
of America thus, the Spaniard could not conceive that anyone else Avould dare to infringe on his right. Little was
known in Spain of the colonial development of England
and the new principles on which it was based, namely, that
unoccupied land anywhere on the globe was the legitimate
possession of any nation that would occupy and develop it, and
that no other nation could resist such occupation by the mere
assertion of an ancient shadowy claim that had never been
made good by actual settlement. The Briton was too accustomed to this vieAV to belieAre that anyone would si i 11 advance
in good faith the antiquated notion that any real right could
be conferred by the gift of a Pope, who, he believed, had no
more authority to make such gifts than any other individual,
or that a claim not made good by occupying and developing
would be seriously urged. It was impossible to reach a
harmonious agreement.   One party Avould have to yield.
From this time onward negotiations were conducted at
Madrid instead of at London as hitherto. The Britislj minister to the Court of Spain, Alleyne Fitzherbert, had not yet
gone to take charge of his post. -Affairs were in the han3s:
of the charge, Merry. Fitzherbert was now dispatched to
Madrid.0 No communication of importance passed between
the two Courts until his arrival. In the meantime each Government was putting forth its utmost efforts to raise its naval
force to the highest possible efficiency.   During the same
" Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 44. NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVERSY.
time the diplomacy of each country was directed toward
strengthening its European position by calling on its allies
for assurances of support. The outcome of these efforts
influenced, considerably, the course of the main negotiation.
Besides this influence much of the interest and importance
of the controATersy lies in the effect of these by-negotiations
on France, the country chiefly involved in them. They will
be studied in the next chapter. Chapter VIII.
Until the first Aveek in May the negotiations regarding
the Nootka Sound dispute were conducted Avith the greatest
secrecy in both countries. The public, especially in England, did not so much as know that there was any serious
question pending between the two Crowns. There were general rejoicings over the prospect of a long period of untroubled peace. The consternation that ensued may be imagined when, on the morning of May 5, England awoke to
the fact that in the darkness of the preceding night sailors
had been seized in every port and were being pressed into
the naAW for immediate service. The excitement in London
is reflected by the following extracts from a diary. The
writer was an ex-governor of Canada, and was living in
retirement at London. - According to his entry for May 5,
a note just received informed him that " during last night
all the sailors on the Thames had been pressed, and that war
was on the point of being declared against Spain, which had
seized five of our ships near Cooks River; and the funds
had fallen 3 per cent." This indicates that the financial
pulse was decidedly unsteady. The depression seems to have
continued for at least ten days. At the end1 of that time
the same writer entered in his diary: " Opinions are still
divided as to whether there will be a Avar or not. The funds
begin to rise." On this day he had invested $3,0Q0 in
On the day following the press a message from the King
was read in both Houses of Parliament. This explained
why the Government had taken such an extraordinary step.
The King declared that two vessels whose nationality had
• Haldlmand's Diary, May 5 and May 14, 1790. (Canadian Archives, 1889,
p. 281 ff.) A letter from London of May 7 in Gazette de Leide, May 14, 1790,
says: " Les fonds, depuis le message du Roi, ont continue de baisser."
not been fully ascertained and two others known to be
British had been captured at Nootka Sound by an officer
commanding two Spanish ships of war. He told how the
cargoes had been seized and the officers sent as prisoners to
a Spanish port. He related briefly the correspondence Avith
the Spanish Court, then told how that Court had refused the
satisfaction demanded and had asserted a claim | to the
exclusive rights of soA'ereignty, navigation, and commerce
in the territories, coasts, and seas in that part of the world."
His minister at Madrid was to renew the demand for satisfaction. Having learned of considerable armaments in
Spain, he had judged it necessary to arm in turn 1 in support of the honor of his Crown and the interests of his
people." He appealed to the Commons for the necessary
support. He hoped that the affair might be terminated
peaceably, and in such a manner as to remove grounds for
misunderstandings in the future.0
The next day, May 6, the matter was discussed in Parliament. Pitt opened the debate in the lower House by moAdng
an address of thanks for the King's message. He recited
the facts briefly, asserted England's right to fisheries and
commerce in the districts in question, and showed that
Spain's extravagant claims would entirely exclude England
from that ocean, if they were allowed. The settlement of
this dispute would establish a precedent for all the future.
The insult to the British flag lay in two facts—first, the
seizure had been made in time of profound peace; secondly,
goods had been confiscated without condemnation.6 Government hoped yet to settle the dispute peaceably, but it was
necessary to increase the armaments in order to treat with
Spain on an equal footing. The opposition led by Fox
agreed that the address should be voted and the armaments
approved; but they criticised the ministry for having so
recently held out hopes for continued peace when a matter
« Pari. Hist, XXVIII, 765 ; also Annual Register, XXXII, 285. The latter
work Incorrectly gives the date May 25. This error is repeated in many of
the books that treat of the subject, since this work has been the chief
'This statement was true as far as the English knew or could know, but
there was at least an attempt to justify the procedure. Martinez took goods
from the captured ships and applied them to his own use, but made provision
for their restoration in Mexico. (See Chapter V.) A schooner had been appropriated to the Spanish service with less show of justice. wmmm
of such importance was pending. This reference was to
statements made by Pitt in his budget speech of April 19.
The minister answered that the facts were not all known at
that time; and besides, he had made no promise of the continuance of peace, but had said that the existing prosperity
was due to the happy interval of peace and that if peace,
should continue prosperity would increase.
From the facts presented in the preceding chapter it is
known that the criticism was unjust. Until April 21 the
ministry had had no communication from Spain except the
note of February 10. Only one ship was known to have been
captured, and that only through the information furnished
by the Spanish Court in that note. Merry had reported
rumors of Spanish naval preparations, but had at the same
time given quieting assurances. Shortly after the budget
speech came the Spanish memorial of April 20, distinctly
avowing the seizures and asserting the Spanish pretensions;
then came exact information from Merry of extensive Spanish armaments; and last and most important came Meares
with his exaggerated stories of Spanish cruelty and injustice,
revealing the true number of seizures and overrating the
losses. It was urged more properly that the English Government. Avas unjust in demanding the restoration of the
ships and satisfaction for the insult before discussing the respective rights.   This, it was said, was begging the question.
Notwithstanding these criticisms the address was carried
unanimously. The measures taken by the Government were
confirmed, the armament was approved, and the support of
the Commons was assured. After a similar debate in the
Lords on the same day the ministry was supported with the
same enthusiasm.0 The entry in the diary of Gouverneur
Morris, who was then in London as the semiofficial agent of
the United States Government, tells of the animated flebate
in the Commons, of the enthusiastic support accorded to the
ministry, and of the avowed determination to obtain from
the Spanish Court an acknowledgment that Spain is entitled
to no part of America except such as she occupies.6 The
assurance of the Commons was followed up on June 10 by a
" Pari. Hist. XXVIII, 706-782.    The address of the Lords with the incorrect date, May 26, Is given In the Animal .Register, XXXII, 286.
* Morris, Diary and Letters, I, 325. NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVERSY.
vote of credit for £1,000,000 " to enable His. Majesty to act
as the exigency of affairs might require."" Orders were
at once giAren for the equipment of a fleet to consist of 14
ships of the line, besides smaller vessels. This Avas soon increased. The press was prosecuted Augorously and with success in all ports.6 Vancouver's work speaks of " the uncommon celerity and the unparalleled dispatch which attended
the equipment of one of the noblest fleets that Great Britain
ever saAv." c Public excitement was wrought to "the highest
pitch. Pamphlets were issued in the form of addresses to
the King, setting forth the extravagance of the Spanish
claim to exercise control over the whole Pacific Ocean, and
enlarging on the magnitude and promise of the -frustrated
English enterprise. All the forces of national pride, prejudice, and patriotism were united to arouse hatred for the
Spaniard. Indignant orators dwelt on memories of Papal
anathemas, the Holy Inquisition, and the Invincible
At this juncture it is interesting to note again the relations between Pitt and the South American agitator, Miranda. Attention was called above to conferences between
them shortly after the Spanish note of February 10 was
delivered to the British Court. Nothing seems to have
passed between them after that time until the second Spanish note arrived. At 9 o'clock on the evening of May 6, the
day of the debate in Parliament just studied, Miranda
again met Pitt on the latter's invitation. Grenville was
present also. They had a long conference " upon the subject of a war with Spain, in consequence of the occurrences
at Nootka Sound, the disposition of the people in South
America toward joining the English for their independency
against the Spaniards," etc. Pitt thanked Miranda for the
papers which he had sent, and showed them to him. The
minister was taking them to a meeting of the Cabinet. New.
assurances were given of the execution of Miranda's plans
in case of war.    Various interviews took place between them
Tarl. Hist., XXVIII, 784.
* Letter from London, May 7, in Gazette de Leide, May 14, 1790.
0 Vancouver, Voyages, I, 48.
d See Dalrymple, The Spanish Pretensions fairly discussed, London, 1790;
also [Etches], An Authentic Account of all the Facts Relative to Nootka
Sound, etc., London, 1790.    Meares's Memorial was also made public. 384
during the time that the great armament and the Spanish
negotiations were in progress.0 The fact that Pitt was taking Miranda's papers to a cabinet meeting just at this time
is unmistakable evidence that his plans were being seriously
There were attempts on the part of the opposition to censure the ministry for their conduct of the Spanish business.
On May 10, in debating the motion for the vote of credit,
Fox called for the date of the first coirimunication from
Spain on the affair. This was not revealed.6 On the next
day there was an attempt to learn whether the proposed
settlement at Nootka was 1 undertaken under the sanction
and authority of Government, or merely as an enterprise of
private persons." The motion was defeated, but Pitt declared that licenses to trade at Nootka Sound had been
granted; and whether this particular undertaking was or
was not a public enterprise it was incumbent on the honor,
of the country to demand satisfaction. He said that the
" Memorial" of Captain Meares would put the House in
possession of all that Government knew on the subject.0
On May 12 there was a spirited debate on a motion calling
for the papers relative to the dispute, but the demand was
successfully resisted.5 On ihe following day a motion by
the opposition, calling for information regarding the appointment of ambassadors to Spain since the peace of 1783,
was not resisted by the ministry.6 A week later the information obtained was discussed. During the seven years
there had been a resident ambassador at Madrid only thirteen months, though there had been four appointments and
upAvard of £35,000 had been appropriated for their support.
It was explained that these conditions were mostly due to
Spanish delays and etiquette; that although an ambassador
 * v	
"Miranda to Pitt, September 18,1791. (Am. Hist. Rev., VII, 712.) Haldi-
mand's diary during May and June, 1790, confirms Miranda's statements -of
his intimacy with the governmental authorities. The writer makes frequent
mention of being with the King, with Grenville, and of being consulted on Canadian affairs, showing that he was intimate in Court circles. During the
same months he speaks frequently of Miranda's being with him, dining with
him, driving with him, etc.    (See Can. Arch., 1889, p. 281 ff.)
"Pari. Hist, XXVIII, 784.
e Official Papers relative to the Dispute between the Courts of Great Britain
and Spain, 42.
"Pari. Hist, XXVIII, 805.
had not been present yet a charge had been there all the
time, and British interests had not suffered. The motion
was for an address asking the King to provide for the
performance in the future of the duties of ambassadors to
foreign courts. It was defeated." There Avas no further
Parliamentary actiA'ity of importance on the matter before
the session closed on June IO.6
While England was making these vigorous preparations
at home she ay as calling for support in eArery place from
which she had a right to expect aid. At the same time she
was taking steps to put every portion of her wide dominions
in a state of defense. Ireland was called upon to restrain
shipments of provisions to Spain, and also to recruit forces
for the West Indies. The lord lieutenant agreed, with some
qualifications, to carry out both measures.0 The commander
at Gibraltar was warned of his danger. The governor of
that port, Avho was visiting in England, was ordered to return to his post. A regiment of foot was to embark immediately to reenforce the garrison."2 Notices were sent to the
governors of Barbados, St. Vincent, the Leeward and Bahama Islands, Dominica, Cape Breton, and Nova Scotia.
They were ordered to expedite works of defense, to report
on their forces, and to keep a watch on Spanish and French
movements. Four regiments of foot and two ships of war
were ordered to the West Indies.6 Three ships of war, with
reinforcements and provisions, Avere sent to India, with instructions to prepare an expedition to seize Manila or the
west coast of America should orders come to that effect.'
The governor of Canada, about to return to England, was
ordered to remain and prepare the forces of Canada for any
exigency that might arise. He was to cultivate the friendship of the United States and to adopt every means in his
power for influencing the Americans in fa\Tor of Great
"Pari. Hist, 815-822.    C.a,
"Id., 875.
" Grenville to Westmoreland, May 3, May 7, and May 9; and Westmoreland
to Grenville, May 10 and May 14.    (Fortescue MSS., I, 580-584.)
d Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 56. These
orders were given May 6.
• Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 59-62. These
orders were given May 6 and May 22.
'Id., 62-65.    Orders dated May 12.
Britain and preventing their union with Spain.0 These
interesting Canadian overtures will be fully discussed later.
It was suggested to the King that he use his Hanoverian
troops to augment the garrison at Gibraltar. He favored,
the measure, and took steps for carrying it out.6
Besides this aid from her dependencies, England also
claimed the support of her allies under the triple alliance of
1788. Since the war promised to be almost wholly naval,;
the friendship of the Netherlands with her fleet would be of
great value. On May 4, the day before the English preparations were made public, Leeds wrote to Lord Auckland,
the British ambassador at The Hague, asking him to communicate the matter to the Dutch GoArernment. His Britannic Majesty relied on the justice of his cause, and had no
doubt that the Dutch Republic would approve, and, if it
should become necessary, furnish him support under the
treaty.0 In a private letter of the same date Leeds asked
that before demanding aid under the treaty. Auckland ascertain whether the Dutch Government would fit out a number
of vessels and furnish them to England at English ex-
pense.d In less than ten days an answer had arrived, saying that Holland was ready to support England and that
any or all of the Dutch ships of the line might be put at the
disposal of Great Britain at British expense.6 On May 15
Auckland sent a statement of the terms on Avhich these vessels would be furnished/ Three days later Leeds replied
that the terms were so favorable that Auckland was authorized to accept them at once and promote with the utmost
expedition the equipment of 10 sail of the line.ff Still further assurances of Dutch friendship and generosity were
given. On May 31 the States General passed resolutions
refusing to accept the English subsidies, and taking upon
themselves the entire expense.*   Everything being in'readi-
" Id., 57.    Orders dated May 6.    See also Can. Arch., 1890, pp. 130-133r
6 Grenville to George III,  May 25, and George III to Grenville, May 26. •
(Fortescue MSS., I, 586, 587.)
" Leeds to Auckland, May 4, 1790.    (Brit. Mus., MSS. 34431, f° 67.)
"Leeds  to  Auckland,  May 4,   1790   (private).    (Brit.   Mus.,  MSS.  34431,
f° 81.
• Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 70.
'Auckland to Grenville, Hague, May 15, 1790.    (Fortescue MSS., I, 585.
See also work last cited, 95-97.)
« Leeds to Auckland, May 18, 1790.    (Brit Mus., MSS. 34431, t" 195.    See
also Narrative cited above, 97.)
* Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 100 ft. NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVERSY.
ness and the English Government having requested the
movement, the Dutch fleet, under Admiral Kinsbergen, left
the Texel on June 17 and joined the English fleet at Portsmouth three Aveeks later.0
The third member of the triple alliance, Prussia, was at the
same time called upon for support. On May 20 Hertzberg,
the Prussian minister, handed an answer to. Ewart, the British ambassador at Berlin. The Prussian King approved
the measures of England and pledged himself to fulfill his
engagements in case the contest* with Spain should render
it necessary. Hertzberg suggested that it Avas impossible to
suppose that Spain would think of embarking on a war with
such disadvantage without having a motive other than that
alleged. He said that there were positive indications that an
alliance was being negotiated between Spain, Russia, and
Austria to which Denmark was to be asked to accede. These
indications made it necessary for the three allies to be in perfect accord. He referred to Prussia's very grave discussions
with the Courts of Vienna and St. Petersburg and claimed
English support in case it should be needed in that business.6
Thus the Nootka Sound dispute was drawn into the general
current of European politics and was destined to have an
indirect influence on the Polish and Turkish questions.
More Avill be said later regarding these matters.
While England was meeting with such decided success in
her demands on her allies, Spain was also looking for support outside her own borders. Her chief reliance was on
France. For nearly thirty years the two countries had been
intimately united under the family compact. This was
concluded in 1761, during the Seven Years' war, when
France was fighting a losing battle. The f arsighted Charles
III, Avho had then recently ascended the Spanish Throne,
saw in a close union between the Bourbon Monarchies a prospect for ultimate gain to his Kingdom in spite of the fact
that he could hope for little at the time. He hastened nobly
to the rescue and generously shared the defeats and losses
of France. When Louis XVI entered the contest in behalf
of the American colonies in their struggle against the mother
| De Jonge, Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche Zeewezen, V, 119-120.
'Hertzberg to Ewart, Berlin, May 20, 1790. (Brit. Mus., MSS. 34431,
f° 205.) Stanhope's Life of Pitt, II, 551, mentions the Prussian and Dutch
assurances of friendship. 388
country, Charles III, true to the family compact, followed
his ally into the war Avhich ended in the glorious peace of
1783. When in 1790 Spain was threatened by war with
England, she naturally turned to. France, whom she had
twice assisted against this same foe. But the adA'ances were
made with serious misgivings on account of the turbulence
in France, which was threatening to overturn the monarchy.
For a year the utmost confusion had prevailed in Paris
and throughout the country. The oppressions of the feudal
regime, wasteful methods o*f taxation, and financial mismanagement had combined to reduce the Government to a state of
bankruptcy. Finally, Louis XVI had yielded to the universal clamor and called the States-General. In May, 1789,
after a recess of a hundred and seventy-:five years, they had
assembled at Versailles. After a deadlock of nearly two
months the privileged orders had been compelled to yield to
the demand of the third estate and meet in a common body—
the National Assembly. In the middle of July, the Parisian
mob had razed the Bastille, Avhich they looked upon as the
symbol of arbitrary government. A little more than a fortnight later the nobles in the National Assembly had bowed
before the coming storm and voluntarily laid down their
feudal privileges. Rightly interpreting these events as an
acknowledgment of impotence on the part of the old regime,
the proletariat in the cities and the peasants in the country
had arisen eA^erywhere, murdered the governmental officials,
and burned and pillaged the castles of the nobles. As a result of the frightful eA^ents of the early days of October, the
mob had carried the royal family in triumph to Paris, and
the National Assembly had followed shortly after. Both
were thenceforAvard virtually the prisoners of the Parisian
populace. The power of the Monarchy had ended. Under
the spell of Jacobin orators the Assembly was wasting its
time in the fruitless discussion of constitutional principles,
and leaving the country to ruin and anarchy. This was the
condition of France in the summer of 1790.
As early as January 20, the day on which Floridablanca
wrote his instructions to Campo in London—which instructions the latter embodied in his drastic note of February 10
to the British Court—the Spanish minister had also written
to Montmorin, the French minister for foreign affairs.    In NOOTKA  SOUND  CONTROVERSY.
this letter he made no mention of the Nootka Sound episode
nor of the haughty demands which he was making on England the same day. But he expressed pity for France and
her King, and complained that in the existing circumstances
that country was not in a condition to unite with Spain as
she should. He feared that their enemies would take advan-»
tage of the embarrassing position.0 Though he said nothing
about it, Floridablanca was evidently thinking of the possible consequences of his harsh demand. After the warlike
sessions of the junta of state, mentioned in the previous chapter, and after the second note to the British Court had been
sent, Floridablanca made indirect overtures to France for
assurances of support. This was in a letter of April 6 to
Fernan Nunez, the Spanish ambassador in Paris. He suggested that in the absence of French support it would be
necessary for Spain to look to other powers. Russia he
thought most likely to furnish aid.6 No formal demand was
made in this communication, but it seems that the Spanish
ambassador made some advances to the French Court. On
May 11 Fernan Nunez Avrote of a conference which he had
had with Montmorin. The latter had promised to propose
an armament. Luzerne, the French minister for marine,
had told of the number of vessels available. Montmorin
had suggested that in case of war the allies should disem-
bark 50,000 men in England and should revolutionize Holland. The French minister had asked for information concerning the origin and progress of the dispute with England.0
In the conA7ersation just referred to Montmorin had told
the Spanish ambassador that the Constitutional party in
France suspected Vauguyon, the French ambassador at
Madrid. They thought that he had induced the Spanish
Government to stir up the quarrel with England in order to
involve France as the ally of Spain. They suspected that
this was being done in the hope of strengthening the French
a Floridablanca to Montmorin, January 20, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.) The same is published in Calvo, Recueil
Complet des Traltes de l'Amerique Latine, III, 341. This author quotes It
from Cantillo, Collecion de Tratados de Espafia.    See p. 366 ante note °.
b Floridablanca to Fernan Nuflez, April 6, 1790; Calvo, Recueil Complet
des Traltes de l'Amerique Latine, III, 312.
'" Fernan Nufiez to Floridablanca, Paris, May 11, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist
Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4038.) I
royal power, and so bringing about a counter revolution.
This suspicion grew so strong that Montmorin, as a concession to the radical element, recalled Vauguyon. The Spanish
King refused to grant him a letter of dismissal or to recognize anyone as his successor.0
As Montmorin had promised the Spanish ambassador
in the above-mentioned conversation, the French Government immediately took steps toward an armament. On May
14 a letter from Montmorin to the president of the National
Assembly informed that body that the King had given
orders for the armament of 14 ships of the line. Assurance
Avas given that it was only a precautionary measure in view
of the English armament. The King would do all that he
could to promote a friendly adjustment between the Courts
of London and Madrid. He hoped that France would not be
inATolved in war. The English Court had made friendly
declarations and had stated that the only cause for armament was the dispute with Spain.6 It was not wise, however, to remain disarmed under such circumstances. France
ought to show to Europe that her constitution was not an
obstacle to the deArelopment of her forces.0
Montmorin's message precipitated the famous discussion
as to whether the right to make peace and war should rest
with the King or the people. This discussion* is probably
better known than the Nootka Sound dispute which occasioned it. The consideration of the message was made the
order of the day for May 15, the day following its presentation. Biron, the first speaker, declared that the prosperity
of France was closely bound up with that of Spain. Spain
had been a generous ally of France in the past.   The repre-
" This episode of the recall of Vauguyon is treated at length by Grand-
maison, L'Ambassade Frangaise en Espagne pendant la Revolution,^21 ff.
This author thinks that the suspicion originated with British emissaries in
Paris, who wished to produce an estrangement between the Courts of France
and Spain. This was, at least, its result. He quotes several letters that
passed between Louis XVI and Charles IV regarding the matter. The
Spanish King's attitude unfortunately made It seem that there was some
ground for the suspicion of Vauguyon. The French Court was considerably
embarrassed thereby. There seems to be no doubt of the fact that Vauguyon
was iDnocent, at least In so far as any complicity with the French Court was
* On May 7 the British Court had given orders to Lord Robert Fitz
Gerald, charge at Paris, to make this explanation to Montmorin. (See Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 68.)
• Arch. Pari., first series, XV, 510, session for May 14, 1790. NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
sentatives of the people ought to respect the obligations of
the nation. " Let it not be said," he" declared, " that the
efforts of a free people are less than those of a despotism."
After a brief enthusiastic speech he moved a decree approving the measures taken by the King. Alexander Lameth
declared, amid great applause, that the first question to be
considered was whether the sovereign nation ought to concede to the King the right to make peace and war. There was
an attempt to postpone this question, but Barnave declared
that Avhen it should be demonstrated that effects ought to
precede their causes then it would be proved that the question proposed by Lameth should be considered last. Robespierre said that the time to judge of a right was when they
were deliberating on the exercise of it. Baron Menou said
that the right of making peace and war should be determined first, then they ought to learn which nation was in the
wrong. If Spain, she ought to be persuaded to yield; if
England, then France should arm not merely 14 vessels, but
all of the forces on land and sea, and compel submission.
Mirabeau declared that it was unreasonable and irrelevant
thus to elude the question. The message, he continued, had
nothing in common with a declaration of Avar. Jurisdiction in times of danger ought always to be in the King's
hands. The vessels were to be armed only because Eng-
'land was arming. The armament was not dangerous, and
to deny it would cause commercial discontent. The only
question, he said, was whether the funds asked were necessary. He declared that they were, and called for the
immediate consideration of. the message. He proposed
to approve the measures of the King and to order by the
same decree that to-morrow they take up the discussion of
the constitutional question, Shall the nation delegate to the
King the exercise of the right of peace and war? His
proposition was adopted almost unanimously.0
Thus after some hesitation over the theoretical consequences the armament was approved as enthusiastically as
Spain could expect or desire. The debate in the Assembly
has no further importance for the Nootka question.    It
•Arch. Pari., first series, XV, 515-519 (-May 14, 1790); Willert, P. F.,
Mirabeau, 164-170; Lomenie, lies Mirabeaus, V, 144—149; Stern, Das Leben
would be of little interest and less value to follow the metaphysical discussions of the constitutional question. The
final decision is of some interest. The debate occupied
nearly the whole of each morning session for six days. In.
the end Mirabeau prevailed again. He had taken a middle
ground. It was decreed that the right of peace and war
belonged to the nation; that war could be declared only
by a decree of the legislative body, but that this step could
be taken only on a formal proposal by the King, and must
be sanctioned by the King subsequently.0
A few days after the Assembly had approved the armament Montmorin wrote to Floridablanca. He hoped that
the armament would recall England to a proper tone and
that the difficulty might be settled amicably. Referring to
Floridablanca's letter of January 20, in which the latter had
complained of the inability of France to support Spain as
she should, the French minister said that its statements were
as forceful as they were true. The Spanish Government
could count on the most sincere desire on the part of the
French King to fulfill his engagements'with Sjpain, but the
will of the Assembly could not be depended on. If war
should be decided upon, the difficulties would be incalculable. Peace, then, he concluded, ought to be the end of all
their efforts.6
Subsequently, Luzerne, the minister for marine, made'
two reports on the extent of the armament and the increased
cost. On June 13 the Assembly appropriated 3,000,000
livres to support it.c Up to the present point the attitude
of France appeared to be all that Spain could wish, as far as
could be judged from external appearances. But this armament was distinctly French. There was no assurance that
the fleet or any part of it would be turned over to Spain if
she should call for it under the treaty. But this seems not
yet to have been asked.
"Arch. Pari., first series, XV, 526-661 (May 16-22, 1790). Cambridge
Modern History, VIII, 188, discusses briefly the debate.
* Montmorin to Floridablanca, Paris, May 21, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4038.)
"Arch. Pari., first series, XV, 705 (May 28) ; Id., XVI, 185 (June 12) ; Id.,
On June 4 Spain attempted to set herself right in the
eyes of all Europe by issuing a circular letter and sending
it to all the Courts. This recounted briefly the origin of the
dispute and the course of the negotiations, and attempted to
show the unreasonableness of the English demands and their
inconsistency with her treaty obligations. It set forth the
Spanish claim in the most favorable light possible, basing
it on treaties and the consent of nations.0
The formal demand from Spain for French assistance was
made June 16. On that date the Spanish ambassador at
Paris handed to Montmorin extracts from all the correspondence between Spain and England up to date. He inclosed with them an extended argument in support of the
Spanish case. After elaborating the arguments he demanded
French assistance under the family compact, and added that
if it were not offered Spain would have to seek alliances elsewhere in Europe.6 Ten days later Montmorin replied that
the matter had been laid before the King, but in view of the
decree of the Assembly relative to peace and war the Spanish
demand would have to be submitted to that body. As soon
as it had been acted upon a positive response would be given.0
This reply had been delayed so long that the Spanish ambassador had become impatient. On the preceding day he had
written again to the French minister demanding an early
reply. Fitzherbert, the British ambassador, had already
arrived at Madrid, he said, and it was necessary for the
negotiation that Spain be assured of French support.3 To
this Montmorin answered that the King had not for a moment lost sight of the importance of the matter. Louis XVI
had written to Charles IV regarding it.e
NotAvithstanding the urgency of the Spanish ambassador
and the willingness of the French King and his foreign
o o o
minister,  the  Spanish  demand  was  not  laid   before  the
" Annual Register, XXXII, 294. It is published under a wrong title and
"Id., 301.    Same in Arch. Pari., first series, XATI, 503.
c Montmorin to Fernan Nunez, Paris, June 26, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist.
Nacional, Sec. Estado, 4038.)
* Fernan Nunez to Montmorin, Paris, June 25, 1790.    (Ibid.)
• Montmorin to Fernan- Nuilez, Paris, June 30, 1790.    (Ibid.)
Assembly for more than six weeks after it was presented.
During all this time Spain was kept in uncertainty as to
whether she would receive from France the aid which she
had a right to expect. Before the expiration of this time
the diplomacy of Floridablanca and Fitzherbert had taken
an important turn, though the dispute was still far from
settled. The next chapter will follow the course of the main,
negotiation through this preliminary settlement ^Tf^W^
Chapter IX.
England's first demand granted.
While England and Spain were preparing for war at
home and calling on their allies for support, their diplomatic representatives were endeavoring to reach an understanding. As stated above, the British Court had concluded
to make no further effort to get satisfaction through the
Spanish ambassador at London, but had sent its own ambassador, Fitzherbert, to treat directly with the Spanish Court.
This step was decided upon during the exciting days immediately following the 1st of May. It was nearly the middle
of June before Fitzherbert reached Madrid. In the meantime the British charge, Merry, had been instructed to open
the renewed negotiation by presenting to the Spanish Court
a memorial setting forth at length the English contention.
Leeds sent instructions for this on May 4.°
Having received this communication from Leeds, Merry
obtained an interview' with Floridablanca May 16. The
Spanish minister was milder than usual, but still suspected
that England meant to use the matter as a ground for quarreling. In an endeavor to remove this suspicion, Merry
read to the Count his OAvn secret and confidential instructions. Floridablanca observed that if England was really
not attempting to force a quarrel the business might be
amicably settled. In the evening, after the interview, Merry
sent to the Spanish minister a copy of the memorial.6 In a
brief note accompanying it, he expressed great anxiety to
quiet the alarm, and suggested dispatching to London at
once a courier with pacific assurances from Floridablanca,
if the Count felt like giving such.0
" Leeds to Merry, May 4, 1790.    (Brit Mus., MSS. 34431, f° 75.)
6 Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 106.
"Merry   to   Floridablanca,   May   16,   1790.    (MS.   Arch.   Hist.   Nacional,
Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)
395 396
The British memorial declared that the last Sj&anish communication ° was unsatisfactory even as the transaction had
been stated in the former Spanish note.6 No •satisfactioil
had been offered for the insult to the BritishAig, and the
ground stated for releasing the vessels was not justice, from
the English standpoint, but ignorance on the part of the
English commanders and general regard for England on
the part of the Spanish officials. Neither could Great
Britain admit the Spanish claim to exclusive rights of
sovereignty, commerce, and navigation. Besides these reag
sons, additional information had arrived ° telling of more
than one captured vessel. It also appeared that the soil at
Nootka had been purchased by a British subject and the
British flag hoisted thereon.    Merry was—
to represent in the strongest manner to the Court of Spain that His
Majesty has every reason to expect from the justice and wisdom of
His Catholic Majesty not only the full and entire restitution of all
the said vessels, with their property and crews (or of as many of them
as shall, on fair examination of what can be alleged on both sides,
be found to have been British vessels, entitled as such to His
Majesty's protection), but also an indemnification to the individuals
concerned in the said vessels for the losses which they have sustained by their unjust detention and capture, and, above all, an
adequate reparation to His Majesty for an injury done by an
officer commanding His Catholic Majesty's vessels of war to British
subjects trading under the protection of the British flag in those
parts of the world where the subjects of His Majesty have an unquestionable right to a free and undisturbed enjoyment of the benefits
of commerce, navigation, and fishery, and also to the possession of
such establishments as they may form, with the consent of the
natives, in places unoccupied by other'European nations.'
Assurances were given of pacific wishes on the part of
England, but a speedy and explicit answer was demanded.3
, & _
"That of Campo to Leeds of April 20.    (See Chapter VII.)
11 Campo to Leeds, February 10.    (Chapter VII.)
• Evidently that of Meares.
* British memorial of May 16, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist Nacional, Madrid,
Sec. Estado, 4291.) The reference cited in note b on the preceding page says
that Merry sent with the memorial a copy of the original in English for fear
of mistakes in the translation. The memorial In French and a copy In English are still to be found together in the archives.
Apparently no previous writer on the Nootka affair has seen this memorial
nor any of the earlier documents. No reference is made to them except such
as is drawn from later documents which give brief reviews of the earlier correspondence. Bancroft (EUstory of the Northwest Coast, I, 229, note 46):
says: " Up to this point the correspondence is not, so far as I know, extant I NOOTKA
In this memorial England renewed her demand for satisfaction for the insult to her flag, and added a demand that
Spain indemnify the owners of the captured vessels. She
also rejected absolutely the Spanish claim to exclusive
sovereignty by asserting England's unquestionable right to
unoccupied portions of the coast in question. Incidentally
it is valuable as a declaration of Great Britain's position on
the question of the rights of colonization.
Two days after receiving this memorial Floridablanca
answered Merry's note which accompanied it. He gave the
pacific assurances that the British agent had asked, but in
general terms. In keeping with his peaceful professions he
proposed a mutual and proportionate disarmament. He as
serted that His Catholic Majesty knew of the capture of only
one vessel; and it had been trading illicitly, at the time, in a
place occupied by the Spanish.0
On the following day Merry replied, expressing his satisfaction with the pacific intentions of the Spanish Court. He
said that he would gladly dispatch one of the English messengers with the Count's peaceful assurances.6 Fearing lest
Floridablanca meant this informal note as a reply to the
British memorial of May 16, he gave the Spanish minister
to understand that he still expected a formal reply." The
British messenger bearing the peaceful assurances left Madrid May 21d and arrived in London June 1. Since the reply
contained nothing indicating that Spain Avould grant the
English demands, the armaments were continued.0   Another
in its original form, but is only known from citations and references in later
documents." For English and Spanish material the documents in the Annual
Register seem to have been the only source used to any extent. In fact this
work contains nearly all of the documents that have been published on the
diplomatic phase of the incident. Greenhow has reprinted most of them In
the appendix to his Oregon and California. Muriel, Historia de Carlos IV, I,
111, mentions this memorial.
"Floridablanca to Merry, May 18, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional,
Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.) Up to this time Floridablanca had evidently not
read carefully all of the papers which he had received from the Viceroy five
months before, or he would not have asserted that only one vessel had been
seized unless, indeed, he was intentionally prevaricating. He seems to have
become informed shortly after, for in his formal reply of June 4 he mentioned
the Princess Royal.
6 Merry to Floridablanca, May 19, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional,
Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)
0 Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 111.
* Letter from Madrid of May 25, Gazette de Leide, June 11, 1790.
* Work cited, note c above, 113. 398
messenger from Merry arrived in London ten days later with
less pacific news.   Floridablanca's language to the foreign|
ministers at Aranjuez showed that he still thought that England was determined to break with Spain.   He looked on the
English King's message to Parliament as almost equivalent^
to a declaration of war.   England's advices to all settlements abroad increased his conviction.   Her tone toward
Spain he thought insufferable.   He still desired peace, but
feared that Spain Avould be driven to the necessity of defending herself.   Not only had Floridablanca expressed himself
thus to the foreign ministers, but he had made an appeal for
money, and the bankers of Madrid had agreed to furnish;
some £4,000,000.°
Floridablanca's formal reply to the British memorial
reached London June 15. Merry had received it from the
Spanish Court on the 4th of the same month.6 It declared
that His Catholic Majesty would claim nothing but what he
could base on treaty rights, on the consent of nations, and.
on immemorial possession. The discussions with the newi
ambassador would turn on these points. If Spanish subjects had gone beyond these rights they would be punished,
and the injured parties would be indemnified. Spain did
not mean to carry her claim to all of the South Sea, but
only to I the Indian continent, islands, and seas, which by
discovery, treaties, or immemorial possession have belonged
and do belong to her by the acknoAvledgment of all nations."
The Spanish King denied that Spain's not having settled
any particular spot was a proof that it did not belong to
her. Were this admitted, the Count argued, any nation
might establish herself on the dominions of any other nation wherever there was not an actual establishment.» This,
he said, would be absurd to think of. Satisfaction and indemnification should rest On the question of right, which
was to be settled by the negotiation.0
° Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 113.
6 [Floridablanca! to Merry, June 4, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional,
Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.) This is a brief note unsigned, but in the Count's
handwriting. It states that he Is sending to Merry a reply to the latter's of
May 16.
0 Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 115-119. The
same Is published in full in the Annual Register, XXXII, 292, under a wrong
title. On the same day Floridablanca issued his circular note to all the.
Courts of Europe.    (See Chapter VIII.) NOOTKA  SOUND  CONTROVERSY.
This review of the essential points of the two memorials
shows that the Courts Avere as far apart as ever. The conflicting colonial principles were clearly stated, and each nation stubbornly persisted in its own view. In his remarks
on this communication Merry conceived that there was little
or no room left to expect that any change would occur in
the sentiments of the Spanish Court. He thought that the
Spanish delay had probably been occasioned by the fluctuating advices from France. He could attribute the conduct
of Spain to no other motive than a hope that her being
attacked by England might put France under the necessity
of engaging in the war.0
Fitzherbert conducted the English negotiations from this
point. His record as a diplomat was already established.
He had negotiated the treaty of peace with France and
Spain in 1783. The next four years he had been envoy extraordinary to Russia. After that he had been for some time
chief secretary to the lord-lieutenant of Ireland. He had
also been made a member of the privy council. He left London May 9 6 and went to Paris, where he tarried for some
time. His delay at this place was due partly to sickness,
partly to his being engaged in making some representations
to the French Court in connection with Fitzgerald,0 and
partly to his awaiting written instructions from London to
govern him in his negotiations with Spain.* He reached
Madrid June 9.°   The next day he wrote a note to Florida-
a Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 119.
6 Id., 72.
" Id., 83-90. In these pages is a discussion of the French attitude. Montmorin gave friendly assurances to the English representatives. The conflicting interests of the Government' and the Assembly were discussed. On May
21 Earl Gower was sent as ambassador extraordinary to Paris. He was to
reject mediation If offered. (See Id., pp. 91-94.) While In Paris Fitzherbert
attempted to induce Lafayette and the Liberal party to support the English
contention. He had failed to renew his acquaintance with Lafayette, but
understood that the latter still wished to see free intercourse between the
Spanish colonies and the nations of Europe, and believed that he would not
acquiesce In a war undertaken on principles diametrically opposite. Fitzherbert to Pitt, Paris, May 20, 1790; (Smith MSS., Hist. MSS. Com. Rpt,
12, appendix 9, p. 367.)
* Id., 72-82. These instructions order the' ambassador to be firm in his
demands, but express a desire, apparently sincere, to terminate the difficulty
amicably. In case of his hearing that Spain had forced a breach, he was to
proceed no further without new instructions. If after reaching Madrid he
should be ordered to quit the place, he was to go to Lisbon. If Spain should
declare war, but not order him to leave, he was to await new instructions at
•Id., 121. mw
blanca, Avho, Avith the whole Spanish Court, had gone to
Aranjuez. This note announced his presence and his intention of reaching Aranjuez the same evening. It also inclosed
his credentials signed by the English King.0
The following day he had an intervieAV with Floridablanca. Two days later, June 13, he received his formal
introduction to the King and Queen.6
In their intervieAV of June 11 Fitzherbert and Floridablanca exchanged vieAvs on the question in dispute. The
former, conceiving that the memorial given to Merry on
June 4 must fall short of His Britannic Majesty's just expectations, urged the latter to giAre him a more favorable communication. The latter insisted that the paper in question
contained the utmost that Spain ought to grant. He declared that compliance with the British demand for satisfaction would invalidate the Spanish claims to sovereignty,
rendering further discussion useless. Therefore the British
demand and the Spanish claim, he maintained, ought to be
discussed at the same time. He asked that Fitzherbert's
statements should be presented in writing. Consequently,
two days later the British ambassador sent a brief memorial
presenting the British demand in language which makes it
seem plausible. Stripped of its verbiage it declares that
England desires a peaceable settlement, but that there can
be no further negotiation until Spain shall have fulfilled
three conditions: First, restored the vessels; secondly, indemnified the injured parties; thirdly, given satisfaction to the
British sovereign for the insult offered to his flag. N A declaration that the Spanish King would grant these demands
would be accepted as ground for the negotiation.0
After this first exchange of views with the Spanish min-
" Fitzherbert to Floridablanca, Madrid,  June 10,  1790.    (MS. Arch.  Hist.
Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4245.)    The credentials were dated Whitehall, -
May 7, 1790.
b Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 121, 123.
« Fitzherbert to Floridablanca, June 13, 1790. (Brit. Mus., MSS. 34431. f°
402.) The same is published in the Annual Register, XXXII, 298. The title
to this, as well as to the two documents which precede it in the same work,
is wrong.
The following comment on the unreasonableness of the English demand is
to the point: " Es war das in der That eine eigenthuemliche Methode, Gewalt
und Recht zu mischen, einer kuenstigen Evoerterung Alles vorzubehalten
und zugleich das Resultat dieser Eroerterung zu anticiplren." (Baumgarten,
Geschichte Spaniens zur Zeit der franzoesischen Revolution, 289.) NOOTKA  SOUND  CONTROVERSY.
ister, Fitzherbert reported his observations to the British
Cabinet. He thought that Spain was bent on war, and was
refusing satisfaction in hope of inducing England to make
reprisals which would serve as a pretext for demanding
French aid. As to her motive, he thought that she certainly
could not hope to regain Gibraltar or her West Indian possessions ; and it could not be to counteract French revolutionary infection, for everything was quiet in Spain. He believed the real cause to be Floridablanca's suspicion that
England had designs on the Spanish colonies. The Spanish
minister seemed to count little on French aid, but to expect
substantial help from the United States. Some advances
had been made to that power, and Carmichael, the American
charge, was much caressed -at Court. The American agent
•thought that his Government would not be favorable.0 A
few days later, Fitzherbert expressed his confidence that
no encouraging communication, had been received from
America. On the contrary, there had recently been marked
symptoms of coldness.6
In answer to the British ambassador's communication of
June 13, Floridablanca replied five days later that he could
not consent to the principles which it laid down. However,
for the sake of peace, he offered to make the declaration proposed, provided one of three explanations be added: First,
the question of insult and satisfaction should be decided by
the arbitration of a king of Europe, to be chosen by England; or, second, no facts should be admitted in the subsequent negotiation unless fully established by Great Britain;
or, third, the satisfaction should not prejudice the rights of
Spain nor prevent her from exacting equivalent satisfaction
from Great Britain if it should be found that she had a
right to do so.0 In spite of the evident fairness of these
proposals, they were not accepted. In reporting them to the
British Court, Fitzherbert suggested that he considered them
inadmissible. The English Cabinet seems to have agreed
with him. This makes it appear that England was afraid to
submit her case to the judgment of a third party, even
"Fitzherbert to Leeds, Aranjuez, June 16, 1790. (MS. from the public
record office, London, Chatham MSS.. bdle. 341.) The substance of the same,
In Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 125.
* Work cited in last note, 146.
• Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 129,
H. Doc. 429,58-3 26
1 402
though she had the privilege of selecting the judge. Further,
she seemed unwilling-to confine the negotiation to established
facts, or to suffer the consequences in case the negotiation
should show her to have been in the wrong. It appears that
the English Court had decided to force from Spain once and
for all an acknoAvledgment of the British principle of colonization. Nothing less would be accepted. It Avas this,
and not simply justice, that she demanded.
For some time after this the British ambassador received
no communication from the Spanish minister. This was
partially accounted for by accident. On the same day that
Floridablanca had written the document last studied an
attempt was made to assassinate him. He avas stabbed by a
fanatical Frenchman. The wound was not serious. In letters of June 24 and 28 Fitzherbert reported that the Count
still refused to see him on the pretense of indisposition,
though he was transacting other business. The Spanish
Court had assumed a more pacific attitude and seemed sincerely desirous of an accommodation. The delay was continued in hope that a reply would soon be received from.
London to the Spanish memorial presented to Merry
June 4.°
The pacific intentions of the Spanish Court were further
shown by the fact that orders had been given to the commanders of various ports to treat British Avar ships, which
were hovering in the neighborhood, as they would be treated
in a period of profound peace. Furthermore, in an informal
interview of July 1, Floridablanca said that he had been
busying himself on a plan for an ulterior arrangement which
he thought would entirely fulfill the ArieAvs and objects of
both parties.6 At a conference on July 10 the Count presented his plan. The essential points Avere: First, £>pain
should retain exclusive possession of the Northwest Coast
up to and including Nootka; second, from Nootka to the
sixty-first degree the tAvo Crowns should have common
rights, except that south of the fifty-sixth degree British
influence should not extend beyond a certain distance inland:
third, Great Britain should have the right of fishing in the
"Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 145-149.
6 Fitzherbert  to   Leeds,   Aranjuez,   July  1,   1790.    (MS.  Arch.   Hist.   Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.) M
South Sea and of landing and erecting temporary buildings
in unoccupied places, though no English vessels should approach a Spanish settlement; and fourth, the mutual rights
should not be discussed and the mutual demands for satisfaction should be waived, in which case Spain would pay the
losses on ships taken at Nootka. Fitzherbert declared the
plan inadmissible, but said that it might possibly be modified
to make it acceptable.0 This is interesting as foreshadowing
in some respects the final settlement.
About the middle of July Fitzherbert received the English
reply to the Spanish memorials of June 4 and June 18.
Extended instructions were given to guide him in his communication to the Spanish Court. These had been sent from
London July 56. In obedience to his instructions, the British ambassador presented to the Spanish minister on July 17
a new memorial defining the British views on the point of
With the memorial he inclosed drafts of a proposed Spanish declaration and a British counter declaration which
would be acceptable to His Britannic Majesty as affording
the satisfaction demanded. The memorial declared that
the Spanish communications did not contain the satisfaction
demanded, nor was a plausible ground established for refusing the demands. To justify these demands it was urged
that there had been no established possession of nor proved
sovereignty oyer the Nootka region Avhich could have justified
the seizure of British vessels. For such justification there
must have been actual possession and exercise of jurisdiction
which had been recognized by other nations. From the representations of the Spanish Court itself, it appeared that the
Spaniards had undertaken the occupation only a few days
before the seizure of the Vessels in question. English subjects had for many years previously frequented the place and
had traded with the natives without interruption. Hence
it was impossible for Spain to maintain her claim to exclusive jurisdiction. The simple restoration of the vessels was
not sufficient.   No reparation had been made for the insult
" Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 152.
'Leeds to Fitzherbert, July 5, 1790 (Brit. Mus., MSS. 34432, f° 32-36):
Fitzherbert to Leeds, Madrid, July 15, 1790 (MS. public record office, Spain,
XVIII, 159).
j 404
to the British flag. " In consequence. His majesty finds it
necessary to demand anew in terms most direct and least
equivocal the satisfaction already demanded, and which can
not longer be deferred without consequences which His
Majesty desires ardently to avoid." As soon as this demand
should be met England would be ready to treat with reference to rights of territorial possessions, commerce, navigation, and fisheries in that part of the world.0
In his private instructions referred to above, Fitzherbert
was told that the giving of satisfaction must amount to an
admission that Spain was not in possession of an actual and
known sovereignty at Nootka. No discussion could take
place on this point, it was declared, after the satisfaction
should be given. If Spain could prove her claim to sovereignty, it must be done before the point of satisfaction should
be reached. If proved, it would remove the ground on which
Satisfaction was demanded; but, it was added, no such proof
could be adduced. Hence satisfaction was insisted upon.6
This was tantamount to saying that the British Court would
not be convinced, no matter what arguments the Spanish
Court might produce. Spain was just as confident that she
did possess sovereignty over Nootka as England was that
Spain did not. The Spanish Court had taken great care to
collect evidence on this point. A commission was sent to
examine the archives of the Indies at Seville for this purpose. Their report covered some 200 pages of manuscript.
It was a compilation of accounts of exploring expeditions, of
royal orders and decisions, of acts of the council of the Indies, and of laws promulgated, all affecting that part of the
world. Its purpose was to show that Spain had always
claimed and exercised the rights of sovereignty over those
regions and the right of excluding-other nations from her
possessions in the South Sea.0 The treaty of Utrecht was
repeatedly cited in the various memorials and letters "as
guaranteeing Spain's rights in the Indies as they had been in
the time of Charles II.    The willingness of Spain to submit
"Memorial signed by Fitzherbert, July 17, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist.
Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)
' Instructions cited in note d on foregoing page.
0 Report submitted June 18, 1790, in consequence of a royal order of June
7.    (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 2848.) —— "'
the matter to arbitration shows that she had confidence in
the justice of her cause. England's refusal to arbitrate
indicates a lack of confidence.
On July 22 Floridablanca replied to Fitzherbert's communication of five days before. He added little to what he
had said in documents already studied. He repeated the
grounds on which Spain rested her claim—grounds that
were absolutely good from the Spanish standpoint, j He
showed again the unreasonableness and absurdity, from the
same standpoint, of the English demands, and their contravention of treaties. He assumed, not without cause, a
tone of injured innocence, and concluded that it was not
worth while to extend further his reflections on points so
clear nor in demonstration of the rights of Spain, since
enough had been said already. The Spanish King had no
intention, he declared, of being dragged into a war over an
academic dispute. He agreed to give, first, such satisfaction as one of the Kings of Europe, chosen by England as
arbitrator, should think proper; or, secondly, to give whatever satisfaction should be reciprocally agreed upon, it being
understood that such satisfaction should not prejudice the
rights of Spain to Nootka. He appealed to the honor and
justice of all nations to recognize the generosity of His
Catholic Majesty's heart, since to avoid dragging Europe
into war he would sacrifice his own well-founded opinion,
even though prepared to enforce it by bis superior armament.0 Having led, or rather forced, the Spanish minister
to yield this much, Fitzherbert continued to press him until
he agreed to the declaration and counterdeclaration, almost
word for word, as they had been dictated by the British
Cabinet.   They were signed July 24, and are as follows:6
His Britannic Majesty having complained of the capture of certain
vessels belonging to his.subjects in the port of Nootka, situated on the
Northwest Coast of America, by an officer in the service of His Cath-
| Spanish memorial of July 22, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid,
Sec. Estado, 4291.)
"A French version is found In Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 156—158. There Is an English version in An. Reg., XXXII,
300. A Spanish version Is In Calvo, Recueil Complet des Traltes de
l'Amerlque Latine, 347.    Many other works have reproduced them. 406
olic Majesty, the undersigned counselor and principal secretary of
state to His Majesty, being thereto duly authorized, declares in the'
name and by the order of His Majesty, that he is willing to give satisfaction to His Britannic Majesty for the injury of which he has
complained, fully persuaded that His said Britannic Majesty would
act in the same manner toward His Catholic Majesty under similar
circumstances; and His Majesty further engages to make full restirl
tution of all the British vessels which were captured at Nootka, and
to indemnify the parties interested in those vessels for the losses
which they may have sustained, as soon as the amount thereof shall
have been ascertained. It being understood that this declaration is
not to prejudice the ulterior discussion of any right which His Catholic Majesty claims to form an exclusive establishment at Nootka.
In witness whereof I have sigued this declaration and sealed it
with the seal of my arms at Madrid the 24th of July, 1790.
Count Floridablanca.
counter declaration.
His Catholic Majesty having declared that he was willing to give
satisfaction for the injury done to the King by the capture of certain
vessels belonging to his subjects in the Bay of Nootka; and Count
Floridablanca having signed, in the name aDd by the order of His
Catholic Majesty, a declaration to this effect, and by which His said
Majesty likewise engages to make full restitution of the vessels so
captured and to indemnify- the parties interested in those vessels for
the losses which they shall have sustained, the undersigned ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of His Majesty to the
Catholic King, being thereto duly and expressly authorized, accepts
the said declaration in the name of the King; and declares that His
Majesty will consider this declaration, with the performance of the
engagements contained therein, as a full and entire satisfaction for
the injury of which His Majesty has complained.
The undersigned declares at the same time that it is to be understood that neither the said declaration signed by Count Floridablanca nor the acceptance thereof by the undersigned, in fhe name of
the King, is to preclude or prejudice, in any respect, the rights
which His Majesty may claim to any establishment which hig subjects may have formed, or may desire to form in the future, lit the
said Bay of Nootka.
In witness whereof I have signed this counter declaration and
sealed it with the seal of my arms at Madrid the 24th of July, 1790.
Alleyne Fitzherbert.
The only difference of any importance between the drafts
prepared by the British Cabinet and the documents as finally
signed is the insertion in the Spanish declaration of the
clause 1 fully persuaded that His said Britannic Majesty NOOTKA  SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
would act in the same manner toward His Catholic Majesty
under similar circumstances." °
Fitzherbert wrote that on the first occasion of his paying
his respects to His Catholic Majesty after the declarations
had been signed that Monarch had deigned to converse
freely concerning them, saying that they had given him the
sincerest pleasure, and that he considered them " a happy
earnest of the revival of that perfect harmony and good
understanding which it was his constant wish to maintain
with the Crown of Great Britain." The ambassador
reminded Leeds " that it is extremely unusual for His
Catholic Majesty to converse with foreign ministers on any
political topic, from which circumstance, joined to the
known sincerity of his character and the marked cordiality
of air and manner with which he accompanied this declaration, I can safely convey it to your grace as the genuine
expression of his feelings." 6
These declarations settled merely the question of satisfaction which England had demanded as the indispensable
preliminary to a discussion of the respective rights of the
two Crowns on the Northwest Coast, and particularly at
Nootka. This simply repaired the insult which England
felt that she had suffered at the hands of Spain. They were
now ready to begin negotiations on a friendly basis for
the settlement of the present difficulty and the arrangement of a modus vivendi for the future. News of the
declarations reached London August 5, and Grenville immediately notified the King, congratulating him on the
event, " which, as far as it goes, appears highly satisfactory
and seems to offer the most favorable prospect for such an
ultimate termination of the business as may correspond with
Your Majesty's wishes." ° In a letter of the* next day,
Leeds praised Fitzherbert for the latter's success.*
° Compare with draft of declaration and draft of counter declaration inclosed with Leeds to Fitzherbert, July 5, 1790 (Brit. Mus., MSS. 34432, f°
42-44) ; the same, pp. 142, 143 of the Narrative, cited in last note.
'Fitzherbert to Leeds, Madrid, July 29, 1790. (MS. public record office,
Spain, XVIII, 273.)
cGrenville to George III, August 4-5, 1790.    (Fortescue MSS., 1, 603.)
d Leeds to Fitzherbert, August 6, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Sec.
Estado, 4243.) Several writers on the subject seem to have made the mistake
of thinking that these declarations were Intended as a final settlement but
were rejected. Calvo, In his ltecuell, says that the declaration was rejected
by England and the armaments were continued.
^£m 408
During the months of May, June, and July, while the
negotiations that have been studied in this chapter were in
progress, both countries continued their warlike preparations. Shortly after reaching Madrid Fitzherbert reported
a Spanish fleet of 30 sail of the line, though poorly manned."
Baumgarten tells of the difficulty which the Spanish Government experienced in getting sailors. He says that they
took refuge in the mountains to escape being pressed into
the navy.6 On July 5 the British ambassador reported that
the Spanish fleet at Cadiz had been ordered to sea immediately, but he thought it simply a show of vigor to inspire
confidence.0 Four days later he recieved a note from Floridablanca ex2^1aining the movement. The King.of Spain,
having learned that the English fleet had put to sea, gave
orders to his to move also, but to refrain from hostilities
Unless attacked.** Two Spanish ships of war, with 1,000
soldiers, had been sent to Porto Rico, since an attack was
apprehended at that point.e By the 20th of the same,
month Spain had 34 ships of the line and 16 smaller
craft at sea.'' At the end of June an English fleet of 25
vessels of the line had put to sea,ff and had been joined early
in July by the Dutch fleet under Admiral Kinsbergen.*
During all this time the armaments had been carried on
in spite of repeated offers and requests from Spain to disarm mutually. As early as May 18, on receipt of the British!
memorial presented two days before, Floridablanca had proposed to Merry mutual and proportionate disarmament.1
This was repeated in the Spanish memorial of June 4.-J The
British Cabinet rejected the proposition.    In his instruc-
° Fitzherbert to Leeds, June 16, 1790. (MS. public record office, London,
Chatham MSS., bdle. 341.) Also Merry to Leeds, June 4, 1790. (MS. public record office, London, vol. for Spain, 17.)
* Baumgarten, Geschichte Spaniens zur Zeit der franzoesischen*Eevilutlon,
c Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 150.
d Id., 151. Muriel, Historia de Carlos, IV, I, 112-121. This author gives
an extended discussion of the Spanish fleet, giving the size of each vessel, Its
name, and the name of its commander.
e Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 154.
t Id., 66.
' Report to the National Assembly.    (Arch. Pari., first series, XVI, 692.)
* See last chapter.
* [Floridablanca] to Merry, May 18, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional,
Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)
tions of July 5 Leeds cautioned Fitzherbert to be partic*
ularly careful not to give the smallest encouragement to this
idea. His Majesty could not consent to discontinue preparations until he should have secured freedom of commerce,
navigation, and fisheries in the districts in question." After
the declaration and counter declaration had been signed,
Floridablanca proposed Limiting the operations of the fleets
to prevent the possibility of an encounter.* On August 10
Campo, the Spanish ambassador in London, repeated the
proposals for disarming.0 In reply, four days later, Leeds
gave assurance of England's desire for peace, but declared
that Great Britain refused to disarm until the matter in
question should be settled for the future.d On the same day
that Leeds gave this decided answer to Campo in London,
Floridablanca, in Madrid, had again proposed to Fitzherbert a mutual disarmament. On September 10, Leeds sent
a formal reply, repeating what he had said to Campo on
August 14.e
Far from yielding to the Spanish proposals, Great Britain
was continuing her preparations and calling on her allies to
do the same. On the day that Leeds rejected Campo's proposition to disarm, he instructed Auckland, the British ambassador at The Hague, to ask that Dutch preparations
should not be relaxed. The national honor had been satisfied, but the question of peace or war had not been settled.
It was requested that the Dutch fleet be ordered home for
supplies and reinforcements/ August 19 this request was
granted, and England was reassured of the support of Hollands Baumgarten says that early in September the English and Spanish fleets were both hovering off Cape Finis-
terre, and were dangerously near to each other.*
In his instructions to Auckland of August 14, referred to
above, Leeds had suggested that with a slight additional expense the Dutch and English fleets could be used to give
"Leeds to Fitzherbert, July 5, 1790.    (Brit. Mus., MSS. 34432, f° 46.)
6 Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 465.
"Id., 194.
d Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 199.
e Id., 240.
11d., 234.
» Id., 236.
* Baumgarten, Geschichte Spaniens zur Zeit der franzoesischen Revolution.
weight to the representations already made by England for
bringing about a pacification in the north and east of Europe.
The Dutch Government assented that the vgeneral state of
Europe, as well as the Spanish negotiations, warranted a
continuance of their armament.
The relation between the Nootka Sound negotiations and
the questions uppermost in eastern and northern Europe is
more than incidental. In a dispatch of June 14 Theremin,
the Prussian charge at Madrid, wrote his Government that
in case of a breach between England and Spain the latter
would certainly join Russia and Austria.0 The situation of
the powers was such that this would have been perfectly
natural. Russia and Austria were waging a common war
against the Porte. The former was also engaged in war
with Sweden,-and the latter had just been deprived of her
control in the Netherlands by the Belgian revolution. England and the Netherlands were trying to quiet the storm
and induce all parties to make peace on the basis of the status
quo ante bellum. Prussia, the third member of the triple
alliance, was not in harmony with the other two in this
matter. On the contrary, she was attempting to increase
the confusion in the hope of gaining something in the turmoil. She was attempting to force Galicia from Austria
that she might restore it to Poland and receive as compensation Dantzig and Thorn. She was fostering the Belgian
revolution so that in the end she might be able to return the
Flemish provinces to Austria to compensate that power for
the loss of Galicia. She had. actually made a treaty with
the Porte looking to this end, and had won the partial support of Poland. If Prussia had succeeded in dragging the
other two members of the triple alliance with her into war
and Spain had at the same time broken with England on
the Nootka question, it would inevitably have thrown Spain
into the arms of the imperial courts. The opponents, then,
would have been Prussia, England, the Netherlands, and
Turkey, with probably Poland and Sweden, against Russia,
Austria, and* Spain, with possibly Denmark. France had
for a time been thought of as a fourth member of the pro-
° Baumgarten, Geschichte Spaniens sur Zeit der franzoesischen Revolution, 292. NOOTKA  SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
posed alliance between Spain and the imperial courts, but
the disturbances in that country had, for the present, made
her almost a negligible quantity.
The conference at Reichenbaeh, which closed in August,
affected materially the state of Europe. The pacific efforts
of England and the Dutch Republic had already succeeded
in curbing somewhat the warlike passions of Prussia, and
at this conference won- a further triumph for the peace principle by inducing Leopold of Austria to make peace with
Turkey. But Russia still persisted for a time in her war
with the Porte, and the English-Spanish dispute over
Nootka Sound was almost as far from settlement as ever."
"See Lecky, England In the Eighteenth Century, V, 232-264. A number
of letters between the King of Spain and the Queen of Portugal, running
through the year, show that the latter power was offering her mediation to
settle the quarrel with England; but this is a negligible influence. (See
Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado.. 4221.) mm
Chapter X.
Attention was called above to the repeated conferences
between Pitt and the South American agitator, Miranda.
The fact was pointed out that these conferences occurred at
the critical periods of the English-Spanish negotiations.0
To repeat briefly: The first was on February 14, just after
the receipt of the first Spanish communication on the Nootka
affair, and before the British Court had formulated its
reply. Miranda had previously proposed his " grand plan 1
for the advantage of England united with South America.
At this conference the plan was admitted to be beneficial. It
was decided that it should be put into execution in case of a
war with Spain. In consequence of Pitt's request, Miranda
presented, some three weeks later, a written statement of the
commercial and military resources of South America.
Again, on May 6, when the war excitement in London was at
its highest, the great minister and the South American had a
conference on the same subject. Pitt was on his way to a
cabinet council and was taking with him for consideration
at the council the papers which Miranda had presented.
Grenville was present at the intervieAV. The conversation
was on the prospect of war with Spain, and on the disposition of the people of South America toward joining England in order to gain independence. Various interviews
took place at Pitt's house while the Spanish negotiations
were in progress.6
a See Chapters VII and VIII.
"Miranda to Pitt, London, September 8, 1781. (Am. Hist. Rev., VII, 711,
712.) This document and several others, which will be referred to in this
chapter, were collected and published by F. J. Turner. In this letter Miranda
recounts his relations with Pitt between February, 1790, and September, 1791.
It seems that I'itt had made repeated promises of financial aid, but had delayed them from time to time, until the writer had become Impatient. A
small sum had been paid, but much less than had been promised. He tells of
Russian offers of friendship and support. Later correspondence Indicates
that he received money from time to time.
At some time during the year Miranda's plan was presented in the form of a draft of a constitution for the Spanish-American colonies after they should have gained their
independence. The proposed new empire was to include all
of South America, except Brazil and Guiana, and the portion^
of North America west of the Mississippi River and south
of the forty-fifth parallel. Cuba was to be included as the
key to the Gulf of Mexico. The government was to be modeled in a general way on that of Great Britain. The execur
*ffive power was to be lodged in an inca, under the title of
I emperor," with hereditary succession. The upper chamber
was to be composed of members nominated for life by the
inca. Further details of the government were worked out.°
Miranda reminded Pitt that the latter had seemed pleased
with his ideas and had asked him to leave the draft for further
perusal. Plans for carrjdng on the war were discussed, and
the most favorable point for attack in South America was
considered. Means were devised for enlisting the interest
of Jesuits in Italy who were natives of South America
and had been exiled by the King of Spain. Accounts of
recent insurrections in Spanish America were given to show
how ready the people were for emancipation. Later, a detailed plan of attack was presented, with maps to illustrate
it. At Pitt's request a plan of the defenses of Havana was
left with him.
This shows what extended plans the British Cabinet was
considering. It was to be expected that England would persist in her demands, for if Spain would not yield there was
much to expect from a war. Secret agents at various places
in America were collecting information looking toward military operations to carry out these schemes. Besides the overtures to the United States through Canada, to be discussed
presently, there were secret emissaries at Charleston and
New York, and information was being collected concerning
New Orleans, the Floridas, and the Mississippi country.
The feasibility of marching troops from New Orleans to
Mexico was considered, and reports were made by men who
were familiar with the country. Some of the secret employees were enthusiastic over the possibility of making a great
English colony out of the Floridas and the Mississippi Val-
•Am. Hist. Rev., VII. 711, note 4.
J 414
ley. Agents of the Creek and Cherokee Indians were negotiating for a friendly connection with England. The plan,
as far as it had taken shape, seems to have been for England
to seize the heart of North America for herself and erect the
remainder of Spanish America into a client state.0
As mentioned above, the British Cabinet sent instructions
on May 6 to Lord Dorchester, the governor of Canada.5
He had intended to visit England during the summer, but-
was requested to remain and prepare for the impending
struggle. Besides strengthening his own dominions he was
to make friendly overtures to the United States." In consequence of these orders Lord Dorchester gave instructions
on June 27 to Major Beckwith, whom he had selected as
the medium through which these overtures should be made.
Beckwith was given double instructions. The one set was to
guide his conversations in discussing public questions in a
general way. The other was secret and for his private guidance. In the first he was instructed to say that the appearance of war with Spain rendered it improbable that Dorchester would obtain his expected leave of absence that season.
He was to return hearty thanks for the friendly approbation
of Dorchester's proposed trip through the United States on
his way to England. He was to express the hope that the
appearance of a war with Spain, or even its actual occurrence, would not alter the friendly disposition of the United
States toward Great Britain. He was to mention the pretensions of Spain to absolute control over navigation, commerce, and fisheries in the Pacific Ocean, and discuss the evil
effect on the United States if such control should be conceded. These things he might say freely and publicly.
But his secret instructions were to guide him in conversing
with those whom he might select as proper persons in whom
to confide. From them he was to learn the disposition of
the Government and the people toward England if the affair
with Spain were not considered. Then he was to discover
what difference a war with that country might make. He
was to ascertain whether in case war should occur they
would be likely to join Spain, and also to find what might
•Am. Hist. Rev., VII, 716-735.
» See Chapter VIII.
c Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 57. NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVERSY.
induce them to join Great Britain in such an <event. In
discussing the Mississippi question he was to be cautious,
but might suggest that England would probably assist in
obtaining its navigation. Naval and military movements
should be watched.0
Dorchester reported to the home office, on July 7, that
Beckwith had been hastily sent back to New York.* The
latter did not have to wait long to find the right man to
converse with on the matter contained in his secret instructions. On July 8, Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury,
made a memorandum giving the substance of a communication from him. The major had spoken of the expected rupture and had observed that all commercial nations must
favor the views of England.
It was therefore presumed, should a war take place, that the United
States would find it to their interest to take part with Great Britain
rather than with Spain.c
It seems that Hamilton communicated the matter to the
President at once, for in a letter reporting a later conversation with Beckwith he says:
I have made the proper use of what you said to me at our last
interview [July 8].*.
Under date of July 12, Jefferson, the Secretary of State,
prepared a paper entitled, " Heads of a consideration on the
conduct we are to observe in the war between Spain and
Great Britain, and particularly should the latter attempt
the conquest of Louisiana and the Floridas." As one would
expect, Jefferson inclined toward Spain rather than England.
He brought out the danger to the United States if England
should get control of New Orleans and the neighboring territory. He suggested the idea of joining Spain in guaranteeing the independence of these countries instead of allowing Great Britain to take them. The paper seems to have
been prepared to serve as a guide in an approaching inter-
" Lord Dorchester to Major Beckwith, Quebec, June 27, 1790 (Can. Arch.,
1890, p. 143) ; and same to same on same day (Id., 144). Very little is
known of Beckwith besides his being sent on this mission. Douglas Brymner,
in his introduction to this volume of the Canadian Archives, p. xl, gives a
brief sketch. He says that the records at Washington reveal nothing regarding Beckwith or his mission.
* Dorchester to Grenville, Quebec, July 7, 1790.    (Id., 145.)
"Hamilton, Works, IV, 31.
d Id., 32.    Also Can. Arch., 1890, p. xxxvi AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION.
view with the Canadian agent, for he says, "As to England,
say to Beckwith," etc.," then gives the substance of what
Hamilton reported as having been said to that gentleman in
an interview of July 22, at which Jefferson was present.
In this interview the fact was brought to light that Beckwith was not an authorized British agent, but that he had
been sent by Dorchester with the knowledge of the British
Cabinet. Owing to his unofficial character nothing of importance passed, but he was told that the United States >vas
ready to answer when it should be presented in an official
form.   Hamilton had said that, at the time, he---
would not mean either to raise- or repress expectations. * * *
Something was said respecting the probable course of military operations in case of a war between Britain and Spain, which Mr. Beckwith supposed would be directed toward South America, alleging, however, that this was mere conjecture on his part. I hinted cautiously
our dislike of any attempt on New Orleans.
Hamilton added in a note:
The views of the Government were to discard suspicion that any engagements with Spain or intentions hostile to Great Britain existed;
to leave the ground in other respects vague and open, so as that in case
of a rupture between Great Britain and Spain the United -States
ought to be in the best situation to turn it to account in reference to
the disputes between them and Great Britain on the one hand and
Spain on the other.*
Beckwith reported to Dorchester that Hamilton had said:
We are perfectly unconnected with Spain, have even some points
unadjusted with that Court, and are prepared to go into a consideration of the subject."
Scott, a member of the House of Representatives from
western Pennsylvania, told Beckwith that the prospect for a
rupture made most forcible impressions on all classes jji the
States. There was a deep interest, he said, in the prospect of
England's possessing New Orleans. The possible dismemberment of South America and the opening of commerce
• Jefferson, Works, IX, 409.
"Hamilton, Works, IV, 32.   Also Can. Arch., 1890, p. xxxvii.
"Can. Arch., 1890; p. 145. Inclosure with Dorchester to GrenviUe, September 25, 1790, marked " Supposed No. 7." These inclosures and others
similar,. sent at various times by Dorchester to the British Cabinet, are
designated as unofficial information. No names are given, but the speakers!
are indicated by number. Keys were sent from time to time showing for
whom the numbers stood. A complete key is found In the introduction to thiiM
volume (p. xli).    The above information reached Dorchester August 5. NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
with that continent was of interest, as well as the question of
navigation, commerce, and fisheries in the Pacific. He
thought that the moment was very favorable for England;
and he saw no reason why the United States should not assist
her.a After news of the declaration and counter declaration, signed at Madrid July 24, reached America, Beckwith
reported general dissatisfaction in the United States at the
prospect of pacification. Agricultural interests had expected that the war would bring them high prices, and the
shipping interests were expecting a share in the English
carrying trade and hoped for free commerce with the Spanish West Indies. Friends of England thought that she
ought to take the opportunity for ruining the Spanish marine, which they imagined to be an easy matter. British possession of New Orleans was expected and desired, except by
the Government which hoped to gain from a neutral position
when the settlement should come. At the same time he reported another conversation with Hamilton. The Secretary
had said:
We consider ourselves at perfect liberty to act with respect to Spain
in any way most conducive to our interests, even to the going to war
with that power, if we shall think it advisable to join you.*
These reports were doubtless colored by the desire of the
Canadian agent to send as favorable news as possible; but
after allowing for the exaggerations and the distortion of
facts that would naturally be expected, enough remains to
show that the prospect of war was common talk and that it
was not altogether undesired. They also point to the well-
known fact that England had many friends in the United
States and some even in the highest official circles.
While Beckwith was holding these unofficial conferences
with American statesmen President Washington and his
advisers were considering what measures the Government
should take in the event of hostilities breaking out. Between the time of Beckwith's first interview with Hamilton
and that of the more formal conference a fortnight later in
Jefferson's presence the latter had written to Monroe con-
a Id., 147, No. 14.    The key shows this to have been Mr. Scott.
6 Id., 162, 163, No. 7.
H. Doc. 429,58-3 27 wmmmmm
cerning the matter. He said that a war between England
and Spain was probable. Symptoms indicated a general
design on Louisiana and the Floridas. He spoke of the unpleasant position of the United. States if England should
obtain them. Both England and Spain, he said, ought to
know that this country was in a condition for war.a Late in
August President Washington wrote concerning the matter to
his chief advisers. He thought that if Great Britain and
Spain should come to arms New Orleans and the Spanish
posts on the Mississippi would be the first objective point
of the former. He asked what the answer to Lord Dorchester should be in case he should request permission to march
troops from Detroit across the territory of the United States
against the Spanish posts, or in case it should be attempted
without leave, which was most probable.6
On the day after that on which the President's letter was
written Jefferson answered it. He thought that the United
States should keep out of the war as long as possible If Lord
Dorchester should make the expected demand, it should
either be silently ignored, or, if granted, the same privilege
ought to be offered to Spain. If the march should be attempted without permission, the United States should allow
it, but protest against it, holding off from actual hostilities
as long as possible.0
On the same day Chief Justice Jay answered the President's question. He considered, first, what the United States
had a right to do from the standpoint of international law,
and, secondly, what was expedient under the circumstances.
Under the first head he concluded that, except in cases of
absolute necessity, or those in which it could be shown that
passage, would be entirely innocent, the right of dopiinion
involved the right of excluding foreigners. Under the second head he said that the probability of their being "restrained by a refusal ought to be considered. If they would
probably proceed anyway, it would be most prudent, he concluded, to consent. However, he added, these remarks retain
little force when applied to leading troops from posts in the
"Jefferson to Monroe, July 11, 1790.    (Jefferson, Writings, V, 198.)
'Washington to Jefferson, August 27, 1790.    (Id., 238.)
•Jefferson to Washington, August 28, 1790.    (Id.) ^?9
actual possession of England through territory under English jurisdiction, though both the posts and the territory, of
right, belong to the United States. He admitted that it
would militate against the interests of the United States to
have England occupy the Spanish territories in question.
The extent to which the principles of the balance of power
were applicable to the case in hand would merit serious inquiry, he remarked, if the United States had only to consider
what might be right and just. But since the condition of the
country strongly recommended peace, and since it would be
more prudent to allow Great Britain to conquer and hold
the Floridas than to engage in war to prevent it, such inquiries would be premature.0-
On the second day after the President wrote, Vice-President Adams gave his opinion. He said that the interests of
the United States pointed to neutrality as long as practicable. To preserve neutrality every wrong must be avoided.
Granting to England the privilege in question would be an
offense against Spain. Therefore, if asked, the answer
should be a refusal. If the measure should be undertaken
without leave there were two methods of procedure—the one
was war; the other, negotiation. Nations, he said, are
not obliged to declare war for every injury or even hostility;
but tacit acquiescence would be misinterpreted. Negotiation, then, was the only alternative. The* fact that there
had been no exchange of ministers with England made this
difficult. A remonstrance might be made in either of two
ways. It might be handed by the American representative at Paris, Madrid, or The Hague to the British ambassador at the same place, or a special messenger might be
sent to London to demand an audience, make remonstrance,
and then take his leave shortly if a minister were not sent
to the United States.6
Knox, the Secretary of War, sent his advice on the same
day as the Vice-President. He mentioned the danger to
the United States if England should get the Mississippi
Valley. The true interests of the country dictated neutrality.   Spain, he said, would not enter the war unless sup-
"Jay  to  Washington,  August 28,  1790.    (Pord,  The  United   States  and
Spain in 1790, 50.)
•Adams to Washington, August 29, 1790.    (Id., 45.) 420
ported by France, and such support was not unexpected. If
it should be given, France would attempt to associate the
United States with her in the war. One of the parties might
offer sufficient inducement to the United States to enter the
war, or they might be obliged to enter the war on their own
account to avert a greater evil.®
More than two weeks later Hamilton sent a long discussion
of the question from the standpoint of national right and
from the standpoint of expediency. He concluded that if
Great Britain should ask the privilege, it would be best for
the United States to agree to it and then explain the matter
to Spain. If troops should be marched across without consent having been asked, it would be a cause of war and would
have to be resented or.a great national humiliation borne.
Hostilities, he thought, should be delayed as long as
While these precautionary measures were being considered
by the Government at New York, instructions were being
sent to the American diplomatic agents in Europe to guide
them in case of a breach between England and Spain. On
August 11 Jefferson wrote instructions for Col. David
Humphreys, whom he was sending to Europe as a secret
agent of the United States. Humphreys was to go first to
London, where he should deliver instructions to Morris, the
American informal agent at that place. After delivering
these he was to proceed by way of Lisbon to Madrid, where
he should deliver instructions to Carmichael, the American
charge at the Spanish Court.0
Morris had been watching the progress of the dispute between England and Spain and had been in close touch and
sympathy with French representatives.** The letter which
Humphreys carried instructed Morris to intimate to the
British Court in case of war that the United States could not
be indifferent to the prospect of England's acquiring territory in the adjoining Spanish possessions. The American
Government would contemplate a change of neighbors with!
extreme uneasiness.   Due balance on their borders was not
"''Knox to Washington, August 29, 1790.     (Id., 103.)
* Hamilton to Washington, September 15, 1790. (Hamilton, Works, IV,
0 Jefferson to the United States secret agent, August 11, 1790.    (Writings.)
* Morris, Diary and Letters, I, 325, 326, 329; Life and Writings, II, 113. NOOTKA  SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
less desirable to Americans than the balance of power in
Europe was to Englishmen. Jefferson wrote: " We wish to
be neutral, and we will be so if they .will execute the treaty
fairly and attempt no conquests adjoining us." Other
dominions of Spain, he declared, left them room for conquests. I If war takes place, we would really wish to be
quieted on these two points, offering in return an honorable
neutrality.   More than this they are not to expect."
This was to be communicated only in the event of war having actually taken place.0 Without waiting for America
to broach the subject, the Duke of Leeds had sounded Morris
on the American attitude toward the extravagant claims of
Spain. The latter answered carelessly without giving any
real information. He said that Spain was apprehensive of
the Americans and would sacrifice for their friendship.
He intimated that the navigation of the Mississippi might
be offered.6 A report was current in London that Spain
had actually made this concession to the United States.0
Jefferson was -planning to use French mediation to secure
from Spain the opening of the Mississippi. He instructed
Short, the American charge at Paris, to make advances for
this purpose through Lafayette if war had begun or whenever it should begin. France, he said, would be drawn into
the war only as an ally, hence she might reasonably insist
that Spain should do all in her power to keep the United
States from the ranks of the enemy.d
In his instructions to Carmichael Jefferson suggested that,
in case of war, the people of Louisiana and Florida would
favor England. He also suggested that it would be best
for both countries if Spain would cede the Floridas and
New Orleans to the United States in return for a guaranty
of the Spanish possessions on the west bank of the Mississippi. These matters were being pressed warmly and
firmly, the Secretary said, under the idea that the war be-
• Jefferson to [Morris], August 12, 1790.    (Works or Writings, under date.)
1 Morris, Diary and Letters, I, 647 ; entry for September 15, 1790.
• This rumor was traced to Miranda, who, it was reported, said that he had
seen it in a letter to Campo, the Spanish ambassador. (See Hamilton to
Washington, September 21, 1790, Hamilton, Works, IV, 71; see also Humphreys to the Secretary of State, London, October 20, 1790; Ford, The United
estates and Spain in 1790, 31.)
I Jefferson to Short, August 10, 1790.    (Jefferson, Writings, V, 218.) 422
tween Spain and Great Britain would be begun before
Carmichael could receive these instructions, and such an
opportunity must not be lost.0 As stated in the previous
chapter, Fitzherbert believed that Spain had made friendly
overtures to the United States, but thought also that they
would not be cordially received. The Spanish representative at New York presented a letter to President Washington on August 3 which doubtless contained the overtures
to which Fitzherbert referred.6 Very late in the negotiations Short thought that the Spanish ambassador at Paris
was about to offer through him a concession of territory to
the United States, but the conversation was interrupted
before it reached the vital point.0
Humphreys delivered Jefferson's instructions to Carmichael late in the year. Carmichael thought that America
might have obtained all of her wishes if the Secretary's
letters had arrived early in the summer.   At that time—
The critical state of affairs induced the Comte de Floridablanca to
throw out those general assertions that we should have no reason
to complain of the conduct of this Court with respect to the Mississippi, which gave rise to the report its navigation was opened. That
minister had intimations from del Campo of the conferences between
Mr. Morris and the Duke of Leeds, which occasioned him to say
with warmth to Mr. Carmichael," Now is the time to make a treaty
with England." Fitzherbert availed himself of these conferences to
create apprehensions that the Americans would aid his nation in
case of war."*
The circumstances studied in this chapter show that plans
were being formed which, if they had been carried out, would
(Id., 216 and 225.)
(MSS. Dept. of State,»Wash-
° Jefferson to Carmichael, Augvst 2 and 22, 1790.
» See Am. Hist. Eev., VII, 720.
c Short to Jefferson, Paris, October 21, 1790.
ington, Dispatches, France, Vol. II.)
d Humphreys to the Secretary of State, Madrid, January 3, 1791. (Ford,
The United States and Spain in. 1790, 32.) It seems that very little new.s
from Carmichael had been received, and that the Government at New York
had become impatient at his dilatory conduct. He must have received a
severe reprimand from Jefferson, if one can judge from bis reply of January
24, 1791 (Id., 37). It begins: "Sir: Colonel Humphreys delivered to me
your letter of the 6th of August on the 18th of last month. Nothing could
equal my astonishment at finding that I have been employing my time in a
situation that has been for many years disagreeable—so little to my own
credit or to the satisfaction of my country." The rest of the letter indicates
that his dispatches had miscarried. He attributed the fact to personal enemies.    He said that he was sending copies of some of his last dispatches.
This letter from Carmichael and that, from Humphreys referred to above
make interesting comments on the court intrigues in Spain—the dominance
of the Queen's corrupt influence and the decline of Floridablanca's prestige. -JU-.^P..
have profoundly altered the subsequent development of the
United States. They show also that the attitude of the
United States was looked upon as of considerable importance, and influenced to a certain extent the counsels of both
of the contending parties. Incidentally it is seen that the
controversy afforded an opportunity for expressions of the
attitude of the American Government toward encroachment
of European nations on American soil. In the above
quotations from Jefferson's letters may be found a very
good statement of the principles that later became known as
the Monroe Doctrine. Chapter XI.
The decree of the National Assembly, in May, ordering
the armament of 14 vessels of the line has been studied in a
former chapter. Attention was there called to the fact that
this step was taken before Spain had made a formal demand
for assistance under the family compact. It was also noted
that the formal demand was made in the middle of June, but
that the King, fearing the consequences, had delayed laying
the matter before the Assembly.0. On August 2, more than
six weeks later, a letter from Montmorin informed the Assembly that Spain had demanded in the most positive manner the execution of treaties in case the negotiation with
England did not turn out as desired. The King, hoping
for a speedy settlement, had thought it wise to defer provoking a discussion of the matter in the National Assembly;
but in view of the continued preparations of England he
could delay no longer. Therefore he had charged the writer
to warn the Assembly and thought that it would be prudent
to increase the French armament. He laid before the Assembly the letter of the Spanish ambassador of June 16, with
copies of the letters and documents accompanying it, recounting the history of the dispute and the negotiations to the time
when it was written. The minister asked the Assembly to
deliberate on the demand of the Court of Madrid. All of
the documents were referred to the diplomatic committee.6 I
On the next day, August 3, another letter from Montmorin notified the Assembly that a courier from Madrid had
brought news of the signature of a declaration and counter
declaration that gave hope of an amicable settlement. Great
applause greeted the announcement.   The letter and dec-
a See Chapter VIII.
"Arch. Pari., August 2, 1790. (Muriel, Historia de Carlos IV, I, 122, mentions this letter of June 16.)
larations were referred to the diplomatic committee. Dupont
de Nemours then announced that he had some observations
to present on the treaty with Spain known as the " family
compact; " but to save the valuable time of the Assembly
he would bring them to the attention of the Deputies by
having them printed. Another Deputy announced that he
also would present some remarks on the Spanish.demand in
the same manner.
Dupont, in his observations on the treaty, first announced
the principles on which he proposed to examine it. It had
been made, he said, thirty years before, when political philosophy had made scarcely any progress. It was antiquated
and inconsistent in some respects, but these defects did not
prevent its being just and salutary in principle. Some, he
said, wished to break the treaty and abandon our allies, but
reason, common sense, and honor point to the contrary—that
we should confirm it. He declared that defensive and commercial arrangements ought to be kept, but anything involving offensive warfare ought to be struck out. He
thought that it ought to be so modified that instead of a
family it would be a national compact. Wherever the word
| crown " occurred he would substitute the word " nation,"
and instead of " the Kings agree," etc., he would have it
read " the nations (through their Kings)." He examined
the treaty article by article and measured each by these
standards. Most of the stipulations he would preserve,
with slight modifications; a few he would strike out en-
tirely. The stipulation which provided that the mere requisition should be sufficient to establish the obligation of
the nation called upon to furnish the aid was wholly untenable, he declared. The need should be first established,
and the nation called upon should have the right of judging. Instead of limiting the alliance to the House of Bourbon, he though that all nations having similar sentiments
ought to be admitted.
The other Deputy, who presented the observations on the
Spanish demand, declared that Spain had been a faithful
ally. She had taken up a failing cause in 1761 and shared
in the unhappy sacrifices of two years later. She had aided
in the American Revolution and had prepared to assist in ■rririfirtMMHttvi ammanf
the trouble with the Netherlands in 1787. Gratitude would
command France to reciprocate; but he wished to appeal to
reason and not to sentiment. Spain and France were natural allies because of common interests. The treaty of
1761, no longer a family but a national compact, offered
many advantages. Spain was still the most important outlet for French commerce. France had profited more from
the alliance than Spain, hence was indebted to her. The
financial embarrassment at the time was serious, and a war
would be dangerous, but even this ought not to cause
France to sacrifice honor. He thought that the armaments
ought to be continued and all the forces of France ought to
be offered to Spain. If this should be done, England would
probably give way. The war, if it should come, ought to
have the support of all France and be waged on new and
noble principles.0
It was more than three weeks before the diplomatic committee was ready to report. The principal member of the
committee was Mirabeau. He was spokesman when the report was presented to the Assembly on August 25. He began
by saying that the peace was not likely to be disturbed; that
the territory in dispute between Spain and England belonged to neither, but to the natives; that it was not worth
the loss of blood and treasure; that France, because of internal conditions, ought to avoid war; and that there would
soon be universal peace and no need of allies. After giving
these pacific assurances, he admitted that France ought to
change her political principles, but declared that this ought
not to be done suddenly. She could not remain isolated from
the world. The suspension of treaties would be perilous.
All treaties made by the King ought to be observed b*y the
nation until they were annulled or changed. He recited the
history of Spain's faithful observance of the family compact; then asked whether it would be right for France to
annul such a solemn engagement at a time when Spain was
threatened by the same danger that she had three times
warded off from France.   In view of the great English arma-
° Arch. Pari., August 3, 1790. The observations of the two Deputies are
appended to the minutes of the session. The one who presented the latter report was Le Couteulx de Canteleu, Deputy from Rouen. NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
ment, self-interest obliged France to strengthen her alliance with Spain. That would require a faithful observance of the treaty. If England did not really desire war,
but was arming simply to conduct the negotiation more
favorably, increasing the French armament would doubtless
delay the result. But if the abandonment of French engagements should force Spain to make peace with England
more promptly, a great wrong would be done to French
credit and French commerce. If England desired war, then
France ought to support Spain with all her resources. For
if England should force Spain to succumb, France would
be the next object of her ambition and vengeance. It was
not proposed, he said, to ratify the compact as a whole, but
only the defensive and commercial stipulations. He proposed to notify the King of Spain that the alliance would be
preserved, and at the same time to refer the treaty to a
committee for revision, after which it should be renewed.
The King of France was to open negotiations with the
King of Spain at once for this purpose. He also proposed
that the fleet be raised to 30 ships of the line, with a proportionate number of smaller vessels. After a few short favorable addresses on the report the discussion was postponed
to the next day.°
When the discussion was resumed on August 26 the report
met with very little opposition. There was a futile attempt,
led by Petion, to postpone the decision until further information might be obtained. L'Abbe Maury favored confirming
the treaty as it stood, declaring, rightly as events proved,
that it would give England a great advantage to leave the
alliance so indefinite. Ricard considered 30 vessels too small
an armament and proposed increasing it to 45. Others
favored his idea and Mirabeau embodied it in his report.
With this modification, the decrees proposed were unanimously adopted by the Assembly. The essential points were:
First, defensive and commercial arrangements with Spain
were to be observed;.secondly, negotiations were to be opened
with Spain for the purpose of renewing and perpetuating
the alliance; thirdly, the armament should be raised to 45
"Arch. Pari., August 25, 1790; Miles, W. A., Correspondence, I, 167. AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION.
ships of the line, with a proportionate number of smaller
On August 30 Montmorin informed the Assembly that the
King had sanctioned the decrees and would proceed at once
to carry them out. The minister for marine, he said, had already received orders for the armament. Only 16 vessels
would be fitted out at once, which, added to the 14 already
armed, would make 30. Preparations would be made to complete the armament to 45 if that should become necessary.6
On September 1 Montmorin replied to Fernan Nunez's letter of June 16. He told of the action of the Assembly and
inclosed a copy of the decrees. The King, he said, was taking steps to carry them out. The reason that only 30 ships
instead of 45 would be armed immediately was to avoid the
appearance of hostility to England. The French King hoped
for a peaceful settlement and reciprocal disarmament.0
To one who did not scrutinize the decrees closely the action
of the Assembly seemed to be all that Spain could desire. If
the support had been tardy, yet it was enthusiastic. It seems
that at heart most of the Assembty really desired to support
Spain and thought that they were doing all that could be
expected; but their irrepressible tendency to theorize
blinded them to the practical. Apparently they did not
realize that their proposal to modify the treaty at such a critical time nullified it as far as any immediate assistance under
it was concerned. It seems possible that if Mirabeau had
stood firmly for ratifying the treaty as it was he might still
have carried the Assembly with him.*
<• Id., August 26, 1790. Muriel, Historia de Carlos IV, 123-126, discusses
Mirabeau's report of August 25 and the decree of August 26. Cambridge
Modern History VIII, 189, 190, discusses the decree briefly. The latter reference says, " It is stated on the authority of Miles that Mirabeau received
from the Spanish minister a thousand louis d'or for this service." See also
Memoires de Mirabeau, VIII, 36 ; Lomenie, Les Mirabeau, V, 269 ; and Correspondence Entre Mirabeau et La Marck, II, 147.
6 Montmorin to the president of the Assembly, August 30, 1790. (MS.
Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4038.) On October 10 the Assembly appropriated 5,000,000 livres to defray the expense of the armament
(See Arch. Pari., October 10, 1790.)
i Montmorin to Fernan Nunez, September 1, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4038.
d Oscar Browning, Cambridge Modern History, VIII, 290, says that " On
June 23, 1790, he had notified the Court that if they wished to give effect to
the family compact they must get it altered in form, as the nation would
never support an agreement which was purely dynastic in shape." NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVERSYs
The French Government was anxious regarding the effect
that the action of the Assembly might have on England.
The French view of England's conduct was well expressed in
a letter from Montmorin to Luzerne, the ambassador from
France to the English Court. After remarking that the
British Court would probably be astonished at the decrees,
he explained that the step was necessary to sustain the honor
of France. It had not been taken precipitately, he said, but
had been delayed as long as possible, even provoking complaints from Spain. When it was learned that Spain had
given satisfaction to England, and still the latter refused to
disarm, the French Government was compelled to suppose
that the British Cabinet had some ulterior purpose and was
not certain that it did not concern France. Either England
did not wish to terminate the Nootka affair justly or she had
other objects, for which this was to furnish a stepping-stone.
If it was a question of Spain, France was interested in saving her ally; if the French themselves were concerned, argument was unnecessary. Luzerne was to use these arguments
with Leeds and Pitt. He was also to use confidentially the
fact that the Assembly had decreed a larger armament than
the Government had asked. This, Montmorin remarked,
ought to make an impression. Luzerne might again, suggest
French intervention, but with much circumspection, since it
had been refused before.0 On the day after writing the
above private instructions for the ambassador, Montmorin
asked him to assure the English King that the armaments
were purely precautionary and had no object except those
designated by the Assembly. The French King hoped for a
peaceable settlement. He had been pleased with the declaration and counter-declaration, but would have been more
pleased if a proportionate disarmament had followed, or at
least an agreement not to increase the armaments.6
Gower, the British ambassador at Paris, had promptly
expressed to Montmorin his surprise at the action of the
Assembly. He reported on August 27 to his Government
that Montmorin was surprised also, and had told him thai;
orders would be given to commission more ships, " but that
° Montmorin  to  Luzerne,
Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4038.)
* Same to same, August 28, 1790
iugust  27,   1790.
(MS.   Arch.   Hist.   Nacional, 430
it would be done (this he said in the utmost confidence) avec
le plus grande lenteur."0 A dispatch of the next day hinted
that Spanish money might have influenced the Assembly.6
On September 1 instructions were sent from London telling
Gower to renew the English assurances of friendliness for
France, but to observe that it would be impossible for the
harmony to continue if France should support Spain. He
was to represent that any aid or encouragement to Spain
would be a cause of umbrage to England, since it would
make a just settlement more difficult.0 On September 4
Gower presented a memorial demanding an explanation of
the armament."2 Montmorin's letter to Luzerne of August
28, referred to above, was presented to the English Court
on September 7." On September 10, in reply to Gower's of
the 4th, Montmorin referred the English Court to a letter,
written September 9 to Luzerne, which the latter would present. For some reason Luzerne delayed handing this to the
British Court, and on September 21 Gower was instructed
to demand a formal reply to his memorial. When this
demand reached Paris, Montmorin was out of the city.
Having returned, he answered, October 4, that he did not
understand Luzerne's delay. He declared that France had
no wish to influence the negotiations, but in case the matter
could not be amicably settled she might be compelled to support Spain. Before this reached London Gower had been
instructed to demand that the French fleet make no move to
join the Spanish. On October 14 Montmorin agreed that no
movement should .be made until England should have received a reply from Spain to the ultimatum which the
British Court had sent a few days before.f Hugh Elliot
was sent secretly as a special English agent to argue wifh the
French Court against supporting Spain. He met members
of the diplomatic committee and thought, at least, that he
had converted them to the English view. W. A. Miles cooperated with Elliot in this undertaking.   Only obscure and
• Gower, Despatches, 26.
»Id., 28.
i Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 204.
• Gower to the French Court, September 4, 1790.    (MS. Arch.  Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4038.)
• Narrative of the Negotiations between England and Spain, 218.
t Id., 220, 221, 223, 226, 230, 232. NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
mysterious references to their mission are extant, and many
curious speculations have been made concerning it.°
Before news reached Madrid of the action of the National
Assembly negotiations had begun for a final settlement of
the Nootka question.
The declaration and counter declaration signed late m
July had been accepted by England as affording the satisfaction demanded. This had opened the way for a pacific
discussion of the respective rights to Nootka and the neighboring coast.6 On September 8 Fitzherbert presented to
Floridablanca the first projet of a treaty. It had been
formulated in London three weeks earlier and had been
sent with instructions to the British ambassador. These
instructions declared it to be the purpose of' the British
Government to avoid requiring Spain to make any mortifying renunciation of rights, but at the same time the stipulations were to be so worded that they would not imply an
admission of the Spanish claims by the British Government.
It was impossible for His Majesty to recognize them, either
directly or indirectly. They were merely a matter of pride
with Spain, it was said, and were really a source of weakness rather than of strength.0
When Fitzherbert submitted the projet he inclosed with
it extended observations on each article. The preamble, as
it had been worded by the British ambassador, declared a
• Stanhope, Life of Pitt, II, 56, 59 ; Hassal, The French People, 352; Cambridge Modern History, VIII, 291; Adams, E. D., The Influence of Grenville
on Pitt's Foreign Policy, 8, 9 ; Miles, W. A., Correspondence on the French
Revolution, I, 170, 176, 178 ; and George III to Pitt, October 26, 1790. Smith
MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com., report 12, appendix 9, p. 368.) The last two are the
sources. The last Is quoted by Adams and by the Cambridge Modern History.
0 See Chapter IX. Early in August, letters from Colnett had reached London by way of Fitzherbert at Madrid. These told of his detention In Mexico
and of his release. Their Influence on the negotiations was only Indirect.
(See Narrative, 166.)
In the Instructions sent from London on August 17, Fitzherbert was asked
to take up with the Spanish Court the matter of the liberation of the Chinese
which were captured at Nootka.    In the same instructions negotiations concerning a dispute over regulations for governing British subjects in the Honduras settlement were turned over to Fitzherbert.    These had been in progress
between Campo and Leeds at London in February, when the first Spanish note
on the Nootka affair was handed to Leeds.    The British Court Immediately
suspended all other discussions until Spain should have offered satisfaction
for the insult which they felt that the British flag had suffered.    The declara-
i tlons of July 24 had been accepted as affording such, and consequently the
; usual diplomatic relations had been resumed.    (See Narrative, 201, 203.)
"Narrative, 168 ff. 432
desire to form a convention which would settle the present differences and avoid such disputes for the future. On
this he observed that the Court of London thought that
would be the best means of settlement which, without formally pronouncing on the opposing pretensions, should regulate the respective positions of the two Crowns for the
future. If British subjects could be assured of the free
exercise of their rights in the Pacific, the English King
would not be reluctant to establish all possible rules to prevent illicit commerce with Spanish possessions. The Court
of London was persuaded that a Cabinet so wise as that of
Spain could not seriously have advanced such vast pretensions.
The first article declared that British subjects should be
replaced in possession of the ships and lands of which
they had been deprived at Nootka by a Spanish officer
toward the month of April, 1789.° The observations on this
gave the English arguments against the claim of Spain
to exclusive dominion over the coasts in question. The
English Court could not admit the justice of an exclusive
sovereignty over so vast a coast, which since its discovery
had Avithout interruption been frequented by British subjects and by those of other nations as well. Spain claimed
only as far as the sixty-first degree, conceding to Russia
the portion beyond. Fitzherbert insisted, with a good deal
of sagacity, that the very principle of this division demonstrated the inadmissability of the Spanish pretension. If
Russia had acquired rights to the coast beyond the sixty-
first degree in virtue of the establishments which her subjects had formed there, how, he asked, could other nations
be denied the opportunity of malting establishments m like
manner on the parts of the coast situated below this degree
and not already occupied? As to the Spanish claim to
priority of discovery, he implied that it could be disproved,
though he did not disprove it. However, he insisted that
discovery alone, without being folio-wed up by actual occupation, could not be admitted as furnishing a right to
possession which could operate to the exclusion of other
• An error in the^ month, as pointed out formerly. Martinez did not
arrive at Nootka until May 5. (See Chapter IV, ante.) This error was
embodied in the final treaty. NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
nations. England did not claim exclusive jurisdiction, he
said. What she wished was a reciprocal assurance of free
access for both nations to the new establishments formed
or to be formed by the one or the other.
The second article, in keeping with the statement just
made, declared that between certain limits, to be named
later, the subjects of both Crowns should exercise their commerce without hindrance in the establishments of either.
The third article declared that England would employ
efficient means to prevent such access being made a pretext
for illicit commerce with Spanish colonies. With this in
view it was stipulated that between certain limits, to be
named later, British subjects should make no establishments,
and that they should not approach within a certain distance
of the coast between these limits. Fitzherbert observed that
the purpose of this was to assure to Spain the rights of
domain over all places in actual possession of her subjects.
It was desired to make this as favorable to the Spanish pretensions as possible. He proposed as the northern limit of
Spanish exclusive dominion the thirty-first degree. This
would have left to Spain not quite all of Lower California.
He suggested that the boundary should run east on this
npegree to the Colorado River, follow that river to its source,
and then run northeast to the nearest point on the Missouri.
Spain should have exclusive dominion of the coast from
the above-mentioned parallel southward to within about 10°
of Cape Horn. In his private instructions Fitzherbert was
authorized to yield a little if necessary. He might accept
as the northern limit the fortieth parallel from the Pacific
to the Missouri. He thought that the distance within which
British ships should not approach ought to be 5 leagues.
On this point his private instructions allowed him to yield
to 8 or even 10 leagues.
The fourth article provided that everywhere else in the
Pacific the subjects of both Crowns should enjoy freedom
of navigation and fishery, with the privilege of landing on
the coasts to trade with the natives or form establishments
in unoccupied places. It was thought, he said, that this
would be the' best way to prevent injurious competition in
making settlements.   This principle was to be applied to
H. Doc. 429,58-3-
-28 434
the Nootka settlement also, when that should have been
returned to Great Britain. On this, he said, no further observations were necessary. It was a natural consequence of
the foregoing stipulations. This would have meant, had it
been conceded, that England and Spain would have had
equal rights to all of the coast north of Lower California.
The fifth article referred to making establishments in South.
America, and was not considered essential by the British
Cabinet. The sixth referred to the exchange of ratifications.0
Soon after the presentation of this projet the action of
the French Assembly became known at Madrid, and its
influence must next be considered.
A letter from Madrid of September -10 to the " Gazette de
Leide " told that a courier had just arrived from Paris with
the news that a decree had been rendered by the National
Assembly for a provisional maintenance of the family compact and for increasing the armament. This had greatly
decreased the inquietude over the English demands. A rumor had arisen that these demands would overthrow many
of the long-established principles of Spain, for they were
based on English pretensions to a right of free navigation
and commerce in the South Sea and on the western coast of
America. The expectation of such powerful aid had produced an agreeable sensation.7' This • was the effect on the
popular mind.
Its influence on Floridablanca was very different. In
submitting to a council of the principal ministers of state
the English projet of a treaty studied above, he said that it
was advisable to consider first the relations of Spain with-
the principal courts of Europe. He began with France. In
referring to the portion of the decree that limited the treaty|
to " defensive and commercial arrangements," he remarked
that this expression was capable of many interpretations and
equivocations. He noticed further that even the declaration
for this partial maintenance of the treaty was made subor-
« Fitzherbert to Floridablanca, inclosing projet with observations, September 8, 1790. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.) The
private instructions of Leeds to Fitzherbert are to be found in the Narrative, 168-192.
6 Gazette de Leide, October 1, 1790. 3i
dinate to the expression "taking all proper precautions to
preserve the peace." If, he declared, the deciding on what
were proper precautions be left to the Assembly, composed of
so many members and with such extraordinary ideas, there
was no hope that their decision would accord with Spain's
ideas of preserving the peace. That body might not consider the Nootka dispute a casus foederis. It might decide
that Spain was to blame, or that she had motives of aggression, or that she had not admitted all of the means of
conciliation proposed by England. The desire of the Assembly to negotiate a new treaty on national lines was
ominous, he said. They, of course, wished to modify or explain the old. This new system of the sovereignty of the
nation might present difficulties. The body asserting it, the
National Assembly, was itself a usurper. Referring to the
provision for arming 45 ships of the line, he called attention
to the fact that the reason assigned was not that of supporting Spain. The decree declared that the armament was
in consideration of the armaments of various nations of
Europe^ and was for the security of French commerce and
French colonial possessions. Finally, he declared, even if
the Assembly really wished to aid Spain it was doubtful
whether it could do so, on account of the lack of funds and on
a'ccount of the disorders of the country. If aid should be
sent, the insubordination of the French sailors would be in
danger of contaminating the Spanish and would impede
their own usefulness. He concluded that there was very
little hope of aid. Only in case that England attacked
France would there be any reasonable hope of assistance. .
After discussing the unhappy relations with France, the
minister took up each of the other nations in turn. Prussia
and the Netherlands were allies of England, so must be
counted as enemies. Of the small States, the Courts of
Lisbon, Naples, and Turin could be counted on as friendly
neutrals. All ■ that could be hoped for from Turkey,
Tripoli, and Algiers was that they would not injure
Spain; but not so with Tunis and Morocco, which were
actually threatening and were probably being, reckoned on
by England. The Court of Vienna was not open to new
enterprises of war or new alliances. Sweden would not be
a safe ally, and besides would demand a subsidy.   Denmark mm
also would have to be subsidized, and then would join only
in case that Russia entered also. The latter was already
engaged in war with Sweden" and Turkey, and was being
menaced by England and Prussia. In the absence of money
and support she would have to yield. If Spain had a full
treasury to open to Russia and would enter a war against
England, engaging her Baltic fleet, there was no doubt that
Catherine II would form an alliance. But Spain had not
the treasury and was not in a position to undertake a war for
the benefit of Russia. If, however, Spain could not honorably avoid war and should be attacked, some arrangement
with Russia for reciprocal aid would be useful. Steps had
been taken with that in view, but nothing definite had been
done. The United States would be useful allies, since they:
could harass English commerce and threaten Canada. They
had been sounded and seemed not unfavorable. But they
would desire the navigation of the Mississippi, which would
open to them a door for contraband trade with Mexico.
And besides this they might in the end be enabled to insist on
the boundary of Florida which they had unjustly arranged
with England, usurping a large part from Spain.
After considering the foreign relations of Spain, Floridablanca reminded the ministers that they ought also to reflect
on internal affairs—the army, the navy, the treasury, and
economic conditions. The army was weak, lie said, but
could soon be increased as much as would be necessary in a
maritime war. The navy was well equipped at the time,
but provision would have to be made for reinforcements and
supplies. All of this would occasion much expense, and the
treasury was scarcely sufficient for peace. It would be necessary to have recourse to credit. Bad harvests and*weak
administration of justice, he said, had increased the cost of
provisions. New taxes could not be imposed without caus-J
ing resistance, especially in view of the evil example of
These reflections on the conditions of Spain at home and
abroad, the Count said, would have to be kept in mind in
considering the plan for a convention which England had
* Peace had been concluded between Sweden and Russia on August 15, bnt
the news had probably not reached Madrid when the Count prepared this
paper.    See Lei Uy, England In the Eighteenth Century, V, 271. NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
proposed. On the other hand, they must not lose sight of
the loss that would be caused to the rights of Spain in the
two Americas. They must remember the danger to Spanish
commerce and navigation and to the quietude of the colonial
establishments. They must also consider the evil example
that would be given to other nations by a concession to Great
Britain, as well as " the incentive to England to increase her
pretensions and exact other condescensions if we enter easily
into the first."0 From these reflections it is evident, that
Floridablanca had decided to yield to England, but with at
least a show of resistance.
Such a communication from the prime minister to the
Council of State would lead one to infer that the Spanish
Court was about to desert the French alliance, and was willing to sacrifice something for the friendship of England.
But if this is only an inference the communications with the
English ambassador at about the same time leave no doubt
of the fact. At a conference on September 13 Floridablanca
declared to Fitzherbert that His Catholic Majesty regarded
the National Assembly with the utmost horror. He was extremely averse to adopting the kind of treaty proposed by
that body. He feared for the influence on his own authority
that a recognition of the French Assembly would have. If,
however, England should press too hardly in the present conjuncture, the Count declared, Spain would be compelled to
accept the alliance of France on any condition. But if an
accommodation could be speedily arranged, His Catholic
Majesty intended to reject the treaty proposed by the French
Assembly and to establish an intimate concert and union
with England. The Count informed the British ambassador that he had submitted the latter's projet and observations to the Council of State. That body had decided that it
would be necessary to send to America in order to locate
definitely the northern and southern limits of the Spanish
settlements as proposed. Since this would delay the settlement of the Nootka affair, he suggested the immediate conclusion of a preliminary agreement, which would secure to
° Floridablanca to the principal ministers, September, 1790. (MS. Arch.
Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.) The same is published in Calvo,
Recueil Complet des Traltes de l'Amerlque Latine, III, 350-355; also In
Cantillo, Tratados de Paz y Comercto, 630. 438
Great Britain by general, but sufficient, stipulations, the objects that she had in view. This would put a stop to the
armaments, give time to arrange a system of union between
Spain and England, and allow His Catholic Majesty to disengage himself entirely from France.0
At this conference, on September 13, Floridablanca had
said that he would present a plan for the temporary settlement which he had suggested. Fitzherbert had found it
best jn his dealings with the Spanish Court to be first on the
ground. Consequently on the following day he sent to the
Count a projet for the proposed temporary agreement. On
the same evening Floridablanca presented his plan in the
form of a counter-pro jet. The next day, September 15,
they held another conference to consider the plans. The
English ambassador labored in vain to induce the Spanish
minister to admit some alterations in the latter's plan, so
that it would be acceptable to the British Court. The Count
insisted that he had conceded all that his colleagues and the
King would allow him to grant. He earnestly requested
Fitzherbert to transmit it to the Duke of Leeds in its existing form. He felt confident that the terms would be accepted by the Court of London. As a means of shortening
by some weeks the continuance of the present expensive
armaments, he would send instructions authorizing Campo,
the Spanish ambassador at London, to sign it in case His
Britannic Majesty should approve it.6 Since neither of these
plans was accepted, it is not necessary to study their terms
in detail.
This shows the influence that the action of the French
Assembly had on the relations of the three countries? In
view of it, Spain despaired of getting any assistance from
France, and, further, it promised to be the occasion for a
rearrangement of alliances, Spain' breaking the traditional
union with France and arranging an intimate alliance with
° Narrative, 242-245.
" Id., 247-256. A manuscript copy of Fitzherbert's projet and Floridablanca's counter-projet is to be found in the Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid,
Sec. Estado, 4291.
"Cambridge Modern History, VIII. 189, says of the Spaniards: "Feeling
tow vain it was to trust an ally of this kind, they preferred to make terms
n 1th their enemy." Chapter XII.
In the middle of October the | Gazette de Leide " printed
a letter from Madrid, dated September 24, saying:
We are assured that the negotiation with England is in a good way
and is about to terminate in a friendly manner."1
This was written a few days after the Spanish Court had
decided to abandon the family compact and form an intimate
alliance with England as studied in the last chapter. The
next issue of the same paper printed a letter from London,
dated October 12, which had a very different tone:
The warlike .appearances have greatly increased in the last eight
days. The next dispatches from Fitzherbert, replying to the last English demand, will probably decide for peace or war. On our side all
preparations for a rupture have already been made.*
This was written a fortnight after news had reached London of Spain's proposed change. Instead of receiving the
friendly advances of the Spanish Court in the spirit in
which Floridablanca hoped, and apparently expected, the
Court of St. James accepted them as an announcement that
the French alliance had failed, and an acknowledgment that
Spain was at the mercy of England. This is really what
they meant. Instead of following Spain's example and
giving up some of her pretensions, England took advantage
of Spanish helplessness and gave Spain ten days to decide
whether she would accept war in the face of ahnost insurmountable difficulties, or peace with humiliating concessions. Much discontent had. arisen in England at the length
to which the negotiation was being drawn out. It was considered inconsistent with the decisive tone at the beginning.
The object to be gained was thought to be hardly worth
such an expensive armament continued for so many months.
« Gazette de Leide, October 15, 1790.
6 Id., October 19.
439 mm
The ministry was being severely criticised, and felt the necessity of forcing a decision.0
Although feeling keenly the criticism of the armament,
yet the Government was unwilling to disarm until Spain
should have yielded. On September 10, in consequence of
the repeated requests from Spain for a mutual disarmament, Leeds directed Fitzherbert to represent to Floridablanca that, with every wish for an amicable adjustment, it
did not appear to the British Government expedient to disarm until such adjustment should be secured.6 For the
same reason the ministry was unwilling to accept any temporary arrangement, such as Floridablanca had suggested,
which would postpone the final settlement to a later date.
Consequently, on October 2 two drafts of a treaty were sent
to Fitzherbert. They contained substantially the.same terms
except that one provided for the definite demarkation of
the limits of Spanish exclusive sovereignty, and the other
did not. These embodied Great Britain's ultimatum. Fitzherbert was to give the Spanish Court ten days in which to
decide on an answer. If at the end of that time an answer
had not been received the ambassador was to quit Madrid.
After sending the ultimatum the British Court redoubled
its energies in preparing for war. One is almost led to believe, from the vigor displayed, that war was desired and
that the ultimatum was prepared with the deliberate intention of forcing a breach. In a letter of October 22 Leeds
asked Auckland, the British ambassador at The Hague, to
communicate to the Government of the Republic the probability of a rupture. He expected in a few days to send
copies'of all the correspondence relating to the discussion
that Auckland might lay them before the Dutch Government. Although it might happen, he said, that England
would be obliged to commence the hostilities, yet he had no
. doubt that every circumstance would convince mankind that
" Great Britain was not the aggressor in the war which may/
in a few days, disturb the general tranquillity." After speak-"
ing of the cordiality of the Dutch Government, he continued:
It will also, I trust, be understood in Holland how material it is to
enable us to act with vigor in the outset.   I therefore hope that there
"Dundas to Grenville, September 27, 1790.    (Fortescue MSS., I, 607.)
6 Leeds to Fitzherbert, September 10, 1790.    (Narrative, 240.) NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY.
will be no difficulty in furnishing some naval succors before the expiration of the two months stipulated. It would be to be wished, if
possible, that a detachment be sent immediately on the news of hostilities, and that it should amount to 8 ships of the line and 8 frigates.
If, however, so much can not be obtained, even a less number will be
a material object."
A notion of the popular view of the impending war may
be gleaned from a letter written by Storer to Auckland on
the same day that the secretary for foreign affairs wrote the
one just studied. Storer said that all of the officers were in
high spirits at the prospect of a voyage to Mexico. He
thought that the Nootka affair was merely a pretext for a
war that had been previously determined upon.   He said:
Pitt is tired of peace. He bullied France so effectually three years
ago * that he is determined to try the same thing with Spain.
He thought that the negotiators themselves did not know
what would happen.0 If the British ministers were not actually trying to force a war, it is, at least, evident that they
were willing to accept it should it come; and that they were
not willing to make any considerable concessions to preserve
The ultimatum, with instructions for his private guidance,
reached Fitzherbert October 12. He was told that Floridablanca's proposal for a temporary agreement was not admissible since it would leave the matter open to a subsequent
discussion. It was important that it should be settled at
once. If Floridablanca's proposal had not been accompanied by assurances that indicated a sincere desire for
accommodation with England, it would have been doubtful,
he was told, whether anything could have been hoped from a
further continuance of the negotiation. The prospect for
a speedy settlement and the chance for dissolving the family
compact compensated largely for the inconvenience of
further delay, but that delay could be only for a few days.
The Count's committing himself on points of so much delicacy indicated that the Spanish Court had determined to go
a considerable length.   His language respecting France was
"Leeds to Auckland, October 22, 1790.    (Brit. Mus., MSS. 34433, f° 349.)
0 In detaching the Netherlands from the French alliance and uniting them
to England and rriusla by the triple alliance.
\ Storer to Auckland, October 22,  1790.    (Auckland, Correspondence,  II,
373.) 442
consistent with his character. The temporary arrangement
proposed by him admitted the British claims in general
terms, but the indefiniteness of its terms would leave ground
for disputes. Fitzherbert was to remind the Count that he
had, in principle, admitted the justice of the British claims.
The present articles, he was told, did no more than to secure
definitely those rights. Their rejection would be considered
as a proof either that Spain was not sincerely desirous of an
accommodation or that she was unwilling to grant distinctly
the security which the Spanish minister had argued to be in
fact contained in the articles which he had suggested. The
question as to security of navigation, commerce, and fisheries
in that part of the world depended on whether Spain did or
did not insist on her exclusive claim to the continent in question and the seas adjacent. This could be decided as well at
one time as another. The question of restitution should
depend on whether Spain rested her case on her pretended
exclusive sovereignty or prior discovery, or whether she
could prove that she had actual occupation of Nootka prior
to the time when lands were purchased and buildings erected
there by British subjects.0 The only matter that could afford
an excuse for delay was the determination of limits. Such
an article would seem to be desirable to both sides, but His
Britannic Majesty would not object seriously to the omission
of such demarkation. The great expense of maintaining the
armament ready for service and the just expectations of the
public could not admit of further delay in coming to a decision on the question of peace or war. Fitzherbert was to
communicate this fact to Floridablanca in the least offensive
but the most explicit manner possible. Ten days was considered a sufficient time for the Spanish answer.
On the question of disarming in the event of an amicable
settlement, Leeds suggested that mutual confidence would be
a stronger security than any formal stipulations. England
did not wish to reduce to a peace establishment at once, on
account of the French armament and because of the fact thai.
" This shows that the British Ministry was resting the justice of its cause
on the purchase of land which Meares claimed that he had made at Nootka on
his arrival In 1788, and on the temporary hut which he had erected to shelter
workmen while they were building his little vessel, the North-West America.'
Russia seemed unwilling to adopt a moderate policy toward
Turkey.   It was incumbent on the allies to prevent the dis--"-
memberment of Turkej'.0
On October 13, the next day after receiving the above
instructions and the projets of a convention accompanying
them, Fitzherbert had a conference with the Spanish minister, at which the latter's language-led the former to doubt
the possibility of an amicable settlement. At an interview
on the following day the British minister presented parts
of the drafts of the ultimatum. The Count's reception of
these was so unfavorable that Fitzherbert thought best to
warn all of the British consuls in Spain of the prospect
of an immediate rupture. He wrote to his home Government that it seemed impossible to obtain a convention with
a demarcation of limits. That no means of effecting a
pacification might be left untried, Fitzherbert delivered to
Floridablanca on October 15a translation of the entire projet
without the demarcation of limits. The Count's reply of
the next day was still in terms extremely wide of the English proposals, but it revived Fitzherbert's hopes of engaging
the Spanish minister by degrees to accede to His Britannic
Majesty's demands.6
In this reply of October 16 Floridablanca. said that there
were considerable difficulties in the way of agreeing to the
English projet. He submitted some observations justifying some small but substantial changes which he had suggested. He remarked that the British projet, in demanding
that the buildings and lands should be restored to the British subjects, assumed that they had once possessed them. He
declared that this assumption was untrue; that the British
subjects had only been attempting to make an establishment, from Avhich the Spanish commander had prevented
them.. If they had ever bought land, as pretended, thej' had
failed to take possession of it.
" Narrative, 257-285. Also, the two drafts are inclosed in Leeds to Auckland, October 8, 1790.    (Brit. Mus., MSS. 34433   1° 252.)
With these Instructions Fitzherbert was also given orders concerning the
case of Captain Macdonald. He was the captain of a ve'ssel that had recently
been seized by a Spanish frigate in the West Indies on the ground that she was
I carrying on contraband trade. I ndemnity, for this had to be assured before
the Nootka matter could be settled. It was easily adjusted. (Narrative,
"Id., 289-291. 444
Before examining Floridablanca's observations further
it may be well to remark that this was the point of fact on
which it was impossible for the two Courts to agree. Each
relied on the statements made by its own subjects and these
statements were conflicting. Meares told of his purchase of
land and his erection of a building thereon in 1788 in such a
manner as to lead the British Cabinet to believe that he had
formed a substantial English settlement, and that the estab-;
lishment was still there in the spring of 1789 when Martinez
arrived. On the other hand, Martinez's account showed that
when he arrived at Nootka there were no evidences of any
British establishment, but that the expedition under Colnett,
which arrived two months later, came to form an establishment.   Neither was wholly right nor wholly wrong.0
Floridablanca said that it was very difficult and almost
impossible for Spain to consent that British subjects should
land in unoccupied places to trade with the natives and
form establishments. Places without a substantial Spanish
occupation, he said, might be found almost anywhere along
the coast of America. This clause, he said, ought to be
omitted from the projet. Fitzherbert had proposed that
British vessels should not approach within 10 leagues of
places occupied by Spain. The Count insisted that the distance was too short. Instead of the expression, | occupied
by Spain," he would substitute the expression, " belonging
to Spain." With his observations the Spanish minister
submitted a counter projet which embodied them. In his
letter accompanying these documents, Floridablanca said
that he had proposed a special junta to consider the English
propositions. However, if Fitzherbert would agree to the,
Spanish counter projet, he would venture to propose it to
the King and see if the matter could not be settled before-
the meeting of the junta.6
The Spanish minister had decided that Spain would have
to yield to the English demands.   He was directing his-
efforts toward an attempt to induce the British ambassador-
to modify those demands so that they would give as little
• For a full discussion of these facts, see Chapters II—V.
* Floridablanca to Fitzherbert, October 16, 1790, Inclosing notes on the
English projet, and a Spanish counter projet. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional,
Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.) NOOTKA  SOUND  CONTROVERSY.
offense as possible to Spanish pride. But other Spanish
officials were not so ready to yield as the prime minister was.
Fitzherbert did not accept the count's terms. He insisted
on the British projet as it stood. The special junta was
- summoned. It was composed of eight of the principal ministers, not including Floridablanca. The order naming the
members was dated October 19. The next day a note requested them to hasten, for the ambassador was very urgent.
Sessions were held on the 21st, 22d, 24th, and 25th. The
English projet was examined article by article.
The findings of the junta furnish an excellent notion of
the feeling of Spaniards respecting the dispute. It was declared that Martinez's conduct at Nootka had not been contrary to international law nor an insult to the English flag.
What he had done was to prevent the forming of an establishment in a place belonging to the Spanish dominions, in
which, by virtue of treaties made before all Europe and
guaranteed by England herself, no foreign disembarkation
was permitted without a just motive, and much less the
forming of military or commercial establishments. Even
granting that the proceedings of Martinez had been culpable,
and, by a distortion of ideas, that the resistance to a usurpation could be considered an insult, Spain had already given
England such satisfaction as was compatible with her dignity. The increasing of the British pretensions while the
Spanish were being moderated showed that the Nootka affair
was only a mask to cover England's hostile designs of
taking advantage of the revolution in France to attack the
divided House of Bourbon.
Referring to a clause in the British projet providing for
the return of any vessels that might have been seized since
April, 1789, the conclusions of the junta declared that this
showed England's design of sending new expeditions. They
would not limit themselves to fisheries nor to trading with
the natives. They intended to form fortified establishments
and construct vessels there to carry on trade with all of
New Spain. Their first aggressions would lead to others.
The weak and extended Spanish dominions afforded opportunities for their activity.   There were many places that
J 446
Spain had not been able and probably never would be able
to people. The English pretension was the more irritating
since it extended also to all the coasts of South America.
If Spain should grant their demands she might expect in
the end to surrender to them all of the commerce of Peru
and New Spain.
The English offer of not allowing their subjects to approach within 10 leagues of any place occupied by Spain was
useless, the junta declared, since they demanded the privilege
of disembarking in all unoccupied places. By this means
they could approach insensibly to those that were occupied.
If the Spanish governors should attempt to prevent them, it
would lead to disputes and to new negotiations which would
afford new opportunities for aggressions. They would
finally take all of these countries from Spain.
The English assumption of rights in South America was
branded as an infamous artifice. Although Spain had for
three centuries been in exclusive and peaceful possession of
all South America, the English were now pretending that
they had equal rights to unoccupied places. Appealing
directly to the King, they said:
Strange, astonishing, unheard-of it is, Senor, that England should
dare to pretend that Your Majesty should authorize and adopt a stipulation which prohibits mutually the forming of establishments there
as long as the subjects of other powers shall not attempt to do so •
adding that the respective subjects shall have the right of disembarking in those places and building huts and other temporary structures
for objects connected with their fisheries. * * * The English pretend that all South America is open to all nations, and that its territories shall belong to the first that desires to occupy them.
England, they declared, was now exacting more than she
had dared to ask in 1763, when she had so great an advantage. She had forgotten her guaranty in the treaty of
Utrecht that Spain's American dominions should be restored
as they had been in the reign of King Charles II, and should
remain in that condition. If Spain should grant these privileges to England, other nations would claim them under the
| most-favored-nation clause " of the same treaty.
The King was asked to consider how his father had resisted England when.there was much less at stake and when NOOTKA   SOUND   CONTROVERSY. 447
the Spanish army and navy were in no better condition. In
case of war England's attention, they said, would be directed
not against the Peninsula, but against the colonies. Havana
Vera Cruz, Cartagena, Porto Rico, Santo Domingo, Trinidad, Caracas, Montevideo, and Buenos Ayres were considered likely points of attack. All of these were declared
ready to defend themselves because of their superior garrisons and of climatic and strategic advantages.
Floridablanca had inclosed with other papers for the
junta a copy of the observations on Spain's relations to other
powers, which he had prepared early in September on receipt of the news of the decree of the National Assembly.0
Because of the frankness shown in other matters the junta
said that they were encouraged to volunteer their own observations on this. Speaking of Prussia as England's most
.powerful'ally, they said that her King was not in a position
to dictate terms to all of the northern powers, consequently
he would have to consider his own defense. In view of
this and of the existing state of Turkish affairs they concluded that England's position was not an especially strong
one. As to possible support for Spain, they said that France
could not be blind to her interests and to her obligations
under the family compact. To avoid the evil effects on the
Spanish fleet of insubordination in the French navy the two
could operate separately. Spain could probably not get any
aid from the United States. Neither were they likely to
join England. Portugal could not aid except by remaining
neutral. There was nothing to ask or expect from Sardinia,
Naples, Venice, or Turkey, and the African states ought to
give little concern. As to Russia they were more hopeful.
They suggested that it would not be impossible for Spain,
by offering commercial advantages, to enter an alliance with
Russia, Sweden, and Denmark and secure their help against
^England. They respectfully submitted to the King and
his prime minister the idea of a treaty with Russia defining
territorial limits on the western coast of America and guaranteeing each other against English aggressions on that
' See last chapter. 448
The junta then offered several observations on the harshness of the English demands. England was offering
nothing, they said, in return for the sacrifices demanded of
Spain. She had turned a deaf ear to Spain's repeated requests for a reciprocal disarmament, hence there was good
reason to fear that she was trying to force a breach. It was
plain that she intended to form new establishments in the
Spanish dominions. She proposed to deprive Spain of the
power of repelling the intrusions which she meditated by.
allowing no recourse except a report of the matter to the
home governments and a new convention in each case. This
would mean subjection and a continual state of war. She
was inviting other nations to help her despoil Spain. She
was insisting on the establishment of a principle which
would allow usurpations in every uninhabited place. The
whole Spanish dominions would shortly be destroyed. Her
demands were as injurious as could be made after the most
disgraceful war. If this cession should be made through
fear in a time of profound peace, it would encourage still
greater claims. Authorized by such a document other nations would form common cause, and the vast continent of
the Indies would be exposed to a general occupation. Even
in an unfortunate war Spain would only have to come to an
understanding with her' enemies, and there would be hope for
favorable alliances and better terms with less sacrifices.
Finally the junta gave their conclusions as to the answer
that should be made to England's ultimatum. The concessions now demanded, they said, would inevitably lead Spain
into a war. She would then suffer all that the King now
wished to avoid, and England would certainly accept no less
afterwards. In case that this projet should be rejected and
war should ensue, what treaty, it was asked, could be concluded more absolutely ruinous, even in the remote chance of
complete prostration, than the convention which was^now
proposed? Therefore the junta could not in any manner
accept the unjust terms contained in the English ultimatum".
They recognized that this would mean war. They advised
preparation at once to repel hostile attacks and an immediate NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVERSY.
While the arrangements were being made to send the above
commissioners to Nootka to carry out the stipulations in the
first article of the convention, steps were also being taken
to fulfill the agreement in the declarations of July 24. The
two Governments appointed commissioners to decide on the
amount of the indemnity which Spain should pay to those
interested in the ships captured at Nootka. Their negotiation was conducted at London. The Spanish agent, Manuel
de Las Heras, was sent in May, 1791. Baron St. Helens
[Fitzherbert] wrote on May 29 introducing him to Lord
Grenville, who had succeeded the Duke of Leeds in the foreign office. Heras was also consul-general to England. St.
Helens said:
He appears to me to be very sensible, well informed, and right
headed; so that I am persuaded that he will do his best in order to
execute the commission with which he is charged to the satisfaction
of both Courts.0
. .When the Spanish commissioner reached London he either
misunderstood his instructions or was intentionally very
reserved regarding them. On August 26 Grenville wrote
to St. Helens:
The sending of M. Las Heras at last without any instructions is
really abominable, and would be reason enough, if we were so disposed, to refuse to hear of alliance or anything else.
He appealed to St. Helens to " make those slow Spaniards
send instructions and powers, and, above all, liberty to refer
the matter to arbitration, by which the ministers of both
Courts will get it off their hands."6 On receipt of this letter
the British ambassador called the attention of Floridablanca
to the commissioner's delay in negotiating. The Spanish
minister thought that the instructions to Heras were clear
and explicit; nevertheless, he sent additional instructions on
September 8 authorizing the commissioner to settle and liquidate the damages, with the concurrence of Campo, the Spanish ambassador. He was to give the British Court to understand that in case of difference the Spanish King was willing
to submit the matter to arbitration. The Count had given
St. Helens a copy of these instructions and the latter sent
• St. Helens to Grenville, May 29, 1791; Fortescue MSS., II, 86
"Grenville to St. Helens, August 26, 1791.    (Id., 176.)
H. Doc. 429, 58t-3 30 466
them to Grenville, saying that they seemed satisfactory except that the commissioner did not have authority to settle
finally without submitting the matter to the Spanish King.
He remarked that such would have been an unprecedented
power and said that His Catholic Majesty had promised to
act on it immediately.0
It seems that the commissioners failed to agree and that
the matter was referred to a court of arbitration, which sat
at or near Madrid in the early part of the next year. On
May 14, 1792, St. Helens wrote from Aranjuez that the
Nootka arbitration business was " en bon train," and though
it was going more slowly than expected he hoped to send
dispatches concerning it in a very few days.&   A fortnight
later the business had taken a new turn,
bassador wrote:
The British am-
I can not but hope that the proposal which goes by this messenger
for settling what the Count of Aranda ° calls the fastidious business
of the Nootka claims by the payment of a round sum of money as a
discharge in full will strike your fancy as much as it does his and
The writer added that if the offer should be thought too
small he was confident that Spain would increase it ten, fifteen, or even twenty thousand Spanish dollars. If Grenville should reject the offer and wish the matter to revert to
arbitration he said that Aranda would facilitate it.d The
amount offered was '200,000 Spanish dollars. About two
months later the Nootka claimants were called upon to decide
whether they wished to accept the offer or to have the
matter referred back to Madrid in hope of having the sum
increased.6 The claimants apparently did not accept the
offer. A month afterwards Dundas, the home secretary,
The Nootka business, I take It for granted, will get on, but it hangs
rather unaccountably. I suspect that both sides are in some degree
to blame, t
"St. Helens to Grenville, October 3, 1791.    (Id., 203.)
"Same to same, May 14, 1792.    (Id., 268.)
C-The new prime minister, appointed on the fall of Floridablanca.
"St. Helens to Grenville, May 29, 1792.    (Fortescue MSS., II, 275.)
S Grenville to Dundas, August 4, 1792.    (Id., 297.)    Dundas was Kome secretary.
' Dundas to Grenville, September 2, 1792.    (Id., 307.) NOOTKA  SOUND  CONTROVERSY.
After a delay of several months more, the Spanish Court
increased the offer by $10,000. On February 12, 1793, the
following convention was signed:
NootJca claims convention.
In virtue of the declarations exchanged at Madrid on the 24th of
.July, 1790, and of the convention signed at the Escorial on the 18th
• [2Sth] of the following October, Their Catholic and Britannic Majesties, desiring to regulate and determine definitely everything regarding the restitution of the British ships seized at Nootka, as well as
' the indemnification of the parties interested in the ships, have named
for this purpose and constituted as their commissioners and plenipotentiaries, to wit, on the part of His Catholic Majesty, Don Manuel
de Las Heras, commissary in His said Majesty's armies, and his
agent and consul-general in the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland ; and on the part of His Britannic Majesty, Mr. Ralph Woodford,
Knight Baronet of Great Britain;   who, after having communicated
their full powers, have agreed upon the following articles:
Abtiole I.
His Catholic Majesty, besides having restored the ship Argonaut,
the restoration of which took place in the port of San Bias in the year
1791 [1790],. agrees to pay as indemnity to the parties interested in
it the amount of two hundred and ten thousand hard dollars in
specie, it being understood that this sum is to serve as compensation and complete indemnification for all their losses, whatever they
may be, without any exception, and without leaving the possibility
of a future remonstrance on any pretext or motive.
Aeticle II.
Said payment shall be made on the day on which the present convention shall be signed by the commissioner of His Catholic Majesty
in the presence of the commissioner of His Britannic Majesty, which
latter shall give at the same time an acknowledgment of payment
consistent with the terms enunciated in the former article and signed
by the said commissioner for himself and in the name and by the
order of His Britannic Majesty and of the said interested parties.
And there shall be attached to the present convention a copy of the
said acknowledgment of payment, executed in the proper form, and
likewise of the respective full powers and of the authorizations of the
said interested parties.
Article III.
The ratifications of the present convention shall be exchanged in
this city of London within a period of six weeks from the date of its
signature, or before if possible.
In witness whereof we, the undersigned commissioners and plenipotentiaries of Their Catholic and Britannic Majesties, have signed
the present convention in their names and in virtue of our respective
full powers, affixing to it the seals of our arms.
Done at Whitehall, February 12, 1793.«
Manuel de Las Heeas.
R. Woodford.
During all of the time that the negotiations were in progress over the liquidation of the Nootka claims, a treaty of
alliance and commerce between England and Spain was being discussed. The British Court attempted to induce the
Spanish Government to accept duties on English manufactures, I instead," as Grenville said, | of paying an army not
to prevent their being smuggled." In the same connection
he remarked, | but that, I fear, is a trait of wisdom far beyond their comprehension." * The negotiation dragged
through 1791 and 1792 and into 1793. In the meantime
Spain had twice changed prime ministers. On the fall of
Floridablanca, Aranda had succeeded him. After holding
the position for about a year Aranda was succeeded by the
Duke of Alcudia, the famous Godoy, known as the Prince of
Peace, the paramour of the corrupt Queen. The impulse
that finally brought the negotiations to a crisis was the murder of the French King by order of the Convention. A
shudder of horror passed over Europe. Four days after the
death of Louis XVI the British Cabinet decided to authorize St. Helens to discuss a permanent alliance with the Court
of Spain against the excesses of the French Revolution. The
alliance was to be commercial, offensive, and defensive."
Such an alliance was concluded May 25,1793, and ratified by
the British Court on June 21 following. Ratifications were
exchanged July 5.d
This alliance facilitated the settlement of the Nootka business. After the failure of Vancouver and Quadra to agree
in 1792 as to what should be surrendered at Nootk£, the
Governments took up the matter again.   AVhile the nego-
■ Translated from the Spanish copy published In Calvo, Recueil Complet des
Traites de l'Amerique Latine, III, 364.
" Grenville to St. Helens, August 26, 1791.    (Fortescue MSS., II, 176.)
I Cabinet minute, January 25, 1793.    (Id., 373.)
* Grenville to St. Helens, June 21, 1793. (Id., 398.) The documents relating to the negotiation are found in bundle 4221, Sec. Estado, of the Archivo
Historico Nacional at Madrid. 7?
tiations for this purpose'were in progress a long letter from
Revilia-Gigedo, the Viceroy of Mexico, reached Madrid.
This was the informe of April 12, 1793, to which reference
has frequently been made. Godoy, the Spanish prime minister, wrote to the Viceroy that in view of this and other
letters from the same source he had concluded a convention
with St. Helens." In this long letter the Viceroy, after having given a brief history of the Spanish operations on the
Northwest Coast, and especially the Nootka expeditions,
gave an extended discussion, the purpose of which was to
show that Nootka was not worth retaining. He dwelt on the
millions that had been spent during the past twenty-five
years in erecting and sustaining new establishments in
Upper California, and discouraged attempts to occupy more
distant places. He indorsed the idea of settling the Straits
of Juan de Fuca and southward, but he thought that settlements farther north would be a cause of anxiety and fruitless expense and would afford occasions for quarrels and misunderstandings with England. If England wished to maintain possession of Nootka as a point of honor, he declared
that Spain ought to yield to her. He proposed a generous
surrender of the post to the English.6
The convention to which Godojr referred as having been
concluded by himself with the British ambassador was
signed at Madrid on January 11,1794, and was as follows:
Convention for the mutual abandonment of Nootka.
Their Catholic and Britannic Majesties desiring to remove and
obviate all doubt and difficulty relative to the execution of article 1
of the convention concluded between Their said Majesties on the 28th
of October, 1790, have resolved and agreed to order that new instructions be sent to the officials who have been respectively commissioned
to carry out the said article, the tenor of which instructions shall be
as follows:
That within the shortest time that may be possible after the arrival of the said officials at Nootka they shall meet in the place, or
near, where the buildings stood which were formerly occupied by
the subjects of His Britannic Majesty, at which time and in which
place they shall exchange mutually the following declaration and
counter declaration:
• [Alcudia]   to  Revilia-Gigedo,  January  29,   1794.
clonal, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)
<• Revilia-Gigedo to Alcudia, Mexico, April 12, 1793.
Los Tres Siglos, III, 112-164.)
(MS.  Arch.  Hist.   Na-
" I, N  N , In the name and by the order of His Catholic
Majesty, by means of these presents restore to N— - N— - the
buildings and districts of land situated on the Northwest Coast of
the continent of North America, or the Islands adjacent to-that continent, of which the subjects of His Britannic Majesty were dispossessed by a Spanish officer toward the month of April, 1789. In
witness whereof I have signed the present declaration, sealing It
with the seal  of my  arms.    Done  at Nootka on the   day
of , 179—."
Counter Declaration.
I, N-
N , in the name and by the order of His Britannic
Majesty, by means of these presents declare that the buildings and
tracts of land on the Northwest Coast of the continent of North
America, or on the islands adjacent to that continent, of which the
subjects of His Britannic Majesty were dispossessed by a Spanish
officer toward the month of- April, 1789, have been restored to me by
N N , which restoration I declare to be full and satisfactory.
In witness whereof I have signed the present counter declaration,
sealing it with the seal of my arms.   Done at Nootka on the	
day of ■, 179—."
That then the British official shall unfurl the British flag over the
land so restored in sign of possession. And that after these for-
malities the officials of the" two Crowns shall withdraw, respectively,
their people from the said port of Nootka.
Further, Their said Majesties have agreed that the subjects of
both nations shall have, the liberty of frequenting the said port
whenever they wish and of constructing there temporary buildings
to accommodate them during their residence on such occasions. But
neither of the said parties shall form any permanent establishment
in the said port or claim any right of sovereignty or territorial dominion there to the exclusion of the other. And Their said Majesties will mutually aid each other to maintain for their subjects free
access to the port of Nootka against any other nation which may
attempt to establish there any sovereignty or dominion.
In witness whereof we, the undersigned first secretary of state
and of the Cabinet of His Catholic Majesty, and the ambassador
and plenipotentiary of His Britannic Majesty, In the name and by
the express order of our respective sovereigns, have signed the present agreement, sealing it with the seals of our arms.
Done at Madrid, January 31, 1794.0
The Ddke op Alcudia.
St. Helens.
"Translated from a Spanish copy In Calvo, Recueil, III, 366. A manuscript
copy Is in bundle 4291, Sec. Estado, Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid.
The two Courts proceeded to carry out this agreement.
Godoy instructed the Viceroy of Mexico to appoint some one
as the commissioner for Spain.0 The British commissioner
was appointed later, and sent by way of Spain, Havana,
Vera Cruz, and Mexico.6 He arrived at La Coruna about
the middle of August, 1794.° On November 20 he landed at
Vera Cruz, and went by way of Mexico to San Bias.* From
this port both commissioners sailed for Nootka. The Englishman was Sir Thomas Pierce; the Spaniard, Manuel de
Alava. They met at Nootka and on the appointed day,
March 23, 1795, carried out the" above agreement. Alava
had previously destroyed the buildings of the Spanish settlement. After the prescribed ceremonies had been performed,
both the Spanish and the English deserted the place.e
Neither nation ever reoccupied it. Nootka is still inhabited
by Indians.
" [Alcudia] to Revilia-Gigedo, January 29, 1794, inclosing instructions to
Bodega y Quadra, or the one whom the Viceroy should appoint. (MS. Arch.
Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4291.)
0 Grenville to Dundas, February 22, 3794 (Fortescue MSS., II, 511), concerning the appointment *£ a commissioner; and Jackson to Alcudia, April
17 and 20, 1794 (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4287), both
of which relate to the commissioner and the route which he is to take. Jackson was at the time in charge.of the British legation at Madrid.
« Jackson to Alcudia, August 16, 1794. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional, Madrid,
Sec. Estado, 42S7.) This announces the British commissioner's arrival at
La Coruna and requests a passport for him.
* Mexico fi Travels de I.os Siglos, II, 880. This work gives a very good
brief account of the transfer and abandonment.
1 Alava to Alcudia, San Bias, April 23, 1795. (MS. Arch. Hist. Nacional,
Madrid, Sec. Estado, 4287.) In this letter the Spanish commissioner reports
to Godoy the final ceremonies at Nootka. He gives as the date of the ceremonies March 28; but since an error may have been made in copying, and
since other accounts agree on the above date, that has been adopted. Bancroft, Northwest Coast, I, 301-303, discusses the final settlement.
- —-*? . Bibliography.
the sources of information, arranged in the order of
their importance.
I. Unpublished Mantjsceipts.
Documents copied from the Archivo Historico Nacional, Madrid, 169
pages.—Letters and official papers that passed between the British
and Spanish negotiators; correspondence between Floridablanca and
other Spanish officials; negotiations between the Spanish and French
Documents copied from the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, 262
pages.—Correspondence between Martinez and the Viceroy relating to
the occupation of Nootka and to the captured English vessels; also
accounts of the matter from the Viceroy to the Government at Madrid,
Inclosing copies of all of the documents relating to it
Documents copied from the British Museum, 87 pages.—Instructions from the British Cabinet to Fitzherbert, and correspondence
between the Cabinet and the British ambassadors at Berlin and The
Documents copied from the public record office, London, 86 pages.—
Letters from Fitzherbert to the British Cabinet.
Documents copied from the Archives of the Department of State at
Washington, 85 pages.—Correspondence between Jefferson, the Secretary of State, and Short, the United States charge at Paris. Very
little of value.
II. Published Documents.
Meares, John: Voyages made in the Tears 1788 and 1789, from
China to the Northwest Coast of America, etc. London: 1790.—The
appendix contains Important documents .relating to Meares's temporary establishment at Nootka in 1788, to the plans for planting £ permanent colony In 1789, and to the capture of the English vessels In
1790. These documents, if taken at their face value, give a decided
prejudice in favor of England. They have hitherto been the principal source of Information for the events at Nootka.
The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politics, and Literature for the Year 1790. London: 1793.—This contains copies of 8
few of the more important documents relating to the diplomatic controversy.   They have been the principal source of information for this
phase of the subject. They also give a decided prejudice in favor of
England. The dates of some of the documents are incorrect, and
some have their titles interchanged.
Greenhow, Robert: The History of Oregon and California and the
Other Territories on the NortMoest Coast of North America, Accompanied by * * * a Number of Documents, etc. Second edition.
Boston and London: 1845.—The appendix of this copies the documents
contained in the Annual Register and adds some others of importance,
most of which are favorable to Spain. The author makes the Spanish
case as strong as possible in order to strengthen the case of the
United States in the Oregon controversy.
  Official Papers Relative to the Dispute Between the Courts
of Great Britain and Spain on the Subject of the Ships Captured in
Nootka Sound, and the Negotiation that Followed Thereon, etc. London: [1790].—All of the documents contained in this may be found
in the Annual Register, the Parliamentary History, and the Archives
Parlem entaires.
Calvo: Recueil Complet des TraitSs de VAm&rique Latine. Paris:
1862.—Volume III, gives a brief account in Spanish, and publishes
more Spanish documents than any other work.
Cantillo, Alej. de: Tratados de Paz y Comercio. Madrid: 1843.—
Some of the documents In the preceding are copied from this. It contains a few others.
Fortescue MSS., Volume I: Historical Manuscripts Commission.
Thirteenth Report. Appendix, Part III. Report on the Manuscripts
of J. B. Fortescue, Esq., Preserved at Dropmore, Volume I. London:
Fortescue MSS.,. Volume II: Historical Manuscripts Commission,
Fourteenth Report. Appendix, Part V. Report on the Manuscripts
of J. B. Fortescue, Esq., Preserved at Dropmore, Volume II. London:
Gower: The Despatches of Earl Goioer, June, 1790, to August, 1792.
Edited by Oscar Browning. Cambridge, England: 1885.—Earl
Gower was the English representative at Paris. A few of his dispatches bear on the subject, especially with reference to the influence
of the dispute on the relations between England and France.
Auckland, William, Lord: The Journal and Correspondence of, with
a Preface and Introduction by the Right Hon. and Right Rev. The
Bishop of Bath and Wells. London: 1861.—Lord Auckland was the
British ambassador at The Hague; but his published correspondence
contains very little of value on the subject. His important letters on
the Nootka affair are unpublished.
Martens, Geo. Fred, de: Recueil de TraiUs d'Alliance, de Paix,
* * * des Puissances et Etats de VEurope, etc. Tome IV, 1785-
1790. A Gottingue: 1818.—This contains the declaration and counter declaration and the Nootka Sound convention.
Turner, F. J., in American Historical Review, Volume VII, gives
documents relating to the conferences and correspondence between 474
Pitt, and Miranda on the South American schemes, and others showing
the English designs on Louisiana and the Floridas.
Canadian Archives, 1890, Report on, by Douglas Brymner (being
an appendix to report of the minister of agriculture). Ottawa:
1891..—-This contains important documents concerning Beckwith's
secret mission to the United States.
Ford, Worthington C.: The United States and Spain in 1790.
Brooklyn: 1890.—This contains some valuable documents showing
the precautions taken by the Government of the United States in view
of the dispute between England and Spain.
Jefferson: Writings. Edited by P. L. Ford. New York: 1892-
1899.—Volume V contains some correspondence on the Nootka affair.
Jefferson: Works. Congressional edition. Washington: 1853-
1S55.—Volume IX contains a few of the same as the last.
Hamilton: Works. Edited by H. C. Lodge. New York: 1885-86.—
Volume IV contains a few documents on the subject.
Smith MSS.: Historical Manuscripts Commission. Twelfth report
Appendix, Part IX. London: 1891.—The manuscripts' of Mr. Vernon
Smith contained in this volume are the papers of his grandfather,
Mr. Joseph Smith, Titt's private secretary. A few bear on the Nootka
Miles, W. A.: The Correspondence of, on the French Revolution.
Edited by C. P. Miles. London: 1890.—Letters in Volume I make
allusion *o the mission which had been intrusted to him. He and
Hugh Elliot were engaged on the same mysterious mission.
III. Secondary Sources.
[Burges, Sir James Bland] : Narrative of the Negotiations Occasioned by the Dispute Between England and Spain in the Year 1790.
London: [1791].—This almost deserves to be classed among the published documents. It was prepared in the foreign office while the negotiations were in progress. The author's name is not given, and has
hitherto been unknown, but it may be safely asserted that it was compiled by Sir James Bland Burges, under-secretary of state for foreign
affairs, especially for the King. It was printed shortly afterwards
as an official document. It gives a full and faithful account of the
British negotiations, and is more valuable for this than anything else
that has. ever been printed. Its extreme rarity makes it almost Inaccessible, so that no previous writer has used it, though both Greenhow and Bancroft mention it. See note a, p. 365, antea, and note 6,
p. 460. *
 Archives Parlementaires de 1787 a 1860, Recueil complet des
De'bafs Legislatifs et Politiques des Chambres Francaises. Premiere
serie, Tome XV, Assemblee Nationale Constltuante, du 21 April, 1790
au 30 Mai, 1790. Paris: 1883.—This contains documents concerning
the arming of 14 ships of the line by France in May, 1790, and also
the debate on the question of the right to make peace and war which
the measure provoked. Volume 17 of this series contains discussions
In the National Assembly concerning Spain and the family compact; NOOTKA  SOUND  CONTROVERSY.
and volume 18 contains Mirabeau's report of August 25 on the same
subject and the decrees of August 26.
  The Parliamentary History of England from the Earliest
Period to 1808. * * * Volume XXVIII (1789-1791). London:
1816.—This gives the debates in the British Houses of Parliament on
the Nootka affair.
Bancroft, Hubert Howe:  The Works of, Volume XXVII;  History
of the North-west  Coast,  Volume I   (1543-1800).   San  Francisco:
1884.—This is the fullest and one of the most reliable accounts hitherto
published.   The writer naturally pays more attention to the occurrences at Nootka than to the diplomatic controversy.
Baumgarten, Hermann: Geschichte Spanien's zur Zeit der franzoesischen Revolution. Mit einen Einleitung ueber die innere Ent-
wicklung . Spanien's im achtzehnten Yahrhundert. Berlin: 1861.—
His chapter on Nootka Sound is perhaps the fullest and best account
with the exception of Bancroft's. He gives, also, a good view of the
internal condition of the Spanish Government.
  The Cambridge Modern History, planned by Lord Acton,
edited by Ward, Prothero, and Leathers. Volume VIII, The French
Revolution. New York and London: Macmillian's, 1904.—Chapter
X, on Pitt's Foreign Policy to the Outbreak of the War with France,
written by Oscar Browning, gives a brief account of the Nootka
affair. It! has avoided some of the errors of previous treatments.
This writer consulted manuscripts in the public record office.
Lecky, W. E. H.: A History of England in the Eighteenth Century,
Volume V. New York: Appleton's, 1891.—This contains a brief, inaccurate account strongly tinged, with English prejudice. He probably
used few documents other than those published in Meares's Voyages
and the Annual Register, mentioned above.
Twiss: The Oregon Question Examined with Respect to the Facts
and the Law of Nations. New York: 1846.—This was written from
the English standpoint to refute Greenhow's book, referred to above.
Schoell, F.: Histoire Abre'gCe des Trait6s de Paix entre Les Puissances de VEurope depuis la Paix de Westphalia, etc. Paris: 1815.—
Volume IV gives a brief historical statement concerning voyages to
the Northwest Coast, and describes the Nootka region and the
natives.   It is not accurate on the negotiation.
Muriel, D. Andres: Historia de Carlos IV. Madrid: 1893.—This
is the fullest recent account in Spanish. The writer gives the details
of the Spanish armament. The work contains errors and is strongly
Duro, Cesareo Fernandez: Armada Espanola desde la Union, de las
Reinos de Castillo y de Aragon. Madrid: 1902.—Volume VIII gives
a brief account. The author is one of the best Spanish historians of
the present, though his work is not without errors and prejudices.
Bustamante, Carlos Maria de: Historia de Los Tres Siglos de
Mexico, Durante el Gobierno Espanol. Supplement by Andres Cavo.
Mexico: 1836.—Volume III quotes the long letter of April 12, 1793,
from Revilia-Gigedo, the Viceroy, to Godoy.   It gives a brief history 476
of the Spanish operations on the Northwest Coast and particularly
of the Nootka expeditions. It advises the surrender of Nootka to
England, giving reasons.
  Relacion del Viage Hecho por las Goletas Sutil y Mexicana
en el Ano de 1792 Para Reconocer el Estrecho de Fuca. Madrid:
1802.—The introduction contains a brief, history of the Spanish voyages to the coast before 1792.
  Northwest American Water Boundary Arbitration.   Case of
England. British Blue Book series.—This quotes extensively from the
work last named.
Gomez de Arteche, D. Jose: Reinado de Carlos TV. Printed as a
part of the Historia General de Espana Escrita por Individuos de
Numero de la Real Academia de la Historia. Madrid: 1890.—Volume
I gives a brief discussion.
   Colleccion de Documentos In4ditos para la Historia de
Espana.   Madrid: 1849.—Volume XV contains a little on the subject
  Mexico A Trav4s de Los Siglos, Historia General y Gomr
pleta * * * de Mexico Desde la Antigiiedad mds remota Hasta la
Epoca Actual.    Under the direction of D.  Vicente Rlva  Palacio.
Mexico and Barcelona:  [ ].—Volume II of this gives a good brief
discussion of the mutual abandonment of Nootka.
Vancouver, Capt George: A Voyage of Discovery to the North
Pacific Ocean and Round the World; in Which the Coast of North
America has been Carefully Examined and Accurately Surveyed,
* * * Performed in the Years 1790,1791,1792,1798, 1794, and 1795.
London: 1801.—Volumes I and VI give an account of the futile negotiations between Vancouver and Quadra in 1792.
Broughton, William Robert: A Voyage of Discovery to the North
Pacific Ocean * * * Performed in His Majesty's Ship Providence
and her Tender. (1795-1798.) London: 1804.—This gives an account
of the mutual abandonment
Colnett, James: Voyage to the South Atlantic and around Cape
Horn into the Pacific. London: 1798.—The Introduction and a note
beginning on page 96 give Colnett's own account of his Imprisonment,
written several years after his release.
Mirabeau: Biographiques, Litteraires et Politiques, Ecritt
par Lui-mSme, par son PeTe, son Oncle et son Fils adoptif. Second
edition. Paris: 1841.—Volumes VII and VIII contain documents and
brief discussions concerning Mirabeau's efforts in the National Assembly in behalf of the family compact
  Correspondance Entre le Comte de Mirabeau et le Connie de
le March. Paris: 1851.—Volume II contains some material on the
Lomenle, Louis de: Les Mirabeau, Nouvelles Etudes sur la Bociit&*
Francaise au XVIII* Siecle.   Paris:  1891.—Volume V refers to the
relations between France and Spain.
Stern, Alfred: Das Leben Mirabeaus. Berlin: 1889.—This discusses Mirabeau's part in the discussion on the right to make peace
and war, and also his Influence on foreign affairs. ,.LIUI_II||.|.  .
Willert, P. F.: Mirabeau. London: 1898.—This discusses Mirabeau's efforts to strengthen the position of the Monarchy in the debate
on the right of making peace and war.
Segur, le Comte de: Politiques des Tous les Cabinets de L'Europe,
pendant les regnes de Louis XV et de Louis XVI. Paris: 1802.—
Volume II devotes some space to a discussion of the family compact
■in the National Assembly.
De Jonge, J. C.: Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche Zeewezen.
Haarlem: 1862.—Volume V discusses briefly the part taken by the
Dutch fleet in the English naval preparations.
CloweSj-William Laird: The Royal Navy, a History from the Earliest Times to the Present. Boston and London: 1899.—Volume TV
discusses the Nootka armament.
  Gazette de Leide, ou Nouvelles Extraordinaires de Divers
Endroits. Annie 1790.—This gives newspaper comments on the dispute and the negotiation; also statistics regarding the growth of the
Stanhope: Life of the Right Honorable William Pitt. London:
1861-62.—This mentions the mission of Hugh Elliot to France.
Adams, E. D.: The Influence of Grenville on Pitt's Foreign Policy,
1787-1798. Washington: 1904.—This discusses the mission of Miles
and Elliot j
Desdevises du Dezert: L'Espagne de VAncien Regime. Paris:
1897.—This gives an excellent study of the Spanish Government and
Tratchevsky: L'Espagne a I'Epoque de la Revolution Frangaise,
published in Revue Historique, XXXI.—This only mentions the dispute, but is valuable as giving an insight into the workings of the
Spanish Government
Hassall, Arthur: The French People. New York: 1901.—This discusses the influence of the dispute on the French Revolution.
Stephens: Revolutionary Europe. London: 1897.—This makes
very brief mention of the affair.
Humboldt, Alex, von: Essai Politique sur le Royaume de la Nou-
velle-Espagne. Paris: 1811.—This gives a discussion based on documents found in the archives at Mexico.
Dixon; George: Remarks on the Voyages of John Meares, esq., in
a Letter to that Gentleman. London: 1790. This points out inconsistencies in Meares's statements.
 Further Remarks on the Voyages, etc.   To Which is Added
a Letter from Captain Duncan Containing a Refutation of Several
Assertions of Mr. Meares, etc.   London:  1791.
Meares, John: An Answer to Mr. Dixon, In Which the Remarks
on the Voyages, etc., are Fully Considered and Refuted. London:
Cook, Capt James: A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, Undertaken by
Command of His Majesty * * * in His Majesty's Ships Resolution and Discovery. (1777-1780.) London: 1785.—Volume II tells
of the discovery of Nootka and describes the country and the natives. Begg, Alex.: History of British Columbia. Toronto: 1894.—This
gives a brief discussion of the Nootka affair, drawn chiefly from
Meares's accounts.
Morris; Gouverneur: Life of, With Selections from his Correspondence, by Jared Sparks.   Boston: 1832.
The Diary and Letters of, by Anne Cary Morris.   New
York: 1888.—This and the last contain a few references to the dispute.
[Etches, John Cadman:] An Authentic Statement of all the Facts
Relative to Nootha Sound. London: 1790.—This is a violently partisan pamphlet, written by one of the proprietors of the captured
Dalrymple: The Spanish Pretensions Fairly Discussed. London:
1790.—This is similar to the last IH Zgz\ ™ /i/PB^'rfl
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