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lost the glory of being its discoverer. That the current of the Columbia was first seen by Heceta on the 15th of August, 1775, is unquestionable.
, 12. Origin of the Name Oregon. The name Oregon applied to the great river of the west seems to have been first used by Jonathan Carver in his book of travels published in London in 1778.
1778. William Cullen Bryant may have found the name which he uses in his beautiful poem Thanatopsis in Carver's narrative,
13. Captain Cook's Voyage to the North Pacific. Captain James Cook sailed from Plymouth, England, on the 12th of July, 1776, with two ships, bound for the northwest coast of America, in sight of which he arrived on the 7th of March, 1778, near the 44th degree of latitude. Cook examined the coast northward and discovered a cape a little north of the 48th parallel, which he named Cape Flattery, the northwest point of the state of Washington, sometimes called Cape Classet.
14. The Fur Trade in the Northwest. During Cook's voyage Great Britain was at war with the United States, France, and Spain and the British government withheld all information in regard to the voyage until the close of the war. The war having ended, the regular journals of the expedition were published at London in 1785. These journals gave an account of the abundance of fine fur to be obtained in Northwest America and the high prices paid for fur in China. Soon the fur trade became very profitable and the merchantmen of all the commercial nations began to compete with one another in the fur trade between Northwest America and China. One of the chief competitors after the war was the new nation bearing the ensign of Stars and Stripes. But the Russians were the first to avail themselves of Cook's discoveries, for as early as 1783 they had established several colonies in Russian America, now Alaska, and were ready to engage in the fur trade. The fur trade caused many voyages to the northwest Pacific coasts. An account of several of these is valuable to this history, as it embraces the claims and rights of several nations to the territory now comprised by the state of Washington.
15. Voyage of La Pérouse. The government of France sent their great navigator La Pérouse to the North Pacific in 1785 with special instructions to "explore the parts of the northwest coasts of America which had not been examined by Cook, and of which the Russian accounts gave no idea, in order to obtain information respecting the fur trade, and also to learn whether, in those unknown parts, some river or internal sea might not be found communicating with Hudson's Bay or Baffin's Bay.” La Pérouse first saw the coast in June, 1786, near the foot of Mount Fairweather, and then turned southward examining the coast between the 54th and the 52d parallels on the west side of Queen Charlotte's Island, which La Pérouse suspected to be insular, although he did not establish the fact. The Journal of La Pérouse's
voyage was not published until 1797 and in the meantime all his discoveries had become well known to other navigators.
16. Voyages of Portlock and Dixon. After Cook's voyage the next discoveries on the northwest coast of America were made by Captains Portlock and Dixon in 1786-7. They left England together in command of the ships King George and Queen Charlotte, passed around Cape Horn and reached Cook's river in July, 1786. Then went to Nootka Sound, thence to the Sandwich Islands and returned to Prince William's Sound in the spring of 1787. Here Dixon left Portlock and sailed along the coast to the inlet on the south side of Mount San Jacinto, or Edgecumb, which Dixon named Norfolk Sound. Dixon also claimed the discovery of the land between the 54th and 520 degrees of latitude, on the ground that it had not been seen by Cook, although it was specially marked on Cook's chart as discovered by the Spanish in 1775. Dixon said that he was told by the natives that the land was an island and named it Queen Charlotte's Island; the passage immediately north of it he called Dixon's Entrance. 17. Voyages of Duncan and Colnett.
In 1787 Captain Duncan, in the ship Princess Royal, and Captain Colnett, commander of the ship Prince of Wales,
sent by King George's Sound Company to engage in the fur trade in the North Pacific. Duncan in 1788 explored the sea between Queen Charlotte's Island and the main land and thus proved
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what Dixon had assumed and what La Pérouse had guessed. This exploration of Duncan's led to the belief that the whole northwest part of America consisted of islands. Thus little by little the truth was unfolding.
18. Re-Discovery of the Strait of Fuca. The coast of Washington was not visited by the people of any civilized nation from the time of Cook's voyage until 1787. In this year Captain Berkeley, an Englishman, commanding a ship named the Imperial Eagle sailing under the flag of the Austrian East India Company, discovered the Strait of Fuca situated immediately north of Cape Flattery, opening into the between the 48th and the 49th parallels, instead of between the 47th and 48th, as stated in Juan de Fuca's account. This statement had misled all the other navigators until this time and caused them to doubt Fuca's story. Berkeley did not attempt to explore the passage, but sailing along the coast south of Cape Flattery, he sent a boat ashore, the crew of which were killed by the natives, almost at the same place where the Spaniards of Bodega's crew massacred in 1775. The island near, which Bodega had named Isla de Dolores, Berkeley, for a like reason, called Destruction Island. It is the only island off the west coast of Washington and is situated almost due west of the city of Seattle.
19. Voyage of Meares. In November, 1787, Berkeley communicated the re-discovery of the Strait of Fuca to John Meares, who had been a lieutenant in the British navy and who at the time was at Macao preparing for a trading voyage to the northwest coasts of America. Meares sailed from Macao on the first of January, 1788, with two ships under the Portu
, guese flag. Besides himself there was but one other English subject on board of the ships, William Douglas, acting as super-cargo.
The circumstances connected with this voyage led to the first dispute and the first treaty between civilized nations relative to this part of the world.
20. Meares' Nootka Purchase. Meares sailed directly to Nootka Sound, where he had been in a previous voyage.
Here he claimed that he had purchased a tract of land from Chief Maquinna, native ruler of the country, and erected a house thereon over which he hoisted British colors. A strange procedure for a navigator sailing under the Portuguese flag! From Meares' own statement it is clear that Maquinna made this grant of land for a small consideration—"a pair of pistols”—and only for temporary purposes.
Leaving a part of his crew at Nootka engaged in building a small vessel, Meares, sailed to the entrance of the passage supposed to be the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which he reached by following the directions given by Berkeley. He called it by the name of its original discoverer, Juan de Fuca, a name it has borne ever since.
21. Meares Attempts to Find River San Roque. From the Strait of Fuca Meares sailed along the