Page images
PDF

of Marchand, and in the introduction to the account of the Spanish expeditions undertaken for the discovery of the Straits of Fuca. The observation of the transit of Venus in 1769, occasioned the voyage of MM. Chappe, Doz, and Velasquez, three astronomers, of whom the first was a Frenchman, the second a Spaniard, and the third a Mexican, and, what is more, the pupil of a very intelligent Indian of the village of Xaltocan. Before, however, the arrival of these astronomers in California, the true latitudes of Cape San Lucas and the mission of St. Rose had already been found by Don Miguel Costanzo, at present general of brigade and head of the corps of engineers. This respectable officer, who displays the greatest zeal for the geography of the country, found by gnomons and English octants of a very perfect construction, San Jose to be 23° 2' 0"; and Cape San Lucas, 22° 48' 10". Till then it was believed, as is proved by the chart of Alzate, that San Jose lay in 22° () of latitude. The detail of the observations of the Abbé Chappe does not inspire much confidence. Provided with a large quadrant of three feet radius, Chappe found the latitude of San Jose by Arcturus 25° 4' 1"; by Antares, 23° 3' 12". The medium of all the stellar observations differs from the result of the passages of the sun through the meridian by 31". There are some of the solar observations which differ from one another 1' 19. M. Cassini, however, calls them “very exact and very accordant*”. I cite these examples, not for the sake of discrediting astronomers who have so many titles to our esteem, but to prove that a sextant of five inches radius would have been more useful to the Abbé Chappe than his quadrant of three feet radius, difficult both to place and to verify. Don Vicente Doz placed San Jose at 23° 5' 15" latitude. The longitude of this celebrated village in the annals of astronomy was deduced from the transit of Venus, and from the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites, observed by Chappe, and compared with the tables of Wargentin. M. Cassini fixed it by a medium at 7° 28′ 10", or 11.2° 2' 30". Father Hell adopted 7" 37' 57" for San Jose. The longitude which results from Chappe’s observations is 3, 12' farther east than the one adopted in 1768 in the map of Alzates. M. Velasquez too, the Mexican astronomer, constructed a small observatory in the village of St. Anne, where he observed by himself the transit of Venus, communicating the result of his observation to M. Chappe and Don Vicente Doz. This result, published by M. de Cassini, agrees very well with the manuscript observations which I procured at Mexico, and might serve to determine the longitude of St. Anne. Horeover, M. Velasquez, before the arrival of the Abbé Chappe, knew the enormous error in the longitude of California; he had observed eclipses of Jupiter's satellites in 1768 at the mission of Santa Rosa”; and he communicated to the Euro pean astronomers the true longitude before they had time to make the slightest observations. The position of Cape San Lucas, called in Cortez's time Santa de San Jagot has been determined by the Spanish navigators. I found in manuscripts; preserved in the archives of the viceroyalty of Mexico, and compiled by order of the Chevalier d'Aranza, that M. Quadra found Cape St. Lucas 22° 52' of latitude, and 4° 40' to the west of the port of S. Blas, which, in placing S. Blas with Malaspina in 107° 41' 30", gives 112° 21' 30" ' for the most southern cape of California. The expedition of Malaspina fixed (according to M. Antillon) Cape S. Lucas at 22° 52' of latitude, and 112° 16' 47" of longitude. This chronometrical position was also adopted in the atlas which accompanies the voyage of the Spaniards to the Straits of Fuca ; it is, however, 17' 15" more western than that published (on what authority I know not) in the Knowledge of Times for 1808. I have adopted a difference of meridian between San Jose and the Cape of 14' 17"; but it is to be observed, that these two points having never been connected together, but fixed singly by independent observations, there may be an error in the distance. From what I have gathered from those who have visited these arid desert regions, it would appear that the difference of longitude is somewhat greater. In the time of Cortez, Cape S. Lucas was believed to be 22° of latitude, and 10° 50' to the west of the meridian of Acapulco, a relative longitude which is correct to within nearly half a degree.

* Voyage en Californie, p. 106.

+ Nouvelle Carte de l’Amérique Septentrionale, dediće i l'Académie Royale des Sciences de Paris par Don Joseph Antoine de Alzate et Ramiret, 1768.

* Estado de la Geografia de la Nueva España y modo de perfeccionar la por Don Jose Antonio de Alzate (Periodico de Mexico, Diciembre 1772, No. 7, p. 55.)

+ Mapa de California por Domingo de Castillo, 1541.

# M. Aranza, viceroy of Mexico, employed M. Casasola, licutenant de frégate of the royal marine, to unite in four manuscripts whatever was connected with the navigations performed to the north of California, under the viceroys Bucarelli, Florez, and Revillagigedo. These works consist, 1st, in an atlas of twenty-six maps drawn up from the observations of MM. Perez, Canisarez, Galeano, Anadra, and Malaspina; 2d, in a large folio volume, entitled, Compendio historico de las Navegaciones sobre las costas septentrionales de California ordenado en 1799 en la ciudad de Mexico; 3d, in the voyage to the north-west coast of America, performed by Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, commanding the frigates Sta. Gertrudis, Aranzasa, Princesa, and the goellette Activa, 1792; and, 4th, in a Riconocicmiento de los quatros Establecimientos Russos al Norte de la California en 1788, a curious expedition executed by order of the viceroy Florez, and described by

[graphic]

Don Antonio Bonilla. Part of these valuable materials has been given to the public in the Relacion del Viage de las Galetas Sutil y Mexicana, published at Madrid in 1802.

The coast of New California has been explored with the greatest minuteness by the Spanih expeoision of the galleys Sutil and J/ewica, a n 1792, and the country from 30° of latitude, or from the mission of S. Domingo, by the expedition of Vancouver. Malaspina and the unfortunate La Peyrouse had also made observations, at Monterey. Though it may be supposed that the direction of the coasts and the differences of longitudes of several points are perfectly determined, it is difficult to fix their absolute longitudes; for the observations of lunar distances by Vancouver place the north-west coast of America 28' to the cast of the position in longitude assigned to it by Cook and Malaspina's expedition". It would be very curious to examine the influence of the new lunar tables of Bürg on these observations of the English navigator. I have given the preference to the absolute longitude of Monterey, deduced from the operations of Malaspina, not only because it is founded on eclipses of stars and satellites, but particularly because the Spanish obs, rvations connect as it were, by transference of the time, New California with the old. The corvettes la Discubrerta and l’Atrevida, commanded by Don Alexandro Malaspina, determined chronometrically the difference of longitude between Acapulco, S. Blas, Cape S. Lucas, and Monterey. In adopting the

-* Voyage de Vancouver autour du monde, T. II. p. 46,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »