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After this view of the provinces of which the vast empire of Mexico is composed, it remains for us to bestow a rapid glance on the coast of the Great Ocean, which extends from the port of San Francisco, and from Cape Mendocino to the Russian establishments in Prince William's Sound.
The whole of this coast has been visited since the end of the sixteenth century by Spanish navigators; but they have only been carefully examined by order of the viceroys of New SpaiD since 1774. Numerous expeditions of discovery have followed one another up to 1792. The colony attempted to be established by the Spaniards at Nootka fixed for some time the attention of all the maritime powers of Europe. A few sheds erected on the coast, and a miserable bastion defended by swivel guns, and a few cabbages planted within an enclosure, were very near exciting a bloody war between Spain and England; and it was only by the destruction of the establishment founded at the island of Quadra and of Vancouver that Macuina, the Tays or prince of Nootka, was enabled to preserve his independence. Several nations of Europe have frequented these latitudes since 1786, for the sake of the trade in sea otter skins; but their rivalry has had the most disadvantageous consequences both for themselves and the natives of the country. The price of the skins as they rose on the coast of America fell enormously in China. Corruption of manners has increased among the Indians; and by following the same policy by which the African coasts have been laid waste, the Europeans endeavoured to take advantage of the discord among the Tays. Several of the most debauched sailors deserted their ships to settle among the natives of the country. At Nootka, as well as at the Sandwich Islands, the most fearful mixture of primitive barbarity with the vices of polished Europe is to be observed. It is difficult to conceive that the few species of roots of the old continent transplanted into these fertile regions by voyagers, which figure in the list of the benefits that the Europeans boast of having bestowed on the inhabitants of the South Sea islands, have proved any thing like a compensation for the real evils which they introduced among them.
above table. However, the author adds that nearly a fourth part of the white population of 1,200,000 inhabit the provintins inlernas. Now the whole population of the provincias internas, including whatever Indians or other races there may be in them, amounts only to 423,300. So that deducting the Indians, &c. this number would approach nearer perhaps to a fourth of 1,200,000 than of 1,I00,000. Amidst these difficulties the reader must decide for himself, Tram.
At the glorious epoqua in the sixteenth century, when the Spanish nation,favoured by acombinn, tton of singular circumstances, freely displayed the resources of their genius and the foice of their character, the problem of a passage to the northwest, and a direct road to the Eastlndies, occupied the maids of the Castilians with the same ardour displayed by some other nations within these thirty or forty years. We do not allude to the apocryphal voyages of Ferrer Maldonado, Juan de Fuca, and Bartolome Fonte, to which for a longtime only too much importance was given. The most part of the impostures published under the namesofthesethree navigators were destroyed by the laborious and learned discussions of several officers of the Spanish marine*. In place of bringing forward names nearly fabulous, and losing ourselves in the uncertainty of hypotheses, we shall confine ourselves to indicate here what is incontestably proved by historical documents. The following notices, partly drawn from the manuscript memoirs of Don Antonio Bonilla and M. Casasola, preserved in the archives of the viceroyalty of Mexico, present facts which, combined together, deserve the attention of the reader. These notices displaying, as it were, the varying picture of the national activity,
* Memoirs of Don Ciriaco Cevallos. Researches into the Archives of Seville, by Don Augustin Cean. Historical Introduction to the Voyage ofGaliano and Valdes, p. xlix. lvi. and lxxvi. lxxxiii. Notwithstanding all my inquiries, 1 could never discover in New Spain a single document in which the pilot Fuca or the admiral Fonte were named.
sometimes excited and sometimes palsied, will even be interesting to those who do not believe that a country inhabited by freemen belongs to -the. European nation who first saw it.
The names of Cabrillo. and Gali are less celebrated than Fuca and Fonte. The true recital of a modest navigator has neither the charm nor the power which accompany deception. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo visited the coast of New California to the 37° 107, or the Punta del Aim Nuevo, to the north of Monterey. He perished (on the 3d January, 1543) at the island of San Bernardo, near the channel of Santa Barbara*. But Bartolome Ferrelo, his pilot, continued his discoveries northwards to the 43° of latitude, when he saw the coast of Cape Blanc, called by Vancouver Cape Orford.
Francisco Gali, in his voyage from Macao to Acapulco, discovered in 15^2 the north-west coast of America under the 57° 30'. He admired, like all those who since his time have visited New Cornwall, the beauty of those colossal mountains, of which the summit is covered with perpetual snow, while their bottom is covered with the most beautiful vegetation. On correcting! the old observations by the new in places of which the identity is ascertained, we find that Gali coasted part of the archipelago of the Prince of Wales, or that of King George. Sir Francis Drake only went as far as the 48° of latitude to the north of Cape Grenville in New Georgia.
* According to the manuscript preserved in the archivo general de Indias at Madrid.
f These corrections have been already made in this work wherever the latitudes of the old navigators are cited. Vjaje de la Sutil, p. xxxi.
Of the two expeditions undertaken by Sebas, tian Viscayno in 1596 and 1602, the last only was directed to the coast of New California. Thirty-two maps, drawn up at Mexico by the cosmographer Henry Martinez*, prove that Viscayno surveyed these coasts with more care and more intelligence than was ever done by any pilot before him. The diseases of his crew, the -want of provision, and the extreme rigour of the season, prevented him, however, from ascend, ing higher than Cape S. Sebastian, situated under the 42° of latitude, a little to the north of the bay of the Trinity. One vessel of Viscayno's expedition, the frigate commanded by Antonio Florez, alone passed Cape Mendocino. This frigate reached the mouth of a river in the 43° of latitude, which appears to have been already discovered by Cabrillo in 1543, and which was believed by Martin de Aguilar to be the western extremity of the Straits of Anian f. We must not
* The same of whom we have already spoken in the His* tory of the Desague Real de Huehuetoca.
-\ The Straits of Anian, confounded by many geographers with Bering's Straits, meant in the l6th century Hudson's,