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Perez. M. Martinez, who had been visiting the Russian factories, received orders to make a solid establishment at Nootka, and to examine carefully that part of the coast comprised between the 50° and the 55° of latitude, which Captain Cook could not survey in the course of his navigation.
The port of Nootka is on the eastern coast of an island, which, according to the survey in 1791 by MM. Espinosa and Cevallos, is twenty marine miles in breadth, and which is separated by the channel of Tasis from the great island, now called the island of Quadra and Vancouver. It is there. fore equally false to assert that the port of Nootka, called by the natives Yucuatl, belongs to the great island of Quadra, as it is inaccurate to say that Cape Horn is the extremity of Terra del Fuego. We cannot conceive by what misconception the illustrious Cook could convert the name of Yucuatl into Nootka*, this last word
* There does not seem to be any difficulty in the matter, It is very easy for any one at all acquainted with the embarrassment experienced by the ear in catching, and, as it were, disentangling the sounds of a foreign language, to conceive that when the common standard of writing cannot be resorted to, hardly two persons will report the same word alike. In languages even already familiar to us by writing, it requires a long experience before we can follow the conversation of the natives; what must it therefore be in languages affording no such assistance, and of which many of the sounds are new to European ears. Thus Captain Cook and Mr. Anderson, a surgeon in his expedition, hardly agree in the representation
being unknown to the natives of the country, and having no analogy to any of the words of their language excepting Noutchi, which signifies mountain *.
of any one word. It would appear, however, from what is said of Captain Cook by Mr. King, that his ear was by po means very accurate in distinguishing sounds. Trans.
* Memoire de Don Francisco Moziño. The worthy author was one of the botanists of the expedition of M. Sesse, and remained at Nootka with M. Quadra in 1792. Wishing to procure every possible information with regard to the northwest coast of North America, I made extracts in 1803 from the manuscript of M. Moziño, for which I was indebted to the friendship of professor Cervantes, director of the botanical garden at Mexico. I have since discovered that the same memoir furnished materials to the learned compiler of the Viage de la Sutil, p. 123. Notwithstanding the accurate information which we owe to the English and French navigators, it would still be interesting to publish the observations of M. Moziño on the manners of the Indians of Nootka. These observations embrace a great number of curious subjects, viz. the union of the civil and ecclesiastical power in the person of the princes or tays; the struggle between Quautz and Matlox, the good and bad principle by which the world is governed ; the origin of the human species at an epoqua when stags were without horns, birds without wings, and dogs without tails; the Eve of the Nootkians, who lived solitary in a flowery grove of Yucuatl, when the god Quautz visited her in a fine copper canoe; the education of the first man, who, as he grew up, past from one small shell to a greater; the genealogy of the nobility of Nootka, who descend from the oldest son of the man brought up in a shell, while the rest of the people (who even in the other world have a separate paradise called Pinpula) dare not trace their origin farther back than to younger branches; the calendar of the
Don Esteban Martinez, commanding the frigate La Princessa, and the pacquet-boat San Carlos, anchored in the port of Nootka on the 5th May, 1789. He was received in a very friendly manner by the chief Macuina, who recollected very well having seen him with M. Perez in 1774, and who even shewed the beautiful Monterey shells which were then presented to him. Macuina, the tays of the island of Yucuatl, has an absolute authority; he is the Montezuma of these countries; and his name has become celebrated among all the nations who carry on the sea-otter skin trade. I know not if Macuina yet lives; but we learned at Mexico in the end of 1803, by letters from Monterey, that more jealous of his independence than the king of the Sandwich Islands, who has declared himself the vassal of England, he was endeavouring to procure fire-arms and powder to protect himself from the insults to which he was frequently exposed by European navigators.
The port of Santa Cruz of Nootka (called Puerto de San Lorenzo by Perez, and Friendly-cove by Cook), is from seven to eight fathoms in depth*. It is almost shut in on the south-east by small islands, on one of which Martinez erected the Nootkians, in which the year begins with the summer solstice, and is divided into fourteen months of 20 days, and a great number of intercalated days added to the end of several months, &c. &c.
* From nearly 7 to 8fathoms English. Trans.
battery of San Miguel. The mountains in the interior of the island appear to be composed of thonschiefer, and other primitive rocks, M. Mo. ziño discovered among them seams of copper and sulphuretted lead. He thought he discovered near a lake at about a quarter of a league's distance from the port the effects of volcanic fire in some porous amygdaloid. The climate of Nootka is so mild, that under a more northern latitude than that of Quebec and Paris the smallest streams are not frozen till the month of January. This curious phenomenon confirms the observation of Mackenzie *, who asserts that the north-west coast of the new continent has a much higher temperature than the eastern coasts of America and Asia situated under the same parallels. The inhabitants of Nootka, like those of the northern coast of Norway, are almost strangers to the noise of thunder. Electrical explosions are there exceedingly rare. The hills are covered with pine, oak, cypress, rose bushes, vaccinium, and andromedes. The beauti
* Voyage de Mackenzie, traduit par Casteru, vol. III. p. 339. It is even believed by the Indians in the vicinity of the northwest coast that the winters are becoming milder yearly. This mildness of climate appears to be produced by the north-west winds, which pass over a considerable extent of sea. M. Mackenzie, as well as myself, believes, that the change of climate observable throughout all North America cannot be attributed to petty local causes, to the destruction of forests for example.
ful shrub which bears the name of Linnéus was only discovered by the gardeners in Vancouver's expedition in higher, latitudes. John Mears, and a Spanish officer in particular, Don Pedro Alberoni, succeeded at Nootka in the cultiva. tion of all the European vegetables; but the maize and wheat, however, never yielded ripe grain. A too great luxuriance of vegetation appears to be the cause of this phenomenon. The true humming-bird has been observed in the islands of Quadra and Vancouver. This im. portant fact in the geography of animals must strike those who are ignorant that Mackenzie saw humming-birds at the sources of the River of Peace under the 54° 24' of north latitude, and that M. Galiano saw them nearly under the same southern parallel in the Straits of Magellan.
Martinez did not carry his researches beyond the 50° of latitude. Two months after his entry into the port of Nootka he saw the arrival of an English vessel, the Argonaut, commanded by James Colnet, known by his observations at the Galapagos islands. Colnet showed the Spanish navigator the orders which he had received from his government to establish a factory at Nootka, to construct a frigate and a cutter, and to prevent every other European nation from interfering with the fur trade *. It was in vain Martinez
* There had been formed in England in 1785 a Nootką