Page images
PDF
EPUB

serve to determine the longitude of St. Anne. Moreover, 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 Cor. tez's time Santa de San Jagot has been determined by the Spanish navigators. I found in manu. scripts preserved in the archives of the vice

* 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, lieutenant 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 lus 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 goëllette Activa, 1792 ; and, 4th, in a Riconuciemiento de los quatros Establecimientos Russos al Norte de la California en 1783, a curious expedition executed by order of the viceroy Florez, and described by

royalty of Mexico, and compiled by order of the Che alier d'Aranza, that M. Quadra found Cape St. Lucas 29° 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.

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

ouver.

The coast of New California has been explored with the greatest minuteness by the Spanish ex. pedition of the galleys Sutil and Mexicana in 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 east 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 observations connect as it were, by transference of the time, New California with the old. The corvettes la Discubrerta and l’Atrevida, commanded by Don Alex. andro Malaspina, determined chronometrically the difference of longitude between Acapulco, S. Blas, Cape S. Lucas, and Monterey. In adopting the

nce

ew

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

more eastern position of the latter port, that is to say, what is given by Vancouver, the geographer is uncertain as to the siiuation of the southern coast. To avoid this difficulty, I have followed Malaspina in placing Monterey at 36° 35' 45” of latitude, and 124° 23' 45" of longitude* La Peyrouset found the longitude by lunar distances 123° 34' 0", by the chronometer 124° 3' 0"). Vancouver deduced a longitude of 123° 54' 30" from 1200 distances of the moon from the sun. As the latter had leisure to survey the situation of the coast with the most scrupulous accuracy, I have ventured to rely on the difference of longitude indicated by him between Monterey and the missions of S. Diego, S. Juan, S. Buenaventura, S. Barbara, and S. Francisco. In this manner the positions of all these points have been connected with that of Monterey. Had I, however, traced all the north-west coast from the sole observations of Vancouver, I should have been tempted to render the longitude of Cape S. Lucas more eastern. It is sufficient to have here indicated the siriking difference which yet subsists, notwithstanding the great pains bestowed, between the English and

CO

* Analysis de la Carta de Antillon, 1803, p. 50.
+ Voyage, T. III. p. 304.

# M. Triesnecker, in correcting the result obtained by La Peyrouse, found by means of the lunar observations of Greenwich the longitude 123° 42' 12" in place of 123° 34' 0" (Zach Corr. T. I. p. 173.)

server

S

Spanish operations. I have reason to believe that the absolute positions laid down by us for Acapulco, S. Blas, and Cape Lucas, are sufficiently correct, and that the error of + 28' en arc exists farther to the north. 1 false supposition in the diurnal course of a chronometer, and the state of the old lunar tables of Mayer and Mason, may have contributed to this error.

After discussing the positions which are founded on astronomical observations by experienced observers, I pass to those which may be regarded as doubtful, on account of the imperfection of the instruments, the want of confidence which the names of the observers inspire, and of our ignorance whether the results have not been drawn from manuscripts inaccurately copied. What follows is the substance of what I have been able to collect from these astronomical observations: they must be employed with caution ; but they are valuable for the geography of a region hitherto so little known.

The Jesuits are entitled to the praise of having been the first who examined the gulf of California or the sea of Cortez. Father Kin, formerly professor of mathematics at Ingolstadt, and the declared enemy of the Mexican geometrician Siguenza, against whom he composed several writings, arrived in 1701 at the junction of the great rivers Gila and Colorado. He fixed by an as. tronomical ring the latitude of this junction at

as.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »