Robert J. King


John Meares: Dubliner, Naval Officer, Fur Trader and would be Colonizer[1]


The Whitehall Evening Post of 22 September 1786 carried an article reporting that:


Recent letters from Bengal....advise, that a subscription was entered into at Calcutta to the amount of eighty thousand pounds, for the purpose of carrying on a fur trade from Kamschatka and the opposite coast of America to China and the East-Indies, pursuant to the plan of the late Capt. Cooke and his associate circumnavigators; in consequence of which two ships of 250 tons each, had sailed on that trade from Calcutta on the first day of February last, under the command and direction of Capt. Meares, a native of Dublin.[2]


John Meares' father was Charles Meares who, according to his death notice in The Gentleman's Magazine for August 1790, was "an attorney of great eminence, and for several years pursuivant of his Majesty's Court of Exchequer in [Ireland]. He was the father of John M. esq. who planned that lucrative branch of commerce between Canton in China and Nootka Sound, the occasion of the present dispute between England and Spain".[3] The newspapers of his time record several instances of Charles Meares going about his business in connection with the transfer and conveyancing of properties. For example, The Gentleman's Magazine for April 1773 carried a report from Dublin that “two Messengers belonging to Charles Meares, Esq. Pursuivant of the Exchequer, who went down to the county of Galway to execute warrants granted on attachments the tenants of John Stuart, Esq. were murdered, and another so mangled, that his life is despaired of”.


Nothing is at present known of the childhood and early years of his son, John, until he entered the Royal Navy in 1771, as a captain’s servant on the Cruiser.[4] He served for nearly seven years, mostly in small ships, until having reached the age of twenty-two he was examined and promoted lieutenant on 17 September 1778. He served on several ships during the War of American Independence, and after the conclusion of the war worked in the merchant marine. On the occasion of the Queen’s Birthday on 18 January 1785 he, his father and brothers signed a Loyal Address to the King from the Gentlemen, Clergy, Freemen and Freeholders of the city of Dublin that was published in The London Gazette.[5] Shortly afterwards, like so many other unemployed naval officers, he took ship for India to try his chances in commerce there, and arrived in Calcutta in late 1785. Within weeks of his arrival he obtained employment in a venture set up under the name of the Bengal Fur Company.


The Bengal Fur Company


While the details of this company are still unclear, the man principally responsible for it appears to have been John Henry Cox, then based in Canton and Macao but a man having close connections with the English East India Company supercargoes resident there and, importantly, also with the representative there of the Austrian Imperial East India Company, one John Reid. Reid, a Scot by birth, had taken naturalization as an Austrian subject and by virtue of his position as representative of the Austrian Imperial East India Company had consular status which enabled him to evade the charter restrictions of the English Company.


John Henry Cox was the son of a celebrated London clock maker whose clocks had been used by the English Company in trade with the Chinese. When some of these Chinese merchants went bankrupt, John Henry received permission from the English East India Company to travel to Canton in 1780, ostensibly for reasons of health but actually to recover debts due to the family business. Once there, he formed a partnership with John Reid and engaged in "country trading" between China and India.[6] Reid had arrived in Canton from India in 1781, when he no doubt learned of the sensation caused there the previous December when crews of the ships of James Cook’s third expedition, Resolution and Discovery, enjoyed unexpected success in selling for high prices the sea otter pelts they had obtained for trinkets on the North West Coast of America.[7]


The North West Coast Fur Trade


Most of these valuable furs had been collected in trade with the local people during Cook’s stay during March-April 1778 at Nootka Sound, a large opening of bays, islands, channels, and inlets on the west central coast of Vancouver Island. At first Cook called it King George's Sound, but this was later changed to Nootka, based on Cook’s mis-pronunciation Yuquot, the native name of the place.[8] The Mowachaht-Muchalaht people had been the principal occupants of the Sound for thousands of years. Due to the prices received by Cook's men at Kamchatka and Macao for furs collected at Nootka Sound, the village of Yuquot in Friendly Cove became the initial focus of the maritime fur trade after 1785.


The description of the possibilities of the North Pacific fur trade in A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, the official account of James Cook’s expedition third expedition to the Pacific, published in May 1784, attracted wide attention. It was based on the journal of James King, who had assumed command of the Resolution after Cook’s death in Hawaii. In particular, King’s vivid account of the prices paid at Canton for the sea otter furs the crew had gathered on the American coast was repeatedly referred to in public discussion, being published in the London press in September 1785:


During our absence [in Canton], a brisk trade had been carrying on with the Chinese for the sea-otter furs, which had, every day, been rising in their value. One of our seamen sold his stock, alone, for eight hundred dollars; and a few prime skins, which were clean, and had been well preserved, were sold for one hundred and twenty each. The whole amount of the value, in specie and goods, that was got for the furs, in both ships, I am confident, did not fall short of two thousand pounds sterling. And it was generally supposed, that at least two-thirds of the quantity we had originally got from the Americans were spoilt and worn out, or had been given away, and otherwise disposed of, in Kamchatka. When it is remembered that the furs were at first collected without our having any idea of their real value, the first two Otter skins we had having been bought for six green glass beads, the greatest part of them having been worn by the Indians, from whom we purchased them; that they were afterwards preserved with little care, and frequently used for bed-clothes, and other purposes, during our cruise to the North; and that, probably we never received the full value for them in China; the advantages that might be derived from a voyage to that part of the American coast, undertaken with commercial views, appear to me of a degree of importance sufficient to call for the attention of the public.... The rage with which our seamen were possessed to return to Cook's River, and buy another cargo of skins, to make their fortunes, at one time, was not far off mutiny.[9]


King's practical suggestions in A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean of the possibilities of a fur trade between the North West Coast and China and Japan revealed the riches to be gained from this trade:


The Russian merchants have a still larger profit upon the furs at Kiachta, on the frontiers of China, which is the great market for them. The best sea otter skins sell generally in Kamchatka, for about thirty rubles apiece. The Chinese market at Kiachta purchases them at more than double that price, and sells them again at Pekin at a great advance, where a further profitable trade is made with some of them to Japan. If, therefore, a skin is worth thirty rubles in Kamchatka, to be transported first to Okotsk, thence to be conveyed to Kiachta, a distance of one thousand three hundred and fifty-four miles, thence to Pekin, seven hundred and sixty-miles more, and after this to be transported to Japan, what a prodigiously advantageous trade might be carried on between this place and Japan, which is but about a fortnight's, at most, three weeks sail from it?[10]


James Hanna’s Voyages


The revelation of the riches to be gained from exploiting the furs of the North West Coast of America as an item of trade with China and, possibly Japan, caused Cox and Reid to attempt to take advantage of their situation in Canton and their connections with India. Specifically, Cox and his associates, including Henry Lane, William Fitzhugh and David Lance—English East India Company supercargoes at Canton trading privately on their own account—sponsored a pioneering voyage under James Hanna in 1785.[11] Setting out from Macao in the snow Sea Otter, on 15 April 1785, Hanna followed the route of the Manila galleons past Japan from whence the prevailing winds and current brought him to Nootka Sound on 8 August. Although there was one violent altercation in which a number of natives lost their lives, Hanna was successful in trading for furs and returned to Macao with 560 pelts worth over 20,000 Spanish dollars.[12] Word of this success was sent back to England and reported in the London press on 21 September 1786:


The Sea Otter, Capt. Hannah, is arrived from King George's Sound, on the West coast of America, after one of the most prosperous voyages, perhaps, ever made in so short a time. This brig, which was only 60 tons, and manned with 20 men, was fitted out in April 1785, by Capt. Mackintosh, of the Contractor, and some other gentlemen in the Company's service, as an experiment while the Captain is gone to England to procure a licence from the India Company for the carrying on this trade. Should he succeed in his application, of which I presume there is but very little doubt, I am sensible it will insure them a tremendous fortune; you will be astonished when I tell you, that the whole out-fit, with the vessel, did not cost them 1,000l. and though she was not more than one month on the coast, the furs she collected were sold at Canton for upwards of 30,000l. Had they had goods to have bartered, and had been two or three months more on the coast, Captain Hannah assured me he could have collected above 100,000l. of furs.—The beauty of these furs is beyond description, and held by the Chinese in the highest estimation: it is astonishing with what rapidity they purchased them.—Captain Hannah acquainted me that there were several sent home to England as presents; your friend Sir Joseph Banks hath two of them sent by this ship, where no doubt you will see them.—It is astonishing that this business hath not been taken up long before this directly from England, as there is a full description of it in the publication you sent me of Capt. Cook's last voyage: it is fully expected that when the astonishing value of this trade is well known in England, that the Company will send out some of their China ships to trade for furs on that coast, and to try to open a trade from Japan for the disposal of them. Should they be able to accomplish this trade it would be a great acquisition, as it would procure them vast quantities of silver and gold, and the furs would sell for 300 per cent. more than they do at China. The trade is carried on by the Chinese at an amazing advantage.[13]


Encouraged by this financial success, Hanna's backers sponsored a second voyage in 1786. Leaving Macao in May he again reached Nootka in August. He had been preceded by an expedition from Bombay led by James Strange, and as a result he was able to purchase only 50 skins. Sailing north he discovered and named a number of inlets and islands on the west coast of Vancouver Island. He made a chart of those parts he visited and bestowed the name of his patrons on several places, such as Cox’s Island, Lane’s Bay, Fitzhugh Sound, Lance’s Islands and MacIntosh’s Inlet. Seeing land to the north, which was probably the islands off the continent or even Kunghit Island, the southernmost of the Queen Charlotte Islands, the Irishman James Hanna named it Nova Hibernia, complete with a St. Patrick’s Bay. Sadly, these names, except Fitzhugh Sound, were ignored by later cartographers.  He then moved south to Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island.


Clayoquot Sound was the home of the powerful chief Wickaninnish, who was one of the dominant figures in the maritime fur trade at the end of the 18th century. The population of the large, island-filled bay, probably numbered over 4,000 at the time of Hanna’s visit. The village of Opitsat on Meares Island, opposite the present-day settlement of Tofino, was considered the largest native settlement on the entire North West Coast. Hanna continued his explorations and at Ahousat on Vargas Island visited Chief Cleaskinah, who was subsequently later known as "Captain Hanna" as a consequence of an exchange of names in accordance with local custom.[14] But his success in trading for pelts was limited, and shortly after his arrival in Macao in early 1787 he died before he was able to make a planned third voyage to America.


From Calcutta to the North West Coast


Meanwhile, Cox and his connections in India, who included the Governor-General of Bengal, Sir John Macpherson, proceeded to organize the venture from Calcutta which John Meares was appointed to lead. The objectives of the venture were set out in The Calcutta Gazette of 17 November 1785. It was noted that there was a constant demand by the Chinese for furs which they imported from the Russian dominions, which they had to pay for in bullion. There was an opportunity for a profitable trade at Canton, a much more convenient market place for the Chinese than Kiakhta on the Mongolian-Siberian border, where they purchased their furs from the Russians. It was pointed out that previous to Captain Cook’s discovery, Kiakhta was the only place where the Chinese could obtain the highly prized sea otter pelts. The newspaper article said:


The circuitous voyage the Russian merchants take before they make their appearance at Kiatcha renders their demands for this valuable skin exorbitantly high; they collect them in Kamschatka, and from the Kurile islands, and from those isles that are situated immediately between the continents of Asia and America....The sea otter skin is worth in Kamschatka from thirty-five to fifty dollars; they sell at Kiatcha from seventy to ninety. For prime skins, at Canton, Captain King received one hundred and twenty dollars.


The venturers proposed sending two vessels of not more than 250 tons each to the Shumagin Islands off the southern coast of the Alaska Peninsula. As explained in the newspaper article:


The Schumagin isles are those that are the farthest North on the coast, where our researches for the furs are to begin, and to continue on as far to the Southward as they are to be found. Moderate sailing vessels may reach the coast of America about the middle of June, and to continue on it till October; they will then steer to the southward within the Tropicks to get the N.E. trade; they then may steer either for the Sandwich islands to refresh, or proceed direct to Canton, where the necessary orders from the subscribers will be in waiting for them.[15]


The costs of the voyage were to be defrayed by taking a cargo of opium from India to the coast of Malaya.


William Tipping’s Voyage


   In February 1786, Meares sailed from Calcutta in command of the snow Nootka, together with a companion vessel, the sloop Sea Otter, under William Tipping. Tipping, like Meares, was a Royal Navy lieutenant. The ships sailed separately with designated rendezvous locations at Malacca and Alaska. Tipping had a cargo of opium aboard the Sea Otter and took it straight to Malacca. Meares had been asked to deliver some officials to Madras first. He then had a very slow crossing of the Bay of Bengal and many of his crew already had scurvy when he reached Malacca on 23 May. Tipping had already left for Alaska, sailing north along the western coasts of Japan to approach the Alaskan mainland via the Aleutian Islands. He had been ordered by Meares "to endeavour to open an amicable Intercourse with the Inhabitants of Corea or Japan, or the Islands to the North or South".[16] Later, Meares explained: "I had given these Orders in consequence of some imperfect Knowledge we had obtained of a communication between the Chinese, Japanese and Coreans. Those Empires being at Hostility with each other, the only Communication carried on between them was through the Islands lying in those Seas".[17] On 5 September 1786, Tipping sailed into Snug Corner Bay in Prince William Sound where he met James Strange, master of the fur trader Captain Cook from Bombay. Strange, with the blessing of the East India Company, was also trying to take early advantage of the fur trading opportunities revealed by the great navigator whose name his ship bore. An account of Tipping’s  meeting there with Strange was recorded by Alexander Walker, who was on the ship as captain of a detachment of East India Company troops who were to form the garrison of a settlement Strange hoped to establish on the North West Coast:


This day a Brig named the Sea Otter arived from Bengall in the Cove. The Commander, Mr. Tipping spent the Evening on board the Captain Cook, and informed us, that he had Sailed from Calcutta on the 1st. of March, but was much retarded, by being obliged to deliver a Cargo of Opium at Malacca. In his Voyage to America he followed the Tract, that has been recommended by Captain King. After passing the Chinese Seas he steered between Corea and the Japanese Islands, and proceeding through the numerous islands scattered in those Seas, he passed between the continent of Asia and Jeso [Hokkaido]. He then Sailed through between the Kurile Islands, and made Oonalashka [Unalaska]. He described the coasts of Corea, Japan and Jeso to be high rocky shores. At all these places he met with Vessels of different kinds, some of which sent on board without any restraint, whilst others avoided him.[18]


After a few days, Tipping sailed away, never to be seen or heard of again. The Captain Cook sailed back to Bombay with a disappointingly small taking of furs, Strange having decided not to make a settlement.


John Meares’ First Voyage to the North West Coast


John Meares in the Nootka meanwhile left Malacca on 29 May and headed for the Bashi (Batan) Islands between the Philippines and Formosa (Taiwan) to take on provisions. Meares reached them on 22 June and anchored at Grafton Island (Batan), where he was hospitably received by the Spanish governor, José Huelva Melgarejo, who had taken possession of the islands in 1783. The Bashi Channel had come to be increasingly used by English East India Company ships and the Spanish authorities had brought the islands under their direct administration to prevent them falling under British control. It was an indication of Spanish determination to maintain their hold over every part of their vast empire in the Pacific which Meares might have done well to heed.[19]


Sailing north on 1 July, the Nootka passed close to Japan to arrive of the Aleutian Islands at the beginning of August. The Nootka continued northeast through thick fog before meeting Aleuts and a Russian who escorted the ship to a harbour on Unalaska Island, close to the one used by Cook seven years earlier. On 20 August, Meares left Unalaska, as the Russians were obtaining all the sea otter pelts in that vicinity. With James Cook's journal and atlas as his guide, Meares arrived off the Shumagin Islands in late August. Trading all the way, he proceeded into Cook Inlet through Shelikhov Strait between Kodiak Island and the Alaska Peninsula, which he called Petrie's Strait. He was the first English navigator to sail in these waters, as they had not been visited by Cook. He arrived at Cape Douglas and anchored at the entrance to Cook's River (Cook Inlet). He was able to carry out a little trading and discerned the local Tanaina people were afraid of the Russians. On 20 September, he met a party of Russians travelling from their factory on the Kenai Peninsula to winter at Three Saints Bay at the south end of Kodiak Island.[20]


He sailed on and reached Snug Corner Cove in Prince William Sound on 25 September. There were signs that another ship had been there recently: Tipping's Sea Otter had left about two weeks earlier while Strange's two ships had sailed on 14 September. Meares decided not to spend the winter in Hawaii, as he was afraid the delights of the islands would prove so tempting to his men that he would be unable to get enough of them to return with him to the rigours of the North West Coast. The decision to spend the winter in Prince William Sound was nearly be fatal for the whole expedition. In early October, he made contact with local Chugach people but pelts were not plentiful. Shenawah, the local chief offered to help them when he understood what Meares planned. He guided the Nootka up to the head of the inlet of Port Fidalgo, fifteen miles from Snug Corner Cove, recommending it as a more sheltered spot. By mid-November, though, the ship was iced in, food was getting scarce and the crew were all falling seriously ill. Only a few of them were prepared to take anti-scurvy remedies and many of the others drank Bengal rum to alleviate their misery. By May 1787 half the men were dead and the rest were close to death. With the warmer weather in May came rescue in the shape of George Dixon and his crew from the Queen Charlotte, which had arrived in Prince William Sound.


The King George’s Sound Company


Dixon had sailed from London accompanying Nathaniel Portlock in the King George, to trade on behalf of the King George’s Sound Company. Importantly, they held a licence from the South Sea Company permitting them to trade on the North West Coast, which was held to be within the bounds of the Company’s ancient charter. Meares did not hold such a licence, so Dixon and Portlock looked on him as an interloper, who had to be chased from the Coast.[21] Although they gave him just enough assistance to enable him and his crew to save their lives, they exacted high prices for all the resources he had need of, including the provision of two men from their own ships to enable Meares to work the Nootka. Portlock, the senior commander, also insisted that Meares sign a bond for £1,000, to be forfeited if he did not abandon his intentions to trade and leave the Coast. John Nicol, the cooper on the King George, recalled in his memoirs how the longboat of the Queen Charlotte had discovered “the Nootka, Captain Mairs, in a most distressing situation from the scurvy. There were only the captain and two men free from disease. Two and twenty Lascars had died through the course of the winter....We gave him every assistance in our power in spruce [beer] and molasses, and two of our crew to assist in working the vessel....Captain Portlock could have made a fair prize of him, as he had no charter and was trading in our limits, but he was satisfied with his bond not to trade on our coast; but the bond was forfeit as soon as we sailed, and he was in China before us.”[22]


Return to Macao


Meares took the Nootka out of Prince William Sound on 21 June 1787. Including himself and the two seamen that had joined from Portlock's ship, there were twenty-four men on board the Nootka, though many were far from fully recovered so sailing the ship was difficult. Twenty-three men had died in Port Fidalgo. Meares had been told by Portlock not to engage in any more trading as he did not possess any licence but his first action on clearing the sound was to head east with a view to trading. He made land near Cape Edgecumbe and obtained some sea otter pelts from an inlet just to the south on Baranof Island. He then decided to make for Hawaii and reached the islands in early August. He sailed through the island group to reach Waimea on Atooi (a-Taua’i, or Kaua’i), where he took on board Tyana (Taiana, or Kaiana), brother of the ruler of that island, where Meares wished to establish a base.[23] The Nootka arrived at Macao on 20 October 1787.[24]


Meares’ Second Expedition


Meares’ expedition to the North West Coast had not been a successful one. Tipping and the Sea Otter had been lost while Meares himself had lost half his crew and returned with only a small number of pelts. However, Meares possessed high powers of persuasion and soon his backers were investing in another Meares expedition. At Macao, Meares made a new contract with Cox and his partner, Daniel Beale. John Reid had returned to Europe on the HC Ship Ganges in February 1787 following the bankruptcy of the Imperial East India Company, depriving the partnership of the protection of his status as Imperial consul.[25] Daniel Beale was the purser of, successively, the HC ships Walpole and General Coote on voyages between London and Canton in 1783-1786. In 1783 he joined Cox and Reid in their ventures. He had gone back to London on the General Coote in 1786 but returned to Canton in October 1787 on the French East India Company ship Princesse Elizabeth, having secured the consulship of Prussia from the Prussian ambassador in London, thereby again providing the partnership with the continuing protection of foreign diplomatic status.[26] The East India Company directors in London were informed by letter from their supercargoes at Canton that on 5 November 1787, the President of their Select Committee, Henry Browne, had “received a visit from Mr. Daniel Beale, who acquainted him, that he was appointed his Prussian Majesty’s Consul at this place”.[27] As the "Merchant Proprietors", Cox and Beale issued Meares with instructions dated 24 December 1787. Two ships were purchased in January 1788 and work began immediately to prepare them. Meares was to command the snow Felice Adventurer, while William Douglas, a merchant ship captain, was appointed to command the second ship, the snow Iphigenia Nubiana. The Felice carried 50 men and the Iphigenia carried 40. Among those on board to be taken home were Tyana (Taiana, or Kaiana), whom Meares had brought from the Hawaiian island of Atooi (Kaua’i), and Comekela, the brother of the Nootka chief, Maquinna, who had been brought to Macao by James Hanna to learn English and act as interpreter for the fur traders. Meares had made an agreement, or treaty as he termed it, with Tyana, whom he regarded as a prince of the Sandwich Islands, “for the purpose of disposing of the island of Oneehow [Ni’ihau], and for granting admission to all British ships to those islands”.[28] On 22 January, the Nootka and Iphigenia Nubiana sailed for the North West Coast.


Cox was compelled by the East India Company to leave Canton in April 1788 and returned to England.[29] He was probably the author of an article, "New Fur Trade" published in The World, 6 and 13 October 1788, and The European Magazine for November 1788. The article referred to Meares' departure for the North West coast in January 1788 in the following terms:


The exclusive privilege granted to a Society in England, having prevented all expeditions to the N.W. coast from any of the British settlements in the East, two coppered vessels, the Nostra Signora de Felix Aventura e Discoverto, of 200 tons, and the Nostra Signora de Bom Successo, of 100 tons, were fitted out by an enterprising Portuguese Merchant of Macao. These vessels sailed from the Typa in the month of January 1788, commanded by English officers who had served in the former expeditions to that coast.


Winee and the Imperial Eagle


Also being taken home was Winee, a Hawaiian girl who had travelled to Macao on the ship Imperial Eagle as the companion of Frances Barkley, the wife of the ship’s captain, Charles William Barkley. This vessel, sailing under the Imperial flag from the Austrian Netherlands port of Ostend, was also owned by the Cox, Reid and Beale consortium.[30] Beale had organized the voyage of the Imperial Eagle (formerly the Loudoun) when he returned to London from Canton in August 1786.[31] Beale’s brother or cousin, John Beale, sailed in her as purser. The voyage of the Imperial Eagle was described in the article by Cox in the London press in 1788 as having been “fitted out by a Society of Gentlemen at Ostend”. Having cleared Ostend in November 1786, the Imperial Eagle touched at Hawaii in May 1787 where Winee came on board, and reached Nootka in June, from whence she traded southward for two months along the American coast. Barkley added significantly to knowledge of the geography of the area during this voyage, notably identifying the Strait of Juan de Fuca. He returned to Macao with his takings of furs on 5 November.[32] There he also off-loaded Winee, who had become unwell and needed to be returned to her home in Hawaii. The expedition was apparently profitable, as an article in The Public Advertiser of 24 June 1788 reported that the Lowdon (i.e., Loudon) had been, “purchased in the Thames by a society of Gentlemen…to try their fortunes in the Sea Otter Trade, which has turned out beyond their utmost expectation. The vessel was freighted at, and sailed from Ostend in the middle of December, 1786….After taking in his cargo, &c. &c. Captain Berkeley [Barkley] proceeded to Macao, where he disposed of his furs at an amazing price”. It was originally intended that the Imperial Eagle would make three voyages to the North West Coast, Japan and Kamchatka, but when she reached Canton after her first season she no longer had the protection of Reid’s Imperial consulship there, and Daniel Beale on behalf of the owners sold her under threat of retaliation from the East India Company for breaching its monopoly.[33]


Macao to Nootka Sound


Meares still did not possess any official licence from either the East India Company or the South Sea Company to trade for sea otter pelts in the North Pacific. It was pretended that the ships were Portuguese, owned by the Macao merchant João Carvalho and therefore not subject to the British companies. The names of the ships had been chosen to disguise the fact that they were really British. The ships sailed on 22 January 1788 and headed southeast for the Philippines. They passed to the southwest of Luzon and reached Zamboanga on Mindanao on 8 February. En route, scurvy took hold on the Iphigenia, which also sprang its foremast. The Hawaiian girl, Winee died just before Zamboanga and a mutiny was suppressed before it had a chance to take hold. Meares quickly re-stocked and sailed from Zamboanga on 12 February, leaving Douglas and the Iphigenia to make repairs to the Iphigenia’s mast. A rendezvous was arranged in Nootka Sound. Tyana transferred to the Iphigenia, which was to call at Kaua’i, while Comekela remained on the Felice, which made directly for Nootka. Meares headed through the strait south of Mindanao and out into the Pacific. He reached Nootka Sound in early May, having only seen on the way a bare, solitary rock pillar over three hundred feet high in the midst of the sea to the south of Japan, which he said was “one of the most wonderful objects, taken in all its circumstances, which I ever beheld” and which he called Lot's Wife: it is now called Sōfu-iwa (孀婦岩 , “The Widow’s Crag”), a free translation from the English into Japanese. “In regarding this stupendous rock,” Meares said, “which stood alone in an immense ocean, we could not but consider it as an object which had been able to resist one of those great convulsions of nature that change the very form of those parts of the globe which they are permitted to desolate”.[34] Rising immovable from the restless waters, Lot’s Wife was a significant discovery for navigation: Meares fixed 29°50' North and 157°4' East (the actual latitude and longitude is 29°50'N and 140°22'E).



On the North West Coast, May-September 1788


Meares anchored the Felice Adventurer off the village of Yuquot in Friendly Cove at Nootka Sound on 13 May. Comekela was welcomed home although his brother Maquinna, the local chief, was not at Nootka on his arrival. After a few days, Maquinna appeared and granted Meares a small plot of land in Friendly Cove so that he could establish a base ashore. Meares had brought men with him to build a small coasting vessel and they soon set about this task. He, meanwhile decided to go trading to the south and left Nootka on 11 June. He was interested in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, having obtained while at Macao the charts and papers of Charles Barkley. The Felice Adventurer put into Clayoquot Sound on the 20th, which Meares called Port Cox after John Henry Cox. After a week of trading, he departed on 28 June and crossed the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. He had a copy of a chart drawn by Barkley the previous year and, like Barkley, he made no effort to enter the strait. He sailed on passing Cape Alava, which he called Cape Flattery. On 5 July, he sighted a high mountain inland and called it Mount Olympus. The Felice Adventurer continued down the coast, Meares not acquiring many sea otter pelts but charting several new features. He next came to an inlet that he named Shoalwater Bay, which the American, Robert Gray, would visit later a few weeks later and be re-named Gray's Harbor after him by Joseph Whidbey of the George Vancouver expedition in 1792.[35] On 6 July, Meares rounded a headland expecting to find the mouth of the river discovered by the Spaniard Hezeta in 1775. Conditions did not allow Meares to tell if the bay was, in fact, a river so he called it Deception Bay and the headland was called Cape Disappointment. The bay was the mouth of the Columbia River, a name given by Robert Gray after his ship, the Columbia Rediviva, in which he entered the river in May 1792.[36]


Tillamook Bay was seen by Meares and called Quicksand Bay but he was ready to return to Nootka and soon turned north. The headland just south of Tillamook Bay was called Cape Lookout but has since been re-named Cape Meares to commemorate his visit. He proceeded north sailing further from the coast and next made land in Barkley Sound on 11 July. The Felice Adventurer anchored behind Effingham Island. Robert Duffin was sent back in the longboat with twelve men on 13 July to examine the northern shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. They arrived back a week later with most men wounded by arrows and spears or at least badly bruised though none had been killed. They had traded with some people at Nitinaht but, on the 16th, at Clo-oose Bay there had been a short skirmish: Duffin called it Hostility Bay. No injuries were sustained here but, the next day, when they examined a large inlet a more serious attack from the Nitinahts (Ditidaht) occurred. An arrow pierced Duffin's skull but his thick hat saved him. The longboat escaped from Port Hawkesbury, as Duffin called the inlet (now Port San Juan) and returned to Barkley Sound. Meares exaggerated the distance Duffin rowed into the Strait and also said that an act of possession for Britain was made there, although he was sailing under Portuguese colours.[37]


The Felice Adventurer left Barkley Sound on 21 July and anchored back in Nootka five days later. Meares was pleased with progress on the schooner that was being built but his pleasure was short-lived when a second mutiny broke out on 28 July led by the boatswain. Meares quickly restored the status quo and offered the mutineers the option of punishment or living with the Nootkans. They chose the latter but the Nootkans did not want them, leaving the mutineers in a wretched state. During September, Maquinna left his summer home of Yuquot at Friendly Cove to go to his winter quarters at farther up the sound at Tahsis and all the mutineers, except the boatswain, were reprieved.


William Douglas and the Iphigenia Nubiana were expected but when sails were seen offshore on 6 August, they belonged to Charles Duncan's Princess Royal, a King George’s Sound Company vessel from London. Meares decided to visit Port Cox/Clayoquot Sound so left Nootka on the 8th and met Duncan at sea. Both ships entered Clayoquot before going to Nootka. On the 27 August, Douglas and the Iphigenia Nubiana entered Nootka Sound and was reunited with the Felice Adventurer.


Preparations were being made for the launch of the schooner when another ship entered Nootka on 17 September. It was the Lady Washington from Boston, captained by Robert Gray. The schooner was launched on 20 September, to Meares’ great satisfaction as it was watched by the Americans and the Nootkans who returned from Tahsis specially for it. The North West America, as she was called, was the first ship built on the North West Coast of America. Robert Funter was given the command and men and stores were transferred from the other two ships.[38]


 Meares had been in or near Nootka since May,  and he now decided to leave for Macao, taking the accumulated pelts with him, and he sailed from Nootka on 24 September. Before he departed, he promised Maquinna that he would return the next year to expand his establishment. Douglas was instructed to take his ship and the schooner to Hawaii for the winter and then return to the North West Coast for more trading in 1789. October was spent preparing the North West America for sailing and she and the Iphigenia Nubiana finally left Nootka on 27 October. Meares made the Hawaiian Islands on 17 October, calling briefly at Hawaii, Kauai and Niihau before heading for Macao, which he reached on 5 December 1788.[39]


The Associated Merchants of London and India


   Meanwhile, Portlock and Dixon, during their expedition in the King George and the Queen Charlotte, had not, as recommended in their instructions, made contact with Japan nor fulfilled the aim of the owners of the King George’s Sound Company to establish two small trading factories on the North West Coast. It was subsequently explained by the principal owner, Richard Cadman Etches, that being a private (non-government) venture, when Portlock and Dixon arrived on the coast, “their Powers of Government were not competent to the task—nor cou’d they form any Establishment with a certainty of it ever being prosperous, because they had not Powers to form any real government for the regulating the People, consequently all wou’d soon have been Anarchy and Confusion”.[40] Subsequently, the King George's Sound Company had sent the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal, under the command respectively of Cook veteran James Colnett and Charles Duncan (like Meares, Royal Navy officers). With John Etches (Richard's brother) in the Prince of Wales as supercargo, they left London on 16 October 1787.  They spent the summers of 1787 and 1788 on the North West coast, and by 13 November 1788 were at Macao.  There, on 23 January 1789, John Etches entered into a partnership with Meares and his associates, Beale and (in absentia) Cox, forming the "Associated Merchants of London and India Trading to the North West Coast of America". Presumably this joining of forces had been discussed in London when Beale had gone there in 1786; he had returned to Canton on 10 October 1787 on a French East Indiaman, the Princesse Elizabeth.[41] Following the formation of the consortium, John Etches returned to England in the Prince of Wales, leaving Meares as the consortium’s agent at Macao to manage affairs. The new consortium purchased a 120 ton snow, named her the Argonaut, and placed her under the command of Colnett. The Argonaut left Macao on 25 April 1789 with instructions from Meares to set up a permanent factory at Nootka Sound,"a solid establishment and not one that is to be abandoned at pleasure": it was to be called Fort Pitt.[42] Upon her arrival at Nootka, she was seized and Colnett arrested in the name of the King of Spain and the Indies by Estéban José Martínez, who had been sent in command of the Princesa (26 guns) and the San Carlos (16 guns)  from Mexico to enforce Spain's territorial claims to the area.


Estéban José Martínez at Nootka


The Spanish had become alarmed at the presence of foreign fur trading ships in northern waters and the Viceroy of Mexico had issued instructions that an expedition should sail north from the port of San Blas to establish a base in Nootka and assert Spanish sovereignty over the region. Just as in 1783 when they had established a presence on the Bashi Islands to prevent their falling under British control, so now the purpose was to forestall a feared Russian occupation by an expected expedition under the command of Grigory Ivanovich Mulovsky.[43] There was also concern about potential English or American settlement and fur trading activity. On 6 May 1789, the first of the Spanish ships sent north, the Princesa under Martinez, arrived at Nootka. When the Iphigenia Nubiana arrived in Nootka Sound from wintering in Hawaii on 24 April 1789, Douglas found that the American ship, the Lady Washington, had been joined by her companion vessel, the Columbia Rediviva under John Kendrick. Funter brought the North West America into Nootka a few days later but was immediately sent by Douglas to trade north of the Queen Charlotte Islands. For the first few days, relations between the Spanish and the British, the Americans, and the Nootkans were very cordial. But on 13 May, a second Spanish ship, the San Carlos, commanded by Gonzalo Lopez de Haro, arrived, which seemed to give Martinez more confidence. The next day, 14 May 1789, Martinez arrested William Douglas and the Iphigenia. Subsequently, another of the Meares consortium’s ships, the Princess Royal, was also seized. The Americans were left alone as observers. During May and June, the Spanish commander set about consolidating his hold on the site and performed an act of possession on 24 June. By this time the Princess Royal and Iphigenia had been released on a promise that they would leave the coast, but the North West America was retained. The Iphigenia sailed for Macao, where she arrived on 5 October 1789.


On 2 July Colnett arrived in the Argonaut all prepared to found Fort Pitt, only to be informed by Martinez that Nootka Sound belonged to Spain by virtue of prior discovery by Juan Perez in 1774. Colnett countered by telling him that .Nootka was English by virtue of James Cook's visit in 1778 and the occupation of Friendly Cove by Meares in 1788, and that he had come to set up a trading post and to be commander of the port. Although the initial exchanges between the two men were respectful, their relationship quickly deteriorated and Martinez arrested Colnett and forcibly took control of the Argonaut. When the Princess Royal rashly returned to Nootka from trading, she too, and her crew and captain, Thomas Hudson, were immediately detained. The Englishmen and ships, sailed by Spanish officers, were promptly dispatched to San BIas, where they were held until July 1790. The North West America was kept at Nootka, where she was used for coastal exploration.


Meares goes to London


   Robert Funter and the other crew members of the North West America were transported to Canton by the American Robert Gray in the Columbia (he and Kendrick having exchanged ships). Arriving at Canton on 17 November 1789, they informed John Meares of what had transpired and gave him letters from James Colnett, which they had managed to smuggle out of Friendly Cove. He immediately returned to London on the Ganges East Indiaman, leaving Canton on 15 December 1789 and arriving at Portsmouth on 23 April 1790.[44] Shortly thereafter an article appeared in the newspapers:


A correspondent says, the Spaniards have seized three British vessels, in the fur trade, at King George’s, or Nootka Sound, on the Western Coast of North America, which acted under a sanction of a licence from the East-India and South Sea Companies, and their crews are sent to Mexico in irons. A memorial of the transaction has been transmitted and presented to Government by a Mr. Mears, who came home a passenger for that purpose in the Middlesex [sic] East Indiaman. The damage is estimated at 500,000l. Lieutenant James Colnett, who lately commanded the Prince of Wales sloop, is one of the unfortunates.[45]


   Upon receiving Meares’ account of the Spanish seizure of the Argonaut and her consorts, the Princess Royal and the North West America, Richard Etches wrote to Sir Joseph Banks on 6 May 1790, saying:


I am favour'd by my brother with an Account of the arrival of Captain Meares from Canton, who brings official Accounts of the seizure of all our Ships, Craft and the whole of the Establishment on the NW Coast by a Spanish Admiral, what pretensions they can have to such a Act, I am as yet a stranger—except it is that monstrous, and absur'd, claim which they set up in the last Century "An exclusive right to the Navigation, Territories and Commerce of that quarter of the Globe" —When the Spanish Admiral arriv'd—we had founded the principles of a permanent, and regular System of Commerce, on a wide and extensive Scale, there was every prospect of our accomplishing of the long wish'd for object, the Opening an intercourse with the Japanese Islands for the Sale of our Furs, and American produce—the certainty of Establishing a very Valuable fishery was evident—and equally so of it proving a Store of Commercial Wealth to the English Nation—I cannot doubt but that England will claim her just rights, and the limits and boundaries of the two nations will be properly adjusted—and that the Valuable discoveries of Adml. Drake &ca will not be pass'd over.[46]


The North West Coast to be settled from New South Wales


   Prior to Meares’ arrival in London at the end of April 1790, the British Government had received news in February of the Spanish seizure of Colnett's ships from their embassy in Madrid. Home Office Under-Secretary Evan Nepean drafted a letter to the Admiralty in early February 1790, outlining the Government's response to the events at Nootka Sound, saying "His Majesty has judged it highly expedient that measures should instantly be taken for affording protection to such of His.... Subjects as may have already proceeded to that part of the American Continent".[47] In plans drawn up under Nepean's direction, instructions were drawn up for Governor Arthur Phillip in New South Wales to supply a detachment of marines and convict workers—thirty persons altogether, with stores—to an expedition from Port Jackson whose object would be to form a settlement on the North West Coast, which would "lay the foundation of an establishment for the assistance of His Majesty's subjects in the prosecution of the Fur trade from the North West Coast of America".[48] The proposed expedition was to consist of three ships, two of which, the Gorgon (44 guns) and Discovery (10 guns), were to go first to Port Jackson. The Gorgon was already preparing to go there with the troops of the newly raised New South Wales Corps, and the Discovery was readying for a voyage of exploration to the South Atlantic under Henry Roberts and George Vancouver. If, upon arrival of the ships at Port Jackson, the 21-gun frigate stationed there, the Sirius, was available, the 10-gun Discovery would take her place and Sirius would accompany Gorgon to the North West Coast: it was unknown at this time in London that the Sirius had been wrecked on Norfolk Island in March 1789. From Port Jackson, the two ships were to proceed to Hawaii, where they would rendezvous with a frigate sent from India, from whence all three would proceed under the command of the frigate captain to the American coast. There, a settlement was to be made at Queen Charlotte Sound or Fitzhugh Sound, and Discovery was to be used for making a survey of the coast.[49] The Gazetteer of 8 May 1790 carried an article which referred to a new Act of Parliament:


By the bill passed into law this Session, the Settlement of Botany Bay may be made useful in case of a rupture. The Governor is empowered to remit the remaining term of the sentence of such persons as shall behave well. Under this Act he may therefore embark a number of them on board King's ships, and make them act as soldiers on any adventure. We can foresee an occasion on which they might be most advantageously employed for their mother country. At the same time this gives these unhappy men a good incentive to behave well.[50]



The Spanish Armament of 1790


The General Evening Post of 22 April 1790 reported that, “The ship called the Discovery, which is going out, by order of Government, on discoveries in the South Seas, &c. Is under sailing orders, and will proceed on her voyage in the course of the next week.” The same edition of the newspaper announced the arrival from China of “Capt. John Mears” on the Ganges.  Meares claimed that Colnett had been directed by him ‘to erect a substantial house on the spot purchased by [him, Meares] in the preceding year’, and that Colnett’s ships had carried a party of Chinese artisans and labourers, ‘who intended to become settlers in the country, under the protection of the associated company’. He accused Martinez of taking possession ‘of the lands which [he] had purchased and built a temporary habitation upon, pulling down the British Flag and hoisting the standard of Spain thereon’.[51] Accepting Meares's claim, the British Government now viewed the Spanish action at Nootka as an eviction from an already established British settlement. Although dubious about Meares's more extravagant claims, Prime Minister Pitt was facing an election and was under pressure from the commercial community to assert vigorously the doctrine of freedom of the seas and England's right to trade anywhere not specifically settled by a foreign power.[52] The proposed expedition of the Gorgon and Discovery was cancelled and the Pitt Government decided to send an ultimatum to Madrid, backed by the mobilization of the entire fleet, subsequently referred to as the Spanish Armament. Events moved toward an international crisis, threatening an outbreak of a general European war. Plans were also made for naval expeditions against Spain’s possessions in the Americas and the Philippines, in which Port Jackson in New South Wales was assigned the role of a base for “refreshment, communication and retreat”.[53]


   Pitt, seeing the advantages to be gained from Meares' testimony, ordered him to complete a "Memorial" as soon as possible and apparently assigned William Coombe, a professional writer, to assist in the project.[54] In addition to this, Meares collaborated with Coombe in preparing the narrative of his voyages. It is noteworthy that George Chalmers, Secretary to the Committee of the Privy Council for Trade, was also involved in its publication.[55] Chalmers had done similar editorial work on other occasions, such as in 1786 with An Historical Narrative of the Discovery of New Holland and New South Wales.[56] Meares' connections at this time to individuals at the highest levels of British society and government are evident in the List of Subscribers to his book, Voyages Made in the Years 1788 and 1789, from China to the North West Coast of America, which was published at the Government’s expense. Nearly 350 names are listed; a veritable who's who in British administration, commerce, banking, finance and the military, in England, Ireland and China. At the head of the constellation of names was "His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales" followed by such active and prominent persons as the Duke of Leeds (Principal Secretary of State), the Earl of Effingham, Sir Joseph Banks ("President of the Royal Society"), Evan Nepean ("Under Secretary of State"), J. Henry Cox and Daniel Beale (residents of "China"), Alexander Dalrymple (the hydrographer and proponent of a North West Passage), the Etches brothers (John, William, and Richard Cadman) and many others, including his brother, Lewis W Meares, Esq. A number of booksellers on the list pre-ordered multiple copies of Voyages for their shops. The illustrious subscribers' list guaranteed wide distribution of Meares' narrative when it came out at the end of the year.[57]


Even before Meares' Memorial was presented to Parliament on 13 May, Pitt’s Cabinet used Meares' information to request the King to authorize a mobilization of the fleet. The minutes of that Cabinet meeting on 30 April 1790 record that:


            Upon consideration of the information which has been received from Mr. Meares of the detention and capture of several British vessels at Nootka Sound, on the coast of America, and of the circumstances of that transaction [and information from Madrid].…Your Majesty's servants have agreed humbly to submit to Your Majesty their opinion that Your Majesty's minister at the Court of Madrid should be instructed to present a memorial demanding an immediate and adequate satisfaction for the outrages committed by Monsieur de Martinez; and that it would be proper, in order to support that demand and to be prepared for such events as may arise, that Your Majesty should give orders for fitting out a squadron of ships of the line.[58]


Spain, deprived of the support of her ally, France, by the upheavals of the French Revolution, and informed by the Viceroy of Mexico, the Count of Revillagigedo, of crucial weaknesses in the economy and naval defences in the Americas after the strains of the American Revolutionary War, was finally forced to back down. Revillagigedo also advised Madrid that:


There are not enough forces in our South Sea and Department of San Blas to counteract those which the English have at their Botany Bay, and I think therefore we should withdraw those we have in the settlement we claim at Nootka so that, instead of waiting for them to be soon made prisoner, they can fall back to redouble the defences of our older and settled possessions, avoiding the great expense of subsisting at such a remote distance.[59]


On 18 October 1790, a convention settling the issues of Pacific navigation and settlement was signed between Great Britain and Spain. In accordance with the terms of the Convention, George Vancouver was sent in command of the Discovery and Chatham, later supported by the chartered store ship Daedalus, to accept the restoration of the buildings and land at Nootka of which Meares claimed to have been dispossessed, and with the intention of founding a British settlement there, “It being his Majesty’s intention,” as Nepean said, “that an Establishment should be formed at one of those ports or places, of which His Subjects have been dispossessed or in such other situation as shall appear to be more advantageous”.[60]


Meares’ plans for trade with Japan and China


Reporting on the Spanish seizure of the ships at Nootka, an article in The Whitehall Evening Post of 8 May 1790 described the objectives of Meares’ venture:


A new source of commerce to the kingdom of Japan had been meditated in consequence of Mr. Mears's residence in China, and the traffic of his ships. For this purpose he was preparing to proceed to Nagasaqui, the principal port of Japan, with a cargo suited for the trade to that country; which, had it been suffered to be carried into effect, would have been a most important object, and have afforded a considerable consumption for our own manufactures. The Japanese Empire is an immense tract of country; and, before Mr. Mears left China, certain accounts had been received there of the importation of English Woollens into Japan by the Chinese, as well as of the Sea Otters skins that had been brought to Canton by the English vessels employed in the trade to Nootka. It was therefore intended to forestall the Chinese in this traffic, and to carry it on in English bottoms, which has been prevented by this seizure of the Spaniards.


   In his testimony to the Privy Council Committee for Trade on 27 May 1790, Meares had outlined his understanding of the importance of the fur trade in the commerce between America, China and Japan. In answer to a question on what prospect he believed he had of opening a trade in furs and other articles of commerce with Japan, he had replied:


The prospect arises from the Information we received in China of the value of these Furs in Japan; and we received the like Information from the Governor of [the Dutch factory at] Chinsura [in Bengal], who was chief of the Dutch Factory in Japan for Ten years.  We meant to have gone in our own ships with them to Japan.


Meares’ Voyages contained a section discussing the advantages to be gained from trade with the North West Coast, in which he indicated the advantages to be looked for from settlements there. He noted that the region between 45º and 61º North possessed a population of “upwards of an hundred thousand people,” who would provide a market for British exports of coarse woollens, iron, cutlery, manufactured copper and tin. “It is, by no means, necessary to observe”, he added, “that in proportion as the manners of these people improve, and their civilization advances, all these commercial articles would find an encreasing demand”.[61] He also pointed to the advantageous location of the Hawaiian Islands, and suggested that “The  well directed industry, and assured fidelity of half a million of people, would surely add to the grandeur and prosperity of the British Empire”.[62]


The nature of the ‘commercial advantages’ envisaged to be derived from trade to the North West Coast were described in an article in The Times of 29 November 1790:


We may hope to see a very extended trade pursued to this part of the world, as Captain Meares, we understand, gave very specific instructions to the commanders of some of his vessels to open a communication from thence with the Japanese Empire, which was partly effected, and would have been carried into execution, had not the ships been captured by the Spaniards, and Mr. Meares himself obliged to return to Europe. But as such a violence to British vessels is not likely again to happen, we may still hope to see this new branch of Commerce again revived, and those who attempted it amply compensated for their past difficulties and labour.


The owner of the Daedalus, Alexander Davison, anticipated the growth of a thriving trade following the re-establishment of a British presence at Nootka: he wrote to the East India Company’s supercargo at Canton that he had instructed the ship’s master, Thomas New, when he reached Nootka “to purchase as many Skins as he possibly can” and after arriving at Port Jackson to consign them by another ship or take them himself in the Daedalus to Canton for sale by the supercargo. “I expect this business may become an object of much consideration and benefit, and as it may be successful or otherwise, the more or less shall I be disposed to extend it”, wrote Davison. He mentioned that he had also written to Governor Phillip upon the subject.[63] Davison had a continuing interest in New South Wales: in 1788 he been contracted to send supplies to the colony by the Guardian, and in subsequent years also undertook contracts for this purpose.[64]


In April 1793, Meares and Etches petitioned Home Secretary Henry Dundas, to be allowed under the East India Company’s revised charter to send three ships annually to trade between the North West Coast and China, in the expectation that "they now have it in contemplation to Retake Possession of their said Lands and Territories pursuant to the first Article of the Convention, and thereby, to renew this Commerce, which at the time of its interruption offered to your Petitioners and the Public the most advantageous Prospect".[65]


Vancouver takes possession of New Georgia


Vancouver sailed from Falmouth on 1 April 1791 with the expectation of receiving from the Spanish at Nootka Sound title to a large tract of the coast and of forming a settlement to sustain the fur traders. In anticipation of this, prior to arriving at Nootka, on 4 June 1792 (the King’s Birthday) he took formal possession at Admiralty Inlet of all the coast and hinterland contiguous to the Strait of Juan de Fuca under the name of New Georgia.[66] Vancouver seems to have performed this act of possession in expectation that the written instructions subsequently brought from London by the Daedalus would authorize him to do so, as this had been the tenor of discussions public and private prior to his departure. Those instructions, presumably, would also set out in detail what measures he was to take in making Nootka into a permanent British settlement, who was to be its governor, and so on. He apparently thought he would be ordered to send the Daedalus to Port Jackson after she had unloaded her stores and supplies for the Nootka settlement, where she would take on board a company of time-expired or pardoned convicts to form the initial population of the new settlement, in a manner similar to that set out in the plans drafted in March 1790 for a settlement and survey of the North West Coast.[67]


Vancouver and Bodega


Vancouver arrived at Nootka, which he described as "the general rendezvouse of the Vessels of all nations employed in their mercantile pursuits on that Coast", with the expectation of receiving from the Spanish commander there title to "the whole and in toto the Lands and territories" appertaining to Nootka and Port Cox as he expressed it to Nepean and of making it into a British colony to sustain the fur traders. This amounted to what has been described as "a substantial claim to British sovereignty on the Northwest Coast, from San Francisco northward at least as far as Nootka".[68] The American fur trader, Joseph Ingraham, was present at the time, and recorded in his journal: "We understood it [the Daedalus] was next bound to Botany Bay for convicts to settle the place".[69] Ingraham presumably gained this understanding from conversation with Vancouver’s officers and crew, if not from Vancouver himself. The master of the Discovery, Joseph Whidbey, indicated his understanding that a settlement was to be made on the North West Coast in a letter he wrote from Monterey on 2 January 1793: “I am informed Botany Bay as ‘as not answered its expectations—the Convicts who have served their time of punishment are instead of returning to England to become a fresh prey on the Public, to be sent to this Country and settled at the Head of Fuca Straights”.[70]


Vancouver’s expectations in this respect came to nought when the Spanish commander at Nootka when he arrived there in August 1792, Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, was able to argue persuasively that the land in question amounted to "little more than a hundred yards in extent any way".[71] Bodega understood Vancouver’s intention during his negotiations with him. "England", he wrote to Viceroy Revillagigedo, " not only aspires to special dominion and right to trade but also to sovereignty which Vancouver claims to be founded on Article I of the Convention".[72] In response to Vancouver, Bodega was able to point to the first article of the Anglo-Spanish convention of 28 October 1790, which simply said that: “the Buildings and Tracts of Land, situated on the North West Coast of the continent of North America or on Islands adjacent to that Continent, of which the Subjects of his Britannick Majesty were dispossessed….shall be restored to the said British Subjects”. The land in question, he had ascertained from Maquinna and Ingraham, was no more than that upon which Meares had erected his store house in 1788. This strict interpretation of the terms of the convention was in accordance with the instructions he had previously been given by Revillagigedo, which advised that although Spain must surrender the site of Meares’ camp on the north side of Friendly Cove, there was no obligation to give up the Spanish settlement and coast to the south of it.[73] The Daedalus was re-loaded and sent to Port Jackson, and Vancouver and Bodega referred back to their respective governments for clarification of the action to be taken regarding restoration of the site to the British. Vancouver set out his understanding of his Government’s intentions regarding Nootka in the "Narrative of My Proceedings in His Majesty's Sloop Discovery" he wrote out there on 26 September 1792:


            considering the principal object His Majesty had in view in directing the undertaking of this Expedition was for facilitating and requiring commercial advantages, and at one view seeing the importance of this station, situated in the very centre of the commerce of N.W. America….and the nature and quantity of articles of traffic and other stores sent out in the Daedalus, from the Secretary of State’s Office, together with such conversation as I had formerly been present at in that office, induced me to believe an establishment was in contemplation shortly to take place some where on this coast, though I had not received a single line from that office on that or any other subject.[74]


No more colonies: Nootka restored to the Nootkans


The instructions sent to Vancouver on the Daedalus, which reached Nootka in August 1792, delphicly referred, in the words of the convention, to the restitution of the “Buildings and Tracts of Land…of which the Subjects of his Britannick Majesty were dispossessed”. The confusion between Vancouver’s understanding of the purpose of his negotiations with Bodega and the lack of a clear expression of this intent in the instructions he was subsequently sent went back to a change of policy between December 1790, when Nepean prepared the above-quoted first draft of Vancouver’s instructions, and the following February, when Home Secretary Grenville drew up a revised version.[75] By now Grenville was most unwilling to disturb the good relations with Spain that had been reached with the convention of 28 October 1790 settling the dispute over Nootka. Britain and Spain were both beginning to be alarmed at the development of the revolution in France. Consequently, in the instructions Grenville drew up for Vancouver on 11 February 1791, maintenance of good relations with the Spanish in the areas he was to visit was given priority, and no mention was made of a British settlement to be made on the coast or of assistance to fur traders.[76] By August 1793 Grenville was going so far as to claim that the Convention of 1790 “was certainly never intended to set up any claims on the part of the King to the exclusive possession of the port of Nootka….Nor was it at all in the contemplation of His Majesty to establish a settlement at Nootka”.[77]


That some confusion on the policy remained at the highest level of the Government is indicated by the instructions given to Richard Hergest, the naval agent on Daedalus, by the Home and Colonial Secretary, Henry Dundas, to “put himself under [Vancouver’s] direction for the execution of this Service [the restitution of the seized property], in order that Capt. Vancouver may be impeded as little as possible in the progress of his intended Survey”: in effect, he was to be the lieutenant-governor of the settlement.[78] Hergest never reached Nootka: he was killed at Oahu on 11 May 1792 by natives while Daedalus was taking on water without their permission.[79]


In March 1795, in accordance with a re-negotiated convention with Britain, Spain abandoned her settlement at Nootka. The local Mowachaht demolished the Spanish buildings, and Friendly Cove returned to its previous appearance under their control. The Meares-Etches consortium sent no more ships to the North West Coast, and devoted their efforts to an attempt, ultimately unsuccessful, to obtain compensation for their losses from the Spanish government. The losses were estimated at £106,322 (actual) and £258,000 (potential), an indication of the magnitude of the venture; by comparison the cost of sending the First Fleet to found the colony at Botany Bay was estimated at £153,544.[80]


John Meares in history


   Like many a historical figure before and since, John Meares' time in the limelight was brief. While he served Pitt's purpose well in the campaign to curtail Spanish domination in the Pacific, and to gain freedom of the seas, he soon was forgotten as other crises in Europe engaged British attention during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era. Not much is known of Meares' life after the settlement of the Nootka controversy. So far as is known he received none of the Spanish indemnity money. The crew members of the Argonaut and the Princess Royal received compensation from the Viceroy of Mexico (of approximately $40,000) when released from captivity in San Blas.[81] It is not clear that Meares was compensated after J. Woodford for Great Britain signed a receipt on 2 February 1792 for "210,000 piastres" from Spain, as “compensation entire and complete” for the vessels captured by Martinez at Nootka in 1789.[82] In August of that year, Meares wrote complaining of “the subtility of Spain” in evading payment of the compensation due him.[83] In 1794, he applied for funds from the Admiralty from the final settlement of the Nootka question. He eventually returned to active duty in the Royal Navy. He was rewarded for his role by promotion to the rank of commander on 26 February 1795. On 12 May 1796, he wrote to Evan Nepean, now under-secretary to the Admiralty, saying that he had recovered from an injury sustained while on "impress duty" (rounding up seamen for naval service) in Ireland, and requested assignment to active duty.[84]


Meares's book, Voyages Made in the Years 1788 and 1789, from China to the Northwest Coast of America was published in November 1790. It was immediately attacked by George Dixon and others for the apparent exaggeration of its author's activities on the American coast his achievements as both a trader and explorer. His weak response to Dixon; the obviously exaggerated claims made in his famous Memorial following the Nootka Sound Incident; the view of Maquinna who referred to him as a "liar" when questioned by Bodega about Meares’ claim to have purchased land for a settlement; and the comments of American traders that he was "untruthful" and "by no means a gentleman" have damaged his reputation in the eyes of historians. Nevertheless, while he remains a controversial figure, his two voyages, exploring the coast from Alaska to Oregon, were a substantial achievement.


   According to his Voyages, he hoped to assist the Cornish stannaries in exporting tin to China.[85] Presumably in connection with this intention, he settled in Frome, Cornwall.  The marriage of “John Meares Esq. of Frome, to Miss Mary Anne Guilleba[n]d”, at the Abbey church, Bath, was noticed in The Whitehall Evening Post of 9 July 1796.[86] He apparently considered Bath his home after retiring from the Navy, and according to his "last will and testament" he owned property in Jamaica. If he ever again strolled the banks of the Liffy it would have been only as a visitor to his childhood home, Dublin. The death of John Meares, “a Commander in his Majesty’s Navy”, at Bath on 29 January 1809, was noticed in a newspaper advertisement by his solicitors inviting his creditors to a meeting at the George and Vulture Tavern, Cornhill, London, to take consideration of the state of his affairs.[87] The value of his estate when probated was estimated to be under £7,500. His will listed no spouse or child, but a brother and sister were among the beneficiaries. Several friends in Bath are mentioned as beneficiaries and executors.[88] Perhaps his wife, the former Mary Anne Guilliband, was already deceased. The will, which was proved on 19 April 1809, also listed parties that Meares said owed him money: among them were Daniel Beale & Co., for £21,600.


   Meares’ biographer, J. Richard Nokes, concluded that, whatever his sins of omission and commission, he deserved a prominent place in the history of the Pacific North West.[89] Nokes noted that Meares was among the earliest explorers on the North West Coast, he was the first to attempt to found a fur trading empire in the region. He made several important discoveries, though he missed the mouth of the Columbia River; he did use his own information and that provided by others, whom he properly credited, to chart routes across the Pacific and to delineate features along the coast from Alaska to Oregon. His ships carried the first Chinese to Hawaii and the North West Coast, and he signed on Hawaiian, Lascar and Filipino crew members. He established the first trading factory and built the first European style ship ever constructed on the North West Coast (whose native people, of course, had been constructing sea-going vessels for centuries). Though he failed in his ambition to open trade with Japan, his attempt to initiate a permanent fur trading enterprise launched a series of developments that ultimately led to Spain's voluntary withdrawal from the North West Coast of America and the abandonment of her long-held claim to exclusive navigation of the Pacific Ocean.



[1]. Presented at Shamrock in the Bush, Galong, NSW, 6 August 2010.

[2]. Also in The General Evening Post, 21September, and Journal Politique de Bruxelles, 14 Octobre 1786.

[3]. The Gentleman's Magazine for August 1790, death notices for 31 July, Vol.LX, Part II, no.2, p.767.

[4]. J.K. Laughton and H.V. Bowen, “John Meares”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, Vol.37, pp.666-7. There is no entry for John Meares in the Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press and the Royal Irish Academy, 2009.

[5]. The London Gazette, 22 January 1785.

[6]. A. R. Williamson, “John Henry Cox: the Founder of EWO”, in idem, Eastern Traders: Some Men and Ships of Jardine Matheson & Company and their Contemporaries in the East India Company's Maritime Service, Ipswich (England], Jardine Matheson, [1975], pp.1-35.

[7]. Catherine Gaziello, L'expédition de Lapérouse, 1785-1788, Paris, CTHS (Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques), 1984, pp.49-50.

[8]. Alexander von Humboldt, Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain, translated by John Black, Vol. 2, London, Longman, 1822, translator’s note, p.322.

[9]. James King, A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, London, 1784, Vol. III, p.437; quoted in The General Evening Post, 1September, The Morning Herald, Daily Advertiser and The Public Advertiser of 2 September 1785, and The St. James's Chronicle of 3 September 1785.

[10]. A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, London, 1784, Vol.III, p.440-1.

[11]. Louis Dermigny, La Chine et L’Occident, Paris, SEVPEN, 1964, tome III, p.1155 ; W. Kaye Lamb and Tomás Bartroli, "James Hanna and John Henry Cox: the First Maritime Fur Trader and His Sponsor", BC Studies, no.84, 1989-90, pp.3-36.

[12]. George Dixon, A Voyage Round the World, London, 1789, pp.315-16; and Dermigny, La Chine et L’Occident, p.1153.

[13]. The London Chronicle; St. James Chronicle; The Whitehall Evening Post; and The Morning Post for 22 September 1786.

[14]. Robin Inglis, Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Northwest Coast of America Lanham (Md), Scarecrow, 2008, p.79.

[15].. The Calcutta Gazette, 17 November 1785.

[16]. Meares' evidence to the Committee of the Privy Council for Trade, 8 February 1791, National Archives, Kew, Privy Council Register, PC 2/135, p.439 et seq.; quoted in V.T. Harlow, The Founding of the Second British Empire, Vol.II, London, Longmans, 1964, p.433.

[17]. Meares' evidence to the Committee of the Privy Council for Trade, 8 February 1791, National Archives, Kew, Privy Council Register, PC 2/135, p.439 et seq.

[18]. Alexander Walker, An Account of a Voyage to the North West Coast of America in 1785 & 1786, edited by Robin Fisher and J.M. Bumsted, Vancouver, Douglas & McIntyre; Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1982, p.139.

[19]. Howard T. Fry, "The Eastern Passage and Its Impact on Spanish Policy in the Philippines, 1758-1790", Philippine Studies, vol.33, First Quarter, 1985, pp.3-21, p.18.

[20]. John Meares, Voyages Made in the Years 1788 and 1789, from China to the North West Coast of America, London, Walter, 1790, pp.ii-xi.

[21]. F. W. Howay (ed.), The Dixon-Meares Controversy, Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1929, p.11.

[22]. John Nicol and John Howell, The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner, Edinburgh and London, Blackwood and Cadell, 1822, pp.88-89.

[23]. “Atooi in Cook's Voyages, Atowai in Vancouver's, and Atoui in one of his contemporaries, is also a compound of two words, a Taua’i, literally, and Taua’i” (William Ellis, Polynesian Researches, New York, Harper, 1833, p.46).

[24]. Meares, Voyages, ppxxvi-xl.

[25]. Williamson, “John Henry Cox”. Walker, Account, p.202.

[26]. The arrival of the General Coote in England was reported in The London Chronicle, 12 August 1786. Beale’s return to Canton on 10 October 1787 was reported in The Public Advertiser, 17 June 1788.

[27]. “Extract of a Letter from the Select Committee of Supercargoes at Canton to the Court of Directors, dated 16th Feb. 1787”, published in The Public Advertiser, 17 June 1788. Henry Browne was the President of the Select Committee (East India Company, Bengal, Supreme Council, An Authentic Copy of the Correspondence in India between the Country Powers and the Honourable the East India Company's Servants, London, Debrett, 1787, Vol.1, p.53.).

[28]. John Etches, An Authentic Statement of all the Facts Relative to Nootka Sound, London, Debrett, 1790, p.13; the Statement was initially published in The Gazetteer, 13 and 14 May 1790, and in the May 1790 issue of The Political Magazine.

[29]. Williamson, “John Henry Cox”, p.16. In 1791, Cox returned to the North West coast in the Mercury (or Gustavus III); see George Mortimer, Observations and Remarks made during a Voyage.... in the Brig Mercury, London, 1791 (reprl New York, Israel, 1975); Rolf E. DuRietz, “A secret Anglo-Swedish naval expedition to the Pacific in 1789”, Banksia (Uppsala), no.5, 2002.

[30]. W. Kaye Lamb, “Barkley Papers”, The British Columbia Historical Quarterly, no.6, 1942, pp.49-50.

[31]. Dermigny, La Chine et L’Occident, tome III, p.1241. Beale returned on the HC Ship General Coote, which arrived in England in early August 1786, as reported in The London Chronicle, 12 August 1786.

[32]. The Public Advertiser, 17 June 1788; "New Fur Trade", The World, 6 and 13 October 1788, and The European Magazine, November 1788. The Imperial Eagle is described as belonging to the Austrian East India Company (that is, the Imperial Company of Trieste) in F.W. Howay, A List of Trading Vessels in Maritime Fur Trade, 178 –1794, Ottawa, Royal Society of Canada, 1930, p.115.

[33]. Beth Hill, The Remarkable World of Frances Barkley, 1769-1845, Sidney (BC), 1978, p.60; F.W. Howay, “Early Navigation of the Straits of Juan de Fuca”, The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, vol.XII, no.1, 1911, p.9. Williamson, “John Henry Cox”, p.16.

[34]. Meares, Voyages, p.97.

[35]. Inglis, Historical Dictionary, pp.97 and 143.

[36]. Inglis, Historical Dictionary, p.81.

[37]. Meares, Voyages, pp.161-182.

[38]. Meares, Voyages, pp.219-222.

[39]. Meares, Voyages, pp.272-286. John Robson, “Sea Otter fur traders on the Northwest Coast of North America”, at:

[40]. Etches to Banks, 17 and 20 July 1788, California State Library, Sutro Branch, Banks Papers, PN 1/6 and PN 1/7; quoted in F.W. Howay, "Four Letters from Richard Cadman Etches to Sir Joseph Banks, 1788-92", British Columbia Historical Quarterly, vol.6, no.2, April 1942, pp.125-39.

[41]. The Public Advertiser, 17 June 1788.

[42]. Meares' instructions to Colnett, 17 April 1789; Meares, Voyages, Appendix I; quoted in Margaret Steven, Trade, Tactics and Territory, Melbourne, Melbourne UP, 1983, p.51.

[43]. Robert J. King, "The Mulovsky Expedition and Catherine II’s North Pacific Empire", Australian Slavonic and East European Studies, vol.21, nos.1/2, 2007. pp.101-126.

[44]. The St. James's Chronicle, and The Whitehall Evening Post, 22 April, The London Chronicle, 24 April, and The Diary and Public Advertiser, 26 April 1790.

[45]. The General Evening Post and The Whitehall Evening Post, 1 May 1790.

[46]. Etches to Banks, 6 May 1790 (referring to Francis Drake’s discovery and taking possession of New Albion in 1578), Kew Herbarium Library, Banks Correspondence, Vol. 2, no.11; quoted in David Mackay, In the Wake of Cook: Exploration, Science & Empire, 1780‑1801, Wellington (NZ), Victoria UP, 1985, p.93.

[47]. "Sketch of a Letter to the Admiralty", undated but early February 1790, HO 28/7, ff.48-56; cited in Mackay, In the Wake of Cook, p.89; also cited in Alan Frost, "Nootka Sound and the Beginnings of Britain's Imperialism of Free Trade", Robin Fisher and Hugh Johnson (eds.), Maps to Metaphors: The Pacific World of George Vancouver, Vancouver, University of British Columbia Press, 1993, pp.112-16.

[48]. Nepean to Phillip, March1790 (draft), HO 201/1, ff.19-24; photo-duplicated in Jonathan King, "In the Beginning..." The Story of the Creation of Australia, From the Original Writings, Melbourne, Macmillan, 1985, pp.235-240. "Heads of Instructions", February 1790, HO 42/16, f.10; cited in Mackay, In the Wake of Cook, p.89.

[49]. Grenville to Cornwallis, 31 March 1790, National Archives (Kew), HO 28/61, ff.273-290v; cited in W. Kaye Lamb (ed.), The Voyage of George Vancouver, 1791-1795, London, Hakluyt Society, 1984, Vol.1, p.24; also cited in Mackay, In the Wake of Cook, p.90; and in Frost, Maps to Metaphors, 115.

[50]. Act for enabling his Majesty to authorise his governor or lieutenant governor of such places beyond the seas, to which felons or other offenders may be transported, to remit the sentences of such offenders: 30 Geo.III 47, in Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol.I, Part 2, Sydney, 1893, pp.67‑68.

[51]. ‘Substance of the Memorial presented by Lieut. Mears [sic] to the Rt Hon. W. Wyndham Grenville, one of His Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State. With Explanations’, The Gentleman’s Magazine, June 1790, p.489.

[52]. John M. Norris, “The Policy of the British Cabinet in the Nootka Crisis”, English Historical Review, October 1955, pp.562-580.

[53]. These plans are discussed in Robert J. King, "An Australian Perspective on the English Invasions of the Rio de la Plata in 1806 and 1807", Sabretache (Journal and Proceedings of Military Historical Society of Australia), vol.XLIV, no.2, June 2003, pp.37-53.

[54]. J. Richard Nokes, Almost a Hero: the Voyages of John Meares, R.N., to China, Hawaii, and the Northwest Coast, Pullman, Wash., Washington State University Press, 1998, p.155.

[55]. George Chalmers to Lord Hawkesbury, 15 November 1790, British Library Add. Ms. 38,225, f.313; cited in John M. Norris, “The Policy of the British Cabinet in the Nootka Crisis”, English Historical Review, October 1955, pp.562-580, p569.

[56]. An Historical Narrative of the Discovery of New Holland and New South Wales, London, Stockdale, 1786; see H.B. Carter, Sir Joseph Banks, London, British Museum-Natural History, 1988, 174-5. On Banks and Stockdale, see also Eric Stockdale, T'is treason, my good man! Four Revolutionary Presidents and a Piccadilly Bookshop, New Castle, Del., Oak Knoll Press, 2005, pp.261-2; and Nathan Garvey, “Selling a penal colony: the booksellers and Botany Bay”, Script and Print, vol.31, no.1, 2007, pp.20-38.

[57]. Nokes, Almost a Hero, p.158.

[58]. Cabinet Minutes, 30 April 1790, National Archives (Kew), FO 95/7/3; quoted in Nokes, Almost a Hero, p.155.

[59]. Revillagigedo to Minister for War, Campo de Alange, Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkley, Robbins Collection, Revillagigedo Papers, vol.21, ff.465-465v; quoted in Warren L. Cook, Flood Tide of Empire: Spain and the Pacific Northwest, 1543‑1819, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1973, p.300.

[60]. Nepean to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, 28 December 1790, National Archives (Kew), ADM 3/107: 447; cited in Mackay, In the Wake of Cook, pp.96, 119; also at HO 28/7, ff.392-9; quoted in Alan Frost, "Science for Political Purposes: the European Nations’ Explorations of the Pacific Ocean, 1764-1806", in Juan Carlos Luna et al., Spanish Pacific: from Magellan to Malaspina, Madrid, Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y Lunwerg Editores, 1988, pp.89-105; also in Roy MacLeod and Philip F. Rehbock, (eds.) Nature in its Greatest Extent: Western Science in the Pacific, Acts of the 17th. International Congress on the History of Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, 1985, Vol.VII, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1988, pp.27-44.

[61]. Meares, Voyages, p.lxx.

[62]. Meares, Voyages, p.xcv.

[63]. Alexander Davison to Thomas Parry, 1 August 1791, British Library Additional Manuscript 79200, f.33; cited in Martyn Downer, Nelson’s Purse, London, Bantam, 2004, p.80.

[64]. Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol.II, Sydney, 1893, p.40; Downer, Nelson’s Purse, p.80.

[65]. John Meares and Richard Cadman Etches to Secretary of State Henry Dundas, April 1793, British Library, India Office Records and Archives, Miscellaneous Letters Received, vol.89, no.165; also at British Columbia Provincial Archives, Victoria, GR-0333.

[66]. Lamb, Vancouver, p.569.

[67]. Lamb, Vancouver, p.669.

[68]. Freeman M. Tovell, At the Far Reaches of Empire: The Life of Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, Vancouver, U. British Columbia Pr., 2008, p.265.

[69]. Joseph Ingraham, Joseph Ingraham's Journal of the Brigantine Hope on a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America, Mark D. Kaplanoff, ed., Barre, Mass., Imprint Society, 1971, pp.232, 242.

[70]. Joseph Whidbey, letter of 2 January 1793 at Monterey, quoted in Lamb, The Voyage of George Vancouver, p.1637.

[71]. Vancouver to Bodega, 13 September 1792, George Vancouver, "A Narrative of My Proceedings in His Majesty's Sloop Discovery", Report of the Provincial Archives of the Province of British Columbia for the Year ended 1913 Victoria, BC, 1914, Appendix I, "Papers relating to Nootka Sound and to Captain Vancouver's Expedition", 23; quoted in Warren L. Cook, Flood Tide of Empire: Spain and the Pacific Northwest, 1543‑1819, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1973, p.373.

[72]. Bodega to Revillagigedo, 24 October 1792, quoted in Freeman M. Tovell, ‘The Other Side of the Coin: the Viceroy, Bodega y Quadra, Vancouver, and the Nootka Crisis’, BC Studies, no.93, 1992, pp.3-29, p.14.

[73]. Revillagigedo to Bodega, 29 October 1791, cited in Cook, Flood Tide of Empire, p.327.

[74]. Vancouver, "Narrative" (1914), 18; quoted in Cook, Flood Tide of Empire, pp.367, 388.

[75]. Instructions dated 11 February 1791, ADM 1/4156: 14 and HO 28/8, ff.17-24 and HO 28/61, ff.394, National Archives (Kew); cited in Mackay, In the Wake of Cook, pp.99, 119.

[76]. Instructions dated 10 August 1791, ADM 2/1344 and 3/108: 247, National Archives (Kew); cited in Mackay, In the Wake of Cook, pp.107, 119.

[77]. Instructions to St. Helens, Ambassador to Madrid, 9 August 1793, British Columbia Provincial Archives; quoted in Lennox Mills, “The Real Significance of the Nootka Sound Incident”, Canadian Historical Review, vol.6, no.2, 1925, p.122.

[78]. Dundas to Admiralty, 6 July 1791, ADM 1/4156, no.50, National Archives, (Kew), quoted in Williams, Enlightenment and Exploration, pp.43, 48.

[79]. His place was filled at Nootka by Lt. James Hanson, second in command of the Chatham.

[80]. John Meares, "A Recapitulation and General Account of the Losses and Damages sworn to have been sustained by the United Company of British Merchants Trading to the North West Coast of America by the Capture of their Vessels and the being dispossessed of their Settlements...", 7 September 1790; National Archives (Kew) FO 95/7; cited in Harlow, The Founding of the Second British Empire, p.463; and Sir Charles Middleton, "Calculations given to Mr Nepean Feby 1790 concerning convicts & Botany Bay", Middleton Papers; National Archives (Kew) CO 201/4: 182-90, 192-9; quoted in Alan Frost, "'No cheaper mode...?'", idem, Botany Bay Mirages: Illusions of Australia's Convict Beginnings, Melbourne University Press, 1994, p.171.

[81]. Nokes, Almost a Hero, p.175.

[82]. National Archives (Kew) FO 93/99; cited in Nokes, Almost a Hero, pp.175, 177

[83]. National Archives (Kew) FO 95/7, 192-9; cited in V.T. Harlow, The Founding of the Second British Empire, p.463.

[84]. Nokes, Almost a Hero, p.174 .

[85]. Meares, Voyages, p.xcv.

[86].. The Whitehall Evening Post, 9 July 1796.

[87]. The Morning Chronicle, 20 March 1809.

[88]. Nokes, Almost a Hero, p.174.

[89]. Nokes, Almost a Hero p.175.