Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/11

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca

or Mexico mentioning the voyage or him who is asserted to have made it, or that in any way contributes color of truthfulness to the Lock narrative. Its inconsistencies are patent, are glaring. The land described, the natives, the alleged elements of wealth, the location of the strait, its extent, coast line, internal navigation, indeed every peculiarity of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and its surroundings repel the belief that the inventor of Lock's statement could ever have seen or visited the North-west coast of America.

I think that Professor Davidson has expressed the almost unanimous opinion of students with regard to the Fuca story in his curt finding: "The whole story is a fabrication".

Perhaps I should pause here to notice a claim made by Spain to the discovery of the Strait of Fuca. I quote from the first chapter of the "Relation del mage hecho por las goletas Sutil y Mexicans en el ano 1792", as follows:

"Sub-Lieutenant Don Esteban Martinez, being at Nootka, after having taken possession of that port in the name of Her Majesty, stated that, in 1774, in returning from his expedition to the north, he thought he saw a very wide entrance at 48° 20′ latitude. Believing that it might be that of Fuca, he directed a second mate (piloto) in command of the schooner Gertrudis to ascertain whether that entrance existed or not. The mate returned, saying that he had found it to be twenty-one miles wide, and its centre in 48° 30′ latitude, 19° 28′ west of San Bias".

Of the voyage of Juan Perez in 1774, we have more accounts than of any other contemporary expedition, no less than four distinct diaries being extant. Of these, two, a relation del viage, and tabla diaria, are by Perez himself; the others are by the missionaries Crespi and Pena, whose duties especially included the keeping of diaries of the voyage. If Martinez thought he saw the strait in 1774, he kept the suspicion closely concealed in his own bosom, for in not one of these four independent accounts is even the least hint of such a thing given.