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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/13

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EARLY NAVIGATION OF THE STRAITS OF FUCA 5 After leaving the vicinity of Nootka in 1774, Martinez did not return to this portion of the coast until 1789. In the mean- time, as will be shown later, Captain Barkley in the Imperial Eagle, Captain Meares in the Felice, Captain Duncan in the Princess Royal, and Captain Gray in the Washington, had all visited the strait of Fuca. As Martinez in the Princessa left San Bias on the 17th February, 1789, arriving at Nootka 5th May ; and was recalled in the fall of that year, leaving Nootka on 31st October and reaching San Bias on 6th December ; it follows that any ex- ploration made by Narvaez under his orders must have oc- curred between May and October. Remembering that during May, June, and July Martinez was busy seizing Meares's ships and in making an establishment at Nootka, and later in dis- mantling it, it may well be doubted whether he had much time to give to the question of exploration. Again, the schooner Gertrudis referred to, is none other than Meares's North West America, which was not seized until 9th June, 1789, and sailed immediately afterwards with a Spanish crew and Mr. David Coolidge of the Washington as pilot on a trading voyage, returning in July with seventy-five skins. From all these cir- cumstances, I think it fair to infer that if Narvaez saw the strait of Fuca, it was not till the end of June, 1789, and was not because he was sent to explore it but because he casually fell in with it, as Campos says, while on this trading voyage. It will be noted that the fragmentary information which Mar- tinez gives as the result of Narvaez alleged voyage was nothing more than any seaman in Meares's, Duncan's, or Gray's employ could have readily told him. Having disposed of this apocryphal matter let us return to undisputed facts. It is well known that the fur-trade on this coast, especially the trade in sea-otter skins, had its origin in the knowledge obtained by Captain Cook, whose vessels re- turned to England in 1780.