Voyages in the Northern Pacific

Voyages in the Northern Pacific.



And Sketch of a Cruise in the Service of the Independents of South America in 1819, By


With Preface and Appendix of Valuable Confirmatory Letters Prepared by


THOS. G. THRUM, Publisher.

Honolulu, H. I.



The following narrative by Mr. Peter Corney is now published in a separate form for the first time. As may be seen, it was first published serially in a weekly literary magazine in London, during the year 1821.

It seems to have been entirely over looked by the historians of the North-west Coast of America as well as by those of the Hawaiian Islands. It even escaped the researches of the indefatigable H. H. Bancroft and of Robt. Greenhow, the historian of Oregon.

The author was once well known in Honolulu, and has a number of descendants living here. He died in 1836, on board of the bark Columbia, while on his way to what is now called British Columbia, where he was to occupy a responsible position in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. In consequence of his death his wife and children decided to remain in Honolulu, instead of continuing their voyage to the North-west Coast.

His narrative is a valuable contribution to the history not only of the North-west Coast, but also of the Hawaiian Islands. In particular, it throws much light on the proceedings of the Russians here in 1815–1817, on the mutiny and piracy of the crew of the Argentine cruiser, Santa Rosa, her recapture by Capt. Bouchard of the frigate Argentina, and their homeward voyage, including the sack and burning of Monterey, California. It is also valuable as containing an account by a fair-minded eye-witness of the state of things in the islands near the close of Kamehameha's reign, which confirms the statements made by Alexander Campbell, James Hunnewell and other early visitors and residents.

W. D. Alexander.

Honolulu, April, 1896.


Observations on importance of N. W., Sandwich Islands and China trade.—Russian designs for control.—Rapid civilization of Sandwich Islanders.—They desire intercourse with foreign traders.—Customs of other nations readily adopted.—Fur trade in hands of Americans.—Likely extinction of British influence therein.—Opening up of Western country through to the Pacific.—Lewis and Clark's journey across the Rocky Mountains.—Variety of fur bearing animals observed.—Plans of Americans to form settlements; establish a town at the mouth of the Columbia River and found colonies on the Pacific Ocean shore.—Rapid growth of their population assures this.
Arrival of the Ship Tonquin, of Boston, at the Columbia River, with Settlers.—Loss of a boat, an officer, and six Men, in sounding a Passage.—Loss of another Boat and two Men.—Miraculous Escape of the Blacksmith, and a Sandwich Islander.—Settlers landed.—The Tonquin trades along the Northwest Coast.—Dreadful Catastrophe.—Resolute conduct of the Blacksmith. His Fate, and Fate of the Vessel and Crew.
Continuation of the Account of the First Settlements on the River Columbia.—A Party sent over-land from Boston to form an Establishment.—Arrival of the Beaver: Plan of the Natives to take the Vessel frustated by an Indian Woman.—Trading Voyage of the Beaver to Norfolk Sound: collects a valuable Cargo of Furs: arrival at China.—Loss of the Lark of Boston off the Sandwich Islands.—The Northwest Company obtain possession of the Settlement.—Voyage, &c. of the Isaac Todd from London.—Melancholy Death of Mr. McTavish and four others.—Voyage of the Columbia, in which the author was chief Officer.—Alarming Mutiny: Arrival at the Columbia.
The Schooner is repaired, and Mutineers sent into the interior; sail from the Columbia river.—Arrive at New Archangel or Norfolk Sound, and purchase a cargo of furs; return to the Columbia river, complete the cargo of furs for China, and of goods for the Spanish Main. Sail for Monterey for the purpose of forming a factory, to supply the establishment on the Columbia river with provisions.—Spaniards refuse to allow this, but suffer a cooper to remain to cure provisions.—Sail for Bodago.—Russians refuse to allow the gentlemen to remain till our return from Canton.—Arrival at Owyhee (Hawaii).—Visited by the king.—Natives crowd on board.—A summary method to get rid of them.—Two gentlemen of the N. W. Company land at Owhyee to wait our return.—Sail for and arrival at Canton.
Captain Robson gives up the command of the schooner Columbia; Captain Jennings appointed to succeed him.—Some particulars respecting Captain Jennings.—Sail from Canton.—Lost a man overboard.—Arrive at the Columbia river.—Massacre of three persons belonging to the Fort.—Assassins discovered and shot.—Another Voyage to Monterey; plenty of Provisions collected by the Cooper.—Description of the Town and Company.
Takes cargo for the Russians at Norfolk Sound.—Symptoms of mutiny.—Arrival.—Russian settlers for the Sandwich Islands.—Arrival at Columbia River.—Sail for Owyhee.—Trade with the Natives. Russian settlers on Owyhee.—Sail for Canton.—Return to Columbia River.—Man lost overboard. Arrival at Norfolk Sound.—Sail for the Straits of Oonalaska.—Arrival at the Island of St. Paul and St. George.—Method of preserving the breed of Seals.—Mode of killing them.—Singular property of the Seal.—Arrive at Oonalaska.—Description of the Town.—Some Account of the Natives.
The Winter of 1816, on the Columbia River.—Alarming Fire.—Sail for the Sandwich Islands.—Account of the Columbia.—Manners and Customs of the Natives.
Royal Family.—Anecdote.—Native Tribes.—Religious Ideas.—Habits.—Climate.—Traffic.—Slave Trade by the Americans; their Practices; instance of Captain Ayres.—Animals; War Canoes.—Voyage to the Sandwich Islands; notice of several of these.—The King's Mercantile Speculations.—New Russian Establishment.—Method of curing Pork.—Norfolk Sound.—Jealousy of the Russians.—Native Women.—Hostility between the Natives and Russians.
Cape Edgecombe; Navigation.—The precautions of the Russians to prevent Trade.—Return to the Columbia.—Trading Expedition along shore to Southward.—Natives near Cape Orford.—The Coast to the South.—Port Trinidad; the Natives there; Misunderstanding; Traffic; Decorum of the Females; their Dress; extraordinary Tattooing of the Tongue, etc., Massacre of a Spanish Crew; Character of the People; Difficulties in getting out the Vessel.—Arrive at Bodago Bay.—The Russians and Natives.—Account of the Russian Settlement on New Albion.—Prodigious Vegetation.
Coasting Trade to Sir F. Drake's Harbour.—Return to Trinidad Bay.—Attacked by the Indians.—Return to Columbia.—Mission up the Country to the Cladsap Tribe; its Success.—Description of the Country.—The Northwest Company's Establishment.
Voyage to the Sandwich Islands; various Transactions there; Superstitious Omen; Death of a Chief; Remarkable Funeral Ceremonies, Taboo, and Customs connected with these Rites.—Whymea.—The Russian Intrigues with the Natives, and their consequences.—Different trading trips, to show the Nature of the Island Commerce.—The ship given up.—Situation of the Men on shore.
The Sandwich Islands.—A Patriot or Runaway Ship.—History of its change of Masters, Piracies and Plundering.
Account of the Sandwich Islands.—Woahoo.—Customs, Etc.
Account of the Customs in the Sandwich Islands, continued.
Account of the Sandwich Islanders continued.—Female dress; that of the men and chiefs.—Curious fishing.—Personal Adventure.—Mode of catching flying fish, etc.—Weather.—Ancient fort and novel fortifications.—Superstitious story, and its effects.—Their food, cooking, etc.
Proceedings of a Patriot Ship; fate of the Mutineers of the Rosa; execution of Mr. Griffiths.—The Author takes the Command of the Brig.—They destroy Monterey.—Other Proceedings in these Seas briefly noticed.—The Author returns home.