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of California, who looked upon them as intruders: the Russian American Company, however, latterly finding the occupation of those places not only unprofitable, but attended with much outlay, with the sanction of their government, have this season abandoned Bodega and Ross, selling the buildings, together with their stock in trade, to a person of the name of Sutter, a Swiss recently become a citizen of Mexico, for a consideration of $30,000. This sale was effected previously to my arrival, otherwise it is probable I should have made a purchase of the establishment for the Hudson's Bay Company with a view to the possibility of some claim being based thereon by Great Britain at a future period.

I got back in the month of October to the Columbia River from my visit to the Russian settlements, and thence took my departure for California, touching at the ports of San Francisco, Monterey, and Santa Barbara. That country which is of great extent and possessing advantages of soil and climate unrivalled perhaps in any other part of the world, is in the hands of a very few indolent Californians, the descendants of the Spanish and Mexican soldiery, who were attached to the missions, by whom it was, in the first instance, settled. The whole population of that beautiful and extensive country, possessing 1200 miles of sea-coast, does not exceed 7,000, of whom 600 are foreigners, principally Americans.

California is nominally a Territory or dependency of the Republic of Mexico, which does not however attempt to exercise any dominion over it, its remote situation, together with the disturbed state of the mother country admitting of little intercourse or communication between them.

The only source of commerce that this country at present possesses, arises from its numerous herds of black cattle, which for the extent and capacity of the country, is a mere trifle, not exceeding 50,000 to 60,000 hides, and 25,000 to 30,000 quintals of tallow annually. The revenues consist of exhorbitant duties and dues amounting to about 125 percent on prime cost, on goods formally entered at the custom-house, to be disposed of in barter for the hides and tallow. These prohibitory exactions deafeat their object, by the encouragement they afford to smuggling, three-fourths of the goods introduced into the country being run ashore, and the remaining one fourth only passing through the customs. The funds thus raised are divided among the Governor, the Commander of the Forces, custom House officers and other self constituted authorities and officials; as of late years they have totally disregarded the nominations of the Mexican Government, electing their own officers; and the Government, making a merit of necessity, confirmed their appointments.

The Governor [Alvarado), who seven years ago was appraiser of custom house Goods, is an ignorant, dissipated man, quite devoid of respectability and character; and the commander of the forces (Vallejo], the next in rank and standing, who was, a few years back, a Lieutenant in the Army, has no pretension to character or respectabil

"By comparing the above statement with that contained in paragraph 32 of his letter of November 25, 1841, ante, and remembering that the earlier statement was intended for the eyes of his company alone, while the later one is meant for the eye of the government, one obtains an instructive side-light on Simpson's methods.



ity, and, like most others in the country, betrays a gross want of honesty and veracity, while much jealousy and ill will exists between these great men, who are total strangers to every feeling of honor, honesty, or patriotism, and I believe, are ready to sell themselves and their country, at a moment's notice, to the highest bidder.”

Of the 600 foreign residents about 400 are Americans and about 100 British. The former not only from their numbers, but from their pushing and active habits, and forward character, have much influence, and may be said to give law to the country. Many of the British residents are much respected, and the feelings of the different classes of the natives is favorable to Great Britain, while they look upon the United States, and her citizens, with much jealousy and alarm.

The country from its natural advantages, possessing, as it does, the finest harbor in the Northern Pacific, in the Bay of San Francisco, and capable, as it is, of maintaining a population of some millions of agriculturists, might become invaluable to Great Britain as an outlet to her surplus population, as a stronghold and protection to her commerce, and interests in these seas, and as a market for her manufactures; and as the principal people in the country, and indeed the whole population. seem anxious to be released from the Republic of Mexico, which can afford them neither protection nor assistance, and are apprehensive that they may fall within the grasp of the United States, I have reason to believe they would require very little encouragement to declare their independence of Mexico, and place themselves under the protection of Great Britain. Indeed it has been communicated to me, confidentially, and I feel authorized to say, that the presence of a British cruiser on the coast, with a private assurance of protection from Great Britain, and appointments being given to the present higher authorities and officials which would not involve a larger sum than a few thousand pounds per annum, would be a sufficient inducement to declare themselves independent of Mexico and claim the protection of Great Britain. If Great Britain be unwilling to sanction or encourage such a declaration I feel assured, that some step will very soon be taken, with the like object, in favor of the United States.

The British residents at one time thought there was a probability of the country falling into the hands of England, in liquidation of the debts owing by the Mexican Government, but that they now seem to think would be a sacrifice of money on the part of the nation as they feel that California might be acquired without any such outlay, the people being willing to place themselves and their country at the disposal of Great Britain.

By the Treaty of 1819 between the United States and Spain, the parallel of 42° is fixed upon as the Mexican Northern, and the United States Southern, boundary, whereby the claims of Great Britain to the tract of country situated between Lat. 42o and Lat. 37° (the Bay of San Francisco) are lost sight of; whereas by the Treaty of Madrid of October 1790, between Spain and England, the latter country has a right to land and form settlements on every part of the coast or islands adjacent,“ Situate to the north of the parts of the said coast already occupied by Spain", i. c. San Francisco which was then, and still is, the most northern settlement of that country. That strip of country

Compare Simpson's published opinions of these officers as given in his Narrative, I. 348–349, and 309 ff.

which comprehends about five degrees of Latitude, and in which the Russian establishments of Ross and Bodega are situated, does not possess any good winter harbor, nor is its sea-board well adapted for settlement; but the interior country, watered by the Sacramento and its tributaries, after the great valley of the Tulares, which contains about 10,000 square miles, may be considered as about the finest part of California; and in any arrangement that may be made in regard to the partition of territory, it may be well to bear in mind the claims of Great Britain to that District of Country.

To give an idea of the fertility of this fine country, twenty returns of wheat are considered a failure, while 80 to 100 returns (even with the wretched system of cultivation now pursued, the whole of the field labor being performed by the most degraded of the Indian race I have ever met with, the liberated neophytes of the Missions) are common; and it is ascertained the country is capable of producing coffee, sugar, cocoa nut, Indigo, Tobacco, silk, wine, and tea in great perfection, while in the districts watered by the streams falling into the Bay of San Francisco, there is an inexhaustible supply of timber for shipbuilding. Flax and hemp of the best quality are indigenous; and it is said that coal has been found on the banks of the Sacramento, but of that I am doubtful, as the information is from a source not celebrated for veracity.

Quitting the shores of California, on the 27th of January, and getting almost immediately into the North East Trade wind, we made the Island of Owhyheeon the ioth of February, and got into the Harbor of Honolulu in Woahoo the following day. The business of this place is increasing from year to year, principally dependent on the whalers and other vessels that rendevous here, which may be estimated at about 100 sail per annum. These shipping require supplies of various kinds which afford a market to a considerable extent; and as many of the natives are employed in whaling, pearl fishing, in California and the Columbia, bringing the produce of their labors home, which finds circulation throughout the Islands, they afford a further market. This port is moreover becoming an entrepot for a portion of the South American, Californian, Manilla and china markets; and when the commerce of the latter country, and Japan may be thrown open to the world, which there is every reason to believe will soon be the case, there is little doubt that from the situation of these islands, being in the direct line of communication, a great entrepot will be formed here, and it will become a port of refuge and refreshment for nearly all the shipping visiting the Northern Pacific, so that no question can exist that this will in due time become a very important commercial station.

There are now at Honolulu, which is the only good harbor in the islands, and where there is a population of about 9,000 souls, six houses of business, besides the H. B. Company, principally American, who, independent of their own requisitions, receive consignments from the United States, England, China, etc., as commission merchants, the whole invoice amount of importations during the past year being about £50,000, the only outlet for which, is the demand of the shipping visiting the port for supplies, with that of the native population, and other inhabitants.

The country in point of climate is unequaled perhaps by any part within the Tropics, and as regards the quality of the soil of such portions as produce vegetation, much of it being bare volcanic rock, it is well adapted for various tropical productions, such as sugar, coffee, cotton, indigo, tobacco, etc., but the experiments that have hitherto been made in raising these articles for market have not been attended with much success, owing in a great degree to the difficulty of procuring regular and cheap labor, as the natives cannot be induced by any wages to lay aside their indolent habits, and betake themselves to industry. Some of the residents, however, have lately encouraged the migration of Chinese, who are satisfied with very moderate wages, are maintained at little cost, living as they principally do upon rice and other vegetable diet, and are exceedingly industrious and tractable; and when capital can be employed under good management in prosecuting the cultivation of the different products above noticed, I have no doubt the exports from these Islands will become considerable. Sandal wood, which was formerly the great article of export from hence, is become exhausted; but there is a vegetable oil, known as Tu-tu-i, or candletree oil, [which] begins now to take the place of that article. Large quantities of this oil can be procured here, as the candle-tree is very abundant, and the oil, though inferior to linseed, nevertheless commands a price that yields a fair return to the manufacturer.

23 Hawaii.

Since my arrival here I have had several communications with the governor of this island, a native chief, Kuanoa, and have seen several other of the leading chiefs, all of whom appear well disposed, and are evidently anxious to conciliate foreigners, and to stand well with other nations, especially Great Britain and the United States. They seem to consider themselves in a certain degree under the protection of Great Britain, and if they found themselves in any difficulty with or danger from any other nation, would no doubt solicit the protection of H. M's government; but although looking up to that source for protection, I am very doubtful that they would willingly place themselves under the dominion or become a dependency of any other country, unless the king and chiefs, with their descendants for several generations, were provided for by liberal pensions. They are evidently most anxious to do what is right in their commercial and other relations with foreign countries; but are too much under the influence of the Calvinist Missionary Society in the United States, who have a number of their teachers and missionaries stationed throughout the different islands; and they have had sufficient influence to get one of their own number, a narrow minded, illiterate, American [William Richards] installed as Prime Minister, or principal councellor of the King. This man never absents himself from him, and being the tool of the Missionary Society, which may be considered in a certain degree, a political Engine in the hands of the Government of the United States, the Sandwich Islands may be said to be greatly under the influence of that government. To do the missionaries justice however, it appears to me, they exercise their best judgment for the welfare and prosperity of the country, but in their over zeal, they counselled the enactment of some very strange and unusual laws which foreigners find irksome and vexatious; and as might be expected, they not infrequently divert the stream of justice from the proper course in order to favor their own friends and countrymen.

I have had several communications with Kuanoa, who is the most intelligent and important man, connected with the government, on the subject of getting Richards removed from his recent position as prime minister, and having a more enlightened man to fill that important office. He seems to see the expediency of such change, and if a fit and proper person could be pointed out, I have no doubt they would avail themselves of his services forthwith, and from his remarks they would prefer a person recommended by the British Government to any other.

It is unfortunate that the British Government have not a more efficient and intelligent representative here, Mr. Charlton, although rather a bustling active man, being very little respected either by natives or foreigners. And if I could venture a suggestion, I should say it would be good policy to pension that gentleman off, and fill the office of consul with a man of conduct, character, and intelligence.

The British residents both at these islands and California, complain bitterly that their interests were, for a length of time, lost sight of by the British Government, in comparison with those of the subjects of the United States and France, few or no British cruisers having ever visited either these islands or California, unless casually, for the purpose of refreshment, or for the advancement of science; whereas the visits of American men-of-war have been very frequent, while those of France are becoming more so from year to year than is agreeable to the native inhabitants. There are always several British menof-war on the Southern Pacific Station, which might without inconvenience run across with the Trades to these Islands, and, on their return, visit the coast of California, by their presence affording protection to the interests of the British residents at those places, while it would have the effect of giving to Great Britain a weight and influence in those countries which she could not otherwise obtain or possess.

The population of these Islands like every other barbarous population with whom whites have come in contact, is dwindling away very fast-indeed, the decrease is as extraordinary as it is lamentable. In the days of Vancouver, some fifty years ago, it was estimated, and, I imagine, pretty accurately so, at 400,000, but by a recent census, it is ascertained to be reduced to less than 90,000; and the deaths are to the births, in the proportion of 80 to 4772 so that if the mortality continues in the same ratio, the native population will become extinct in a very few years.

By reference to my despatches addressed to the Company, under dates 25th of November 1841, and the ist Instant, you will find that I have reported very fully on the affairs of the Columbia, likewise those of the Northwest Coast and California, entering into some of the statistics of these districts of country; and I take the liberty of suggesting, that extracts be made from those despatches, for the information of Her Majesty's Government,“ if you think they are likely to be interesting; and as I hope to get back to England in the course of November next, I shall be happy to give every further information I possess in regard to those countries.

This, together with the despatches for the Company, and some other letters will be handed to Mr. Charlton [the British Consul] for the purpose of being forwarded in the government mail-bag, by a vessel proceeding forthwith to Valparaiso. Another copy will be sent by the first ship from hence for England, and a third, via the Columbia, for the purpose of being forwarded overland to Canada.

It is my intention to leave these islands from the 20th to the 25th of March for Sitka, taking my passage from thence to Ochotsk, in one

24 This was done, such extracts being found with this letter.


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