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Лисянский Юрий Фёдорович - Voyage round the world..., Страница 7

Лисянский Юрий Фёдорович - Voyage round the world...

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lock in the afternoon. On passing the fort, we were saluted by eleven guns; and as soon as the anchor was down, Mr. Bander returned, accompanied by several Russians, who were eager to congratulate us on our happy arrival It is not easy to express what I felt on this occasion. Being the first Russian that had hitherto performed so long and tedious a voyage, a degree of religious fervour mixed itself with the satisfaction and delight of my mind.
   I now supposed my voyage to be at an end for the present year; but it turned out otherwise. Mr. Bander, soon after my arrival, put a paper into my hands, which confirmed the account I had heard at Caracacoa, that our settlement in Sitca Sound had been destroyed by the natives: and he begged my assistance in opposing the savages, and restoring things to their former state; He gave me farther to understand, that the commander-in-chief, Mr. Baranoff, had gone there himself in the spring with an equipment, consisting of four small ships, manned with a hundred and twenty Russians, and of three hundred bidarkas, containing about eight hundred Aleutians, {The natives belonging to the Russian Company are commonly called by this name.} and that he was there, still.
   Convinced of the importance to the Russian trade of recovering this establishment, I complied with his request, and I resolved to prepare for sea immediately. Orders were therefore given to overhaul the rigging, and do whatever else was necessary to hasten our departure. Ten days would have been sufficient for every purpose, if the rainy weather had not stopped our unloading, and easterly winds had not opposed us. These winds blew so constantly, that a ship belonging to the United States of America, which I found in the harbour, called the Okeen, from the name of her captain, was detained by them upwards of six weeks; and our delay was but little less.
   In the interval of this delay, we explored the bay of Chiniatskoy, and took occasional observations, by which we found the harbour of St. Paul to be in the latitude of 57° 46' 36" north. I also adjusted my chronometers; and it appeared, that No. 136, instead of losing 42" 2, as I had allowed from the Sandwich Islands, now lost 48" 4 a-day; and that No. 50, instead of 10", was losing 13". The variation of the compass was reckoned by my azimuths at 25° 52' east.

August. 15th.

   On the 15th of August, about five o'clock in the afternoon, we entered on our new voyage. We soon cleared the shore, having come out of the harbour by the north passage, which is much shorter than the one by which we entered it. From the idea of rendering a particular service to our country by the expedition we had undertaken, our spirits were buoyant, and, as if to encourage us in our purpose, the westerly winds enabled us to make a rapid course. Nothing of importance occurred during the run.


   From the latitude of 56°, sea-leeks and large trunks of trees passed us continually; and at six in the morning of the 19th, land was seen to the north half east, but indistinctly, from the weather being hazy. At noon we observed, in latitude 57° 8' north, and longitude 136° 46' west. At this time Cape Edgecumbe bore north 72° east, distant twenty-five miles. The wind was now become so light, that we did not get a-breast of Mount Edgecumbe till ten at night. What was still more disagreeable, we could not come up with a vessel, that was plying to the southward, which we afterwards found was the Okeen, that had sailed from Cadiack a few days before us.


   On the 20th we had light breezes, till nine o'clock in the morning, when the wind settled to the westward. We took advantage of the flood, and, on approaching the offings of Cross Bay, in the afternoon came to anchor in fifty-five fathoms, muddy ground. From our entrance into Sitca Sound, to the place where we now were, there was not to be seen on the shore the least vestige of habitation. Nothing presented itself to our view but impenetrable woods, reaching from the water-side to the very tops of the highest mountains. I never saw a country so wild and gloomy; it appeared more adapted for the residence of wild beasts, than of men.
   With respect to the Sound itself, there is plenty of room to work to windward every where, except between the second point from Mount Edgecumbe and the islands opposite, called Middle Islands. In case of necessity, a vessel also may find there tolerable anchorage. The ship we had seen the day before was at anchor under the second point. On our dropping anchor, a small canoe with four natives made towards us. At first they seemed afraid; but, on my beckoning to them, they approached the vessel. I invited them on deck; but no one would venture, though I threw brass buttons and other trifles among them as an allurement. I thought I had at last succeeded in gaining their confidence, when two large leathern boats from Cross Bay making their appearance, they left us, and paddled towards the shore, giving us to understand, by signs, that the men in the boats were their enemies. These boats proved to be Russian, and belonged to the company's vessels, the Alexander and Catharine, which had arrived ten days before. They had come from Yacootat, or Behring's Bay, and were waiting for Mr. Baranoff, who was gone with a party of Aleutians, under a convoy of two small armed vessels, to hunt the sea otter. From the officer who accompanied the boats, I learned, that the inhabitants of Sitca had fortified themselves, and were resolved not to suffer the Russians to make a second settlement amongst them, without a trial of strength.
   Towards sun-set, our countrymen having left us, the canoe, that had come alongside before, returned with other men in it, who were also afraid to venture on board, but invited me by signs to their settlement. The faces of these men were painted black and red; one in particular had a black circle extending from the forehead to the mouth, and a red chin, which gave the face altogether the complete appearance of a mask. The men were all armed with muskets, and asked me if I had any to sell, offering, in exchange for one, two sea-otter skins. Though they behaved in a very friendly manner, yet, thinking it prudent to be on my guard, I ordered, that, during our stay, all the guns should be kept loaded, some with grape and others with round shot.


   As contrary winds would not permit us to sail into Cross Bay, we were obliged to warp into it; but the depth was every where so great, that we could not reach the anchorage till the 22d, when we secured the ship, by mooring head and stern close to the shore.


   On the 25th, the Okeen came into the bay. She had left her former situation, under the idea that we were carrying on a brisk trade with the natives for otter skins, whereas we had not seen a single article of that kind since our arrival:


   In the afternoon of the 26th, a canoe, with three young men in it, came alongside of the American ship. Being informed that one of these youths was the son of our greatest enemy, I could not resist the desire I felt of having him in my power; and the moment the canoe left the Okeen, I dispatched a jolly-boat in pursuit of it; but the natives rowed so lustily, that they outstripped the boat; and when our party fired upon them, they intrepidly returned the fire, showing us thereby, with what sort of persons we should have to deal. During the day, I visited the company's ships, the Catharine and Alexander; and found them deficient in many necessary articles, with which I immediately supplied them; ordering, at the same time, two good guns to be added to each vessel.


   From the day of our pursuit of the canoe, no natives made their appearance till the 31st at noon, when a large boat was observed under the shore, rowed by twelve naked men, whose faces and bodies were painted with different colours, and the hair of the head powdered with white feathers. As our boats were then fishing at a considerable distance from the ship, I was apprehensive that the intention of these savages was to attack them. I therefore ordered a few grape-shot to be fired: but the canoe soon passed a small inlet that was opposite to us, and took shelter amongst the islands, so that we could do it no harm.
   In the mean time captain Okeen, in returning from the woods, was attacked. Hearing of the circumstance, I instantly sent an armed launch against the barbarians; but they escaped by conveying their canoe over a shoal into another bay, which it was impossible for the launch to enter. On the return of the launch, I sent it, accompanied by a large armed boat, in search of our fishermen; and they all returned together in safety ait sun-set.
   On passing the inlet I have mentioned above, the savages fired their small-arms; and so true were they to their aim, that they shot through my barge, which was then lowered. Their skill, as marksmen, was also apparent from the shattered state of captain Okeen's launch, as well as from the collar of his coat, through which a bullet had passed. On the captain's complaining of this treatment, I could not help observing to him, that as he had himself, like other of his countrymen, supplied these savages with fire-arms, he ought not to be surprised at any use they might make of them.

Sept. 8th.

   In the morning of the 8th of September, captain Okeen set sail on his voyage homewards. As the hostile disposition of the natives, since our arrival at Cross Bay, would not suffer us to go far from the ships for exploring, we had chiefly been employed in fishing, and repairing our rigging. In the course of this day, however, I was employed in making observations, by which the latitude of the station where we were at anchor was fixed at 57° 8' 24" north, and the longitude at 135° 18' 15" west. At new moon the flood was observed to be at its height at ten minutes after one in the afternoon.


   In the afternoon of the 19th, Mr. Baranoff arrived from his hunting expedition, in the ship Yarmak. I shall not attempt to describe the joy we felt at seeing him. Suffice it to say, that we had been more than a month in this unfavourable climate, anxiously expecting his return; and that we at last had begun to doubt of his being alive. He informed us, that during the whole of his excursion, the most distressing weather prevailed; that he had passed through Cross Sound, through Acoo, or Stephen's Passage, and through Hoosnoff, or Chatham's Strait; and that two days ago he had been separated in a gale of wind from his party, whom, however, he hourly expected.
   Besides hunting the sea otter, in which he had been so successful as to obtain, in spite of obstacles, sixteen hundred skins, Mr. Baranoff had another object in view in the expedition he had just finished, which was that of punishing the savages who had assisted in destroying the settlement. In this attempt, his wishes were in some degree frustrated; for the Colushes {A name given to the natives from Chatham's Strait to Charlotte Islands.} fled on his approach, and he was obliged therefore to content himself with demolishing their habitations.


   The next day Mr. Baranoff paid me a visit on board the Neva, bringing with him a number of masks, very ingeniously cut in wood, and painted with different colours (See Plate I. Fig. b). He had found them in the habitations he had destroyed. These masks were formerly worn by the Colushes in battle, but are now used chiefly on festivals. They are placed on a neck-piece of wood (Plate I. Fig. c), that extends from the lower part of the neck to the eyes, with indentations, o, at the edge, to see through, and fastens behind. Some of them represent heads of beasts, others of birds, and others of imaginary beings. They are so thick, that a musket-ball, fired at a moderate distance, can hardly penetrate them. Mr. Baranoff brought with him also two other curiosities; one of which was a thin plate, made of virgin copper, found on the Copper River, to the north of Sitca (Plate I. Fig. f): it was three feet in length, and twenty-two inches in breadth at one end, and eleven inches at the other, and on one side various figures were painted. These plates are only possessed by the rich, who give for one of them from twenty to thirty sea-otter skins. They are carried by the servants before their master on different occasions of ceremony, and are beaten upon, so as to serve as a musical instrument. The value of the plate depends, it seems, in its being made of virgin copper; for the common copper ones do not bear a higher price than a single skin. The other curiosity was a rattle, (Plate I. Fig. e), which is used in dancing, and was very well finished, both as to sculpture and painting.


   Hearing nothing of the hunters that had been separated in the gale, an armed vessel was on the 23d sent in search of them, and every thing in the mean time prepared for their reception, in a small bay opposite to us. At eight o'clock in the evening, sixty bidarkas belonging to this party, among whom were twenty Russians, arrived, under the command of Mf. Kooskoff, who, on passing us, fired a salute of muskets; in answer to which, I ordered two rockets to be sent up. Expecting more of these bidarkas in the course of the night, we hung out a lantern to each top-gallant-mast head of our vessel.



   The next morning as soon as it was light, observing the shore, to the extent of three hundred yards, completely covered with the hunting-boats, we sent our launch, armed with four swivels, to cruize in the Sound, to prevent them from being attacked by the Sitcans; and shortly after I went with some of my officers on shore,- where the picture that presented itself to our view was new to us.
   Of the numerous families of hunters, {They always keep together in families, and are under the direction of toyons or chiefs.} several had already fixed their tents; others were busy in erecting them. Some were hanging up their clothes to dry, some kindling a fire, some cooking victuals; some again, overcome with fatigue, had stretched themselves on the ground, expecting, amidst this clash of sounds and hum of men, to take a little repose; whilst at a distance boats were seen arriving every moment, and, by adding to the numbers, increasing the interest of the scene. On coming out of the barge, we were met by at least five hundred of these our new countrymen, among whom were many toyons.
   Having passed a few hours in contemplating this busy group, I was returning on board, when a report was spread by some hunters who had just arrived, that the natives were attacking a few boats they had left at a short distance behind. The Russians in the company's service were instantly afloat; and the moment I reached my ship I dispatched my barge and jolly-boat, armed, under the command of lieutenant Arboosoff, to assist them; and in the course of half an hour, the entrance of the bay appeared choked with craft. Not knowing where the canoes were, that the natives were said to have attacked, we could only watch the motion of this little fleet; which, after quitting the bay, was quickly out of sight Towards evening it returned, no enemy being to be found. Lieutenant Arboosoff, however, understood that the natives had taken a single bidarka, with two men in it, whose heads they immediately cut off.


   In the morning of the 25th, tents were seen all along the bay; the whole of Mr. Baranoff's scattered party having arrived, except thirteen bidarkas. The manner in which the Aleutians form their tents is simple, though singular. A bidarka or boat is turned up sideways, and at the distance of four or five feet, two sticks, one opposite to the head and the other to the stern, are driven into the ground, on the tops of which a-cross stick is fastened. The oars are then laid along from the boat to the cross stick, and covered with seal skins, which are always at hand for the purpose. Before every tent a fire is made, round which the persons belonging to the boat are continually employed in roasting or boiling, and especially in the morning.
   As we shall have frequent occasion to make mention of the hunting party, it will not be amiss to give the reader an idea of what sort of persons it was composed. It was formed of the inhabitants of different places; for instance, Alasca, Cadiack, Kenay, or Cook's River, and the Choohaches, or people of Prince William's Sound. When it first set off from Yacootat, or Behring's Bay, it consisted of four hundred bidaraks, and about nine hundred men; but there were now only three hundred and fifty bidarkas and eight hundred men, the rest of the men having been sent back to Yacootat from sickness, or having died on the voyage. The party is commanded at present by thirty-six toyons, who are subordinate to the Russians, in the service of the American Company, and receive from them their orders, They used to defend themselves with the same instruments which they employ in the hunt, such as spears and arrows; but muskets have lately been distributed amongst them by Mr. Baranoff.


   During the 27th and preceding day, our ship was filled with these Aleutians. I treated them all with a degree of hospitality, and regaled their toyons with brandy in my cabin. Their imagination was so struck with every thing they saw on board, that they left the ship with the persuasion that I must be the richest man in the world.
   In the afternoon we were invited by the Choohaches to see their dances on shore. These people were curiously dressed, and had their heads powdered, like the twelve men we saw on the 31st ultimate, with small feathers and down. They advanced to meet us, singing as they came. Every man had an oar in his hand, except the toyon, who was dressed in an old cloak, made of woollen cloth, had a round hat on his head, and marched by the side of his troop. The instant we met them, they formed a ring, and began their dance; which consisted of writhing and twisting of the body into various forms, every one, as he Chose, accompanying the distortions with singing, or beating on an old broken kettle. They at length worked themselves up to such a pitch of frenzy, that the scene to us became frightful, while to the native spectators this was the moment of rapture. On the termination of this curious amusement, I ordered some tobacco to be distributed among the performers, and returned to my ship but little gratified with what I had seen.
   Towards fevening, the vessel that had been sent to sea on the 23d, returned with the remnant of Mr. Baranoff's hunters; and our whole force being now collected together, we determined to attack our enemy, the Sitcans, without farther delay, unless they consented to our forming quietly a second settlement amongst them.


   Accordingly, on the 28th towards noon, we moved out of Cross Bay. The weather was so calm, that our ships were obliged to be towed till ten in the evening, when we anchored for the night, at a short distance from the old settlement of the Sitcans. The Neva could not have reached this station, but for the united assistance of upwards of a hundred bidarkas, which, though small in size, pulled with uncommon strength. Our equipment was not a little formidable, and seemed to have alarmed our enemies; for an extraordinary noise was heard amongst them on shore, proceeding, as we supposed, from the ceremony of shamaning, {Operation of witchcraft, by men called shamans or wizards.} which is practised by them on every important occasion.


   The next day we landed and took possession of the settlement, which was situated on a hill of a tolerable height, and well adapted for a fortification. Mr. Baranoff would, no doubt, on his first arrival in the country, have preferred this spot to the unfortunate one, where, in establishing himself, about thirty of our countrymen two years ago lost their lives, as will be related hereafter, had it not been at that time in the possession of those whose friendship he was seeking to cultivate. To ascertain whether the enemy was near, we discharged, before we landed, several guns and muskets from the ships, in different directions to places where we imagined the natives might be lying in ambush; and I sent lieutenant Arboosoff in a launch to reconnoitre the neighbouring shores. About noon, we had several field-pieces and two long six-pounders mounted on the hill, to which I gave the name of New Archangel. Shortly after, a large canoe of the enemy was observed lurking at a distance among the islands. Our launch immediately attacked it, and it blew up. With great difficulty six of its crew were saved, of whom four were very much wounded. It appeared afterwards, that this party was on its return from a place called Hoosnoff, with a supply of powder and flints. The chief was in the canoe, but had quitted it on perceiving our ships, and had returned by land to his settlement. I was sorry for this, as he was a person of consequence, and of a violent character; and by taking him we might possibly have finished our enterprise without further bloodshed. Towards evening, an ambassador arrived from the Sitcans, with amicable overtures. He was told, that we had no objection to a treaty with his countrymen, provided they would send their chiefs to agree upon the conditions; and that, if they rejected this offer, their former treachery would be punished by us with the utmost rigour. With this answer he departed in the night.
   The next morning the same ambassador returned, accompanied by another native, who, to prove the good intentions of their countrymen towards us, was sent as a hostage. They were in one canoe, and sung as they approached a sort of song of a melancholy strain. On landing, the hostage threw himself flat on his back in the shallow water, according to the custom of the country, and continued in this posture, till some of our people arrived, who were sent to lift him up, and conduct him, with his companion, into the fort; for so we called our fortified station on the top of the hill.
   The ambassador received a present of a warm dress from Mr. Baranoff, in return for an otter skin he had brought with him for that gentleman. He was then sent back with the same answer as before, that we required, as a necessary preliminary to pacification, that the chiefs themselves should come to us. At noon we saw thirty men approaching, all having fire-arms. They stopped when at the distance of a musket-shot from the fort, and commenced their parley; which, however, was quickly terminated, as they would not agree to a proposal made by Mr. Baranoff, that we should be permitted to keep perpetual possession of the place at present occupied by us, and that two other respectable persons should be given as hostages. On the conclusion of this interview, the savages, who were sitting, rose up, and after singing out three several times Oo, oo, oo! meaning End, end, end! retired in military order. However, they were given to understand by our interpreters, that we should instantly move our ships close to their fort (for their settlement was fortified by a wooden fence, as represented in Plate II), and they would have no one to reproach but themselves for any consequences which might ensue.

October 1st.

   On the 1st of October we carried this menace into execution, by forming a line with four of our ships before the settlement. I then ordered a white flag to be hoisted on board the Neva, and presently we saw a similar one on the fort of the enemy. Prom this circumstance, I was not without hope that something would yet occur that might prevent bloodshed; but finding no advances on their part, I ordered the several ships to fire into, the fort. A launch and a jolly-boat, armed with a four-pounder, under the command of lieutenant Arboosoff, were then sent to destroy the canoes on the beach, some of which were of sufficient burthen to carry sixty men each, and to set lire to a large barn, not far from the shore, which I suspected to contain stores. Lieutenant Arboosoff, finding he could do but little execution from the boats, landed, and taking with him the four-pounder, advanced towards the fort. Mr. Baranoff, who was then on board the Neva, seeing this, ordered some field-pieces to be landed, and, with about a hundred and fifty men, went himself on shore to the aid of the lieutenant. The savages kept perfectly quiet till dark, except that now and then a musket was fired off. This stillness was mistaken by Mr. Baranoff; and, encouraged by it, he ordered the fort to be stormed: a proceeding, however, that had nearly proved fatal to the expedition; for as soon as the enemy perceived our people close to their walls, they collected in a body, and fired upon them with an order and execution that surprised us. The Aleutians, who, with the aid of some of the Company's servants, were drawing the guns along, terrified at so unexpected a reception, took to their heels; while the commanders, left with a mere handful of men belonging to my ship, judged it prudent to retire and endeavour to save the guns. The natives, seeing this, rushed out in pursuit of them; but our sailors behaved so gallantly, that, though almost all wounded, they brought off the field-pieces in safety. In this affair, out of my own ship alone, a lieutenant, a master's mate, a surgeon's mate, a quarter-master, and ten sailors of the sixteen who accompanied them, were wounded, and two killed; and if I had not covered this unfortunate retreat with my cannon, not a man could probably have been saved. Of the two that were killed, one was immediately exhibited to our view on the spears of the barbarians. Mr. Baranoff, who proposed the attack, was himself also wounded in the arm.
   This business, which terminated about six o'clock in the evening, disquieted us considerably; and though, from the stillness of our enemies during the night, we inferred, that they had suffered perhaps more than ourselves, it afforded us but slender consolation.


   The next morning one of my wounded sailors died; and I received a note from Mr. Baranoff, who had retired the preceding evening to his fort on shore, informing me, that he was unable to come to me, on account of his arm; begging me, at the same time, to take upon myself the future management of the contest with the Sitcans, and to act in it as my judgment might dictate. In consequence of this request, I resorted to the plan I wished at first should have been adopted, that of annoying the enemy from the ships, and I instantly ordered a brisk discharge of guns on the fort. This proceeding had the desired effect; or, at least so far brought the Sitcans to their senses, that in the afternoon they sent to sue for peace, offering to place in our hands some of their best families as hostages, and to deliver up all the Ca-diack people, who, at different times, had been taken prisoners by them. I received this overture amicably; but insisted at the same time, among other things, that none of their canoes should quit the place where they were stationed, till the conditions of it, on their part, were fulfilled.
   Before it was dark, a youth was sent as a hostage, and the rest, it was said, would follow the next day. This youth proved to be of importance to us, as by his means we became acquainted with the number of toyons or chiefs that were in the settlement, as well as with the state of their provisions and ammunition, and how many muskets and guns they possessed. I was the more anxious about this last article, as our rigging had been much damaged by them. Though appearances were favourable, we kept a good look-out during the night, aware of the treacherous character of the enemy; but nothing material occurred.


   On the 3d a white flag was hoisted by the natives; and, in the course of the day, other hostages were sent on board. I was, however, obliged occasionally to fire on the fort, as individuals were seen picking up our exhausted shot, that lay on the beach, which was contrary to the stipulations we had made.


   The next day we received three more hostages, and a Cadiack man and two women. Understanding from these last, that there were still some ill-disposed toyons in the fort, we demanded hostages also on their part. In the afternoon Mr. Baranoff came on board; and, after consulting together, we resolved as the last and most essential preliminary to a treaty, to insist on a surrender of the fort. This demand was accordingly made towards evening, on purpose that the natives might have time, during the night, to reflect upon so important a point, and be able to give us their answer in the morning: and to show how much we were in earnest, I moved my ship still closer to the settlement. While these things were going on, our Aleutians had not been indolent; on the contrary, they had over-run the woods in all directions, plundering whatever they could find. In one place they discovered a considerable hoard of woollen cloth, and as much dried fish as would have loaded a hundred and fifty bidarkas. {The inhabitants of Sitca Sound, always conceal in the woods such things as they do not immediately want, to prevent their being stolen, which would be the case if they kept them in their houses. The cloth mentioned above, had been furnished by ships of the United States, from which they derive large supplies of various other articles.}


   In the morning of the 5th, we received two hostages more; one of whom, a Cadiack girl, informed us, that the enemy had sent to the inhabitants of Hoosnoff, to solicit assistance. On hearing this, we dispatched our interpreter to demand the surrender of the fort immediately: he returned, however, with an evasive answer; and several other embassies were exchanged, which terminated in our consenting to wait till the next day, when the chief toyon promised to evacuate the fort with all his people.


   In the morning, having hoisted anew the white flag, we sent to inquire if the inhabitants were ready to quit the place; and received for answer, that they were only waiting for high-water. At noon, observing the flood to be at its height, and that no preparations were made on the part of the natives to perform their promise, our interpreter was ordered to hail them; and as they made no reply, I recommenced my fire, believing they were merely protracting the time till a reinforcement should arrive. I ordered also a float or raft to be made, on which our guns could be conveyed quite close under the fort. During the day we took two large canoes, one of which belonged to the old man# who, like another Charon (a name by which we called him), had in general brought the hostages to us. Shortly after, he came himself oo board to demand his canoe, assuring me that just as he was quitting the fort, it had accidentally got loose and floated away. Knowing that he was telling me a falsehood, I refused his demand, and advised him to go back and persuade his countrymen to evacuate the fort as soon as possible, if they valued their safety. He consented to this; and added, that if they complied with our wishes, it would be made known to us in the night, by their singing out, Oo, oo, oo!
   About eight o'clock in the evening our ears were saluted with this cry, which we immediately answered with an hurrah; after which followed, on the part of the savages, a song, expressing, that now only the Sitca people could reckon themselves free from danger.
   When morning came, I observed a great number of crows hovering about the settlement. I sent on shore to ascertain the cause of this; and the messenger returned with the news that the natives had quitted the fort during the night, leaving in it, alive, only two old women and a little boy. It Appears that, judging of us by themselves, they imagined that we were capable of the same perfidiousness and cruelty; and that if they had come out openly in their boats, as had been proposed, we should have fallen upon them in revenge for their past behaviour. They had therefore preferred running into the woods, leaving many things behind, which, from their haste, they had not been able to take away. By this unexpected flight we obtained a supply of provisions for our hunters, and upwards of twenty large canoes, many of which were quite new. Mr. Baranoff ordered the fort to be completely destroyed; to effect which, three hundred men were sent on shore, with a sufficient guard, under an officer from my ship.


   It was on the 8th that the fate of Sitca Fort was decided. After every thing that could be of use was removed out of it, it was. burned to the ground. Upon my entering it, before it was set on fire, what anguish did I feel, when 1 saw, like a second massacre of innocents, numbers of young children lying together murdered, lest their cries, if they had been borne away with their cruel parents, should have led to a discovery of the retreat to which they were flying! There were also several dogs, that, for the same reason, had experienced the same fate;- O man, man! of what cruelties is not thy nature, civilised or uncivilised, capable?- But I turn from this scene of horror to pursue my narrative.


   The fort was an irregular square, its longest side looking towards the sea. It was constructed of wood, so thick and strong, that the shot from my guns could not penetrate it at the short distance of a cable's length. As represented in Plate II., it had a door, a, and two holes, b, for cannon in the side facing the sea, and two large gates, c, in the sides towards the wood. Within were fourteen houses, or barabaras, d, as they are called by the natives. Judging from the quantity of dried fish, and other sorts of provision, and the numerous empty boxes and domestic implements which we found, it must have contained at least eight hundred male inhabitants.
   We have reason to believe, from information we obtained, that the chief cause of their flight was the want of powder and ball; and that, if these had not failed them, they would have defended themselves to the last extremity. By this fortunate termination of the contest, we added two small cannon to our artillery, and we picked up about a hundred of our exhausted shot.


   Upon returning the next day to the fort of New Archangel, we estimated our loss at six Russians, and a few Aleutians, who had been kilted.
   Had the plan which I suggested been followed, of molesting the enemy from the ships, cutting off their supply of fresh water, and hindering them from having communication with the sea, I am persuaded that our wishes would have been obtained without the sacrifice of a single man. But Mr. Baranoff was anxious to terminate the affair quickly; and that anxiety led him into the error, of placing too much reliance in the bravery of his people, who had never been engaged in a warfare of this kind before.


   From the 10th to the 15th of the month, the weather was so bad, that we could hardly do any thing on board; we however persevered in Carrying on the buildings on shore. With respect to the Sitcan troop who had fled, we were wholly ignorant what had become of them, though our fishermen and hunters were dispersed almost every where.
   For some time we had been able to catch no fish but the halibut Those of this species, however, which we caught were fine, some of them weighing eighteen stone, and were of an excellent flavour. This fish abounds here from the month of March to the month of November, when it retires from the coast till the winter is at an end. The natives catch it with a wooden hook, twelve inches long (Plate I. Fig. d).
   Between the 15th and the 21st our sportsmen killed five sea lions; the largest of which weighed a hundred and fifty-seven stone, and the others from a hundred and thirty to ninety stone each. The flesh of this animal, in taste, a little resembles beef, and may be eaten in cases of necessity; the kidneys, the tongue, the lips, and the fins or feet, were extremely good.


   Oh the 21st, one of our fishermen was shot from the woods; which proved, notwithstanding the peace which had been agreed upon, that the enmity of the natives was still unsubdued. But this was no matterof surprise to us: for what faith as to treaties, or what reliance as to humanity, was to be placed in men, who had coldly shed the blood of their own helpless and unoffending offspring?


   A few days after this unfortunate event, our old Charon came on board the Neva, not on the part of his former friends of Sitca, but from the people of Hoosnoff, who had sent him with assurances of their friendship towards us. He brought, as presents, two sea-otter skins, and received several articles of equal value in return, with a friendly declaration on our part, that We should be happy to live on terms of amity with all our neighbours, and with the good people of Hoosnoff especially. This venerable ambassador, on receiving so favourable an answer, immediately, like the wily snake, unfolded himself; and, in a speech of some length, requested, in behalf of those who had sent him, that they might be permitted to make war against and subjugate the Sitcans, who did not deserve to be Considered as an independent people. They were indeed, he said, held in such contempt by his countrymen - for he was himself a native of Hoosnoff, but had married a woman of Sitca - that the very name was used by them as a term of reproach: and he gave as an instance of this, that if a Hoosnoff child committed a fault, he was told, by way of reprimand, that he was as great a blockhead as a Sitcan.
   Though not wholly ignorant of the character of savages, I confess I was astonished at this, proposal from a people, who allied to their neighbours by the tie of frequent marriages; ought, at least, to be on terms of good fellowship, if unwilling to acknowledge then, as brethren of the same cast. But these are principles not to be found among uncivilised nations, with whom every where power is the governing principle; and which is carried to such an extent here, that a conquered tribe is assailed by every one, to extermination; and slaves are made of prisoners, though the persons who have taken them shall be their nearest kindred.
   Though the zeal of this ambassador was great, his speech failed of its intended effect; and the same answer, of general amity, was given him as before. When, however, he was informed of one of our fishermen having been lately shot, he would hardly allow us to finish our story, before he broke forth again, urging us more vehemently than before to give permission for this mad race, as he called them, to be destroyed; and he now recited their history, to convince us how insignificant a people they had been, even from their origin. He told us, that in a small bay near our old settlement, there formerly lived two youths, who were brothers: that it was not known from whence they sprung, and yet they bad every thing they wanted in abundance: that one day walking together along the shore, the younger brother, whose name was Chat, found a sea vegetable, resembling a prickly cucumber, which he tasted: that the elder, on seeing this, told him he had eaten of a forbidden fruit, the consequence of which would be, that the present abundance they enjoyed would cease, and they would be obliged thenceforward to labour for their subsistence: that they then began to lament their misfortune, and gave themselves up to grief: that shortly after, some inhabitants of Stahin, a people residing beyond the Admiralty Islands, happening to visit this spot, would have made slaves of the two youths; but they represented to them their poor and fatherless state, and begged that their liberty might be granted them, and they might be allowed to take some of the women of their country in marriage, who would teach them how to conduct themselves in the world: that the Stahinians complying with their wishes, they had afterwards many children, and were thus the founders of the Sitca nation. {Notwithstanding the account given, by this old Hoosooff, of the insignificant character of the Sitcans; I had many proofs, in the course of our treaty with them, of their being a shrewd and bold, though a perfidious, people. Their toyons were often eloquent, and used very sublime expressions. They swore by their ancestors, by relatives living and dead, and called heaven, earth, the sun, moon, and stars to witness for them, particularly when they meant to deceive.}
   I am induced to give this narrative, from its near resemblance to our own history of the first human being committing the first crime.
   Since our arrival at the fort of New Archangel, we had seldom any reason to complain of the weather; but, at the close of the month, it changed considerably: the mountains were covered with snow, and the morning air was extremely sharp.

Nov. 2d.

   From the 2d to the 9th, the northern lights were observed almost every night; and the thermometer, during that period, never rose above the freezing point.
   Having, as far as was in my power, succeeded in the object for which I left Cadiack, I took leave of Mr. Baranoff to return to that island, where I hoped to find the repose that was necessary both for myself and my people.





   Particulars of our Run from Sitca to Cadiack. Moor the Ship for the Winter. Winter Amusements. State of the Weather. Set out to explore the eastern Part of Cadiack. Settlement of Ihack. Conversation with the Chief. New volcanic Island. Visited by an old Shaman, or Wizard. Bay of Ihack. Bay of Kiluden, and Settlement of Oohasheck. Land at a Settlement that has only Women and Children. Curiosities at Dranker's Bay. Harbour of Three-Saints. Fugitive Settlement. Account of Mr. Shelechoff. Huts appropriated for Women. Curiosities at Cape Bay. Tea and Supper in a Barabara. Stupidity of the Aleutians. Singular Custom on the Death of Relatives. Tame Eagle. Mountain tumbled into the Sea by an Earthquake. Straits of Sulthidack. Female Surgeqn. Return to the Harbour of St. Paul. Explore the western Part of Cadiack. Account of Cook's River. Intelligence respecting the Russian Settlement of Nooscka.

1804. Nov. 10th.

   We set sail on the 10th of November, with light breezes, and at eight o'clock in the evening passed Cape Edgecumbe. In coming out of the Sound we were becalmed three times. The wind, however, at length enabled us to gain the open sea, and then blew so fresh frdrn the east, varying occasionally to south-east, till the 13th, that our run, during that period, was at the rate of eight miles an hour.


   On the 14th, in the morning, Evrashechey Island and Cape Chiniatskoy were in sight. About noon, the wind became contrary, and blew with such violence, that we were obliged to wear the ship every two hours, till evening, when it became more moderate, and allowed us to steer to the north-east. In the night it shifted to east-south-east, when I brought the ship's head to the southward. As soon as it was light we saw the island of Oohack; and, as the weather cleared up, we were able to approach the harbour of St. Paul. In consequence of the buoys having been taken away, we got a-ground in the Passage; but we sustained no damage, and were soon at anchor in the; very station where; we had been moored on arriving from Europe. The next day, having unrigged the; vessel, and secured her for the winter, we disembarked, and took up our quarters on shore.
   The reader may easily conceive haw happy we now were; and will no doubt agree with us, that, after having been so long at sea, and especially after the late disagreeable adventures, even a barren land was preferable to the best vessel in the world. The settlement of St Paul, however, small in extent, and with few civilised inhabitants, it may well be supposed, could afford us little occupation or amusement, during the five months of winter which we should have to stay in it. Something of this kind it was my duty to discover, the better to render my people orderly, contented, and healthy. Shooting and fishing were obvious resources. During the festival of Christmas, I employed them in constructing two immense ice hills, so large and of so gradual an ascent, that they could take with them a sledge to the top, and, placing themselves in it, slide to the bottom. This, though a common amusement in Russia, was new to the people of Gadiack, and especially to the Aleutians, who came from all parts to enjoy the

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