By Robert Galois
The magazine of James Colnett is the final unpublished account of the early maritime fur exchange at the Northwest Coast. among 1786 and 1789, Colnett’s excursion traversed the coast from Prince William Sound to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Its contributors have been the 1st Europeans to come across the Tsimshian and the southern Heiltsuk, and the 1st to land at the southern Queen Charlotte Islands. The magazine is reproduced with complete scholarly gear, in addition to with extracts from a moment magazine via Andrew Bracey Taylor, third mate on one of many ships in Colnett’s command. concentrating on the expedition’s notable encounters with the local peoples of the Northwest Coast, Galois’ introductory essay additionally addresses the geopolitical context of the voyage and the highbrow historical past that formed the writing of the journals. This interesting account provides us a brand new figuring out of early ecu presence within the Northwest and of local responses to those advancements. it is going to curiosity historians, geographers, and ethnographers of the Northwest Coast and past.
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Extra info for A voyage to the North West Side of America: the Journals of James Colnett, 1786-89
176 Enlightened Encounters? Enlightenment attitudes towards indigenous peoples were complex, shifting, and in some respects contradictory. For a time, optimism and the desire for knowledge meant that exotic societies could be viewed sympathetically, as sources of information and even moral lessons. R. Foster in his account of Cook’s second voyage. Mankind, he thought, ought to be considered as the members of one great family; therefore let us not despise any of them, though they be our inferiors in regard to many improvements and points of civilization; none of them is so dispicable that he should not, in some point or other, know more than the wisest man of the most polished nation.
After spending a week trying to “beat round the Cape,” and with scurvy threatening on board, Colnett decided to “seek a port” on the eastern shore. This turned out to be Kildidt Sound, where the Prince of Wales anchored on 4 August. Located a little to the south of the areas examined by the boats from Calamity Harbour in 1787, Colnett was again in unfamiliar territory. Over the next two weeks, some visitors were received, and one boat expedition dispatched. Neither produced much Voyage of the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal | 17 in the way of trade.
Names were permanent; individuals were temporary holders of the names. In theory, then, the “names” recorded by traders such as Colnett should be traceable in the ethnographic literature. In some areas, the ranking system extended between house groups and even embraced larger political units. While the house group/lineage was the maximal political unit in some parts of the coast, the pattern was not uniform. Among the Tsimshian, for example, there were tribes – usually the population of a single winter village.