Captain George Vancouver Collection – Items from the Cook Inlet
1798 A Voyages of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World. Volume III. London: Printed for G.G. and J. Robinson, Paternoster-Row; and J. Edwards, Pall-Mall.
Excerpt from Mr. Puget’s account of the Chatham from March and April, 1794. The Chatham pulled in to the bay North of Cape Elizabeth and Elisabeth Island while seeking protection against a snowstorm and violent seas. In this bay, which was later named Port Chatham after the boat, they were visited by 26 people and met a Russian by the name of “Mallacha”. The latter was most likely Vassilii Malakhov in charge of the Shelikov-Golikov Company Fort at Alexandrovsk that is contemporary Nanwalek.
“The wind in the morning had much abated of its fury, but the fall of snow and the severity of the frost still continued. This inclemency of the weather did not prevent the visits of the natives. About twenty-six of these good people, in small skin canoes, approached the Chatham with some little caution. All the party, excepting one canoe, stopped at the entrance of the harbour until this one had to reconnoitred, who meeting with an agreeable reception, the appointed signal was made, and the others without further hesitation instantly repaired alongside, and were admitted on board (P. 129).
Their conduct was exactly similar to that of their northern neighbors who had visited the Discovery, all their actions are directed by the strictest honesty; the most implicit confidence was reposed in all their dealings, and in no one instance did they abuse the indulgences that were shown to them. They were very eager, expert, and clever in all their commercial dealings. They bartered away their garments, weapons, fishing-tackle, and ornaments in great variety, but neither offered, nor appeared to have any furs for sale. Their various articles derfs,&c. were exchanged principally for spoons and beads, and these people placed but little value on iron or copper. Many of them spoke the Russian language, and from what could be inferred from the conversation and signs, it should appear that they are much attached to the people of the nation (P. 130).”
Transcription of catalog entry:
Presented by A.W. Franks Esp. 16 March. 1891 [Hewett.] Van 193 N.W. Coast of America. Alaska.
Flat egg-shaped piece of leather with an almond-shaped aperture cut out of the centre. It is ornamented on one side with emery paper (black) with quill-work in red & white following the outline. From the broader end depend three pendants of white skin, each terminating in a pair of puffin’s beaks? Round edges traces of hair or bristles.
Cook’s River. [Inlet.]
“Feather Cap” D. 5 ¾ M.S. Cat 164