Distant Dominion: Britain and the Northwest Coast of North America, 1579-1809

By Barry M. Gough | Go to book overview

1
Tyranny of Distance

Through or over the deathless feud
of the cobra sea and the mongoose
wind you must fare to reach us.
Through hiss and throttle come,
by a limbo of motion humbled,
under cliffs of cloud
and over the shark's blue home.
Across the undulations of this slate
long pain and sweating courage chalked
such names as glimmer yet.

EARLE BIRNEY, PACIFIC DOOR

From Tudor times until late in the nineteenth century, the Northwest Coast of North America was for the British the ocean's farthest shore. Though girdled by mountains and approachable only by sea via Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope, that remote shore was of compelling interest to explorers, merchant traders, scientists, and governments. Its resources and lands spawned an international rivalry dating from the sixteenth century that had important consequences in establishing political boundaries on the Pacific coast of North America and in changing the lives of native inhabitants—Indians, Aleuts, and Eskimos.

The Northwest Coast was a dominion, a future sphere of empire, whose distance at once shaped its development and kept it secret from the wider world until the late eighteenth century. Fifteen hundred years before this the Chinese had known of "Fousang." They called it the country of the extreme east. 1 But they chose not to pursue their discoveries across the Pacific and instead contented themselves with an active maritime commerce in their own immediate seas.

Even if the Chinese had possessed the deep-water capability to cross the Pacific, they might not have had the will to establish long-lasting contact with the Northwest Coast. A few trans-Pacific voyages would be insufficient in themselves to establish permanent trade and, in turn, sovereignty on the ocean's opposite shore. However, by the late eighteenth century, European maritime technology was sufficiently developed to enable traders and rulers to undertake expeditions to trade half a world away or to explore any of the ocean's far frontiers.

Yet the sheer size of the Pacific, one-third of the world's surface, was often enough to deter regular commerce. At 165,000,000 square kilometres the Pacific

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Distant Dominion: Britain and the Northwest Coast of North America, 1579-1809
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Distant Dominion - Britain and the Northwest Coast of North America, 1579-1809 *
  • Contents *
  • Photographic Credits *
  • Illustrations *
  • Preface *
  • 1: Tyranny of Distance *
  • 2: Pacific Probes *
  • 3: Cook's Reconnaissance *
  • 4: Spanning the Pacific *
  • 5: The Fortune Seekers *
  • 6: Beachhead of Empire *
  • 7: Imperial Dreams and False Starts *
  • 8: Conflicts of Ambition *
  • 9: Dealing with the Dons *
  • 10: The Surveyor-Diplomats *
  • 11: The Overlanders *
  • Epilogue *
  • Abbreviations *
  • Notes *
  • Note on Sources *
  • Select Bibliography *
  • Index *
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 190

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.