SAUER, Martin




Author Tags: 1700-1800, Maritime

Born in Turnham Green, near London, around 1758, Joseph Billings served on the Discovery under Cook during his final voyage that visited Nootka Sound in 1778. Billings joined the Russian navy and was placed in charge of two Russian ships sent to secretly explore and map Siberia and Alaska. As the secretary for that Russian expedition, Martin Sauer published an account with a significant link to the famous Cook voyage to British Columbia. At Kamchatka, Billings visited the grave of Captain Clerke, the commander who first took over from Cook after Cook was killed in Hawaii. Billings' second-in-command Gavrilla Sarychev published Account of a Voyage of Discovery to the North-East of Siberia, the Frozen Ocean and the North-East Sea (St. Petersburg, 1802; London, 1806-1807 2 volumes; Amsterdam: N. Israel, 1968). This was complemented by Sauer's journal called "An Account of a Geographical and Astronomical Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia... and of the Islands to the Eastern Ocean, Stretching to the American Coast... 1785-94, performed by Commodore Joseph Billings" (London: A. Strahan, 1802; Amsterdam: N. Israel, 1968). Sauer recorded the presence of Spaniards who were trading with both Indians and Russians, sometimes serving as middlemen between the two factions.

Billings had been asked to keep tabs on the French mariner La PĂ©rouse and to investigate the feasibility of Russian settlements. After leaving Irkutsk in February of 1786, Billings spent nine years making overland treks and forays. By the time the Billings expedition had reached Cook Inlet, accompanied by the scientist Carl Merck, Russian hunters had decimated the sea otter population, severely altering the lives of the local inhabitants.

BOOKS:

An Account of a Geographical and Astronomical Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia... and of the Islands to the Eastern Ocean, Stretching to the American Coast... 1785-94, performed by Commodore Joseph Billings" (London: A. Strahan, 1802; Amsterdam: N. Israel, 1968).

[BCBW 2004] "Russian" "1700-1800" "Maritime"