JANE, Cecil




Author Tags: 1700-1800, Maritime, Spanish

Cecil Jane was the English translator of an important but uncredited Spanish manuscript, republished in English from Spanish archives, as A Spanish Voyage to Vancouver and the North-West Coast of America Being the Narrative of the Voyage Made in the Year 1792 by the Schooners Sutil and Mexicana to Explore the Strait of Fuca. It was originally printed in Spanish, in Madrid in 1802, by Martin Fernandez de Navarrete. The anonymous narrative is generally considered to be written an officer on the Sutil, possibly its cartographer. It is important to British Columbia coastal history for its reference to Juan de Fuca.

The narrator states, "Down to the year 1789, the only information which we possessed of Juan de Fuca Strait was the confused account of its discovery in 1592, left by the Greek pilot who gave it his name. Don Esteban Martínez, Ensign in the navy, when he was in Nootka after having taken possession of the harbour in the name of His Majesty, related that in 1774, on his return from his expedition to the north, he sighted what appeared to be a very wide sound at 48 degrees 20 minutes, and that, thinking that this might be the entry discovered by Fuca, he sent a second pilot, in command of the schooner Gertrudis, to ascertain whether or not the strait existed. The pilot eventually returned with the report that he had found an entry, twenty-one miles broad, the middle point of which lay at 48 degreees 30 minutes north and 19 degrees 28 minutes west of San Blas."

This narration strongly suggests the 1774 voyage of Juan Perez, upon which Martínez served as second-in-command, had recognized the entrance to Juan de Fuca as it had been first described in print by Samuel Purchas who, in turn, was relaying the verbal account of Juan de Fuca himself. [See Juan de Fuca entry]

BOOKS:

Anonymous. A Spanish Voyage to Vancouver and the North-West Coast of America Being the Narrative of the Voyage Made in the Year 1792 by the Schooners Sutil and Mexicana to Explore the Strait of Fuca (London: The Argonaut Press, 1930; Amsterdam, New York: Da Capo Press, 1970). Translated and introduced by Cecil Jane.

[BCBW 2005] "Spanish" "1700-1800" "Maritime"