Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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VANCOUVER, George, English navigator, born in 1758; died near London, England, 10 May, 1798. He entered the British navy, joining the "Resolution," under Captain Cook, in 1771, and served as midshipman in Cook's second voyage (1772-'5), and on his third voyage (1776-'80), when that commander lost his life. In December of that year he was made lieutenant, and appointed to the sloop "Martin," on board which he continued till he was removed to the " Fame," one of Lord Rodney's fleet, in the West Indies. In 1784 he was appointed to the station in Jamaica, sailed in the "Europe," and was there till the vessel returned to England in September, 1789. Vancouver, in 1791, was appointed to command a squadron and sent to the northwest coast of North America, with instructions first to visit the Sandwich islands, then go to Nootka, where, in 1792, with mutual concessions on the part of the Spanish government and the court of St. James, a matter in dispute was amicably arranged; and, further, to make an accurate survey of the coast from the 30th degree of north latitude northward, in order to find if there were any waterways, by inlets, rivers, or lakes, between that coast and Canada, or any passage frown the North Pacific to the Atlantic ocean. His careful survey occupied the summers of 1792-'3, the intervening winter being spent in completing the examination of the Sandwich group. In 1794 he returned to the American coast and surveyed it as far as Cook's inlet, on the completion of which he was promoted to post-captain. Then he sailed along the western coast of South America, doubled Cape Horn, and returned to Britain, reaching the Shannon in September, 1795. The greater part of the surveys was performed in boats, but his constitution was undermined by the service. His training, under Captain Cook manifested itself in the same enforcement of discipline and in the same care for the health and comfort of his crew that had characterized that great commander. Vancouver's island was named in his honor. From that time till his death he was occupied in the preparation of his journals for publication. All the charts were completed, the narrative printed and corrected almost to the end of the third volume, and what little remained was prepared for the press by his brother John. The "Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World" was published by the government (3 vols., London, 1798), with an atlas.
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