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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MEARES, John, English navigator, born in England in 1746; died in London, England, in 1801. He became a sailor, and, after making many voyages to Newfoundland, Labrador, and Greenland, he entered the navy in 1776, served against the French in the West Indies, and became captain in the merchant service after the peace of 1783. He then went to India, where he formed the Northwest America company for opening trade with Russian America, and sailed from Calcutta on 12 March, 1786, in the "Nootka," a vessel of two hundred tons, with which he explored part of the coast of Alaska. Meeting with little success in trade with the Russians, he returned to China by way of the Sandwich islands. He then fitted out a new expedition of two vessels with which he sailed from Typa on 22 January, 1788, explored Nootka sound, which he entered in May, 1789, and reconnoitred the neighboring coasts, of which he took possession in the name of the crown. He reached Macao on 5 December, 1789. Captain Meares's discoveries form the chief basis upon which the British title to Oregon and British Columbia was based. He published "Voyages in the Years 1788-'9 from China to the Northwest Coast of America" (London, 1790).
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