The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 6
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6 The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
stock of manufactures for the hides and tallow of the California
cattle. From this time on, the "Boston ships," as they were called,
plied regularly up and down the California coast, disposing of
their cargoes in all harbors from San Diego to San Francisco, and
receiving hides and tallow in return.12
The Russian advance.-By the end of the first quarter of the
century a loose connection had thus been established with Cal-
ifornia through these various mediums of trade. In addition to
this, the progress of the Russians down the coast from their
settlements in Alaska had begun to attract the attention of the
United States, even in an official way. As early as 1808, a
warning was issued against this advance by an article in the
American Register." The author, Captain Robert Shaler, having
been engaged in the Chinese trade some years before, had acquired
an intimate knowledge of the conditions in California and of
the undeveloped possibilities of the country. After describing
these, he went on to point out the feebleness of the government
and the ease with which it would become a prey to the attack of any
hostile force, dwelling especially upon the unfortified state of the
harbors. San Francisco, whose advantages were strikingly por-
trayed, was guarded by a battery which made only a "show of
defence." At Monterey conditions were no better. Santa Bar-
bara "would fall an easy conquest to the smallest ship of war."
San Diego, with all its natural facilities, had only a "sorry"
defence; while the harbors of Lower California were in an equally
forlorn condition. But not only had the Spaniards failed to
provide against the encroachments of their northern neighbors;
they had rather, according to Shaler, made such encroachment
easier by their very attempts at defensive measures, having taken
"every obstacle out of the way of an invading enemy," by stocking
the province with cattle and colonizing it with a discontented lot
"It should be noted that this commercial intercourse brought a num-
ber of Americans to the province as permanent residents. Many of these
took out naturalization papers, became large land holders, and married
wives from prominent California families. Some were of a less desirable
character-deserters and broken-down sailors from the whaling and
trading ships. Bancroft, XIX-XX, Appendix, Pioneer Register and Index.
"American Register, III, 136-175. The 'article is entitled "Journal of
a voyage between China and the northwestern coast of America made in
1804." The part dealing with California is on pages 147-161. See also
Bancroft, XIX, 23-24, note.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915, periodical, 1915; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/m1/12/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.