The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 8
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8 The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ever, the presence of the Russians in California began to excite
comment in the United States and to receive a certain amount
of official attention. On November 11, 1818, J. B. Prevost, a
special commissioner of the United States government to the
Pacific Coast, wrote from "Monte Rey, New California," that the
Spanish authority was threatened by the Russian Czar whose
colony had already been planted close to San Francisco, a harbor
that, ranking among "the most convenient, extensive and safe"
ports of the world, was nevertheless "wholly without defense and
in the neighborhood of a feeble, diffused and disaffected popu-
In the following year a rumor spread that Spain had ceded to
Russia a strip of territory on the Pacific Coast 800 miles long,
in return for assistance furnished in the expeditions against the
revolutionists of Lima and Buenos Ayres.1" In the St. Louis
Enquirer an unknown writer (perhaps Senator Benton) issued
a warning against the "Progress of the Russian Empire." well
calculated to arouse the apprehension of those to whom Russia,
as a member of the Holy Alliance and a rival in the northwest
trade, was already an object of sufficient distrust.
"Looking to the east for everything," said the article, "Americans
have failed to notice the advance of the Russians on the Pacific
Coast until they have succeeded in pushing their settlements as
far south as Bodega. Their policy is merely the extension of the
policy of Peter the Great and Catherine. Alexander is occupied
with a scheme worthy of his vast ambition. . . . The acqui-
sition of the gulf and peninsula of California and the Spanish
claim to North America. . . . We learn this not from diplo-
matic correspondence, but from American fur traders who learn
it from the Russian traders now protected by the Emperor in
carrying off our furs !"20 How strong an influence these public
man, California under Spain and Mecico (Boston and New York. Hough-
ton, Mifflin Company. 1911), 191-201, passim.
"Prevost to Adams, in Documents transmitted to the House of Repre-
sentatives, Jan. 24, 1823. American State Papers, Miscellaneous, II,
1008-9; Annals of Congress, XL, 1209-10.
"gNews brought to Canton by a Russian frigate. Cruise of the Dale,
3]; reported also in Niles' Register, XVI, 237, May 29, 1819; XVII, 232,
Dec. 11, 1819.
20Reprinted in Niles' Register, XVI, 361, July 24, 1819.
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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/m1/14/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.