The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 9
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Early Sentiment for Annexation of California
rumors and Prevost's official report exerted upon the enunciation
of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 has not yet been accurately
determined, but it is certain that the Russian colony at Ross lent
color to the fear of a much farther advance to the south; and
served also as a strong argument for the establishment of Ameri-
can settlements in Oregon.21
Beginning of overland immigration.-Thus by degrees the far off
Spanish province on the Pacific was brought to the attention
of the American people not merely through the agency of com-
merce, but, in an equally effective way, through the danger to
which it was exposed of passing into the hands of a powerful
European nation. A third agency, beginning somewhat later than
either of those just named, but operating in a similar manner,
was the overland communication with California established by
hunters and trappers, and the subsequent immigration that nat-
urally followed from the Western states.
Jedediah Smith.-Two of these early journeys deserve special
attention. In August, 1826, Jedediah S. Smith, a native of Con-
necticut,22 who had been for some years associated with Ashley
in the fur trade and was at this time a partner in the Rocky
Mountain Fur Company, left the company's post near the Great
Salt Lake and after four months' travel reached San Diego with
his band of fifteen men. Here Smith was arrested by the Cal-
ifornia authorities, who demanded passports, in accordance with
the Mexican law, from all strangers. His imprisonment did not
last long, however, as he soon found a sponsor for his good
behavior in an American sea captain by the name of Cunning-
ham, whose ship, the Courier, chanced to be in the harbor.
Upon his release, Smith, in spite of the commands of the
San Diego authorities that he leave the province, seems to have
wandered pretty much as he pleased through the Sacramento and
San Joaquin Valleys, being prevented from crossing the Sierra
2Report of the Committee on the Occupation of the Columbia River,
Jan. 25, 1821. Annals of Congress, XXXVII, 955-6. The report men-
tioned the military defences of Ross, the dominating position of Russia in
Europe and Asia; and called attention to the fact that Spain's territory
in North America lay wholly open to the access of Russia and was ex-
posed to her "fearful weight of power."
"Hiram Martin Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West
(New York. Harper. 1902), I, 252.
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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/m1/15/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.