||Portlock, Nathaniel, 1748?-1817
||A Voyage Round the World; But More Particularly to the North-West Coast of America: Performed in 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, in the King George and Queen Charlotte, Captains Portlock and Dixon
||Portlock, Nathaniel. Voyage Round the World; But More Particularly to the Northwest Coast of America: Performed in 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, in the King George and Queen Charlotte, Captains Portlock and Dixon. Embellished with Twenty Copper-Plates. Dedicated, by Permission, to His Majesty. (London: John Stockdale and George Goulding, 1789).
||456 / 27 (6 of tables)
Nathaniel Portlock (1748?-1817) joined the British navy at
the age of twenty-four, and was chosen as a junior officer on Captain
third voyage, the first to encounter Hawaii (see AJ-130). With
him on that trip was another young British officer, George
Dixon, and in 1785 the two of them traveled to the north Pacific
again. Portlock commanded this 1785-1788 expedition from the
ship King George while Dixon captained the Queen
Charlotte. The purpose of the expedition was to investigate
the potential of the Alaskan fur trade and to resume Cook’s
search for a Northwest Passage through the continent.
Expedition of 1785-1788
The pair left England on August 29, 1785, and took nearly a
year to reach Alaska, rounding Cape Horn and touching at Hawaii
on the way. They charted the Alaskan coast until winter forced
them back to Hawaii. In the spring of 1787 they headed north
again, reaching the Kenai Peninsula from which Dixon explored
southward while Portlock traded for furs. They wintered again in
Hawaii before turning west to China to sell their furs, arriving
home in England via the Cape of Good Hope on August 24, 1788.
Portlock published his account of the voyage, from which we
have excerpted the Hawaii and North American portions, in 1789.
Dixon produced his own version of the trip, co-authored with
William Beresford, under virtually the same title in the same
Other Internet and Reference Sources
For more descriptions of the Pacific coast in these years,
see AJ-087 (Choris), AJ-110 (Menzies), AJ-130 (Cook), AJ-131 (LaPerouse),
AJ-132 (Lisiansky), AJ-134 (Vancouver), and AJ-137 (Suria).
Useful background on all these voyages is provided by the
online exhibit, “Science Under Sail: Russia's Great Voyages to
America 1728-1867” at http://www.calacademy.org/exhibits/science_under_sail/sailing.html