The Voyage Of Nor’west John

Curiosity motivated the first American who crossed Siberia. But he also made a handsome profit.

In August, 1804, a young sea captain named John deWolf sailed from his native port of Bristol, Rhode Island, on a voyage to the Pacific. Four years were to elapse before he returned from a fabulous adventure that had taken him around the world. In the course of his trip, he had spent a year in the lonely outposts of Russian Alaska and had crossed the wastes of Siberia—a feat accomplished by no American before him, and few Europeans.

“Frozen Asset” Or Forty-ninth State?

(Congress debates acquiring Alaska, 1867)

R EPRESENTATIVE C ADWALLADER C. W ASHBURN (on whether to make an appropriation)

“All the evidence we have in regard to the country goes to show its inhospitable and worthless character.… [It] will always be a source of weakness.… It is proposed to pay $7,200,000 for a country where none but malefactors will ever live, and where we are likely to be at constant war with the savages.”

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