convergences Screen 32 | Business

        A party of six or eight canoes
came into the cove where they remained
        looking at us for some time,
                 and then retired
     without coming alongside the ships.
We supposed
          that our old friends who were
     more numerous about us
                 than these new visitors
          would not permit them
             to have intercourse with us.
We also found that
          many of the principal natives
     who lived near us carried on
          a trade with more distant tribes
     in articles they had procured from us
          for we observed that they would
frequently disappear for four or five days
     at a time, and then return
          with fresh cargoes
     of skins and curiosities, which
our people were so passionately fond of
   that they always came to a good market.
         We purchased while here
about 1500 beaver, besides other skins,
              but took none but the best,
having no thoughts at the time
    of using them to any other advantage
         than the purpose of clothing.
But it afterwards happened that the skins,
    which did not cost the purchaser
                      sixpence sterling,
     sold in China for a hundred dollars.
Neither did we purchase a quarter part
     of the beaver and other furskins
                      we might have done
     had we known of the opportunity of
                   disposing of them
         to such an astonishing profit.
The arrival and presence of the aliens changes the patterns of power, upsetting previous economic balances, intensifying rivalries, the Mooachahts isolating and insulating this unexpected source of wealth and prestige, treating the two ships as a windfall fortune, like the carcasses of whales beached by the storm.

John Webber: Ships and Canoes, Nootka Sound. Click.

They measure the distances and make their maps. The more detail they include, the longer the coastline grows. It is like writing a poem, or examining your life. Recollect each experience in infinite detail, and it will unfold endlessly.


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