A creditable account of an important segment of early American seafaring details the voyage that resulted in the discovery of the Columbia River and focusses particularly on the role of Captain Robert Grey of the Lady Washington. In 1787 Grey and Kendrick, as captain of the Columbia and chief of the expedition, set out on a trip around the world that had political as well as economic purposes, for the United States, as a young country, was ready to play for a real position in the shipping world. Part of the expedition's task was to go north to get furs for the China trade, and this they did with the aid of Cook's maps. But all was not hard work, excitement and tough sailing. The character of Kendrick had to be reckoned with too for he had a temperament and a thirst. Grey's attempts to get on with him were sincere but fruitless and Grey ended up as chief, the man whose entry into the mouth of the Columbia, which had hitherto been hidden by fog, opened up a new business empire. Serious and attentive also to the many side episodes with the Indians, the Spanish and the British who had already planted their seed in the northwest.