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Title: A Voyage of Discovery to the Southern Hemisphere
Author: Francois Peron
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1203691h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: September 2012
Date most recently updated: September 2012

Produced by: Ned Overton and Colin Choat

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PRODUCTION NOTES:

The original book was deficient in two respects: First, it had two CHAPTER Vs; This led to all chapters beyond the first CHAPTER V being renumbered by adding I. Second, neither the French original nor this translation had any illustrations. In this case, a selection of illustrations has been taken from the accompanying French edition.

The material used was a scanned image from Google; it had poor definition and blots in places, and was missing pages 48-9. These deficiencies have been remedied by scanning another copy. OCR software was used to generate the text.

Where a name of major character in the narrative (e.g. Governor Phillip) is spelled more than one one way, the correct spelling has been used. Where this has involved the inconsistent use of French accents, the unaccented version is given (e.g. F. Peron).

The few footnotes, denoted by an asterisk, are placed at the end of the paragraph in which they occur. Obvious spelling errors have been fixed, but most of the archaic usages, e.g. "surprized", have been retained where they occur; likewise "surprised" has been left unchanged.

Many geographical names are obsolete; these have not been changed, e.g. "Bay of Sea-dogs". The liberty has been taken to add a few brief explanatory comments bearing on geographical nomenclature at their first mention, to give the present names, e.g. "Shark Bay".

A few other brief salient comments have been added in square brackets.

The intention is to translate about ten pages, towards the end of the French edition, bearing on early Sydney-Town and Dr. T. Arndell, and add them to this book in the near future.


The political context, aims and achievements of this voyage of discovery, led by Commander Nicolas Baudin (never named by Peron), are all discussed in detail in Ernest Scott's Terre Napoleon: A History of French Explorations and Projects in Australia, available at Project Gutenberg Australia.




French Edition Frontispiece: Profile of Francois Peron.




A

VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY

TO THE

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE,



PERFORMED BY ORDER OF THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON,

DURING THE YEARS 1801, 1802, 1803, AND 1804.




PREPARED FOR THE PRESS

BY M[onsieur] F[rancois] PERON



ONE OF THE NATURALISTS APPOINTED FOR THE EXPEDITION,
MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE, &c. &c.


AND PUBLISHED IN CONSEQUENCE OF AN

IMPERIAL DECREE.





TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH.





LONDON:

PRINTED FOR RICHARD PHILLIPS,

BRIDGE STREET, BLACKFRIARS,

BY B. McMILLAN, BOW STREET, COVENT GARDEN.

——
1809.




CONTENTS [as in the French Original]

SUBSTANCE OF THE REPORT MADE TO THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT
ON THE VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY TO THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE


BOOK I.
COMPRISING THE EVENTS WHICH OCCURRED IN THE PASSAGE FROM
FRANCE TO THE ISLE OF FRANCE.
 [Mauritius.]

CHAPTER I.
The general Plan and Object of the Voyage.

CHAPTER II.
Passage from Havre to the Canary Islands.—Stay at Teneriffe, &c.

CHAPTER III.
Passage from the Canaries to the Isle of France.

CHAPTER IV.
Meteorological Observations—State of the Thermometer—State of
the Hygrometer—Of the Barometer—Agreement between them—The
Winds—Their Agreement with the Barometer—Atmospheric
Phenomena—General Results.


CHAPTER V.
Temperature of the Sea—Saltness of the Water—Its
Phosphorescence—Observations on Natural History.


CHAPTER VI.
Our Stay in the Isle of France.

BOOK II.
FROM THE ISLE OF FRANCE TO TIMOR, INCLUSIVELY.

CHAPTER VII.
The Passage from the Isle of France to New Holland, Leuwin's Land, &c.
[From Mauritius to Australia; about Cape Nauraliste to Cape Leeuwin, W.A.]

CHAPTER VIII.
Endracht's Land, &c., &c. [From about Onslow to Perth, W.A.]

CHAPTER IX.
Land of De Witt. [From about Port Hedland to Barrow Island, W.A.]

CHAPTER X.
Length of our Stay at Timor.

CHAPTER XI.
The Discoveries of the Naturalist, at Edel's Land.
[From about Perth to Cape Naturaliste, W.A.]

CHAPTER XII.
Observations of the Naturalist on Endracht's Land.

BOOK III.
FROM TIMOR TO PORT JACKSON, INCLUSIVELY.

CHAPTER XIII.
The Passage from Timor to Cape South of Diemen's Land. [Tasmania]

CHAPTER XIV.
Southern Part of Diemen's Land.

CHAPTER XV.
The South-East Part of Diemen's Land.

CHAPTER XVI.
The Eastern Coast of Diemen's Land. The Straits of Banks and of Bass.

CHAPTER XVII.
Napoleon's Land. [From about Spencer Gulf, S.A. to Western Port, Vic.]

CHAPTER XVIII.
Return to Diemen's Land—Stay in the Bay Adventure—Arrival at Port
Jackson.


CHAPTER XIX.
Operations of the Naturalist in Banks's Strait—Isles Furneaux—Kent
Bay—Clarke's and Preservation Isles—Cape Portland—Isles of Swan
and Waterhouse.


CHAPTER XX.
Operations of the Naturalist in Bass's Strait—North part of Diemen's
Land—Dalrymple River—Wilson's Promontory—Account of Port
Jackson—Description of Sydney Town, Parramatta, &c.


CHAPTER XXI.
On the remarkable Hydrographical and Meteorological Phenomena
of New Holland.


CHAPTER XXII.
Results of various Experiments to ascertain the Physical Strength of
the Savages Of Diemen's Land and New Holland, as well as of the
Inhabitants of Timor. Conclusion.


INDEX TO PERON'S VOYAGE.



ILLUSTRATIONS



Frontispiece: Profile of Francois Peron

1. Plans of King George Harbour (left) and Geography Bay, W.A. (right)

2. Native Huts on Peron Peninsula, W.A.

3. Plan of Depuch and Ronsard Island, W.A.

4. Plan of Rottnest Island and the River of Swans, W.A.

5. Map of the Bay of Sea-Dogs [Shark Bay, W.A.]

6. Native Navigation: East Coast of Schouten Island, Tas.

7. Arra-Maïda

8. General Map of the South-East Part of Diemen's Land

9. Native Habitations, Diemen's Land

10. Bara-Ourou

11. Seven Topographic Profiles of Napoleon's Land, Taken from the Ship

12. General Map of the Gulfs of Napoleon and Josephine, S.A.

13. Sea-elephants or "Phocæ" at King Island, Tas.

14. Wide View of the Southern Part of Sydney-Town

15. Plan of Sydney-Town

16. Another View of Part of Sydney-Town and Port Jackson


Illustrations selected from an accompanying French Volume:


"Voyage de découvertes aux terres australes: éxecuté par ordre de sa Majeste,
l'Empereur et Roi, sur les corvettes le Geographe, le Naturaliste et la Goelette
le Casuarina, pendant les annees 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 et 1804; publié par
décret imperial, ... / et rédigé par M. F. Péron" ...
[Album view];

Available from the State Library of N.S.W. website from among 54 items at this location.







SUBSTANCE OF THE REPORT


MADE TO

THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT

BY

THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE,

ON THE

VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY TO THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE.

————

ON the return of the second vessel belonging to this expedition, a preliminary report was presented to the Institute, describing the riches which she had brought for the Museum of Natural History. Other particulars were afterwards published, of the discoveries which this expedition has effected in geography, botany, and mineralogy.

But as the subjects of zoology and anthropology are not yet perfectly arranged, though all the descriptions are revised and ready for the press, Messrs. PERON and LESUEUR have requested the Class to examine the state of their labours, and it has imposed this task upon us.

Of the five zoologists appointed by the government, two remained in the Isle of France: two others who were taken ill at Timor, died through the fatigues of the second campaign, before they were able to reach, as it were, the shores which they were to explore. M. PERON being, therefore, the only one of his colleagues who was left, redoubled his zeal and activity. M. LESUEUR joined his efforts with those of his friend, and by the exertions of both, was prepared the valuable zoological collection which we now possess. More than one hundred thousand specimens of animals, large and small, are contained in it; amongst which are several important genera. There are also many more to be described, and the number of new species, according to the report of the professors of the museum, is upwards of two thousand five hundred. Thus by referring to the amount of those discovered by COOK, in his second voyage; as well as CARTERET, WALLIS, FURNEAUX, MEARS, and even VANCOUVER, we shall find that Messrs. PERON and LESUEUR alone, have discovered more new animals than all the naturalist voyagers of our times.

Owing to an irregular or false method of description, which has been introduced into science, its progress has been much retarded. Travellers, and particularly some of those of the school of LINNÆUS have adopted it as more expeditious, and easy; the consequence has been, that they Lave only acquired relative descriptions, scarcely sufficient for scientific explanations at the epoch when they studied, and which become the more useless in proportion as new subjects are discovered:—M. PERON knew how to get over this error. His descriptions, according with a constant and regular plan which had been formed, embrace all the details of the exterior organization of the animal, explain all Its characters in an absolute manner, and will, in consequence, survive all the revolutions of methods and of systems.

The manners and customs of the animals, the names given to them by the natives, the uses to which the latter apply them, and the modes of hunting or fishing which they adopt, to catch them, have also attracted the attention of our travellers. Hence, after having described a great number of new species of Holothuriæ, they prove that the animals of this class, so despised on the shores of Europe, are, in India, an interesting and advantageous article of commerce. Numerous fleets of Indian ships annually employ several thousand men in the preparation, or rather desiccation of these animals. Whole cargoes of them are put up, and from the burning shores to the north of New Holland, they are transported at a great expence, to China, where old people purchase them with avidity, under the idea that they impart new vigour to their exhausted constitutions.

Equally interesting are M. PERON's descriptions of the numerous Phocæ and cetaceous animals of the Southern Ocean; for which we shall refer the reader to the text of his volume. His labours have been ably seconded by the ingenuity of M. LESUEUR, who, with extreme care, has produced no less than fifteen hundred drawings or paintings of the subjects collected by his colleague. These drawings, which were in general taken from the living animals, will ultimately be deemed the most complete and valuable collection that has yet been made by any company of philosophers: for every experiment which it was possible to make was tried, and its results noted down by these gentlemen.

Hence it is impossible to do adequate justice to the labours of these scientific investigators. They are, we do not hesitate to declare, infinitely superior to all those of the same kind, that have yet been performed under similar circumstances, whether national or private.

Hitherto we have only alluded to the zoological labours of M. PERON, because such being the special object of his mission, he felt it incumbent upon him to pay, them the greatest attention, and he has amply fulfilled the wishes of the government.

Besides these active and connected researches, which occupied the attention of our philosophers, they were not inattentive to others of great importance. Their interesting experiments on the temperature of the sea, and their examination of the petrifactions of the southern lands, as well as their remarks on the conformation of the Hottentot women, and on the English whale fisheries in the southern ocean, have already been laid before you, and have received your unqualified approbation.

To the Society of the School of Medicine at Paris, M. PERON has also presented very interesting memoirs on the dysentery which prevails in hot countries; on the use of the betel nut; and on the utility of applying meteorological knowledge to naval tactics—memoirs which have been strongly recommended by the Society, and which obtained for the author the distinction of being enrolled among its members.

Independently of these works, already published or communicated to the Society in MS. M. PERON possesses materials for numerous other publications on the most important subjects: such as observations on the phosphoric qualities of the sea; and meteorological experiments, repeated four distinct times in twenty-four hours, each time as opposite as possible for that period to afford; and over a space consisting nearly of one-third part of the globe. But the most material object that still remains for this gentleman to communicate certainly is, the account of the voyage itself to which he was attached; the editorship of which was entrusted to him by the Minister of Marine, and of which the first volume is now published. We have no doubt that the voyage it describes will be deemed one of the most useful and interesting that has ever been performed.

To render a rapid account of the principal events of a voyage so long and difficult; to describe successively Van Diemen's Land, and all that vast range of coast which forms the S.W. part of New Holland; the lands of Nuyts, of Edels, of Endracht, and of de Witt; to analyse the physical composition of the immense plains, for the most part sterile and inundated with fresh water; to display the divers productions natural to places so circumstanced; to unite all the observations that have been hitherto published respecting New Holland, in order to form a general history of the social condition and varied particulars of that continent; all this has been the plan and intention of the work of M. PERON. The same method is pursued in the history of Timor, an island 300 miles long, which, for want of being known, has heretofore been, considered unworthy the attention even of those geographers and naturalists who have minutely examined places of much less utility and importance.

The different regions of which we have spoken, are inhabited by people of various descriptions. To ascertain their history has been the particular object of M. PERON. Their physical constitution; their customs, their manners, their ornaments, their games, their dances; their exercises, rural and warlike; their arms; their combats; their hunting and fishing parties; their prevailing maladies; their habitations and clothing, and their navigation, have been the subjects of the labours of the author at every period of his voyage. He has also formed an interesting vocabulary of the language of the natives; and such of the English colonists as are distinguished for information, have indulged him with the fruit of their experience, and enabled him to make his report as ample and correct as can possibly be wished.

In the midst of the regions which M. PERON traversed, whatever he formed establishments, he encountered rivals on whose veracity no reliance can be placed. He therefore applied himself in the most particular manner, to every detail, and qualified himself to give a critical account of a continent of such extraordinary magnitude and interest. You may have perceived by his memoir on the subject of the Phocæ, with what particularity he investigated subjects of importance, and with what wisdom he exposes them to the attention of the public. On the whole, his labours appear to be of the utmost consequence both to the statesman and philosopher. Perhaps a work more curious or interesting has never been presented to one or to the other. Never, perhaps, has the example of law and authority, shown such a dominion as it has done over the despised colony of those distant people who inhabit Botany Bay. Never, perhaps, has there been so conspicuous a specimen of the effect of good laws upon a criminal people, and the result of which has been to reform the most abandoned vagabonds, and transmute the most ignominious robbers of Great Britain into honest and peaceable subjects!

While M. PERON occupied himself in gaining the elements of the history of the country and the people which he visited, his friend LESUEUR was performing his part of the operations with equal assiduity. All the manners and customs, the instruments of music, of war, or of hunting and fishing, have been drawn by him with the utmost accuracy. Besides these undertakings, he has furnished an admirable atlas of all the lands and bays which were met with in the voyage.

These candid remarks form a summary of the contents of the excellent volume which the government has ordered to be printed. We have to close them with a lamentable catalogue of disasters which happened to the gentlemen who accompanied the expedition. Out of twenty-three persons recommended by you to the First Consul, only three, have returned to their country, after performing the entire voyage. Some of them being soon disgusted with their employment, were landed, and left in different parts; others remained in ill health, at various places—but the rest are no more!

M. PERON and his friend, however; have overcome every difficulty, and though they have hitherto received no reward, but the public estimation and applause, we deem them worthy of the recompense granted by the government to travellers who have devoted themselves to such objects as we have described; being convinced that their works will prove an important advantage to the study of natural history and philosophy.

"Entered in the minutes of the Imperial Palace of the Sciences and Arts, on the 9th of June, 1806.

(Signed)    "LAPLACE, BOUGAINVILLE,
              "FLEURIEU, LACEPEDE,
"CUVIER,

           "Reporter, and Perpetual Secretary."





A

VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY

TO THE

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE.


——————
——————



BOOK I.

COMPRISING THE EVENTS WHICH OCCURRED IN THE PASSAGE
FROM FRANCE TO THE ISLE OF FRANCE. [Mauritius].


——————

CHAPTER I.

The general Plan and Object of the Voyage.

[From the 22d of March to the 19th of October, 1800.]


SINCE discoveries in the sciences have been with reason placed amongst the chief records of the glory and prosperity of nations, a generous competition has been established, and a new field opened for such a rivalship among governments; so much the more honourable, as it is of general utility to all. The exertions of England have of late years been particularly distinguished; and in the glorious struggle, it is France alone that has any title to dispute the superiority.

Nevertheless, it must be allowed that the learned English, placed on the immense theatre of a fifth part of the globe, might in many respects decide the opinion of Europe in favour of their own country. The successive labours of Banks, Solander, Sparman, the two Forsters, Anderson, Mainziez, White, Schmidt, Collins, Patterson, &c. &c. have attracted the attention, and given interest to the studies of all the friends of science.—How many curious objects have been brought from this southern continent—how many valuable observations on it have in so short a time been written!

In this state of things, the honour of the nation and the progress of science amongst us combined together to require an expedition of discovery to the Southern Hemisphere, and the Institute of France thought it a duty to lay the proposition before the government.

War at this epoch seemed to rage with redoubled fury; the political existence of France was in danger; her territory was usurped; but Buonaparte was first consul; he received, and was interested in the proposition of the Institute, which, some years before, had been gratified in nominating him one of its members; and even at the time when the army of reserve was on the move to cross the Alps, he gave the order to hasten the execution of this great undertaking.

In a short time twenty three persons, nominated by him, on the presentation of the Institution, were appointed to make scientific enquiries: never had there been such an assemblage of talent in any prior voyage of discovery; never had there been such preparations to ensure success.—Astronomers, geographers, mineralogists, botanists, zoologists, draughtsmen, horticulturists, all were found ready, in number double, treble, or even quintuple.

This part of the object of the expedition must have acquired considerable interest from the nature of the regions which they were about to visit. Under latitudes correspondent to those of our own climates, on a vast continent, and on the numerous adjoining isles, it was impossible not to discover useful vegetables, and many interesting subjects in animal life, if brought into European countries, might easily be naturalized, and supply new resources for our wants, new auxiliaries to our arts, and new luxuries for our enjoyment.

Whatever advantageous results were promised by the arrangement of this voyage, the plan of its operations seemed to ensure all that the experience of other navigators had acquired on the subject of the regions we were about to visit until the present time; all that theory and consideration could deduce thereupon, and add thereto, had served as a base to this important undertaking; the irregular winds, the monsoons; the currents had been calculated in so exact a manner, that the contrarieties which in the end we experienced were principally occasioned by the obstinacy of our commander [Nicolas Baudin, never named], in departing from these valuable instructions.

According to this plan we were to touch at the isle or France, and take from thence a third ship, smaller than either of ours, and then to direct our course towards the southern extremity of Diemen's land, to double the South Cape—to visit every part or the straits of Dentrecasteaux—to go up all the rivers of this part of Diemen's land, as far as possible,—to reconnoitre all the eastern coast of this large island—to penetrate into the strait of Bass by that of Banks—to ascertain the entrances and outlets of the first of these straits—to complete the discovery of the Hunter isles, and then to stand right in the S.W. coast of New Holland, and lengthen our course as far as the point where admiral Dentrecasteaux had proceeded before us—to go to the back of the isles St. Pierre and St. Francois,—to explore that part of the continent which lies behind those islands, where it is conjectured there may be a strait supposed to communicate from this point with the grand gulf of Carpentaria, and which consequently would divide New Holland into two large islands of nearly an equal size.

This first part of our labour being terminated, we were to reconnoitre cape Leuwin, and the unknown part of the coast to the north of this point; afterwards to ascertain the principal points of the land of Leuwin, those of Edels and Endracht, which had been best vaguely mentioned by the first navigators, and the geography of which consequently partakes of all the imperfection of the mode of navigation and the instruments of their times; we were therefore to go up the river of Swans, as far as it was practicable; to take a particular chart of isle Rottnest and part of the neighbouring coast; to visit the redoubtable Abrolhos, so fatal to Pelsar, to obtain a perfect knowledge of the great bay of Sharks, to determine the different bearings of the land of Witt, and the rest of the coast N.W. particularly the entrance of King William's river, the Rosemary isles, &c. and at length to end this first long cruise at the cape N.W. of New Holland; making sail from this last point for the Moluccas, we were to winter at Timor or at Amboyna.

From one or other of these two islands, in passing to the north of Ceram, we were commanded to make the coast S.W. of New Guinea, and to explore it as far as captain Cook had done before use and where it is supposed there may be a strait dividing New Guinea into several isles; thence turning towards the strait of Endeavour, we were to make the land at the eastern point of the great gulf of Carpentaria, where we were to reconnoitre the principal places, and determine the position of several islands which are found in old maps. To explore the mouths of the many pretended rivers which are crowded together in the old plans of this gulf, and into which no traveller has for a long time penetrated; and from thence to go the length of coast from Arnheim, and that of Diemen on the north, we were to terminate this second cruise at the same cape to the N.W. where we had ended the first: crossing the Indian sea, and determining the yet extremely uncertain longitude of the islands called Trials, we were then ordered to go into port a second time at the Isle of France, from whence on our return to Europe, which was calculated to be made in the spring, of the year 1803. we were to explore that part of the eastern coast of Africa of which geographers are still in uncertainty; and this last object was to terminate our long voyage.

Such was the general plan marked out by government to our commander, the literal execution of which would have made this voyage one of the most speedy, and fruitful of information that ever had been undertaken. I shall successively show, according to the dates when they took place, the different modifications which this plan experienced; it may however be seen by the succinct account I have here given, how very important the object of this expedition was, under the consideration of the improvement of navigation and geography: above five thousand leagues of coast that was hitherto but little known were to be explored, Never had any navigator, Vancouver alone excepted, a more difficult, mission. In fact, it is not voyages in the open ocean, however long they may be, that have in their train, such misfortunes and shipwrecks; it is those, which confined to unknown shores and savage coasts, have continually new difficulties to encounter, and new dangers to experience. These difficulties and dangers, sad appendages to all expeditions calculated and designed to make particular geographical discoveries, received a more eminent character from the nature of the shores we were to explore: no country has yet been discovered that is more difficult to reconnoitre than New Holland, and every expedition which has been made to that part of the world has been marked with misfortune, or very fruitless attempts: thus Pelsar on the western coast, was one of the first victims to the dangers of these shores: Vlaming mentioned the remains of wrecks that covered isle Rottnest, when he landed on that island in the year 1697. And there have been found there more recently, similar traces of calamity. The brave captain Dampier, with his long experience, was nearly stranded on the N.W. coast of this same continent, where Vianen had been shipwrecked. On the east, Bougainville, surrounded by dangers, was compelled precipitately to make sail from these parts. Cook escaped these shores by a kind of miracle; the rock on which his ship struck, being there incrustated, which alone prevented the vessel from going to the bottom; on the S.W. Vancouver and Dentrecasteaux were not more fortunate in the attempt which they each of them made to determine the geography; and the French admiral was very near losing both his ships on the same coast. But a few years have elapsed since the discovery of the strait of Bass, to the south, and already most of the islands of this gulf are spread over with pieces of the wrecks of ships which have been lost on the coast. Very recently the French ship Enterprize was wrecked on the dangerous isles which lie at the eastern mouth of the strait.

The history of our voyage, and the dangers to which we were exposed will also show the extent of these difficulties; and the loss of the two ships under the command of captain Flinders, who was sent by the English government to rival our endeavours, will but too well furnish an additional and deplorable proof. Notwithstanding so many unfavourable circumstances, the geographic part of our labours will be greatly interesting to the European world, and it will doubtlessly be easy for me to show by the details of our operations, how highly honourable they were to the French service.

Two ships in the port of Havre had been prepared for this expedition; the Geographer, a fine corvette of 30 guns, drawing from 15 to 16 feet water, an excellent sailer, but rather too slightly built for such service; and the Naturalist, a large and strong built store-ship, drawing much about the same water as the Geographer, not so good a sailer, but more seaworthy, and on that account much superior to the corvette.

Particular care had been taken that the stores might be abundant, and of the best quality. The naval stores at Havre were entirely at the disposal of our commander; considerable sums were granted him for the purchase of supplies of fresh provisions, such as wines, liquors, syrups, sweet-meats of different kinds, portable soups, Italian pastes, dry lemonade, extract of beer, &c. some of the filtering vessels invented by Schmidt, hand-mills, stoves, apparatus for distilling, &c. &c. had been shipped on board each of the vessels, with particular written directions for the preservation of health, by M. Keraudren, first physician to the navy. Our numerous instruments, astronomical, surgical, meteorological, geographical, &c. had been constructed by the most celebrated artists of the capital. Every thing necessary for chemists, painters, and draughtsmen, were carefully selected; a numerous library, composed of the best works in marine subjects, astronomy, geography, natural history, botany, and voyages, was collected for each ship. All the instructions relative to scientific researches were written and prepared by a committee of the Institute, consisting of M. M. Fleurieu, Lacépède, Laplace, Bougainville, Cuvier, Jussieu, Lelièvre, Camus, and Langlès, which is sufficient to prove, how complete and valuable our instructions must have been. M. Degerando, a member of the same learned society, prepared for us an interesting work on the rules to be followed to the observation of barbarous nations; a national medal was struck to preserve the memory of this great undertaking; we were furnished with the most flattering passports from all the governments of Europe; unlimited credit was open to us on the principal colonies in Asia and Africa; in a word, the august chief under whose auspices this important voyage was planned, had commanded that nothing should be omitted that might ensure the health and safety of those who were engaged, assist their labours, and every where secure their independence. In short, the most liberal promises, repeated in every page of the instructions of the government, seemed to ensure to our labours, those honourable rewards, those flattering distinctions, which have ever been the recompense of similar voyages, and which alone can indemnify a deserving man for the privations and miseries which he has experienced.

On the shores to which we were destined were many interesting nations. It was the wish of the first consul, that as deputies of Europe, we should conciliate these uninformed people, and appear among them as friends and benefactors. By his orders the most useful animals were embarked in our vessels, a number of interesting trees and shrubs were collected in our ships, with quantities of such seeds as were most congenial to the temperature of the climates. The most useful tools, clothing, and ornaments of every sort, were provided for them, even the most particular inventions in optics, chemistry, and natural philosophy, were contributed for their advantage, or to promote their pleasure.

These numerous arrangements being thus settled, and the ships fitted out, the naturalists received orders in the early part of September, 1800, to attend at Havre; I was of the number; a fifth place of zoologist, bad been given me, from the recommendation of several illustrious and learned characters.

The officers of this expedition were chosen with the greatest care; those who aspired to the distinction submitted to the most strict examinations to obtain admission among us, and all were worthy of the preference. Not only among the officers was this regulation observed, but the most inferior rinks of our company were thus selected, and many young men of respectable families in Normandy joined our crews, attracted by the ardent wish of youth for information, and the particular desire of sharing in the dangers of a distant voyage, which always conveys an idea of something great and extraordinary, which commands respect, and which usually obtains for them the honourable mention they deserve. Among these interesting young men was my worthy assistant, my estimable friend, M. Lesueur, the dear companion of all my dangers, of my privations, and of my zeal.

Independent of the officers of the Naturalist, there was on board this ship, a person well known, called A-Sam, a Chinese native of Canton, who was made prisoner by a French cruiser, from on board of a ship belonging to the English Company. A-Sam bad been successively removed from prison to prison, till he came to that of Val-de-Grace. The presence of a Chinese in the capital produced such a sensation, that the chief consul was at length informed of it. From that moment A-Sam was happy and free; every comfort was lavishly bestowed on him during his stay at Paris; and to fill up the measure of his beneficence, the first consul commanded that A-Sam should be restored to his country and to his family; he was embarked on board our ships, he was treated like an officer, and the governors of the Isle of France received an order to continue to him the same care and respect, till a proper opportunity occurred of conveying him to China. Happy it is for those nations, where such care is bestowed on the unfortunate stranger.





CHAPTER II.

Passage from Havre to the Canary Islands.—Stay at Teneriffe, &c.

[From the 19th Oct. to the 13th Nov. 1800.]


ON the 19th of October, in the morning, the wind and tide being favourable, order was given for our two ships to depart; the American frigate, the Portsmouth, returning to the United States with the ambassadors who came to conclude the peace, went out with us. At nine A.M. we passed the tower of Francois the first; a band of music played on, the summit, and cheered our departure; an immense crowd from all parts covered the shore, and with one voice and gesture each of the spectators addressed us with their last adieus and wishes for our safety; all seemed to express, "Ah, may you, more fortunate than Marion, Surville, St. Allouarn, La Perouse, and Dentrecasteaux, return once more to your country, and the gratitude of your fellow-citizens!"

At ten o'clock we were out of the pier, and took our powder on board, and sailing towards the English frigate, Proselyte, which was cruising at the mouth of the port, we communicated our passports to the commander, and pursued our course.

On the 25th the diminution of the fogs which we had continually experienced in the channel, and the rising of, the thermometer, sufficiently proved that we were getting into warmer climates. The thermometer progressively rose front 8 to 12; we were then in the gulf of Gascony, almost in the latitude of Bourdeaux.

On the 27th, at noon, we reckoned ourselves to be in the latitude of cape Finisterre, which forms the most western point of Spain and continental Europe. We soon found ourselves off of Lusitania, which the elegant and sensible author of Telemachus has celebrated with so much fascinating eloquence, for its fertility and happy state. The sky was clear, the air was pure, the sea was calm, the temperature was soft and healthful: in a word, every object seemed to unite to recall the smiling scenes of Fenelon. The thermometer at that time was at 15°, the barometer, since our departure from Havre, had progressively sunk, it was not up to more than 28 5*.

[* The author not having given a description of the scale or principle of the thermometers and barometers which were used, it is not easy to understand the temperature, which he states to be from 8 to 12. In the original, the height of the barometer is thus designated, "28i 5l", which must, of course, mean, 28 inches, 5 lines.—ED.]

On the 30th we passed the mouth of the straits of Gibraltar; and all that day and the following we continued our course along the coast of Africa, at the distance of about fifty leagues.

At length, on the 1st of November, at 6 P.M. we were in sight of the peak of Teide, the mount Nivaria of the ancients. In the midst of the isles of Palma, Ferrol, and Gomera, on the west, and those of Canary, Fortaventura, and Lancerot, on the east, this famous point, known by the name of the peak of Teneriffe, raises its lofty head. Its large base was at the time enveloped in clouds, while its top, illuminated by the last rays of the setting sun, appeared majestically above them. It is true this mountain is not, as some travellers have asserted, the highest in the world, in fact, is is not more than 2000 fathom above the level of the sea, and consequently is exceeded in height in Europe, by Mont Blanc, and several mountains in Sweden and Norway; and in America by ten or twelve points of the Andes, some of which, such as the Antisana, the Chimboraco, &c. are more than one-third higher; but, it must be allowed that the insulated situation of this mountain, in the middle of the sea, its proximity to the celebrated islands which it announces from far, the recollections it brings to mind, proclaiming by its very appearance, catastrophes, of which it is itself a prodigious effect, all concur to give it an importance above all others on the globe.

While every eye was fixed on this stupendous mountain, to which we every moment drew nearer, we presently discovered the islands Lancerot, Fortaventura, and Great Canary, which appeared in the horizon as an immense cone, much flattened on the top. Favoured by a leading wind, we hoped to reach anchorage in the course of the same evening, but we were disappointed in this expectation, and determined to stretch along shore during the night. The next morning, at day break we stood in for the land, which we approached very fast.

The coast appeared steep, blackish, and washed by torrents into deep furrows, and without any other appearance of vegetation than a few stunted stalks of the cacalia, the caxtus, and the euphorbia. Beyond these inhospitable shores were several high mountains rising one above another, and equally destitute of verdure, with pointed projections, barren, and in confused rocky heaps; and again, beyond all these mountains, the peak, raising its lofty head far above them. Such was the appearance of Teneriffe from the point Anaga, where we made the land; and from thence as far as Santa Cruz, where we anchored, the same barren and wild scenery was displayed. A few miserable habitations at the foot of these dismal rocks, only served to add to the melancholy aspect of this part of the island. This account is certainly very different from the delightful representations of the Fortunate isles, drawn with such elegance of language by Horace, Viana, Cairasco, the immortal author of the Jerusalem, and the author of the poem Dell' Oceano; but these soft illusions, these cheerful pictures, require the veil of mystery, and the interest which age and distance give, to support them against the reality. The Canaries, now stripped of these brilliant titles of their ancient glory, are no longer truly interesting but for their wines, and the advantageous situation of the physical and political revolutions of which they were the theatre.

In lengthening the coast of Anaga at a little distance from land, we soon discovered the anchorage and the town of Santa Cruz. At ten A.M. we cast anchor in 2 fathom bottom of volcanic sand, oozy and black.

I had yet to complete too great a voyage to remain long at the Canaries. The situation of these islands, in the midst of the Atlantic ocean, has submitted them to the observations of a great number of modern travellers, whose talents and veracity are equally deserving of respect; there is, besides, a Spanish work in three volumes octavo, on this archipelago by Joseph de Viera y Clavijo, who seems to have exhausted all that is interesting of the ancient and modern history on this subject, including the revolutions in the Canaries, physical and political, their population, their several productions, their temperature, &c. The history of the conquest of these islands necessarily occupies a great part of the work of Clavijo. In fact, what can be more interesting and affecting than that of the unfortunate Gouanches, who, armed only with clubs and staves, fought during almost a whole century, against the French Portuguese, and Spanish; opposing courage and perseverance to the number of their enemies, to the superiority of their arms, and the strength of their cavalry; making them purchase the possession of these then wretched isles, with more battles and more blood, than the conquest of a new maid has since cost them.

From all these considerations I shall confine myself to a few details, which seem for have escaped the numerous authors who have written on the subject of this archipelago.

The most general distempers, which we may regard as endemic, are obstinate bowel complaints, putrid and chronic diarrhœas, fevers, scorbutic cachexies, cutaneous eruptions of different kinds, and the itch, with which most of the inhabitants are terribly affected: this disorder is much more dangerous than, but similar to the elephantiasis. These distempers, with which the lower class of the people are more particularly afflicted, seem to proceed from the common cause,—the unwholesome food which is in general use in the country. This food consists of a sort of paste called gofio, which is almost entirely a substitute for bread, and which as said to be an ancient food of the Gouanches. It is prepared of barley-meal, or of torrified wheat, ground, then mixed with water, milk and honey. The rest of their food consists chiefly of salt fish dried in the sun, and which is caught on the Barbary coast; they deposit this salt fish in vast storehouses, where the want of proper care, and the heat occasioned by heaping it in large quantities, soon causes it to putrify, in a greater or less degree. The infectious smell which continually exhales from these heaps of fish in a state of fermentation, is insupportable to strangers, and annoys them in every part of the town. The very low price of this salt food makes the consumption of it prodigious in of the Canaries; but this advantage is miserably counterbalanced by the many distempers of which it is the principal cause.

It is probably the same cause that produces the greasy and livid physiognomy which is remarked in the inhabitants of Santa Cruz by most travellers. The quality of the water which is generally used in these islands, is perhaps another cause of these maladies; and in fact, the scarcity of the springs, which generally dry up during the hot season, compels the inhabitants to preserve the rain water in large cisterns, where it remains for several months, and must consequently imbibe qualities more or less deleterious to the animal economy.

With regard to venereal complaints, they are very common at Teneriffe; the cause of which may be ascribed to the heat of the climate, the indolence of the inhabitants, their excessive uncleanness, the great number of troops, the quantity of money which the sailors spend who arrive from all quarters of the world, the absolute want of any kind of police, the little skill of the greater part of the officers of health in the country, and above all, the disgusting amount of the population of common girls, who in the streets, on the quays, and even in the places of worship, annoy strangers with offers of destructive and deceptive pleasures, the source of a long and cruel remorse. The complaints of this description are indeed more dangerous in this country than elsewhere, as they are more frequently, attended with inveterate ulcers.

The ancients, who knew but little of the Canaries, having made them the abode of the blessed, some enthusiastic authors fancy themselves obliged to repeat all the ideal and poetical descriptions of the pagan mythology, when writing on the subject of these islands. Hence we have recently seen the fertility of the Canaries celebrated in a manner which is totally repugnant both to reason and experience.

In fact, one of the first elements of fertility, namely, water, is so scarce in all the Canaries, that none of them, properly speaking, have any river; and the springs during the summer are generally so dry, that the inhabitants are every where compelled to make use of cisterns to obtain water for their drink. This scarcity of water is particularly attached to the general disposition and physical nature of the soil, which difficulty is not by any means to be removed. The small dimensions of these islands, their long and narrow form, the stupendous height of the mountains which cover them in every direction, the depths of the valleys, their steep declivity towards the sea, all concur to prevent the formation of rivers, or even of streams, however inconsiderable. At the same time, the nature of the soil, which is almost every where basaltic, prevents the filtration of the waters into the bowels of the earth, and those which fall on the surface soon evaporate, from the action of a warm climate.

These physical obstacles to the general fertility of the Canaries are so obvious, and their effects so powerful, that more convincing proofs are unnecessary to refute all the exaggerations of the enthusiastic writers on this subject. In fact, the contrary to all this has been proved by the following axioms of a work, the original of which is in my possession, and which was sent me by one of the best informed merchants of this archipelago.

1st, That Teneriffe, the most considerable of these isles, as well as Palma, and Ferrol, do not produce sufficient subsistence for their miserable population.

2dly, That Canary, and Gomera produce only enough for their own consumption.

3dly, That Lancerot and Fortaventura are the store-houses of the Canaries; but that the ungrateful and sandy soil (I use the expressions of the manuscript) requires abundant rains to produce the crops; and that when these fail, want of bread and famine reign throughout the archipelago.

4thly, That even when the harvests are most abundant the Canaries have no surplus to export; but, on the contrary, they are compelled almost every year to import large cargoes from Spain, America, or even from the north of Germany, for the purchase of which great part of the wines of the archipelago are employed.

The Canaries, in their actual state, far from enriching their metropolis, cost it a considerable sum for the support of their fortifications and garrisons; but, in the hands of the English, these colonies would soon become valuable, dependently of their situation. Great Britain would be in a great measure freed from the heavy duties it annually pays to France, Spain, and Portugal, for the wines and brandies which these three powers import from thence. This was, doubtlessly, the principal reason which induced the English government to attempt the conquest of the Canaries during the last war. A numerous fleet under the command of admiral Nelson, appeared suddenly before Teneriffe in the year 1796; but this attack concluded very differently from that in the year 1657, when admiral Blake succeeded in the attempt. Nelson lost an arm in the enterprise; part of his troops and stores, were taken by the Spaniards, or sunk by the artillery of the forts. In vain, by favour of the darkness, did he succeed in making a landing, and even is taking possession of the armoury; repelled on all sides by the Spanish militia and troops, he was compelled to capitulate, and to sign an agreement to leave the archipelago. The Canarians still show with pride, the British flags which they look on this occasion, depending from the dome of their principal church; they also show the long-boat of Nelson's ship, on board of which he lost his arm. In this honourable defence the crews of several French ships distinguished themselves, who at the time of the appearance of the English, hastened to take arms, and who contributed much, by their example, to excite the courage of the militia and troops of the country.

Since this attack of Nelson on the Canaries, the garrisons of these islands have been considerably reinforced. At the time we were there, they reckoned 4500 regular troops well disciplined and maintained; most of these troops are at Teneriffe, which can also furnish near 8000 militia. Independent of this increase in the number of their troops, an attack on Santa Cruz would now be very difficult, from the commanding situation of a new fort, which the last governor built on a steep rock, and the batteries of which are pointed downwards to the roadstead, and cross the fire of the square tower which defends the mole.

The nature of our mission, the good intelligence between the two governments, the late successes of France, the recent peace with America, all concurred to ensure us the most obliging and flattering reception from the Spaniards. Our brave allies were particularly pleased in interrogating us on the subject of our last campaign in Italy, the passage of the Alps, the battle of Marengo, and the rapid succession of prodigies of which we happened to give them the first account. All seemed to vie with each other in shewing every demonstration of their respect and admiration for France. Ah! if it is ever permitted for an honest man to be proud of hie country, it doubtlessly should be in such circumstances, when, far from his fellow-citizens, he sees among strangers that every idea of greatness, glory and power, is attached to the very name of his country!

Among those with whom I had the honour of being acquainted at Teneriffe, and from whom I received particular attention, I ought to mention the duke of Bethancourt, colonel of the Ultonia regiment, a descendant of the famous Jean de Bethancourt, a Norman nobleman, who was at once the conqueror and legislator of the Canaries, one of the greatest men of the fifteenth century, which was so prolific prodigies. John of Bethancourt had all the heroism, all the romantic enthusiasm of his time, without its ignorance, fanaticism and ferocity. His memory, eternally dear to the Canarians, will be, for his latest descendants, an unalienable title to the most flattering consideration; and the man of whom I speak, is entitled to the esteem of the worthy, for his own particular merits.

The marquis de Nava possesses a beautiful botanic garden at the Orotava; this nobleman dedicates a part of his large income to naturalize in these isles every species of vegetables which might extend their commerce, enrich their soil, adorn their vallies, and clothe their naked and barren mountains with verdure. The marquis de Nava ought to secure the esteem and notice of all good men, as one of the benefactors of his country.

At Laguna, M. Savignon, physician to the government, it much respected for his general character, and his extensive knowledge in his profession.

M. Cologant, in whose respectable family, benevolence to French travellers seems to be hereditary, gave us every information on the subject of the last eruption of the volcano of Cahorra; and also lent us a tinted drawing, which he had himself made, of the appearance of the volcano at the time: this was at the service of every one among us who wished to copy it. On my return to Europe, happening to notice this representation in a work of M. Bory, I was sorry not to see the addition of the name of the real author, because omissions of this kind, however involuntary they may be, are often sufficient cause of changing, or even destroying the liberal confidence of strangers towards European travellers, a confidence of which I have received so many generous proofs in the course of this voyage.

During our stay at Teneriffe, the barometer continued without any particular change at from 28i 3l to 28i 4l; the thermometer on board our ships in the shade at noon, varied from 17 to 20, and gave me then for the mean 18.5.—results conformable to the precedents obtained by Lamanon, and by M. Labillardière, at the same place, and under the same circumstances.

Of all the hypotheses to which the traditions of the ancients on the Canaries have given rise, doubtlessly the most singular, and the most generally admitted, is that of the existence of a large continent, of which these isles were a part; and which, under the name of Atlantides, then occupied the vast ocean which now separates. Africa from the New World. This opinion has been maintained by some travellers, who are themselves deceived by the authority of Plato, or by the sophisms of several modern writers. Volumes of compilations and citations have been made on this subject, and yet the truth remains still in obscurity, and we are bewildered in dissertations and hypotheses, instead of comparing the actual physical constitution of the countries which they pretend were formerly connected. In this last point of view, M. Bailly, one of our fellow-travellers, considered the Canaries, and discussed the important question of the existence of the Atlantides. I shall here present the interesting observations of this enlightened mineralogist.

"Several celebrated writers (says M. Bailly), from the authority of Plato, have spoken of the existence of the Atlantides, the greater part of whom, who admit the fact, affect to see in the Canary isles, described by the ancients under the name of the Fortunate islands, the remains of that land which, according to many, could not have occupied a less space than what is comprised between Africa and America, and probably made part of these two continents uniting them by its isthmus. The chain of mountains described by the name of Mount Atlas and which stretches along the north part of Africa, serves very much to support their opinions on this subject, for they see only in the isles of which we are treating, the continuation of that chain, which by an inconsiderable winding could have been connected with the Azores. They might as easily have proved a connection between the Cape de Verd islands, and the mountains of the interior of Africa. The same authority which thus confounded the Canaries, the Azores; and the Cape de Verd islands, might have justified the reunion of all the other Atlantic isles to the lost continent, such as Tristan d'Acunha, Ascension, St. Matthew, Trinidad, St. Helena, Noronha, &c.; for it would not certainly be a bolder conjecture than that of extending the limits of a larger tract of land (according to the high priest of Saïs) than Asia and Lybia together, as far as the last mentioned isles.

"For the establishment of a reunion so extraordinary and important, we are, however, to this day confined to some vague traditions of the ancients; for an inspection of the charts does not assist. The physical state of the pretended remains of the Atlantides, and of the continents to which we would connect or assimilate them, has never been compared; it is this circumstance which I propose here to point out.

"All travellers agree in opinion, that the chains of mountains which run through Africa and America are essentially primitive; that the lands situated between them are of secondary or tertiary origin, and that those parts which are subject to subterranean fires are comparatively few.

"It is not so with respect to the islands dispersed in the Atlantic ocean; these are all exclusively volcanic, whether they are isolated, like Ascension, St. Helena, Trinidad, Madeira, &c. or in clusters, like the Azores, the Canaries, the Cape de Verd islands, Tristan d'Acunha, and those which surround it, &c. These isles appear to have risen from the bottom of a deep sea; their coasts are very steep, and almost perpendicular; the channels which separate them are unfathomable; the banks and shoals which are so common in other archipelagos, are not to be found among these. If sometimes an isolated rock is observed, it either seems to be attached to some neighbouring island, or else it is entirely distinct; in either case, the same observations which apply to other larger Atlantic islands will also apply to these. There is not to be seen in any of them granites or real porphyrys, or any such primitive stones; and the calcareous substances which are found in some of them are merely shells collected together, or other similar productions.

"From these simple observations it evidently results, that a difference so general and absolute as that between the actual constitution of the Atlantic isles, and that of the neighbouring continent, should exclude every idea of an origin in common, or even of their being connected in former times. From the same facts we may also conclude, that the hypotheses on which they attempt to establish the opinion that the Atlantic isles are the remains of an ancient continent, is not to be supported, for all these islands being exclusively volcanic, it follows that the Atlantide must have been a continent entirely volcanic, or else that the volcanic parts of this continent were spared in the catastrophe which swallowed all the rest: both one and the other of these suppositions are equally improbable."





CHAPTER III.

Passage from the Canaries to the Isle of France.

[From Nov. 13th, 1800, to March 15th, 1801.]

ON the 13th of November, in the evening, after shipping the provisions for which we had staid at the Canaries, we prepared to continue our voyage. At four o'clock we passed the little town of Candelaria, celebrated for the miracles of the virgin of that name. All this part of the island of Teneriffe appears to be as wild and barren as the coast of Anaga. In the evening we discovered the isles of Gomera and Palma, which we left to the west, and passed in the night.

On the 15th we were already under the tropic of Cancer. Op the 18th we concluded ourselves to be in the latitude of the Cape de Verd islands. From this point till we approached the Gambia, the wind was favourable, and we made considerable way, but we now experienced some obstinate calms, which prevented us from crossing the equator before the 19th of December, and in 21° 6' only of west longitude.

Notwithstanding the attempts of our commander to pass the line by 10° or 12°, all his manœuvres to effect this were constantly counteracted by the calms, the currents, or the winds. It is worthy of remark, that admiral Dentrecasteaux, nine years before, endeavouring to follow a like course to cross the equator by 16 or 18, experienced the same obstacles, and was, like us, driven by the winds and currents as far as under the 26th degree of west longitude.

On the 30th of December we passed, for the first time, the tropic of Capricorn. From the 23d to the 24th of January, 1801, we cut the meridian of Paris, in 36° south latitude.

On the 3d of February we doubled the Cape of Good Hope, at the distance of eight or ten leagues. We easily distinguished the mountain called the Table, notwithstanding the fogs with which it was at that time enveloped.

From the 3d to the 4th of March we experienced sudden and violent squalls, which, however, did not continue more than 24 hours, but they were so violent that the barometer during the time sunk 10 inches 8 lines. The Naturalist received some damage in her sails. We now found ourselves off the Mozambique channel, a latitude where violent storms are very frequent. On the 10th of March we again crossed the tropic of Capricorn. At length, on the 13th, in the evening, we were in sight of the mountains of the Isle of France, after a voyage of one hundred and forty-five days, reckoning from the time of our departure from Europe, which made this one of the longest passages we could make in a voyage of the kind. The obstinacy of our commander in ranging the coast of Africa, was the chief cause of this delay, and as it had, throughout the whole of our operations, the most fatal influence, I think I ought to dwell an instant on the subject.

Two courses naturally present themselves to the navigator who, on leaving Europe, intends to double the Cape of Good Hope: the one which may be called the coasting voyage, consists in ranging the coast of Africa, and crossing the equator as much to the east as possible. By the other course, on the contrary, after having reached the latitude of the Cape de Verd islands, steering to the west, and making for the eastern coast of America, so as not to cross the line but in 25, or even 30 degrees longitude west from the meridian of Paris.

Being arrived at about the 33d degree of south latitude, we at first found the wind N.W. then west, by favour of which we could rapidly make to the eastward, to double the famous cape of which we have spoken.

Doubtless if we had only to compare the absolute distance of these two courses, we should not hesitate to chase the coasting voyage along the shores of Africa; but the well-informed navigator takes into his calculation other circumstances than the idle consideration of relative geographical positions: he is not ignorant that the most considerable distances in appearance make little against him if he is but favoured by the wind and tides; that the shortest passage, on the contrary, may be retarded for weeks and months, if the same winds and currents oppose themselves to its progress, or what may retard him still more, obstinate calms, which keep his vessel almost immoveable on the surface of the waves.

Hence all these inconveniences are attached to the coasting of the N.W. shores of Africa. In fact, experience teaches us that the currents which prevail in this part of the Atlantic, set to the N.W. and in fine, that of all the known seas, the one which washes the equatorial part of the western coast of Africa, is most subject to calms. All well-informed navigators agree on the subject of these facts, and capt. Dampier, whose writings are the fruit of a long experience, and extremely valuable for their exactness, has particularly developed this subject in his treatise on the winds.

By the course, standing out to sea, the currents which are so fatal to the coaster, are favourable to those who bear away to the west: and the calms which am so dreadful on the African shores are seldom experienced in the open ocean, and never last long in the middle of the Atlantic. Whether the shelter of a large continent produces or occasions them in its vicinity, or that this phenomenon may be ascribed to any other physical cause, I cannot decide: in short, the westerly winds which the navigator wants on his way back, towards the 33d or the 35th degree south, are so constant in these last latitudes, that he may very fairly calculate on their assistance.

It is for good reasons that experienced navigators prefer the western course, although it appears to be the longest; that this course is certainly the best, has been sufficiently proved, ever since the first voyages of Schouten. This celebrated traveller relates, that during his first voyage from Europe to the Indies, in the year 1658, the captain of the vessel in which he had embarked, and who was an experienced seaman, had a dispute with the commander of another ship belonging to the Dutch company, which sailed as consort with him to Batavia. Schouten's captain being influenced by the reasons I have stated, chose to steer to the west; the other, on the contrary, deceived by appearances and his own inexperience, persisted that it was best to lengthen the coast of Africa. Thus, divided in opinion, each pursued a different course; but the experiment was so much in favour of Schouten's captain, that he gained near two months on the inexperienced coaster.

It is from a well-founded knowledge of all these circumstances, that the English ships which are bound to the Indies are in the habit of steering towards the coast of Brazil, so as not to cross the line but in 28°, 30°, or even in 33° west longitude; and the Company's ships have not in that respect different system from that of private vessels.

Farther, it is not only in doubling the Cape of Good Hope that they have occasion to fear the currents, and the calms on the coast of Africa; the voyages even which arc: every day made to Malembo, to Loango, or the coast of Angola, frequently encounter the most irksome delays; and here again experience teaches us, that to avoid the calms it is necessary to stretch as far as possible from the gulf of Guinea, and consequently to stand to the west, to return back, and sometimes even to the south, to make the point of destination; the same precaution should be taken by those who go from Loango for the Antilles. Captain Dampier, in fact, says, that it is necessary in such a navigation, to stand right to the westward, for the space of 30° or even 35°, before attempting to cross the line to return northward, and to take afterwards a course N.W. This route, he observes, is that of the most able navigators, and however long it may appear, it is however much shorter in reality, for those who cross the equator too far to the east to coast the shores of Africa, and stand first to the N.W. are almost always obnoxious to obstinate calms, and assailed by tempests, which are more frequent and more dangerous in the neighbourhood of the coast of Guinea than in the midst of the Atlantic ocean.

In short, M. de Granpré, whose evidence we may produce here, because he has traversed these seas for a long time, exclaims with a just severity against those ignorant or timid commanders, who, notwithstanding the fatal experience of other navigators, continue even yet to coast along the shores of Africa. He relates, among other examples or this sort, that of a vessel, which, detained by the calms, and obstructed by the currents, remained eleven months in its course from France to the coast of Angola. In a word, if it was not foreign to the nature of my work to prolong the discussion, it would be easy to produce such a number of facts and observations in favour of the course to the west, as would amount to demonstration; but it is sufficient for my present purpose, to enable the reader to judge of the extent of the fault of our commander, in persisting to steer along the coast of Africa. We shall soon find, that from this preposterous obstinacy, which was necessarily followed by a consequence plain to foresee and easy to evade, he was forced from the beginning of the voyage to disturb and discompose all the regularity of the operations which had been prescribed for him to follow: Thus, in the execution of the most important undertakings, the slightest faults produce consequences at once grievous and irreparable!

Doubtless, the relation of a passage to the Indies seems to promise but little that can now be interesting, or to furnish any new observations at a time when so many vessels of every nation have so often repeated the voyage in the course of the last three centuries. This, however, is not the fact, and to prove it, we have only to cast an eye over the many relations of the sort that have been written at different periods, We shall there see, that almost every navigator occupied exclusively on the most general or trivial objects, has only repeated what his predecessors had said a hundred times before him, neglecting every new subject of observation which this immense scene continually presents, comprising at once the whole length of the Atlantic ocean, the Indian sea, the two temperate zones, and the whole of the equinoctial line. Moreover, the subject will always furnish many interesting observations on the comparison of the temperature of the atmosphere in different latitudes of both hemispheres, on the variations of the barometer and the hygrometer in similar circumstances; the temperature of the sea on its surface, compared at different times of the day and night, with that of the atmosphere, &c.—Does not this view of the subject present a new field for the investigation of the learned traveller? while the heat of the ocean in great depths below the surface, is another fruitful source of observation and experiment that is highly interesting. Are we not still unacquainted with the depths of the seas, and the relative proportions of the saltness of their waters? Are we not still uncertain of the real cause of the phosphorescence of the ocean, a phenomenon so astonishing, so common, and nevertheless so little understood: and if we carry our investigations still farther, we shall discover an astonishing number of pelagians, animals hitherto unknown, marine plants, and zoophytes, which seem assembled as it were to present new wonders to the observer, of their organizations, and to the naturalist, of their properties.

It may be preferable to occupy one's self at this day with other objects than flying-fish, gold fish, sharks, &c. &c. and it is voyages of this description, and these alone, which are capable of furnishing the valuable materials of a physical and meteorological chart of the seas; a chart of which science stands so much in need, and where hitherto we have sought in vain for the simple elements, amidst a crowd of subjects which continually multiply themselves, and reproduce each other.

In extending my researches to each of the subjects I have mentioned, I have wished rather to point out this new pursuit, which I do not pretend to have gone through; but the results I have gained from my first attempts appear to be of such utility, that I think it my duty to give a slight sketch of them here, reserving all the details of the observations of which they are the fruit, for a future time and for a future work.





CHAPTER IV.

Meteorological Observations—State of the Thermometer—State of the Hygrometer—Of the Barometer—Agreement between them—The Winds—Their Agreement with the Barometer—Atmospheric Phenomena—General Results.

THE meteorological observations were made with the thermometers of Dolland and Mossy; barometers made by the last mentioned artist, and hygrometers by Richer. To compare them as exactly with each other as possible, I made it an invariable rule from the beginning of our voyage to take an observation four times each day, at the hours most opposite; that is to say, at six in the morning and at six in the evening, at midnight, and at twelve at noon in the open air, and on the poop of our vessel, and as often besides as I conveniently could. This first series of my labours furnished me with the the following general results:

1st, The temperature of the thermometer rose progressively as we drew near the equator.

2d, It sunk progressively as we went from the equator.

3d, The proportion of its rising and sinking was not equal in both hemispheres, the mean degree of the heat in the southern hemisphere having been weaker than in the correspondent northern latitudes.

4th, In other respects, every thing being as usual, the temperature of the atmosphere between the tropics is weaker in open sea than in the interior of the continents or even oil the islands. We did not really experience more than 23° of heat under the line, and the mean degree is much below this last point.

5th, The variations of the temperature become weaker, and not so frequent the nearer we approach the equator, and vice versa.

6th, Not only the variations of the temperature are more inconsiderable from one day, or even from one month to another, between the tropics, and in open sea, but also, in general, there is but little difference between the temperature of the day taken in the shade at noon, and that of the night at midnight: thus, forty observations of this sort, taken from the 22d of November to the 1st of December,1800, produced me a sum total of 909, 6° of heat: noon produced 233, and midnight 222, 7, which makes scarcely one degree of difference for each day; a phenomenon so much the more remarkable, as it is known from the experiments of Miller, Beze, Pison, Halley, Lister, &c. that the difference of heat in the day and night is greater in the equinoctial regions, on shore, and that we ourselves should have occasion to draw conclusions from these facts suited to the objects of our enquiries.

We shall now proceed to describe the state of the hygrometer, being the first time that this valuable instrument crossed the seas: it was thought beforehand that its observation would furnish many important results; and we shall see that these expectations were well founded.

7th, Every thing in other respects being as usual, the it hygrometer shews a proportion of humidity so much the stronger, the nearer we approach the equator.

8th, The absolute proportion of the atmospheric humidity becomes so much the less, the nearer we approach either of the poles.

9th, The variations of the hygrometer are so much the weaker and less frequent, as we observe this instrument nearer the equator, and vice versa.

10th, The hygrometer, in the midst of the equatorial legions, remains almost invariably in a state Of extreme saturation. We proceed next to the state of the barometer.

11th, The barometer in general sinks the more we approach the equator.

12th, It rises progressively as we go farther from the equator.

13th, The variations of the barometer are neither frequent nor striking, when this instrument is observed near the equator, and vice versa.

14th, The equality of level of the place where the observation is made, the distance or absence of every cause of perturbation foreign to the atmosphere, gives to the barometer at sea, a more regular action, more easily admitting of comparison in its variations than it would do in the midst of a continent. That instrument in this respect is eminently useful to mariners, and our own experience leaves us no doubt on this head.

On the subject of the agreement between the hygrometer and the barometer we observe:

15th, That the variations of the barometer have an incontestible agreement with those of the hygrometer.

16th, The falling of the mercury corresponds in the greatest number of cases with the increase of humidity. It appears as much more considerable as the other becomes greater.

17th, The rising of the quicksilver almost always corresponds with the diminution of the humidity of the atmosphere; it is as much greater (other circumstances not interfering); as that diminution is marked more considerably by the hygrometer.

18th, The winds become by degrees lighter and more constant, as the navigator approaches the equinoctial regions, and vice versa.

The agreement of the wind with the barometer is as follows:

19th, The winds appear to exercise a real action, altogether independent of the variations of the barometer, for I have noticed frequently that the mercury fell almost suddenly 3, 4, 5, 6, or even 8 lines, in spite of the rapid diminution of, the humidity of the atmosphere; a circumstance which, after the two exclusive theories of Deluc, ought to have occasioned, on the contrary, the ascension of the mercury.

20th, This effect of the winds upon the barometer (other circumstances not interfering) appeared to me to be generally in a ratio composed of their least temperature, and of their celerity.

On the atmospheric phenomena I made the following observations:

21st, The vaporous appearance of the sky, to be observed towards the middle of the day, in all the seas of the equinoctial regions, and denominated by navigators, grey sky, thick horizon, vaporous horizon, &c. &c.; the astonishing splendour of the rising and setting sun in the same climates; the serenity of the sky during the night, so strongly contrasted with the vaporous state of the atmosphere during the day; the frequent, and almost instantaneous formation of the menacing clouds, described by so many voyagers; of the tempests known by the name of equinoctial squalls; the prodigious power of the humidity, from which it is almost impossible to preserve any thing, however valuable; the abundance of the rains, and the size of the drops which fall; all these phenomena, inexplicable even to this day in equatorial meteorology, appear to me to depend almost entirely on the hygrometrical state of the atmosphere in these parallels of latitude; and the theory of atmospheric refractions seems to me to depend in an important degree on such observations.

The general results of the above observations are:

22d, If we add to our own observations those of M. de Humboldt, on the diminution of intensity of the magnetic force towards the equator, it follows that all the great physical phenomena experience modifications, the more important in proportion as we approach towards that point: thus, the force of the weight, and the intensity of the magnetic virtue diminish; the barometer sinks, the thermometer rises; the action of the hygrometer tends to the point of saturation. The winds become lighter and more constant; the action of all the instruments becomes at the same time more regular, and their variations in consequence are less.





CHAPTER V.

Temperature of the Sea—Saltness of the Water—Its Phosphorescence—Observations on Natural History.

UNDER similar circumstances, and at the time of my meteorological observations, I entered on a course of experiments on the subject of the agreement between the temperature of the sea on its surface, with that of the atmosphere; the results of which experiments I have made known to the Institution.

With an apparatus, such as I judged most proper for the purpose, I attempted to make, at the same time with my friend and colleague, M. Depuch, some observations on the temperature of the ocean, at great depths from the surface, and soon began to doubt the gradual and progressive coldness of the waters of the sea, in proportion as we penetrated deeper into its abyss. I shall have occasion, in the sequel, to recur again to this part of my labours. Among the most important observations on the physical history of the sea, we must doubtless reckon those whose object is to determine the relative and absolute proportion of the saltness of the waters in different latitudes, and at different depths; unto this time, however, few experiments of the sort have been made, and even these first attempts appear to me to be totally wrong in their primary principles, and not of any essential use in their results. In short, the specific weight taken for the basis of their experiments by Ingenhouz, Labillardière, and M. Humboldt, in my opinion, is a method incapable of furnishing any given rule, because of the immense quantity of animalcule, often microscopic, which breed And multiply in sea-water, and which, though themselves distinct from the salts, perhaps do not in a less degree affect the specific weight of the liquid in which they are suspended, or rather, in a state of solution, on account of the gelatinous mucus which transudes from every part of their surface, and which gives to the purest sea-water that character of viscosity which it is always found to possess.

To collect sea-water, and keep it in bottles, like Sparman, is a still worse method; the putrefaction to which these waters are liable, cannot fail to change all the constituent principles, and thus produce, as we have already said, by the spontaneous decomposition, innumerable animalculæ.

To obviate these difficulties, it was my intention to collect, in every five degrees of latitude, a sufficient quantity of sea water, 100 pounds for example, to filter it through paper, and thus determine the specific weight with the areometer of Nicholson; a very defective method, as I have before observed, but which, being only accessary to my other experiments, was so much the more useful, as the water, by filtering, would be previously separated from the greatest part of other substances not connected with it. After this first operation, I proposed to put the water into one of the alembics which we had from government, and to carry on the evaporation to the point of drawing together as much as possible all the saline substances which it might contain in solution, and then reuniting the remainder of each of these distillations, in one or more vessels, hermetically sealed, proposed at my return to confide such valuable objects of experiment to M. Fourcroy, who would doubtless have analysed them correctly. This method of investigation, independent of the exact results which it appears to be capable of demonstrating, has the additional advantage of requiring only a succession of operations very easy to be pursued even on board a ship, and it the same time to render unnecessary all those minute details of fine analysis which cannot be properly attended to in the midst of the inconvenience that is necessarily attendant on a voyage.—Unfortunately, I was compelled in this instance, as in many others, to yield to the spirit of opposition in our commander; and I should have avoided the mention of this proposed course of experiments, if it had not, appeared to me to be necessary to engage the interest of the philosopher and traveller on the subject of so curious a part of the history of the seas, and to make known to them so easy and correct a method of making similar experiments.

The phosphorescence of the waters of the ocean is another curious and interesting subject of astonishment and investigation, and which has, ever since the days of Aristotle and Pliny, engaged the attention of the voyager. However extraordinary the slight sketch which I have here given of the principal phenomena of the phosphorescence of the sea, may appear to the reader, there is not one single word that I have not borrowed from the observations of those not liable to either enthusiasm or exaggeration. It will suffice to mention Cook, La Perouse, Labillardière, Vancouver, Banks, Sparman, Solander, Lamanon, Daprés de la Manvillette, Le Gentil, Adanson, Fleurieu, Marchand, Stavorinus, Spallanzani, Bourzeis, Linnæus, Pison, Hunter, Byron, Beal, Adler, Rathgeb, Martens, De Gennes, Hierne, Dagelet, Dicquemarre, Bacon, Lescarbot, Loeflingius, Shaw, Sloane, Tachart, Dombey, Ozanam, Barter, Tarnström, Marsigli, Kalm, Nassau, Pontoppidan, Morogue, Phipps, Poutrincourt, Heittmanne, Kirchmayer, Anson, Frezier, Lemaire, Van-neck, Rhumpe, Rogers, Drake, &c. How numerous and varied are these phenomena! Here the surface of the ocean sparkles and shines as far as the eye can reach, like a sheet of silver, when electrified in the dark—there it unfolds its waters in immense sheets of sulphur and flaming bitumen; in another place if resembles a sea of milk, the extremities of which are not to be perceived. The minutiæ of these great phenomena are not less to be admired than the grandeur of the whole. Bernardin de Saint Pierre has described with enthusiasm those shining stars which seem to dart by thousands from the bottom of the waters, and of which, he justly adds, those of our artificial fire-works are but a feeble imitation. Others have made mention of those masses of fire which roll on the waves like so many enormous red balls, and of which we ourselves saw some that did not appear to be less than twenty feet in diameter. Many seamen have observed fiery parallelograms, cones of light inverted, whirling about on their points, shining garlands and luminous serpents. In some places of the seas are to be perceived sparks of fire springing from the surface; in another part bodies of light and phosphorus are seen moving on the waves in the midst of darkness. Sometimes the ocean appears as if ornamented by an immense steep of moving light, whose undulating action seems to reach the edge of the horizon; all these phenomena, and many others which I forbear to mention, however marvellous they may appear, are nevertheless incontestible. They have been many times described by navigators of undoubted veracity, and I have myself observed most of the appearances which I have described, in different parts of the seas.

How many theories have been written in explanation of these prodigies. Sometimes, the supposed spirit of the salts, the bitumen, the petroleum, and animal oils, have been mentioned as the causes of these phenomena; sometimes, the spawn of the fishes, and other marine productions; the remains of marine animals have been thought sufficient to produce these extraordinary effects: the gelatinous mucus which continually transudes from fish, zoophytes, &c. &c. are by others said to occasion such brilliant appearances. Some naturalists have admitted a kind of moving putrefaction in the superficial beds of the sea, while some have thought it to proceed from the motion of light and shade; and others have considered it as occasioned exclusively by reflection. Electricity has also supplied some celebrated voyagers with ingenious conjectures on the subject; and more recently, phosphorus and similar productions have opened a new field for new hypotheses; some have supposed these phenomena totally distinct, others have attributed them to the influence of hydrogen. In a word, there is no sort of conjecture, probable or even absurd, which has not been adopted, and nevertheless the best naturalists remain still in uncertainty of the real cause of such grand phenomena of nature.

In the physical and meteorological part of my work, I shall have occasion more particularly to discuss each of these theories, and I hope I shall easily demonstrate the futility of each of them, one only excepted. I shall here merely mention a few of the results of my experiments and long study on this subject.

1st, That phosphorescence essentially belongs to all waters; it is observed in the midst of the waves of the Mediterranean, in the Norwegian seas, those of Siberia, and those of the antarctic poles.

2dly, The phosphorescence is generally stronger and more constant between the tropics, or near the tropics, than in latitudes nearer the poles.

3dly, The temperature, almost continually higher in the equinoctial seas, seems to be the mediate cause of this difference.

4thly, The phosphorescence is greater and more constant along the coasts, in confined seas and straits, than in the middle of the ocean, and at a distance from land.

5thly, In general this phenomenon is so much the more visible as the sea is more agitated, and when the darkness of the night is more profound.

6thly, We may, nevertheless, observe, that when the sea is calm, and when the moon shines bright and clear, it does not always eclipse the phosphorescence.

7thly, All the phenomena of the phosphorescence of the waters of the sea, however multiplied, however singular they may appear, may be nevertheless deduced from one single principle:—the phosphorescence peculiar to marine animals. My numerous observations, and the beautiful collection of coloured representations of phosphoric animals, by M. Lesueur, will, I hope, place this beyond a doubt.

8thly, This active phosphorescence of animals, very different in every respect from that faint brightness produced in certain cases by putrid decomposition, is so dependent on the organization, and of life, that it increases, grows weaker, and becomes extinct with the latter, so as never to be reproduced after death.

However various my physical and meteorological observations may have been, they did not occupy the whole of my time; so many undisturbed hours may be devoted to study when on a voyage, far from the noise of cities, and entirely abstracted from all the duties belonging to family or to friendship, and even from every connection with so, tidy. The study of marine zoophytes, &c. particularly engaged my attention in my leisure hours; this bad been more especially recommended to me by M. Cuvier, whom we may esteem as the author of this classification of the animal kingdom, and whose advice and instructions served me as a rule in my investigations. My colleague, Maugé, and my friend, Lesueur, acted in concert with me, and we had the satisfaction of making discoveries of this kind, both interesting and numerous. But it shall suffice here to sketch slightly the picture of some few of these animals, so long neglected by naturalists, and which, from the strangeness of their form, the singularity of their organization, the beauty of their colours, and the variety of their character, so well merit the attention of the natural philosopher.

At the head of this class of animals I shall place the Physalis, a kind of zoophyte, which, by means of a membrane or bladder, similar to that of certain fish, floats always on the surface of the water. A kind of membraneous muscle in folds or plaits fixed longitudinally on the back of the airy, vesicle, furnishes the animal with a real sail, which it can at pleasure expand or contract, in suitable proportions to the force or direction of the wind. From this singularity, it has frequently been named, the frigate, the galley, the schooner, &c. by these names it is generally known to the seamen of every nation. This vindictive animal spreads on the surface of the waves its sinewy snares or nets, several feet in length, and of a pure and lively ultramarine blue. Woe to the hand which attempts to seize them the sensation of burning is not quicker than that of the venom which is concealed in these instruments of, prey. This sensation is attended with an intolerable smarting in the part touched by them, with a kind of numbness or stupefaction of the whole limb, such are the almost instantaneous effects of the slightest touch of the physalis. Sometimes an appearance on the skin, similar to that produced by stinging nettles, is the consequence; this is accompanied by extreme pain, which generally continues twenty-four or thirty-six hours. What can we think of the nature of this subtile poison No direct experiment has yet been made on the subject, and all that I can say from my own experience, is, that when this animal was plunged in water strongly acidulated, with any kind of acid, but especially with the sulphuric, or muriatic, the beautiful blue colour of the sinewy nets became immediately red, as if the principle of the colour was really of a vegetable nature. I ought also to add, that the poison seemed to exert a more particular stupefying power on those animals which seemed to be the food of the physalis, for it is impossible otherwise to conceive how an animal so small, could contain in its nets, and in some sort devour alive, fish of four or five inches in length, as we had often opportunity to observe. In devouring its food, the physalis makes use of a prodigious number of suckers or feelers which depend from the lower part of the airy vesicle, and which is surrounded by the venomous snares already described.

Next to the Physalis may be mentioned the Physsophoris, a gelatinous and soft species of animals, of the most beautiful colours, which support themselves on the surface of the waves by means of a vesicle shaped like a very small olive, with a thick gelatinous coat or skin, the inside of which is generally filled with air. When the animal would dive into the ocean, immediately a valve opens, the air with which the vesicle is filled is let out, the specific weight of the animal increases, and it plunges into the depths of the waters; when the animal would again rise to the surface, a new bubble of air seems to swell out, or rather to be formed instantaneously, the small reservoir is filled afresh, the valve shuts, the physsophoris again is lessened in weight, and rises again on the bosom of the waves.

In the Vellelles, the next of the class, the means differ, but the results are the same. On the hack of the animal, resembles the form of a little skiff overturned, there rises obliquely a kind of crest, extremely thin, light, transparent and cartilaginous; this is a large sail, which serves the animal to direct its motions, to alter or hasten them; always close-hauled, this beautiful azure vessel makes its way through the water, changes its course at pleasure, and rarely fails to catch its prey, which it holds fast in its numerous nets or snares with which it is surrounded, and soon devours by the help of the innumerable suckers which depend from its lower surface. The elegant shape of this animal, the transparency of the sail, the beautiful azure blue colour with which it is adorned, all unite to make it one of the most beautiful species of the class to which it belongs, and it is very picturesque to observe in calm weather, thousands of these zoophytes manoeuvring on the surface of seas, which seem like so many beautiful flotillas in miniature, directed according to the principles or our naval tactics.

In the Beroës, nature seems to have exhausted all that elegance of shape, richness of colour, and variety of motion, can present of grace and beauty. Their substance, more transparent than the purest crystal, is generally of a fine rose colour, opal, or azure; their form is always more or less spheroidical; eight or ten longitudinal, sides are disposed in a circumference, each formed by a prodigious number of small transverse leaves or folds, excessively thin, and capable of astonishing motion; these constitute the essential organs of the animal's, movements. It is with the help of these small oars, moving at pleasure, that the animal guides itself towards its prey, escapes from its enemies, whirls about on its own axis (if I may be allowed the expression); in a word, performs all its necessary evolutions. What is still more admirable in the motions of the beroés, is, that the light, being separated by the effect of these rapid and changeful motions, all the longitudinal sides become so many living prisms, which seem to enclose the animal in eight or ten animated undulating rainbows, of which language, or even painting, can give but a very imperfect idea.

How shall I be able to describe the next species of zoophyte, which like a beautiful garland of azure-coloured crystal, moves on the surface of the waves, successively raising its transparent folds, which resemble the leaves of ivy; its beautiful rose-coloured feelers are stretched oat, seeking the prey on which the animal feeds, which is no sooner caught than it is enveloped in a fatal net. This zoophyte immediately contracts itself, forming a sort of circle around the animal it has conquered; thousands of suckers, like long leeches, spring at the same instant from under the leaves which I have just described, and which in a state of repose serve to cover and protect these suckers. In few moments the prey, however large, is devoured. I cannot avoid mentioning the admirable phosphoric property so general among most of the animals of this class, and which in that I have now described, is more lively and brilliant than in others, and causes it to appear in the midst of darkness like a beautiful garland of flame and phosphorus!

In what terms shall I describe those Janthines of a purple colour, which move on the surface of the sea, suspended by a white bunch of airy vesicles! Or what can I say of those numerous legions of Salpa, of rose-colour, azure, or opal, which form banks of thirty or forty leagues in extent, and which glitter in the midst of darkness! Or of those Medusæ, equally phosphoric; which present so many singular forms in their organization, so many delicate shades in their colour! Or those Pyrosomæ, which are formed like the finger of an enormous glove, and which do not appear to have any of the organs of locomotion, digestion, respiration, or even reproduction, but which nevertheless cover the sea with their innumerable swarms. The substance of these animals is so brilliant, even in the darkest night, that it has the appearance of red hot iron! Nor should I omit to speak of the beautiful Glaucus, of a fine ultramarine blue, with a stripe of silver on the back: these resemble so many small sea-lizards, their limbs branching out in ramifications like shrubs, serving at the same time as fins and lungs: Nor of those Pneumodermæ, which the celebrated M. Cuvier (for whom I had intended several of the curious marine animals) considers as constituting a new order in the class to which they belong; these have their organs of respiration in the hind part of the back! The Hyaleæ, which abound in the neighbourhood of the Cape of Good Hope, are also a curious animal, protected only by a shell, which is extremely thin, fragile, light; transparent, and of a horny appearance. These are to be seen playing on the stormy waves of the southern ocean. As they unfold their beautiful purple fins, they might be taken for so many little tortoises in miniature, and indeed by this name they are generally called by the seamen.

Here I may be allowed to mention the discovery of the living Spirulea, which at length resolves the problem of the formation of these singular shells with several apartments, and which under the name of nummulites, belemnites, horns of ammon, hippurite, lenticular stones, turrilite, &c. &c. bear no inconsiderable part in the history of the revolutions of our planet, of which so small a quantity appear to have escaped the great catastrophes of nature, and of which species not any of the living animals have been hitherto known to naturalists.

I shall venture to speak of those azure-coloured Porpites, in the membraneous head of which species, the learned M. Cuvier thought he had discovered the type of some kinds of nummulites, with concentric spires, which are found in a state of petrifaction on the summit of the highest mountains of our continent. But I must conclude this subject; for to point out only the new and interesting objects which we collected during this long from Europe to the Indies, would exceed the bounds which I have prescribed to myself. It most suffice to add, that our collection consisted of upwards of eighty new species of different animals; and that among these is a remarkable fish, not only for being variegated with brilliant gold and purple, but also for the pustulous conic vesicles with which its teguments are bristled, and which compel the animal to float continually on the surface of the seas.





CHAPTER VI.

Our Stay in the Isle of France.

[From the 15th of March to the 25th of April, 1801.]


AFTER so long a voyage, the sight of any portion of land Is doubtless delightful to the traveller; but how much more does it appear interesting, when he knows that he shall find on it the men, manners and language of his native country. Besides, the picturesque appearance of the Isle of France, the singular shapes of its mountains, the verdure which clothes the whole surface of the island, the numerous habitations which he discovers at a distance, all contribute something to the charm of having reached the first goal or resting place of his voyage.

The Isle of France was first discovered by the Portuguese, who named it Cerné; it was afterwards in the possession of the Dutch, who called it Isle-Maurice; it now belongs to the French, who again changed its name to that it is now known by, the Isle of France. It is a small island in the Indian sea, and is generally called a part of Africa; it is situated near the tropics, being only three degrees from that of Capricorn; it is of an irregular oval form; its greatest length is not above eleven leagues; it is in breadth hardly eight; the circumference is reckoned about forty-five, and the surface, according to the abbé de Lacaille, is 432,680 toises; it is thirty leagues N.E. of the Isle Reunion, the soil of which, like that of the Isle of France, is entirely volcanic, but the mountains are more lofty; one of them is also a burning volcano. The prevailing winds at the Isle of France are, the E.S.E. the S.E. and the S.S.E.; that is to say, the most pleasant and healthy that we can possibly have in these latitudes. Those which blow from the N. and the W. and particularly the N.W. are generally rainy and almost always attend the hurricanes which from time to time lay waste the colony. But it is said that these hurricanes happen but seldom since the lands have been so much cleared. The hurricanes of these latter days, which have been most spoken of, are those which happened in the years 1786, and 1789. The first took place on the 15th of December, when the sea rose three feet eight inches above the level of the highest tides; the barometer sunk W, 3 lines; and there fell in the course of twenty-four hours, 73 lines of rain water; and independent of the thunder and lightning, which was almost incessant the whole tithe of this dreadful hurricane, there appeared a meteor like a globe of fire, which followed the direction of the wind, which was then N.W. and went behind the mountains of Mocha. This meteor was very high in the atmosphere, and appeared, half as large as the moon.

The second hurricane, still more disastrous than the former, happened at the same time in the month, namely, on the 15th of December, 1789; it lasted about twenty three hours, during which time the barometer sunk 14, 9 lines; and the mercury in the tube was so strongly agitated, that oscillations were considerable, and there rose from its surfaces sparks of pale light, which filled all that was empty of the tube. The sea raged horribly, and the waves were so impetuous, that several ships were driven on the rocks and wrecked; some were even overset that were at anchor in the middle of the port. The quarters of Mocha, of Flacq, of Pamplemousses, and the Riviere du Rempart, were more particularly devastated by this last hurricane, during which there fell 104 lines of rain water.

Notwithstanding the momentaneous disasters which are the consequences of these hurricanes, experience seems to prove that they are a real benefit to the Country; and that this sort of periodical revolution gives new strength to the soil, and makes the atmosphere more salubrious. Thus Nature, benevolent in all her works, makes evil itself one of the most powerful agents in producing good.

Earthquakes happen but seldom in the Isle of France; but in the morning, on the fourth of August, 1786, two strong shocks were felt, which, however, did not do any damage.

As in our own climates, it thunders in the hottest months, that is to say, it generally happens in October; November, December, and January. The mean term of nine years' observation on this subject, gives about fifteen days of thunder in each month.

Hail is a phenomenon which rarely happens, but, nevertheless, there are same instances; for example, it hailed in the plains of Mocha on the 10th of December, 1799.

Rain falls very frequently, and in great abundance. At the N.W. port, the days of rain amounted in a year, from 105 to 140, and in the plains of Mocha they were still more numerous. In the year 7 of the revolution, they were reckoned at 198; in the year 8, 193; which, on an average, makes above half the days of the year rainy.

This frequent rain, the height of the mountains, the forests which cover the summits, and the basaltic nature of the soil, which prevents the earth imbibing much of the water to any great depth, seem to be considered as the chief causes of the multiplicity of the rivers, of which there are above forty, independent of smaller streams, springs, and numerous torrents in every part of the island; the rivers, indeed, are not very considerable, but they nevertheless contain an immense quantity of water, if we suppose them collected together in one mass. This great number of rivers and streams power, fully assists the natural fertility of the soil, and that strength of vegetation, of which we cannot have a perfect idea in mates not so much favoured by nature.

However abundant the rains may still be in, the Isle of France, it is the general opinion of the country, that they have much diminished in the course of the last twenty-five or thirty years, and the clearing of the lauds, which latterly is particular, has been done without proper consideration, is universally thought to be the principal cause of this diminution. And the oldest and best-informed agriculturists assert; that the rivers convey much less water than formerly; that several springs have dried up, and that vegetation is not so quick; and this last effect is ascribed not so much to the soil being exhausted, as to the deficiency of its natural humidity. It is certainly not impossible, that the inconsiderate act of clearing the forests may have been one great cause of the diminution of the quantity of rain; but it is also possible, that if the quantity be still the same as formerly, it may not now be sufficient for the vegetation, because the first effect of the denudation of the soil, is to occasion a quicker and greater evaporation. But whatever weight this last observation may have, it is nevertheless incontestable, that the clearing of the lands, has been followed in most parts of the island by the effects above mentioned. In the environs of the port N.W. there are now scarce any woods, and M. Ceré told me, that he had seen in his youth the whole of the great plain, of Pamplemousses covered with forests; it is now crowded with habitations.

The temperature of the Isle of France is not so hot as its latitude seems to denote, for after a course of daily observations during three years, made with particular attention to the subject, on the estate of Minissy, belonging to one of the brothers of the family of Monneron, a name as much respected in India as in Europe, I found that the maximum of heat was scarcely 22° in the year 7; 21° 81 in the year 8; and 22° in the year 9; the minimum was from 13° to 14° for each of these same years. It is generally in the summer as high as from 18 to 20°, and during the winter from 15 to 18°. Thus, in all this part of the island they are generally in the habit of lighting fires in winter; the evenings particularly are very cool, and I have myself felt cold for want, of more covering in the night.

In the plains of Pamplemousses, the temperature is not hotter than in the plains of Wilhems and Mocha. M. Ceré, who for thirty years carefully observed the variations of the thermometer, told me that this instrument very seldom rose so high as 25°; that this scarcely happened once in a year for five years together; that it was still seldom that it rose to 26°, and that in this case it happened during the time of very extraordinary heats, violent storms, or even hurricanes. When exposed to the heat of the sun, several times at twelve o'clock at noon, his thermometer did not rise higher than 40°. This remarkable circumstance of the little elevation of the temperature of the Isle of. France, in the interior of the country, depends, First, on the small size of the island; Secondly, on its isolated situation in the middle of the seas; Thirdly, on the nature of the prevailing winds; Fourthly, from the high mountains which cover part of its surface; Fifthly, from the forests, which in the interior are yet very extensive; Sixthly, from the frequent and abundant rains; and Seventhly, from the multiplicity of the rivers and springs, which usually occasion a cool air in the valleys.

To the N.W. of the port the temperature is much warmer than in the rest of the island; in fine, from a long course of observations on this subject by M. Lislet correspondent of the Academy of Sciences, it appears that the maximum of heat experienced in the city of the port, is annually 28° 29, and even 29° 5. The thermometer however never rises so high as 30°; at least M. Lislet himself never observed it at that height. The months of December, January, and February, are the hottest. It is not only from the temperature being warmer, that the atmosphere of the port N.W. occasions lassitude and fatigue; it is caused more by the stagnation it sometimes suffers, and which increases sensibly as The heat of the imprisoned air becomes greater, land locked as it is on all sides by the mountains of La Decoveste, Du Pouce, Du Pittes-both, and the long mountain, a disposition which prevents the immediate action of the fresh and salutary gales from the and S.S.E. of which I have spoken.

Except in the time of a hurricane, the barometer, in the N.W. part of the port remains generally from 27 inches 9 lines, to 28 inches 3 and even 4 lines; but in the more de, voted plains of Mocha, the barometer rarely ascends above 27 inches, and it is almost always below this point.

These considerations on the physical situation of the Isle of France, are not only necessary to be known as Connected with the meteorology, they also apply particularly to the health of the inhabitants. It is easy to conceive, that from ail these observations, the elasticity, freshness, and lightness of the air in the vicinity of Mocha, the plains of Wilhems, &c. is much more salutary to persons in an impaired state of health, or to convalescents, than the close air of the port N.W.; and that for the same reason, the elastic air of the plains of Wilhems is not so proper for those individuals who suffer under any stomach complaint. Experience confirms the justice of these observations. Notwithstanding this objection, it would be very unjust to think it a cause of complaint, because it is to these qualities of the air that the particular salubrity of the Isle of France is to be ascribed, as well as the climate being free from the dreadful fevers which are so common in Batavia, the Philippines, the Moluccas, Madagascar, and most of the countries near the equator.

We must not, however, believe with some enthusiasts, that all endemic distempers are unknown in the Isle of France; for unfortunately there are several, so, much the more to be feared, as they seem difficult to be avoided. In fact, independent of stomach complaints, which are here very frequent, and of the leprosy, which, although formerly unknown in this island, now prevails among many even of the white population, all the distempers of the urinary passages affect the inhabitants to an extraordinary degree: they seem to proceed from the quality of the water, which, according to the chemical analysis of M. Delisse, contains a great proportion of carbonate of lime.

I have thus, from my own particular observations, and according to the general results which I could deduce from those of Messrs. Ceré, Monneron, and particularly those of M. Lislet Geoffroy, hastily given a meteorological sketch of the Isle of France. The geological and meteorological de, tails which follow, appear to me to be equally new as inter resting; they are the observations of our mineralogist, M. Bailly.

"The Isle of France is entirely volcanic; but many centuries have elapsed since the fires have become extinct; and a great revolution seems to have changed the original state of this ancient crater. Indeed all the mountains of this, island surround if like a girdle of immense ramparts; they have all a declivity more or less towards the sea-shore, whilst towards the centre of the island, they each present an irregular mouth or cup, which cavities are often on the peak or top.

"All these mountains are formed of parallel strata inclined towards the sea from the centre of the island. These strata correspond exactly one with another, and wherever you see them interrupted by valleys or deep fissures, they are again observable on the other side of the mountains which they form. From these observations it is incontestably proved, that they have all the same origin, and that they may be dated from the same epoch; that, united in fewer ages, they could only have been since separated by some sudden and violent revolution of nature.

"Let us consider a moment what this last revolution could have been. Every fact proves, that in former times the whole island was but one enormous burning mountain; and that exhausted by the eruptions, and sunk down by its own weight, it swallowed in its abyss the greatest part of its own mass, and that of this immense vault there now remains only the foundations of which the half-open, broken parts in different places, form the present mountains of the islands. Some points or peaks of a conic shape, which rise towards the centre of the country, bear the character of an origin posterior to the sinking of the crater, and seem to have been the last spiracles or vents through which the subterranean fires exhaled their vapours.

"Such, in general, is the physical organization of the Isle of France. I shall not unnecessarily enlarge on the subject, but I must take notice of the rocks which compose the soil: they generally belong to the class described by M. Dolomieu under the name of argilo-ferruginous lava: these are more or less porous, almost always porphyritic, with crystals of a green colour in divers shades.

"These rocks are easily broken, and the earthy particles driven by the rains, form in the low places of the island, beds of some thickness, of a sort of clayey, reddish earth, which is used in the potteries, for water coolers, &c. &c.

"There is to be found in the pores and cavities of some of the strata, carbonated and crystallized lime of various shapes and different sorts. In some low marshy places a species of iron is found, in grains as large as nuts; in these places mines were formerly attempted to be worked, but a scarcity of wood, and the great price of manual labour, soon caused the attempt to be abandoned.

"To conclude this geological account of the Isle of France, I ought to add, that it is surrounded on every side by a girdle of madrepores, which makes the landing very dangerous. These madrepores become every day more extended; several small islands are formed therewith, and others are continually forming of the same elements; while the principal island is also thus enlarging more and more. We have ourselves seen a remarkable instance of the rapid increase of the zoophytes. The port admiral's ship was stranded some time after our departure; and at our return, that is to say, two years and a half after, the madrepores had increased in such a manner all over the hull of the ship, that it had become but one substance with the rock on which it rested."

The soil of the Isle of France is, as we have noticed, essentially volcanic; but at the same time very different from that of Teneriffe: it is almost every where covered with a bed of earth, which at once absorbs the waters and assists the vegetation. If I can judge from my own observations on this subject, it appears to me evident, that the principal source of this valuable earth is derived from the lava itself, decomposed by the united powers of time, heat, moisture, vegetation, &c. I have seen in the compact masses of lava, which form the mountains of the island, a progressive change, which, from the hardest basalt by a number of intermediate modifications, became vegetative earth. The action of a strong fire on this earth changes it to the colour of deep red ochre, which is doubtless caused by a stronger oxydation of the iron it contains, which is almost in a metallic state in the basalt.

But whatever may be the origin of this vegetative earth, it is nevertheless of a very excellent quality, and where it is of any considerable depth, vegetation is produced with an extraordinary degree of vigour; and the number and quantity of plants cultivated with success in the Isle of France is truly prodigious; and what is still more remarkable in the midst of this abundance, is, that almost the whole of the vegetables are foreign to the soil, and yet all succeed equally well. To have a just idea of this fertility of the country which is the subject of these observations, we ought to visit the gardens of the government in the plains of Pamplemousses; where the respectable M. Ceré has skilfully naturalized, in the space of thirty years, a prodigious number of trees and shrubs, some from the ardent climates of Africa, others from the humid shores of Madagascar; some from China and Pegu, and again, others are natives of the banks of Indus and the Ganges; several are the produce of the summits of the Ghauts, others flourished originally in the rich valleys of Cashmere; and in the isles of the great archipelago of Asia, Java, Sumatra, Ceylon, Bouro, the Moluccas, and the Philippines: Taïti itself has contributed to the richness and beauty of this garden. The Canaries, the Azores, the orchards and groves of Europe, and the forests of America, are there combined, and we may there also find several plants of Arabia, Persia, Brazil, of the coast of Guinea, Cafraria, &c. and we ourselves added to the collection numerous specimens of the curious vegetables of the south. In this garden we may ramble: through, long and silent walks, contemplating these inestimable natives of different shores assembled together, a subject of pleasing astonishment. Here we see the giant of the equinoctial forests, they teak, with which ships are built in India, almost unperishable; the bread-fruit tree, with the produce of which all the population of the countries in the southern ocean are; supplied with food; the rafia of Madagascar, a valuable species of palm, which furnishes a delicate kind of sago; the nutmeg-tree, which, lately imported by the respectable M. Poivre, may soon be expected to free us from the duty we yet pay to the Dutch monopoly; the clove-tree, whose innumerable and beautiful red fruit so much delight the eye, and which also already supply our isles with a mach greater quantity of cloves than is necessary for our own consumption; the badam-tree, with large leaves of beautiful verdure, and which bears a small almond of a long shape, and of a finer flavour than any of our nuts; the ebony-tree, which produces the wood so valuable for its beautiful polish, and shining black colour; the Pamplemousse tree, with fruit which is a species of orange, of the size of a small melon, of the rind of which is made excellent sweetmeats; the tamarind tree, bearing a fruit well known as being both pleasant to the taste, and medicinal; the dwarf orange tree of China, only one foot in height, and the fruit of which is scarcely so large as is of the coffee-tree, but which, like that of the coffee, is red. This tree is remarkable for its agreeable scent, similar to that of the lemon; The hymenœa, a beautiful tree, bearing leaves by two and two, opposite to each other—the symbol of a happy union; the areka tree, which produces the areka nut, so much in estimation on account of the betel, of which these nuts are the principal ingredient; the carambole, the fruit divided into four projecting quarters, containing a quantity of lightly acidulated juice; the jacquier, not unlike the bread-tree, and which bears a very large fruit of the shape of a long gourd, or pumpkin, and is the valuable food of the slaves; the litchi, whose tough swelling coat contains a pleasant scented pulp; the mangoustan, originally from China, in these regions thought to be the finest fruit in the world; the coffee-tree, so well known in Europe, whose little berries, containing two seeds each, are covered with a husk of fine scarlet; the mango, similar to our pear and which improved by culture, produces numerous varieties; the banana tree; whose name alone makes the mouth water of any one acquainted with its excellence; the cocoa tree, so celebrated in the writings of all travellers, and which produces such effect in equatorial landscape; the palmist, or cabbage tree, which only bears once in its life, the choice fruit which ends the existence of the tree, and which is used in so many different ways; the velongos of Madagascar, whose fruit is disposed in large regular branches, representing an enormous bunch of lobsters; the jambos, whose ripe fruit is not unlike the damson, but much sweeter in smell and taste; the jam-malac, of which is formed the most beautiful hedges; the thorny bamboo, for impenetrable enclosures; the raven-tsara, the leaves and fruit of which would furnish a very cheap and agreeable spice; the avocacier, the fruit of which somewhat resembles our mellow pears, but being more insipid, requires some addition to make it pleasant to the taste; the guava tree, which in the midst of woods furnishes a wholesome refreshment; the cinnamon tree of Cochin China, the bark of which is not inferior to that of Ceylon; the baobab, or monkey bread, the famous Adansonia, the grandest and largest kind of tree known; the vacois, whose branches wantonly descend, and again take root: the leaves of this tree are collected for many, useful purposes; the frangipane tree, whose beautiful corollas, white as alabaster, exhale a sweet and delicate perfume; the cotton tree, which yields a soft and admirable down, after the maturity of the seeds which it covers; the valuable tree of the iron-wood, which is of such rapid growth, and which thrives in the most barren soil as well as in our southern climates; the attier, whose fruit contains under a thick hard rind, a delicious pulp, compared by many travellers to sugared cream; the rose tree of China, which growing wild in fife middle of the woods and forests, unites its flowers with those of the jasmine and the beautiful pervench of Madagascar; the papaw tree, the milky and caustic juice of which is used as an excellent vermifuge, and whose fruit is seen at the best tables; the ravinal, or the traveller's tree, so named from the singular property which it has of producing a large quantify of very good soft water, when the base of the leaves is pierced: the jam-rosa, which bears fruit of a fine rose colour, from which is obtained by fermentation and distillation, a finely scented alcohol; the cassia tree, which furnishes medicine with one of its most gentle and innocent purgatives; the date tree, the caroub tree, the myrobotan, the behen tree, the varnish tree, the frankincense tree, the tallow tree, the tea tree, the coffee of Eden, the wax tree of Cochin China, the soap tree, the cubeb tree, the cacao tree, the tree of Cythera, the milk tree, the roucon tree, the velvet tree, &c. &c. But such is the profusion of useful vegetables which industry and activity have brought together in so small a theatre, that it would much exceed the limits of this chapter to continue the enumeration; and when we consider that this prodigious multiplication of interesting vegetables, is the result of a few years' experience and labour, we cannot avoid being penetrated with gratitude towards the authors of such benefits to society, at the head of whom appear Labourdonnais, the immortal Poivre, Hubert and Ceré, Commerson, Du Petit-Thonars, and Martin. The importation of the cherry immortalized the name of cullus among the Romans, and it is esteemed among as to the present day. Bow many modern naturalists have done a hundred times more than Lucullus for the human species, and nevertheless have lived unfortunate, and have died unknown, even among their own countrymen!

To conclude this general account which I have sketched, it remains for me to mention the animals and inhabitants of the Isle of France, for other climates and other people must be the subjects of our farther observations: let us therefore finish what remains to be said of our stay in this island. However the individuals belonging to our expedition were pleased with the reception they experienced from the inhabitants of the colony, our commander had reason to repent having touched at this places but without entering into the sad details of this part of our story, it shall suffice to say, that the third ship which was to have. joined us there, was refused us, and that we could not procure any of the most necessary provisions; that we lost forty excellent seamen, who here deserted, and that a great number of officers, naturalists, and artists belonging to our two ships, already tired and disgusted with the ill usage they had experienced from our commander, or justly alarmed for the future, chose to remain on the island.

It is generally allowed, that the wood of hot climates is heavier and stronger than those, of more temperate regions. The experiments of M. Lislet support this opinion; and in fact, it proved that the European oak, thus compared with 22 kinds of equatorial wood, is but 17l for the weight, and 19l for the relative strength. See the following table;

Table of the Weight and Relative Strength of several Kinds of Timber of the Isle of France, compared by M. Lislet Geoffroy, Captain of Engineers, and Correspondent to the Academy of Sciences.

General Name. Botanic Name. Weight of  
the Cubic
Foot.
Relative
Strength.
—————— —————— —— —— ———
    lb. oz.  
Black Iron Wood Stadtmania 87 12 3872
Stinking Wood Fœtidia 75 2 3141
{Wood of the Natte, small-
{  leaved
Imbricaria 74 1 3100
Wood of the White Olive Olea 63 2 2917
[—— of the Red Teck-
[  tackamaka
Tectona Grandis 53 2 2720
{—— of the Natte, large-
{  leaved
Imbricaria 72 1 2660
Red Iron Wood —— 84 10 2367
[Wood of the White Cinna-
[  mon
Laurus 56 8 2317
{Wood of the Black Cinna-
{  mon
Elœcarpus 41 14 2290
—— of the Red Olive Rubentia 56 6 2037
—— of Red Colophane Colophonia Burseria   59 2 2087
—— of the White Apple Eugenia 61 4 2015
—— Natte, Monkey Apple   Syderoxylon 57 3 1900
—— Lousteau Antirrhœa 56 8 1750
—— Benjoin Terminalia Benjoin 57 4 2005
—— Marbled Cinnamon Eleocarpus 38 14 1880
White Iron Wood Syderoxylon 58 4 1788
Wood of the Red Apple Eugenia 60 0 1750
——  of the Oak Quercus robur 56 1 1702
——  of Tackamaka Red Fir   Calophyllum Caloba 52 5 1618
——  of Bigainou Eugenia 64 3 1500
——  of Bassin Blackwellia 47 11 1500
——  of White Colophane Morignia 49 3 1350

Experiments to decide the relative strength of the woods may be made several ways: that used by M. Lislet was, choosing the pieces, as much as possible, of an equal size in every respect, of each of the sorts of wood which he wished to compare, and then to fix them by the two extremities on two substantial points of support—for example, two notched posts—and then to suspend from the middle of each of the pieces of wood, a weight of sufficient force to break them. The agreement between this quantity of weight determines that of the strength of the wood, For example, if to break a piece of timber of the black fir, it requires a weight equal to 3872, and to produce the same effect on a similar piece of oak, it only requires a weight equal to 1702, it appears that the strength of resistance of these two timbers ought to agree, as 3872 with 1702; or more simply, that the strength of the oak is to that of the black fir as 1 is to 2.22.







BOOK II.


FROM THE ISLE OF FRANCE TO TIMOR, INCLUSIVELY.

——————


CHAPTER VII.

The Passage from the Isle of France to New Holland, Leuwin's Land, &c.
[From Mauritius to Australia; about Cape Nauraliste to Cape Leeuwin, W.A.]

[From April 25th to June 19th, 1801.]


ON the 25th of April we took our departure from the Isle of France, to direct our course towards New Holland. We were scarcely under sail, when we were informed by our commander, that from that time we should have but half a pound of new bread once in ten days; that instead of the allowance of wine, we should have three-sixteenths of a bottle of bad rum of the Isle of France, bought at a low price that colony; and that the biscuit and salt provisions should be our general food. Thus, from the first day of a voyage which must necessarily be both long and difficult, we were abridged, all at once of bread, wine, and fresh meat—a sad prelude, and chief cause of all the miseries we in the end experienced.

On the 26th and 27th, we had some squalls and rain; on the 29th, we found ourselves in 25° south latitude, and the barometer rose from 28i 3l to 28i 4l 5l: all night of this day we had a small continual rain. From the 30th of April to the 5th of May, we proceeded as far as the 29th degree of latitude, and to the 64th degree of east longitude. From the 5th to the 11th, we had constantly dark, moist, and rainy weather, occasioned by the winds from the N.E., the N., and the N.N.W., which at length ended with a gale of wind that lasted three days, and during which the barometer sunk nine lines. The night of the 9th instant was particularly bad: the sea was high, with a prodigious mien; the wind blew in impetuous squalls; and heavy rains succeeded, that continued till the following day at noon.

From the 11th to the 15th, we continued our course under the parallel of about 33° of latitude, the barometer being from 28i 4l to 28i 5l, and the thermometer having successively sunk from the 22d to the 12th degree. The temperature of the sea, on the surface, was very little different from that of the atmosphere.

From the 15th to the 20th we made but little way towards the south, being only on this last day in 35°; but our longitude was 100° to the east of the meridian of Paris, and consequently, we were not more than about 150 leagues from the west point of New Holland, where our commander had determined to land.

In fact, the length of our passage from Europe to the Indies, and our stay in the Isle of France, which was certainly longer than it ought to have been, had lost us part of the favourable season for our expedition. Our commander feared to be driven towards Diemen's Land, and therefore resolved to begin his exploration by reconnoitring the N.W. of New Holland, reserving for the ensuing spring the voyage to the South. This important determination gave us much concern, because it was not absolutely necessary from our actual situation. The season, though advanced, was not so much so as to prevent us from doubling the South Cape; and as from this point we should be getting nearer the equatorial, regions, it appeared to us more prudent to pay respect to the instructions we had received from government, which we well knew were the result of the most learned deliberations and the most extensive knowledge on the subject. We shall see in the end the consequences produced by this first deviation from our orders.

From the 21st to the 25th of May, we continued to approach the western shore of the continent which me had come thus far to explore. We were, however, still at the distance of more than 100 leagues, but our meteorological instruments already began to shew the influence of the land we were approaching. During the first part of our voyage I had observed that the east winds constantly produced moist weather; that they were almost always attended by thick fogs and rains, which sometimes fell in torrents. All. the instruments had varied with the state of the atmosphere By these same winds the thermometer rose, the hygrometer changed to the point of saturation, and the mercury sank in the tube; but no sooner were we sheltered by New Holland, than these winds, which could only reach us in crossing the whole breadth of this land, appeared to have an influence totally contrary to that which I have mentioned; for when these winds prevailed the atmosphere was pure and serene, the hygrometer indicated a progressive diminution of humidity, the barometer rose; the thermometer alone remained at the same temperature, or hotter. Surprised at so sudden and so entire a change in the action of meteorological phenomena, I considered all the circumstances, and thought that I might draw the following singular conclusion—that the part of New Holland which we were drawing near, was in general a low country, with no high mountains, or extensive forests, and with but little fresh water. It does not belong to my present subject to enter on the details of the memorial which I then made on the matter: it is sufficient to say, that our commander, the astronomer, and all those of my friends to whom I communicated the work several days before we saw the land, although struck with the agreement of the consequences with the phenomena, refused however to admit the conclusion, until experience compelled everyone to acknowledge the importance of this new method of applying the meteorological observations to the physical character of large continents. I shall at a future time return to this subject, as towards the southern extremity of New Holland we experienced from the N.W. winds the same phenomena as those we here experienced from the E. and N.E.

On the 27th at day-break we made New Holland; a blackish stripe from the north to the south, was the humble profile of this continent: we endeavoured to near the land; but the winds, and currents were so contrary, that the remainder of the day was spent in useless efforts. In the evening we lay to; my colleague, Maugé, and myself profited by this circumstance, and threw out the drag; this instrument, which is more particularly used in fishing fur coral, is so constructed that it will; bring from the bottom of the sea to the surface, every thing which it there finds. We hoped therefore by this means to obtain the first objects of our southern collection, and we were gratified beyond our hopes.

Deceived by the charts which had been put in our hands In Europe, we believed that we should double Cape Leuwin in the evening of the 28th. This cape forms the most western point of New Holland; on the north of which the unknown part of Leuwin's Land, which we were to explore, immediately begins. This important cape should have been placed, according to these charts, in 34. 7. 50: south latitude, and, 142.26 east longitude from the meridian of Paris; but in the course of our labours we were convinced that in this first discovery of land we were mistaken with respect to the point which might really to be considered Cape Leuwin.

On this day, the land which we bad in sight appeared to below, sterile, sandy, and of a dark colour, mingled with some whitish specks. Several whales passed very near our ships. About midnight we again cast the drag, which brought up a collection of interesting curiosities, which to draw and describe, occupied M. Lesueur and myself ail the remainder of the night, as similar descriptions had done the night preceding.

During the whole of the 29th. we sailed along the coast at a very little distance, which had almost entirely the same appearance as it had on the preceding days. My estimable friend, M. Depuch, describes it in the following terms:—"All the length of land which we coasted appeared to be low, or at least very little raised; the inequalities of the shore are gradual, the coast is in some parts so regular, that a line slightly undulated would describe a considerable portion of it. Near the shore are many hills of gentle declivity; these appear blackish and barren. In many places we observed whitish spots, of more or less extent; one of which spreads above half a mile from the shore, up the land and makes it an excellent landmark for the navigator. In my observation of this point I remarked all the characters of a sandy soil; a property which seemed to belong to the whole of this unknown coast. The blackish aspect which is pretty general, is occasioned by a dark and languishing vegetation; the parts without any vegetation are of a whitish colour."

On the morning of the 30th, we doubled a cape, a-head from which projected is reef where the sea broke with violence, and which stretched out into the sea above a quarter of a league. We soon discovered that it formed point of entrance south of a large bay, which, from the name of our principal corvette, we named Geography Bay; the cape I have just mentioned, received the name of Cape Naturalist: it lies in 33° 28' south latitude, and 112° 33' 7" east longitude. Farther out, and almost in the middle of this bay, is a reef which stretches to a great length, and is very dangerous; this we called Naturalist Reef. In the evening, about five o'clock, we cast anchor, towards the entrance of the bay which we had just discovered. The barometer during the last five days remained at from 28i 3, 5, to 28i 6, 0; the thermometer varying from 14 to 17°, and the hygrometer from 78 to 90°. The atmosphere was perfectly clear and pure, thanks to the cold drying winds from the south, which prevailed at that time.



1. Plans of King George Harbour (left) and Geography Bay, W.A. (right)

On the 31st, in the morning, our commander sent the chaloupe, under the orders of M. Picquet, to discover determinately, the real situation of Cape Naturalist. M. Boulanger, who was employed on this occasion, says as follows: "We found this point protected on every side by large rocks, against which the sea broke with much violence these breakers extended the length of one part of the coast in the bay; and some of them even stretched out a good way into the sea. We endeavoured to find a passage in the Midst of these breakers, but the attempt was vain, the shore was every where inaccessible; we were thus compelled to pass the remainder of the day, all the night, and part of the next day, without being able to regain the ship, from which the wind had incessantly driven us, carrying us out to sea."

While our unfortunate companions, overcome with fatigue, and drenched with the sea-water, were thus contending with the waves, a second boat under the command of M. H. Freycinet, at length reached the shore. Messrs. Depuch and Riédlé were the only two who had gone in this boat, and were the first Europeans who had the pleasure of touching three unknown shores. They could only remain there a few hour's, during which they made many observations on the physical nature of the soil and the vegetable productions. We shall have occasion to return to this subject more particularly another time; it will suffice at present to say, that M. Depuch found in the bottom of the creek where we landed, a very fine sort of granite, which formed numerous regular beds, a disposition of such substances conjectured by Saussure, but before this time much disputed. This remarkable phenomenon gave a particular interest to this part of Geography Bay: we thought it but right to name it after the Naturalist who first had occasion to observe, and describe it; we therefore called it Depuch Cove, it is, a small distance E. of Cape Naturalist.

On the first of June, after having manned our chaloupe, we prepared to continue our voyage to explore the south coast of Geography Bay. At noon we met with a large point, which we named Point Picquet, after one of our most estimable officers. At seven o'clock we cast anchor towards the farther end of the bay. Until this time we had not perceived any trace of these melancholy shores being inhabited, but on this very evening there appeared a large fire beyond the downs, which convinced us that some of the human race were the inhabitants of this barren spot.

At this period we experienced the most singular and extraordinary effects from the looming of the coast. Sometimes the most level and the lowest parts of the land appeared to us to be raised above the surface of the waters, and then to be torn to pieces; sometimes their very summits seemed overturned, and thus to remain on the waves, and every instant we thought we saw out at sea long chains of rocks and breakers, which seemed to retire before us as fast as we approached them. This phenomenon, in other respects so curious, had its bad consequence, as it naturally affected the refraction of the atmosphere, to which astronomical observations in a greater or less degree owe their correctness: it therefore followed, that all our observations at the time partook of the deception. These of the evening, for example, gave us more way to the E. than those of the morning. This phenomenon of the looming of the land, appeared to me to depend particularly on the prodigious variations of the temperature and humidity which at the same time acted on the state of the atmosphere of these regions, in a manner which I shall have occasion more particularly to enlarge on elsewhere.

On the 2d and 3d we continued to explore the bay: on the last mentioned day we anchored at eight o'clock in the evening, about two leagues from the land, in 12 fathom water, with a bottom of fine whitish sand.

On the morning of the 4th I set off in our little boat, commanded by M. Breton: M. Leschenault, botanist, accompanied us. As soon as we landed on the beach I ran towards the interior in search of the natives, with whom I had a strong desire to be acquainted. In vain I explored the folk rests, following the print of their footsteps, of which I saw here and there the recent traces. All my endeavours were useless, and after a three hours fatiguing walk to no purpose, I returned towards the sea shore, where I found my companions waiting for me, and rather alarmed at my absence. We now embarked to return to our ship, which, however, we could not reach before six o'clock in the evening; so much were the currents and the calm against us.

Messrs. Bernier, Riédlé, Depuch, and Maugé, had also landed on another part of the coast, and returned to the ship soon after us. They had been more fortunate than us, as they had found one of the natives fishing on the sea shore, very near the spot Where they landed. This native seemed to them to be an old man; he was bearded, his skin was of a brown colour, and he was entirely naked, excepting that he had the skin of a kangaroo over his shoulders, which hang about half way down his back. The appearance of these Europeans did not seem to give him any great concern at first, but soon perceiving that they meant to join him, he gathered together hastily three sagaies which he had laid on the ground, and then presenting himself before them with great spirit, he addressed them in a very animated manner, pointing often to our vessels, and seeming to desire us to return to them: much surprised at the countenance of this new Scythian, the warmth of his harangue, and the boldness of hit gestures, our comrades one and all made a stand, that they might not interrupt him. When he had finished, M. Depuch advanced towards this savage, alone and unarmed; calling to him: taïo, taïo, a friend, a friend; at the same time presenting hint a glass necklace, the shine of which appeased to excite the most lively admiration in the old man, but nevertheless he shewed the same unwillingness to come any nearer, and when M. Depuch himself attempted to advance, he retreated, and disappeared with a degree of swiftness that astonished our party. While this was passing on one part of the shore, five or six other savages had approached the chaloupe, which at that time was only guarded by a single seaman: at the appearance of these wild people, he hallooed with all his might, to proclaim his fears to his companions. At their approach the savages set off full speed, and fled with the same rapidity as the fisher had done before.

M Riédlé, in the course of walk made a tolerable collection of plants, and this tax levied on these shores, here turned by sowing some wheat, maize, barley, pear-trees; apple-trees, apricot-trees, peach-trees, olive-trees; and a great number of different sorts of European palse and culinary plants—An interesting exchange, which might always serve as the basis of a friendly intercourse with different nations, and which we ourselves practised in divert places where we landed.

Following the example of our commander, captain Hamelin had sent some boats to reconnoitre it bay, to the S.S.E. The officer of one of these boats, M. Heirisson, reported on his return, that he had discovered the mouth of a river which seemed to go a considerable way up the land. This intelligence was received with so much the more pleasure, as we had not been able to find any appearance of fresh water in Leuwin's land, and we were not ignorant that those navigators who had been before us on different parts of the coast N.W. of New Holland, had not been more fortunate than ourselves. It was therefore determined that on the morning of the following day, the chaloupe of the Geographer, under the command of the captain of the Lebas frigate, and the little boat belonging to the Naturalist, with captain Hamelin, should reconnoitre this river, and go up it as far into the interior of the country as was possible. Messrs. Depuch, Leschenault, Riédlé, Lesueur, and myself, were permitted to take part of this expedition, in which our doctor, M. L'Haridon, chose to join.

As we drew near the shore, our two captains agreed that the chaloupe drawing too much water for an expedition of this kind, should be moored under the care of a few men, and that part of the crew should on foot pursue the banks of the river, while the little boat should go up as far as it could navigate.

As soon as these preliminaries were settled left my companions, to pursue the shore; the water was low, and the tide propitious for me to collect its produce. I hastened to procure a number of new subjects, among which was a beautiful species of living Orbulite. It is well known that the orbulites are a small kind of hard zoophyte, which before the time of M. de la Marck was confounded with the real nummulites, and that these extraordinary animals had never been found but in a fossil state. This discovery is not the only one of its kind which we shall have occasion to lay before our readers in the course of this relation. The shores Of New Holland often furnished us with additional proofs of the great catastrophes of nature.

However, the desire of viewing the inhabitants of these these regions soon drew me from the banks. I passed the sands, and found myself stopped by a marsh, the borders of which were every where covered with Salicorne, and on whose salt waters were several companies of black swans, sailing with great elegance. Beyond this water, the supposed river, whose mouth my friends were in search of, bent its Course. A great number of the marks of the footsteps of the natives, seemed to declare that several of them had recently passed that way, and I resolved to seek them on the opposite side. While I was in search of a favourable place to cross over, I heard a gun at a little distance and thought I might find among these hunters some of my adventuring companions; but Messrs. Levillain and Bailly, to whom I spoke on the subject, far from being willing to share my enterprise, endeavoured to dissuade me. I had taken my resolution; I undressed, crossed the river in their sight, and plunged into the forest, which extended along the shore on the other side. It was about eleven o'clock, the sky was serene, and the air pleasant: with these circumstances in my favour, my ardour increased, and full of the hope of soon meeting with some of the natives of these shores, I endeavoured to follow their steps, when a singular discovery stopped my course for a time.

At a little distance from the place where I landed, I perceived a valley, which, extending towards the interior, seemed to describe the course of a small stream; I thought that it was an indispensable duty to ascertain the truth of this conjecture; unfortunately I was soon undeceived, and I was going to continue my way when my attention was attracted by a thicket of large trees, which by their colour seemed to be very different from others that were near. They were all white, from the roots upward to the very extremity of their branches.

Surprised at the appearance, I went hastily towards this extraordinary kind of scenery, which had strongly excited my curiosity, but which was considerably increased when I observed twelve large trees, irregularly intermingled with several others of a smaller size, forming a half circle, with the extreme points almost reaching the banks of the river. All these trees were of a new species of Melaleuca, with a very thick rind or bark, and an extraordinary degree of moisture on the inside: this bark adheres so slightly to the wood, that it may be easily stripped of in long bands from the bottom of the trunk to the very ends of the branches. It was thus that these trees had been stripped of their bark, and as the wood underneath was of a shining white, and all those which were on the exterior of this half circle had been thus cleared of their rind, it appeared as if they had all been of the same colour.

In the open part of this half circle of white trees, were three more semicircles, one within the other, whose concavities also turned towards the banks of the river. The first of these was formed by a sort of green bank, about two feet in breadth, raised only six or eight inches above the ground, and made of a soft, short, and fine herbage, that grows in great abundance on the spot; this kind of green seat was scolloped on that side that faced the river; each of the spaces between two of the scollops had evidently been the seat of one person, and twenty-seven scollops seemed to point out the places of twenty-seven individuals.

In front of this green bank, was a semicircular clear space, about two feet and a half in breadth; which was covered with a black sand, found in great abundance on the sea shore, and which makes a part of the soil of the interior; it appeared to have been trodden by the feet of those who had sat on the green bank.

A border of rushes separated this second half circle from the third; these rushes, which were planted between them in regular lines, had been out off about six inches above the ground.

The third and last half circle was larger than the others, and newly covered with the kind of sand which I have already mentioned, and which is to be found in many places on the shore, and distinguished at a distance by its shining whiteness. On this fine smooth sand, had been planted a great number of rushes, all placed at equal distances one from another, and so distributed as to form a succession of figures, or rather of regular characters; all these rushes had been burnt down to the edge of the soil, so as to present so many black points, made round, which so separated them from the groundwork of white sand, where they were planted, that the characters designed by these were distinguished in the clearest manner.

These figures, however odd and coarsely executed, had, nevertheless, much of design and originality, which struck me very forcibly; they represented a number of triangles, lozenges, and irregular polygons, some parallelograms, very few regular squares, and not any circles.

The rest of the spot, as far as the river side, was covered with fine grass; and on the very edge of the water was a large tree, the venerable patriarch of this wood; its white trunk inclining towards the waves, spread majestically above them, and its branches, displayed more horizontally, formed a sort of verdant terrace. This remarkable tree seemed to have been more elegantly ornamented than any of the others, for it had not only been whitened like them, but the trunk and the principal branches had also been decorated with garlands of verdure.

The river formed the boundary of the landscape, adding to the beauty of the scene its cool and limpid waves softly lowing towards the ocean the numerous fish that sported on the surface, the lively verdure which covered the banks on each side, all united in this simple but charming landscape, to call forth the softest emotions of the heart. Oh! with what pleasure I gave myself up for a few moments to the reflections such a scene naturally inspired. "This charming place", I repeated to myself, "is probably dedicated to some public or private mystery. The worship of the gods may be the particular object. It is from this river and the marshes adjoining, that the inhabitants of these shores in a great measure derive the food for their subsistence.—A new race of Egyptians, who probably like the ancient inhabitants of the Nile, have consecrated by their gratitude the stream which supplies their wants. Perhaps on particular solemn occasions, they assemble on its shore to pay the debt of gratitude, and offer up their thanksgivings!"

Recurring again to the singular figures so ingeniously traced on the sand, I recollected those famous Ruric characters, formerly used by the nations of the north of Europe, and which, like these, consisted of a succession of figures roughly designed, of circles, squares, triangles, &c. which were nevertheless, by different combinations, capable of transmitting all the ideas of the people who made use of them; like those which I had now discovered, they were traced on the earth, on the barks of trees, and on the rocks; these last alone have reached posterity and descended to our time: I also recollected those hieroglyphics with which the Mexicans conveyed their ideas, and by which they used to write the annals of their history; several of these consisted only of figures roughly formed, of circles, squares, parallelograms, &c. I called to mind also those grotesque designs discovered by captain Phillip, on the rocks and on the trunks of trees, towards the southern part of the continent of New Holland; those also, which, at the southern extremity of Africa, the Bosjesmans are in the habit of engraving in the depths of the caverns; with those, still more to be admired, and much more ancient, which are to be found in many parts of Ceylon, and are the curious monuments of a people who seem to have no existence in these days; and from these recollections I drew the conclusion—that the desire of communicating our ideas and sensations is general among all nations, in all climates, and in all ages; and that the valuable art of writing belongs to a time muck more remote than can now be traced, either from tradition, or any historical monuments that may remain to the present day; and I much regretted that I could not discover in the characters before me, the ideas and sentiments of the rude race who had formed them.

After having examined this wood with all the attention it deserved, I turned from the shore and sought the interior of the forest. The way was plain and easy, as there were but few trees, and the surface of the earth was generally covered with a short, fine, light grass, but I could not discover any fresh water. In some places, where the earth appeared to be moist, I dug into the soil, and there oozed out some brackish water. This saline quality of the land seemed to have driven from thence every kind of animal, at least I did not see any, and the traces of the kangaroo were but seldom observed on the sand. Even the insects seemed banished from these shores, with the exception of the black ant, which was very numerous, and extremely troublesome. Of these I collected several new species, one of which was remarkable for its size, and very similar to the Formica Guloso of Fabricius; but the history of these animals shall be treated of more at large in another part of this work.

A second remark that I made on this extraordinary soil, is, that notwithstanding the prodigious variety of trees and shrubs of which the vegetation chiefly consisted, there was not to be seen any fruit that seemed at all proper for foods either for men or animals. We had occasion to make the same remark on all the rest of the vast continent of New Holland, and this almost without any exception. Is it not owing to this extraordinary scarcity of eatable fruit, that we must attribute the non-existence of animals which are entirely fructivorous, on the continent which we are now describing? It is certain, that to this day, no species of the kind have ever been seen there, nor even the smallest vestige of any such. The monkey, for example, which in such innumerable legions, covers, almost every other part of the world, which is seen on so many islands, and as we shall soon have occasion to mention, is found in such numerous troops in all the Moluccas, and consequently, very near to New Holland, does not appear to exist on this vast continent; and indeed it would be difficult to conceive in what manner animals of this kind could subsist. We will now return to the interesting subject of the nature of the soil, with its divers productions.

However, the chief object of my present excursion seemed to avoid me as I advanced. The small pathways from the river side had disappeared; and I could now only discover the mark of a footstep here and there: no habitation presented itself to my sight; the most profound silence reigned throughout the interior of this vast forest, and nothing proclaimed it to be the usual abode of any of the human, race. But as it were to make me amends for this disappointment, I every where found burnt trees and extinguished fires, near some of which I observed a kind of mattrass, made of that singular sort of bark of Melaleuca which I have before mentioned, and which seemed to have served as a bed to some of the natives, either together or singly. In a word, every thing confirmed me in the opinion, that the savages had not settled their habitations in this situation, so far in the wood, but that they resided in preference on the borders of the salt river, and the adjoining places near the sea, where they could more easily procure their necessary food, for it was exclusively in, those parts that any of their huts were to be found, or their wells or springs of brackish water, to the use of which we ourselves were very soon reduced.

Determined by these reflections, and the time of the day, which began to decline, I returned towards the river, which I reached after walking about an hour and a half: I again stripped and crossed the stream with the same ease as before; but it was not so with the marshes on the other side, one of which was so deep, that at one moment I feared for my life. On reaching the sea shore I could no longer find our chaloupe. This alarmed me so much the more, as it was now five o'clock, while the weather, which had been so fine in the morning, had changed, and a strong wind from the sea now beat against the shore. I knew that exploring the river, as it had appeared to be, could not have taken up much of the time of our geographers and seamen, for I had proved to a certainty, that this river was nothing more than a sort of very narrow creek, which went a few leagues into the interior of the land, the bottom of which was oozy like that of the neighbouring marshes, and of which the waters had no other sensible motion than that of the flux and reflux of the sea, with which it had an immediate connection by the sort of mouth we mentioned before; moreover, the waters were all as salt as those of the marshes. From all these circumstances I had reason to think that my shipmates had concluded their reconnoitring for that day at an early hour, and I was afraid that I was too late to embark with the rest. How agreeably then was I surprised to meet my friend Lesueur, and M. Ronsard, who were also seeking our chaloupe, which had during our absence unfortunately gone too near the mouth of the river, and by this bad seamanship, had got embayed on a lee shore.

Messrs. Lesueur and Ronsard had just had a somewhat extraordinary interview with a female savage, and M. Lesueur hastened to tell me the following particulars: Independent of the small boat belonging to the Naturalist, commanded by captain Hamelin, in the course of the day there had followed another boat from the same ship, which, under the command of M. St. Cricq, was going to return on board, when Messrs. Lesueur and Ronsard went down to the beach. While they were conversing with the men of the Naturalist, they discovered at a distance two persons who were coming towards them along the sandy shore. At first they took them for some of their own sailors, but were soon convinced that they were two of the natives. The savages on their part, believing doubtless that they were among their own countrymen, continued to advance without any suspicion of the contrary. When they were near enough to give us the hope of being able to join them, Messrs. Lesueur, Ronsard, St. Cricq, and some others, ran precipitately towards them, but with all their speed they could not prevent one of the two, whom they observed to be a man, from getting over the sands, running among the brambles, and disappearing in the middle of the marsh. The other was a woman, who was very far advanced in a state of pregnancy. Despairing from her situation of being able to escape from strangers, whom she saw running full speed, she stopped from the first moment, and sitting down on her heels and hiding her face with her hands, she remained as one stupefied and overcome with fear and astonishment, perfectly without motion, and seemingly insensible to all that passed around her. This wretched woman was entirely naked; a small bag, made of the skin of a kangaroo, and tied round her with a kind of string made of rushes, hung on her back. Our friends found nothing in this bag but a few bulbs of the Orchidia, of which the poor inhabitants of these shores appeared to be extremely fond, but which, unfortunately, are very scarce and very small, the largest among those we had seen being scarcely as large as a common nut.

The colour of the skin, the nature of the hair, the proportion of the body, of this woman, perfectly resembled that of other savages of New Holland, as we shall have occasion to describe more at large hereafter. In other respects she was horribly ugly and disgusting. She was uncommonly lean and scraggy, and her breasts hung down almost to her thighs. The most extreme dirtiness added to her natural deformity, and was enough to disgust the meat depraved among our sailors.

After viewing this miserable child of nature with all the interest such an object naturally inspired, our friends offered her numerous presents: they gave her biscuit, some looking glasses, knives, snuff-boxes, necklaces, &c. and what was of more value, a hatchet and two handkerchiefs. But she continued her position on her heels, and indeed the poor creature seemed totally stupefied, and it was impossible to make her accept of any of their presents, as when they left her these were left also on the spot near her.

As we were still but a little distance from the place where this scene had passed, M. Lesueur conducted me to the spot, but the woman had disappeared, leaving behind her the most unequivocal proofs of her great trepidation, and which, as it appears, is manifested among savages the same manner as among more civilized people, by the same spontaneous evacuations. Moreover the frightened creature had not taken with her any of the presents which had been placed around her, and to which we now made several additions.

We now, M. Lesueur and myself, again returned towards the shore, where we hoped to find the chaloupe; the night advanced, and we had near two leagues to go to rejoin her; we were therefore obliged to hasten our steps, and notwithstanding this forced march, I could not avoid feeling extremely cold, as my clothes were wet. On the way M. Lesueur informed me that he had seen several huts of the natives, which were all built on the humid banks of the salt marshes that covered the shore on the right side of the river; that they were roughly constructed of slender branches of trees stuck in the ground and fastened together at the points, somewhat like an arbour, and covered on the outside with the useful sort of bark which I have before noticed; that they were each about three feet in height*, about the same in breadth, and five or six feet in length. In front of each of these huts were observed the remains of extinguished fires; and among the ashes some remnants of fishes, of kangaroos, and some beaks of black swans. M. Lesueur had made a drawing of these miserable cabins, which he shewed me, and I was of opinion that it was impossible to find elsewhere more wretched habitations; I was nevertheless mistaken in this respect; for we were far from having seen the last stage of ignorance and misery in these wigwhams, and other particulars of physical and social existence observable on these shores.

[* This description of the height must evidently be erroneous; but it is so stated by the author.—ED.]



2. Native Huts on Peron Peninsula, W.A.

My companion also informed me, that he had seen several holes dug in the earth, which were some feet in depth, and which served as wells for the inhabitants; near these holes were generally found a sort of small tube, which doubtless served to raise up the water; these were the pipy parts of a wild and scarce sort of celery, which is to be found in some places near the bay. M. Lesueur made use of one of these tubes to taste the water of the wells, but he found it so brackish, that he thought it impotable; we shall soon see, however, that we were glad to have such for our own use.

As we continued our forced march, we perceived a group of our companions, walking before us at some distance; these were captain Hamelin, with most part of the crews of the chaloupe and the small boat belonging to the Naturalist, and also my two colleagues, Depuch and Leschenault, the doctor, L'Haridon, and the horticulturist, Riédlé.

We learnt from these gentlemen, that the chaloupe was so much embayed on a lee-shore, where the wind set in strongly, that it was not possible for her to turn to windward with any advantage; it was therefore resolved to bring her up to the party, while part of the crew, the officers, and the men belonging to the Naturalist, walked on foot along the shore. As the chaloupe made way very slowly, and the wind was very fresh, we thought proper to get to the downs while we waited for her, and to light a large fire. Every hand was employed in this work; and in an instant we had an enormous pile in a blaze. Some of our friends had killed birds of different kinds, and these were sacrificed to satisfy. he hunger of the party.

While this frugal repast was preparing, Messrs. Depuch and L. Freycinet, related to me all the particulars of their incursion, and their account confirmed me in the opinion I had previously formed of the river. In fact, they were both convinced that it was nothing more than an immense marsh which went some leagues into the interior of the kind: they had had some difficulty, even in the small boat, in clearings dangerous bar at the mouth of it, and after going four or five miles up into the interior, they were compelled to return, as the water was then become too shallow for them to proceed farther.

This wearisome incursion produced nothing to any purpose, except a long and extraordinary interview with the savages. M. Depuch, whose name and exertions are so often mentioned in this work, having related the particulars at the time, in his words I shall give this remarkable episode of our adventures in Geography Bay.

"After attempting in vain to land on the left side of the river, which we were exploring, captain Hamelin thought proper to return the same way we had come; and we were going to land on the right side, opposite the point which we supposed to be a small island, when shrill and repeated cries made us turn towards the forest which stretched out from the other shore; we there perceived several savages, who appeared to look at us with much curiosity; their cries were directed to us; captain Hamelin steered towards them, but the shallowness of the water soon stopped our progress; the natives kept their eyes upon us; and ran about on the shore in every direction, continuing to scream, and make a great noise. With the permission of captain Hamelin, Messrs. Freycinet, Leschenault, L'Haridon, Heirisson, and myself, jumped into the water, and fording the space that lay between us and the shore, we soon came to the spot where we had seen the natives; but they had now gone into the forest. M. Freycinet and myself without hesitation directed our steps towards the borders of the wood, which was at this part of the shore about two or three hundred paces from the beach; our companions followed at some distance, so as always to keep sight of the spot where we had landed. We had scarcely reached the edge of the forest, when we again heard the voices of the natives, who seemed to be calling to each other; they spoke in haste, and extremely quick, and I could only distinguish the word, véloú, véloú, which they repeated often. We also thought we heard the barking of a dog; but soon we seemed to think that the animal was commanded to be quiet, and the barking ceased.

"To make these men, understand that we had not any hostile intentions, we all immediately laid on the places that were most in their sight, some looking-glasses, knives, and other trifles. We then retreated, leaving by design some few similar objects here and there, as we went. But we soon perceived seven or eight natives, each armed with two sagaies and a club-stick; these were advancing in a hasty manner to cut off our retreat towards the river. Fortunately we were in time to prevent the execution of this manœuvre; but as we were very near together we united our forces, and kept our daring adversaries at bay, who were doubtlessly unacquainted with our formidable weapons: we thus stopped them at the distance of sixteen or eighteen paces. They brandished, their sagaies with all their strength, shaking their clubs at us in a threatening manner, and calling in a terrible tone of voice, mouyé! mouyé! In their gestures they appeared to invite us to retrace our steps; they even seemed to point out the way we had come, and that which we supposed led also to the sea: however, pressed as we were by these savage people, there was not a moment to lose; it was necessary either to fire immediately, or to make good our retreat: we preferred the latter, determined however to answer the first attempt on us, by a discharge of small shot, and to the second by a few bullets, giving them thus the advantage of the first blow, against the superiority of ear arms."

It is here to be observed, that we did not know that these sagaies, however weak and simple in appearance, were really very formidable weapons, and our company were very far from even suspecting the extent of their danger: it is, in fact certain, that at the distance which they were from the savages, they must all have been victims to the first discharge of these weapons, for the attack of which they so generously waited, before they had intended to fire. The particulars which we shall have occasion to detail hereafter, on the singular arms of the people of New Holland, will leave no doubt on this subject.

"Not knowing how the number of the natives who assailed us, might increase, and convinced that it was easy for another party of them to surround us and entirely cut off our retreat, we continued to draw back by degrees, facing the savages the whole time, and answering their gestures, their menaces, and their savage howling, by gestures not so violent, but which nevertheless left no doubt of our perfect security and, disposition to repel violence by violence. In, this manner we reached the spot where we had landed, without any accident, notwithstanding we were opposed with so much animosity.

"However, neither the noise nor the menaces had ceased; sagaies threatened us nearer and nearer, and the clubs were brandished at us with more violence than before. We continued, our retreat through the river in the same order, and with the same courage. We were in the water almost up to the waist, but we were certain of the river being fordable in this place. At this time the savages had come very near; all our guns were in readiness, and our safety, which had been for some time at hazard, had put us to the necessity of repelling the attack we were just on the point of meeting, when we perceived captain Hamelin, followed by the boat's crew, who having landed on the other side of the island, were coming in haste to our assistance.

"At the sight of this powerful reinforcement the savages halted, and we made use of the moment to join our friends. We were now together, only separated by the small arm of the sea or river, which we had just crossed, and which was every where fordable. Nevertheless our enemies seemed to pay some respect to this insignificant barrier, but they continued making the same noise, and calling out as before, mouyé! mouyé! and daring us to return. To all which, we replied by signs of friendship; shewing them the presents which we had left for them, and those which we designed for them; and invited them to come and fetch them, by laying down our arms; but no means we used seemed to inspire them with any confidence. However, one of them, who seemed to be the youngest, and consequently had more temerity, advanced to a third part of the distance between us and then, taking the attitude of a warrior, placing one sagaie behind his back with club, and brandishing another sagaie with all its force and suppleness, looking at us with much assurance, and at the same time with great contempt, seemed to provoke us to single combat; the other savages at first were disturbed at this bold proceeding of their companion, but soon applauded him with all their voices and actions. At every pause we cried out to him, taïo, taïo! a friend, a friend! He repeated the word to himself, as if to try and guess at the sense, and then repeated it to his companions, who also repeated it, at the same time laughing, with all their might. We again called to them in a few words of French, which they repeated, looking at each other as if asking the meaning, and again laughing heartily, they repeated our words with great exactness; those which they pronounced best, was, oui, non, viens ici, amis, and many others. Some one called to them, pourah, (go your way; or let us alone): the manner in which they received this word of the Malabar language, seemed to imply that they were not quite so unacquainted with it as the French; nevertheless they did not move, and their champion kept his post, and maintained the same contemptuous and martial air.

"Willing to try the last method of conciliation that was left us, I advanced as far as the edge of the river, and laid down my arms at some distance, showing them to this native, who watched my motions with great attention. After this I approached him, carrying in each hand the branch of a tree. I proceeded thus about half the distance between him and myself; and then called; taïo, taïo! a word well understood among most of the inhabitants of the South Sea: and at the same time making all the signs of friendship that I could devise, or that I thought might create any confidence, but all was in vain, the savage retired by little and little before me; and his companions immediately joined him, menacing us at the same time as before. On our part, we repeated our invitations, and demonstrations of friendship: we laid down our arms, and carried green boughs in our bands, with white handkerchiefs; bat nothing could, overcome the obstinacy with which the natives repelled every attempt of ours to become better acquainted with them. We again shewed them looking-glasses, &c. &c. and making signs that these things were for them, and that we were going to leave them, which in fact we did. Curiosity determined two of them to pass the water, the hero who had defied as, and another who was remarkable for the redness of his hair and beard: they both advanced with great precaution, picking up as they went the things which we hill left for them, particularly a very handsome pocket handkerchief, which they threw down again, not seeming to care at all for any of then. It was the savage with red hair who picked up the looking-glass: surprized at seeing his face, he hastily turned it on the other side, but finding nothing there, he threw it on the ground in a pet, appeared more provoked than before; and menaced us with more passion than ever. Captain Hamelin then shewed them a red snuff box, which seemed to surprize and interest them, as appeared from a very loud exclamation. Captain Hamelin threw it towards him who was the nearest, and we retired to give him the opportunity of picking it up, which he immediately did, but he had to no sooner taken it, than the noise and menacing gestures were renewed with as much frenzy as ever.

"We were then on the same land as the savages, and all our attempts to obtain their confidence, had only served to redouble their audacity, which, so much increased, that it became absolutely necessary to fly or give fire; reduced to such an alternative, we hastened to our boat, and all of us got into it without any attempt of the savages to prevent us. Probably it was what they wished, and perhaps they were impatient to examine the rich presents which, we made them.

"The savages we had seen on this occasion, were entirely naked, excepting a sort of cloak, made of the skin of a dog, or kangaroo, which covered the shoulders of a few of them; the others had only the natural parts concealed, and a sort of girdle round their loins. Several were tallowed; and they all appeared to us to be of a middling stature. I did not observe any that were very well shaped, or at all fat. In colour they seemed to me to be not so black as the Africans; their hair was short, smooth, straight, and glossy; their beards were long and black, and their teeth very white."

I have here preserved all the particulars of the account given by M. Depuch, to enable the reader to judge of the obstinacy of these people in avoiding, or even repelling strangers. We shall have occasion elsewhere to recur to this peculiarity of character, so different from the eager solicitude with which all the nations of the Pacific Ocean meet and receive Europeans who visit their shores for the first time, and which may also be observed in most of the savage hords, when they first see navigators among them.

M. Depuch had scarcely finished his relation of the particulars of this extraordinary interview, when we saw one of the seamen belonging to our chaloupe, who came to tell us the sad news of her being driven on shore by the waves, and that the men who had been left with her to guide her, had much ado to save themselves. From that moment we thought no more of the frugal supper which was preparing for us; the affliction was general; but as the imminence of the danger left no time for reflection, we immediately set off all together, seven or eight persons, with captain Hamelin, to go to the place where they told us this misfortune had happened. The night was dark the sky very cloudy, the wind blew, with much violence, and the sea was very rough These circumstances added much to the unpleasantness of our situation. We were not long before we met with captain Hamelin's little boat, which was coming along shore towards our fire, whose light had served to direct them. Captain Hamelin ordered them to go and wait for him opposite this same fire, and to moor off the shore, that it might be safe from a similar accident to that which had occasioned the loss of the chaloupe belonging to the Geographer. We soon came to the place where she was, where we found our unfortunate seamen, who had been left in charge of her: they related that the winds blowing very hard and strong on shore, and the current setting in at the same time, it had not been possible to keep her off; that they had in vain thrown out the graplin and veered away the hawser; that a heavy sea, in passing over the chaloupe, had thrown her on her beam ends, and that at the same moment another wave had filled her and upset her on her side; and that all they had been able to do, with much trouble and danger, was to save a barrel of powder, a small quantity of biscuit, which had been wetted by the sea water, and a few pounds of rice; but that all their endeavours to right the chaloupe, had been totally in vain, and it was to be feared, that if it could not be done immediately, it would soon be filled with the sand which every sea threw into her as it passed over.

Captain Hamelin, after examining her situation with, attention, judged it impossible, without some assistance from on board, to save this valuable boat; and the state of the waves made him fear that if some succour did not soon arrive to the men, who were now compelled to remain on shore, something yet more deplorable might happen, he therefore thought it proper for himself to depart immediately, to return on board the Geographer, explain to the commander the distress of our situation, and to send directly some prompt and effectual assistance. According to this resolution, he took the way to his boat, and gave orders to the rest of the crew to come and join us.

It was ten o'clock at night by the time we were altogether; we were then about twenty-five men, all eager to save the chaloupe; but the sea ran so high, and the waves broke with such violence on the coast, that we were convinced that it was in vain to attempt it till the next morning. When we had come to this resolution, we thought only of making a great fire, around which we all lay down to pass the night, after preparing our arms, and placing sentinels to prevent any surprise from the savages, whose howlings were still heard from the interior of the neighbouring forest.

On the morrow, which was the 6th of June, we were all on foot very early; we again examined our chaloupe, but it was already partly filled with sand, and buried under the waves, which broke over it with a degree of violence, with which it was in vain to contend. The sea rose more and more; the winds blew with great force; and during the whole day we could not distinguish any trace of our two ships, or discover any boat coming to our assistance.

Moreover it became absolutely necessary to construct some kind of habitation or shelter, for the preceding night had been so extremely cold, that not one of us had been able to sleep even for a moment, notwithstanding our great fatigue. A tent was formed with the sails of the chaloupe; but unfortunately among our wants, that of a shelter from the weather was not the most pressing at the moment; as I before said, nothing could be saved from the chaloupe but a few biscuits, soaked in the sea water, a small quantity of rice, three bottles of arrack, and twelve or fifteen pints of water; such a small stock of provisions would not furnish a meal for so many persons; it was therefore agreed that some of us with fusils should go out shooting, while others with lines and hooks should fish on the banks of the river: our botanists and our doctor went themselves to seek some vegetable production of the earth which might serve for food; end some to examine the wells of the natives, to discover if it was not possible to find some water that was potable. In the mean time we each received a very small allowance of biscuit, a little arrack, and half a glass of water.

These different cares occupied us almost the whole day; but as if misfortune attended all our endeavours, they were all alike unsuccessful; our huntsmen only brought, with them one worthless goëland; our anglers lost their lines, which were all carried away seemingly by a large kind of voracious fish which they found in the river, but of which they could not catch one. I was of the number of those who went to seek water, but we could not discover any that was drinkable, and we were reduced to the necessity of filling our vessels with that detestable brackish sort which I have mentioned before; and glad enough to find even that, bad as it was, in our present cruel situation. At length out botanists and doctor brought us a very small quantity of a bad kind of wild celery which they had found in the woods, and at the same time told us, that we must not depend on any other resource than that of a certain kind of salicornia, which grew on the banks of the marshes, and on the right shore of the river. This plant is well known to contain a strong proportion of soda and a very acid juice.

All these discouraging accounts spread sadness among us; moreover, it became absolutely necessary to eat something; and as we had no choice of food, we filled a large porridge pot, which had been saved from the wreck, with the salicorne I have just mentioned, adding to it a little rice: this was put on the fire with some of the brackish water which we had brought. Hunger made us put up with the badness of our provisions, which caused violent colics and stomach complaints, with which I myself was attacked in the course of the night.

All this time we received no news from our ships; every eye was directed towards the beach, in hopes of seeing some boat coming to our assistance. In vain we looked, for no help appeared, and the evening surprized as in this cruel state of anxiety, Oh! how many sorrowful reflections we had time to make during this long and tedious night. The sea rose higher and higher, the wind blew hard, and was extremely cold; it was impossible for us to sleep, and the noise of the waves, which came as far as the foot of the sand-banks against which we had rested our tent, would alone have been enough to deprive us of rest. We were every instant picturing to ourselves our unfortunate ships compelled to set sail, and abandon us on this inhospitable shore.

On the 7th our anxieties continued to increase; no news of our ships, no boat to bring us the succour of which we stood in so mach need. Captain Lebas now proposed, that chose among is who felt strong enough to undertake it, should go to the end of the bay, and get on one of the highest sand-banks, and there light a great fire, as a signal to the ships of our distressed situation. Messrs. Depuch, Leschenault, Riédlé, Lesueur, and myself, offered to go, preferring leaving the seamen on the shore, that they might be ready, if occasion served, to raise the chaloupe. We departed directly to gain the spot agreed upon, but by the way M. Leschenault found himself so much affected by the sad effects of the food which we had eaten, that he was unable to walk, but fell down every instant, sighing deeply, and seeming to suffer extreme agony. The greatest number of us were not much better; but necessity impelled us to exert the remains of our strength, and we at length succeeded in reaching the spot to which we had been directed.

With what pleasure we perceived our ships; but at the same time we were much concerned to observe them so distant, for we could scarcely see the tops of the masts. We lighted a great fire, and also stuck a long pole in the sand with several of our handkerchiefs and shirts tied to the top. At length we perceived one of the vessels setting sail, and steering towards the land; we soon knew her to be the Geographer, and overjoyed we descended the bank, to go and proclaim this happy news to our afflicted companions. But before we had reached the tents the Geographer had been perceived by them all, the wind setting so strong in shore, and driving the ship towards us with great rapidity. They soon fired a few guns, the sound of which echoed in out hearts. A few moments after we saw the Naturalist following the Geographer; at length, about four or five o'clock in the evening we observed our long-boat standing towards us. It was commanded by M. de Montbazin, an officer of known prudence and courage, who, unwilling to trust his boat to the violence of the waves which broke on the beach, kept off the coast. He had the charge of landing some men, among others the carpenters of the ship, to discover if it was possible to save the chaloupe; for this purpose they brought a great quantity of cordage, graplins, hogsheads, tackle, &c. At the same time M. Montbazin called to us, that he was ordered by our commander, to take on board the Naturalist's men, who were on shore. I did not hesitate, notwithstanding the state of the sea, to lay hold on the rope, by means of which they had landed the things which have mentioned, and was drawn on board the boat by the seamen, through the waves, which covered me every moment, and several times had nearly carried me away. I comforted myself under this fresh mortification, with the hope of enjoying some hours rest on board the ship; which was so much the more necessary to me, from my having spent the two nights preceding our unfortunate shipwreck, in describing the interesting subjects of our nocturnal fishery.

M. Montbazin was extremely glad to see me again; he informed me, that captain Hamelin, after embarking as we have before related, with his two officers, Messrs. Freycinet and Heirisson, to regain his ship, had been hindered by the state of the sea, and the strength of the winds and currents; that not being able, in the middle of a dark night, to steer his course aright, he had lost the ships, and had been forced both himself and his officers, to row the whole of the night, and encounter great peril; that during all the next day he had to contend with the same obstacles; that it was as much as two men could do to bale the water out of the boat with their hats, as it filled, and that if was eight o'clock in the evening before they reached the ship, all of them overpowered by fatigue and famine, not one of them having either ate, drank, or slept during thirty-six hours, all which time they been on the open sea; subjected to the severest labour, and in a miserable skiff always half full of water; it was not till this time that those on board were informed of the loss of the chaloupe; they had never ceased firing guns during the whole of the preceding night; they threw up sky rockets, and carried lanthorns at the mast head, &c. On the day after the return of M. Hamelin, at three o'clock in the morning, the commander sent out the long-boat to our assistance, but it was compelled to make the Naturalist; the commander then made signal for this ship to set sail, but perceiving that they could not get up the anchors, he himself made sail towards the coast; the anxiety on board, was general, and so much the greater, as the barometer after our departure, had sunk 5 lines a half, and the sky threatened an approaching storm.

The waves, in fact, were already so rough that it was very difficult to make any way against the wind, notwithstanding the continued exertions of the long-boat's crew; nevertheless we got on board about ten o'clock at night. I was then in such a state of debility, and so extremely ill, that my friends scarcely knew me, so much had I suffered from the want of sleep, fatigue, and the colic, occasioned by the unwholesome food.

I found our commander in the greatest affliction; at his request I gave him an account of all the particulars of our unhappy adventure, and frankly told him that our chaloupe was in such a situation that it appeared to me to be impossible to get her off. He was so much the more anxious concerning the consequences of this event, as it was impossible to be mistaken in the appearance of a violent storm, which threatened to rage before the men onshore, of whom them were now a considerable number, could be brought on board. He therefore ordered M. Bougainville to be called, whose zeal and courage he well knew, and commanded him to go on shore at three o'clock the next morning, with more help, and to bring the people all on board without fail; in case the chaloupe could not be raised in the course of the day. The boat of the Naturalist, under the command of M. Freycinet, jun. had similar orders, and departed at the same time with our long-boat.

I shall here introduce the account given me by my worthy friend M. Freycinet, senior, of the dreadful situation of captain Hamelin and his companions, in the boat, on the night and during the time they were endeavouring to make the ship.

"Our men were therefore obliged constantly to labour at the oar. Several times in the day we were obliged to moor, that they might rest. Their strength was almost exhausted, and they were faint to an extremity; their dejected appearance, and the livid colour of their flesh, sufficiently shewed the state of famine they were in; their persevering exertions only exhausted them more and more. At one time, they sunk from their seats, overcome with want and fatigue, perishing with emptiness, and almost bereft of sense. Their strength no longer assisted their will, and all our attempts to animate: them, were in vain. At this time our little boat become the sport of a turbulent sea, was adrift in the open ocean. Our situation was truly terrific, and although we had now the sight of our corvette, she was still near three leagues distant from us. It was necessary to make one last effort to reach her, or to decide on the alternative of perishing in the sea. The hope of succeeding did not quite forsake us, so true it is that hope always assists the unfortunate. We laid hold of the oars ourselves, assisted by the feeble, endeavours of some of our men. At sun-set, the wind fell a little, and the sea became something smoother. We now perceived that we drew nearer the corvette, which we at length reached in the course of the night, being all entirely exhausted, and appearing like so many risen from the dead. Several times we were on the point of giving ourselves up to the fury of the waves, preferring death itself to the sufferings occasioned by our uncommon exertions. The weakness of our boat's crew in consequence, was so extreme, that most of them never entirely recovered from the effects of their sufferings; some of them were afflicted with grievous distempers, and some died of them."

We will now return to our narrative: All the day of the 8th instant was spent in the greatest anxiety on board our two ships. The sea continued to rise, the barometer sunk more and more, the wind increased, the horizon was darkened with heavy clouds, and our guns were fired every hour to hasten the return of boats. At length, about ten o'clock at night we had the pleasure of seeing them both. All our companions were in the same deplorable situation as myself, and such had been the effects of the food, and the brackish water which we had used, that we appeared like so many men just out of our beds after a severe illness; and I had not doubt but that a very few days living on such food would have sunk us all into the grave.

Independent of the chaloupe, we were obliged to leave on shore about thirty fusils, several sabres, and pistols, with a barrel of gunpowder, a number of cartridges, all the sails of the chaloupe, the cordage, the casks, the tackle, and other things which had been brought for the purpose of raising the chaloupe, besides a small quantity of provisions, and an excellent hunting dog. But what was most deplorable in this last disaster, was the loss of one of the best seamen belonging to the Naturalist, whose name was Vasse, a native of the town of Dieppe. Three times carried away by the force of the waves at the moment when he was endeavouring to embark, he disappeared in the midst of them, without there being any possibility of affording him assistance, or even being assured of his death: the violence of the waves, and the darkness of the night being so great at the time. And as every circumstance united to make his death inevitable, not one person of the expedition retained the least doubt on the subject, till the time when a paragraph was published repeatedly in all the French newspapers, that interested the public in the fate of the unfortunate Vasse, and awakened some hope in the breasts of his companions.

It was asserted in this paragraph that having escaped if by miracle from the fury of the waves, Vasse, after the departure of the two ships, joined the savages of that part of Leuwin's Land, adopted their manners, learnt their language, and thus passed two or three years with them. This paragraph then made him meet with an American vessel, three or four hundred leagues south of the part where he had been wrecked; that he had been received on board this ship, which some time after fell in with an English cruizer; and it was even added, that he had arrived safe in England, where, contrary to the law of nations, he was detained.

However improbable such an adventure might seem to be, Messrs. Freycinet, Lesueur, and myself; thought that we ought not to neglect enquiring into the truth of each a public rumour; we therefore hastened to call the attention of the ministry to an event, which in every respect, would have been so interesting if it had been true. Unfortunately, this pleasing delusion was soon removed by the result of the enquiries made by the orders of the minister at the head of the naval department of the state; the whole of the account in the article concerning our unfortunate companion was entirely fabulous. To preserve the memory of his misfortune and our sorrow, we named the river or creek which occasioned us so much misery and such losses, the River Vasse. But lot us return to the narrative of the continued dangers which we experienced in this fatal bay.

When our boats had returned, as I have before said, we endeavoured with all speed to get them on board; there was not a moment to lose; the pitching and rolling were so violent, that we had much ado to prevent our long-boat from beating to pieces against the side of the corvette. At half past ten o'clock we were under sail. The Naturalist had lost one of her anchors in the evening, and another at the instant of getting under way. At half after three in the morning we reached the cape, with all the reefs of the main topsail taken in. Just at this time the wind blew in squalls; there fell a small rain, and the thickness of the fog was such that we could not distinguish any object around us. It was at this time that we lost company of the Naturalist, which not going so well to windward as ourselves, could not double the point of entrance into the bay. We only succeeded by encountering great danger, and by steering in a perilous navigation of no more than from 12 to 20 fathom water.

On the 9th the storm continued through the whole day; and the winds still blew violently, and carried us towards the dangerous and inhospitable coast which we wished to avoid. In putting about when it was requisite, we were its imminent danger, every moment.

On the 10th we saw several large whales, which played about in the midst of the troubled waves; one of them, which we met with about ten o'clock in the morning, was fighting with a swordfish, and the rage of the combatants seemed to increase with that of the tempest. This same day at noon, we thought during a clear interval, that we perceived Cape Leuwin, which then bore about nine miles to the west. The barometer at this time had sunk to the lowest point, and remained at 27 inches, 7, 5 lines; it consequently had sunk 10 lines 9 tenths, since the 5th of June, which agreed very well with the violence of the storm and its duration. At six o'clock in the evening, a sadden alteration in the soundings, added to the nature of the rocky bottom on which we found ourselves, increased our fears; we were running on that dangerous reef which we had discovered on the 30th of May, and which we had then named after the Naturalist. We had much difficulty in avoiding this reef, and, to succeed, we were obliged, notwithstanding the squalls, to set all our sails at the risk of losing our masts.

From the 11th to the 16th, this horrible storm continued without interruption; the sea ran so high, that the water came over the gangway to leeward; it was almost impossible to keep our feet on the deck, and several of our seamen and officers, and our commander himself, had some severe falls.

On the 16th, at noon, we found ourselves in 32° 42' 57" south latitude, and in 111° 46' 14" east longitude. M. Maugé and myself profited by a few minutes calm to throw our drag once more on these shores, and this attempt procured us some new marine riches, and particularly a curious kind of sponge, of a bright purple; out of which a liquor of the same colour issued on the slightest pressure, and which liquor, when spread over different substances, entirely resisted the action of the air, and even that of several kinds of alkali.

On the 17th, in the morning, the sky became clear and pure, the sea calm, and the winds from the N.N.E. a pleasant breeze. So many favourable circumstances seemed to promise us an opportunity for making interesting discoveries; but another chain of breakers in the first place, and afterwards a storm of wind from this same N.N.E. again compelled us to bear away from the coast. The part of the land that we had had in sight, was like all the rest, fiat, without any particular form, but not quite so barren as that in Geography Bay: and in a second prospect, we distinguished a ridge of hills or mountains, higher than any we had seen, but almost as regularly lengthened as the shore.

The 18th neither brought us back the fine weather, not the smooth sea, which we so much wanted: our ship labouring considerably, it was resolved to carry her to the north: at two o'clock, we perceived the isle Rottnest; we then reckoned ourselves to be at the distance of 6 or 7 leagues. As this was the first rendezvous appointed by captain Hamelin, we had always intended anchoring, either to meet or wait there for news of our consort, concerning which we were very anxious, as her being so bad a sailer subjected her the more to the dangers we had experienced in Geography Bay. How great then was our consternation and surprize, when at the very time that we first discovered this island, we heard our commander give orders to steer our course to the bay of Sea-dogs, in Endracht's Land. From this time we despaired of ever seeing any more of the Naturalist during the rest of the voyage, and this presentiment was but too well fulfilled.

In the afternoon the wind changed from the W. to the W.S.W. the heavy rains began again; the squalls became violent, and our masts were often in danger. At eight o'clock in the evening, the wind having all at once changed to the S.E. the rain fell in torrents; flashes of lightning succeeded each other without intermission; and the noise of the thunder added to the horrors of the darkest night: it appeared impossible to imagine a more dreadful situation. Nevertheless, a greater and more imminent danger soon threatened us, and overwhelmed us with new terrors.

From 25 fathom water, with a sandy bottom, the soundings diminished so rapidly, that at half past nine we drew no more than 12 fathom with a rocky bottom. This created a general consternation; there was not a moment to lose; officers, the scientific men, and the seamen, all rushed in haste upon deck. Never were manœuvres performed with more expedition; never was the zeal of every individual manifested in a more striking manner. And indeed it required the united exertions of every individual to evade the dangers that threatened us during this dreadful night.

The next day, which was the 19th of June, the sea still continued to rage and swell exceedingly, and the crew were so much exhausted by fatigue, that the commander resolved at length to quit these fatal latitudes, and to bear away towards those that lay nearer the equinox, and which were consequently warmer and less liable to storms.

Thus ended our first discovery of Leuwin's Land, on which I made several observations that are worthy the attention of the reader; but as we shall have occasion to visit these shores again; I shall defer the particulars till the time when I may return to the subject of the great southern continent.




CHAPTER VIII.

Endracht's Land, &c., &c. [From about Onslow to Perth, W.A.]

[From the 19th of June to the 12th of July, 1801.]


AFTER having made the island Rottnest, as I have just said, we bore away to the N.¼N.W. to avoid the Abrolhos of Houttmans, so unfortunately celebrated front the unhappy shipwreck of Pelsar, and on the 22d of June, in the morning, we perceived Endracht's Land. This part of New Holland presents much the same kind of aspect as Leuwin's Land, that is to say, a lengthened flat coast, almost level, sandy, barren, with reddish or grey earth, furrowed in different places in the form of superficial ravines, almost every where pointed, defended often by unapproachable reefs; in one word, very well justifying the epithet of Iron Shore, given it by Boulanger.

The following days we lengthened the coast of the great island of Dirck-Hartighs, even yet more barren and inhospitable than the space of which it seemed to form a part: with the same natural characters, it did not appear less inaccessible, and the surf broke furiously the length of the coast westward.

Presently after we made the Isle of Dorre, if possible more wild than that of Dirck-Hartighs; then doubling to the northward a second sterile island, which, in the general system of the nomenclature of that part of the country of Endracht, M. L. Freycinet has called the Isle Bernier. On the 26th of June, is the evening, we found ourselves at the north entrance of the great bay of Sea-dogs.

On the 27th, in the morning, we ran in left of the continent, having on the right the isles Dorre and Bernier: the appearance of the continent in this part was as barre as that we had seen on the preceding days. We observed not the least appearance of mountains, rivers, streams, or even torrents: the shore consisted of either white or red sand, and had no other verdure than here and there a few miserable looking shrubs.

To this dismal sterility of the continent and the isles, may be pleasantly contrasted the productions of the sea, which are astonishingly numerous and in very great variety. We were every where surrounded by shoals of Salpa, Doris, Medusæ, Beroës, and Porpites; different kinds of testaceous animals, and zoophytes, of which we have made some mention in the third chapter, and of which we shall have to speak hereafter. The amazing number of these animals, their strange and whimsical forms, the beauty of their colours, the facility of their motions, and the agility of their evolutions, furnished an agreeable spectacle to all our ship's crew, and to myself, and my friends Lesueur and Maugé; their number and diversity abided an inexhaustible fund of pleasure, and were the subject of philosophical enthusiasm.

Among these numerous and harmless animals, were also a great many venomous reptiles, which gliding lightly on the surface of the waves, seemed to be eager in the pursuit of a shoal of small Clupeæ, which fled precipitately towards the open sea.

These sea-snakes or serpents, of which we shall often have occasion to speak hereafter, are so little known to natural philosophers even at this day, or even to voyagers themselves, that it is indispensable for me to enter into some more particular description of them in this place. All these marine animals differ from land reptiles by their flattened tails, somewhat in form of a small oar; by their bodies, which are like that of an eel, and in the lower parts almost angular; some of them are entirely of one colour, either grey, or yellow, or green, or bluish; others are striped in rings of white, red, green, black, &c.&c. some are varied with large spots, more or less regularly disposed; others again are beautifully marked with very small specks all over the body. One species is particularly remarkable for the colour of the head, which is of a bright purplish red; this is the sea-serpent with the red head, mentioned by Dampier, who first discovered it in these latitudes. Like land reptiles, they are some of them perfectly innocent, and others appear to be armed with venomous stings. With respect to their size, we found some that were from 12 to 16 inches in length, and others from 9 to 12 feet.

They do not invariably live near the shore; we observed numbers at the distance of three or four hundred miles from any land; and what is still more astonishing, is, that we never saw any of them either on the continent or on the islands. From this observation I do not pretend to assert, that they do not live on land, but that we never saw any of them; and when animals so remarkable and so little known, are the subject, the impartial observer ought not to omit any fact of importance, though at the same time he may be unable to understand or explain it.

It is in seas in the hottest part of the globe, particularly in the Indian Ocean, in the Persian Gulf, in the Red Sea, and in that which washes the shores of the N.W. and N. of New Holland, that these sea-serpents are exclusively found; at least, such is the result of my own observations, and of the numerous researches which I made on the subject in the accounts of other voyagers. The warm temperature of these seas, the calm weather which generally reigns, with the multiplicity of animals which propagate in the waters, and which are the food of the sea-serpents, seem to me to be principal reasons for their predilection for the equinoctial seas.

On opening the stomach of several animals of this kind, I generally found them filled with small fish, and divers crustaceous sea productions; but they also in their turn become the prey of numerous sharks, which live in these seas; in fact, I several times had occasion to observe sea-serpents in the stomachs of these fish, more or less changed by the action of digestion.

It was difficult at first to conceive how such nimble animals could become the food of large fish, whose motions are comparatively so heavy and slow; but afterwards observing a greater number of these reptiles, I thought I discovered the real cause of this phenomenon. These serpents were often to be seen asleep, floating on the surface of the waves; their sleep is so profound, that our ship sometimes passing quite close to them, did not awaken them, neither by the noise of her motion, the strength of the swell she made, nor by the constant singing-out, as it is called, of the seamen. It is doubtless in this state of lethargy that they become a prey to the unwieldy shark, at least it appears to me to be impossible to account for it any other way. As to the cause of this deep sleep, it may probably proceed from the kind of stupor which may also be observed in several kinds of land reptiles, and is occasioned by fulness and the operation of digestion.

These sea reptiles swim and plunge with equal facility; many times when we thought we could catch them with our nets, they suddenly disappeared, and sinking deep into the water, remained half an hour or more without appearing again on the surface, or coming up; except at a very great distance from the spot where we had seen them plunge.

All these remarkable propensities, all these diversities in their organization, combine to mark the difference between the sea-serpents and those of the land; I therefore think they ought to constitute distinct species: we shall see in another part of this work, more particular reasons for this classification.

While the general attention was still occupied on so many different objects, we discovered all at once a vast shoal of whales, which came towards its with great rapidity. Never had we seen so extraordinary a spectacle. The amazing number of these sea monsters, their gigantic size, their quick evolutions, and their spouting up the water, all appeared to me to be surprizing, but still less so than to see these mighty Colossi springing perpendicularly above the waves, and standing, if I may be allowed the expression, on the extremity of their tails, spreading their vast fins, and then falling again on the bosom of the waters, and thus sinking beneath the waves in the midst of torrents of foam and eddies. Presently a numerous company of these whales seemed to advance in a line; and we might have said, that they were contending for superiority in swiftness and activity; sometimes, on the contrary, some of them crouded into the rank of the others, and swam together in a sort of calm, alternately plunging under the waves, and re-appearing op the surface. And often we saw them two and two playing together, and seeming mutually pleased, which made us conjecture that it might be the season of their amours.

The evening wasted fast while we were observing these stupendous objects; and eight compelled us to let go the anchor, when every eye was still fixed on the whales sporting on the ocean.

However formidable these animals may be, from their size and the strength of their fins and tails, as well as front the swiftness of their natation, nature has nevertheless given them some rivals, and the terrible sword-fish abounds on these shores, to contend with them in perpetual and implacable warfare. This sword-fish of the South Seas differs particularly from that of the North, by two long fringes or lashes; which are from 9 to 12 inches in length, and more than proportionable in breadth; these are placed on the sides of that saw, towards the middle, and float in an easy manner in the midst of the waters. Like that of the North, the sword-fish of the South Seas grows sometimes to an enormous size, and several among those I have seen, appear to be from 12 to 15 feet in length. In. the chapter on Leuwin's Land, I have already mentioned a battle between one of these animals and a whale; and in the bay of Sea-dogs we saw another; it happened in the course of the night, the sky was clear and the moon shone. The two adversaries, which were very near our ship, appeared animated with equal fury. The whale in particular repeatedly leaped to an astonishing height; spouting up water, almost without intermission; it seemed much fatigued with the exertions of the contest. We could not see the issue of the combat, as the champions insensibly got to a great distance from the ship.

The extraordinary number of whales in the bay of Sea-dogs, cannot fail at some future day, to be of great importance, from the consideration of the fishery; which would there be as easy as lucrative. For the whales in these parts are fearless of man, and do not know from experience that he is an enemy; they have not learnt to fly from his presence, or fear his appearance; and such was their confidence with respect to us, that as we sailed in the interior of the bay, we, were often in fear that oar boats might be struck by these enormous animals which came even close to us at times when they wanted to breathe.

The absolute want of fresh water is unfortunately as general on all this part of Endracht's Land, as in other parts of the same continent, and this is probably the only reason why no settlements are established, the produce of which might be as considerable as certain. This obstacle, however, is not insurmountable, and we shall see hereafter, that captain Hamelin, by distillation of the sea-water, procured with only one alembic, above forty quarts of fresh water daily, and thus supplied most part of his crew with water for their daily consumption. It would belong more particularly to our merchantmen of the Isle of France, to practise this hitherto untried branch of commerce; and if the nature of this work did not exclude all particulars relative to an undertaking of the kind, it would be easy for me to prove that it would be a speculation both honourable and lucrative; but let us return to our passage towards the interior of the bay.

On the 28th of June, we anchored opposite the Isle Bernier, on which I landed the following day. It is along narrow island, about 15 miles in length, and 5 or 6 in breadth. Its western coast is every where exposed to the rage of the winds from the sea, and is armed with breakers the whole length of the shore, over which the surf breaks with a frightful noise. At a small distance from the northern extremity is the little island Koks, a barren sock, which a long reef seems to unite to the principal island. All the eastern coast is broken and steep; but the waves do not break against it with so much violence as on the west; therefore it is easy enough to land on this side in some of the small creeks.

The sand of the shore is mingled with a large proportion of calcareous particles. The substance of the isle itself in its lower beds, is of a sort of brownish calcareous stone, but sometimes whitish and sometimes reddish, which lies in horizontal strata, of a thickness from 7 to 11 inches, and which being all equal in length, might be very useful as stones already hewn by nature for building.

The shells encrusted in these solid rocks almost all univalves: they belong more particularly to that species of shellfish described by M. de Lamarck, and have some similarity to the almost motionless species which are found alive at feet of these rocks. They have doubtless been in this state of petrifaction for many centuries; for, besides that it is very difficult to separate them clear from the middle of these strata, with which they are so immediately connected, they may also be seen 150 feet above the actual level of the sea. Whatever regularity there may be in the general formation of these banks, they are not however all of them homogeneous in their substances; there is in particular, a remarkable variety in the structure of these rocks. This consists of a sort of calcareous pebble, which is incorporated in the sandy earth, which adheres to them so strongly, that it is scarcely possible to separate the earth from the pebble, without breaking the latter. These pebbles are of a globular form, and are composed of a great number of concentric zones, which are spread round a central nut, of a brownish sparkling stone. These different stripes are narrow, and display beautiful shades of colour, from the deepest red to the palest yellow. The general formation of this pebble gives it therefore some rough similarity to the globulous granite of the isle of Corsica; and from its concentric striped divisions, it has also some resemblance to the Agathes-onyx. It is moreover capable of taking the finest polish, and therefore might be used to make many ornamental articles of luxury.

The banks of brownish stones which I mentioned above, constitute, generally speaking, the entire mass of the country; but, even on the rocks there is a bed of sand more or less deep, which sand spreads over the whole surface of the island, rising towards the sea shore in a sort of girdle of moveable downs, from 60 to 80 feet in height; This sand, of the same nature as that on the beach, is very calcareous, and of a very fine grain, which gives the winds the power of easily whirling about these masses, and thus to change at the sport of these tornadoes, the appearance of the surface of the island according to their violence. We shall soon see how nature counteracts this power, and prevents such revolutions.

The mineralogical account I have thus sketched of the isle Bernier, is strictly applicable to the isles of Dorre and Dirck-Hartighs; the account of the animals and vegetable productions will also apply to each of these islands. Under this head, its history becomes more general, more interesting, and well deserves the particular development which I have thought proper, here to give to each of the subjects of which it consists. Let us only add to these first considerations, that there is not to be found any fresh water, nor any signs of settled humidity. On such a soil it is easy to perceive that the vegetation must necessarily be languishing and poor; nevertheless it is not so much so as at first might be thought. For we find there various kinds of shrubs and small trees, among which is a sort of fig-tree, the fruit scarcely so large as a nut, and very insipid; two or three kinds of small Mimosa with beautiful and sweet smelling blossoms, a small Melaleuca, a few of the Atriplex, a Rumex, &c. But of all the vegetable productions, there are three on which it appears to me to be necessary more particularly to enlarge, as their description is connected with that of the soil itself.

The first of these three plants is a kind of Spinifex, at least it was thought to be so by our botanists. It grows in the most barren places, and displays a sort of moss that, sometimes spreads over the ground to a considerable extent, and which describes a thousand agreeable forms, here spreading into long regular walks; these again presenting a number of little waving paths, describing at the same time divers figures that are more or less whimsical, resembling, in a word, the most picturesque and diversified parterre. This extraordinary plant is composed of an innumerable quantity of leaves, capillary, radical, sessile, inflexible, and so thorny, that it is impossible to touch any of these thickets of verdure, without being immediately pierced with a number of small darts which remain in the flesh, and cause a considerable degree of pain. The prodigious thinness of these leaves, or rather of these thorns, makes them liable to a decomposition as rapid as absolute; and this plant may be a principal cause of there being so small a quantity of vegetative earth in some parts of the island.

The second species of extraordinary plants which thrives on these shores is a Mimosa, whose stunted knotty trunk scarcely rises to the height of 2 or 3 feet above the ground, but which bears a great number of branches from 15 to 100 feet in length, which spread horizontally a small height above the soil, and which arc so thick and entangled one among another, that the small animals which go thither to find shelter, are forced to eat their way to the middle of this inextricable network of branches, leaves, and boughs.

While by such extraordinary means the vegetative bed is thus prepared, while the plants unfold themselves and spread over the surface of the earth to brave the fury of the winds, and in some sort to concentrate the rains and dews under their shade, the moveable downs of sand are also thins confined and kept within an immense natural netting, of green cordage. These are the spreading roots of a large kind of Cyperus, whose brittle stalk rises not more than 2 or 3 feet above the ground, and is terminated with a globulous bearded ear, about the size of a man's fist. This species of Opamen or cow-grass, the knowledge of which is so much the more valuable as it produces a farinaceous grain, something similar to that of wheat, is also found in many parts of New Holland; unfortunately most of its flowers are abortive, and sometimes there are not more than four or five seeds in each of these large ears. Probably this plant might, become valuable in a more congenial soil; but without enlarging on a subject that is so doubtful, we will content ourselves with the observation, that the acquisition of this kind of grass would not be without advantage to European countries; and certainly it would be worth while to take from the sterile shores of New Holland these natural networks, capable of confining the devastating sands of the environs of Cadiz and Bourdeaux. The worthy Riédlé had entertained this useful design; bet death selected that estimable industrious man for his first victim, and many projects equally ingenious died with him.

Whatever may be thought of these particulars on the subject of the vegetation of the isle Bernier, it must be allowed that it shews a succession of phenomena that is worthy of Observation. These thick and capillary plants, which form the vegetative soil, these singular shrubs spread on the surface of the land like so many immense parasols, to concentrate their rain water and the dews; this depression of all the plants, which alone could encourage their growth, on so moveable a soil; these downs of sand raised all around the island, as if to protect the weak poor vegetation from the rage of the winds from the sea; these chains of strong roots, usefully confining the sands; all these curious singularities present interest, and possess charms for the botanist, and might throw light on the science itself; from this consideration, no country probably is more curious than that which it our present subject.

These shores are totally uninhabited, nor did we perceive any trace of a human being having ever been on this island.

One single species of Mammiferæ was all we remarked; this was the striped Kangaroo (Kangurus faciatus, N.) the smallest and most beautiful among the species of this extraordinary kind of animal in New Holland; this species is characterized more particularly by the conic form of the body, by the disproportion of the feet, and by the pouch in which the young ones are carried and suckled.

The species we now describing, as distinguished at first sight from all those which were hitherto known, by twelve or fifteen stripes across the back; these are narrow, and of a reddish-brown, not so regular or straight on the shoulders, where the appearance of these bands or stripes begin, but becoming more distinct and browner towards the tail, at which part they terminate. These bands do not continue on the sides, and there is not the least appearance of them on the belly; the face and the feet are yellowish, and the abdomen of a whitish grey; the rest of the coat is of the same greyish colour as the skin of a hare, lighter or darker in different individual animals. The ears of this species are proportionally shorter than those of the other kinds; the tail also is shorter and weaker, and without hair, which makes it have a similarity to the tail of a large rat. In every other respect it resembles all other kangaroos in the conic form of the body, the disproportion between the fore and hind feet, the number of fingers, nails, &c. &c. All these particulars will be noticed more at large in the zoological part of this work. It is at present sufficient to have mentioned the chief particularities of this pretty little animal.

The striped kangaroo breeds in great numbers on the three islands of Bernier, Dorre, and Dirck-Hartighs, but we could not discover any of them on any part of the continent, or on the other islands which we successively explored. We shall see hereafter, that a similar observation may be made on every other kind of kangaroo; that is to say, that we see each separate species placed by nature on such or such islands, and on such or such land, without any individual kind appearing to be any where beyond the limits peculiar to their species.

Like all other animals whom nature has left unprovided with the means of attack or defence, these kangaroos are mild and timid. Like the hare of our climates, the slightest noise alarms them—sometimes even the whistling of the wind will put them to flight. For this reason, it was very difficult to catch them on the isle Bernier, although they there abound in such great numbers. In the impenetrable thickets which I have described, these animals could safely brave the skill and activity of our sportsmen. If compelled to forsake one of these asylums, they get out by ways not perceived, and quickly dart, under some other neighbouring thicket, while it is impossible to imagine how they so easily disappear out of one and get into the middle of another of these inextricable bushes; but it was soon discovered that they had small covered ways through each of these thickets, which, from divers points of the circumference, meet in the centre, and thus furnished different ways out, according as they found themselves invaded from such or such point. From the moment this discovery was made, their destruction was certain; our sportsmen collected themselves together, and while some heat the hushes with long sticks, others were on the watch at the entrance of each little path, and the animals flying through the usual places of retreat, thus became the victims of enemies inevitable. The flesh of this animal much resembles that of a wild rabbit, as Dampier, remarked before us, but more aromatic, which is probably occasioned by the peculiar property of the plants it feeds on, and which are almost all odoriferous. It certainly, was by much the finest flavoured flesh of the kangaroo that we ever tasted, and therefore this species would be a valuable acquisition to European countries.

At the time when we were on these shores, all the full grown females had each a young one of a tolerable size, which they carried in their pouch, and endeavoured to save from harm with a degree of courage that was truly admirable: if they themselves happened to be wounded, they fled, carrying their young one in the pouch, and never abandoned, them till they were overpowered by fatigue, and exhausted, by the loss of blood. When from these causes they were no longer able to bear their weight, they stopped, and squatting, on, their hind paws, they, with their fore feet, helped the young ones to get out of the maternal bag, and endeavoured by some means to shew them the places of retreat, where they might have the best chance of saving themselves: they then continued their flight with as much speed as their exhausted strength would permit; but if the pursuit was given up, or even relaxed, they immediately returned, to the thicket, which protected their nursling, calling them by a sort of grunting noise, which is peculiar to them, and caressing their young affectionately, as if to dissipate their fears, and replacing them in their pouch, sought with their precious burden, some new thicket, from which the sportsmen might neither drive nor discover them. The same proofs of sagacity and affection, appear in a still more affecting manner in the actions of these poor mothers when mortally wounded: all their cares are directed towards the preservation of, their nursling; far from endeavouring to save themselves, they stand still and receive the blows of the sportsmen, and, their last circles are to save their young. The history of, animals in general furnish so many examples of this generous impulse, that we arc sometimes compelled to acknowledge them as superior to us in parental affection.

During our stay on the isle Bernier, we caught several of these young kangaroos, but most of them were too helpless, and died soon after their captivity. One only lived and became familiar; this animal was fond of bread, and particularly seemed to enjoy the sweet water we gave him. This preference appeared so much the more extraordinary, as none of the islands where these animals are natives, have any kind of fresh water. This young kangaroo was killed by accident at Timor: his loss was not so much regretted as having but one, we could not have any hope of naturalizing the species in Europe; but this first attempt is sufficient to prove to a certainty, that this kind may easily be tamed, and would thrive with a little care; and I repeat, that it would be a valuable acquisition.

On this wretched island there are very few kinds of animals except some that are troublesome and hurtful; these we shall proceed to mention; and first, of the birds, for example, there are some cormorants, with divers kinds of petrels, goëlands, sea eagles; &c. which multiply their voracious species on these barren rocks. Of land-fowl there are only a few fly-catchers and speckled magpies: but, however, there is a beautiful species of tom-tit, with a blue ring round the neck, which deserves particular notice.

The reptiles consist of a kind of Scinque (Scincus Tropisurus, N.) one of the largest of the species with such a short thick tail, that at first sight, the animal appears is have two heads; a beautiful species of Tupinambis (T. Endrachtensis, N.) which is four or five feet in length, and a Gecko (Gecko Dorreensis, N.) about four or five inches long. The history of these species, which are all three new, shall be given in the zoological picture of New Holland, with all the particulars.

Probably no country in the world abounds with fish so much as the great bay of Sea-dogs; but near the shores of the isle Bernier there are but few. It is in the depths of the neighbouring harbours, that these animals seek their food and enjoy the calm; we shall return to them at a future time; we will only add here, that our fishery was almost without success, and that to our collections of this kind, we only added about six new species.

In the midst of the crags of the rocky shores of the isle Bernier, are found many different species of the Polypus, some Of which grow to an amazing size; I saw several that were not less than three or four feet in length when the arms were spread out.

In these latitudes are found many testaceous animals; bet if we except the muscles and oysters, which abound also the rocks and breakers, all these shell fish were univalves. In the depths of the bay, among the mud and sand, are many sorts of beautiful bivalves; these at a future time we will drag from their quiet retreats; but not to anticipate the natural order of the facts, we shall here only slightly notice a few of the most remarkable shells which we on the shores of the isle Bernier.

Of all the species of muscles yet known, that which I here discovered, is incontestibly the most beautiful and brilliant it stripped of its marine clothing, it exhibits all the most lively colours of the prism, and the brilliancy of precious stones; if I may be allowed thus to express myself, I have described this muscle under the name of Mytilus Effulgens. The oyster of these latitudes, (Ostrea Scyphophilla, N.) also deserves particular mention; the under shell is a sort of cone, about six or seven inches long, and more or less regular in form. Fixed an the rock by the point of this cone and one of the sides, it is covered by the upper shell, which is very similar to that of our common oysters, and which serves as an operculum or cover to the kind of horn which I have described. The oyster does not fill the whole depth of this remarkable shell, but is confined in the upper part of the cone, all the lower part of which is occupied by a great number of small partitions transversely placed; these something resemble watch-glasses, and are continued to the very extremity, the point which fixes the shell to the rock. Their concave face is turned upwards, leaving a space between each, filled with a sort of gelatinous fluid, the nature of which it would, be curious to determine. How extraordinary soever this oyster may seem to be, it is nevertheless a great delicacy, and was thought delicious by every one of our ship's company.

Among the curious univalves which belong exclusively to this part of Endracht Land, I ought to mention a beautiful species of Trochus or Sabot (Trochus Smaragdinus, N.) of the deepest and most lively green; also a kind of Patelle, which from its size, named Gigantea; a very beautiful Volute (Voluta Nivosa) covered with small white spots, which look like so many little flakes of snow; and particularly a Cone Or Rouleau (Conus Dorreensis, N.) about an inch and a half in length, of a light orange colour, and distinguished by a narrow stripe which winds round each of the turns of the spiral shell, and which when quite fresh is of the brightest blue. In the interior of the island, is found an astonishing number of land shells; one of these was a kind of small Helix, the other belonged to the genus Bulima of M. de Lamarck.

Crustaceous animals on these shores are not very numerous, but there are two of genus Portunus, of M. Latreille (Portunus Pleuracanthus et P. Enchromus, N.) which abound on the rock in great numbers. Some of these crabs are 4 or 5 inches in breadth; and the meat being excellent, they might in times of necessity supply an inexhaustible store of wholesome food.

Of insects on this island there are but few kinds, with the exception of the ants, of which there are 5 op 6 different species, and are to be seen in millions on every part of the land. After the Ants, we should mention the Blattes, or Kancrelas, which are a kind of worm or moth, such as eat cloth, &c.; one species of these are large. The Grass-hoppers, the Crickets, &c. furnished us with some species that were curious. I should on this subject observe, that the class of the Orthoperes, which generally abound most in dry barren places, presents numerous kinds on the continent of New Holland, and each of these kinds appears to be amazingly multiplied. We shall have occasion more than once to point out the interesting agreement of the nature of the soil with its divers productions.

In the midst of the rugged rocks which I have described, are also several species of Oursins, which are sometimes very difficult to be separated from the calcareous places in which they seem to be incrustated. In the same places are also to be found several kinds of star-fish, of the genus, Ophiura; one of these (Ophiura Telactes, N.) is distinguished by its long arms, which are from 8 to 10 inches in length, articulated, fragile, and standing upright like little thorns. Hid in the fissures of the rocks, this animal spreads out its long arms, and with much address seizes and drags the prey to the bottom of its little cavern. A second species of Ophiura (Ophiura Phosphorea, N.) shines during the night like a bright star, by means of five glands or tubercules, placed on its disc.

Among the class of hard zoophytes, besides a few kinds of Millepora, is a branching Madrepore, 6 or 8 inches in height; the points of this, when it is quite fresh, are of a very beautiful rose colour.

From all the observations I have made on the zoology of the isle Bernier, it results, that of land animals there are but few; and those of a noxious kind, with the exception only Of the kangaroo; that, on the contrary, the sea abounds almost beyond conception, from the whale down to the microscopic polypus. All the classes of the animal kingdom in this island, present numerous and interesting families; and where, in another part, of this work, we shall notice the many productions of the great gulf, at the entrance of which we will now rest, it will doubtless be admitted, that few parts of the setts are richer than those which wash the shores of New Holland.

All these observations, with the collections which I have here described, are the fruits of many labours, and many dangers, which twice had nearly cost me my life. I have mentioned that on the 29th of June, in the morning, I landed on the isle Bernier, with the commander and several of my friends. While they were occupied on the sea-shore, I went alone towards the interior of the island, to pursue my researches for the divers productions, and on the nature of the soil. Impelled by my zeal, and the pleasure I had in the important discoveries which I was making, if I may be allowed the expression, at every step, I lengthened my course almost as far as the southern point of the island. The sun already began to sink beneath the horizon, when I perceived the necessity of returning to the spot where our long-boat was moored. Unfortunately night comes hastily upon us in these latitudes, and to add to the misfortune, I missed my way among the downs and brambles. Although I was loaded with different subjects, which I had collected, I walked at a great pace till about eight o'clock in the evening; but instead of finding myself at the eastern point, where I had set out, I discovered by the dashing and force of the waves that I was on the western shore. I felt myself exhausted by fatigue, and fell to the earth overpowered by weariness and emptiness, not having either eaten or drunk since the morning, end having walked the whole of the day. The extremity to which I was reduced, for an instant re-animated my courage and strength; I rose and continued my course to the east, by crossing the north point, and again pursued my way until eleven o'clock at night; when entirely overcome by fatigue, and perspiring at every pore, I again sunk on the ground, and, totally unable to proceed, I resolved to pass the rest of the night on the spot, even though I might perish in the midst of this frightful desert. I soon fell into a sound sleep, and did not awake till three o'clock in the morning, when I was almost frozen with cold; the air was extremely sharp, and though it was as much as I could do to raise my benumbed limbs from the earth, I determined to continue my way.

The twilight began to appear, when I heard the report Of a gun at a distance. This filled my heart with emotion and joy, and renewed my hopes and my courage; and about six o'clock in the morning, I found myself among my friends. I then learnt, that finding I did not return in the evening, and expecting that I had lost my way, they had requested the commander to let same of them remain on shore to wait for me; and that M. Picquet, the ship's lieutenant, had been ordered to stay on the land till the rising of the moon, which would be about ten or eleven o'clock at night, and then they were to repair on board, whether I had returned or not; that, notwithstanding these orders, M. Picquet could not resolve to abandon me; but had caused great fires to be lighted in every direction, to shew me my way, and that, as soon as the day broke, himself at the head of his men, bad set off to seek me, all determined not to quit the island till they had lost all hopes of ever seeing me again.

These particulars made me sensible, how much I was indebted to the generous zeal and affection of my shipmates; and the contrivances which their foresight had suggested, deserved my most grateful acknowledgments.

The Naturalist did not appear, and our commander resolved to go farther into the bay of Sea-dogs to seek or to wait for her. Therefore, on the 30th of June, in the morning, we set sail for that purpose. During the whole day we made but little way, sailing all the while in the midst of great shoals of fish, of which we caught a considerable number, though we were under sail; all the different kinds were new to us, and be. longed to the classes Labrus, Balistes, Cortes, Ostracions, Chetodons, &c. All the evening of this same day, we were in sight of an amazing number of whales, many of them came very nigh our ship. We also saw several sea-serpents that were five or six feet long.

On the 2d of July, in the evening, we cast anchor in Dampier's Bay, which is situated north of a land, which we, like former navigators, took for an island; but which M. L. Freycinet has since discovered to be a large peninsula, as we shall have occasion to mention in another place. We had scarcely time to moor, before the sky was overcast with heavy clouds; and on the next day, which was the third of July, we were attacked by such a violent squall, that we were, obliged hastily to set sail and go to the north, from whence we had come but the evening before. From this hurricane we experienced great danger during the whole of the night, because in avoiding the islands on the west, we were thrown do the numerous shoals on the eastern coast, in the midst of which we were obliged to turn to windward till the morning: and if we had missed stays in going about, we must infallibly have been lost on the point of the high land, which forms Cape North in the Bay of Dampier.

Fortunately this hurricane was as short as it was violent, and on the morrow, which was the 4th of July, we again anchored opposite the isle Bernier, where our commander resolved to wait for the Naturalist, which we now expected every day. According to this determination we pitched, two tents on the other side of the downs, one for the naturalists and astronomers, and the other for the commander himself.

On the 6th at day-break, I set off to visit the eastern shore of the island, which being more sheltered from the fury of the winds, seemed to promise some numerous and important additions to our collections. In this respect I was not deceived; but, as if the isle Bernier was to be fatal to me, I nearly escaped being buried there under the waves. After having walked about, on different parts of the shore, without finding any of the beautiful species of trochus, patelles, cones, and volutes, which I formerly mentioned, except a few that were dead and shrunk, I resolved to go beyond a dangerous reef which projected some distance out into the sea, and in the clefts of which, I hoped to find some of these shells that were alive. In truth, there were great numbers, but while was busily engaged in carefully detaching them from the rock, a strong surge broke with such force over the top of the breaks, that I was driven against the neighbouring rocks, and over these frightful reefs; all my clothes were in a moment torn to pieces, and I was in an instant covered with wounds and weltering in blood: I recovered myself; however, and exerting all my strength to escape from the surge, which, as it retreated, would have carried me back against the reefs, I clung to the point of a rock, and thus succeeded in avoiding this last misfortune, which doubtless would have been my destruction. Having thus got clear of the waves, I with great difficulty reached the shore, where I sank fainting, with pain and loss of blood. In this condition I remained till might, not having strength to walk, or to attempt to reach our tenth. My right knee in particular was much torn and very painful, which made it at first impossible to walk; but insensibly the pain became more supportable; I again took courage: a great fire on the summit of a sand-bank directed my footsteps, and about midnight I was once more among my companions.

On seeing me thus covered with wounds and contusions, and weltering in blood, several of my friends even shed tears, and the commander himself seemed touched with my deplorable situation. I was soon attacked by a fever, which at first was very violent, but most of my wounds, being but slight, I soon recovered, and if not quite able to continue my researches, I was at least well enough to make a suite or observations, and curious experiments be the temperature compared with the atmosphere and the interior of the soil, at different hours of the day and night: the results will be produced with more interest, at the time when we shall speak or the natives of Endracht Land and their curious habitations.

In the mean time our labours had drawn to a conclusion; our astronomers had from numerous observations, determined the situation of the island un which we were encamped. Messrs. Boulanger and Maurouard, in a long and troublesome voyage, had reconnoitred all the eastern coast; all the productions of the soil had been collected by my colleagues and myself. Nothing, therefore, now detained us on these shores, but the expectation of being joined by the Naturalist, and she did not appear: at length it was decided that it was in gain to wait longer, and on the 12th of July, we set sail to the north, to reconnoitre Endracht Land.

On the same day we doubled a large cape, which forms the N.E. point of the great bay of Sea-dogs, and which appeared like a great bastion; we called it Cape Cuvier, in honour of the learned naturalist of that name.

From the 14th to the 15th of July, we for the fourth time passed the tropic of Capricorn: the thermometer remained, at from 15 to 18°, and the barometer at from 28i 1l to 28i 3l. The part of the land which we now lengthened, was like the rest of these shores, naked, barren, low, level, sandy, and of a whitish colour. The 15th at noon, we thought ourselves to be about 22° 17' south, 110° 46' east longitude.

From the 18th to the 22d, we were in sight of King William's river, which does not on any account deserve the consequence one might be tempted to attach to it from the old charts of this part of New Holland. The mouth of it is narrow, and barred by reefs, impeded by rocks, and from the direction it seemed to take, made me think that it was only a sort of canal, like all the other supposed rivers of this continent, through which the waters of the sea penetrated more or less into the interior of the lands. Besides, we did not observe any change in the colour of the waves; at its mouth we experienced no sort of current as we lay off thin canal or river, and the continent shewed us the same appearance of sterility and monotony, which I have so often been obliged to present to the reader.

The environs of the cape N.W. of New Holland, of which we had a sight on the 22d of July, bore the same barren aspect: this we named Murat. A-head of this cape projects a long reef, against which the sea broke with great force. To the north, and, as we may say, on the same line are seven sandy islands, low and barren, which were called the isles of Rivoli, in remembrance of the celebrated battle of that name. These isles are but small, the largest being not more than three leagues in length; but they are easily reconnoitred by navigators, and their situation a-head of the great cape Murat, gives them a more particular degree of importance.

Immediately beyond this cape and these isles, the Land of De Witt begins. Our labours and dangers on this new theatre will following the subject of the following chapter.





CHAPTER IX.

Land of De Witt. [From about Port Hedland to Barrow Island, W.A.]

[From the 23d of July to the 16th of August, 1801.]


ALL that part of New Holland, which from the cape N.W. extends as far as the cape N. of this vast continent, is comprised generally under the name of the Land of de Witt, including also about 10° of latitude by 15° of longitude; it was first discovered, according to general opinion, by William de Witt, a Dutch navigator, who gave it his name; but the precise time is not generally ascertained: some make it as far back as the year 1616; others bring it to the year. 1623, or even to 1628. This last date is also said to have been the time when the shipwreck of Vianen happened on this coast. In 1699, Dampier appeared on these shores; but repelled by the same obstacles that so soon multiplied around us, he was compelled to quit them. At length, in the year 1705, three Dutch ships were sent from Timor to reconnoitre the Land of de Witt, and Diemen's Land, to the north; but the account of this last voyage never having been published, all the particulars are yet unknown. It appears only, that it is to this enterprise that we are indebted for the very imperfect accounts from which this pare of Nevi Holland is pointed out in the charts. From this epoch, a century had passed away since any European vessel had appeared in these seas, and we shall soon be able to judges that it was not without reason, that voyagers had so long abandoned so dangerous a navigation.

On the 23d of July, we passed in sight of a low barters island, about three leagues in length, which was called isle L'Hermite, froth the brave sea officer of that name.

From the 23d to the 25th there was but little wind, and sometime dead calms, which prevented us making muck way, and the currents drove us so far from the lands, that we no longer, had them in sight. The temperature of the sea on the surface, was at that time at 20° of Reaumur, and numerous animals multiplied beneath the waves. For independent of a prodigious number of Medusæ, Salpas, Porpites, &c. we were surrounded by fish of many different kinds, particularly Balistes, Chetodons, Clupeæ, &c. which we may place at the head of equatorial fish. Our ship was every instant surrounded by large sharks, and whales and tortoises were seen in great numbers: we also observed two new species of sea-serpents, one of which was from 8 to 10 feet long, of a green colour spotted with red and brown: the other was only from 3 to 4 feet in length, of a darker green, and distinguished by large spots of yellow and black on the back.

On the 27th, we were in sight of a small cluster of islands, which were named Forestier's Archipelago, in honour of the minister at the head of the first division of the naval department of the administration. These isles, which we have since reconnoitred in a more particular manner, are a small distance from Rosemary island, and the archipelago of Dampier. We reckoned six principal ones, neither of which were more than 3 or 4 leagues in length; they were generally low and barren, like those of Rivoli; but one of them which we called Depuch Island, and which lies in 20° 35' 30" latitude, and in 115° 12' 50" longitude, appeared to be deserving of being noticed in a more particular manner; out commander, consequently sent M. Ronsard with the long-boat, but though permission was earnestly entreated, none of the naturalists were permitted to go on shore.

M. Ronsard returned on board the next day about tea o'clock he reported that the island Depuch was not above 4 or 5 miles in length; that the landing was easy for a boat; and that, from several marks of the tide on the rocks, the maximum of their variations seemed to be about 25 feet, &c.

From the aspect alone of this island, it was easy to perceive that it was of a different nature from all those we had already seen; the lands were higher, and the shape of these highlands more decided: as we approached nearer, the difference was still more to be observed. Instead of that length of level coast, without any eminence or elevation on this island, we saw pointed rocks, standing alone, which resembling so many needles, seemed darting out of the surface of the land. This island was entirely volcanic; prisms of basalt, generally with five sides, and heaped one on another, laying most on their angles, constituted the entire mass of the soil. In one place, standing upright like walls of hewn stone; in other places, might be seen a sort of basaltic pavement, similar to those of the famous Giant's Causeway. In some places are to be seen excavations more or less deep, where the waters from the adjoining parts collect together, and thus form so many natural cisterns, in each of which our people found a small quantity of excellent ferruginous water. In these humid parts, vegetation was more active; we might here see many beautiful shrubs, and some larger trees, making very pleasant little groves; the rest of the island being of a different character, presented a coup d'œil as different. Among these confused heaps of lava there is an absolute sterility; and the black colour of the volcanic rocks add to the melancholy aspect and monotony of this little island. Walking is here very uncomfortable, on account of the basaltic prisms, which laying horizontally on the ground, present their sharp projecting angles upwards. "The colour of this basalt", according to the account of my esteemed friend Depuch, who had several specimens in his possession, "is of a bluish grey; its contexture is very compact, the grain fine, and apparently petro-siliceous, or of a transparent yellow; little brilliant and irregular waves are dispersed through the whole mass; it makes no effervescence with acids, and does not sensibly affect the magnetic needle; its exterior part experienced something of an alteration produced by the ferruginous particles. This decomposition does not extend ordinarily to any great depth."



3. Plan of Depuch and Ronsard Island, W.A.

M. Ronsard supposed, from the general conformation and colour of part of the neighbouring continent, that it was of a similar nature, and also volcanic. This would certainly have been so much the more important to ascertain, as, till that time we, had seen nothing of the kind on the shores of New Holland, and we have not since found any production of the sort; but our commander paying little attention to a phenomenon which, however, belongs essentially to the geography of New Holland, gave orders for us to continue our course.

Depuch Island is the most western of those which constitute the archipelago of Forestier, and is also one of the smallest; but its volcanic nature gives it a more particular degree of importance. It is not constantly inhabited: but it seems that the savages of the main land sometimes pass over, for M. Ronsard found some remains of fires that had formerly been made on the ground, and some pieces of basalt newly broken, which must have been done by some human effort. Only one quadruped was, seen, which seemed to be a dog, a conjecture so much the more probable, as this animal is frequently found in every part of the neighbouring continent. One of the seamen also thought he saw a small kangaroo. The birds consist of only a few kinds of fly-catchers and water-fowls: we also saw a grey serpent, about five feet in length, of the Boa kind. There were numerous kinds of ants, grasshoppers, crickets, and particularly a small species of flies, which from their great numbers were very troublesome to our people. Among the shells we must mention a beautiful species of Pyrule (Pyrula Eospila, N.), which is elegantly adorned with small blue spots.

Behind Forestier's archipelago, the continental lands seemed to form a great bay, which we also named Forestier's Bay.

On the 28th of July, about five o'clock in the evening we discovered a large shallow, which we had some difficulty in avoiding; the sea broke over it with much force, and the soundings had decreased so rapidly as we approached, that in a few moments we drew less than eight fathom water: we named this shallow after the Geographer.

On the same day we had sight of land at different points: these lands appeared less elevated than those we had seen on the preceding days; and although we were sailing in only ten fathom water, we could scarcely perceive them from the deck of the ship. We, nevertheless, distinguished here and there some large columns of smoke, which, convinced us that these melancholy shores were inhabited.

On the 30th, in about 19° 33' S. and about 116° 31' 45" we discovered a low sandy island, which we named the Isle Bedout, in honour of the brave officer of that name, who sustained on board the Tyger one of the most glorious combats which the French navy can boast.

On the 31st we again had sight of land, which we were soon obliged to abandon on account of the shallows, which were perfectly similar to those on the preceding evening, and were only distinguished above the waves by a bluish line: we also saw here some columns of smoke.

On the 1st of August we met with a violent storm, during which I had an opportunity of observing some Medusæ of an amazing size, most of them being near two feet in diameter, and weighing fifty or sixty pounds. Several species of the same kind furnished us some valuable observations for the history of the phosphorescence of the sea.

At that time we found ourselves in eighteen degrees south latitude and consequently near the equator; and notwithstanding the temperature in these latitudes was scarcely from 14° to 17° Reaumur, which gives a mean term less than that which we had taken in corresponding latitudes in the northern hemisphere.

The barometer, on the contrary, remained at from 28i 2l to 28i 3l, which gave a mean term warmer than that which the same instrument had given in corresponding northern latitudes.

At this same epoch, we had also the opportunity of confirming from our own experience, a valuable remark of Dampier, on the atmospheric variations of these climates: strong winds arose from midnight till about six in the morning, blew fresh part of the day, began to calm towards the evening, and during the night Were succeeded by a dead calm. These singular circumstances in the meteorology of these latitudes add much to st he dangers of reconnoitring them, particularly at this time of the year.

Similar observations will also apply to the general serenity of the atmosphere in these regions. Never, indeed, had the the sky appeared so clear, so entirety free from vapours and humidity. This phenomenon did not escape the observation of the celebrated navigator have just mentioned: "From the time of our departure from the bay of Sea-dogs," says Dampier, "we had always tine weather, and this continued for some time, the sky being all the while perfectly clear and serene, and without a single cloud."

These meteorological observations I shall not enlarge upon here; we shall return to them in another place, where we shall find them in an extraordinary manner connected with the natural history of the vast continent which makes so great a paid of oar subject.

On the 3d of August, during the whole day, we sailed in very shallow water; however, we did not see the lands, even when night drew near, which induced our commander to continue the course towards them; but about ten o'clock at night, the appearance of a great fire on the coast, made us sensible of our danger; we hastened to tack about, and lay to, the rest of the night.

On the 4th, we were constantly in sight of land, but obliged to keep at a great distance because of the shallows; indeed, often our lead drew but 8, 7, 6, and even 5 fathom, which compelled us to keep away. The lands which we had in sight, though they were generally low, level, sandy, and whitish, seemed, however, not so barren as all those we had successively reconnoitred before, and the other side the downs was pleasantly shaded by a curtain of verdure, and diversified with shrubs. These shores appeared to have more numerous inhabitants, and if we might judge from the multiplicity of fires that were alight on the coast, and by their spreading to a distance, we might have supposed them to be so many forests on fire. On this point the coast forms a large bay, which we called Gulf Laplace, from the celebrated, scholar of that name, to whom natural history and astronomy are indebted for so many useful and valuable discoveries.

On the 5th we discovered another group of small sandy islands, but nevertheless covered with some verdure, which we named the Lacepede Isles. These isles, of which we shall bare to speak elsewhere, have four principal, which are situated a little distance from the continent; the largest has not more than three leagues in length, they develop themselves from the north to the south on a line of more than twelve miles in breadth. The situation of the vessel at noon was about 16° 43' 30", and in the longitude of 119° 33' 30".

From the Lacepede Isles projects a long reef and immense sand-banks, which we named the Whale Shoals, on account of the great number of those animals which we found there; we saw also during the day, quantities of Molusques, various fish and sea-serpents. Our collection was considerably increased by numerous species of each of these classes of animals.

To the north of the Lacepede Isles, appears a large white clifted cape, which we called Cape Borda, from the great geometrist, who by the perfection to which he brought the reflective circle, acquired to himself such due honours from the grateful recollection of navigators of every country.

Cape Borda is situated about 16° 36' south latitude, and 120° 8' longitude east from the meridian of Paris.

The 7th of August, we found ourselves very near the continental coast. It appeared to us at this point extremely low, sterile, and sandy. There was a small deep bay, which we called Berthond Bay, from the estimable artist to whom the navy owes its best chronometers.

The north point of this bay is formed by a very large cape, which we named Cape Mollieu. Here all at once the coast changes its direction, to turn more to the east.

In front of Cape Mollieu is a small island, and several sand-banks, which we saw very near on the 8th; we called them the Geographic isles and banks, from the name of the vessel, which would be the first to make them known to Europe.

The 9th and the 10th of August we lengthened an archipelago of islands, which we named the Archipelago Champagny; all the isles of which it is composed, are sterile and chalky; the greater part of them present a bizarre and picturesque conformation; one of them particularly remarkable for its form, which perfectly resembles a bowl reversed. We gave it the name of Freycinet Isle, from those two much esteemed brothers to whom our expedition was indebted for so many useful labours. It is easily distinguishable from all the other isles, not only by its singular form, but also by its height being greater.

Not far from the Isle Freycinet, there is another which presents the appearance of the top of an immense edifice, and which we named the Isle Lucas, in honour of the captain of the vessel, who signalized himself in the engagement of the Redoubtable against the Victory.

Some other islands of this archipelago received the names of the Isle Forbin, the Isle Commerson, the Isle Agnesseau, the Isle Dugueslin, &c. &c.

All the isles of the Archipelago Champagny are small; the largest of them is little more than three leagues in length, and we counted fifteen or sixteen, of which several were scarcely half a league. The continental coast which is discernible beyond these island, represents the same uniform, tiresome, and invariable picture of sterility.

Every part of the sea hereabouts abounds with fish, and our collections were increased by numerous species of Balistes, Chetodons, Lophies, crustaceous productions, and soft zoophytes.

The 11th, in about 14° 47' 50" of south latitude, and 122° 11' 32" east longitude, we discovered another group of islands, before which we came to anchor. An officer was immediately sent to reconnoitre it nearer, and to seek a landing place; but in vain did M. de Montbazin prolong his stay to explore these formidable islet; he found them defended at every point by long chains of shoals, against which the sea broke with violence, and which did not leave any passage between them. These islands are of the number of ten or twelve, and make a part of the great north west archipelago of which we shall speak hereafter more in detail. They were called the Arcole islands, and the most remarkable among them received the names Of Colbert, Isle Buffon, Isle Desaix, Theraudien, Isle Bernouillé, &c. &c.

During the time that we were anchored off the Arcole Islands, we found from the difference of the soundings that the tide rose from 20 to 25 feet, an observation which seemed to confirm that of M. de Ronsard at the Isle Depuch, and which is also in agreement with that of Dampier. That celebrated navigator, as we have been told, must have been the victim of these extraordinary tides, his vessel being high and dry at the same place, where the evening before he had five fathoms water. This circumstance adds considerably to the danger of the navigation in these seas, and seems to be the principal cause of the violent currents which are here experienced.

The 12th, we continued to lengthen the great archipelago, which we had reconnoitred at all points the evening before. It presented an aspect altogether the most whimsical, and savage, at all parts raising itself in a thousand different shapes of sandy, sterile, and chalky isles, many of them resembling immense antique tombs; some of them appear united by chains of reefs, others protected by immense sandbanks, and all, that one could see of the continent, displayed the same sterility, and the same monotony of colour and appearance.

In the midst of these numerous islands, there is not any thing to delight the mind. The soil is naked, the ardent sky seems always clear and without clouds. The waves are scarcely agitated, except by the nocturnal tempests of which we have spoken; man seems to by from these ungrateful shores, not a part of which, at least as far as we could distinguish, had the smallest traces of his presence. The dismayed and astonished navigator turns away his eyes, fatigued with the contemplation of these unhappy isles and hideous solitudes, surrounded as he views them with continual dangers; and when he reflects that these inhospitable shores border those of the archipelago of Asia, on which nature has lavished blessings and treasures, he can scarcely conceive bow so vast a sterility could be produced in the neighbourhood of such great fecundity. In vain would he seek the cause from the ordinary laws of nature, the true principle of a contrariety which he cannot discover, nor even conjecture; but this is not the only phenomenon in the natural construction of New Holland, and we shall find the same subjects for astonishment and meditation in each oldie various parts of the history of this vast continent.

The 13th of August, we continued to lengthen the archipelago N.W. passing successively fifteen or twenty larger or smaller islands, absolutely resembling those we had seen the preceding days, and which we named Isle Forbin, Isle William Tell, Isle Suffrein, Isle Berthier, Isle Tournefort, Isle Corvisart, Isle Jussieu, &c. &c. We may see in the large chart of New Holland every thing which may concern the exact or relative positions of these numerous isles, and M. L. Freycinet in his nautical account, will give all the details of their situations.

The 14th, we confirmed to range near the coast, which amazed to make a part of the archipelago, every where bordered with reefs and quick-sands, against which the sea struck with violence, and varied itself as it were in sheafs of foam.

"Objectæ salsa, spurnant aspergine cantos."
                        VIRGIL'S ÆNEID

Never was such a spectacle before presented to our observation. "These breakers", says M. Boulanger in his journal, "seem to form several parallel lines at the shore, and little distant one from the other, above which the waves are seen raising themselves, successively breaking with great fury, and forming a horrible cascade of about 15 leagues in length.["]

We navigated at this time is the midst of shallows; the lead found only at times six fathoms. Then, though more distant from the land, we were not out of sight of it. At noon the calm having become settled, the currents drove us against the reefs; we let go an anchor, in which we lay until six in the evening. It was not until after we had anchored, that we could reconnoitre the extent of the dangers we had just escaped. The current formed two knots, and we were close upon that horrible chain of rocks which I have just described. This part of New Holland is truly frightful; all the islands that we could reconnoitre, presented alike hideous characters of sterility. The more considerable among them, were named Isle Mollieu, Isle Monge, Isle Laplace, Isle Cassini, &c. &c.

During the whole of the day on the 15th, we continued to sail in the midst of shallows and sand-banks, compelled repeatedly to tack, and avoiding one danger only to fall into another.

Notwithstanding the difficulty of this navigation, our perilous situation did not deter M. Lesueur and myself from our usual labours, and this day was marked by a discovery of some value, a new genus of fish (Balistapodus Wittensis, N.) something resembling the Balistes, but differing by being totally without the ventral bladder: this peculiarity makes them the first specimen of a new order in the Ichthyological system of my celebrated master, M. de Lacépède. This learned naturalist does not confine himself, in his general classification of fish, to give all the species known to this day, but rising to considerations more philosophic and general, he compares all the particular agreements in the organization of these animals, determines all the possible combinations of the principal of their exterior organs, and afterwards analyzing all these combinations which were hitherto known, he from thence deduces the existence, or at least the possibility of the existence of those, which to us, are still without example; in nature; thus, anticipating both, time and experience, he dares in his descriptions, determine the place which each of these unknown groups will one day occupy. His great work on the subject of fish in general was not then finished, and, on these distant shores, many of his bold conceptions were realized.

On the 16th, during the night, there arose a strong wind from the E.S.E. which forced us to set sail at day-break; this wind continued till the 18th; but we had finished reconnoitring the grand archipelago of the N.W. called Bonaparte Archipelago, in honour of the chief magistrate of our native country, and the august protector of our expedition.

At this period our privations lay very heavy on us; the detestable food to which we bad been reduced ever since our departure from the Isle of France, had affected the health even of, the most robust among us; the scurvy increased its ravages, and many of our seamen were much afflicted, a melancholy presage of the evils which this scourge was soon to bring upon us.

Our allowance of water began for fail, and we had arrived at the sad certainty of the utter impossibility of taking in any on these shores.

The time of the change of the monsoons approached, and the hurricanes which always follow must of necessity be avoided; in short, it was requisite to procure us a new chaloupe, to effect our reunion with the Naturalist, &c.

All these considerations determined the commander to finish his researches on the Land of De Witt, at the same place where the great archipelago, called after Bonaparte terminates, that is to say, in 13º 15' south latitude, and 123º 30' east longitude, from the meridian of Paris.





CHAPTER X.

Length of our Stay at Timor.

[From the 18th of August to the 13th of November, 1801.]


TWO days after we had left the barren shores of New Holland, we observed the high mountains of Timor. Three tier of lofty rocks parallel to the length of the island, formed a triple amphitheatre, the last gradations of which lay back into the interior of the lands, which were by much the most elevated. The form of these mountains, though high, was not rugged, but lengthened progressively and uniformly, and the lofty summits regularly descended insensibly by slight undulations which continued down to the sea beach.

All the other side of these mountains were covered with natural vegetation; and the vallies might be described as so many extensive forests of verdure, above which appeared in every direction the lofty tops of cocoa trees, areka, &c. the beautiful productions of equinoxial climates.

We quickly passed the shores of Amarassi, and were soon at the mouth of the strait which forms, with Timor, the isle Rotti (Pülü Rotte) more celebrated for the beauty of the women than for its mines of copper. On the 21st of August, in the morning, we crossed this strait, and doubling the north point of the small island, Landou (Pülü Landoë), which in the maps, is, with many others, confounded with Rotti, we discovered the entrance of another strait which forms the isle Simâo (Pülü Simawü), by bending towards the western point of Timor. In two hours we cast anchor in the middle of this strait, and opposite a fine bay which belonged to the island of Simâo. Probably it would be difficult to find a more beautiful and picturesque situation than that which we then enjoyed: surrounded on all sides by the lands, we seemed as if in the middle of a beautiful lake, on every side clothed with the richest colours. Numerous and various kinds of fish, the happy inhabitants of these peaceful waters, multiplied their species in the waves, and on whichever side we turned our eyes, the picture of the most amazing fecundity seemed to be renewed with additional charm and interest, so great was the contrast between the beauties of such a situation, and the sterile and monotonous neighbouring shores north-west of New Holland!

As soon as we had cast anchor, M. H. Freycinet went with the long-boat to Coupang (Küpang), the chief settlement of the Dutch at Timor. It was necessary to present our passports to the governor of the country, and to take a pilot to conduct us to anchorage in the bay of Babao, on the south coast of which is situated the town of Coupang. M. H. Freycinet did not return to the ship till the next day. He informed us that he had experienced many difficulties from the different kings of the country, who not having any knowledge of our nation, confounded us with their enemies the English, and for a long time opposed our entrance into the bay. This officer also told us, that the island abounded in provisions and fresh stores of every kind, and that we might procure them at a very cheap price.

The pilot, who soon came on board, was a Frenchman, and native of the environs of Bourdeaux; he was a gunner in the Dutch company's service, and had resided in these distant regions fourteen or fifteen years. He related to us, that some years before, the English having conquered Timor, had by their violence and oppression forced the inhabitants to take up arms against them: that the fort Concord, into which they had retreated, having been taken by assault, seventy or eighty Englishmen had been cut in pieces and paten by the savage Malays: that from that moment the most implacable hatred had subsisted among the whole of the Malay nation towards the English, and towards all that could remind them of these conquerors.

While our old countryman was relating these particulars, we were employed in getting under weigh, when we immediately set sail to leave the strait of Simâo, and proceed to the roadstead near Coupang. Nothing could be more pleasant than this short voyage: between Timor that Simâo the channel is but two leagues in width, so that we were at a pretty equal distance from these islands, and perfectly distinguished the two shores. Each cape which we doubled changed the scene and varied the landscape, presenting to our sight a difference in the prospect; but every change was delightful and beautifully romantic and picturesque. At seven o'clock in the evening we moored in the roadstead of Coupang, opposite fort Concord.

On the following day, which was the 23d of August, we went in a body to pay our first visit to M. Lofstett, governor general of the island of Timor, and the archipelago belonging to it: he received us with extreme politeness, and offered us every accommodation we could possibly desire. From that very day two large houses were appropriated for us: the commander, with the geographer and the astronomer, Messrs. Petit and Lesueur, took possession of one of them, and all the naturalists were accommodated in the other.

We are now come to one of the most remarkable epochs of our voyage. No country perhaps is more interesting to know, and is at the same time so little known as the great island of Timor. Placed by nature in the midst of equinoctial countries, every where covered with the most useful and estimable fruits of the earth, and the most valuable animals, situated half way between New Holland and the other islands of the great archipelago of Asia, it presents in its atmospheric and geologic constitution, in its various productions, as well as in its natural and political revolutions, many interesting subjects of study and research.

Three distinct races of the human species are here to be found united, who, placed on these shores from an epoch, the date of which is almost lost in the obscurity of times long past, still present themselves to the observation of the philosopher, with all the originality of character of the ancient nation to which each of them belong.

The first of these distinct races may be traced to the aborigines, who, driven into the interior of the lands, are still almost entirely unacquainted with any social institution, and are yet armed with the bow, the arrow, and the club of Camoung; sworn enemies to the Malays, swift in the course, concealed in hollows of the rocks, or in the depths of the forests, living exclusively on the fruits of the earth, and the produce of the chase, always in arms, always at war, either among themselves or with the Malays, ferocious in all their customs and habits, anthropophagi, as it is said, and in short, uniting all the characters of the negro race, such as the short woolly hair, the black colour, &c. &c.

To the second class of the inhabitants of Timor, belong the Malays with long hair; these are of a red copper colour, descended from those ferocious inhabitants of Malacca, the ancient conquerors of the grand archipelago of Asia: the people of this race still preserve their original character of independence, boldness, and ferocity, which distinguished their ancestors.

Next to, these brave people appear the Chinese, settled for many ages on most of the islands of the great archipelago; expert batters, indefatigable dealers, but weak and pusillanimous, they neither merit, nor have ever obtained any superiority.

Independent of the three classes I have just mentioned, and which, properly speaking, comprise all the population of the country, there are found at Timor a few mongrel Portuguese, the miserable remains of the first conquerors of Asia, and die pitiable witnesses of the vicissitudes of nations, and the revolutions of empires!

At length the conquerors of the Portuguese again appeared on these shores, sustaining with difficulty the former glory of the Batavian name, and only preserving by their policy or by the favour of the people, the dominion which were in former times purchased by so much heroism and courage.

In the midst of so many interesting objects, I endeavoured not to neglect any pursuit that might make our long stay at Timor useful to science. I collected the divers materials of the general topography of this large island; above all, I gave particular attention to the history of these indigenous people of the great archipelago of Asia, of which are found the remains and monuments in the interior of most of the large islands of this archipelago, at Sumatra, Borneo, Macassar, Timor, Ceylon, Magindanao, the Philippines, &c. &c. But this part of my labour ought to be the subject of a particular publication; I shall therefore confine myself in this chapter to present a few particulars which belong more immediately to our own story.

As we have before said, the existence of the French nation was then entirely unknown to the people of Timor, and not one individual recollected having ever seen the French flag at Coupang; our acquaintance With the natives therefore began under the most unfavourable auspices, and distrust uniting with the natural ferocity of the Malays, against us, we were for some days as if isolated in the midst of them; but it was soon perceived by them, from the respect and deference we received from the Dutch governor and those employed under him, that we belonged to some powerful and respectable nation: this reflection became the first pledge of amity between us; and the frank and generous character which we did not fail to display in all our correspondence with them either in business or friendship, succeeded in gaining all their hearts, and we are certain that the French name will long be cherished by the brave men with whom we now became acquainted for the first time.

In the morning of the 25th of August I went down to the beach; the sea was low, and great numbers of the Malays were busy on the shore gathering up the divers animals which had been left there by the waves.

Never till that moment had I ever seen such a picture of fecundity; fish, mollusques, testaceous and crustaceous animals, &c. &c. all seemed to multiply by thousands on these shores; but nothing could equal the profusion and singularity of the spectacle which the solid zoophytes presented; these are generally known by the name of madrepores; all the shore was covered With them; all the rocks on which we then walked dry shod, were alive and moving, and appeared under so many extraordinary and strange forms, with so many rich colours, so varied and so bright, that the eye was dazzled by them. In one place we see the beautiful animal, the Tubipora Musica, which, proud of the brilliancy of its habitation, spreads out its beautiful green fringed tentacules above the waves. The great masses of these demi-globular animals appear like so many spots of green moss on a bed of coral; in another place appear projections of enormous madreporic rocks, from 15 to 20 feet in diameter, as hard as marble, and exhibiting many delicate beautiful colours. These form the chief part of the soil of the bay of Babao, a remarkable phenomenon of which we shall speak at a future time. Of these gigantic masses are formed all the small islands of this bay, and which are every day extending more and more from the same causes that first produced them. In the midst of the mountains in the interior of Timor, in the very heart of the deep vallies and torrents, we every where find the remains of these astonishing animals, although it is utterly impossible for the mind to conceive how or by what means nature has raised these large madreporic plots to such great heights above the present level of the seas.

But this is not the only phenomenon which is observed in studying these productions of nature. In the "Memoire sur quelques Observations Zoologiques applicables a la Theorie de la Terre," which I have laid before the Institution, and that learned society honoured with their approbation, I have described several others; and we shall have occasion to mention some that deserve particular notice, in the account of Timor, and also in the zoologic part of our work.

On the 26th, Messrs. Depuch, Bernier, Lesueur, and myself, made an excursion into the environs of Coupang. After walking some little time we came opposite to a delightful habitation; it was situated in the midst of a fine plantation of cocoa trees; a stream of fresh water ran murmuring under their shade, and the house, surrounded with a simple peristyle, but extremely neat, appeared like a small antique temple, at the end of a long avenue of orange trees, bananas, pomegranates, and the odoriferous and beautiful trees.

Enchanted with the appearance of this habitation, we went to introduce ourselves by the front door, which was then open, when a Malay, armed with a long sagaie, came and placed himself in the door-way, and contended the passage; his air was fierce, and his countenance haughty and disdainful. While we were endeavouring to make known our desire of seeing the beautiful plantation of palms which stood in front, another slave ran towards us, armed with a javelin like the first, and gave us to understand, in a more insolent manner than the former, that we should not advance any farther; we therefore departed with a strong sentiment of prejudice against the owners of this delightful spot.

However, as we went farther into the interior of the island our collections increased so rapidly, that we were soon obliged to seek for some place to rest ourselves: a Malay house appeared, where we were received with all the frank cordiality which so strongly marks the character of the inhabitants of Timor: "Doudou, doudou, baé oran di France"; "sit down, sit down, good men of France", was the first word said by him who appeared to be master of the house. We asked for some fresh cocoa-nuts; a young man immediately climbed with inconceivable agility into one of the nearest cocoa trees, gathered four nuts, and taking two of them with his teeth, and two others in one hand, he then came down with as much promptitude as he had mounted.

While we were admiring this singular manner of climbing to the top of such high trees, and which I shall more particularly describe in another place, the Malays examined us all with much attention; our physiognomy seemed to please them, and our youth appeared to interest them much in our favour: Bae oran mouda (good young men) passed in a kind of whisper from one to another.

One of their sagaies engaged my attention. I drew near to examine it, and wishing to know in what manner it was made use of, I asked one of the men who were present, to shew me. The demonstrations of friendship which he had the complaisance to express to us, seemed to remind him forcibly of the late warlike events which had taken place on the island: Oran ingress, oran bounou, (English men, assassins) he repeated, with great animation: Oran djtâhât (wicked men), and brandished his sagaie with violence, and became almost furious: taking one of the cocoa-nuts he placed it on the point of his spear, and showed us by the most unequivocal gestures, that after having cut off the heads of the English, they had carried them about the points of their spears; that the war-dance had then been danced round them, and afterwards having cut in pieces the bodies of these unfortunate Europeans, they had then devoured them.

We will leave this horrible anthropophagi, once general in all the Asiatic islands, and which the Europeans have succeeded in abolishing almost every where, but which here remains without excuse, as no people could be more happily situated in the midst of the most bountiful gifts of nature, than those who are the subjects of our present observations. I shall only add, that it is impossible to bear a stronger hatred, or to thirst for revenge, more than that which the Malays entertain against the English. In this respect they entirely justify all that historians have said of the character of their ancestors.

To this scene there succeeded another of a very different kind: all the young women, at our approach, had hid themselves in the sort of seraglio, which was their usual abode, and which I may describe hereafter. More curious than timid, they continued peeping at us through the interstices of the bamboo which formed the partitions of the house; and as we ourselves had naturally our eyes directed often towards the harem, our good natured Malay, who appeared more and more pleased with his new acquaintances, and who doubtless wished to give us a strong mark of his confidence, without waiting for us to express our wishes, made signs to the women to come; there were five of them, the oldest not being above twenty-five years of age; they were all well proportioned, easy in their mien, and their features were fine, and particularly expressed that affectionate softness, which seems a generous appendage and beauty belonging to the young women of these shores.

The sight of so many young strangers seemed to make a lively impression on these women; but they soon overcame their natural timidity, to receive the different presents which we offered them. Soon after we took leave of these good people to return to Coupang.

They shewed us every testimony of affection and friendship at our departure; even the young women no longer feared to lift up their large black eyes to regard us with kindness; and from a remarkable kind of gallantry, they each made us a small present.

On the 28th of August we had a visit from a king of the island of Sabou (Sawü) whose name was Amadima; he was a man of middle stature, good figure and lively manner, about forty-five, or fifty years of age. We received hire in a room which I had in common with my friend M. Depuch, but we both had reason to repent this civility; for the princes and attendants who accompanied this monarch nearly stripped the apartment of all that it contained. This propensity to stealing is a sort of passion among the Malays, and such is their address and cunning on these occasions, that there were as many dupes among us as there were individuals on shore. They have this vice in common with all savage nations, and those who are but little civilized; which sufficiently proves, that it is not without reason that legislators have determined the right of property to be the foundation of all social and civilized institutions.

Of all the different things which we skewed to the good Amadima, the phosphorus created the greatest astonishment: its spontaneous inflammation, the quickness of its combustible properties, the colour of the flame, all together appeared so extraordinary to the simple monarch, that he spared no entreaties nor endeavours to induce me to give him the bottle, in which there was some ounces. After having in vain offered me a great number of fowls, pigs, and sheep, he seemed determined to make a last attempt to bribe me to comply. With an air of confidence he called one of his principal officers, who brought him a pretty betel bag, in the bottom of which was found a small linen parcel, which he unfolded and took out a Spanish dollar, and presenting it to me with an air of assurance so ridiculous as is not easy to be described, he seemed to say, "At this price it is impossible you should refuse me." But to his great astonishment, I continued to refuse, and the poor king not being able to obtain the bottle, was reduced to the necessity of asking for only a piece of the phosphorus which it contained. In vain I attempted to give him an idea of the dangers which attended such substances: Amadima continued his entreaties in such an affecting manner, that, to keep his friendship, I at length consented to oblige him, well persuaded beforehand, that his present, as much to be feared as that of Medea, would soon cure him of his passion for phosphorus. I therefore gave him a piece about two inches long, and cautioning him not to rub it, I wrapt it up in wet linen, and it was given to the care of the Malay prince, who deposited it in his fine betel bag, and after embracing me, after the custom of the country, he disappeared with all his numerous suite. But we soon saw him again in a state of utter consternation; the phosphorus had taken fire, as I had predicted, the king's betel bag had been consumed, and several of the most officious courtiers had burnt their fingers.

M. Depuch and myself had some difficulty in soothing the affliction of Amadima; we each offered him a pocket handkerchief, to make him amends for the loss of his royal betel bag, which had been destroyed by the phosphorus, and which from that time had the name of âpi tacoup (fire which makes one fear).

This last act of generosity entirely made my peace, and procured me the friendship of the king of Sabou. "Man Peron", said he to me as he departed, "you are the good friend of Amadima, and to-morrow I will send you a pig"; which he certainly did, at the same time coming himself to present it. We kept him to dinner: the French cookery seemed to please him, for he did it honour by eating voraciously. As we had been entirely without wine ever since our departure from the Isle of France, he was obliged to drink our bad rum, which nevertheless he said was excellent; at least, he drank it with so much pleasure, that we had some difficulty in preventing him from getting absolutely drunk. In other respects he behaved with that air of dignity and ease, which is the natural result of superiority of situation, and particularly characterizes those who are accustomed to command.

On the 29th of August, while Messrs. Riédlé, Depuch, Lesueur, and myself, were exploring a new part of the interior of the island, our commander, accompanied by some others of our companions, went to pay a visit to the widow of the former governor of Timor, madame Van-Esten. This lady was a native of Amboyna, and descended from the race of Malays; she was about forty-five, or near fifty years of age, much inclined to the em-bon-point, and her figure shewed both nobility and dignity. Sole heir to the wealth of her husband, she was in possession of an immense fortune: she had fourteen or fifteen hundred slaves, and the richest plantations in the country belonged to her, but unfortunately, several of them were the fruit of the oppression and violence exercised by her husband. Her own character was mild, her conversation cheerful and agreeable, and she was generally beloved by the natives; and the Dutch governor, M. Lofstett, although jealous of a fortune that enabled this lady to live in much greater splendour than himself, had great respect for her, and it was him who introduced our companions in the visit I have just mentioned.

"The country house to which we were conducted", said M. Boulanger, "is situated on the sea shore. In going thither, we crossed a most delightful country, watered by running streams on every side; it might be called a continued wood of cocoa trees, bananas, mangoes, and numerous other trees not known in Europe. As we approached the habitation, these trees stood farther apart, leaving a space between them that formed a large and beautiful avenue, the middle of which was paved, and sanded with care: farther on, in a green arbour, was a large square bason, in the refreshing limpid waters of which, played numerous carp and other fish. Beyond this we came to a grate enclosed in a kind of arbour, which was supported by stone columns, which was the entrance to the house. Opposite to this grate was a large peristyle, which formed a sort of double penthouse, supported by columns, the lowest of which resembled a beautiful Chinese pavilion. Beyond this peristyle was a court, at the farther end of which was the house itself, protected from the heat and sun by two rows of galleries on the outside; these were also supported by columns. The floor of these galleries was painted and rubbed like our apartments in Europe; they were also ornamented with very handsome easy chairs of cane and large vases of bronze, which are in every apartment in these countries, where they are perpetually chewing betel.

"The mistress of the house, a Malay, and a native of Amboyna, waited to receive us, standing under the gallery: she was dressed in a rich and beautiful pagne or wrapper. On her left hand stood about thirty young women, elegantly clothed in cotton wrappers and white corsets, with their long black hair platted and folded round the head. On her right, stood several male slaves in jackets and white pantahlons: in the lower gallery were other male slaves in long red cloaks. This regular order, these singular uniform costumes, the young girls dressed with so much neatness, and who appeared like so many young nymphs surrounding their goddess, the beauty of the scene, the coolness of She adjoining forest, the soft murmur of the stream, the view of the ocean, on the shore of which this delightful habitation was situated; in short, all united to present at once every thing we could conceive of noble, grand, beautiful and picturesque, in a manner that perfectly enchanted us.

"After the usual ceremonies and compliments, the spectacle became all at once more interesting: the young women retired for a moment, and re-appeared, each carrying part of a rich and elegant collation: one of them brought an elegant Chinese tea equipage; another presented us with sugar of different sorts and colours; a third poured out the tea; in short, a great number of them in quick succession presented each in their turn, pastry, sweetmeats, preserves, fruit, &c. of many different kinds. Their manlier of bringing this collation, their graceful motions, the regular ceremonials which they successively performed, their profound silence, all helped to remind us Frenchmen of the beautiful scene of the toilet of Venus in the ballet of Paris.

"The ceremony of this visit being prolonged till nine o'clock in the evening, we began to think of returning, and feared we should be obliged to find our way in the dark, when in a moment the slaves in the red cloaks appeared, with each a long torch made of the leaves of a certain tree, which spread a great light like so ninny flambeaux. We might at the time have fancied ourselves with Orpheus in his descent to the infernal regions, for our conductors, with their torches, their costume, and their colour, resembled the devils of the opera: their doleful piercing cries, repeated at regular intervals, added another trait to this similarity. And it was with this singular and romantic escort that the governor and ourselves entered the town of Coupang."

On the 3d of September, M. Ronsard, who had the charge of building a new chaloupe from our commander, to replace that which we had lost in Geography Bay, succeeded at length in getting it on the stocks; the indolence of the Malays, and the very small number of our carpenters, who were besides daily falling sick, made this work very tedious and difficult, notwithstanding the zeal of the officer charged with its direction.

Among those whom I had occasion more particularly to be acquainted with during our stay at Timor, was a respectable old man, whose noble and frank physiognomy interested me every day more and more. He had observed my taste for the productions of the sea side, and often came to oiler me something of the kind which he had fished up or found. The manner in which I received and acknowledged his kind attentions, had entirely gained me the esteem of the good old man; I was his sobat ati, (the friend of his heart). He had many times invited me in the most pressing manner, to visit his habitation, but ray pursuits had not yet allowed me to gratify him in this particular. But on the 4th of September I went with my friends, Depuch and Bernier, to Oba, a charming walk in the vicinity of Coupang, where the house of the old Malay was situated: one of his young sons was our guide. We soon came opposite to the beautiful habitation from which use had been so rudely repelled in one of our first excursions at Timor. I had since learnt that it belonged to madame Van-Esten, and it was the very same that M. Boulanger had described in such brilliant colours. I was surprized that our young guide seemed to be leading us thither, when all at once he turned into a small path in another direction, which brought us opposite a little hut, similar to these inhabited by the poorest Malays of this country. The simplicity of this kind of humble cabin, seemed to add a new charm to the delightful landscape which surrounded it on every side: numberless birds clothed in the most beautiful colours and varied plumage, played among the branches of the trees, and a refreshing stream ran at a little distance front this simple abode.

The old man whom we came to visit, was seated at the entrance of his cottage, and was amusing himself by playing on the sasounou; a younger son than the one who had boat our guide, accompanied him on the sort of flute peculiar to the country; his wife, a few paces distant from him, was spinning the mate, which these people use to weave their pagnes; and his daughter, who did not appear to be more than twelve or thirteen years of age, was preparing small rice cakes, which she was to carry on the next day to the basar, (the public market).

At our appearance all the family rose; and their joy was expressed in every possible way: "Sit down, good men of France", was the first exclamation from every mouth. The weather was hot, and the walk had put us all in a perspiration; they brought us a long cylinder of bamboo tilled with buffalo's milk, which was still warm, and of which myself and companions drank each a large draught, when we presented each of our hosts with some present. The mother accepted a red handkerchief; the young girl some ribbons, a looking glass, with some pins and needles; the two boys received each a file and a knife; and the father of the family a small saw and a hatchet. Such generosity gained us their entire respect and esteem, and the most lively expressions of pleasure animated every face.

This amiable family interested us so much, that we wished to know more of them. We learnt that our respectable old man was called Neâs; his mild companion, Sorézana; his daughter, Elzerina; his eldest son, Pone; and the youngest Cornelis. This last was of a delicate constitution, a fine form, with a countenance full of candour and expression; he was of a quick and lively temper, and seemed to have all the good qualities and defects which generally belong to such a character, at the same time he possessed great goodness of heart, with a quick comprehension, and great good sense.

Pone, on the contrary, was of a much stronger make and habit of body; his countenance was stern and martial; his disposition was thoughtful and serious; the goodness of his heart was like that of Cornelis, but it was hid under a manner less conciliating. Elzerina possessed in herself all the charms with which nature in this country has adorned the amiable companions of man; brought up under the eyes of her good parents, she was modest and timid, and appeared still more tender and affectionate than her brothers.

While we were congratulating the aged Neâs on the good qualities of his children, we observed tears fall from his eyes; and in a moment of sorrow, he said, in a tone of voice which penetrated us to the heart: Oran di France ada baé, (men of France, you are good). Here he abruptly stopped, but his eloquent silence seemed to say to us, "All Europeans are not like you." At this time we did not enough under, stand the Malay language, to continue the conversation, but the language of gesture which Neâs used, and which among uncivilized and savage nations, has so much force of expression, did not leave us much in doubt of the cause of his sorrow and tears; and in the course of our stay, and during the second time of our touching at Timor, I learnt all the particulars of the history of this interesting old man.

Neâs had been the king of Coupang; and the magnificent plantation which we have before described, and in the middle of which was the residence of madame Van-Esten, had belonged to him. This part of the coast, as may be perceived from my description, and that of M. Boulanger, is one of the richest and most beautiful in the whole island. The Dutch governors had for a long time coveted the possession of it, but the ancestors of Neâs, naturally attached to the inheritance of their fathers, had constantly refused every kind of proposal on the subject; and Neâs, from the same sentiment, had followed their example: M. Van-Esten had therefore found means of making him suspected by the government, and thus deprived him of his dignity; and next compelled him, by menaces and ill-treatment, to give up and forsake his rich and beautiful heritage, with the exception only of the humble dwelling we have so lately described, and a small enclosure adjoining.

Thus deprived of the title and fortune of his forefathers, Neâs preserved in his misfortunes the courage of a great and strong mind. Every day this good old man went down to the shore to seek his bread, and that of his family. His children often accompanied him; I sometimes met with them, and the rencontre always filled rue with sadness and compassion: and indeed, if it behoves a good man to feel for those who are oppressed by power and injustice, he must more particularly be affected, when he sees them exerted to oppress individuals who are at once so amiable and respectable. Fortunately, we see on these distant shores, as well as on our own, that crime meets its just punishment. M. Van-Esten died miserably, execrated by the Malays, who with reason accused him of having given up their country in a cowardly manner, to the English, to preserve his own fortune; and despised even by that nation, who notwithstanding their engagements with them, had had a hand in the conspiracy, of which they (the English) were the victims.

All these particulars attached me more and more to the good king Neâs; and our friendship was mutual, for I was obliged, at his earnest solicitations, to change names with him. I shall shortly have occasion to enlarge on the subject of this affectionate custom of the Malays.

Cornelis was my greatest favourite of the children of the old man: he often came to see me at Coupang, and every time that I went to Oba, he accompanied me part of the way on my return. One day he asked me many questions concerning the country of France. I asked him, if he should like to go with me there: his natural vivacity made him at first answer without reflection, in the affirmative; but a moment after he began to reflect in silence on the proposal I had just made him, and addressing me again on the subject, he spoke a long time without my being able to understand half his discourse. Chagrined to find he did not make himself well understood, he stopped, and turning towards me, he said, "Man Peron, observe what I am going to do"; he then piled up some heaps of sand, every one bigger than the last, and spoke in the following manner, at the same time using such expressive gestures, that it was impossible to misunderstand the true sense of what he wished to say. "At Coupang, man Peron, thou art the friend of Cornelis; but in France a man will come to you and say, 'Sell me this red man', and will shew you money as big as that", pointing to the smallest heap of sand. "You will answer, 'the red man is the friend of the man Peron;' thou wilt make the same answer to those who come and offer thee money as big as these other heaps;" and he successively shewed them to me, going from the smallest to the largest, and making me understand by his gestures, that my refusal would become less and less positive as the other might be increased; "but at last", said he, "one will come and offer money as big as that last heap of sand; and you will then say, that the red man shall be a slave; and then, man Peron, I shall never see you any more, and they will make me work very hard, and the poor Cornelis, far from his father Neâs, and his brother Pone, will die of grief and sickness."

In saying these last words, this amiable youth was so much affected, that his eyes filled with tears, and I myself was but too much struck with the justice of the reasoning, and quickness of understanding of Cornelis, not to feel a similar emotion. I however endeavoured to convince him that slavery was unknown in France; but as he knew that the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Spanish, and the English, who are all more particularly known in these seas, have slaves, he very naturally concluded that the French must also have some; and as (with the exception of Batavia) they are ignorant of the countries to which those who are taken from Timor and the neighbouring isles are sent, but know that they are carried very far, very far (djáó, djáó), they are generally persuaded that they are transported to Europe, where they are all employed in the most laborious and unwholesome kinds of work. I have detailed this extraordinary anecdote with all the particulars, as it may serve for a proof of the natural understanding of the inhabitants of this region, and as it also proves the ill opinion which these people entertain of Europeans.

As we formerly observed, the scurvy, which had began to shew itself among our crew, had been one of the principal reasons which had induced our commander to refresh at Timor: ten men affected with this cruel distemper had been sent on shore at Coupang the day after we arrived, and were settled in a ruinous storehouse belonging to the Dutch Company, which was appointed for our hospital, independent of these ten men who were so extremely affected by this distemper, we had a great number whose gums were more or less corroded and bleeding; I myself was of this number: but these slight symptoms soon disappeared by the use of fresh provisions and living on shore: and at the time of which I am now speaking, I found myself perfectly free from any appearance or symptom of the scurvy.

On the 5th of September, they made signs in the pass of the strait of Simâo, that there were two English frigates, and some smaller ships of war; the alarm soon became general in the country, and they were preparing to call together the formidable Malay militia of the interior, when the disappearance of the squadron calmed the fears of the colony.

From the 9th to the 15th I was employed in making experiments with the dynamometer, to ascertain the relative strength of the people we were among. The interesting results shall be given in another place.

On the 10th of September I had occasion to make an interesting observation, which I must acknowledge I was much to blame for not pursuing further. Among those individuals who came to see us, there were two who had their front teeth plated with silver of some thickness, and which adhered so firmly to the enamel, that I found it impossible, though I tried with my nails, to shake or move any of these small silver plates. The men who wore them ate in my presence, without seeming to feel the least inconvenience from this strange ornament. They assured me that they had remained thus firmly fixed during five or six months, and they never separated till they were worn out. We were at a loss to conjecture what means these men could have used to fix in so firm and strong a manner, such plates to the enamel of the teeth, or what could be the substance which could thus resist the dissolvent property of the saliva and food. Our dentists are unacquainted with any such substance; they are obliged to make use of metals, particularly lead, to protect the carious parts of the teeth, and they have no means of fastening any substance to the polished enamel of their surface.

The mastich of the Malays would therefore have been in every respect, a valuable acquisition to European countries, but occupied as I was in so many different pursuits, I neglected to get the information which doubtless I might have obtained on the subject, and I should now omit it altogether, if it was not to call the attention of other voyagers to investigate a matter which I much regret that I myself neglected. In the particular history of Timor, and in describing the kind of fishing-tackle used by the Malays, I shall offer some conjectures on the nature of the substance to which I allude; and I have some reason to believe, that in endeavouring to ascertain the truth of these conjectures, I may be able to throw some light on the subject.

On the 11th of September, king Amadima, who seldom passed many days without paying me a visit, came to see me at a much earlier hour than usual, and said to me, "Friend Peron, come and eat rice in my house." His manner at this moment appeared more affectionate than usual, and besides, there was something mysterious in his address, which attracted my attention: he took me by the hand, and I went with him. On entering his palace or cottage (for either name may with equal propriety serve for this royal habitation), I perceived a great number of slaves dressed as is customary on holidays. A whole sheep was roasting under a shed at a little distance, and several women belonging to the king were busied in the cookery I could not imagine what was intended by such great preparations; but soon after our arrival, the mutton was served up with some rice: Amadima cut up the sheep, and helped me to a piece of five or six pounds at least, and himself to one still larger, and began to tear it to pieces with his nails and teeth in the most expeditious manner. I had no ambition to contend with him in appetite and voracity, but I ate as much as I could on the occasion.

When the first edge of our hunger was taken off, the good Malay king made signs to one of his slaves to bring him a bottle of rum, and having poured out a large quantity in a vase or cup made of a cocoa-nut, he said, "Man Peron, thou art the good friend of the king Amadima; the king Amadima is the friend of the man Peron; man Peron, the king Amadima gives thee his name; wilt thou give him thine?" This extraordinary proposal reminded me of the affecting custom of changing names, which Cook discovered in most of the islands of the Southern Ocean, and which is also a custom on the humid foggy shores of New Zealand; I therefore took care not to refuse this affectionate testimony of the friendship of the Malay prince, but answered without hesitation, "The man Peron gives his name to the king Amadima." This change seemed to fill him with joy, and we cemented our friendship by drinking rum several times out of the same cup. From that moment I became the Touan Amadima (lord Amadima); he himself never after called me by any other name; and on my part I called him the Man Peron: however, as I had not been in the habit of calling him so, I often made mistakes; but Amadima, preserving the same sang froid throughout the whole scene, set me right every time with great kindness, and never forgot to call me the lord Amadima; and all his slaves, to whom this change of names was declared with great solemnity, had orders to regard one as the friend of the heart of their master, and to call me always Touan Amadima.

Since that period I have had occasion at many different times to change my name; the ceremonies were always as simple as that I have here described.

A similar custom is practised at Madagascar, but with more formality. The particulars of this ceremony at Madagascar never having been published, and as it in a manner belongs to this part of our own observations, I shall here introduce some details which I have read in a manuscript journal of a voyage made in 1787 to the Valley of Amboula, by the same M. Lislet Geoffroy, to whose brilliant talents have before paid the just tribute of respectful mention and admiration.

"Ramafoulak", says M. Lislet, "is the chief of this part of the valley of Amboula, and resides at Anounoubé: he received us very politely, from the recommendation which bad been sent to him by Dian Louve. All his captains made us presents, as the friend of their king. As I was resolved to depart on the next day early in the morning, the time would not permit me to accept the oath which this chief proposed to make with me, as also one of his captains whom he presented to me. This oath is a kind of alliance between two people: they promise and engage mutually to love and protect each other; each has his godfather or surety, in this ceremony; each have the stomach scarified in seven places, ad take seven drops of blood from each, which they receive in a vase, which previously contains brandy or some other strong liquor; they next put in it a gun-flint and a bullet, and then dip the points of their swords or lances in the cup, after which they present each other with seven spoonfuls of this liquor, which they swallow. They then give each other their hands, and grasp them affectionately. The inhabitants of Madagascar observe religiously all the promises which they make on such occasions, even at the hazard of their lives; and ever after regard each other as brothers."

The 12th of September had nearly been a fatal day to M, Lesueur. While he was in pursuit of a troop of monkies among the rocks which obstruct the course of the river of Coupang, a venomous reptile bit him in the heel. Soon after he felt a sort of numbness in the whole of his leg, which made him but too well guess what he had to fear from this bite. M. Lesueur hastened back to the town, but before he could get there his leg was stiff and much swelled, and he could scarcely bend his knee.

To retard the action of the venom, he bound his thigh tight round above the knee, but this ligature had little effect; the thigh itself swelled to such a degree, that it was as much as my poor friend could do to reach the house. As soon as M. Lesueur got there he laid himself down on his bed, over: come by fatigue and pain, and already experiencing all the symptoms of a violent fever. I was at the time absent from the town, but our doctor, M. L'Haridon, hastened to him, and without delay cauterized the bite of the reptile very deeply; and applying to the part a compress, wetted with ammoniac, he then gave a strong dose of the same drug to the sick man, recommending him to keep perfectly still and quiet. He was soon in a profuse sweat, and the pain abated; and in a few days M. Lesueur felt no more of the wound, except a stiffness and difficulty of bending his knee, which remained a long time, and which he still feels at times, particularly in the variations of the weather. What was most remarkable in this accident, was the effect of the poison on the person; such was the rapidity of its deleterious power, that on the evening of the day on which M. Lesueur was bitten, all the lower extremity corresponding with the affected heel, became of a green colour, like flesh that was corrupted. What could have been the nature and properties of these particles of virus, to make it have such power in the animal economy, we cannot conjecture. This accident convinced us that the Malays had sufficient reason for their extreme fear of reptiles.

In the zoological part of our work, we shall have to speak more particularly on this subject, and shall make mention of a great number of these formidable animals.

On the 15th of September, all the scorbutic patients were entirely cured; but a much more dangerous distemper had begun its ravages. Eighteen men were already confined to their beds, all severely and dangerously ill with a most cruel dysentery. Among this number were my amiable friend M. Depuch, my colleague Maugé, and the good and active Riédlé.

This last was already much broken down by the distemper; but impelled by his zeal, he still continued his distant excursions in a destructive and scorching climate. In vain I used every means I could devise, to engage him to remit his exertions, and afford himself some respite from his labours. All my prayers, all those of our physician, M. L'Haridon, were in vain: every morning at day-break, he set off to make new collections, without seeming to care at all about his disorder, entirely absorbed by his desire to justify the confidence he had been honoured with by the First Consul and the Institution. Amiable and unfortunate man! who thought he might depend on the strength of his constitution, already tried by the climate of the Antilles; how much he was mistaken.

In the mean time our anxiety for the fate of the Naturalist increased every day; we had not yet obtained any news of her, and with sorrow we reminded each other, that at the moment when we first lost sight of her, she seemed to fall to leeward. Probably she might have been embayed on a lee-shore by the violence of the storm; or possibly some other. misfortune of the same kind might have happened to her in the time of our long separation. This cruel uncertainty grieved us all; we began to lose all hope, and to despair of ever again seeing our friends, when on the 21st of September, in the morning, a signal was made that the Naturalist was entering the bay of Coupang. The joy was general, and we were soon among our companions, who not having found us at the two rendezvous, were not themselves without great anxiety on our account.

The Naturalist, during the time of her separation from us, had made some interesting discoveries on the lands of Edels and Endracht; M. L. Freycinet had completed reconnoitring the supposed bay of Sea-dogs, &c. In the two following chapters all the particulars of these labours will be given with so much the more exactness, as this distinguished officer has offered to take on himself the trouble of writing them.

Captain Hamelin, on his arrival at Timor, had on board but two men affected with the scurvy; this advantage was the result of their long stay on shore at different places, and the particular care he had taken of the health of his crew, added to the great experience of my esteemed friend, doctor Bellefin, in distempers of this sort. M. Bellefin had derived great advantage in his treatment of the distemper, from the use of warm baths of sand; these were first tried by M. Roblet, the doctor of the Solide, in the voyage of captain Marchand round the world, and which M. Fleurieu has mentioned with so much just praise, in many pages of the excellent account he has given of that voyage.

A few days after their arrival, the officers and naturalists of our consort, settled on shore in a third house procured for them by the governor. Our colleague, M. Levillain, preferred living with us; he was then in perfect health, and little thought that the term of his youth and existence was nearly at an end.

From the 25th of September to the 1st of October, our commander, who had been for some time ill with a dangerous ataxic fever, experienced successively three such violent attacks, that for some hours he was thought to be dead. There was not a moment to lose in giving him the bark, in large doses; but as that belonging to our ships was of a very inferior quality, I shared with him the small quantity which I had brought from Europe for my own use. This medicine operated in a manner that seemed almost miraculous. It stopped this terrible fever, and in all appearance saved the life of our commander. During the whole course of this distemper, his physician, M. L'Haridon, was at once his comforter, nurse, and friend. To say what was the reward for his care and humane attention, would shock every generous mind.

The 7th of October was a day of sorrow and affliction to both ships: M. Picquet, one of our most deserving officers, was sent to Batavia, arrested by order of our commander, whom he had had the misfortune to offend. He was for above six weeks confined in the Dutch fort, and the most severe orders were given, that on arriving at Batavia, he might be confined in one of the unwholesome dungeons of the citadel of that town. On this momentous occasion, the principal officers of both ships gave M. Picquet the most flattering testimonies of their friendship and esteem. Every day one of our officers, with one of the Naturalist's, went to keep him company, and to partake with him such dinner as we were able to send him. At the moment of his departure, every one was eager to give him letters and proper attestations to refute the calumnies which might be repeated to his prejudice. On his arrival at Batavia, M. Picquet was declared at liberty by the Regency, notwithstanding the letters and misrepresentations of our commander; and immediately on our return to France, he was promoted from the rank of enseigne de vaisseau to that of lieutenant. This was sufficient to prove that he had been in no way deserving of punishment.

On the 11th of October, our shipmate, the unfortunate Riédlé, was very ill; he had been confined to his bed for several days; the inflammation had spread from the rectum to the rest of the intestines, and the pains he suffered were horrible. M. L'Haridon, who had placed him in his own room, that he might be always at hand to afford him every care, was soon convinced that those cares were in vain; and from this very day his death was but too certain, and our grief extreme.

The 12th, we lost one of our gunners, whose name was Frantz he was the first on the long and fatal list of deaths, which we shall hereafter have to enumerate and lament.

On the 18th, a second man of our crew died.

On the 21st, the unfortunate Riédlé departed this life; and on the 22d he was buried with all possible solemnity, considering our present situation. The crew of both vessels, all his friends and shipmates, assisted at his funeral; the coffin was carried by four Dutch soldiers; two officers, and two naturalists held the four corners of the pall. The Dutch had wished to take part in our affliction, therefore all the soldiers of the fort were under arms. The governor and all the officers of the company appeared in mourning. During the whole time the ships had all their yards across and their colours lowered; the guns fired every quarter of an hour, and several vollies were tired over his grave, where was raised a stone, rough indeed, but which, hallowed by affection and universal sorrow, would honour the memory of our friend as much as those superb monuments often raised by pride or adulation.

This simple tomb received additional interest from a circumstance which was rather remarkable, and which deserves to be mentioned. The adventure of captain Bligh is well known; he was sent to fetch from Taïti some plants of the bread fruit; his crew, seduced by the women of those countries, mutinied, and took possession of his frigate: and in the ship's boat, with a small quantity of provisions, captain. Bligh, with eighteen men who had not taken part in the mutiny, had crossed immense seas, escaped the darts of the savages, and at length, as if by miracle, had gained the bay of Coupang. A few days after his arrival, his botanist, Mr. Nelson, died in consequence of the hardships he had suffered in such a perilous voyage, and was inhumed in the cemetery of the Dutch. On the recollection of this circumstance I thought it would be easy to discover the spot where Mr. Nelson had been buried, and I went to speak to the commander on the subject, who ordered me to make the necessary enquiries of the governor. A Dutch soldier, who bad assisted at the funeral of Mr. Nelson, conducted me to the spot, and the grave of our unfortunate companion was dug by the side of that of the English botanist. The monument I have before mentioned, was thus made to preserve the memory of the two naturalists united in the same tomb.

Thus perished in the flower of his age, Anselme Riédlé, principal botanist of our expedition. Every moment that he could spend on shore had been devoted to labours that were well deserving of a better fate. His collections of dried plants, seeds, and samples of different kinds of wood, were very numerous, and had always been preserved with the greatest care. He had before made a voyage to the Antilles, and had brought from thence the most beautiful and the richest collection of living plants, that had ever been seen in Europe. It is to be regretted, that the green-house where these plants are preserved, has not been dedicated to this estimable philosopher.

On the 23d of October, we were again alarmed by the appearance of an English squadron, and with more cause than the first time; for, about the middle of the day, we really saw the Virginia, a beautiful English frigate, who entering the strait between Poulou-Simâo and Poulou-Kea, seemed to be steering towards the anchorage where we were. The Batavian governor hastened to give the necessary orders for the defence of the fort and the roadstead; large companies of soldiers, drawn, from the environs of Coupang, were called together, and soon came down from the tops of the neighbouring mountains; but they did not dare to fire the alarm gun, at the noise of which the militia of the interior of the island would assemble together at Coupang, because these troops consist of ferocious and sanguinary men, who are formidable even to the Dutch themselves.

All these preparations were happily as unnecessary as on the former occasion. The captain of the English frigate, after seeing our passports, which were carried to him by M. Montbazin, one of our officers, declared himself totally ignorant of the nature of our mission, but that having learnt at Delly that two French ships were at anchor in the roadstead of Coupang, he had supposed them to be merchant ships, and therefore had resolved to go thither and make prizes of them, in spite of the Dutch cannon, which he seemed to care little for. This officer, whose name I regret that I do not know, behaved to us with the greatest politeness. Having heard that our commander was sick, he offered M. Montbazin some bottles of excellent wine for him, which he did not think himself authorized to accept. Moreover he told him, that Ternate, one of the most considerable Dutch settlements in these latitudes, had experienced the same fate as Amboyna and Banda; and that an English 74 gun-ship had recently taken fire in the roadstead of Amboyna, and had blown up.

Thus, after having conversed some time with our officer, the English captain regained the strait of the bay, and sailed away without firing a single gun, though he was so near the fort and town of Coupang, that he might with advantage have given them each a few broadsides. In thus abstaining from all hostility, the English captain gave us a particular mark of his esteem and consideration for the object of our voyage. It appeared also, that the climate of these regions had not spared his crew, for M. Montbazin thought he could perceive that they were much encumbered with sick between decks.

The dysentery continued its ravages among the crews of both our ships, the number of sick were considerable, and daily increased, some of them died every day, and others were very ill. In a private memorial which I have laid before the medical college of Paris, I have given my opinion on the cause of this scourge, to which so many successively were the victims. It will suffice here to observe, that all the cares of Messrs. L'Haridon, Bellefin, and Taillefer, constantly failed in contending with this formidable epidemic. They had the goodness to invite me to their consultations: we opened the bodies of several that died: we successively tried every means that seemed to take most effect; all was in vain; and whoever was attacked with any degree of violence by this terrible disease, infallibly died. It pursued us, as we shall soon see, to the extremity of the globe, and strewed the seas with our dead bodies.

All our most valuable friends were seized by this malady my industrious colleague, Maugé, had been long confined to his bed. This worthy man had, when we first settled on shore, incautiously given way to the excess of his zeal for the service, and he soon died a victim.

I before mentioned, that soon after he came on shore, our colleague, M. Levillain, had come to lodge with us: the dreadful climate of Timor soon began to affect him with the same distemper as that which had destroyed our companions. He was soon unable to leave his bed, and took to it to rise no more.

At the same time, our botanist's first assistant, Sautier, who also lodged in our house, was mortally attacked: and to fill up the measure of our miseries and misfortunes, my dearest friend, M. Depuch, received by my side the fatal stroke which was to precipitate him to the grave.

M. Boulanger, our geographical engineer, and M. Lesueur, were also confined to their beds; one by a violent fever and inflammatory cholic; the other by the dreadful dysentery, the general distemper. Even our domestics were all sick, and confined to their beds; and consternation reigned on board our ships.

In the midst of such sorrow, and among so many disasters, I was in perfect health, and I was the only one up among all those who lived in the same house. This precious advantage was certainly not produced by repose; for no one, I can appeal to every individual belonging to our two ships, exerted himself with more zeal, or suffered more fatigue, than I did; and I had made an innumerable collection of the most beautiful subjects of every kind, with much labour and many arduous exertions; and with still stronger reasons I could not ascribe my health to the strength of my natural constitution, for it was weak and delicate. At a future time I shall give my opinion on the causes of the dysentery in hot climates, and shall also shew by what simple though efficacious precautions, I was enabled to avoid this cruel epidemic; and have ascertained the sad certainty that most of my friends, if they had subjected themselves to the same regimen as myself, might have been still living.

In these unhappy circumstances our physician, M. L'Haridon, distinguished himself not only by his great assiduity in attending the sick, but still more by his generous conduct in other respects. Tired and affected at the repeated refusals which he every day experienced, of the most simple demands, he spent all the money he had, and sold all that would fetch money, and even part of his clothes, to purchase necessaries for the sick under his care; thus giving a double example of the humanity and generosity which ought to distinguish the physician. This is not the only trait of the kind which we shall have to mention in the character of M. L'Haridon, and which we shall make known with so much the more pleasure, as general esteem will be the flattering reward; and to multiply that esteem the greatest honour we can bestow.

On the 6th of November, thanks to the assiduous attention of M. Ronsard, our chaloupe was finished and launched into the water. The day which gave us a boat, of which we were so much in want, was to us a real time of rejoicing; and we had not the least conception that she was to experience a similar fate to that of our first chaloupe.

The loss of M. Picquet was not the only one among our officers; M. St. Croix Lebas, the captain of our frigate, was landed as sick a few days before our departure, and settled at the Dutch fort, there to wait the recovery of his health, and an opportunity of returning to Europe.

At length, on the 12th of November, in the evening, we went to take leave of the governor; and on the next day, in the morning, we set sail from the bay of Coupang, going out by the strait between Poulou Kea and Simâo. We had been at Coupang eighty-four days, and our stay there, under all considerations, had been very fatal; we had lost a great deal of time; death had robbed us of several of our shipmates, and we were encumbered by a great number of sick on board each of our vessels. Such were the deplorable consequences of this long stay at Coupang: it even appeared very probable, that a farther residence in this island would have lost us all the remainder of the crews of both ships. Which of us would not have thought at the time, that we quitted these destructive shores for ever.





CHAPTER XI.

The Discoveries of the Naturalist, at Edel's Land*.
[From about Perth to Cape Naturaliste, W.A.]

[* This and the following chapter were written by M. L. Freycinet.]

[From the 8th of June to the 6th of July, 1801.]


THE gale of wind which had forced us to set sail with such precipitation from Geography Bay on the night of the 8th of June, had nearly proved fatal to the Naturalist. This vessel not being by any means so good a sailer as the Geographer, and in other respects an inferior ship, we could not without great difficulty, keep her clear of the land, towards which she was continually driven by the violence of the winds and currents. The excessive rolling of the vessel at this time, and the necessity we had of carrying sail, made us in fear every instant that our masts would go by the board, and the smallest damage of that sort must inevitably have caused the loss of the ship. Every two hours we were obliged to tack, and for three whole days were compelled to do so, without being able to take a moment's rest. Notwithstanding so many efforts, there was one instant when we gave ourselves up for lost, and every one expected inevitable death, when a slight variation in the wind permitted us to clear the land, and to double the southern point of the bay.

On the night of the 9th, we entirely lost sight of our consort, the wind continuing to blow with great violence; and it was not until the 13th that we were able, without danger, to carry any more sail. We made use of this opportunity to bear away to the isle Rottnest, which was the first place of rendezvous appointed by the commander, and we arrived thither on the 14th. The Geographer, contrary to our expectation, was not there; we therefore resolved to wait for her; and captain Hamelin, to make good use of the time, sent different boats to find an easy landing place, and to see what were the different productions of the isle Rottnest. At the same time one of the boats was sent under the command of M. Heirisson, to reconnoitre the mouth of the river of Swans, and to go up it as far as was possible. Six days' provisions were granted him for this expedition.

On the 17th of June, Messrs. Millias and Levillain departed to visit the isles to the S.S.E. of the isle Rottnest, and on the same day I was sent in the little boat with M. Faure, to reconnoitre more particularly the isle Rottnest, and to ascertain its situation.



4. Plan of Rottnest Island and the River of Swans, W.A.

When we departed the weather was tolerably fine; but a strong breeze from the N.W. rising all at once, the sea soon increased to a terrible height, and the waves, which broke with fury against my little skiff, threatened its destruction every moment. In this extremity I could not return on board, on account of the wind being contrary; I therefore wished to get to windward of the isle Rottnest, which, from a long chain of breakers that run out to sea a great length, was impossible; and to save ourselves, we had no other resource than to run the boat on shore, to avoid being swamped. A small sandy beach appeared a-head, of which we took advantage to run her on land, whither the surf carried her with great rapidity. We threw ourselves all into the water, and uniting our efforts, endeavoured to save our skiff, by drawing her up to the beach; the attempt was vain, for it was soon covered by the waves, and with difficulty we saved some pounds of biscuit, for all the rest of our provisions disappeared with the boat.

Thus situated it was impossible for M. Faure and myself to prosecute the labour we were sent with the boat to perform, we therefore attempted to execute our commission on shore, by making the tour of the island on foot; but the rocks which stretched along the coast on the north, were too steep for us to attempt to get over them: we were therefore obliged to go into the woods, which were so thick in this part that we could proceed but slowly, and with difficulty.

Chance conducted us to a delightful valley, at the bottom of which were several ponds; we went down to the brink of one of them; a prodigious number of bivalve shells of one single species, formed a sort of beach round it, about the breadth of 15 feet. The water of these ponds is salt and brackish.

After giving a few moments' attention to the observation of these salt ponds, which we named Duvaldailly's Ponds, from the name of the young cadet who accompanied us, we continued our way to get nearer the beach, hoping to have passed the rocks, which bad at first stopped our course, but we were soon convinced that they stretched almost without interruption as far as Cape North.

In traversing these rocks we observed a piece of wood, which created some painful reflections: it was the cross piece of the bitts, belonging to a vessel of from 300 to 350 tons burthen, on which might easily be distinguished the marks of the friction of the cables; and several iron bolts, which left us no doubt of the certainty of a recent shipwreck.

This unforeseen circumstance much increased our anxiety for the fate of the Naturalist, which we knew had moored, during the storm, a-head of some dangerous reefs; it also made us more sensible of our own perilous situation, which every moment became more and more alarming. Black and threatening clouds had gathered together on every part of the horizon; the squalls were impetuous, and the thunder reverberated with great violence in the adjacent valleys; a heavy rain fell in torrents, and the waves broke with noise and violence against the rocks on the shore; and to add to our distress, we knew that it was impossible for captain Hamelin, without a chaloupe, and without any boat that could live, to send us any assistance, while the storm lasted.

A few moments we yielded to these sad reflections on our way to the shore, which we did not reach till long after it was dark. We feared we should find our boat gone to pieces, the sea having constantly beat over her on the spot where she was aground: we saw, however, with pleasure, that she had stood the shock, and that only one plank had been stove in. To add to our good luck, the tide was now high, and we went into the water to endeavour to draw her on the beach, in which endeavour we at length succeeded, to our great satisfaction.

Our boat being thus in safety, we studied how to procure water for our necessities. There did not seem to be any on the island, and we were therefore obliged to find other means of supplying this want. We spread out the sails of our boat to catch the rain water as it fell; this expedient succeeded, and the whole night was devoted to the same labour. We also killed on this day and the following, several phocæ, or sea-calves, the flesh of which was well tasted.

On the 19th of June, we perceived the Naturalist under sail; I observed her a long time with my glass, and I judged from the circumstance, that she was endeavouring to get nearer the island. We immediately lighted a large fire, to let her know on what part of the coast we were. However, no assistance appeared all that day, and our situation was now very critical, and would have been much worse if the rain water had failed us. I studied to devise some means of repairing our boat, so that we might get on board. The want of nails made rue think of unripping some of the lining of the boat of least consequence, and thus to replace the planks which had started. I was next to devise some method of caulking the seams: I deferred this part of the labour till the next day, and in the mean time the remainder of this was employed in untwisting some pieces of cordage to make oakum, for the purpose of stopping the leaks in the boat. I had the design of paying the seams with a mastich composed of the grease of sea-calves and ashes; and I had no doubt but that our boat thus repaired would take us safely on board. Fortunately all these labours were unnecessary; the wind having much abated during the night of the 19th, the captain lost no time in sending us some provisions; and judging that our boat must have suffered some serious damage, he also sent us a caulker to repair it. This work being done we embarked, and got on board the vessel about three o'clock in the afternoon. I then learnt that the chaloupe, which was sent on the 17th to reconnoitre the isles situated to the S.S.E. of our mooring, had been wrecked on the continent; that the long-boat sent to the river of Swans had not yet returned; that every one was anxious for her safety; and that on the 18th, at two o'clock in the evening, they had descried the Geographer from the mast-head, making sail to the north under her top-sails; she was at the distance of about eight leagues. We were all at a loss to conjecture why the commander, after having himself fixed the rendezvous, did not come thither to meet us. As for captain Hamelin, without his chaloupe, his two boats, and the chief part of his crew, he was not able to get under sail to join the Geographer.

On the 22d of June our boat returned, after fulfilling her mission in the river of Swans. The following particulars of this exploration was given by M. Bailly, who accompanied M. Heirisson in the voyage.

"The river of Swans", says M. Bailly, "discovered in 1697, by Vlaming, was thus named by him, from the great number of black swans which he there saw, and of which he carried two alive to Batavia. On the 17th of June, at eight o'clock in the morning, we perceived the mouth of the river; it was obstructed by a bat of rocks, which almost denied us a passage; however, after being aground on them three times, we succeeded in clearing them, and from that time the depth increased rapidly. An amazing number of pelicans had fixed their abode near this part of the river: we could only catch one of them.

"The beach was covered with a great quantity of white mollusques, or jelly-fish, transparent and gelatinous, which bad been left there by the tide, and which was the food of the numerous fowl which frequented these shores. The soil is here composed of downs of sand, some higher than others; the rock which terminates them at the sea-side is of a calcareous nature, mixed with sand full of excavations and hollows, which seemed to be the effect of the waters. On these downs grew many different kinds of shrubs, several of which were in flower. The Eucalyptus resinifera, is to be found there in great quantities, and numbers of land birds, particularly beautiful perroquets, played in the branches of the trees, and enlivened, these unknown, wild, and desert shores.

"At a little distance from the sea the left bank of the river becomes steep and perpendicular, and discovers a bed of sandy and calcareous rocks, disposed in horizontal layers; farther up the steepness is on the other side of the river, and appears like a great circular wall crowned with verdure. Every where on the banks are seen evident traces of the former bed of the sea; the rock is almost entirely composed of incrustations of shells, roots, and even trees in a state of petrifaction; a phenomenon that is often seen in many parts of New Holland. In other respects the country is here flat, and has no elevation of any consequence except some at a considerable distance from the sea shore. Beyond this circular wall, which I before mentioned, the steepness again appears on the left shore, and presents the same resemblance of ruins, and the same geological constitution which I have already described.

"We soon came to a large bason formed by a low ground, on which the river expanded to a greater extent: almost the whole breadth of this bason was a shoal; on the left, side we observed a sort of branch or creek, which seemed to open another communication with the sea, and we named it Moreau Entrance, from the cadet of that name who accompanied us in this short voyage.

"After doubling a low cape which ran out from the left shore a good way into the bason, we intended to land and pass the night at the foot of a high bank on the right shore; this bank, which was very steep, had at the base a small flat shore of sand, where we pitched our tent; here we were in perfect safety, with the boat afloat and moored to a tree, and her head among the herbage that grew on the beach; it was impossible to come near us without crossing the river, or descending the hill, at the foot of which we were situated, which could not be done without difficulty, on account of the steepness.

"On ascending to the top of this hill we were charmed with a beautiful prospect. On one side we discovered the upper course of the river, which went up towards a range of fiat mountains in the distance, and on the other we could follow its course down to the sea-shore. The banks of the river appeared almost every where covered with beautiful forests, which extended a considerable way into the interior of the country. The rock, which sometimes appears naked, is of the same nature as all those which I have before described; that is to say, it is calcareous, composed of sand and shells, and covered with a bed of sand mingled with the remains of dead vegetation, which thus manures the forests.

"On the 18th of June, at the break of day, we re-embarked to continue our voyage. On leaving the place where we had spent the night, we again met with great numbers of pelicans, which came and flew about us; we killed two of them, after which, pursuing our way for about half an hour, we found ourselves aground on a shoal of soft mud extremely greasy and sticky: we had great difficulty in dragging our boat off this shoal, which at length we did after much labour. The course of the river is here almost closed by a string of small low wet islands, which we have described in our chart of the river of Swans, under the denomination of the Heirisson Isles, from the name of the officer who at this time commanded us.

"It was near the Heirisson isles that we first saw some black swans; they swam majestically, on the water; we killed several of them; their plumage was totally black, except the quill feathers, which were white, the beak red, and the feet black. We observed that a short time after they were dead, the beak lost its fine red colour, and became black. The whole of the country which we saw from this part till the evening was low and almost under water, with a bed of coarse sand, which seemed to come from a rock of ancient formation, covered with a bank of thick clay, which is reddish and sticky. Some other phenomena correspond with this change in the nature of the soil. Confined by the bed of clay, the rain water and the dews remain on the surface of the ground, and filtering through the coarse sand we have mentioned, form muddy pools of stagnant water, and a sort of small lakes, or else run in little streams towards the river, whose waters from that moment begin to lose something of their saltness, which till then were as salt as the waters of the sea.

"The same evening we pitched our tent near the river, in an angle of the land formed by that stream, and a small arm, up which Messrs. Heirisson and Moreau went on foot for about half a league, where it terminated. They were here surprized at the appearance of the print of a man's foot, of an extraordinary size.

"On the 19th of June, after filling our casks from a sort of little well which I had discovered the evening preceding, and which I thought was not the work of nature, we proceeded up the river; from which the spot where we then were, seemed to bend its course towards a chain of mountains that appeared to be at no great distance from us: this circumstance made us hope we might be able to reach its source; unfortunately we were mistaken in the distance of these mountains: for, after sailing the whole day, we discovered that they were still very distant. The river from this time became narrower very rapidly; but its depth was still from 7 to 8 feet, without any sensible difference.

"In the mean, time we had thus been exploring the interior of New Holland, our provisions began to run short; in fact we had scarcely enough remaining for our return to the ship; we were therefore obliged to give up our first intention, of lengthening our voyage to the foot of the mountains; and on the next day, which was the 20th of June, we began to go down the river.

"On the 21st, in the morning, we found ourselves on the shoals which had stopped us on our way up; we now thought we might avoid them, by keeping towards the right shore of the river, but we were mistaken, for before we had gone a quarter of a league we were aground. In vain did we attempt to get her of; every means were in vain, and we were obliged to make a sort of raft, and lighten our boat of its heaviest articles, such as the graplin, the water casks, &c. we then all went into the river, and pushing with all our strength, at length succeeded in getting afloat about two o'clock in the afternoon. Our joy was as short as it had been great; we were again stranded on a sand-bank, which was not more than half a foot under water; we were now obliged to labour hard for several hours to get over this last obstacle; and we should never have succeeded if a brisk wind had not sprung up very apropos to extricate us from so critical a situation, for we were all sinking with faintness and fatigue; for above thirteen hours we had been in the mud up to the waist, striving ineffectually the whole time to save our boat; we had now scarcely provision sufficient for one meal; and as it was totally impossible to reach the ship in less than twenty-four hours, we could not recruit our strength by the means of food. In the midst of these increasing distresses and dangers night came upon us suddenly; and we were preparing to land and dry ourselves, and recruit our exhausted strength by a little rest, when all at once we heard a terrible noise that filled us with terror; it was something like the roaring of a bull, but much louder, and seemed to proceed from the reeds which were very near us. At this formidable sound we lost all desire to go on shore; and, though benumbed with cold, we preferred passing the night on the water, without food, or being able to close our eyes, and suffering the whole time from the rain and the weather.

"On the 22d, at day-break, we all got into the water to launch the boat, which was again aground; the rising tide was in our favour, and we succeeded after some labour and difficulty. Soon after this last effort we landed and made a large fire to warm our frozen limbs, and take some refreshment. We continued our way down the river, and at length reached its mouth. We now kept along shore on the left, and in the evening we got on board, cruelly harassed with fatigue, and almost famished."

The importance of M. Bailly's relation has obliged me to detail all the particulars at length, as they are so much the more valuable because they make part of the natural history of New Holland; and all that can add to our knowledge on the subject of the interior of this extraordinary continent, must be particularly acceptable to natural philosophers and geographers.

In the mean time the chaloupe, which had been wrecked on the neighbouring coast, had been much damaged; it was therefore necessary to send carpenters thither to repair her. Four entire days they were employed in this work; and it was not till the 22d, in the night, that they came on board. We then learnt the following particulars of the labours and misfortunes of our shipmates.

They left the ship on the 18th of June, to reconnoitre the islands which lay S.S.E. of our mooring. At first they lengthened a bed of rocks of great extent, and next drew near a small barren island, which we named Isle Bertholet. South of this they discovered a third, which was almost as large as the isle Rottnest, and to which we gave the name of the Isle Buache. On this last island was a great number of phocæ, who kept their ground at a little distance from the shore, and seemed to dispute the way with our seamen. This bold, ness cost them dear, for they killed a great number of them.

Compelled to re-embark precipitately on account of the N.N.W. winds which blew in squalls, our shipmates worked to windward all night among breakers; the waves beat against the chaloupe with so much force, that it was as, much as three men could do to bale out the water. At three o'clock in the morning, exhausted by fatigue, and not knowing which way to steer to avoid the breakers, which surrounded them every way, they determined to throw out the graplin. From the break of day they got ready to tack towards the north, and endeavoured to make towards the ship, but soon the main-mast of the chaloupe was broken by the violent squalls, and came by the board into the sea, with her sail; it was not in their power to remedy this misfortune, or contend with the fury of the winds. From this moment they were driven by the waves against the breakers, and our unfortunate comrades took the resolution of throwing themselves on the shore. Wrecked as they were, with the chaloupe broken to pieces against the rocks, yet they were all saved; and even succeeded in hauling the vessel on the beach, and thus saved her also from being totally lost.

Thus confined on this desert shore, our shipmates, while they waited for assistance from the ship, made several incursions towards the interior of the country; in one of these journies they discovered a species of almond of the size of a walnut, and they were eager to gather some of them. Roasted in the ashes these almonds tasted very much like roasted chestnuts; but all who ate of them soon experienced the fatal effects of the deceitful repast. They were attacked by alarming and painful vertigos, and dreadful vomitings; and they all thought that they were mortally poisoned. These grievous symptoms, however, gradually, disappeared, and no one died. "For my part," said M. Levillain, who had eaten four or five of these almonds, "I was extremely ill; after bringing up the small quantity of food which I had on my stomach, I continued to strain and retch till I brought up two large glasses of blood, at the same time suffering the most excruciating pains." Ever since," added he, "I have continually felt great pains in the stomach." What a dreadful alternative for navigators; in such situation's they are reduced to the necessity of either suffering all the pangs of famine, or being obliged to eat such food as may be poisonous and destructive.

The pleasure of seeing the boats Once More together on board the ship, obliterated in a great degree the recollection of the disasters and fatigues; but the general anxiety for the absence of the Geographer increased every day.

Captain Hamelin could not be persuaded that the commander would neglect to come to the rendezvous appointed by himself, our captain therefore determined to prolong his stay on this dangerous coast. Our gentlemen made use of the opportunity to make excursions on the neighbouring islands, and M. Bailly made many observations on the geologic nature of their soil.

"On the 23d of June, in the morning," says this naturalist, "I went with the long-boat to the isle Buache; we did not reach this island till towards the evening. On our way we recollected the Reef Giraud, which is distinguished by the shape of one of its rocks that much resembles a shoe. This rock is the more remarkable for the great number of sea-fowl which are always to be seen there. A little farther is the isle Bertholet; this is small and barren. All these isles and rocks, which are here and there dispersed a little distance from the shore of the continent, are connected together by a shelve of rocks, which extends near three leagues out from the main land. The isle Rottnest itself is connected with these reefs; the sea breaks on many places of this shoal; and in some parts it is impossible for the smallest boat to find a passage.

"The isle Buache is composed of calcareous rocks, more or less mingled with sand, and containing some remains of shells; these are disposed in horizontal beds of but little thickness, which seemed to go some way into the interior of the land. Instead of appearing in separate hillocks, these rocks form long continued ridges, which on each side have a regular declivity or slope: the soil, although entirely composed of calcareous sand, nevertheless supports a strong an healthy vegetation. We could find no fresh water on this island; and it is not to be wondered at, considering the nature of the soil which I have described; for the sand, which covers or rather forms the beds on the surface, lays On a calcareous rock, whose contexture is so porous; that the water easily soaks through it."

On the 27th of June M. Bailly landed on the isle Rottnest, where he made the following observations:

"On this shore we find a number of calcareous and sandy rocks, of a greyish white, which are exclusively composed of the broken remains of shells petrified. The hills which are nearest the beach, are of the same nature, but covered by downs of calcareous sand. Beyond these sand hills are pieces of water separated by little elevations of sand; the water which they contain is as salt as that of the sea. The tide is sensibly observed in these ponds; the sand which forms the soil in the environs, is so soft, that it is not unlikely that this alone may be the cause of the phenomenon I have just mentioned, and indeed it is not easy to account for it any other way, there being no direct communication between these ponds and the sea. We found here two species of small shells, the one univalve, the other bivalve, and of a tine rose colour. The borders of most of these ponds were entirely covered with these shells, which were the only living beings we could discover on this island. The banks of these ponds were steep, and appeared to have their origin to some great sinking of the soil. Among them is a large rock standing alone, which, by its form, its situation, and the horizontal disposition of the neighbouring rock, evidently shews, that it formerly belonged to a hill which occupied the place of this pond, and which formed a continuation with the other hills, which cross the whole length of the isle Rottnest. This assertion is supported on the exact correspondence of the beds of this solitary rock, with the hills that still remain. The soil is entirely calcareous, white, and full of shells in good preservation, which are disposed as if in families.

In the mean time the days fixed by captain Hamelin to wait for the Geographer, were expired, and we had heard nothing of her; nor did it now appear likely that we should obtain any news of her by staying any longer on this coast: we therefore determined to sail for Endracht's Land, leaving on the isle Rottnest, a flag, and a bottle with a letter for the commander, in case he should touch there.

On the 28th of June we set sail for the second rendezvous which had been appointed. But before we pursue the history of our voyage, we shall take a general view of the part of Edel's Land, which we are now going to leave.

The isle Rottnest does not lie very high; the shore is generally steep, and composed of grey, calcareous, and sandy rocks, which have between them some creeks of very white sand. This island is well wooded; the soil, though every where sandy, seems to supply an abundant and healthy vegetation. The interior aspect of the country, dissected by numerous hills, is very beautiful. But the island does not appear to have any fresh water, nevertheless in cases of necessity, a brackish water that might be potable, might probably be procured by digging wells two or three feet deep, at a small distance from the ponds of Duvaldailly.

We here observed a small species of Kangaroo, about two feet high, which were very numerous: we also saw another species of quadruped, about the size of a large rat, which the Dutch navigators supposed to be really a rat, but which, according to the observations of our naturalist, M. Peron, belongs to a new and remarkable species, the description of which will be found in the zoologic part of the works of this deserving and industrious naturalist. A great number of phocæ or sea-calves, appeared on different parts of the shore. These animals were to be seen sometimes in the interior of the forests, which lay at some distance from the coast. We saw several of them that were very large; these were generally grey; others were reddish; and some of them were black. These last were smaller, and probably were the youngest; for we had seen a female of an ashy grey, suckling a young one which was itself black. The fat of these animals, when it is fresh, is very good to eat; we often made use of it to fry our fish, &c. and never found it had any disagreeable taste or smell. The furs of these animals are mostly fine and thick, and would be a valuable commodity, as a rich cargo might easily be procured.

Of reptiles there are numbers on isle Rottnest; we found several that were four or five feet in length, and an inch and a half or two inches thick; colour is like that of unpolished steel. The isle Rottnest also produces an extraordinary species of lizard, in which my friend M. Peron found a combination of toes, which till then was totally unknown in any species of lizard. The kind which I am now describing, had two on the fore feet and three on the hind.

This island is uninhabited, and it did not appear that any of the natives of the continent had ever found their way thither.

The winds, during our stay in the roadstead, blew successively from every quarter of the horizon. In general the east wind was mild, and when it was in this quarter, the weather was always fine; while the winds from the W. the S.W. and the N.W. on the contrary always brought hail and rain.

We here caught plenty of excellent fish, but on some days we could not catch one of any kind: I remarked that this generally happened when the winds and waves were most calm. Probably the fish at that time went farther out to sea, and did not return till the roughness of the waves drove them where the water was more shallow and the waves stiller.

We particularly observed, that there were always a great number of sharks, that never left the ship for a moment, and most of them were of an enormous size. We caught one which had the mouth much more pointed than others; it was thirteen feet long and ten in circumference, and weighed near 1300 pounds. We saw some that were twice the size of this one, from which we may naturally conclude, that no other part of the seas produce animals of this kind that can be stronger or more formidable. We also observed some sea-serpents about the ship, generally when the water was still.

The isle Bertholet is entirely barren, and surrounded by rocks and breakers, particularly on the south. There is on the N.E. a small flat shore, on which a landing might be made.

The isle Buache had an aspect that nearly resembled that of isle Rottnest, and is surrounded by shelves, which make it difficult to find a landing; place, though a small sandy flat shore was to be observed every here and there. The interior is very woody; the trees are generally strait and lofty; there are also several beautiful shrubs; vegetation also is here very active, although the lands are generally covered with sand. I here saw some partridges and ravens, of a smaller kind than those of Europe, but of a delicate flavour: the phocæ, or sea-calves, abound here more than on the isle Rottnest.

The river of Swans cannot be considered as proper to supply the water necessary for a ship; in the first place, it is difficult to enter, and its course is obstructed by many shoals and sand banks; and secondly, the distance from the mouth up the river, is too great before we can find any fresh water.

On leaving isle Rottnest we sailed towards the north, intending to sail along shore at a little distance, if the wind continued favourable; but the breeze having veered to the north, we were under the necessity of making several tacks out to sea, to keep off the land. After several attempts, however, we contrived to keep near enough to distinguish the general constitution of the soil; and on all this part of Edel's Land, we saw the same melancholy appearance as that on the shores of Leuwin's Land; but thus impeded by the contrary winds, and pressed by the desire of rejoining the Geographer, we could not give to this part of our geographical labours all the time which it would have required; we therefore contented ourselves with making such surveys of the coast, as were necessary to correct the Dutch manuscript chart, which had been given us at the time of our departure from Europe, and which, in many respects, we discovered to be very erroneous.

On the 8th and 9th of July, we were in sight of the Isles of Turtel-Duyf and the Abrolhos, on which Pelsar was wrecked in the year 1629. We thought, according to our observations, that the islands of the Abrolhos were, in the maps which had been given us, placed too far out from the maim land; they did not appear to us to be more than eight leagues distant. We had intended to sail between them and the continent, to determine the distance which lay between, with more accuracy; but the wind being contrary to the course we must have steered in that case, we only ascertained the situation of this formidable group of islands. At 10 or 12 leagues from the main land, the Abrolhos seemed to belong to it; these isles have a barren appearance; they are but little elevated, but are surrounded by a steep red coast, against which the sea constantly breaks with great force; but these breakers do not run out towards the sea so much as the Dutch maps indicate. However, as the sea was calm at the time when we were in sight of the Abrolhos, it is possible that the breakers on the west of these isles did not appear to us to run out so far as they really do.

On the 16th of July, we were a-head of the Thorny Passage, which is on the south of the isle Dirck-Hartighs. We lengthened the coast of this island at the distance of about two miles; it is terminated by a long chain of red and steep breakers, which do not run far out. At eight o'clock in the morning we found ourselves in the strait formed by the isle Dirck-Hartighs, and the isle Dorre; the soundings shewed a good sandy bottom, and there we anchored.





CHAPTER XII.

Observations of the Naturalist on Endracht's Land.

[From the 16th of July to the 21st of September, 1801]


OUR first care, when we had anchored in the bay of Sea-dogs, was to find if the Geographer was there moored, or whether she had left on the neighbouring isles any indication of her passage. The accounts brought by the boats which were sent to make this investigation, gave us no satisfaction; and we were persuaded, that she had not yet appeared on these shores. In such an embarrassing situation, captain Hamelin thought it his duty to consult and advise with his officers; consequently we were all summoned. We now made an exact recapitulation of our voyage since we kit Geography Bay, and concluded that it was not likely that any accident had happened to our consort; that it was still more improbable that the Geographer had returned towards the south. From these considerations we concluded to wait here eight or ten days, and then to continue our voyage, if in the mean time the Geographer did not arrive. Captain Hamelin then gave us an account of the particular instructions which he had received from the commander: he had given the most positive order to wait for him in the bay of Sea-dogs, till he should come there and join us. According to these orders there was no room for deliberation; and it was not without great mortification that we found ourselves doomed to waste our time on these desolate shores, if the Geographer should not at last come hither to meet us; which the character of our commander made us think very probable.



5. Map of the Bay of Sea-Dogs [Shark Bay, W.A.]

Having formed this determination, captain Hamelin resolved at last to sail to the farther part of the bay of Sea-dogs, for greater shelter; but in the first place he sent three men on shore on the isle Dirck-Hartighs, with orders to make signals to the Geographer, if she should appear at the entrance of the bay.

Our chief coxswain, on his return from the island of Dirck-Hartighs, brought us a pewter plate, of about six inches diameter, on which was roughly engraven two Dutch inscriptions; the first dated the 25th of October, 1616, and the second dated the 4th of February, 1697. This plate had been found on the northern point of the island, which for this reason we named Cape Inscription. When found, it was half covered with sand, near the remains of a post of oak wood, to which it seemed to have been originally nailed. The following is the translation of these two inscriptions.

"1616

"On the 25th of October arrived here the ship Endraght,
"of Amsterdam: first supercargo, Gilles Miebais Van
"Luck; captain, Dirck-Hartighs, of Amsterdam. She
"again set sail on the 27th of the same month. Bantum
"was second supercargo; Janstins first pilot; Pieter Ecoores
"Van Bu ... in the year 1616."

"1697

"On the 4th of February, 1697, arrived here the ship
"Geelvinck, of Amsterdam, captain commander Wilhem de
"Vlaming, of Vlielandt; assistant, Joannes Bremer, of
"Copenhagen; first pilot, Michel Bloem Van-Estight, of
"Bremen: The dogger vessel, the Nyptangh, captain Gerrit
"Colaart, of Amsterdam; assistant, Theodorus Hiermans,
"of the same place; first pilot, Gerrit Gerritzen, of
"Bremen: The galliot Net Weseltje; commander, Cornelis de
"Vlaming, of Vlielandt; pilot, Coert Gerritzen, of
"Bremen. Departed from hence with our ships, and sailed
"again from the southern shores, being bound to Batavia."

After having carefully copied these two inscriptions, captain Hamelin had another post made, and erected on the spot, and replaced the plate in the same place where it had been found. Capt. Hamelin would have thought it sacrilege to carry away this plate, which had been respected for near two centuries, by time, and by all the navigators who might have visited these shores. The captain also ordered to be placed on the N.E. of the island, a second plate, on which was inscribed the name of our corvette, and the date of our arrival on these shores.

On the second of August we departed from the isle Dirck-Hartighs, and came to anchor near the island called the Middle by Dampier. On the same day I received orders to set out to determine the geography of part of the bay; that, is to say, to explore the eastern coast of the isle Dirck-Hartighs from the N.E. point, as far as, and including the southern part; then to examine the southern and eastern lands of the bay; after which I was to return to the north of the Isle Middle, where the Naturalist was to wait for me at anchor. In the nautical and geographical part of the voyage, I shall give all the particulars of this passage: here I shall only present the chief heads.

During the whole day on the 2d, it was so calm that we could not make much way. I lengthened the eastern coast of the island Dirck-Hartighs, and doubled a small cape that was somewhat remarkable, which, from its form, I named Looming Corner: I then discovered a small bay and a little island, which I named the Bay and Islot of the Tetrodons from the immense quantities of fish of that species which we found there, and of which our seamen caught a great number. Here we found such a quantity of whales, that I was often obliged to turn out of my course, to avoid being run down by these enormous fish; I also saw some tortoises, and many small squales or sea-dogs. I passed the night on the south point of the Bay of Tetrodons, which I named Point Refuge, for a reason which will soon appear.

On the 4th I doubled Cape Ransonnet, which forms the southern point of the isle Dirck-Hartighs, and completed the geography of the Thorny Passage, so named by Dampier, from the dangerous breakers which lay detached from the coast S.W. of the island. As the night approached, I went into a small bay near Cape Ransonnet, where I observed several holes about the size of a man, and which I found to be so many burrows. It would be difficult to conjecture by what kind of animal these were made, the largest quadruped we had seen on this island being not quite so large as a rabbit.

All the day of the 5th was lost in beating to windward; and I was at length obliged to seek an asylum for the night on Cape Refuge.

The contrary winds and bad weather continued all day on the 6th, and exposed me to great dangers among the shallows which are at the mouth of the harbour, which I shall soon have occasion to mention.

On the 7th, after sailing all day over a sand-bank, where there was scarcely enough water to float my boat, in the evening I landed opposite a small islot, which was not more than a gun-shot distant from the beach. In the sand I observed several traces of the footsteps of the savages, but however none of inhabitants were now to be seen. Around several extinguished fires we observed the remains of shells and fish, but not any bones of quadrupeds; which made conjecture that they derive the chief part of their food from the sea.

Not far from the islot I have just mentioned, we found a large quantity of pearl oysters; and our seamen collected a great number, in some of which they found pearls, but they were very small.

On the 8th, just after we had set sail, and were about the distance of two gun-shots from the shore, we observed one of the natives, whom we had sought so long in vain on the preceding evening: he looked at us with attention for some time, and then returned with great indifference towards the interior of the lands. We soon came to an opening, which I supposed might be the mouth of a river: I made several attempts to go up it, but in vain; a continued sand-bank closed the entrance, and prevented me from convincing myself of the fact. This river, real or supposed, con have no particular interest to navigators, from the impossibility of landing there. It is pointed out in my map by the name of the Supposed River.

After doubling a large cape, which, from the name of one of my comrades, I called Cape Heirisson, I observed a creek of some size, whose direction was nearly from north to south. On going up this creek, we soon came into a very pretty small harbour, but which unfortunately being closed in by a sand-bank on which there is not more than three feet water, it can never admit a vessel of any size. For this reason I named it Useless Harbour. The north point of this harbour is formed by a large cape, which I have described under the name of Cape Bellefin, from the name of the worthy doctor of our corvette.

On the 10th, after reconnoitring Useless Harbour, I bore away to the south, to continue my labour from the spot where I had began my course on the 7th. I landed towards the evening on a small barren and solitary islot, where we passed the night. We found there a great number of sea-fowl, which, as soon as we had set foot to ground, took flight, screaming aloud; they hovered over our heads for some time, all the while making a great noise. The appearance of this cloud of birds was singular enough; their whiteness enabled us to distinguish them when they were high in the air, notwithstanding the darkness of the night. We killed several of them, and found great numbers of their eggs, but neither one nor the other were good: the eggs, although quite fresh, were scarcely eatable. At day-break I left this place, which I called Islot Lefebvre, after our coxswain, who was an excellent helmsman.

On the 11th I discovered another creek, towards which I in vain endeavoured to direct my course, the wind being contrary: I also observed ten or twelve islots which projected a-head of a low barren sandy cape, which forms the south point of the large creek which I have just mentioned, and which from the name of one of my esteemed companions, I called Point Giraud. In traversing the environs of the spot where we had landed, I perceived several places where fires had been made, and I also observed the traces of the footsteps of the natives; some of these prints had been made by a very large foot: I measured one of them, which was 12 inches in length.

In the course of the day on the 11th, I steered towards the mouth of the opening which I had observed on the preceding evening; I named it Depuch Entrance, from one of our most amiable, and most unfortunate shipmates. I also discovered some small islots, in every respect similar to those we had seen on the preceding days. I again thought I had discovered the mouth of another river; but, as on the 8th, I found that a great sand-bank shut up the passage. I then doubled Point Giraud, to get towards the south: among many small islands, I observed two that were larger than the others, and did not appear so sterile. I landed towards the evening on the largest of these two islands, which I named the Island with Three Bays, from its triangular form, and from the three sides being each incurvated, and forming a small sandy cove, where small vessels might in all weathers find safe shelter. This little island is tolerably well wooded; and oysters and fish may always be procured on the shore; it is about a mile in extent.

On the 13th of August, after sailing about in every direction through the whole of the great bay for several days, I began to return towards the north: soon after I discovered more islots, and a small island which I named Isle Leschenault, after one of the botanists belonging to our expedition. It was not more than a league in length, and seemed to be totally barren.

On the morning of the 14th, after sailing past a fine bay, I doubled a point which was remarkable for two little islots which projected out a-head: I named this Point Moreau, after one of our young companions. All the rest of the day was spent in reconnoitring the coast in sight; and I was convinced that what we had till then called, according to Dampier, Middle Island, was certainly a long peninsula. We soon came to Cape Lesueur: the land in this spot turns short to the N.E., and I perceived our corvette, the Naturalist, at anchor in a bay which we named Dampier's Bay, from the celebrated navigator who first discovered it. Meeting the ship in this manner, was an additional proof that the land opposite was the same which till that time we had taken for an island. I came on board in the evening, after an absence of fifteen days, during which I had sailed about through more than two-thirds of the vast cove, so improperly called the Bay of Sea-dogs. The harbour which I had just reconnoitred runs about 30 leagues into the land: I named it H. Freycinet Harbour, in compliment to my brother, lieutenant of marines on board the Geographer; and the large peninsula which forms the eastern shore of it, I named after my friend M. Peron.

During my absence from the ship, several events had happened, of which I shall now give a succinct account.

On the 3d of August, captain Hamelin had moored to the north about seven or eight miles distance from the peninsula Peron; the next day a great smoke rising all at once above the neighbouring lands, the captain sent Messrs. St. Cricq and Bailly to discover the cause, who on their landing were attacked by about thirty savages armed with long sagaies and clubs: these ferocious men advanced, at the same time making a hideous noise, and prepared to strike the first blow, when M. St. Cricq determined, though very unwillingly, to fire a gun over their heads. An explosion of this sort being quite new to them, occasioned such great surprise and terror, that they altogether ran towards the shore, climbed over the downs, and fled into the midst of the thickets. The smoke that had been seen from the ship, proceeded from a large fire which these savages had just made.

On the 6th of August, the observatory was established on the neighbouring peninsula, and M. St. Cricq was appointed to ascertain the movements of the chronometers; but the variations of the temperature were so violent on shore, that he was in a few days obliged to bring the watches again on board.

On the same day, the 6th of August, our chaloupe, which had been only temporarily repaired when she was aground near isle Rottnest, was now hauled on the sands to undergo a thorough repair. All our carpenters and caulkers were employed in this work. There were also sent a sufficient number of seamen to cut wood, and collect together as much as we wanted for every purpose. By this means, we had a small camp of about thirty persons. As it was necessary to provide them with water, and a perpetual trouble to bring it them from on board, we had our alembic on shore to distil the sea water. "I was charged", says M. Bailly, "with this duty, and notwithstanding some defects in the construction of the apparatus, succeeded in procuring about forty quarts a day, which was more than sufficient for the thirty persons onshore. The sea water thus distilled is not disagreeable; it has merely a smoky taste, which it would be easily got rid of, by exposing it to the air; it appeared to us besides to be preferable to the bad water so often used on board ships."

The advantage which resulted to us from the use of alembics, sufficiently shows how very valuable that chemical apparatus must be in the Navy, and which indeed ought to be regarded as indispensable in voyages where they may have to explore a dry coast destitute of soft water, like that of New Holland; and in case of shipwreck this apparatus would be the means of saving many hundred lives.

The 22d of August Messrs. Faure and Moreau were dispatched in the barge to pursue the exploration of the neighbouring coast near our anchorage: they were to begin their researches at the spot where I had terminated mine; that is to say, at the point named by M. De St. Allouarn, High Land Point, following afterwards the eastern coast of the peninsula Peron. They were to return on board after having lengthened the coast until they came abreast of the point of which I have just spoken. This expedition returned the 31st inst., and we then learnt from our friends, that to the south of High Land Point, they had discovered a little bay, since named the Bay of Attack: a larger point, which terminates it towards the south, was called Point Guichenault, from the name of one of the two companions of M. Peron in the hardships he experienced, and of which this account will give the details. Farther on, and always advancing towards the south, the party found a second bay, which we called L'Haridon Bay. The southern point of this bay received the name of M. Petit, one of our unfortunate comrades. In the east part of Cape Petit Messrs. Faure and Moreau discovered a tolerably large island, the western coast of which they contented themselves with visiting. This island we since named Isle Faure, from that geographer, who first saw it from the ship, and drew the plan. From hence continuing to go southward, Messrs. Faure and Moreau sounded the bottom of a large harbour, which is only separated from that of which I have already spoken, by an isthmus, which we called Isthmus Taillefer, from the second doctor of the corvette Geographer.

In going up afterwards towards the north, the party met with some large sand-banks, which at this season of the year they found covered with turtles, and which, for that reason, I have described in my general chart under the name of Turtle Bank. Invited by the facility with which they could be taken, our party landed on the Isle Faure, and procured in less than three hours fifteen turtles, some of which weighed from 122 to 147 kilogrammes; that is, from 250 to 300 pounds; and thus laden with this precious cargo, they effected their return on board. The large harbour which they had discovered, was unanimously dedicated to captain Hamelin. This harbour is not so deep, but is much larger than the one to the westward.

Our provisions were now nearly expended, and we had not as yet any news of the Geographer. The captain had done every thing that was possible to effect a junction with that ship; he had not neglected to pursue that rigorous discipline prescribed to him by the orders of government and of his commander. There remained no hope of his falling in with the Geographer but at the place from which they set out. He determined therefore to, return thither without further delay.

After this determination, we got under way the 4th of September for Timor, after having passed forty-nine days in the Bay of Sea-dogs, or rather what we took to be a bay, and of which it remains to us to give a general description.

After Dirck-Hartighs and Vlaming, the first European who visited the Bay of Sea-dogs, was Capt. Dampier, who in the time he lived, was a skilful navigator. It was to him that Europe owed its first and only correct notions of these countries, until the epoch of our expedition. Dampier anchored to the north of the peninsula Peron, which he himself mistook for an island, and gave the name of Shark's Bay (or Bay of Sea-dogs) to all that space comprized between the isles westward and the continent, without having discovered the form or breadth. Can it be wondered at, that after Dampier, in general so exact in all his labours, should have given the name of a bay to a heap of gulfs, harbours, and coves, which have only the general appearance of what is understood by that denomination, we should preserve it, however improper it may be, to the end of avoiding the risk, always serious, of alterations in nautical nomenclature?

St. Allouarn, with the flute Le Gros Ventre, visited these shores in the year 1772, and made himself acquainted with the land to the north of the peninsula; gave the name of High Land Point to the cape farthest north of this peninsula; and took his departure, without having done any thing towards settling the geography of that interesting portion of Endracht's Land.

It results from our labours, that we have nearly ascertained that the supposed Bay of Sea-dogs forms a great bight of about fifty leagues in depth, taking it from Cape Cuvier towards the north, unto the southern extremity of the gulf Freycinet; that all the eastern coast is exclusively formed by the continent; that the western is composed of the islot of Koks, of the isle of Done, of the isle Bernier, of Dampier's Reef, of the great island Dirck-Hartighs, and of a part of the continental shore. All the middle part of this opening is occupied by the grand continental peninsula, to the east and to the west of which are the harbours of Hamelin and Freycinet.

I shall not chuse to present again to the reader in this place, the miserable picture of the sterility of these shores. All the details of that exhibition have been given with as much preciseness as interest, in the Sixth Chapter of that relation. It will suffice to observe, that all that M. Peron could say of the physical constitution, and of the different productions of the isle Bernier, is strictly applicable to the neighbouring parts of that continent, and to the isles. Every where calcareous rocks support layers of sand, more or less elevated; every where the same scarcity of soft water, the same dryness, the same defect of vegetation, the same failure of produce. The animal productions of the sea are the same, and those of the land present no shade of difference, except in the species of kangaroo, which are larger on the continent than in the islands, and is in them also more rare: indeed, the last possesses exclusively the breed of dogs, and the human species is peculiar to it. Weak and thinly scattered, the inhabitants present in themselves the same natural and social character, and of which we shall have occasion to take notice elsewhere.

Considering the matter as a navigator, this part of Endracht's Land presents a good anchorage in the Bay of Dampier. It could also furnish wood, and a valuable supply of food from the turtles. And with respect to what concerns commercial interests, the number of prodigious whales seen there, seem to promise any speculation would be attended with success, which had for its object a fishery of those animals, while the use of alembics would furnish water sufficient for the consumption of the people employed. The fish and the turtle would afford them also an abundant and healthy nourishment, and the pearls might perhaps, with a little industry in seeking for them, abundantly recompense those who would engage in the enterprise.

I have said before, that the 4th of September we set sail from the Bay of Sea-dogs for Timor. The same day at two o'clock we were in the middle of the passage of the Naturalist, and in the evening we lost sight of the isles Dorre and Bernier.

The 15th September we perceived at a great distance the isle of the New Sabot (Sawii) to the south; it bore N.N.E. three miles and an half. The 16th, at day-break, we made the Great Sabou (Sawii), and steered to pass between that and the little island Benzoard. At nine o'clock in the morning we were in the strait which separates the two islands. The southern part of the Great Sabou is very high: its mountains, which become lower towards the sea-shore, are covered with habitations and beautiful forests, from the midst of which present themselves a prodigious quantity of cocoa and palm trees. A great number of these trees are to be seen close to the beach; their roots are watered by the waves. We coasted this shore near enough to distinguish several natives who walked along the beach. It is about six leagues in depth. The coast N.W. is still higher, and appeared to us still more fertile and pleasant.

The island of Benzoard, opposite to the Great Sabou, is only five leagues in length in its greatest dimension; it is lofty, well wooded, and inhabited.

On the 20th of September at day-break, we had sight of the Isle of Simâo (Semawii) to the east of us, and beyond which we discovered at a great distance, the lofty mountains of the island of Timor. In the evening, at sunset, we perceived also the islands of Tico and Rotti (Rotte).

The lands of Simâo, although high, are less so than the lands of Great Sabou. This island is woody, and intersected by chains of mountains in different directions. The soil of the southern parts is of a strong reddish hue.

Rotti is also elevated. The small isle of Tico is low, but well wooded: it appears to be surrounded by a fine flat sandy shore.

Generally, these lands, in form and in the healthy appearance of the vegetation with which they are covered, present the most striking contrast to the low, sterile and desert appearance of the shores of New Holland.

On the 21st of September we sailed to the north of Rotti, to gain the roadstead of Coupang. At a quarter past six we were near enough to observe a three-masted vessel at anchor in the harbour. At half past seven I was sent with the long-boat to inform the governor for what purpose we touched at Coupang. I was already at some distance from the ship, when I saw coming from the shore a boat with the French flag; it was commanded by my brother. I then learnt that the Geographer had been at Coupang more than a month, and that from the moment of our separation in Geography Bay, they had suffered the greatest anxiety on our account. At length, at one o'clock in the afternoon, we anchored near our consort. Thus, by chance, met once more two ships, which, destined to act always in concert with each other, would never have suffered so long and distressing a separation, but for the false calculations and mismanagement of the commander appointed to direct their general co-operations.







BOOK III.

FROM TIMOR TO PORT JACKSON, INCLUSIVELY.

——————


CHAPTER XIII.

The Passage from Timor to Cape South of Diemen's Land. [Tasmania]

[From November 13th, 1801, to January 13th, 1802.]


WE have seen in the Fifth Chapter of this work, that, from the very commencement of the voyage, our commander had disturbed the whole of the general plan of operations which had been traced out by government: that instead of doubling the Cape South, he had reconnoitred Cape Leuwin, and that all the time of his first cruize had been spent on the N.W. coast of New Holland: circumstances, and the season, recalled us therefore to the southern extremity of Diemen's Land, and to that point we directed our course on leaving Timor. Long opposed by the calms and winds, we had much difficulty in doubling Cape Leuwin: we however succeeded in the beginning of January: at the same time we met with the strong winds from the W.N.W. which drove us rapidly on the southern shores of Diemen's Land; and on the 13th of January, we first had sight of the foggy lands of this large island.

In the succinct account I am about to give of the principal events of this toilsome voyage, I have thought it my duty particularly to mention and describe the sea animals which fell under our observation, as their description furnishes particulars equally valuable to the naturalist and the navigator. For the particular latitudes in which these animals constantly abound, may often furnish the navigator with useful knowledge on the distances from such or such lands. The immortal Cook always esteemed observations of this greatly interesting, and M. de Fleurieu, in his valuable Appendix to the Voyage of Marchand, enlarged on this subject in a manner which proved the particular consequence he attached to it. This part of his work; which may be considered as a summary of pelagious zoology, is certainly the best guide of the kind that can be chosen by. the enlightened navigator, or even the naturalist himself.

On the 14th of November the sky was thick, the barometer was scarcely so high as 28i 1l; the thermometer was at 23 5; the hygrometer pointed to 97° of humidity. Our numerous sick suffered much from this warm and moist temperature: and on this same day, died on board the Naturalist, Savary, the boatswain's mate.

On the 15th, we ourselves lost the unfortunate Sautier, our horticulturist's first assistant; an active and industrious man.

On the same day, we saw a water-spout at a distance: on the 16th, in the evening, we saw a second water-spout, and in the night we ran past Great Sabou.

On the 17th, in the morning, we were off the Isle Benzoard, and soon after we passed it, we discovered New Sabou. It rises but little above the waves which break against its shores; its surface has every where a chearful appearance, and seems covered with verdure; here and there may be distinguished clumps of beautiful shrubs. This small island is uninhabited, and is particularly remarkable for an enormous rock, which stands near one point of the isle, and which at a distance seems as if pierced with a large hole.

The unhealthy temperature of the preceding days continuing, our sick people became worse, and about eight o'clock in the evening we lost Francois Courroyer, one of the strongest men of our crew, and one of our best helmsmen.

At this period our ships were surrounded by great flocks of the birds called boobies, which seemed to come from the adjacent islands. From this time to the 30th of November, these birds constantly attended us; they must therefore, with us, have ranged the whole of the sea between the tenth and fifteenth degree of south latitude, which must be about 125 leagues distant from the shores. This observation confirms, certainly, the remarks of Lafeuillée, Cook, and Forster, on the uncertainty of the indication of the nearness of the lands, deduced from meeting with birds of this description: it is, however, certain, that we never in open sea observed any of these birds flying in flocks, and the passage of which I am speaking is a proof it. In fact, after having passed the islands of Sabou, we kept at a great distance from any land, and we saw no more of these sea-fowl till we again drew near Diemen's Land, when legions of them appeared in sight, almost immediately after we perceived the lofty mountains of that great island; we may look on the appearance of these birds, with few exceptions, as a general and probable indication of being near to some land; and this, to the navigator particularly, who sails in the midst of unknown seas, is an indication of some value. This species of booby being new, I have described it under the name of Sula Sabuensis (the booby of the Sabou isles).

On the 18th of November, Marie Hubert, gunner, died on board the Naturalist.

On the 19th we ourselves committed to the sea one of our best seamen, whose name was Pougens. Al this period we were so much oppressed by the heat, and our allowance of water was so short, that some of our unhappy men were seen to drink their own urine! Every remonstrance of our doctor, to increase our allowance of water for the present, and to diminish it the more when in cooler latitudes, was in vain. It is with great regret that I have to mention these particulars, but in voyages of this description, misfortune itself gives a lesson that should not be lost: the most celebrated navigators, at the head of whom must be placed Cook, La Perouse, and Vancouver, were of decided opinion, that the want of water was the chief cause of the scurvy in long voyages; and as we were soon after this period afflicted to a great degree with this terrible distemper, can I justly dissemble, or pass over in silence, a circumstance so particularly connected with this afflicting epidemic?

On the 20th of November, we found on the surface of the sea a great number of those physalis which I described in the Third Chapter of this work. This kind seemed to me to differ from that of the Atlantic Ocean: I described it by the name of Physalia Australis, and I made many observations on the organization of these extraordinary animals, all the particulars of which will be given in the zoological part of our work.

On the 22d of November another of our unfortunate gunners, named Mentelle, died. Consternation now reigned on board: twenty-five men lay sick, and among them were Messrs. Depuch and Maugé: happily, as we got more to the south, the heat became less oppressive, and the health of our sick seemed to amend as the thermometer sunk.

On the 24th we saw for the first time some sea-gulls (Procellaria Pelagica, Lin.) We were now in the fourteenth degree of south latitude; on the 7th of December, in the seventeenth, and on the 1st of January, in the thirty-fourth, we again saw some of these birds, which are rarely seen in this latitude.

Or the 25th of November we caught a shark about ten feet in length, which gave us an extraordinary proof of the prodigious irritability of these fish, after the head was cut Off, and the heart and entrails taken out and thrown into the sea, and we were dragging it forward to wash it at the pump. The animal, while we drew it along by the tail, made vies. lent motions, and raised its body with such strength and quickness, that several persons had nearly been thrown down. In our passage from Europe to the Isle of France, I had before seen, in an animal of the same kind, this irritability remain for a still longer time. For above two hours the shark had been gutted and the head taken off, when a sailor came to cut off the tail; but the knife had not penetrated the flesh more than half an inch, when the fish contracted itself violently and leaped several times on the deck, and this irritability continued till the tail was entirely taken off with an hatchet.

On the 26th, in the evening, on speaking with the Naturalist, we learnt that they were not more fortunate than ourselves with respect to the sick on board; that independent of those we have already mentioned to have died, they had since lost Bourgeois, of the city of Havre, a young man of distinguished education and amiable qualities: this day they committed to the deep a seaman named Yves, and captain Hamelin informed us that he had still eighteen on the sick list. M. Levillain was among these, and every day became worse. In return for this sad news, we gave them the melancholy account of our own losses, and our two ships parted to continue a voyage under these very sad auspices.

On the 27th we saw numerous companies of flying fish: we again saw some on the 30th of November, the 1st and 2d of December, in the latitudes from 14° to 19°.

On the 2d of December, in 15°, we observed the first bird of Paradise (Phæton Æthereus, Lin.), the most beautiful of equatorial sea-birds: on the 22d we saw more of them, and on this day we passed the tropic of Capricorn. Thus these observations agree with what is so elegantly said by Buffon, on the limits of the climates in which these beautiful birds are seen: "Following the chariot of the sun in the burning zone between the tropics, ranging continually beneath that ardent sky, without ever exceeding the extreme boundaries of the rout of the mighty star of heaven, it announces to the navigator his approaching passage under the celestial signs."

On the 11th of December we found ourselves in 21° south latitude, and 101° east longitude from the meridian of Paris. Here we saw a Procellaria Capensis, the most beautiful of antarctic sea-fowl, the description of which is so often repeated in the relations of ancient and modern travellers.

On the 13th of December we saw more of these beautiful birds, and as on the same day we saw some phaetons, it follows that, we might have seen at the same time, and in the same place, two animals, one of which, the exclusive inhabitant of the antarctic seas, delights in cold, in fogs, and storms; whilst the other, following, according to Buffon, the chariot of the sun, enjoys the calm of the tropics and their ardent temperature. From these observations, and from those of Cook, who in his second voyage found the former of these birds on this side of the 30th degree, it follows that the limits fixed by Linnæus for the resort of these animals, ought to be nearer the equinoxial parts of the globe than those of 40°, beyond which the celebrated Swede has thought fit to confine them. We also saw numbers of than the whole length of Leuwin's Land, and even in Geography Bay, in 33° of latitude.

On the 12th of December we passed the tropic of Capricorn for the fifth time, to get into the temperate southern regions. The temperature was already not above 17°; the barometer from 28.1, had risen progressively to 28.3. On this day we lost our master sail-maker, a very respectable man, and who was much esteemed by our officers and crew.

On the 25th we saw some grey petrels (Procellaria grisea, Lin.): on the 29th, the 30th, and 31st, we saw more of them, in latitude from 32° to 33° south. It is here that Linnæus says they are first to be seen: Cook, however, in his first voyage saw none of them till he was in 50° south latitude.

On the 29th of December the sea appeared covered with Janthines, the most beautiful of the testaceous mollusques this jelly-fish, by means of a bunch of small vesicles filled with air, floats on the surface of the waters, as we have before remarked in the Third Chapter of this work.

On this shining shell I discovered a new kind of crustaceous animal, of a beautiful ultramarine blue, like the shell. I knew this to be a Pinnothera, and I have described it under the name of Pinnothera Janthinæ. This discovery is so much the more interesting, as it does not appear that any of these adhesive animals were ever found before in univalve shells.

On the same day, the 29th of December, died my colleague, M. Levillain. To the cruel dysentery with which he had been afflicted ever since our departure from Timor, was added a dangerous diaphoretic fever (V. diaphoretica de Torti), the fourth fit of which deprived him of life. His body was committed to the ocean, which by an unfortunate fatality, had already been the grave of his father and eldest brother. This death was deeply lamented by all on, board our two ships: M. Levillain was of a mild and amiable disposition, which had made him beloved by all who knew him. During his stay in Dampier's Bay, he had made a fine collection of shells and petrifactions, which form long banks on these shores, and which are so much the more interesting, as most of them seem to have their living resemblances at the feet of the same rocks which are composed of these petrified shells.

On the 3d of January 1801, the gentle winds and dead calms were succeeded by a strong gale from the W.N.W.; the barometer sunk rapidly from 28.3 to 27.10: the sky was covered with thick black clouds, and in the night we had a violent storm of rain. On the next day, the 4th of January, the winds continued to blow in impetuous squalls; the sea rose horribly, and we pitched much: but the rapidity with which we sailed reconciled us to these hardships, so unavoidable in weather such as we now experienced. In the midst of these raging waves we saw swimming two monstrous whales, which passed very near the ship: I was not able to distinguish of what particular kind they were, because they only appeared at times on the surface of the sea, and then as quickly disappeared, leaving a great swell behind them.

"Assurgunt longo properantes agmine fluctus,
Miscenturque vadis imis."
                  STAT.

On the 5th we were in 37° latitude and 117° east longitude. Here disappeared the great equinoxial petrel (Procellaria equinoxialis, Lin.); we had first seen it on the 11th of December, in about 21° latitude, and since that time it had been constantly seen flying round our ships. It consequently follows, that we have seen this beautiful bird in an extent of more than 19° on the limits of the southern equinoxial regions, and in most part of the temperate regions of this part of the globe; and if we add to these observations of out own, the authority of Edwards, Brown, and Linnæus, who all extend the limas where the petrel is seen, as far as the Cape of Good Hope, and even to New Zealand, it must doubtless be allowed, that it would have been difficult to give to this species a name less applicable than that of equinoxial, which seems to apply exclusively to an inhabitant of equatorial countries.

On the 6th and 7th of January, the stormy weather of the preceding days continued; and on the last of them we found ourselves in 39° latitude and 120 east longitude; the thermometer was not at more than 10°, and the cold made us take to our winter clothing.

We now first saw the species of albatross, described by Forster under the name of the chocolate-coloured albatross (Diomedea spadicea). We had seen since the 4th, in 35° latitude, the common albatross (Diomedea exulans, Lin.), the largest of antarctic sea-fowl; and we had observed the two varieties of white and brown, which probably ought to make them be considered as two distinct kinds, as I shall endeavour to prove in another place. Some of those we saw, when the wings were extended, were above ten feet from the point of one to the point of the other. The chocolate-coloured albatross appeared to me, as to Forster, to be less than the exulans. As far as the shores of Diemen's Land these birds followed our vessels, and their number seemed to increase as we drew nearer the cold foggy climates, in which, they more particularly abounded.

The 9th presented to my observation several interesting animals, first those large brown goëlands (Larus cataractes, Lin.), which the seamen call shoe-makers, Port Egmont fowls, &c. Cook saw great numbers of them as far as the middle of the frozen regions in the 64th degree of south latitude. These goëlands are, next to the albatrosses, the most powerful sea-fowl of the antarctic extremity of the globe.

The other flights of birds which we saw in the course of the day on the 9th, all belonged to the genus of sea-swallows (Sterna). I distinguished three kinds, the first seemed to be the Sterna obscura, Lin.; the second was new. I have described it under the title of Sterna melanosoma, from the black colour of the body; the third was also unknown to naturalists, and from its similarity to the Sterna Caspia, Lin., I gave it the name of Sterna Caspioïdes. On this same day we perceived in the waters, at a small distance from the ship, an enormous species of sepia, which had a great similarity to the genus of the calmar, or cuttle fish (Loligo, Lamarck), as big as a ton: it rolled with great noise in the midst of the waves, extending its long arms on the surface of the waters, moving them, that they appeared like so many enormous reptiles: each of the arms were six or seven feet in length, and seven or eight inches in breadth. Doubtless it is some animal of this kind that Don Pernetty describes as having such prodigious dimensions, and being of such an amazing weight, that according to him, it is able to obstruct the working of a ship, and by climbing up the cordage, to drag it to destruction and cause it to founder. This is doubtless an idle tale, and a ridiculous exaggeration, but probably it may be founded on the appearance of some such monstrous animal.

On the 10th of January the stormy weather still continued. I discovered a new species of sea-gull, which I have described by the name of Larus melanopterus, from its black wings. On the same day, for the first time, we saw eating on the surface of the waves some quantities of the Fucus gigantinus. It is not without reason that this vegetable bears this specific name, for I have seen some stalks or branches of it, that were 200 or 300 feet in length; and in the course of this work, we shall shew by what means nature raises these long branches from the bottom of the seas, and how they are thus made to float on the surface of the waves.

On the 11th, I described under the title of the dolphin with a black muzzle (Delphinus leucoramphus), a new species of dolphin, which M. de Lacépède has, in his History of Cetaceous Animals, called by my name (Delphinus Peronii). The remarkable disposition of all animals to become white the nearer their habitations are to the high latitudes, is an extraordinary phenomenon. Thus in the same northern regions which produce white foxes, white bears, &c. there is also a kind of white dolphin (Delphinas leucas, Lin.): and in the high southern latitudes, besides the Delphinus leucoramphus, which I have just mentioned, there is a second species of the same genus, which was first observed by Commerson, and afterwards by Forster, the body of which was totally white, with the exception of a few bluish-brown spots.

On the 12th of January we reckoned ourselves to be in 44° of south latitude, and 141° 27' east longitude, and consequently we were not far from the cape S.W. of Diemen's Land. In the course of the night there was ranch hail and rain: on the next day, early in the morning, after a voyage of sixty-one days, we first discovered the shores of this large island.





CHAPTER XIV.

Southern Part of Diemen's Land.

[From 13th January to the 17th of February, 1802]


ON the 13th of January, at day-break, we first had sight of land, which then appeared to bear from N.N.E. to E.N.E. At, eight o'clock we were off the cape S.W., and soon came in sight of the small isles of Witt, and the solitary rock Mewstone. From eight o'clock till noon, we rapidly lengthened all the southern extremity of Diemen's Land, and at twelve we doubled the south cape, the last point of the globe in the eastern hemisphere. The rocks of Scilly, and the Eddystone, were at this time to the south, and almost out of sight.

Every eye was now fixed on the land: we admired those lofty mountains, which nature has placed like so many ramparts of granite to oppose the rage of the stormy sea: these mountains extend as far as the frozen antarctic pole. We observed with admiration those large plains in the inter of of the island, which rise in amphitheatres over the whole surface, and are covered with immense forests. The sea all this time was stormy and rough; the winds blew violently and in squalls from the S.W.; the temperature was cold; the sky thick; and long clouds of vapour gathered round the grey sides of the woods and mountains. This fog was succeeded by heavy rains, hail, and boar frost: innumerable flights of boobies, goëlands, cormorants, swallows, &c. flew from the neighbouring rocks and encircled our ships, mingling their piercing cries with the noise of the angry waves; along rank of white muzzled dolphins, with several large whales, played around us; in a word, every thing seemed to unite in giving a sort of solemnity to our arrival off these shores, and all proclaimed that we touched the extreme boundaries of the southern world.

At half past twelve o'clock we had sight of the Boriel Isles, which form the most southern point of Storm Bay. Our commander made signal to captain Hamelin to make sail, and enter the channel of Dentrecasteaux. This manoeuvre was scarcely performed, when we perceived a large bank of rocks, which forced the Naturalist to haul the wind on the starboard tack, to get more sea-room, and we followed their example. During this time the rain and sleet continued; the squalls became more violent, and we were obliged to take in most of our sails; but at length we succeeded in doubling the ridge of rocks which lay out a-head of those sterile isles; then directing our course towards Cape Bruny, we ran through the channel, keeping near Point Labillardière. At half past four o'clock we had moored in the great cove in twenty-three fathoms, oozy bottom to the east, and one mile only from Partridge Island.

Of all the modern discoveries made on Diemen's Land, that of the channel of Dentrecasteaux is doubtless the most singular and the most important. After successively escaping Tasman, Furneaux, Cook, Marion, Cox, Hunter, and Bligh, the French admiral himself only discovered it by a mistake, which, though it proved fortunate, might have been fatal.

In the general description which in another place I shall give of Diemen's Land, I shall more particularly enlarge on the channel of Dentrecasteaux: at present it shall suffice to mention the particulars of our stay, and our operations on this spot.

The chief end of our touching at this extreme point of Diemen's Land, was to take in fresh water: our commander hastened to send several boats to different parts to seek a watering place. M. H. Freycinet received orders to go on the morning of the 14th to the mouth of the river Huon and the port of Swans: M. Lesueur and myself accompanied him.

At nine o'clock we passed the small isle nearest the mouth of the port: the whole surface, covered with verdure, trees, and shrubs, made this spot appear like a beautiful grove. At half past nine we came to the port of Swans: of all the places which I had seen during the whole course of our long voyage, this appeared to me to be the most picturesque and pleasant. Seven ranges of mountains rise as by degrees too wards the interior of Diemen's Land, and form the perspective of the interior of the port: to the right and left, the rising hills enclosed it on every direction, and presented as we sailed along, a number of small well rounded capes and romantic little creeks. In every direction the most active vegetation spewed its various productions: the shores are covered with lofty trees, always green, and growing so close together, that it is almost impossible to penetrate the forests. Innumerable flights of parrots, cockatoos, &c. with the most varied and beautiful plumage, inhabited their lofty branches; and the tom-tit, with a beautiful ultramarine blue ring round its neck, played in the shade of the boughs.

The sea near this spot was extremely calm, and its surface covered with innumerable legions of black swans, which sailed about with great elegance and majesty.

While we were occupied in the pleasing contemplation of this picture, we were disturbed by some cries which we heard on the right shore of the port, whither directing our eyes, we perceived two savages who ran towards the beach, both of them shewing the most extraordinary gestures of surprise and admiration. One of them carried in his hand a kind of torch of lighted bark. We answered them by some shouts, and endeavoured to approach the shore, but instead of wait in for us, they ran into the forest and disappeared.

In pursuing our course we came to a small creek, at the bottom of which is a beautiful valley, that seemed to promise a stream of fresh water: this consideration determined M. H. Freycinet to land there. We had scarcely set foot on shore before two natives appeared on the top of a hill: at the signs of amity which we made, one of them seemed rather to spring from the top of the rock than to descend from it, and in the twinkling of an eye was in the midst of us. He was a young man of from twenty-two to twenty-four years a age, of a strong general appearance, having no other defect than the looseness of the joints of his arms and legs, characteristic of his nation, and of which we shall take occasion to speak in the conclusion of our work. His physiognomy had nothing fierce or austere, his eyes were lively and expressive, and his manner displayed at once both pleasure and surprize. M. Freycinet having embraced him, I followed his example, but the air of indifference with which he received this testimony of good will and friendship, made us easily perceive that to him it had no meaning. What appeared at first to interest him most, was the whiteness of our skin, and doubtless, wishing to ascertain whether the rest of our bodies was of the same colour, he successively crud our jackets and shirts, and expressed his astonishment by loud exclamations of surprize, and by very quick motions of his feet.

Moreover, our chaloupe seemed to attract his attention still more than our persons, and after examining us some minutes, he jumped into the boat: there, without troubling himself with, or even noticing the seamen who were in her, he seemed quite absorbed in his new subject. The thickness of the ribs and planks, the strength of the construction, the rudder, the oars, the masts, the sails, he observed in silence, and with great attention, and with the most unequivocal signs of interest and reflection. At this moment, one of the men an the boat, willing to add to his astonishment, presented him a glass bottle filled with arrack, which made part of the allowance of the crew. The shining of the glass at first made the savage utter a cry of astonishment; he took the bottle and examined it a few moments, but his curiosity soon returned to the chaloupe; he threw the bottle into the sea, seemingly without any other intention than to rid himself, of an object that was perfectly indifferent to him, and immediately returned to his examination of the boat. Neither the exclamation of the seaman, who was vexed at the loss of his bottle of arrack, nor the haste with which one of his comrades threw himself into the water to fish it up again, seemed to give him any concern: he made several attempts to push off the chaloupe, but the small hawser which fastened it, made his efforts of no avail, he was therefore obliged to give up the attempt and to return to us, after giving us the most striking demonstrations of attention and reflection which we had ever seen among savage nations.

When we came to the top of the hill we have before mentioned, M. Freycinet and myself met with the second native; this was an old man of above fifty years of age; his beard was partly grey, as was also his hair; his countenance as well as that of the young man, was frank and open; notwithstanding some unequivocal signs of fear and disquiet, it was easy to discover kindness and candour. This old man, after having examined both of us with as much surprize and satisfaction as the first native; after having determined, like him, the colour of our necks, by drawing aside our jackets and shirts, made a signal to two women a little way off, to approach: if they hesitated for some instants, when the oldest of them came to us; the youngest followed, more timid and disturbed than the first, who appeared to be about forty years of age; and large furrows on the skin of her belly shewed beyond contradiction, that she had been the mother of many children. She was entirely naked, and appeared, like the old man, kind and friendly. The young woman was about twenty-eight years of age, and was of a robust make, like the other: she was also entirely naked, with the exception of the skin of a kangaroo, wherein she carried a little female infant, to which she give suck; her bosom already a little sunk, appeared otherwise well formed, and abundantly supplied with milk. This young woman, like the old man and woman (whom we took to be her father and mother), had a very interesting countenance, her eyes had an expression and fire which astonished us, and which we have never since observed in any other female of that nation. She appeared besides to be extremely fond of her little infant, and her care of it had all that kind and affectionate character which is acknowledged by every body as the peculiar attribute of maternal love.

M. Freycinet and myself offered various presents to this interesting family, but every thing which we offered them was received with an indifference that surprised us, and which we had often occasion to observe among individuals of the same country.

In the mean time, M. Freycinet desiring to determine as soon as possible his conjectures of the existence of a rivulet of soft water in the bottom of a valley which we saw at a little distance, set out with some of the crew. M. Lesueur, prepared to go in search of the animals of the forest, and for myself I remained among the savages, occupied in observing them, to describe their natural habits, and in endeavouring to collect some words of their idiom. The young man having observed that our seamen wished to light a fire, hastened to collect together the branches of some trees near us, then with a kind of torch which he had placed near the spot where we were, he procured for us in a few moments an immense large fire, which was the more acceptable, as the thermometer was scarcely at 9°. At this instant the young woman shewed some evident marks of astonishment, of which the cause was frivolous enough, but which I ought not nevertheless to pass over in silence, because it is precisely from those little details that we acquire a right judgment of the state of a people placed so far distant from social intercourse: one of our sailors wore a pair of fur gloves, which in approaching the fire he drew from his hands and put in his packet, at the sight of which the young woman uttered a scream, which at first alarmed us, but we were not long at a loss to guess the cause of her fright, and we could not doubt from her gestures, but that she had taken the gloves for real hands, or at least for a sort of live skin, which he could thus take offend put into his pocket or replace at pleasure. We laughed heartily at this singular mistake, but we did not enjoy so well the old man's carrying away from us a bottle full of arrack, which, as it contained a great part of our stock, we were obliged to make him restore, at which he seemed to express a great deal of resentment, for he left us, together with his family, notwithstanding all that we could do to make them remain with us longer.

I went afterwards to the beach: it was low water, and in two hours I gathered more than forty new species of mollusques, shell, crustaceous, and other fish. In the zoological part of the description of Diemen's Land, I shall describe several of these, which by their size, colour, and general economy, or their particular importance to the naturalist, may appear to merit attention.

On returning to the spot where our chaloupe was moored, I learnt that M. Freycinet had not been able to find any appearance of soft water, although he had made a long and laborious journey in search of it. M. Lesueur had been more successful; he brought back a dozen kinds of birds, three of the perroquet species, and the beautiful tom-tit, with the blue head and neck, of which I have spoken. The sailors during our absence had prepared our frugal meal; we ate it in haste, and set out immediately to visit another part of the shore, where we had some hope of finding soft water. We presently discovered a but belonging to the natives; it was simply a shelter of bark disposed in a half circle, and supported against some dry branches: so slight a shelter could have no other object than that of protecting the inhabitant from the action of the cold wind. I observed that its convexity was effectively opposed to the S.W., which on these shores is the most constant, the most impetuous, and the most severe. Before this wretched but we discovered the remains of a fire recently extinguished; large heaps of oyster shells, and of Haliotis gigantea were at a little distance, from which exhaled, from the corruption of the remains of the animals left in the shells, a putrid and nauseous odour.

On the beach we observed two canoes, each formed of three pieces of bark clumsily joined together, and fastened by straps or slips of the same bark. At a future time time I shall speak on the subject of this unskilful attempt at the art of navigation: M. Lesueur made a correct drawing of these canoes.



6. Native Navigation: East Coast of Schouten Island, Tas.

These huts, these recently extinguished fires, these remains of shellfish, and these canoes, left us no doubt that the family we had just seen inhabited this part of the shore, and indeed we soon saw the same party coming along the sandy beach towards us. As soon as they observed us they shouted for joy, and mended their pace to join us. Their number was now increased by a young girl about sixteen or seventeen years of age, a little boy of four or five years, and a little girl of three or four years. This family thus consisted of nine individuals. The most aged of them seemed to be the father and mother, the young man and his wife seemed also to be brother and sister, and we supposed the young girl to be also the sister of these last: the four children concluded might be the offspring of the young man and woman.

The family were returning from fishing, in which they had been fortunate, for each was loaded with shell-fish, of that kind belonging to the large species of marine ear, peculiar to these shores. The old man taking M. Freycinet by the hand, made signs to us to follow him, and conducted us to the poor hut we had just quitted. Fire was lighted in an instant, and after repeating several times, médi, médi (sit down, sit down), these savages themselves squatted down on their heels, and began each to eat the produce of their fishery. The cookery was neither tedious nor difficult; these large shells were placed on the fire, where, as in a dish, the fish was baked, and afterwards eaten without any other preparation or seasoning. On tasting this food we found it succulent and well flavoured. While our good Diemenese thus enjoyed their simple repast, the idea of treating them with a little music entered our heads, not so much to amuse them, as to see what effect our singing would have on our audience. We chose the hymn which was so unhappily prostituted during the revolution, but which is nevertheless so full of enthusiasm and spirit, and so likely on this occasion to produce effect. At first the savages appeared more affected than surprised, but in a few moments they lent an attentive ear: their meal was left unfinished, and they expressed their satisfaction by divers contortions and so many odd gestures, that we could scarcely restrain our risibility. On their part, they with difficulty checked expressing their enthusiasm while we sung, but no sooner was there a pause, than exclamations of admiration issued from every mouth: the young man particularly seemed as if beside himself, he pulled his hair, he scratched his head with both hands, he threw himself into a thousand different positions, and shouted with pleasure at the end of every verse. After this martial tune, we sung some of our tender airs: the savages seemed to comprehend the sense of these, but it was easy to perceive that sounds of this kind did not much affect them.

Their repast being ended, the scene at once took a new and more interesting character. The young lass whom I mentioned attracted our more particular attention by the softness of her manners, and by the affectionate and expressive regard with which she appeared to observe us. Ouré-Ouré, like her parents, was entirely naked, and did not seem at all to be aware that any person could imagine there was any indecency or immodesty in this absolute nudity. Of a constitution and form more delicate than her sister and brother, she was also more lively and animated. M. Freycinet, who sat next her, seemed to be more particularly the object of her regards, and it was easy to perceive in the manners of this innocent pupil of nature, that delicate shade, which gives to the most simple playfulness, a character of serious preference: coquetry itself seemed to be called in to the assistance of the natural attractions of the sex. Ouré-Ouré shewed us for the first time the nature of the fard or paint of these regions, and the particular method of using it. Taking some of the burnt charcoal in her hands, she crushed it so as to reduce it to a fine powder, and keeping this dust in the left hand, she with the right rubbed some of it first on her forehead and then on her cheeks, and made herself most frightfully blacks and what astonished us still more particularly, was the air of satisfaction with which this young girl seemed to regard us after this method of adorning herself; and which seemed to give an additional degree of self-satisfaction and confidence to the expression of her countenance. Thus it seems, that a fondness for ornament and a sentiment of coquetry prevails in the hearts of the whole sex.

While this was passing, the young children imitated the grimaces and gestures of their parents, and nothing could be more curious or diverting, than to see these little negroes making motions with their feet while we sung: they insensibly became very familiar, and before we parted, they were as much at their ease with us, as if we had been long acquainted. Every little present we made them delighted them extremely, and increased their attentions to us: general these children appeared to us to be lively, merry; and a little mischievous. It is curious to find at the extremity of the globe, and in this unformed state of social intercourse, these amiable and affecting characters which, among us, also distinguish the days of infancy. We have here also pointed out similarities in the character of women in general from the manners of those in these regions: we shall hereafter find room for other analogous remarks, and adding to our own particular observations those of other navigators, and deduce the conclusion, that the characters of women; and children are much more independent than those of men; that they are less affected by the influence of climates, physical causes, or the improvement of society.

The household furniture and utensils of the family were simple and few: a leaf of the Fucus palmatus, with two ends bent together with a small pin of wood, served them as a vessel: for their drink, a split fragment of granite was used as a knife, to take off the bark from trees, and to make points to their sagaies, and a spatula of wood which seemed more particularly designed for the purpose of raising the shell-fish from the rocks; Ouré-Ouré alone, carried a bag made of rushes, which was prettily and curiously constructed, and which I much wished to obtain. As this young girl had also shewn me some marks of regard, I ventured to ask her, for this little trifle, and immediately without any hesitation she put it into my hand, accompanying the gift with an obliging smile and some tender expressions; which I was sorry I could not understand. In return, I presented her with a handkerchief, and a hatchet and hammer, at the same time shewing her brother how to use it, which was the subject of much astonishment and exclamation to the whole family.

In the mean time the evening approached, and we prepared to rejoin our chaloupe, to get farther into the port, where we intended to pass the night. As soon as our new friends perceived our intention, they rose to accompany us; but after some observations from the old man; the old mother, the young woman with all her children, except, the eldest, remained in the hut, the others attended us. M. Freycinet took Ouré-Ouré by the arm; I walked with the old man; M. Lesueur gave his hand to the young one, and M. Brue, our cadet, conducted the child. The way we went Was full of brambles and shrubs; and our poor savages being naked, were much scratched by them; we particularly pitied young Ouré-Ouré: but without seeming to mind the numerous scratches which coveted her thighs and belly, she walked on through the midst of these thickets, chatting with M. Freycinet, without any chance of being understood; but provoked at not being able to convey her ideas, or to understand him, she accompanied her discourse with so many winning gestures, and gracious smiles, that her coquetry was very expressive.

As we drew near the place of our lauding, we heard several reports of a gun, which much frightened our companions; poor Ouré-Ouré particularly, trembled excessively, and M. Freycinet had some difficulty in calming her terrors; her fears soon increased at the sight of a numerous body of our shipmates from the Naturalist, who were coming to meet us, and who did not at all expect to find us on this spot. They were Messrs. L. Freycinet, Faure, Breton, and Bailly, who had come to reconnoitre the Port of Research, and who from thence had arrived at that of Swans, in search of fresh water, and who like us had not been able to discover any. After we had told these gentlemen of the kind reception we had experienced from the natives, they were all eager to load them with presents; but nothing pleased them so much as a long red feather, which M. Breton presented to Ouré-Ouré: she actually jumped for joy; she called to her father and brothers; she cried, she laughed; in a word, she seemed quite intoxicated with delight and pleasure.

We at length came to the beach, and embarked in our two chaloupes. Our good Diemenese did not leave us for an instant, and when we put off, their sorrow was expressed in the most affecting manner: they made signs to us to come again, and as if point out the spot, they lighted a large fire On the hill which I before described: it even appeared that they passed the night at this place, as we saw the fire till the morning.

Thus ended our first interview with the inhabitants of Diemen's Land; the particulars of which I have given with the greatest exactness, and doubtless it would have been difficult to resist the sentiments which such adventures must necessarily inspire. The confidence which the inhabitants shewed us, the affectionate testimonies of good-will which We could not but understand, the sincerity of their demonstrations, the frankness of their manners, the affecting ingenuousness of their caresses, all seemed to unite in developing the kindest and most interesting affection and friendship. The general anion of the several individuals of the family; the kind of patriarchal life which we had witnessed, had strongly affected our feelings: I saw realized with inexpressible pleasure, those charming descriptions of the happiness and simplicity of a state of nature, of which I had so often ready and enjoyed in idea. I was at the time far from conjecturing the many privations and miseries to which such a state is liable.

On leaving our good Diemenese, we steered our course towards the end of the port, and settled to pass the night in a small creek, where we hoped to find fresh water; but we were again disappointed, and on the next day, as soon as it was light, we continued our course to explore every corner of the port. We soon observed great numbers of black swans sailing with much majesty and swiftness on these peaceable waters. As the motion of our chaloupes seemed to alarm them, we landed some sportsmen, and I also went on shore to explore the interior of the country.

The immense forests of trees that seem coeval with nature itself, and where the sound of the axe was never heard, present an extraordinary spectacle to the eye of the traveller. Here vegetation is continually enriched with its own spontaneous productions, and every where expands without controul; and where at the extremities of the globe, such forests are exclusively formed of trees totally unknown to the European world, and vegetable productions that are extraordinary both in their organization and their great variety, the scene becomes still more interesting. Here a mysterious and perpetual shade obscures the light of the day, an extreme coolness, a penetrating humidity is constantly felt. These large trees sinking into the earth with age, again produce many healthy suckers: the aged trunks now decomposed by the united effects of time and humidity, are covered with different kinds, of moss and adhesive herbage; the interior harbouring numerous reptiles and swarms of insects; these fallen trunks obstruct every avenue of the forest, crossing each other in a thousand different directions; they oppose the passage like so many protectors of the boundaries, and multiply the obstacles and dangers which surround the footsteps of the traveller: often they sink under the weight of his body, and thus he falls among the perishing remains, and still more frequently the moist and putrid bark slips, from under his feet: sometimes their heaps form natural banks from 25 to 30 feet in height; in other places they have fallen over the bed of the torrents, and across the depths of the valleys, thus forming so many natural bridges, on which it is dangerous to step without great caution.

This picture of disorder and the ravages of time, these scenes presenting devastation and destruction, are counterbalanced, if I may be allowed the expression, by the beauties of nature; all that its creative power can display that is most majestic and beautiful, here delights the eye and the contemplative mind. In every part we see crowded on the surface of the soil, those beautiful Mimosæ, those lofty Metriosideros, those Correa, formerly so totally unknown in our country, but which now are the pride of our groves. From the sea-shore to the very summits of the highest mountains of the interior, we see the lofty Eucalyptus, the gigantic trees of the forests of the south, many of which are not less than from 160 to 180 feet in height, with a circumference of 25 or 30, and even 36 feet. The Banksia of diverse kinds, the Protea, the Embothrium, the Leptospermæ, expand their ramifications as in a charming border to these impervious woods. In another place the landscape presents the Casuarina, so remarkable in its foliage, so valuable for its solidity, and the rich and beautiful marbled veins of its wood; the elegant Exocarpos spreads out its waving branches, like those of the cypress; and farther we seethe Xanthorea, whose single stalk shoots 12 or 15 feet above a scaly and stunted trunk, and from which distils an abundant quantity of an odoriferous resin. In some places are seen the Cycas, whose kernels enveloped in scarlet skin, are so deceitful and poisonous. In every direction are charming groves of Melaleuca, Thesium, Conchyum, and Evodia, all equally beautiful either for their majestic appearance, the lovely verdure of their foliage, or the singularity of their blossoms and fruits. In the midst of so many interesting objects, the mind is astonished, and can only wonder at this inconceiveable fecundity of nature, which supplies so many different climates with productions peculiar to each, and which at the same time are always so rich and beautiful.

On my return to the sea-shore, I learnt that our sportsmen had been unsuccessful, the swans having kept quite out of reach, we therefore got on board our chaloupes, and pursued them to the very end of the port, where we killed two of them. We now landed again to eat our repast, and to seek for fresh water: while M. Freycinet and several of our companions in this pursuit walked along the neighbouring shore, I resolved to cross some large marshes, which in this place form the termination of the Port of Swans. I hoped, and indeed succeeded in finding a number of interesting subjects; but I hardly escaped being buried alive in these vast marshes. Nevertheless, I succeeded in reaching the opposite shore, and determined to return to our place of mooring by crossing a valley which lay between the mountains, and which I thought might be the bed of some stream. In this hope I was not deceived, and I had the pleasing satisfaction of being the first to discover a delightful little river, which produced great plenty of trout of a new kind, and which running from the N.N.W. to the S.S.E. seemed one end to reach as far as the foot of the neighbouring mountains, and the other to lose itself among the marshes, without having any apparent communication with the sea. Its course was narrow, and in this place was not above three feet deep; but the water was very sweet and clear. After going up this river for a few minutes, I again bent my course to where our chaloupes were moored. Our gentlemen had already returned, without having discovered any appearance of fresh water. I communicated to them my discovery, and they all immediately went to ascertain the truth of it. During their absence, I sat down to eat some muscles which our sea-men had cooked in sea-water; these I found very good: all the rocks abounded with them, and I had the pleasure of discovering a new kind of Pinnothera. These muscles were also of a kind unknown to naturalists, as were most of the zoological productions of these shores.

On the return of my companions from their walk to the little river, they told me that they had followed it some way into the interior of the land, on the banks they had found three or four huts similar to those we had seen on the preceding days: they were of the same opinion with me, that if not impossible, it was at least very difficult, to get water from this river, on account of the marshes, over which it would first be necessary to make a causeway, whereon we might roll our water casks. They farther told me, that they had also seen great numbers of trout, and brought a few which they had killed with their guns.

Notwithstanding the difficulty occasioned by the marshes which makes this river so inaccessible, the discovery of it is nevertheless of consequence, as The Port of Swans must sooner or later become the site of an European settlement: and in this case the river would supply water for a colony throughout every season of the year. The causeway we have mentioned would easily be made, and ships also might then water there.

We named the river, Fleurieu, in compliment to the celebrated hydrographer of that name, who was also the chief compiler of the excellent plan of our voyage, of which have given the particulars in the First Chapter of this work.

It was four o'clock in the afternoon when we set sail to return to our ships; at this moment the Port of Swans appeared with additional charms to our delighted view: the serenity of the atmosphere; the last rays of the setting sun reflected on the waves; the shade of the forests; the darkened tinge of their verdure; the grand appearance of the mountains in the interior, the tops of which appeared above the clouds; the numerous little creeks and small bays here and there to be seen on each shore; the companies of elegant black swans sailing with majestic motion; the numbers of beautiful perroquets, with varied plumage; the lovely tom­tits with blue necks, and sparrows of many colours, flying about the woods, singing their evening song: all seemed to unite in adding to the natural charms of so delightful a spot: every eye was fixed on the prospect, and every one seemed to leave with regret this interesting scene.

As night approached we were so becalmed, that our sea-men were obliged to row without resting from six o'clock in the evening till half past two in the morning; the chaloupe belonging to the Naturalist, which we lost in the course of the night, must have been still longer in reaching the ship. I learnt at my return, that on the 15th in the morning, the little boat belonging to the Geographer having been fishing on the Isle Bruny, the natives had appeared in great numbers; that, loaded with presents by our companions, they had spent the most part of the day among them; that M. Maurouard, one of our cadets, wishing to ascertain from his own experience, the degree of strength so generally ascribed to savage nations, had proposed to one among them, who appeared to be the most robust, to wrestle with him; the Diemenese having accepted the challenge, was several times thrown by the young Frenchman, and compelled to acknowledge his inferiority: from that moment till their departure, several hours had elapsed, without any appearance of the good-will and friendly disposition of the natives towards them being in the least changed; and being presented with new gifts by our friends at the very moment when they re-embarked, it was impossible to have the smallest suspicion of any change in the sentiments of the savages; when in a moment a long sagaie, thrown from behind the neighbouring rocks, struck M. Maurouard on the shoulder. This clumsy weapon had been thrown with so much force, that after having grazed the whole surface of the blade bone, it had cut through the flesh between the neck and the shoulder. The boat's crew, provoked at the perfidious and cowardly brutality, would have pursued the savages and punished them as they deserved; but they had already escaped among the rocks, or hid themselves among the brambles. "This accident", said M. St. Cricq, who was on shore with M. Maurouard at the time, "was a lesson to us in future; and we took every precaution that no such thing should happen again: nevertheless, these precautions were not sufficient, for in another part of the channel, a few days afterwards we were again attacked by the savages with a shower of stones: fortunately no one was hurt."

In the meantime we had in vain sought fresh water On this part of the coast: the result of our search convinced us that at this season of the year all the springs are dry; we therefore resolved to depart, that we might seek water in some other place. On the 17th we set sail to get more towards the interior of the channel, but we had no sooner doubled the point Ventinat, than we were forced by a calm to let fall the anchor in nine fathoms water, oozy bottom. I immediately landed on the isle Bruny, with Messrs. Freycinet and Montbazin: on this part of this large island the soil is not very fertile: the trees here are so widely dispersed, that objects two or three hundred paces distant may be easily distinguished: the earth is light, sandy, and superficial; it lays on a bed of rocky granite, of which I collected many beautiful samples. Divers kinds of Coleopteræ, among which, two appeared to me to belong to a new genus; some beautiful lizards, of a somewhat similar form to the scinque or crocodile, but materially differing in the elegance of shape and the agreement of proportion, and several beautiful sea and land shells, were the produce of this incursion: but of all the new subjects which we found on the isle Bruny, the most valuable was a quadruped, the description of which will be found In the zoological part of our Work.

A short time after our return, the commander himself came from a short incursion which he had made on the mainland with captain Hamelin, and Messrs. Leschenault and Petit. These gentlemen had again met with the natives, and this interview had again ended with a violent aggression on their part: for M. Petit having drawn a representation of several of these savages, the party prepared to return to the ship, when one of the natives sprung on the artist, and attempted to take from him the drawings he had just made: M. Petit resisted, and the furious savage seized a log of wood, with which he would have knocked down our unarmed companion, if the rest had not run to his assistance. Far from endeavouring to avenge the attempt, they loaded the aggressor with presents, in hope of calming his ferocity by this generous conduct, and to obtain his good-will as well as that of his countrymen: but these savage people no sooner saw our men busy in getting on board, than they went into the wood, and immediately we were assailed by a shower of stones, one of which hit our commander near the lower part of the back, and caused a large and bad contusion. Notwithstanding this perfidy, our companions continued their generous conduct. In vain did the savages appear on the beach, brandishing their sagaies and threatening our men by their gestures: not a gun was fired at them. "These hostilities", said our unfortunate botanist, M. Leschenault, "were committed on the part of the natives, without our having given them the least provocation; on the contrary, we haul loaded them with presents and civilities, and nothing in our conduct could have given them any offence; and I am astonished, after so many examples of cruelty and treachery which are related in all voyages of discovery, to hear sensible people aver, that men in a state of nature are not wicked; that they may be confided in without fear; that they are never the aggressors except provoked to revenge, &c. Unhappily, many voyagers have been victims to these vain sophisms. For my part, I am of opinion, from all that we have seen and experienced, that we cannot be too much on one's guard against men whose nature has not been softened by civilization; and that great discretion ought to be used in landing on shores inhabited by such people. On the day after the attack which I have just described, captain Hamelin having embarked in his small boat, went to reconnoitre the shore, and approached near enough to see what was passing there. It seemed as if the adventure of the preceding evening had disturbed the savages, or that they were determined to assault us if we landed again on their coast; for the captain saw thirty-six men walking along the shore, in parties of five or six, one in each group carrying a bundle of sagaies; and at the head of this little army was a man with a lighted firebrand in his hand, setting fire, here and there, to the bushes which covered the land. This seemed to be a precaution which they thought necessary, that they might observe our motions from a greater distance, or to deprive us of the means of hiding ourselves and surprizing them."

On the 19th, at six o'clock in the morning, we again set sail to gain the Port N.W. where we designed to anchor: we successively passed the isle Sattelite, the point Riche, the bay of the Isthmus, the cape Legrand, the point Giquet; and about six in the evening we moored in the port as we intended. This short voyage between the two shores of the channel was very pleasant, and the prospects very picturesque. "On whichever side we turned our eyes," as M. Labillardière justly observed, "we saw spacious bays where the navigator, beaten by the storm, may find a safe shelter. The number of these harbours is so great, that they might with ease contain all the fleets of maritime powers." In another view, these peaceable waters enclosed between two lands; these mountains crowned with clouds, the little hills, the valleys clothed with the most luxuriant vegetation, the legions of birds, whose varied notes might be distinctly heard on board our ships; the naked savages, whose black tribes could be easily distinguished on the white sandy shore; all together presented a romantic picture: but what still more astonished us, was the multiplicity of fires which we perceived. In every direction immense columns of flame and smoke arose; all the opposite sides of the mountains, which form the bottom of the port N.W. were burning for an extent of several leagues.

Thus were destroyed these ancient and venerable forests, which the scythe of time had respected through the course of so many centuries, only to fall a sacrifice to the destructive instinct of their ferocious inhabitants.

On the 20th at day-break, I embarked in a boat which was going to fish on the isle Bruny: I collected about twenty new kinds of fish, among which were two species of Lophies, two Ostracions, a Uranoscopos, a Cottus, a Raie or skate, two Scienæ, the Antartic Chimera, and a second species of the same genus, which was very remarkable from a bone on the top of the head shaped like a club; a Syngnathus adorned with several floating membranes, resembling so, many streamers. I also collected a dozen or fifteen kinds of shells, either entirely new or very rare, among which I found a valve of trigonia (Trigonia Antarctica, N.) a kind of shell never till now known to be a living subject; and which in our climates form such long banks of petrifactions; and the beautiful Venus, with transverse ribs extremely fine and thin, brittle, and slight; as also divers Phasianelles of the greatest beauty, some elegant trochus, several turbots, one of which I have described under the name of Eustomiris, reflected the most brilliant and lively prismatic colours; some kinds of patches, fissurelles, and oscabrions, &c. &c. were the produce of this day's research. At the sight of this numerous collection of curious subjects, my unfortunate colleague M. Maugé, absolutely wept, and notwithstanding his consumptive weak state of health, he determined himself to go on shore on the morrow, and to seek some of these interesting animals: but alas! he only considered his zeal and courage; his dying frame was unequal to such an effort. He was scarcely landed on the beach when he fainted; and we were obliged to carry him again on board, in such a weak state, that at one time we feared he would die on the way. This was the last effort of his strength and zeal; he went no more on shore till he was taken there to be buried in the bosom of the earth.

As M. Freycinet will better explain in another part of this voyage, the geographic labours of admiral Dentrecasteaux on Diemen's Land are so very complete, that it would probably be impossible to find any thing better executed; and M. Beautemps-Beaupré, their principal author, has by them acquired an unalienable claim to the esteem of his countrymen, and the gratitude of navigators of every country. Wherever circumstances permitted this experienced artist to make sufficient researches, he has left nothing for his successors to do, The channel of Dentrecasteaux, the bays and numerous ports which belong to it, are particularly correct. Unfortunately, as the portion of Diemen's Land which lays north east of the channel, was but very superficially visited by the French admiral's boat, his work on this point is incomplete. We shall successively in this and the following chapter, endeavour to perfect the geographic account.

Our instructions from government, as we have specified in the first chapter, were to go up as far as possible every river that seemed to be of any importance. The North river was the only one in this part of the Southern Hemisphere which, in this particular, deserved reconnoitring: this care was committed to M. H. Freycinet, and I obtained permission to accompany him. We left the ship on the 24th of January, about three O'clock in the morning; but opposed alternately by the calms, the currents, and the winds, we were obliged to row along shore on the eastern side of the river, to keep under the shelter of the land. At eight o'clock we moored, not being able to stem a strong current which carried us to the south: we here saw great numbers of pelicans, boobies, cormorants, and puffins. The lofty Plateau mountain was covered with fogs, which resolved into a very thick cold dew. The forests in this part of Diemen's Land are not so thick and large as in the interior of the channel; they appeared also to have been partly destroyed by fire.

After passing the Plateau mountain, which seemed to be covered with only small stunted trees, and whose steep sides, furrowed by numberless torrents, presented the appearance of a basaltic rampart, we continued our course up the river. At noon we were off the large hill, at the foot of which the boats of admiral Dentrecasteaux had stayed: this mountain seems to be formed, in the higher parts, of horizontal beds; the base, however, appeared to me to be of primitive origin. Beyond this hill, the river certainly forms a remarkable elbow, but does not turn suddenly to the west, as is indicated in the French chart—it continues its general direction towards the north.

We had no sooner doubled the point formed by the great hill, than we observed a prodigious number of black swans—the river was in fact covered with them, and we soon killed above a dozen, and then continued our course till we were aground on a shoal of mud and herbage, which, with all our strength, we in vain tried to get over. This unforeseen obstacle did not discourage M. Freycinet; and on the morrow, at day-break, he landed with some men well armed, and the necessary instruments, to reconnoitre and survey the river by land, which he despaired of accomplishing in the boat. I accompanied him till, impelled by a desire to see more of the interior of the country, I separated from my companions to go farther up the lands. I soon came to the edge of a deep ravine, which was perpendicular to the course of the river the left side was very steep, and it was with great difficulty I climbed it. Near this kind of natural rampart, were fourteen huts or sheds of bark, similar to those which I had before seen: several fires were still burning in front of these huts, and I could have no doubt but that they had just been abandoned by the natives, who doubtless were frightened at the sound of the guns, which our comrades fired from time to time as they went along the bank of the river. In front of these huts I found several bones of kangaroos and birds; and some flat stones, warm and greasy, on which I concluded they had broiled their food: I picked up some of the hatchets and knives used by the natives; which were simply fragments of a sort of granite, very fine and hard, and more or less in thickness, according to the use it was designed for; with this substance the savages also make their weapons, which are a sort of tomahawk, and their pointed sagaies. In the particular history of these people, all these details will be recurred to more at large.

I was still engaged in the examination of those simple habitations, when on a sudden, I heard some piercing cries in the bottom of a neighbouring valley: I was alone and unarmed; I therefore made haste to get farther from the spot, and pursued my course parallel to the river. I was soon at the foot of a high mountain, which I climbed, and from the summit I discovered the whole course of the North river, which after making a great elbow, is lost among a lofty chain of mountains which lay towards the north west. Beyond these planes of mountains, were to be distinguished some very high peaks, some of which appeared to be yet covered with ice and snow; at least they were remarkably white: and my conjectures on this subject are corroborated by the observations in the voyage of Dentrecasteaux, from which observations it results, that several high mountains on Diemen's Land are always covered with snow, even in the hottest seasons of the year.

After some time enjoying the delightful prospect before my eyes, I came down to the right bank of the river, and at half past four o'clock I had reached the place where M. Freycinet had left our boat under the care of our cadet, M. Brue and a few seamen.

At half an hour past seven, M. Freycinet himself with his men returned: after having gone above four leagues into the interior of the island, keeping always the course of the river, he was then obliged, on account of the thickets and marshes, to climb a neighbouring mountain: "From whence," said he, "I perfectly distinguished the course, of the river, which at length lost itself in the mountains, its chief direction to the point where it is lost in the narrow passages among the mountains, was S.E.¼S. and N.W.¼N. The farther went, the saltness of the water indeed diminished, but so in, sensibly, that it was not till I came to the foot of the mountain, where I ended my survey, that it was at all potable."

On the 25th, at day-break, we again set sail, to attempt a passage over the mud-shoal; we now knew that it was not above two or three hundred paces in breadth, and that beyond, this our boat would find water enough to take us much higher up the river, from the spot where we had been in the first instance obliged to moor. A brisk ward from the N.N.W. and, the tide being in our favour, we were in hopes to overcome this obstacle; but after seven hours excessive labour and fatigue, we were obliged to give up any ulterior attempt, and return to the shore, carrying with us the sad certainty, that the river Could not be of any advantage to navigation, or assist the voyager in any respect.

Our labours having been until now, more particularly directed to the geography of this part of Diemen's Land, we had not been able hitherto to give so much attention to the study of the natives, and The subjects of natural history. This part of our work being finished, M. Freycinet and myself resolved to land on different parts of the shore, as we returned, and to make some incursions up the country, to collect some now subjects, or to have sonic communication with the natives.

The manners of the people in this part, appeared to be still more savage than in the interior farther up the channel; and though we perceived here and there a few of them, it was impossible to join them, as they all when they saw us, fled into the middle of the woods. With more circumspection and perseverance on our part, we hoped to overcome their terrors, and remove their distrusts: the attempt did not succeed, as we shall presently see.

It was about two o'clock when we arrived off a small bay, which was almost in front of the high hill on the left shore, which we before mentioned: from hence we beheld a similar spectacle to that which we saw at the time of our entrance in the port N.W. In every direction, black columns of smoke arose; and wherever we turned our eyes, we beheld the forests on fire: the savage inhabitants of these regions appeared to wish, even at this price, to drive us from their shores. They had retreated to a high mountain, which also appeared like an enormous pyramid of flame and smoke from this spot. Their shouts were distinctly heard, and the people who flocked to them seemed to be very numerous. We resolved to walk thither, and to spend the rest of the day in that difficult undertaking.

After giving the necessary instructions to M. Brue, for the erection of the tent and the care of the boat, M. Freycinet and myself, with five men all well armed, directed our course westward towards this burning mountain. The spectacle was horrible: the flames had destroyed all the herbage; most of the small trees and shrubs had experienced the same fate; and the tallest trees were burnt to a considerable height; in some places they had fallen to the earth by the violence of the flames, and vast fires raged among the rubbish: it was with great difficulty and fatigue that we advanced.

The nearer we approached the top of the mountain; the more the noise increased, and we expected immediately to be attacked by the savages, when in a moment the cries ceased: we came to the spot, and we saw with astonishment that the natives had fled, leaving their miserable huts. After picking up several weapons which they had left behind them, we for some time pursued our course in the same direction, and successively climbed three mountains, without meeting any of the savages whom we were in search of; at length, overcome with weariness and hunger, we took the way to our tents, where we arrived at night-fall.

On the morrow at day-break we re-embarked, to continue our voyage towards the ships; but we were now without water, and were in immediate necessity of a supply, when about eight o'clock in the morning we perceived a valley, which, from its enclosed situation, and the freshness of the adjoining forests, we thought might probably contain some springs of fresh water; and, indeed, we soon found the bed of a stream, but unfortunately, at this time it was almost dry, and we despaired of finding fresh water here; but on a farther examination we discovered some deeper cavities, which were still full.

While M. Freycinet was engaged in having our casks filled, I walked into the interior of the country, going up the pleasant valley, at the entrance of which we then were: The sun shone, the air was cool and refreshing, and the dews, of the morning were rising from the ground; thousands of different species of the myrtle were in blossom, perfuming the air with their sweets, while numberless birds played among the foliage. I particularly distinguished among then the beautiful white cocatoo, with the yellow tuft: this was twice as large as that seen in the Moluccas. Here was also the large black cocatoo, with elegant transverse stripes of bright blue under the tail. I also saw thousands of those perroquets of the south, which, notwithstanding the cold temperature of these countries, rival in beauty the most brilliant kinds of those belonging to the equinoxial climates. I successively remarked the cuckoo Xanthogastre, the blackbird with a yellow ring round the neck, and a bird of the same species that was reddish; the lovely Tangara, of a lilac colour, the bulfinch with a red tail, the woodpecker, and the tom-tit with a blue neck, and great numbers of other birds, which I have before observed in many parts near the channel. In the zoological part of our work, the particular description of these will be given more at large.

On our return to the boat, we embarked, to go back to the west side of the river, where we hoped to find some of the natives. At noon we entered a small creek, which is situated directly to the east of the middle of the Plateau mountain: here we saw a new scene of conflagration, similar to that we had observed on the preceding evening. "This conflagration", said M. Freycinet, "made us hope, that we should find the natives collected together somewhere near the spot; we therefore landed, and immediately proceeded towards the neighbouring mountain. We had scarcely reached the ascent, when we beheld the country, which we at first thought so pleasant, with a totally different aspect: it now appeared to be only a large desert, ravaged by fire—the other side of the mountain was in flames."

In this incursion, I only collected some specimens of jasper, granite, and another sort of rock, which my friend, M. Depuch, thought to be a sort of porphyry. I also collected several kinds of lichens that were very beautiful; several fungi and mosses, a genus of plants, of which I had begun to form an interesting collection from the first moment of our stay on the channel, and which I have since continued at every opportunity during our voyage.

As we returned towards the sea-shore, I followed the winding of a small creek: on this spot, all the pebbles were of basaltic rock, mingled with volcanic scoria. The existence of productions of this kind, in a country that is essentially primitive, possessed another charm in the petrifaction of Shells, some of which I had collected on the preceding evening, at the height of 600 or 700 feet above the level of the sea, on one of the mountains. From these circumstances it appears, that in this extremity of the eastern world, the terrestrial globe has experienced its revolutions and catastrophes; and there has been, as in other places, ravages by the devastating fires of volcanos, and lands swallowed up by the seas!

As we quitted our fourth place of mooring, M. Freycinet and myself proposed to land again on other parts of the coast; but the wind, which blew from the N.E., having freshened all at once, and the sky threatening a storm, we made for the port N.W., where we joined our ships at seven o'clock in the evening.

My industrious friend, M, Lesueur, now informed me, that during our absence he had added a great number of curious fish to our collection and also had been on shore, where he had met with ten different kinds of birds which we had not before seen.

The situation of the channel of Dentrecasteaux at the extremity of the globe; the multiplicity of its magnificent ports; its harbours and beautiful bays; the variety of its shores and bottom, is the occasion of its being at all times extremely full of fish; and when storms, which are so frequent in these latitudes, disturb even the very depths of the seas, the timid myriads of divers kinds of fish, resort from distant parts of the ocean to shelter in these peaceable waters: they must doubtless resort here in still greater numbers, when the cold brings the polar ice as far as on this side of the 50th degree of latitude.

At this inclement season of the year, all the sea animals hasten towards the north, seeking in more temperate climates the food and shelter necessary to continue their existence, Innumerable shoals of fish resort at these seasons to the channel of Dentrecasteaux, towards Port Jackson, and to latitudes still nearer the equator, and thus pay to the starving inhabitant of the eastern shores of New Holland, the same annual tribute which the shoals from the north pay to us in European countries.

It is also at this season of the year that great numbers of sea-calves take possession of the isles in the straights of Bass, and of most of those which are situated along the eastern and western shores of New Holland it is in the same inclement season that the whales from the south make a similar migration, the ocean is at times covered with shoals of these enormous fish. "In every part," said the captain of the English ship the Britannia, in his voyage from the cape south of Diemen's land to Port Jackson, in 1791; "the whole surface of the sea was covered with whales, as far as we could see, even to the very edge of the horizon: these large fish were crouding and following each other in shoals."

The southern extremity of Diemen's Land projecting like a large cape a-head of innumerable shoals, cannot fail of abounding in all kinds of marine animals: to confine myself to the mention of the fish only, I shall first observe, that their numbers and great varieties were equally astonishing to us during our stay in the channel, and consequently we could catch any number at any time we caught several skate of six or eight feet in length five species of these were new; raies of three or four hundred pounds in weight, and some species of the same genus that were smaller and of a very delicate flavour: we also caught divers kinds of labres, spares, scienes, and etox: the uranoscopes, the pleuronectes, the cottes, and the polynemes, were very numerous in every part of the channel, and supplied us daily with plenty of an excellent and wholesome kind of food. Among those kinds Of fish which were of least utility, but that were also singularly curious, were three kinds of ostracions, two of which were very prickly; the armed chimera, which I have mentioned before, two tetrodons, two lyngnathes, and a great number of other kinds, all new, which M. Lesueur and myself collected, described, painted, or preserved with the greatest care; but in general our acquisitions were so numerous and so various, that it would be impossible to particularise them, without exceeding the bounds of this work, and of this chapter.

The twenty days which intervened between my return from the North river till the departure of the two ships, were almost all employed in making incursions, shorter or longer, on different parts of Diemen's Land and the isle Bruny. I had often the opportunity; during these walks, of observing the miserable hordes of these countries, and to collect some interesting particulars on the subject of their manners, customs, weapons, ornaments, language, &c. &c. all these observations are so immediately connected with the natural history of these people, that here I shall only mention some particulars of one of our most remarkable interviews.

On the 31st of January, early in the morning, I landed on the isle Briny. A boat from the Naturalist and our long-boat, had brought a considerable number of people on shore on this island, either to fish or to get wood for the ships. The tide was low, and I immediately left the people, with the intention of walking as far as I could round the circumference of the island, at the same time keeping along the shore. I had got out of sight of the boats, when after doubling a large point; I perceived about twenty savages coming along the shore, as if to meet me. I without hesitating a moment turned back, warned by experience of the danger of such rencontres.

As I thus retreated, I met M. Heirisson, officer of the Naturalist, and M. Bellefin, the doctor of that ship, who were amusing themselves by shooting on the borders of the forest. I told them the reason of my retreat, and they offered to rep turn with me and face the savages, that we might endeavour to have some communication with them. Our number and our arms being now a sufficient protection against their ill-will, if they should be disposed to offend us, I accepted the proposal of my friends. We were at this time at only a small distance from the company, when in a moment they again disappeared among the trees of the forest. We now climbed the downs, and without pursuing the natives, which the swiftness of foot peculiar to these people would have made hopeless, we contented ourselves with calling to them, showing them several different things as presents, and at the same time waving our handkerchiefs. At these demonstrations of friendship they hesitated an instant, and then stopped, as if to wait for us. We now discovered that they were women, and that there was not a single male among the party. We were advancing nearer, when one of the oldest of them leaving her companions a few steps in the rear, made signs to us to stay where we were, and to sit down, calling aloud to us médi, médi (sit down, sit down); she seemed also to desire us to lay down our arms, of which they seemed to be in some fear.

These preliminaries being settled, the women squatted on their heels, and from that moment seemed to shew all the natural vivacity of their character without the least reserve, and speaking altogether, asked us a number of questions, seeming often to criticise our appearance, and laugh heartily at our expence, making a thousand odd gestures and contortions. M. Bellefin began to sing, at the same time using a great deal of action: the women immediately kept silence, observing with as much attention the motions of M. Bellefin as they seemed in give to the sound of his voice. At the end of every verse some applauded him with loud acclamations, others laughed heartily, while the young women, being more timid, kept silence, and expressed their surprise and satisfaction only by their looks and gestures.

These women, with the exception of some few who had the skin of it kangaroo over their shoulders, were all entirely naked; but without seeming to think at all of their nudity, they so varied their attitudes and postures, that it would be difficult to give any just idea of all that this interview presented of the whimsical and picturesque. Their black skin disgustingly greased with the fat of the sea-wolf, their short woolly hair, which was black and dirty, and which some of them had powdered with red ochre; their figure besmeared with the dust of charcoal; their shape generally lean and shrivelled; with their breasts, which were long, hanging down: in a word, all the particulars of their natural constitution were in the highest degree disgusting. From this general picture, however, we must always except two or three young girls, of fifteen or sixteen years of age, in whom we could perceive an agreeable form, and pleasant features, with a round well formed bosom, though the nipples were rather too large and long. These young girls had also something ingenuous in the expression of the countenance, something soft and tender in their manners, as lithe most amiable qualities of the mind were always, even among the most savage hordes of the human species, the more particular appendages of youth and beauty. Among the most aged of these females, some were ill-formed and clumsy; others, but these were few, looked sulky and ferocious; but in general, we observed in them all a something unhappy and depressed on the countenance, which, misery and servitude always print on the faces of those who are compelled to bear the yoke. They were besides, almost all of them covered with sores, the sad consequences of the ill treatment they had received from their ferocious husbands: one only, among all her companions, had preserved any degree of confidence, with a lively and merry temper: this was she who had imposed the preliminary conditions which I mentioned above.

After M. Bellefin had concluded his song, she began to mimic his action and the tone of his voice, in a very pleasant and truly original manner, which much diverted her companions: she next began herself to sing, with such a rapidity of expression, that it would be very difficult to give any idea of music, such as it was, so different from the general principles of any European music.

Their tunes seem entirely to accord with their language for these people speak with such quickness and volubility, that it is impossible, as we shall shew hereafter, to distinguish their pronunciation with any degree of precision: it is a sort of rolling sound, for which our European languages do not furnish any expression of comparison or analogy.

Excited by the sowed of her voice, which we did not fail to applaud with much warmth, and doubtless wishing to obtain our admiration in other respects, our jovial Diemenese began to dance, and to throw herself into divers attitudes, some of which might be thought very indecent, if in this state of society, men were not still absolutely strangers to all the delicacy of sentiment and conduct, which among is is only the consequence of complete civilization.

While all this was passing, I employed myself in minuting all the particulars which I have here given, and many Other observations, which will with more propriety be produced at a future time. I was doubtless observed by this same man, who had exerted herself so much to entertain us; for she had no sooner finished her dance, than she came close to me, and taking from a bag made of rushes, such as I have before described, some charcoal which it contained, she crushed it between her hands, and with an obliging air she began to apply it on my face, as is customary in these regions. I willingly submitted to this obliging piece of caprice: M. Heirisson had the same complaisance, and was ornamented with a similar mask. We now seemed to be very much admired by these women; they appeared to regard us with a degree of sweet satisfaction and pleasure, and seemed to congratulate us on the acquisition of such an addition to our beauty. Thus it appears that the fairness of skin, of which Europeans are so vain, is an absolute defect, and a sort of deformity, which, in these distant climates, must yield the palm of beauty to the blackness of coal, or the colour of red ochre.

The deference which we had shewn for these women, and probably the additional charms for which we were obliged to their kind care and attention, seemed to increase their good will and confidence in us: but, however, nothing would induce them to come any nearer. At the least movement we made, that seemed to imply an inclination to break through the conditions, they all sprung up from their position on their heels, and ran away: we were therefore obliged to conform entirely to their wishes, that we might longer enjoy their company. After loading them with civilities and presents, we thought proper to rise, and return to our boat; and our Diemenese ladies seeming to intend taking the same direction, the two parties set off, but we were again obliged to submit to the regulations of these inexorable women—we were to walk on the sandy beach, while they walked on the downs of sand in a parallel line.

As they probably were on their return from fishing when we met with them, they all had some large crabs, a kind of lobsters, and some other sorts of shell-fish which they had broiled on the coals, and which they carried in their bags of rush. These bags were fastened round the forehead with a sort of string, and hung on their backs: some of them were very heavy, and we pitied them sincerely for having such burdens to carry.

We were as merry on the way as we had been during the whole time of our interview; and from the top of the downs they played many tricks, and practised many drolleries, to which we endeavoured to reply as expressively as we could devise; and we should have longer continued to divert ourselves in this innocent manner, if one of the women had not on a sudden uttered a loud cry of terror, which was repeated by all the rest—it was our boats and comrades, of which they had just got the first sight. We strove to calm their fears, assuring them that, far from having any thing to fear from our friends, they would again receive some presents; but our remonstrances were in vain, and the whole party fled into the forest, when the same woman, who was almost the only one who had endeavoured to entertain us, seemed to recollect herself, and to change her mind. At the sound of her voice, the rest seemed to hesitate a moment: she spoke to them for an instant, but, as it appeared, could not prevail on them to follow her. She sprung from the top of the downs atone, and walking on the beach before us at a little distance, with great courage, and even with a degree of stateliness; she seemed to ridicule the timidity of her companions, who now, in their turn, appeared to be ashamed of their want of courage: they by degrees seemed to overcome their fear, and at length determined to return to the beach. With this numerous and extraordinary escort, we arrived at the spot where our boats were moored, and where, by a chance it was impossible to foresee, all the husbands of these poor women had arrived together but a few minutes before.

Notwithstanding the most unequivocal testimonies of the good will and generosity of our companions, they still maintained a sulky generosity expression of countenance their looks were fierce and menacing, and their attitude showed something of constraint, malevolence, and treachery, which they in rain endeavoured to conceal: we thought we could perceive, that they were mortified at their own inability to contend with us in their divers attacks; at the same time, they seemed to dread our vengeance.

At this unexpected rencontre, all the unfortunate females who had followed us, seemed greatly terrified; and their savage husbands gave them such looks of rage and anger, as were not at all likely to re-assure them. After having deposited the fish they had brought at the feet of these men, who immediately divided them among themselves, without offering any to the women, these humiliated wives placed themselves in a group behind their husbands, who were seated on the farther side of a high down of sand; and here, during the remainder of our stay, these unfortunate women did not dare to speak, or smile, or even lift up their eyes from the ground: but this is only a slight sketch of the picture which we shall present to the reader hereafter. A few days after, I had the pleasure of meeting the same woman who had so much attracted our attention: I then learnt that her name was Arra-Maïda. M. Petit, at my request, drew a likeness of her, and which is a very correct resemblance: in the features may be easily discovered that expression of courage and superiority, which so eminently distinguished her from her companions. The last time I met with her, she had a young child at her back.



7. Arra-Maïda

On the 3d of February, I landed again on the isle Bruny, with three of our officers, the two Messrs. Freycinets and M. Montbazin; and we soon saw two women, who, from the top of a neighbouring mountain, were directing their steps towards the sea-shore. Eager to see them nearer, my companions ran after them; but they had not run above two hundred paces, before the women, whom they imagined they should easily overtake, were quite out of sight: this I had told them would happen, having before been convinced that the inhabitants of these shores were, in general, much more swift of foot than Europeans. As we drew near the beach, we found a large fire, which doubtless had been made in the night, and was still burning. Around this fire were strewed almost all the presents which we had given to the natives, and those which they had stolen, even at the risk of their lives. We had before found some of these things scattered here and there in the woods; and we were convinced that, after having satisfied a puerile curiosity, these uninformed men threw away what no longer pleased or amused them.

In the mean time, our business on Diemen's Land was ended: we had obtained wood sufficient; the small river which ran at the termination of the N.W. port had supplied us with plenty of water, which was, however, rather brackish; time-keepers had been regulated by our astronomer, M. Bernier; and lastly, M. Faure had returned from exploring the N.E. of the channel, and brought back the following interesting particulars:

In the east of the North Bay is marked, on the chart admiral Dentrecasteaux, a second bay, which, by the name of Bay Frederick-Hendrick, opens into a third, which, in the same chart, is called Bay Marion. The channel of communication between these two last bays, is correctly shewn in the French chart. Our commander, immediately on our arrival in the N.W. port, sent the geographic engineer, M. Faure, to reconnoitre this channel, and to determine whether the passage was of sufficient extent for our ships to go through with safety.

Eleven days had been spent in this work, from which it was proved, first, that the plan of the North Bay, as it was found in the chart of Dentrecasteaux, is incorrect. M. Faure, indeed, discovered, in the innermost part of the bay, a piece of water that was rather shallow, but of great extent: this was so sheltered, that it might at all times be a safe place of mooring for small vessels and boats. Here he also discovered a small river, which, situated in the north of the Point Renard, was navigable for near two leagues up the country; but all the water was brackish. However, M. Faure succeeded in finding a supply in some small lakes of fresh water which were near the shore, or rather in the very bed of the river, which was at the time almost dry.

2d, That the second bay, which lays S.E. of that of the north, and which is but vaguely pointed in the chart of Dentrecasteaux, is in fact a safe and spacious port, with excellent mooring.

3d, That there is not, as has been asserted, any channel of communication between Marion's Bay and that of Frederick-Hendrick.

4th, That what was at that time pointed out under the name of the Isle of Tasman, in the French chart, is not an island, but a large peninsula, which joins Diemen's Land by an isthmus of 100 fathoms in breadth at the narrowest part, and about 300 fathoms in length.

5th, That this isthmus is not at all connected with the Bay of Marion, or that of Frederick-Hendrick, as the chart indicates precisely, but belongs to another bay, which is situated more towards the south.

6th, That the name of Frederick-Hendrick is erroneously given to the bay which lays S.E. of that in the north, which makes it utterly impossible, according to the knowledge since acquired of this bay, that Tasman could have known or have seen any part of it.

7th, For the same reason, the name of Frederick-Hendrick, given by the French to the small island which lays to the west of the Point Joannet, should not be preserved, because in ascribing the pretended discovery of this part of Diemen's Land to Tasman, it helps to preserve an opinion that is not founded on fact.

8th, That the name of the Isle of Tasman, used by Dentrecasteaux, ought also to be corrected.

9th, It appears, therefore, from the labours of M. Faure, that the Bay of Frederick-Hendrick, not being where it is placed in the French chart, it must be necessarily sought elsewhere; and we shall see in the following chapter, that it will be found, thanks to our exertions, in the true place, and in what manner it is at all connected with that of Marion.

From all these considerations, we have, in the relation of our discoveries, adopted the following names: preserving to the North Bay that which was given to it by the French admiral, we have given the name of Port Buache to the great bay which is described so erroneously under the name of Frederick-Hendrick; the Isle Tasman, of admiral Dentrecasteaux, we have called the peninsula of Tasman; we have also agreed with M. Beautemps-Beaupré, in substituting the name of St. Aignant instead of that of Frederick-Hendrick, as the name of the isle which lays west of the Point Joannet. We called the piece of water at the farther end of the North Bay, Ransonnet-Bason, and the small river whose mouth is situated N.W. of the Point Renard, we named Brue-river, from the name of one of the two cadets of our expedition, who were both very estimable characters.

All our labours being thus terminated on this part of Diemen's Land, we unmoored on the 5th of February, and made every preparation to set sail as soon as the wind became at all favourable. In the evening of the same day, the disk of the sun at its setting appeared of the most beautiful and bright red colour: the wind was then N.E. but in the course of the night it changed to the north, and blew in impetuous squalls, which lasted tilt ten or eleven o'clock on the following morning. These squalls were so violent, that in the course of a few hours the barometer sunk seven lines three-tenths; they were at the same time attended with such a sudden and extraordinary degree of heat, that in a few moments the temperature rose from 11° to 22° of Reaumur, and it was scarcely possible to breathe even in the open air: the wind seemed like the heat from a furnace, and immediately all the surface of the sea appeared to smoke; an immense quantity of water spread throughout the atmosphere, and during the rest of the day we were as if plunged in a bath of hot vapour. Some of our people, among whom was our commander, thought these effects of nature might be caused by the conflagrations of the neighbouring forests; but independent of the insufficiency of such an explanation, even in the present instance, we shall hereafter see that these hot winds are also experienced on the west shores of New Holland, with circumstances perfectly similar: and on the eastern coast of the same continent, they are felt and attended with effects that make them still more dreadful; thousands of animals are sometimes suffocated in the course of a few hours, and in an instant all the vegetation becomes withered. We shall at present only observe, that these hot winds are felt as far as the southern extremity of Diemen's Land; there also these winds come from the north. In one of the following chapters some curious observations will again occur on this subject, with more particulars which are connected in an interesting manner with the natural history of this large continent.

On the 17th of February, having a light breeze in our favour from the east to the E.S.E. we set sail from the channel of Dentrecasteaux, after a stay of thirty-six days, toward the southern extremity of Diemen's Land.





CHAPTER XV.

The South-East Part of Diemen's Land.

[From the 17th to the 28th of February, 1802.]


WE were scarcely out of the channel, when the wind changed to the south, and compelled us, during the whole day, to tack between the peninsula of Tasman, the isle Willaumez, and the isle Bruny, without making any way. The night was calm, but about two o'clock in the morning a fine breeze sprung up from the W.S.W. We took the advantage of it to bear away to the S.S.E. At day-break we passed Cape Raoul, which was peaked in every part with jutting projections of prisms, and points of rock that appeared to be basaltic. At seven o'clock in the morning we were off the Isle Tasman, which is a large sterile plain, whose blackish sides rise from the bosom of the waters like volcanic ramparts: the south point, like Cape Raoul, was covered with immense columns of basalt. On Cape Pillar, the same constitution, the same broken appearance is to be observed; and on the cape which lies to the west of the rocks of Hippolytus, and which we named Cape Haüy, in honour of the celebrated mineralogist of that name, the appearance of these fragments is horrible. At the distance of some miles, this cape appears like an immense organ standing on the surface of the waters. The rocks of Hippolytus are connected with this grand system of disorder and broken chasms: these rocks are three in number, and the largest of them something resembles the Coin-de-Mire of the Isle of France.



8. General Map of the South-East Part of Diemen's Land

After doubling Cape Haüy, we found ourselves off a small bay, but very pleasant. On the right and left of this bay, large, black, and sterile masses raise their heads: these summits are broken, and as if cut into teeth like a saw: towards the farther end of the bay is seen a beautiful verdant border, which makes a most striking contrast to the naked and barren sides of the dark mountains by which it is enclosed. Beyond these first elevations, in the distance, is seen a lofty mountain, whose summit is terminated by a triple peak. We named this bay Dolomieu Bay, and pursued our course towards the north, ranging at a short distance a steep coast, washed by a deep sea. We now began to perceive, that the land was not here quite so barren; and the lofty head of the Eucalyptus appeared above these ramparts.

A short distance to the north of the Bay Dolomieu, we soon saw a large opening, which M. Faure ascertained to be the Eastern bay, opposite to the Port Buache, and which we mentioned in the preceding chapter. This identity is so much the more incontestible, as our engineer, at the time he was exploring, after having crossed the isthmus, had found himself at the farther end of this new bay, and from this point he had observed the rocks of Hippolytus, so situated as to determine this fact. We named this Monge Bay, in compliment to the illustrious scholar to whom the mathematics, and other sciences, are indebted for so many valuable discoveries. The isthmus which separates Monge Bay from Port Buache, appeared low and sandy. Beyond this isthmus, and on a second elevation, we discovered a chain of grey mountains, which at first appear lower than those of the peninsula of Tasman, but which, rising rapidly towards the north, make a second peninsula, which we shall have to speak of in another part of this work. A large rounded cape, of a brownish tint, terminates Monge Bay to the north: the whole of this cape towards the sea, is barren; but on the top are some green trees: several reddish rocks projected out a-head, like so many small points; the constitution of these seemed to be volcanic. This remarkable cape was named Cape Surville, in memory of the unfortunate French navigator of that name.

From Cape Surville to that of Frederick-Hendrick the lands are very high, almost perpendicular at the base, and rounded into large domes towards the summits: their appearance is of a dark green colour; here and there might be distinguished a very few low trees and shrubs.

Immediately to the north of Cape Frederick-Hendrick is the large Bay of Marion, which we crossed without any stay; and about five o'clock in the evening we anchored in the channel which is situated between Diemen's Land and the Isle Maria, opposite to Oysters Bay.

On the 19th of February, at day-break, the long-boat of our ship, under the command of M. Maurouard, was sent to make the tour of the Isle Maria, to draw the plan of it, and to ascertain whether there was any fresh water.

Our geographic engineer, M. Boulanger, although scarcely recovered from the distemper he had at Timor, was ordered, on this service: I obtained leave to go with him, as I wished to make observations on the island and its productions, of the nature of the soil, the temperature, and the inhabitants.

We soon reached the most southern cape of this isle, which our geographers have named Cape Peron: a-head of this cape there rises a solitary rock of granite, of the height of from 150 to 200 feet, rent by the waves, and something resembling a sort of obelisk; we therefore named it the Pyramid.

From this point, the coast turns short to the N.N.E. We steered along shore at a little distance: it is from end to end almost perpendicular, like an immense rampart of granite: on some parts of this coast is an appearance resembling the remains of a line of ancient fortifications. Several kinds of adhesive plants, among which were particularly distinguished some lichens of a tine brimstone colour, or a bright red, growing against these ramparts, the tops of which were seen through the shrubs like the parapet of citadel: in many places there were some resembling the appearance of towers and battlements.

The bottom was deep all the length of this coast; but as it is exposed to all the rage of the winds from the south, which meet with no obstacle between this and the Antarctic Pole, it is incessantly beaten by the turbulent waves, that break with great noise and violence against the walls of granite which protect the shore.

Arrived at the eastern point, which we named Cape Maurouard, from the name of the cadet who now assisted M. Boulanger in his geographic studies, we observed that the direction of the coast turned to N.N.W.: here the mountains declined rapidly, and soon the chain was broken to form a large bay, into which we steered, and soon after landed on the isthmus which separates it from Oysters Bay.

It was now about two o'clock; and while they were busied on the beach in their geographic labours, I proceeded towards the north coast of the bay, and thus got into the interior of the country. At first I could walk but slowly, as I was obstructed by the numerous shrubs which covered almost the whole surface of the land: in some places the bushes were so thick and strong, that it was impossible to pass. I was on the point of determining to retrace my steps, when I perceived, at some distance, a path which had been trod by the natives: into this path I turned, and soon the trees were more dispersed; and I arrived, in less than half an hour, at the top of a little hill, from whence I discovered the two bays of the Isle Maria, the isthmus which separates them, and the mountains of Diemen's Land, the highest acclivities of which could scarcely be distinguished in the midst of the vapours which enveloped them. Divers kinds of beautiful grass made a pleasant verdant carpet: the Melaleuca, the Correa, the Fagara, the Conchyum, the Styphelia, the Metrosideros, &c. here and there formed pleasant thickets, above which appeared the lofty globulous Eucalyptus, the immense Leptosperma, the Exocarpos with leaves like cypress, the fibrous Casuarina, the Banksia with silver, and a number of other trees peculiar to the southern climates. At the foot of this hill ran a small stream of fresh water; on the banks of it were several kinds of Pteris, Limodorum, a new kind of Everlasting with white blossoms; the beautiful Aletris with red flowers; the tall Parsley of these shores; and a small kind of Daucus, of a savour similar to that of our common carrot.

While I enjoyed the beauties of this charming spot, and as I looked around with a sort of pleasing inquietude, I perceived at a little distance a monument, whose construction excited a considerable degree of curiosity: I approached the place hastily, and the following is the account of what I observed.

On a large spot of verdure, under the shade of some ancient Casuarinæ, a cone was raised, which was roughly formed of the barks of trees, stuck in the ground at one end, and fastened together at the other by a large wisp made of the same substance. Four long poles, fixed in the earth by one end, served as a prop and support to all the bark under which they are placed: these four poles appear also to have been designed as an ornament to the edifice; for, instead of being joined together at the upper end, like the pieces of bark, and thus to form a simple cone, they cross each other a little above the middle of their length, that is to say, exactly where they project through the top of the monument. In this manner they form a kind of tetraedre pyramid, the point of which exactly meets the point or top of the cone. This contrast of shape, and the opposition in the two parts of the edifice, produces an effect that was pretty enough, and was increased by an additional ornament of a long strip of bark on each of the four sides of the pyramid, which was bent together, and the two ends of each of these strips of bark were also confined by the large wisp, by which, as I have before said, all the others were bound together at the top; these strips thus formed a kind of oval, pointed at the lower part, which was where the ends were attached to the top of the cone. As each of these ovals corresponded with each of the sides of the pyramid, it is easy to conceive that such an edifice must have some appearance of elegance, and be very picturesque.

I considered this monument for a few moments, but could not imagine its use. I determined to examine it more strictly; I therefore pulled off several large pieces of bark, and easily penetrated the interior: all the upper part was unoccupied; but at the bottom was a large flattened cone, made of fine soft herbage, disposed with much care in concentric layers of a considerable depth. . . . My curiosity increased with my uncertainty on the subject. Eight small hoops of wood crossed each other over the top of this green heap, and served to confine it: the ends of each of these were stuck in the earth, and fastened there by the pressure of a large flat stone of granite.

So many precautions occasioned me to entertain hopes that I should make some interesting discovery, and I was not deceived. . . . I had no sooner taken off some of the upper layers of verdure, than I perceived a large heap of white ashes, which seemed to have been gathered together with great care. I put my hand into the middle of these ashes, and felt something of more substance, which I drew forth—it was the jaw-bone of a man, to which there yet adhered some remains of flesh . . . I shuddered with a sensation of horror . . . Nevertheless, on reflecting a few moments on all I had observed in the construction of this monument, I soon began to experience sensations of a different kind: this verdure, these flowers, these protecting trees, this thick bed of green herbage, which we carefully had covered these ashes—all united to convince me that I had discovered a place of burial.

As I removed some of the ashes, I perceived a black coal, friable and light, which I soon ascertained to be animal coal: as I found some that still chewed remains of flesh, in which might be distinguished parts of the large blood vessels lilt of calcined blood. I next found parts of the bones, that were easily known to belong to the vertebrae, the shoulder, the leg, &c. all were much changed by fire, and some of them easily crumbled into powder. These bones were not, as I had at first thought, laid simply on the surface of the earth; they were all collected together in the bottom of a circular hole of sixteen or eighteen inches diameter, and eight or ten inches in depth: we shall prove that these observations are of some consequence.

I probably might have omitted to mention a circumstance, not uninteresting, on this subject, if, in another burial place which I discovered on the following day, I had not made the same observation. At the foot of the hillock on which, as I have before said, the monument was raised, ran a stream of fresh water, cool and limpid, which in this season of the year is an advantage that is to be found in very few places. The banks of this rivulet were covered with several kinds of herbage, among which were divers species of Orchis, Ophris, the Richea glauca, the Apium prostratum, and a sort of carrot peculiar to these regions.

With what pleasure, seated on the side of this stream, I for a few minutes indulged the following reflections, naturally produced by so many united circumstances: "Among these terrific rocks, in the depths of these venerable forests, nature has yet preserved some of her rights, since the first monument which we discover of the uninformed and savage race who inhabit them, was consecrated by Nature herself."

The semicircular grove which I had formerly observed on the barren western shores of New Holland, now recurred to my recollection. I remembered the interest I felt at the appearance of this wood on the left shore of the river Vasse, and I exclaimed, "This monument, the only one which we discovered on those shores, seemed also to have been consecrated by affection." Thus it appears that the first impulse of devotion was inspired by nature, and the first altars raised by filial piety, by affection, and gratitude.

I extended this analogy between the two subjects: the grove of Geography Bay was situated on the border of the Salt River, which seemed, with the marshes that surrounded it, to supply, in a special manner, the food of the inhabitants of these inhospitable shores. The tomb which I had just discovered was placed near that part of the East Bay which alone produced any fresh water: on this spot also, shell fish was to be found in greater plenty, and it was the daily food of the natives. This presumption of the situation of the monument being chosen, was strengthened by an observation which I made on the following day, in Oysters Bay, on a construction of the same kind, which also was placed on an eminence, at the foot of which ran a small stream of fresh water, the only one we had discovered through the whole extent of this last mentioned bay. "Thus it appears, that the same principle which dedicates these monuments also raises them in situations that are most interesting and Sear to those who visit those places, impelled by their daily wants, and where they must experience in a greater degree the sentiments of gratitude and attachment."

Other ideas occasioned new meditations: I considered what could be the origin, on these distant shores, of the custom of burning the dead. Isolated from the rest of the universe, confined to the extremities of the globe, the inhabitants of these shores could not have had the idea by communication with any other nation, it must therefore be incontestably their own. But wherefore in this case have they adopted it in preference to any other? is this preference a simple effect of chance; or is there a physical reason for the customs derived from the very nature of circumstances, and the particular mode of social organization belonging to these people, which may have established the custom, and which still continues the observance? These queries, in discussion, require that I should, in a few words, retrace the essential traits of the actual state of society of the inhabitants of Diemen's Land, with which those of the Isle Maria are connected in every respect, as we shall hereafter demonstrate.

Almost entirely strangers to every principle of social order, without any governors, laws, clothing, or cultivation of any kind, destitute of any certain means of existence, and without any fixed habitation, knowing no other weapons or implements of any sort than his sagaie and his club, both of which are imperfect and roughly formed; wandering in families on the sea-shore, from whence the chief part of his daily subsistence is derived; it is there he longest fixes his abode, and to that spot he more frequently returns, where the shell fish is to be found in greatest plenty, and where also the vicinity of some stream of fresh water more conveniently may supply this necessary for himself and family.



9. Native Habitations, Diemen's Land

What I have here said of the individual, in general may be applied to the whole of the people who are the subject of these observations: in such circumstances, the resources of the horde end with those of each individual of its members.

These principles being granted, suppose one of these men to die, a respectable old man, the father of a numerous family, he is surrounded by his children, among whom he has just drawn his last breath—What will they do with his corpse? Can they forsake it? he was their father, he had loved them—and shall they leave his body to be devoured by wild beasts? a reflection like this makes even a savage shudder with horror. Besides, the putrefaction of the corpse would become offensive, and the scattered bones of their parent would not only be a reproach to them for their ingratitude, but would also be an unpleasant and disgusting spectacle.

To cast it into the sea appears at first to be the most natural and simple expedient, but it was possible the corpse might again be thrown on the shore by the currents and the tide; and probably the putrified members of their parents might have been fished up by their own hands among the shells which supplied their daily food.

To embalm the body is totally beyond their means or conception.

To bury it is a labour so much the more difficult, as the soil is generally hard and flinty, and the absolute want of every kind of tool makes it almost impossible for them to dig any kind of grave. However, it is probable that these people would have had recourse to this expedient, if another was not more ready, easier, and at the same time more convenient in every respect, than all those which I have before mentioned: this expedient is to burn the corpse: here every thing concurs with the facility of the execution; every thing agrees both with the general habits of these people and their particular situation. The terrible and powerful element, fire, from which they derive such various and indispensable helps, cannot fail to excite among such people, some of those sentiments of veneration which most of the ancient nations had consecrated by so many religious ceremonies and monuments.

Fire in these countries, although probably not worshipped as formerly, seems to be esteemed as something very superior to all other objects of nature, and these primitive ideas have doubtless not a little contributed to the idea of burning the dead. This opinion once formed, it became a duty to adopt it. The necessary materials were always ready; it required neither reflection nor labour; no tool was requisite; the execution was quick and easy to be done; it prevented both the putrefaction and the consequent infection; a few bones was all that remained after this duty was performed, and the ashes of the fire were sufficient alone to cover them. The whole ceremony, at most, required only a few hours, and the preparations had also a tendency to make this ceremony more solemn and sacred.

Thus, therefore, this custom of burning the dead does not appear to be the pure effect of chance: according to all the physical and local circumstances, it seems evidently to have been occasioned by them, and if the nature of this work would allow me to enlarge on the subject, it would be easy to prove, that this important part of the customs of nations is in many respects more connected with the quality and nature of the soil than might be supposed. Is it not very remarkable, for example, that the two countries of the world that are most celebrated for their mummies, and the art of embalming the dead, namely, Egypt and Teneriffe, should also be distinguished by the general character of the continual dryness of the soil and atmosphere, and by the facility of procuring there the divers aromatic, astringent, or resinous ingredients, which make the essential part of their embalmings. But, leaving all ulterior discussion on this subject, let us here conclude what we have farther to say of the curious monument of the savages of the Isle Maria.

The discovery I had just made pleased, me so much the more, as no object of this kind had yet been observed in these latitudes. Riche, in one of his excursions, had indeed discovered on Diemen's Land, a piece of a human bone, to which adhered some remains of half burnt flesh; and M. Labillardière justly imagined from this discovery, that the inhabitants burnt the dead: but this conjecture was founded On a circumstance so equivocal, that it dill not deserve any kind of confidence. On the contrary, we may now regard as a fact, all that belongs to the curious chapter on the history of the inhabitants of those regions.

I mentioned a second tomb which we saw on the following day in Oysters Bay, opposite to that of the East. To conclude entirely all that belongs to this subject, I shall anticipate the order of the dates, and in a few words point out what I thought worthy of particular mention. Situated on an eminence, at the foot of which ran a stream of fresh water, the only one to be found in this bay, this monument differed but little from that which I have already described: it was only more ancient; the form was not so regular; the poles which had supported the bark had fallen to the ground; the herbage which had covered the ashes was much changed by the humidity of the atmosphere; but in other respects the bones and ashes were disposed much in the same manner as in the monument in the East Bay. The only particularity which I observed, and which certainly deserves to be preserved, was, that on the under side of some of the largest pieces of bark, were rudely engraven some characters, similar to those on the arms of the natives who have been tatooed.

To what I have now said I must add one last observation, which is, that from the nature of these monuments, it is not a matter of any surprize that we meet with so few of them, for the bark of which they are constructed is soon destroyed by the power of the atmosphere, or scattered by the winds. The fine herbage which covers the ashes presently decays, and even the ashes, which arc soon partly dispersed, can Only then leave the appearance of a fire having been made on the spot; and as the bones are collected together in a hole, they of course remain buried, which sufficiently explains why we never see any of them on the surface of the earth. To this last circumstance let us add the complete calcination they have undergone, to make the decomposition more rapid and annihilation more complete.

In the mean time my companions had finished their geographical labours, and when I rejoined them they had been waiting for me some minutes: we now re-embarked, and proceeded to take soundings in the interior of the bay. There was almost every where in this bay, water sufficient for anchorage, but the bottom being generally of bard rock, it is not very safe: it is besides, too open, and too much exposed to the winds from the south and by east. It is doubtless, to this quality of the bottom of the bay that we may ascribe the abundance of sea-grass, which forms on several parts of the surface truly floating meadows, in the midst of which innumerable flocks of goëlands, puffins, cormorants, &c. continually resort to seek their food.

After having thus completed reconnoitring the great Eastern Bay, which we named Riédlé Bay, in memory of the worthy naturalist whom we had lost at Timor, we again landed on the island to pass the night, and on the morrow, which was the 20th of February, we left the island at four o'clock in the morning, to continue our exploration of the Isle Maria.

After doubling the point north of the Bay Riédlé, we saw the land turn to the E.N.E. as far as off Cape Mistaken, which forms the most eastern point of the island. From this cape, as far as the Cape North, the coast lays in the direction of W.N.W. All this part of the island, between the East Bay and the North Cape, is really terrific. Lofty walls of granite, 300 or 400 feet high, and almost perpendicular, protect the whole length of this coast: in these thick walls are vast caverns, in which the waters rush with a great noise, somewhat similar to distant thunder. The shore is every where inaccessible: the sea here rolls its tumultuous waves; and one cannot help trembling for the fate of ships driven on this inhospitable shore.

Such a constitution doubtless depends on the general situation of the Isle Maria, which in this point is exposed to all the fury of a stormy sea. This presumption becomes a certainty, by the comparison of the western coast of the island with the eastern shore which we have just described; for no sooner had we doubled the Cape North, which, from the name of our engineer, was called Cape Boulanger, than the land sank rapidly, and spread into a long, flat, sandy shore, under the shelter of Diemen's Land, which continues without interruption to the farther end of Oysters Bay. In a word, every thing to the east proclaims the ravages of the winds and waves; while to the west, every appearance declares the repose of nature, and of a more tranquil climate.

A-head of Cape Boulanger is a large rock, which is connected with the Isle Maria by a dangerous reef: beyond this rock is a large islot of granite; it is rather law and barren. There is a narrow passage between this islot and the land, where small boats only can pass: we called this, North Islot.

I have mentioned shoals of sea-grass which spread over part of the Bay Riédlé: their extent had before surprised me, but in lengthening the coast N.E. of the island, this sort of vegetation was a subject of still greater astonishment. The whole surface of the sea was covered with it at intervals; and it was not without difficulty that we disengaged ourselves from one of these shoals, on the edge of which we had got entangled, and we were some hours contending with this singular obstacle. These enormous banks or shoals are composed of only one kind, namely, the Fucus gigantinus, the largest, doubtless, of all kinds of sea vegetation, for we measured some of it that was from 250 to 300 feet in length. To raise these immense long stalks to the surface of the waters, and to support them there, nature finds a simple and effectual method. Here and there each stalk produces a leaf of a considerable size, indented at the edges, and crinkled all over: where this large leaf is joined to the stalk, is a kind of large vesicle or bladder, in form somewhat like a pear, about two or three inches in length, and one inch in diameter in the thickest and most inflated part. All these vesicles, filled with air, are like so many little balloons, which raise the stalks to the surface of the sea, and also keep the leaves open and spread on the waves. Several of these leaves are very large: I measured some that were ten or twelve feet in length.

It is not only on account of their curious organization, or their enormous proportions, that these plants engage the attention of the voyager. Sometimes torn from the depths of the sea by the violence of the storm, these shoals of Fucus, or sea-grass, are carried by the currents into the interior of the Bay Riédlé, and are soon buried under the sands, and considerably help to choak up the bay, and to enlarge the isthmus which separates it from Oysters Bay. Thus; in this distant part of the world, we see realized the grand system of the influence of marine plants in increasing the land—an effect which Linnæus has before particularly noticed; but without extending this digression, we will return to the subject of our voyage round the Isle Maria.

After doubling Cape Boulanger, we ran along the whole length of the coast N.W. of the island, which is, as I have before said, low and sandy. Vegetation flourishes but little near the seashore; but in the interior of the country we observed some beautiful forests, and the opposite side of the mountains appeared to be covered with lofty trees. About five o'clock in the evening we passed Middle Islot, which we had thus named from its situation, being between Diemen's Land, and Isle Maria. This islot is only a rock of granite, of about 120 toises diameter, and not more than 30 or 40 feet above the surface of the waters: it is naturally very barren; and the natives who pass from the main land to Isle Maria, being in the habit of resting there, have destroyed by fire every appearance of vegetation.

It being now almost dark, our farther survey of this coast became more and more uncertain and difficult; therefore, when we had doubled Cape Lesueur, which forms the north point of the entrance of Oysters Bay, we prepared to land, with the intention of passing the night on shore, when we perceived a company of 25 or 30 savages, who came towards us, armed with long sagaies, and shouting aloud. This numerous company at this time was very mal-a-propos, as we were much fatigued with being two days on the sea, and really wanted rest; therefore, as we had no inclination to pass the night watching with arms in our bands, we determined to get farther into the bay, persuaded that the savages would not follow us: and in fact, they continued their course towards the west, and were soon out of sight, when immediately we went on shore.

Early in the morning on the 21st we renewed our survey of Oysters Bay, which at the farther part is so shallow, that we were several times in danger of being a-ground, although we were a considerable distance from the shore. Notwithstanding this inconvenience, we terminated our survey of the bay, and were going to double the south point at the entrance, when we heard the sound of a gun from the ships . . . and at regular intervals we heard the same sound repeated, so that we could not be mistaken in the cause . . . The last of my colleagues, M. Maugé, was certainly no more, and his remains had that moment been committed to the earth. He died the day after we had left the ship, universally regretted by all on board both the vessels. He was deservedly esteemed for many good qualities, and his zeal for the success of our expedition. His body was interred on Isle Maria, at the foot of a large Eucalyptus, against which a plate of lead was fixed, whereon was inscribed the sad particulars of his death; and the name of Point Maugé was given to the part of the island, where the remains of our unfortunate companions were deposited.

On leaving Oysters Bay we stood, directly towards the western part of the island, which we had not entirely explored; after which we bent our course towards the ship, and reached it on the 21st of February, in the evening.

On the next day, early in the morning, I again left the Geographer, intending to cross the isthmus, and to visit again the monuments on the East Bay. M. Petit, our draughtsman, accompanied me. A little boat, known to French sailors by the name of pousse-pied, was at my command; it held only three men, and our only protection was a single musket, which M. Petit had secretly taken with him: for, although we had on board our vessels a thousand tithes more ammunition than was necessary for an expedition of this kind, our commander had absolutely given orders, that the men belonging to any of the boats should be without arms, under the pretext that they used too much powder.

On the evening preceding this very day, two carpenters belonging to the Naturalist, who were attacked on Isle Maria, narrowly escaped the blows of the natives. This recent occurrence, and my solicitations, had no effect on the determined resolution of our commander; and as there was no alternative between exposing ourselves unarmed to the probable attacks of the savages, and staying on board doing nothing, I determined to goon shore at all hazards. We shall soon see to what imminent danger we were exposed, from the captain's obstinacy.

We were not long before we discovered, on the coast south of Oysters Bay, a large fire, which, as it could only have been made by the savages, gave us hopes of meeting with some of them on that part of the land; we therefore landed near the spot, and were not disappointed in our expectations. Fourteen natives, who were seated round the fire, received us with transport, which at the same time seemed to express surprise, admiration, and pleasure. Médi, médi (sit down, sit down), were the first words addressed to us. We seated ourselves, and they gathered round us. They were most of them armed with long sagaies: others had clubs, which they laid down by their sides; and M. Rouget, our cockswain, who had landed with us, and was armed with the musket, also laid it by him, keeping eye constantly on it, for fear that some native should carry it away into the woods—a precaution which we had learned from experience while in the Gut of Dentrecasteaux.

The arms being thus disposed of, we mutually surveyed each other for some minutes. The natives would examine our skin, and so far we permitted them to satisfy their curiosity; and repeated exclamations of astonishment at the whiteness of it, were the results of that examination. Presently, however, they wished to pursue their researches somewhat farther: perhaps they might doubt whether we were beings formed like themselves, or perhaps they wished to satisfy themselves of our sex: whichever it might be, they solicited this singular investigation with so much warmth and obstinacy, that we found it extremely difficult to refuse them; when perceiving at length our determined repugnance, they insisted no longer with respect to us, but pursued their inquiry with one of our young sailors, who by his youth, and being without a beard, seemed to be the more proper object for verifying their conjectures, or removing their doubts. This youth having, at my solicitation, consented to give them the satisfaction they required, the savages seemed transported with pleasure; but scarcely were they convinced that he was formed like themselves, than they set up a cry of joy and acclamation that perfectly stunned us.

Whilst the natives were engaged in these particular observations respecting us, I applied myself to the consideration of them with particular attention. Most of them were young people, from about 16 to 25 years of age; two or three appeared to be from 30 to 55 years; one only older than the rest, appeared to me to be from 50 to 55 years of age: he alone had a skin of a kangaroo upon his shoulders—the others were perfectly naked. In general, most of them were of a stature sufficiently high for their ages. Among the grown men, there was one who was not less than five feet six inches; but he was thinner and lanker than his companions: all the others varied in their stature, from about five feet two to five feet four inches. There was one among them who had his hair powdered with red ochre: this was a young man of 24 or 25 years of age, called Bara Ourou, of a more handsome make than the others, though he himself had the same defects of proportion common to his race; that is to say, an enlarged head, large and bony shoulders, a large breast, large and brawny buttocks; the extremities lank and weak, particularly the legs; the belly, also, too large for the rest of his body.



10. Bara-Ourou

The physiognomy of these savages was abundantly expressive; the passions were strongly marked, as they succeeded each other in a rapid succession; and their whole figure was changed and modified with their affections. Fierce And ferocious in their menaces, they appear at once suspicious, restless, and perfidious. In their joy, the figure displays a convulsion that has the appearance of madness; among the aged there is an expression that is at once sad, sullen, and severe; but in general, among all these people, there is to be noticed at some moments an insincerity and ferocity, which cannot escape an attentive observer, and which but too well corresponds with their character.

After having thus given some time to the surprise occasioned by the examination of our party, M. Petit displayed before the natives some feats of slight of hand, which diverted them very much, and which drew from them the most whimsical demonstrations of joy and enthusiasm; but nothing surprised them so much as to see M. Rouget run a pin into his flesh, without shewing any sense of pain, and without its being followed by a single drop of blood: at this prodigy they regarded each other in silence, as if to impart their mutual astonishment, and then all together they began to shout like so many madmen.

Unluckily for me, among our other presents were some pins, which indeed they had asked for; and one of the natives being willing to satisfy himself, whether I possessed the like insensibility which was so mach the object of their admiration, came behind me unawares, and run one of the pins into the calf of my leg so dextrously and decidedly, that I could not help crying out.

In the mean time, M. Petit and myself endeavoured to profit by their good-humour, and whilst he was engaged in sketching one of them, most distinguished by the regularity of his features, the development of his form, and the expression of his physiognomy, I applied myself, with the assistance of some words which I had collected during our stay in the Gut of Dentrecasteaux, and with the aid of gesture, to make known our friendly sentiments towards them, and of which they acquired the meaning with a degree of sagacity which astonished us much.

It was now that our interview became truly interesting: crowded together among the ashes of their fire, we appeared quite at home and satisfied with each other. I seized this favourable opportunity to ask them numerous questions, addressing myself particularly to those whose comprehensions seemed to be quickest. In this manner I successively obtained an answer to the words yawning, laughing, weeping, whistling, blowing, tying, untying, burning, spitting, making water, going to stool, breaking wind, striking a blow, wrestling, tearing, strangling, &c. &c. In general, they appeared to me to understand easily, and to be quick in apprehension they soon conceived the meaning of my gestures, and, indeed, they seemed from the first moment to be at no loss, but in a good natured manner repeated those words which I had at first pronounced wrong, and often they laughed heartily at the mistakes I made in the endeavour to repeat them aright.

I cannot pass over in silence an observation I made at the time; it is, that they appear to have no idea of the action of embracing . . . In vain I addressed myself to several of them in turn, to make them understand what I wished to know—on this subject it was impossible; and when, to leave no doubt of what I wished them to comprehend, I approached to embrace them, they all had that look of astonishment which any unknown action occasions in ourselves. This observation I had before made, when among the natives of the Gut of Dentrecasteaux; and when I really embraced them, by way of making myself understood, saying at the same time, gouánarana (how do you call that)? nidego (I do not know, I do not understand), was the invariable reply. The idea Of caressing seems to be entirely strange to them: in vain I attempted to make myself understood by such gestures as were likely to characterize the action—their surprise declared their ignorance, and nidego again served to convince me that they had no corresponding idea. Thus it appears, that the two actions which to us have so many charms, and which seem so natural, namely, kisses and tender caresses, are entirely unknown among these savage nations. However, I do not positively assert as a fact, what may only be a conjecture; but I can assert that I never saw, either on Diemen's Land or New Holland, any savage embrace another of his own sex, or even of a different sex.

I have before noticed the changeableness of the character of these ferocious people, and we soon had an additional and singular proof of this trait.

While M. Petit and myself were busily engaged in our different pursuits, we on a sudden heard some shouts from the interior of the neighbouring forest. At this noise the savages rose precipitately, seized their arms, and turning their eyes, with looks of surprise mingled with ferocity, tor wards the sea, they appeared much agitated, when we discovered a boat belonging to our ships, which was going along shore at a little distance: I had no doubt but that it was this boat, discovered by their sentinels or their wives, from the rocks or from the trees, which had occasioned their agitation and alarm. In a short time these shouts were repeated, and as they certainly signified that the boat was now getting farther from the shore, the fears of the natives seemed to subside a little. I took advantage of this opportunity to endeavour to make them understand, that the people whom they had seen were, like us, their friends, and that they therefore had nothing to fear, but, on the contrary, they might expect from them many presents and much kindness: they seemed to comprehend my meaning, and again laid down their arms. M. Petit and myself then endeavoured to proceed as before—he to finish his drawing, and myself to acquire a few more words of their language; but they became more and more uneasy and inattentive to us, and would no longer answer my questions: M. Petit also experienced much difficulty in finishing the sketches which he had begun.

By degrees these people seemed to become bolder: they talked to each other with much emotion, and as they looked at us, they appeared to meditate some violence against us; but M. Rouget's musket, and his countenance, which was very handsome, and at the same time had the expression of great intrepidity, seemed to keep them in some awe. Whether it was curiosity or treachery, they teazed him every moment to fire at some birds that were on the neighbouring trees; but we were aware that the musket was a bad one, and we thought our situation too critical to run any, risks in complying with their desires, and our refusal was another cause of suspicion and disquiet.

Their audacity increased with their distrust. One of them wanted the jacket I wore, which, from the brightness of the colours, had attracted his attention: he had already asked me for it several times, but I had refused him so positively, that I did not suppose that he would return to the charge. It however happened otherwise; for in a moment, when my attention was engaged another way, he seized hold of my jacket, and directing the point of his sagaie towards me, he brandished it in a threatening manner, and seemed to say, "Give it to me, or I will kill you." It would have been rash to provoke him, situated as I was; for the wretch would certainly have pierced me with his sagaie: I therefore affected to take his menaces as a joke; but I nevertheless took hold of the sagaie, and turning the point away, I shewed him that M. Rouget was presenting his musket at him, and I added one single word of his own language (mata), death: he understood me, and laid down his weapon with as much indifference as if he had done nothing to offend me.

I had no sooner escaped this danger than I found myself engaged in a manner, which, if not so perilous, was however very unpleasant. One of the large gold rings which I wore in my ears, was coveted by another of the savages, who, without speaking a word, slipped behind me, and putting his finger slyly into the ring, pulled it so violently, that he would infallibly have torn my ear, if the lock had not opened.

Let us now recollect that all these men had been loaded with presents by us; that we had given them looking-glasses, knives, beads, handkerchiefs, snuff-boxes, cups, &c.; that for them I had putted off almost all the buttons from my clothes, which, as they were of gilt copper, had appeared to them to be of great value because of their brightness; let us also remember that we had given way to all their fancies and caprices, without requiring any return for all our gifts, and thus we may judge how unjust and treacherous their conduct was towards us; and I really believe, if it had not been for M. Rouget and his musket, that M. Petit and myself would have fallen victims to the ferocity of these savage people.

Certainly no one ever was more disposed, both from character and principle, to conciliate and oblige these men, and to submit to their caprices; but I must declare frankly, that the whole tenor of their conduct chewed a treacherous disposition, and a degree of ferocity that disgusted both me and my companions. In comparing what we had now seen with what had before happened in the Gut to several of our shipmates, we derived this inference, that it is not prudent to go among these people without sufficient means of defence against their attacks; and farther, that this principle does not only apply to the people whom we have just described, but may with equal propriety be applied to all savage or uncivilized nations, as may be easily proved by reading the accounts of voyagers.

In those very places, where the inhabitants are said to possess the greatest gentleness and mildness of character, unprotected Europeans have experienced many great dangers, and very often have fallen victims to their own generous confidence; but this discussion is not so immediately connected with our narrative, as to permit me to enlarge on the subject, or to give the many interesting particulars which I could produce, and which I mean to collect in some future work.

Tired of all the unpleasant manners of the savages of Isle Maria, I determined to end this perilous interview; but wishing at any rate to repeat some experiments which I had began to make in the channel, on the development of the natural strength of the people of these countries, I therefore had the dynamometer of Regnier brought from the boat, where till then it had been left; hoping that the form of this instrument, and its use, might probably engage the attention of the savage people on whom I wished to try the experiment. In this conjecture I was right; they all seemed to admire the instrument, and all wished to touch it at the same time, and I had some trouble to prevent its being broken.

After making them comprehend its use, by a number of trials which we made for that purpose, we prevailed en them to try their own strength on the instrument, and seven of them agreed to make the experiment; when one of those who had first tried, and who had not been able to move the beam of the dynamometer so far as I had done, seemed provoked at his want of strength, and, as if to give the lie to the instrument, he took hold of my fist in a passion, and seemed to defy me to disengage it: after a few efforts, however, I succeeded; but having, in my turn, seized him with all my strength, and finding he could not get free by any exertion he made, he appeared much ashamed, and very irritated.

Until this moment, the old man I had before mentioned had kept a profound silence; but after what had just passed; he spoke a few words to his countrymen, without any very particular expression of countenance: these few words, however, produced such an effect, that from that moment not one of them would touch the dynamometer.

Before we departed, I thought proper to leave them some fresh marks of our friendship and good-will; I therefore approached the old man, and taking him affectionately by the band, I presented him with a glass bottle, a knife, two gilt buttons, a white handkerchief, &c. and made signs that we were going, but that we should return with more presents for him and his companions. The old man seemed so much the more pleased with these trifles, as he saw we were preparing to depart: he smiled at me with an air of satisfaction, that was still mingled with something of uneasiness and ferocity.

While I was thus taking leave of the old man, M. Petit, who wished to have a sagaie, had bought one with a looking-glass: I also wished for one of their clubs, which I had obtained, when the savages, changing their tempers in a moment, again seized their weapons, and shouting all together, menaced us in such a determined manner, that M. Rouget was obliged to point his musket at him who appeared to be most incensed against me: this was that same Bara Ourou, whom I mentioned as being the handsomest fellow of the whole company, and of whom M. Petit had been taking a likeness.

After this last outrage, there was not a moment to lose in getting to our boat; but, fearing that these savage people would pelt us with stones or lance their sagaies at us in our retreat, as had happened several times before in the channel, we therefore resolved to retire slowly and with caution: M. Petit and myself walked first, while M. Rouget calm behind with his musket. These precautions succeeded, and we gained our boat without any accident, and bent our course towards the farther part of the bay. The natives took the same direction on the beach for some time, but perceiving two boats belonging to our ships, which were dragging for oysters, they disappeared in a moment among the trees of the forest, and from that time none of them appeared any more on this part of the coast.

I have given all the particulars of this long interview with the natives, that the reader may be the better enabled to judge, how many difficulties and dangers are experienced by voyagers in their communications with the people belonging to these savage nations, and how impossible it is to conquer the natural ferocity of their character, and their prejudice against us.

On leaving the savages we steered our course towards the farther part of Oysters Bay, intending to land there, and crossing the isthmus, to proceed on foot to the monuments, which M. Petit promised to draw very correctly: all this we accomplished in a short time, and then returned on our way to the ship, which we reached that night.

While we were thus exploring the Isle Maria, and studying the character of the natives, three boat belonging to our ships were almost at the same time exploring all the nearest parts of Diemen's Land, and the isles adjoining. One of these, under the command of M. Freycinet the elder, had orders to bear away to the south, and to visit all that part of the coast of Diemen's Land which lays between the cape opposite to the point south of the Isle Maria, which we had named Cape Bernier, and that of Frederick-Hendrick, where our vessels had terminated their surveys. In this space the bays of Marion and Frederick-Hendrick ought to be connected, taking the chart of Tasman to be correct, as we really found it to be.

M. Freycinet the younger, having the second boat under his command, also made Cape Bernier the point of his departure, and bore away to the north as far as the parallel of the most southern of the Schouten islands, where he was to reconnoitre all that part of Diemen's Land which also was opposite to Isle Maria.

The third boat, with our engineer M. Faure, was to determine the geography of the Schouten isles, which had been but slightly surveyed by Tasman: M. Bailly also shared this labour.

We shall now shew what were the results of each of these expeditious.

M. Freycinet the elder, was absent eight days, and brought the following account: between Cape Bernier to the north, and that of Frederick-Hendrick to the south, is the great bay Marion. Exposed to all the winds from the south and by east, it is properly but an open roadstead, not very safe for ships, though there is generally plenty of water, and good bottom for anchorage. All the north coast of this bay, from Cape Bernier as far as the point Ressac, is formed of high lands; the coast may be ranged at a very little distance, and there are several small creeks where boats may shelter when the east wind is not very strong. From the point Ressac as far as the entrance of the bay of Frederick-Hendrick, is a flat sandy shore, extremely low, and describing a slight but regular curve. "The east wind which at that time prevailed," said M. H. Freycinet, "caused a frightful surf on this long sandy shore: the sea broke violently against it on every part, and even as far out as several cables length. However, wishing to stretch along shore as near as possible, I suffered myself to be driven towards the sandy beach, but I soon found myself so surrounded by such strong and heavy seas, that I was obliged to get farther out with all speed."

In the farther part of Marion Bay is an opening which communicates with the bay of Frederick-Hendrick. This passage is narrow, and the eastern extremity is protected by breakers, against which the sea beats with great force: nevertheless, it is not so dangerous as it at first appears, and M. H. Freycinet found there above three fathom water. The interior of the bay, is obstructed by large sandy shoals, which are dry at low water: the south part is where the water is deepest, and where the anchorage is safest. In the southeast is a small river of fresh water; it is on this account so much the more to be valued, as there was not to be found at this hot season of the year any fresh water elsewhere, either on the neighbouring parts of the continent or the adjacent islands. This advantage was the greater on account of the abundance of fish in this bay, and the ease with which we procured wood: unfortunately large vessels cannot come here because of the shoals.

On comparing these last labours of M. H. Freycinet with those of the engineer Faure, which we have mentioned in the preceding chapter, it appears,

1st, That Frederick-Hendrick Bay is really situated as Tasman describes it.

2ndly, That what is described under the name of Marion Bay, is only a roadstead, which is situated off the Bay Frederick-Hendrick, and to which Tasman had neglected to give any particular name.

3dly, That the Bay Frederick-Hendrick is absolutely distinct from that which is so denominated in the gut of Dentrecasteaux, and which we ourselves have named Port Buache.

4thly, That the bay and the port are separated by an isthmus sufficiently elevated and large, that the sea cannot at any time go over it.

5thly, That there is not any appearance of a channel of communication near this spot, as pointed out in the chart of Dentrecasteaux.

6thly, That the chart of captain Flinders is more correct in this particular, as he has not pretended to shew this imaginary passage, but is defective in other respects, as he places the bay of Frederick-Hendrick in the situation of the bay north of the French chart: a position which an examination of the course of Tasman, and an inspection of his chart, will prove to be wrong.

7thly, From this exploration of M. H. Freycinet, it appears also that the charts of Tasman and Marion, of this part of Diemen's Land, are more exact than those of modern navigators.

8thly, From these observations it follows, that Marion made no discovery in this part of Diemen's Land; for, without the consideration that it was not possible for Tasman to reconnoitre the bay Frederick-Hendrick, and to make the plan of it which we now have, without crossing, and consequently discovering Bay Marion, his tract shews that he anchored in the last bay; in addition to which, we may convince ourselves by comparing Tasman's work with ours, that the plan of the bay called Marion is more correct in the Dutch navigator than in Marion himself; but as it has been at all times so considered, we confine the name of the bay Frederick-Hendrick to the little port visited by M. H. Freycinet, and the name of Bay Marion is applicable to the great roadstead which extends before that port, and which is comprised, as we have said elsewhere, between the Cape Bernier to the north, and that of Frederick-Hendrick to the south.

9thly, From the whole of our labours on this part of Diemen's Land, it is at length proved, that all that part comprised between the Bay Monge, the Port Buache, Bay Marion, and that of Frederick-Hendrick, makes a new peninsula, which towards the south is connected with that of Tasman by the isthmus described in the preceding chapter, and which towards the north is joined to the rest of Diemen's Land by the isthmus I have just mentioned. This second peninsula, to which we have given the name of Forestier's Peninsula, is formed of high lands, which decline almost suddenly towards the two isthmuses: on this singular conformation we shall here make a few observations.

On slightly looking over the chart of the southern extremity of Diemen's Land, we are at first astonished at the great number of isthmuses which appear on the eastern coast: for example, the isthmus Bruny, that of the north, that of Tasman, Forestier's isthmus, and that of the Isle Maria, are, if I may be allowed the expression, crouded together; and we shall also find another among the supposed isles of Schouten, which has been mentioned by navigators who bare preceded us in these latitudes. All these isthmuses are extremely low and narrow, at the same time that, on the contrary, the lands to which they join are generally formed of high mountains. These different conformations make it necessary to reconnoitre these shores very near, to determine their real form and situation. In fact, if we keep ever so little out at sea, it is scarcely possible even to conjecture the existence of these isthmuses, or to believe otherwise than that the lands which they connect, are perfectly distinct one from the other. We shall now see that the most celebrated navigators, Tasman, Furneaux, and Flinders, are themselves deceived in this particular; and there is no doubt but that the error in the chart of Dentrecasteaux may be ascribed to the same cause. In fact, we may conceive that his draftsmen not having gone beyond the point Renard, and not having from this point either a sight of the very low isthmus which is situated at the farther end of the Bay Frederick-Hendrick, or that of any other land beyond, as in fact there is only the open sea, we may conceive, I say, that they might or must have concluded that there was a direct communication of the north bay, in which they then were, with the Bay Frederick-Hendrick of Tasman, which they also knew to be near and in the same direction. Thus it is, that physical and geological observations, which are too much neglected by geographers in general, may often throw a light on and sometimes resolve difficulties of this sort that are of consequence to the navigator.

The mission of M. Freycinet the younger, was not so difficult to execute as that of which I have just given the results; neither did it occupy so much time, and this young officer, who left the ship on the 20th of February, returned on the 22d in the evening.

At a short distance to the north of Cape Bernier he discovered a large salt marsh, which by a narrow opening obstructed by stones, communicated with the sea. Beyond this marsh, and off the north islot, he had also reconnoitred a small port, into the farther end of which several streams of brackish water discharged themselves, some of which might probably supply fresher water during the rainy season. He named this bight Port Montbazin: he then continued his course to the north; he was in a short time off a large point, which he called Cape Bougainville. Here the coast takes a direction to the N.N.W. and forms, off the southern extremity of Schouten Island, a small deep cove, but exposed to the winds from the south and by east. At this point terminated the survey of M. L. Freycinet. It now remains to give some account of the mission of M. Faure to the Schouten islands.

To the north of the Isle Maria, appears on all the charts of this part of the world, a long chain of islands, which under the name of the Schouten Isles, project on the eastern aide of Diemen's Land, leaving a large channel, or rather a long strait between this land and the islands. These isles were first discovered by Tasman, in the year 1642: they were more particularly explored by Furneaux in 1770, and captain Flinders in 1799 reconnoitred them still nearer. The united labours of three navigators so justly celebrated, left us net the least doubt of the existence of these isles; but as none of them had gone into the strait which must lie between them and Diemen's Land, M. Faure was ordered to make this discovery.

After having, in the course of the day on the 19th of February, ranged the coast of Diemen's Land as far as off Cape Bougainville, he bore away on the morning of the 20th to the N.E., that he might stand right in for the most southern of the isles which he was to reconnoitre. At eleven o'clock be discovered an islot which was situated in the very direction he was steering. "It was at this time", said M. Bailly, "that we began to smell a strong and most unpleasant odour; it increased as we drew nearer this islot: when we had come within a short distance of its shores, we found them covered with an amazing number of sea-cows; the largest of them, which were of a yellow colour, occupied the higher lands, while those which were smaller, and which appeared to be black, filled the cavities which were in the lower part of the rock. The shores of this islot were rather steep, so that when any one of the sea-cows on the higher part would descend lower, it generally slid down, carrying with it those that were lower. A deep sea surrounded this rock: at two boats length from the shore the soundings, were fourteen fathom, and the bottom was full of fucus and sea-weeds, which rose to the very surface of the water."

At four o'clock in the evening M. Faure landed in a small creek near the cape S.W. of Schouten Island, which, from the name of this geographer, we named Cape Faure. "This island", continued M. Bailly, "is entirely formed in the eastern part of lofty granitic mountains, which are very steep, and where there is but very little appearance of vegetation, the rock being almost every where naked. The western shore is more level and more pleasant: it is composed of a soil disposed in horizontal beds, and is well wooded, and the tout ensemble makes an agreeable prospect: the sandy beach which spreads before it makes the landing easy, while on the contrary, the eastern coast is very steep." In the E.S.E. of Cape Faure are seven little islots, which project a-head of the south-east point of Schouten Island: we named these Taillefer Islots, from the name of the worthy physician whom we shall presently have to mention in a more particular manner.

After having reconnoitred all the western coast of the Schouten Island, in the course of the morning of the 21st of February, M. Faure found himself off the narrow strait which separates this island from another laud which he supposed was one of the other isles of Schouten. "This channel", continued the companion of M. Faure, "is very deep, affording good room for working to windward between the steep shores, at the foot of which there is never less than eighteen fathom water." We have described it in our charts by the name of Geography Straits, thus to preserve the memory of the expedition to which we owe the discovery of this part of Diemen's Land.

On crossing Geography Strait, M. Faure intended to bear away towards the north, to reconnoitre the eastern coast of the Schouten islands, and to return by the strait supposed to lie between these isles and Diemen's Land: but all of the 21st, and 22d days of this month were spent in the same vain research; he could discover no such passage, and was therefore obliged to return on the 23d to the Geography channel, to stand right in west for the same lands of which he had just lengthened all the eastern coast. About noon he landed in a small creek situated towards the southern extremity of what he then supposed was the second isle of Schouten; and as, since the preceding evening, it had been terrible weather, he determined to rest there till the next morning, the crew being exhausted with fatigue, not having been on shore for two whole days.

M. Bailly took this opportunity to make some useful observations on this point of land. "High granitic mountains," said he, "whose summits were almost entirely bare, formed all the eastern coast of this part of Diemen's Land; that rose suddenly from their base; the land which lay between them being extremely low, and cannot be seen at sea at any great distance. It is no doubt to this singular conformation, that we must attribute the error of navigators who had preceded us in these latitudes, and who had taken these lofty mountains for so many islands. We have said that the eastern shore of these supposed isles is steep, wild and barren; that on the west is low, pleasant and well wooded; this contrast, which any friend M. Peron has also seen in the general constitution of the Isle Maria, doubtless proceeds from the same physical causes. This part of Diemen's Land has inhabitants; for we observed in several places the remains of their fires and the fragments of their meals."

The 24th of February was spent in steering again towards the north, in coasting the western shore of the Schouten isles: but the impetuous squalls being come in from the south, our voyagers had only time to shelter under the lee of a small island, which, from its being an asylum in this critical moment, they named the Isle of Refuge. According to M. Bailly, it is about a quarter of a league distant front the coast, and is only a granitic fiat, which rests only a few feet above the waves; it is covered with trees of a middling size; but there is not any appearance of fresh water.

On the 25th was completed the survey of the western coast of the supposed Schouten isles: the remaining doubts on the subject of these isles were at this time entirely removed in the most positive manner; for after having successively explored several deep coves separated from the eastern shore by some low sandy isthmuses, on one of which they discovered a large pond of fresh water, our companions found themselves at the extremity of a bay, which they carefully examined on every side. Its extent, according to M. Bailly, is near fifteen miles long, and about four leagues across the month: the bottom is of a good quality; and the soundings always gave from five to fourteen fathom: it is sheltered from every wind, except those from the south by east to the south east; and these are in a great measure broken by the Isle Maria, and by the islot of Sea-cows. Its extent makes it capable of receiving any number of vessels of any size; and wood may also be procured there, the shore having good landing for small boats, and the interior abounding with forests. Fresh water may also be supplied from the large pond on the peninsula. The appearance of this bay is besides very picturesque; two chains of lofty mountains parallel to each other encompass this land, giving it the appearance of a beautiful valley surrounded by the waves.

If we now state the results of these divers labours, it appears,

1st, That instead of the five or six isles of Schouten, described in all the charts till this time, there is in fact only one.

2ndly, That the part of the coast which extends from the cape north of this Schouten island as far as 41° 6' south latitude, consists of a new peninsula, which we named Freycinet Peninsula.

3dly, That there is really no other strait, nor other channel, than that which runs between Schouten Island and Freycinet Peninsula.

4thly, That all the space between the supposed Schouten isles and Diemen's Land forms a large and very, fine bay, to which we gave the name of Bay Fleurieu, in honour of the illustrious scholar to whom France and her navy are so much indebted for so many valuable and honourable works.

5thly, That Diemen's Land, previously enlarged by us, with the peninsula of Tasman, and that of Buache, is also farther increased, by these last surveys, with all the Schouten isles, one only excepted.

From all these results it follows, that our work has so specifically embraced all the particulars of the geography of this part of Diemen's Land, that it may be esteemed as correct as is possible to be made in an expedition of this kind.

All these labours being thus terminated, we set sail on the 27th of February in the afternoon, and steered our course to describe the south side of the Isle Maria. But before we quit it entirely, let us draw a slight sketch of its physical constitution; this appears to me to be the more indispensable, as most of the particulars may also be applied to the neighbouring lands, and more particularly to Schouten Island and Freycinet Peninsula.

The Isle Maria, first discovered in the year 1642 by Abel Tasman, is situated on the east side of Diemen's Land, in the great Southern Ocean; it lays in 42° 42' south latitude, and in 145° 54' east longitude from the meridian of Paris; its form is very irregular: larger and more elevated towards the south, it has also the same appearance towards the north, while the middle being more compact, from the east to the west it forms only a small isthmus of from 250 to 300 paces in width, that is scarcely raised 30 or 40 feet above the level of the sea. The geographic situation of this island, its being exposed to the polar winds from the south, the smallness of its extent, the elevation of the N.E. and S.E. parts, the vicinity of the lofty mountains of Diemen's Land, the form of the island being so extremely narrow towards the middle, that the interior is almost entirely occupied by the waters, finally the large marshes which are situated on the north coast of Oysters Bay, are so many circumstances likely to diminish the proportion of heat in this island. And in fact, though we were at the time in the midst of the hottest season of these countries, the extreme term of the temperature which we experienced during our stay, never exceeded 15° R. and the mean term was from l2° 9' R. The nights particularly were very cool; and the thermometer, at four o'clock in the morning was scarcely at 8°. The same causes which we have here pointed out, as being capable of diminishing the beat of the temperature of this isle, on the contrary, increase the humidity of the atmosphere: the vapours also are constantly very great; and evening and morning, the tops of the mountains are for a long time enveloped in mist.

The soil also partakes of this general quality of the atmosphere: it is every where humid where the sand and the rocks are not too naked: in lower places it is marshy.

Fresh water is very scarce on the Isle Maria; and if we reflect on what I have said of the nature of the country, and of its particular constitution, we may easily conceive the cause of this scarcity. We could only discover in Oysters' Bay one very small stream of fresh water on the south coast, and a few holes dug by the natives on the borders of the marshes on, the north coast: the water of these last was stagnant and bad. In Riédlé Bay I discovered two very small rivulets, the one at the foot of the hill on which was the tomb; the other on the same shore, but a little nearer the spot where we landed. The water of these small rivulets was good, but as it is very dangerous, if not impossible to anchor in the east bay, these two streams are of little use to navigators.

The barometer varied much during our stay; it sunk several times from 28i 4l to 27i 10l, and even 27i 9,5l. With respect to the atmospheric constitution, it is not unlike that of the latter end of autumn in our climates.

The mineral productions of the Isle Maria are not numerous; the general granitic nature of the soil, excludes, as I may say, every other substance. The granites which we collected are of two kinds: the one of a dark green colour with small specks, forms the rocks of the south point and of the south-east: this kind is also seen on the southern coast of Oysters Bay, and towards the north point of the same bay, but only near the farther part: finally, it appears to be the base of all the rocks that are not high.

The second kind of granite which is seen on Isle Maria, is remarkable for its large crystals of yellowish feldspar, and for the greenish colour of the mica or dust which is found intermixed between the crystals of feldspar. This beautiful granite, which M. Bailly has since found in the Furneaux isles also, I first observed in the Bay Riédlé, under the hill of the tombs. All the masses of rock in the vicinity of the second rivulet of fresh water, are formed of this kind of granite, and all the high peaks of the N.E. part seem to be of the same substance.

Among the sorts of free stone we also remark two kinds: the one of a close substance and fine grain, of a homogeneous quality; whitish and sparkling; form masses of a very large size; obstruct the valleys which leave the granitic rocks between them some of the breakers appear to be composed of this freestone.

The other kind of stone is brittle and calcareous; it forms horizontal beds, which lie in a regular manner on the summit of the granitic ramparts on the eastern shore; their origin seems to have been produced by a long succession of calcareous deposits.

Among the mineral productions of the Isle Maria, we must not omit to mention a sort of iron ore of a peculiar kind, of a fine red colour and of an earthy grain. It is found on many parts of the island, and supplies the natives with the principal ingredient which they use to colour their hair red.

The vegetative earth, though of little depth on the hills and mountains, is, on the contrary, of considerable depth in the valleys, very rich, black, and greasy; and when it is much heated it becomes red, which indicates its having a strong acid property.

In the marshy places which are found near the north shore of Oysters Bay, this same earth, formed almost entirely of decomposed vegetation, has an appearance similar to that of a sort of turf.

The sands of the shore of the Bay Riédlé, are blacker, and contain a great proportion of the decomposition of marine plants: that of Oysters Bay, mingled with the remains of shells, is whiter, finer, and more calcareous.

There does not appear to be any trace of volcanic substance on these shores.

Vegetation does not appear to be so healthy on the Isle Maria as on Diemen's Land: the eastern coast is too steep and mountainous, and too much exposed to the rage of the winds to be very fertile: that on the west is either too sandy or too marshy. Nevertheless, taking it all together, this western side of the island is pleasant enough in its appearance: it seems to be well wooded, and in some places the grass is of the finest quality. Among the plants peculiar to this isle is a new kind of Typha, of the stalks of which the inhabitants of the Isle Maria make their canoes, which gives them a great superiority over those of the channel of Dentrecasteaux.

In the data of mammiferous animals, I only saw one kind of Dasyurus, that was scarcely as large as a mouse. I obtained one that was alive, in exchange for a few trifles, of a savage who was just going to kill and eat it.

The marine mammaliæ were very numerous on these shores; and we saw great shoals of dolphins and whales, and innumerable legions of sea-cows. These last animals alone give some importance to the Isle Maria. We shall hereafter have occasion to return to this subject.

The birds almost all belong to the different species which we had observed in the channel, with the exception of a kind of perroquet and a beautiful bulfinch, which we saw for the first time on the Isle Maria.

Among the reptiles, we caught some different kinds of lizards; one of them belonged to a new genus, and was not unlike the Scincus, or land crocodile.

Of fish I found several new species, as, also of insects and crustaceous animals: among these last was a large kind of Maia or crab, of which me caught such numbers every day, that they were distributed to the crews of both ships.

Of testaceous animals our collections were enriched with the wavy volute (Voluta Undulosa, N.) several Turbo, a rose-coloured Casea, of the most extraordinary beauty, with can elegant Telinus, and a great variety of Phasianellæ, which formed extensive banks on different points of Oysters Bay, with an intrinsic shell, which seemed to constitute a new genus neighbouring on the Trochus, and of which a somewhat similar species of fossil is found at Grignon, near Paris. Among the soft zoophytes I have collected three new kinds of sponge, an elegant Medusa, several Ascidiæ, and a beautiful Actinius; but I must repeat, that the enumeration of these different objects, however succinct it might be, would lead me much farther than the nature of my present work would admit.





CHAPTER XVI.

The Eastern Coast of Diemen's Land. The Straits of Banks and of Bass.

[From the 28th of February to the 29th of March, 1802]


WE have seen in the preceding Chapter, that the islots Taillefer lay off the Schouten Island: there are seven of them, five being only so many large rocks that rise more or less above the waves. Beaten continually by the stormy sea, these, islots are naked, barren, broken, whimsically shaped, of a dark reddish colour; one only of them, which is the largest, has a few stunted languishing trees; the substance of these islots seems to be granitic, like that of Schouten. Island, from which they are separated by only a narrow channel, but which nevertheless is very deep.

Schouten Island itself, is in every respect one of the most remarkable points of these regions: it is entirely composed of lofty black mountains, which leave between them several deep valleys: their declivities toward these valleys are rapid and smooth, and less steep towards the sea; but nevertheless, always inaccessible. The eastern side of these lofty and barren hills, is absolutely without the least appearance Of verdure: their summits may in many parts be distinguished by granitic peaks, which one would be tempted to take for so many columns raised by the hands of men.

Towards the north part, of the island, one of these rocks bends so as to form the appearance of an immense hook. A deep sea washes this terrific coast.

Between the Schouten Island and Freycinet Peninsula is situated Geography Strait, which we described in the preceding Chapter.

Diemen's Land is terminated on this point by a large cape two or three hundred feet in perpendicular height: this we named Cape Degerando, in honour of the estimable scholar of that name.

Beyond this cape the lands rise higher and higher: two groups of mountains seem to spring from the bosom of the waters: these are joined at the base by a low sandy isthmus, which can only be seen at a short distance; farther off they appear like two distinct islands. These high mountains are primitive and very large; their colour is that of brown earth; the declivities are rapid, naked, and cleft in many parts: here and there on the surface are a few sharp points, in several places their borders are formed like ramparts.

The Bay Thouin is narrow and not deep, open to the east, and lays between two masses of mountains which project out a good way beyond, forming two large capes at the entrance or mouth of the bay. That on the south projecting farthest, and being most remarkable for its height and the grandeur of its form, we gave this the name of Cape Forestier: it is situated in latitude 42° 11' 23".

From Cape Forestier as far as that which we had named Cape Lodi, the coat forms several, small sandy creeks, In this last space the lands are not so high as those on, the south, but become again more elevated, towards the Point St. Patrick, of Furneaux: in this part they, seem well wooded, and pleasant valleys may be distinguished, between the mountains. All this part of the coast was covered with fires and smoke when we passed it. From Point St. Patrick to that of St. Helena, the lands continue high, and, rise in elevations, one above another, the last of which lay far back in the interior of the country. Some peaks, appear at distances on this long chain of mountains: one of them, we named the Peak of Arcole: its top is very pointed, and appears in form like a three-sided pyramid. The most remarkable of these peaks seems to be above 513 toises in height: it rises like an immense cone five or six leagues in the interior of the lands. We named this Peak Champagny: it is situated to the south-west of the Point St. Helena.

At a short distance to the south of this same point, in 41º 23' 30" south, is a little island, which deserves the more particular mention, as, in times when, most of the springs of fresh water on the main land, were dried up, it could furnish that article to our unfortunate companions, whom, as we shall soon see, we were forced to abandon on these inhospitable shores. We named this Isle Maurouard, from the name of the cadet who commanded the long-boat at the time when this disaster happened.

The Bay of Fires, of Furneaux, occupies the space between the Point St. Helena and that of the Eddystone: it, is large, not very deep, and open to all the winds from the east. The shores of this long bay consist of lofty mountains, covered, to their summits with verdure: Cape Eddystone is itself, very high and steep.

From this point to Cape Portland the coast sinks rapidly: in many places it is only, formed of level and sandy, downs; however, there are some mountains in the interior or the country, but the farther we go north the more distant, they, are from the sea shore.

A short distance beyond the Eddystone is a narrow creek, but very deep: it is entirely full of breakers.

Farther on we see two groups of rocks, a mile in extent, and of very odd appearance; one might almost suppose them, to be the ruins of two large villages, and this illusion is so perfect, that we fancy, we see the steeples of these villages, which are represented by the lofty points of granite that rise, above the other rocks.

From Cape Degerando to the Eddystone Point, the eastern coast of Diemen's Land; follows the general direction from north to south; but beyond the Eddystone it runs. N.N.W and S.S.E. as far as off Cape Portland, where it terminates to the N.E. This part of the coast is very low, and the navigation dangerous, from a great number of rocks, many of which, are level with the water.

Cape Portland itself is very low, and almost under waves, as we shall have to demonstrate more particularly hereafter: it forms the south point of the entrance of the straits of banks. Let us rest a moment at the mouth of this strait, to conclude all that concerns the reconnoitring of the eastern coast of Diemen's Land.

Furneaux was the first who discovered and visited this coast in 1773 but retarded by bad weather, he could not complete to advantage the work in which he had engaged. We do not find, besides, in his relation, any detail either respecting the topography, or the navigation of this part of Diemen's Land; he has even neglected to make those observations which were necessary to the construction of his chart.

Captain Flinders in 1779 [sic] lengthened this coast near enough; but however, he made no alteration in the work of Furneaux, and did not himself give any nautical or topographic particulars on the subject of this part of Diemen's Land.

Our work will henceforth leave nothing to be desired on the subject: for the unfortunate circumstances which I have to relate, placed us in a situation that we returned to this coast several times, and explored, the whole of it so near, that it impossible for any particulars of consequence to escape us.

The reader will doubtless recollect, that on the 27th of February, in the morning, we set sail from Oysters Bay to explore the eastern coast of the Isle Maria. Until this time we had been fortunate in all our labours on Diemen's Land, and we hoped still that our good luck would not forsake us, but we were much mistaken, for we had no sooner doubled Cape Peron, than the winds became contrary; and the strong currents bore us away to the south; and when the wind seemed to be changing in our favour, it ceased on a sudden, and the most dead calm kept us immoveable: on the surface of the water. All these united obstacles opposed us in such a manner, that we, did not reach the coast of Schouten Island until the 6th of March in the morning.

During the whole of these eight days we were almost continually enveloped in a thick fog and moist atmosphere, so that our two ships could scarcely see each other, and several times we were obliged to make the necessary signals to the Naturalist with the guns. All our decks ran with water, even in the day, and during the night the more condensed mists dissolved into such a penetrating moisture, that nothing could escape its power. The temperature was from 10° to 14°, though we were still in the hot season of these countries. This deplorable state of the atmosphere much increased the suffering of those who were yet sick.

On the 6th of March, in the course of the morning, we passed at a great distance the Schouten Island and the islots Taillefer. About noon we were off Cape Forestier, when our geographer, M. Boulanger, went in the long-boat; commanded by M. Maurouard, to take a nearer survey of all the particulars of the coast. The ship was to take a parallel direction to that of the long-boat, and not to lose sight of it; but M. Boulanger had scarcely been gone a quarter of an hour, when our commander, all at once, without any kind of apparent reason, stood out farther to sea, and we soon lost sight of the boat. It was not till night that we put about again towards the land: a strong breeze had sprung up which blew fresher every moment, and our proceedings were very undecided: night came upon us, and we lost sight of the coast on which we had so lately forsaken our unfortunate companions.

The two following days were spent in seeking them, but we could not discover any thing of either men or boat: to complete the misfortune, the Naturalist was separated from us by the squalls which we had experienced in the night of the 7th instant. This day we sent out our chaloupe: she made a useless cruize, and when she returned, the sea was so rough that it was with great difficulty we could get her again on board: two of her planks were stove in against the side of the ship.

In so critical a situation, our commander called together the principal officers on one side, and the muster and his mates on the other, to consider what was most proper to be done. "To seek our companions", was the unanimous reply. This search was the more difficult, from the absence of the Naturalist, the want of the long-boat, the damage of the chaloupe, and the extreme roughness of the sea. Under these circumstances, we had no other means of making the search than with the ship itself; and it was certainly a very dangerous enterprise to steer with a large vessel close along the bendings of a wild and unknown shore. Our commander was ill, and shut himself in his cabin, after having given the command to his lieutenant, M. H. Freycinet, and ordered him to make the search required, by the crew and principal officers. All the day on the 9th of March we were anxiously working along this terrific shore, and M. Freycinet managed this business with a degree of coolness, intrepidity, and precision, that was deserving of the greatest praise.

This search was notwithstanding as fruitless as those preceding; and as there remained no hope of finding our friends except towards the north, we bent our course fly the straits of Bass. During our stay on this coast, we had time to be convinced that the sea is generally very rough, the least wind is sufficient to make it absolutely tempestuous, and unsafe for boats. A wind from the offing no sooner began to rise than we immediately saw the waves foaming up to the very horizon, and in a few moments the swells were so great, and followed each other in such quick succession, that our ship laboured very much; notwithstanding it still was the fine season these climates.

While we were bearing away towards the strait, we discovered, all at once, on the 10th of March, a small ship bearing downs upon us. We joined her, and her captain coming on board us, we learnt that he had left Port Jackson twenty days, to take sea-cows on the shores of the Isle Maria: that the English colony on New Holland was in a very flourishing state, and already supplied not only all the necessaries, but many of the luxuries of life; and also, that we had been expected there every day for some time; that orders had been given to the English government for our reception, with all the consideration and respect due to the nature of our mission, and the dignity of the nation to which we belonged. In return for this agreeable news, we told the English captain of the loss of our chaloupe, and requested, that if he discovered any trace of our unfortunate companions, he would give them all the assistance in his power, which he promised. We descried and pointed out to hint the situation of the islot of sea-cows in Bay Fleurieu, as one of the places most favourable for his present pursuit: we then parted and continued our way to the north.

We were again impeded by the same obstacles as when on the eastern coast of the Isle Maria, and it was not till the morning of the 17th that we saw the Isles Furneaux, which form with the north-east point of Diemen's Land, one of the passes of the great strait of Bass, of which I must say a few words before I proceed.

It is sometimes the case in geographical discoveries, as with discoveries in other sciences, that after having escaped the efforts of genius, all the researches and perseverance Of the learned scholar, they at length present themselves, as it were, to those who have never made these researches, of busied themselves in such studies and labours. Thus the discovery of the famous strait which separates New Holland from Diemen's Land, attempted in vain by so many celebrated navigators, was reserved for the surgeon of an English ship. And what is perhaps not less astonishing, that the discovery was not made till the year 1798, that is to say, ten years after the establishment of the colony of Port Jackson, notwithstanding its proximity to this settlement.

This strait is about 50 leagues wide from north to south and of nearly an equal length from east to west: the eastern month is considerably lessened by the Two-Sisters, the Furneaux Isles whose number and size are not yet thoroughly known, the Isle Clarke, Isle Preservation, the Isle Swan, and the little islet belonging to it. Between Diemen's Land, the Isle Swan and its islot on one part, and all the other isles on the other part, there is a channel ten miles in breadth: it is to this principal pass that captain Flinders, who first discovered it, thought proper to give the name of Banks's Straits. Between the isles Furneaux to the north, and the promontory of Wilson, which forms the southern point of New Holland, and which projects above twenty miles towards the interior of the strait, is situated Kent's group, the numerous rocks of the promontory, the pyramid, and several other very dangerous rocks, which obstruct the great path north of the mouth of the strait. To the west appear the Hunter Islands, flanked with a great number of rocks, shoals, and terrible reefs. More towards the north, and exactly in the middle of the western mouth of the strait, is situated the large island King, the islots of the New-year, the Elephants' rock, and several reefs which are connected with the particular plan of this group. I shall have occasion in the course of this work, successively to describe in detail each of these lands; it will suffice at present to observe, that abstracting all the physical circumstances, besides those which I have just mentioned, the navigation of the straits of Bass must be difficult and dangerous; and when I add that strong currents prevail in this strait, and that it is subject to terrible gales from the south-west, the reader will be less surprised at the succession of imminent perils to which our ships were exposed every time we entered this passage: he will also be able to judge of the frequency and cause of the shipwrecks, of which we shall have to give an account in another place.

I have already said, that on the 17th of March we first came in sight of the Furneaux Islands; these are very high mountains, which in favourable weather may be discovered easily at the distance of twelve or fifteen leagues at sea: they present, in every respect, the same wild scene as the Schouten Island. One of the following chapters will give a more particular account of them.

We had no sooner got into the strait of Banks than the sky became covered with dark and heavy clouds: however, we pursued our course. During the night, rain and wind succeeded each other without intermission.

On the 18th we sailed along all that part of the coast which lays between Cape Portland and Waterhouse Island. This part of Diemen's Land, as we have before observed, is extremely low, and almost under water in many places; but in the interior of the country may be perceived a lofty chain of mountains, in the direction from the N.N.W. to the S.S.E.; a circumstance constituting a sufficient reason for the prodigious difference between the S.E. and N.E. points of Diemen's Land.

Until this time we had some hope of finding our long-boat or meeting with our consort; but after having in vain spent two days in search of them, we despaired seeing them again through the remainder of our voyage, and the event but too well justified our fears on the subject.

In the course of the day on the 20th we saw a great number of dolphins, and several whales from forty to fifty feet in length. I neglected to observe in another place, that off Cape Lodi, we had before seen an immense shoal of large fish.

From the 21st to the 26th of March we experienced one of the strangest gales that we had ever encountered in these seas; several of our sails were carried away by the squalls, and we had nearly been lost in the night of the 21st on the Isles of Furneaux. To escape this misfortune we were obliged, notwithstanding the force of the tempest, to carry all our sails, and in the course of the morning of the 22d instant, we succeeded in clearing the strait by the pass between Kent's group and the promontory. At nine o'clock in the morning we doubled the pyramid, an enormous rock, which at a distance has the appearance of a gothic ruin: then standing right in to the west of the isles of Kent's group, we succeeded in doubling them, though with much difficulty, luffing up very near these islands. These terrific granitic rocks presented a majestic and dreadful spectacle, naked and barren: the roaring waves broke against them with such noise and force, as seemed to threaten every instant to bury them under torrents of foam. The chart of capt. Flinders, although generally correct, is incomplete in this particular, for he points out but twelve of these islots, and we counted sixteen at least.

On the 24th of March the storm still continued, and on this day we saw an immense number of whales. I have already mentioned the abundant number of these large fish which are seen near the shores of New Holland: I shall hereafter enlarge on the subject of these extraordinary animals.

On the morning of the 27th the hurricane ceased, and we hastened to enter the straits again, as we were impatient to make the south-west coast of New Holland, one of the principal objects of our mission. In the course of the morning we ranged a part of the land, which, from the Ramshead, extends as far as the promontory of Wilson: they are not so low as the chart of Flinders seems to make them.

In the environs of Kent's group we discovered a few more islots, which are not marked in the chart: one of them was in shape and colour like a brioche*, and we called it by that name.

[* Brioche, a sort of French bun.]

In the middle of the day on the 28th, we were in sight of the islots which project a-head of Wilson's promontory: we successively surveyed about twenty of them, large and small, but all steep, barren, and broken by the waves. The English chart does not mark near so many, and therefore, in this, respect, is defective: it is still more so in the situation in which it places the promontory: in this chart it is marked as being in 38° 57' south latitude, and in 144° 41' east longitude from the meridian of Paris: while our own observations place the most southern extremity of this promontory in 39° 10' 30" south latitude, and 144° 20' east longitude. So great a mistake must be ascribed to the incorrectness of the means used by capt. Flinders to determine this important point. This celebrated navigator says, indeed, that Bass not having in his cruize round the promontory made any exact observation, he himself could not determine the situation of it but by the reckoning; and this method, as Flinders observes, cannot be much depended on in latitudes where such strong currents prevail as in the straits of which we are here giving an account. Before I conclude this article I must observe that the islots of Kent's group also appeared to us, in this chart, to be marked as lying too far towards the east: but I can only slightly take notice of all the results of our observations; they will be given by Freycinet, with the particulars which their importance requires. But let us return to our subject.

The lands of the promontory are very high, and present two or three elevations of mountains which rise towards the interior of the country. All the length of this coast there is a great deal of water, and the navigation appeared to us to have no other dangers than those occasioned by the currents, and the proximity of the islots and rocks which I have noticed before.

The promontory of Wilson forms a large cape in the West, to which Bass gave no particular name: this cape is scarcely marked in the chart of Flinders. A-head of this cape are six large islots, one of which is nearly a mile and, a half in length.

Directly to the north is a very large and deep bay, which we named Bay Patterson, in honour of the worthy English voyager and scholar of that name, and the intimate friend of Mr. Bass. Several lofty peaks were to be seen on the east coast of this bay, and in the distance we perceived a chain of high mountains.

On the 29th of March, at day-break we began to explore a second bay, which is also, like the preceding, to the north-west of the promontory; this was named the Bay of Venus, from a vessel commanded by capt. Bass, and which will make part of our subject hereafter. The lands of this second bay are high towards the two points, but all those which form the contour are much lower. In the interior of the continent we see the same long chain of mountains of which the lands of the promontory seems to be the extreme point.

On the same day in the afternoon, we were off the isle which closes the fine port Western, discovered by Bass, but of which the particular geography was completed by our consort, as we shall hereafter see.

Here finish the labours of the English navigators, and at this same point began our long exploration of Napoleon's Land.





CHAPTER XVII.

Napoleon's Land. [From about Spencer Gulf, S.A. to Western Port, Vic.]

[From the 29th of March to the 8th of May, 1802.]


UNDER the name of the south coast and south-west coast of New Holland, is generally comprised all that part Of this continent which stretches from the 33d to the 39th south latitude, and which from the 112°, stretches out as far to the east as the 144th degree of east longitude, thus forming an immense scarp of 800 or 900 leagues in length, of which the two extremities are connected, the one with Cape Leuwin to the west, and the other to Wilson's promontory towards the south.

Of this large space, that part which from Cape Leuwin to the isles St. Pierre and St. Francis, was all that was at all known at the time of our departure from Europe. Discovered by the Dutch in the year 1627, it had been visited in our days by Vancouver and Dentrecasteaux; but this last navigator not having gone beyond the isles St. Pierre and St. Francis, which form the eastern boundary of Nuyt's Land, and the English not having carried their researches towards the south farther than Port Western, it consequently follows, that the whole of the coast laying between this last point of Nuyt's Land, was entirely unknown at the time we arrived at these shores; and as the point in question was nothing less than to resolve by this exploration the problem of New Holland being a continent, and to discover if there was any large river belonging to that continent, we every one felt an additional degree of zeal and courage.

On the 30th of March, at day-break, we steered towards the shore, which we soon made. A large cape which was called Cape Richelieu, projects out a-head, and forms the entrance of a deep bay, which we named Bay Tallyrand. On the eastern coast of this bay, and almost at the farther part, is a port, of which every winding may be perceived from the mast-head: we described it by the name of Debut Port; but having afterwards learned that it had been already more particularly reconnoitred by the English brig the Lady Nelson, and that at that time it was named Port Phillip, we preserved this name with so much the more pleasure, as it reminded us of that of the founder of a colony in which we received such generous and effective assistance.

At three o'clock we were off a large cape, which is situated in 38° 42' latitude, and 141° 49'; this we named Cape Suffrein. The lands here are high, but rise still higher as we steer towards Cape Marengo, which place terminated our Survey of this coast.

On the 31st we stood in for the land from the first appearance of day-break. The sky was serene and clear, the sea smooth, and the wind favourable: so many advantages gave us opportunity of ranging the coast very near, and thus our geographic observations were made with the utmost precision. All that portion of land which from Cape Marengo stretches along the western shore as far as Cape Desaix, a space of about twelve miles, is very high, and Cape Desaix itself is well wooded: but at this point the aspect of New Holland changes all at once, to a steep beach almost perpendicular, of a greyish or yellowish hue, without any appearance of verdure or vegetation, which forming a number of small capes and little creeks of no great depth, describes in the distance an appearance of a long chain of regular fortifications, or rather something like the gigantic wall which separates China from Tartary. Cape Volney, near which we were about noon, is remarkable for a chain of rocks which stretches a good way out. Beyond this we discovered a portion of land which seemed detached from the main land, and which we named Isle Latraille, in honour of the worthy and learned naturalist of that name.

As we continued our course along the shore, we came a-head of a peak of a conic form, to which we gave the name of the Peak of Reconnoissance, and the nearest cape we called Mount Tabor Cape.

At this period the barometer remained at from 28i 7l to 28i 8l, which was higher than we had observed it until this time: the atmosphere is also very serene and clear. The thermometer, in the course of the day, varied from 13° to 15°, and in the course of the night sunk to 10º.

A-head of Cape Desaix, in the Bay Daubenton, and at a short distance to the west of Cape Folard, we perceived smoke in different directions—an almost certain indication of inhabitants being on these inhospitable shores. We observed several kinds of thrushes, goëlands, boobies, and puffins; but, with the exception of some flying fish, all sea animals seem to have deserted this coast, which affords them no shelter, and against which the troubled waves beat incessantly. Our collections were therefore confined to a few kinds of new and singular fucus. One of these, which I described by the name of Fucus phylophorus, seemed to me to be particularly remarkable for the curious disposition of the leaves: on each side of a large flat stalk grow, at equal distances, plain pointed leaves; from the edges of these leaves proceed others of a similar shape, and each supported by a separate bulb: in some instances, even a third rank of leaves proceed from these secondary leaves. I could not determine the precise end of this sort of generation, which is so much the more singular, as the real organs of the reproduction of the plant, the globules, common to most kinds of the focus, are very much spread in this species, and grow on a long pedicle at the base of the mother-leaves.

At eight in the morning, on the 1st of April, we discovered a small isle, which we named Isle Fourcroy. This island is almost quadrangular, slightly indented on the edges of the shore: it is low, regularly level, of a sad greyish colour, sterile like the sea shore of the continent: it is situated in 38° 26' 15" south latitude, and 139° 52' east longitude. A remarkable cape appears off this isle, which we named Cape Reaumur.

About noon we had got into a very large bay, which was called Tourville Bay. We soon discovered another blackish island, which, like the former, was steep, barren, and low, separated by a small space from two islots of the same description. We named it the Dragon Island, because of its whimsical form; for towards one of the points it is shaped like the half-opened mouth of an enormous reptile. The waves which wash its shores, and the islots which belong to it, abound with innumerable unfledged sea-fowl, too young to make use of their wings; these animals appear for the space of above three quarters of a league, as if heaped one upon another. Their prodigious number, the deafening and confused noise which they continually make, the tender solicitude of the parent birds, which fly in thousands over the heads of their young, at the same time screaming with terror at the sight of our vessel; the strange appearance of the islots which serve as a refuge to those hordes of sea birds; all together present an interesting and picturesque scene.

Cape Montaigne terminates west of the large Bay Tourville: beyond this appear the barren shores of Cape Duquesne, which are low and of a yellowish colour; but now the darkness made our farther survey very uncertain, and therefore we suspended our researches when we came in sight of this cape.

All that part of the coast which we had just reconnoitred, appeared low and barren, like that which we had seen on the preceding evening; we must, however, except the part which lies between the Dragon Island and Cape Duquesne, where the land here and there presents a few stunted shrubs and trees.

At the farther part of the Bay Tourville, we again observed large quantities of smoke.

The barometer on this day was at from 28i 6l to 28i 7l, and the thermometer gave 15° as the mean term of heat, a temperature similar to that of the spring in our own country.

April 2.—Beyond Cape Duquesne appears the great Bay Descartes, terminated towards the west by another cape, which, from the name of the immortal author of the Spirit of Laws, we called Cape Montesquieu. It was nine o'clock in the morning when we came off the Bay Descartes, and we began to enter it, when we were becalmed, and compelled to suspend our operations.

It is worthy of remark, that since we had made the land on this coast, the same phenomenon had happened every day at the same hour. A brisk wind from the N.N.E. and varying; to the N.E. sprang up at break of day, and insensibly abated from eight to nine, and from nine to ten o'clock, and about eleven or twelve a dead calm succeeded. Soon after, the wind changed from the east to the southeast, blowing fresh, and thus we were enabled to extend our labours and researches. Probably it may be attributed in a gnat degree to the breezes from the east and by south, that every attempt made to reconnoitre the coast, until this time, coming from the north-west to the south-east, have always been in vain.

We continued our course the instant the calm ceased. The sea broke violently against the white sandy clowns which form the beach. Beyond these downs, three or four leagues up the country, we perceived three peaks, the largest we named Mount St. Bernard: it has some resemblance to the Table Mountain. A neighbouring cape we called by the same, Cape Mount St. Bernard.

While we thus pursued our discoveries, as we imagined in perfect security, we perceived on a sudden a long chain of breakers, which we escaped by observing the reflection of the sun sparkling on their surface. We were so near that We had scarcely time to stand eastward on the larboard tack, and double them at a very little distance. During all these manœuvres we dared not heave the lead for fear of alarming the seamen. This reef was in fact a frightful spectacle; did breakers extended a length of several miles off the coast, which was of a yellowish sterile appearance. These rocks were indented like the teeth of a saw, and were scarcely to be distinguished in the midst of the foaming waves and the eddies. Towards the western point of these breakers, which we named the Carpenters, are two small whitish islots. Cape Boufflers, in sight of which we ended our researches on the 2d of April, is situated some miles to the north-west. Divers kinds of goëlands and sternes were the only animals we observed, and on the waves we perceived several Medusæ, besides a large sea-cow which swam sleeping on the surface. Towards the farther end of the Bay Descartes, we saw the smoke of some fires rising from behind the downs; but in general the barren nature of the whole of this coast must drive from thence all the human race, as it does not appear to produce sufficient but for a very small number.

April 3d, 4th, 5th, and 6th.—From Cape Belidor to Cape Boufflers, the coast is diversified with a number of pleasant little creeks; it then sinks farther in, to form the Bay D'Estaing, terminated to the north-west by a large cape which we named Cape Buffon. From this point as far as the Bay Rivoli, in a space of above forty miles, the continent has no bay, nor any kind of shelter even for the smallest vessel. Exposed on every side to the impetuous winds from the south-west, and beat against incessantly by the waves of the Immense Southern Ocean, this part of New Holland is still more terrific than those which we have hitherto described. An immense surf broke the whole length of this shore, making a dreadful noise, which was heard even in the time of a dead calm. On several points where we approached nearer the coast, we observed this surf foaming under the surge of the waves: the most hideous sterility is seen in every direction, and there is not the least appearance of there being even the smallest stream of fresh water. We may judge of the wretched situation, of navigators who are so unfortunate as to be lost on these frightful shores.

Such however had nearly been our fate in the course of the day on the 6th of April. At three o'clock in the afternoon, at a moment when we were most occupied in our geographic labours, we were close to a shoal of rocks so level with the surface of the water, that we could not perceive them, till the instant we were almost a-ground.

During this last part of our researches, (that is to say), from the 3d to the 7th of April, we observed some sea-cows on the waves, also a new species of Beroë, (Beroë dactylöides, N.), a species of Salpa, (Salpa octœdra, N.); and in the evening of the 4th of April, the sea appeared covered with a beautiful species of portune, which was particularly remarkable for the rose-coloured head, and the bright blue colour of the eyes. I have described it by the name of Portunus cyanophtalmus, N.

The temperature of the sea on the surface, was at the time at 14° of Reaumur. Independent of these animals, on the morning of the 5th of April, we saw a numerous shoal of dolphins; and on the same day we met a shoal of scombres, a species of fish of the mackerel kind, (Scomber thynnus, Lacepede). The sea, during the whole of the night, was extremely phosphorescent; the sky was dark and cloudy; and the barometer was only at 28° 3'. These atmospheric variations seemed to correspond with the changes of the wind, which was at that time N.W., and which consequently brought with it the fogs from the Indian sea. At the farther end of the Bay of Rivoli, we observed the smoke of some fires on the coast.

7th of April.—This bay appears in form of a large oval, which goes eight or ten miles into the land, and is terminated to the south by Cape Lannes, to the north by Cape Jaffa: near this last point is a large chain of reefs, which much contracts the entrance. About 50 miles from Cape, Jaffa, is another bay, the mouth of which is from six to seven leagues in extent, and goes still more into the lands; we named this bay, Lacepede. Cape Bernoulli, which forms the eastern point, has a very dangerous reef runs out a-head, which, as we approached, brought us into a depth of but six fathoms rocky bottom; it was not without difficulty that we doubled this reef. To describe the particular constitution of this new part of New Holland, we must, if it is possible, increase the inhospitable appearance of, monotony and sterility, which is so general on these shores. The human race seemed, nevertheless, numerous on this coast; if we might judge from the numberless fires which we saw at the farther end of Lacepede Bay. Innumerable flights of cormorants, the inhabitants of some islots near Cape Bernoulli, appear to be the exclusive possessors of these terrific rocks.



11. Seven Topographic Profiles of Napoleon's Land, Taken from the Ship

On the 8th of April at noon, we reckoned ourselves to be in 36° 1' 10" south latitude, and 137° 7' 40" longitude. We had now reconnoitred a length of coast of 944 miles, measuring all the headings of the shore, from Wilson's promontory to the point where we now were. Soon after this hour, and at a little distance from Cape Villars, we perceived towards the bounds of the horizon, a shoal of dolphins, of such a great length, that at first, we thought them to be an immense chain of reefs; but their swift progress soon convinced us of our error, and we then began to think of making war on them, while the poor animals seemed inclined to assist our wishes; several detachments, like an advanced guard, preceded the principal body; these doubled oar ship very near: the quickness of their evolutions, the boldness of their leaps, engaged our attention so much the more, as we had never before seen such an amazing number of these large fish at one time. It appeared difficult to us to imagine how these thousands of dolphins could find sufficient food in seas which seemed not at all to abound in fish of a smaller size, or how they could play and sport without dashing one another to pieces, from being so astonishingly crowded together. In a few minutes we killed nine immense large ones with our harpoons, and such a quantity of fish, seemed to us like a gift from heaven; for at this time the scurvy had begun the most terrible ravages among us, and the salt provisions, which had become almost putrid, and to which we had been reduced for several months, increased this dreadful distemper every day more and more.

We had but just finished our fishing, when signal was made at the mast-head, of a sail being in sight. At first, every one thought it was the Naturalist, and our joy was general; but as we came nearer the ship, we soon perceived, that it was not our consort. As she made for us with all sail set, she was presently under our stern, when she hoisted the English flag, and we at the same time hoisted French colours, and lay to, in imitation of their example; the English captain now hailed us, and asked if we were not one of the two ships which had sailed from France, to make discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere? On our answering in the affirmative, he hoisted out a boat and came on board us; we now found that he was captain Flinders, the same who had already made the circumnavigation of Diemen's Land: that the name of his ship was the Investigator; and that it was then eight months since he had sailed from Europe, with the intention of reconnoitring the whole coast of New Holland and the archipelago in the South Seas: he had been for the last three months off the coast of Nuyt's Land; and having been prevented by contrary winds, he had not been able to get at the back of the Isles St. Francis and St. Pierre, as he had intended. We also understood, that at the time of his departure from England, he had another ship with him, from which he had been separated by a storm, and that a few days preceding, hit had been attacked by the same squall of wind from the equinox, which had driven us into imminent danger in the strait of Bass, and had lost his long-boat, with eight of his best seamen and his first officer. This singular coincidence in misfortune, may serve as a proof of the perils always attendant on expeditions of this sort.

In giving us all these particulars, captain Flinders shewed great reserve on the subject of his particular operations; we only learnt from some of his seamen, that he suffered much from those winds from the south, which had been so favourable to us; we now knew properly how to appreciate the excellent instructions we ourselves had received. After conversing with us above an hour, captain Flinders returned on board his own ship, promising to come on board us again on the morrow, and bring us a particular chart of the River Dalrymple, which had lately been published in England.

On the 9th of April captain Flinders returned according to his promise, and brought with him the chart, and soon after we parted, to continue our geographic researches.

We now came to a part of Napoleon's Land, where the constitution of the soil, hitherto so simple, was so complicated, that it would be impossible for me to detail the particulars, however interesting they may be; it is therefore by the more prominent features that we must describe the new subjects which will here be presented to our view. Beyond a bay of about ten miles in width at the mouth, and which was called Bay Mollieu, we first discovered the peninsula Fleurieu, which is 15 or 16 leagues in length, formed of very high lands and elevations of mountains, which all proclaim that they are of a granitic nature.

To the west of this peninsula appears a gulph, which goes above 100 miles up into the interior of the lands, and which, in honour of our august empress, we named Gulf Josephine; a-head of this gulf, and almost across the mouth of it is the Isle Decrés, of 210 miles circumference, separated by the strait of Colbert from the peninsula Fleurieu, on the east, and by the strait of Lacepede on the west; from a second peninsula of 120 miles in length, which we named the peninsula Cambaceres: the archipelago Vauban, composed of eight small islands, is situated near the western point of this peninsula. Beyond Cape Berthier, which terminates to the west the peninsula Cambaceres, New Holland is intersected to form the Gulf Buonaparte, which runs across this continent for a length of more than 200 miles, and its shores spread over an extent of above 600 miles. This vast gulf appears at the mouth like a large river, and insensibly becomes narrower towards the end. On the western shore of this gulf and near the entrance, is the port Champagny, one of the finest and safest harbours of all New Holland: the bottom is in every part good; the soundings even close in shore, are from ten to twelve fathoms; and the extent of this port is so large, that there is sufficient room for very numerous fleets. Off the mouth of it is the Isle Lagrange, which is about four or five leagues in circumference, and which, situated exactly opposite the middle of the gulf, leaves on each side a passage of two or three miles in width, in which it is both easy and safe to work to windward. Finally, as if nature particularly favoured the port Champagny, the general appearance of sterility is here no longer to be seen, but the lands are high and clothed with thick forests. It is nevertheless true, that we could not discover any fresh water, but the strength and healthy appearance of the vegetation, and the height of the lands, strongly indicates that there must be some streams, or at least, some considerable springs. On this most favoured part of Napoleon's Land, there doubtless exists numerous tribes of inhabitants, for the whole coast appears as if covered by the fires. So many superior advantages belonging particularly to the port Champagny, insures it a very great degree of importance, and we may without hesitation, assert, that of all the points of this land, this is the most proper for the establishment of a European colony.



12. General Map of the Gulfs of Napoleon and Josephine, S.A.

Off this port is situated the archipelago of Leoben, consisting of eight small islands, of which, the largest is very long and narrow. Another archipelago occupying the middle of the mouth of the gulf, we named Berthier's Archipelago. The principal isle of this last group, has the form of a large hook. Besides all these islands, there are above twenty others, disseminated about the environs of the western part of the gulf and at the entrance; we gave to each of these one or other of the honourable titles, which our country has been pleased to bestow as the reward of merit.

Not far from the gulf Buonaparte, New Holland forms a large cape, which we named Cape Brune, then goes back for a space of 60 miles, and again advances as far as Cape Correa. Near this point is situated the group of the Jerome isles, which are nine in number; the largest of them we called Isle Andreossy; it is not less than twelve or thirteen miles in length. Farther on is the Bay Lemonnier, protected by a chain of dangerous rocks. Then passing the small Cuvier isles, we came off the Bay Louis, which developes a coast of more than 50 miles: in this large space we observed many of the fires of the natives.

At this last point of Napoleon's Land, the isles appear very numerous, and first, the archipelago St. Francois presents its thirteen or fourteen barren islands, which lay at the distance of about 25 miles from the continent. A short distance N.E. of this group, are the Isles St. Pierre, these are three in number, and the soil and appearance very similar to the preceding. Still farther, and very near the continent, are situated the Isles Josephine, among numerous shoals and breakers. The Rambarde, a frightful chain of reefs, occupies almost all the space which separates these isles from those of the archipelago St. Pierre, leaving however a good passage between them and the southern extremity.

To the west of the group Josephine, are the Geography Isles, forming a small group of four isles among several islots. Twenty miles farther to the N.W., we discover the three small islands, Jean-Bart: from this last point, to reach the Isles La Bourdonnais, it is necessary to steer near 50 miles to the west; and from thence, as far as the group of the Isles of Montenotte, to bear away near 40 miles toward the S.S.W.

If we reckon with these last islands, all those which from Wilson's promontory are spread abroad on Napoleon's Land, there are more than 160: but all these isles are low, barren, and of a sombre hue: most of them do not produce a tree or even a shrub; the lichens alone, seem to creep over the surface of the ground. On the largest, and also on that which has not quite so sterile an appearance, the Isle Decrés, for example, which is not more than 70 leagues in circumference, and on which in the interior, are such large forests, we could scarcely discover or obtain, even by digging into the sandy earth, and collecting with care all the watt which issued from the rocks, enough of this precious element to fill a few casks; and all the other isles appeared to be totally without any fresh water of any kind . . . Can we therefore be surprised, that there did not appear to be any inhabitants on these islands, or that we found no trace of the human species on these numerous archipelagoes so near the continent? But let us return to the continent itself, which we have forsaken awhile, to take notice first of the adjacent isles.

The reader will doubtless recollect, that one of the objects more particularly recommended in our instructions, was, to penetrate to the back of the Isles St. Pierre and St. Francois, and to reconnoitre very particularly all that part of the continent which was partly concealed behind this archipelago. On this point was supposed to be a strait, which intersecting New Holland into two large islands, would open into the end of the Gulf of Carpentaria. On this point also, the best informed naturalists, not supposing it at all probable that so large a continent should be entirely without any rivers, have placed the mouth of such as they thought must be somewhere in New Holland; and this hypothesis is authorized, we must allow, by the immense gulf which is situated on the S.W. coast of this vast continent. Unfortunately this ingenious supposition has not been confirmed by experience, for there are really, no rivers at the back of the Isles St. Pierre or indeed St. Francois, or any other part of Napoleon's Land.

In fact, beyond the Cape Lavoisier, which forms the N.W. point of the great Bay Louis, which we have already mentioned the coast behind these two archipelagos, is indented into a number of inconsiderable bays, and then inclines towards the Isles Josephine, forming with them a large bay, which we shall describe more particularly hereafter, and which we named Bay Murat. From thence as far as the Cape of Adieux, where we terminated our survey of this coast, and which is situated in 32° 19' south latitude, and 128° 42' longitude, the shore of the continent again, displays a number of small and inconsiderable bays, without any appearance of a strait, or even a river. All this last part of New Holland, although of a somewhat more varied aspect than the rest of Napoleon's Land, appears quite as sterile, and whatever part of it we visited on shore, had but too much conformity to this general appearance.

Sterilis profundi squalet soli,
Et fœda tellus torpet æterno situ.
            Seneca, in Herc. fin.

I have thus given a hasty sketch of the general appearance of Napoleon's Land. How many dangers and arduous labours did we endure in the research of these particulars! At two different seasons we visited these dangerous shores: hurricanes and storms, shoals and breakers, threatened us perpetually with destruction, and from which we several times very narrowly escaped. Twice with the Geographer, we attempted to penetrate to the farther part of the Gulf Buonaparte, and twice we there had nearly perished. The Casuarina, however, reconnoitred the whole of this gulf, eight months after this period.

The 13th of April was particularly marked by extreme danger: attacked by dreadful squalls of wind, we were obliged, through the whole of the night, to beat to windward in the east gulf, having several times not more than a few feet water, and drawing six or seven knots.

The night of the 19th of April was still more dreadful. At that time we were in the Gulf Buonaparte: impetuous winds from the W.S.W., blew with terrible violence; the sky was covered with thick black clouds; torrents of cold rain, like melted snow, fell, accompanied by flashes of terrific lightning; the ground swells were so violent and so sudden, that we were obliged to tack continually till day appeared. And happy were we, that we had been able, by dint of incessant labour and exertion, to escape the numerous perils of that dreadful night!

These dangers, however, were not to be compared with the shocking ravages which the scurvy spread among our people. Several of our men had already been committed to the deep: already more than the half of our seamen were incapable of service: only two of our helmsmen were able to get on deck. The daily increase of this epidemic, was alarming to an extreme degree. And in fact, how should it be otherwise? Three quarters of a bottle of stinking water was our daily allowance: for more than a year we had not tasted wine; we had not even a single drop of brandy; for those liquors, so indispensable to European seamen, and particularly in such voyages as ours, was substituted three sixths of a bottle of a bad sort of rum, which is made in the Isle of France, and which is there only used by the black slaves. The biscuit served out to us was full of insects; all our salt provisions were putrid and rotten; and both the smell and taste were so offensive, that the almost famished seamen, sometimes preferred suffering all the extremities of want itself, to eating these unwholesome provisions, and even in the presence of the commander, they often threw their allowance into the sea. . . .Besides, there were no comforts of any kind for the sick; none of the necessaries allowed by authority; none of those consoling attentions from the superior, which are so grateful to the feelings of all men, and which are certainly great alleviations in times of such painful and afflicting privations, these comforts were totally unknown. The officers and naturalists, strictly reduced to the same allowance as the seamen, suffered with them the same afflictions of body and mind.

Such was the melancholy state of our ship, when in the morning of the 30th of April, we came in sight of the Isles St. Pierre and St. Francois; eager to get at the back of these islands, and at length resolve the grand question, whether New Holland was really an entire continent, or whether there was behind these islands any river that intersected it? but our attempts for eight days successively were in vain; the hurricanes, calms, and currents, alternately drove us from these shores; and our crew being in so exhausted a state, could only make ineffectual attempts. We were therefore compelled to defer this important discovery to a future time, and endeavour to make the nearest place to refresh. In the following chapter, we shall see how immediate the necessity was for this determination.

Thus terminated our first survey of Napoleon's Land. In the course of 43 days, we had reconnoitred above a thousand leagues of coast; including in this general calculation, all the isles and the numerous bays which we successively had coasted, from Wilson's promontory to the south, to Cape Adieux to the N.W. But, several points of this immense space had certainly escaped us: the geography of the Isles Decrés was not completed: we had not reached the ends of the two gulfs; the port Champagny had not been explored, and the question of the entireness of the continent, which was an essential object of our mission, was still undecided. A second cruize to Napoleon's Land was therefore indispensable, and this consideration ought to have made our commander bend his course to the south, that we might winter in Port Jackson.





CHAPTER XVIII.

Return to Diemen's Land—Stay in the Bay Adventure—Arrival at Port Jackson.

[From the 8th of May, to the 20th June, 1802.]


THE winter had now set in in these southern latitudes; the frequency of the storms and squalls of wind, the roughness of the sea, had convinced us of this truth, during the latter, part of our stay on Napoleon's Land: these imperious circumstances concurred with the epidemic that reigned on board, to make the want of rest the more urgent, it therefore appeared natural to steer the nearest way for Port Jackson, and consequently to cross the Strait of Bass, to get into the great Southern Ocean: our commander, however, was of a different opinion, and without any kind of apparent reason, gave orders to steer to the southern extremity of Diemen's Land. So extraordinary a resolution, spread a general consternation among us, and the melancholy presentiments which it inspired, were soon justified by successive misfortunes.

On the 9th of May, a brisk wind from the N.N.E., carried us a good way to the south: during the whole of the night on the 9th, the horizon appeared all on fire, the flashes of lightning followed each other in such quick succession; and we had also very heavy rain.

From the 10th to the 15th, the weather was dreadful; the sky, always loaded with heavy clouds, incessantly poured down torrents of cold rain; the winds blew in squalls, and with great violence: a thick and penetrating fog darkened the atmosphere, and almost choaked our men. Our unhappy scorbutic crew were covered with ulcers and putrid sores; every day increased the number of the sick, those appointed to attend them, were themselves affected by the same cruel distemper, and our doctor himself, M. l'Haridon, was ill.

We now saw a number of albatrosses, the perpetual inhabitants of the South Seas, and the thermometer had already sunk to 8°. This quick change of the atmosphere compelled us to take to our winter clothing, and our sick companions painfully experienced this alteration of the temperature of the air.

On the 19th, in the morning, we discovered Diemen's Land; at noon we saw the Mewstone Rock; at four o'clock in the afternoon, we were off the Isles of Swilly; and we hoped, before night, to be in the channel Dentrecasteaux; but the winds deceived us: we lay-to under the Isle Bruny.

On the 20th in the morning, we found ourselves very near the land, but we could hardly distinguish it through the thick fog, with which it was covered; at nine o'clock we discovered the entrance of the Bay of Adventure, and the lofty reddish columns of the Fluted Cape risen (if I may be allowed the expression), from the depth of a stormy sea; these columns appear four or five hundred feet above the surface of the water, like an enormous causeway of basaltic prisms, against which, the tumultuous waves driven hither, from the frozen ocean of the pole, by the south wind, break with great noise and violence. This basaltic constitution, which we have before had occasion to remark on the Isle Tasman, and on some other points of Diemen's Land, or the adjacent islands, is so much the more extraordinary, as there does not appear to be any volcanic substances, even in those very places where this constitution was observed.

A-head of the Fluted Cape, projects the Isle of the Penguins, a barren rock, thus named by Furneaux, from a species of Aptenodytes minor, which this navigator discovered here, and which he mistook for a penguin. This mistake, though of but little consequence in geographic nomenclature, is, nevertheless, an error to be remarked, as it is connected with the knowledge of natural history. It is, in fact certain, that all the species of the penguin genus, are confined to the cold seas of the Northern Hemisphere: while on the contrary, the Aptenodytes minor, are found near the still colder waters of the Antarctic Hemisphere.

After passing the Isle of Penguins, we came opposite to the anchorage, in the Bay of Adventure. Here the appearance of the lands changed all at once; the Isle Bruny is in this part formed of lofty mountains, and the valleys extend to the sea shore; numerous streams descend from the mountains, which are clothed with thick forests to the very summits, while the coast is adorned with beautiful trees and shrubs, that are evergreen. The stillness of the waves at the farther end of the bay, the verdure and coolness of the adjacent forests, formed a delightful contrast with the barren aspect and sombre hue of the Fluted Cape, and the noise of the waves, which were still to be heard in the distance.

We had no sooner cast anchor, than several boats were sent for wood and water, and to carry on shore those of our sick who could bear the motion. I myself, went with my friend M. Bernier, and we spent the day together, in exploring the farther end of the bay.

On the 21st, at four o'clock in the morning, I again went in search of subjects for my collection, and was well rewarded for my labour. At length, in the morning of the 22d, our commander gave orders to set sail: so exhausted was the state of our crew, that we were above four hours in raising the anchor. As soon as this labour was ended, we steered our course to the N.N.E., bearing away towards the Isle Maria, which we gained in the course of the evening. But before we return to the account of our voyage, I shall give a few particulars on the subject of the Bay of Adventure.

The Bay of Adventure was discovered in the year 1770, by captain Furneaux, who named it after the ship which he commanded. This bay is connected with the eastern coast of the Isle Bruny, which forms, with Diemen's Land, the grand channel Dentrecasteaux; the isthmus St. Aignant, which is situated N.N.E. of the Fluted Cape, separates it from the channel. The lands of the isthmus being very low, and the breadth being not more than a few hundred paces, it seems astonishing that the discovery of this channel, successively escaped both Furneaux and captain Cook, who, a long time before admiral Dentrecasteaux, had made some stay in the Bay Adventure: the latitude is 40° 20' S., and the longitude 145° 12' E. of the meridian of Paris. The topographic plan of this bay, drawn by the ingenious French artist, M. Beautemps-Beaupré, is particularly to be valued, for its peculiar correctness in every particular.

Of all the particular parts of Diemen's Land, and the adjacent isles, that which we are now describing is doubtless the best watered, and for that reason, is the most interesting to navigators: it is probably the only part, where one or more vessels could be supplied with fresh water. This advantage appeared to me, to depend less on the height of the mountains, and the thickness of the forests, than on the nature of the soil, which is entirely composed of granitic rock, of a very fine grain, and a bed of clayey earth, which itself, laying under the vegetative land, spreads over the whole of that part of the isle where we then were. From this disposition, it consequently results, that the rain-water and the dews, and the still more abundant water of the mists and the clouds, condensed by the mountains, not being able to sink deep into the soil, are thus forced to run on the surface, where they form the numerous streams I before mentioned, besides several ponds and marshes, large enough to support several sorts of fresh water fish, which are found in great plenty.

From the few meteorological experiments that I was able to make in Adventure Bay, I found that Reaumur's thermometer, ashore in the day-time, varied from six to ten degrees: that the mean height of the barometer, was 28i 1l 4: while the hygrometer fluctuated from 92 to 97; and the temperature of the sea at its surface, was very little different from that of the atmosphere.

After what I have said of our acquaintance with the inhabitants of Diemen's Land, it will be perceived that those of Isle Bruny belong to the same race; and they occasionally pass from one isle to the other. It is probable, that at the time of our anchoring in Adventure Bay, they were all on the main land; for we could not discover any traces of them ashore. The reason why they seldom frequent Isle Bruny, I attribute to the scarcity of the large oysters, turbots, and other fish, that form their principal food.

On doubling Isle Maria to the south, we passed in the morning of the 24th Geography Strait, Capes Degerando, Tourville, &c. and arrived off Cape Lodi; where we were visited by tremendous weather. Every day produced hurricanes and tempests; and so thick a fog surrounded us, that we could scarcely distinguish the highest mountains of Diemen's Land. It likewise often thundered, and in the morning of the 3d of June we had a storm of very large hail; a circumstance the more singular, as neither the season nor the state of the atmosphere indicated the approach of such phenomena.

The number of our sick increased every hour; and every day we had to commit some of our unfortunate companions to the deep; while from the diminution of our numbers, all hands were required above deck to manage the ship; and the fatigues they underwent, exhausted the few who were in health. At length, there were only six who were able to keep the deck; the sick below made the vessel re-echo with their painful cries, and a general consternation prevailed. We could now no longer direct the ship: all the tackle gave way, and we had not hands enough to repair or to shift the sails. There was not a moment to lose, and we saw that our commander had too long delayed coming to anchor. In short, it was necessary to quit these stormy seas at the extremity of the globe, and hasten towards Port Jackson. "Then," said the commander in his journal, and the fact was too fatally evident; "we had but four of the crew capable of doing duty on deck, including a midshipman." It may be guessed from this slight remark, what ravages had been made amongst us by the scurvy! indeed, not one of us was free from it; and it even extended to the domestic animals, particularly two rabbits and a monkey, which died of this disease. Amidst all these disasters, our second physician, M. Taillefer, paid the kindest attention to all who were in want of his assistance.

Till the 5th of June, the storm had not entirely ceased; but as we made much way to the northward, its violence gave us less trouble. During the night, we passed the southern point of New Holland, which is called by Cook the Ram Head. On the 7th died our purser, Racine, who was one of the most respectable of our company.

From the 7th to the 15th of June, the stormy weather was incessant. On the night of the 14th we had much thunder and hail, and the lightning was so vivid and constant, that we were almost blinded with its refulgence. At length, on the 17th, the man at the mast-head sung out, that a ship was in sight and preparing to board us, and shortly the vessel was alongside; when the captain informed us, that he had only been two days from Port Jackson on his way to New Zealand to catch whales; that captain Flinders had been some time in that harbour; that the Naturalist had been at anchor there several days, but had gone out in search of us; that the long-boat which we had been obliged to abandon on the eastern shore of Diemen's Land, had been fallen in with by an English ship from Port Jackson, and that its whole crew were safe on board the Naturalist: he concluded with saying, that we were expected with the utmost anxiety in the colony, where the orders of the English government had been received, commanding the governor to shew us every kind of attention, and adding, that we should be sure of meeting with every possible accommodation. He also apprised us that, only a few days before he sailed, an official account had been received of the conclusion of peace between England and France.

Notwithstanding this pleasing intelligence, we were obliged to tack for many days off Port Jackson, without being able to enter it, on account of the debility of the crew, who were unable to perform the necessary manœuvres. Our joy, however, became incomprehensible, when, on the 20th we perceived a large English sloop coming towards us. We soon learned from the commanding officer, that for three days we had been perceived by the signal posts on the coast, and that the governor supposing from our manœuvres, that we were in great distress, had sent off the sloop, with a pilot and the necessary number of hands to conduct us into the harbour. Full of gratitude for this assistance, we very shortly came to anchor.

Thus terminated this long navigation, one of the most fatal with which naval histories can furnish; one which had deprived us of nearly the whole of our crew. At this critical period, nearly all our scorbutic patients were so ill, that it would have required several days to convey half of them on shore: two of them died the day after we anchored; but all the rest recovered to rapidly, as to strike us with astonishment; not one of those who had been landed died, and in a few days, those who were actually on the brink of the grave, recovered their health. We were, in short, lost in wonder at the magical effect of the country and the vegetables upon a disorder, to counteract which, all the medicines on board ship, all the most active operations, and energetic attentions, had proved fruitless.

Happily the means of preventing these disastrous epidemics are now better known; for natural philosophy and chemistry have afforded great aid to the system of nautical medicine. The diseases, however, which afflicted us, must afford a dreadful lesson to future navigators; in fact, they arose from no Other cause, than the contempt of our commander for all the precautions that were indispensable to preserve the health of the crew. He despised the liberal orders of government in this respect; he disdained all the instructions that had been given to him in Europe; and oppressed his whole company with the most horrible privations. May his conduct be a warning to his successors, and save them from regret and remorse.





CHAPTER XIX.

Operations of the Naturalist in Banks's Strait—Isles Furneaux—Kent Bay—Clarke's and Preservation Isles—Cape Portland—Isles of Swan and Waterhouse.

[From the 8th to the 19th of March, 1802.]


THE reader will doubtlessly recollect the separation of the Naturalist and the Geographer, on the eastern coast of Diemen's Land. Before we give the details of our residence at Port Jackson, where the Naturalist came to anchor a few days before our arrival, it appears necessary, that the order of occurrences may not be interrupted, to expose first the result of the labours of the philosophers, during this last part of their navigation. Messrs. Boulanger, Freycinet, and Bailly, shall be the principal narrators of the events that happened.

"Notwithstanding our eagerness to follow the route of the Geographer, we could not, says. M. Freycinet, keep her in sight. The superior sailing of that vessel, and the multiplicity of tacks she made, without making any of the usual signals, together with the bad weather that prevailed, sufficiently account for our separation.

"On the 8th of March we made towards land, in the hope of discovering the Geographer. At four in the afternoon a sail was perceived in the E.S.E., which we immediately took for our consort, but on coming up, we discovered her to be an English brig. The captain informed us, that she was called the Endeavour, and that she had been a fortnight out from Port Jackson to Isle Maria, to catch Phocæ. This brig had been built in the port just mentioned; her hull was made of the wood of the Casuarina, and her masts of the Eucalyptus. We gave this vessel some account of the roads to which she was proceeding, and pointed out the parts where the sea-cows most abounded.

"On the 10th, early in the morning, we observed another sail, which we discovered to be making towards us, and that she was an English brig. What was our surprise on recognizing the long-boat of the Geographer, with Messrs. Boulanger, Maurouard, and the eight sailors who had followed them. We were astonished at the danger they had escaped, as we had no doubt that they rejoined their ship on the 6th of March. We learned that M. Boulanger, having in vain on the evening of the 6th endeavoured to rejoin the Geographer, M. Maurouard and he had resolved to keep close to the shore; that the 7th had been occupied by them in coasting along it, and continuing their geographical observations, but being forced to pass another night in the open air, they had suffered much from the cold and rain, with a violent breeze from the S.W. The honor of our situation at this period, said M. Boulanger, may be conceived: the small portion of provisions and water which we had received as our day's allowance on leaving the ship, was exhausted, and we were sinking under fatigue, from being incapable of sleeping, and soaked with sea water. On the 8th however, we caught a number of cormorants, and had the happiness to discover the Isle Maurouard, where we found fresh water, and passed the night. On the 9th, continued M. Boulanger, we proceeded along the shore, till we came in sight of the Furneaux Isles, when we fell in with an English brig, the Harrington, commanded by captain Campbell. This generous Englishman received us in the kindest manner, and gave us every assistance: he supplied us with abundance of provisions, particularly salt beef and potatoes of Port Jackson, and the biscuit made there; his brig had been built in the colony, and had come to Banks's Strait, to load with seals and sea-cow skins, collected there from various parts, by men who reside for this purpose on King's and Furneaux Isles. Nevertheless, captain Campbell obligingly offered to take us to Port Jackson, if during the few days he should be visiting the River Dalrymple and Port Western, we should not discover our ships. If this should not happen, he proposed to land us on the Furneaux Isles, and take us up on his return. We, however, declined giving up the search for our ships, on which this generous captain offered to furnish us with tables of the setting of the sun, to direct us in our route, as well as a supply of powder and ball, for shooting fowl.



13. Sea-elephants or "Phocæ" at King Island, Tas.

"On the 10th of March we prepared to leave captain Campbell, to cruise before Banks's Strait, when from the mast-head we perceived a large ship, which we soon discovered to be the Naturalist; therefore taking leave of our host, we got into the boat and made for the French ship, on board which we soon arrived; happy at having thus escaped all the calamities which generally happen on such a separation."

The account of M. Boulanger leaving no doubt that the Geographer was still to the southward, captain Hamelin resolved to wait for her in Banks's Strait; in, consequence of this decision, he came to anchor on the 10th, off Swan Island, and on the 11th, Messrs. Boulanger, Freycinet, and St. Cricq, were dispatched to Cape Portland, to determine its position, while the other gentlemen were sent to Kent Bay for similar purposes.

Preservation Isle was one point to which Messrs. Faure and Bailly were sent. This isle, says the last-mentioned gentleman, from its situation at the end of Kent Bay, which it protects from the westerly winds, is surrounded by a great number of rocks and islots, which form the retreat of an abundance of Phocæ. The island itself, is nothing but a large granitic plain, about 100 feet above the level of the sea: its shores are every where intersected by sandy creeks, at the months of which are rocky breakers, against which the sea dashes with great fury, and which seem to have been placed there by nature, expressly to prevent the entrance of the waves. Most of these rocks form breakers only a few feet under water, while others rise a little above the surface.

The granitic rock, which forms the whole substance of Preservation Isle, is covered with a thin stratum of vegetable mould, merely sufficient to produce a few slight shrubs and thin grass, beneath which is found a prodigious number of the white and blue Aptenodytes minor; these birds have their nests in pairs, and build them in burrows formed by the roots of shrubs and a kind of thick grass. In those parts where the grass does not grow, they form their nests in the soil. It is difficult and fatiguing to walk on the ground where these nests are made, because it is so hollow, that the feet of the passenger sink at almost every step, even knee deep; during the day these birds remain squat, and as it were, benumbed in their nests: but as soon as night arrives, they rush in crowds towards the shore to search for fish and other animals, on which they feed; and from these excursions they do not return till break of day; to keep their nests from cold, they cover them with dry leaves and feathers; in these nests they rear their young, till they are strong enough to walk to the shore and feed themselves.

These birds are not very bold, and only defend themselves by making a few blows with their beaks, at those who attempt to take them; they appear to be very fond of heat, for, during the night, they came in great numbers towards our fires, till many of them were burned. One of our sailors who had wrapt himself in a blanket, was so assailed by them, that he could not close his eyes, as they attempted with the utmost obstinacy to get under his covering; and though in a rage he wrung the necks of several, yet the rest returned incessantly to the charge. These birds have a very shrill cry, similar to that of wild ducks; as we were not here in their time of laying, we could not procure any of their eggs, but almost all their nests contained in each two young ones, tolerably fledged; this circumstance seemed to indicate, that every covey of this kind of bird is not more numerous. Their flesh has a very disagreeable taste, and their fat is a kind of oil, which liquefies on applying the slightest heat, but which, penetrating the whole substance of the animal, communicates to it an oily taste and a nauseous smell. Roasted, or rather broiled on live coals, these birds have a taste similar to red herrings, and this was the only way of dressing them, which rendered them eatable.

The north eastern coast of Preservation Isle, is at once the most healthy and the best sheltered. The southern coast, on the contrary, is covered with breakers and shoals, which render it inaccessible. A vast quantity of the wrecks of ships of different sizes, which cover the surface of the isle, prove the frequency of storms, and their deplorable effects. The shipwreck of the Sydney, a vessel belonging to the colony of Port Jackson, is remarkable from the following circumstances. Of the whole crew, only seventeen men were saved. After remaining some time on Preservation Isle, they resolved to get to the continent of New Holland, and return by land to Port Jackson; they succeeded in reaching Wilson's Promontory, whence they went on foot to the English establishment, a distance of six hundred miles. On their way, they experienced all the horrors of hunger and thirst, and were much annoyed by the hordes of savages who inhabit those inhospitable shores, with whom they were obliged to have many battles. From these terrible obstacles, only three of the unfortunate mariners reached the end of their journey, the other fourteen having perished by the fatigues they underwent, or been killed by the savages.

We soon left Isle Preservation for Clark's Island, and shortly found ourselves at the mouth of Kent Bay. This bay does not afford the advantages which might be expected from its position and size; in fact, a sand bank, which does not contain water enough to float a canoe, obstructs the whole of the eastern parts, and occupies nearly one half of the total extent of the bay; while on the western side are rocks, which render the navigation dangerous, and the anchorage difficult. This is not the case with a small harbour which lies between Clark's and Preservation Isles: it is safe and convenient, being about three miles long, by a mile and a half wide, and having from six to fifteen fathom of water, with a sandy bottom.

On the 17th of March, in the morning, we proceeded to join the Naturalist, at the anchorage where we had left her; but this ship not being there, and the thick fog not allowing us to remain long in the offing, we disembarked on Swan Island, and after a few hours rest, we sailed to Waterhouse, the place of our rendezvous with the Naturalist. This part of Diemen's Land is inhabited by great numbers of small animals, similar to kangaroo rats; we caught one which unfortunately we could not keep: we also saw a species of small animal, which our crew did not fail to call rats, though it was evident that they belonged to a genus, or order quite different. They had long and silky hair, their colour was a yellowish grey, and they were so little timid, that they came amongst us to pick up the remains of our meals: one of the sailors even caught one in his hand without affrighting it. Waterhouse Isle is frequented by a great number of Phocæ, some of which are of an enormous size: there are also great numbers of dead whales, which are cast ashore by the waves.

The next day we made every effort to discover the Naturalist, but without avail: our uneasiness therefore became general; and we formed the most melancholy conjectures of its fate and our own, when we suddenly discovered that ship tacking off Waterhouse. We immediately made sail, and in a short time joined our companions; happy in having escaped the dangers of every kind, which for five days had surrounded us.





CHAPTER XX.

Operations of the Naturalist in Bass's Strait—North part of Diemen's Land—Dalrymple River—Wilson's Promontory—Account of Port Jackson—Description of Sydney Town, Parramatta, &c.

[From the 19th of March to the 28th of June, 1802.]


AS the Geographer was not visible in Bass's Straits, and as every thing still seemed to prove that she must be to the southward, captain Hamelin resolved to go in search of her. He therefore sailed on the 21st of March, and for six days tacked along the eastern coast, without discovering the least trace of the commander: but all attempts at a junction were impossible, for the Geographer had begun her survey of Napoleon's Land.

Disappointed in his researches, but retained by the precise orders of his chief, captain Hamelin, on the 1st of April, again appeared off Waterhouse; and that he might not make a useless stay in Bass's Strait, he sent Messrs. Faure and Freycinet to the River Dalrymple, for the purpose of ascertaining the correctness of the English chart. These gentlemen were engaged in their investigation till the 7th; M. Freycinet reported, that very strong currents set in at the mouth of that river, and that its navigation was rendered very difficult by banks of rock and sand. He found the chart of captain Flinders to be, on the whole, very correct; and he corrected such slight errors as he had time to discover. The soil on its banks is rich, and the vegetation vigorous; much timber is produced there, but it does not appear fit for naval purposes. So high as they went, they found the water of the river to be too brackish for the relief of navigators.

Captain Hamelin next proceeded to cruise off Waterhouse Isle; and M. Boulanger was sent to reconnoitre Wilson's Promontory, while M. Faure proceeded to Western Port, to revise the English chart. These occupations took up eight days, and the result was, that they discovered the English charts to be very incorrect in every respect: that a sort of peninsula, as it is laid down in Flinders's chart, is a real island; that Western Port has two entrances, one to the eastward, which cannot be entered by large ships, and the other to the west, having two distinct mouths; that the harbour has a good anchorage, and sufficient space to contain a great number of vessels: there are also several currents of fresh water, which would afford abundant supplies to navigators. In short, Western Port is one of the finest that can be met with; and combines all the advantages that would be necessary for forming a valuable establishment.

During our stay at Western Port, our companions had an interview with the savages of this part of New Holland. The human race appears very scanty in this quarter. Such of the natives as they saw, appeared suspicious, diffident, and treacherous; and their language seemed to bear no other resemblance to that of the people of Diemen's Land, than the excessive rapidity of its pronunciation. In other respects, such as by their whole shape, the conformation of their heads, and their long and thin hair, the inhabitants of the promontory, are eminently distinguishable from those of the canal of Dentrecasteaux. Their teeth are handsome and well placed, and they have not the custom of pulling out one from the front. Their food is almost entirely shell fish, and they paint their bodies and faces in white and red stripes, circles, crosses, &c. they also perforate the cartilage of the nose, through which they pass a skewer six or seven inches long, like the inhabitants of Port Jackson, and they wear a sort of collar, made from a number of tubes of very thick straw; and also, like the people of Diemen's Land, they bedaub their bodies and faces with charcoal. Of thirteen savages, whom our company saw, only one was covered with a black skin: the rest were entirely naked. When they want to warm themselves, or probably from mere amusement or indifference, they set fire to a wood, which produces the most disastrous conflagration. These are all the observations which our people could make concerning the savages of the southern point of New Holland: however imperfect they may be, they apply so exactly to the different nations, whose curious history we shall hereafter have to describes that no doubt can remain, as to the whole of the hordes having descended from the same race.

At this period captain Hamelin found himself in a very awkward situation: he had just finished his survey of every part of Bass's Straits, without having discovered any trace of the Geographer; his provisions were exhausted, or rather, he had not at the utmost, more than would last him till he could put into some port in the Indian ocean, and before he could get to which, he was ordered to make a survey of the whole south western coast of New Holland. In this exigency, he could not do otherwise than make for Port Jackson; he therefore crossed the strait, doubled Cape Stower on the 20th of April, and on the next day, was is the latitude of Mount Dromedary, precisely on the same day, and at the same hour, that it was discovered thirty years before, by the immortal Cook. At length, on the 24th of April, he came in sight of Port Jackson, and on the following day he anchored in that beautiful harbour.

This being a period when war raged in all its fury between Great Britain and France, captain Hamelin conceived that he should not be allowed to put into the port, or that at any rate, the assistance of which he was so much in need, would be refused him. But his alarm was soon dispelled; for the English received him instantly, with that charming generosity which the height of European civilization can alone explain, and is alone capable of producing. The most distinguished houses in the colony were thrown open for our crew, and during the whole time we remained here, we experienced that delicate and affectionate hospitality, which is equally honourable to those who confer it, and those who are its objects. All the resources of the country were at the command of the French captain, and M. Hamelin had already begun to lay in a complete stock of provisions, previous to sailing to survey the south western coast, when the arrival of captain Flinders at Port Jackson gave a new turn to his ideas. He then learned, that the Geographer had been for several months on that very coast, and as the commandant had several times asserted that his intention was to proceed, after that campaign, to the Isle of France, he himself resolved to go thither in quest of him. Accordingly he redoubled his activity, and on the 18th of May he set sail, leaving ashore his first lieutenant, M. Milius, who was sick.

A few days before the departure of the Naturalist, official intelligence had been received, of the conclusion of peace between England and France: this event, however, could not increase the kindness which the English displayed towards us, but it was for them a subject of exultation; we should have been equally delighted, if we had not had reason to reflect on the futility of human hope: the demon of war had not yet assuaged his passion, and it was a mere chance, as will be afterwards seen, that our consort did not become his victim. Captain Hamelin, in short, set sail, and doubled the southern point of Diemen's Land; but from the 5th to the 20th of June, the weather was so tempestuous, that after getting to 47 degrees south, he found that his survey would occupy twice the time on which he had calculated when taking in his provisions; besides this, as the scurvy had begun to appear amongst his crew, he resolved to put back. In short, on the 27th of June, in the evening, he again came in sight of Port Jackson, into which he entered on the following day; but, owing to contrary winds, he could not come to anchor till the 3d. of July; when he found that we had got there a few days before.

Thus, for the second time, and after inconceivable dangers, two ships came together, whose difficulties had arisen entirely from the obstinacy of the commander, who had forced them at two periods to separate, when it would have been most advantageous for them to act in concert.

Our arrival at Port Jackson did not excite so much surprise amongst the colonists as might have been expected; but for ourselves, we were completely astonished at the flourishing state in which we found this singular, and distant establishment; the beauty of the port at first attracted our whole attention. From an entrance, says commodore Phillip (whose description is not in the least exaggerated), of not more than two miles across, Port Jackson gradually opens, till it forms a spacious harbour, with sufficient depth of water for the largest ships, and room enough to contain, in perfect safety, all that could on any occasion be collected. Even a thousand ships of the line might manœuvre here with ease. The bay takes a western direction, extends to the distance of thirteen miles inland, and has at least a hundred little creeks, formed by very narrow tongues of land, which afford excellent shelter against winds, from any point of the compass.

Towards the middle of this magnificent port, and on its southern bank, in one of the principal creeks, rises Sydney Town, the capital of the county of Cumberland, and of all the English colonies in this part of the world: seated at the base of two hills, they are contiguous to each other; and having the advantage of a rivulet, which runs completely through it, this infant town affords a view, at once agreeable and picturesque. To the right, and at the north point of Sydney Cove, you perceive the signal battery, which is built upon a rock, difficult of access: six pieces of cannon, protected by a turf entrenchment, cross their fire with that of another battery, which I shall presently mention; and thus defend, in the most effectual manner, the approach to the harbour and the town. Farther on, appear the large buildings that form the hospital, and which are capable of containing two or three hundred sick. Amongst these buildings, there is one particularly worthy of notice, as all the parts of it were prepared in Europe, and brought out in commodore Phillip's squadron; so that in a few days after its arrival, there was an hospital ready to receive such of the crews as were sick. On the same side of the town, at the sea shore, you observe a very fine magazine, to which the largest ships can come up, and discharge their cargoes. In the same direction are several private docks, in which are built brigs and cutters, of different sizes, for the purpose of trading, either inland, or beyond the colony. These vessels, which are from fifty to three hundred tons burthen, are built entirely with the native wood; even their masts are obtained from the forests of the colony.



14. Wide View of the Southern Part of Sydney-Town

The discovery of the strait which separates New Holland from Van Diemen's Land, was made in a simple whale sloop, commanded by Mr. Bass, the surgeon of the Reliance. This vessel may be said to have been consecrated to that great discovery, and hazardous navigation; for it is preserved in the harbour, with a sort of religious veneration: some snuff-boxes have been made out of its keel, of which the possessors are both proud and jealous; and the governor himself thought he could not make a more acceptable present to our chief, than a piece of the wood of this sloop, enchased in a large silver tooth-pick box; round which were engraved the principal particulars of the discovery of Bass's Straits.

It is at the spot called Hospital Creek, that the ships of individuals unload their cargoes. Beyond the hospital, in the same line, is the prison, which has several dungeons, capable of holding from an hundred and fifty, to two hundred prisoners; it is surrounded by a high and strong wall, and has a numerous guard on duty, both by day and night, A short distance from the prison is the store-house, for the reception of wines, spirituous liquors, salt provisions, &c. In the front of it is the armoury, where the garrison is drawn up every morning, accompanied by a numerous and well-composed band, belonging to the New South Wales regiment. The whole western part of this spot, is occupied by the house of the lieutenant-governor-general: behind which is a vast garden, which is worth the attention both of the philosopher and the naturalist, on account of the great number of useful vegetables which are cultivated in it, and which have been procured from every part of the world, by its present respectable possessor, Mr. Paterson, a distinguished traveller, and member of the Royal Society of London. Between the house and the magazine, just mentioned, is the public school: here are educated in the principles of religion, morality, and virtue, those young females, who are the hope of the rising colony; but whose parents are either too degenerate, or too poor, to give them proper instruction. In the public school, however, under respectable matrons, they are taught, from their earliest years, all the duties of a good mother of a family. Such is one great advantage of the excellent colonial system established in these distant regions.

Behind the house of the lieutenant-governor-general, in a large magazine, are deposited all the dried pulse and corn, belonging to the state. It is a sort of public granary, intended for the support of the troops, and the people, who receive their subsistence from the government. The barrack occupy a considerable square, and have in front several field-pieces; the edifices, for the accommodation of the officers, form the lateral parts, or ends of the building; and the powder magazine is in the middle. Near this, in a small private house, the principal civil and military officers assemble. It is a sort of coffee-house, maintained by subscription, in which there are several amusements, but particularly billiards; which any person may play, free of expence. Behind the armoury, is a large square tower, which serves for an observatory to those English officers who study astronomy: at the base of this tower, the foundation of a church has been laid, of which the building, just mentioned, is intended to form the steeple; but a structure of this kind, requiring considerable time, labour, and expence, the governors have hitherto neglected to carry it into execution; preferring the formation of such establishments as are more immediately necessary for the preservation of the colony. While waiting, however, for the erection of a church, divine service is performed in one of the apartments of the great corn magazine. Two fine windmills terminate on this side the series of the principal public edifices. Over the rivulet that intersects the town, there was a wooden bridge, which, together with a strong causeway, may be said to occupy all the bottom of the valley. We passed over this bridge, in order to take a rapid view of the eastern part of Sydney Town. Before our departure, the wooden bridge was destroyed, to make way for one which they were about to build of stone; at the same time, a water-mill was built here by the government, and strong locks had been formed, either to keep in the water of the rivulet, or to stop that of the marshes, which runs to a considerable distance into the valley, and might be advantageously employed in turning the mill.

At the east point of the creek is a second battery, the fire of which crosses that of the signal station. The one of which I am now speaking, was dismantled at the time of our arrival at Port Jackson; but it has been put in order since our departure. On the shore, as you approach the town, is a small salt-pit, where the Americans, who were allowed to settle for the purpose at Port Jackson, in 1795, prepared most of the salt used in the colony. Farther on, and towards the bottom of the harbour, is the part called Government Creek, because it is reserved for the agents, and vessels of the state. Between this creek and the salt-pit, is the place for docking and careening the ships. The natural quays are so perpendicular, and well formed, that without any kind of labour or expence on the part of the English, the largest ships might be laid along them in perfect security. Near the Government Creek, are three public magazines, one of them contains all the articles necessary for the various purposes of domestic life, such as earthenware, household furniture, culinary utensils, instruments of agriculture, &c. The number of these articles that is here amassed, is truly astonishing, and the mode in which they are delivered out, is wise and salutary. In this distant country, the merchandizes of Europe bear so high a price, that it would have been next to impossible for the population to procure such as are indispensable to the common wants of life; the English government has therefore anticipated these wants, by filling large store-houses with every article that can be required, all of which are delivered to the colonists at fixed prices, that are extremely moderate; sometimes even below what they cost in Europe. But in order to prevent avaricious speculations, or waste, no one is admitted into these depôts without a written order from the governor; in which are specified the articles that the bearer is in need of. In another house are preserved the different uniforms and clothing for the troops and convicts, as well as vast quantities of sail-cloth and cordage, for the government-ships. The last of the three buildings just mentioned, is a kind of public manufactory: in which are employed female convicts. Behind these magazines is the governor's house, which is built in the Italian style, surrounded by a colonnade, as simple as it is elegant, and in front of which is a fine garden, that descends to the sea-shore: already in this garden may be seen, the Norfolk Island pine, the superb Columbia, growing by the side of the bamboo of Asia: farther on is the Portugal orange, and Canary fig, ripening beneath the shade of the French apple-tree: the cherry, peach, pear, and apricot, are interspersed amongst the Banksia, Metrosideros, Correa, Melaleuca, Casuarina, Eucalyptus, and a great number of other indigenous trees: beyond the government garden, on the other side of a neighbouring hill, is the windmill, the bake-house, and the state ovens, that are used for making ship biscuit these are capable of furnishing from fifteen, to eighteen hundred pounds per day. Not far from a contiguous creek, at a spot which the natives call Wallamoula is the charming habitation of Mr. Palmer, the commissary general; a rivulet of fresh water runs before it, and empties itself into the creek, which here forms a safe and convenient basin. Here, Mr. Palmer has built several small vessels, which he employs in whale fishing, and catching Phocæ, or sea Elephants, either at New Zealand, or in Bass's Straits. The neighbouring brick-fields furnish a considerable quantity of bricks and tiles, for the public and private buildings of the colony.



15. Plan of Sydney-Town

A short distance to the southward of Sydney Town, to the left of the great road that leads to Parramatta, you observe the remains of the first gibbet that was erected on the continent of New Holland. The increase of habitations having caused it to be, as it were, surrounded, it has been succeeded by another, that has been erected farther off, in the same direction, and near the village of Brick-field. This village, which consists of about two score of houses, contains several manufactories of tiles, earthen-ware, crockery, &c. its site is agreeable, and the soil, less sterile than that of Sydney, is better adapted to the different kinds of cultivation that have been introduced into these distant regions.

The great road just mentioned, passes through the middle of Brick-field; while a small rivulet intersects it, in an opposite direction. Between this village and Sydney Town, is the public burying-ground, which is already rendered an object of interest and curiosity, by several striking monuments that have been erected in it; and the execution of which, is much better than could reasonably have been expected from the state of the arts, in so young a colony.

A croud of objects, equally interesting, demanded our notice in every direction. In the port we saw, drawn up together, a number of Vessels that had arrived from different parts of the world, and most of which were destined to perform new and difficult voyages. Some of them had come from the banks of the Thames, or the Shannon, to pursue whale-fishing on the frigid shores of New Zealand: others, bound to China, after depositing the freight which they had received from the English government, for this colony, were preparing to sail for the mouth of the Yellow-river; while some, laden with pit-coal, were about to convey that precious combustible to India, and the Cape of Good Hope. Several smaller vessels were on their way to Bass's Straits, to receive skins, collected by a few individuals, who had established themselves on the isles of those straits, to catch the marine animals that resort to them. Other ships, stronger built than those just alluded to, and manned by more numerous and daring crews, who were provided with all kinds of arms, were on the point of sailing for the western coast of America. Laden with various sorts of merchandize, these vessels were intended to carry on, by force of arms, a contraband trade on the Peruvian shores, which could not fail to prove extremely advantageous to the adventurers. Here they were preparing an expedition, to carry on a skin trade, with the people of the north-west shores of America: there all hands were engaged in sending off a fleet of provision ships to the Navigators, the Friendly, and the Society Islands, to procure for the colony a stock of salt provisions. At the same time the intrepid captain Flinders, after effecting a junction with his companion-ship, the Lady Nelson, was getting ready to continue his grand voyage round New Holland; a voyage, which was soon afterwards terminated by the greatest misfortunes. In short, at this period, the harbour of Port Jackson had become familiar to the American navigators, and their flag was continually flying in it, during our residence.

All these great maritime operations gave to the place a character of importance and activity, far beyond what we expected to meet with on shores, scarcely known to Europeans, even by name, and the interest we took in the scene, was only equalled by our admiration.

The population of the colony, was to us a new subject of astonishment and contemplation. Perhaps there never was a more worthy object of study presented to the philosopher;—never was the influence of social institutions proved in a manner more striking and honourable to the distant country in question. Here we found united, like one family, those banditti, who had so long been the terror of their mother country: repelled from European society, and sent off to the extremity of the globe; placed from the very hour of their exile, in a state between the certainty of chastisement, and the hope of a better fate; incessantly subjected to as inspection, as inflexible as it is active, they have been compelled to abandon their anti-social manners; and the majority of them, having expiated their crimes, by a hard period of slavery, have been restored to the rank which they held amongst their fellow-men. Obliged to interest themselves is the maintenance of order and justice, for the purpose of preserving the property which they have acquired; while they behold themselves in the situation of husbands and fathers, they have the most interesting and powerful motives for becoming good members of the community in which they exist.

The same revolution, effected by the same means, has taken place amongst the women: and those who were wretched prostitutes, have imperceptibly been brought to a regular mode of life, and now form intelligent and laborious mothers of families. But it is not merely in the moral character of the women, that these important alterations are discoverable, but also in their physical condition, the results of which are worthy the consideration, both of the legislator and the philosopher. For example, every body knows that the common women of great capitals, are in general unfruitful; at Petersburgh, and Madrid, at Paris, and London, pregnancy is a sort of phenomenon amongst persons of that description; though we are unable to assign any other cause, than a sort of insusceptibility of conception: the difficulty of researches, as to this subject, has prevented philosophers from determining how far this sterility ought to be attributed to the mode of life of such women; and to what degree it may be modified or altered, by a change of condition and manners. But both these problems are resolved, by what takes place in the singular establishment that we are describing. After residing a year or two at Port Jackson, most of the English prostitutes become remarkably fruitful; and what, in my opinion, clearly proves that the effect arises much less from the climate, than from the change of manners amongst the women, is, that, those prostitutes in the colony, who are permitted by the police to continue in their immoral way of life, remain barren the same as in Europe. Hence we may be permitted to deduce the important physiological result, that an excess of sexual intercourse destroys the sensibility of the female organs, to such a degree, as to render them incapable of conception; while, to restore the frame to its pristine activity, nothing is necessary but to renounce those fatal excesses.

While we were reflecting on these numerous and interesting subjects, all the officers and principal citizens of the colony were unremitting in their assiduities towards us. Our numerous sick were received into the government hospital, where the English surgeons paid them all possible attention. Doctor Thomson, the chief physician of the colony, directed, the mode of treatment with the greatest tenderness: and whatever we were in need of, that the place could furnish, was put at our disposal. The governor-general gave us an unlimited credit on the public treasury, and our commodore was furnished with royal printed checks, to fill up, with any sum that he might wish for; and these checks, without any other security than the signature of the French commandant, were accepted by the inhabitants, with a confidence highly honourable to the government of our country. Our salt provisions, spirits, and biscuits, were exhausted; but by means of these checks we obtained fresh supplies; and several times the magazines of the colony were open to supply us with articles which our agents could not procure. Thus, by this generous relief, we were enabled to reclothe our crews, who were in want of every thing; repair our ships, purchase one, instead of that we had lost; and be completely prepared for continuing our voyage.

At the same time, our scientific researches met with every encouragement; a guard of English soldiers were appointed expressly to protect our observatory, which we placed on the north point of the eastern bank of Sydney Cove. The whole of the country was open to the excursions of our naturalists, and we were even permitted to wear our arms, as were the persons of our suite: while guides and interpreters were furnished us for our longest journies. In short, the English government behaved to us with such generosity, that they acquired our warmest gratitude.

The principal object of our stay at Port Jackson, was, that we might devote proper attention to every part of the surrounding country. While our crews were repairing the damages the ships had sustained, and getting in fresh supplies of provisions, the naturalists extended their researches to every branch of the physical history of this interesting country. The scurvy, which had affected all my joints with swellings and stiffness, had already begun to yield to the influence of diet and the climate; and as soon as I was able, I went down to the coast of Botany Bay, the harbour of which is situated some leagues to the south of Port Jackson. A large and commodious road leads from Sydney Town to this great bay: all the intermediate country is sandy and barren, and appears unfit for any kind of cultivation; consequently one does not meet with any European habitations. After passing the high hill, at the foot of which is the establishment of Mr. Palmer, the country opens upon a sandy plain, which extends as far as the swampy banks of Cook's River. Various species of Hakea, Styphelia, Eucalyptus, Banksia, Embothryum, and Casuarina, grow amidst these sands, and large spaces are occupied entirely with the Xanthorea, the gigantic stalks of which grow to the height of from eighteen to twenty feet. In the distance may be perceived the smoke of a few huts, belonging to those unfortunate hordes of natives who exist on these desolate shores.

As you approach towards Botany Bay, the land gradually sinks, till you reach the dangerous swamps formed by the brackish waters of Cook's River, towards the north, and of George River to the south. These marshes are so extensive, and often so deep, that it is impossible in many parts to pass them, if you want to reach the sea. On their banks, and all along the two rivers just mentioned, vegetation is very active: a thousand species of trees and shrubs, which cover the surface of the soil, afforded to that part of the country which we occupied, a delightful appearance; it was this circumstance, which deceived captain Cook and his brave companions; for they supposed the land to be unparalleled in point of fertility. It would have been well, however, if this bay, so celebrated by those navigators, had justified the great ideas which they formed of it. Obstructed by large banks of mud, and open at the south to the easterly winds, it does not afford to vessels that security which they are often in need of; while the marshy nature of the soil in its environs, renders it at once unhealthy, and scarcely fit for ordinary cultivation. Hence, commodore Phillip, after reconnoitring Port Jackson, was induced to abandon Botany Bay; and since that period, there has been no other establishment at it, except a kiln for the preparation of lime, which is made from the shells that abound on this part of the coasts. Botany Bay, and its environs, are called by the natives, Gwea, and to this country belong the tribe of savages, called Gwea Gal, who acknowledge Bennil-long for their chief.

Twenty-five miles, or thereabouts, to the west of Sydney Town, is the town of Rose Hill, or Parramatta; which I took the earliest opportunity of visiting; The principal physician of le Naturaliste, M. Bellefin, accompanied me; a serjeant of the New South Wales regiment acted as our guide and was ordered by colonel Paterson, to obtain for such facilities as we might require, to pursue our researches. A large road leads from Sydney-Town to Parramatta; it is not paved, but is well made, and kept in good condition. It is almost every where wide enough for three, carriages to pass abreast, and bridges have been thrown over such parts of it as are interrupted by the waters; so that the traveller meets with no obstacle on his journey. Having been opened through vast forests, that were never before assailed by the axe, this grand road appears at a distance, like an immense avenue of foliage and verdure. A charming freshness, and an agreeable shade always prevail in this con continuous bower, the silence of which is interrupted only, by the singing and chirping of the richly-plumed parroquets, and other birds which inhabit it.

The whole ground, over which you proceed to Rose Hill, is flat, with the exception of a few insignificant hillocks. In proportion as you recede from the sea-shore, the soil becomes less barren, and affords great varieties of vegetation. In some parts there are large spaces between the trees, which is covered by a very fine and sweet-scented grass, that forms a beautiful verdant carpet, and affords pasturage to numerous flocks of excellent sheep. The mild temperature of the climate, the absence of all kinds of ferocious beasts, together with the particular species, and agreeable odour of most of the vegetables, have been so favourable to these useful animals that the finest kinds of Spain and England, thrive as well here as on theirs native soil. Already the wool of these antarctic animals is found to be superior to the rich fleeces of Asturias; and the English manufacturers pay dearer for it; because they are convinced of its superiority. This discovery will probably soon open to Great Britain, a branch of commerce as easy as it is lucrative.

Woods here and there open to the view, and the traveller perceives amidst them, spots which have been cleared by the settlers; and some of which are extensive: he discovers on them, many pretty habitations, shaded by beautiful trees; and contemplates with pleasing emotion, these new fields, where the feeble grass of the north rises from the decay of the powerful Eucalyptus; he discovers with delight on these distant grounds, the most useful animals of his own country; the bulls frisk about with a vigour equal, or even superior, to that of the cold meadows of Ireland; while the cow, more fecund, gives a greater quantity of milk in these mild climates, than in ours. The English horse also, appears with the same strength and spirit that he exhibits on the banks of the Thames; while the European hog is improved, by numerous crosses, with those of the South-sea islands; which are superior in size, as well as quality of fat and lean. All kinds of poultry have succeeded as well as the larger animals, and the farm-yards are stocked with different varieties of geese, ducks, turkies, pheasants, &c. several of which are preferable to the finest of the European species.



16. Another View of Part of Sydney-Town and Port Jackson

The traveller receives additional pleasure on visiting the interior of the habitations. Beneath their agreeable roofs, in the midst of vast forests, live in perfect tranquillity, those banditti, who but a short time before were the terror of Europe, and who, familiarized with guilt, were in constant expectation of the punishment of death: here now live those numerous robbers, rogues, and pickpockets, those criminals of every kind, who in the mother-country appeared to increase in proportion to the progress of civilization. All these unfortunate wretches, who were the disgrace and odium of their country, have become, by the most inconceivable metamorphosis, laborious cultivators, and happy and peaceable members of their community. Indeed, murders, or robberies, are scarcely ever heard of amongst them; so that in this respect the most perfect security prevails throughout the colony; a happy consequence of laws as severe as they are beneficent.

In order to enjoy at our ease these striking scenes, M. Bellefin and I often entered the rural habitations. We were every where received in the most obliging manner; and when we observed the tender cares of the mothers towards their children, and reflected that only a few years before these very women, destitute of every tender affection and delicate sentiment, were disgusting prostitutes, the sudden revolution in their moral conduct gave rise to reflections of the most gentle and philanthropic nature.

At length we arrived in sight of Parramatta: it is seated in the middle of a fine plain, on the banks of a river of the same name, which can be ascended by small vessels, as high as the town itself. It is not so large as Sydney Town; but contains about a hundred and eighty houses, which form a grand street, parallel with the river, and intersected at right angles by another smaller street, which, at one end, terminates with a stone bridge, and has at the other the church; the latter edifice, which is built in a rude and heavy style, was not quite finished at the time of our visit; indeed, the building is conducted with less rapidity than it might be, because the governors of the colony attach, with reason, more importance to the other branches of their administration; such as the hospitals, prisons, public manufactories, the clearing of land, the fisheries, navigation, &c. for which they reserve proper funds and disposable hands.

At one of the extremities of the great street of Parramatta are barracks, capable of accommodating from two hundred and fifty to three hundred infantry. They are built of brick, in the form of a horse-shoe, and have in front, a well-gravelled parade, where the troops of the garrison go through their ordinary exercises: these troops consisted, at the time of our visit, of a company of an hundred and twenty men, belonging to the New South Wales regiment, under the command of captain Piper.

The whole population of Parramatta, including the garrison, and the inhabitants of the neighbouring farms, is estimated at from fourteen to fifteen hundred souls; nearly all of whom are employed in the cultivation of land, the rearing of cattle, and the exercise of a few of the mechanical arts. The town contains an hospital, which is well regulated and of which the principal physician is Mr. D'Arcy Wentworth; a strong prison, a house of industry for female convicts, a public school for the young girls of the colony, &c. This town is also the chief residence of the justice of the for the county of Cumberland, and will become in time the seat of the whole civil administration of the colony; those branches which relate to navigation, commerce and war, being already established at Sydney.

Towards the western extremity of the grand street of Parramatta, you discover the elevation called Rose Hill, from which the town first received its name; but it was afterwards called Parramatta; that being the appellation which the natives give to this part of the country, and which has generally prevailed amongst the English themselves. The whole eastern front of Rose Hill, which is towards the town, is a very gentle declivity, on which appears the fine garden belonging to the government, in which many interesting experiments are made, with a view to naturalize foreign vegetables: here also are collected, the most remarkable of the indigenous plants, intended to enrich the famous royal gardens of Kew. It is from this spot that England has, at various times, acquired most of her treasures in the vegetable kingdom; and which have enabled the English botanists to publish many important volumes. An enlightened botanical professor, who combines modesty with indefatigable exertion, had just arrived from Europe at the time of our visit, to superintend the garden of Parramatta; and the learned colonel Paterson, to whom New South Wales is indebted for this establishment, has never ceased to taken lively interest in its success.

The part of Rose Hill that is opposite to Parramatta presents an abrupt section, and forms a grand crescent, which one might, at first view, suppose to be the work of man. At the base of this singular hill, runs a rivulet, which, in common weather, is not remarkable; but when the inundations occur, which are so frequent and terrible in these regions, it becomes a source of disasters to the neighbouring plantations.

At the summit of Rose Hill, is the government house of Parramatta, which is called the Crescent; it is simple, elegant, and well laid out, though it derives its principal importance from its situation, which overlooks the town, as well as from its meadows, its forest, and river. This mansion is generally uninhabited; through its capacity and internal regulations are such, that whenever the governor-general and lieutenant-governor come to it for a few days, they can have every accommodation for themselves, and their whole suite.

To increase the natural charms of so fine a site, the English governors established at Rose Hill the first Vineyards of the colony: if the vine could have flourished at the back Of the crescent I have mentioned, the government-house would then have been buried, as it were, in a rich amphitheatre of vines and verdure; but experience proved, that this position was, of all those that might have been fixed on, the most unfavourable for the culture that was intended. In fact, this part of Rose Hill is exposed to the N.W., and nothing is more dreadful than the winds which blow from that point in New Holland.

Hence, notwithstanding the success which seemed to be ensured to plantations of this kind, by the climate and the nature of the soil, the greatest sacrifices have hitherto only been attended with the most discouraging results. In vain has the English government caused to be brought to New South Wales, the finest plants of the Cape of Good Hope, the Canaries, Madeira, and Bourdeaux; in vain has it caused to be planted, at a great expence, European vineyards at Port Jackson; the activity and information of these men, have been rendered nugatory by the north west winds. During a second journey which I made with colonel Paterson to Parramatta, I had frequent opportunities of interrogating those vine-growers, two of whom were natives of Bourdeaux: they were uniformly of opinion that the climate and soil were perfectly congenial with the vine, but it appeared to them impossible that that plant could succeed, as long as the vineyards were confined to Rose Hill. "In no part of the world", said they to me, "does the vine shoot with more rapidity and vigour than here: all its appearances for two or three months combine to promise the most abundant harvests; but the moment the slightest breeze sets in from the north west, then all our hopes are dissipated—blossoms, buds, and leaves, nothing can resist its devouring rage."

Profiting by experience, governor King at length resolved to remove the vineyards to another part of the country, which the vine-growers themselves had fixed upon, and which appeared to them likely to justify their high expectations. But whatever may be the result of this new attempt, it is certain that the English government will not abandon the culture of the vine till the last extremity, and that it will make every sacrifice to ensure success, which would soon be of the greatest advantage to its country. In fact, by one of those chances which are inconceivable, Great Britain is the only one of the great maritime powers, which does not cultivate the vine, either in its own territory or its colonies; notwithstanding the consumption of wine on board its fleets and throughout its vast regions is immense. Compelled to derive the vast supply from Portugal, France, Spain, and even from Holland, it sees with regret, a great part of the capital of the nation absorbed every year, by purchases of this nature, and aspires with ardour to the means of liberating itself from such an enormous tribute. And it is with this, view that it has attempted the conquest or possession of the Cape of Good Hope and the Canaries. But we will return to the disappointment which the English have experienced in their exertions for this purpose at Botany Bay, where the north-west winds afford numerous phenomena which are peculiar to New Holland, and the explanation, or even the existence of which, seems to contradict the most incontestible principles of the general philosophy of the great continents, and their meteorological history.

Cumberland county, which comprises all the present establishments of the English in New South Wales, is bounded to the east by the great Southern Ocean; to the north by Broken Bay and Hawkesbury River, of which we shall soon have to give a description; to the south by, Botany Bay and George's River; and to the west by a chain of mountains which envelopes the whole county in a sort of semicircle. This range of mountains is only a small part of the grand chain, which, from the most northern chain of New Holland, stretches along the eastern coast of that continent, as far as its southern extremity, and unites itself by the group of Kent and the Furneaux isles, with the lofty hills of Diemen's Land, which appear to be at once the prolongation and the extreme point of the chain. In their arrangement, these mountains present a singular similarity to that of the Andes of South America. Indeed, what nature has done for the latter country she has reproduced here, but in a manner absolutely inverse. It is to the eastern coast of New Holland, that the mountains in question belong; for scarcely any traces of them are discoverable along the western shores of the continent, besides which, all that has been observed of this last portion, indicates that there exists at that part, plains similar to those of Guiana, Brasil, and Paraguay. Unfortunately there is a wide difference between the latter plains and those of New Holland; the former, clothed in every direction with a stratum of rich and deep vegetable mould, and watered throughout by grand rivers and innumerable streams, display at all times a prodigious fertility, while the melancholy shores of the western parts of New Holland, covered with unprofitable sand, and having no kind of river, but merely a few simple streams of fresh water, seem to have been devoted by nature to the most afflicting barrenness. From this comparison, I shall proceed to speak of the Cumberland mountains in particular.

These mountains, though commonly known by the names of Carmarthen and Lansdown Mountains, are so generally called the Blue Mountains by the English colonists, and others who have written concerning them down to the present time, that I consider it indispensable to speak of them under this last denomination. On a clear day, these mountains are easily distinguished from the upper parts of Sydney Town, that is to say, at the distance of about fifty miles they then appear like a bluish curtain, rising but little above the horizon, and preserving a considerable uniformity. When seen from Castle Hill, that is, at about twenty miles' distance, their summits are less regular, and a few of them are more prominent than the rest; their plains are distinguished by several lines, which seem to rise more and more proportion as they advance towards the interior of the country, and their colour becoming much darker, indicates that their constitution is harsh and barren. On observing them from the environs of Hawkesbury, a distance of eight or ten miles, they seem, according to the account of M. Bailly, like a vast curtain, which bounds the horizon on the N.W.: there is no fracture or peak to break their uniformity; but a horizontal line, beneath which is perceivable regular plain of a brownish colour, completes the melancholy aspect. On advancing to the bases of these mountains, M. Bailly recognised them to be completely uniform throughout their whole extent; the only fracture which appeared in this quarter, was one, front which issues Grose River, the source of which has not been discovered, but which appears to come from a great distance in the interior of the mountains, and which forms, by its junction with the River Nepean, the famous Hawkesbury River, of which we shall have many occasions to speak in the sequel of this history.

The height of the first range of Blue Mountains, is scarcely more than from two to three hundred fathoms; and the substance of the first plains is entirely composed of the Same species of quartzous freestone, as forms all the environs of Sydney Town. Every part to which the English have proceeded abounds with nothing but this stone; and though they have travelled more than forty miles in a right line across the mountains, they have not found any species of primitive rock. Nevertheless, from the collections made by Messrs. Depuch and Bailly, in the deep bed of Hawkesbury River, it is evident that the Blue Mountains are of primitive thud granitic origin.

The small apparent height of these mountains, and their uniformity, prevented the English from perceiving all the difficulty that would attend any survey of them: they therefore contented themselves on the first establishment of the colony, with sending men to escalade their summits. At the same time several convicts wishing to liberate themselves from their slavery, attempted to pass over this shocking chain: some of the unfortunate men met their death in the attempt, and the rest were constrained to abandon it.

It was not till the month of December 1789, that the government thought proper to take any particular notice of the Western Mountains. At this period, lieutenant Dawes set off to reconnoitre them with a large detachment of troops, and provisions for six days; but, after encountering nine days of fatigue and danger he returned to Port Jackson, without being able to proceed more than nine miles in the interior of the mountains. According to his report, his course had been stopped by impassable ravines, and chains of rocks which were high and precipitous.

Eight months after the expedition of lieutenant Dawes, namely, in August 1790, captain Tench set off with a strong party of soldiers and all the necessary articles for passing the mountains; but this excursion was attended with no better success than the former. These failures having discouraged the English government, three years passed away before another enterprise of this kind was attempted; and excepting some few journeys of individuals, not less abortive than the preceding, nothing was done to ascertain the nature of the Western country. At length, however, the attention of the public was recalled to the Blue Mountains by the celebrated colonel Paterson, who was authorised to undertake a new expedition, of which every circumstance seemed to indicate the success. This gentleman, after having reconnoitred the entrance of Broken Bay, was to ascend Hawkesbury River, as far as it was navigable, and thus arrive at the very base of the mountains over which he was to pass. To facilitate this navigation, there were built two canoes, extremely light and thin, on board of which were embarked an abundance of provisions, ammunition, rope-ladders, graplins, cordage, &c, A strong body of soldiers accompanied the colonel, and there were selected for his suite several bold and hardy Scotch Highlanders; while some natives of Port Jackson, were to serve as guides and interpreters. Colonel Paterson, in short, having been accustomed from his infancy to climb the most difficult mountains it Scotland, his native country, and being familiarised with all kinds of privations arising from such an enterprise, in consequence of his arduous travels through the deserts of Africa, seemed to be capable of ensuring all possible success to the experiment, with the arrangements that had been made. Nevertheless, all these precautions could not overcome the obstacles that presented themselves; and Mr. Paterson, like his predecessors, was obliged to yield to the prodigious difficulties of his mission. At length, after having discovered the Grose, which empties itself into the Hawkesbury, above Richmond Hill, the colonel continued to advance for about the distance of ten miles, passing several cataracts, one of which had a rapid, at the rate of ten or twelve miles an hour. Soon afterwards, the navigation became impracticable, and one of the canoes was sunk, while the other struck on the trunks of trees that obstructed the passage of the river. In vain did the travellers attempt to continue their route towards the interior of the mountains: their difficulties increased at every step: one of these mountains was not less than four hundred feet in perpendicular height: frightful precipices every where presented themselves; and no sooner had one summit been escaladed, than others appeared still more barren and difficult of access; till at length it was necessary to retrace their steps. From the point at which they had arrived, the English saw before them an immense peak, which the colonel named Peak Harrington. It was also during this excursion that they had an opportunity, for the first time, of conversing with the Bé-dia-Gal, a singular race of people, who live in the forests contiguous to Hawkesbury River, and who differ from the natives of Port Jackson and Botany Bay in their manners, language, mode of living, and particularly by an extremely remarkable characteristic in their physical constitution. All the individuals of this race have their arms and thighs of an inordinate length, comparatively to the rest of their frame: but our remarks on this topic will be given with more interest in another part of our work.

A year had scarcely elapsed since the enterprise here mentioned, before some other individuals ascended the Western Mountains. In August, 1794, one Hacking, quarter-master of the Sirius, a bold and spirited man, went out with a few intrepid fellows like himself, to pass those impregnable barriers. Their efforts were not altogether useless: they penetrated about twenty miles farther than those who had preceded: but after having cleared several very high summits, Hacking himself was constrained to retrograde. Beyond the different peaks, which they reconnoitred, the mountains presented new shapes and summits, which he conceived less accessible than those he had attained. From north to south these mountains formed an immense and impregnable bulwark, most frightfully barren. The mass of these interior peaks was apparently constituted of a reddish and ferruginous freestone; and amongst these terrific mountains they only saw a single savage, who fled precipitately on observing them; nor did they meet with any quadruped, except a species of red kangaroo, not yet known to naturalists, and which will doubtlessly prove to be one of the most curious species of this genus, being remarkable for its peculiar manners and physical conformation.

Amongst the most interesting characters who have yet appeared in the southern colonies of England, must be placed Mr. Bass, the surgeon of his majesty's ship Reliance, the same who in a slight whale sloop, adventured in an unknown sea, and discovered that famous strait to which public gratitude has affixed his name. This extraordinary man also attempted to pass the Blue Mountains; and in the month of June 1796, he set off, accompanied by a small number of men of courage and skill. Never was more hardihood displayed than on this occasion. With his arms and feet protected by iron crotchets, Mr. Bass several times escaladed horrible perpendicular mountains: being often stopped by precipices, he caused himself to be let down by ropes into their abysses. But even his resolution was of no avail, and after fifteen days of fatigue and unparalleled danger, he returned to Sydney, confirming, by his own failure, all that had been asserted of the impossibility of going beyond those extraordinary ramparts. From the summit of one very elevated peak, Mr. Bass saw before him at the distance of forty or fifty miles, a second chain of mountains, much higher than any of those which he had passed; and the intermediate space presented neither less dangers nor obstacles than what he had already encountered. During this perilous excursion, Mr. Bass and his troop had to suffer a want of water; their provisions were exhausted, and these barren mountains affording them no means of a supply, they were reduced to a state of the most devouring thirst. "If, by chance," said this intrepid traveller to me, "we met with a small portion of moist earth, or even some mud in the holes of the rocks, we were glad to apply our handkerchiefs to the surface of such substances, and suck them as hard as possible, in order to obtain what little humidity they possessed."

Such had been, previous to our arrival at Port Jackson, the different attempts that had been made to open a passage over the Blue Mountains; and such were the unfortunate results. Disgusted by so many sacrifices and useless efforts, the English government for several years were indifferent as to this object. My companions and I, however, succeeded in persuading governor King, during our stay, to order a new expedition to the Western Mountains: this was in the month of October, 1802, and the conducting of it was entrusted to M. Bareillier, a French emigrant, who was engineer to the colony, and aid-de-camp to the governor. I was very anxious to make one of this interesting expedition; but governor King did not think himself justified in so far extending his complaisance. In addition to all the precautions which had been taken on the previous enterprises, the ingenious one was adopted, of establishing a chain of posts at moderate distances, which, the farther the expedition advanced, were stationed at shorter stages: thus, by means of these men an active line of communication was kept up between the main body of the troop and the nearest of the English establishments. M. Bareillier was not, however, more fortunate than those who had gone before him; it even appeared, that he could not get as far as some of his English predecessors, and the only result of his expedition was, the procuring of a small number of specimens of freestone, similar to what appeared on the sea-shore, and which is reproduced on the whole extent of the country, surrounded by the mountains.

What is most singular in the history of these mountains is, that the natives of the country are as little acquainted with them as the Europeans: they all agree in the impossibility of passing that western barrier; and what they relate of the countries which they suppose to exist on the other side, clearly proves that those countries are totally unknown to them. They assert that there is an immense lake, on the banks of which live white people, like the English, who dress in the same manner, and have large towns, with houses built of stone. We shall afterwards see, that the existence of this great lake, this sort of Caspian sea, is as improbable as that of the white people and their civilization: I shall merely observe, that it is likely these ideas of the natives have been inspired by the establishment of the English colony.

In other respects, the savages of these parts have a sort of religious terror for the Blue Mountains: they think them the residence of a kind of evil spirit, whom they represent by a variety of grotesque figures. They suppose that this terrible dæmon hurls amongst them from the summits of the mountains, thunder, inundations, and burning winds, which lay waste their territories. However ridiculous this belief may be in itself, it nevertheless has its cause in their observations of the natural phenomena: for it is in fact, from the tops of these mountains that proceed all the plagues which infest the country. Considered in this point of view, most, of the religious ideas of people in general are equally worthy, of the attention of the naturalist and the philosopher and we shall furnish new and interesting proofs of this great truth.

I have now given a rapid sketch of the general history of the mountains of the county of Cumberland: this digression, was indispensable, in order to obtain exact information respecting the extraordinary phenomena which are presented by the north-west winds, and which phenomena are inconceivable when the origin of those winds is compared with them.

We have just seen that all the western and north-western parts of this portion of New Holland, are occupied by a very extensive chain of mountains, the height of which appears to be equal to that of the most elevated chains already, known. Who would not be induced to think, from such a constitution, that the winds which pass over these mountains must be characterised by a colder temperature? This, consequence is so natural and so conformable to all the principles of natural philosophy, that it would seem not to admit of any kind of modification; and, nevertheless, it receives, in the case in question, the most decided and absolute exception; as if the atmosphere of New Holland, as well as the animals and the vegetables of this singular continent, has its peculiar laws, which differ from all the principles of our sciences and all the rules of our systems.

Far different, in fact, from the greater or less degree of cold which they might seem to be obliged to acquire from the immense mountains which they pass, the north and north-west winds are, in the county of Cumberland, real fiery currents compared to those of the most dreadful kind which occur in Africa. Their devouring heat destroys whatever happens to be exposed to its action: nothing can resist the fervor of the austral-campsin; in a few moments it parches up the most active vegetation; under its powerful influence the springs and rivers become dry; and even the animals perish by thousands when opposed to its fatal career. But as in this part of the world, effects cease to bear any relation to their causes, it is on experience alone that we must rely; and in this respect, after the unanimous evidence of the most observant inhabitants of New South Wales, we must believe the authority of the most enlightened historian which this country has yet acquired.

In the month of February, 1791, Collins made the following observations: "At this period," said he, "most of the torrents and rivulets were dried up, and they were obliged to hollow out the bed of Sydney River, in order to procure scarcely as much water as would supply the town. On the 10th and 11th of this month, the heat became so great, that at Sydney Town Fahrenheit's thermometer rose in the shade as high as 105,0°, being equal to 32,44° of Reaumur. At Rose Hill the heat was so excessive, that thousands of large bats perished; in many parts of the port the land was covered with different species of birds, some just suffocated, and others absolutely reduced to charcoal by the heat, while several were seen to drop dead in their flight. The streams which were not yet dried up were so much infected by the great number of those birds and bats, which, having descended to slake their thirst, had expired on their banks, that the water for several days was corrupted by them. The wind then blew from the north-west, and did great injury to the gardens, consuming all before it. Persons who were obliged to go out on indispensable business, declared that it was impossible to stand with their face for five minutes towards the point from which this wind proceeded." This is only a small portion of the statement given by Collins in his Account of New South Wales. The facts which he mentions are also confirmed by the observations of Phillip, Hunter, Watts, Tench, King, &c. and from the whole of which we may deduce the following consequence.

The winds which pass over New Holland from north-west to south-east, appear in the county of Cumberland with the double character of extreme dryness and heat, notwithstanding the extent and the height of the mountains over which they pass before they reach the colony.

These results and others which are analogous, may be applied with interest to the solution of the grand problem of the physical state of the interior of New Holland. We shall now pursue our description of the territory of Parramatta.

I have already observed, that the numerous woods in the vicinity of this town, the abundance of herbage, and its excellent quality, are calculated to form an immense pasturage in this part of New South Wales, proper for rearing all kinds of cattle. Such an advantage could not escape the attention of the English government; and from the first foundation of the colony, it sent hither all the large domestic animals which could be spared from the stock of the new establishment. They have since so rapidly multiplied; that in the divisions belonging to the state alone, there were a short time before our arrival at Port Jackson, 1800 horned cattle, of which 514 were bulls, 121 oxen, and 1165 cows. The breeding of these animals is so rapid, that in the space of only eleven months, the number of oxen and cows has been extended from 1856 to 2450; which gives for the whole year an increase of 650 head, or one-third of the entire number. If the increase be calculated in this proportion for a period of thirty years, it is evident that though half the number might be annually consumed, New Holland would be covered with innumerable herds of cattle.

The sheep have been still more fertile; indeed so rapidly do they breed in these distant pasturages, that captain Arthur, one of the richest landholders in New South Wales, does not hesitate to assert, in a memoir which he has just published on this subject, that in twenty years New Holland alone will be able to furnish England with all the wool which she now imports from other countries, and for which she pays annually about 1,800,000l. sterling. Captain Arthur himself, is the owner of more than 4000 sheep: I have seen several of his flocks, and they appear to me to be uncommonly beautiful. The farm of captain Arthur, which is in the finest possible state, comprises 3400 acres of land, of which 3160 are pasture, 40 sown with wheat, and the rest is occupied with various kinds of less important cultivation. He has also on his farm 27 horses and mares, and 182 horned cattle, of which three are bulls, 55 oxen, and 124 cows. "The climate of New Holland", says the captain, in his interesting memoir, "is particularly favourable to the multiplication of sheep with fine wool, and when the unlimited extent of the fine pasturages is considered, it is evident that in a few years, millions of these animals might be raised without any other expence than the payment of the shepherds. I have calculated, that with proper attention, my flocks would multiply thirtyfold in thirty months, and experience has already proved, that this calculation is below their actual increase. Specimens of their wool", continues he, "have been submitted to the examination of the best judges in England, who admit that they are equal to those of Spain, and even appear to be finer than most of the latter."

Captain Arthur is not the only person who has derived in an honourable way the greatest advantages from the sheep of New Holland. In the course of my different excursions, I had frequent opportunities of seeing flocks as remarkable far their beauty and number as those of this gentleman. Mr. Palmer has about 800 sheep, which he feeds on 392 acres of pasture. Mr. Marsden has a much greater number, and most of the other colonists have their particular flocks, wandering in the midst of woods, without enemies of any species, and ignorant of the frosts of winter, or the cold humidity of the autumn of our climates, protected from the heat of the sun by the shades of the forests which they inhabit, and feeding always on the most delicate and aromatic herbs, these flocks acquire a degree of strength and beauty which given them a perfection hitherto unknown. On the other hand, the greatest advantage has arisen from crossing the hairy sheep of the Cape and of Bengal with those of the woolly kind from England and Spain: thus, in less than ten years they have succeeded in transforming the hair of the animals from Africa and Asia into a wool which is not yet very long, but is remarkable for a great degree of fineness, and for its soft and silky quality. "The following fact", said Mr. Arthur "proves the astonishing rapidity of this amelioration: I have the fleece of one of my sheep of the common kind, which the manufacturers value at 9d. per pound but when I shewed them the fleece of a lamb proceeding from this name sheep and a Spanish ram, they valued it at 3s. per pound. But it is not merely in the quality of the wool that this amelioration is observable; the advantage is also in the weight of the fleece: for example, the heaviest of those fleeces in 1800 weighed scarcely 3 lb. 8 oz.; in 1802 their average weight was 5lb.; and at this time the beauty of the wool was so great, that each pound fetched 3s. 6d.

With respect to the sheep of the Spanish breed, which form the principal stock of the numerous flocks of New South Wales, they proceed from a considerable number of fine Merinos which the English government has transported to Port Jackson at different periods; and thirty rams of the most beautiful kind, which were sent by the court of Spain to the viceroy of Peru during the last war, form a part of this invaluable stock, they haying been taken by an English ship within sight of the port at which they were be landed.

In the course of my journies to the environs of Parramatta, I succeeded in procuring a variety of animals as beautiful as they are various. Upwards of 150 species of new insects had been gradually added to my collections of this kind, and amongst those species were forty butterflies mostly of the grandest colours that can be conceived. Amongst the Coleopteræ is an admirable Cetonia, to which I have given the name of Cetonia Orpheus, on account of the golden lyre, which appears in the most regular form on the back of this insect, the general colour of which is exactly that of as emerald.

The family of Lizards, which in every part of New Holland appears in so many singular species, has afforded me several of much interest. One of these lizards belongs to the genus Stellion, of Cuvier, and is distinguished by the extraordinary flatness of its body, which is no more than ten lines thick, though four inches long and five inches broad, which gives the body of this animal some slight resemblance to that of cramp-fish. Its ærial goitre, which is extremely large, is of a deep blue colour.

Among the Scinca of the new genus, similar to that which have thought it necessary to establish under the same of Scincoida, as well as amongst the Tupinambis and the Geckoes Parramatta afforded me several very remarkable species. I these procured that singular lizard which the celebrated Shaw has described under the name of Gecko Platurus, or the Gecko with a large tail; but it appears to me so different in its conformation and habits from the Gecko, properly so called, that I have chosen to separate it, in order to make it a type of a new genus, which, under the name of Geckoides, N. will immediately follow that of the Geckos in the natural order, as well as in that of the classifications of modern naturalists.

I also collected two species of frogs which were hitherto unknown, and one of which I have described by the name of Rana pustulosa, the other by that of Rana pollicefera, became it has at its hind feet a little projecting appendage, which at first view might be taken for a sixth toe. The toad genus also afforded me two new species, which I named Bufo Leucogaster, and Bufo Proteus; the individuals of the first species have a brilliant white belly, and those of the second display a great variety of colours. The protean toad is one of the smallest that is known, as it measures scarcely one inch in length; while, by its agreeable and varied colours, it seems to be separate from the disgusting genus to which it belongs. I also collected a number of new species of Hyla, to which I have given such names as accord with their respective appearance. Amongst the terrestrial and fluvial shells I likewise made several interesting discoveries; as also amongst the worms, and the fish of the river of Parramatta: but such was the abundance of new objects that came before me, that I was obliged to sacrifice particulars, in order to admit the general and simple enumeration which it was necessary for me to make.

Having thus finished my labours, I returned with my friend, M. Bellefin, to Sydney Town: but, before leaving Parramatta, it may perhaps be amusing if I say something of the singular host with whom we lodged during our stay in this town. This man was a French Jew, named Larra, who, as he told me himself, had been a thief and a forger of bank notes, and as such, had been transported to Port Jackson, in the fleet under commodore Phillip. After having fulfilled his time of condemnation and slavery, Larra became a free and good citizen. Corrected by misfortune, of a vice, the results of which had been so serious to him, he courageously devoted himself to labour, which alone could prevent him from experiencing misery. Having obtained a grant of land, he began to cultivate it with much success, and soon joined his fate to that of a woman of his own nation and religion, who, like him, had been transported for her infamous conduct, but who had also been brought by exile and misfortune, to an inclination for labour, as well as to a more honest line of life. Supported by the generous aid which the government lavishes on individuals who conduct themselves well, this couple jointly tilled a fertile portion of soil, and an abundant harvest was the fruit of their labours. Larra then directed his industry to other objects, and engaged in commercial speculations; which succeeded beyond his hopes. In short, by the most honourable means, he gradually acquired a fortune; and he is now generally considered as one of the richest landholders in New South Wales; while the regularity of his conduct, and the honesty of his character, have caused him to be respected by the principal civil and military officers of the colony.

It is necessary to add, that Mr. Larra does not keep a public tavern, or inn, though all persons who have business at Parramatta, and wish to be well treated, put up at his house: we were recommended to him by colonel Paterson, who had written to him without our knowledge, desiring him to treat us with all possible respect, the same as if he were present, and not to accept from us any remuneration. This recommendation of the lieutenant-governor-general produced such an effect upon our host, that, during the six days we remained at Parramatta, we were served with an elegance, and even a luxury, which we could not suppose obtainable on these shores. The best wines, such as Madeira, Port, Xeres, Cape, and Bourdeaux, always covered our tables; we were served on plate, and the decanters and glasses were of the purest flint; nor were the eatables inferior to the liquors. Always anxious to anticipate the taste or wishes of his guests, Mr. Larra caused us to be served in the French style; and this act of politeness was the more easy to him, because amongst the convicts who acted as his domestics, was an excellent French cook, a native of Paris, as well as two others of our countrymen. However, notwithstanding the letter of colonel Paterson, we had many instances, while with Mr. Larra, that in his quality of, our countryman, he consented to receive, even from us, the price of his hospitality; for which Mr. Paterson displayed a great resentment against him. For us and our guide he charged 14l. 6s.; though this sum does not appear too much, considering the sumptuous manner in which we were entertained.

To return to the three Frenchmen who ire Larra's domestics, they appeared to us to be overcome with melancholy and remorse: but this was not the case with another Frenchman, named Morand, who lived at Sydney Town, and whose history is so singular, that it deserves to be recorded.

"My only crime", said he, "was that I wished to be a partner in the Bank of England, without putting in any stock:" he related his adventure with that sort of easiness and consequence which could only proceed from the most extravagant fanaticism. "The war", said Morand, "had just broken out between Great Britain and France; the forces of the two nations were opposed; but it appeared to me more easy to destroy our rival by finances than by arms: I therefore resolved, like a good patriot, to undertake this ruin, and to complete it in the very heart of London. If I had succeeded," he exclaimed with enthusiasm, "France would have erected altars to my memory; but how has it happened, that, instead of being treated like a thief, I have not been proclaimed the avenger of my country! Scarcely had I arrived in England, before I began my operations, and they succeeded beyond my utmost hopes. Being ably seconded by an Irishman, not less clever than myself, and who, influenced like me, by a noble patriotism, showed still more hatred towards Great Britain, I soon succeeded in counterfeiting the Bank Notes with such great exactness, that it was even difficult for ourselves to distinguish from the real ones, those which issued from our presses. I was beginning to triumph; all my arrangements were made for inundating England with the produce of our manufactory; I only waited for some private information with respect to the manner in which they were to be numbered, when my companion, whom I had hitherto considered as a very honest man, took it into his head to steal from our depôt, a handful of these notes, before I had given them certain, finishing strokes, which, though trivial, were indispensable. The consequence was, that he was very soon apprehended; and as he had not hesitated to forfeit his honour on one occasion, he had no compunction at acting the second time like a villain. He disclosed every thing; and I was taken up and sent with him to a dungeon: all our instruments, all the contents of our manufactory, were seized; and Great Britain was saved from the ruin which I had prepared for her!

"Although the proofs of our project were sufficiently clear, I did not despair, thanks to the nature of the criminal laws in England, of escaping death; but such was the pusillanimity and terror of my graceless associate, that I could not doubt our common fate, if I were obliged to appear at the bar to confront this weak-minded creature. To prevent my own fate, which could not interfere with his, I resolved to prevail upon him to disencumber himself of me; besides, as the author of our misfortunes, it was very right that he should suffer for them. The following were the means I took to effect my purpose: in a very pathetic discourse, I undertook to prove to him, that as our fate was inevitable, it became us only to think of the means by which we might prevent pain and ignominy; and that as we were to die for each other, it would be better to fall like men of honour, than to expire under the hands of a public executioner. The Irishman was shocked at my proposal, but could not make up his mind on the subject: I therefore remonstrated with him, that if he did not care for his own infamy, he ought to feel for his children, and spare them from the reproach of being the sons of a man that was hanged; and that if he could not leave them a fortune, he ought to have firmness enough to keep them from shame.

"These last reflections inflamed the Irishman with a noble resolution! We procured some corrosive sublimate; I pretended to swallow it, but he took his portion in reality, and there was an end of him! Being thus released from this weak-minded knave, I avoided the effect which his appearance would have against me, and was only sentenced to transportation to this colony, where I am condemned to pass the rest of my days. The time of my slavery has expired, and I follow with advantage two of my early trades, those, of goldsmith and watch-maker. The two thieves who work with me triple my profits. In a few years I shall be one of the richest men in the colony; and I should even now be one of the most happy, if I were not incessantly tormented with regret at having so unfortunately failed in such an honourable enterprise, and to see myself on this occasion regarded like a vile criminal, even by such of you, my countrymen, who cannot make allowance for the noble principles that influenced my conduct."





CHAPTER XXI.

On the remarkable Hydrographical and Meteorological Phenomena of New Holland.


WE apply generally, in Europe, the denomination of rivulet to the junction of several springs, which constitute, together, a continued current of fresh water; which, after a limited course, either empties itself into particular reservoirs, or into the sea; but which almost always mixes itself with other currents of the same nature. From this confusion of several rivulets is formed what we call a river; which, besides the characters just described, has a more rapid course; runs to a greater distance over continents, or large islands; and, in most cases, falls in with similar bodies of water: thus constituting a third order of currents, for which the French are the only people who have a distinct appellation, namely, that of fleuve, or great river. The character of the latter, besides that of emptying itself immediately into the sea, is, that it must have a very extensive course, and consist of a voluminous mass of water.

Torrents, however considerable they may be, differ essentially from rivulets, rivers, and fleuves; as their course, which is subordinate to the order of the seasons and the vicissitudes of the atmosphere, is not continual, but merely periodical. These general notions being well established, we shall make the application to the particular hydrography of New Holland; and we have for our consideration a new series of phenomena, not less singular, perhaps, than those which arise from the Blue Mountains and the north-west winds.

In the first place, throughout the whole extent of this vast continent, which comprises more than an hundred thousand square leagues of solid surface, there is not yet known a single river of the size of the Marne or the Allier, admitting, however, the definition which. I have given of the word river. In vain the navigator, who sails along the shores of this immense land, hopes that he is frequently about to discover the mouth of a new river; in vain does he sail to a distance in the continent, with strong boats, or even with large vessels: the salinity of what he misconceived to be a river does not diminish, and at length he perceives that the water has no other motion than what is imparted to it by the ebbing and flowing of the sea. Nevertheless, the depth of the water is so considerable, its width is so great, and it extends so far into the country, that the illusion is kept up. The navigation is pursued still farther; numerous creeks are seen, which appear like large rivulets; the vessels enter them, but no where can fresh water be met with. Disappointed hope is however still sustained by the imposing appearance of the principal branch, which continues to afford all the characteristics of a great riser. Already has the navigator got to the distance of sixty or eighty miles, and imagines that he can go much farther! Judge of his disappointment, when he suddenly finds this majestic river terminate in a miserable stream of brackish water, incapable of bearing the slightest boats, and the aqueous contents of which, at some periods of the year, are scarcely a few inches broad. The astonished voyager stops his course, and when he discovers that the ebb and flow are almost as strong at the end of the river as at its mouth, he cannot conceive how, in so great a space, the declivity of the land is so insignificant.

Such is the general picture presented by all the rivers of New Holland: there is not one to which the above description is inapplicable, without any other modification than what results from its greater or lest extent. Thus the river George, Cook's river at Botany Bay, that of Parramatta at Port Jackson, that of Hawkesbury at Broken Bay, the river Hunter, Endeavour river, all those in the gulph of Carpentaria, recently discovered by captain Flinders, the rivers or harbours in the Bay of Sea Dogs, that of the Swans, that of Geography Bay, that of King George's Harbour, of the gulphs of Buonaparte and Josephine, of Ports Phillip, Western, &c. all reproduce a series of phenomena analogous to those which I have just described. Diemen's Land, notwithstanding the difference of its geological constitution, affords the same singularity in all its rivers. Thus the river Huon, the Port of Swans, with North and Dalrymple rivers, &c. are nothing but a sort of gulphs, more or less narrow or deep, but all of them essentially saline, subject to the influence of the tides, borrowing from them their principal motions, and terminating in feeble rivulets, which in the hot season are almost entirely dry.

However singular may appear all the facts that I have mentioned respecting the rivers of New Holland, they are not the only particulars that present themselves to our notice; the character of their inundations is a new theme for meditation and research; but I must first finish all that relates to my journey to Parramatta.

It is not only by the opening of agreeable and convenient roads, that the English government has endeavoured to facilitate the communications between its colonies and the southern ports of the country: at the end of 1793, there were established on the river of Parramatta, a kind of packet boats which daily sailed between the last-mentioned and Sydney Towns, conveying people and every sort of merchandize. The passage money is a shilling for each individual and each hundred weight of goods, and a whole boat may be engaged tor six shillings.

Besides these means of conveyance, the government keeps several little vessels, most of which are very elegant and convenient; they are appropriated exclusively either to the state, or the principal officers employed by it. M. Bellefin and I returned to Sydney in one of these vessels; we embarked opposite the barracks of Parramatta, a part where the river contains sufficient, water for large sloops, while two hundred paces farther it is nothing bat a miserable stream, incapable of bearing the slightest canoe.

In proportion as we leave Parramatta, the bed of the river extends and becomes deeper, and we soon find ourselves in eight or ten fathoms water. On both banks one's attention is attracted by a number of little creeks running up the country, and the courses of which are agreeably marked out by fine forests. Here the European has already shown that he exists, by his habitation and the extensive portions of soil which he has cultivated. Here, at the verdant entrance of a stream, is discovered the humble cabin of a new colonist; while the distant sound of the hatchet announces his efforts and activity: farther on, the eye is attracted by a natural meadow, in which wander the oxen, cows, and horses, of a seedy established farm; and the picture is completed by the first ripening harvests of newly cultivated fields. Often on the summit of a picturesque hillock, may be discerned a large and elegant mansion, surrounded by more considerable cultivated lands, and covered by greater numbers of flocks and labourers—all indicating it to be the property of a rich and industrious owner. The one in question belonged to Mr. Coxe, the paymaster of the colony, to whom I had been introduced at colonel Paterson's. As soon as he perceived M. Bellefin and me, he got into a boat belonging to his farm, and coming to our vessel, invited us in so pressing a manner to pass the night at his house, that we could not resist his friendly solicitation.

While they were preparing, a hasty dinner, we amused ourselves in going over his farm, every department of which was to us a new subject of surprise. It was not, however, the only possession of this kind, which Mr. Coxe had acquired on these banks, for, on a second voyage which I made to his estate, with colonel Paterson and his lady, and Mr. Laycock, junior, a lieutenant in the New South Wales regiment, Mr. Coxe took us all to dinner to another farm still more rich and elegant than that I have just described; it is situated more inland, on the side of Castle Hill. The road which leads from one to the other of these farms, is so wide and convenient, that we went over it in a carriage: it is between six and seven miles in length, and to make it, immense loads of rubbish were necessary. The whole of Mr. Coxe's land amounts to 860 acres, of which more than 300 were sown with wheat, fifteen with maize, six with barley, and twelve with oats; 349 acres were reserved for the pasturage of the cattle, which comprised five horses, three mares, and twenty-seven horned cattle, besides 800 sheep of the finest breeds.

After expressing our gratitude to Mr. Coxe and his lady, for all the kindness they had shown us, M. Bellefin and I again embarked, and in a few hours got to Sydney Town.

While I was making the various observations that have just been committed to print, my worthy friend M. Lesueur had been employed in forming a rich ornithological collection; he had killed and prepared no less than 200 birds, and had amassed in our repository 68 quadrupeds; besides which, a great number of sketches and paintings had been executed.

In the mean while our crews, exhausted by long privations and horrible epidemics, were not capable of manœuvring our ships, and experience had proved to us, that those ships were too large and strong for the geographical operations which we had to pursue both on the south-west and north-west coast of New Holland. It was therefore resolved to send the Naturalist to France, after withdrawing front that ship almost all the able seamen which she possessed, and replacing them by the convalescent and valetudinarians of the Geographer. A cutter of thirty tons was then building in the dock-yard of a ship builder of the colony: this was bought for our service, and the command of it was given to M. L. Freycinet, the acting lieutenant of the Naturalist, and the principal author of the geographical labours which were performed on board that vessel. Captain Hamelin himself was to return to Europe, and to lay before the government the results of the voyage.

M. Lesueur and myself being forced by these new determinations to occupy ourselves incessantly is arranging the subjects which were to go in the Naturalist to France, we suspended all our intended researches, and for three weeks employed ourselves day and night in this delicate and difficult branch of our duty. It may be imagined what we had to undergo, when it is known that we arranged in the most methodical manner more than 40,000 animals of all sorts and descriptions, collected in various parts during a period of two years. Thirty-three large packing cases were filled with these collections, which were more valuable and numerous than any voyagers had ever sent to Europe, and which, when only partially displayed in the house which I occupied with M. Bellefin, excited the admiration of all the learned Englishmen in the colony, particularly of the celebrated naturalist colonel Paterson.

Of known countries there is not, perhaps, one where the electric phenomena are so frequent and so terrible as in this climate. While we were crossing the isles of Montenotte to Port Jackson, we were surprised by the continuity of these phenomena, in the midst of a season, and during a state of the atmosphere, so little favourable to their existence; but towards the end of our stay at Sydney, we witnessed such frequent and violent storms, that our astonishment was inexpressible. Never had we heard such dreadful thunder claps, nor seen such vivid, lightning. In one of these storms, a thunder-bolt struck the English ship the Perseus, which had no conductor, and had nearly caused the loss of that ship.

On the 7th of October we witnessed a phenomenon of this kind, to which I know nothing similar in the records of meteorology. The whole morning the weather had been very fine, the sky and the sea were equally calm; but in the afternoon the wind suddenly veered to the north-west, and blew fresh and in squalls; an enormous quantity of large black clouds, driven by those winds from the summits of the Blue Mountains, were precipitated into the plain. These clouds were so heavy, that they skimmed, as one might say, the surface of the ground. The heat was suffocating: Reaumur's thermometer suddenly rose from 18° to 27°. The clouds soon opened with a horrible noise; the lightning was blinding, and the thunder was seen to roll along the atmosphere in serpentine shapes, of a blueish colour. At this period of the tempest, the winds blew from all points of the compass, and their violence increased in consequence of their thus clashing. However, as a few very heavy showers of rain began to fall, we hoped that the storm would soon cease; when, from the midst of a very high cloud, blacker than the rest, there suddenly fell an abundant hail, much more remarkable for the form of its grains than from their size: some of them weighed nearly an ounce, and each of them, instead of the more or less globular shape of the hail of our climates, was of an elongated figure, irregularly prismatic, and the proportions of which, in the largest specimen which I could discover, was 29 lines long by 17 wide, and eight thick.

However novel we might consider hail of such a shape, it did not surprise the English, who, since their establishment on these shores, had witnessed several such showers, but never with such prodigious characters as in the month of December, 1795, the particulars of which are described in the work of Collins, p. 445: this storm also came from the north-west. What other climate of the globe presents such a series of remarkable phenomena?

As soon as we had finished the arrangement of our collections, I returned with colonel Paterson to visit the establish went of Castle Hill. After having ascended the river of Parramatta, to the height of three leagues, we landed with a few soldiers, to begin our researches in natural history. Amidst those various trees which time or the axe had brought down, we found at every step, under their fungous and putrid bark, beautiful Coleopteræ, and various species of lizards and reptiles, of which we made a fine collection. On proceeding into the wood, beyond the parts to which the English had extended fire and steel, we found that the insects were much more scarce than in the parts that had been cleared; and this singularity appeared to us to be caused by the custom of the savages setting fire to the forests, and thus destroying an enormous quantity of eggs, as well as larvae and perfect insects.

Of all European vegetables, that which has succeeded best in New South Wales is the peach tree; the cause is either the nature of the soil, which is generally sandy and light, or that the state of the climate is highly favorable to its vegetative faculties. We may see whole fields covered with peach trees, and their fruit is so abundant, that great quantities of it are dried: several of the colonists prepare from it an agreeable kind of wine; others distil from this wine a good-tasted spirit; and it is not unusual to see the farmers fatten their hogs with peaches.

On reaching Parramatta, Mr. Paterson and I went to the government house, and the next day we made a second expedition in search of objects of natural history, in which my philosophic colleagues, Messrs. Paterson and Cayley, kindly enriched me with contributions of such as I had not been able to meet with.

During these little excursions, I made an observation which had struck me several times before, and which deserves particular attention. In the deep vallies which we often crossed, there ran some streams of fresh water, so feeble, and narrow in their beds, that the widest of them we could step over with ease; and yet at fifteen or twenty feet above their habitual course, we observed on the soil and on the trees, evident proofs that the water had frequently risen to that elevation. My companions confirmed this remark, and gave me some interesting details, which with the observations I had made at Port Jackson, enabled me to present the singular history of the overflowing of the rivers in this part of New Holland. All the facts which it may be necessary to state are, that all the rivers in Cumberland county overflow their banks at certain periods, like the Nile, and roll in devastating torrents over the neighbouring fields. The English, who first fixed their residences on these banks; being aware of such inundations, sustained great injuries, and were reduced to the necessity of either removing their habitations from those dangerous banks, or establishing them in more elevated parts, inaccessible to the water. But notwithstanding this double precaution, the cultivators on the banks of Hawkesbury River never feel themselves secure front such a disaster; as the water often rises from twenty-five to forty and fifty feet above the ordinary level of the river; while these inundations, which bear no relation to the season, recur at often as ten or twelve times in a year. This last fact is well worthy of philosophical investigation, as it is in direct contradiction to the laws which regulate the swelling and drying up of rivers in equatorial climates; while the periods of inundation are so irregular, that sometimes one has not occurred in six months, and at others, there have been three or four in a month. The only cause which we can assign is; the frequency and force of the rains which fall from the mountains in which it takes its course; but even under this idea, how astonishing it must appear, that even those heavy torrents can raise the waters of a feeble current to the height of thirty, forty, or fifty feet. What an immense extent of country the rain must have fallen upon at one and the same time; what a rapidity must the course of the water have acquired in its passage down the mountains, to unite from so many points, and almost instantaneously, in such prodigious masses! It must therefore be owned, in respect to these and other phenomena, that New Holland baffles all our analogies, and shakes those scientific opinions, which are the most scrupulously admitted. In short, whatever we may have to say of this singular country, so justly called by the English the unparalleled continent, we shall state Many other natural phenomena equally strange and incomprehensible.

With respect to the river Hawkesbury, if by its inundations it alarms the agriculturists in its vicinity, what benefits does it not confer on the country which it overflows. Carrying with it from the summits of the mountains and the interior of the continent, all the vegetable mould which it meets with in its course, it brings it to the vallies, and deposits it the inundated fields, where it settles into rich strata, some of which, according to the report of Mr. Marsden, are not less than thirty; forty, and even sixty feet in depth, affording an inexhaustible manure for the most active and varied cultivation. Hence, nothing can be compared to the fertility of the banks of this antarctic river: without any labour, and almost without ploughing, the land in these parts produces the richest harvests.

The singular sketch which I have just given, is not merely applicable to the river Hawkesbury all the other rivers, and even the rivulets of Cumberland county, are subject to similar swells, and which appear to have their common origin in the abundant rains that fall on large tracts of high lands.

Mrs. Paterson having expressed a wish to go with her husband and me to Castle Hill, had come to join us in her carriage at Parramatta; we therefore set off to Mr. Cox and his family, at the farm which he occupies on the banks of the river, and which I have already described: here we slept, and the next morning early, we set off for the place we were to visit.

Of all the establishments in New South Wales, Castle Hill is the most recent: at the time I was there, it was scarcely three years old. The infant town then only consisted of a dozen houses; but already were to be distinguished on the neighbouring hills vast tracts of cultivated land, while several handsome farms were settled in the vallies. Six hundred convicts were continually employed in felling trees, to open roads through the forests and in twenty quarters might be seen rising, immense volumes of flame and smoke, produced by the burning of new concessions. Most of the body of convicts just mentioned, were Irishmen, who have been transported on account of their revolutionary principles; and it was these very men who, a short time after our departure, the English papers stated to have risen, and joined other bodies of their countrymen in the colony. The insurgents, 1300 in number, then marched against the town of Parramatta, and had a sanguinary battle with all the English troops, by whom they were defeated, and then they accepted the promises which the governor held out to them.

The English government had long wished to prevent those destructive conflagrations of the forests, and required that the soil should be cleared by simply cutting down the timber: it was expected that the projecting remains of the roots and suckers, decomposed by heat and moisture, so far from impeding agricultural labour, would become a valuable manure. This mode is employed with advantage in many parts of America; but the result has been ascertained to be quite different in New Holland, as if experience of every kind is always to be overturned in this singular part of the world; for example, the wood of the Eucalyptus, which is so seldom met with in a sound state in the growing tree, and which appears to be so easily decomposible. This wood, probably on account of its resinous quality, withstands, when cut down, every destructive operation of the atmosphere; and every where may be seen the remains of trunks which were out down fifteen years ago, perfectly as sound as when they were growing, while their roots form insuperable obstacles to the progress of the cultivation.

These unforeseen difficulties having compelled the English to abandon this first method of clearing the land, they have adopted that of fire, which they perform in the following manner. After separating by a large abattis the portion of the forest that is to be burned, they set fire to it in several parts, and in a few days are devoured those products of nature which have required her operations for centuries to bring to perfection. This last method, besides the advantage of quickness and ease of execution, also has that of extirpating all plants different from such as are to be introduced; at the same time it imparts to the soil a fertile heat, which disposes it to produce a rich harvest, while the ashes of the vegetable that is burned on the surface; afford an additional and salutary manure.

After taking refreshment at Castle Hill, our party set off to visit a neighbouring habitation. "I wish", said Mr. Paterson, "to introduce you to one of your countrymen, who is a friend of mine: he is the baron De la Clampe, formerly a French colonel, who honourably served his country in the war in India, and who afterwards, being forced by your revolution to seek an asylum in England, refused to bear arms against his nation. At length, disgusted with a life of indolence, so little congenial with his inclination and former habits, he solicited permission to establish himself in this distant climate. His wish was not only complied with, but several advantages were granted him, which will secure to him for the rest of his life, an existence, if not splendid, at least competent and peaceable. During three years which he has resided at Castle Hill, he has only come once to Sydney Town; he shuns the world, and refuses the most pressing invitations of his best friends, in order to devote himself entirely to agriculture. But you shall yourself judge", added Mr. Paterson, "of his information and activity."

Having walked about a quarter of an hour through a thick wood, we discovered the modest habitation and the fields of the poor French colonel. At the head of six convicts, furnished to him by the English government, almost naked like himself, he set them the example of labour and fortitude. The unexpected arrival of such a numerous party disconcerted M. De la Clampe, who appeared mortified at our seeing him so miserably dressed, that it was difficult to distinguish the master from the criminals that laboured under his orders. He ran precipitately into the house to make himself decent, and soon afterwards joined us.

The interior of this rural mansion, to which we were soon introduced, presented the agreeable union of extreme simplicity and a sort of elegance, which proved the delicate taste of its owner, at the same time that he was an utter stranger to every sort of luxury.

Colonel Paterson soon apprised the baron who I was, and the nature of my visit to the colony. At the name of a Frenchman, the unfortunate emigrant advanced towards me, and embracing the with transport, "Ah! Monsieur," said he, "how goes on our dear France?" With the highest satisfaction I related to this interesting countryman all the prodigies which a great man had performed for the happiness of our nation. He heard my recital with ecstacy, and when I had finished, he animatedly offered up his vows to heaven for the happiness and preservation of the first consul.

After a frugal repast from the provisions which the colonel had caused to be brought, we set out to visit the possessions of our host, himself serving as a guide: he amused us with particulars of his operations and their result; but of all that he showed us, nothing interested me so much as a fine plantation of cotton and coffee trees, which he had planted, and which bore the most promising appearance. M. De la Clampe assured me, that after a long series of experiments, he had succeeded in making his cotton trees produce cotton of various colours, and particularly that of the fine Indian nankeens, which no European had hitherto been able to imitate, either by growing the cotton or dyeing it. "Either I deceive myself," said the French emigrant, "or in a little time I shall have created for this colony two branches of commerce and exportation equally valuable: I have only this means of acquitting myself of a sacred debt of gratitude towards the people who received me in the time of my misfortune, and I shall do every thing to hasten the period of the performance of this duty and wish of my heart—a wish so agreeable to my ideas of delicacy and patriotism."

While I was thus pursuing the enquiries peculiar to every department, over a great portion of this singular colony, two oaf my colleagues, Messrs. Depuch and Bailly, the mineralogists of the expedition, visited Tongabee and Hawkesbury, the two last towns of Cumberland county, and advanced as far as the base of the Western Mountains.

They examined the bed of the river of Parramatta, ascertained that the stratum of freestone, under Sydney Town, extends beyond Parramatta, but at which latter place it covers at the depth of several feet, strata of bituminous schistus, full of the impressions of plants. This schistus is disposed in horizontal layers, alternately with freestone and puddings impregnated with a blackish and bituminous substance. The inference they drew from these observations was, that a vast quantity of coal might be found under the soil of Parramatta; a presumption which is strengthened by the discovery that has already been made of this, substance At Port Stevens, to the north, and Port Hacking, to the south of Port Jackson.

There is a fine road that leads from Parramatta to Tongabee, which the government causes to be kept in constant repair. To the distance of three or four miles beyond Tongabee, the lands are almost entirely cultivated, and are covered pith houses and farms. In all this part of New South Wales, they raise quantities of cattle, and to prevent them from damaging the cultivated grounds they enclose them in meadows, like the people of North America.

Our mineralogists did not discover in any of the lands occupied by the English the slightest vestige of carbonated lime, and the inhabitants are every where reduced to make use of the small quantity only which they procure by the calcination of shells, particularly those of oysters, which latter are found at Botany Bay in vast abundance. The governors have in vain offered large rewards to those inhabitants who may discover any bank of limestone; and there is no reason to believe that such a discovery will be made. They in many parts observed the hematite oxide of iron, which they think might be made to produce an excellent iron: there is also a great abundance of crystalised native muriate of soda, in great masses; the governor has a specimen which is a foot in diameter.

[About 10 pages of detail in the French version have been adequately summarised in this volume, in the two preceding paragraphs. This missing detailed material is of insufficient general interest and has therefore not been translated.]

On the whole, it appears that it is only in respect to its mountains, rivers, winds, and storms, that New South Wales presents a series of grand phenomena: amongst the vegetables and animals, nature has likewise multiplied her singularities, and the history of the natives affords many peculiar subjects for investigation, while the fine system of colonization pursued by England in these distant lands, is equally, to be admired. But the extent to which I have carried this chapter, precludes me from entering into farther details, I most therefore defer the reflections which remain to be made, and now terminate the account of our residence Port Jackson.

I have already stated, that the Naturalist, having on board the scientific collection and the valetudinarians of both ships, was immediately to return to France with captain Hamelin. In consequence of this resolution, Messrs. Leschenault, Faure, and Bailly, those of my colleagues who remained on board that ship, came over to the Geographer, which on the other hand lost the interesting M. Depuch, who was too much reduced to continue the continue the campaign, together with Messrs. Bougainville, junior, Maurouard; and Brue, cadets of the first class: these three gentlemen had the misfortune to incur the hatred of our commander, who had condemned them to be sent home, as well as our second surgeon, M. Taillifer, who had so nobly and courageously attended us in all our illness.*

[* It is an agreeable task to add, that our three companions, as soon as they returned to Europe, were made officers, and that they all three distinguished themselves in the late battles. M. Taillefer was promoted by vice-admiral Decrés, the Minister of the marine, to be surgeon major of the battalion of the marine imperial guard.]

These final and much to be regretted arrangements having been made, we set sail on the morning of the 18th of November, after having been 152 days at New South Wales. The particulars of the remainder of our voyage will form the substance of my second volume: I shall therefore conclude the present with a few remarks on the physical strength of the savages of the county Of Cumberland, and those of Diemen's Land and Timor.





CHAPTER XXII.

Results of various Experiments to ascertain the Physical Strength of the Savages Of Diemen's Land and New Holland, as well as of the the Inhabitants of Timor. Conclusion.


THAT singular period it still recent, in which we saw many celebrated men led away by an ardent imagination, or with dispositions soured by the misfortunes inseparable from our social state of existence, unite to ridicule that state, and despising the benefits it confers, attribute to savages all the sources of happiness and every principle of virtue. Their fatal eloquence led astray the public opinion, and for the first time sensible men were seen to tremble at the progress of civilization, and to sigh for that miserable condition illustrated in our days by the seductive title of a state of nature! Happily modern travellers, by successively describing various savage people, have enabled the world to form a just opinion of those ridiculous sophisms: and our expedition may in this respect still farther contribute to the progress of true philosophy.

Of all the benefits which the apologists of man in a savage state have brought forward in his behalf, his physical strength is that on which they insist most particularly and constantly. As the constant attendant of a vigorous state of health, physical strength would be, in fact, one of the first claims to superiority, and if it were to be the exclusive, or even most particular appendage of the savage state, civilization, it must be admitted, has deprived us of one of the most certain means of happiness. Hence, the detractors of social order have made the most eloquent declamations, to prove that this kind of degradation applies to civilized men, and they have striven to cause their sentiments to be believed. Till lately, however, we had no means of contradicting them, by not knowing how to compare with accuracy the physical strength of individuals and nations: but at the time of our departure from Europe, this branch of the history of mankind had excited the interest and zeal of philosophers.

The recent invention of the Dynamometer by Regnier, had just given a new turn to observations of this kind. Without being perfect, or being capable of proving the precise degree of absolute strength, this instrument affords the means of direct approximations: it renders the effects comparable, and from the numerous experiments which I have been able to make with it during three years, I have ascertained that in this respect it is much more accurate than was at first imagined. I had the advantage of being the first who carried it beyond the seas, and employing it amidst the hordes of the Southern Hemisphere. I omitted no opportunity of trying it, and I can vouch for the accuracy of the results which it has afforded.

My first experiments with this instrument were made on Diemen's Land. Here, as well as on the neighbouring Isle Maria, there exists a race of men entirely different from the people of the continent of New Holland. In height they are similar to Europeans, but they differ in their singular conformation. With an uncommonly large head, particularly remarkable by the superior proportion of its length over its breadth, with broad and expanded shoulders, well formed loins, and sizeable buttocks, almost all these individuals have at the same time lank and feeble extremities; they show scarcely any muscle, while the abdomen projects and seems inflated like a balloon. In other respects, without any regular chiefs, without laws, or any form of government, destitute of every kind of art, having no idea of agriculture, of the use of metals, or animals; without clothing or fixed habitations or any other retreat than a miserable pent-house of bark, to protect him against the south winds, without any other arms than the tomahawk and the sagaie; always wandering in the midst of forests or on the sea shores; the inhabitant of these regions unites all the characters of man in an unsocial state, and is, in every sense of the word, the child of nature. How different is he in his moral and physical capacities, from what he is described in those seductive accounts which have been given of him by the enthusiastic imaginations of system-mongers, who have laboured to make him appear superior to man in a civilized state!

With such a barbarous people, our experiments have been, if not rare, at least difficult and dangerous, and most of our interviews have terminated in aggressions on their part. Hence, my dynamometrical observations on these shores have been few and imperfect, as it was not possible for me to induce the people to try the strength of their loins. My experiments were tried chiefly upon savages in the most vigorous part of life, viz. from eighteen to forty years; and the result has been, that the average strength of the savages in Diemen's Land and the neighbouring isles, is far inferior to that of Europeans, who have been tried in the same parts of the world.

The results of five series of experiments on the people of Diemen's Land, New Holland, Timor, the French, and English, is as follows: the figures expressing our French kilogrammes.

Diemen's Land,           50,6
New Holland, 51,8
Timor, 58,7
French, 69,2
English, 71,4

The following is the renal strength expressed in myria grammes:

Diemen's Land, 0
(Vide the reason given in the preceding paragraph).
New Holland, 14,8
Timor, 16,2
French, 22,1
English, 23,8

From which it results, that

1. That the inhabitants of Diemen's Land, the most savage of all, and the real children of nature of the modern philosophers are the weakest of any.

2. That those of New Holland, who are little more civilized, are weaker than those of Timor.

3. That the latter are in every respect, loins, hands, &c. weaker than the English.

Hence we may infer, that physical strength is not diminished by civilization, nor is it a natural consequence of a savage state.

It was my wish to pursue these experiments to a much greater extent, particularly by making them on the Hottentot race at the Cape of Good Hope; but the interests of science compelled me to sacrifice my valuable instrument at the Isle of France. I gave it to M. Chapotin, the government physician of that colony, who has promised to try with it a number of people, of all nations, who come to that island, and his remarks will doubtlessly throw an important light on this new branch of science. For my own part, it is sufficient gratification for me to reflect, that, I am the first man who has laid open, by experiments in distant parts, this wide field of observation, and opposed direct experiments and numerous facts to that dangerous opinion so generally promulgated and believed, that the physical degeneration of man is in proportion to his state of civilization!




END OF THE FIRST VOLUME






INDEX TO PERON'S VOYAGE.

——————


ABROLHOS, its situation described
Accident, a distressing one related
Adventure Bay; some account of
—distressing state of the Geographer while there
Amadima, his visit to M. Peron
—his astonishment at the phosphorus, and its effects on his beetle bag
Appearance, an extraordinary one.
Archipelago, Forrester's, arrival at a place so called
—some account of
—description of the inhabitants of

Bass, Mr., horrid privation, suffered by, in his arduous attempt to pass
   the Blue Mountains
Beauty, a New Holland one described
—her temerity at the approach of the author
Boulanger, M., his description of Madame Van-Esten's house
Breakers, awful view of a long chain of

Canaries (the), diseases at
—scarcity of water in
Canaries, (the) hypothesis on
—passage from, to the Isle a France
Capes, various described
County, Cumberland, some account of
Coupang, destructive diseases at
Curiosities, natural, vast quantity of, found on Isle Bruny

Dangers, nautical
Dangers, various encountered
Dead (the), reflections on burning
Dentrecasteaux, admiral, complete state of his geographic labours described
Departure, an hostile one
Diemenese, interesting interview with some on Diemen's Land
—effect of music on
—their mode of living, ib.
—partiality of the females to Europeans
Diemen's Land, the eastern part of described
Disappointment, an affecting one
Discovery, an interesting one
—a singular one
Disasters, various unexpected
Distresses, dreadful, attending the author and crew

Emigrant nobleman, interesting history of a French one at Botany Bay
Endracht's Land, some account of
Experiments, phosphoretical

Family; a Malay; enchanting appearance of
Farms, sheep, enormous ones in New South Wales described
Fish, a new one discovered
Fish, edible, abundance of described
Fleet (the) commander of [Nicolas Baudin], his horrid privations on the
   whole of the crew
Flinders, captain, his chart found incorrect
—meeting with
Forests, mode of clearing them at Botany Bay
Forests, venerable, extraordinary appearance of some
Forests, burning of
France, the Isle of, hurricanes at, described
—temperature
—geology and soil of
—extraordinary trees of
—relative strengths of the woods of
Freycinet, M. H., result of his investigations on Bay of Marion
Friendship, Madagascar
Frogs, a new species of

Hieroglyphics, singular ones described
History, natural, observations on

Inscriptions, Dutch ones translated
Interview, a ludicrous one
—Jew landlord, account of an eccentric one
Institute, the Imperial, report of, made to the French government
   on the voyage, to the Southern Hemisphere
Isles, of France
—of Bernier
—various
—of Buache
—of Rottnest
—of Sabou
—of Maria
—of Schouten
—of Furneaux
—of Preservation
—Waterhouse
—animals, vegetables, minerals, curiosities of, described

Kangaroo, a curious species of, described

Land, Napoleon's, survey of
—numerous isles of
Lesueur, M., bit by a venomous reptile
—its effects, ib.
Levillain, M., death of
L'Haridon, M., generosity of
Liberality, British, exemplified
Lizards, some now species of

Malays (the) hospitality of, described,
—their hatred against the English, ib.
Malays, their agility in climbing of trees
Maria Isle, survey of
—interesting discoveries on
Marion, description of the bay of
Maugé, M., death, of
—buried on Isle Maria, ib.
Meeting, an un expected
Mineralogy of New South Wales
Mortality, shocking, described
Mountains, the Blue, their height, &c.

Naturalists (the) operations of, in Bass's-Strait
Navigators, correction of former ones
Neâs, history of that old man
New Holland, approach to
—barrenness of the soil of
Observations, marine, utility of
—physical, 57.

Parramatta, description of that town
—public buildings, population, &c. ib.
Paterson colonel, his expedition to the Western islands described
Phaetons, beautiful ones described
Phenomena, atmospheric, results of
—a meteoric one described
—meteorological, described
Plants, singular, ones described
Port Western, savages of

Revolutions, proof of natural
Riédlé, death of that celebrated botanist
River, King William's, description of
Rivers, phenomena of their overflowing without regard to the seasons

Rivoli, some account of the Bay of
Rose Hill, description of
—government house of
—failure at an attempt to cultivate the vine, ib.

Savages (the) brutality of
—attack of, repelled
—strength of the savages, comparative experiments on the
—the strength of ascertained
—violent assault of some
—the curiosity of, on seeing M. Petit and his comrades
—vocabulary of
—their treachery
Sea-dogs, the bay of, quantity of whales to
Sea-fowl, singular appearance of
—numerous flights of
Sea-grass, vast shoals of, found on Bay Riédlé
Sea-serpents, description of some
Sea (the) temperature of
—and saltness of the water of, ib.
Sharks, irritability of, ascertained
Shells, a beach of, described
Surveys, nautical
Swans, description of the river of
Swans, black, described
—number of killed

Talent, superior, fatal consequence of exhibiting
Teneriffe, the Peak of, described
—diseases at
—attack on, described
Timor, arrival at
—entrance to, opposed by the kings of
Town, Sydney, buildings described
Trout, a new species of, described
Turtles, vast abundance of
Tyranny, unmerited
—and its effects, ib.

Van-Esten, Madame, interesting interview with
—character of her husband
Voyage, its object
—liberal equipment for
—officers selected for

Wales, New South, animals of, described
—habitations of the convicts at, described, ib.
Water, horrid effects of the want of
Whales remarkable shoal, of, described
Winds, hot, awful influence of


THE END

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