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Title: A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean,
       and Round the World [Selection from Vol. I].
Author: George Vancouver.
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1401571h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: April 2014
Date most recently updated: April 2014

Produced by: Ned Overton.

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Production Notes:

This selection includes Volume I, Chapters I-IV only, concerning New Holland and Van Diemen's Land. The maps, sourced from Trove, are from the accompanying folio volume.

Dates in the margins are omitted here; note that all days of the week and months of the year are in lower case. The original text used old-style 's's, similar to '∫', which usually scans as 'f'.








Undertaken by HIS MAJESTY'S Command,


North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans;


1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, and 1795,


DISCOVERY Sloop of War, and Armed Tender CHATHAM,





[Chapters I-IV ONLY]




[Click to go directly to the CONTENTS page.]




Your Majesty having been graciously pleased to permit my late brother Captain George Vancouver, to present to Your Majesty the Narrative of his labours during the execution of your commands in the Pacific Ocean, I presume to hope, that, since it has pleased the Divine Providence to withdraw him from Your Majesty's service, and from the society of his friends, before he could avail himself of that condescension, Your Majesty will, with the same benignity, vouchsafe to accept it from my hands, in discharge of the melancholy duty which has devolved upon me by that unfortunate event.

I cannot but indulge the hope that the following pages will prove to Your Majesty, that Captain Vancouver was not undeserving the honour of the trust reposed in him; and that he has fulfilled the object of his commission from Your Majesty with diligence and fidelity.

Under the auspices of Your Majesty, the late indefatigable Captain Cook had already shewn that a southern continent did not exit, and had ascertained the important fact of the near approximation of the northern shores of Asia to those of America. To those great discoveries the exertions of Captain Vancouver will, I trust, be found to have added the complete certainty, that, within the limits of his researches on the continental shore of North-West America, no internal sea, or other navigable communication whatever exists, uniting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

I have the honour to be,


With the most profound respect,


Most faithful and devoted

Subject and servant,

John Vancouver.



In contemplating the rapid progress of improvement in the sciences, and the general diffusion of knowledge, since the commencement of the eighteenth century, we are unavoidably led to observe, with admiration, that active spirit of discovery, by means of which the remotest regions of the earth have been explored; a friendly communication opened with their inhabitants; and various commodities, of a most valuable nature, contributing either to relieve their necessities, or augment their comforts, introduced among the less-enlightened part of our species. A mutual intercourse has been also established, in many instances, on the solid basis of a reciprocity of benefits; and the productive labour of the civilized world has found new markets for the disposal of its manufactures. Nor has the balance of trade been wholly against the people of the newly-discovered countries; for, whilst some have been enabled to supply their visitors with an abundance of food, and the most: valuable refreshments, in exchange for iron, copper, useful implements, and articles of ornament; the industry of others has been stimulated to procure the skins of animals, and other articles of a commercial nature; which they have found to be eagerly fought for by the traders who now resort to their shores from Europe, Asia, and the eastern side of North America.

The great naval powers of Europe, inspired with a desire not only of acquiring, but also of communicating, knowledge, had extended their researches, in the 16th and 17th centuries, as far into the pacific ocean as their limited information of the geography of the earth, at that time, enabled them to penetrate. Some few attempts had also been made by this country towards the conclusion of each of those centuries; but it was not until the year 1764 that Great-Britain, benefiting by the experience of former enterprizes, laid the foundation for that vast accession of geographical knowledge, which she has since obtained by the persevering spirit of her successive distinguished circumnavigators.

By the introduction of nautical astronomy into marine education, we are taught to sail on the hypothenuse, instead of traversing two sides of a triangle, which was the usage in earlier times; by this means, the circuitous course of all voyages from place to place is considerably shortened; and it is now become evident, that sea officers of the most common-rate abilities, who will take the trouble of making themselves acquainted with the principles of this science, will, on all suitable occasions, with proper and correct instruments, be enabled to acquire a knowledge of their situation in the atlantic, indian, or pacific oceans, with a degree of accuracy sufficient to steer on a meridional or diagonal line, to any known spot; provided it be sufficiently conspicuous to be visible at any distance from five to ten leagues.

This great improvement, by which the most remote parts of the terrestrial globe are brought so easily within our reach, would, nevertheless, have been, comparatively, of little utility, had not those happy means been discovered, for preserving the lives and health of the officers and seamen engaged in such distant and perilous undertakings; which were so successfully practised by Captain Cook, the first great discoverer of this salutary system, in all his latter voyages round the globe. But in none have the effects of his wife regulations, regimen, and discipline, been more manifest, than in the course of the expedition of which the following pages are designed to treat. To an unremitting attention, not only to food, cleanliness, ventilation, and an early administration of antiseptic provisions and medicines, but also to prevent, as much as possible, the chance of indisposition, by prohibiting individuals from carelessly exposing themselves to the influence of climate, or unhealthy indulgences in times of relaxation, and by relieving them from fatigue and the inclemency of the weather the moment the nature of their duty would permit them to retire; is to be ascribed the preservation of the health and lives of sea-faring people on long voyages. Instead of vessels returning from parts, by no means very remote, with the loss of one half, and sometimes two thirds, of their crews, in consequence of scorbutic, and other contagious disorders; instances are now not wanting of laborious services having been performed in the most distant regions, in which, after an absence of more than three or four years, during which time the vessels had been subjected to all the vicissitudes of climate, from the scorching heat of the torrid zone to the freezing blasts of the arctic or antarctic circles, the crews have returned in perfect health, and consisting nearly of every individual they had carried out; whilst those who unfortunately had not survived, either from accident or disease, did not exceed in number the mortality that might reasonably have been expected, during the same period of time, in the most healthy situations of this country. To these valuable improvements, Great Britain is, at this time, in a great measure indebted, for her present exalted Ration amongst the nations of the earth; and it should seem, that the reign of George the Third had been reserved, by the Great Disposer of all things, for the glorious task of establishing the grand key-stone to that expansive arch, over which the arts and sciences should pass to the furthermost corners of the earth, for the instruction and happiness of the most lowly children of nature. Advantages so highly beneficial to the untutored parts of the human race, and so extremely important to that large proportion of the subjects of this empire who are brought up to the sea service, deserve to be justly appreciated; and it becomes of very little importance to the bulk of our society, whose enlightened humanity teaches them to entertain a lively regard for the welfare and interest of those who engage in such adventurous undertakings for the advancement of science, or for the extension of commerce, what may be the animadversions or sarcasms of those few unenlightened minds that may peevishly demand, "what beneficial consequences, if any, have followed, or are likely to follow, to the discoverers, or to the discovered, to the common interests of humanity, or to the increase of useful knowledge, from all our boasted attempts to explore the distant recesses of the globe?" The learned editor,* who has so justly anticipated this injudicious remark, has, in his very comprehensive introduction to Captain Cook's last Voyage, from whence the above quotation is extracted, given to the public, not only a complete and satisfactory answer to that question, but has treated every other part of the subject of Discovery so ably, as to render any further observations on former voyages of this description totally unnecessary, for the purpose of bringing the reader acquainted with what had been accomplished, previously to my being honored with His Majesty's commands to follow up the labours of that illustrious navigator Captain James Cook; to whose steady, uniform, indefatigable, and undiverted attention to the several objects on which the success of his enterprizes ultimately depended, the world is indebted for such eminent and important benefits.

[* Dr. Douglas, now Bishop of Salisbury.]

Those benefits did not long remain unnoticed by the commercial part of the British nation. Remote and distant voyages being now no longer objects of terror, enterprizes were projected, and carried into execution, for the purpose of establishing new and lucrative branches of commerce between North West America and China; and parts of the coast of the former that had not been minutely examined by Captain Cook, became now the general resort of the persons thus engaged.

Unprovided as these adventurers were with proper astronomical and nautical instruments, and having their views directed almost intirely to the object of their employers, they had neither the means, nor the leisure, that were indispensably requisite for amassing any certain geographical information. This became evident, from the accounts of their several voyages given to the public; in which, notwithstanding that they positively contradicted each other, as well in geographical and nautical fads as in those of a commercial nature, they yet agreed in filling up the blanks in the charts of Captain Cook with extensive islands, and a coast apparently much broken by numberless inlets, which they had left almost intirely unexplored.

The charts accompanying the accounts of their voyages, representing the North West coast of America to be so much broken by the waters of the pacific, gave encouragement once more to hypotheses; and the favorite opinion that had slept since the publication of Captain Cook's last voyage, of a north-eastern communication between the waters of the pacific and atlantic oceans, was again roused from its state of slumber, and brought forward with renovated vigour. Once more the archipelago of St. Lazarus was called forth into being, and its existence almost assumed, upon the authority of a Spanish admiral named De Fonte, De Fonta, or De Fuentes; and of a Mr. Nicholas Shapely, from Boston in America, who was stated to have penetrated through this archipelago, by sailing through a mediterranean sea, on the coast of North-West America, within a few leagues of the oceanic shores of that archipelago; where he is said to have met the Admiral. The straits said to have been navigated by Juan De Fuca were also brought forward in support of this opinion; and, although the existence or extent of these discoveries remained still to be proved by an authenticated survey of the countries which had been thus stated to have been seen and passed through, yet the enthusiasm of modern closet philosophy, eager to revenge itself for the refutation of its former fallacious speculations, ventured to accuse Captain Cook of "hastily exploding" its systems; and, ranking him amongst the pursuers of peltry, dared even to drag him forward himself in support of its visionary conjectures.

With what reason, or with what justice, such animadversions have been cast upon one, who, unhappily for the world, does not survive to enforce his own judicious opinions; influenced as they were, by no prejudice, nor biassed by any pre-conceived theory or hypothesis, but founded on the solid principles of experience, and of ocular demonstration; it is not my province to decide: let it suffice to say, that the labours of that distinguished character will remain a monument of his pre-eminent abilities, and dispassionate investigation of the truth, as long as science shall be reflected in the civilized world; or as long as succeeding travellers, who shall unite in bearing testimony to the profundity of his judgment, shall continue to obtain credit with the public.

Although the ardour of the present age, to discover and delineate the true geography of the earth, had been rewarded with uncommon and unexpected success, particularly by the persevering exertions of this great man, yet all was not completed; and though, subsequent to his last visit to the coast of North-West America, no expedition had been projected by Government, for the purpose of acquiring a more exact knowledge of that extensive and interesting country; yet a voyage was planned by His Majesty for exploring some of the Southern regions; and in the autumn of the year 1789, directions were given for carrying it into effect.

Captain Henry Roberts, of known and tried abilities, who had served under Captain Cook during his two last voyages, and whose attention to the scientific part of his profession had afforded that great navigator frequent opportunities of naming him with much respect, was called upon to take charge of, and to command, the proposed expedition.

At that period, I had just returned from a station at Jamaica under the command of Commodore (now Vice-Admiral) Sir Alan Gardner, who mentioned me to Lord Chatham and the Board of Admiralty; and I was solicited to accompany Captain Roberts as his second. In this proposal I acquiesced, and found myself very pleasantly situated, in being thus connected with a fellow-traveller for whose abilities I bore the greatest respect, and in whose friendship and good opinion I was proud to possess a place. And as we had sailed together with Captain Cook on his voyage towards the south pole, and as both had afterwards accompanied him with Captain Clerke in the Discovery during his last voyage, I had no doubt that we were engaged in an expedition, which would prove no less interesting to my friend than agreeable to my wishes.

A ship, proper for the service under contemplation, was ordered to be provided. In the yard of Messrs. Randall and Brent, on the banks of the Thames, a vessel of 340 tons burthen was nearly finished; and as me would demand but few alterations to make her in every respect fit for the purpose, she was purchased; and, on her being launched, was named the Discovery.

The first day of the year 1790 the Discovery was commissioned by Captain Roberts; some of the other officers were also appointed, and the ship was conducted to His Majesty's dock-yard at Deptford, where she was put into a state of equipment; which was ordered to be executed, with all the dispatch that the nature of the service required.

For some time previous to this period the Spaniards, roused by the successful efforts of the British nation, to obtain a more extended knowledge of the earth, had awoke, as it were, from a state of lethargy, and had not only ventured to visit some of the newly-discovered islands in the tropical regions of the pacific ocean, but had also, in the year 1775, with a spirit somewhat analogous to that which prompted their first discovery of America, extended their researches to the northward, along the coast of North-West America. But this undertaking did not seem to have reached beyond the acquirement of a very superficial knowledge of the shores; and though these were found to be extremely broken, and divided by the waters of the pacific, yet it does not appear that any measures were pursued by them for ascertaining the extent, to which those waters penetrated into the interior of the American continent.

This apparent indifference in exploring new countries, ought not, however, to be attributed to a deficiency in skill, or to a want of spirit for enterprize, in the commander * of that expedition; because there is great reason to believe, that the extreme caution which has so long and so rigidly governed the court of Madrid, to prevent, as much as possible, not only their American, but likewise their Indian, establishments from being visited by any Europeans, (unless they were subjects of the crown of Spain, and liable to a military tribunal) had greatly conspired, with other confederations of a political nature, to repress that deli re of adding to the fund of geographical knowledge, which has so eminently distinguished this country. And hence it is not extraordinary, that the discovery of a north-western navigable communication between the atlantic and pacific oceans, should not have been considered as an object much to be desired by the Spanish court. Since that expedition, however, the Spaniards seem to have considered their former national character as in some measure at flake; and they have certainly become more acquainted than they were with the extensive countries immediately adjoining to their immense empire in the new world; yet the measures that they adopted, in order to obtain that information, were executed in so defective a manner, that all the important questions to geography still remained undecided, and in the same state of uncertainty.

[* Senr. Quadra.]

Towards the end of april, the Discovery was, in most respects, in a condition to proceed down the river, when intelligence was received that the Spaniards had committed depredations on different branches of the British commerce on the coast of North-West America, and that they had seized on the English vessels and factories in Nootka sound. This intelligence gave rise to disputes between the courts of London and Madrid, which had the threatening appearance of being terminated by no other means than those of reprizal. In consequence of this an armament took place, and the further pacific equipment of the Discovery was suspended; her stores and provisions were returned to the respective offices, and her officers and men were engaged in more active service. On this occasion I resumed my profession under my highly-esteemed friend Sir Alan Gardner, then captain of the Courageux, where I remained until the 17th of the november following; when I was ordered to repair to town for the purpose of attending to the commands of the Board of Admiralty.

The uncommon celerity, and unparalleled dispatch, which attended the equipment of one of the noblest fleets that Great-Britain ever saw, had probably its due influence upon the court of Madrid, for, in the Spanish convention, which was consequent on that armament, restitution was offered to this country for the captures and aggressions made by the subjects of His Catholic Majesty; together with an acknowledgment of an equal right with Spain to the exercise and prosecution of all commercial undertakings in those seas, reputed before to belong only to the Spanish crown. The extensive branches of the fisheries, and the fur trade to China, being considered as objects of very material importance to this country, it was deemed expedient, that an officer should be sent to Nootka to receive back, in form, a restitution of the territories on which the Spaniards had seized, and also to make an accurate survey of the coast, from the 30th degree of north latitude north-westward toward Cook's river; and further, to obtain every possible information that could be collected respecting the natural and political state of that country.

The outline of this intended expedition was communicated to me, and I had the honor of being appointed to the command of it. At this juncture it appeared to be of importance, that all possible exertion should be made in its equipment; and as the Discovery, which had been selected on the former occasion, was now rigged, some of her shores provided, and she herself considered, in most respects, as a vessel well calculated for the voyage under contemplation, she was accordingly directed to be got ready for that service; and the Chatham armed tender, of 135 tons burthen, built at Dover, having been destined to accompany the Discovery in the voyage which had been abandoned, she was ordered to be equipped to attend on the voyage now to be undertaken, and was sent to Woolwich to receive such necessary repairs and alterations as were deemed requisite for the occasion.

The Discovery was copper-fastened, sheathed with plank, and coppered over; the Chatham only sheathed with copper. The former mounted ten four-pounders, and ten swivels; the latter, four three-pounders and six swivels. The following list will exhibit the establishment of the officers and men in the two vessels.

An account of the number of officers and men on board the Discovery sloop of war, in december, 1790.
Captain, 1    George Vancouver.
Lieutenants 3 { Zachariah Mudge,
{ Peter Puget,
{ Joseph Baker.
Master 1    Joseph Whidbey.
Boatswain 1
Carpenter 1
Gunner 1
Surgeon 1
Midshipmen 6
Master's mates 3
Boatswain's mates 3
Carpenter's mates 3
Gunner's mates 2
Surgeon's mates 2
Carpenter's crew 4
Master at arms 1
Corporal 1
Sail-maker 1
Sail-maker's mate 1
Armourer 1
Cook's mate 1
Clerk 1
Quartermasters 6
Able seamen 38
} Marines.
Total 100

An account of the number of officers and men on board the Chatham armed tender, in december, 1790.
Commander 1 Lieutenant W. R. Broughton.
Lieutenant 1 James Hanson.
Master 1 James Johnstone.
Boatswain 1
Carpenter 1
Gunner 1
Surgeon 1
Midshipmen 4
Master's mates 2
Boatswain's mates 2
Carpenter's mates 2
Gunner's mates 2
Surgeon's mate 1
Sail-maker 1
Armourer 1
Clerk 1
Quartermasters 4
Able seamen 10
}  Marines.
Total 45

I had great reason to be satisfied with these arrangements; the second and third lieutenants, and the matter of the Discovery, whom I had the honor of being allowed to name for this service, had all served some years with me, under the command of Sir Alan Gardner, both at home, and in the Welt-Indies; the other officers were men of known character, possessing good abilities, and excellent dispositions, which their subsequent conduct and zeal, exhibited on all occasions, sufficiently demonstrated.

In the former equipment of the Discovery, Captain Roberts and myself had undertaken to make all such astronomical and nautical observations, as the circumstances occurring in the voyage might demand. This task now devolved upon me alone; but with the assistance of Mr. Whidbey, I entertained little doubt of accomplishing the proposed object, at least in an useful manner; for which purpose we were supplied by the Navy Board with such an assortment of instruments as I considered to be necessary.

It was with infinite satisfaction that I saw, amongst the officers and young gentlemen of the quarter-deck, some who, with little instruction, would soon be enabled to construct charts, take plans of bays and harbours, draw landscapes, and make faithful portraits of the several headlands, coasts, and countries, which we might discover; thus, by the united efforts of our little community, the whole of our proceedings, and the information we might obtain in the course of the voyage, would be rendered profitable to those who might succeed us in traversing the remote parts of the globe that we were destined to explore, without the assistance of professional persons, as astronomers or draftsmen.

Botany, however, was an object of scientific inquiry with which no one of us was much acquainted; but as, in expeditions of a similar nature, the most valuable opportunities had been afforded for adding to the ge[ne]ral flock of botanical information, Mr. Archibald Menzies, a surgeon in the royal navy, who had before visited the pacific ocean in one of the vessels employed in the fur trade, was appointed for the specific purpose of making such researches; and had, doubtless, given sufficient proof of his abilities, to qualify him for the station it was intended he should fill. For the purpose of preserving such new or uncommon plants as he might deem worthy of a place amongst His Majesty's very valuable collection of exotics at Kew, a glazed frame was erected on the after part of the quarter-deck, for the reception of those he might have an opportunity of collecting.

The Board of Admiralty, greatly attentive to our personal comforts, gave directions that the Discovery and Chatham should each be supplied with all such articles as might be considered in any way likely to become necessary, during the execution of the long and arduous service in which we were about to engage. Our stores, from the naval arsenals, were ordered to be selected of the very best sorts, and to be made with materials of the best quality. In addition to the ordinary establishment, we were supplied with a large assortment of seines and other useful fishing geer of various kinds. The provisions were furnished at the victualling-office with the greatest care, all of which proved to be excellent, and manifested the judgment which had been exercised in the selection and preparation of the several articles. To these were added a large proportion of sour-krout, portable soup, wheat instead of the usual supply of oatmeal for breakfast, the essence of malt and spruce, malt, hops, dried yeast, flour, and seed mustard; which may all be considered as articles of food. Those of a medicinal nature, with which we were amply supplied, were Dr. James's powders; vitriolic elixir; the rob of lemons and oranges, in such quantities and proportions as the surgeon thought requisite; together with an augmentation to the usual allowance, amounting to a hundred weight, of the best peruvian bark.

To render our visits as acceptable as possible to the inhabitants of the islands or continent in the pacific ocean, and to establish on a firm basis a friendly intercourse with the several tribes we might occasionally meet with, Lord Grenville directed that a liberal assortment of various European commodities, both of a useful and ornamental nature, should be sent on board from the Secretary of State's office. From the Board of Ordnance the vessels were supplied with every thing necessary for our defence, and amongst other articles were four well-contrived three pound field pieces, for the protection of our little encampment against any hostile attempts of the native Indians, amongst whom we should necessarily have frequent occasion to reside on shore; and for the amusement and entertainment of such as were peaceably and friendly disposed towards us, we were furnished with a most excellent assortment of well-prepared fireworks. So that nothing seemed to have been forgotten, or omitted, that might render our equipment as complete, as the nature of the service we were about to execute could be considered to demand. But as I have hitherto only pointed out in general terms the outline of the intended expedition; the various objects it proposed to embrace, and the end it was expected to answer, will be more clearly perceived by the perusal of the instructions under which I was to sail, and by which I was to govern my conduct; which will enable the reader to form a judgment, how far His Majesty's commands, during this voyage, have been properly carried into execution.

"By the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral of Great-Britain and Ireland, &c.

"The King having judged it expedient, that an expedition should be immediately undertaken for acquiring a more complete knowledge, than has yet been obtained, of the north-west coast of America; and, the sloop you command, together with the Chatham armed tender, (the Lieutenant commanding which, has been directed to follow your orders) having been equipped for that service; you are, in pursuance of His Majesty's pleasure, signified to us by Lord Grenville, one of His principal Secretaries of State, hereby required and directed, to proceed, without loss of time, with the said sloop and tender, to the Sandwich islands in the north pacific ocean, where you are to remain during the next winter; employing yourself very diligently in the examination and survey of the said islands; and, as soon as the weather shall be favorable, (which may be expected to be in february, or at latest in march, 1792) you are to repair to the north-west coast of America, for the purpose of acquiring a more complete knowledge of it, as above mentioned.

"It having been agreed, by the late convention between His Majesty and the Catholic King, (a printed copy of which you will receive herewith) that the buildings and tracts of land, situated on the north-west coast above mentioned, or on islands adjacent thereto, of which the subjects of His Britannic Majesty were dispossessed about the month of april, 1789, by a Spanish officer, shall be restored to the said British subjects, the court of Spain has agreed to fend orders, for that purpose, to its officers in that part of the world; but, as the particular specification of the parts to be restored may still require some further time, it is intended that the King's orders, for this purpose, shall be sent out to the Sandwich islands, by a vessel to be employed to carry thither a further store of provisions for the sloop and armed tender above mentioned, which it is meant shall sail from this country in time to reach those islands in the course of next winter.

"If, therefore, in consequence of the arrangement to be made with the court of Spain, it should hereafter be determined that you should proceed, in the first instance, to Nootka, or elsewhere, in order to receive, from the Spanish officers, such lands or buildings as are to be restored to the British subjects; orders, to that effect, will be sent out by the vessel above mentioned. But, if no such orders should be received by you previous to the end of January, 1792, you are not to wait for them at the Sandwich islands, but to proceed, in such course as you may judge most expedient for the examination of the coast above mentioned, comprized between latitude 60° north and 30° north.

"In which examination the principal objects which you are to keep in view, are,

"1st, The acquiring accurate information with respect to the nature and extent of any water-communication which may tend, in any considerable degree, to facilitate an intercourse, for the purposes of commerce, between the north-west coast, and the country upon the opposite side of the continent, which are inhabited or occupied by His Majesty's subjects.

"2dly, The ascertaining, with as much precision as possible, then umber, extent, and situation of any settlements which have been made within the limits above mentioned, by any European nation, and the time when such settlement was first made.

"With respect to the first object, it would be of great importance if it should be found that, by means of any considerable inlets of the sea, or even of large rivers, communicating with the lakes in the interior of the continent, such an intercourse, as hath been already mentioned, could be established; it will therefore be necessary, for the purpose of ascertaining this point, that the survey should be so conducted, as not only to ascertain the general line of the sea coast, but also the direction and extent of all such considerable inlets, whether made by arms of the sea, or by the mouths of large rivers, as may be likely to lead to, or facilitate, such communication as is above described.

"This being the principal object of the examination, so far as relates to that part of the subject, it necessarily follows, that a considerable degree of discretion must be left, and is therefore left to you, as to the means of executing the service which His Majesty has in view; but, as far as any general instructions can here be given on the subject, it seems desirable that, in Order to avoid any unnecessary loss of time, you should not, and are therefore hereby required and directed not to pursue any inlet or river further than it shall appear to be navigable by vessels of such burthen as might safely navigate the pacific ocean: but, as the navigation of such inlets or rivers, to the extent here stated, may possibly require that you should proceed up them further than it might be safe for the sloop you command to go, you are, in such case, to take the command of the armed tender in person, at all such times, and in such situations as you mail judge it necessary and expedient.

"The particular course of the survey must depend on the different circumstances which may arise in the execution of a service of this nature; it is, however, proper that you should, and you are therefore hereby required and directed to pay a particular attention to the examination of the supposed straits of Juan de Fuca, said to be situated between 48° and 49° north latitude, and to lead to an opening through which the sloop Washington is reported to have passed in 1789, and to have come out again to the northward of Nootka. The discovery of a near communication between any such sea or strait, and any river running into, or from the lake of the woods, would be particularly useful.

"If you should fail of discovering any such inlet, as is above mentioned, to the southward of Cook's river, there is the greatest probability that it will be found that the said river rises in some of the lakes already known to the Canadian traders, and to the servants of the Hudson's bay company; which point it would, in that case, be material to ascertain; and you are, therefore, to endeavour to ascertain accordingly, with as much precision as the circumstances existing at the time may allow: but the discovery of any similar communication more to the southward (should any such exist) would be much more advantageous for the purposes of commerce, and should, therefore, be preferably attended to, and you are, therefore, to give it a preferable attention accordingly.

"With respect to the second object above mentioned, it is probable that more particular instructions will be given you by the vessel to be sent to the Sandwich islands as aforesaid; but, if not, you are to be particularly careful in the execution of that, and every other part of the service with which you are entrusted, to avoid, with the utmost caution, the giving any ground of jealousy or complaint to the subjects of His Catholic Majesty; and, if you should fall in with any Spanish ships employed on any service similar to that which is hereby committed to you, you are to afford to the officer commanding such ships every possible degree of assistance and information, and to offer to him, that you, and he, should make to each other, reciprocally, a free and unreserved communication of all plans and charts of discoveries made by you and him in your respective voyages.

"If, in the course of any part of this service, you, or the officers or the people under your command, should meet with the subjects or vessels of any other power or state, you and they are to treat them in the most friendly manner, and to be careful not to do any thing which may give occasion to any interruption of that peace which now happily subsists between His Majesty and all other powers.

"The whole of the survey above mentioned (if carried on with a view to the objects before Mated, without too minute and particular an examination of the detail of the different parts of the coast laid down by it) may, as it is understood, probably be completed in the summers of 1792 and 1793; and, in the intermediate winter, it will be proper for you to repair, and you are hereby required and directed to repair accordingly, to the Sandwich islands; and, during your stay there, you are to endeavour to complete any part which may be unfinished of your examination of those islands.

"After the conclusion of your survey in the summer of 1793, you are, if the state and circumstances of the sloop and tender under your command will admit of it, to return to England by Cape Horn, (for which the season will then probably be favorable;) repairing to Spithead, where you are to remain until you receive further order; and fending to our secretary an account of your arrival and proceedings.

"It seems doubtful, at present, how far the time may admit of your making any particular examination of the western coast of South America; but, if it should be practicable, you are to begin such examination from the south point of the island of Chiloe, which is in about 44 south latitude; and you are, in that case, to direct: your attention to ascertaining what is the most southern Spanish settlement on that coast, and what harbours there are south of that settlement.

"In the execution of every part of this service, it is very material that you should use, and you are therefore hereby strictly charged to use every possible care to avoid disputes with the natives of any of the parts where you may touch, and to be particularly attentive to endeavour, by a judicious distribution of the presents, (which have been put on board the sloop and tender under your command, by order of Lord Grenville) and by all other means, to conciliate their friendship and confidence. Given under our hands the 8th of March, 1791."

"To "Chatham.
"George Vancouver, Esq. "Rd. Hopkins,
commander of His Majesty's sloop "Hood,
the Discovery, "J. T. Townshend."
At Falmouth.
By command of their Lordships.
Ph. Stephens."


"By the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral of Great-Britain and Ireland, &c.

"Lieutenant Hergest, commanding the Dædalus transport, (by whom you will receive this) being directed to put himself under your command, and to follow your orders for his further proceedings; you are hereby required and directed, to take him, and the said transport, under your command accordingly; receiving from her the provisions and stores intended for the use of the sloop you command, and the Chatham armed tender, or such part thereof as the said ship and tender shall be able to stow.

"And whereas you will receive herewith a duplicate of a letter from Count Florida Blanca, to the Spanish officer commanding at Nootka, (together with a translation thereof) signifying His Catholic Majesty's orders to cause such officer as may be appointed on the part of His Britannic Majesty, to be put in possession of the buildings, and districts, or parcels of lands therein described, which were occupied by His Majesty's subjects in the month of april, 1789, agreeable to the first article of the late convention, (a copy of which has been sent to you) and to deliver up any persons in the service of British subjects who may have been detained in those parts; in case, therefore, you shall receive this at Nootka, you are to deliver to the Spanish officer, commanding at that port, the above-mentioned letter from Count Florida Blanca, and to receive from him, conformably thereto, on the part of His Britannic Majesty, possession of the buildings and districts, and parcels of land, of which His Majesty's subjects were possessed at the above-mentioned period.

"In case, however, this shall not find you at Nootka, when Lieutenant Hergest arrives there, but be delivered to you at the Sandwich islands, or elsewhere, and the said lieutenant shall not have then carried into execution the service above mentioned, (which in the event of his not falling in with you he is directed to do) you are immediately to proceed to Nootka, and to carry that service into execution as above directed, taking the said lieutenant and transport with you if you shall judge it necessary. But as they are intended afterwards to proceed to New South Wales, to be employed there, under the orders of Commodore Phillip, you are not to detain them at Nootka, the Sandwich islands, or elsewhere, longer than may be absolutely necessary, but to direct Lieutenant Hergest to repair with the said transport to port Jackson, with such live stock, and other refreshments, as may be likely to be of use in the settlements there; and to touch at New Zealand in his way, from whence he is to use his best endeavours to take with him one or two flax-dressers, in order that the new settlers at port Jackson may, if possible, be properly instructed in the management of that valuable plant.

"Previous, however, to your dispatching him to port Jackson, you are to consider whether, in case of your not being able to take on board the whole of the transport's cargo, any future supply of the articles of which it is composed, will be necessary to enable you to continue your intended survey; and, if so, you are to be careful to fend notice thereof to Commodore Phillip, who will have directions, on the receipt of your application, to re-dispatch the transport, or to fend such other vessel to you with the remainder of those supplies (as well as any others he may be able to furnish) to such rendezvous as you mail appoint.

"And whereas Mr. Dundas has transmitted to us a sketch of the coast of North America, extending from Nootka down to the latitude of 47° 30", including the inlet or gulph of Juan de Fuca; and as from the declarations which have lately been made, there appears to be the strongest disposition, on the part of the Spanish court, that every assistance and information should be given to His Britannic Majesty's officers employed on that coast, with a view to the enabling them to carry their orders into execution; we fend you the said sketch herewith, for your information and use, and do hereby require and direct you, to do every thing in your power to cultivate a good understanding with the officers and subjects of His Catholic Majesty who may fall in your way, in order that you may reap the good effects of this disposition of the Spanish court.

"You are to take the utmost care in your power, on no account whatever, to touch at any port on the continent of America, to the southward of the latitude of 30° north, nor to the north of that part of South America, where, on your return home, you are directed to commence your intended survey; unless, from any accident, you shall find it absolutely necessary, for your immediate safety, to take shelter there: and, in case of such an event, to continue there no longer than your necessities require, in order that any complaint on the part of Spain on this point may, if possible, be prevented.

"If, during your continuance on the American coast, you should meet with any of the Chinese who were employed by Mr. Meares and his associates, or any of His Majesty's subjects, who may have been in captivity, you are to receive them on board the sloop you command, and to accommodate them in the best manner you may be able, until such time as opportunities may be found of sending them to the different places to which they may be desirous of being conveyed; victualling them during their continuance on board, in the same manner as the other persons on board the said sloop are victualled,

"Given under our hands the 20th of august, 1791."

"To "Chatham.
"George Vancouver, Esq. "J. T. Townshend.
commander of His Majesty's sloop "A. Gardner."
the Discovery.
By command of their Lordships.
Ph. Stephens."

Letter from Count Florida Blanca.

(Translated from the Spanish.)

"In conformity to the first article of the convention of 28th October, 1790, between our court and that of London, (printed copies of which you will have already received, and of which another copy is here inclosed, in case the first have not come to hand) you will give directions that His Britannic Majesty's officer, who will deliver this letter, shall immediately be put into possession of the buildings and districts, or parcels of land, which were occupied by the subjects of that sovereign in april, 1789, as well in the port of Nootka, or of Saint Lawrence, as in the other, said to be called port Cox, and to be situated about sixteen leagues distant from the former to the southward; and that such parcels or districts of land, of which the English subjects were dispossessed, be restored to the said officer, in case the Spaniards should not have given them up.

"You will also give orders, that if any individual in the service of British subjects, whether a Chinese, or of any other nation, should have been carried away and detained in those parts, such person shall be immediately delivered up to the above-mentioned officer.

"I also communicate all this to the viceroy of New Spain by His Majesty's command, and by the same royal command I charge you with the most punctual and precise execution of this order.

"May God preserve you many years.

(Signed)            "The Count Florida Blanca."   

"Aranjuez, 12th may, 1791.

"To the governor or commander
of the port at Saint Lawrence."

"By the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral of Great-Britain and Ireland, &c.

"In addition to former orders, you are hereby required and directed, by all proper conveyances, to fend to our secretary, for our information, accounts of your proceedings, and copies of the surveys and drawings you shall have made; and, upon your arrival in England, you are immediately to repair to this office, in order to lay before us a full account of your proceedings in the whole course of your voyage; taking care, before you leave the sloop, to demand from the officers, and petty-officers, the log-books, journals, drawings, &c. they may have kept, and to seal them up for our inspection; and enjoining them, and the whole crew, not to divulge where they have been until they mail have permission so to do: and you are to direct the lieutenant commanding the Chatham armed tender to do the same, with respect to the officers, petty-officers, and crew of that tender.

"Given under our hands the 10th of august, 1791."

"To "Chatham.
"George Vancouver, Esq. "J. T. Townshend.
commander of His Majesty's sloop "A. Gardner."
the Discovery.
By command of their Lordships.
Ph. Stephens."

Amongst other objects demanding my attention, whilst engaged in carrying these orders into execution, no opportunity was neglected to remove, as far as I was capable, all such errors as had crept into the science of navigation, and to establish, in their place, such facts as would tend to facilitate the grand object of finding the longitude at sea; which now seems to be brought nearly to a certainty, by pursuing the lunar method, assisted by a good chronometer. On this, as well as some other subjects, it is highly probable, that great prolixity and repetition will be found in the following pages; it will, however, readily appear to the candid perusers of this voyage, that, as the primary design of the undertaking was to obtain useful knowledge, so it became an indispensable duty, on my part, to use my utmost exertions and abilities in doing justice to the original intention; by detailing the information that arose in the execution of it, in a way calculated to instruct, even though it should fail to entertain. And when the writer alleges, that from the age of thirteen, his whole life, to the commencement of this expedition, (fifteen months only excepted) has been devoted to constant employment in His Majesty's naval service, he feels, and with all possible humility, that he has some claims to the indulgence of a generous public; who, under such circumstances, will not expect to find elegance of direction, purity of style, or unexceptionable grammatical accuracy: but will be satisfied with "a plain unvarnished" relation, given with a rigid attention to the truth of such transactions and circumstances as appeared to be worthy of recording by a naval officer, whose greatest pride is to deserve the appellation of being zealous in the service of his king and country.

Advertisement from the Editor.

As a considerable delay has necessarily taken place in the publication of this work, in consequence of the decease of the late Captain Vancouver, it becomes of absolute necessity to give an accurate account of the state of the work at the period when his last fatal indisposition rendered him incapable of attending any more to business; lest the melancholy event which has retarded its completion should tend to affect its authenticity in the public opinion.

The two first volumes, excepting the introduction, and as far as page 288 of the third and last volume, were printed; and Captain Vancouver had finished a laborious examination of the impression, and had compared it with the engraved charts and headlands of his discoveries, from the commencement of his survey in the year 1791, to the conclusion of it at the port of Valparaiso, on his return to England in the year 1795. He has also prepared the introduction, and a further part of the journal as far as page 408 of the last volume. The whole, therefore, of the important part of the work, which comprehends his geographical discoveries and improvements, is now presented to the public, exactly as it would have been had Captain Vancouver been still living. The notes which he had made on his journey from the port of Valparaiso to his arrival at St. Jago de Chili, the capital of that kingdom, were unfortunately lost; and I am indebted to Captain Puget for having assisted me with his observations on that occasion.

Ever since Captain Vancouver's last return to England, his health had been in a very debilitated state, and his constitution was evidently so much impaired by the arduous services in which, from his earliest youth, he had been constantly engaged,* that his friends dared to indulge but little hope that he would continue many years amongst them. Notwithstanding that it pleased the Divine Providence to spare his life until he had been able to revise and complete the account of the geographical part of his late Voyage of Discovery, a circumstance which must ever be regarded as most fortunate by all the friends of science, and especially by those professional persons who may hereafter be likely to follow him, through the intricate labyrinth which he has so minutely explored; yet it will ever be a confederation of much regret, that he did not survive to perfect the narrative of his labours. He had made many curious observations on the natural history of the several countries he had visited, and on the manners, customs, laws and religion, of the various people with whom he had met, or amongst whom he had occasionally resided; but had been induced to postpone these miscellaneous matters, lest the regular diary of the voyage should be interrupted by the introduction of such desultory observations. These he had intended to present in the form of a supplementary or concluding chapter, but was prevented from so doing by the unfortunate event of his illness.

[* The late Captain Vancouver was appointed to the Resolution by Captain Cook in the autumn of the year 1771, and on his return from that voyage round the world, he undertook to assist in the outfit and equipment of the Discovery, destined to accompany Captain Cook on his last voyage to the North pole, which was concluded in october, 1780. On the 9th of december following he was made a lieutenant into the Martin sloop: in this vessel he continued until he was removed into the Fame, one of Lord Rodney's fleet in the West-Indies, where he remained until the middle of the year 1783. In the year 1784 he was appointed to, and sailed in the Europa to Jamaica, on which station he continued until her return to England in September 1789. On the 1st of January, 1790, he was appointed to the Discovery, but soon afterwards was removed to the Courageux: here he remained until december, 1750, when he was made master and commander, and appointed to the Discovery. In august, 1794, he was, without felicitation, promoted to the rank of post captain, and was paid off on the conclusion of his last voyage in november, 1795. After this period he was constantly employed, until within a few weeks of his decease, in may, 1798, in preparing the following journal for publication.]

Most of the papers, which contain these interesting particulars, are too concise and too unconnected for me to attempt any arrangement of them, or to submit them to the reader without hazarding Captain Vancouver's judgment as an observer, or his reputation as a narrator, rigidly devoted to the truth. But as some of the notes, which he made upon the spot, are of too valuable a nature to be intirely lost, I shall venture to subjoin them to the History of the Voyage, as nearly as possible in his own words, without attempting any such arrangement of them, as might tend to diminish their authenticity, or bring into doubt that scrupulous veracity from which Captain Vancouver never departed.

The whole narrative of the Voyage of Discovery having been brought to its conclusion at Valparaiso, by Captain Vancouver himself, there only remains for me to add, that in preparing for the press the small remainder of his journal, comprehending the passage round Cape Horn to St. Helena, and from thence to England, I have strictly adhered to the rough documents before me; but as no new incidents occurred in this part of the voyage, and as the insertion of log-book minutes, over a space which is now so frequently traversed, cannot either be useful or entertaining, I have endeavoured to compress this portion of the journal into as few pages as possible.

In performing this painful task, I have had severe and ample cause to lament the melancholy office to which I have been compelled, by the loss of him whose early departure from this life has deprived His Majesty of an active and able officer, truth and science of a steady supporter, society of an uniformly valuable member, and in addition to the feelings of many who live to regret the loss of a sincere friend, I have to deplore that of a most affectionate brother.








Transactions from the commencement of the
expedition, until our departure from Otaheite.


Equipment of the Discovery and the ChathamDeparture from Falmouth—Visit and transactions at Teneriffe—Occurrences and observations during the passage to the Cape of Good Hope—Transactions there, and departure thence,


Departure from False Bay—Death of Neil Coil by the flux—Proceed towards the coast of New Holland—Discover King George the Third's Sound—Transactions there—Leave King George the Third's Sound—Departure from the south-west coast of New Holland,


Remarks on the country and productions on part of the south-west coast of New Holland—Extraordinary devastation by fire—Astronomical and nautical observations,


Passage from the south-west coast of New Holland—Pass Van Dieman's land—Arrival in Dusky bay, New Zealand—Violent storms—Leave Dusky bay—A violent storm—Much water found in the ship—Part company with the Chatham—Discover the Snares—Proceed towards Otaheite—Arrive and join the Chatham there,



A CHART shewing part of the S.W. COAST OF NEW HOLLAND




{Page 1}








Transactions from the commencement of the expedition,
until our departure from Otaheite.


Equipment of the Discovery and the ChathamDeparture from Falmouth—Visit and transactions at Teneriffe—Occurrences and observations during the passage to the Cape of Good Hope—Transactions there, and departure thence.

On the 15th of December, 1790, I had the honor of receiving my commission as commander of His Majesty's sloop the Discovery, then lying at Deptford, where, the next morning, I joined her, and began entering men.

Lieutenant William Robert Broughton having been selected as a proper officer to command the Chatham, he was accordingly appointed; but the repairs she demanded prevented her equipment keeping pace with that of the Discovery; which in most respects being completed by thursday the 6th of January, 1791, the sails were bent, and the ship got in readiness to proceed down the river. With a favorable wind on the following day we sailed, and anchored in Long Reach about five in the evening. Although this trial of the ship may appear very insignificant, yet as she had never been under sail, it was not made without some anxiety. The construction of her upper works, for the fake of adding to the comfort of the accommodations, differing materially from the general fashion, produced an unsightly appearance; and gave rise to various opinions unfavorable to her qualities as a sea-boat; for which reason it was natural to pay the minutest attention to her steering, and other properties when in motion; and we obtained in the course of this short expedition, the pleasing prospect of her proving handy, and in all other respects a very comfortable vessel. Various necessary occupations detained us in Long Reach until the 26th, when, having taken on board all our ordnance Mores, and such things as were wanted from Deptford dock yard, we proceeded down the river on our way to Portsmouth. My orders for this purpose were accompanied by another, to receive on board and convey to his native country Towraro, an Indian, from one of the Sandwich Islands, who had been brought from thence by some of the north west American traders in July 1789. This man had lived, whilst in England, in great obscurity, and did not seem in the least to have benefited by his residence in this country.

Unfavorable winds prevented our reaching the Downs until the 30th; where they still continued, and, being attended with very boisterous weather, detained us until the 3d of february; when, with a strong gale from the northward, we proceeded down channel. About noon we passed the South Foreland, and had the misfortune to lose John Brown, who fell overboard, and was drowned. He was one of the Carpenter's mates, an exceedingly good man, and very much regretted. About noon on the 5th we anchored at Spithead, where Rear-Admiral Goodall's flag was flying on board His Majesty's ship Vanguard, in company with twelve sail of the line, and several frigates.

Some defects in the ship's head were already evident, as the bumkins, and a considerable part of the head were now washed away. These repairs, with such other duties as were necessary, I gave orders to have executed; and my presence being required in London, I repaired thither; where I remained until the 27th, when I returned to Portsmouth, with orders to proceed to Falmouth.

On former voyages of this description, it had been customary to pay the officers and ship's company, the wages that had become due whilst they had been employed in the equipment of the vessels, which in general had occupied six months or upwards; enabling them by such means more effectually to provide themselves with those comforts which such long and remote services ever demand. But as a similar payment to the crews of the Discovery and Chatham, (whose complements were now complete) for the short time they had been in pay, would have been of little assistance; the Lords of the Admiralty, at my felicitation, had the goodness to grant them three months pay in advance; which was accordingly received free of all deductions.

I have already mentioned that the Navy Board had supplied me with an assortment of mathematical instruments; and the Board of Longitude, in compliance with the wishes of the Admiralty, provided in addition two chronometers; one made by the late eminent Mr. Kendall, (the excellence of which had been manifested on board the Discovery during Captain Cook's last voyage, and which had lately been cleaned and put into order by its very worthy and ingenious maker, a short time before his decease;) the other lately made by Mr. Arnold. These had both been deposited at the observatory of the Portsmouth academy, for the purpose of finding their respective errors, and for ascertaining their rate of going. The former was delivered to me, with such observations as had been made to that effect; whence it appeared to be fast of mean time at Greenwich, on the 1st of March at noon, 1' 30" 18'", and to be gaining on mean time at the rate of 6" 12'" per day. The latter was directed to be put on board the Chatham, which vessel had now arrived from the river.

Having completely finished our business with the dock-yard on thursday evening, we dropped down to St. Helen's, and the next morning proceeded down channel, leaving the Chatham behind, not as yet quite ready to accompany us; in our way we Hopped at Guernsey, and on the 12th arrived at Falmouth, where I was to wait the arrival of the Chatham, and to receive my final instructions for the prosecution of the voyage. An Admiralty messenger presented me with the latter on sunday the 20th; but the Chatham did not arrive until the 31st, when Lieutenant Broughton, who had orders to put himself under my command, received such signals and instructions as were necessary on this occasion. He informed me, that they had experienced a very boisterous passage from Spithead, and that the Chatham had proved so very crank, as, in some instances, to occasion considerable alarm. The length of time I had already waited for her arrival rendered this intelligence very unpleasant; as, demanding immediate attention, it would cause further delay, which I much wished to avoid; especially as a favorable gale for clearing the channel now prevailed. The apprehension of further detention by contrary winds, should we lose the present opportunity by breaking up the Chatham's hold for the reception of more ballast, induced me to resort to another expedient, that of lending her all our shot, which when flowed amidships as low down as possible, and every weight removed from above, we flattered ourselves would be the means of affording a temporary relief to this inconvenience.

A gentle breeze from the n.e. at day dawn on friday the 1st of april, enabled us to sail out of Carrack road, in company with the Chatham; and at midnight we took a long farewell of our native shores. The Lizard lights bore by compass n.n.w. ½ w. about eight leagues distant; and the wind being in the western quarter, we stood to the southward. Towards the morning of the 2d, on the wind's shifting to the south, we stood to the westward, clear of the English channel; with minds, it may easily be conceived, not entirely free from serious and contemplative reflections. The remote and barbarous regions, which were now destined, for some years, to be our transitory places of abode, were not likely to afford us any means of communicating with our native soil, our families, our friends or favorites, whom we were now leaving far behind; and to augment these painful reflections, His Majesty's proclamation had arrived at Falmouth, the evening prior to our departure, offering bounties for manning the fleet; several sail of the line were put into commission, and flag officers appointed to different commands: these were circumstances similar to those under which, in august, 1776, I had sailed from England in the Discovery, commanded by Captain Clerke, on a voyage which in its object nearly resembled the expedition we were now about to undertake. This very unexpected armament could not be regarded without causing various opinions in those who, from day to day, would have opportunities of noticing the several measures inclining to war or peace; but to us, destined, as it were, to a long and remote exile, and precluded, for an indefinite period of time, from all chance of becoming acquainted with its result, it was the source of inexpressible solicitude, and our feelings on the occasion may be better conceived than described.

Having no particular route to the pacific ocean pointed out in my instructions, and being left at perfect liberty to pursue that which appeared the most eligible, I did not hesitate to prefer the passage by way of the cape of Good Hope, intending to visit the Madeiras, for the purpose of procuring wine and refreshments. Our course was accordingly so directed against winds very unfavorable to our wishes. At noon on the 3d we reached the latitude of 48°48' north, longitude, by the chronometer, 6° 55' west; where the cloudy weather preventing our making the necessary observations on the sun eclipsed produced no small degree of concern; as with the late improvement of applying deep magnifying powers to the telescopes of sextants, the observations on solar eclipses are rendered very easy to be made at sea; and although we were not fortunate enough on this occasion to procure such, at the interesting periods of the eclipse, as would have put this improvement fully to the test, yet it was evident that these observations to persons not much accustomed to astronomical pursuits would be rendered plain and easy, by the reflected image of the sun being brought down to the horizon; so that the beginning and the end of the eclipse would be ascertained by the help of these deep magnifying telescopes with great precision; and probably it may not be unworthy the attention of the Board of Longitude to contrive, and cause such calculations to be published, as would tend to render these observations generally useful in the various parts of the globe, without the tedious process of calculating eclipses. The wind, continuing in the southern quarter, rendered our progress slow; the weather, however, being clear, afforded us employment in taking some good lunar observations; which, reduced to the 12th at noon, gave the mean result of four sets, taken by me, 12° 24' west longitude; four sets taken by Mr. Whidbey, 12° 30'; the chronometer at the same time shewing 12° 9'; and as I considered the latter to be nearest the truth, the lunar observations appeared to be 15' to 21' too far to the westward. The longitude, by dead reckoning, 13° 22', and the latitude 44° 22' north. The error in reckoning amounting almost to a degree, seemed most likely to have been occasioned by our not having made sufficient allowance for the variation of the compass on our first sailing, as, instead of allowing from 22° to 25°, which was what we esteemed the variation, our observations for ascertaining this fact, when the ship was sufficiently steady, shewed the variation to be 28° and 29° ½ westwardly. These opportunities, however, had not occurred so frequently as I could have wished, owing to a constant irregular swell that had accompanied us since leaving the land, and caused so much motion and pitching, that the whole head railings, bumkins, &c. were again warned away.

In latitude 42° 34' north, longitude 12° 31' west, the variation of the compass, by the mean result of six sets of observations taken by three compasses differing from 25° 57' to 27° 35', was observed to be 26° 29' westwardly. The current was found to set in a direction e.n.e. at the rate of a quarter of a mile per hour. The whole of the day being perfectly calm, with remarkably fine weather, induced me to embrace the opportunity of unbending all our sails which wanted alteration, and to bend an entire new suit; these I caused to be soaked over board for some hours, that the sea water might dissolve the size used in making the canvass, and by that means act as a preventive against the mildew in hot rainy weather. This process might probably be found useful in the operation of bleaching.

On our departure from England, I did not intend using any antiseptic provisions, until the refreshments which we might be enabled to procure at the Madeiras should be exhausted; but light baffling winds, together with the crank situation and bad sailing of the Chatham, having so retarded our progress, that, by the 21st, we were advanced no further than the latitude of 35° 7' north, longitude 14° 40' west: sour krout and portable broth had, for some days, been served on board each of the vessels; the store rooms had been cleared, cleaned, and warned with vinegar, and the ship had been smoked with gunpowder mixed with vinegar. As I had ever considered fire the most likely and efficacious means to keep up a constant circulation of fresh and pure air throughout a ship; in the fore part of every day good fires were burning between decks, and in the well. Both decks were kept clean, and as dry as possible, and notwithstanding the weather was hot, and the smoke and heat thence arising was considered as inconvenient and disagreeable, yet I was confident that a due attention to this particular, and not warning too frequently below, were indispensable precautions, and would be productive of the most salubrious and happy effects in preferring the health and lives of our people. These preventive measures becoming the Handing orders of the Discovery, it will be unnecessary hereafter to repeat that they were regularly enforced, as they were observed throughout the voyage with the strictest. attention. It may not, however, on this subject, be improper to remark that if instead of biscuit, seamen were provided with fresh soft bread, which can easily be made very good at sea, and a large proportion of wholesome water, where the nature of the services will admit of such a supply, they would add greatly to the preservation of that most valuable of all blessings, health.

The evening of the 23d, being remarkably fine and serene, brought us in sight of the island Porto Sancto, bearing by compass s.w. ½ w. 20 leagues distant; the next afternoon we passed its meridian, when the chronometer shewing its longitude to be 16° 24' 15", varying only one minute to the westward of the true longitude of that island, proved itself to be going very well. As Madeira was our object, every effort was exerted to gain Funchal Road, until the evening of the 25th, when the wind becoming excessively variable, and the weather gloomy and unsettled, that station seemed ineligible for executing the service of which the Chatham stood in need; namely, the breaking up her hold, for the purpose of receiving a large portion of ballast. Considering therefore the roadstead of Sta Cruz as better calculated for this business, we proceeded towards Teneriffe. The wind which had been generally from the west, veered round by the north, as we advanced to the southward, and settled in the n.e. trade, accompanied with fine pleasant weather, which, on the 26th, in latitude 30° 54' north, afforded me an opportunity of obtaining several sets of lunar distances with the different sextants in the ship. These were twelve in number, of the following eminent makers in London, (viz.) Ramsden, Dollond, Troughton, Adams, and Gilbert, though the greater number were made by Mr. Ramsden. They all agreed exceedingly well together, and their mean result shewed the longitude to be 16° 21' 32"; the chronometer made the longitude 16° 31' 15" west; and as there could be no doubt of the latter being nearest the truth, the result of the lunar observations, by the several sextants, appeared to be 9' 43" too far to the eastward. On the other side of the moon, my lunar observations were 15' to the west of the true, or nearly the true, longitude, as was proved on our making the Madeiras. This evinces the accuracy with which these observations are in general capable of being made with good instruments, and by a careful observer.

In the morning of the 28th, the pic of Teneriffe was seen bearing by compass s.w. about sixteen leagues distant; and, in the evening, as we approached the roadstead of Sta Cruz, we were met by the master attendant, who placed the ship in what, he said, he conceived the best birth in the roadstead, and the Chatham in our immediate neighbourhood.

When the ship was secured, an officer was sent to inform the governor of our arrival, and to solicit his permission to take on board such wine, and refreshments as we required; but having understood that he had waved a return of salute to some of His Majesty's ships that had lately visited Teneriffe; I did not choose to risk a refusal, however polite, to comply with this compliment. The officer was civilly received; and the contractor was, the next morning, directed to supply the different articles of which we stood in need.

Accompanied by Mr. Broughton, Mr. Menzies, and some of the other officers, on friday forenoon, I waited on his excellency Senr Don Antonio Guitierres, the governor general of the Canaries, who then resided in the city of Sta Cruz. His excellency received us with the politeness usual on these occasions, and assured us of his readiness to afford us every assistance; but apologized that the poverty of the country prevented his inviting us to his table. Attended by the same party, on sunday I visited the city of Lagoona, and after satisfying our curiosity with its external appearance, we returned to Sta Cruz, and dined with Mr. Rhoney, an Irish gentleman, to whose hospitality we were greatly indebted. Had we not fortunately met with him immediately on our landing, we should have been much inconvenienced, as there did not appear another person on the island who was inclinable to offer us shelter from the scorching rays of the sun, or to afford us the smallest refreshment.

We had the mortification, this morning, of finding the small bower cable cut through nearly in the middle, which seemed to have been occasioned by an anchor lying at the bottom. The loss of an anchor in a situation where no other could be procured, was a matter of serious concern; no pains were spared to regain it until the afternoon of the 5th, when all our exertions proved ineffectual; and being apprehensive that other lost anchors might be in its vicinity, we weighed, went further out, and again anchored in 30 fathoms water on a soft dark oozy bottom intermixed with small white shells, having the northernmost church steeple in a line with the center of the jetty, bearing by compass n. 48 w. and the southernmost sort s. 71 w. about three quarters of a mile from the town. This anchorage appeared to be far preferable to our former situation, being nearly as convenient to the landing place, without the hazard of damaging the cables by anchors which small vessels might have lost nearer in shore; and which is the only danger to be apprehended here, as the bottom is good holding ground, and, to all appearance, perfectly free from rocks.

The surf that had beaten with great violence on the shores for some days past, and for flickering against which the pier of Sta Cruz is but ill contrived, had much retarded the Chatham's business of taking on board mingle ballast and prevented the completion of that object: until late on saturday night, when we put to sea, and directed our course to the southward.

The ballast which the Chatham had now taken on board certainly prevented her being so very crank, but it did not seem to have contributed to her sailing, as the Discovery still preserved a great superiority in that respect.

Not having supposed we should have been so long detained at Teneriffe, I took no steps for making astronomical observations on shore; those taken on board shewed the longitude by the chronometer to be 16° 17' 5", only 50" to the west ward of the true longitude, as laid down in the requisite tables: the latitude by our observations was 28° 28' 38", and the variation, by the mean result of all our cards and compasses, was 16° 38', differing from 15° 58' to 17° 17' westwardly.

For the information of those who may be induced to visit Teneriffe at this season of the year with the hope of procuring refreshments, I must remark, that we found the wine, water, and beef exceedingly good, and were induced to take some days supply of the latter to sea; but fruit, vegetables, poultry, and all kinds of live stock were very indifferent, and most extravagantly expensive.

Towards noon of the 8th, we lost sight of the Canaries. The trade wind blew a pleasant gale, the sea was smooth, and the weather, being fine, enabled us to make some excellent lunar observations; those I took shewed the longitude to be 16° 52' 36"; those taken by Mr. Whidbey 16° 52' 30"; and the chronometer shewed 16° 47' 45". The latitude, at this time, was 27° 5' north; and the variation, by three compasses differing from 15° 10' to 18° 51', was 17° 33' 40" westwardly.

Our course from the Canaries was directed to the westward of the cape De Verds, which we gained sight of and passed on the forenoon of the 14th. The n.w. extremity of the island of St. Antonio appeared, by our observations, to be situated in 17° 10' north latitude, and 25° 3' 22" west longitude; the variation of the compass 12° 32' 15" westwardly. The fresh beef that we had brought from Teneriffe being exhausted, on the 18th, portable broth and sour krout were again served to the ship's crews; at this time we had reached the latitude of 9° 35' north, longitude 23° 27' west, when the weather, which had been pleasant and attended with a fresh gale from the n.e. very materially altered: the wind slackened and veered round to the north, and the atmosphere, though not cloudy, was encumbered with a bright haze nearly approaching to a fog but without the least dampness or humidity. Through this medium the heavenly bodies were sufficiently visible whilst terrestrial objects were only discernible at small distances. This very singular appearance continued a few days until the 21st, when, in latitude 6° 20' north, and longitude 22° 40' west, the northerly breeze died away, the dense atmosphere disappeared, and they were succeeded by calm, cloudy, hot weather, the thermometer standing from 80° to 83°, attended with some heavy showers of rain and gusts of wind in various directions, though generally from the eastern quarter between n.e. and south. Our progress, with this kind of weather, was slow until the 24th, when, in latitude 4° 25' north, longitude 21° 36' west, we seemed to have patted the line of those unpleasant and frequently unhealthy regions. The steadiness of the gentle gale, and the serenity of the weather indicated our having reached the s.e. trade; these conjectures were soon established by the wind gradually increasing, so that, about midnight on the 27th, we crossed the equator in 25° 15' west longitude. The variation to this point had gradually, though not very regularly, decreased to about 9° westwardly; and the lunar observations, lately taken, had corresponded within a few minutes with the longitude shewn by the chronometer.

Crossing the equator so far to the westward has been frequently objected to, as being liable to entangle ships with the coast of Brazil. I am, however, of a different opinion, and conceive many advantages are derived by thus crossing the line; such as, pursuing a track destitute of those calms and heavy rains, which are ever attendant on a more eastwardly route. By every information I have been enabled to collect, it does not appear that much is to be gained in point of distance by crossing the equator in a more eastwardly longitude; since it seems that vessels which have pursued their southerly course to cross the line under the 10th, 15th, or 20th meridian of west longitude, have, by the trade wind blowing there in a more southerly direction, been driven equally as far west, to the 25th, 26th, and 27th degrees of west longitude before they have been enabled to gain the variable winds, without the benefit of a constant breeze and fair weather, which with the very little interruption between the 21st and 24th, was experienced during this passage.

From the equator, with a brisk trade wind, we steered with a full sail and flowing meet; which by the 1st of june brought us to the latitude of 7° 52' south, longitude 29° 7' west; whence we ceased stretching further to the westward, and made a course good a few degrees to the eastward of south; so that on the 9th we had reached the latitude of 19° 47' south, longitude 27° 27' west, approaching to the parallel of the islands Trinadada and Martin Vas. The wind now permitted our steering well to the eastward of south; but lest an error should have existed in our longitude, or in that of those islands, I directed the Chatham to increase her distance from us by holding a south course, for the purpose of gaining a view of that land; by sun-set we were in the latitude of 20° 9' south, the parallel of those islands, but saw nothing of them. The longitude of the former is stated to be 28° 50', that of the latter 28° 34' west; allowing their longitude, and that of the ship, to have been accurately ascertained, we passed them at the distance of 24 and 19 leagues.

On the 12th we crossed the southern tropic in 25° 18' west longitude; the variation of the compass had now gradually decreased to 4° 30' westwardly, and having lately taken many very good lunar distances of the sun and stars on different sides of the moon, I assumed their mean result as the true longitude, or nearly so; by which, the observations for the longitude, according to the chronometer, appeared to be 14' 25" too far to the eastward; whence it should appear, that it was not gaining quite so much as had been allowed in consequence of its rate, as ascertained at Portsmouth. After crossing the tropic of Cancer, the wind became very variable, as well in point of strength as in direction, so that on the 28th we had only advanced to the latitude of 31° 56' south, longitude 4° 18' west.

The weather was in general very pleasant: and the Chatham, to our great mortification, continued to sail equally slow in light as in fresh gales, which materially affected the progress of our voyage; the object of which was of such a nature' that it would allow of no opportunity being passed by, that, with propriety, could be embraced for the advancement of geography and navigation; and as Captain Cook's chart of the Sandwich islands presented little field for any improvement that could occupy the several winters we were likely to pass in their vicinity, I resolved in our way to the pacific ocean to visit the s.w. part of New Holland, and endeavour to acquire some information of that unknown, though interesting country. Having much business to perform at the cape of Good Hope in the carpenter's department, it became expedient, for the carrying into execution the whole of my plan, that no time should be lost; particularly as our passage from England had already exceeded the limits of my expectations. These reasons induced me to make the best of our way in the Discovery to the cape of Good Hope, and should the Chatham be able to keep up with us, she was directed so to do; if otherways, Mr. Broughton was provided with sufficient instructions.

The wind was light and variable, until the 1st july, in latitude 33° 54' south, longitude 58' 40" west, it blew a fine gale from the n.n.e. attended with pleasant weather; the Chatham until this evening remained in sight, but in the morning was not within the limits of our horizon. As we approached the African shore the weather became very unsettled, with sudden transitions from calms to heavy gales, attended with much thunder, lightning, and a heavy swell from the westward and s.w. One of these gales, on the 5th, reduced us for a few hours to our courses. The wind became southwardly with pleasant weather on the 7th, when a strange sail was descried to the n.e. holding a course, as if intending to pass the Cape, and some of us thinking the sea was discoloured, we tried for soundings, but found no bottom with 140 fathoms of line. After passing the 27° of south latitude, many oceanic birds were our constant companions, consisting of three kinds of albatrosses, the quebrantahuessos, pintadoes, the sooty, the black, and small blue petrels, with some few other small birds of the same tribe; amongst which were but few of the storm petrel, which in these regions are generally numerous. Most of these, by the 7th, had disappeared, and, in their place, were seen the blue petrel of the larger sort, though comparatively in small numbers; at noon the observed latitude was 35° 13' south, longitude 14° east. The wind blew a strong gale from w.s.w. in the afternoon of the 8th, when judging the cape of Good Hope to bear from us n. 66 e. true, distant 18 leagues, we experienced, for the space of about seven miles, a most extraordinary agitation in the sea, comparable only to a large cauldron of boiling water; this was supposed to be the effect of two contending currents, and for that reason I did not try soundings. I was also particularly anxious to gain sight of the land, which, in the event of the chronometer proving correct, there was great probability of doing before dark; but not seeing it we stood on till ten in the evening; when, by our lunar observations, supposing the Cape land to be about eight leagues distant, we hauled to the wind, and plied in order to preserve our then situation until morning. At day light the Cape was in sight, bearing east by compass, eight leagues distant. This instance will, I trust, be not the only one I shall be able to adduce, to prove the utility of the lunar method of finding the longitude, and the very great importance that such information must be of to every sea officer.

At this season of the year, the boisterous weather and the prevailing winds from the n.w. rendering Table Bay not only excessively unpleasant but insecure, our course was directed to False Bay. At noon, the observed latitude was 34° 26' south, the cape of Good Hope then bearing e.n.e. 5 or 6 miles distant. This promontory, and the dangerous rocks that lie in its neighbourhood, we passed, and stood into False Bay, where in the evening, the weather falling calm, we anchored in 40 fathoms water; the Cape bearing west by compass, 10 miles distant; Simon's Bay n.n.w. and the False Cape s.e. in this situation the chronometer shewed the longitude to be 18° 52' 45", making an error, or variation in its rate of going, as ascertained at Portsmouth, of 18' 30" equal to 1' 14" of time since the first day of March; which will, without doubt, be received and considered as being very correct; it also corresponded with my observations, and what on that subject I had noticed on the 12th of june.

Our passage through the atlantic ocean being thus accomplished, it becomes requisite, in compliance with the method proposed in the introduction for correcting the errors of navigation, to have some retrospect to this passage, especially since passing the Cape de Verd islands.

From the island of St. Antonio, until we had crossed the latitude of cape St. Augustine, we were materially affected by currents; and between the latitude of 6° north and the equator, strong riplings were conspicuous on the surface of the sea. These currents, contrary to the general opinion, seem to possess no regularity, as we found ourselves, day after day, driven in directions very contrary to our expectations from the impulse we had experienced on the former day, and by no means attended with that periodical uniformity, pointed out by Mr. Nicholson in his lately revised and corrected Indian directory, published in the year 1787. On the contrary, instead of the currents at this season of the year, agreeably to his hypothesis, setting to the northward, the most prevailing stream we experienced set to the south, and more in a south eastern than a south western direction. This very able mariner, hull wedded to formerly adopted opinions, strongly recommends the variation of the compass, as a means for ascertaining the longitude at sea: yet, had we been no better provided, we might have searched for the cape of Good Hope agreeably with his proportions, to little effect: for when we were in latitude 35° 7' south, with 20° 16' west variation, we had only reached the longitude of 6° 30' east; and again, when in latitude 35° 22' south, with 22° 7' west variation, we had only advanced to the longitude of 11° 25' east, instead of being, according to Mr. Nicholson's hypothesis, in the first instance nearly under the meridian of the cape of Good Hope, and in the second, under that of cape Aguilas; and it was not until we had near 26° of west variation, that we approached the meridian of the cape of Good Hope. The observations for the variation were made with the greatest care and attention; and though generally considered as very correct, they differed from one to three, and sometimes four degrees, not only when made by different compasses placed in different situations on board, and the ship on different tacks, but by the same compass in the same situation, made at moderate intervals of time; the difference in the results of such observations, at the same time, not preserving the least degree of uniformity. Hence the assertion amounts nearly to an absurdity, which states, "that with 20° to 20° 10', or 20° 30' westwardly variation, you will be certain" of such and such longitude; and it is greatly to be apprehended, that navigators who rely on such means for ascertaining their situation in the ocean, will render themselves liable to errors that may be attended with the most fatal consequences. Other methods are, I trust, in a fair train for accomplishing this desirable object; and I yet hope to see the period arrive, when every seafaring person capable of using a quadrant, will, on due instruction, be enabled by lunar observations to determine his longitude at sea. It has been already observed, that such information may be acquired with ease, and without laborious study or tedious application; this was further warranted by our example on board the Discovery; where, on our departure from England, Mr. Whidbey and myself could be considered as the only proficients in this branch of science; but now, amongst the officers and gentlemen of the quarter deck, there were several capable of ascertaining their situation in the ocean, with every degree of accuracy necessary for all the important purposes of navigation.

With a light southwardly breeze in the morning of the 10th we weighed anchor, and with the assistance of our boats a-head, towing the ship, we reached Simon's Bay at about seven in the evening, where we anchored in 12 fathoms water; False Cape bearing by compass in a line with the south point of the bay s. 37 e. Noah's ark s. 51 e. the Roman rocks s. 86 e. and the flag-staff on the battery s. 89 w. about a quarter of a mile from the shore.

The day before a brig was seen in shore of us, which was supposed to be the Chatham; but as the private signal was not acknowledged by her, we concluded ourselves mistaken. Our first conjectures, however, proved to be right, as Mr. Broughton now informed me the signal had escaped their attention. Since we had separated, the Discovery had outsailed her consort only the night's run; the Chatham not having hauled her wind or shortened sail on friday night, she was the next morning within the same distance of the land as the Discovery. Nothing had occurred during this separation worthy of notice. I was made excessively happy to understand from Mr. Broughton, that the officers and crew of the Chatham, like those of the Discovery, were in general very healthy. Beside the Chatham, we found here His Majesty's ship the Gorgon; the Warren Hangings, and Earl Fitzwilliam Indiamen, from Bengal; two port Jackson transports from China bound home; three with convicts bound to port Jackson; two American, and some Dutch and Danish merchant ships; the total amounting to seventeen sail in the bay.

In the morning, an officer was sent on shore to acquaint the resident commandant of the port, Mr. Brandt, of our arrival, and to request his permission to procure such refreshments and stores as our wants now demanded, and to erect our observatory and such tents on shore as might be requisite for carrying into execution the necessary refitment of the vessels; with all which Mr. Brandt very politely complied; and, on the return of the officer, the garrison was saluted with eleven guns; which compliment being equally returned, attended by Mr. Broughton and some of the officers I waited on Mr. Brandt, who received us with the greatest politeness and hospitality; the well known characteristics of that gentleman. Having, on a former occasion, benefited by his good offices in the excellency of the supplies provided for the Resolution and Discovery, I concerted measures with him, on the present, for the like purpose. Mr. Brandt undertook, in conjunction with Mr. De Wit of Cape Town, to see all our necessities provided for with the bed of the several commodities the country afforded. The Discovery's bowsprit, being found infinitely too weak, was taken out in order to be strengthened by one of the fishes we had on board; the whole of the head railing, having been washed away, was to be replaced; the vessels wanted caulking fore and aft; the rigging, overhauling; casks to be set up for receiving provisions and water; the sails repairing, and several materially altering; the powder airing; and the fields and booms raising, for the better enabling of the people to work upon deck; the ship proving sufficiently stiff to admit of such accommodation. Artificers were hired to assist our own in these several duties; which being in a state of forwardness by the 14th, Mr. Broughton and myself paid our respects to Mr. Rhenias, the acting governor at Cape Town, with the further view of inspecting the stores and provisions, the major part of which were to come from thence. Four of our seamen, whose constitutions seemed unequal to the service in which they had engaged, and whom I had now an opportunity of replacing, were sent on board the Warren Hastings; and, with her, on the 18th, sailed for England.

All our stores and provisions being forwarded from Cape Town by the 5th, we took leave of the governor and our Cape friends, from whom we had experienced the most attentive civility; and having completed such observations as were wanted, the observatory with the instruments were, on the 9th, sent on board.

By the 11th all our transactions were finished with the shore; having obtained for each vessel a supply of provisions, which completed our flock for eighteen months at full allowance, and a due proportion of stores for the like period. I took on board also seven ewes and six rams; an assortment of garden seeds, vine cuttings, and other plants that were likely to grow, and prove valuable acquisitions to our friends in the South-Sea islands. As I intended putting to sea the next day, we were busily employed in preparing the ship for that purpose, which on the morning of the 12th we attempted; but the wind shifting to the s.s.e. permitted our taking only a more outside birth for the better convenience of sailing when the wind should prove more favorable.

It is customary at the cape of Good Hope for so many of the officers as can conveniently be spared, to take up their residence on shore. In this respect I had conformed to old practices, but was excessively mortified, at my return on board, to find that several of our people had within a few days become indisposed with a dysentery, which at first seemed of little importance, but had now put on a very serious appearance; and some of the patients were extremely ill. The cause of this unfortunate malady it was hard to ascertain: the crew had not been subject to inebriety; their provisions had been of the best quality, and most wholesome nature; and every precaution had been taken to prevent their sleeping on deck, or exposing themselves to the dew or night air. No neglect of the salutary measures generally observed, or individual indiscretion of any sort seemed to have produced this lamentable visitation, whose contagious influence suffered no one to escape unattacked; although myself and officers did not feel its effects so violently as they were experienced by the people. The same disorder had not only appeared on board the Chatham, and the transports bound to port Jackson, but on shore; and at length it was attributed to a large Dutch ship lately arrived from Batavia, from which many men had been sent on shore to the hospital very ill, and dying with that and other infectious disorders. The surgeon of the Discovery was seized in a very sudden and singular manner, and reduced to an extreme state of delirium, without any other symptoms which indicated fever.

To persons, situated as we were, on the eve of quitting the civilized world, and destitute of all help and resources, but such as we carried with us, such a calamity was of the most serious and distressing nature; and was not only severely felt at the moment, but tended to destroy the good effects we had every reason to expect from the very excellent and abundant supply of refreshments the Cape had afforded. I now became excessively anxious to get to sea, lest the Batavian ship should communicate any other disorder, or a worse species of that with which we were already attacked. This earned desire, a s.e. wind and calms prevented our accomplishing until the 17th, when, about noon, a light breeze springing up from the n.w. we sailed, in company with the Chatham, out of Simon's Bay, and saluted the garrison with eleven guns which were equally returned.

Few of our transactions, whilst at our last station, appeared worthy of recording excepting the occurrences at the observatory, where I did not think any observations were at all necessary for ascertaining the longitude; as that must have been accurately determined long ago by persons of greater information and superior abilities. The latitude; the rate and error of the chronometer, and the variation and dip of the magnetic needle were the principal objects that occupied our attention. The former would not have attracted much of my notice had it not appeared by the first day's observations, that a very material difference existed between the latitude shewn by my observations, and the latitude of Simon's Bay as stated by Captain King in the 3d vol. of Cook's Voyage to the northern hemisphere, where, in page 484, it is said that "the latitude of the anchorage place in Simon's Bay is, by observation, 34° 20' south." This however is, most probably, an error of the press, since, immediately afterwards, we find the Cape point is said to be in 34° 23' south; which point is at least 12 or 13 miles to the southward of Simon's Bay. Our observatory was situated near the south point of this bay, and its latitude, deduced from 26 meridional altitudes of the sun and stars, was 34° 11' 40"; this, on allowing the distance to the Cape point, will be nearly found to agree with its latitude; which was further confirmed by our observations on passing it the day we entered False Bay.

By the first observations, made on shore, the chronometer shewed the longitude to be 18° 39' 45", which was 17' 45" to the eastward of the truth, and corresponded with what has been stated before, that it was not gaining at the rate we had allowed: further observations however demonstrated that, although it might have been gaining less during the passage, it was now evidently gaining on its Portsmouth rate, and was found on the 8th of august at noon, to be fast of mean time at Greenwich 17' 49" 6'", and gaining on mean time at the rate of 9" 28'" per day. Mr. Arnold's chronometer was found to have gone but indifferently on board the Chatham; and, at the observatory, it was fast of mean time at Greenwich 1 h 18' 48" 6", and gaining on mean time at the rate of 16" 11'" 8"" per day. The variation of the magnetic needle, taken at the observatory by our different compasses and cards, in twenty sets of azimuths, varied from 24° 3' to 27° 48'; the mean result being 25° 40' west variation.

The vertical inclination of the south point of the magnetic needle was observed to be

Marked end North, face East, 48  30
Ditto North, face West, 48  20
Ditto South, face East, 48  40
Ditto South, face West, 48  30
Mean inclination of the south point of the     
      dipping needle
48  30

N. B. The longitude throughout the voyage, and until our arrival at St. Helena on our return to Europe, will be reckoned eastward.

The latitude inserted in the following chapters, and until the 13th of february, 1792, when it will be otherwise distinguished, is to be received and considered as south latitude.

The positive or relative situations of all Coasts, Capes, Promontories, Islands, Rocks, Sands, Breakers, Bays, Ports, &c. &c. will hereafter be stated as true, or by the world; and those bearings which will be taken from any local situation, whether on board the vessels, or in the boats, will be inserted according to compass, and be so expressed.

{Page 21}


Departure from False Bay—Death of Neil Coil by the flux—Proceed towards the coast of New Holland—Discover King George the Third's Sound—Transactions there—Leave King George the Third's Sound—Departure from the south west coast of New Holland.

The nature of our voyage rendering every precaution necessary to prevent, as far as was possible, a separation of the vessels, Mr. Broughton, in case of parting company, was provided with a list of rendezvous; and, the better to insure our rejoining, I now deemed it expedient that he should be furnished with a copy of my instructions, and the route I intended to pursue; together with ample directions, that, in the event of a total separation, he might be enabled to carry the objects of the expedition into execution.

Although our stay at the Cape had far exceeded my expectations, yet I did not abandon the design of visiting the s.w. part of New Holland. The season would probably be too far advanced for acquiring so much information as I could have wished, yet there still remained a fair prospect of obtaining some intelligence, which would render the task less difficult to those, whose particular object it might hereafter be to explore that country. I therefore on sailing out of False Bay, appointed our next rendezvous off, what in the charts is called, Lyon's Land, in about the 35th degree of south latitude—in case of separation to cruise there two days; and, not meeting with the Discovery, then to proceed agreeably to other instructions.

The Albemarle, Admiral Barrington, and Britannia transports bound to port Jackson, followed us out of the bay: of these ships, as well as of the African coast, we took leave in the evening, and directed our course to the southward. During the night, the wind veered to the n.w. and blew so hard a gale that we were obliged to double reave the topsails and take in the foresail, as the Chatham was a great distance astern; and not being in sight at day-break, we hauled to the wind: about seven she was seen to the westward, and, having joined company, we steered to the s.s.e. together. The n.w. wind gradually increased, attended with violent squalls and heavy rain, until the 20th; when it became a perfect storm, obliging us to strike the top gallant masts, and reducing us to the foresail, which we were necessitated to carry, though under great apprehension of its being blown to pieces, in order that we might reach a more temperate region. The sea ran excessively high, and the wind in violent flurries raised the spray into a kind of fog, or mist, which, at intervals, was quite salt when not mixed with the showers of rain, which were frequent, and very heavy: in one of these we again lost sight of the Chatham, and seeing nothing of her on its clearing away, the foresail was furled, and the ship brought to, under the storm staysails. In this situation, the Discovery proved much easier and drier than we had reason to expect, as she was now extremely deep with stores and provisions. At this time, we were visited by many albatrosses, and an innumerable variety of birds of the petrel tribe. About noon our consort was again in sight, and, on her joining company, we resumed our course to the s.e. under the foresail. This very boisterous weather, accompanied with much thunder and lightning, continued with intermissions sufficient only to tempt our spreading some additional canvas, (which was scarcely unfurled before it was again necessary to take it in) until the 22d; when it so far moderated as to permit the close reaved topsails to be kept set. In the afternoon, we passed the Albemarle and Admiral Barrington. The sight of these vessels was very grateful to our feelings, particularly of the latter, which we had understood was an old debilitated ship, for whose safety during the late violent stormy weather we had been greatly apprehensive. The wind, in the morning of the 23d, being moderate, the top-gallant, and studding-sails were set; the weather, however, was unsettled, with showers of hail and rain; and a heavy irregular swell rolled at the same time from the northward and south west. In the intervals of fine weather, I got some lunar observations which shewed the longitude at noon to be 31° 55'; the chronometer by the Portsmouth rate 31° 29'; by the Cape rate 31° 42'; the latitude 39° 8'. Many whales were now playing about the ship, but a less number of oceanic birds attended us than usual.

The weather being tolerably fair on the 24th, enabled me to make some further lunar observations. The mean result of these, and those taken the preceding day brought forward by the chronometer, shewed the longitude at noon to be 34° 13'. By this expression is to be understood the space east or west, which the ship may have passed over in the interval of time between the taking one set of lunar observations and that of another; the extent of which space is ascertained, not according to the vague mode of the ship's run, as appears by the log, but from the distance shewn by the chronometer; where by the result of many observations made in different situations are reduced to any one particular point. The chronometer at this time, by the Portsmouth rate, shewed 33° 50', by the Cape rate 34° 5', the latitude 39° 28', and the longitude by account 36° 17'. The weather continued very changeable; but the wind being gentle in the northern quarter afforded an opportunity of fending on board the Chatham, whence we understood that, in consequence of a violent sea having stove in the midship stern window on the morning of the 20th, it had been necessary to bring to until that damage was repaired.

The wind freshened, attended with frequent squalls, on the 26th; when, having reached latitude 39° 45', longitude 37° 53', we were able for the first time since our departure from the Cape to observe the variation; which, by the mean result of two compasses, differing from 32° 53' to 35° 5', was found to be 32° 59' westwardly. In the space we were now approaching, namely, between the meridians of 38° 33' and 43° 47' east longitude, and the parallels of 34° 24', and 38° 20' south latitude, seven different shoals are said to exist. To acquire some information respecting a circumstance so interesting to navigation, I had held this southerly course; but the very stormy weather we had lately contended with, and the appearance of its again returning, rendered a search for these shoals not altogether prudent. To attempt the examination of the whole space I considered as not more necessary than discreet; but since in the event of their existence, it was highly probable they would be found connected, I was induced to shape a course so as to fall in with the south easternmost, said to lie in latitude 38° 20', longitude 43° 43', which had been reported to have been seen by several Dutch vessels. On the 28th, in latitude 38° 56', longitude 42° 30', the wind at w.s.w. increasing with great violence obliged me to desist from this enquiry, and for our own safety, in the event of these shoals having existence, to hawl to the s.e. The gale soon became a storm, attended with heavy squalls, hail, rain, and a most tremendous sea, from the westward and s.w. which made it necessary to strike the top-gallant masts, and reduced us to the foresail; which, with great apprehension of losing it, we were obliged to carry in order to pass clear of the space assigned to these hidden dangers. It is, however, worthy of remark, that, notwithstanding our course was directed so wide of the allotted spot, we certainly passed it at no great distance in the night, as by our observations the next day, instead of making fourteen miles southing, which the reckoning gave, we found ourselves twelve miles to the north of the latitude we were in the preceding day, the longitude 45° 4'. Whether this difference is to be ascribed to any current produced by the interruption these shoals may give to the oceanic waters, when pressed eastwardly by the prevailing westwardly winds, or to the bad steerage of the ship, cannot be positively determined; but as the Chatham steered precisely the same course, the inference seems rather favorable to our having been influenced by a current occasioned probably by the existence of such shoals. On the violence of the storm abating, we made sail and resumed our eastwardly course, intending to pass in sight of the islands of St. Paul and Amsterdam. During the gale we were visited by a great number of the various kinds of oceanic birds; yet these by no means seemed to indicate the vicinity of land or shoals, since they are constantly met with throughout the southern ocean.

The weather that succeeded this storm being delightfully pleasant, attended with a smooth sea, and a gentle gale between the north and n.e. made me regret that we had not experienced this favorable change somewhat earlier, as it would probably have enabled us to acquire some satisfactory information as to the existence of the shoals in question; but having now no leisure for this enquiry, I was obliged to rest contented with having exerted our fruitless endeavours in the attempt, and embraced this valuable opportunity of getting ourselves and ship clean, dry, and comfortable; which since our leaving the land had been very ill effected.

The flux still continued amongst us, and some of our patients were yet very much indisposed; we however were in hopes that the present fair weather would soon restore to us the blessings of health. Some good observations were procured in the course of this and of the preceding day with our different compasses: those taken on the 31st differed from 30° 45' to 35° 45'; and those on the 1st of september from 30° 58' to 35° 7'; the mean result of seven sets of azimuths was 32° 47' westwardly variation; the latitude at noon 38° 19', and the longitude 51° 21'. We were not long indulged with a continuance of the fine weather: the wind gradually veered to the n.w. and westward, and increased to a fresh gale; which, however, did not reduce us below the top-sails; although the weather bore a very threatening appearance; the sky was obscured with dark gloomy clouds, from which some rain fell; yet the sea was smooth, and the weather altogether was infinitely more pleasant than we had lately experienced.

At noon on the 4th, in latitude 38° 6', longitude 61° 36', the first seal we had seen since our departure from the Cape amused itself in playing about the ship for some time; but our companions, the oceanic birds, had not lately been very numerous; these visitors were mostly pintadoes, and other small birds of the petrel tribe.

Four sets of lunar observations were obtained on the 5th, which shewed the longitude to be 64° 14' 40"; the chronometer by the Portsmouth rate 63° 46', and by the Cape rate 64° 10', the latitude 37° 52'. The variation on the 7th, in latitude 38° 15' and longitude 69° 33', was observed to be 25° 52' westwardly. The same gloomy weather continued with a fresh gale at n.n.w. In the night we had the misfortune to lose Neil Coil, one of the marines, who fell a sacrifice to the baneful effects of the flux caught at the Cape, which attacked him with much greater violence than any other person on board. He was an exceedingly good man, and his loss was sensibly felt, and much regretted. In addition to this calamity, disasters of the same nature seemed not likely to terminate: another of our people, who had suffered very severely by this dreadful contagion, but who was so much recovered as to be nearly equal to his duty, was so affected by his poor fellow's dissolution, that he relapsed with very unfavorable symptoms. Our convalescents were still numerous; and the work of death having commenced, we knew not where it might end, or where we could recruit the strength which we might thus lose; our whole complement being scarcely equal, when in the highest health, to the service we had to perform. One reflection was, however, highly satisfactory; that, in point of comfort, and professional assistance, no one thing within our power to supply, had been omitted for the present relief of the distress, or for the prevention of any melancholy consequences in future; and we trusted, with the Divine blessing, and a steady adherence to the conduct, which we had observed, finally to subdue and extirpate this dreadful malady.

In the evening of the 8th I took some lunar distances with the star Antares, which, with those taken on the 5th, shewed the longitude by their mean result, to be 73° 44'; the chronometer by the Portsmouth rate 73° 1', and by the Cape rate 73° 27'; the latitude 38 45', and the variation 23° 36' westwardly.

The next evening, agreeably to our reckoning, we were passing between the islands of St. Paul and Amsterdam, distant from the latter about five or six leagues. The weather was thick and rainy, yet I continued to hope that a favorable interval would enable us to see one or both of these islands, having steered this eastwardly course with a wish to correct an error that appears in captain Cook's charts of the southern hemisphere. In these the island of St. Paul is laid down in the latitude of 37° 50', corresponding with the situation assigned to it in the requisite tables; and to the north of this island, in about the latitude of 36° 40' is placed another called the island of Amsterdam: now the island which Mr. Cox in the Mercury stopped at, and called Amsterdam, is in sight of and situated 17 leagues to the south of the island of St. Paul. Captain Bligh, in the Bounty, also saw the same island, and allots to it nearly the same situation as does Mr. Cox. For these reasons, if there be an island to the north of St. Paul, in latitude 36° 40', there must be three instead of two of these islands, which I believe has never been understood to be the fact. The weather, however, precluded my forming a just opinion as to this point, which I fully intended to ascertain, could we have seen either of the islands; but the rain and haze continuing to obscure every object at the distance of two leagues, we perceived no indication of the vicinity of land, notwithstanding the immense number of whales and seals which are laid to frequent these islands. Of the latter we did not see any, and of the former but one; which was the only whale we had observed since that mentioned on the 23d of last month. From hence towards the coast of New Holland, our course was directed between the tracks of Dampier and M. Marion, over a space, I believe, hitherto unfrequented. In this route, assisted by a fine gale between north and w.n.w. we made great progress, so that our observed latitude on the 18th was 36° 49', longitude 103° 48': for some days past we had experienced a very heavy swell from the s.w. though the wind prevailed from the northward.

The situation of that part of New Holland for which we were now steering, being ill defined, and a probability existing that banks might extend a considerable distance into the ocean, we tried, but gained no soundings with 180 fathoms of line. On the 19th, in latitude 36° 45', longitude 105° 47', the variation was observed to be 14° 10' westwardly. The wind at n.n.e. attended with heavy squalls and rain, increased with such violence, as to oblige us to strike the top-gallant masts, and to furl the topsails. The pintado birds that, for some days past, had nearly disappeared, again visited the ship, accompanied by a great variety of the petrel tribe, with some albatrosses; and it now seemed evident, that the appearance of these inhabitants of the ocean, was increased in point of numbers and in variety, in proportion to the violence of the wind; as in moderate weather few only were visible. We continued to try for soundings at certain intervals, but did not reach bottom at the depth of 180 fathoms. The wind at w.s.w. blew a strong gale, and the night of the 20th being dark and squally, we hauled to the wind, and plied; lest the land, which is represented as very low, or shoals, might be nearer than we expected; at day break we again resumed our eastwardly course, observing every night the like precautions.

In the morning of the 23d [September, 1791], conceiving that the land could not be at any great distance, and that the coast might lie to the north of the course we were steering, the Chatham's signal was made to look out on the larboard beam. The wind from the westward blew a strong gale, accompanied with a very heavy sea; but the sky being clear, permitted me to obtain some good lunar observations, which, with those taken on the 21st, shewed the longitude at noon to be 114° 14'; the chronometer, by the Portsmouth rate 113° 32', by the Cape rate 113° 55', the latitude 35° 7'. Soon after mid-day, the wind at w.s.w. increased to a very heavy gale; and not choosing, under such circumstances, to make too free with a coast entirely unexplored; we hauled the wind to the southward, under the foresail and storm staysails. Towards sun-set, land was said to be seen from the mast-head to the e.n.e. and, although this was not absolutely certain, yet it was extremely probable, as we had passed several leagues over the space assigned to Lyon's Land in most of the maps. A press of sail was now carried in order to keep to the windward, having no bottom at the depth of 120 fathoms; in consequence of which, and a very heavy sea, the larboard side of the head, with the bumkin, &c. was entirely torn away. On the gale's moderating the next morning, we stood to the north, in quest of the land; but some of the officers conceiving they saw land to the s.e. we hauled our wind again in that direction until noon, in latitude 35° 28', longitude 115° 10', when, being disappointed, we again stood to the north, under double reefed topsails, until eight in the evening: we then tacked to spend the night, which bore a very threatening appearance, over a space we were already acquainted with, and found bottom at 70 fathoms depth, composed of white sand, and broken shells; the latitude at this time was 34° 51', the longitude 115° 12'. The very gloomy appearance of the night rendered our carrying a press of sail indispensably necessary to preserve an offing, as the soundings strongly indicated the land not to be distant. During the night we did not reach the bottom with 100 fathoms of line; and the morning evinced our conjectures respecting the weather not to be ill founded; as, about 4 o'clock, the slings of the main yard were carried away: to replace which, we were compelled to furl all the sails on the main-mast; but, before this could be accomplished, the increased violence of the storm obliged us to take in all our canvas but the foresail, to strike the top gallant-masts, and to get in the jib-boom and sprit-sail yard. In this situation we continued until towards sun-set, when having no bottom with 110 fathoms of line, we stood to the n.w. under close-reefed topsails, in the full assurance of meeting the land in that direction. In the course of the night, the gale gradually abated, and in the forenoon of the next day, the wind became perfectly calm, and an opportunity was afforded us of repairing the many damages which our rigging had sustained in the late boisterous weather. At noon the observed latitude was 35 23', the longitude 115 52'; in this situation, soundings could not be gained at the depth of 220 fathoms. In the afternoon a light breeze sprang up from the northward, with which we steered to the north-eastward, and soon discovered land from the mast-head, bearing by compass n.e. to n. 27 e. It seemed of a moderate height, resembling in appearance the land in the British Channel, and was supposed to be about ten or twelve leagues distant—No soundings with 120 fathoms of line. The wind veering to the n.w. enabled us to steer for the land, and having neared it about three leagues, it was seen from the deck bearing n. 7 e. to n. 73 e. by compass; at which time, bottom was found at the depth of 65 fathoms, composed of coarse sand, and broken coral. The depth of water had, at eight in the evening, gradually decreased to 50 fathoms; when, having advanced about four miles nearer, we tacked and plied in order to preserve our situation with the land until morning.

By the result of our soundings during the night, 70 fathoms would seem to be the edge of a bank about 9 leagues from the shore, consisting of fine sand, and broken shells, corresponding with the soundings we had found on the 24th; for had that depth of water been nearer in shore, we could hardly have avoided seeing the land before dark on that evening.

At the dawning of day on the 27th, we made all sail for the land, having a gentle gale from the n.w. with a smooth sea and pleasant weather. The depth of water, as we proceeded, gradually decreased to 24 fathoms, with a bottom of coral, coarse sand, and shells: about nine we were well in with the land, and bore away along the coast, keeping within a league or two of the shores; which by the compass stretched from n. 44 w. to n. 81 e. and appeared nearly straight and compact, consisting of steep rocky cliffs to the water's edge, interspersed with, here and there, some small open sandy bays, and a few islets and rocks, which extended near a mile from the main. The westernmost land now in sight, (being the northernmost seen the preceding night) is remarkable for its high cliffs, falling perpendicularly into the sea; and if it be detached, which is by no means certain, is about a league in circuit. It forms a conspicuous promontory, to which I gave the name of Cape Chatham; in honor of that noble earl, who presided at the Board of Admiralty on our departure from England. The land to the westward takes a direction from cape Chatham n. 59 w. and the land to the eastward s. 81 e. This Cape, by our observations is situated in latitude 35° 3', and in 116° 35' 30" of longitude.

The flux still continued to affect the health of some in both vessels; and although the patients were daily assisted with fresh provisions, and might be considered in a state of recovery, yet they remained in a very debilitated and reduced condition. In the hope that a little recreation, from change of scene and what the soil of this country might afford, would prove salutary to their enfeebled constitutions, I determined to put into the first port we should be so fortunate as to discover; and, that an eligible situation might not escape our vigilance, we ranged the coast within three or four miles of its shores, which are of moderate elevation, and may in general be deemed steep and bold. The verdure on all the projecting points is removed to a considerable height on the rocks, whose naked bases sufficiently prove how excessively they are beaten by a turbulent ocean. The country, immediately along the sea side, consists of a range of dreary hills, producing little herbage, of a brownish green hue, from a soil that seems principally composed of white sand; through which protrude large masses of white rock of various sizes and forms: these singular protuberances on the summits of many of the hills, strongly resembled the remains of lofty edifices in ruin. The interior country afforded a more agreeable appearance, being pleasantly interspersed with hills and dales, and covered with lofty forest trees of considerable magnitude, which our glasses plainly distinguished; though we could nowhere perceive any smoke or other indication of the country being inhabited. Towards noon, the Chatham made the signal for having discovered a port to the northward; into which they were directed to lead; but finding it only a shallow bay, we soon bore away along the coast. Our observed latitude was 35° 8', longitude 117° 6' 30". In this situation, the coast, by compass, extended from n. 68 w. to s. 83 e. the nearest shore bearing n. 6 w. about a league distant; in the morning the variation by our surveying compass was observed to be 6° 30' westwardly. The coast we passed along in the afternoon differed little from that noticed in the morning, but the inland country was not sufficiently elevated to be seen beyond the hills near the sea side. At six in the evening, a small detached islet bore, by compass, s. 87 e. the easternmost part of the main in sight n. 86 e. a projecting point whence extends westward a long range of white cliffs n. 76 e. the nearest shore n. 24 e. distant 5 miles; and the westernmost land in sight, the same which formed the eastern extreme at noon, n. 45 w. The wind was very gentle with alternate calms, and the weather, during the night, was mild and pleasant. In the morning of the 28th, we found our progress had been very slow along the coast, although our distance from the shore had increased, with soundings from 40 to 50 fathoms. We had again an opportunity of observing the sun eclipsed, but were not so fortunate as to notice its commencement, or greatest obscuration; the end was however observed by Mr. Whidbey to be at 19° 43' 53", and by myself 19° 43' 46" apparent time; this was ascertained by our sextant telescope, as recommended on a former occasion. I much regretted that we had not gained a port on this coast, where, on shore, we might have compared such observations with the results from better instruments, which would have tended to establish the utility of the process. The latitude at this juncture was 35° 25'. It was now proved, that the white cliffs seen the preceding night, formed the southernmost point of this part of the coast, which I distinguished by the name of Cape Howe, in honor of that noble earl. It is situated in latitude 35° 17', longitude 117° 52'. The small detached islet lies from cape Howe s. 68 e. distant 3 leagues. The land considered on tuesday night as the easternmost part of the main now appeared to be an island, beyond which were seen a high rocky bluff point, and a high mountain forming the easternmost land in sight. A light breeze from the n.n.w. permitted us to draw in with the coast; which at noon bore by compass from n. 50 w. to n. 37 e. the high mountain n. 35 e. to the eastward of which, a round hummock, seemingly detached n. 52 e. the land appearing like an island, n. 16 w. to n. 24 w. was now seen to comprehend a cluster of barren rocky isles, which being the nearest land was about 10 miles distant; and the high rocky bluff point n. 8 e. In this situation, the observed latitude was 35° 22', longitude 118° 16'; which was 8 miles further south, and 11 miles further east than the log shewed. Many whales were playing about the ship during the morning. The high mountain conspicuously remarkable for its superior elevation above the neighbouring hills, I distinguished, after my highly esteemed friend Sir Alan Gardner, by the name of Mount Gardner; and the barren rocky cluster of isles, by the name of Eclipse Islands. The weather was pleasant; and aided by a gentle breeze, a port, round the high rocky bluff point, soon presented itself, into which the Chatham was directed to lead, and, by four, was sufficiently advanced to determine on its eligibility. The weather by this time had become thick and rainy, with much thunder and lightning; but as the soundings continued regular, we stood into the port, and passed the high rocky bluff point in 30 fathoms water; directing our course close along its shore, which is a high and nearly perpendicular cliff; the sounding suddenly shoaled to 12 fathoms, and gradually decreased afterwards, until abreast of the second white sandy beach; where we anchored in 6 fathoms water, having a clear bottom of fine white sand.

A continuation of the thick weather prevented our seeing about us until the morning of the 29th; which being delightfully serene and pleasant, discovered our situation to be very snug and secure in a spacious sound, open 13° of the compass only to the sea. The high rocky bluff point forming the s.w. extremity of the sound, which, from its smooth appearance, and being destitute of verdure, obtained the name Bald-Head, bore by compass s. 85 e.; a high rocky island in the entrance, which, from its beaten appearance by its opposition to the sea, and s.w. wind, obtained the name of Break-Sea Island, n. 82 e. to n. 69 e.; Mount Gardner n. 70 e.; another high island named Michaelmas Island n. 62 e.; a small high island called Seal Island, being a great resort of those animals, north; a low flat rock s. 75 w. and to the n.w. was an extensive white sandy beach; which promising success to the seine, a boat was dispatched with Lieutenant Puget on a fishing party. After breakfast, accompanied by Mr. Broughton in the Chatham's cutter, Mr. Menzies, Mr. Whidbey, and myself, proceeded in the yawl, first to attend the success of the fishermen, and then to examine if the sound would afford a more eligible situation than that which we now occupied. The seine was hauled on the third sandy beach from Bald-Head with little success. A stream of fresh water drained there through the beach, which, although nearly of the colour of brandy, was exceedingly well tasted; by this stream was a clump of trees, sufficient to answer our present want of fuel. At the borders of this clump was found the most miserable human habitation my eyes ever beheld, which had not long been deserted by its proprietor, as on its top was lying a fresh skin of a fish, commonly called leather jacket, and by its side, was the excrement of some carnivorous animal, apparently a dog. The shape of the dwelling was that of half a beehive, or a hive vertically divided into two equal parts, one of which formed the hut, in height about three feet, and in diameter about four feet and an half; it was however constructed with some degree of uniformity, with flight twigs, of no greater substance than those used for large baker's baskets: the horizontal and vertical twigs formed intervals from four to six inches square, and the latter flicking a few inches into the earth, were its security and fixed it to the ground. This kind of basket hut was covered with the bark of trees, and small green boughs; its back was opposed to the n.w. whence we concluded those to be the most prevailing winds; just within its front, which was open the whole of its diameter, a fire had been made, but excepting the skin of the fish before mentioned, there were neither bones, shells, nor other indication on what its poor inhabitant had subsisted. The reflections which naturally arose on seeing so miserable a contrivance for shelter against the inclemency of seasons, were humiliating in the highest degree; as they suggested in the strongest manner the lowly condition of some of our fellow creatures, rendered yet more pitiable by the apparent solitude and the melancholy aspect of the surrounding country, which presented little less than famine and distress.

The shores consisted either of steep naked rocks, or a milk-white barren sand, beyond which dreary boundary, the surface of the ground seemed covered by a deadly green herbage, with, here and there, a few groveling shrubs or dwarf trees scattered at a great distance from each other. This very unfavorable appearance may not, however, originate from the general sterility of the soil, since it was evident, so far as we traversed the sides of the hills, that the vegetation had recently undergone the action of fire; the largest of the trees had been burnt, though slightly; every shrub had some of its branches completely charred; and the plants lying close to the ground had not escaped without injury. Thus entertaining no very high opinion of the country, but in the hope of meeting with some of the wretched inhabitants, we proceeded along the shores of the sound, to the northward, to a high rocky point that obtained the name of Point Possession; and, on reaching its summit, we gained an excellent view of the sound in all directions. When on board, we had supposed that the sound branched into three arms, but it now became evident that there were only two. One, immediately behind this point which is also its southern point of entrance, extended in a circular form, about a league across, bounded by a country much resembling that before described, though producing more trees, and with verdure of a livelier hue, and approaching more nearly to the water's edge. The other, lying about 3 miles to the n.e. seemed almost as spacious, though its entrance appeared very narrow. The surrounding country in its neighbourhood presented a far more fertile and pleasing aspect. Nearly in the center of that harbour, was an island covered with the most beautiful herbage; and instead of the naked rocks and barren sands that compose the coast of the sound, the cliffs which bounded these shores seemed of a reddish clay, and the general texture or character of the soil, appeared to be more favorable to the vegetable kingdom, as from the summits of the hills to the water side was seen a stately and luxuriant forest.

The necessary observations being made at this station, the British colours were displayed, and having drank His Majesty's health, accompanied by the usual formalities on such occasions, we took possession of the country from the land we saw north-westward of Cape Chatham, so far as we might explore its coasts, in the name of His present Majesty, for him and for his heirs and successors. This port, the first which we had discovered, I honored with the name of King George the Third's Sound; and this day being the anniversary of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Augusta Matilda's birth, the harbour behind Point Possession I called Princess Royal Harbour; which with the sound formed Point Possession into a peninsula, united to the main by a very narrow barren sandy beach. Here although we could not discover the least trace of its having at any time been the resort of the natives, yet in every part where we strayed, were seen the same effects of fire on all the vegetable productions.

A CHART shewing part of the S.W. COAST OF NEW HOLLAND


[NLA Map No. t1277-e.]

[Click on the map to enlarge it.]

The ceremony of taking possession being finished, we found a passage, narrow and shoal for some distance, into the north-eastern harbour; where a bar was found to extend across its entrance, on which there was only three fathoms water. Within the harbour, the deep water seemed to occupy some space to the n.e. and n.w.; but the day was too far advanced to permit our making any particular examination. The verdant island covered with luxuriant grass and other vegetables terminated the extent of our researches; and as the situation of the vessels seemed as convenient as any other for procuring what the sound might afford, I determined to return on board, and lose no time in availing myself of the benefits it presented. In our way out of this harbour, the boats grounded on a bank we had not before perceived; this was covered with oysters of a most delicious flavour, on which we sumptuously regaled; and, loading in about half an hour, the boats for our friends on board, we commemorated the discovery by calling it Oyster Harbour.

In the morning of the 30th, we began cutting wood and providing water, which sufficiently employed all our healthy men; whilst those who were still indisposed were directed to amuse themselves on shore. Finding it practicable to place the ship much nearer to the spot whence the wood and water were procured, the next day she was removed; and, by sunday, we had made such progress, that the yawl could be spared for the further examination of the sound. In her I proceeded to Princess Royal harbour, where, near a rocky cliff, on the s.w. side, was found a small shallow stream of excellent water. On tracing its meanders through a copse it brought us to a deserted village of the natives, amidst the trees, on nearly a level spot of ground, consisting of about two dozen miserable huts mostly of the same fashion and dimensions, with that before described, though no one of them seemed so recently erected. This village had, probably, been the residence of, what may in this country be esteemed, a considerable tribe; and the construction of it afforded us an opportunity of concluding, that however humble the state of their existence might be, they were not destitute of distinctions. Two or three huts were larger, and differed in shape from the rest, as if a couple were fixed close to the side of each other; but the parts which in that case would have caused a separation were removed, and the edges joined close together, as described in the plate, leaving the whole of their fronts open, and increasing their diameter about one third more than the rest. Yet were they not an inch loftier, nor were they of greater extent from the front to the back than the single one before mentioned. Fires had been made in the fronts of all, but not recently; and, excepting some branches of trees that seemed to have been lately broken down, there were not any signs of this place having been visited for some time; and although we were very industrious to ascertain the food on which the inhabitants of this village subsisted, we still remained in ignorance of it; as neither shells, bones, nor any other relicts, which might serve as indications, could be found, notwithstanding this place had the appearance of a principal resort; for besides the habitations already mentioned, which were in pretty good repair, there were many others in different states of decay. This spot was intersected with several small streams of water, yet the same marks of fire were evident on all the vegetable kingdom; although none of the huts seemed to have been affected by it, which led me to suppose that this general fire, was of a less recent date than at first I had imagined. In one of the larger huts, probably the residence of a chief, towards which were several paths leading in different directions, some beads, nails, knives, looking glasses, and medals, were deposited as tokens of our friendly disposition, and to induce any of the natives, who might, unperceived by us, have been in the neighbourhood, to favour us with a visit. Having gratified our curiosity, though at the expence of our feelings, in contemplating these very wretched and humiliating efforts of human ingenuity, we returned on board, and having by the morning of the 4th replenished our water, and taken on board a supply of firewood, Messrs. Puget and Whidbey went to Oyster Harbour, with three boats, for the purpose of hauling the seine, and obtaining a quantity of those shell fish, previously to our proceeding the following morning to sea. In this part of our plan, however, we were disappointed, as the wind which had blown a steady moderate breeze from the n.w. towards the evening blew a strong gale from the s.e. with a heavy swell, and prevented the return of the boats; at the same time that the cloudiness of the weather precluded me from making those lunar observations, for the sole purpose of obtaining which I had remained on board.

The gale moderating the next morning, the boats returned, not having been very successful with the seine, but bringing a sufficient supply of oysters not only for our convalescents, but for the affording also of two or three excellent meals for all hands. As the s.e. wind and a heavy sea in the offing prevented our departure, Mr. Broughton was employed in examining the eastern side of the sound from Oyster Harbour to Mount Gardner: this was found nearly a straight and compact shore, on which Mr. Broughton landed in several places, where the same effects of fire were evident, although there were not any traces of the natives or of their habitations to be discovered.

The like causes of detention still operating, on friday the 7th a party was made for the further examination of Oyster Harbour, and by a little excursion into the country on that side to acquire some information of its natural productions, and, if possible also, of the natives. After examining the channel as we proceeded to the upper part of the harbour, our attention was directed to several large black swans in very stately attitudes swimming on the water, and, when flying, discovering the under parts of their wings and breast to be white: this is all the description we were enabled to give of them, since they were excessively shy, and we very indifferent marksmen. In the northern corner of the harbour, we landed near a rivulet navigable only for canoes and small boats. It meandered in a northern direction between the hills, which opening to the east and west, presented a spacious plain with forest trees occupying the banks of the rivulet, and the sides of the hills, even to their very summits. We proceeded about a league by the side of the rivulet, which flowed through so dead a flat, that its motion was scarcely perceptible, and continued to be brackish, although in its passage it received several other smaller streams of most excellent water. In it were an abundance of very fine fish, and on its banks were many black swans, ducks, curlews, and other wild fowl. On the sides of this stream, as well as on the shores in Oyster Harbour, were seen the remains of several fish wears, about eight or nine inches high, evidently the sorry contrivance of the wretched inhabitants of the country: some of these were constructed with loose stones, others with sticks, and stumps of wood; but none of them were likely to be of much utility at this season, as several were placed nearly at, and others above, what now seemed the high water mark; but we supposed at times, when the rain or other cause should extend the rivulet beyond its present bounds, which in width did not exceed thirty yards, and in depth four or five feet, these humble contrivances might arrest some small fish. Great bodies of water evidently pass down this stream at certain seasons, as appeared by the river's course occupying from two to three hundred yards on each side the rivulet, the soil of which was composed of sea sand and broken shells, and was destitute of any vegetable production. This space when overflowed must, from its winding course, form a most beautiful sheet of water. The wears for the taking fish, and steps made in the bark for the purpose of ascending some of the largest trees, though both excessively rude, were undoubtedly the effects of manual labour, and, with the huts, formed the only indications of the country being inhabited, that we were able to discern. There were no paths in the woods, nor were any smokes to be seen over the extensive country we beheld, which fully satisfied us, that any further search for the natives would be fruitless; and therefore we returned by a different route to the boats. In our way we saw the remains of two similar huts. Near these was an ants nest much of the same shape and magnitude, though finished in a very superior style and manner, and shewing how very humble is the state of human existence, when unassisted by civil society, and undirected by the sciences. Having eaten our salt beef we proceeded homewards, much mortified that the many wild fowl we had seen had escaped our vigilance; but that we might not return empty handed, we stopped at one of the oyster banks, where in about half an hour we loaded our boat, and returned on board about 9 o'clock in the evening. The bank on which we found them in greatest plenty and the best flavoured, is that which extends from the north or low point of the entrance towards the little verdant island. The wind blew a strong gale from the e.s.e. and a very heavy sea ran without the sound; but the vessels within rode perfectly quiet. This sort of weather, with much rain, continued until monday, when we entertained hopes of getting to sea, as the wind veered to the south; but soon again resuming its former direction, attended by the heavy sea in the offing, we remained at anchor until the next day; which being more favourable to our purpose, though the wind was still adverse, we weighed, and turned out of the sound. About 4 in the afternoon, we regained the ocean; but the wind at e.n.e. prevented our steering along the coast, and obliged us to stand to the south-eastward. Whilst we were getting under weigh, I caused to be deposited in the hut at the watering place, some beads, knives, looking-glasses, and other trinkets, as a compensation to its solitary owner, should he ever return, for the wood we had cut down, and deprived him of: and to commemorate our visit, near the stump of one of the trees we had felled, in a pile of stones, raised for the purpose of attracting the attention of any European, was left a bottle sealed up, containing a parchment on which were inscribed the names of the vessels, and of the commanders; with the name given to the sound, and the date of our arrival and departure. Another bottle, containing a similar memorandum, was likewise deposited on the top of Seal Island, with a staff erected to conduct any visitor to it, on which was affixed a medal of the year 1789. Those who may meet with the staff will most probably discover the bottle hidden near it. This precaution was here taken, on a presumption that Seal Island was entirely out of the reach of the inhabitants, which might not be the case where the first bottle was secreted.

At sun-set the Eclipse Islands by compass bore n. 74 w. Bald-head n. 45 w. Mount Gardner n. 13 e. the hummock mentioned on the 28th, now evidently an island, n. 56 e. to n. 51 e. and the easternmost part of the main in sight n. 42 e. whence the coast appeared to take a sharp turn to the northward. As we stood to the s.e. the wind gradually veered to the north, which, by day light, led us out of sight of the coast; but as in the forenoon it was calm and the atmosphere very clear, Mount Gardner was seen bearing n.w. 18 leagues distant. In this situation we had much swell from the eastward; and soundings could not be gained at the depth of 200 fathoms. The observed latitude was 35° 37', longitude 119° 24', which was 2' to the south, and 16' to the east, of what the log shewed. The wind was light and variable until the evening, when it settled in a steady breeze at s.w.; the swell from the east, and e.s.e. still continuing, indicated the land in that direction to be at some distance. Our unexpected detention by the late eastwardly winds, and the advanced season, conspired greatly against prosecuting researches on this coast; I determined, however, not to abandon that favorite object, provided the task should not prove too dangerous, and intricate; or that the direction of the coast should not lead us too far out of our way; as, in respect of the former, I acted without any authority in the investigation; and, in respect of the latter, our time would not now admit of sufficient leisure to persevere in the pursuit. Under these considerations our course was directed to the n.e. during the night, in hopes of passing within sight of the land lying to the eastward of Mount Gardner, so as to connect our survey. Not gaining bottom with 110 to 140 fathoms of line; and there being at daybreak no appearance of the coast, we steered north, which soon brought us within sight of land to the n.w. making like three islands; but on a nearer approach, the two westernmost were evidently connected by low land to the main: but the connecting of the northernmost being uncertain, it obtained the name of Doubtful Island.

From the westernmost land seen this morning, to the easternmost land seen on tuesday evening, is a space of 14 leagues, stretching s. 58 w. and n. 58 e. in which no land was seen. The depth of water was at this time 30 fathoms; the bottom coarse sand, with broken shells and coral. The weather was delightfully pleasant; and, with a gentle gale at s.w. we steered along the coast, which now took a direction n. 55 e. our distance from the shore from 2 to 4 leagues. Doubtful Island, and the shores to the s.w. of it, nearly resembled the rest of the coast; but to the n.e. the coast presented a very different prospect being composed of high detached clusters of craggy mountains, on a base of low and to all appearance level land, well wooded, particularly to the n.w. of Doubtful Island, where the land falls back to a considerable distance, forming either a deep well-sheltered bay, or a low flat country. At noon, a high bluff point, extending from the northernmost cluster of mountains, the easternmost land then in sight, bore by compass n. 24 e. the most western and conspicuous cluster of apparently disunited mountains n. 67 w. about 9 leagues distant; and the east point of Doubtful Island, the westernmost land at that time visible, s. 73 w. This land forms a remarkable point on the coast, and is in latitude 34° 23', longitude 119 49'; which, after admiral Lord Hood, I distinguished by the name of Point Hood. In this situation, our observed latitude was 34° 18', longitude 120° 14'; being 13' more to the north, and 6' more to the east, than appeared by the log. Soon after mid-day, low land was descried, stretching out from the high bluff point, which we found situated not immediately on the shore, but some distance inland, whence a very low country extends to the sea coast, which takes a direction s. 70 e. breakers in two detached places were discovered at this time lying at some distance from the land; the nearest of these about 1 o'clock, bore by compass n.e. 4 miles distant; the other, visible only from the masthead, appeared to lie from the former e. by n. 2 leagues distant. At this time the depth of water was 35 fathoms; and as the wind blew directly on the shore, and the main land, though not more than 4 leagues off, was not sufficiently high to be distinctly seen from the deck; we hauled our tacks on board, and stood to the s.e. increasing our distance very slowly. At six in the evening, the nearest land was a rocky island, about 2 miles in circuit, which bore by compass n. 13 e. 8 miles distant; and from the mast-head, the flat low coast was visible as far as e.n.e.; at 9 the depth of water had gradually increased to 40 fathoms. Considering our present as the most prudent tack to remain upon until we should meet shoals, or other impediments, I directed the Chatham to lead and sound; our depth gradually increased to 54 fathoms, and the coast in the morning was in sight from n.e. to east. The wind blew a light breeze from the s.s.e. with which we steered for the land until about nine, when we tacked in 60 fathoms. The land in sight, at that time, from the mast-head bore by compass from n.n.w. to e. by n. each extremity 5 or 6 leagues distant; all this was supposed to be the main, though between north and e.n.e. the land appeared somewhat broken, occasioned perhaps by some of its parts being elevated a little above the rest of the shore, off which breakers were seen to lie at some distance; and the land, which in the morning bore east, and now bore by compass n. 87 e. 8 miles distant, was evidently a rocky island about a league in circuit, much resembling that which we passed the preceding evening. It proved the termination of our researches on this coast, and thence obtained the name of Termination Island; on it the sea broke with much violence, and between it, and the main, was a small low islet. The great depth of water indicated that the bank of soundings, which we had hitherto found extending along the coast, terminated also on its approach to this island, as we had no where found so great a depth of water at this small distance from the shore; which, on being increased a few miles only, put the ship intirely out of soundings. At noon, the observed latitude was 34° 34'. longitude 121° 52'; 22 miles further east, and 4 further north than shewn by the log. In this situation the main land from the mail-head was seen bearing by compass n.n.w. to e.n.e. ½ e.; and Termination Island situated in latitude 34° 32', longitude 122° 8½'; n. 84 e. Between the easternmost part of the main, seen the preceding evening, and the westernmost seen this morning, is a space of 10 leagues, which we passed in the night without observing land; yet, from the regularity of the soundings, there can be little doubt of its being one continued coast, and that the course by us made good s. 76 e. is nearly parallel to its direction. The whole of this low country presented a dreary aspect, destitute of wood, or herbage, and interspersed with white and brown patches, occasioned, most probably, by the different colours of sand or rock, of which it is composed. We here noticed more coast and oceanic birds, than we had seen on any other part of the shores: as, besides gunnets, and two or three different sorts of tern, albatrosses, and petrels, particularly the black and sooty, were in great abundance. The weather continued very fine, with a light variable breeze in the eastern quarter, which drew us, not only out of sight, and some distance from the coast, but prevented our making much progress in the direction, in which it seemed to bend, until the 16th; when the wind, settling in the western board, we steered to the e.n.e. in hopes of falling in with the land; and in the event of its taking a more northerly direction, the Chatham was ordered to look out 3 leagues on the larboard beam. At noon, the observed latitude was 35° 30', the longitude 122° 40'. At this time, the wind suddenly shifted to the southward, and was accompanied by a very heavy swell in that direction, which strongly indicating the approach of boisterous weather, the Chatham's signal was made to join, and our course was directed to e.s.e.; not daring, under all the circumstances of our situation, to run the risk of encountering bad weather on an unexplored coast, that presented to us so many dangers. Besides, as the lowness of the shores which we had lately seen, and the distant shoals that we had found extending from them, would exact particular caution as we proceeded, more time would necessarily be required in the prosecution of such an inquiry, than the main object of our voyage would at present allow. I was therefore compelled to relinquish, with great reluctance, the favorite project of further examining the coast of this unknown though interesting country; and, directing our route over an hitherto untraversed part of these seas, we proceeded without further delay towards the pacific ocean.

{Page 45}


Remarks on the country and productions on part of the south-west coast of New Holland—Extraordinary devastation by fire—Astronomical and nautical observations.

Although the considerations adverted to in the foregoing chapter, rendered it impracticable to explore the s.w. coast of New Holland to the extent my wishes first led me to imagine, and prevented our ascertaining its boundary and connection with, or separation from, Van Dieman's Land; yet the information we have acquired, will open a field to those whose duty it may hereafter be to perform that task; by shewing, that its s.w. part may be approached with the greatest safety, as its shores are bold with regular soundings to the distance of 8 or 9 leagues; and by the discovery of the very excellent harbour in King George the Third's Sound. Considering therefore its situation and conveniences as likely to become of material importance to those whose pursuits may induce them to navigate this and the pacific ocean, it may not be uninteresting to detail, in a more particular manner, the circumstances that occurred during our visit to a country hitherto so little known to Europeans.

Our survey comprehended an extent of 110 leagues, in which space we saw no other haven or place of security for shipping than the sound before mentioned; notwithstanding the opinion of Dampier, who has considered the whole of the western part of New Holland as consisting of a cluster of islands. He was undoubtedly a judicious observer, of very superior talents; and, it is most likely, formed his opinion from the many islands which he found composing the exterior coast of the n.w. part of this extensive country. However just may be his conclusions as to that part of New Holland, they certainly do not apply to its south western side, as no very material separation, either by rivers, or arms of the sea, was discovered in the neighbourhood of our survey. Had such breaks in the coast existed, and had they escaped our observation, it is highly probable we should have met in the sea, or seen driven on its shores, drift wood and other productions of the interior country. The very deep colour also of the several streams of water may possibly be occasioned by the quality of the soil through which they flow; whence it may be inferred that, if any considerable inland waters had their source far in the country, or if any great body descended from its shores, the sea along the coast would in some measure have been discoloured; but neither of these evidences existed, for, on our approach to the land, there was no previous appearance to indicate its vicinity. This opinion was further corroborated on inspecting the habitations and places of the natives' resort; where not the least remains of canoes, or other circumstance presented itself, which could convey the most distant idea of these people having ever trusted themselves on the water; a circumstance which it is reasonable to suppose would sometimes have happened, had their country been insulated, or their travelling interrupted by large rivers or arms of the sea; especially as all appearances favored the conjecture of their being, by no means, a stationary people. There was great reason, however, to conclude, that the country was well supplied with fresh water; as wherever we chanced to land, we easily procured that valuable article, not only where the soil was of considerable depth, but from streamlets issuing out of the solid rocks. This seemed to be the case even on the most elevated land, which caused a very singular appearance when the sun shone in certain directions on those mountains whose surfaces were destitute of soil; for on these made humid by the continually oozing of the water, a bright glare was produced that gave them the resemblance of hills covered with snow.

Our researches afforded little matter worthy of notice excepting such as appertained to King George the Third's Sound. This port has its entrance in latitude 35° 5', longitude 118° 17'. It is easily known on approaching it from the westward, as it is the first opening in the coast that presents any appearance like an harbour, eastward of cape Chatham. The Eclipse Islands being the only detached land that can be so regarded, are an excellent guide to the sound, having, between them and Bald-head, some rocks on which the sea breaks with great violence. The port is safe, and easy of access any where between its outer points of entrance, Bald-head, and Mount Gardner, lying n. 62 e. and s. 62 w. 11 miles distant from each other. Mount Gardner is not less conspicuous and useful in pointing out the sound from the eastern quarter, than in its being rendered very remarkable by its handsome shape, and its rocky, and almost uninterrupted polished surface to its summit. Its base may be said rather to form the eastern extent of the coast, than the opposite point of the sound, there being within it a projection which more properly forms the n.e. point of the sound, lying from Bald-head n. 30 e. about 5 miles distant. Between these latter points are Michaelmas, and Break Sea islands, each about a league in circuit, one mile apart, nearly equidistant between the two points, and affording to all appearance good channels on every side. The water suddenly decreases in its depth from 30 to 12 fathoms; the latter depth uniformly continuing across from point [t]o point, I should conceive, must be an additional means of preventing any very heavy sea from rolling into the sound; which, in the most exposed place of anchorage convenient to the shore, is only open from e. by n. to s.e. by e. Between these limits are situated the two islands above mentioned, whence the sound extends w. by n. about two leagues to Point Possession, and from our anchorage to Oyster Harbour, north about the same distance, with regular soundings in mid-channel of 12 to 15, and 10 to 6 fathoms close to the shore, excepting near Seal Island, where there is a hole of 21 fathoms. The Discovery and Chatham were moored in a situation, not only very convenient as to communication with the shore, but I believe, in perfect security as it respected the element: for although the sea broke sometimes with such violence on Break Sea Island, that the surf ranged to its elevated summit, during a continuance of the boisterous weather; yet it did not occasion us the least inconvenience. A more eligible situation if required in the sound might very probably be met with above the flat rock, as vessels would be there more completely land locked; and a convenient sandy cove, easily to be discovered in that neighbourhood, a stream of excellent fresh water flows into, which though to all appearance not better in quality than the water we received on board, was yet more pleasing to the eye, not being of so deep a colour.

Princess Royal's Harbour admits of a passage into it about a quarter of a mile wide; nearest to the northern shore the depth is 5 or 6 fathoms, but on the southern, not more than 2½ and 3 fathoms water; occasioned by banks of coral rock which are very conspicuous, and, not being liable to any of the violent agitations of the sea, are by no means dangerous. Within the points of entrance, the depth is regularly from 4 to 7 fathoms, and the bottom clear, good holding ground. This depth, though occupying part only of the harbour, yet affords a sufficient space for several vessels to ride in safety.

Oyster Harbour is rendered admissible alone for vessels of a middle size, by the shallowness of the water on the bar, extending from shore to shore, on which we found 17 feet water only, although the depth increased from 5 to 7 fathoms on each side. The deep water within the harbour did not seem of any great extent. In both these harbours the communication with the country is rendered unpleasant by the shallow depth of water in most places extending to a great distance from the shore. This inconveniency could easily be remedied, should it ever be an object so to do, by wharfs; although it is not unlikely that on a more minute inspection the necessity for such a measure would cease to appear.

In navigating the sound, we did not observe any danger that was not sufficiently conspicuous to be avoided: circumstances however did not admit of our acquiring that satisfactory information respecting Princess Royal and Oyster harbours which fall into it, that could have been wished; yet so far as relates to the sound, the annexed sketch will I believe be found to contain no very material error.

The appearance of this country along the coasts, resembles, in most respects, that of Africa about the cape of Good Hope. The surface seemed to be chiefly composed of sand mixed with decayed vegetables, varying exceedingly in point of richness; and although bearing a great similarity, yet indicating a soil superior in quality to that in the immediate neighbourhood of Cape Town. The principal component part of this country appeared to be coral; and it would seem that its elevation above the ocean is of modern date, not only from the shores, and the bank which extends along the coast being, generally speaking, composed of coral, as was evident by our lead never descending to the bottom without bringing up coral on its return; but by coral being found on the highest hills we ascended; particularly on the summit of Bald-Head, which is sufficiently above the level of the sea to be seen at 12 or 14 leagues distance. Here the coral was entirely in its original state; particularly in one level spot, comprehending about eight acres, which produced not the least herbage on the white sand that occupied this space; through which the branches of coral protruded, and were found standing exactly like those seen in the beds of coral beneath the surface of the sea, with ramifications of different sizes, some not half an inch, others four or five inches in circumference. In these fields of coral, (if the term field be allowable,) of which there were several, sea shells were in great abundance, some nearly in a perfect state still adhering to the coral, others in different stages of decay. The coral was friable in various degrees; the extremities of the branches, some of which were nearly four feet above the sand, were easily reduced to powder, whilst those close to, or under the surface, required some small force to break them from the rocky foundation from whence they appeared to spring. I have seen coral in many places at a considerable distance from the sea; but in no other instance have I seen it so elevated, and in such a state of perfection.

In the lower lands we frequently met with extensive tracts occupied by a kind of okerish swampy peat, or moorish soil of a very dark brown colour, forming as it were a crust, which shook and trembled when walked upon; with water oozing through, or running over the surface, in all directions. Through this soil most of the streams take their course, and it is to their impregnation in the passage, that the general high colour of the water is to be attributed. These swamps were not always confined to low and level spots, but were found on the acclivity of the higher lands; and where these did not occupy the sides of the hills, the soil was deep, and appeared infinitely more productive than the surface of the plains; especially that through which the rivulet in Oyster Harbour has been mentioned to flow. In that plain we found, at irregular intervals, just beneath the surface, a substratum of an apparently imperfect chalk, or a rich white marle, seemingly formed of the same decayed shells, with which the course of the river abounded. These strata, about eight or ten yards broad, run perpendicularly to the rivulet; their depth we had not leisure to examine, although there seemed little doubt of finding this substance in sufficient abundance for the purposes of manure, should the cultivation of this country ever be in contemplation. The general structure of it seems very favorable to such an attempt, as the mountains are neither steep nor numerous; nor do the rising grounds form such hills as bid defiance to the plough, while they produce that sort of diversity which is grateful to the eye, and not unpleasant to the traveller.

This chalky earth was also found in the neighbourhood of a moorish soil; and, on a more minute examination, seemed much to resemble an earth described in Cronstadt's Mineralogy at the bottom of his note (y), page 21. It did not shew any signs of effervescence with acids, nor did it burn into lime; but, like the earth alluded to, contains a number of small transparent crystals. These were visible without a microscope; and as, on applying the blow pipe, vitrification took place, it might probably be usefully appropriated in making a sort of porcelain.

The stones we found were chiefly of coral, with a few black and brown pebbles, slate, quartz, two or three sorts of granite, with some sand stones, but none seeming to possess any metallic quality.

The climate, if a judgment may be formed by so short a visit, seemed delightful: for though we contended with some boisterous weather on our approach to the coast, nothing less ought reasonably to have been expected at the season of the vernal equinox, and breaking up of the winter. The gales we experienced in King George the Third's Sound, were not of such violence as to put vessels at sea past their topsails; although whilst the s.w. wind continued a most violent sea broke with incredible fury on the exterior shores. This however can easily be imagined, when the extensive uninterrupted range which the wind in that direction has over the Indian ocean is taken into consideration; during the continuance of this wind the atmosphere was tolerably clear, though the air was keen. Farenheit's thermometer, at the time of year answering to the beginning of april in the northern hemisphere, stood at 53°; but at all other times during our stay, varied between 58° and 64°, and the barometer from 29° 90' to 30° 50'. Slight colds were caught by the crew, which ought rather to be imputed to their own want of care than to the climate, as, on getting to sea, the parties soon recovered. Our convalescents in the flux received much benefit, though their health could not yet be considered as thoroughly re-established. These circumstances induced an opinion, that the climate and soil bid fair to be capable of producing all the essentials, and many of the luxuries of life; although on the subject: of agricultural improvement, I felt myself as unqualified to determine, as to enumerate scientifically the several trees, shrubs, and plants with which the country abounds. Of the two latter there appeared a great variety, and I believe afforded to Mr. Menzies much entertainment and employment. Amongst the most remarkable was the gum plant, found every where in great abundance, and answering, in all its characters, to the description and representation of that plant found at port Jackson, as mentioned in Philips's voyage. Wild celery was found in quantities sufficient for our pea-soup, and daily to supply the people by way of sauce to their salted meat: this with samphire were the only eatable vegetables we procured. Other plants were numerous, and afforded a great variety of beautiful flowers. The shrubs also were abundant, and of many species; but neither these nor the trees grew so closely together as materially to incommode travelling, even in the neighbourhood of Oyster Harbour, where the country is very well wooded; and as the branches of the trees do not approach within several feet of the ground, an extensive view is admitted in every direction. The forest trees seemed of four different sorts. The most common much resembled the holly, but these were not of the larger sort; that which I took to be the gum tree of New South Wales, by its foliage and its producing a considerable quantity of gum, seemed to be a hard, ponderous, close-grained wood: of this description the larger trees seemed chiefly to consist; one of these measured 9 feet 4 inches in girth, and was of a proportionable height. Those from which our fuel was procured were of the myrtle tribe, not unlike the pimento of the West Indies, in shape, appearance, and aromatic flavor of the foliage; and in the hard and close texture of the wood, which makes an excellent and pleasant fire, burning cheerfully yet consuming slow; whilst, from the smoke, a very spicy agreeable fragrance is exhaled. These do not, in general, grow to large timbers; but there is another species much resembling them, with rather broader leaves, and possessing like them an aromatic flavor, which grow to a considerable size. These, with a species not unlike the silver tree of the cape of Good Hope, were the trees that were found generally to compose the forest.

For the benefit of those who may visit the country hereafter, some vine-cuttings and water-cresses were planted on the island in Oyster Harbour, and at the place from whence we procured our fuel; and an assortment of garden seeds, with some almonds, orange, lemon and pumkin seeds were sown. The whole being the produce of Africa, I should have entertained little doubt of their success, had it not been, that there was much to apprehend in their being over-run by the natural productions of the country.

Of the animal kingdom, so far as relates to the tenants of the earth, little information was derived. The only quadruped seen was one dead kangaroo; the dung, however, of these or some other animals feeding on vegetables, was almost every where met with, and frequently so fresh as to indicate that the animal could not be far removed.

Of the birds that live in or resort to the woods, the vulture may be said to be the most common, as we saw several of this species, or at least, birds that were so considered. Hawks of the falcon tribe, with several others of that genus; a bird much resembling the English crow, parrots, parroquets, and a variety of small birds, some of which sung very melodiously, were those which attracted our attention the most; but all were so excessively wild and watchful, that few specimens could be procured. Of the water fowl, the black swan seemed as numerous as any other species of aquatic birds in the neighbourhood of Oyster Harbour, but they were seen in no other place. There were also black and white pelicans of a large sort, seen at a distance; and though ducks were in great numbers, we were very unsuccessful in taking them. A very peculiar one was shot, of a darkish grey plumage, with a bag like that of a lizard hanging under its throat; which smelt so intolerably of musk that it scented nearly the whole ship. There were also many grey curlews, and sea-pies; of the latter we procured a few, which were excellent eating. The aquatic birds before enumerated, with shags, the common gull, two or three sorts of tern, and a few small penguins of a blueish colour, included the whole of the feathered tribe in the vicinity of the shores.

With the productions of the sea, we were not much more acquainted; which is rather to be attributed to our want of skill as fishermen than to its want of bounty. Some of the few fish we caught were very excellent, particularly of the larger sort; one much resembling the snook, and another the calipevar of Jamaica, both of high flavor; as was a kind of fish not unlike, nor inferior in quality to, the English red mullet. These, with the common white mullet, rock fish, mackerel, herrings, and a variety of small fish, were those we procured, though not in any abundance.

Whilst on the coast, whales and seals were frequently playing about the ship; of the latter, we saw about a score at one time on Seal Island. The little trouble these animals took to avoid us, indicated their not being accustomed to such visitors. The throat and belly of these seals, which were of a large sort, were nearly white; between the head and shoulders, the neck rises in a kind of crest, which, with the back, was of a light brown colour; their hair was exceedingly coarse; the carcase very poor, and afforded little blubber; which, however, may be imputable to the season.

Reptiles and noxious animals seemed by no means to be numerous, as only two or three yellow, and bronze-coloured snakes were seen, which were good eating; these, with a few lizards of the common sort, and some about eight or nine inches long of a thick clumsy make, dark colour, and altogether excessively ugly, were what composed that race of animals. Some beautiful beetles, common flies, and muskitoes, were occasionally met with, but not in such numbers as to produce inconvenience.

It would now remain to say something of the human species, the inhabitants or this country; but as we were not so fortunate to procure an interview with any one of them, all that can be advanced on this subject must be founded on conjecture or nearly so, and consequently very liable to error: it may, however, not be unacceptable to state such circumstances as, on the spot, occurred to our observation.

The natives appeared to be a wandering people, who sometimes made their excursions individually, at other times in considerable parties; this was apparent by their habitations being found single and alone, as well as composing tolerably large villages.

Besides the village I visited, Mr. Broughton discovered another about two miles distant from it, of nearly the same magnitude; but it appeared to be of a much later date, as all the huts had been recently built, and seemed to have been very lately inhabited. It was situated in a swamp, which might probably have been preferred to a higher and firmer land for the convenience of water. One or two huts of a larger size were here also observed; the rest were precisely of the same description with those in the neighbourhood. The larger trees in the vicinity of both villages, had been hollowed out by fire, sufficiently to afford the shelter these people seemed to require. Upon stones placed in the inside of these hollow trees fires had been made, which proved that they had been used as habitations, either for the inferior of the party, which would argue a further degree of subordination amongst them, or for those who were too indolent to build themselves the wattled huts before described. No one species of furniture or utensil was discovered in any of the houses; the only implements seen, were pieces of sticks intended as spears, rudely wrought, and the operation of manual labour upon them but slightly discernible. The bark was stripped off, and the thickest end, after having been burnt in the fire, was scraped and reduced to a blunt point, on one of which some blood was found still adhering.


Destitute (as they seemed) of the means, and totally ignorant of every mode of embarkation, it is not likely that they place much dependence on marine productions for their subsistence; yet it was evident from the wears on the shores, and from the mouths of the brooks near the villages being stopped up, that they sometimes resort to the rivulets and to the sea for provisions. On this account, it was considered rather extraordinary, that the bones of the fishes on which they had fed were no where to be found; and this led to a supposition that those which their endeavours enabled them to procure were very small. It appeared still more extraordinary that, since they drew a certain proportion of their food from the sea, they should not have discovered so excellent a part of its produce as oysters and clams; notwithstanding that the latter show themselves on the beaches over which they must frequently walk; and that the former at low water require only wading half-leg deep on the shoals that extend from the main land to gather in a few minutes a day's subsistence. Neither did it appear that they had any knowledge of these, the limpets, nor any other shell fish found amongst the rocks; or if they had, for some reason not easily to be imagined, they certainly made no use of them; otherwise their shells in all human probability would have been seen near the places of their resort. Hence it may naturally be inferred, that the land principally supplies their wants, or hunger would long since have conducted them to such excellent resources. This opinion is supported by the extreme shyness of the feathered creation, and the wildness of the quadrupeds, whose footing, and the other signs of their being at no great distance without our obtaining any sight of them, sufficiently proved that they were constantly pursued. This circumstance may furnish a probable conjecture on the cause of the very extraordinary devastation by fire, which the vegetable productions had suffered throughout the whole country we traversed. Fire is frequently resorted to by rude nations, either for the purpose of encouraging a sweeter growth of herbage in their hunting grounds, or as toils for taking their wild animals, of which they are in pursuit. When the forest is set on fire for such purposes in a dry season, its ravages may become very extensive; and the inflammatory quality of the gum plant, which is here in great abundance, may operate to promote that general havock which we observed in the vegetable kingdom.

The destructive operations of fire were, however, evident in places where the gum-plant was not found for a considerable distance; and, positively speaking, in our excursion on shore, we did not see a spot that produced any vegetables, which had not visibly felt its effects. Where the country was well wooded, the loftiest timbers had the topmost of their branches burned; yet none seemed totally destroyed by it; and where the luxuriance of the soil had obliterated its baneful appearance amongst the growing shrubs and plants, the ground, on examination, was found strewed over with the remains of branches and stumps that had been partially consumed by fire. Had this conflagration been occasioned, as some of us supposed, by repeated storms of violent lightning and thunder, it is reasonable to imagine we should have seen the forest trees much torn and shattered to pieces; which in no instance was observed.

As nothing further occurred, worthy any particular notice, I shall conclude my remarks on this country by dating the astronomical and nautical observations that were made for ascertaining its situation, and for other purposes of navigation.

The latitude of the situation of the ships in King George the Third's Sound, deduced from 9 meridional altitudes of the sun, taken by four different observers and quadrants, all nearly agreeing together, gave their mean result 35° 5' 30" south
The longitude deduced from the mean result of 25 sets of lunar distances of the sun and stars, taken before our arrival; 8 sets taken whilst at anchor in the sound; and 52 sets taken after our departure, and reduced to our station there; making in the whole 85 sets, each set containing 6 observed distances, and equal to 510 observations, gave
118° 14' 13" east
Kendall's chronometer, allowing the Portsmouth rate, on our arrival shewed
117° 46' 0"
Allowing the Cape rate
118° 23' 0"
Arnold's chronometer, on board the Chatham, allowing the Cape rate
117° 38' 30"

By the daily observations made at anchor, Kendall's chronometer appeared to have altered its rate as settled at the cape of Good Hope, and seemed to be going nearer to its original Portsmouth rate. The result of a fortnight's observations proved it to be gaining at the rate of 6" per day; and admitting the longitude to be right as ascertained by our observations, it was, at noon on the 9th of October, fast of mean time at Greenwich 26' 14": and as it was manifest on our arrival and during our residence at the Cape, that Kendall's chronometer was gaining materially on its Portsmouth rate, I have, in reducing the observations taken prior to our arrival in King George the Third's Sound, adopted a mean rate, which I trust will render the result of the several observations liable to little error.

The variation of the magnetic needle on board whilst at anchor, by two compasses, differed from 3° 55' to 7° 11". The mean result of 12 sets shewed 5° 20' westwardly variation.

The vertical inclination of the South point of the magnetic needle, marked end North, face East 65° 49'
Marked end North face West
Marked end South face East
65° 28'
Marked end South face West
65° 20'
Mean vertical inclination of the South point of the marine dipping needle
64° 54'

Our observations with regard to the tides were rather indecisive, as their fluctuation in the sound seemed to be greatly influenced by the force and direction of the wind; our last visit however to Oyster Harbour afforded an opportunity of noticing, that the rise and fall appeared on that day to be about four feet, and that it was high water 3h 42' after the moon passes the meridian. Whilst on the coast the vessels were constantly found to be further advanced, than what the run of the log intimated; but whether this was occasioned by errors in this practice, or by a current continually pressing eastward along the coast, we had no positive means of discovering; though, from our conclusions at the time, the latter should seem to be the case, as the log was not only used with much circumspection, but the line was frequently remeasured, and always found according to its due proportions.

{Page 58}


Passage from the south-west coast of New Holland—Pass Van Dieman's Land—Arrival in Dusky Bay, New Zealand—Violent storms—Leave Dusky Bay—A violent storm—Much water found in the ship—Part company with the Chatham—Discover the Snares—Proceed towards Otaheite—Arrive and join the Chatham there.

Our apprehensions of approaching boisterous weather, proved in the sequel to have been ill founded; for notwithstanding the s.w. swell on the 17th greatly increased, a gentle gale continued to attend us, chiefly from the western quarter, with pleasant weather. With this we steered to the s.e. and without the occurrence of any intervening circumstance worth relating, made such progress, that on the 26th, we had sight of Van Dieman's Land, bearing by compass e.n.e. 10 or 12 leagues distant. Soundings at this time could not be gained at the depth of 80 fathoms. During this passage few oceanic birds had been seen; a continual and heavy swell had rolled between the south and west, and we experienced the same sort of influence in our reckoning as on the coast of New Holland, in finding the ship every day further advanced than we expected. A continuance of fine weather allowed several lunar observations to be taken, which were directed to the purpose of ascertaining the longitude of our last station. The breeze from the s.e. was very light, and it was not until late in the day that the land could be plainly distinguished. At seven o'clock in the evening we tacked and stood to the s.w.; the Mewstone bearing by compass s. 88 e.; the easternmost part of the main land in sight n. 82½ e. the south-west cape being the nearest land n.e. 3 or 4 leagues distant; land appearing like an island, n. 11 w. and the westernmost part of the main land n. 5 w. This land lies from the south-west cape n. 16 w. about 9 leagues distant: between these points the coast seemed to be much broken, with some small islands lying a few miles from the shore. It was nearly calm during the night, and although within 3 or 4 leagues of the land, soundings could not gained at the depth of 130 fathoms.

In the morning we steered along the coast, with a fine breeze from n.n.w.; and about 8, under the meridian of the south-west; cape, the chronometer gave the longitude by the last rate 146° 27'   "
By the Cape rate
147    7  15
By the Portsmouth rate
146   8      
The former, places the south-west cape 20' further east than the longitude assigned to it by captain Cook. The chronometer placed the Swilly rock which we passed in the evening, according to the last rate, in longitude
147° 23' 30"
According to the Cape rate
148     3 45  
Portsmouth rate
147    2        

By the last rate the chronometer was 17½' to the east of Captain Cook's longitude of this rock, and made the mean difference of the longitude of this coast, 18' 45", to the eastward of Captain Cook's calculations; whence it would appear, that either the chronometer had acquired that error since our departure from King George the Third's Sound, or that we had placed that port a few miles too far to the eastward. The nearest land at six in the evening, was the south cape of Van Dieman's, which bore by compass n. 24 w. 6 or 7 leagues distant. Having now a fine gale at n.n.e. we took two reefs in the topsails; shaped a course for Dusky Bay in New Zealand; and by signal to the Chatham, appointed Facile Harbour in that bay as the next place of rendezvous.

The dysentery, though nearly subdued on board both vessels, had left those who had been afflicted with it in a very feeble and reduced state; and not knowing of any place so easily within our reach, where such excellent refreshments could be procured with so much facility, together with timber for planks, spars for tent poles, &c. &c. of which we stood in great need, I was induced to make choice of Dusky Bay, notwithstanding the inconvenience it labours under from the great depth of water, and want of anchorage in its entrance.

A favorable wind, attended in general with tolerably fine weather, varied between the n. and w. and afterwards between the w. and s. with fresh gales, until the 2d of november; when about 9 in the forenoon we were brought within sight of the coast of New Zealand, bearing by compass e.n.e. 12 or 14 leagues distant. We stood for the land, making all sail with a fresh breeze at s.w.; but the weather was so exceedingly hazy, that it was one o'clock in the afternoon before it was plainly distinguished; when Five Finger Point was seen bearing by compass n.e. 7 leagues distant, and the west cape e. by n. ½ n. The wind in the evening veered round to the n.n.w. and being light, with alternate calms, the boats were hoisted out to tow; by which means, and with the additional assistance of a heavy swell rolling up Dusky Bay, we anchored about 9 that evening in 40 fathoms soft bottom, in the arm leading into Facile Harbour. Five Finger Point by compass bore s. 38 w.; the west point of Parrot Island n. 35 e. and the nearest shore w.n.w. half a mile distant. About 11 the Chatham anchored, and, though within us, was in 60 fathoms water.

Although in the year 1773, I had visited Dusky Bay with Captain Cook in the Resolution, I had never been in Facile Harbour; for this reason I deemed it expedient, previous to moving the vessels, to examine and determine on a situation there most convenient for our several employments. On this occasion I was accompanied by Mr. Broughton and Mr. Whidbey. Having made our choice, we were greatly alarmed on our return by the report of two guns; but as the wind had much increased since our departure from the ships, we were not long at a loss how to account for this signal, and concluded that one, or both, of the vessels had driven from their anchorage.

We were no sooner clear of the islands, than our conjectures were in part confirmed. The Chatham was stationary, but the Discovery was moving; and by the time we reached her, about one o'clock, she was nearly a-breast of Five Finger Point. We found that, on the ship's driving, a second anchor had been resorted to; but the depth of water being upwards of 70 fathoms, she was not brought up; that anchor was again at the bows, and the other nearly up; so that we were shortly enabled to set the sails; and, having a strong gale at n.n.w. though attended with heavy squalls, I was not without hopes of reaching our destination in Facile Harbour before dusk. But about five, a very violent guff of wind carried away the strap of the fore-topsail meet block; the staysail sheets and haulyards gave way; and the fore-topmast staysail split: the gale seemed to be increasing, and as we were in too narrow a channel to repair these damages before we should have lost all the distance we had gained, it was exceedingly fortunate that we had Anchor Island Harbour to leeward of us, for which we immediately steered; and running in by the western entrance, anchored at the mouth of the cove in 26 fathoms, soft muddy bottom; and after veering to half a cable, our stern was in 13 fathoms water, about forty yards from the island that lies at the bottom of the cove. The ship was Readied by hawsers, from the bows to the points of the cove, and from the quarters to the trees on each side. The gale increased during the night; and it became necessary to strike the lower yards, and top-gallant masts. Our apprehensions for the safety of the Chatham were not relieved until, by rowing over to the Petrel Islands the next forenoon, and by walking across the land, we had the happiness to see her ride in perfect safety; but as she was directly to windward, and the gale continued to increase, Mr. Broughton was unable to get on board. Satisfied with the security of her station, we returned to the Discovery, when the violence of the gale from the n.w. obliged us to strike the topmasts, it not being in our power to vere more cable, or allow the ship to drive, without her being on the rocks astern; of which even with these precautions we entertained some fears; although in a situation perfectly land locked, and the weather shores not more than five cables length distant. The violence of the gale still continuing, the small bower anchor was dropped under foot. In the evening the wind moderated a little, which seemed to be for the sole purpose of acquiring and returning with new vigor, as, by two on saturday morning, the gale increased to so violent a storm, as to oblige us to lower the top-masts close down to the cap, and to get our yards and top-gallant masts fore and aft on the deck. From five o'clock until eight, it blew a perfect hurricane, attended with torrents of rain. We were happily in a very snug, secure little harbour, yet the sea beat with such unremitted violence against the rocks immediately astern of us, that had either the anchor, or cable given way, little else but inevitable destruction must have followed. Our anxiety was infinitely increased, by our solicitude for the welfare of the Chatham; but as the storm with us at n.w. by w. was directly from off the highland under which she rode, we comforted ourselves with the hope she might not experience its fury to the degree it affected us. About nine a most tremendous guff caused the ship to roll excessively; this was immediately followed by a flash of lightning, and a heavy crash of thunder which broke up the storm; and in the space of half an hour, the weather might be considered, comparatively speaking, as fair and pleasant. Mr. Broughton immediately repaired to the Chatham, and had the inexpressible pleasure of finding, that she had rode out the gale in a manner far beyond all expectation. At her station the storm had blown from the n.n.e. directly down the arm in which she was at anchor; the sea broke intirely over her, though it had not a fetch of three miles, and in a channel not three quarters of a mile wide; yet with her yards and topmasts close lowered and two anchors down, she rode out this heavy storm in perfect security. Mr. Broughton lost no time in getting under weigh, and worked into Facile Harbour; to which place, notwithstanding our having been obliged to seek shelter here, it was my intention to have gone; but as we were now completely dismantled, and finding that from these shores all our wants could conveniently be supplied, I determined to remain quiet, and to set about the several repairs we required with all possible dispatch. Parties were immediately employed on the different fer vices of cutting wood for fuel, timber for spars, and planks; brewing spruce beer; repairing the sails and rigging, casks, &c. &c. which necessary and essential duties engaged every person on board. A small boat with four men, daily employed in fishing, never returned without an abundance of excellent fish for present use, and a supply for every one who chose to salt them for future occasions. The n.w. gale did not intirely abandon us, it again blew with considerable violence on sunday, after which it moderated, and the weather became settled, serene and pleasant, particularly when the wind, which was generally the case, had its direction from the south or western quarters; by which means our several duties were executed pleasantly, and with great ease.

By the 13th, these necessary operations were in such a date of forwardness, as to allow a large party of officers and gentlemen in two boats, accompanied by Mr. Broughton in the Chatham's cutter, to attend me on an excursion over this spacious bay, with the hope of becoming acquainted with some of the inhabitants; and, if circumstances permitted, to explore the upper part of the northern arm, which by Captain Cook was called, "No body knows what," and the only part he did not thoroughly examine.

We found the arm in which Captain Cook places Apparent Island, to be divided into two branches, leaving that land a peninsula joined to the main land, by a very high, though narrow ridge of mountains. The perpendicular height, and very extraordinary shape, of the rocky part fronting the arm, render it a most singular and majestic promontory. Mr. Broughton undertook the right hand, or southern branch, which he found winding, first in a direction nearly n.e. by e. about 3½ miles; then e.s.e. about half a league; and there, in a northern direction, terminating in a small cove. The northern arm we found to run nearly straight about n.e. for 5 miles, then turning round to the northward, for half a league further, and ending in a small cove with very shallow water, in a north western direction. The heads of these arms, in conformity with Captain Cook's name of their entrance, I have called Some body knows what. We were exceedingly fortunate in having most delightful weather for these examinations, and returned on board on tuesday afternoon; though not without some disappointment that, after three days excursion, and landing in many places, particularly in Cascade and Indian Coves, which were formerly the resort of the natives, we no where found any traces of them, or any circumstance that in the least indicated the country being at present inhabited; if one or two referable huts be excepted which the officers of the Chatham met with in the neighbourhood of Facile Harbour, but which had not the appearance of having been lately occupied. Pleasant weather still continuing, on the 16th I took a survey of Anchor Island Harbour. It appeared to be perfectly secure, and may be found convenient, when accident may prevent vessels getting into Facile Harbour. It has two entrances; that to the north of the Petrel islands is a fair and clear channel, though of great depth; its general soundings being from 33 to 38 fathoms; in the narrowest part it is about a cable's length wide, and, I believe, free from any danger; as the shores are steep, without any sunken rocks or shoals, excepting within the passage close under the south side of large Petrel Island, where they are discoverable by the weeds growing upon them, and are quite out of the way of its navigation. The other passage is to the southward of the Petrel islands; and as, in all probability, a strong northerly wind would alone induce any person to make choice of this in preference to Facile Harbour, the s.w. point of large Petrel Island should be kept close on board, (which may be safely done) in order to weather the rock that appears above water in the middle of the harbour, and to avoid a sunken one of which there is not the least indication, and on which there is no greater depth than twelve feet at low water. Between this sunken rock, and the point from off which it lies about three quarters of a cable's length, and nearly in the direction to what I have called Entry Island, are sixteen fathoms. Keeping the rock in the harbour, which is always visible, in a line with what I have called North Entry Island, will be sufficient direction, to pass within the above-mentioned point and the sunken rock. This, however, with some other particulars, is better illustrated by the annexed sketch; which, with one of Facile Harbour taken by Mr. Broughton, I have subjoined to a copy of captain Cook's most excellent chart of this port, with such trifling additions as in the course of our observations we have been able to make; and on this head, I shall only further remark, that Anchor Island harbour, although a very safe and secure port, is not a very convenient one to get to sea from, owing to its narrow limits, great depth of water, and the above sunken rock which we discovered in its western entrance.

Most of our business with the shore being finished, our rigging overhauled, sails bent, and the ship ready for sea, with very fine weather and a gentle breeze from s.s.e., on the morning of the 18th we sailed out of the cove. The Chatham was not yet in readiness to depart; in order, however, that we might be conveniently Rationed to proceed together when circumstances should admit, I intended to place the ship abreast of Facile Harbour; but the breeze sailing, and the tide setting us towards the islands that lie from it, we were obliged to anchor sooner than I wished in 38 fathoms soft bottom. Five Finger Point by compass bore s. 40 w.; west point of Anchor Island s. 12 w. and the south point of Parrot Island n. 53 w. a quarter of a mile distant. The day was nearly calm, but the next morning brought with it a fresh breeze from the southward. The Chatham having completed her business, stood out into the roadstead, which obtained the name of Tempest Road, from the storm she there rode out on our arrival: but not seeing any probability of getting to sea, she returned into Facile Harbour. The gale increased towards noon, but in the evening the weather again became delightfully pleasant.

On sunday morning about 7 o'clock, a fresh breeze from the s.w. set in, accompanied by an unusually heavy swell, which giving us reason to apprehend some violence from the wind in that direction, we weighed, ran into Facile Harbour, and anchored abreast of the passage leading out through Parrot and Pigeon islands, in 38 fathoms soft bottom. This passage, though not exceeding a cable's length in width, we found to be a very excellent one, with soundings from 9 to 5 fathoms close to the shores. These soundings are on a ridge from island to island, as the water deepened to upwards of 30 fathoms immediately on either side. The Chatham was at anchor near us, and both vessels were conveniently stationed for proceeding to sea on a favorable opportunity presenting itself. The wind continued to blow very strong from the s.w. and brought with it a surf which broke very heavily on the shores in the bay; yet the vessels rode perfectly quiet. On monday, the sky became intirely obscured, the former serenity gave place to dark gloomy weather, and the wind became variable with much rain. The next morning was perfectly calm, and although it did not rain, the heavy atmosphere continued. We were now employed in completing our flock of water, and in procuring wood, spruce, or rather a species or cypress, and the tea plant, for brewing at sea. Towards noon, a breeze springing up from the n.w. both vessels sailed out of Dusky Bay. A very heavy swell rolled from the s.w. and westward; but having a fresh breeze, by 4 o'clock Five Finger Point bore n. by e. a league distant.

Thus we quitted Dusky Bay, greatly indebted to its most excellent refreshments, and the salubrity of its air. The good effects of a plentiful supply of fish, and spruce beer, were evident in the appearance of every individual in our little society. The health of our convalescents was perfectly re-established, and excepting one with a chronic complaint, and two wounded by cuts in their legs, we had not a man on the surgeon's list; though, on the most trifling occasion of indisposition, no person was ever permitted to attend his duty. Some wild fowl were procured, though they were by no means found in such numbers as when the Resolution was here in the year 1773, owing, in all probability, to the difference of the season; to which, possibly, is to be ascribed, our being unable to ascertain whether the geese then left here had propagated.

Captain Cook's very excellent description of this place precludes any material additions; and leaves me, as a transitory visitor, little else than the power of confirming his judicious remarks and opinions. One circumstance, however, may not be unworthy notice. Mr. Menzies here found the true winter's bark; exactly the same plant as that found at Terra del Fuego; but which escaped the observation of Captain Cook and our botanical gentlemen in 1773; of this, with the antarctic birch, flax, and one or two other plants, we took specimens on board, though the period of our reaching England seemed too distant to entertain hopes of their continuing alive. Captain Cook's recommendation of Facile Harbour to vessels bound to the southward, is highly judicious, as it is in all respects a safe, commodious, and convenient station; capable of supplying every article that can be ex peeled from this country, without going out of sight of the vessel: and it is rendered still more eligible, by our having found so good an outlet with northerly or n.w. winds, between Pigeon and Parrot islands; as, in consequence of the high land drawing those winds directly down the harbour, the western entrance will be found less convenient. No time should be lost on arriving in this bay, to seek security in some of its harbours; which, as Captain Cook very truly observes, "are numerous, safe, and convenient." For although the weather we experienced after the storm on our arrival, may justly be considered as delightful summer weather, yet it cannot be denied that the northerly winds blow with incredible fury; and as they always take the direction of the arms of the bay, they cause in them, though they are very narrow, a considerable sea, which, in addition to their great depth of water, render such anchoring places neither pleasant nor secure. I should not, however, suppose these storms to be very frequent, for two reasons. First, during our stay here, from the 26th of march until the 11th of may in the year 1773, which maybe considered as comprehending part of the winter season, we had no gale of wind comparable in point of violence to that, which we had lately experienced. This was my fifth visit to New Zealand and its neighbourhood; and although I have certainly seen much boisterous and tempestuous weather, I never before contended with so violent a storm. Secondly, the mountains in Anchor Island, Resolution Island, and all those of moderate height round the Bay, (the land of Five-Finger Point alone excepted,) which on our arrival were perfectly free from snow, were after the storm covered with it a considerable way down. Were such falls of snow to happen frequently, it is natural to conclude that vegetation would be severely checked, and that its productions would not have been found to flourish, as they certainly do in a most luxuriant manner. A few days fine weather soon removed the greater part of the snow; and that which remained on the high, distant, barren mountains, which for some days past had been entirely free from clouds, was observed to be greatly diminished.

I shall conclude our transactions in Dusky Bay, by noticing the few astronomical and nautical observations that were made in Anchor Island harbour.

The badness of the weather on our first arrival, and the short time I proposed to remain, made me conclude that the erection of the observatory on shore would be to little purpose. The latitude of the harbour was found to be one minute south of Captain Cook's calculation, or 45° 45' 36" His determination is, however, most likely to be correct, as mine was deduced from one day's observation only, with an artificial horizon; and, having agreed so nearly, any further investigation I deemed unnecessary.

The mean result of ten sets of altitudes taken between the 9th and 16th of November, for ascertaining the longitude of the chronometer, and to form some judgment as to its rate of going, were as follows, viz.

By the Portsmouth rate it placed Anchor Island Harbour in longitude 166° 42' 23"
By the Cape rate
167° 55' 12"
By King George the Third's Sound rate
167° 7' 40"
The true longitude as assigned to that place by Captain Cook
166° 15' 54"
Makes the Portsmouth rate east of the truth
26' 29"
Cape rate ditto
1° 39' 18"
King George the Third's Sound ditto
51' 46"
Mr. Arnold's watch on board the Chatham gave the longitude of Facile Harbour, according to the Cape rate
165° 48' 52"

Esteeming the true longitude of Anchor Island harbour to be 166° 15' 54", the chronometer was fast of mean time at Greenwich on the 16th at noon 26' 34"; whence it appeared, that it had gone nearly at mean time since leaving King George the Third's Sound, and that its having differed from Captain Cook's assigned longitude of Van Dieman's land was occasioned by its not having gained at the rate we allowed, and of course the longitude of King George the Third's Sound was not wrong. By the result of our observations here, it gained on an average about 3" per day, which error I shall allow, until a better opportunity of ascertaining its rate may offer.

The variation of the magnetic needle, observed on shore by three different compasses in 18 sets of azimuths, varied from 11° 17' to 17° 26', the mean result of which was 14° 55' 45" east variation. The vertical inclination of the south point of the magnetic needle on board was found to be—

Marked end North face East 70   3'
Ditto North face West
69°   8'
Ditto South face East
70°   5'
Ditto South face West
69° 35'
Mean inclination of the south point of the dipping needle
69° 43'

As we increased our distance from the land, the n.w. wind increased also. A swell at this time coming very heavily from the s.w. made me apprehensive the wind would shift round, and blow hard in that direction. The state of the mercury in the barometer, the gloominess of the weather, and every other appearance of the evening, indicated more wind from the s.w. than would be pleasant to be caught in on this dreary coast: we therefore steered south, under as much sail as we could carry, and made the necessary signals to the Chatham for the like purpose. Our lofty canvass was, however, spread a very short time before it blew so hard a gale, that we were under the necessity of close reefing the topsails, getting down the top-gallant yards, and striking the masts. The night was extremely dark; which, by ten, prevented our seeing the Chatham. The wind was now at n.n.w. very happily not on the shore, as by three in the morning its increased violence obliged us to furl the topsails. At this moment we were alarmed by finding six feet water in the hold, which the ship felt excessively, labouring much by being pressed down forward with that weight of water. This very unpleasant circumstance obliged us to feud directly before the wind and sea, for the purpose of freeing the ship; when, by receiving much water in the waste, the casks of beer and water flowed upon deck, broke from their securities and were stove to pieces. The cause of so much water in the hold, at first a matter of great surprize, was soon accounted for. The hand pumps had been, and were still, choaked; which induced the carpenter to believe, that because they discharged no water there was none in the ship. This, in all probability, had governed his examination all the latter part of the time we had been in port, and produced an accumulation that might have been attended with the most serious consequences, had not one of the quarter-masters heard in the tier, the water ruining about in the hold. The hand pumps were soon in order; and, to relieve the ship as soon as possible, the cross piece of the bits was unshipped, the launch got forward, and with the chain pumps the vessel by seven o'clock was made perfectly dry. The gale had now increased to a most furious storm, nearly equal to that we had experienced in Dusky Bay. The torrents of rain which fell, mixing with the sea raised by the violent flurries of the wind, kept us so much in darkness that we could not perceive any thing at the distance of an hundred yards in any direction; nor were we able to resume our southwardly course; the wind and sea obliging us to steer s.s.e. or right before the storm. We had not seen the Chatham since eleven o'clock the preceding evening, but concluding she would stand on if able to pursue a southerly course, I did not wish to bring to for her; particularly, as the wind was such as would soon set us clear of the coast of New Zealand, which was doubtless a very desirable object.

Towards nine in the forenoon the storm began to abate; at ten the wind veered round to the w.s.w.; the rain ceased, and the atmosphere became clear, but the Chatham was not to be discovered in any direction. There was, however, great probability of her being to windward; and as I was still apprehensive of a s.w. gale before we should be clear of this coast, I determined to lose no time in getting far enough to the southward to enable us to sail round the land and the Traps with such a wind. As Matavai Bay in Otaheite was the next appointed rendezvous, I concluded Mr. Broughton would do the same, and make the best of his way with the Chatham to that port. The mainsail and close-reefed topsails (all the sail the ship would bear) were now set, and keeping the wind on the beam, we steered s.s.e.; when about eleven o'clock, to our great astonishment land was discovered, bearing east 4 or 5 leagues distant. We knew of no land nearer than the south cape of New Zealand; and, by the courses we had steered there was scarcely a possibility of our being within less than 18 or 20 leagues of the Cape; but being flattered with the prospect of a meridional observation for the latitude, our decision was postponed until that should be ascertained. Noon brought us nearer the land, which by compass bore n.e. by e. to e.n.e. at the distance of three or four leagues only. By a tolerably good observation in latitude 48° 5' it was clearly proved, that this land could not, from its situation, be any part of New Zealand, as it was nearly three fourths of a degree to the southward of the most southern promontory of that country. Our longitude by the chronometer, was at this time 166° 4'; which situation was 18' more south, and 13' more east, than the log gave. The weather, though very hazy, being something clearer than before noon, we beheld, as we passed this land at the distance of two or three leagues, the sea breaking upon its shores with great violence, and discovered it to be composed of a cluster of seven craggy islands, extending about six miles in a direction n. 70 e. and s. 70 w. They appeared destitute of verdure, and it is more than probable they never produce any. The largest, which is the north-easternmost, I should suppose to be in extent equal to all the rest; it is about three leagues in circuit, sufficiently elevated to be seen in clear weather eight or nine leagues off, and is situated in latitude 48° 3', longitude 166° 20'. The latitude was ascertained by three sextants which nearly agreed; and the longitude reduced by the chronometer from Dusky Bay, by three sets of altitudes in the afternoon; viz. one set before we passed its meridian; another under it; the third after we had passed it. As these severally corresponded within a mere trifle, when reduced to the same point, I should presume that the longitude above stated is not likely to be materially incorrect. It was matter of some surprize how these islands could have escaped the attention of Captain Cook; but on laying them down in his chart of New Zealand, I found his tracks had not at any time reached within at least ten leagues of them. From the south cape they bear s. 40 w. 19 leagues, and from the southernmost part of the Traps s. 62½ w. 20 leagues distant. These islands, or rather rocks, for they appeared perfectly steril, I have named, on account of their situation, and the sort of weather there is great reason to expect in their vicinity, The Snares; as being very likely to draw the unguarded mariner into alarming difficulties. At four o'clock in the afternoon, the Snares bore by compass n. 30 w. five or six leagues distant. At day-light the next morning, we hauled to the n.e. By noon, the gale had sufficiently moderated to admit the spreading of all our canvass; at noon the observed latitude was 48° 18', longitude 169° 33'. I cannot avoid here mentioning the concern I felt in beholding the last of our sheep thrown overboard; the race of animals of the brute creation on board the Discovery, had certainly been very ill fated; out of thirty sheep taken on board at Portsmouth, no more than two came to the table, the rest died before we reached the equator; nor were we much more fortunate in the like number of wethers received at the Cape; two thirds of these, with seven ewes and six rams, intended as presents to our friends in the South-Sea islands, were at this time dead; notwithstanding they were all taken on board in exceedingly high condition, and had neither wanted care, plenty of wholesome food, nor good lodging.

With a pleasant, favorable gale; sometimes in the n.w. but chiefly from the s.w. quarter, and with tolerably fine weather, we stood to the e.n.e.; and made such progress, that by noon on the 8th of december we had reached the latitude of 37° 27'; longitude 207°14'. The wind veered round to the north with a moderate breeze, attended by dark gloomy weather and some rain. On saturday we were surrounded by a very thick fog, which, with much rain at intervals, continued until the 13th; when having a fine breeze at s.s.w. the fog cleared away, but it still remained very cloudy. We were however enabled to ascertain our situation for the first time since the 8th, to be in latitude 36° 13', longitude 214° 33', varying since that day 53' more to the north, and 28° 28' more to the east, than was shewn by the log. We stood to the north, under all the sail we could spread, but were not suffered long to pursue this course. In the latitude of 31° 43', longitude 214° 11', at noon on the 15th the wind veered round, and settled between the n.e. and n.n.e., obliging us to ply with a moderate breeze to the northward; in doing which so little was gained, that on saturday we had only reached the latitude of 31° 8', longitude 214° 34'. The wind now blew a fresh gale from the north, the topsails were reefed, the weather was very dark, gloomy, and excessively sultry, with continued lightning and thunder at some distance, until the morning; when the wind died away, and in its stead, extremely vivid forked lightning, with incessant peals of thunder, accompanied by torrents of rain, attended us, without intermission, until sunday noon. The thunder and lightning then ceased, but the rain still continued; and, contrary to our expectation, the wind resumed its n.n.e. direction, and blew so hard as to make the sinking our topgallant yards necessary. A remarkably smooth sea, with heavy, damp, close, cloudy weather, and little alteration in the wind, attended us until the 20th; it then moderated, and the top-gallant sails were spread.

Since the 17th we had not obtained any correct observations; but, by our reckoning, the latitude at noon was 30° 17', longitude 215° 22'. Although the wind from the north and n.n.e. was attended with hidden and violent flurries, yet the sea continued smooth, which indicated, that land, probably of some extent, existed not very far distant in that direction. After noon, we stood to the eastward about four leagues; when, suddenly, a very heavy swell was met from n.n.e. which was soon followed by such an increase of wind from that quarter, as reduced us to our close-reefed topsails. This gale, which proved the breaking up of the northerly wind, was of short duration: in the evening it moderated, and veered round by the east to the s.s.w. We made all sail to the north by west; but it was not until the wind became a very fresh breeze, that we were enabled to steer that course against the northerly swell, which drove the ship astern. This evening there were several small white tern hovering about the ship, seemingly with great inclination to alight on board. On wednesday morning, the head sea had for the most part subsided, and the wind seemed to have settled in the southern quarter; and blowing a gentle breeze with very pleasant weather, enabled me to obtain six sets of lunar distances, whose mean result reduced to noon gave the longitude 215° 22' 45". The chronometer, by the last rate shewed 215° 16' 45", the latitude was 29° 15'; which was, at this time, 6' further north than we expected.

We continued our route to the northward; which, with a gentle gale at s.s.e. and pleasant weather, brought us, by day-light on the 22d, in sight of land, bearing by compass n.e. ½ n. At first it appeared like three small high islands, the easternmost much resembling a vessel under sail. This land being at a considerable distance from the tracks of former navigators, I steered for it, in order to be satisfied of its extent, productions, and other circumstances worthy observation. In the forenoon, eight sets of lunar distances were obtained; which, as before, nearly corresponding with each other, gave, by their mean result, when reduced to noon, 215° 42' 40", these, with those taken the preceding day, comprehending 14 sets of distances, gave by their mean result 215° 39'. The latitude, by several sextants, was determined to be 27° 54'.

Since seeing the land in the morning, we had run eleven leagues; and had approached it sufficiently near to perceive, that all we had at first seen was united. It now bore, by compass, from n. 29 e. to n. 43 e. about 5 leagues distant, with a small island lying off its eastern side n. 45 e.

Assisted by a gentle s.e. gale, with fine pleasant weather, at three in the afternoon we were within about a league of the shore; yet no bottom was to be gained at the depth of 180 fathoms. Several canoes came off to the ship, and all means were used to invite them on board. They declined our entreaties, but seemed very solicitous that we should accept their invitations to land: which they signified by waving their paddles towards the coast, and by desiring us, in the language of the Great South-Sea nation, to go nearer to the shore. We bore away with that intent, but soon again brought to, on observing that two or three canoes were paddling in great haste towards the ship. After some persuasion, four men in one of the canoes came near enough to receive some presents, which seemed to please them exceedingly; and though their countrymen appeared to rebuke them for their rashness, the example was shortly followed by several others. It was not, however, without shewing every assurance of friendship, that any could be prevailed upon to come on board, until at length, the man who had brought about this intercourse seemed determined to establish it, by complying with our desires. On his entering the ship, he trembled and was much agitated; apprehension, astonishment, and admiration, equally appearing at the same instant; and though, on his being made welcome after the usual fashion, and presented with a small iron adz, his countenance became more serene and cheerful, yet he still appeared in a state of great anxiety. He soon communicated his reception and treatment to his surrounding countrymen; and we shortly had as many visitors as it was pleasant to entertain. They all seemed perfectly well acquainted with the uses to which they could apply iron, and how to estimate its value amongst themselves; as also the manner in which it was regarded by Europeans. They made no scruple, even with some force, to take articles of iron out of our hands; and, in lieu of them, with great courtesy and address presented, in return, some few fish, fishing-hooks, lines, and other trifles, which they seemed to wish should be accepted as presents, and not received in exchange. Looking-glasses, beads, and other trinkets of little importance, at first attracted their attention, and were gladly accepted; but no sooner did they discover that articles made of iron were common amongst us, than they refused all other presents, and wanted to barter every other gift for iron. I could not prevail on any of them to accept a few medals.

Their visit seemed prompted only by curiosity, as they were completely unarmed, and brought with them neither articles of food, nor manufacture. A few spears, and a club or two, were seen in one or two of the canoes only; two or three indifferent slings for stones were also noticed; with which they parted without the least reluctance.

We lay to until five o'clock in the hope of obtaining the name of this island, or of any other which might exist in its neighbourhood, since these people were evidently of the Great South-Sea nation; speaking, with some little difference of dialect, the same language; and resembling the Friendly islanders, more than the inhabitants of any other country. On this occasion, Towereroo the Sandwich islander was of little assistance; having been taken at an early period from home, and having been long absent, he had so much forgotten his mother tongue, as to be scarcely able to understand the language of these people better than ourselves. Two or three of them remained on board nearly an hour; but so unfixed and unsteady was their attention, which wandered from object to object, that it was impossible to gain from them any information. Their answers to almost every question were in the affirmative; and our enquiries as to the name of their island, &c. were continually interrupted by incessant invitations to go on shore. At length, I had reason to believe the name of the island was, Oparo; and that of their chief, Korie. Although I could not positively determine that these names were correctly ascertained, yet as there was a probability of their being so, I distinguished the island by the name of Oparo, until it might be found more properly entitled to another. By six in the evening, we had nearly seen round the island, which is of little extent; and not choosing to lose the advantage of a fine southwardly wind, we proceeded to the n.n.w. under all the sail we could spread.

As it was not my intention to stop at Oparo, no delay was occasioned by examining for anchorage, which probably may be found on both sides of its n.w. point. To the southward of that point is a small bay with a stony beach, through which there was the appearance of a considerable stream of water falling into the sea. The shores in most parts were so perfectly smooth, that landing might have been effected without the least difficulty. Round to the north of that point is another small bay, in which are a small islet and some rocks; behind these, the shore may be approached with great ease at any time. Indeed, there was not any part of the island which appeared to have been acted upon by heavy violent surfs, as the verdure in many places reached to the water's edge. The south extremity of the island appeared in some points of view to form a right angle, without the least interruption in the sides; about half a mile to the s.e. is a small detached islet; the shores are interspersed with sandy beaches; its greatest extent, which is in a n. 18 w. and s. 18 e. direction, is about six miles and a half, and it may possibly be about eighteen miles in circuit. This island is situated in the latitude of 27 36'; and, by our lunar observations of the two preceding days reduced to its center by the chronometer, is in longitude * 215° 58' 28"; the mean of the variation was 5° 40' eastwardly.

[* Vide Astronomical observations at Otaheite.]

Its principal character is a cluster of high craggy mountains, forming, in several places, most romantic pinnacles, with perpendicular cliffs nearly from their summits to the sea; the vacancies between the mountains would more probably be termed chasms than vallies, in which there was no great appearance of plenty, fertility, or cultivation; they were chiefly clothed with shrubs and dwarf trees. Neither the plantain, nor other spontaneous vegetable productions common to the inhabited tropical islands, presented themselves. The tops of six of the highest hills bore the appearance of fortified places, resembling redoubts; having a sort of block house, in the shape of an English glass house, in the center of each, with rows of pallisadoes a considerable way down the sides of the hills, nearly at equal distances. These, overhanging, seemed intended for advanced works, and apparently capable of defending the citadel by a few against a numerous host of assailants. On all of them, we noticed people, as if on duty, constantly moving about. What we considered as block houses, from their great similarity in appearance to that sort of building, were sufficiently large to lodge a considerable number of persons, and were the only habitations we saw. Yet from the number of canoes that in so short a time assembled around us, it is natural to conclude that the inhabitants are very frequently afloat, and to infer from this circumstance that the shores, and not those fortified hills which appeared to be in the center of the island, would be preferred for their general residence. We saw about thirty double and single canoes, though most of them were of the double sort: the single canoes were supported by an outrigger on one side, and all built much after the fashion of the Society Islands, without having their very high sterns, though the sterns of some of these were considerably elevated; and their bows were not without some little ornament. They were very neatly constructed, though the narrower canoes I ever saw. When it is considered that the builders of them are nearly destitute of iron, and possessed of very few implements of that valuable metal; and when the miserable tools they have generally recourse to for such operations are regarded, the mind is filled with admiration at their ingenuity, and persevering industry. The island did not appear to afford any large timber; the broadest planks of which the canoes were made, not exceeding twelve inches, confirmed us in this opinion, as they were probably cut out of the largest trees. Some of the stoutest double canoes accommodated from twenty-five to thirty men, of whom, on a moderate computation, three hundred were supposed to have been seen near the ship. These were all adults, and apparently none exceeding a middle age; so that the total number of inhabitants on the island can hardly be estimated at less than fifteen hundred. In this respect it must be considered prolific, notwithstanding its uncultivated appearance. The natives, however, appeared to be exceedingly well fed, of middling stature, extremely well made; and in general, their countenances were open, cheerful, and strongly marked with indications of hospitality. They were all, to a man, very solicitous that some of us should accompany them to the shore; and those who last quitted the ship, endeavoured with all their powers of persuasion, and some efforts of compulsion, to effect their purpose. On their departure they took hold of the hand of every one near them, with a view to get him into their canoe. They all had their hair cut short; and, excepting a wreath made of a broad long-leaved green plant, worn by some about the waist, they were intirely without clothing. Although the custom of tatowing prevails so generally with all the islanders of this ocean, these people were destitute of any such marks.

Independent of the protection their fortified retreats may afford, it did not appear that they were subject to much hostility, as scarcely any fears from wounds or other marks of violence were observed on their bodies. Their elevated fortified places (for certainly they had every appearance of being such) led some of us to conjecture, that they were frequently annoyed by troublesome neighbours from some other islands not far distant. But, as the canoes we saw were not even furnished with sails, nor had any appearance of having been ever equipped for an expedition beyond their own coast, it may reasonably be inferred, that they were not accustomed to voyages of any length. Yet, on the other hand, when the small extent of their island is taken into consideration, it is hard to reconcile that it is not the fear of foreign enemies, but the apprehension of domestic insurrection, that has induced the laborious construction of their fortified retreats; and as to the s.e. of this island there is an extensive space in the ocean hitherto but little frequented; it is not improbable that some islands may exist there, the inhabitants of which may occasionally make unfriendly visits to these people.

Leaving Oparo, we had pleasant weather with a gentle breeze from the s.e. At eight in the morning, the island was still visible from the deck, bearing by compass s.s.e. ½ e. at the distance of 18 leagues. The breeze between e. and s.e. carried us rapidly to the n.n.w. and brought us on sunday evening into the vicinity of some low islands discovered by Captain Carteret, and named the Duke of Gloucester's Islands. The evening was dark and gloomy, and not choosing to pass the spot assigned to them in the night, we continued to make short trips under our top-sails, until day light; after which we again resumed our course. Our latitude at noon was 19° 58', longitude 211° 46', which was 9' further south, and 23' further west, than was shewn by the log. At about 1° 33' to the west of the situation of the Duke of Gloucester's Islands according to Captain Carteret, we passed their latitude, without seeing any appearance of land. Having now a fresh gale at east, we entertained the pleasing hope of reaching Otaheite the next day; this flattering prospect was of short duration. Towards the evening, the wind veered to the n.e. and its violence obliged us to close reef the topsails. The gale was attended with very heavy squalls, and a torrent of rain continued almost without intermission until wednesday evening, when it ceased, and the wind still at n.e. became moderate. By standing onto the n.n.w., day light the next morning presented us with a view of Matavai, or Osnaburgh Island, at the distance of seven or eight leagues, bearing by compass n.e. by e. Our course was immediately shaped for Otaheite, the south point of which was visible by eleven o'clock, bearing by compass s. 70 w. 8 or 9 leagues distant. The wind coming to the north prevented our reaching Matavai Bay, and obliged us to ply to windward during the night. In the morning, with a gentle breeze from the n.e. we stood for Matavai under all the sail we could spread. About eight o'clock, a canoe came alongside with two pigs and some vegetables; a present from a sister of Otoo, residing in that part of the island of which we were then abreast. The natives informed me that we had been expected, and that they had been looking out for us two days, in consequence of information they laid they had received from an English vessel, then at anchor in Matavai Bay; and their description of her being perfectly intelligible, I did not hesitate to believe it was the Chatham, of which we shortly experienced the happiness of being convinced. Mr. Broughton soon visited us, and brought with him an early and acceptable supply, of the excellent productions of this fertile country. About ten, we anchored in Matavai Bay. Our mutual gratulations on meeting were extremely heightened, by receiving and communicating the happy tidings, that every individual composing the society of each vessel was in a most perfect state of health. Mr. Broughton had, since his arrival, received repeated marks of friendship and attention from the good people of the island. Having deemed it expedient to establish the following regulations on board the Discovery, I delivered a copy of them to Mr. Broughton, and directed that the rules might be strictly observed and attended to on board the Chatham; after which, Mr. Broughton presented me with a narrative of his proceedings during the time of our separation.

Rules and Orders for the guidance and conduct of all persons in, or belonging to, his Majesty's sloop Discovery and Chatham tender; enjoined to be most strictly observed in all intercourse with the natives of the several South Sea islands.

The principal, and indeed sole design, of the Discovery and Chatham calling at the islands in the pacific ocean, being to acquire such refreshments as those islands may be found to afford; and as these refreshments are to be purchased with articles which Europeans esteem of little value;—if each individual be permitted to make such bargains as he may think proper, not only the value of these articles will soon be reduced in the estimation of the Indians, but, until a proper and good understanding be established between the natives of the different islands, and ourselves, it may subject us to such disturbances as may be attended with the most fatal consequences. And as a due proportion of time will be allowed before the vessels depart from any island, (circumstances admitting thereof) for the providing such articles of curiosity, &c. as any person may be inclined and able to purchase:

It is, First, strictly enjoined, that no officer, seaman, or other person, in such commerce with the Indians, do give such articles of value, for any article of curiosity, as may tend hereafter to depreciate the value of iron, beads, &c. &c.

Secondly, That every fair means be used to cultivate a friendship with the different Indians, and on all occasions to treat them with every degree of kindness and humanity.

Thirdly, As proper persons will be appointed by the respective commanders to trade with the natives, tor the necessary provisions and refreshments; it is strictly enjoined that no officer, seaman, or other person, excepting him or them so appointed, do on any pretence, presume to trade, or offer to trade, for any article whatever, until permission shall have been granted for so doing.

Fourthly, Every person employed on shore, on any duty whatever, is strictly to attend to the same: and if it should appear that by neglect, any of the arms, working tools, boats furniture, or other matters committed to the charge of one or more persons, be lost, or suffered to be stolen, the full value of the same will be charged against his, or their wages, and he or they will likewise suffer such other punishment, as the nature of the offence may deserve; and as the additional pay, and the emoluments of the artificers, serving in his Majesty's navy, is for their encouragement, and the diligent performance of their duty in their respective trades or occupations, and for providing themselves with the requisite working tools, all such implements or tools belonging to the several artificers of the two vessels, are by their respective owners to be carefully preserved, that they may be always able to perform the duties of their respective departments; and should any one be hardy enough to sail in his obedience to this order, he shall be disrated from his employment during the continuance of the voyage, and suffer such other punishment as the crime may deserve.

Lastly, The same penalty will be inflicted on every person, who shall be found to embezzle, or be concerned in embezzling, or offering to trade with, any part of the ships or boats stores, furniture, &c. &c. be these of what nature soever.

Given on board his Majesty's sloop Discovery, at sea, the 25th of December, 1791.




[NLA Map No. t1277-e.]

[Click on the map to enlarge it.]


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