CELEBRATED TRAVELS AND TRAVELLERS.
THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
LONDON: GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, PRINTERS, ST. JOHN'S SQUARE.
[Frontispiece: Hoisting the signals for triangulation.]
CELEBRATED TRAVELS AND TRAVELLERS. THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
BY JULES VERNE.
WITH 96 ILLUSTRATIONS BY PHILIPPOTEAUX, BENETT, AND MATTHIS, AND 20 MAPS BY MATTHIS AND MORIEU.
London: SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, & RIVINGTON, CROWN BUILDINGS, 188, FLEET STREET. 1880.
[All rights reserved.]
This volume forms the second of three volumes under the general title of CELEBRATED TRAVELS AND TRAVELLERS. The first volume, already published, is entitled THE EXPLORATION OF THE WORLD, and covers a period in the World's History extending from B.C. 505, to the close of the xviith century. The present volume extends over the xviiith century, and the third volume will give an account of the GREAT EXPLORERS AND TRAVELLERS OF THE XIXTH CENTURY.
LIST OF WORKS CONSULTED.
ANSON (Geo., Lord). "Voyage round the World in 1740-44."
BARROW (Sir John). "Travels into the Interior of Southern Africa." London, 1806.
BOUGAINVILLE (Com. de). "Voyage round the World, 1766-69." Paris, 1771.
BRUCE (James). "Travels in Abyssinia between 1768-73." Edin., 1813.
COOK (Captain James). "Second Voyage to the South Pole and Round the World, 1772-75." London, 1777.
COOK and KING (Captain James). "Third Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, 1776-80." London, 1784.
GROSIER (L'Abbe). "China, General Description of the Empire." Paris, 1735.
HAWKESWORTH (Dr. J.). "Account of the Voyages of Discovery in the Southern Hemisphere by Commodore Byron, and Captains Wallis, Carteret, and Cook." London, 1773.
KENNEDY. "New Zealand." London, 1873.
LABILLARDIERE (T.). "Voyage in Search of La Perouse, 1791-93." Paris, 1801.
MASON. "Costumes of China." London, 1800.
PARK (Mungo). "Travels in Africa." London, 1815-16.
PARKINSON (S.). "Voyage to the South Seas." London, 1784.
PERON (F.) and FREYCINET (Louis d'). "Voyage to Australasia, 1800-4." Paris, 1808.
PEROUSE (J. Fr. G. de la). "Voyage round the World, 1785-88." Paris, 1798.
"TRANSACTIONS of the French Academy of Sciences," Vol. 7. Paris.
VAILLANT (Fr. le). "Travels in the Interior of Africa." Paris, 1790.
VANCOUVER (Capt. G.). "Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and round the World, from 1790-95." London, 1798.
THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE 18TH CENTURY.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS
REPRODUCED IN FAC-SIMILE FROM THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS, GIVING THE SOURCES WHENCE THEY ARE DERIVED.
PART THE FIRST. PAGE Hoisting the signals for triangulation . . . . . . . . Frontispiece
Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Selkirk falling over the precipice with his prey . . . . . . . . . 15
"I plunged my pike into his breast" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Fight between the Centurion and a Spanish galleon . . . . . . . 22
"The council chose the latter alternative" . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
"Most of them on horseback" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
"One of them tore the carrion with his teeth" . . . . . . . . . . 37
"They made a thousand grimaces" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
The natives waving palm-leaves as a sign of welcome . . . . . . . 52
Head-dresses of natives of Otahiti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
"Pursued by the arrows of the natives" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
A struggle between the Swallow and a Malay prah . . . . . . . . 68
Portrait of Bougainville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
"We made them sing" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Lancers' Island . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Pirogue of the Marquesas Islands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
Mdlle. Barre's adventure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Captain James Cook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
"They were pursued so closely" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Otahitian flute-player . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
A Fa-toka, New Zealand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Interior of a morai in Hawaii . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Tatooed head of a New Zealander . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
An I-pah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
A New Zealand family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
"They were kangaroos" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Otahitian fleet off Oparee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
"Three Indians emerged from the wood" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Among the icebergs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
New Zealand war canoe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
New Zealand utensils and weapons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
"Who passed his days in being fed by his wives" . . . . . . . . . 148
O-Too, King of Otaheite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Monuments in Easter Island . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Natives of Easter Island . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
Natives of the Marquesas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
Typical natives of the Sandwich Islands . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
"The natives had sufficient confidence" . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
"With the roof of considerable height" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
View of Christmas Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Kerguelen Islands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Fete in Cook's honour at Tonga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
Human sacrifice at Otahiti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Tree, from beneath which Cook observed the transit of Venus . . . 190
Cook's reception by the natives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193
Prince William's Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
"They gave him a little pig" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
PART THE SECOND.
Pirogues of the Admiralty Islands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
"Picking up the enemies' weapons" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
"A lighted brand was also presented to them" . . . . . . . . . . . 225
"The only one who had escaped" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
"A man's skull was found" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
Portrait of La Perouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Costumes of the inhabitants of Conception . . . . . . . . . . . . 244
Inhabitants of Easter Island . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246
Typical natives of the Port des Francais . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249
Shipwreck of French boats outside the Port des Francais . . . . . 251
"An Indian with a stag's head over his own" . . . . . . . . . . . 253
He traced the coast of Tartary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
Typical Orotchys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263
Portrait of D'Entrecasteaux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 274
"They came upon four natives" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
Fete in honour of D'Entrecasteaux at the Friendly Islands . . . . 285
Typical native of New Holland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287
Natives of New Caledonia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
View of the Island of Bouron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
Native hut in Endracht Land . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305
King of the Island of Timor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 306
The Swan River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
"A sail was seen on the horizon" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310
"The sick were carried on shore" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
View of Sydney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
Water-carrier at Timor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
"He received a cordial welcome" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
The Baobab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
Portrait of Mungo Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329
Natives of Senegal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330
A Hottentot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343
A Bosjeman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344
"Till Master Rees had given his verdict" . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
A Kaffir woman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349
Portrait of James Bruce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
"I found the monarch seated on his throne" . . . . . . . . . . . . 357
Chinese magic-lantern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
The Emperor of China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 368
The great wall of China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369
Chinese Prime Minister . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370
"The famous bird Leutze" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 372
Port Monterey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 381
Mackenzie's first view of the North Pacific Ocean . . . . . . . . 389
Portrait of Condamine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390
Celebrated Narrows of Manseriche . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
Omagua Indians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 393
Portrait of Alex. de Humboldt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 395
Gigantic vegetation on the banks of the Temi . . . . . . . . . . . 400
Map of France, corrected by order of the King, in accordance with the instructions of the Members of the Academy of Sciences . . . 10
Map of the Eastern Hemisphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Straits of Magellan, after Bougainville . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Polynesia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Map of Queen Charlotte Islands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
New Zealand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Louisiade Archipelago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Map of Australia, after Perron's atlas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Map of the east coast of New Holland, after Cook . . . . . . . . . 126
Captain Cook's chart of Otaheite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
Itinerary of the principal voyagers during the 18th century, after Cook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
Map of Surville's discoveries, after Fleurieu . . . . . . . . . . 212
Island discovered by M. Marion du Fresnes in 1772, called Prince Edward's Island by Cook in 1776 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
Map of the journey of La Perouse, after the atlas published by General Millet-Mureau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
Map of the coast of Asia, after the map of La Perouse's voyage . . 258
Map of part of North Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
Map of part of Western Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 332
Map of the Empire of China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
Map of North-West America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Map of the two Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385
Itinerary of Humboldt's route in equinoctial America . . . . . . . 399
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
I. ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS. PAGE Cassini, Picard, and La Hire—The Meridian line and the map of France—G. Delisle and D'Anville—The shape of the earth— Maupertuis in Lapland—Condamine at the Equator . . . . . . . . 3
II. VOYAGES IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Expedition of Wood Rogers—Adventures of Alexander Selkirk— Galapagos Island—Puerto Seguro—Return to England—Expedition of George Anson—Staten Island—Juan Fernandez—Tinian—Macao— Taking of the vessel—Canton river—Results of the Cruise . . . 13
CHAPTER II. CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
Roggewein—Scanty information respecting him—The uncertainty of his discoveries—Easter Island—The Pernicious Islands—Bauman Islands—New Britain—Arrival at Batavia—Byron—Stay at Rio Janeiro and Port Desire—Entrance into Magellan's Strait— Falkland Islands and Port Egmont—The Fuegians—Mas-a-fuero— Disappointment Islands—Danger Islands—Tinian—Return to Europe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Wallis and Carteret—Preparations for the Expedition—Difficult Navigation of the Strait of Magellan—Separation of the Dauphin and Swallow—Whitsunday Island—Queen Charlotte's Island—Cumberland and Henry Islands—Otaheite—Howe, Boscawen, and Keppel Islands—Wallis Islands—Batavia—The Cape—The Downs—Discovery of Pitcairn, Osnaburgh, and Gloucester Islands by Carteret—Santa Cruz Archipelago—Solomon Islands—St. George's Strait and New Ireland—Portland Island and the Admiralty Islands—Macassar and Batavia—Meeting with Bougainville in the Atlantic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Bougainville—Changes in the life of a Notary's son—Colonization of the Falkland Islands—Buenos Ayres and Rio Janiero—Cession of the Falkland Islands to Spain—Hydrographical Survey of the Straits of Magellan—The Pecherais—The Four Facardins— Otaheite—Incidents of stay there—Productions of the country and manners of the people—Samoan Islands—Tierra del Santo Espirito or the New Hebrides—The Louisiade—Anchorite Islands—New Guinea—Buotan—From Batavia to St. Malo . . . . . 71
CHAPTER III. CAPTAIN COOK'S FIRST VOYAGE.
The beginning of his maritime career—The command of the Adventure entrusted to him—Tierra del Fuego—Discovery of some islands in the Pomotou Archipelago—Arrival at Otaheite— Manners and Customs of the inhabitants—Discovery of other islands in the Society group—Arrival off New Zealand— Interview with the natives—Discovery of Cook's Strait— Circumnavigation of two large islands—Manners of the people and productions of the country . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
Survey of the Eastern Coast of Australia—Botany Bay—Wreck of the Endeavour—Crossing Torres Straits—Return to England . . 125
CHAPTER IV. CAPTAIN COOK'S SECOND VOYAGE.
Search for the Unknown—Second stay in New Zealand—Pomotou Archipelago—Second Stay at Otaheite—Survey of Tonga Islands— Third stay in New Zealand—Second crossing of the Pacific— Survey of Easter Island—Visit to the Marquesas . . . . . . . . 135
Fresh visit to Otaheite and the Friendly Archipelago—Exploration of the New Hebrides—Discovery of New Caledonia and the Island of Pines—Stay in Queen Charlotte's Strait—South Georgia— Accident to the Adventure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
CHAPTER V. CAPTAIN COOK'S THIRD VOYAGE.
Search for lands discovered by the French—Stay in Van Diemen's land—Queen Charlotte's Strait—Palmerston Island—Grand fetes at the Tonga Islands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
Discovery of the Sandwich Islands—Exploration of the Western Coast of America—From thence to Behring Straits—Return to the Hawaian Archipelago—History of Rono—Cook's death—Return of the Expedition to England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192
CHAPTER I. FRENCH NAVIGATORS.
Discoveries by Bouvet de Lozier in the Southern Seas—Surville— Land of the Arsacides—Incident during the stay at Port Praslin—Arrival off the Coast of New Ireland—Surville's death—Marion's discoveries in the Antarctic Ocean—His massacre in New Zealand—Kerguelen in Iceland and the Arctic Regions—The Contest of the Watches—Fleurien and Verdun de la Crenne . . . . 209
Expedition under command of La Perouse—St. Catherine's Island— Conception Island—Sandwich Islands—Survey of the American Coast—Fort des Francais—Loss of two boats—Monterey and the Indians of California—Stay at Macao—Cavite and Manilla—En route for China and Japan—Formosa—Quelpaert Island—The Coast of Tartary—Ternay Bay—The Tartars of Saghalien—The Orotchys—Straits of La Perouse—Ball at Kamtchatka—Navigator Archipelago—Massacre of M. de Langle and several of his companions—Botany Bay—Cessation of news of the expedition— D'Entrecasteaux sent in search of La Perouse—False News—Strait of D'Entrecasteaux—The Coast of New Caledonia—Land of the Arsacides—Natives of Bouka—Stay at Port Carteret—Admiralty Islands—Stay at Amboine—Lewin Land—Nuyts Land—Stay in Tasmania—Fete in the Friendly Islands—Details of La Perouse's visit to Tonga Tabou—Stay at Balado—Traces of La Perouse's Voyage to New Caledonia—Vanikoro—Sad end of the Expedition . . 241
Voyage by Captain Marchand—The Marquesas—Discovery of Nouka-Hiva—Manners and Customs of the people—Revolution Islands—The American Coast and Tchinkitane Port—Cox's Straits—Stay in the Sandwich Islands—Macao—Deception—Return to France—Discoveries by Bass and Flinders upon the Australian coast—Expedition under Captain Baudin—Endracht and De Witt Lands—Stay at Timor—Survey of Van Diemen's land—Separation of the Geographe and Naturaliste—Stay at Port Jackson—The Convicts—Pastoral riches of New South Wales—Return of the Naturaliste to France—Cruises by the Geographe and Casuarina to Nuyts, Edels, Endracht and De Witt Lands—Second Stay at Timor—Return to France . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294
CHAPTER II. AFRICAN EXPLORERS.
Shaw in Algeria and Tunis—Hornemann in the Fezzan—Adanson in Senegal—Houghton in Senegambia—Mungo Park and his two journeys to the Djoliba or Niger—Sego and Timbuctoo—Sparmann and Le Vaillant at the Cape, at Natal, and in the interior—Lacerda at Mozambique and Cazembe—Bruce in Abyssinia—The Sources of the Blue Nile—Tzana Lake—Browne's Voyage in Darfur . . . . . . . . 320
CHAPTER III. ASIA AND ITS INHABITANTS.
Tartary according to Witzen—China according to the Jesuits and Du Halde—Macartney in China—Stay at Chu-Sang—Arrival in Nankin— Negotiations—Reception of the Embassy by the Emperor—Fetes and ceremonies at Zhe Hol—Return to Pekin, and Europe—Volney— Choiseul Gouffier—Le Chevalier in the Troade—Olivier in Persia—A semi-Asiatic country—Russia according to Pallas . . . 361
CHAPTER IV. THE TWO AMERICAS.
The Western Coast of America—Juan de Fuca and De Fonte—The three voyages of Behring and Vancouver—The exploration of the Straits of De Fuca—Survey of the Archipelago of New Georgia and a portion of the American Coast—Exploration of the interior of America—Samuel Hearn—Discovery of the Coppermine River— Mackenzie, and the river named after him—Fraser River—Journey of Humboldt and De Bonpland—Teneriffe—Guachero cavern—The "Llanos"—The electric eels—The Amazon, Negro, and Orinoco rivers—The earth-eaters—Results of the journey—Humboldt's second journey—The Volcanitos, or Little Volcanoes—The cascade at Tequendama—The bridges of Icononzo—Crossing the Quindiu on men's backs—Quito and the Pinchincha—Ascent of Chimborazo—The Andes—Lima—The transit of Mercury—Exploration of Mexico— Mexico—Puebla and Cofre de Perote—Return to Europe . . . . . . 380
I. ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS.
Cassini—Picard and La Hire—The arc of the Meridian and the Map of France—G. Delisle and D'Anville—The Shape of the Earth—Maupertuis in Lapland—Condamine at the Equator.
Before we enter upon a recital of the great expeditions of the eighteenth century, we shall do well to chronicle the immense progress made during that period by the sciences. They rectified a crowd of prejudices and established a solid basis for the labours of astronomers and geographers. If we refer them solely to the matter before us, they radically modified cartography, and ensured for navigation a security hitherto unknown.
Although Galileo had observed the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites as early as 1610, his important discovery had been rendered useless by the indifference of Governments, the inadequacy of instruments, and the mistakes committed by his followers.
In 1660 Jean Dominique Cassini published his "Tables of the Satellites of Jupiter," which induced Colbert to send for him the following year, and which obtained for him the superintendence of the Paris Observatory.
In the month of July, 1671, Philippe de la Hire went to Uraniborg in the Island of Huen, to take observations for the situation of Tycho Brahe's Observatory. In that spot he calculated with the assistance of Cassini's Tables, and with an exactitude never before obtained, the difference between the longitudes of Paris and Uraniborg.
The Academy of Sciences sent the astronomer Jean Richter the same year to Cayenne, to study the parallaxes of the sun and moon, and to determine the distance of Mars and Venus from the earth. This voyage, which was entirely successful, was attended with unforeseen consequences, and resulted in inquiries shortly after entered into as to the shape of the earth.
Richter noticed that the pendulum lost two minutes, twenty-eight seconds at Cayenne, which proved that the momentum was less at this place than at Paris. From this fact, Newton and Huyghens deduced the flatness of the Globe at the Poles. Shortly afterwards, however, the computation of a terrestrial degree given by Abbe Picard, and the determination of the Meridional arc, arrived at by the Cassinis, father and son, led scientific men to an entirety different result, and induced them to consider the earth an elliptical figure, elongated towards the polar regions. Passionate discussions arose from this decision, and in them originated immense undertakings, from which astronomical and mathematical geography profited.
Picard undertook to estimate the space contained between the parallels of Amiens and Malvoisine, which comprises a degree and a third. The Academy, however, decided that a more exact result could be obtained by the calculation of a greater distance, and determined to portion out the entire length of France, from north to south, in degrees. For this purpose, they selected the meridian line which passes the Paris Observatory. This gigantic trigonometrical undertaking was commenced twenty years before the end of the seventeenth century, was interrupted, and recommenced, and finally finished towards 1720.
At the same time Louis XIV., urged by Colbert, gave orders for the preparation of a map of France. Men of science undertook voyages from 1679 to 1682, and by astronomical observations found the position of the coasts on the Ocean and Mediterranean. But even these undertakings, Picard's computation of the Meridional arc, the calculations which determined the latitude and longitude of certain large cities in France, and a map which gave the environs of Paris in detail with geometrical exactitude, were still insufficient data for a map of France.
As in the measurement of the Meridional arc, the only course to adopt was to cover the whole extent of the country with a network of triangles. Such was the basis of the large map of France which justly bears the name of Cassini.
The result of the earlier observations of Cassini and La Hire was to restrict France within much narrower limits than had hitherto been assigned to her.
Desborough Cooley in his "History of Voyages," says, "They deprived her (France) of several degrees of longitude in the length of her western coast, from Brittany to the Bay of Biscay. And in the same way retrenched about half a degree from Languedoc and La Provence." These alterations gave rise to a "bon-mot." Louis the XIV., in complimenting the Academicians upon their return, remarked, "I am sorry to see, gentlemen, that your journey has cost me a good part of my kingdom!"
So far, however, cartographers had ignored the corrections made by astronomers. In the middle of the seventeenth century, Peiresc and Gassendi had corrected upon the maps of the Mediterranean a difference of "five hundred" miles of distance between Marseilles and Alexandria. This important rectification was set aside as non-existent until the hydrographer, Jean Matthieu de Chazelles, who had assisted Cassini in his labours, was sent to the Levant to draw up a coast-chart for the Mediterranean.
"It was sufficiently clear," say the Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences, that the maps unduly extended the Continents of Europe, Africa, and America, and narrowed the Pacific Ocean between Asia and Europe. These errors had caused singular mistakes. During M. de Chaumont's voyage, when he went as Louis XIV.'s ambassador to Siam, the pilots, trusting to their charts, were mistaken in their calculations, and both in going and in returning went a good deal further than they imagined. In proceeding from the Cape of Good Hope to the island of Java they imagined themselves a long way from the Strait of Sunda, when in reality they were more than sixty leagues beyond it. And they were forced to put back for two days with a favourable wind to enter it. In the same way upon their return voyage from the Cape of Good Hope to France, they found themselves at the island of Flores, the most western of the Azores, when they conceived themselves to be at least a hundred and fifty leagues eastward of it. They were obliged to navigate for twelve days in an easterly direction in order to reach the French coast. As we have already said, the corrections made in the map of France were considerable. It was recognized that Perpignan and Collioures more especially were far more to the east than had been supposed. To gain a fair idea of the alteration, one has only to glance at the map of France published in the first part of the seventh volume of the memoirs of the Academy of Sciences. All the astronomical observations to which we have called attention are noted in it, and the original outline of the map, published by Sanson in 1679, makes the modification apparent.
Cassini was right in saying that cartography was no longer at its height as a science. In reality, Sanson had blindly followed the longitudes of Ptolemy, without taking any note of astronomical observations. His sons and grandsons had simply re-edited his maps as they were completed, and other geographers followed the same course.
William Delisle was the first to construct new maps, and to make use of modern discoveries. He arbitrarily rejected all that had been done before his time. His enthusiasm was so great that he had entirely carried out his project at the age of twenty-five. His brother, Joseph Nicolas, who taught astronomy in Russia, sent William materials for his maps. At the same time his younger brother, Delisle de la Ceyere, visited the coast of the Arctic Ocean, and astronomically fixed the position of the most important points. He embarked on board De Behring's vessel and died at Kamtchatka. That was the work of the three Delisles, but to William belongs the glory of having revolutionized geography.
"He succeeded," says Cooley, "in reconciling ancient and modern computations, and in collecting an immense mass of documents. Instead of limiting his corrections to any one quarter of the earth, he directed them to the entire globe. By this means he earned the right to be considered the founder of modern geography."
Peter the Great, on his way to Paris, paid a tribute to his merit by visiting him, and placing at his disposal all the information he himself possessed of the geography of Russia.
Could there be a more conclusive testimony to his worth than this from a stranger? and if French geographers are excelled in these days by those of Germany and England, is it not consolatory and encouraging to them to know, that they have excelled in a science, in which they are now struggling to regain their former superiority?
Delisle lived to witness the success of his pupil, J. B. d'Anville. If the latter is inferior to Adrian Valois in the matter of historical science, he deserved his high fame for the relative improvement of his outlines, and for the clear and artistic appearance of his maps.
"It is difficult," says M. E. Desjardins, in his "Geographie de la Gaule Romaine," "to understand the slight importance which has been attributed to his works as a geographer, mathematician, and draughtsman." The latter more especially do justice to his great merit. D'Anville was the first to construct a map by scientific methods, and that of itself is sufficient glory. In the department of historical geography, D'Anville exhibited unusual good sense in discussion, and a marvellous topographical instinct for identifications, but it is well to remember that he was neither a man of science, nor even well versed in classic authorities. His most beautiful work is his map of Italy, the dimensions of which, hitherto exaggerated, extended from the east to the west in accordance with the ideas of the ancients.
In 1735, Philip Buache, whose name as a geographer is justly celebrated, inaugurated a new method in his chart of the depths of the English Channel, by using contour levels to represent the variations of the soil.
Ten years later d'Apres De Mannevillette published his "Neptune Oriental," in which he rectified the charts of the African, Chinese, and Indian coasts. He added to it a nautical guide, which was the more precious at this period, as it was the first of the kind. Up to the close of his life he amended his manual, which served as a guide for all French naval officers during the latter part of the eighteenth century.
Of English astronomers and physicists, Hally was the chief. He published a theory of "Magnetic Variations," and a "History of the Monsoons," which gained for him the command of a vessel, that he might put his theory into practice.
That which D'Apres achieved for the French, Alexander Dalrymple accomplished for the English. His views, however, bordered on the hypothetical, and he believed in the existence of an Antarctic Continent.
He was succeeded by Horsburgh, whose name is justly dear to navigators.
We must now speak of two important expeditions, which ought to have settled the animated discussion as to the shape of the earth. The Academy of Sciences had despatched a mission to America, to compute the arc of the meridian at the Equator. It was composed of Godin, Bouguer, and La Condamine.
It was decided to entrust a similar expedition to the North to Maupertuis.
"If," said this scientific man, "the flatness of the earth be not greater then Huyghens supposed, the margin between the degrees of the meridian measured in France, and the first degrees of the meridian near the Equator, would not be too considerable to be attributed to possible errors of the observers, or to the imperfection of instruments. But, if the observation can be made at the Pole, the difference between the first degree of the meridian nearest the equatorial line, and, for example, the sixty-sixth degree, which crosses the polar circle, will be great enough, even by Huyghens' hypothesis, to show itself irresistibly, and beyond the possibility of miscalculation, because the difference would be repeated just as many times as there are intermediate degrees."
The problem thus neatly propounded ought to have obtained a ready solution both at the Pole and the Equator—a solution which would have settled the discussion, by proving Huyghens and Newton to be right.
The expedition embarked in a vessel equipped at Dunkerque. In addition to Maupertuis, it comprised De Clairaut, Camus, and Lemonnier, Academicians, Albey Outhier, canon of Bayeux, a secretary named Sommereux, a draughtsman, Herbelot, and the scientific Swedish astronomer, Celsius.
When the King of Sweden received the members of the mission at Stockholm, he said to them, "I have been in many bloody battles, but I should prefer finding myself in the midst of the most sanguinary, rather than join your expedition."
Certainly, it was not likely to prove a party of pleasure. The learned adventurers were to be tested by difficulties of every kind, by continued privation, by excessive cold. But what comparison can be made between their sufferings, and the agonies, the trials and the dangers which were to be encountered by the Arctic explorers, Ross, Parry, Hall, Payer, and many others.
Damiron in his "Eulogy of Maupertuis," says, "The houses at Tornea, north of the Gulf of Bothnia, almost in the Arctic Circle, are hidden under the snow. When one goes out, the air seems to pierce the lungs, the increasing degrees of frost are proclaimed by the incessant crackling of the wood, of which most of the houses are built. From the solitude which reigns in the streets, one might fancy that the inhabitants of the town were dead. At every step one meets mutilated figures, people who have lost arms or legs from the terrible severity of the temperature. And yet, the travellers did not intend pausing at Tornea."
Now-a-days these portions of the globe are better known, and the region of the Arctic climate thoroughly appreciated, which makes it easier to estimate the difficulties the inquirers encountered.
They commenced their operations in July, 1736. Beyond Tornea they found only uninhabited regions. They were obliged to rely upon their own resources for scaling the mountains, where they placed the signals intended to form the uninterrupted series of triangles.
Divided into two parties in order thus to obtain two measurements instead of one, and thereby also to diminish the chance of mistakes, the adventurous savants, after inconceivable hairbreadth escapes, of which an account can be found in the Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences for 1737, and after incredible efforts, decided that the length of the meridian circle, comprised between the parallels of Tornea and Kittis was 55,023 fathoms and a half. Thus below the Polar circle, the meridian degree comprised a thousand fathoms more than Cassini had imagined, and the terrestrial degree exceeded by 377 fathoms the length which Picard has reckoned it between Paris and Amiens.
The result, therefore, of this discovery (a result long repudiated by the Cassinis, both father and son), was that the earth was considerably flattened at the poles.
Voltaire somewhat maliciously said of it,—
Courrier de la physique, argonaute nouveau, Qui, franchissant les monts, qui, traversant les eaux, Ramenez des climats soumis aux trois couronnes, Vos perches, vos secteurs et surtout deux Laponnes. Vous avez confirme dans ces lieux pleins d'ennui Ce que Newton connut sans sortir de lui.
In much the same vein he alludes to the two sisters who accompanied Maupertuis upon his return, the attractions of one of whom proved irresistible,—
Cette erreur est trop ordinaire Et c'est la seule que l'on fit En allant au cercle polaire.
M. A. Maury in his "History of the Academy of Sciences," remarks,—
"At the same time, the importance of the instruments and methods employed by the astronomers sent to the North, afforded a support to the defenders of the theory of the flattening of the globes, which was hardly theirs by right, and in the following century the Swedish astronomer, Svanburg, rectified their involuntary exaggerations, in a fine work published by him in the French language."
Meantime the mission despatched by the Academy to Peru proceeded with analogous operations. It consisted of La Condamine, Bouguer, and Godin, three Academicians, Joseph de Jussieu, Governor of the Medical College, who undertook the botanical branch, Seniergues, a surgeon, Godin des Odonais, a clock-maker, and a draughtsman. They started from La Rochelle, on the 16th of May, 1735.
Upon reaching St. Domingo, they took several astronomical observations, and continued by way of Porto Bello, and Carthagena. Crossing the Isthmus of Panama, they disembarked at Manta in Peru, upon the 9th of March, 1736.
Arrived there, Bouguer and Condamine parted from their companions, studied the rapidity of the pendulum, and finally reached Quito by different routes. Condamine pursued his way along the coast, as far as Rio de las Esmeraldas, and drew the map of the entire country, which he traversed with such infinite toil. Bouguer went southwards towards Guayaquil, passing through marshy forests, and reaching Caracol at the foot of the Cordillera range of the Andes, which he was a week in crossing. This route had been previously taken by Alvarado, when seventy of his followers perished; amongst them, the three Spaniards who had attempted to penetrate to the interior. Bouguer reached Quito on the 10th of June. At that time this city contained between thirty and forty thousand inhabitants, and boasted of an episcopal president of the Assembly, and numbers of religious communities, besides two colleges.
Living there was cheap, with the exception of foreign merchandises, which realized exorbitant prices, so much so indeed, that a glass goblet fetched from eighteen to twenty francs.
The adventurers scaled the Pichincha, a mountain near Quito, the eruptions from which had more than once been fatal to the inhabitants, but they were not slow in discovering that they could not succeed in carrying their implements to the summit of the mountains, and that they must be satisfied with placing the signals upon the hills.
"An extraordinary phenomena may be witnessed almost every day upon the summit of these mountains," said Bouguer in the account he read before the Academy of Sciences, "which is probably as old as the world itself, but what it appeared was never witnessed by any one before us. We first remarked it when we were altogether upon a mountain called Pamba Marca. A cloud in which we had been enveloped, and which dispersed, allowed us a view of the rising sun, which was very brilliant. The cloud passed on, it was scarcely removed thirty paces when each of us distinguished his own shadow reflected above him, and saw only his own, because the cloud presented a broken surface.
"The short distance allowed us fully to recognize each part of the shadow; we distinguished the arms, the legs, the head, but we were most amazed at finding that the latter was surrounded by a glory, or aureole formed of two or three small concentric crowns of a very bright colour, containing the same variety of hues as the rainbow, red being the outer one. The spaces between the circles were equal, the last circle the weakest, and in the far distance, we perceived one large white one, which surrounded the whole. It produced the effect of a transfiguration upon the spectator."
The instruments employed by these scholars were not as accurate as more modern ones, and varied with changes of temperature, in consequence of which, they were forced to proceed most carefully, and with most minute accuracy, lest small errors accumulating should end by leading to greater ones. Thus, in their trigonometrical surveys Bouguer and his associates never calculated the third angle by the observation of the two first, but always observed all three.
Having calculated the number of fathoms contained in the extent of country surveyed, the next point was to discover what part this was of the earth's circumference, which could only be ascertained by means of astronomical observations.
After numerous obstacles, which it is impossible to give in detail, after curious discoveries, as for example the attraction exercised on the pendulum by mountains, the French inquirers arrived at conclusions which fully confirmed the result of the expedition to Lapland. They did not all return to France at the same time.
Jussieu continued his search after facts in natural history, and La Condamine decided to return by way of the Amazon River, making an important voyage, to which we shall have occasion to refer later.
II. VOYAGES IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Expedition of Wood Rogers—Adventures of Alexander Selkirk—Galapagos Island—Puerto Seguro—Return to England—Expedition of George Anson— Staten Island—Juan Fernandez—Tinian—Macao—Taking of the vessel— Canton river—Results of the Cruise.
The war of the Spanish succession was at its height, when some privateers of Bristol determined to fit out ships to attack the Spanish vessels, in the Pacific Ocean, and to devastate the coasts of South America. The two vessels chosen, the Duke and Duchess, under Captains Rogers and Courtenay, were carefully equipped, and stocked with everything necessary for so long a voyage, the famous Dampier, who had acquired a great reputation by his daring adventures and piracies, did not disdain to accept the title of chief pilot, and although this trip was richer in material results than in geographical discoveries, the account of it contains a few curious particulars worthy of preservation.
The Duke and Duchess set sail from the Royal Port of Bristol on the 2nd April, 1708. To begin with, we may note one interesting fact. Throughout the voyage a register was at the service of the crew, in which all the incidents of the voyage were to be noted, so that the slightest errors, and the most insignificant oversights could be rectified before the facts of the case faded from memory.
Nothing of note occurred on this voyage till the 22nd December, when the Falkland Islands, previously noticed by few navigators, were discovered. Rogers did not land on them, but contented himself with observing that the coast, although less precipitous, resembled that of Portland.
"All the hills," he added, "with their well-wooded and gradually sloping sides, appeared fertile, and the shore is not wanting in good harbours."
Now these islands do not possess a single tree, and the good harbours, as we shall presently see, are anything but numerous, so we can judge of the exactitude of the observations made by Rogers. Navigators have done well not to trust to them.
After passing this archipelago the two vessels steered due south, and penetrated as far as south lat. 60 degrees 58 minutes. Here, there was no night, the cold was intense, and the sea so rough that the Duchess sustained a few injuries. The chief officers of the two vessels assembled in council, agreed that it would be better not to attempt to go further south, and the course was changed for the west. On the 15th January, 1709, Cape Horn is said to have been doubled, and the southern ocean entered.
Up to this date the position of the island of Juan Fernandez, was differently given on nearly all maps, and Wood Rogers, who intended to harbour there, take in water, and get a little fresh meat, came upon it almost unawares.
On the 1st February, he embarked in a little boat to try and find an anchorage. Whilst his people were awaiting his return, a large fire was noticed on shore. Had some Spanish or French vessels cast anchor here? Would it be necessary to fight for the water and food required? Every preparation was made during the night, but in the morning no ship was in sight. Conjectures were already being hazarded as to whether the enemy had retired, when the end was put to all surmises by the return of the boat, bringing in it a man clad in goatskins, whose personal appearance was yet more savage than his garments.
It was a Scotch mariner, Alexander Selkirk by name, who in consequence of a quarrel with the captain of his ship, had been left on this desert island four years and a half before. The fire which had attracted notice had been lighted by him.
During his stay on the island of Juan Fernandez, Selkirk had seen many vessels pass, but only two, both Spanish, had cast anchor. Discovered by the sailors, Selkirk had been fired upon, and only escaped death by the agility with which he managed to climb into a tree and hide.
He told how he had been put ashore with his clothes, his bed, a pound of powder, some bullets, a little tobacco, a hatchet, a knife, a kettle, a Bible, with a few other devotional books, his nautical instruments and books.
Poor Selkirk provided for his wants as best he could, but during the first few months he had great difficulty in conquering the sadness and mastering the horror consequent upon his terrible loneliness. He built two huts of willow, which he covered with a sort of rush, and lined with the skins of the goats he killed to satisfy his hunger, so long as his ammunition lasted. When it was likely to fail, he managed to strike a light by rubbing two pieces of pimento wood together. When he had quite exhausted his ammunition, he caught the goats as they ran, his agility had become so great by dint of constant exercise, that he scoured the woods, rocks, and hills, with a perfectly incredible speed. We had sufficient proof of his skill, when he went hunting with us. He outran and exhausted our best hunters, and an excellent dog which we had on board; he easily caught the goats, and brought them to us on his back. He himself related to us, that one day he chased his prey so eagerly to the edge of a precipice, which was concealed by bushes, that they rolled over and over together, until they reached the bottom. He lost consciousness through that fall, and upon discovering that the goat lay under him quite dead, after remaining where he was for twenty-four hours, he with the utmost difficulty succeeded in crawling to his cabin, which was about a mile distant; and he was unable to walk again for six days.
This deserted wretch managed to season his food with the turnips sown by the crew of a ship, with cabbages, capsicums, and all-spice. When his clothes and shoes were worn out, a process which occupied but a short time, he ingeniously constructed new ones of goatskin, sewing them together with a nail, which served him as a needle. When his knife was useless, he constructed a new one from the cask-hoops he found on the shore. He had so far lost the use of speech, that he could only make himself understood by an effort. Rogers took him on board, and appointed him boatswain's mate.
Selkirk was not the first sailor abandoned upon the island of Juan Fernandez. It may be remembered that Dampier had already rescued an unfortunate Mosquito man, who was abandoned from 1681 to 1684. Sharp and other buccaneers have related that the sole survivor of a crew of a vessel wrecked on this coast, lived there for five years, until he was rescued by another ship. Saintine, in his recent novel, "Alone," has detailed Selkirk's adventures.
Upon the 14th of February, the Duke and Duchess left Juan Fernandez, and commenced their operations against the Spaniards. Rogers seized Guayaquil, for which he obtained a large ransom, and captured several vessels, which, however, provided him with more prisoners than money.
This part of his voyage concerns us but little, and a few particulars only are interesting, as, for instance, his mention of a monkey in the Gorgus Island, who was so lazy, that he was nicknamed the Sluggard, and of the inhabitants of Tecamez, who repulsed the new-comers with poisoned arrows, and guns. He also speaks of the Galapagos Island, situated two degrees of northern latitude. According to Rogers, this cluster of islands was numerous, but out of them all one only provided fresh water. Turtle-doves existed there in great quantities, and tortoises, and sea-turtles, of an extraordinary size abounded, thence the name given by the Spaniards to this group.
Sea-dogs also were common, one of them had the temerity to attack Rogers. "I was walking along the shore," he says, "when it left the water, his jaws gaping, as quickly and ferociously as a dog escaping from his chain. Three times he attacked me, I plunged my pike into his breast, and each time I inflicted such a wound that he fled howling horribly. Finally, turning towards me, he stopped to growl and show his fangs. Scarcely twenty-four hours earlier, one of my crew had narrowly escaped being devoured by a monster of the same family."
In December, Rogers repaired to Puerto Seguro, upon the Californian coast, with a Manilla galleon, which he had seized. Many of his men penetrated to the interior; he found large forest trees, but not the slightest appearance of culture, although smoke indicated the existence of inhabitants.
The inhabitants, according to Albey Presort's "History of Voyages," were straight built and powerful, blacker than any Indian tribe hitherto met with in the Pacific Ocean Seas. They had long black hair plaited, which reached below the waist. All the men went about naked, but the women wore a garment, either composed of leaves or of stuff made from them, and sometimes the skins of beasts and birds. Occasionally they wore necklaces and bracelets made of bits of wood or shells. Others adorned their necks with small red berries and pearls. Evidently they did not know how to pierce holes in them, for they notched them and joined them by a thread. They valued these ornaments so highly, that they refused to change them for English necklaces of glass. Their chief anxiety was to obtain knives and useful implements.
The Duke and Duchess left Porto Segura on the 12th January, 1710, and reached the island of Guaham, of the Mariannes, in the course of two months. Here they revictualled, and passing by the Straits of Boutan and Saleyer, reached Batavia. After a necessary delay at the latter place, and at the Cape of Good Hope, Rogers cast anchor in the Downs upon the 1st of October.
In spite of Rogers' reticence with regard to the immense riches he brought with him, a good idea of their extent may be gathered from the account of ingots, vessels of silver and gold, and pearls, with which he delighted the shipowners.
We now come to our account of Admiral Anson's voyage, which almost belongs to the category of naval warfare, but with it we may close the list of piratical expeditions, which dishonoured the victors without ruining the vanquished. And if he brought no new acquisition to geography, his account teams with judicious observations, and interesting remarks about a country then little known.
The merit of them, however, if we are to believe Nichols' Literary anecdotes, rests rather with Benjamin Robins, than, as the title would appear to indicate, with the chaplain of the expedition, Richard Walter.
George Anson was born in Staffordshire in 1697. A sailor from his childhood, he early brought himself into notice.
He was already well known as a clever and fortunate captain, when in 1739 he was offered the command of a squadron. It consisted of the Centurion, 60 guns, the Gloucester and Severe, each 50 guns, the Pearl, 40 guns, the Wager, 28 guns. To it were attached also the sloop Trial, and two transports carrying food and ammunition. In addition to the crew of 1460, a reinforcement of 470 marines was added to the fleet.
Leaving England on the 18th September, 1740, the expedition proceeded by way of Madeira, past the island of St. Catharine, along the Brazilian coast, by St. Julian Harbour, and finally crossed the Strait of Lemaire.
"Terrible," said the narrative, "as the aspect of Tierra del Fuego may be, that of Staten Island is more horrible still. It consists of a series of inaccessible rocks, crowned with sharp points. Prodigiously high, they are covered with eternal snow, and edged with precipices. In short, it is impossible to conceive anything more deserted, or more wild than this region."
Scarcely had the last vessels of the squadron filed through the strait, than a series of heavy gales, squalls, and storms, caused the oldest sailors to vow that all they had hitherto known of tempests were nothing in comparison.
This fearful experience lasted seven weeks without intermission. It is needless to state that the vessels sustained great damage, that many men were swept away by the waves, numbers destroyed by illnesses occasioned by the exposure to constant damp, and want of sufficient nourishment.
Two of the vessels, the Severe and the Pearl, were engulfed, and four others were lost sight of. Anson was unable to reach Valdivia, the rendezvous he had selected in case of separation; carried far to the north, he could only arrest his course at Juan Fernandez, which he reached upon the 9th of June.
The Centurion had the greatest need of rest. She had lost eighty of her crew, her supply of water had failed, and the sailors were so weakened by scurvy, that ten only of the remaining number were available for the watch. The other vessels, in an equally bad plight, were not long in regaining her.
The first care was to restore the exhausted crews, and to repair the worst injuries sustained by the vessels. Anson sent the sick on shore and installed them in a sheltered hospital in the open air, then putting himself at the head of the most enterprising sailors, he scoured the entire island, and thoroughly examined its roads and shores. The best anchorage, according to his report, was in Cumberland Bay. The south-eastern portion of Juan Fernandez, a little island scarcely five leagues by two in extent, is dry, rocky, treeless; the ground lies low, and is level in comparison with the northern portion. It produces water-cresses, purslain, sorrels, turnips, and Sicilian radishes in abundance, as well as oats and clover. Anson sowed carrots and lettuces, and planted plums, apricots, and peaches. He soon discovered that the number of goats, left by the buccaneers, and which had multiplied marvellously, had since decreased.
The Spaniards, eager to deprive their enemies of this valuable resource, had let loose a quantity of famished dogs upon the island, who chased the goats, and devoured so many of them, that, at the time of Anson's visit, scarcely two hundred remained. The Commodore, for so Anson is always called in the narrative of this voyage, reconnoitered the Island of Mas a Fuero, which is only twenty-five leagues west of Juan Fernandez. Smaller than the latter, it is more wooded, better watered, and possessed more goats.
At the beginning of December, the crews were sufficiently recovered for Anson to put into execution his projected attack upon the Spaniards. He commenced by seizing several ships laden with precious merchandise and ingots, and then set fire to the city of Paita. Upon this occasion the Spaniards estimated their loss at one and a half million piastres.
Anson then proceeded to Quibo Bay, near Panama, to lie in wait for the galleon which, every year, transported the treasures of the Philippine Islands to Acapulco. There, although the English met with no inhabitants in the miserable huts, they found heaps of shells and beautiful mother of pearl left there during the summer months by the fishermen of Panama. In mentioning the resources of this place, we must not omit the immense turtles, which usually weighed two hundred pounds, and which were caught in a singular manner. When a shoal of them were seen floating asleep upon the surface of the ocean, a good swimmer would plunge in a few fathoms deep, and rising, seize the turtle towards the tail, and endeavour to force it down. Upon awakening, the creature's struggles to free itself suffice to support both the man and his prey, until the arrival of a boat to receive them both.
After a fruitless cruise, Anson determined to burn three of the Spanish vessels which he had seized and equipped. Distributing the crews and cargo upon the Centurion and the Gloucester, the only two vessels remaining to him, he decided upon the 6th of May, 1742, to make for China, where he hoped to find reinforcements and supplies.
But this voyage, which he expected to accomplish in sixty days, took him fully four months. After a violent gale, the Gloucester, having all but foundered, and her crew being too reduced to work her, was burnt. Her cargo of silver, and her supplies were trans-shipped to the Centurion, which alone remained of all that magnificent fleet which two years earlier had set sail from England!
Thrown out of his course, far to the north, Anson discovered on the 26th of August, the Isles of Atanacan and Serigan, and the following day those of Saypan, Tinian, and Agnigan, which form a part of the Marianne Archipelago.
A Spaniard, a sergeant, whom he captured in a small bark in these seas, told him that the island of Tinian was inhabited, and abounded with cattle, fowls, and excellent fruits, such as oranges, lemons, limes, bread fruit, &c. Nowhere could the Centurion have found a more welcome port for her exhausted crew, now numbering only seventy-one men, worn out by privation and illness, the only survivors of the 2000 sailors who had manned the fleet at its departure.
"The soil of this island," says the narrative, "is dry and somewhat sandy, which makes the verdure of the meadows and woods more delicate and more uniform than is usually the case in tropical climates.
"The ground rises gently from the English encampment to the centre of the isle, but before its greatest height is reached, one meets with sloping glade, covered with fine clover, and many brilliant flowers, and bordered by beautiful fruit-trees.
"The animals, who, for the greater part of the year, are the only lords of this beautiful retreat, add to its romantic charm, and contribute not a little to its marvellous appearance. Thousands of cattle may be seen grazing together in a vast meadow, and the sight is the more singular as the animals are all of a milk white colour, with the exception of their ears, which are generally black. Although it is a desert-island, the sight and sound of such a number of domestic animals, rushing in crowds through the woods, suggest the idea of farmhouses and villages."
Truly an enchanting description! But has not the author rather drawn upon his imagination for the charming details of his description?
After so long a voyage, after so many storms, it is little to be wondered at, if the verdant woods, the exuberant vegetation, and the abundance of animal life, profoundly impressed the minds of Anson's companions. Well! we shall soon learn whether his successors at Tinian found it as wonderful as he did.
Meanwhile Anson was not altogether free from anxiety. It was true that his ships were repaired, but many of his men remained on land to recover their strength, and but a small number of able-bodied seamen remained on board with him. The roadstead being lined with coral, great precautions were necessary to save the cables from being cut, but in spite of them, at new moon, a sudden tempest arose and broke the ship loose. The anchors held well, but the hawsers gave way, and the Centurion was carried out to sea. The thunder growled ceaselessly, and the rain fell with such violence, that the signals of distress which were given by the crew were not even heard. Anson, most of his officers, and a large part of the crew, numbering one hundred and thirteen persons, remained on land and found themselves deprived of the only means they possessed of leaving Tinian. Their despair was great, their consternation inexpressible. But Anson, with his energy and endless resources, soon roused his companions from their despair! One vessel, that which they had captured from the Spaniards, still remained to them, and it occurred to them to lengthen it, until it could contain them all with the necessary provisions for a voyage to China. However, after nineteen days, the Centurion returned, and the English, embarking in her upon the 21st of October, were not long in reaching Macao, putting into a friendly and civilized port for the first time since their departure from England, two years before.
"Macao," says Anson, "formerly rich, well populated, and capable of self-defence against the Chinese Government, is greatly shorn of its ancient splendour! Although still inhabited by the Portuguese and ruled by a Governor, nominated by the King of Portugal, it is at the mercy of the Chinese, who can starve the inhabitants, or take possession of it, for which reasons the Portuguese Governor is very careful not to offend them."
Anson was forced to write an imperious letter to the Chinese Governor, before he could obtain permission to buy, even at high prices, the provisions and stores he required. He then publicly announced his intention of leaving for Batavia and set sail on the 19th of April, 1743. But, instead of steering for the Dutch possession, he directed his course towards the Philippine Islands, where, for several days, he awaited the arrival of the galleon returning from Acapulco, laden with the proceeds of the sale of her rich cargo. These vessels usually carried forty-four guns, and were manned by a crew of over 500 men. Anson had only 200 sailors, of whom thirty were but lads, but this disproportion did not deter him, for he had the expectation of rich booty, and the cupidity of his men was sufficient guarantee of their courage.
"Why," asked Anson one day of his steward, "why do you no longer give us mutton for dinner? Have we eaten all the sheep we bought in China?"
"Pray excuse me, Commodore," replied the steward, "but I am reserving the only two which remain for the Captain of the galleon."
No one, not even the steward, doubted of success! Anson well understood how to secure it, and the efficiency of his men compensated for their reduced numbers. The struggle was hot, the straw mats which filled the rigging of the galleon took fire and the flames rose as high as the mizen mast. The Spaniards found the double enemies too much! After a sharp contest of two hours, during which sixty-seven of their men were killed and eighty-four wounded, they surrendered.
It was a rich prize, 1,313,842 "pieces of eight," and 35,682 ounces of ingot silver, with other merchandise of little value in comparison with the money. This booty, added to others, amounted to nearly 400,000l, without taking into account the vessels, goods, &c., of the Spaniards which the English squadron had burnt or destroyed, and which could not be reckoned at less than 600,000l.
[Footnote 1: A Spanish coin, so called, because it represents the eighth of a doubloon, it is worth about nine shillings English money.]
Anson convoyed his prize to the Canton River, where he sold it much below its value, for 6000 piastres. He left on the 10th of December, and reached Spithead on the 15th of June, 1744, after an absence of three years and nine months. He made a triumphal entry into London. The half-million of money, which was the result of his numerous prizes, was conveyed through the city in thirty-two chariots, to the sound of trumpets and beating of drums and amidst the shouts of the people.
The money was divided between himself, his officers, and men; the king himself could not claim a share.
Anson was created rear-admiral shortly after his return, and received important commands.
In 1747, he captured the Marquis of La Jonquiere Taffanel, after an heroic struggle. For this exploit, he was made First Lord of the Admiralty and Admiral.
In 1758, he covered the attempted descent of the English near St. Malo, and died in London a short time after his return.
CHAPTER II. CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
Roggewein—The little that is known of him—The uncertainty of his discoveries—Easter Island—The Pernicious Islands—The Baumans—New Britain—Arrival in Batavia—Byron—Stay at Rio Janeiro and Port Desire—Entrance into Straits of Magellan—Falkland Islands and Port Egmont—The Fuegians—Mas a Fuero—Disappointment Islands—Danger Islands—Tinian—Return to Europe.
As early as 1669, Roggewein the elder had petitioned the Dutch West India Company for three armed vessels, in order to prosecute his discoveries in the Pacific Ocean. His project was favourably received, but a coolness in the relations between Spain and Holland forced the Batavian government to relinquish the expedition for a time. Upon his death-bed Roggewein forced from his son Jacob a promise to carry the plan he had conceived into execution.
Circumstances, over which he had no control, for a long time hindered the fulfilment of his promise. It was only after several voyages in the Indian seas, after having even been judge in the Batavian Justice Court, that at length Jacob Roggewein was in a position to take the necessary steps with the West India Company. We have no means of finding out Roggewein's age in 1721, or of ascertaining what were his claims to the command of an expedition of discovery. Most biographical dictionaries honour him with but a slight mention, perhaps of a couple of lines, and Fleurieu, in his learned and exhaustive account of the Dutch navigator, was unable to find out anything certain about him.
Moreover, the narrative of the voyage was written not by Roggewein, but by a German named Behrens. We may, therefore, with some justice, attribute the obscurities and contradictions of the particulars given, and their general want of accuracy, rather to the narrator than to the navigator. It even appears sometimes (and this is far from improbable), that Roggewein was ignorant of the voyages and discoveries of his predecessors and contemporaries.
Upon the 21st of August, 1721, three vessels set sail from Texel, under his command. They were, the Eagle of 36 guns, and with a crew of 111 men, the Tienhoven of 28 guns and 100 men, Captain James Bauman, and the galley African of 14 guns and a crew of 60 men, Captain Henry Rosenthal. Their voyage across the Atlantic afforded no particulars of interest. Touching at Rio, Roggewein went in search of an island which he named Auke's Magdeland, and which would appear to be the same as the Land of the Virgin, Hawkins' Virginia, and the Archipelago of the Falkland, or Malouine Islands, unless indeed it was Southern Georgia. Although these islands were then well known, it would appear that the Dutch knew little of their whereabouts, as after vainly seeking the Falkland Isles, they set to work to look for the island St. Louis, belonging to the French, apparently quite unaware that they belonged to the same group.
There are few lands indeed which have borne so many different names as Pepys Isles, Conti Isles, and many which we need not mention. It would be easy to count up a dozen.
After discovering, or rather noticing an island below the parallel of the Straits of Magellan, about twenty-four leagues from the American continent, of two hundred leagues in circumference, which he named South Belgium, Roggewein passed through the Straits of Lemaire, or possibly was carried by the current to 62-1/2 degrees of southern latitude. Finally, he regained the coast of Chili; and cast anchor opposite the island of Mocha, which he found deserted. He afterwards reached Juan Fernandez, where he met with the Tienhoven, from which he had been separated since the 21st of December.
The vessels left this harbour before the end of March, and steered to the west-north-west, in search of the land discovered by Davis, between 27 degrees and 28 degrees south.
After a search of several days, Roggewein sighted an island upon the 6th of April, 1722, which he named Easter Island.
We will not stop to enumerate the exaggerated dimensions claimed for this island by the Dutch navigator, nor to notice his observations of the manners and customs of the inhabitants. We shall have occasion to refer to them in dealing with the more detailed and reliable accounts of Cook and La Perouse. "But," said Fleurieu, "we shall vainly look in this narrative for any sign of learning on the part of Roggewein's sergeant-major." After describing the Banana, of which the leaves are six or eight feet high, and two or three wide, he adds that this was the leaf with which our first parents covered their nakedness after the Fall; and to make it clearer, further remarks that those who accept this view, do so on account of this leaf being the largest of all the plants growing either in eastern or western countries, thereby plainly indicating his notion of the proportions of Adam and Eve.
A native came on board the Eagle. He delighted every one by his good humour, gaiety, and friendly demonstrations.
In the morning Roggewein distinguished an eager multitude upon the shore, which was adorned with high statues, who awaited the arrival of the strangers with impatient curiosity. For no discoverable purpose a gun was fired, one of the natives was killed, and the multitude fled in every direction,—soon, however, to return in greater haste. Roggewein, at the head of 150 men, fired a volley, stretching a number of victims on the ground. Overcome with terror, the natives hastened to appease their terrible visitors by offering them all they possessed.
Fleurieu is of opinion that Easter Island and Davis Land are not identical; but in spite of the reasons with which he supports his opinions, and the differences which he points out in the situation and description of the two islands, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that Roggewein and Davis's discoveries are one and the same. No other island answering to the description is to be found in these latitudes, which are now thoroughly well known.
A violent storm of wind drove Roggewein from his anchorage on the eastern side of the island, and obliged him to make for the west-north-west. He traversed the sea called Mauvaise by Schouten, and having sailed eight hundred leagues from Easter Island, fell in with what he took to be the Isle of Dogs, so called by Schouten. Roggewein named it Carlshoff, a name which it still retains.
The squadron passed this island in the night, without touching at it, and was forced in the following night, by the wind and adverse currents, to the midst of a group of low islands, which were quite unexpectedly encountered. The African was dashed against a coral rock, and the two consorts narrowly escaped the same fate. Only after five days of unceasing effort, of danger and anxiety, the crew succeeded in extricating the vessels and in regaining the open sea.
The natives of this group were tall, with long and flowing hair. They painted their bodies in various colours. It is generally agreed now to recognize in Roggewein's description of the Pernicious Islands, the group to which Cook gave the name of Palliser Isles.
On the morning succeeding the day in which he had so narrowly escaped the dangers of the Pernicious Islands, Roggewein discovered an island to which he gave the name of Aurora. Lying low, it was scarcely visible above the water, and had the sun not shone out, the Tienhoven would have been lost upon it.
As night approached, new land was perceived, to which the name of Vesper was given, and it is difficult to decide whether or no it belonged to the Palliser group.
Roggewein continued to sail between the 15th and 16th degrees, and was not long in finding himself "all of a sudden" in the midst of islands which were half submerged.
"As we approached them," says Behrens, "we saw an immense number of canoes navigating the coasts, and we concluded that the islands were well populated. Upon nearing the land we discovered that it consisted of a mass of different islands, situated close the one to the other, and we were insensibly drawn in amongst them. We began to fear that we should be unable to extricate ourselves. The admiral sent one of the pilots up to the look-out to ascertain how we could get free of them.
"We owed our safety to the calm that prevailed. The slightest movement of the water would have run our ships upon the rocks, without the possibility of assistance reaching us. As it was, we got away without any accident worth mentioning. These islands are six in number, all very pleasant, and taken together may extend some thirty leagues. They are situated twenty-five leagues westward of the Pernicious Islands. We named them the Labyrinth, because we could only leave them by a circuitous route."
Many authors identify this group with Byron's Prince of Wales Islands. Fleurieu holds a different opinion. Dumont d'Urville thinks them identical with the group of Vliegen, already seen by Schouten and Lemaire.
After navigating for three days in a westerly direction, the Dutch caught sight of a beautiful island. Cocoa-nuts, palm-trees, and luxuriant verdure testified to its fertility. But finding it impossible to anchor there, the officers and crews were obliged to visit it in well-armed detachments.
Once more the Dutch needlessly shed the blood of an inoffensive population which had awaited them upon the shore, and whose only fault consisted in their numbers.
After this execution, worthy rather of barbarians than of civilized men, they endeavoured to persuade the natives to return, by offering presents to the chiefs, and by deceitful protestations of friendship. But they were not to be deceived by the latter, and having enticed the sailors into the interior, the inhabitants rushed upon them and attacked them with stones. Although a volley of bullets stretched a number upon the ground, they still bravely persisted in attacking the strangers, and forced them to re-embark, carrying with them their dead and wounded.
Of course the Dutch cried treason, not knowing how to find epithets strong enough for the treachery and disloyalty of their adversaries. But, who struck the first blow? Who was the aggressor? Even admitting that a few thefts were committed, which is probable enough, was it necessary to visit them with so severe a punishment, to revenge upon an entire population the wrong-doing of a few individuals, who after all can have had no very strict notions of honesty?
In spite of their losses, the Dutch called this island, in memory of the refreshment they had enjoyed there, Recreation Island. Roggewein gives its situation as below the sixth parallel, but his longitude is so incorrect, that it is impossible to depend upon it.
The question now arises, whether the captain should prosecute his search for the Island Espirito Santo de Quiros in the west, or whether, on the contrary, he should sail northward and reach the East Indies during the favourable season?
The counsel of war, which Roggewein called to the consideration of this question, chose the latter alternative.
The third day after this decision, three islands were simultaneously discovered. They received the name of Bauman, after the captain of the Tienhoven, who was the first to catch sight of them. The natives came round the vessels to traffic, whilst an immense crowd of the inhabitants lined the shore, armed with bows and spears. They were white skinned, and only differed from Europeans in appearance, when very much tanned by the sun. Their bodies were not painted. A strip of stuff, artistically arranged and fringed, covered them from the waist to the heels. Hats of the same material protected their heads and necklaces of sweet-smelling flowers, adorned their necks.
"It must be confessed," says Behrens, "that this is the most civilized nation, as well as the most honest, which we have met with in the southern seas. Charmed with our arrival, they received us like gods, and when we showed our intention of leaving, they testified most lively regrets."
From the description, these would appear to have been the inhabitants of the Navigators Islands.
After having encountered the islands which Roggewein believed to be Cocoa and Traitor Islands, already visited by Schouten and Lemaire, and which Fleurieu, imagining them to be a Dutch discovery, named Roggewein Islands; after having caught sight of Tienhoven and Groningue Islands, which were believed by Pingre to be identical with Santa Cruz of Mendana, the expedition finally reached the coast of New Ireland. Here the discoverers perpetrated new massacres. From thence they went to the shores of New Guinea, and after crossing the Moluccas, cast anchor at Batavia.
There their fellow-countrymen, less humane than many of the tribes they had visited, confiscated the two vessels, imprisoned the officers and sailors indiscriminately, and sent them to Europe to take their trial. They had committed the unpardonable crime of having entered countries belonging to the East India Company, whilst they themselves were in the employ of the West India Company.
The result was a trial, and the East India Company was compelled to restore all that it had appropriated, and to pay heavy damages.
We lose all sight of Roggewein after his arrival at Texel upon the 11th July, 1723, and no details are to be obtained of the last years of his life. Grateful thanks are due to Fleurieu for having unravelled this "chaotic" narrative, and for having thrown some light upon an expedition which deserves to be better known.
Upon the 17th of June, 1764, Commodore Byron received instructions signed by the Lord of the Admiralty. They were to the following effect,—"As nothing contributes more to the glory of this nation, in its character of a maritime power, to the dignity of the British crown, and to the progress of its national commerce and navigation, than the discovery of new regions; and as there is every reason for believing in the existence of lands and islands in great numbers, between the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits of Magellan, which have been hitherto unknown to the European powers, and which are situated in latitudes suitable for navigation, and in climates productive of different marketable commodities; and as moreover, his Majesty's islands, called Pepys and Falkland Islands, situated as will be described, have not been sufficiently examined for a just appreciation of their shores and productions, although they were discovered by English navigators; his Majesty, taking all these considerations into account, and conceiving the existing state of profound peace now enjoyed by his subjects especially suitable for such an undertaking, has decided to put it into execution."
Upon what seaman would the choice of the English Government fall?
Commodore John Byron, born on the 8th of November, 1723, was the man selected. From his earliest years, he had shown an enthusiastic love of seafaring life, and at the age of seventeen had offered his services upon one of the vessels that formed Admiral Anson's squadron, when it was sent out for the destruction of Spanish settlements upon the Pacific coast.
We have already given an account of the troubles which befell this expedition before the incredible fortune which was to distinguish its last voyage.
The vessel upon which Byron embarked was the Wager. It was wrecked in passing through the Straits of Magellan, and the crew being taken prisoners by the Spaniards, were sent to Chili. After a captivity which lasted at least three years, Byron effected his escape, and was rescued by a vessel from St. Malo, which took him to Europe. He returned at once to service, and distinguished himself in various encounters during the war with France. Doubtless it was the recollection of his first voyage round the world, so disastrously interrupted, which procured for him the distinction conferred upon him by the Admiralty.
The vessels entrusted to him were carefully armed. The Dauphin was a sixth-rate man-of-war, and carried 24 guns, 150 sailors, 3 lieutenants, and 37 petty officers. The Tamar was a sloop of 16 guns, and 90 sailors, 3 lieutenants, 27 petty officers, commanded by Captain Mouat.
The start was not fortunate. The expedition left the Downs upon the 21st of June, but the Dauphin grounded before leaving the Thames, and was obliged to put into Plymouth for repairs.
Upon the 3rd of July, anchor was finally weighed, and ten days later, Byron put in at Funchal in the Island of Madeira for refreshments. He was forced to halt again at Cape Verd Islands, to take in water, that with which he was supplied having become rapidly wasted.
Nothing further occurred to interrupt the voyage, until the two English vessels sighted Cape Frio.
Byron remarked a singular fact, since fully verified, that the copper sheathing of his vessels appeared to disperse the fish, which he expected to meet with in large quantities.
The tropical heat, and constant rains, had struck down a large proportion of the crew, hence the urgent need of rest and of fresh victuals which they experienced.
These they hoped to find at Rio de Janeiro, where they arrived on the 12th December. Byron was warmly welcomed by the viceroy, and thus describes his first interview.
"When I made my visit, I was received in the greatest state, about sixty officers were drawn up by the palace. The guard was under arms. They were fine, well-drilled men. His Excellency accompanied by the nobility received me on the staircase. Fifteen salutes from the neighbouring fort honoured my arrival. We then entered the audience-chamber, and after a conversation of a quarter of an hour, I took my leave, and was conducted back with the same ceremonies."
We shall see a little later how slightly the reception given to Captain Cook some years afterwards resembled that just related.
The Commodore obtained ready permission to disembark his sick, and found every facility for revictualling. His sole cause of complaint was the repeated endeavour of the Portuguese to tempt his sailors to desert.
The insupportable heat experienced by the crew shortened their stay at Rio. Upon the 16th of October, anchor was weighed, but it was five days before a land breeze allowed the vessels to gain the open sea.
Up to this moment, the destination of the expedition had been kept secret. Byron now summoned the captain of the Tamar on board, and in the presence of the assembled sailors, read his instructions.
These enjoined him not to proceed to the East Indies, as had been supposed, but to prosecute discoveries, which might prove of great importance to England in the southern seas. With this object the Lords of the Admiralty promised double pay to the crew, with future advancement and enjoyments, if they were pleased with their services. The second part of this short harangue was the most acceptable to the sailors and was received by them with joyous demonstrations.
Until the 29th of October no incident occurred in their passage. Upon that date sudden and violent squalls succeeded each other and culminated in a fearful tempest, the violence of which was so great that the Commodore ordered four guns to be thrown overboard, to avoid foundering. In the morning the weather moderated somewhat, but it was as cold as in England at the same time of year, although in this quarter of the globe the month of November answers to the month of May. As the wind continued to drive the vessel eastward, Byron began to think that he should experience great difficulty in avoiding the east of Patagonia.
Suddenly, upon the 12th of November, although no land was marked on the chart in this position, a repeated cry of "Land! land ahead!" arose. Clouds at this moment obscured almost the entire horizon, and it thundered and lightened without intermission.
"It seemed to me," says Byron, "that what had at first appeared to be an island, was really two steep mountains, but, upon looking windward, it was apparent that the land which belonged to these mountains stretched far to the south-east." Consequently, he steered south-west. "I sent some officers to the masthead to watch the wind, and to verify the discovery. They unanimously asserted that they saw a great extent of country. We then went E.S.E. The land appeared to present entirely the same appearance. The mountains looked blue, as is often the case in dark and rainy weather, when one is near them. Shortly afterwards, several of our number fancied they could distinguish waves breaking upon a sandy shore, but after steering with the utmost caution for an hour, that which we had taken for land disappeared suddenly, and we were convinced to our amazement that it had been only a land of fog! I have passed all my life at sea," continues Byron, "since I was twenty-seven, but I never could have conceived so complete and sustained an illusion.
"There is no doubt, that had the weather not cleared so suddenly as it did, we should one and all on board have declared that we had discovered land in this latitude. We were then in latitude 43 degrees 46 minutes S. and longitude 60 degrees 5 minutes W."
The next morning a terrible gale of wind arose, heralded by the piercing cries of many hundred birds flying before it. It lasted only twenty minutes—sufficiently long, however, to throw the vessel on its beam end before it was possible to let go the halliards. At the same moment a blow from the sheet of the mainsail overthrew the first lieutenant, and sent him rolling to a distance, while the mizen-mast, which was not entirely lowered, was torn to pieces.
The following days were not much more favourable. Moreover, the ship had sunk so little, that she drifted away as the wind freshened. After such a troublesome voyage, we may guess how gladly Byron reached Penguin Island and Port Desire on the 24th of November. But the delights of this station did not by any means equal the anticipations of the crew.