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CHA P. III.
The Paffage from Mafafuero to Queen Charlotte's Islands; feveral Miftakes corrected concerning Davis's Land, and an Account of fome Small Islands, fuppofed to be the fame that were feen by Quiros.
HEN we took our departure from Mafafuero, we had a great fea from the N. W. with a fwell of long billows from the fouthward, and the wind, which was from the S. W. to the W. N. W. obliged me to ftand to the northward, in hope of getting the fouth-eaft trade-wind, for the fhip was fo dull a failer, that there was no making her go without a strong wind in her favour. Having thus run farther to the northward than at first I intended, and finding myself not far from the parallel of lati tude which has been affigned to two inlands called Saint Ambrofe, and Saint Felix or paint Paul, I thought I should perform an acceptable fervice by examining if they were fit for fhipping to refresh at, especially as the Spaniards having fortified Juan Fernandes, they might be found convenient for Great Britain, if she should hereafter be engaged in a Spanish war. Thefe
iflands are laid down in Green's charts, which were published in the year 1753, from latitude 26° 20′, to 27° S., and from 1° to 2° W. of Mafafuero; I therefore hauled up with a defign to keep in that latitude, but foon afterwards confulting Robertfon's Elements of Navigation, I found the island of Saint Ambrofe there laid down in latitude 25° 30' S., and 82° 20′ longitude weft of London, and fuppofing that iflands of fo fmall an extent, might be laid down with more exactnefs in this work than in the chart, I bore away more northward for that latitude; the event, however, proved that I fhould not have trufted him fo far: I miffed the islands, and as I faw great numbers of birds and fish, which are certain indications of land not far off, there is the greateft reafon to conclude that I went to the northward of them. I am forry to say that upon a farther examination of Robertfon's tables of latitudes and longitudes, I found them erroneous in many particulars: this cenfure, however, if I had not thought it neceffary to prevent future mischief, should have been fuppreffed.
Upon examining the account that is given by Wafer, who was furgeon on board Captain Davis's ship, I think it is probable that these two islands are the land that Davis fell in with in his way to the fouthward from the Gallapago islands, and that the land laid down in all the sea charts
under the name of Davis's Land, has no existence, notwithstanding what is faid in the account of Roggewein's voyage, which was made in 1722, of land that they called Eaftern Island, which fome have imagined to be a confirmation of Davis's discovery, and the same land to which his name has been given.
It is manifeft from Wafer's narrative, that little credit is due to the account kept on board Davis's fhip, except with refpect to the latitude, for he acknowledges that they had like to have perished by their making an allowance for the variation of the needle weftward, instead of east.ward: he tells us alfo that they fteered S. by E. E. from the Gallapagos, till they made land in latitude 27° 20′ S., but it is evident that fuch a courfe would carry them not to the weftward but to the eastward of the Gallapagos, and fet them at about the diftance of two hundred leagues from Capiapo, and not five hundred leagues as he has alleged, for the variation here is not more than half a point to the eastward now, and it must have been ftill less then, it having been increafing to the eastward on all this coaft. The course that Davis steered therefore, if the distance between the islands of St. Ambrofe and St. Felix, and the Gallapagos, as laid down in all our fea charts, is right, muft have brought him within fight of St. Ambrofe and St. Felix, when he had run the distance he mentions.
mentions. The truth is, that if there had been any fuch place as Davis's Land in the fituation. which has been allotted to it in our fea charts, I must have failed over it, or at least have seen it, as will appear in the course of this narrative.
I kept between the latitude 25° 50° and 25° 30', in fearch of the islands I intended to examine, till I got five degrees to the westward of our departure, and then seeing no land, and the birds having left us, I hauled more to the fouthward, and got into latitude 27° 20′ S. where I continued till we got between seventeen and eighteen degrees to the weftward of our departure. In this parallel we had light airs and foul winds, with a strong northerly current, which made me conjecture that we were near this Davis's Land, for which we looked out with great diligence, but a fair wind fpringing up again, we steered weft by fouth, which gradually brought us into the latitude of 28° S., fo that. it is evident I must have failed over this land, or at least have seen it if there had been any fuch place. I afterwards kept in the latitude of 28° for forty degrees to the weftward of my departure, or, according to my account, 121 degrees west of London, this being the highest fouth latitude the winds and weather would permit me to keep, fo that I must have gone to the fouthward of the fituation affigned to the fupVOL. II. pofed
pofed continent called Davis's Land in all our charts.
We continued our fearch till Wednesday the 17th of June, when, in latitude 28 S., longitude 112° W., we faw many fea-birds, which flew in flocks, and some rock-weed, which made me conjecture that we were approaching, or had paffed by fome land. At this time the wind blew hard from the northward, which made a great fea, but we had notwithstanding long rolling billows from the fouthward, so that whatever land was in that quarter, could be only fmall rocky iflands; and I am inclined to behieve that if there was land at all it was to the northward, poffibly it might be Roggewein's eaftern ifland, which he has placed in latitude 27° S. and which fome geographers have fuppofed to be about feven hundred leagues diftant from the continent of South America, if indeed any credit is to be given to his account.
It was now the depth of winter in thefe parts, and we had hard gales and high feas that frequently brought us under our courfes and low fails the winds were alfo variable, and though we were near the tropic, the weather was dark, hazy, and cold, with frequent thunder and lightning, fleet and rain. The fun was above the horizon about ten hours in the four and twenty, but we frequently paffed many days together