Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

“ whereas his Majesty's islands, called Pepys' Island, « and Falkland's Islands, lying within the said tract,

“ and visited by British navigators, have never yet " been so sufficiently surveyed, as that an accurate “ judgment may be formed of their coasts and pro“ duct ; his Majesty taking the premises into consi“ deration, and conceiving no conjuncture fo proper “ for an enterprize of this nature, as a time of pro“ found peace, which his kingdoms at present hap" pily enjoy, has thought fit that it should now be “ undertaken." .

The Dolphin was a man of war of the sixth rate, mounting twenty-four guns : her complement was 150 men, with three Lieutenants, and thirty-seven petty officers.

The Tamar was a floop, mounting fixteen guns : her complement was ninety men, with three Lieutepants, and two and twenty petty officers, and the command of her was given to Captain Mouat.

Commodore Byron returned in the month of May in the year 1766, and in the month of August following, the Dolphin was again sent out, under the com. mand of Captain Wallis, with the Swallow, commanded by Captain Carteret, in prosecution of the fame general design of making discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere. The equipment of the Dolphin was the same as before. The Swallow was a floop mounting fourteen guns ; her complement was ninety men with one Lieutenant, and twenty-two petty officers.

These vessels proceeded together till they came within light of the South Sea, at the western entrance of the Streight of Magellan, and from thence returned by different routes to England.

In the latter part of the year 1767, it was resolved, by the Royal Society, that it would be proper to send persons into fome part of the South Sea, to observe a tranfit of the planet Venus over the Sun's disk, which, according to the astronomical calculation, would happen in the year 1769 ; and that the islands called Marquefas de Mendoza, or those of Rotterdam or Amsterdam, were the properest places then known for making such observation,

In

Ficht of th Of Mage England av 1767

In consequence of these resolutions, it was recommended to his Majesty, in a memorial from the Society, dated February 1768, that he would be pleased to order such an observation to be made ; upon which his Majesty signified to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty his pleasure that a ship should be provided to carry such observers as the Society should think fit to the South Seas; and in the beginning of April following the Society received a letter from the Secretary of the Admiralty, informing them that a bark of three hundred and seventy tons had been taken up for that purpose. This vessel was called the Endeavour, and the command of her given to Lieutenant James Cook, a gentleman of undoubted abilities in astronomy and navigation, who was soon after, by the Royal Society, appointed, with Mr. Charles Green, a gentleman who had long been assistant to Dr. Bradley at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, to observe the transit.

While this vessel was getting ready for her expedition, Captain Wallis returned; and it having been recommended to him by Lord Morton, who went out, to fix on a proper place for this astronomical observation, he, by letter, dated on board the Dolphin, the 18th of May 1768, the day before he landed at Hastings, mentioned Port Royal harbour, in an island which he had discovered, then called George's Island, and since Otaheite: the Royal Society therefore, by letter, dated the beginning of June, in answer to an application from the Admiralty to be informed whither they would have their observers sent, made choice of that place.

The Endeavour had been built for the coal trade; and a vessel of that construction was preferred for many reasons, particularly because she was what the sailors call a good sea-boat, was more roomy, would take and lie on the ground better, and might be navigated by fewer men than other vessels of the same burden.,

Her complement of officers and men was Lieutenant Cook the Commander, with two Lieutenants under him, a Master and Boatswain, with each two Mates, a Surgeon and Carpenter, with each one Mate, a Gunner, a Cook, a Clerk and Steward, two Quarter-masters, an Armourer, a Sailmaker, three Midshipmen, forty

One

on all eighty-foued for eighteen wivel guns,

one able seamen, twelve marines, and nine servants ; in all eighty-four persons, besides the Commander : She was victualied for eighteen months, and took on board ten carriage and twelve swivel guns, with good store of ammunition and other necessaries. The Endeavour also, afier the astronomical observation should be made, was ordered to prosecute the design of making discoveries in the South Seas. What was effected by these vessels in their several voyages, will appear in the course of this work; of which it is now necessary to give some account.

It is drawn up from the Journals that were kept by the Commanders of the several ships, which were put into my hands by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty for that purpose : and, with respe&t to the voyage of the Endeavour, from other papers equally authentic; an assistance which I have acknowledged in an introduction to the account of her voyage.

When I first undertook the work, it was debated, whether it should be written in the first or third person: it was readily acknowledged on all hands, that a narrative in the first person would, by bringing the Adventurer and the Reader nearer together, without the intervention of a stranger, more strongly excite an interest, and consequently afford more entertainment; but it was objected, that if it was written in the name of the several Commanders, I could exhibit only a naked narrative, without any opinion or sentiment of my own, however fair on the occasion, and without noting the similitude or diffimilitude between the opinions, cuftoms, or manners of the people now first discovered, and those of nations that have been long known, or remarking on any other incident or particular that might occur, In answer to this objection, however, it was said, that as the manuscript would be submitted to the Gentlemen in whose names it would be written, supposing the narratives to be in the first person, and nothing published without their approbation, it would signify little who conceived the sentiments that should be expressed, and therefore I might sill be at liberty to express my own. In this opicion all parties acquiesced; and it was

determined

determined that the narrative should be written in the first person, and that I might, notwithstanding, intersperse such sentiments and observations as my subject should suggest : they are not indeed numerous, and when they occur, are always cursory and short; for nothing would have been more absurd than to interrupt an interesting narrative, or new descriptions, by hypothesis and differtation. They will however be found most frequent in the account of the voyage of the Endeavour, and the principal reason is, that although it stands last in the series, great part of it was printed before the others were written, so that several remarks, which would naturally have been suggested by the incidents and descriptions that would have occurred in the preceding voyages, were anticipated by similar incidents and descriptions which occurred in this.

Some particulars that are related in one voyage will perhaps appear to be repeated in another, as they would necessarily have been if the several Commanders had written the account of their voyages themselves; for a digest could not have been made of the whole, without invading the right of each navigator to appropriate the relation of what he had seen: these repetitions however, taken together, will be found to fill but a few pages of the book.

That no doubt might remain of the fidelity with which I have related the events recorded in my materials, the manuscript account of each voyage was read to the respective Commanders at the Admiralty, by the appointment of Lord Sandwich, who was himself present during much the greatest part of the time. The account of the yoyage of the Endeavour was also read to Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, in whose hands, as well as in those of Captain Cook, the manuscript was left for a considerable time after the reading. Commodore Byron, also Captain Wallis and Captain Carteret, had the manuscripts of their respe&ive voyages to peruse, after they had been read at the Admiralty in their presence, and such emendations as they suggested were made. In order thus to authenticate the voyage of Captain Cook, the account of it was first written, because it was expected, when his journal was put into my Vol. I.

hands,

hands, that he would have failed on the voyage he is now making in less five months.

It will probably be thought, by many Readers, that I have related the nautical events too minutely; but it must be remembered, that minutely to relate these events was the great object of the work. It was in particular thought necessary to infert the situation of the thip at different hours of the day, with the bearings of different parts of the land while she was navigating feas, and examining shores, that hitherto have been altogether unknown, in order to ascertain her track more minulely than could be done in any chart, however large the scale, to describe with critical exa&ness the bays, headlands, and other irregularities of the coast; the appearance of the country, its hills, vallies, mountains, and woods, with the depth of water, and every other particular that might enable future navigators easily to find, and safely to visit, every part of it. I was not indeed myself sufficiently apprised of the minuteness that was necessary in this part of the work; so that I was obliged to make many additions to it, after I had prepared my manuscript. It is however hoped, that those who read merely for entertainment, will be compensated by the description of countries, which no European had before visited, and manners, which in many instances exhibit a new picture of human life. In this part the relation of little circumstances requires no apology; for it is from little circumstances that the relation of great events derives its power over the mind. An account that ten thousand men perished in a battle, that twice the number were swallowed up by an earthquake, or that a whole nation was swept away by a pestilence, is read in the naked brevity of an index, without the least emotion, by those who feel themselves strongly interested even for Pamela, the imaginary heroine of a novel that is remarkable for the enumeration of particulars in themselves so trilling, that we almost wonder how they could occur to the author's mind.

The most effe&ual way to prevent obscurity and confusion in relating events, is to range them in order of time, which however cannot be done in an unbroken series, when the complicated and multifarious obje&s

of

« ZurückWeiter »