« ZurückWeiter »
on board they should be delivered to his messenger. ,,4769.
1769. it was otherwise highly improbable he should know, February.
particularly the store-ship’s running a-ground, and many of the difficulties that occurred in that part of the Streight which we passed together : by this conversation he contrived to introduce several enquiries, concerning the western part of the Streight, the time it cost me to get through, and the difficulties of the navigation ; but perceiving that I declined giving any account of these particulars, he changed his subject. He said, he had heard that we lost an officer and some men in an engagement with the Indians; and taking notice that my ship was small, and a bad failer, he in
sinuated that we must have suffered great hardship in - so long a voyage ; but, said he, it is thought to be
safer and pleasanter failing in the South Sea than any where else, As I perceived that he waited for a reply, I said, that the great ocean, called the South Sea, extended almost from one pole to the other; and therefore, although that part of it which lay between the Tropics might justly be called the Pacific, on account of the trade-winds that blow there all the year; yet without the Tropics, on either side, the winds were variable, and the feas turbulent. In all this he readily acquiefced, and finding that he could not draw from me any thing to satisfy his curiosity, by starting leading subjects of conversation, he began to propose his questions in direct terms, and desired to know on which side the equator I had crossed the South Seas, As I did not think proper to answer this question, and wished to prevent others of the same kind, I rose up somewhat abruptly, and I believe with some marks of displeasure: at this he seemed to be a little disconcerted, and I believe was about to make an apology for his curiosity, but I prevented him, by desiring that he would make my compliments to his Captain, and in return for his obliging civilities present him with one of the arrows that
had wounded my men, which I immediately went into
my bed-room to fetch : he followed me, looking about him with great curiosity, as indeed he had done from the time of his first coming on board, and having received the arrow, he took his leave.
After he was gone, and we had made fail, I went upon the deck, where my Lieutenant asked me, if my
visitor had entertained me with an account of his voyage. This led me to tell him the general purport of our conversation ; upon which he assured me that the tale I had heard was a fiaion, for, says he, the boat's crew could not keep their secret so well as their officer, but after a little conversation told one of our people, who was born at Quebec, and spoke French, that they had been round the globe as well as we.
This naturally excited a general curiosity, and with a very little difficulty we learnt that they had failed from Europe in company with another ship, which, wanting some repair, had been left at the isle of France; that they had attempted to pass the Streight of Magellan the first summer, but not being able, had gone back, and wintered in the river de la Plata ; that the summer afterwards they had been more successful, and having passed the Streight, spent two months at the island of Juan Fernandes. My Lieutenant told me also, that a boy in the French boat said, he had been upon that island two years, and that, while he was there an English frigate put into the road, but did not anchor, mentioning the time as well as he could recollect, by which it appeared that the frigate he had seen was the Swallow. On the boy's being asked how he came to be so long upon the island of Juan Fernandes, he said that he had been taken upon the Spanish coast in the West Indies in a smuggling party, and sent thither by the Spaniards; but that by the French ship, in whose boat he came on board us, having touched there, he had regained his liberty. After having received this information from my Lieutenant, I could easily account for M. Bougainville's having made a tack to speak to me, and for the conversation and behaviour of my visitor ; but I was now more displeased at the questions he had asked me than before; for if it was improper for him to communicate an account of his voyage to me, it was equally improper for me to communicate an account of my voyage to him; and I thought an artful attempt to draw me into a breach of my obligation to secrecy, while he imposed upon me by a fi&tion that he might not violate his own, was neither liberal nor just. As what the boat's crew told my people, differs in several
1769; particulars from the account printed by M. BouMarch.
gainville, I shall not pretend to determine how much of it is true; but I was then very sorry that the Lieutenant had not communicated to me the intelligence he received, such as it was, before my guest left me, and I was now very desirous to speak with him again, but this was impossible; for though the French ship was foul from a long voyage, and we had just been cleaned, she shot by us as if we had been at anchor, notwithstand
ing we had a fine fresh gale, and all our fails set. Sunday 7.
On the 7th of March, we made the Western Islands, and went between Saint Michael and Tercera ; in this situation we found the variation 13° 36' W. and the winds began to blow from the S. W. The gale as
we got farther to the westward. increased, and on the Thursd. 11. 11th, having got to W.N. W.it blew very hard, with
sea ; we scudded before it with the forefail only, the foot rope of which suddenly breaking, the fail blew all to pieces, before we could get the yard down, though it was done instantly. This obliged us to bring the ship to, but having, with all possible expedition, bent a new forefail
, and got the yard up, we Tuesd. 16. bore away again ; this was the lalt accident that hapThurf. 18. pened to us during the voyage. On the 16th, being
in latitude 49° 15' N we got soundings. On the 18th I knew by the depth of water that we were in the
Channel, but the wind being to the north ward, we Friday 19. could not make land till the next day, when we saw Saturd. 20.
the Start Point ; and on the 20th, to our great joy, we anchored at Spithead, after a very fine passage, and a fair wind all the way from the Cape of Good Hope.
AN Α Ν