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The Passage from Plymouth to Madeira, with some Account:
of that Island.
AVING received my commission, which was dated 1768.
May. the 25th of May 1768, I went on board on the 27th,
hoifted the pennant, and took charge of the fhip, which then lay in the bafon in Deptford Yard. She was fitted for sea with all expedition ; and stores and provisions
July.' being taken on board, failed down the river on the 30th of Saturday 30.
Auguft. July, and on the 13th of Auguft anchored in Plymouth Saturday 13.. Sound.
While we lay here waiting for a wind, the articles of war and the act of parliament were read to the ship’s company, who were paid two months wages in advance, and told that they were to expect no additional pay for the performance of
On Friday the 26th of August, the wind becoming fair, Friday 26. we got under fail, and put to sea. On the 31st, we saw Wednes. 35. several of the birds which the failors call Mother Carey's
1768. Chickens, and which they suppose to be the forerunners of September
a storm; and on the next day we had a very hard gale, which Thursday 1,
brought us under our courses, washed over-board a small boat belonging to the Boatswain, and drowned three or four
dozen of our poultry, which we regretted still more. Friday 2.
On Friday the 2d of September we saw land, between
Cape Finister and Cape Ortegal, on the coast of Gallicia, in Monday 5. Spain ; and on the 5th, by an observation of the sun and
moon, we found the latitude of Cape Finister to be 42° 53' North, and its longitude 8° 46' West, our first meridian being always supposed to pass through Greenwich ; variation of the needle 21° 4 W.
During this course, Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander had an opportunity of observing many marine animals, of which no naturalift has hitherto taken notice; particularly, a new species of the Oniscus, which was found adhering to the Medusa Pelagica; and an animal of an angular figure, about three inches long, and one thick, with a hollow passing quite through it, and a brown spot on one end, which they conjectured might be its ftomach; four of these adhered together by their sides when they were taken, so that at first they were thought to be one animal, but upon being put into a glass of water they soon separated, and swamn about very briskly. These animals are of a new genus, to which Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander gave the name of Dagyfa, from the likeness of one species of them to a gem : several specimens of them were taken adhering together sometimes to the length of a yard or more, and shining in the water with very beautiful colours. Another animal of a new genus they also discovered, which shone in the water with colours still more beautiful and vivid, and which indeed exceeded in variety and brightness any thing that we had ever seen : the colouring and fplendour of these animals were equal to those
of an Opal, and from their refemblance to that gem, the
September. genus was called Carcinium Opalinum. One of them lived several hours in a glass of salt water, swimming about with great agility, and at every motion displaying a change of colours almost infinitely various. We caught also among the rigging of the ship, when we were at the distance of about ten leagues from Cape Finister, several birds which have not been described by Linnæus ; they were supposed to have come from Spain, and our gentlemen called the species Motacilla velificans, as they said none but sailors would venture themselves on board a ship that was going round the world: one of them was so exhausted that it died in Mr. Banks's hand, almost as soon as it was brought to him.
It was thought extraordinary that no naturalist had hitherto taken notice of the Dagysa, as the sea abounds with them not twenty leagues from the coast of Spain; but, unfortunately for the cause of science, there are but very few of those who traverse the sea, that are either disposed or qualified to remark the curiofities of which Nature has made it the repofitory.
On the 12th we discovered the islands of Porto Santo and Monday ta. Madeira, and on the next day anchored in Funchiale road, and moored with the stream-anchor: but, in the night, the bend of the hawser of the stream-anchor slipped, owing to the negligence of the person who had been employed to make it fast. In the morning the anchor was heaved up into the boat, and carried out to the fouthward ; but in heaving it again, Mr. Weir, the Master's Mate, was carried overboard by the buoy-rope, and went to the bottom with the anchor; the people in the ship saw the accident, and got the anchor up with all possible expedition; it was however too late, the body came up intangled in the buoy-rope, but it was dead. Vol. II,
When the island of Madeira is first approached from the sea, it has a very beautiful appearance; the sides of the hills being entirely covered with vines almost as high as the eye can distinguish; and the vines are green when every kind of herbage, except where they shade the ground, and here and there by the sides of a rill, is intirely burnt up, which was the case at this time:
On the 13th, about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, a boat, which our sailors call the product boat, came on board from the officers of health, without whose permission no person is suffered to land from on board a ship. As soon as this permillion was obtained, we went on shore at Funchiale, the capital of the island, and proceeded directly to the house of Mr. Cheap, who is the Englilh consul there, and one of the most considerable merchants of the place. This gentleman received us with the kindness of a brother, and the liberality of a prince; he infifted upon our taking possession of his house, in which he furnished us with every possible acconimodation during our stay upon the island: he procured leave for Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander to search the island for sucli natural curiofities as they should think worth their notice; employed persons to take fish and gather thells, which time, would not have permitted them to collect for themselves; and he provided horses and guides to take them to any part of the country which they should chuse to visit. With all these advantages, however, their excursions were seldom pushed farther than three miles from the town, as they were only five days on fhore; one of which they spent at home, in receiving the honour of a visit from the governor. The season was the worst in the year for their purpose, as it was neither that of plants nor insects ; a few of the plants, however, were procured in flower, by the kind attention of Dr.
Heberden, the chief physician of the island, and brother to Dr. Heberden of London, who also gave them such specimens as he had in his possession, and a copy of his Botanical Observations ; containing, among other things, a particular description of the trees of the island. Mr. Banks enquired after the wood which has been imported into England for cabinet work, and is here called Madeira mahogany: he learnt that no wood was exported from the island under that name, but he found a tree called by the natives Vigniatico, the Laurus indicus of Linnæus, the wood of which cannot easily be distinguished from mahogany. Dr. Heberden has a book-case in which the vigniatico and mahogany are mised, and they are no otherwise to be known from each other than by the colour, which, upon a nice examination, appears to be somewhat less brown in the vigniatico than the mahogany; it is therefore in the highest degree probable, that the wood known in England by the name of Madeira mahogany, is the vigniatico.
There is great reason to suppose that this whole island was, at some remote period, thrown up by the explosion of subterraneous fire, as every stone, whether whole or in fragments, that we saw upon it appeared to have been burnt, and even the sand itself to be nothing more than alhes: we did not, indeed, see much of the country, but the people informed us that what we did see was a very exact specimen of the rest.
The only article of trade in this island is wine, and the manner in which it is made is so simple, that it might have been used by Noah, who is said to have planted the first vineyard after the flood: the grapes are put into a square wooden vessel, the dimensions of which are proportioned to the size of the vineyard to which it belongs ; the servants B 2