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FTER the great improvements that have been made in Navigation fince the difcovery of America, it may well be thought ftrange that a very confiderable part of the globe on which we live fhould ftill have remained unknown; that it should ftill have been the fubject of fpeculation, whether a great portion of the Southern Hemisphere is land or water; and, even where land had been discovered, that neither its extent nor figure should A 2 have
have been ascertained. But the cause has probably been, that fovereign Princes have feldom any other motive for attempting the discovery of new countries than to conquer them, that the advantages of conquering countries which muft first be difcovered are remote and uncertain, and that ambition has always found objects nearer home.
It is the diftinguishing characteristic of Your Majesty to act from more liberal motives; and having the best fleet, and the braveft as well as moft able navigators in Europe, Your Majefty has, not with a view to the acquifition of treafure, or the extent of dominion, but the improvement of commerce and the increase and diffufion of knowledge, undertaken what has fo long been neglected; and under Your Majefty's aufpices, in little more than seven years, discoveries have been made far greater than those of
öf all the navigators in the world collectively from the expedition of Columbus to the present time.
To have been appointed to record them, and permitted to infcribe the Narrative to Your Majesty, is an honour, the sense of which will always be retained with the warmeft gratitude, by