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>77<- sequence of having but four senses instead of five, may, \^j0tm2^j wi*h respect to many phænomena of nature, happen to us, in consequence of having but five lenies instead of six, or any greater number.
Possibly, however, the learning of ancient Ægypt might run in two courses, one through Africa and the other through Asia, disseminating the same words in each, especially terms of number, which might thus become part of the language of people who never had any communication with each other.
We now made the best of our way for the Cape of Good Hope ; but the feeds of disease, which we had received at Batavia, began to appear with the most threatening symptoms in dysenteries and flow fevers. Lest the water which we had taken in at Prince's Island should have had any share in bur sickness, we purified it with lime, and we washed all parts of the ship between decks with vinegar, as a remedy against infection. Mr. Banks was among the sick, and for some time there was no hope of his life. We were very soon in a most deplorable situation; the ship was nothing better than an hospital, in which those that were able to go about, were too few to attend the sick, who were confined to their hammocks, and we had almost every night a dead body to commit to the sea. In the course of about six; weeks we buried Mr. Sporing, a gentleman who was in Mr. Banks's retinue, Mr. Parkinson, his natural history painter, Mr. Green, the astronomer, the boatswain, the carpenter and his mate, Mr. Monkhouse the midshipman, who had fothered the ship after she had been stranded on the coast of New Holland, our old jolly sail-maker and his assistant, the ship's cook, the corporal of the marines, two of the carpenter's crew, a midshipman, and nine seamen; in all three-, and-twenty persons, besides the seven that we buried at Batavia.
CHAP. XVI. v_^L,
Our Arrival at the Cape of Good Hope ; some Remarks on the Run from Java Head to that Place; a Description os the Cape, and of Saint Helena; with some Account of the Hottentots, and the Return of the Ship to England.
ON Friday the 15th of March, about ten o'clock Friday 15. in the morning, we anchored off the Cape of Good Hope, in seven fathoms, with an oozy bottom. The west point of the bay, called the Lion's Tail, bore W. N. W. and the castle S. W. distant about a mile and a half. I immediately waited upon the Governor, who told me, that I should have every thing the country afforded. My first care was to provide a proper place a-shore for the sick, which were not a few; and a house was soon found, where it was agreed they should be lodged and boarded at the rate of two shillings a head per day.
Our run, from Java Head to this place, afforded very few subjects of remark that can be of use to future navigators: such as occurred, however, I shall set down. We had left Java Head eleven days before we got the general south-east trade-wind, during which time we did not advance above 50 to the southward, and 30 to the west, having variable light airs, interrupted by calms, with sultry weather and an unwholesome air, occasioned probably by the load of vapours which the , eastern trade-wind and westerly monsoons bring into these latitudes, both which blow in these seas at the time of year when we happened to be there. The easterly wind prevails as far as 10 or IZ° S. and the westerly as far as 6 or 8°; in the intermediate space the winds are variable, and the air, I believe, always unwholesome: it certainly aggravated the diseases'which we brought with us from Batavia, and particularly the flux, which was not in the least degree checked by any medicine, so that whoever Was seized with it considered himself as a dead man; but we had no sooner got into the trade-wind, than we began to feel its salutary effects: we buried, indeed, several of ourpeople afterwards,
wards, but they were such as had been taken on board in a state so low and feeble, that there was scarcely a possibility of their recovery. At first we suspected that this dreadful disorder might have been brought upon us by the water that we took on board at Prince's Island, or even by the turtle that we bought there; but there is not the least reason to believe that this suspicion was well grounded; for all the ships, that came from Batavia, at the fame season, suffered in the same degree, and some of them even more severely, though none of them touched at Prince's Island in their way.
A few days after we left Java, we saw boobies abou t the ship for several nights successively; andasthese birds are known to roost every night on shore, we thought them an indication that some island was not far distant; perhaps it might be the island of Selam, which in different charts, is very differently laid down both in name and situation.
The variation of the compass off the west coast of Java is about 3" W. and so it continued, without any sensible variation, in the common track of ships, to the longitude of 288t> W. latitude 220 S. after which it increased apace, so that in longitude 2950, latitude 230, the variation was io° 20'W. In seven degrees more of longitude, and one of latitude, it increased two degrees. In the fame space, farther to the west, it increased five degrees; in latitude 280, longitude 3140, it was 240 20'; in latitude 290, longitude 3170, it was 260 10', and was then stationary for the space of about ten degrees farther to the west; but in latitude'340, longitude 3330, weobscrved it twice to be 280! W .and this was its greatest variation; for in latitude 350?, longitude 3370, it was 240, and continued gradually to decreale; so that off Cape Anguillas it was 22° 30' and in Table Bay 200 30' W.
As to currents, it did not appear that they were at all considerable, till we came within a little distance of the meridian cf Madagascar; for after we had made 520 of longitude from Java Head, we found, by observation, that our error in longitude was only two degrees, and it was the fame when we had made only nineteen. This error might be owing partly to a current setting to the westward, partly to our not making
proper proper allowances for the setting of the sea before which > 77 «• we run, and perhaps to an error in the assumed longitude of Java Head. If that longitude is erroneous, the error must be imputed to the imperfection of the charts of which I made use in reducing the longitude from Batavia to that place; for there can be no doubt but that the longitude of Batavia is well determined. After we had passed the longitude of 3070, the effects of the westerly currents began to be considerable; for in three days our error in longitude was 10 5'. The velocity of the current kept increasing, as we proceeded to the westward, insomuch that for five days successively, after we made the land, we were driven to the S. W. or S. W. by W. not less than twenty leagues a day; and this continued till we were within sixty or seventy leagues of the Cape, where the current set sometimes one way, and sometimes the other, though inclining rather to the westward.
After the boobies had left us, we saw no more birds till we got nearly a-breast of Madagascar, where, in latitude 270 | S. we saw an albatross, and after that time we saw them every day in great numbers, with birds of several sorts, particularly one about as big as a duck, of a very dark brown colour, with a yellowish bill. These birds became more numerous as we approached the shore, and as soon as we got into soundings we saw gannets, which we continued to fee as long as we were upon the bank which stretches off Anguillas to the distance of forty leagues, and extends along the shore to the eastward, from Cape False, according to some charts, one hundred and sixty leagues. The real extent of this bank is not exactly known; it is, however, useful as a direction to shipping when to haul in, in order to make the land.
While we lay here the Houghton Indiaman sailed for England, who, during her stay in India, lost by sickness between thirty and forty men, and when she left the Cape had many in a helpless condition with the scurvy. Other ships suffered in the same proportion, who had been little more than twelve months absent from England: our sufferings, therefore, were comparatively light, considering that we had been absent near three times as long.
Having lain here to recover the sick, procure stores,
i and perform several necessary operations upon the ship
'and rigging, till the 13th of April, I then got all the
a-°r' 'sick on board, several ot whom were still in a dangerous
state, and, having taken leave of the Governor,. I un
Sanday 14. moored the next morning, and got ready to fa/1.
The Cape of Good Hope has been so often described, aral is lo well known in Europe, that I shall mention only a few particulars, which in other relations are omitted or misrepresented.
Notwithstanding all that has been said to the contrary, no country that we saw during the voyage makes a more forlorn appearance, or is in reality a more sterile desart. The land over the Cape, which constitutes the peninsula formed by Table Bay on the north, and False Bay on the south, consists of high mountains, altogether naked and desolate: the land behind these to the east, which fnay be considered as the isthmus, is a plain of vast extent, consisting almost wholly of a light kind of sea-sand, which produces nothing but heath and is utterly incapable of cultivation. All the spots that will admit of imprbvement, which together bear about the fame proportion to the whole as one to one thousand, are laid out in vineyards, orchards, and kitchen grounds; and most of thele little spots lie at a considerable distance from each other. There is also the greatest reason to believe, that in the interior parts of this country, that which is capable of" cultivation does not bear a greater proportion to that which is incorrigibly barren ; for the Dutch told us, that they had settlements eight-and-twemy days journey up the country, a distance equal to at le.*st nine hundred miles, from which they bring provisions to the Cape by land; so that it seems reasonable to conclude, that provisions are not to be had within a less compass. While we were at the Cape, a farmer came thither from the country, at the distance of fifteen days journey, and brought his young children with him. We were surprised at this, and asked him, if it would not have bsen better to have left them with his next neighbour? Neighbour! said the man, I have no neighbour within less than five days journey of me. Surely the country must be deplorably barren, in which those who