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his dissenting from any of them he was to forfeit all his property. Thus a republic devised expressly as a model of a free state was to be debarred from the power of legislation, and to be supported by that grand pillar of barbarism, an unalterable code. Well might a friend of Dalrymple's pronounce upon his scheme, that it was the best possible model of the worst possible commonwealth. From these observations it is evident that the talents of Dalrymple would have but ill supplied the place of the sound sense and correct judgment of Cook, whose post he had nearly occupied in the expedition undertaken to observe the transit of Venus.
VOYAGES OF BYRON, WALLIS, CARTERET, ETC.
Motives of the French to make Geographical Discoveries.---The Falkland
Islands.---Appearance of Forests.---Tameness of Game.---Settlement made by Bougainville.---Voyage of Commodore Byron..--His Instructions. Search for Pepys Island.---Intercourse with the Patagonians.--Port Egmont.-Islands of Disappointment.-King George's Islands.-Tiniun.---Wallis and Carteret.---Their Separation ---Wallis arrives at Otaheite.---Conduct of the Natives.---Carteret discovers Pitcairn's Island.---The Solomon Islands.-New Ireland.---The Falkland Islands surrendered to Spain. ---Voyage of Bougainville round the World.---Anecdote of Baré.---The New Cyclades.--Louisiade.
WHEN George III. ascended the throne of England, civilization and knowledge had made so great a progress as to give the interests of science some weight even in the calculations of politicians. The young monarch himself had conceived a strong partiality for geographical studies, and his desire to distinguish his reign by the glory of important discoveries was encouraged by his ministers from motives of a less disinterested nature.
During the wars which had lately agitated Europe, the privateers of the hostile nations cruising in the south seas had woful experience of the hazardous character of that distant navigation. The French, having suffered much from the maritime superiority of the English, and having been totally expelled from their settlements in Canada, began to look about them for some mode of counterbalancing these losses, and of securing their mercantile interests in case of a future war. The establishment of a colony, at the Falkland Islands, which might serve as a resting place for ships destined to the Pacific Ocean, was some time in contemplation. The cruisers from St. Malo haying named those islands Malouines, from their native town, seemed to have thereby established a vague kind of right to the possession of them.
In 1763, M. de Bougainville, an officer who had served with distinction in the wars of Canada, undertook to make a settlement on these islands at his own expense. The French government accepted his proposal, and, accordingly, on the 15th of September in that year, he sailed from St. Malo, carrying out with him as settlers some of those unfortunate persons who, by the success of the British arms in North America, had been driven from their possessions in Nova Scotia, or Acadia as it was named by the French. On the 3d of February, 1764, he entered a great bay, at the eastern extremity of the Falkland Islands, to which he gave the name of Baie des François. He found that the appearance of wood, which had imposed on both Sir Richard Hawkins and Woodes Rogers, was quite delusive. Tufts of high reeds, separated by narrow intervals, covered the low lands. The stalks of these reeds had the colour of dry leaves, to the height of about six feet, and were covered above that with shoots of a fresh green colour; so that the whole, at a little distance, had the appearance of a coppice wood. Fish and game were in abundance; and from the absence of timidity in the animal creation, it was obvious that they had not been before disturbed by the visits of man. The birds allowed themselves to be taken with the hand; the hares and foxes were equally devoid of fear. On the 17th of March, the colony was founded; and three weeks afterwards Bougainville set sail for France, leaving behind him in his new settlement twenty-seven persons, of whom five were women. Returning to the infant colony in the beginning of the following year, he found all well, and then sailed to the Straits of Magellan for a supply of wood; thus commencing the commercial intercourse with those southern regions which it was the chief object of the colony to maintain. At the close of the year, the colonists, who now amounted to 150, sent home to France a cargo of oil and seal-skins, as a presage of the advantages likely to result from their prosperity.
These enterprises of the French may naturally be supposed to have excited jealous feelings in the English government; and a desire to undertake some countervailing project is manifest in the plans of discovery encouraged by the court. In 1764, commodore Byron was commissioned to sail on a voyage of discovery, the objects of which are briefly and distinctly stated in his instructions, as follows:
“Whereas nothing can redound more to the honour of this nation as a maritime power, to the dignity of the crown of Great Britain, and to the advancement of the trade and navigation thereof, than to make discoveries of countries hitherto unknown; and whereas there is reason to believe that lands and islands of great extent, hitherto unvisited by any European power, may · be found in the Atlantic Ocean, between the Cape of Good Hope and the Magellanic Strait, within the latitudes convenient for navigation, and in the climates adapted to the produce of commodities useful in commerce; and whereas his majesty's islands, called Pepys Island and Falkland's Islands, lying within the said track, notwithstanding their having been first discovered and visited by British navigators, have never yet been sufficiently surveyed, as that an accurate judgment may be formed of their coasts and products: his majesty, taking the premises into consideration, and conceiving no conjuncture so proper for an enterprise of this nature as a time of profound peace which his kingdoms at present happily enjoy, has thought fit that it should now be undertaken.”
The ships fitted out for this voyage were the Tamar, a sloop, mounting 16, and the Dolphin, a small man-of-war, mounting 24 guns. The latter vessel was sheathed with copper; a circumstance which deserves to be remarked, as this was one of the first and most important experiments made by the English admiralty to determine the efficacy of that mode of preserving ships' bottoms from the attacks of worms. Copper sheathing had been recommended to the admiralty so early as 1708; but so difficult is it to alter the routine of practice, and so surely does prejudice rise in opposition to every thing that is new, that in admiral Keppel's fleet, in 1768, there was but one ship coppered.
The ships arrived at Rio Janeiro about the middle of September, and, after remaining there about a month, again put to sea. Their destination had been hitherto a secret, but, on leaving the coast of Brazil, the commodore called all hands upon deck, and informed the men that they were not bound to the East Indies, but upon a voyage of discovery; and that, in case of their good conduct, they were entitled to double pay. This announcement was received by the crew with acclamations of joy; nevertheless they soon had a foretaste of the hardships which they were destined to encounter. At Rio the men had been greatly incommoded by the heat, and supposing that their voyage was to be through hot climates, they had sold all their warm clothing ; but, after holding their course to the south for one week, they experienced an inclemency of weather which rarely occurs in the severest English winter: yet they had not advanced beyond 36° south, and it was now the summer season in those latitudes. Their first shelter was in Port Desire, which was found to have been but confusedly described by sir John Narborough. The country round was a bleak desert, resembling in appearance the downs in the south of England. Some hares were caught, the flesh of which was as white as snow.
On leaving Port Desire, Byron sailed in search of Pepys Isl. VOL. III.
and, laid down by Cowley in 47° south latitude; but after cruising four days to no purpose, being now certain that there was no such island, he returned to the main land to take in wood and water. During this part of the voyage the weather was, in general, fine, but very cold; and it was agreed by all on board, that the only difference between the middle of summer there and the middle of winter in England lay in the length of the days. The ships now entered the Straits of Magellan, and had hardly come to an anchor when they saw a number of horsemen on the shore waving something white, as if inviting them to a conference. Byron immediately proceeded to land, with a well-armed party. Leaving his people upon the beach, in readiness to act as occasion might require, he advanced alone towards the natives, who, though above 500 in number, seemed alarmed at his approach. At length, by signs and expressions of friendship, he induced one of them, who appeared to be a chief, to venture towards him. “This man,” says the commodore," was of a gigantic stature, and seemed to realize the tales of monsters in human shape. He had the skin of some wild beast thrown over his shoulders as a Scotch highlander wears his plaid, and was painted so as to make the most hideous appearance I ever beheld. Round one eye was a large circle of white, a circle of black surrounded the other, and the rest of his face was streaked with paint of different colours. I did not measure him; but if I may judge of his height by the proportion of his stature to my own, it could not be much less than seven feet.” The Patagonians, however formidable their appearance might be, were found remarkably tractable and civil. They accepted such presents as were offered to them with thankfulness, betraying neither indifference nor importunity; and Byron, having looked round upon these “ enormous goblins” with no small astonishment, left them well satisfied with his visit, and willing, as he judged by their signs, to show him the full extent of their hospitality.
The ships now advanced up the straits as far as Port Famine, where our voyagers found the country decorated with a luxuriance that seemed foreign to the climate. The ground was covered with flowers, not inferior to those cultivated in the gardens of Europe either in beauty or fragrance. The favourable language in which commodore Byron speaks of the Magellanic regions seems intended to flatter some scheme of settlement; for he adds, “and if it were not for the severity of the cold and winter, this country might, in my opinion, be made by cultivation one of the finest in the world.” Having completed the wood and water of both ships, he steered back again from the straits in search of Falkland's Islands.
Soon after his arrival at these islands, he discovered a harbour on the western coast, to which he gave the name of Port Egmont, and which appeared to him one of the finest harbours in the world. The whole navy of England might ride within it in perfect security from all winds. Here the country was taken possession of by the name of Falkland's Islands; a precaution which the language of his instructions appears to have rendered unnecessary.
Having thus completed his instructions, so far as related to those islands, he proceeded on his voyage to the South Sea, which he determined to reach by the Straits of Magellan. Having accompanied lord Anson in his voyage round the world, Byron appears to have regarded with unbounded dread the passage by Cape Horn. In the straits, nevertheless, he had to contend with the usual difficulties: his voyage through them occupied about seven weeks, during which time his crews enjoyed little rest, and the uncertainty of the climate threatened continual danger. His intercourse with the wretched inhabitants of this forlorn country was not productive of any interesting results. They were found, however, to derive much pleasure from music; and when amused in this way by some of the crew, testified their gratitude by painting the fiddler's face after the fashion of their country. At length, on the 9th of April, the ships cleared the strait, and entered the South Sea." It is probable,” observes commodore Byron, “ that whoever shall read this account of the difficulties and dangers which attended our passage throuyh the Straits of Magellan will conclude that it ought never to be attempted again; but I, who have been twice round Cape Horn, am of a different opinion. I think that, at a proper season of the year, not only a single vessel but a large squadron might pass the straits in less than three weeks.” The voyage of sir Francis Drake is the only one which can be adduced in support of this opinion. Byron ascribed the hardships which he had to endure from the tempestuous weather to the circumstance of attempting a passage during the vernal equinox. But from the experience of numerous navigators, it may be questioned whether this region of the globe ever enjoys a tolerable respite from storms and hurricanes.
The crews of both vessels being completely worn out by their sufferings in the straits, it was deemed advisable to steer for Juan Fernandez, as the nearest resting place, and to postpone the prosecution of discoveries till the health of the men should be restored. But this island was missed from the haziness of the weather, and it was therefore necessary to sail to Masafuero, some degrees further to the west ; but here again the wearied mariners were disappointed in their hopes of finding a resting place. The sea ran high, and broke upon the shore in such a dreadful surf, that it was found extremely diffi