Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

bly greater, and the arts as well as the institutions of rude society much more advanced.

Of the natives of New Zealand, Cook entertained a highly favourable opinion, notwithstanding their cannibalism, of which he saw numerous incontestible proofs. He could not collect from them any tradition respecting the arrival of Tasman on their shores; but they heard of a country called Ulimaroa, situated N. W. by W., where the people eat hogs, and whence some canoes seemed to have accidentally arrived in their country. The circumnavigation of New Zealand was the first grand discovery of Cook. When Tasman touched on that country, he imagined it to be a part of the great Terra Australis, or continent supposed to extend to the south pole. Our navigator was satisfied with having disproved this supposition; and as the lateness of the season would not permit him to continue his researches in higher latitudes, he determined to direct his course to the eastern coast of New Holland, respecting which the learned world was still in total ignorance.

He took leave of New Zealand on the 31st of March, 1770, and in twenty days discovered the coast of New Holland at no great distance from the point where the survey of Tasman had terminated. In proceeding to the north, an inlet was entered, in which the ship rode securely for some days. Inhabitants were seen, but, from their shyness and timidity, they could not be induced to approach the strangers : they seemed to be sunk in that brutal condition which is insensible even to the promptings of curiosity. From the variety of new plants collected here by the naturalists of the expedition, this inlet received the name of Botany Bay. No rivers were discovered by Cook in his voyage along this coast, which has since been found abundantly supplied with fine streams. The natives, wherever they were seen, manifested the same repugnance to the strangers, and the same indifference to the trinkets presented to them. Towards the north, the country grew more hilly, and the navigation of the coast became more dangerous and intricate.

No accident had yet occurred in a voyage of 2000 miles along a coast hitherto unexplored; but in lat. 16° S. a high headland being in sight, which from the circumstance was afterwards named Cape Tribulation, the ship during the night struck on some coral rocks with so much force that there seemed imminent danger of her going to pieces. The planks which formed her sheathing were seen floating off, and the water rushed in with such impetuosity, that, though all the pumps were manned, the leak could hardly be kept under. As day broke, land was descried eight leagues distant, without an island between, to which the boats might convey the crew in case of the ship's foundering. The guns and all the stores that could be spared were thrown overboard, and preparations were made to heave the ship off the rocks, although it was thought probable that she would sink soon after. On the following night, however, she was got afloat, and, to the surprise of all, it was found that the leakage did not increase. By constant exertion and cool per- , severance, the ship was navigated to a small harbour opportunely discovered on the coast, and the only harbour, indeed, seen by our people during the whole voyage, which could have afforded them the same relief. On examining the injury done to the vessel, it was found that a large piece of the coral rock, having forced its way through the timbers, had remained fixed in the aperture; and but for this providential circumstance the ship must have sunk the moment she was got off the reef.

The cove in which our navigators found shelter is situated at the mouth of a small stream, to which was given the name of the Endeavour River. Here the natives appeared rather more familiar; but they set little value on any thing offered to them, except food. When some turtle, which they coveted, was refused them, they avenged the affront by setting fire to the long grass near the tents; an action which had nearly been attended with disagreeable consequences. Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found here abundance of employment; almost every thing connected with the animal and vegetable kingdoms being absolutely new. Our naturalists were particularly pleased with the animal called by the natives kangaroo ; they saw several at a distance, but a long time elapsed before they could succeed in shooting one.

The ship being repaired, our voyagers left the harbour, and, after much patient labour and anxiety, at length gained the deep sea, having been three months entangled within the reefs. They now prosecuted their voyage to the north, flattering themselves that the danger was gone by, when the wind abated, and the ship was found to be drifting fast towards the reefs which lined this coast nearly in its whole extent, and on which the great waves of the Southern Ocean break with a tremendous surf. Her destruction seemed inevitable, when a narrow channel through the reefs was descried at no great distance; and although the attempt was attended with great risk, yet the ship was steered to run through it. Having thus entered from necessity a second time within the reef, Cook resolved to persevere through all difficulties in following the coast, lest he might lose the strait that separates New Holland from New Guinea; “if,” as he doubtfully expresses it, “such a strait there be." He at length reached a point of land from which he could discern an open sea to the south-west, and was thus convinced that he had found the strait in question. He then landed, and in the name of his sovereign took possession of the immense

line of coast that he had discovered, and to which he gave the name of New South Wales. The little island on which the ceremony was performed received the name of Possession Island.

The crew of the Endeavour had suffered so much from sick. ness and fatigue, that it was not deemed advisable to prolong the voyage by an examination of the coasts of New Guinea. Our navigator, therefore, held his course for Batavia, where he wished to refit his vessel : but the noxious climate of this place proved more fatal to the men than all their preceding hardships; scarcely ten remained in a condition to do duty. Tupia and his poor boy Tayeto, who had been afflicted with the scurvy during the whole voyage, were among the first victims to the pestiTential air of Batavia. The seeds of illness lingered in the ship long after she had left the place; and before her arrival at the Cape she had lost no less than thirty persons, among whom were Mr. Green the astronomer, Dr. Solander, and the surgeon; the life of Mr. Banks also was for some time despaired of. On the 10th of June, land, which proved to be the Lizard, was discovered by the same boy who had first seen New Zealand; and on the 12th, Cook came to an anchor in the Downs, having been employed two years and eleven months in his voyage round the earth.

CHAP. IV.

COOK'S SECOND VOYAGE.

Question of a Southern Continent still unsettled.-Second Expedition under the

Command of Cook.-Cape Circumcision.-Ice found towards the South. Aurora Australis.-Arrival at New Zealand.-Course of the Adventure.Van Diemen's Land.-Useful Animals left in New Zealand.-Voyage across the Southern Pacific.-Dramatic Performances in Otaheite.-Omai and Oedidee embark in the Ships.-Amsterdam and Middleburg Islands.-Their Cultivation.-Proofs of Cannibalism at New Zealand.-Voyage across the Antarctic Seas.-Land of Juan Fernandez.- Easter Island. -Description of the Images.---The Marquesas.-Beauty of the People.-Otaheite.-Trade in red Feathers.-Great Naval Review.-Friendly Islands revisited.--Extent of the Group.--The New Hebrides examined.-New Caledonia discovered.Norfolk Island.-Voyage from New Zealand to Cape Horn.-The Southern

Thule or Sandwich Land.--Arrival of Cook in England.-Lamentable Occurrence in Qneen Charlotte's Sound.

The first important discovery made by Cook was effected by the circumnavigation of New Zealand. When Tasman described that country, he supposed it to be a part of the great Terra Australis Incognita, extending probably across the southern Pacific Ocean; but Cook's voyage at once overturned this theory. An opinion, however, which has long existed, cannot be at once dispelled, although utterly 'groundless, and many still continued to believe in the existence of a southern continent, although Cook's discoveries had cut off the connexion between their theory and the facts which hitherto had been adduced in its support: but to set the question of a southern continent completely at rest, another expedition was necessary, and the English government, having now made the advancement of science the object of national exertions, resolved to continue their laudable researches. The king was partial to the scheme; and the earl of Sandwich, who was at the head of the admiralty, possessed a mind sufficiently liberal and comprehensive to second effectively the wishes of his sovereign.

Captain Cuok was named at once as the fittest person to command the new expedition. Two ships, the Resolution and the Adventure, the former of 462 the latter of 336 tons burden, were fitted out for the voyage; and, that no opportunities might be lost to science from the want of persons capable of observing nature under every aspect, astronomers and naturalists of eminent ability were engaged to accompany the expedition; Messrs. Wales and Bayley proceeding in the former, Reinhold Forster and his son in the latter capacity. The ships were amply stored and provided for a long and difficult voyage, particularly with antiscorbutics, and whatever was thought likely to preserve the health of the crews.

Cook sailed from Plymouth on the 13th of July, 1772, on his second voyage of discovery. On his arrival at the Cape of Good Hope, he was induced, by the entreaties of Mr. Forster, to allow the celebrated naturalist Sparmann to join the expedition. He now directed his course to the south, in search of the land said to have been discovered by the French navigator Bouvet, but violent gales drove him far to the east of the meridian in which it was supposed to lie. After long struggling with adverse winds, he at length reached the same meridian, some leagues to the south of the latitude assigned to Cape Circumcision. Having thus proved that the land said to have been seen by Bouvet, if it existed at all, was certainly no part of a southern continent, he continued his course to the south and east.

On the 10th of December our navigators first met with islands of ice, and on the following days these occurred in greater numbers and of larger size: some of them were nearly two miles in circuit, and sixty feet high; yet such was the force of the waves, that the sea broke quite over them. This was at first view a gratifying spectacle, but the sentiment of pleasure was soon swallowed up in the horror which seized on the mind from the contemplation of danger; for a ship approaching these islands on the weather side would be dashed to pieces in a moment. Amidst the obstructions to which our navigators were exposed from the ice islands continually succeeding one another, they derived the advantage of having an abundant supply of fresh water; large masses of ice were carried off, and stowed on deck, and the water produced from its melting was found perfectly sweet and well tasted. ,

On the 17th of January, 1773, our navigators had reached the latitude of 67° 15' S., and they saw the ice extending from east to west-south-west, without the least appearance of an opening. It was vain, therefore, to persist any longer in a southerly course; and as there was some danger of being surrounded by the ice, prudence dictated a retreat to the north. On the 8th of February, the weather being extremely thick and hazy, it was found that the Adventure had parted company: the rendezvous appointed in case of this accident was Queen Charlotte's Sound, in New Zealand; and thither Cook directed his course. In the latitude of 629 S., on the 17th of the same month, between midnight and three o'clock in the morning, lights were seen in the heavens, şimilar to those that are known in the northern hemisphere by the name of the Aurora Borealis. Captain Cook had never heard that the Aurora Australis had been seen before, but the same phenomenon was witnessed repeatedly in the sequel of this voyage. During his run to the eastward in this high latitude, he had ample reason to conclude that no land lay to the south, unless at a very great distance. At length, after having been 117 days at sea, during which time he had sailed 3660 leagues without having come once within sight of land, he saw the shores of New Zealand on the 25th of March, and on the following day came to an anchor in Dusky Bay. Notwithstanding the length and hardships of his voyage, there was no sickness in the ship; the attention which he paid to the health of the men, by enforcing cleanliness, by keeping the vessel dry and well ventilated, and by the judicious - use of antiscorbutic diet, being attended with complete success. Having surveyed Dusky Bay, he proceeded to Queen Charlotte's Sound, where captain Furneaux had arrived before him.

The Adventure, after parting company with the Resolution, had followed a more northerly course, and traced the coasts of Van Diemen's Land along the southern and eastern shores. Captain Furneaux reported, “ that in his opinion there are no straits between this land and New Holland, but a very deep bay." Cook had intended to investigate this point, but, considering it to be now settled by the judgment of his colleague, he resolved to prosecute his researches to the east, between the latitudes of 41° and 46o. But before he left Queen Charlotte's Sound he succeeded in establishing a friendly and mutually advantageous intercourse with the natives. He endeavoured to give them substantial proofs of his kind intentions, by making an addition to their stock of useful animals. He put

« ForrigeFortsett »