Voyage of Surville.-He discovers the Land of the Arsacides. ---He visits New

Zealand.--Discoveries of Lieutenant Shortland.---Voyage of Marion du Fresne. -He touches at New Zealand.---His lamentable Death.-Kerguelen discovers Land in the Southern Atlantic.---His Reception at Court.-He sails a second Time.--His Disgrace.-Honours paid to Cook on his Return. -Hopes of a North-West Passage revived.--Expedition of Phipps to the North Pole.---Cook appointed a third Time to command an Expedition.His Instructions. Regret of Omai on leaving England. - The Land of Desolation..--Van Diemen's Land.-Error of Catain Furneaux.-Live Stock left in Queen Charlotte's Sound.---Mangeea discovered.- Wateeo.-Omai's Exaggerations.-Shipwrecked Islanders.--- Visit to the Friendly Islands.-Generosity of the King.--Extent of his Dominion.--Accounts of the neighbouring Islands.-Horses landed at Otaheite.--. Wonder of the Natives. -Omai settled at Huaheine.-Further Accounts of him.

In 1769 some discoveries of importance were made in the South Seas by a French mercantile adventurer. Two ships were fitted out in Bengal by MM. Law and Chevalier, for a trading voyage to Peru, and were placed under the command of M. de Surville. While he was preparing to embark, news arrived in India that the English had discovered in the South Sea, 700 leagues from Peru, and in lat. 27° S., an island exceedingly rich, and inhabited by Jews. This story gained credit, being congenial to the avaricious cravings of mankind; and even those who suspected fiction in the mention of Jews were still willing to believe that the newly discovered country was eminently rich. Surville, touching at the Bashee Islands, carried off three of the natives to supply the deficiencies of his crew; thus furnishing a conspicuous example of that overbearing violence which has almost universally forced weak and uncivilized nations to regard Europeans as their natural enemies. In running to the southeast from New Guinea he discovered land, to which he gave the name of the Land of the Arsacides, and which was, in fact, a part of that long chain of islands that had already been seen by Bougainville, who gave the name of Louisiade to the portion which he had examined. Surville, in his intercourse with the natives, found them to be of a fierce, intractable, and treacherous disposition, and chose to designate them Arsacides, a name which he supposed to be equivalent to the word assassins. Surville afterwards visited New Zealand, and anchored in a bay, to which he gave the name of Lauriston. Captain Cook, who named it Double Bay, was at the same time employed in surveying its shores, yet these two navigators did not meet nor descry each other. The French commander, having lost his boat while anchoring here, went on shore with an armed party to punish the natives, whom he supposed to have stolen it. In a short time he burned several villages, and carried off a native chief. This outrage, perpetrated by some of the first Europeans who visited them, was soon afterwards repaid with cruel reprisalz, by the New Zealanders. The chief died at Juan Fernandez, and Surville was drowned while going on shore at Valparaiso.

The Land of the Arsacides, which Surville had coasted on the north-eastern side, was again discovered in 1789, by lieutenant Shortland of the British navy, on his voyage from Port Jackson to the East Indies : he followed its southern shores, to which he gave the name of New Georgia, and passed through the straits of Bougainville, which he named from himself, being apparently ignorant of the discoveries of the French navigators. The chain of large islands thus seen successively and partially by Bougainville, Surville, and Shortland, and which stretch from north-west to south-east, between New Guinea and the New Hebrides, are unquestionably the Salomon Islands of the early Spanish navigators. The Egmont Island of Carteret, who sought the Salomon Islands, and who approached them very closely without being aware of it, may be considered as belonging to the archipelago.

It has been already mentioned that Bougainville brought home with him to France a native of Otaheite named Aootooroo. When the fame of Cook's discoveries began to excite a general interest in Europe, captain Marion du Fresne, animated with a desire to emulate the glory of the English navigator, offered to take back the Otaheitan to his native land from the Isle of France at his own expense: the offer was accepted; and Kerguelen, a navigator of some note, was commissioned to carry Aootooroo to the Isle of France, and then to proceed to examine more carefully the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean. The Otaheitan died at Madagascar; but Marion did not on that account relinquish his plans, but proceeded, in the ardent hope of making some important discoveries. He arrived at New Zealand without any accident, and anchored in the Bay of Islands. where his people lived on terms of familiarity, and apparently, of cordial friendship with the natives; but some offence was given unawares to the passionate and capricious savages: Marion was murdered, with sixteen officers and men who had accompanied him on shore. Another party of eleven men, who were employed cutting wood in a different quarter, were at the same time set upon suddenly, and only one escaped to the ships to relate the dismal fate of his companions. When the French landed to seek the remains of their unfortunate commander, the natives insultingly cried to them from their fastnesses, “Tacowry (the chief of the district) has killed and eaten Marion." After this melancholy accident the ships returned to the Isle of France under the command of M. Duclesmeur, all plans of discovery being abandoned.

Kerguelen in the mean time sailed from the Isle of France in January, 1772; and, on the 12th of February, discovered, in lat. 50° 5 S., high land, near the coast of which he remained six days; during this time he was separated from the corvette which accompanied him. To the bleak and sterile shores which he had discovered he gave his own name; took formal possession of them for his sovereign; and, on his return to France, described their appearance in such glowing terms, that Louis XV., deceived by his representations, hung to his button-hole, with his own hand, the cross of St. Louis. Kerguelen's enemies, however, insisted that he had seen ice at a distance, and mistaken it for land; chey called on him to show some of the productions of the country as a proof of his discovery, and insinuated that he had purposely got rid of his comrade that he might be at liberty to indulge in gross fictions. The king, however, afforded him the means of refuting these aspersions : Kerguelen sailed again to the Southern Atlantic ; and, in December, 1773, again discovered land: by the 6th of January following he had traced its coasts above eighty leagues. It was, however, a barren, inhospitable, and, in general, an unapproachable shore, affording nothing that could satisfy the French nation of the importance of his discoveries. On his return he was accused of culpable indifference to the safety of his men and officers, or rather of purposely exposing those whom he disliked to dangers which eventually proved fatal. Being unable to exculpate himself, he was deprived of his rank and thrown into prison.

No expedition, fitted out for the purpose of maritime discovery, had ever equalled that from which captain Cook had now returned, in the magnitude and arduous nature of its peculiar object; and none had ever so completely answered its intentions, and performed its task with so little loss of life or injury to the ships. The success of Cook's voyage was gratifying in the highest degree to those who had patronized the undertaking. The earl of Sandwich was still at the head of the admiralty, and felt naturally disposed to reward liberally one whose courage and skill had so well justified his expectations. Cook was immediately raised to the rank of post captain, and obtained a inore substantial mark of favour, being appointed one of the captains of Greenwich hospital, which afforded him a liberal maintenance and repose from his professional labours. In February, 1776, only a few months after his return he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society; and on the evening of his first appearance there, a paper was read containing an account of the method he had taken to preserve the health of the crew of his majesty's ship the Resolution, during her voyage round the world. The humane and succesful attention which Cook bestowed on

his ship's company was soon after rewarded by the Copley medal, a prize annually bestowed by the Royal Society on the author of the best experimental paper of the year. In the discourse which the president, Sir John Pringle, delivered on the occasion of bestowing the medal, he uses the following emphatic expressions :

“What inquiry can be so useful as that which has for its object the saving the lives of men ? and where shall we find one more succesful than that before us? Here are no vain boastings of the empiric, nor ingenious and delusive theories of the dogmatist; but a concise and artless, and an uncontested, relation of the means by which, under divine favour, captain Cook with a company of 118 men performed a voyage of three years and eighteen days throughout all the climates from fifty-two degrees north to seventy-one degrees south latitude, with the loss of only one man by sickness. I would now inquire of the most conversant with the bills of mortality, whether, in the most healthy climate, and the best condition of life, they have ever found so small a number of deaths within that space of time? How great and agreeable, then, must our surprise be, after perusing the histories of long navigations in former days, when so many perished by marine diseases, to find the air of the sea acquitted of all malignity; and, in fine, that a voyage round the world may be undertaken with less danger, perhaps, to health than a common tour in Europe !” · The great question, as to the existence of a southern conti. nent, was finally set at rest by the result of this voyage ; not but that immense tracts of land might exist in the neighbourhood of the south pole. But Cook's researches reduced the limits of the southern continent, if it exist at all, within such high latitudes, as completely to dispel all those hopes of unbounded wealth and fertility with which imagination had hitherto graced that undiscovered country. One grand problem still divided the opinions of speculative geographers, and eluded every attempt made at a practical solution. The English nation had always felt a peculiar interest in the question of a north-west passage. Their earliest and most constant efforts in the career of discovery were directed towards Hudson's and Baffin's Bays in search of a communication with the Pacific Ocean, so that they might sail by a shorter navigation to China and Japan. In consequence of the disputes between Mr. Dobbs and cap tain Middleton, respecting the feasibility of the scheme, the agitation of the question was tolerably recent in the public mind, and government adopting the views of the former gentleman, a reward of 20,0001. was offered by act of parliament to those who should discover the desired passage..

The British government, captivated with the glory that might VOL. III.

result from expeditions destined for the improvement of science, resolved now to direct its exertions towards the north-west ; and, as a preliminary measure, captain Phipps (afterwards lord Mulgrave) was despatched towards the north pole, to ascertain how far navigation was practicable in that quarter. After struggling obstinately with innumerable difficulties and dangers, arising from the quantity of ice that beset him, he was obliged to return, after having penetrated to the latitude of 80° 30', or within 90 of the terrestrial pole. "

The hope of finding a passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans was not, however, abandoned ; and consultations were held by lord Sandwich with sir Hugh Palliser, and other experienced officers, relative to the plan which should be adopted in the expedition, and to the choice of a commander. Captain Cook had earned, by his eminent services, the privilege of honourable repose; and no one thought of imposing on him, for the third time, the dangers and hardships of a voyage of discovery round the world: but being invited to dine with lord Sandwich, in order that he might lend the light of his valuable experience to the various particulars under discussion, he was so fired with the observations that were made on the benefits likely to redound to science, to navigation, and the intercourse of mankind, from the projected expedition, that he voluntarily offered to take the command of it himself. This proposal was too much in accordance with the wishes of lord Sandwich to be rejected through motives of mere delicacy; and captain Cook was appointed accordingly to the command of the expedition in February, 1776. The act of parliament, passed in 1745, which secured a reward of 20,000 pounds to ships belonging to any of his majesty's subjects, which should make the proposed discovery, was now also amended so as to include ships belonging to his majesty, and proceeding in any direction, for the old act referred * only to ships which should find a passage through Hudson's Bay; whereas Cook was directed by his instructions to proceed into the Pacific Ocean, and to commence his researches on the north-west coast of America, in the latitude of 65°; and not to lose time in exploring rivers or inlets until he had reached that latitude.

The vessels fitted out for this voyage were the Resolution and Discovery, the latter under the command of captain Edward Clerke. Messrs. Bayley and Anderson, who had both accompanied captain Cook in his preceding voyage, now embarked with him a second time, the former in the capacity of astronomer, the latter in that of naturalist. Omai, who, during his residence in England, had been treated with great kindness, and loaded with presents from all quarters, now prepared to return to his native country; but the joy which he felt at the idea of returning to his relations in possession of inestimable riches

« ForrigeFortsett »