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In the year 1699, Great Britain being at peace with the other maritime states of Europe, king William ordered an expedition for the discovery of new countries, and for the examination of some of those before discovered, particularly New Holland and New Guinea. Dampier had recommended himself to public attention, by the agreeable narrative which he had written of his buccaneering voyages; and the earl of Pembroke made choice of him to conduct the expedition. The Roebuck, a ship belonging to the royal navy, was equipped for the purpose, and supplied with provisions for a long voyage. As New Holland was approached, the sea was found covered to a great distance with weeds, and whales were seen in unusual numbers. Dampier made the land after a voyage of six months, in lat. 26° S. and anchored, a few days after, in the very bay to which Dirk Hertoge, the first discoverer of the country, gave his name. Here he saw kanguroos, of which he gives the following strange account: — “ The land animals we saw here were only a sort of racoons, but different from those of the West Indies, chiefly as to their legs; for these have very short fore legs, but go jumping, and, like the racoons, are very good meat.” Sailing towards the north, he found an archipelago stretching above twenty leagues in length, which has been more recently examined by captain King. Dampier, hoping to find a passage through them to the main land, advanced a short way through intricate channels. To one of the islands, on which he landed to look for water, he gave the name of Rosemary Island. He then stood out to sea from the islands, and held his course toward the north. Having cleared the archipelago, he again approached the main land, where he searched in vain for water; he met, however, with inhabitants, and was obliged to discharge his musket in order to intimidate them. But they, finding that the report was not attended with any mischief, advanced with greater boldness, holding up their arms and saying Pooh, pooh! in contemptuous mimicry of the noise of the
musket; nor would they retire till one of them was - o
killed. “Among these New Hollanders,” says Dampier, “one who seemed to be a kind of prince, or captain, was painted with a circle of white about his eyes, and down his nose, which added much to his natural deformity; for they were all of them the most unpleasant looking and the worst featured of any people I ever saw.” He now left the shores of New Holland, and having refitted and furnished himself with fresh provisions at Timor, he stood towards New Guinea, which he first descried on New Year's day, 1700. He doubled Cape Mabo, the western extremity of that country, on the 9th of February ; and then holding an easterly course at a distance from the main land, he saw land on the 27th, which he supposed to be the eastern part of New Guinea. On approaching the shore, some plantations and patches of clear ground were distinctly seen. The natives approached with an air of friendship, but the treachery of their intentions was suspected and defeated. The island of Gerrit Denijs, as the Dutch call it, was found to be extremely populous, and the sides of the hills were thickly set with plantations. “The natives,” says Dampier, “are very black; their short curled hair is dyed of various colours, as red, white, and yellow : they have broad round faces, with great bottle noses, yet agreeable enough, except that they disfigure themselves by painting, and wearing great things through their noses, as big as a man's thumb, and about four inches long. They have also great holes in their ears, wherein they stuff such ornaments as in their noses. Their speech is clear and distinct; the words they used most when near us were, Wacousee allamais, pointing then to the shore.” They probably invited him to purchase their cocoa-nuts, which are called lamas in the language of New Guinea. Dampier followed the coast of the main land to south-south-west and west, giving names to the chief havens and headlands, until, leaving Port Montague, he discovered an open sea to the north, while something like land appeared towards the south-west. He thus found that he had circumnavigated the land, which he had supposed to be New Guinea, and that he was now sailing in the strait which separated the two countries. “The east land,” he says, “afforded a very pleasant and agreeable prospect. We saw smoke, but did not strive to anchor there, choosing rather to get under one of the islands, where I thought we should find few or no inhabitants. We looked out well to the north, and seeing no land that way, I was well assured that the east land was not joined to New Guinea ; therefore I named it Nova Britannia.” Dampier's homeward voyage was prosperous, until he reached the Island of Ascension, where the ship sprung a leak, and it was found impossible to preserve her. Great part of the provision was saved, and the sails were brought ashore to make tents. Fresh water and turtle were in abundance, so that there was no danger of immediate distress. Ten weeks after the occurrence of this accident, three English ships of war anchored at Ascension, with which Dampier and his men returned to England. The Roebuck was an old and worn-out vessel, quite unfit for the voyage ; and it does not appear that Dampier can be justly blamed for the misfortune that took place. He accomplished the object of his mission, by making an important discovery, and by writing an account of it in an able manner.
Voy AGES OF PRIVATEERS AND OTHERS TO THE SOUTH SEA.
PRIVATEERs unprer. DAMPIER. - DISCORDS IN THE ExPEIDITION. - STRADLING AND DAMPIER SEPARATE. - ALEXANDER SELkIR k LEFT on Ju A N FERNAND Ez. - FATE OF Strt ADLING. - clip PERTON. LeAVEs DAMPIER. - HE CROSSES THE PACIFIC OCEAN IN A SMALL BAR.K. —DAMPIER DESERTED BY Fu NNEL AND OTHERs. – His AdversITY. — HE PREVAILs ON THE MERCHANTS TO EQUIP ANOTHER ExPEDITION. – VOYAGE OF WOODES ROGERS. — ARRIVAL AT JUAN FERNANDEZ. - ADVENTurtles or A Lex A.N.D.E.R. sei, KIRK on THAT ISLAND. - success OF Rog ERS. - UN FORTUNATE Woy AGES OF SHELVOCKE AND CLIPPERTON.-Frt ENCH PRIVATEERs. –th EIR. R.A. PID INCREAse. THE DUTCH. — RoggewEIN's ExPEDITION.—BELGIA AUSTRAL. - EASTER ISLAND. — DANGEROUS SHOALS. – WERQUIKKUNG ISLAND. - DISPUTES BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND SPAIN.ANson's Expedition.— HIS SQUADRON MANNED BY INVALIDS. - UN HAPPY CONSEQUENCES OF THAT MEASURE. – VOYAGE ROUND CAPE HORN. – DISTRESS OF THE SHIPS. – THE ACAPULco GALEoN TAKEN. — ANson RETURNs. – FATE of THE OTHER SHiPS,
THE buccaneers were now suppressed indeed, but their daring and successful exploits in the South Seas were by no means forgotten. On the breaking out of the general war at the commencement of the last century, some merchants were induced to believe that with a well fitted armament a profitable expedition might be made into those seas, where the buccaneers, ill provided as they were, had met with such extraordinary success. They equipped in consequence two vessels, the St. George, of twenty-six, and the Cinque Ports, of sixteen guns, for this expedition. Dampier, whose character as a seaman was not lowered in the general estimation by the loss of his ship in his last voyage, was appointed to command the St. George; but this choice proved singularly unfortunate. Dampier, although a good seaman, appears to have been a bad commander. He had lived too long with the buccaneers to be able to assume that dignity of carriage which is necessary to insure respect; while, by his too great familiarity, he imparted to his crew that tone of lawless equality which he had learned in his early years. He at the same time endeavoured to maintain discipline by an injudicious severity, and his temper was so bad that it was impossible to continue long on terms of intimacy with him. The ships, too, with which he sailed, were ill fitted for the expedition. The crew was mutinous and disorderly, and no harmony existed among the officers. When the two ships arrived at the island of Juan Fernandez in the South Sea, a dispute arose between captain Stradling, the commander of the Cinque Ports, and his crew ; and the latter absolutely refused to allow him to come on board. These differences were hardly reconciled by the mediation of Dampier, when a large ship was seen at a distance; on which our privateers stood out to sea in such haste that Stradling left behind him on the island five of his men, with a great proportion of his stores. The strange ship proved to be French, and of superior force, so that the chase was soon relinquished. Soon after, on the coast of Peru, our English privateers seized a prize, which gave birth to fresh altercations, and in consequence Dampier and Stradling parted company. The latter of these touched again at Juan Fernandez, where he found two of the men whom he had left there on his former visit to that island. But while the Cinque Ports lay here he had some disagreement with Alexander Selkirk, the master of the ship, who, in the heat of his dissatisfaction, and dreading the leaky state of the ship, chose to remain alone on the island, rather than to continue any longer under the command of Stradling. His desire was complied with; and he was set on shore, with his clothes, bedding, a firelock, one pound of gunpowder, a hatchet, cooking utensils, some tobacco, and his books. Before the ship