John Galt.

All the voyages round the world : from the first by Magellan, in 1520, to that of Freycinet, in 1820 online

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Online LibraryJohn GaltAll the voyages round the world : from the first by Magellan, in 1520, to that of Freycinet, in 1820 → online text (page 1 of 65)
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Di/.e Page.

Ferdinand Magchati 1519 27

Sir Tr mcis Diake 1577 36

6ir 1 homas Cavendish 1586 44

Oliver Van Noort 1598 51

Captain William Dampier 1683 57

Mr. Cowley 1683 93

fZ Captain Woodes Rogers 1708 98

iJ> Captain John Clipperton 1719 132

>_ Captain George Shelvock 1719 140

^ Admiral Joris Spilbergen 1614 149

§ Jacob Le Maire and Wilhelm Cornelisz Schout«a . . . 1615 154

^ Admiral Jacob L'Heremite 1623 161

Admiral Jacob Roggewein 1721 165

Commodore George Anson 1740 168

?*■ Commodore Byron 1764 183

^ Captain Samuel Wallis 1766 191

g Captain Carteret 1766 200

^ Mens. De Bougainville 1766 208

M. De Pages 1767 219

Captain James Cook 1768 228

g (Spcorid Voyage) 1772 248

^ (Third Voyage) 1776 267

■ > Captains Porliock and Dixon 1785 290

^ M. De la Perouse 1785 298

ui Captain Edward Edwards 1790 816

- • Captain George Vancouver 1791 322

-J Captain Etienne Marchand 1790 346

Missionary Voyage 1796 353

Captain D'Enirecasteaui 1791 374

Mr. John TurnbuU 1800 378

Captain Krusenstern 1803 396

Captain Freycinet 1818 414

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An arMngement of all the voyages which have been made rounJ the
AfOild, within the compass of a moderate-sized vohime, seems to be one
if those wants which modern hterature hns been, for some years, called
jpon to supply ; oflering, as it does, not merely much solid mformation,
A'ith the greatest amusement, but because it is adapted to every age, sex
ind condition in lifr. It is one of those never-failmg sources of plea-
sure, which may claim a constant place on the parlour-table, in the school-
room, and in the library ; which can never be taken up without instruction,
.nor put down without regret ; which oflors the results of much skill and
adventure, without the labours or dangers necessary to gain them by

Such a work elucidates several points which astronomy has taught ; it
exemplifies to the student in geography much of what he has learned,
stamping the conclusions of science and theory with the evidences of
facts. For a familiar acquaintance with the people of distant countries,
and with the figure and peculiarities of the earth, which voyages round
the world tend so eminently to teach, are among the first offermgs of the
practical navigator to the science which first taught him it was probable
he might be enabled to sail round the globe he is destined to inhabit.

The distinguishing characteristic of the human mind being an invincible
spirit of inquiry, which disdains to rest satisfied with the simple impres-
sions comm\inicated by the external senses, it was, in all probability, one
of the first desires of the first men who tenanted the earth, to gam, not
only a more intimate, but comprehensive acquaintance with its peculiar
qualities and figure.

To them it would naturally appear, as it does to the vulgar even of
the present day, a vast plain, extending they know not where, fixed they
know not how, diversified by various productions, studded with hill and
dale, rock and sand, wood and water, but still essentially a plain. To
conceive anything else, was, indeed, unlikely in the infancy of society.
Art hHd not time to do much for it, and science nothing. Knowledge,
we know, is but of slow growth, laboriously and scantily quarried from
obscurity by human wit for human uses ; neither had men yet- congre-
gated in those vast masses which, by the continual collision of individuals,
at length elicit light and truth of every description. If society has occa-
sioned some of our vices, it has also been the parent of most of our
milder virtues, and of all our information. Man, had he been always
Bolitary, had been always barbarous and ignorant.

The sea was an object so truly wonderful in itself, its qualities and
phenomena were so peculiar, its extent so boundless, and the difficulty
of traversing or examining it so great in the early ages of mankind,
that we may well conceive, while they wondered at its nature, they could
form no idea of its uses. They could not imagine that its riches vied
with those of the land ; that its contents ascended in the form of vapour,
and again descended in showers to fertilize that land ; that it occupied
much the larger portion of the globe they inhabited ; and that, in time,
it was to form the best and speediest means of communication betwee«



distant countries, and thus to become the parent of knowledge, commerce,
and civilization.

Its superfices, according to the best calculations, occupies 131,701,440
miles, or about two-thirds of that of the whole earth. Philosophers
have long speculated about its probable depth, without arriving at any
certain conclusion. Some suppose that its bed is not more below than
the hills are above the general level of the earth, which, if true, would
make it, at most, in particular spots, between five and six miles deep.
Buifon considers that its bed is equally irregular with all other surfaces,
which we have better opportunities for examining ; that there are num-
berless depths and shallows ; that the greatest depths exist in the vicinity
of the highest lands, and vice versa ; and that the medium dept+i of the
whole ocean does not, in all probability, exceed one-fourth of a mile. To
this there seems no solid objection. The inaccuracy of our knowledge
on the point arises from the incompetency of our instruments for sound-
ing, none having yet been invented likely to answer the purpose at any
considerable distance from the surface of the sea, though one instance is
recorded where it was sounded so far as a mile and sixty-six feet.

The existence, however, of so many islands scattered in all the oceans,
affords proof that the sea, far from increasing in depth as we recede from
the shore, on the contrary, frequently shallows ; and that while some of
these irregularities appear as islands above the surface of the water,
there are others not so high, known to the navigator as shoals against
which he has to guard. Added to these, there are many thousands more
of still less elevation, which neither the eye nor the jeadand-line can
reach, every practical sailor knowing that he cannot always depend
upon the latter at a greater depth than lOd, or, perhaps, 150 fathoms, but
most commonly not to much. Nor is there, in general, much attention
paid to this subject except when in the immediate vicinity of land.

As the mountains of the earth form its prominences, so the beds of
the different oceans constitute its concavities, of which the largest is
that of the Great Pacific, or South Sea, extending from the eastern shore
of New Holland to the western coast of America, and occupying nearly
one-half of our globe. The second in size is the Atlantic, connecting
Europe with America ; the Indian Ocean forms the third : to these may
be added the Arctic and Antarctic, tlie Mediterranean, Baltic, and other
seas, forming together an amazing body of water. The circumference
of the earth, according to geographers, does not exceed 24,912 miles.
To sail over this seems an arduous uiideitaking ; but, in fact, to encom-
pass it, a« ships usually do, on account of contiary winds, currents, and.
occasional variations from the direct track, it is necessary for circumnavi-
gators to traverse more than treble this space.

The knowledge of the figure of the earth, by which it was first sup
posed capable of being sailed round, has been gained solely from tho
progressive improvements of astronomy. This science is supposed to
Save made some proirress among the antediluvians, whose lives, according
'0 Josephus, the Jewish historian, were purposely prolonged by Providence
for its advancement. Noah communicated all that was known on the
subject to the Chaldeans, by means of his immediate descendants. Th«
Egyptians succeeded to all the scientific acquirements of these people ,
ind, according to some writers, first conjectured the earth to be spherical,
Jome time previous to the era of Solomon, the Jewish ruler, by obser-
nng the moon to fall into her shadow. This shrewdness of remark indi-
tated considerable advancement in the science. It is remarkable, however,
Aat by one of those strange revolutions in empires, which history fails


to record, and for which even tradition offers no explanation, this peopl*
sunk from the summit of power and civilization to imbecility and bar-
barism ; so that, in the time of Augustus of Rome, astronomy, aloncr
with every other science, had become nearly extinct in that country.

From Egypt, Thaies carried its general principles among the Greeks.
Anaximander, however, seems early to have taught that the earth was
spherical ; but Pythagoras, especially, was the first who formed clear
views of the position and economy of all the heavenly bodiec. About
440 years before Christ, Philolaus, a celebrated follower of Pythagoras,
endeavoured to prove that the earth revolved round the sun ; and, after
him, Hicetas, of Syracuse, asserted its diurnal tnotion on its own axis
The Remans seem to have done little in this science. The darkness of
mind which peivaded all Europe after their fall, affected astronomy as
well as every other species of knowledge ; disregarded in Europe, they
took flight for a season into Arabia, where, amid the feats of arms and
the enchantments of poetry and romance, ihey were zealously fostered
by tbe caliphs, who were themselves not u -frequently among the most
enlightened philosophers of their dominion*. Astronomy, more particu-
larly, was in this way frequently honoured.

The revival of letters produced a corre.inonding enlargement of science.
Several eminent astronomers adorned uerrnany and Italy. But it was
reserved for Christopher Columbus, who united much skill in this science
to a true idea of the figure of the earth, and great experience as a prac-
tical seaman, to propose to sail round, or rather across, it ; for, up to this
lime, but one great ocean and one continent were supposed to constitute
our globe. To this great man, therefore, the first idea of circumnaviga-
tion, though not the full execution of the design, is justly due. He had
upheld it with a constancy as surprising as it was for a long time hope-
less, amid derision, neglect, and suspicion ; e.tposed, like all other bene-
factors of mankind, to alternate insult and praise, to envy and injury, as
if a fatality attended those destined to enlighten or exalt their species ; or
Providence had ordained it as a drawback, in order to lessen a vanity
that might otherwise prove inordinate.

In 1513, Vasco Nunez de Bilboa discovering, for the first time, tho
South Sea from the mountains of Panama, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portu-
guese officer, formed the scheme of entering it, and thus going round the
world ; for with the daily progress of discovery he had acquired clearer
views of its practicability. He opened his plnns to the government, but
in vain ; ministers in all countries being prone to suspect the motives of
projects they do not properly appreciate or understand. Spain again, as
in the instance of Columbus, was applied to, and with similar good
effect. Charles the Fifth then wielded her sceptre, a prince whose
talents, nearly as great as his ambition, aiming at adding the whole of the
east to the finest part of Europe already in his possession, saw at once
the national glory, if not wealth, which would redound from the enter-
prise. He admitted the courageous projector to a formal interview, gave
him, though a foreigner, the chief command in opposition to much native
influence and prejudice, and by a liberality more frequently worthy of
imitation, added the honour of knighthood for making an attempt which
others would probably have awarded only to its successful accomplishment.
The generosity of the emperor stimulated the zeal of the navigator, for
no undertaking was ever more vigorously pursued or ably completed,
though, uiifortunately, the adventurous leader did not live to reap th«
wward of his courage,


The success of the enterprise fully settled the point of the rotundity
of the globe. To this conclusion nearly all the philosophers of the ago
had already arrived. But politicians were not so easily convinced : and
one of the strongest objections to the attempt of Columbus, among the
courtiers of Ferdinand and Isabella, was, that he would probably go so
far as to be unable to return against the resistance offered by that very
convexity which was to assist him in proceeding. They did not consider
that the earth is so vast a mass as to answer every practical purpose of a
plain ; and that it would be no more difficult to return from any particular
point, than to go thither.

The spirit which actuated the early circumnavigators will be more
admired when we consider the great imperfections of navigation at that
time. Of correct longitude scarcely aiiything was known. No depen-
dance could be placed on the common reckoning in strange seas, where
unknown and irregular currents drove them to and fro they knew not
whither ; while lunar observations and chronometers, the only true guides
of the mariner in our days, were utterly unknown. A meridian altitude
of the sun, indeed, indicated their position north or south, but everything
else was confided to Providence.

Their vessels also were extremely small, clumsily built, poorly provision-
ed, ill-fitted, on account of the backward slate of seamanship, and ill-pro-
vided with stores to replace those destroyed in action or worn out by use.
The loss of a mast, a topsail, or an anchor, were to them dangerous
accidents ; while the unshipping of a rudder would probably have been
followed by immediate destruction. In short, we should scarcely trust
ourselves from Dover to (Jalais in vessels in which they successfully cir-
cumnavigaed the globe. Few, at least, of our boldest adventurers
would undertake such an expediton in vessels of thirty, fifty, or eighty
tons, thus fitted, provided, and navigated, as did the companions of Drake
and others of our ancient heroes. The only modem instance anything
like this, is that of the lalo Captain Flinders, of the royal navy. Being
wrecked on a sand-bank off the eastern shore of New Holland, he built
a small vessel, less than our Gravesend boats, out of the wreck, in \vhich
he proceeded to Port Jackson, intending to continue his route in her to
England. Touching, however, at the Isle of France in his way, the de-
sign appeared to the French so desperate and improbable that his story
was not believed ; war had also taken place between the two countries,
and though provided with the passport of Napoleon to guard against
capture, was most cruelly and unjustly detained seven years in captivity
as a spy. He did not, therefore, complete his voyage, which would have
been half round the world, in the smallest vessel in which it has been
attempted since the days of Drake ; it was called the Cumberland, and
is still to be seen in the harbour of Port Louis, in Mauritius.

Among the most trying difficulties with which the early voyagers had
to contend, were the fears, superstitions, and insubordination of their
seaTien. The latter, above all others, is the most arduous and appalling
to a commander. Enemies may be repulsed, the elements cannot bo
always adverse ; but against the mutinous spirit of our companions, those
who are constantly by our side, by whose exertions alone we can proceed,
and who have necessarily all the power in their own hands, what, in
general, can the voice of a captain or an officer or two effect ? Even
this serious obstacle was commonly overcome, sometimes by great pru-
dence and management, and frequently, it must be confessed, by the
sacrifice of human life. Magellan executed some of his companions,


put a few to (Isath by less honourable means, and left others to drag out
a miserable existence among the most wretched savages. Drake follow-
ed the example.

Seamen, no doubt, often rpquire strict discipline and superintendence.
Want of education, and ignorance of settled habits of life, added to
their ever-wandering mode of existence, occasionally inspire a restless-
ness of character against which it is necessary lo guard, as it has some-
times led to great excesses, and even to the most serious crimes. Fatigued
by the monotony of their life, they desire a change ; and impatient of
continual restraint, frequently seek among savages that freedom, happiness,
and exemption from labour which they believe to exist only in such a
community. It is thus that some of the South Sea islands contain hun-
dreds of English sailors. It is also true, that, with fewer personal com-
forts than any other class of men, their treatment by commanders is often
unduly severe. Some degree of tyranny has always prevailed at sea in
vessels of all nations ; nor was our own royal navy, till within these fev?
years, exempted from the charge ; but, in truth, the skipper of a collier is
quite as great a despot in his way as those of higher rank and pretension.

Another so^irce of apprehension and difficulty to the early voyagers
was the disposition with which they migi^it be received by the strange
nations inhabiting the countries of which they were in search, as want
of refreshments must continually bring them into contact. The know-
ledge of human nature was then so limited as to give rise to the most
extravagant conjectures concerning the inhabitants of this as well as of
the other world. The majority of people believed in witches and conju-
rers, in cunning dwarfs and monstrous giants, which the adventurers no
doubt expected to see, as well as many other wonders in the nevir
countries. It is remarkable that this idea was, in some measure, verified.
For the first strange people they met with, the Patagonians, proved of
extraordinary stature, though not, in fact, such giants as at first repre-
sented. Added to these were the usual dangers, common to all seamen,
of storms, shipwreck, famine, thirst, and the most horrible of all, from
which there is no hope and no retreat, namely, the calamity of fire.
When the variety and importance of all these difficulties are considered,
our admiration of those brave men becomes as great as their views were
grand, and their courage invincible.

An interval of fifty-seven years elapsed from the expedition of Magel-
lan, when Drake, who had served in the West Indies against the Spa-
niards, struck out the novel scheme of cruising against them on the coasts
of Chili and Peru, to which countries no English vessel had yet pene-
trated, though a few adventurers had reached Panama, across the Isthmus
of Darien. Besides, the prospect of gaining wealth from the enemies
of his country, in itself an irresistible temptation, there was the farther
honour, by returning round the Cape of Good Hope, of being the second
circumnavigator. It is unnecessary to say this bold undertaking sue
ceeded. Cavendish and others followed with equal success ; but Draka
may justly be termed the father of the bucaniers of the South Sea.
Of this celebrated association, which originated in the West Indies, and
occasionally extended its operations to the Pacific Ocean, to the continual
anxiety and terror of the Spaniards, it will be necessary to give somt
account, as without it the following pages would be incomplete.

The name bucanier, which originally signified one who dried or smoked
flesh in the manner of the Indians, was given to the first French
eettlers of St. Domingo, who hunted wild boars and cattle in order to
sell the hides and flesh to their naore settled neighbours. They lived in


huts V ■•!« 's p-iKies of cleared ground, just sufficiently large to admit of
dryirif, 'iw (-i^JM; These spots were named Boucans, and ihe huts,
whic'a "O-o cx^rnenly only temporary, Ajoupas, terms borrowed from
i.he nat T£ Jpi'ianr. Wiih the more regular Spanish settlers of the same
.sland they wsre continually at war, and, therefore, concealment was in
«ome degree necess.^ry, the motives of the Spaniards for this persecution
oeing jealousy of the pifsence of all other Europeans.

The tenants of the BiucanS; having neither women nor children, con-
gregated in parties, eaci keeping a servant, who, being some recent
adventurer from Europp, was obliged to bind himself for three years to
an older bucanier in ord< r to gain a footing in the community ; more a
companion, however, thatj a servant, the fruits of their labours were en-
joyed in common ; and i.i cases of death, the domestic regularly suc-
ceeded to the properly of his master. In process of time, some, tired
of this occupation, settled rs planters in the little island of Tortuga,
situated at a short distance from the north side of St. Doiningo, to whicl"
they were by degrees driven by the repeated massacres of the Spaniards.
Others commenced freebooters by sea, amply revenging upon that nation
the injuries sustained by their companions on land. Success continually
added to their confidence and to their numbers. They seldom, at first,
acted together ; but in parties of from fifty to two hundred men each,
embarked in small boats, ill adnpted either to war or security from the
elements, and would attacii the largest vessels, overpowering them by a
desperate bravery which nothing could withstand. Thus they fought their
way to riches and power. Every additional prize afforded increased means
of capturing others ; till at length the Spaniards, afraid of proceeding
to sea. had their intercourse with the mother country nearly annihilated.

Although their vengeance was directed against this, their wealthiest
and bitterest enemy, other nations were not exempted from their depreda-
tions. When distressed for men, money, or ships, almost every stranger
became an enemy. Thus far they were pirates. The booty whs recrularly
divided into as many shares as there were men. None hnd a preference.
The leader of an enterprise, commonly elected only for the occasion,
among the most distinguished for skill and courage, enjoyed more honours,
but had no claim to greater emolmnenis than his associates, except what
the general voice chose to award when an enterprise proved profitable,
and had been ably conducted.

No fixed laws gu>ded ihf-ir proceedings. These were made upon the
spni of the occasion. But offences against the general good, such as
peculation or treachery, were severely and summarily punished, either by
death or by leaving the cul[)rit upon a desert island. Such was the
certainty of punishment, or the sense of justice to each other, that few
instances of this kind occurred. Their behaviour verified the adage of
" Honesty among thieves ;" for though rolibers by profession, none were
ever more equitable among theinselves. Every sjiare was chosen by lot.
The wounded were provided for by a certain sum, and !\n allowance
during cure. The companion or servant of a member killed, received
his share. If he had none, it was transmitted to his relations ; or if
these were unknown, given to the poor or to churches, to apologize for
misdeeds neither repented of nor discontinued. They seldom went to

Online LibraryJohn GaltAll the voyages round the world : from the first by Magellan, in 1520, to that of Freycinet, in 1820 → online text (page 1 of 65)