James Burney.

A chronological history of the discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean ; illustrated with charts (Volume v.3) online

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interpretation ; on which account it has been judged proper in
some material passages to accompany what is proposed for the
translation with the original Spanish. Seixas begins his account
with the following observation :

' As Hendrick Brouwer accidentally found a new passage to Voyage
' navigate freely between the North and the South Seas by the ^ekUodi'?
' East of the Staten La7id, in like manner did Antonio de la
' Roche and his companions, in the year 1675, fall in with

• another passage farther to the East than the land Brouwer

* had before discovered. In the description given by la Roch^,
' privately printed in London, in tAvelve sheets bound in quarto,
' in the year l678, and in the French language, it is said that
' tlie said land is an Island, and that towards the SE and
' South there is another separate land, distant at the least
' more than ten leagues from the liefore nientioned land, near

E E E 2 'to



CHAP. 15. « to which by its Eastern coast, which they say runs NE and
' S W Westerly, they sailed for the North Sea *.'

Seixas proceeds to relate, that the circumstance which occa-
sioned the discovery of the said passage, Avas the return richly
laden to Rotterdam of the ship and bilander which the Dutch
and British merchants had sent out in 1671, to trade on the
coasts of the South Sea. An assistant Pilot and a young
Frenchman who had made the Voyage in those vessels, being
at CadiZf met there with ' Antonio de la Rochfe, an English
merchant (although the son of a French father and born in
London) and discoursing with him on the advantages which
had accrued to them by the said Voyage, Roch^ was induced
to close with the offers of the said Pilot and Frenchman to
undertake a similar Voyage. To which end having settled
"^1674. « his concerns, he went with them first to London, and thence
to Hamburgh, where they equipped a vessel of 350 tons, and
a bilander of 50 tons, providing them with cargoes ; with which
they sailed, having on board the two vessels 56 men. In the
month of May, 1674, they arrived at the Island Teneriffe,
where they took in wine and other necessaries ; and prosecuted
their Voyage so prosperously, says the aforesaid directory,
that having sailed from Teneriffe on July the 5th, they passed
through the jS^razY le Maire on the iSth of September, and
continued their Voyage without stopping, to the coast of Peru ;
whence, after selling a small part of their cargo, they sailed
back to the Island Chiloe to careen their vessels, to refresh their
crews, and to take provisions for their return to Murope.'

' And





In the

Soutli Sea.

* dize, que la dicha ticrra es una Ida, y que uzia la par.te del Suesfe, y del Sur
avia otra tierra apartada, a lo menos mas de lo leguas de la dicha ultima tierra,
por junto adude salieron para el Mar del Norte, por su Costa Oriental, que dizen
qui corre Nordeste Sudueste. It appears necessary to the sense to render la dicha
ultima, the before mentioned ; and it is likewise to be presumed that the por junto
adonde has relation to the Northern land, as la Rocho could not have sailed for
the North Sea by the Eastern coast of the Southern land.


* And endeavouring to go by the Passage of Le Maire, chap. 15,
in April 1675, they could not effect it, by reason of high """Tsts!^
winds and currents which set so strong to the East, that April
if they had desired to return to the lands of the Strait Return
of Magallanes, they could not have done it; neither could South Sea.
they get near the Staten Land to go to the North Sea by
Brouwers Passage; which made them disconsolate, for it
was the beginning of winter in those parts, and they were
apprehensive they should find it difficult to escape with
their lives, especially as they had no knowledge whatever
of the land which they now newly saw towards the East; Land
which reconnoitring and using diligence to approach, they to'thT E^t
found a Bay in which they anchored, near to a Cape or o^' Staten
Point which stretches out to the SE, where they had depth ^''''"'^'
at 28, 30, and 40 fathoms, the bottom of sand and stones :
in which situation they had sight of some mountains of
snow, near to the coast. With much tempestuous v\reather,
they remained here fourteen days, at the end of which time,
the weather having become clear, they found they were at
the end of this land by Avhich they had anchored ; and
they saw that towards the South East and South, there
was other high land covered with snow ; leaving which,
and having a gentle SW wind, they made way as well as ^^ Roch^'.
they were able, and sailed in sight of the said coast of the Passrig.p.
Island which they left towards the West, seeing [also] the
aforesaid Southern land in the said quarter ; and it ap-
peared to them that from the one to the other land, the
said opening was ten leagues, a little more or less, and
that the currents were strong to the North East, and they
steering to the ENE, found themselves in the North Sea,
havmg in the course of three gla.sses, passed through
the said passage, which they say is very short, for that

' the


CHAP. 15. « the land comprehended in the said new Island appeared to
1675. ' be small*.

' Leaving this land and sailing afterwards an entire day to

' the NW, the wind came from the South, so stormy and strong,

' that they sailed three other days towards the North, till they

' decreased their latitude to 46° S, in which parallel they felt

' assured they were in the North Sea ; that then directing their

' course towards the Bahia de Todos los Santos, they discovered

Isla ' in 45° S latitude a very large and pleasant Island, with a good

^of ^ ' P^''^ towards the Eastern part, in which they found fresh

La Roche. ' water, wood, and fish : but they saw no people on this coast,

' although they remained there six days ; at the end of which

* they sailed for the Bahia de Todos los Santos, and afterwards
' to RocheUe, where tliey arrived on the £9th of September
' of the said 3'ear. It appears then true what some report,
' that to the East of the Passage of Le Maire are many Islands;
' and Pierre Dubai, a French Geographer, has laid down those
' of La Roche in his hemisphere, in the latitude which we
' have said.'


* ' mai/ormenteno tenietido conocimiento, ui noticias de In iierra, que nuevam'etc ih'i
' tiendo uziu el oriente, la qiial recoiiociendo, y haziertdo diligecia para urrimarse
' a ella, halluron una cmmadn, en que dieron fondo junto a un cabo, opunta, que se
' iiendepara el Sueste con 28, 30,3/ 40, brazas de fondo de arena, 1/ pkdra, en cui/o

* sitio estaiulo d vista de Unas montaiias de nievc, junto a la propria Costa, con muchas
' tempestades, hizieron alii mansion de catvrce dias^ al cabo de los quales aviedo el
' tiempo clareado, reconocieron que estavan en el fin de aquella tierra, junto a donde
' dieron J'oudo, y vieron, que por la parte del Sueste, 11 del Sur se via otra tierra alta

. ' cubierta de niete; la qual dexando, y, entrandoles, el viento por el Suduestc
' kntamcnfe, rebassaron como pudieron, y salieron a la vista de la dicha Costa de la
' Isla que dcxurr.n por la parte Occidental, vietido la dicha tierra Austral, por las
' diclias partes, pareciendolcs, que de una a otra abria las dichas 10 ieguas, poco
' mas, d mcnos, y que las corrientes eran grandes para el ISordeste, a citya buelta
' saliendo governando a Lesnoideste, se hallaro en el Mar del Norte, en el intermedia
' de tres ainpolidas, descnbocados del dicho Passage, q dizenes muy breve, por ser

' poca la tierra que parece comprehender la dicha Nueva Isla ;' Descr.

Geogr. de la Reg. Magal. Ibl. 29 & 30.


To this narrative is to be added some remarks which Seixas ^ " * ^j^-
has made in another part of his Geogrnphical Description, con- 1675.
cerning the situation of La Roche's Passage. He says, ' The
' passage of Le Maire falls under the meridian of 310 degrees,
' a httle more or less, and the two passages of Brouwer and of
' La Roche are found between Statcn Island and two Islands
' M'hich are to the Eastward of Staten Island, in such manner
' that they come between the meridian circles of 320 degrees
' and 330 degrees: ih& Passage of La Roche falls under the
'meridian of 328 degrees; and the. said two Islands, and some
' smaller Islands near them, are in latitude 55 degrees and a
' half, and in 55 degrees. The which accords with the best

* corrected maps.' ' xind Antonio de la Roche speaking of

• the variation after he had left the South Sea to return home-
' ward, saj's, that near the Eastern land of his Passage he
' found the needle had 19 degrees variation*.' If the coast
nearest to which La Rochfe anchored extended thence North
Eastward, the opposite land being South Eastward from his
anchorage, it is not possible to say which was the Eastern land
of his Passage. La Roche being bound Northward and having
a fair wind, it is natural to suppose he would sail nearest to
the Northern Land.

The difficulties, conjectures, and doubts, that have arisen
respecting the discoveries of La Roche will be briefly stated.

Seixas places La Roche's Passage 1 8 degrees of longitude to or the
the East of Strait le Maire : whether on other ground than Sitinitions

=■ ui' La

conjecture js not expressed, but La Roche himself seems to Roche's
have been too much lost in his reckoning for satisfactory infor- discoveries.
mation to be derived from him of his situation either in latitude
or longitude. Later conjectures have pointed to land eleven
degrees more to the East, M'hich was seen in 1756 by the
Spanish ship Leon, and named the Island San Pedro, and again

^ ill

♦ Besc. Geog. de la lieg. Magul. fol. 19 ; S;. fol. 47.


in 1775, by Captain Cook, who gave it the name of South
Georgia. The latitude agrees with that mentioned by Seixas
for La Roche's land ; and the Easterly currents found by the
Leon at a season of the year not very different (i.e. in June)
strengthen the probability of identity. On the other hand.
Captain Cook, w^hose navigation is correctly and minutely
described, saw no land to the South or SE of South Georgia,
except Gierke's Rocks, the situation of which seems too much
to the East to be supposed the Southern land of La Roches
Passage, they lying EbS, true, from the South East end of
Georgia, and distant from the nearest part 14 leagues. It is
however to be observed, that Captain Cook had much foggy
weather when near the South part of South Georgia ; also, that
many floating Islands of ice have been found in that latitude,
one of which might easily have been mistaken for ' high land

* covered with snow/
The text of Seixas in the part which relates to La Roche's

Passage has been differently understood by Mr. Dalrymple and
M. Fleurieu. The translation given in this Chapter agrees nearest
Avith that of Mr. Dalrymple. M. Eleurieu's interpretation seems
to favour the notions that had been long entertained of the
existence of a Southern Continent ; for he makes the Passage
of La Roche to be between a large land and a small Island to
the North West of it. * il se trouve dans une heure et demie
' hors du passage, qu'il dit etre fort court, pai'ceque I' isle nouvelle
' qui forme ce canal avec les terres au Sud Est est fort petite,'
i.e. ' he found himself in an hour and a half, clear of the
' passage, which he says is very short, because the new Island

* which forms this channel with the lands to the South East
' is very small.' ' It appears,' says M. Fleurieu, * that La

* Roch^ as well as Captain Cook passed between the Islands
' called by Captain Cook Willis's Island and Bird Island,
' but that La Rochfe judged ill concerning the sij^e of

5 « the


* the channel*.' It is clearly expressed in the narrative given chap. 15.
by Seixas, that the land on the North or NW side of La Roche's
Passage was the first land seen by La Roche after his missing
Strait le Maire and Brouwer's Passage; and that it was near this
land he anchored. It seems reasonable therefore, though perhaps
not sufficiently clear to be insisted upon, that by ' la dicha Nueva
Isloy in the Spanish narrative, should be understood the Island
last discovered. If La Roches Passage was really ascertained, it
would facilitate the search for the Isia Grande, or large and plea-
sant Island said to be discovered by La Roche in latitude 45° S,
which has been placed in the charts two or three degrees of longi-
tude to the West of the meridian assigned to La Roches Passage ;
but wiiich has not been recognised since the Voyage of La Roch^.

A sea reckoning has at all times been more liable to ten or twelve
degrees error in longitude than to an error of three degrees in the
latitude, the weather seldom continuing such a length of time to
deny an observation as to admit of error in the latitude to so great
an amount. It is not however improbable that this happened to
La Rochfe, who met with much bad weather, and found currents
setting to the North East: and this being supposed, will afford
in all other particulars, a clear and satisfactory explanation
of his navigation. For example. La Roch^ from the South Sea
sailed round Cape Home, intending for Strait le Maire; but
was driven to the Eastward of Staten Island (how far he knew
not) ; and sailing Northward, fell in with the Southern part of
John Davis's South Land (since called the Falkland's Islands and
sometimes the Malouines) ; and whilst he lay there at anchor,
he had sight of the Island afterwards seen by Beauchesne.

Also, on leaving this Land, he sailed one entire day to the
NW, and three other days towards the North, which brought


* WilUss Island and Bird hland are sinall isJaniis near the N VV end of Huutk
Georgia ; the channel between them is about a league wide, and the farthest ot
the two is not more than two leagues distant from the great Island.

Vol. in. F F F


CHAF. 15. him to latitude 46*. The difference of latitude between this
parallel and the Southern part of John Davis's South Land falls
short of what might be supposed from the description given
of the four da3's navigation ; but as La Roch^ designed for the
coast of Brasil, it is most probable that his course during those
four days was more Westerly than appears by the narrative.

Feeling assured that he was in the Atlantic Ocean, he then
directed his course towards the Bay de Todos los Sa7itos, by
which is to be understood an alteration of the course to one
more Westerly than he had before been steering, that he might
get in with the American coast. In latitude 45* he found
land which he describes una Isla Grande. In the American
continent and on the coast of Patagonia, to the North East
of the Gulf de San Jorge, between the said Gulf and a Bay
called the Ensenada de Camarones, is a large projecting head-
land, in latitude 45° S, whence the coast, both on its North
and on its South part, falls back deep Westward. Such a head-
land seen from its Eastern part will shew a clear termination
both ways and have the appearance of an Island. Seixas, in
describing the Patagonian coast, says, ' in the latitude of 45*

* are many and famous ports ; and in this latitude is the land

* of the Cape de Santa Elena, which different authors say, afar
' off appears like an Island*.' In the present Charts, the name
Santa Elena is affixed to a Point on the North side of the
Bay de Cainarones. Either of these head-lands, and no other
land since found in the South Atlantic, will answer to La Roche's
Isla Grande.

This supjjosition would reduce the discoveries of La Roch^
to the Island since named after M. Beauchesne (in that case its
second discoverer). The matter however, will continue open to
variety of conjecture, until satisfactory search shall have been
made, and either the Isla Grande be found, or proof obtained


* Desc. Geog. de la Reg. Magal. fol. 55, 2.


that in the South Atlantic, in the parallel of 45° S, as far at chap. 15,
least as to 40* of longitude East of the continental coast in that
latitude, there does not exist such an Island.

Seixas mentions the sailing of three French ships in the year 1675.
1675, to the East Indies by the Western navigation ; and
another Voyage a few years after, in the same route, made
by Nicholas Clarcer : but he gives no other circumstance of
their navigation.

In Kaempfer's History of Japan is the following account of a Island
discovery made by the Japanese : discovered

' About the year 1675, the Japanese accidentally discovered by the

* a very large Island, one of their barks having been forced
' there in a storm from the Island Fatsisio, from which they
' computed it to be 300 miles distant towards the East. They
' met with no inhabitants, but found it to be a very pleasant
' and fruitful country, well supplied with fre"sh water, and

* furnished with plenty of plants and trees, particularly the

* Arrack Tree, which however might give room to conjecture?

* that the Island lay rather to the South of Japan than to the
' East, these trees growing only in hot countries. They called

* it Bune-sima, or the Island Biine, and because they found no

* inhabitants upon it, they marked it with the character of an
' uninhabited Island. On the shores they found an incredible

* number of fish, and crabs, some of which were from four to
' six feet long*.' It would be useless to make any conjecture
on the situation of this Island, except that the miles were pro-
bably Dutch measure, 15 to a degree. The crabs from four to
six feet long, no dtnibt, were turtle.

In 1676, was published at Vannes in the French language, 1676.

a work entitled Un Nouveau I'oyas^c de la Terre Australe, by Romauce

. . . % . of a V ovage

Jaques Sadeur. This is a fictitious \ 03'age, not written, however, by Jaques

with ^^^^''''

* Ktcmpfer's Hiitory of Japan . liook I. Chap. 4.
r F F 2

404 VOYAGE OF, &c.

with the intention to impose on the credulity of the pubhc, but
to serve as a vehicle to certain strange fancies and opinions of the
author, believed to be a person of the name of Gabriel Foigni,
a degraded Priest (Cordelier defroqui), who for indecent con-
duct had been dismissed from the Church. His opinions in
this work are censured as approaching to impiety ; but managed
it seems, with much adroitness and delicacy*. Of the
adventures of the supposed author, Sadeur, M. Bayle says,

* he was shipwrecked a fourth time, and forced by accidents

* which no one is obliged to believe, to approach the Terre

* Australe, where he says he lived thirty-two years -f-.'
This notice has been thought necessary, lest any one seeing

the title only, might suppose the book contained the history of
a real Voyage.

* 'II 7/ a dans cette relation certaines choses menagei si Jinement que J'ai quelque
peine a m'imaginer que Foigni eut eti capable de cette delicatesse. Bayle's Diet,
Histor. et Critique. Art. Sadeur.

t See also Nouveau Did. Historique. Art. Foigni.

[ 405 ]


Discoveries made by the Japanese to the North. Attempts of the
Portuguese to renew their Trade with Japan, The name
Carol inas given to Islands Southward of the Marianas. First
Mission of the French Jesuits to China. Islas de 1688. Island
Donna Maria de Lajara.

nPHlS History is now brought to a period when the pes- chap. i6.
sessions of the Spaniards on the shores of the South Sea ^-'~*~'*—
were invaded by bodies of piratical adventurers, who for several
years, not only disputed with them the sovereignty of the
Pacific Ocean, but may be said to have endangered the whole
of the Spanish dominion in America. Within the same period,
some circumstances occurred of a different nature and uncon-
nected with the before mentioned, which require being noticed;
and it will be most convenient to dispose of them first, to
obviate all necessity of interruption in the accounts of the
Buccaneer expeditions.

In 1684, a Voyage was undertaken by the Japanese by com- 1684.
mand of their Emperor, to make discoveries of the lands to
the North of Yesso. Kaempfer, who was in Japan from 1690
to 1692, has given the following account concerning the infor-
mation which in his time the Japanese had obtained of those

* The Japanese say, that the country which lies behind the Discoveries
' Island Jeso'gasima, which is by them called Oku Jeso, is 300 jj^^jj^gg
' Japanese miles long *. The crew of a Japanese vessel that totlieNonh
* was wrecked on that coast some years ago, met among the ^

' rude and savage inhabitants, some persons clad in Chinese

' silks.

* Kaempfer reckoas 333 Japanese miles equal to 200 German miles ; but taking
two Japanese miles to be equal to one German mile, will accord more nearly with
the computed distances of the Japanese.



CHAP. 16. ' siiks. About the year 1684, a jonk was sent thither ott

purpose upon discovery, and at her return, having been three

months absent, gave the same account. An experienced

Japanese Pilot well acquainted with the seas about Japan,

informed me, that between Japan and Jeso-gasima the currents

ran alternately, sometimes East sometimes West ; and that

behind Jeso-gasima, there is only one current which runs

constantly and directly North ; whence he concluded that near

Daats, (by which name the Japanese call Tartary) there must

be a communication with another Sea to the North. A few

years ago, another imperial jonk was sent out in quest of those

countries. They sailed from the East coast of Japan, and

after many troubles and incommodities endured between

40 and 50 degrees of North latitude, they discovered a very

large Continent, which they supposed to be America, where

meeting a good harbour, they staid during the winter, and so

returned the next year, without bringing the least account

whatever of that country or its inhabitants, excepting only

that it ran farther to the NW. After that time, it was resolved

at the Court of Japan to be at no farther pain or expence

about the discovery of those Countries *.'

The country discovered by the Japanese in the last of the

above mentioned Voyages, which was thought to be the American

continent, theie can be little doubt was the coast of Kamtschatka,

on the Western side of the Lopatka.

1685. In February, 1685, a Japanese bark was driven on one

Japanese of the Islands in the neighbourhood of Macao, and there

wrecked wrecked ; but her crew, which consisted of twelve men, got

nearMacao. g^^^^. ^^ land. The Portuguese at Macao gave them assistance,

and caused all that could be saved of the vessel and cargo to

be sold for their benefit. This accident was thought by the

Portuguese to afford an excellent opportunity for endeavouring


Kampfei's History of' Japan. Book. I. Chap. 4.


to recover their trade with Japan, and it was determined to chap. i6.
make the experiment. 1685.

This was the third attempt made by the Portuguese to renew Attempts
their intercourse with Japan since the extermination of Chris- Pomio^uese
tianity in that country in 1638. In the year immediatelv fol- to/enew

, . , -^ •' their trade

lowmg that ot the massacre, an edict was pubhshed by the with Japan.
Kubo or Emperor, prohibiting the Portuguese to enter with
their ships into the ports of Japan, or to hold any commerce
with Japan, under pain of death and of their ships and mer-
chandize being consumed by fire. The next Portuguese ships
which arrived from Macao, as they approached the port of
Nangasaki, received a notification of the edict, and with it an
order to depart immediately from the coasts of Japan ; and
it was declared to the Commanders, that their ships were the •
last ships of their nation, which on coming to Japan would not
be treated as enemies. On the return of these ships to Macao,
the Governor and Council came to the strange resolution of
sending a solemn embassy to the Emperor of Japan. Four
persons of the first consideration in Macao voluntarilv eno-aored
in this service as Ambassadors, and they embarked on board
a ship with a numerous train, in June 1C40. The ship arrived
at Nangasaki on July the 6th. The Governor of Na?i^asaki
secured the ship, and put her under a guard till the Kubo's
pleasure should be known. On the 1st of August, Commis-
sioners from the Kubo arrived at Nangasaki, Avith instructions
to examine into all the circumstances of so unexpected a visit,

Online LibraryJames BurneyA chronological history of the discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean ; illustrated with charts (Volume v.3) → online text (page 34 of 37)