« PreviousContinue »
sufficiently recovered to join a sloop, as mate, and afterwards served in several other vessels, until he became acquainted with a Mr. Moody, at Madras, (where he remained six months), when he was persuaded by that gentleman to accompany him to Bencoolen, and become gunner of the fort. This Mr. Moody had purchased, at Mindanao, a curiously painted prince and his mother, who were now consigned to the charge of Dampier. The woman died, but the son was brought to England, and long shewn in this country as a marvellous wonder. At this fort he remained till the 25th January, 1691, when he got on board an English ship, homeward bound. They had not been long at sea before the men began to droop, supposed to be occasioned by the badness of the water, and nearly thirty died before they reached the Cape of Good Hope, the rest being in a very weak and debilitated state, insomuch that they were scarcely able to manage the vessel. At the Cape, by proper attention and nourishment, many of them recovered; but so reduced in number was the crew, that they were compelled to remain some time for want of hands. On the 23d of May they sailed, and touching at St. Helena, arrived in the Downs, 16th September, 1691.
The relation of Dampier's adventures during this long voyage, appears to have brought him under the notice of government; and a ship, called the Roebuck, was fitted out, in which he might be enabled to prosecute farther discoveries, or substantiate the accounts of those already made, particularly of New Holland. This immense island, or rather continent, had not long been discovered, and was the source of much ingenious speculation and conjecture. It was, however, reserved for after ages to determine its insular position. It was first seen by Tasman, a Dutch navigator, in 1642, and was afterwards visited by Davis, Dampier, and others, till, in 1770, Cook sailed completely round it, and gave to the various parts those names which they still retain. On the benefit we derive at present, from occupying part of it as a place for condemned criminals,* it is not our business to remark; but we may contemplate the perseverance of our countrymen, with some degree of astonishment, when we consider, in the course of a few years, how many important changes have taken place; it is delightfully gratifying to the British sailor, after traversing the pathless ocean, thousands of miles away from his home, to find a miniature representation of his country on the shores of Van Dieman's Land.t
* The first settlement of convicts at Port Jackson took place in 1788.
+ This had always been considered as forming part of the conDampier sailed from the Downs, January 14th, 1699,* taking his departure from the Start. They made Cape Finisterre on the 19th, the Canaries on the 28th, and anchored on the 30th at Santa Cruz, in Teneriffe.
“ The forts here could not rescue the Spanish galleons from Admiral Blake, though they hauled in close under the main fort. Many of the inbabitants that are now living remember that action, in which the English battered the town and did so much damage; and the marks of the shot still remain in the fort walls."
At this place they took in wine and other refreshments, and then stood for the Cape de Verd, where they arrived February 11th, touching at Mayo and St. Jago for water. From thence they proceeded to the coast of Brazil, and anchored at Bahia. Having obtained a supply of provisions, and subdued a mutinous spirit among his people, our author took his departure; and on the 3d June made the Cape of Good Hope, and thence pursued his course for New Holland, which they saw on the 1st August, in latitude about 26 S. His efforts at discovery on this coast were not attended with much success, Shark's Bay, where he anchored, retains the name which he gave it, and there are other places still known by the name of Dampier's Land. But the dangerous navigation alarmed his men, so that he was deterred from prosecuting his real intentions. In some parts he erroneously supposed what was ac, tually the main land to be a chain of islands, stretching from E.N.E. to W.N.W, Tasman had laid it down in his
map as the coast of New Holland. It is now called De Witt's Land. The few natives they saw were in a completely savage state. He quitted these inhospitable shores in September, and discovered an island near New Guinea, to which he
the of New Britain.
The difficulties he had to encounter, with but few hands, in dangerous seas, where the shoals and coasts were utterly unknown, induced him to victual at Batavia, and then proceed on his voyage home; but his ship springing a leak when off the island of Ascension, foundered at sea, and they with great
tinent, till the loss of a vessel on an island to the northward of it, occasioned
many persons to go from Port Jackson to the assistance of those who remained by the wreck. In excursions for this benevolent purpose, it was discovered to be separated from New Holland by a wide channel, which was explored in an open boat, in 1798, by Mr. Bass, surgeon of a colonial sloop of war, and thence obtained the name of Bass's Straits.
* How the intermediate time from his arrival had been employed we are not informed.
difficulty got on shore. Here they were found by an East India ship, which took them on board and brought them to England.
The volumes before us give no farther account of this extraordinary man, whose name was a terror to the Spaniards ; but we are enabled from other authority to state, that he again joined the Buccaneers, and commanded a fine vessel; but from untoward circumstances, arising principally from the * treachery of his officers and people, he was reduced to great distress, and returned almost naked to his owners. Yet even in this state of adversity his previous actions obtained for him the highest respect, and he had the honour of being presented to her majesty Queen Anne. After this, he became pilot to Captain Wood Rogers, in the Duke, and engaged in another expedition, being his fourth excursion to the South Seas. It was in this voyage they discovered Alexander Selkirk, (the original Robinson Crusoe of De Foe, on the Isle of Juan Fernandez. This individual was born at Largo, in the county of Fife in Scotland ; and previous to his remaining on the island, had been master of the Cinque Ports, under Captain Stradling. He was considered the most able and intrepid seaman among the freebooters. The occasion of his being left ashore was a quarrel with his captain, and the shattered state of the vessel. : : After a few days, however, he was desirous of returning, but Stradling refused to take him on board. Thus left alone and desolate, he sat night after night, and day after day, watching the periodical return of the Buccaneers; sometimes with a glimmering of hope, but more frequently abandoning bimself to the agony of despair, and never satisfying the cravings of nature till compelled by extreme hunger; but man is the creature of habit, and Selkirk, after seven or eight months, became accustomed to the solitude, and shook off his melancholy. He built himself two huts of pimento trees, thatched with grass, and covered with goats' skins. These were stored with all the wealth he possessed, viz. his clothes, bedding, musket, some powder and ball, a kettle, a knife, several books, among which was the Bible, and his nautical instruments. In his larger hút he lived, and slept; frequently employing himself in reading and prayer, and occasionally giving vent to the fulness of his heart in singing psalms, so that he afterward observed he was a better Christian during his solitary retreat from the world, than ever he had been before, or he feared ever should be again. The smaller hut was reserved for cooking and other purposes.
Some of his cotemporaries attribute his failure to the overbearing and imperious disposition he manifested to those who were under him.
Among his amusements to while away the dreary hours, was cutting his name on the trees, with the date of his landing, and the duration of his confinement; looking forward to the time when it might possibly meet the eye of a countryman, perhaps, after his remains had mouldered into dust.
He was at first much annoyed by cats and rats, which had from time to time run away from the ships that touched at the island, and become very numerous. The rats gnawed his feet and clothes, while he was sleeping ; but the cats became domesticated, and soon delivered him from the more destructive vermin. He had also tamed some young kids, and taught them a number of tricks for his diversion, frequently singing and dancing with them and his cats. His principal food was goat's flesh, and cray-fish, dressed in various ways according to his taste. When his powder failed, he hunted the goats down by speed of foot; for his simple mode of living, with the continual exercise of running, had rendered him amazingly swift in passing through woods, and agile in climbing the hills and rocks. On one occasion, however, while pursuing the animal with great eagerness, he caught his game on the brink of a steep precipice, concealed from his view by tangled bushes, so that he fell from the height, and was so much injured as to lay, as he supposed, for twenty-four hours, without sense or motion. On reviving, he found the goat lying dead beneath him. This accident confined him nearly a fortnight to his hut. A circumstance something similar in its nature, but more fatal in the result, occurred about fifteen years since, on an uninhabited island in the South Seas. A ship was wrecked, and only two individuals escaped ; one of them, an African, the other an Englishman still living, at present an officer in the royal navy, and employed in a situation of considerable scientific importance. These two lived tolerably comfortable for the first twelve months; but shortly after this, being engaged in hunting, the African fell from a great height and was literally dashed to pieces. We have heard this narration from the lips of the survivor, who remained a considerable time after this melancholy event, on the island, lonely and sad, till happily relieved by the casual arrival of a whaler.
But, to return to Selkirk. He had kept a regular account of the number of goats he had killed, which amounted to 500, he had caught many more, marking them on the ear, and then restoring them to liberty. The insipidness of his meals, without bread and salt, was at first a great inconvenience, but Dampier having, in a former voyage, sowed some turnips, they now produced very abundantly, spreading over several acres of ground: he had also a plentiful supply of cabbage, from the cabbagepalm ; and these being well seasoned, with the fruit of the pimento, soon gave a relish to his food. His clothes and shoes were speedily worn out. To remedy the first defect, he made a coat and cap of goat skins, and shirts from linen he had with him, using a nail by way of needle, and the ravellings of a worsted stocking for thread; but he was compelled to go with bare feet, and the soles got, in time, so hard as to enable him to ascend the sharp rocks without material inconvenience.
During his confinement, he had seen several ships pass the island; but only two, which were Spaniards, came to an anchor; but he preferred the risk of dying unheeded and alone, to surrendering himself into their power: dreading, that they would either put him to death, or send him as a slave to the mines. The Spaniards, however, discovered, pursued, and shot at him; but he escaped by climbing a thick tree, at the foot of which several of them stopped.
This extraordinary man was well known to Dampier; but on his first coming on board, had so forgotten his language that he could scarcely understand him. He only articulated half the syllables of most words that be uttered. Some liquor was offered him which he refused, having been so long accustomed to water. He was received on board the Duke, and afterwards served as mate in that ship, during the voyage, being then about thirty years of age.
The Duke returned to England at the beginning of October, 1710, and the profits of this voyage were estimated at £170,000.
Subjoined to the second volume, we have an interesting and general account of the trade winds, the land and sea breezes, storms, seasons of the year, and the setting of the tides and currents in the Torrid Zone. But as they are only useful to the seaman, and we have already gone to the full extent of our article, we shall forbear touching on those subjects, and close our review.
ART. VI.-A Collection of Acts and Ordinances of general use,
made in the Parliament began and held ut Westminster, the 3d Day of Norember, Anno 1640, and since, unto the Adjournment of the Parliament begun and holden the 17th of September, Anno 1656, and formerly published in print, which are here printed at large with marginal notes, or abbreviated, &c. By Henry Scobell, Esq. Clerk of the Parliament. London. Printed by Henry Hills and John Field, Printers to his Highness the Lord Protector. 1658.
A late ingenious writer, in calling public attention to the very important subject of the enormous and overwhelming in
VOL. IX. PART I.