The Passage from Masafuero to Queen Charlotte’s Islands; several Mistakes corrected concerning Davis’s Land, and an Account of some small Islands, supposed to be the same that were seen by Quiros.
When we took our departure from Masafuero, we had a great sea from the N.W. with a swell of long billows from the southward, and the wind, which was from the S.W. to the W.N.W., obliged me to stand to the northward, in hope of getting the south-east trade-wind, for the ship was so dull a sailer, that there was no making her go without a strong wind in her favour. Having thus run farther to the northward than at first I intended, and finding myself not far from the parallel of latitude which has been assigned to two islands called Saint Ambrose, and Saint Felix or Saint Paul, I thought I should perform an acceptable service by examining if they were fit for shipping to refresh at, especially as the Spaniards having fortified Juan Fernandes, they might be found convenient for Great Britain, if she should hereafter be engaged in a Spanish war. These islands are laid down in Green’s charts, which were published in the year 1753, from latitude 26 deg. 20’ to 27 deg. S., and from 1 deg.1/4 to 2 deg.1/2 W. of Masafuero; I therefore hauled up with a design to keep in that latitude, but soon afterwards, consulting Robertson’s Elements of Navigation, I found the island of Saint Ambrose there laid down in latitude 25 deg. 50’ S., and 82 deg. 20’ longitude west of London, and supposing that islands of so small an extent might be laid down with more exactness in this work than in the chart, I bore away more northward for that latitude; the event, however, proved that I should not have trusted him so far: I missed the islands, and as I saw great numbers of birds and fish, which are certain indications of land not far off, there is the greatest reason to conclude that I went to the northward of them. I am sorry to say that upon a farther examination of Robertson’s tables of latitudes and longitudes, I found them erroneous in many particulars: This censure, however, if I had not thought it necessary to prevent future mischief, should have been suppressed.
Upon examining the account that is given by Wafer, who was surgeon on board Captain Davis’s ship, I think it is probable that these two islands are the land that Davis fell in with in his way to the southward from the Gallapago islands, and that the land laid down in all the sea charts under the name of Davis’s Land, has no existence, notwithstanding what is said in the account of Roggewein’s voyage, which was made in 1722, of land that they called Eastern Island, which some have imagined to be a confirmation of Davis’s discovery, and the same land to which his name has been given.