A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 659 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 12.

It is manifest from Wafer’s narrative, that little credit is due to the account kept on board Davis’s ship, except with respect to the latitude, for he acknowledges that they had like to have perished by their making an allowance for the variation of the needle westward, instead of eastward:  He tells us also that they steered S. by E. 1/2 E. from the Gallapagos, till they made land in latitude 27 deg. 20’ S., but it is evident that such a course would carry them not to the westward but to the eastward of the Gallapagos, and set them at about the distance of two hundred leagues from Capiapo, and not five hundred leagues, as he has alleged; for the variation here is not more than half a point to the eastward now, and it must have been still less then, it having been increasing to the eastward on all this coast.  The course that Davis steered therefore, if the distance between the islands of St Ambrose and St Felix, and the Gallapagos, as laid down in all our sea charts, is right, must have brought him within sight of St Ambrose and St Felix, when he had run the distance he mentions.  The truth is, that if there had been any such place as Davis’s Land in the situation which has been allotted to it in our sea charts, I must have sailed over it, or at least have seen it, as will appear in the course of this narrative.

I kept between the latitude 25 deg. 50’ and 25 deg. 3O’, in search of the islands I intended to examine, till I got five degrees to the westward of our departure, and then seeing no land, and the birds having left us, I hauled more to the southward, and got into latitude 27 deg. 20’ S. where I continued till we got between seventeen and eighteen degrees to the westward of our departure.  In this parallel we had light airs and foul winds, with a strong northerly current, which made me conjecture that we were near this Davis’s Land, for which we looked out with great diligence, but a fair wind springing up again, we steered west by south, which gradually brought us into the latitude of 28 deg. 1/2 S., so that it is evident I must have sailed over this land, or at least have seen it if there had been any such place.  I afterwards kept in the latitude of 28 deg. for forty degrees to the westward of my departure, or, according to my account, 121 degrees west of London, this being the highest south latitude the winds and weather would permit me to keep, so that I must have gone to the southward of the situation assigned to the supposed continent called Davis’s Land in all our charts.[55]

[Footnote 55:  This was really the case, as will be seen in the account of one of Cook’s Voyages:  For there seems reason to believe, that the island called Easter Island, and sometimes Teapy, is the land which Captain Davis saw in 1686, and Roggewein visited in 1722.  See what is said on this subject in vol. xi, p. 90, of this collection.—­E.]

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