It was thought extraordinary that no naturalist had hitherto taken notice of the Dagysa, as the sea abounds with them not twenty leagues from the coast of Spain; but, unfortunately for the cause of science, there are but very few of those who traverse the sea, that are either disposed or qualified to remark the curiosities of which nature has made it the repository.
On the 12th we discovered the islands of Porto Santo and Madeira, and on the next day anchored in Funchiale road, and moored with the stream-anchor: But, in the night, the bend of the hawser of the stream-anchor slipped, owing to the negligence of the person who had been employed to make it fast. In the morning the anchor was heaved up into the boat, and carried out to the southward; but in heaving it again, Mr Weir, the master’s mate, was carried overboard by the buoy-rope, and went to the bottom with the anchor; the people in the ship saw the accident, and got the anchor up with all possible expedition; it was however too late, the body came up entangled in the buoy-rope, but it was dead.
When the island of Madeira is first approached from the sea, it has a very beautiful appearance; the sides of the hills being entirely covered with vines almost as high as the eye can distinguish; and the vines are green when every kind of herbage, except where they shade the ground, and here and there by the sides of a rill, is entirely burnt up, which was the case at this time.
On the 13th, about eleven o’clock in the forenoon, a boat, which our sailors call the product boat, came on board from the officers of health, without whose permission no person is suffered to land from on board a ship. As soon as this permission was obtained, we went on shore at Funchiale, the capital of the island, and proceeded directly to the house of Mr Cheap, the English consul there, and one of the most considerable merchants of the place. This gentleman received us with the kindness of a brother, and the liberality of a prince; he insisted upon our taking possession of his house, in which he famished us with every possible accommodation during our stay upon the island: He procured leave for Mr Banks and Dr Solander to search the island for such natural curiosities as they should think worth their notice; employed persons to take fish and gather shells, which