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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 760 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12.

On the 16th, early in the morning, Mr Banks and Dr Solander, with their attendants and servants, and two seamen to assist in carrying the baggage, accompanied by Mr Monkhouse the surgeon, and Mr Green the astronomer, set out from the ship with a view to penetrate as far as they could into the country, and return at night.  The hills, when viewed at a distance, seemed to “be partly a wood, partly a plain, and above them a bare rock.  Mr Banks hoped to get through the wood, and made no doubt, but that, beyond it, he should, in a country which no botanist had ever yet visited, find alpine plants which would abundantly compensate his labour.  They entered the wood at a small sandy beach, a little to the westward of the watering-place, and continued to ascend the hill, through the pathless wilderness, till three o’clock, before they got a near view of the places which they intended to visit.  Soon after they reached what they had taken for a plain; but, to their great disappointment, found it a swamp, covered with low bushes of birch, about three feet high, interwoven with each other, and so stubborn that they could not be bent out of the way; it was therefore necessary to lift the leg over them, which at every step was buried, ancle-deep, in the soil.  To aggravate the pain and difficulty of such travelling, the weather, which had hitherto been very fine, much like one of our bright days in May, became gloomy and cold, with sudden blasts of a most piercing wind, accompanied with snow.  They pushed forward, however, in good spirits, notwithstanding their fatigue, hoping the worst of the way was past, and that the bare rock which, they had seen from the tops of the lower hills was not more than a mile before them; but when they had got about two-thirds over this woody swamp, Mr Buchan, one of Mr Banks’s draughtsmen, was unhappily seized with a fit.  This made it necessary for the whole company to halt, and as it was impossible that he should go any farther, a fire was kindled, and those who were most fatigued were left behind to take care of him.  Mr Banks, Dr Solander, Mr Green, and Mr Monkhouse, went on, and in a short time reached the summit.  As botanists, their expectations were here abundantly gratified; for they found a great variety of plants, which, with respect to the alpine plants in Europe, are exactly what those plants are with respect to such as grow in the plain.

The cold was now become more severe, and the snow-blasts more frequent; the day also was so far spent, that it was found impossible to get back to the ship, before the next morning:  To pass the night upon such a mountain, in such a climate, was not only comfortless but dreadful; it was impossible, however, to be avoided, and they were to provide for it as well as they could.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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