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.

The first internal contact of the planet with the sun being over, Mr Banks returned to the observatory, taking Tarrao, Nuna, and some of their principal attendants, among whom were three very handsome young women, with him:  He showed them the planet upon the sun, and endeavoured to make them understand that he and his companions had come from their own country on purpose to see it.  Soon after, Mr Banks returned with them to the island, where he spent the rest of the day in examining its produce, which he found to be much the same with that of Otaheite.  The people whom he saw there also exactly resembled the inhabitants of that island, and many of them were persons whom he had seen upon it; so that all those whom he had dealt with, knew of what his trading articles consisted, and the value they bore.

The next morning having struck the tents, they set out on their return, and arrived at the fort before night.

The observation was made with equal success by the persons whom I had sent to the eastward, and at the fort, there not being a cloud in the sky from the rising to the setting of the sun, the whole passage of the planet Venus over the sun’s disk was observed with great advantage by Mr Green, Dr Solander, and myself:  Mr Green’s telescope and mine were of the same magnifying power, but that of Dr Solander was greater.  We all saw an atmosphere or dusky cloud round the body of the planet, which very much disturbed the times of contact, especially of the internal ones; and we differed from each other in our accounts of the times of the contacts much more than might have been expected.  According to Mr Green,

Hours.  Min.  Sec.

The first external contact, or first
appearance of Venus on the Sun, was      9   25   42 |
The first internal contact, or total                 |
emersion, was                            9   44    4 |
The second internal contact, or
beginning of the emersion,               3   14    8 |
The second external contact, or                      |
total emersion,                          3   32   10 |

The latitude of the observatory was found to be 17 deg. 29’ 15”; and the longitude 149 deg. 32’ 30” W. of Greenwich.  A more particular account will appear by the tables, for which the reader is referred to the Transactions of the Royal Society; vol.  Ixi. part 2. p. 397 et seq. where they are illustrated by a cut.

But if we had reason to congratulate ourselves upon the success of our observation; we had scarce less cause to regret the diligence with which that time had been improved by some of our people to another purpose.  While the attention of the officers was engrossed by the transit of Venus, some of the ship’s company broke into one of the store-rooms, and stole a quantity of spike-nails, amounting to no less than one hundred weight:  This was a matter of public and serious concern; for these nails, if circulated by the people among the Indians, would do us irreparable injury, by reducing the value of iron, our staple commodity.  One of the thieves was detected, but only seven nails were found in his custody.  He was punished with two dozen lashes, but would impeach none of his accomplices.

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