A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15.

[Footnote 24:  Two voyages for discovering a north-west passage, through Hudson’s Bay, were then performed; one under the command of Captain Middleton, in his majesty’s ships the Furnace, and the Discovery pink, in 1741 and 1743.  The other under the direction of Captains Smith and Moore, in the ships Dobbs and California, fitted out by subscription, in 1746 and 1747.—­D.]

Soon after his accession to the throne, having happily closed the destructive operations of war, he turned his thoughts to enterprises more humane, but not less brilliant, adapted to the season of returning peace.  While every liberal art, and useful study, flourished under his patronage at home, his superintending care was extended to such branches of knowledge, as required distant examination and enquiry; and his ships, after bringing back victory and conquest from every quarter of the known world, were now employed in opening friendly communications with its hitherto unexplored recesses.

In the prosecution of an object so worthy of the monarch of a great commercial people, one voyage followed another in close succession; and, we may add, in regular gradation.  What Byron had begun, Wallis and Carteret soon improved.  Their success gave birth to a far more extensive plan of discovery, carried into execution in two subsequent voyages, conducted by Cook.  And that nothing might be left unattempted, though much had been already done, the same commander, whose professional skill could only be equalled by the persevering diligence with which he had exerted it, in the course of his former researches, was called upon, once more, to resume, or rather to complete, the survey of the globe.  Accordingly, another voyage was undertaken, in 1776; which, though last in the order of time, was far from being the least considerable, with respect to the extent and importance of its objects; yet, still, far less fortunate than any of the former, as those objects were not accomplished, but at the expence of the valuable life of its conductor.

When plans, calculated to be of general utility, are carried into execution with partial views, and upon interested motives, it is natural to attempt to confine, within some narrow circle, the advantages which might have been derived to the world at large, by an unreserved disclosure of all that had been effected.  And, upon this principle, it has too frequently been considered as sound policy, perhaps, in this country, as well as amongst some of our neighbours, to affect to draw a veil of secrecy over the result of enterprises to discover and explore unknown quarters of the globe.  It is to the honour of the present reign, that more liberal views have been now adopted.  Our late voyages, from the very extensive objects proposed by them, could not but convey useful information to every European nation; and, indeed, to every nation, however remote, which cultivates commerce, and is acquainted with navigation:  And that information has most

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