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.
S. 83 deg.  W.; two high detached rocks N. 80 deg.  W.; and the place where the land seemed to be divided, which had the same appearance on this side, bore N. 15 deg.  W. three leagues distant.  Latitude observed 54 deg. 56’.  In this situation we sounded, but had no bottom with a line of 120 fathoms.  The calm was of very short duration, a breeze presently springing up at N.W.; but it was too faint to make head against the current, and we drove with it back to the N.N.E.  At four o’clock the wind veered, at once, to S. by E., and blew in squalls attended with rain.  Two hours after, the squalls and rain subsided, and the wind returning back to the west, blew a gentle gale.  All this time the current set us to the north, so that, at eight o’clock, Cape St John bore W.N.W., distant about seven leagues.  I now gave over plying, and steered S.E., with a resolution to leave the land; judging it to be sufficiently explored to answer the most general purposes of navigation and geography.[7]

[Footnote 7:  The very intelligent officer mentioned in the preceding note, seems to have been very materially benefited by the observations of Captain Cook, in navigating this quarter, and does not hesitate to avow his obligations.  An instance of this is recorded in our account of Byron’s voyage, vol. 12, p. 74, which refers to a passage in the next section as to the currents losing their force at ten or twelve leagues from land.—­E.]


Observations, geographical and nautical, with an Account of the Islands near Staten Land, and the Animals found in them.[8]

[Footnote 8:  It has been thought advisable to retain this section verbatim, although the references it makes to Captain Cook’s chart can scarcely be understood without that accompaniment, and several observations of another sort which it contains, are given elsewhere.  In justice to the memory of Cook, it was resolved to preserve the whole of his relation, at the risk of a very trivial repetition, which the reader, it is believed, will be little disposed to resent.—­E.]

The chart will very accurately shew the direction, extent, and position of the coast, along which I have sailed, either in this or my former voyage.  The latitudes have been determined by the sun’s meridian altitude, which we were so fortunate as to obtain every day, except the one we sailed from Christmas Sound, which was of no consequence, as its latitude was known before.  The longitudes have been settled by lunar observations, as is already mentioned.  I have taken 67 deg. 46’ for the longitude of Cape Horn.  From this meridian the longitudes of all the other parts are deduced by the watch, by which the extent of the whole mast be determined to a few miles; and whatever errors there may be in longitude, must be general.  But I think it highly probable that the longitude is determined to within a quarter of a degree.  Thus the extent of Terra del Fuego from east to west, and consequently that of the straits of Magalhaens, will be found less than most navigators have made it.

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