Within these three years a new church has been built; some other new buildings were in hand; a commodious landing-place for boats has been made; and several other improvements, which add both strength and beauty to the place.
During our stay here, we finished some necessary repairs of the ship, which we had not time to do at the Cape. We also filled all our empty water-casks; and the crew were served with fresh beef, purchased at five-pence per pound. Their beef is exceedingly good, and is the only refreshment to be had worth mentioning.
By a series of observations made at the Cape town, and at James Fort in St Helena, at the former by Messrs Mason and Dixon, and at the latter by Mr Maskelyne, the astronomer royal, the difference of longitude between these two places is 24 deg. 12’ 15”, only two miles more than Mr Kendall’s watch made. The lunar observations made by Mr Wales, before we arrived at the island, and after we left it, and reduced to it by the watch, gave 5 deg. 51’ for the longitude of James Fort; which is only five miles more west than it is placed by Mr Maskelyne. In like manner the longitude of the Cape Town was found within 5’ of the truth. I mention this to shew how near the longitude of places may be found by the lunar method, even at sea, with the assistance of a good watch.
[Footnote 17: Mr G.F. has communicated several very interesting particulars respecting St Helena, but it is not judged proper to insert them in this place, as having no connection with the purposes of the voyage. A similar remark is applicable to some of the subjects mentioned in the following section. Another opportunity may, perhaps, present of giving full information on these topics.—E.]
Passage from St Helena to the Western Islands, with a Description of the Island of Ascension and Fernando Noronha.
On the 21st in the evening, I took leave of the governor, and repaired on board. Upon my leaving the shore, I was saluted with thirteen guns; and upon my getting under sail, with the Dutton in company, I was saluted with thirteen more; both of which I returned.
After leaving St Helena, the Dutton was ordered to steer N.W. by W. or N.W. by compass, in order to avoid falling in with Ascension; at which island, it was said, an illicit trade was carried on between the officers of the India Company’s ships, and some vessels from North America, who, of late years, had frequented the island on pretence of fishing whales or catching turtle, when their real design was to wait the coming of the India ships. In order to prevent their homeward-bound ships from falling in with these smugglers, and to put a stop to this illicit trade, the Dutton was ordered to steer the course above-mentioned, till to the northward of Ascension. I kept company with this ship till the 24th, when, after putting a packet on board her for the Admiralty, we parted: She continuing her course to the N.W., and I steering for Ascension.