A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 768 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16.

[Footnote 5:  See Bougainville’s Voyage autour du Monde, p. 228, where we are told that these people sometimes navigate at the distance of more than three hundred leagues.—­D.]

[Footnote 6:  Though much of Mr Anderson’s account of Otaheite, &c. be very similar to what has been given in the preceding relations, yet it must be allowed to possess too great merit to warrant omission or alteration.  He has been fortunate, certainly, in delineating the manners and opinions of the people; and perhaps, on the whole, his information bears more decisive marks of care and intimate acquaintance than any other we possess on the subject.  This, it may be said, is no very high merit; because, having the benefit of pretty extensive labours, he had only to compare a picture with its original, as presented to his notice, and was under no necessity of dividing his attention among a multiplicity of unconnected objects.  Still this remark is not just, unless it be shewn that he has merely affirmed the likeness or unlikeness he observed betwixt them, and specified the peculiarities of resemblance or dissimilarity.  In place of doing so, however, he has executed another picture.  But such analogical reasoning is more fanciful than judicious; and even were it correctly applicable to the case, it is evident, that no one would be entitled to decide as to the respective merits of the productions, who was not familiar with the objects which they represented.  Now, the fact is, that Mr Anderson had no opportunity of availing himself of what others had done before, unless we except the avowedly imperfect delineations in Hawkesworth’s Narrative, from which we can scarcely believe he could derive material assistance.  The reader will understand this at once, by considering, that neither Cook’s account of his second voyage, nor the productions of Mr Forster, had been published before the commencement of this expedition.  It may, however, be imagined, that Cook himself would communicate to Mr Anderson such particulars of his former journal as were likely to aid him in his present researches.  Even this supposition is exceedingly unnecessary; because, it appears from the Memoir of Cook, in the Biog.  Brit. that that officer rather received assistance from Mr Anderson during the former navigation; and we shall afterwards see reason to consider him as possessed of abilities, and a talent for observation, which rendered him very independent of others.  His description, therefore, is to be judged an original one, and as such is entitled to the highest distinction.  It may indeed be somewhat chargeable with the exaggerations of a warm fancy, especially as to what is said of the religious notions of these islanders, which perhaps assume more of system and regularity through the medium of Mr A.’s report, than it is altogether likely would be found to exist in their popular creeds.  This is easily understood, without any aspersion on his veracity.  For, as it will be allowed that

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