The wind continued at W., and I stood to the southward till noon the next day, when we were within three leagues of the coast which we had discovered on the 23d. It here formed a point that bore W.N.W. At the same time more land was seen extending to the southward, as far as S.S.W., the whole being twelve or fifteen leagues distant. On it was seen a ridge of mountains covered with snow, extending to the N.W., behind the first land, which we judged to be an island, from the very inconsiderable quantity of snow that lay upon it. This point of land is situated in the latitude of 58 deg. 15’, and in the longitude of 207 deg. 42’; and by what I can gather from the account of Beering’s voyage, and the chart that accompanies it in the English edition, I conclude, that it must be what he called Cape St Hermogenes. But the account of that voyage is so very much abridged, and the chart so extremely inaccurate, that it is hardly possible, either by the one or by the other, or by comparing both together, to find out any one place which that navigator either saw or touched at. Were I to form a judgment of Beering’s proceedings on this coast, I should suppose that he fell in with the continent near Mount Fairweather. But I am by no means certain, that the bay to which I have given his name, is the place where he anchored. Nor do I know, that what I called Mount St Elias, is the same conspicuous mountain to which he gave that name. And as to his Cape St Elias, I am entirely at a loss to pronounce where it lies.
[Footnote 1: Captain Cook means Muller’s, of which a translation had been published in London some time before be sailed.—D.]
[Footnote 2: Mr Coxe, who has been at considerable pains in endeavouring to reconcile the accounts of Muller and Steller, and in comparing them with the journals of Cook and Vancouver, is induced to conjecture that Beering first discovered the continent of America in the neighbourhood of Kaye’s Island, and not where Captain Cook assigns. This is a very probable opinion, as might easily be shewn, but not without anticipating matter that belongs to another voyage. It is enough just now to hint at the circumstance, lest the remarks of Cook, always well entitled to respect, should be too much confided in by the reader. No man’s judgment is to be disparaged, because of an error committed, where so little information has been given for its guidance.—E.]
On the N.E. side of Cape St Hermogenes, the coast turned toward the N.W., and appeared to be wholly unconnected with the land seen by us the preceding day. In the chart above mentioned, there is here a space, where Beering is supposed to have seen no land. This also favoured the later account published by Mr Staehlin, who makes Cape St Hermogenes, and all the land that Beering discovered to the S.W. of it, to be a cluster of islands; placing St Hermogenes amongst those which are destitute of wood. What we now saw seemed to confirm this, and every circumstance inspired us with hopes of finding here a passage northward, without being obliged to proceed any farther to the S.W.