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by his Indian guides that the " Sea of the South " was near, commanded his men to halt, and climbed a mountain-summit alone. There, as the long-desired spectacle blessed his view, he fell upon his knees, and returned thanks to God; and when marching onwards they had come close upon the waves, he entered them, with his sword in one hand and his shield in the other, and exclaimed that he took possession of that sea in the name of his liege-lords, the Kings of Leon and Castille.*
As a Spaniard first beheld, so did a Portuguese first navigate far from shore, the wide expanse of the Southern Seas. Ferdinand de Magalhaens, or, as we have termed him Magellan, a native of Portugal, having quitted his own country and entered the service of Castille, was sent by Cardinal Ximenes on a voyage of exploration, with a squadron of five ships. He coasted the shores of South America until he found and steered through the narrow and winding strait which ever since has borne his name. On the 27th of November, 1520, he emerged into the Southern Ocean, and sailed onwards many weeks in the same direction, without the sight of land; that Ocean, in the phrase of his historian, seeming to grow vaster and vaster every day. f So calm and free from storms did he find its waters that he gave it the appellation of Pacific, which, though with little reason, it still retains. At length, after many toils and dangers, his perseverance was rewarded and his fame secured by the discovery first of the Ladrones and afterwards of the Philippine Islands, where, however, he was unhappily killed in a skirmish with the natives.
It was not long ere, from the isthmus of Darien, the Spaniards spread their conquests along the eastern shores
* Herrera, Decada I. lib. x. ch. i. and ii. It is curious to compare the demeanour of the Spaniard Nunez with that of the Moor Akbeh several centuries before. This chief (who is commemorated by Florian in his Precis Historique sur les Maures, p. 31.), having extended his African conquests to the shores of the Atlantic, drew his sabre, and spurred his horse into the waves, crying out, "Dieu de "Mahomet, tu le vois, sans cet element qui m'arrete, j'irais "chercher des nations nouvelles pour leur faire adorer ton nom 1"
f Aviendo Hernando de Magellaneo navegado por aquel Mar del Sur que parecia cada dia mas espacioso. (Herrera, Decada ITX lib. l. c. 3.)
of the Pacific, to Peru and Chili on one side, and to California on the other. Nor did they leave altogether unexplored the wide range of sea before them. There was one voyage in 1595 from their new port of Callao under AlvaroMendana ; there was another in 1606 from the same place, under Pedro de Quiros. From that time, however, as their greatness declined their ardour for discovery cooled. There was still, indeed, as we have seen in the account of Anson's expedition, a huge galleon laden with rich merchandise which once every year sailed across the Pacific from Acapulco to the Philippines. That vessel, however, seldom swerved far to the left or to the right from its appointed course, content to fulfil its mission, and with no aim beyond. Thus geographers perceived that within the bounds of the Pacific immense spaces yet remained unknown ; spaces within which many clusters of islands, or even whole continents, might be comprised. To seek out these might have seemed the more especial duty of that nation which had first discovered the New World, and which still possessed its fairest portion bounding the Pacific shores. But on Englishmen devolved the cost, the toil, the danger; and to Englishmen the glory belongs.
The principal results which Commodore Byron attained in 1764 and 1765 were, beyond Cape Horn the discovery of several small islands, and on this side of it the fuller knowledge of the Falklands. On his return, his ship, the Dolphin, was immediately put into commission under Captain Wallis for another voyage. It was to be accompanied by a second and smaller vessel, the Swallow, under Captain Carteret. These two ships proceeded together till within sight of the South Seas, at the western entrance of the strait of Magellan, from whence they returned, each by a different course, to England. Captain Carteret fell in with a tiny cluster, to which he gave the name of Queen Charlotte's Islands. Captain Wallis was more fortunate; in June 1767, he discovered the central and chief island, as it proved to be, of the whole Pacific. Not less loyal than Carteret, he named it "King George the Third's Island," although the native appellation Otaheite, or perhaps more truly, Tahiti, has since universally prevailed.
But all other explorers of this period are cast into the shade by the superior merit of Captain James Cook. Born in 1728, and the son of a day-labourer in Yorkshire, he commenced his maritime career as ship-boy to a collier. At the breaking out of war in 1755 he entered the Royal Navy. He had no assistance in his studies beyond what a few books and his own industry supplied; but he was determined to master the scientific as well as the practical part of his profession, and first read Euclid during a long winter on the coast of North America. He soon attracted the notice of Sir Hugh Palliser, and afterwards of Sir Charles Saunders. By the last commander he was employed on several most important services at the siege of Quebec. It was Cook who piloted the boats to the attack of Montmorency; it was Cook who convoyed the embarkation to the heights of Abraham. At the peace he was not left inactive; he was appointed to survey the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the coasts of Newfoundland.
It so chanced that at this period the astronomers of England were much intent on a Transit of the planet Venus over the sun's disk, which, according to their calculations, would happen in June, 1769. By means of the Transit, they expected to be able to determine with precision the distance of the sun; but for that purpose it would be necessary to make simultaneous observations from various quarters of the globe. One of the points required must fall within the bounds of the Pacific Ocean, and on Captain Wallis's report, there was none that appeared preferable to the newly discovered isle of Otaheite. Even before Wallis's return, the Royal Society, as representing British science, had sent in a petition to the King, that he would order the required observation to be made in the South Seas. The request thus made was most willingly complied with. There was appointed for the purpose a good ship, first built for the coal trade, the Endeavour, and an excellent commander, Lieutenant James Cook.
The Endeavour sailed upon her voyage in August, 1768. She was victualled for eighteen months, and her complement of men and officers amounted in all to eightyfive. Besides these, there embarked Mr. Banks, then a youth of twenty-four, afterwards Sir Joseph, and President of the Royal Society during three-and-forty years. Even as a boy Mr. Banks inherited a large estate in Lincolnshire; but ease and sloth, those besetting sins of early wealth, cast around him their meshes in vain. From the first he showed himself both eager and enlightened in the cause of science—those branches of science, above all, to which the name of Natural History is commonly applied. In pursuit of these his favourite objects he was liberal of expense, careless both of danger and fatigue. Already had he explored the wild coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador. On embarking with Captain Cook for a voyage round the world, he took with him, besides his secretary and four servants, two draughtsmen, the one to delineate landscapes and figures, and the other the objects in Natural History. He also engaged, as his companion, Dr. Solander, a distinguished botanist, by birth a countryman of Linnaeus, but holding an appointment in the British Museum.*
Touching on their way at Rio Janeiro, Captain Cook and his passengers were by no means cordially received. The Portuguese Viceroy listened with distrust to their assurances that they were going to observe an astronomical phenomenon from the Pacific. Of the Transit of Venus his Excellency had never heard, but said that he supposed it was the passing of the North Star through the South Pole! Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander being leported as philosophers, became especial objects of suspicion; they were prohibited from landing; and could only do so once, and in disguise.
Captain Cook sailed around Cape Horn, preferring that coast, though stormy, to the more dangerous shallows of Magellan. On Tierra del Fuego, Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, with ten other persons, went on shore to make discoveries. It was now the month of January, the mid
* The Voyages of Byron, Wallis, Carteret, and the first of Cook, were ill compiled by Dr. Hawkesworth from the journals of the respective commanders and of Mr. Banks. (3 vols, Ijondon, 1773.) Cook's Second Voyage is related by himself (2 vols. London, 1777), and his Third partly by himself, but continued after his death by his gallant mess-mate, Captain King. (3 vols. London, 1784.) These are my principal materials for the present Chapter.
summer of those regions; yet, on the hills there were violent snowblasts and such severity of cold that two of the party perished. The rest, benighted as they were, owed their safe return in no small degree to the energy and presence of mind of Mr. Banks. They had no food besides a vulture which they happened to shoot, and which, equally divided among them, supplied each man with about three mouthfulls.
From Tierra del Fuego, Captain Cook pursued his voyage of some four thousand miles to Otaheite. "It is "necessary," says a more recent voyager, "to sail over "this great ocean to comprehend its immensity. Moving "quickly onwards for weeks together, we meet with "nothing but the same blue, profoundly deep ocean. "Even within the archipelagoes, the islands are mere "specks, and far distant from one another. Accustomed "to look at maps drawn on a small scale, where dots, "shadows, and names, are crowded together, we do not "rightly judge how infinitely small the proportion of dry "land is to the water of this vast expanse." *
The principal observatory for the Transit was established by Cook on the northern cape of Otaheite, which, from thence, was called Point Venus. During the interval between Wallis's departure and Cook's arrival, the island had been visited by a French circumnavigator, M. de Bougainville, who applied a similar appellation from a wholly different train of ideas—he surnamed it a realm of love—La Nouvei.le Cythere.
The residence of Cook at Otaheite during three whole months allowed him ample opportunities to observe the country and the people. Few regions of the earth appear so highly favoured by Nature. Nearly round the island, but at some distance from its shores, there extends a reef of coral rocks, within which the islanders may safely fish or disport themselves in their canoes. Within it there is also room and depth for any number of the largest ships. The glowing sunshine is tempered by the lofty peaks in the centre of the island, and by sea-breezes from a vast expanse on every side. The light soil, watered by many a sparkling rivulet from the mountains, brings forth, almost without culture, and in inexhaustible profusion,
* Darwin's Journal, December 19. 183S.