De Bougainville

The ships now steered a westerly course, and early on the morning of the 22d two islands were discovered, one of which received the name Aurora, from the early hour on which it was first seen, and the other that of Whitsuntide Isle, from the day which gave birth to it being so named. In the afternoon, mountainous lands, at thirty miles distance, were seen, appearing, as it were, over and beyond the Island of Aurora. On the 23d it was discovered that this was a separate island, the appearance being lofty, its descent steep, and the whole clothed with trees. From this time to the 27th, they passed many islands, on one of which they observed a fine plantation of trees, between which there were regular walks, resembling those of an European garden. They now quitted this great cluster of islands, which received the general name of Archipelago of the great Cyclades, which, it is conjectured, occupies no less than three degrees of latitude, and five of longitude.

From the 14th to the 18th of June they discovered a number of islands. On July the 2d a cape was discovered, which was called Cape l'Averdi, on which were mountains of an astonishing height. Two more islands were seen on the 6th, and, as the wood and water were expended, and disease reigning aboard, the commodore resolved to land here, and on the following afternoon the ships came to anchor.

In the afternoon of the 24th a favorable breeze enabled the ships to get out to sea. On the 31st a number of Indian boats attacked the Etoile with a volley of stones and arrows; but a single discharge of the musketry got rid of these troublesome companions. On the 4th of August two islands were seen. On the 5th a third island was seen, and then the northern point of New Britain which lies only forty-one minutes south of the land. On the 7th a fiat island was seen, covered with trees, abounding with cocoa-nuts. Fishing-boats in multitudes surrounding the island; but the fisherman took no notice of the ships. This received the name of the Island of Anchorets. From this time till the end of the month innumerable small islands were observed every day.

Early in the morning of the 31st our voyagers had sight of the island of Ceram, which runs in a parallel east and west, abounds in lofty mountains, and is partly cleared, and partly in its original state. At midnight a number of fires attracted their attention to the island of Boero, where there is a Dutch factory, at the entrance of the Gulf of Cagei, which the French had sight of at day-break. Their joy on this occasion is not to be expressed, for at this time not half of the seamen were able to perform any duty, and the scurvy had raged so violently, that no man on board was perfectly clear of it.

They sailed on the 7th September and on the 13th the ships were surrounded with Indian boats, bringing parroquets, cockatoos, fowls, eggs, and bananas, which the natives sold for Dutch money, or exchanged for knives. By day-light on the 19th they were within about a league of the Coast, of Celibes, which in this part is described as one of the finest countries in the world. On the morning of the 26th the coast of Java appeared with the rising sun. Having come to an anchor for the night, the ships sailed early in the morning of the 27th and on the next day came to anchor in the port of Batavia.

The ships sailed thence on the 16th of October, 1768, and cleared the straits of Sunda on the 19th in the afternoon. By this time the crew were all perfectly recovered of the scurvy, but a few remained ill of the bloody flux. On the 20th the ships were in sight of the Isle of France, and, on the 8th of November, the Boudeuse anchored in the port of that island; the Etoile, which had been unavoidably left behind, anchoring in the same port on the following day.

They sailed from this the 12th of December, 1768, leaving the Etoile behind them to undergo some necessary repairs. Without encountering any singular accident they had sight of the Cape of Good Hope on the 18th of January, and came to anchor in Table Bay on the following morning. Bougainville quitted this on the 17th, anchored off St. Helena on the 4th of February, and on the 25th, joined the Swallow, commanded by Captain Cartert. Nothing material happened from this time till they had sight of the Isle of Ushant, where a violent squall of wind had nearly blasted the hopes of the voyage. On the 15th the commander bore away for St. Ma loes, which he entered on the following day, after an absence of two years and four months from his native country; during all which time he had buried only seven of his crew, a circumstance that will be deemed truly astonishing, when we reflect on the variety of dangers they had encountered and the amazing changes of climate they had experienced.