Roggewein—The little that is known of him—The uncertainty of his discoveries—Easter Island—The Pernicious Islands—The Baumans—New Britain—Arrival in Batavia—Byron—Stay at Rio Janeiro and Port Desire—Entrance into Straits of Magellan—Falkland Islands and Port Egmont—The Fuegians—Mas a Fuero—Disappointment Islands—Danger Islands—Tinian—Return to Europe.

As early as 1669, Roggewein the elder had petitioned the Dutch West India Company for three armed vessels, in order to prosecute his discoveries in the Pacific Ocean. His project was favourably received, but a coolness in the relations between Spain and Holland forced the Batavian government to relinquish the expedition for a time. Upon his death-bed Roggewein forced from his son Jacob a promise to carry the plan he had conceived into execution.

Circumstances, over which he had no control, for a long time hindered the fulfilment of his promise. It was only after several voyages in the Indian seas, after having even been judge in the Batavian Justice Court, that at length Jacob Roggewein was in a position to take the necessary steps with the West India Company. We have no means of finding out Roggewein's age in 1721, or of ascertaining what were his claims to the command of an expedition of discovery. Most biographical dictionaries honour him with but a slight mention, perhaps of a couple of lines, and Fleurieu, in his learned and exhaustive account of the Dutch navigator, was unable to find out anything certain about him.

Moreover, the narrative of the voyage was written not by Roggewein, but by a German named Behrens. We may, therefore, with some justice, attribute the obscurities and contradictions of the particulars given, and their general want of accuracy, rather to the narrator than to the navigator. It even appears sometimes (and this is far from improbable), that Roggewein was ignorant of the voyages and discoveries of his predecessors and contemporaries.

Upon the 21st of August, 1721, three vessels set sail from Texel, under his command. They were, the Eagle of 36 guns, and with a crew of 111 men, the Tienhoven of 28 guns and 100 men, Captain James Bauman, and the galley African of 14 guns and a crew of 60 men, Captain Henry Rosenthal. Their voyage across the Atlantic afforded no particulars of interest. Touching at Rio, Roggewein went in search of an island which he named Auke's Magdeland, and which would appear to be the same as the Land of the Virgin, Hawkins' Virginia, and the Archipelago of the Falkland, or Malouine Islands, unless indeed it was Southern Georgia. Although these islands were then well known, it would appear that the Dutch knew little of their whereabouts, as after vainly seeking the Falkland Isles, they set to work to look for the island St. Louis, belonging to the French, apparently quite unaware that they belonged to the same group.

There are few lands indeed which have borne so many different names as Pepys Isles, Conti Isles, and many which we need not mention. It would be easy to count up a dozen.

After discovering, or rather noticing an island below the parallel of the Straits of Magellan, about twenty-four leagues from the American continent, of two hundred leagues in circumference, which he named South Belgium, Roggewein passed through the Straits of Lemaire, or possibly was carried by the current to 62½° of southern latitude. Finally, he regained the coast of Chili; and cast anchor opposite the island of Mocha, which he found deserted. He afterwards reached Juan Fernandez, where he met with the Tienhoven, from which he had been separated since the 21st of December.

The vessels left this harbour before the end of March, and steered to the west-north-west, in search of the land discovered by Davis, between 27° and 28° south.

After a search of several days, Roggewein sighted an island upon the 6th of April, 1722, which he named Easter Island.

We will not stop to enumerate the exaggerated dimensions claimed for this island by the Dutch navigator, nor to notice his observations of the manners and customs of the inhabitants. We shall have occasion to refer to them in dealing with the more detailed and reliable accounts of Cook and La Perouse. "But," said Fleurieu, "we shall vainly look in this narrative for any sign of learning on the part of Roggewein's sergeant-major." After describing the Banana, of which the leaves are six or eight feet high, and two or three wide, he adds that this was the leaf with which our first parents covered their nakedness after the Fall; and to make it clearer, further remarks that those who accept this view, do so on account of this leaf being the largest of all the plants growing either in eastern or western countries, thereby plainly indicating his notion of the proportions of Adam and Eve.

A native came on board the Eagle. He delighted every one by his good humour, gaiety, and friendly demonstrations.

In the morning Roggewein distinguished an eager multitude upon the shore, which was adorned with high statues, who awaited the arrival of the strangers with impatient curiosity. For no discoverable purpose a gun was fired, one of the natives was killed, and the multitude fled in every direction,—soon, however, to return in greater haste. Roggewein, at the head of 150 men, fired a volley, stretching a number of victims on the ground. Overcome with terror, the natives hastened to appease their terrible visitors by offering them all they possessed.

Fleurieu is of opinion that Easter Island and Davis Land are not identical; but in spite of the reasons with which he supports his opinions, and the differences which he points out in the situation and description of the two islands, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that Roggewein and Davis's discoveries are one and the same. No other island answering to the description is to be found in these latitudes, which are now thoroughly well known.

A violent storm of wind drove Roggewein from his anchorage on the eastern side of the island, and obliged him to make for the west-north-west. He traversed the sea called Mauvaise by Schouten, and having sailed eight hundred leagues from Easter Island, fell in with what he took to be the Isle of Dogs, so called by Schouten. Roggewein named it Carlshoff, a name which it still retains.

The squadron passed this island in the night, without touching at it, and was forced in the following night, by the wind and adverse currents, to the midst of a group of low islands, which were quite unexpectedly encountered. The African was dashed against a coral rock, and the two consorts narrowly escaped the same fate. Only after five days of unceasing effort, of danger and anxiety, the crew succeeded in extricating the vessels and in regaining the open sea.

The natives of this group were tall, with long and flowing hair. They painted their bodies in various colours. It is generally agreed now to recognize in Roggewein's description of the Pernicious Islands, the group to which Cook gave the name of Palliser Isles.

On the morning succeeding the day in which he had so narrowly escaped the dangers of the Pernicious Islands, Roggewein discovered an island to which he gave the name of Aurora. Lying low, it was scarcely visible above the water, and had the sun not shone out, the Tienhoven would have been lost upon it.

As night approached, new land was perceived, to which the name of Vesper was given, and it is difficult to decide whether or no it belonged to the Palliser group.

Roggewein continued to sail between the 15th and 16th degrees, and was not long in finding himself "all of a sudden" in the midst of islands which were half submerged.

"As we approached them," says Behrens, "we saw an immense number of canoes navigating the coasts, and we concluded that the islands were well populated. Upon nearing the land we discovered that it consisted of a mass of different islands, situated close the one to the other, and we were insensibly drawn in amongst them. We began to fear that we should be unable to extricate ourselves. The admiral sent one of the pilots up to the look-out to ascertain how we could get free of them.

"We owed our safety to the calm that prevailed. The slightest movement of the water would have run our ships upon the rocks, without the possibility of assistance reaching us. As it was, we got away without any accident worth mentioning. These islands are six in number, all very pleasant, and taken together may extend some thirty leagues. They are situated twenty-five leagues westward of the Pernicious Islands. We named them the Labyrinth, because we could only leave them by a circuitous route."

Many authors identify this group with Byron's Prince of Wales Islands. Fleurieu holds a different opinion. Dumont d'Urville thinks them identical with the group of Vliegen, already seen by Schouten and Lemaire.

After navigating for three days in a westerly direction, the Dutch caught sight of a beautiful island. Cocoa-nuts, palm-trees, and luxuriant verdure testified to its fertility. But finding it impossible to anchor there, the officers and crews were obliged to visit it in well-armed detachments.

Once more the Dutch needlessly shed the blood of an inoffensive population which had awaited them upon the shore, and whose only fault consisted in their numbers.

After this execution, worthy rather of barbarians than of civilized men, they endeavoured to persuade the natives to return, by offering presents to the chiefs, and by deceitful protestations of friendship. But they were not to be deceived by the latter, and having enticed the sailors into the interior, the inhabitants rushed upon them and attacked them with stones. Although a volley of bullets stretched a number upon the ground, they still bravely persisted in attacking the strangers, and forced them to re-embark, carrying with them their dead and wounded.

Of course the Dutch cried treason, not knowing how to find epithets strong enough for the treachery and disloyalty of their adversaries. But, who struck the first blow? Who was the aggressor? Even admitting that a few thefts were committed, which is probable enough, was it necessary to visit them with so severe a punishment, to revenge upon an entire population the wrong-doing of a few individuals, who after all can have had no very strict notions of honesty?

In spite of their losses, the Dutch called this island, in memory of the refreshment they had enjoyed there, Recreation Island. Roggewein gives its situation as below the sixth parallel, but his longitude is so incorrect, that it is impossible to depend upon it.

The question now arises, whether the captain should prosecute his search for the Island Espirito Santo de Quiros in the west, or whether, on the contrary, he should sail northward and reach the East Indies during the favourable season?

The counsel of war, which Roggewein called to the consideration of this question, chose the latter alternative.

The counsel chose the latter alternative
"The counsel chose the latter alternative."

The third day after this decision, three islands were simultaneously discovered. They received the name of Bauman, after the captain of the Tienhoven, who was the first to catch sight of them. The natives came round the vessels to traffic, whilst an immense crowd of the inhabitants lined the shore, armed with bows and spears. They were white skinned, and only differed from Europeans in appearance, when very much tanned by the sun. Their bodies were not painted. A strip of stuff, artistically arranged and fringed, covered them from the waist to the heels. Hats of the same material protected their heads and necklaces of sweet-smelling flowers, adorned their necks.

"It must be confessed," says Behrens, "that this is the most civilized nation, as well as the most honest, which we have met with in the southern seas. Charmed with our arrival, they received us like gods, and when we showed our intention of leaving, they testified most lively regrets."

From the description, these would appear to have been the inhabitants of the Navigators Islands.

After having encountered the islands which Roggewein believed to be Cocoa and Traitor Islands, already visited by Schouten and Lemaire, and which Fleurieu, imagining them to be a Dutch discovery, named Roggewein Islands; after having caught sight of Tienhoven and Groningue Islands, which were believed by Pingré to be identical with Santa Cruz of Mendana, the expedition finally reached the coast of New Ireland. Here the discoverers perpetrated new massacres. From thence they went to the shores of New Guinea, and after crossing the Moluccas, cast anchor at Batavia.

There their fellow-countrymen, less humane than many of the tribes they had visited, confiscated the two vessels, imprisoned the officers and sailors indiscriminately, and sent them to Europe to take their trial. They had committed the unpardonable crime of having entered countries belonging to the East India Company, whilst they themselves were in the employ of the West India Company.

The result was a trial, and the East India Company was compelled to restore all that it had appropriated, and to pay heavy damages.

We lose all sight of Roggewein after his arrival at Texel upon the 11th July, 1723, and no details are to be obtained of the last years of his life. Grateful thanks are due to Fleurieu for having unravelled this "chaotic" narrative, and for having thrown some light upon an expedition which deserves to be better known.

Upon the 17th of June, 1764, Commodore Byron received instructions signed by the Lord of the Admiralty. They were to the following effect,—"As nothing contributes more to the glory of this nation, in its character of a maritime power, to the dignity of the British crown, and to the progress of its national commerce and navigation, than the discovery of new regions; and as there is every reason for believing in the existence of lands and islands in great numbers, between the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits of Magellan, which have been hitherto unknown to the European powers, and which are situated in latitudes suitable for navigation, and in climates productive of different marketable commodities; and as moreover, his Majesty's islands, called Pepys and Falkland Islands, situated as will be described, have not been sufficiently examined for a just appreciation of their shores and productions, although they were discovered by English navigators; his Majesty, taking all these considerations into account, and conceiving the existing state of profound peace now enjoyed by his subjects especially suitable for such an undertaking, has decided to put it into execution."

Upon what seaman would the choice of the English Government fall?

Commodore John Byron, born on the 8th of November, 1723, was the man selected. From his earliest years, he had shown an enthusiastic love of seafaring life, and at the age of seventeen had offered his services upon one of the vessels that formed Admiral Anson's squadron, when it was sent out for the destruction of Spanish settlements upon the Pacific coast.

We have already given an account of the troubles which befell this expedition before the incredible fortune which was to distinguish its last voyage.

The vessel upon which Byron embarked was the Wager. It was wrecked in passing through the Straits of Magellan, and the crew being taken prisoners by the Spaniards, were sent to Chili. After a captivity which lasted at least three years, Byron effected his escape, and was rescued by a vessel from St. Malo, which took him to Europe. He returned at once to service, and distinguished himself in various encounters during the war with France. Doubtless it was the recollection of his first voyage round the world, so disastrously interrupted, which procured for him the distinction conferred upon him by the Admiralty.

The vessels entrusted to him were carefully armed. The Dauphin was a sixth-rate man-of-war, and carried 24 guns, 150 sailors, 3 lieutenants, and 37 petty officers. TheTamar was a sloop of 16 guns, and 90 sailors, 3 lieutenants, 27 petty officers, commanded by Captain Mouat.

The start was not fortunate. The expedition left the Downs upon the 21st of June, but the Dauphin grounded before leaving the Thames, and was obliged to put into Plymouth for repairs.

Upon the 3rd of July, anchor was finally weighed, and ten days later, Byron put in at Funchal in the Island of Madeira for refreshments. He was forced to halt again at Cape Verd Islands, to take in water, that with which he was supplied having become rapidly wasted.

Nothing further occurred to interrupt the voyage, until the two English vessels sighted Cape Frio.

Byron remarked a singular fact, since fully verified, that the copper sheathing of his vessels appeared to disperse the fish, which he expected to meet with in large quantities.

The tropical heat, and constant rains, had struck down a large proportion of the crew, hence the urgent need of rest and of fresh victuals which they experienced.

These they hoped to find at Rio de Janeiro, where they arrived on the 12th December. Byron was warmly welcomed by the viceroy, and thus describes his first interview.

"When I made my visit, I was received in the greatest state, about sixty officers were drawn up by the palace. The guard was under arms. They were fine, well-drilled men. His Excellency accompanied by the nobility received me on the staircase. Fifteen salutes from the neighbouring fort honoured my arrival. We then entered the audience-chamber, and after a conversation of a quarter of an hour, I took my leave, and was conducted back with the same ceremonies."

We shall see a little later how slightly the reception given to Captain Cook some years afterwards resembled that just related.

The Commodore obtained ready permission to disembark his sick, and found every facility for revictualling. His sole cause of complaint was the repeated endeavour of the Portuguese to tempt his sailors to desert.

The insupportable heat experienced by the crew shortened their stay at Rio. Upon the 16th of October, anchor was weighed, but it was five days before a land breeze allowed the vessels to gain the open sea.

Up to this moment, the destination of the expedition had been kept secret. Byron now summoned the captain of the Tamar on board, and in the presence of the assembled sailors, read his instructions.

These enjoined him not to proceed to the East Indies, as had been supposed, but to prosecute discoveries, which might prove of great importance to England in the southern seas. With this object the Lords of the Admiralty promised double pay to the crew, with future advancement and enjoyments, if they were pleased with their services. The second part of this short harangue was the most acceptable to the sailors and was received by them with joyous demonstrations.

Until the 29th of October no incident occurred in their passage. Upon that date sudden and violent squalls succeeded each other and culminated in a fearful tempest, the violence of which was so great that the Commodore ordered four guns to be thrown overboard, to avoid foundering. In the morning the weather moderated somewhat, but it was as cold as in England at the same time of year, although in this quarter of the globe the month of November answers to the month of May. As the wind continued to drive the vessel eastward, Byron began to think that he should experience great difficulty in avoiding the east of Patagonia.

Suddenly, upon the 12th of November, although no land was marked on the chart in this position, a repeated cry of "Land! land ahead!" arose. Clouds at this moment obscured almost the entire horizon, and it thundered and lightened without intermission.

"It seemed to me," says Byron, "that what had at first appeared to be an island, was really two steep mountains, but, upon looking windward, it was apparent that the land which belonged to these mountains stretched far to the south-east." Consequently, he steered south-west. "I sent some officers to the masthead to watch the wind, and to verify the discovery. They unanimously asserted that they saw a great extent of country. We then went E.S.E. The land appeared to present entirely the same appearance. The mountains looked blue, as is often the case in dark and rainy weather, when one is near them. Shortly afterwards, several of our number fancied they could distinguish waves breaking upon a sandy shore, but after steering with the utmost caution for an hour, that which we had taken for land disappeared suddenly, and we were convinced to our amazement that it had been only a land of fog! I have passed all my life at sea," continues Byron, "since I was twenty-seven, but I never could have conceived so complete and sustained an illusion.

"There is no doubt, that had the weather not cleared so suddenly as it did, we should one and all on board have declared that we had discovered land in this latitude. We were then in latitude 43° 46' S. and longitude 60° 5' W."

The next morning a terrible gale of wind arose, heralded by the piercing cries of many hundred birds flying before it. It lasted only twenty minutes—sufficiently long, however, to throw the vessel on its beam end before it was possible to let go the halliards. At the same moment a blow from the sheet of the mainsail overthrew the first lieutenant, and sent him rolling to a distance, while the mizen-mast, which was not entirely lowered, was torn to pieces.

The following days were not much more favourable. Moreover, the ship had sunk so little, that she drifted away as the wind freshened. After such a troublesome voyage, we may guess how gladly Byron reached Penguin Island and Port Desire on the 24th of November. But the delights of this station did not by any means equal the anticipations of the crew.

The English sailors landed and upon advancing into the interior, met only with a desert country, and sandy hills, without a single tree. They found no game, but they saw a few guanacos too far off for a shot; they were, however, able to catch some large hares, which were not difficult to secure. The seals and sea birds, however, furnished food for an entire fleet.

Badly situated and badly sheltered, Port Desire offered the further inconvenience that only brackish water could be procured there. Not a trace of inhabitants was to be found! A long stay in this place being useless and dangerous, Byron started in search of Pepys Island on the 25th.

The position of this island was most uncertain. Halley placed it 80° east of the continent. Cowley, the only person who asserted that he had seen it, declared it was about 47° latitude, S., but did not fix its longitude. Here then was an interesting problem to solve.

After having explored to the N., to the S., and to the E., Byron, satisfied that this island was imaginary, set sail for the Sebaldines, in haste to reach the first possible port where he could obtain food and water, of which he had pressing need. A storm overtook him, during which the waves were so terrific, that Byron declared he had never seen them equalled, even when he doubled Cape Horn with Admiral Anson. This danger surmounted, he recognized Cape Virgin, which forms the northern entrance to the Straits of Magellan.

As soon as the vessels neared the shore, the sailors distinguished a crowd of men on horseback, who set up a white tent, and signed to them to land. Curious to see these Patagonians, about whom preceding navigators had so disagreed, Byron landed with a strong detachment of armed soldiers.

He found nearly 500 men, most of them on horseback, of gigantic stature, and looking like monsters in human shape. Their bodies were painted in the most hideous manner, their faces traced with various coloured lines, their eyes encircled with blue, black, or red, so that they had the appearance of wearing enormous spectacles. Almost all were naked, with the exception of a skin thrown over their shoulders—the wool inside, and a few of them wore boots. Truly, a singular costume! primitive and not expensive!

Most of them on horseback
"Most of them on horseback."

With them were numbers of dogs and of very small horses, excessively ugly, but not the less extremely swift.

The women rode on horseback like the men without stirrups, and all galloped on the shore, although it was covered with immense stones and very slippery.

The interview was friendly. Byron distributed numbers of toys, ribbons, glass trinkets, and tobacco, to the crowd of giants.

As soon as he had brought the Dauphin to the wind, Byron entered the Straits of Magellan with the tide. It was not his intention to cross it, but merely to find a safe and commodious harbour, where he might secure wood and water before starting in his search for the Falkland Islands.

On leaving the second outlet, he met with St. Elizabeth, St. Bartholomew, and St. George Islands, and Sandy Point. Near the last he found a delicious country, springs, woods, fields covered with flowers, which shed an exquisite perfume in the air. The country was swarming with hundreds of birds, of which one species received the name of the "Painted Goose," from the exceeding brilliancy of its plumage. But nowhere could a spot be found where the ship's boat could approach without extreme danger. The water was shallow everywhere, and the breakers were heavy. Fish of many kinds—more especially mullets,—geese, snipe, teal, and other birds of excellent flavour, were caught and killed by the crew.

Byron was obliged to continue his voyage to Port Famine, which he reached on the 27th of December.

"We were sheltered from all winds," he says, "with the exception of the south-east, which rarely blows, and no damage could accrue to vessels which might be driven on shore in the bay, because of the profound calm that prevails. Wood enough floated near the shore to stock a thousand vessels, so we had no need to go and cut it in the forest.

"The River Sedger ran at the bottom of the bay, the water of which is excellent. Its banks are planted with large and beautiful trees, excellent for masts; parrots, and birds of brilliant plumage thronged the branches." Abundance reigned in Famine Port during Byron's stay.

As soon as his crew were completely recovered from their fatigue and the ships well provisioned, the Commodore, on the 5th of January, 1765, resumed his search for the Falkland Islands. Seven days later, he discovered a land in which he fancied he recognized the Islands of Sebald de Wert, but upon nearing them he found that what he had taken for three islands, was, in reality, but one, which extended far south. He had no remaining doubt that he had found the group marked upon the charts of the time as New Ireland, 51° south latitude, and 63°, 32' west longitude.

First of all, Byron steered clear of them, fearing to be thrown upon a coast with which he was unacquainted, and after this summary bearing, a detachment was selected to skirt the coast as closely as possible, and look for a safe and commodious harbour—which was soon met with. It received the name of Port Egmont, in honour of Earl Egmont, First Lord of the Admiralty.

"I did not expect," says Byron, "that it would be possible to find so good a harbour. The depth was excellent, the supply of water easy; all the ships of England might be anchored there in shelter from winds.

"Geese, ducks, and teal abounded to such an extent, that the sailors were tired of eating them. Want of wood was general, with the exception of some trunks of trees which floated by the shore, and which were apparently brought here from the Strait of Magellan.

"The wild sorel and celery, both excellent anti-scorbutics, were to be found in abundance. Sea-calves and seals, as well as penguins, were so numerous that it was impossible to walk upon the strand without seeing them rush away in herds. Animals resembling wolves, but more like foxes in shape, with the exception of their height and tails, several times attacked the sailors, who had great difficulty in defending themselves. It would be no easy task to guess how they came here, distant as the country is from any other continent,—by at least a hundred leagues; or to imagine where they found shelter, in a country barren of vegetation, producing only rushes, sword-grass, and not a single tree."

The account of this portion of Byron's voyage, in Didot's biography, is a tissue of errors.

"The flotilla," says M. Alfred de Lacaze, "became entangled in the Straits of Magellan, and was forced to put into a bay near Port Famine, which was named Port Egmont." A singular mistake, which proves how lightly the articles of this important collection were sometimes written.

Byron took possession of Port Egmont and the adjacent isles, called Falkland, in the name of the King of England. Cowley had named them Pepys Islands, but in all probability the first discoverer was Captain Davis in 1592. Two years later Sir Richard Hawkins found land which was thought to be the same, and named it Virginia, in honour of his queen Elizabeth. Lastly, vessels from St. Malo visited this group, and no doubt it was owing to this fact that Frezier called them the Malouines Islands.

Map of the Eastern Hemisphere
Engraved by E. Morieu 23, r. de Brea Paris.
Straits of Magellan, after Bougainville
Gravé par E. Morieu.

After having named a number of rocks, islets, and capes, Byron left Port Egmont on the 27th of January, and set sail for Port Desire, which he reached nine days later. There he found the Florida—a transport vessel, which had brought from England the provisions and necessary appliances for his long voyage.

But this anchorage was too dangerous. The Florida and the Tamar were in too bad a condition to be equal to the long operation of transhipment. Byron therefore sent one of his petty officers, who had a thorough knowledge of the Strait of Magellan, on board the Florida, and with his two consorts set sail for Port Famine. He met with a French ship so many times in the straits, that it appeared as if she were bent upon the same course as himself. Upon returning to England, he ascertained that she was the Aigle, Captain M. de Bougainville, who was coasting Patagonia in search of the wood needed by the French colony in the Falkland Islands.

During the various excursions in the straits, the English expedition received several visits from the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego.

"I have never seen such wretched beings," says Byron; "they were entirely naked, with the exception of a skin thrown across the shoulders. They offered me the bows and arrows with which they were armed in exchange for beads, necklaces, and other trifles. Their arrows, which were two feet long, were made of cane, and pointed with greenish stone; the bows were three feet long and were furnished with catgut for strings.

"Their nourishment consisted of certain fruits, mussels, and the remains of putrid fish thrown upon the beach during the storms. Pigs only could have relished their food. It consisted of large pieces of whale, already putrified, the odour of which impregnated the air for some distance. One of them tore the carrion in pieces with his teeth, and handed the bits to his companions, who devoured them with the voracity of wild beasts.

"Several of these miserable beings decided to come on board. Wishing to give them a pleasant reception, one of my petty officers played the violin and the sailors danced. This delighted them. Anxious to show their appreciation, one of their number hastened to his pirogue (small boat) and returned with a little bag of wolf-skin, containing a red ointment, with which he rubbed the face of the violinist. He was anxious to pay me the same attention, but I drew back. He then tried every means of overcoming my delicacy, and I had great difficulty in avoiding the mark of esteem he was so anxious to give me."

One of them tore the carrion with his teeth
"One of them tore the carrion with his teeth."

It will not be out of place here to record the opinion held by Byron, an experienced seaman, upon the advantages and disadvantages offered to the passage through the Straits of Magellan. He does not agree with the majority of navigators who have visited these latitudes. He says,—

"Our account of the difficulties and dangers we encountered may lead to the idea that it is not prudent to attempt this passage, and that ships leaving Europe for the southern seas, should prefer to double Cape Horn. I am by no means of this opinion, although I have twice doubled Cape Horn. There is one season in the year when not only one ship, but an entire fleet, might safely cross the straits, and to profit by this season one should enter them in the month of December. One inestimable advantage which should weigh with all navigators is that celery, scurvy-grass, fruits, and other anti-scorbutic vegetables abound. Such obstacles as we encountered, and which delayed us from the 17th of February till the 8th of April in the straits, were mainly due to the equinoctial season, a season which is invariably stormy, and which, more than once, tried our patience."

Until the 26th of April, the day upon which they found Mas-a-Fuero, belonging to the Juan Fernandez group, Byron had sailed to the N.W. He hastened to disembark several sailors, who after obtaining water and wood, chased wild goats, which they found better flavoured than venison in England.

During their stay in this port, a singular fact occurred. A violent surf broke over the shore, and prevented the shore-boats from reaching the strand. Although he was provided with a life-belt, one of the sailors, who could not swim, refused to jump into the sea to reach the boat. Threatened with being left alone on the island, he still persistently refused to venture, when one of his companions cleverly encircled his waist with a cord, in which he had made a running knot, and one end of which was made fast to the boat. When he reached the vessel, Hawksworth's narrative relates, that the unfortunate fellow had swallowed so much water that he appeared lifeless. He was accordingly hung up by the heels, whereupon he soon regained his senses, and the next day was completely restored. But in spite of this truly wonderful recovery, we can hardly venture to recommend this course of treatment to humane rescue societies.

Leaving Mas-a-Fuero, Byron changed his route, with the intention of seeking Davis Land, now known as Easter Island, which was placed by geographers in 27° 30', a hundred leagues westward of the American coast. Eight days were devoted to this search.

Having found nothing after this cruise, which he was unable to prolong, Byron, following his intention of visiting the Solomon group, steered for the north-west. Upon the 22nd of May scurvy broke out on board the vessels, and quickly made alarming havoc.

Fortunately land was perceived from the look-out on the 7th of June in 140° 58' west longitude.

Next day, the fleet neared two islands, which presented an attractive appearance.

Large bushy trees, shrubs and groves were seen, and a number of natives who hastened to the shore and lighted fires.

Byron sent a boat in search of anchorage. It returned without having found the requisite depth at a cable's length from shore.

The unfortunate victims of scurvy who had crawled on to the forecastle, cast looks of sorrowful longing at the fertile islands, which held the remedy for their sufferings and which Nature placed beyond their reach!

The narrative says,—

"They saw the cocoa-trees in abundance, laden with fruit, the milk of which is probably the most powerful anti-scorbutic in the world. They had reason for supposing that limes, bananas, and other tropical fruits abounded, and to add to their torments they saw the shells of tortoises floating on the shore."

All these delights, which would have restored them to vigour, were no more attainable than if they had been separated by half the globe, but the sight of them increased the misery of their privations.

Byron was anxious to curtail the tantalizing misery of his unfortunate crew, and giving the name of Disappointment Islands to the group, he set sail once more on the 8th of June.

The very next day he found a new land, long, flat, covered with cocoa-nut trees. In its midst was a lake with a little islet. This feature alone was indicative of the madreporic formation of the soil, simple deposit, which was not yet, but which in time would become, an island. The boat sent to sound met in every direction with a coast as steep as a wall.

Meanwhile the natives made hostile demonstrations. Two men entered the boat. One stole a sailor's waistcoat, another put out his hand for the quarter-master's cocked hat, but not knowing how to deal with it, pulled it towards him, instead of lifting it up, which gave the quarter-master an opportunity of interfering with his intention. Two large pirogues, each manned by thirty paddlers, showed an intention of attacking the vessels, but the latter immediately chased them. Just as they were running ashore a struggle ensued, and the English, all but overwhelmed by numbers, were forced to use their arms. Three or four natives were killed.

Next day, the sailors and such of the sick as could leave their hammocks landed.

The natives, intimidated by the lesson they had received in the evening, remained in concealment, whilst the English picked cocoa-nuts, and gathered anti-scorbutic plants. These timely refreshments were so useful that in a few days there was not a sick man on board.

Parrots, rarely beautiful, and tame doves, and several kinds of unknown birds composed the fauna of the island, which received the name of King George—that which was discovered afterwards was called Prince of Wales' Island. All these lands belonged to the Pomotou group, which is also known as the Low Islands, a very suitable name for this archipelago.

On the 21st again a new chain of islands surrounded by breakers was sighted. Byron did not attempt a thorough investigation of these, as to do so he would have incurred risks out of proportion to the benefit to be gained. He called them the Dangerous Islands.

Six days later, Duke of York Island was discovered. The English found no inhabitants, but carried off two hundred cocoa-nuts, which appeared to them of inestimable value.

A little farther, in latitude 1° 18' south, longitude 173° 46' west, a desert island received the name of Byron; it was situated eastward of the Gilbert group.

The heat was overwhelming, and the sailors, weakened, by their long voyage and want of proper food, in addition to the putrid water they had been forced to drink, were almost all attacked by dysentery.

At length, on the 28th of July, Byron joyfully recognized Saypan and Tinian Islands, which form part of the Marianne or Ladrone Islands, and he prepared to anchor in the very spot where Lord Anson had cast anchor with the Centurion. Tents were immediately prepared for the sufferers from scurvy. Almost all the sailors had been attacked by this terrible disease, many even had been at the point of death. The captain undertook to explore the dense wood which extended to the very edge of the shore, in search of the lovely country so enthusiastically described in the account written by Lord Anson's chaplain. How far were these enchanting descriptions from the truth! Impenetrable forests met him on every side, overgrown plants, briars, and tangled shrubs, at every step caught and tore his clothes. At the same time the explorers were attacked and stung by clouds of mosquitoes. Game was scarce and wild, the water detestable, the roadstead was never more dangerous than at this season.

The halt was made, therefore, under unfortunate auspices. Still, in the end limes, bitter oranges, cocoa-nuts, bread-fruits, guavas, and others were found. But although these productions were beneficial to the invalids, who were shortly restored to vigour, the malarious atmosphere caused such violent fever that two sailors succumbed to it. In addition, the rain fell unceasingly and the heat was overpowering. Byron says that he never experienced such terrific heat, even in his visits to the coast of Guinea, the East Indies, or St. Thomas Island, which is immediately below the equator.

Fowls and wild pigs which weighed about 2 cwt. each, were easily procurable, but had to be eaten immediately, as in less than a hour decomposition took place. Lastly, the fish caught upon this shore was so unwholesome, that even those who ate it in moderation became dangerously ill, and risked their lives.

After a stay of nine weeks, the two ships, amply provisioned, left the port of Tinian. Byron continued his route to the north, after having passed Anatacan Island, already discovered by Anson. He hoped to meet the N.E. monsoon before reaching the Bashees, which form the extreme north of the Philippines. Upon the 22nd he perceived Grafton Island, the most northerly of this group, and upon the 3rd of November he arrived at Timoan, which had been mentioned by Dampier as a favourable place for procuring provisions. The natives, however, who are of Malay descent, refused the offer of hatchets, knives, and iron instruments in exchange for fowls—they demanded rupees. Finally they accepted some handkerchiefs in payment of a dozen fowls, a goat and its kid. Fortunately fish was abundant, as it would have been impossible to procure fresh victuals.

Byron set sail once more on the 7th November, passed Poulo Condor at a distance, stopped at Poulo Taya, where he encountered a vessel bearing Dutch colours, but which was manned entirely by Malays. Reaching Sumatra, he explored the coast and cast anchor at Batavia, the principal seat of Dutch power in the East Indies, on the 20th November.

At this time there were more than one hundred ships, large and small, in this roadstead, so flourishing was the trade of the East India Company at this epoch. The town was at the height of its prosperity. Its large and open thoroughfares, its admirable canals, bordered by pine-trees, its regular buildings, singularly recalled the cities of the Netherlands.

Portuguese, Chinese, English, Dutch, Persians, Moors, and Malays, mixed in the streets, and transacted business. Fêtes, receptions, gaieties of every kind impressed new comers with a high idea of the prosperity of the town, and contributed to make their stay a pleasant one. The sole drawback, and it was a serious one to crews after so long a voyage, was the unhealthiness of the locality, where endemic fevers abound. Byron being aware of this, hurried the embarkation of his provisions, and set sail after an interval of twelve days.

Short as their stay had been, it had been too long. The fleet had scarcely reached the strait of the sound, before a malignant fever broke out among the crew, disabling half their number, and ending in the death of three sailors.

After forty-eight days' navigation, Byron perceived the coast of Africa, and cast anchor three days later in Table Bay.

Cape Town furnished all that he could require. Provisions, water, medicines, were all shipped with a rapidity which sufficiently indicated their anxiety to return, and once more the prow of the vessel was directed homewards.

Two incidents occurred on the passage across the Atlantic, thus described by Byron.

"Off St. Helena, in fine weather, and with a favourable wind, the vessel, then at a considerable distance from land, received a shock which was as severe as if she had struck on a rock. Its violence so alarmed us that we all ran to the bridge. Our fears were dissipated when we saw the sea tinged with blood to a great distance. We concluded that we had come in contact with a whale or a grampus, and that our ship had apparently received no damage, which was true."

A few days later, however, the Tamar was found to be in such a dilapidated state, such grave injuries were discovered in her rudder, that it was necessary to invent something to replace it, and to enable her to reach the Antilles, it being too great a risk to allow her to continue her voyage.

Upon the 9th of May, 1766, the Dauphin anchored in the Downs, after a voyage round the world which had lasted for twenty-three months.

This was the most fortunate of all the circumnavigation voyages undertaken by the English. Up to this date, no purely scientific voyage had been attempted. If it was less fruitful of results than had been anticipated, the fault lay not so much with the captain as with the Lords of the Admiralty. They were not sufficiently accurate in their instructions, and had not taken the trouble (as was done in later voyages) of sending special professors of the various branches of science with the expedition.

Full justice, however, was paid to Byron. The title of Admiral was conferred on him, and an important command in the East Indies was entrusted to him. But we have no interest in the latter part of his life, which ended in 1786, and to that, therefore, we need not allude.