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|20 March 1800
21 March 1800
23 March 1800
25 March 1800
26 March 1800
27 March 1800
29 March 1800
31 March 1800
|1 April 1800
3 April 1800
5 April 1800
6 April 1800
7 April 1800
11 April 1800
12 April 1800
13 April 1800
On the 13th of January, 1800 , the Lady Nelson hauled out of Deadman's Dock into the River, having her complement of men,stores,and provisions on board, with every requisite for building and equipping another vessel of the same size, wood excepted, which could be got in New South Wales ; or, in case of shipwreck, where it could be found. The provisions were calculated for fifteen men for nine months, and the water for six months. The former were of the best kinds; and, in addition to which, we were supplied with abundance of antiscorbutics.
We arrived at Gravesend on the 16th following. In going down the River, I had the satisfaction of observing that she worked well; though, like all new things, we had but few who saw us pass, that did not say something against so small a vessel destined for a long voyage. The general appellation we got was that of His Majesty's Tinder-box.
On the 17th the crew were paid their river pay, and to those who could find bondsmen two months in advance. Government was very liberal to the men employed in the Lady Nelson.
We arrived in the Downs on the 20th. In going down the River, owing to thick foggy weather, we got too near the Brake, and were warned of it by the after-keel lifting up, by which we avoided running aground. We anchored in the Downs in five fathoms water, the South Foreland bearing S.W. by S. half S. and Sandown Castle N.N.W. It blew strong, and, from the appearance of the weather, I had every reason to believe that the gale would increase, which it did on the making of the flood: before dark we got every thing snug, and gave the vessel a greater scope of cable: the keels were found of great use in steadying her, and preventing her rigging from training.
At this time there was a very large convoy for the Westward lying in the Downs , which had been detained nearly a month with westerly winds. On the evening of the 23rd the wind from the S. S. W. came on with the flood, and blew very hard, with a heavy sea. At eleven o'clock at night many signals of distress were made in the offing, and several ships drove past us. Finding the Lady Nelson drive, we let go another anchor, which presently brought us up, and enabled us to ride out the gale with ease.
The following morning six vessels were on shore, dismasted and in the Offing two more without either masts or bowsprits. This circumstance, though very unfortunate for other vessels, was, I confess, very pleasing to me, as it must of course satisfy my crew of the good qualities of the vessel in which they had to perform so long a voyage: more especially as their minds were, in some degree, prejudiced against her from the many unfavourable reports in circulation with respect to the impossibility of her performing the voyage. As the day advanced the gale ceased; and towards evening, it blew a steady breeze from the W.
On the 26th it again freshened into a gale, and blew very hard from W. by S. but with the former precautions we rode it out, affording me the satisfaction of finding, that my littlc vessel was easy when at anchor, and perfectly dry. The wind still continuing steady in the S. W. quarter, I judged it most prudent to shelter my charge as much as possible; particularly, as many vessels had gone into Ramsgate Harbour . Having obtained leave for that purpose, and being provided with a pilot, we run into that harbour; where I was detained by the same wind till the 7th of February, when it hauled to the northward. I sailed on the evening of that day, and got to Spithead the following. The Lady Nelson, on this occasion, outsailed all vessels of her size going the same way.
On the 9th we went into Portsmouth Harbour , and brought up off Gosport , in order to wait for a convoy to the Westward, and to have some alterations made on our boats,etc. As we had only two brass carriage guns on board, we were supplied with four more, from three to four pounders. With small arms and ammunition we were well furnished: our provisions and stores were also completed; and some oak plank was taken on board to repair the sliding keels in case of accident. The vessel by these means became very deep in the water, insomuch that we had only two feet nine inches clear abreast the gangway.
Many people who saw the Lady Nelson reckoned her unfit for so long a voyage, which gave me much trouble to keep the crew together, particularly as the day of departure approached. The men became very dissatisfied and how to replace some that escaped from me was a difficult business, as the crimps, who procured men for the East India fleet, and other ships about to sail, picked up every man they could get hold of. They were very assiduous in seducing some young men I had, whose minds were easily worked upon by representing the impracticability and risk of my undertaking.
On the 15th of March, my friend Captain Schank, accompanied by Mr. Bayley,of the Royal Academy , Portsmouth , paid me a visit. They observed, that the vessel was deep though she had nothing but what was absolutely necessary. I answered that a short time at sea, with the consumption of fuel and provisions, would bring us to the proper equilibrium.
On the 16th in the evening we had every thing clear for sea. In the course of this week I had suffered a diminution of two men in my crew; one I had been obliged to send ashore sick, the other deserted, taking with him some of my wearing apparel.
The wind in the night becoming fair, at day-break on the 17th the signal for the convoy's sailing was made by the Anson, Captain Durham. We unmoored, and got a pilot on board by order of Captain Patten, the resident Agent of Transports at Portsmouth, whose attention and assiduity to me, while in his department, I feel myself happv in thus publicly acknowledging, as deserving my most grateful thanks. While getting the kedge up, my carpenter, who was assisting in it, and had been drinking too freely to (St. Patrick) his tutelary saint, found means to make his escape in the dark. The loss of this man made me more uneasy than any other three of the crew would have done. Being anxious to sail, I was reluctantly obliged to put up with my loss. One thing consoled me, and induced me to sail without a carpenter, which was, the strength of the Lady Nelson: she was new; and I knew her to be, a good sea-boat. As I had passports to all the Powers then at war with my Sovereign, I determined, if any accident should happen, to run into the nearest port, and claim protection and assistance; but nothing but dire necessity would induce me to attempt this.
By eleven A.M. we got clear out from St. Helen's, and received Captain Durham's orders for keeping company. At noon we had a fresh breeze from N. At six P.M. on the 18th, we took our departure from Dunnose, in the Isle of Wight, bearing E. by N. five leagues distant. As the weather was thick and hazy, we soon lost sight of land and bid adieu to Old England. Towards night it fell little wind, so that some of the Indiamen slipped faster through the water than we did.
On the 19th the Commodore sent an officer on board to say, that he thought I had better go into Falmouth, and take an opportunity of sailing, from thence with the West India fleet, as I sailed too heavy for the East Indiamen. It being left to myself, I preferred going on, as if it did not blow too heavy I should be able to keep up.
On the 20th it blowing very fresh, and a considerable swell, I found that the fleet got from us. As the wind increased, and the sea made, we were obliged to take in our small sails, while the large ships could set their steering sails, which had nearly as much canvas in them, as we could show altogether. This is a convincing proof, that in going free large vessels in rough weather have a great advantage over small ones, especially when they are not deep in the water; as they can carry more sail, (even admitting it to be the same sail), in proportion. A vessel when low in the water has her progress much impeded by being forced downwards between two seas, and this will be found to operate more powerfully on short bodies than long ones.
The Brunswick East Indiaman, commanded by Captain Grant, in the afternoon hailed me with the Commodore's orders to take the Lady Nelson in tow. This was a business which I did not relish; but it also required some consideration how far my conduct would be justifiable in refusing it. From the observation made at noon , we were in Lat. 49 degrees 3 minutes N. the first we had made since leaving the land; and judged the Long. to be 9 degrees 47 minutes 26 seconds W. of Greenwich ; therefore we were exactly in the track of the enemy's cruizers. As I had more reason to dread detention (the season being so far advanced, and the inconveniences attending a winter passage to the Cape considered) than any doubt of the faith and honour of the Maritime Powers then at war, breaking through the liberty granted in my passports; particularly knowing, that if separated from my charge many articles, from various casualties, might be lost or damaged, of which the mathematical instruments were not the least to be considered. Besides, if the vessel towed well, I knew she could not receive any damage, and we should be the sooner out of the enemy's track. As I had neither a carpenter, nor any mechanic on board, this was another reason for my acquiescing to the proposal. Captain Grant assured me we should have free scope; we therefore got the end of his hawser on board, and soon found that the vessel towed very well.
During the time we had been out the weather was very indifferent, being gloomy, with more or less rain, which prevented me from making many necessary arrangements. I had also observed that there were several small leaks in the decks, and upper works, which greatly annoyed us, owing to the slovenliness and inattention of the workmen employed in fitting her out, although the most positive directions were given to the contrary. The water found its way in many places under the covering boards, and along the gunwale, insomuch that I was deprived of the use of one of the bed-places in the cabin; and also to the detriment of many articles fastened up against the side, which were necessary to be kept at hand. The vessel being rigged also into a brig from a cutter, the pumps were removed further aft, and not being well finished, admitted much water, until the weather permitted us to stop the leaks.
On the 21st the wind freshened with thick gloomy weather, which we had reason to expect from its being the equinox; and the sea, from the long and steady wind at E.N.E. became rough and more uneasy ; yet the vessel rose well to it, but being in tow, it was impossible at all times to prevent her from being dragged through some of the seas. This afforded some amusement to the passengers on board the Brunswick , who visited the stern gallery of it to see the little vessel in tow.
Nothing particular occurred till the 23d, when the wind had increased so much, that being forced into several heavy seas by the Brunswick, it evidently appeared to me that the vessel might be strained too much ; and as night was coming on, with great appearance of blowing hard, I ordered the hawser to be let go at five P. M. wishing my name-sake a pleasant passage. I have since been informed, that it was generally supposed I intended to return to Spithead , as deeming it impracticable to go on.
At seven P.M. the gale increased at E. and E. by S, when we made the vessel snug for the night, during which she was very comfortable, and rose well to the sea. Day-light brought us more moderate weather, and at noon we had a good observation, which gave us Lat. 43 degrees 55 minutes N. Long. 14 degrees 17 minutes W. We lost sight of the fleet during the night.
As this was the first day we had any clear weather since we came out, I ordered all the bedding on deck, and spread them out to air, together with the seamen's clothes, which custom I constantly followed when the weather permitted, and to which I attribute the great health my men experienced during the voyage, who were landed at Sydney in New South Wales in the same state as when they embarked. It is true, that on board of all his Majesty's ships the hammocks are brought up every fine day, and stowed into the settings, yet the benefit of dispersing contagion cannot be procured while close packed up, so well as by exposing the different articles to the air and sun. Infectious matter it is well known may be preserved in the flocks with which the bed-ticks are filled: how necessary then is it that the hammocks should be opened, particularly in warm climates, where the perspiration is augmented. This mode ought constantly to be followed. Besides, another advantage accrues from it; the lazy and dirty seamen are spirited on, by the example of those who are otherwise, to keep their bedding and clothes in decent order; as the whole is under the view of their officers. We took the opportunity of stopping, several leaks in the upper works; and found in many places about the covering board or plank, sheer putty substituted for oakum.
On the 25th P. M. we had fresh gales and cloudy weather. At three P. M. a strange sail was in sight. On going to the masthead a large fleet was seen bearing N. N. E. and the strange sail apparently in chace, and gaining fast on us. Every sail was set, and the vessel on the best point of sailing; we had only to wait the issue. As she neared us, I perceived she was an English frigate. At six P. M. she fired a shot at us, when we shortened sail, and shewed our colours; but another shot convinced me she took us for an enemy's cruizer.
We then wore, and stood towards her. It proved to be His Majesty's frigate Hussar, Captain -------, as part convoy to the West India fleet which we had seen from the mast-head. Captain ------ told me he had taken us for a Spaniard, and was sorry he had given us so much trouble. He said his Longitude was from 13 degrees 30 minutes to 14 degrees W. which was within a very few miles of our own. After the usual compliments we parted. At eight P. M. it came on to blow very fresh with heavy squalls, and at midnight it blew very strong from almost every point of the compass for twelve hours.
At daylight on the 26th, we were close to part of the West Indian fleet, some of which not knowing what to make of us, crowded all the sail they could to get out of out of our way. One of them, much to his credit, hove to and fired a shot, almost plump on board of us.
After hoisting his colours, I showed him ours, when he stood on. Another vessel, the Hope of Liverpool, I could hardly keep clear of; for the more I endeavoured to avoid him, the more he attempted to get near me, insomuch that we were near running on board each other. He asked me very haughtily who I was, and where I came from, I replied by hoisting my pendant and colours, nevertheless, he was not satisfied; and as he had no force, I believe he intended, if he could,to have run me down. There was at this time much sea going, but I found the Lady Nelson do wonderfully well in it. The convoy stood to the westward under close-reefed topsails. As it continued to blow hard, with heavy squalls and rough sea, I had an opportunity of trying the vessel, which I did by carrying sail upon her, and never had less than two reefs in her mainsail, and the topsails close reefed. The mercury this day stood on deck at 65 degrees Lat. observation at noon , 39 degrees 59 minutes N.
the 27th it was more moderate; but dark, gloomy and uncomfortable weather,with drizzling rain. The wind being from the S. W. and continuing freshening, at six P. M.of the 28th we had so much sea that I hove the vessel to for the night, when I found her perfectly easy and dry.
At day-light on the 29th it became more moderate, and the wind hauled to the N. We bore up and made sail. I now found the great benefit of the keels in facilitating the vessel's coming to, and bearing up ; for the most dangerous situation a vessel can be put in, is when she has got no way on her, and in the act of wearing or being put before the sea, where her beam is entirely exposed to an high breaking sea. It is often in this situation that deep loaded merchant ships have their decks cleared of all that is on them; and sometimes are dismasted. If proper attention is paid to the keels, it is only to watch one sea passing, and before the next gets up to you, the vessel will be far enough round to receive it endways, or at least considerably abaft the beam. Of this I am the more convinced, from much experience I have repeatedly had, in a very heavy sea, while in the Lady Nelson ; and that in the tract of ocean, when some thousand miles from any known land, where there was no continent to interrupt the fetch of the sea, and but little wind to assist me in throwing off the vessel before it.
It often happens in the southern hemisphere, after blowing very heavy for some considerable length of time, that it will fall nearly calm in the course of an hour, or even less, when the sea being raised to a great height it has not time to fall, but for some short time will continue to rise and break much. There not being wind sufficient to keep a vessel to, she becomes much exposed in the trough or hollow of the sea, which makes it absolutely necessary to bear up, and put her before it. In this case the benefit of being quick in getting the vessel round is obvious to all seamen ; and it is now an undoubted fact, that nothing will facilitate her coming round so much as sliding keels, as by the use of the after-keel she is not only brought before the sea, but kept in that situation. They who do not approve of vessels built on this construction, will, however, admit that they have an advantage in this point over other vessels, which are to be thrown off, or brought to by their sails and rudders.
On the 29th we had moderate breezes with flying showers - overhauled all the places that leaked in the top-sides of the vessel, and found several in the sail-room about the breast-hook, which had not left a single sail but what was more or less damaged, and which took up much time and expence in repairing. This was a misfortune that I had no reason to expect, and therefore gave me much uneasiness.
On the 31st we had again drizzling damp weather, and as the wind was at N.E. and N. I expected to see Madeira soon; but in the evening it came on to blow from N. E. by N. and N. so heavy, that by midnight it blew a very heavy gale, and from the length of time we had had it in this quarter, and generally blowing strong, it may be judged what sea there was.
At one in the morning of the 1st of April we fell into a cross heavy sea. When the vessel was hove to, as it blew so hard, we got the fore-topsail-yard down on the deck, which I found of great service, as it allowed the vessel to come up much higher, nor did she fall off so much. The wind in general was at N. E. and never varied above a point either way. Before the fore-topsail-yard was lowered, the vessel had come up to N. and fell off to N. N. W. Sometimes a sea would throw her off to N.W. by N. When it was got down, she came up and hung long at N. by E. and never fell off farther than N. N. W. and excepting when the cross sea used to throw the spray on board, the weather side of the deck was constantly dry.
The gale continued till the 3rd, when it began to moderate, and finding the sea get down at five P. M. I bore up. During the gale we had drifted to the south of Madeira , where I expected to have fallen in with the Anson and convoy; but the wind still being fair I wished to make the most of it.
At half past three on the 5th, saw the Salvages bearing W. by S. distant six or seven leagues. At eight passed them within three leagues. Shaped a course for Palma , one of the Canary Islands ; which, at half past four , P. M. I saw bearing W. S.W. fourteen or fifteen leagues. We now crowded all the sail we could in order to get past these islands in the night, keeping to the west of them. I found the variation by the sun's azimuth to be its rising 14 degrees 22 W. Island of Palma then bearing E. by S. distant forty miles by reckoning, thermometer on deck at noon 75 degrees. We had now got into a strong N. E. trade wind, which I found tended to split most of our spare spars and masts, and I ordered them to be payed with turpentine. The bedding, &c. was brought on deck to air; we also cleaned and washed below.
On the 6th we had a strong breeze from S. by E. to S. E. by E. which does not agree with the accounts of winds that generally prevail in this country, accompanied by a very cross ribbling sea, which made the vessel very uneasy. I cannot account for this in any other way than that it is occasioned by a current setting from between the islands, for as we got past them I found the sea decrease gradually. Observation at noon in the Lat. of 27 degrees 3 minutes N.
The weather became moderate and fair on the 7th at noon the thermometer on deck was at 79 degrees. On the 8th we crossed the Tropic of Cancer. We had now many flying fish round; which, on account of the lowness of the vessel used frequently to come on board in great numbers, affording us many a delicious meal.
On the 11th we were employed in repairing the damaged sails, and airing the bedding. Served out sugar and lime-juice to the men. Saw a tropic bird. At noon found ourselves in Lat. 16 degrees 46 minutes N.
At half past one P. M. of the 12th, saw the Island of Salt, one of the Cape de Verde, bearing W. seventeen or eighteen miles. Hauled close round the S. E. end of it, and run along the S. side in order to look for an harbour, which is said to be near a small island on that side; but not finding so convenient accommodation as I expected, at half past six P. M. we shaped a course for St. Jago.
As there are many different descriptions of the appearance of the Island of Salt, it appeared to me as follows:- Having made it at the time I expected by my reckoning, I was surprized to find that it corresponded with the description of Bonavista, very nearly as given in the East India Directory, which says, "Salt is an island of high bold land with a peak on it;" and that, " Bonavista is irregular and sandy down to the water's edge. The S. E. point of Bonavista is a low spit of land whose extent is not perceived till you come up with it." This so exactly corresponds with the S. E. end of Salt, that until I had rounded this end of the island, and made the small one as laid down, I was rather in doubt which of the two islands it was. The land of Salt at the N. W. end appears high and irregular; it hath also sand and valleys down to the water's edge on both the E. and W. side; but it is most remarkable in being a long narrow island, the S. E. end running out in a lone sandy spit, which being very low and flat, you do not distinguish it from the high land, until you are close in with it. The spit is at least three or four miles in length from the land, and on the N. side has a reef and breakers on it in several places about a mile from the shore. The land from the N. W. appears pretty regular, excepting here and there it is jagged and broken towards the S. E. end. There appear three mountains in Salt, two near the N. W. end, and the other abreast of the small island on the W. side. Salt lies nearly N. N. W. and E. S. E. and is so narrow that when you get on the W. side, as far up as the small island, you may easily see the land you have left on the opposite side. This is not the case with Bonavista, as that island is much broader. There is no land that I could observe on Salt that deserves the name of a Peak: its being jagged towards the low sandy point on the 8. E. end, and the steep land falling progressively in steps below each other, may have given rise to the idea of the uppermost bellies a peak, which is, in fact, no more than the sharp corner of a table land.
Having before observed that we bore up at six P. M. for St. Jago, at eleven we saw it, and continued our course for Port Praya, intending there to refresh and fill up our water. After rounding the S. E. point of St. Jago, (which is laid down to be no more than six or seven miles to Port Praya, but it is nearer ten) there is a small bay to the E. about four miles, called by the inhabitants after St. Francis. This bay is particularly mentioned in the East India Directory as being very apt to mislead strangers, and, from the appearance of it from the sea, not without reason. Port Praya bay is known by the cocoa-nut trees, which are very conspicuous at the bottom of it, and a small house. St. Francis's bay has also cocoa-nut trees. The distance which the former bay is from the S. E. end of the island corresponds better with that of St. Francis than Port Praya, which, with its likeness to it, did not surprize me that strangers should be deceived. My second mate having been in Port Praya some months previous to his embarking with me, I was persuaded by him that the Bay of St. Francis was it: and dreading the loss of time it would occasion if I went past it, as I did not mean to touch at the Brazils, I therefore ventured into this dangerous place, taking care to anchor the vessel in a weatherly situation in case of accidents. I instantly went on shore with this man, who still thought he was right; but on landing he found, to his confusion, he was wrong.
I returned immediately on board and got out of this bay. The Bay of St. Francis may be always known by its having at the back of it, and nearly close down to the water's edge, an high flat-topt table land standing between two mountains, which cannot be mistaken. Port Praya has at the bottom of it, besides the house already mentioned, a long low valley running inland to a considerable extent, the mountains behind which are sharp and peaked. Near the landing place there are two remarkable forts on the E. side, which you must open before you come to anchor; and on the W. side is Quail Island , which is easily seen as you enter. But the surest mark is that from the S. E. end of the Island of St. Jago , the shore is low and rocky in general, until you reach the Bay of St. Francis ; from thence to Port Praya the shore is high clayey cliffs, which round into the harbour forming the E. side of it. Port Praya is well known to be very extensive, and capable of containing a numerous fleet of ships. The soundings I found corresponded with those laid down in the East India Directory.
On Sunday the 13th I came to an anchor, and saluted the fort with seven guns, which was immediately returned. I had performed this first part of my voyage in twenty-six days from Portsmouth , nearly four of which I had lain to. The Governor Antonio Marcelino de Basto received me very politely, and offered me every assistance in his power, that I might stand in need of.
Much cannot be said of the town, nor the manner the Governor is lodged. Nature has done much for its defence ,and since the commencement of this war the Governor has built two forts, one of fourteen, the other of eleven guns. They are both inclosed with a wall kept in good order, and white washed, which make a pleasing appearance. There are also several redoubts with guns mounted in them, but in a very ruinous state.
The inhabitants are chiefly black, a few officers about the Governor excepted. The troops appeared to be natives of the island, black, and poorly clothed. From the height that the forts and town stand on, a tolerable defence towards the sea might be made; but if an enemy was landed the island would instantly fall; particularly as it has few internal resources, and even water is brought from a well in the valley at the back of the town (the only place they get water from in the dry season,) which could be cut off.
The seasons are divided into wet and dry, like all other place between the tropics. At this time the ground was parched up, exhibiting a barren waste, scattered with pumice stones and other volcanic matter. What had the appearance of grass was dry and dirty. Vegetation there was none. Nevertheless the inhabitants seemed to enjoy the few comforts with apparent happiness. It has been before remarked, that the trade wind had caused several of our spare masts and spars to split, and that I had payed them with turpentine; yet this mode did not entirely prevent it. I observed that some which were painted escaped with very little damage.
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|21 June 1800
27 June 1800
1 July 1800
7 July 1800
9 July 1800
16 July 1800
On the 14th all hands were employed in filling water, and refitting. Several places where the vessel leaked were found out and caulked. At this time I discovered that the seed of disaffection had been industriously sown by my second mate amongst the crew; insomuch, that one half of the men would not speak to the other. To remedy this, I delivered the offender to the Governor to be put on board the first British vessel that arrived. In such a small vessel as mine, and employed in a business which required unanimity and good humour, the only step was to get rid of such a man. He had, however, gained his point with some of the younger part of the crew, for on the night of the 23rd, two lads set off with one of my boats ; and although it was much less than a Thames skiff, and the weather rainy with thunder and lightening, they put to sea with an hammock for a sail, taking with them some biscuit, water, and a tomahawk.
As soon as I was informed of it, I went on shore to take the necessary steps to recover them. To effect this the Governor shewed much attention, by sending out parties of men in every direction. He observed, that in such a time they would be discovered if they had landed on the island ; and the boat would facilitate that, as they could not carry it with them. I was more concerned for the loss of it than the men. The following day the culprits were brought into town, by a party of the natives, both riding on one ass, which had a more ignominious effect than any punishment I could inflict, they being exposed to the ridicule of the inhabitants, and the Portuguese seamen belonging to vessels then there. When they arrived I was informed of it, and that the boat was safe about seven miles from the vessel, from whence I sent for it. Having used the means to prevent the like desertion in future, together with the principal being removed, I found a total change amongst the men, who became more united, living friendly and happily together.
Having got all my water casks filled, and the rigging put in good order, I wished to know the state of my keels. On raising the after one I found it broken short off in the wake of a bolt, which bolt, being in the nip of the bottom of the vessel, was nearly bent double, and, no doubt, happened in the heavy weather already mentioned : but here it became of the greatest consequence to me to repair the broken keel. In the accomplishment of this I had a very laborious job, as I had not a carpenter on board. However, with the assistance of one of my crew, I finished it in two days; and the Governor very politely offered me all the help in his power.
Previous to sailing I purchased a bullock, weighing two hundred and seventy-five pounds. On paying for it I had an opportunity of finding out the reason of the inhabitants being so unwilling to answer my questions. When I deposited the money I was surprised to see nearly one half of it sent to the Governor. On asking the reason of this, I was told it was a duty to the Crown. I am of opinion, all the herds I saw without keepers or marks are the property of the sovereign, and the individuals who catch and kill them are paid a certain proportion for their trouble, and any damage their lands may suffer by these wild cattle. Besides, it may be prudent to conceal whether they are wild or not, to prevent strangers killing them; by which means both the crown and individuals would lose the purchase money. This is not the case with their hogs; a small duty only I believe goes to the Government for these.
On the 27th of April we bid adieu to St. Jago. With permission of the Governor, I entered on the vessel's books two young men, making up the crew to twelve in all. On getting clear of the islands I found a strong current setting to the south, which differed our latitude, by observation, thirty miles more to the south than our distance would give. I at first suspected some fault in the log-line or glasses, but on trial found them correct. The thermometer now in general stood at 86º and 87º. Several of the ship's Company began to complain of bilious disorders.
On the 1st of May we had an observation at noon in lat. 7º 59'N. long. 21º 48'W. by lunar observation. One of the men was seized with violent spasms in the bowels, attended with a considerable degree of fever; but by the exhibition of an emetic, fomentation's, opening medicines and opiates, I cured him in four days. To prevent infection I made up a bed for him under an awning on deck: the thermometer was up to 94 degrees at this time. All the bedding, clothes, and the cabins the men slept in were washed, thoroughly cleansed, and a wind-sail put down. This, with the attention I paid to the mens messing, kept them in perfect health. As I supposed oatmeal, which is generally used for breakfast on board his Majesty's ships, was of too heating a quality; (and which joined the salt provisions at dinner-time creates a considerable degree of thirst,) to obviate this, I recommended to the men the use of tea. The good effects of this change were soon visible, for they hardly or ever drank any water in the forenoons. In lieu of spirits I issued wine, reserving the former for a colder climate. Having a quantity of essence of spruce on board, I brewed a good wholesome beer from it, which I also gave the men. The generality of the crew were young lads who had never crossed the tropics before; but by pursuing these means not one of them sickened afterwards. The adoption of such a regulation might, perhaps, prove of infinite service in warm climates; and I case of a scarcity of water, the saving would be considerable (I am happy to find this mode is adopted on board of East Indiamen ).
We now began to find various currents as we approached the line, with heavy squalls and rain at times.
On Sunday the 4th the wind shifted to the S. W. and blew hard till the 6th, when it fell perfectly calm; previous to which it had been for some time N. and N. E. and shifting suddenly to the S. W. and S. S. W. caused a very turbulent sea. The succeeding calm made our little vessel tumble and toss to so un-common a degree, that hardly any of us could stand on the deck or sleep below; and almost every one was sea-sick. During all this she never shipped any water, nor did she strain or chafe her rigging. In the recollection of us all never had so disagreeable a sea occurred. Our observation this day, the 6th, was lat. 3º 6'N. long. 20º 57'W.
On the 7th we had light winds. Numbers of porpoises were seen: we caught one which measured seven feet and a half: we procured about a gallon and a half of oil from it for our binnacle, We found the current here S. W. by S. nearly at the rate of half a knot an hour. I tried it several times this day. This accounts for our latitude, by observation for some days, exceeding our distance run. The East Indian Directory informs us of the currents in or near these latitudes setting to the S. and W. but no rate is mentioned. My observation may be of use, perhaps to future navigators. The weather was now very sultry ; the mercury from 94 degrees to 92 degrees. On the 8th the difference of latitude exceeded the distance run twenty miles.
At six A. M. of the 9th we saw a schooner, and soon after a brig in the S. W. quarter; the latter standing towards us. At seven there came on a very heavy squall, which I made the best use of to avoid the brig, not wishing to run the risk of being detained or examined, should she be an enemy. The wind was at E. by S. attended with heavy rain. It cleared up at eleven A. M. the strange vessels not in sight. We had a good observation at noon , Lat. 0º 53'N. Long. by account, 20º 16'W. thermometer 86.
On the 10th we had light winds. At sun-rise the variation was from several sights, per azimuth, 13º 48'W. We had gained sight of the brig. At noon , lat. 0º 9'N. I judged this to be the last day we should be in north latitude. Fish of various kinds were in plenty round us: many flying fish lighted on the deck during the night. We caught some bonetta, about fourteen pounds weight each. Birds answering the description given by Captain Cook, in the run from St. Jago to the Cape of Good Hope , were also seen in great numbers. The wind began freshen gradually at S. by E. to S. S. E.
A ship and a sloop were seen on the 13th standing to the W. Found per sun amplitude at setting, variation to be 11º 13'W.
0n the 14th, light winds at S. S. E. found, by several sights, the variation to be 13º 8'W. Saw several Pintado birds, and a black bird, called by sailors, haglet. Wind freshened into strong breezes from S. E. to S. S. E.
On the 16th, we had light weather, but a long heavy swell. At night much phosphoric matter about us in the water. If the hands are dipt into it, the substance is observed on them, but after being exposed to the air it goes off : it is of a glutinous nature. The ocean surrounding the coast of Africa seems particularly impregnated with this luminous appearance. In heavy dark rainy weather it is not observable, but by moon or star light it is.
We had an observation on the 17th at noon , which give us lat. 8º ll'S. and long. 27º 28'W. The wind in general at S. E. and S. E. by S. I followed the directions of Monsieur Apres, and the observations of Captain Cook, keeping a good point free, as I thereby expected to get the sooner to the S. and clear of the S. E. trade-wind, having crossed the Equator in the Long, 20º 30' W. by this means we did not see any part of the Coast of Brazil. It may be proper to remark, that we found a current drifting us farther to the W. than we had any reason to expect, and that the vessel minutess head was never farther to the W. than S. W. by S. and sometimes S. W. by S.½S. which with 13º W. variation ought to have give us with a S. W. by S. course, by compass, a S. S. W. true course, instead of which we have never been able to make better than a S. W. course. Of this I am the more certain, because we have not these twenty-four hours had occasion to steer on any point but one, S. W. by S. with a S. E. wind, and with every attention I could pay to the steerage. Such is the result of my observation. It is true that all voyage writers who have navigated for the business of discovery, take notice of the different currents about the equator, without being able to reduce them within any certain bounds or rate: and I much fear that this will always remain a source of error. These currents, as already observed, set to the westward, therefore I think our navigators in general, who cross the line about 20 degrees or 21 degrees W. might do it to more advantage at 12 degrees; as by that means they will avoid the heavy weather experienced near the African shore. On my return to Europe, I found the winds as favourable for crossing the line in nearly the lat. 12 degrees, as I did in 20 degrees, and as the great point is to get into the variable winds between the S. E. and N. E. trade, to cross, I found them equally so; neither had we more rain. If a vessel therefore crosses about 12 degrees, she will not have so far to run to the W. before she gets clear of the S. E. trade; and if bound to the Cape or India, where it may be acceptable to have a sight of the former, or the land near it, she will greatly shorten the passage, as it is well known many have fallen in with Cape St. Augustine or Cape Rocque on the Coast of Brazil, and by so doing we obliged to run from continent to continent, merely because they judged it useless or impracticable to cross the Line under 20 deg. W. Independent of all this, there is another reason why at certain seasons the Coast Brazil ought to be avoided, that is, between the months of February and July when the winds hang much to the S. being generally from S. S. W. to S. by E. and S. S. E. This is an old remark made by many, but not generally mentioned by navigators who have laid down directions for navigating these seas. The current on the Coast of Brazil from March to September sets to the N. and from September to March back again to the S. No doubt in doubling the Capes of Rocque and St. Augustine, the currents extend themselves more to the E. of which we had a sufficient demonstration enabling me to account for the remarks already made respecting the course of the Lady Nelson.
On the 18th, we were in lat. 9º 50' S. long. 28º 28' W. by lunar observation. Ever since the 12th instant we had nothing but S. S. E. and S. winds blowing at all times very heavy and squally with rain. This had impeded our progress to the S. very much, and carried us a long way to the W. Between the 3d and 7th degrees of S. latitude we observed the diminution of the strength of the current to the W.
The weather became moderate and pleasant on the 21st, with fresh breezes. We found the variation to be 4º 47'W. In these regions there is in general a constant weight or thickness of the air, even in the finest weather, perceivable to the eye, which proceeds, no doubt, from the heat of the sun rarifying the surrounding atmosphere, and no doubt makes a difference on the refraction of all bodies observed.
At sunset on the 23d, found the variation to be 5º 30' W. We were now so far to the S. as 16º 4'S. This agrees pretty nearly with the Variation Chart contained in the East India Pilot, which was projected in 1772, adding thereto the annual increase of variation to the W. The day proving fine we got the boats out to overhaul the keels, and found that the piece which had been joined on to the after-keel at Port Praya was gone. Not having sufficient plank in the vessel, I was obliged to admit the keel further in the well, and join a breadth of plank I had left on it with spike nails and iron hoops, by which means it went three feet into the water below the vessels bottom.
On the 24th, we had strong gales from the S. S. E. with squalls and much head sea, that made us labour to a great degree. The following day the weather was the same. Several pintadoe birds and sheerwaters were seen around us.
On the 28th, the weather became steady at N. W. but in the afternoon it took us aback at S. E. and fell calm in the evening. As we were now fast approaching Rio Janeiro, having an observation in lat. 22º 18'S. long. per account, 32º 19'W. ordered a survey of the water on board; when finding we had twenty-four half hogsheads in good order, and several barricoes, I came to the resolution of not touching at Rio Janeiro. I also took the opportunity of inspecting the state of the vessel. The sail-room was perfectly dry. The bread-room, which we had access to every day, appeared the same; but unwilling to trust too much to that, I had the bread removed, and found several places where it leaked; particularly close to the stern frame, where the thwart-ship planks of the stern join to the butt-end of the fore and aft planks of the side; another near to the stem post, and several oozings about the iron knees that had been put into her previous to leaving the Thames. The loss sustained by this was upwards of two hundred weight of bread; however, we had still twenty-four bags and an half undamaged, It may be thought improper in me to make any observation of the work done to the vessel in Deadmans Dock, particularly in caulking her; but from the damage accruing to the sails and bread, and the wetness of the places where we slept, I trust the candid reader will excuse me, happy would I have been to have recorded otherwise.(I hope these hints will be serviceable to those who have similar voyages to perform, and that they will not rely too much on those who are employed in caulking and fitting their vessels. Captain Cook complains of a similar circumstance.)
On the 30th, we had variable weather from calm to blowing strong, with squalls and rain. Although the swell was long and heavy, yet the vessel went through the water easy and dry. Numbers of birds were seen by us, particularly the haglet, many of which the men caught by baiting hooks with pork; and as the skin is covered with a very thick down, they made warm caps of them, which they wore instead of fur ones. Their flesh, if made into a pie, or broiled, we found not unpalatable.
We now completed the stopping of the leaks in the bread-room. The mercury for some time past had not exceeded 86 degrees, and sometimes was not higher than 81 degrees.
On the 31st, our observation at noon was lat. 23º 56'S. long. by sun and moon, 30º 3'W the weather heavy and gloomy with squalls and variable winds. Thermometer 8l degrees, which generally, by its falling, indicated a change of weather. The same weather, with much sea from the S. W was experienced on the 1st of June: the wind shifted frequently from W N. W. to S. S. W.
On the 2nd, the thermometer at noon stood at 80º. At four P. M. the wind set in from the S. shifting at times to the S. S.W. At seven, it freshened into a brisk gale, with rain and squalls. The mercury fell to 75º½. During the night much lightning and rain and a heavy gale. At noon on the 3d it cleared up and moderated, which was indicated by the thermometer rising to 78º ½. We now experienced a very heavy long sea, which, as we advanced to the S. seemed to increase in bulk. This sea takes longer time in rising and falling than that we generally have in the Western Ocean; nevertheless, it is not more troublesome, unless agitated from long blowing or currents, when the tops of those seas will break much and heavily. On the 5th, the mercury fluctuated much from 75º to 71º, and back again to 76º, varying more or less almost every hour. At noon we found our latitude to be 25º 4l' S. long. per account, 22º 9' W and the variation, per sun minutes s amplitude at setting, 7º 20' W. Much sea and blowing hard from S. S. E. to S. E. with heavy squalls. Caught a number of haglets this day. Mother Carys chickens, as commonly called by the sailors, or tempest birds, (the Procellaria Pelagica of Linnaeus,)were seen in great numbers. Although they are said to indicate stormy weather, I have met with them in these seas in the calmest.
On the 8th, heavy sea with gales from the S.S.W. towards noon the wind died away, leaving a disagreeable swell, which made our little vessel roll and labour much. The mercury varied from 75º to 70º during the gale; and when it became calm it stood at 70º. Our observation this day was lat. 26º 38' S. long. 20º 4' W.
The calm was not of long duration, for at seven A. M. of the 9th it hauled back to blow from the S.W. which at noon freshened into a gale at S.S.W. with heavy rain and squalls, occasionally shifting from S.W. to S.S.W. and S. This weather continued rather increasing all the 10th. The mercury fell to 68º. The sea had by this time got to such an height, that it was very pleasing to see our little vessel go through it so easy.
On the 11th, the squalls became more frequent, and increased with great violence attended by hail. At three P.M. it blew a perfect storm, which obliged me to heave the vessel to. The wind had risen to that pitch, that I looked for nothing else than having all the canvas (small and low as it was) blown out of the bolt-rope when exposed to the wind, as the vessel got on the top of a sea. She behaved much better than could have been expected, as she rose on the top of every thing, and shipped very little water, during the day. A few leaks broke out on the deck, one of which, over my bed, was a little troublesome, till the weather permitted its being secured. Several rainbows made their appearance this day. The mercury, which was 67º 30' when the vessel was hove to, rose towards the evening to 69º. At nine P.M. a very heavy squall of hail and rain came on, with an increased degree of wind, which for a little seemed to lay the weight of the sea. We heard the squall before we felt it, and after it left us, which was not of long duration. A large rainbow was seen, which joined to the darkness of the night had a very disagreeable appearance. This was the second lunar rainbow I had ever seen; the first was whilst cruizing in the Gulph of Lyons in very heavy weather, which, however, brought with it a favourable change, as it also did on the previous occasion.
In the morning of the 12th the weather moderated, the wind gradually abating. It hauled round to the S.S.E. We had still strong gales, with some rain, and much sea: but by this time we had got so accustomed to the little vessel and the rough weather, that all became familiar to us. It is but justice to my crew to observe that, though young and inexperienced lads, they had become so alert and attentive to their duty in reducing or making sail in such fluctuating weather, as to demand my highest praise. I had seldom occasion to call all hands upon deck for this purpose. At noon this day we had moderate weather, the wind from S. to S.S. E. The mercury, which during the night had been at 69º 30', now got up to 71º, I ordered all the bedding and clothes on deck to dry.
On the 13th, we had light breeze from N. N. E, which we made the best use of to get southing. Took the opportunity of stopping the leaks through the deck, and examining our rigging which was found not to be in the smallest degree chafed by the gale. Our latitude at noon was 27º 34' S. longitude 16º 51' W.
The wind shifted on the 14th to the W. and in an heavy squall at twelve P. M. it came round to the old quarter, blowing heavy and steady from S. S. W.
At day-break on the 15th it moderated and shifted to the S.E. by S. This variable weather was what we had no reason to expect in this latitude at this season of the year. As N. W. winds are generally experienced, directions are given to get to the southward, but hanging so long to the S. and blowing in so great a degree, together with the force of the sea, our progress was much impeded.
On the 16th it fell for a short time calm; but a N. W. breeze springing up, we carried all possible sail, it being the wind we had long looked for. The breeze failed us on the 17th, shifting again to the S. W. accompanied with rain and squalls. One of the men struck a pilot fish, (Gastereotus, Ductor, Lin.) being one of two which had followed the vessel some time. It measured seven inches in length and in its maw was found a small fish resembling our common sand eel.
On the 18th we had a very heavy sea, with the wind as yesterday. By observation at noon we were in lat. 31º 13' S. long. per account, 11º 48'W. We were often obliged this day to throw the vessel before the sea, as it followed us, and rose more perpendicular than I had observe before. About five P. M. my attention was excited by a more than ordinary motion of the vessel. On my reaching the deck, I found no more wind than we had all day, but the sea was running very hollow, and breaking at times. On asking the mate, who had the watch, how long it was since this sea, had got up? He answered, about ten minutes, when it rose and broke about half a cable-length from the vessel on the starboard-bow. It appeared to me so much like a break, that I believed the bottom could be at no great depth. Both of us were so much surprised, that, without speaking a word, I went and took the sails in to heave the vessel to a deep-sea lead over, but had no soundings with one hundred and twenty fathoms line out. I saw the sea break twice as we passed it, one sea following the other, but as we were going six knots, and the sea very high, I could only observe it rise while the vessel was rounding to, higher on that spot than the place we were on. From the different form of the sea, together with the manner in which it broke, I think there must be some ground at no great depth in this spot; for it did not gradually rise into a heavy long swell, and break at top, as it had done all day, but was lifted suddenly up perpendicular, throwing itself forward, and doubling over as it fell into an im- immense column of water, breaking in a very heavy surge. There is little doubt, if we had been in it, that it would have overwhelmed us as it fell so that more owing to chance than good management we escaped. The sea we had been going through all day, when in the hollow of it, was much higher than our mast head, so that we had no great scope of view; but no inconveniency was felt, as it was long, regular, and heavy, admitting the vessel to remain on the top of it some time before it rolled from under her: but these breakers were of a very different nature, I observed before, that it was the sudden motion of the vessel which brought me on deck; but as soon as she was hove to, we found ourselves in the same state we had been in all day. After laying to about an hour we bore up. In the Chart prefixed to the East India Directory, some breakers seen by Captain Smith are laid down in the same latitude we were in at noon this day; but judging myself to the E. of them, and having a powerful swell from the W. with a strong W. S. W. gale, steering S. E. half S. with the addition of sometimes being obliged to throw the vessel farther off to the E. to avoid the break of the top of the sea at times, I did not apprehend falling in with them, as laid down by him in 13º W Whether these be the same or not, or whether there is any ground, (though I have no doubt there is,) yet it will be some satisfaction to seamen to know, that they may guard against them. The latitude so nearly corresponds, that I have every reason to believe them the same. On my arrival at the Cape of Good Hope , I seized the first opportunity to transmit an account of them to Europe , with my opinion. I before remarked the latitude and longitude at noon , from which, until we fell in with these breakers, we had run thirty-two miles S. E. half S. by compass. On the 16th, the variation was observed to be 11º 30' W. and on the 20th, 14º W. I allowed the variation to be about l2º 15' W. when we saw those breakers. On the 19th, the wind was fluttering all round the compass without any steadiness.
The following day we had it from E. S. E. to E. At noon , by observation, our lat. was 32º 31'S. Petrels, albatrosses, and pintadoes, were numerous. The weather was very cold; the mercury fell to 64º.
On the 21st, having got nearly into the latitude of the Cape, we bent our cables, but the wind which had hung so long to the S. seemed determined to oppose us, the more unlucky as we had got enough of southing, and now wanted easting. It continued till the 23d at E. and N. N. E. so variable were the winds at this season of the year from what they are supposed to be in these southern latitudes, and which is laid down to be in general from the W. The sea was much smoother. At three P. M. of the 23d, we saw a vessel bearing down before the wind upon us. It now began to blow hard at N.N.E. The stranger as she approached proved to be a Spanish brig with prize colours up; captured in the River of Plate by a privateer fitted out by a merchant at the Cape of Good Hope, commanded by Mr. John Black, of whom I shall have occasion to make mention hereafter. On coming within hail the prizemaster informed me that he had neither book or chart on hoard, and that he did not know where he was. He had suffered considerably in the heavy weather we had seen the breakers in, and begged some canvas and twine to repair his sails, and a few other articles he stood in need of. I desired him to keep company with me till the morning, informing him of the course I intended steering, and that I would shorten sail for him: I also gave him the latitude and longitude. The brig was about seventy tons burthen, laden with bees wax, hides, tallow and tobacco. On perceiving the shattered state of this vessel, without a boat, she having it washed overboard, I could not but be thankful we had not lost a single article from our decks since we left the Thames . The wind moderated about eight P.M. but with heavy rain, which continued during the night. The wind shifted in the morning of the 24th, back to the W. but moderate. Our boat was hoisted out, and sent for the prize-master, to whom I gave a chart of the Cape, and the harbours in its vicinity; Hamilton Moore's Epitome, some canvas, twine, tea, sugar, and rum, which his men, from being constantly wet, stood much in need of. He received these with many expressions of thankfulness. I promised to keep him company to the Cape if his vessel did not sail too slow. I also furnished him with the declination for several days from the Nautical Almanack. I was convinced, from his bearing down on us, that he had lost both latitude and longitude, and asked why he would run the risk, as we were painted like a Spaniard; but he said he knew from our canvas we were not enemies. As to the crew, they were careless what we were, for having lost themselves they were determined to speak to us. The privateer had parted with the prize in a gale of wind.
The Master was much surprised at the sight of the Lady Nelson, and concluded that we had started some of our sheathing, when he saw one of the keels, as the vessel was rolling from his. I explained the construction to him, which being perfectly new excited his wonder. He asked me if she was one of the Kings yachts. When I sent him back to his own vessel, he asked one of my men whether I was not a little mad, for he could not credit the story I told him of our going on a voyage of discovery. However, to shew his gratitude, he sent us some jerked beef, of which he had plenty on board; and it proved an agreeable change from our salt meat.
On the 25th, we had light airs, inclining to calm. Mercury at 64º. Brig in company. The following day strong gales with rain, and an heavy following sea. Mercury from 60º to 63º.
On the 27th, we had numbers of birds round us. Strong gales from N. W. Brig in company. On the 28th, very heavy weather, but the little vessel behaved very well. They who are conversant with the weather in the vicinity of the Cape in the winter season, with a N. W. gale, must know it is sufficient to try vessels of any description whatever. On this day, the brig being ahead hoisted her colours, which was the signal I had agreed the Master should make if he saw land first. I was astonished at this, for my reckoning gave me no more than 3ºE. It proved, however, nothing more than a cloud, which he mistook for the land about the Table Mountain at the Cape . Several pieces of rock weed floated past us this day. Our lat. per account, was 34º 24' S. long. 3º 56'E.
On the 29th, it blew from the N. W. a perfect storm, and in so irregular a manner, raising a very confused sea, accompanied with torrents of rain and lightning, that we had not experienced since we came out. At ten P. M. it shifted suddenly in a squall, and blew as hard from S. S. W. and S. W. causing the sea to break so much, that we were at midnight obliged to heave the vessel to.
At day-light on the 30th, the S. W. wind had laid the N.W. swell, so that we were enabled to bear up. Our companion had partly laid to, and partly run under bare poles during the night, so that he could but just be seen at day-light from the mast head. At three P. M. we joined company. The wind continued hovering between S.W. and W. sometimes W.N.W. with thick cloudy weather till the 5th of July, when my latitude by dead reckoning, (for we had not been able to get an observation,) was 34º 20' S. long. 17º 27' E, We tried for soundings with an hundred and fifty fathom line, but found none.
On the 1st of July we had found the variation to be at sunset per amplitude 21º 30'W. It was nearly calm on the 6th, with a considerable sea. Our companion began to be very uneasy, as he expected to have seen land some time before. I gave him the declination from the Nautical Almanack for a few days more. During the night we kept ahead, as his men were few in number and much fatigued. The wind hauled to the N.W. in the first part of the night, and then back to S. S.W.
At five A. M. of the 7th we saw the land bearing S. S. E. and made all possible sail for it. Threw out the signal to the brig. At clear daylight the Lion's Rump S. E. by E. half E. distant five leagues. The southernmost point of the Cape bearing S. about eight or nine leagues. There was a great deal of sea going, and the wind unsettled, fluttering sometimes in light airs, and then bursting out in heavy squalls. Parted company with the brig, which was bound for Table Bay . At seven A.M. tacked and stood to sea in order to get in to Simon's Bay, as it is by no means safe to anchor at this season in Table Bay on account of the N. W. winds, which when they set in throw an immense sea into it, so that few vessels are able to ride them out. These winds prevail only in the winter season; that is, from the latter end of April till September, when the S. E. winds set in at times in the summer season with a great force in Simon's Bay. The latter being open to the S. E. and the former to the N. W. are entered by ships, according to the season of the year. At nine o'clock it fell perfectly calm, with a lowering sky and heavy sea, which made me think that we should have a favourable breeze from the N.W. But after beating backward and forward till eleven o'clock we lost ground. As a proof of the keels, though we had but little wind, she never missed stays but once, when the way through the water was scarcely perceivable; and such a body of water when she came head to the sea, was sufficient to make any vessel miss stays: perhaps when she did it, it was more my fault than hers. As we had much sea for some days, it was observed by my first-mate, as well as myself, that the vessel had more motion than we were generally used to in such weather. He started his suspicions of the main keel being gone; but it being impossible, in the weather we had, to cast loose the boats that stood over the top of it, in order to overhaul it, I would not suffer any mention to be made of the subject until we had a proper season to investigate it; I judged this also to be the case from the vessel not holding so good a wind as usual: but more of this hereafter. As the wind now freshened at S. S.W. I thought if it should come on to blow, from the want of main and after-keels, we might not be able to fetch any where, I determined to secure the port in view, and procure those repairs to the keels that they stood in need of: besides, as there were several small vessels in Table Bay, I was well convinced the Lady Nelson could ride much more out of the weight of the sea than most of them; particularly, as she drew at present not more than five feet aft, and four forwards when the keels were up. I therefore bore up, and was at anchor some time before the brig which had left me in the morning. When I entered the Bay, I found the vessel work into her berth very well; and at five P. M. of the 8th, I dropped my anchor in Table Bay , having been at sea ninety-nine days, independent of our stay at St. Jago.
I intended to stop no longer in Table Bay, at this season of the year, than was necessary to get my vessel's keels repaired, which was instantly set out by order of Admiral Sir Roger Curtis, who sent the builder of the naval yard to survey them. On getting up the main-keel we found it broken short off in the wake of a bolt, as had happened to the after-keel, as already mentioned, and with such force that the bolt was twisted in different forms from the strain it received in breaking. On further examination, we perceived that the bolt running from one side of the keel to the other, which secured the planks it was composed of, had not been, from the boring of the holes, fairly introduced; as on one side there was not in some places above an eighth of an inch solid wood, though composed of oak plank of three inches and a half thick; so that there was about two inches of solid wood on one side of' the bolt, and very little more at any one part than half an inch in the opposite side. Here again was a most flagrant degree of neglect in the eyes of every person who saw it; and was particularly observed by the Admiral and Mr. Boswell, builder's assistant, employed at this time to carry on the duty at Table Bay, in the absence of the master-builder, who was obliged to be with the men of war in Simon's Bay. It being impossible to repair the old keels, two new ones were ordered to be made; and as we had twice suffered by the bolts passing from one side of the keels to the other, I proposed having them fastened by bars of iron or copper let in level with the surface of the wood, one bar on a side opposite each other, secured with bolts passing through both bars and the keel in the middle of them, riveting the ends of the bolts on each side. Two of these bars should be applied within three feet of the head of the keel, and two in like manner at the same distance from the lower end of it, with this idea that one bolt would be sufficient in the middle, and that these. bands would prevent the planks from warping. It may be proper to observe, that it was evident the bolts which had secured the former keels were not driven through the planks in a right line; not, perhaps, owing so much to the holes being bored at equal distances from the ends, so as to become parallel with each other, but from the driving, which being obliged to be tight, might from the jerk of the stroke throw the bolt out of straight direction, as it appeared that one end of the bolts which, in the first instance passed through the heart of the planks, was higher than the other, as if they had been driven aslant, which left a small auger-hole beneath it unfilled, according as it had been wooded. As to the bolts, I confess, I was not partial to them, as they appeared to take away the strength of the wood. Mr Boswell, being a young man of talents and genius in his profession, saw these defects, and proposed, in addition to the bars above mentioned, that in place of the bolts passing right through the keel from side to side, rag-bolts should be substituted in their room, passing only half way through each plank; and that no two bolts should fall in a direct line with each other, the planks by this means would be pinned one to another without any more than half of each being perforated in any one place. With the approbation of the Admiral this mode was adopted, and with bolts and bands of copper the whole was soon finished in a stile, that from the experience I afterwards had of them reflected the greatest credit on the builder.*
* This, like many observations I have been obliged to make on leaks, Etc. has proceeded from the fault of the workmanship, and not any fault in the original plan.– As the fore-keel, which was constantly used in the worst of weather, absolutely lasted the voyage, and was in the vessel when I left her.
On the 16th we sailed for Simon's Bay, and anchored the following day at nine o'clock A. M. I found there his Majesty's ship Porpoise, which had sailed from Spithead with us, bound to new Holland; the commander of which thought we had returned to Portsmouth, after parting company with the East India Fleet on the 23d of March. From that Officer I learned, that the night we parted one of the Indiamen had lost her top-masts, and that the Porpoise on her passage had been obliged to cut away one of her boats, which was slung on her quarter; and likewise had her foremast damaged. I was very thankful that the Lady Nelson, which was not deemed sea-worthy, should have performed her voyage to the Cape without losing a stitch of canvas, or having a spar of any kind damaged, and that we had our three boats safe on the deck. After this, surely even those who do not approve of such constructed vessel will not attribute it to chance, but to the proper cause, her goodness.
As I intended to wait for a more convenient season to make our passage to New Holland, I for this reason moved from Table Bay to Simon's Bay, avoiding by this means the violent N. W. winds, and heavy sea which rolls into the former from the 1st of May till the middle of September. From the construction of the Lady Nelson, and the little depth of water she drew, (not exceeding four feet when the keels were up,) we could have rode with safety in Table Bay , as some vessels at this time did. Vessels like ours would be highly serviceable at the Cape, either when the N. W. wind blows, as already observed, or when the S. E. winds prevail and have a similar effect on the bays which open to the eastward. The construction of the keels admits of the vessels being laid on shore, or even hauled up on it, advantages which must be obvious to every one who has witnessed a gale of wind in this quarter. My orders being to remain at the Cape till the summer season commenced, a considerable stay for a circumnavigator, I therefore embraced every opportunity of gratifying my curiosity with respect to the state of the Colony.
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On the 7th of October, being completely equipped, I put to sea at eleven A. M. with a fine breeze from the N. W. and bid adieu to many who came down to see the little vessel depart, most of whom entertained doubts of our ever reaching New South Wales. At four P. M. I got clear out of False Bay , and at seven in the evening Cape Hanglip bore E. N. E. and the Cape of Good Hope N. W. ½ W. distant five leagues. We had now fresh gales from the W. and W. N. W. which in the night freshened with rain and a considerable sea.
I found that the vessel had lost none of her good qualities; and as the S. E. Monsoon had set in at this season, which blows with much force at times, I was determined to keep as much as possible out of its track, by getting into a higher south latitude as fast as I could. It was recommended to me to run down my easting without going into a higher latitude than the Cape , from an idea that the heaviness of the sea in the latitude of 40ºS. would be too much for my vessel to scud through, owing to the W. winds blowing in these latitudes constantly all the year round, and generally from the S. and W. thereby occasioning much heavy sea, hail, sleet, etc. Being well assured of the safety of my vessel, joined to the de1ays that might attend my keeping in variable latitudes subject to the strong S. E. winds, I prosecuted for some time my course to the southward, judging that on finding ourselves in too heavy weather we could leave it by hauling to the northward, and keeping in that parallel which best answered my purpose; at the same time securing a fair W. wind.
Independent of this being my own idea, I was encouraged in it by Captain John Osborn, of his Majesty's ship Tremendous, an old and experienced Officer, whose attention to me whilst at the Cape, joined to much good advice concerning my voyage, I am happy in having the opportunity to acknowledge, and to say that I profited by it. At six A. M. we had squally weather with much rain, which by noon cleared off, and we observed the latitude to be 35º 40'S. I still continued running to the southward, and found, as we got into an higher latitude, the wind to increase with much rain at times, and in general gloomy and uncomfortable weather, though we had not as yet met with the S.W. winds so much looked for. In the latitude of 36º and 37º I found that they hung in the N. W. quarter, and shifted to N. and N. E.
On the 10th, I observed at noon the latitude to be 38º 40' S. We had much following sea, though not in my opinion wind enough to raise or cause it. The wind had varied from E.N.E. to N. W. by N. It had every appearance of blowing, and as I have often found since in these high southern latitudes, that the sea frequently gets to a great height before the gale comes on, I have also observed, that after a gale has done blowing for some time the sea, will continue to rise, break much, and become very troublesome. It is no uncommon thing to find an heavy gale that has continued to blow with great violence, and stead for many hours, die away in the course of half an hour to almost a perfect calm. To many who are in large heavy vessels, like those in general made use of in crossing these seas, some of the above particulars might, and I believe are but little observed or attended to; but owing to the small size of the Lady Nelson, it became of the utmost importance to me to attend particularly to all those evolutions: in larger vessels the sea is not so much felt. As I observed above, we had this day no more than a fresh wind with a heavy following sea; insomuch, that the difference of latitude, by observation at noon , was fifteen miles more than our distance run. It perhaps might be owing to currents; however I am inclined to impute it to the power the sea has over the light draught of water of small vessels like mine when going before it. Soon after noon it came on to blow very heavy, so that before night we were obliged to hand every thing except the close-reefed main-top-sail, and reefed fore-sail.
The vessel scudded through the sea remarkably well, though it had got up to an uncommon height, and so perpendicular, that when getting over it appeared as running down a steep precipice; yet she did not ship any water of consequence. From the magnified stories I had heard at the Cape , I was in some degree led to believe I should not have less all the way, I therefore made some easting and endeavoured to keep in this parallel of latitude, until I saw how the weather would turn out. At twelve P. M. it freshened so much that we were obliged to bunt the fore-sail, and let the vessel run with the close-reefed main-top-sail lowered down on the cap all night, which she did perfectly easy and dry.
I am aware that many seamen may think scudding under a main-top-sail in a brig is a bad plan in case of broaching to, and prefer going under the fore-top-sail; but here is another advantage, which vessels with sliding keels have over others. Vessels in general broach to in a sea from not answering thcir helms sufficiently quick, perhaps from the force of the sea depriving, by its lift for a time, the rudder of its power. It is often occasioned in deep-loaded vessels, by their being too much loaded by the head; so that in all weathers they require a great deal of weather-helm, or as it is termed steer wild. In these cases, no doubt, a fore-top-sail is serviceable to pay off the vessel again by. But it has also the disadvantage, that it will often bury her more in the sea, and not admit of her being so lively as she might prove from a sail more in the center. Some are of opinion that a fore-top-sail makes a vessel lively by the force of the wind, serving as it were to lift the vessel up; but in small short ones, in a heavy towering sea, it will be found to impel them much faster downwards, than in assisting them to rise to it, frequently burying the bowsprit in the water, if not carrying it entirely away. By such means every thing may be washed off the decks, and the vessel much strained.
The sliding keels in this last respect are particularly serviceable, because the trim of the vessel, that is, the draught of water at either extremity may be altered at pleasure; by which means if properly attended to, she may be steered in the heaviest weather with the greatest ease, and in general weather without touching the helm at all. In all cases, a vessel of this description can be brought up, or fall off faster than her sails can be trimmed to the wind.
There is another great advantage, which is, in heaving-to quickly in an heavy sea: this is particularly useful in small craft, as I have often experienced, by having the sail ready to set that I intended to lay-to under, and watching the passing of one sea, with proper attention to the keels, and taking the head-sail quickly off as the helm is put down; by which means the vessel will be round head to the next following sea, and would stay if not prevented by again righting the helm. This cannot be done in other vessels, they must be brought-to gradually, and often ship many seas before that can be accomplished, as their beam must necessarily for a time be exposed, and in deep-loaded vessels, frequently attended with the loss of every thing on deck from the force of the sea.
The same heavy weather continued with very little variation, accompanied with hail at times, and heavy rain till the 12th, when it began to moderate, and towards noon the gale had nearly subsided, but left behind it an high troublesome cross sea, which made the vessel tumble about a great deal, and ship some water at times. As the wind had varied during the gale from N. by E. to W.N. W. hauling back at times to N. N. W. and N. W. I altered our course as I found it convenient, keeping the vessel right before the wind, which, as it did not lead us out of our way, I preferred on account of the heaviness of the sea we had got into, which at times broke much: I was therefore from this circumstance obliged at all times to have a watchful eye upon the sea, and throw the vessel directly before it without regarding any particular course, by which means she shipped little water.
At noon on the 12th, by observation, I found we were in lat. 38º 17' S. long. by account, 27º 18' E.– We this day had many birds of the Pintadoe and Petterel kind about us. One of the former species, a very beautiful bird, in the height of the gale, from what cause I know not, unless it had overeaten itself, fell down on the deck, and vomited a greenish sort of matter as it was falling. One of the men picked it up, and brought it to me, but I ordered it to be laid on the deck, where it scrambled about till it got behind a hen-coop, when it lay quiet. I have reason to believe that aquatic birds, which chiefly prey on the water, and but seldom visit land, are incapable of walking, but assist themselves by scrambling with their feet and wings; at least all I have had an opportunity of observing did so. After remaining behind the coop about fifteen minutes, the bird again scrambled to the side of the vessel, and dropped into the water, where it appeared for the short time we saw it as lively as any of the others, which were in numbers about us, both in the water and on the wing. It is certain that the black Haglet, which I have several times mentioned in this narrative, procures its food by often harassing and fighting with other birds, particularly a species of gull (called by the seamen, the Fisherman) until they throw up the food they have swallowed, which the other instantly seizes on. Probably this might have been the cause of the Pintadoe taking shelter with us. Hereafter I shall have occasion to notice these kind of birds.
On the 13th, we had moderate fine weather, which enabled us to determine the longitude by observation of the sun and moon's nearest limb to be 29º E. of Greenwich. By account it was 29º 55' E. We had the wind at W. N. W.; towards evening it hauled to the S. and E. bringing with it squalls and rain, which gradually came round to the S. W. when we had clear steady weather.
On the 14th at noon , we were in latitude 38º 1' S. by observation. From this I judged that we had nothing to fear from the latitudes, which I had been informed were likely to give us much trouble io regard to the seas generally met with in them. As I had scudded through a very heavy one in the last gale without the smallest loss or damage, I intended not to get farther to the N. than 38' S. or to the S. than 40', as to the N. of the first mentioned latitude variable winds might much retard my progress, and in the latter we should have as rnuch wind as we could make a good use of without trouble or inconveniency. Though it is laid down as a general rule that strong W. or S.W. winds prevail or are to be met with in latitudes 35º and 36º S.
I shaped a course more S. and on the 16th at noon , observed the latitude to be 38º 44' S. and the variation, per sun's amplitude at setting, 28º 45' W. We had a strong breeze with rain the greatest part of the following day; but on the 18th the weather became very fine. The variation per sun's amplitude at setting was 31º 47' W.
As usual I ordered the bedding and clothes upon deck, cleaned thoroughly below by washing the cabins and berths with vinegar, and sprinkling oil of tar in all places where the air had not a free circulation. From this day till the 22d the weather was uncommonly fine, the wind generally from S. W. to N. W., N. N.W. and W.S.W. On the last mentioned day the weather became dark and cloudy, with fresh gales and heavy showers of rain at times. A number of Pintadoes, Petterels and Albatrosses of a large size were about us. We had no observation at noon . At midnight we were under close reefed main-top-sail and fore-sail; but at day-light it moderated.
On the 23d, we observed at noon our latitude to be 39º 44' S. These repetitions of latitudes, longitudes and weather, will be tedious and unsatisfactory to those who are not seamen or navigators; but to the latter who may pursue a similar track, and perhaps in a small vessel, it may be useful to know that in these parallels of latitude no land has been met with; and which as we got on to the E. was determined by our running down our easting in a parallel of latitude that no vessel we have any account of ever pursued; that is to say, in the parallel of 38º and 39º S. from Amsterdam Island until we made the S. and W. sides of New Holland.
On the 24th, we had variable and squally weather with showers of hail and sleet; however, it did not prevent our having an observation at noon , when we found our latitude to be 39º 13' S.
The following day at noon we were in latitude 38º 49' S. The weather cold and raw with sleet and snow, and an heavy cross sea running. However, the vessel got through it very well. On the 26th, we found the variation to be, per azimuth at sun-rising, 26º 57' W. latitude by observation at noon 39º S. longitude from lunar observation, sun and moon taken, forty- three minutes past noon, 60º 46' E. of Greenwich.
The weather until the 29th was various, generally squally with rain and sleet. On the 28th at noon , by observation, we were in lat. 38º 54' S. The following day the wind hauled to the N. E. and N.N. E.: had no observation this day, but by account it was 39º 1' S. Towards evening the wind from N.E. freshened into a heavy gale, so that we were obliged to heave the vessel to, as it blew with great violence in gusts with heavy showers of sleet and hail. The sea was so powerful that it often, from striking the bow of the vessel, threw her off so far as to expose her beam her much when in the trough of the hollow sea, which becalmed, nearly, the small after-sail we had set on her: I therefore tried the effect of a drag-sail, giving it a good scope. It answered remarkably well, and at the same time prevented her from making much drift; so that she never fell off more than three points, and presently returned; that is, when we had the wind at N.W. by W. to which point, when it veered round, she came up to N. by W. and fell off to N. N. E. We also got the fore-topsail-yard on deck, which eased her wonderfully, and made her much drier, though we shipped but very little water. Owing to her little draught and flat bottom she rose like a piece of cork on the top of every wave.
At seven o'clock in the morning of the 30th, we had much less wind, but a very heavy sea. We got up the fore-topsail-yard and bore up. By double altitude of the sun we found the latitude to be 39º 50' S.
On the 31st the variation per amplitude was 26º W. latitude by observation at noon 39º 28' S. long. by account 74º 23' E. As I intended to touch, if possible, at the Island of St. Paul , or at all events to get a sight of it, I made the best of my way for that purpose. The following day, the 1st of November, we had no observation at noon ; neither could we, from the thickness of the weather, get a double altitude. Though deprived of the former, yet I depended much on seeing the Island of Amsterdam , in order to correct my longitude, and endeavour if possible to land on it. I therefore made my arrangements for the night, in case of meeting with any unforeseen accident.
In the morning the weather proved clear, which enabled me to see the wished for island at eight o'clock A.M. We steered close along the S. E. shore, and found frequent flurries and gusts of wind accompanied with rain. Seamen in passing close in shore ought to be guarded against these; for though the weather was fine some miles from this land, insomuch that we could carry every sail, yet on our approach we were obliged to come under close reefed topsails, and afterwards take the fore-topsail in altogether. A thick cloud hovering over the highest peak of the island indicated at this time unsteady weather. They who have seen the top of the rock of Gibraltar when the strong Levant winds are blowing, will be able to form a better idea of this appearance than any thing I can say on the subject. The shore we passed along was pretty high and inaccessible, until we opened the Bason described by all navigators who have visited this place, and which is remarkable from a sugar-loaf rock standing contiguous to it.
This is the proper mark given for bringing a vessel to anchor; and it does not appear till you arc close upon it, when keeping near the shore, owing to its being hidden by a nook of land. Great care must be taken to have every thing ready for immediately coming to an anchor, there being a very strong outset from the Bason, which is felt the moment you open the rock. In this instance we were particularly unfortunate. I have before observed, that we had heavy flurries off the shore, and that the Peak was covered with a cloud. The moment we had opened the Bason, and got a sight of this rock, there came on so violent a squall, with thick sleet and rain, that the land was entirely hidden from our sight. The current also which setting out very strong had caused a confused bubbling and troublesome sea, and though we hauled to windward instantly, and made several tacks, in order to gain the bank for anchoring, our efforts were without effect, the wind and current being too powerful for us. When the squall cleared off, we saw a flag staff and flag flying on the top of the Peak, and knowing that people were often there killing seals, I supposed that a party of these was there at that time, which was confirmed to us, as will appear hereafter. However, we could not discover this party though we had an excellent telescope.
The appearance of Amsterdam Island is not favourable to the eye from there being no trees on it. It is plentifully covered with grass. The sea here abounds with fish and seals; which we had an opportunity of proving as to the former, having caught some very fine snappers. We did not observe many birds, owing, perhaps, to their being at this season on shore breeding. We only saw a flock of small white birds with swallow-forked tails; a few pettre1s and penguins, and a bird resembling a crow, but rather larger, with a black back, and white breast. The boisterous weather probably prevented our seeing any seals, which are said to be numerous about this and the neighbouring island of St. Paul . Of these islands little new can be related. John Henry Coxe, Esq. in his voyage gives a very just and accurate description of them, as far as I had an opportunity of observing. Having his Work in my possession I referred to it as I sailed along; and I am free to dec1are, from the accuracy of it, that he has left little for others that may follow to do. I wished much to have had an opportunity of observing, whether the warm springs, taken notice of by all who have visited them, are salt or fresh. This my worthy and esteemed friend Captain Schank requested me to do; but I was disappointed by both wind and current, and did not chuse to lose time through waiting for a change in the former. The current I found hurried us on to the S. E. and the wind varied from N.W. to S. W. altering every squall.
I had an observation at noon , when the body of the Island bore S. W. distant six miles. The latitude I observed was 38º 46' S. longitude by my account 77º 18' E. of Greenwich; variation per the sun's amplitude at setting 22º 30' W. Soon after leaving the Island we passed a piece of board like a boat's thwart with some rope round it.
On the 3d, we passed much sea weed, and saw some whales. Latitude by observation at noon 38º 9' S. longitude by account 80º 24' E. The following day we saw many whales of the kind called the Right Whale: these do not yield spermaceti. One of my crew had been two voyages in the whale fishery, and pointed out the different species when they appeared, and by the blow at a great distance.
Nothing particular occurred till the 9th, when whales of the spermaceti kind were very numerous round us, and birds of the pintadoe, pettrel and albatross species. At noon our latitude by observation was 38º 6' S. longitude by account 100º 13' E The weather in general was very variable from wet to dry, accompanied with strong minds, which shifted from S. W. and S. S. W. to N. W. and N. We had, however, more northerly wind than southerly, and which brought with it in general a great deal of rain. The northerly winds in this hemisphere coming from the Line towards the Pole bring with them nearly the same weather in general when they blow strong, as southerly winds do on the British coast.
We had several showers of hail with the wind at S. W. on the 11th; and on the 13th, I ordered thc bread-room to be examined, when a leak was discovered from two iron knees, and another from a but end, which I suppose had been neglected to be caulked. Four bags of bread, containing 100 weight each, and part of some others, were entirely damaged. This was the second time I had been so tricked. Bread put up in bags is much better than loose; for when it meets with an accident in the bread-room in the latter way, it is very difficult to separate the good from the bad. Apprehensive of leaks, I had put a few bags into the hold prior to leaving the Cape , all of which were in good order. The leaks we soon stopped.
We now began to decrease our westerly variation fast. On the 15th, by the sun's azimuth at setting, we found 12º W. variation; and on the 16th, it being calm, we got a boat out and tried if there was any current, but none could be perceived. At noon , by observation, our latitude was 38º 10' S. longitude, by account, 119º l4' E. The weather was now fine: we saw several different species of whales, with two threshers at work on one of them. This fish it is said kills the whale.
On the 20th, by lunar observation, we found the longitude to be 125º l4' E. latitude at noon 38º 18' S. Many porpoises about us, two of which we killed, affording a fresh meal to the crew. I still kept up the custom of airing the bedding, and washing between decks, which kept my men active and healthy.
By my account on the 23d, we were in longitude 130º E. latitude 38º 31' S. As we had now crossed Captain Vancouver's Track, which is the farthest eastward of any laid down in this parallel of latitude, it behoved us to keep a strict and attentive Look-out for land both by night and day. I therefore admonished my small crew to watch carefully every appearance of that nature, promising every encouragement to those that were diligent, and pointing out to those inclined to be otherwise the dangers we were liable to encounter through neglect, with the disgrace and punishment which assuredly must fall to them. I had the satisfaction to find that they punctually executed all my orders, and I never had occasion to find fault with any one of them, during the time I had the honour to command the Lady Nelson.
On the 24th we bent both our cables, and unstowed the anchors. We kept a strict look-out from the mast-head for land, day and night.
We observed the variation by the sun's azimuth at setting on the 26th, to be 4º 55' W. At noon the latitude was 38º 13' S. longitude by account 135º l4' E. The following day the variation was 2º 30' W. latitude 38º 15' S. We had but few birds about us. The weather dark and hazy, but generally the nights were clear with heavy dews falling, which I attributed to our proximity to the land. On the 29th, it was perfectly calm without a ripple. I tried if there was a current, but only found a small drift to the eastward, but so small as not to deserve any rate, and could just be observed by the line when immersed several fathoms beneath the surface, the other bodies taking their drift in that direction.
In the night we had a breeze from the E. and towards noon it freshened into a brisk gale, which lasted till the 30th, with uncommon smooth water for the force of wind, and the length of time it had blown. The heavy dews at night continued.
On the 1st of December we passed a large spermaceti whale, and at three P. M. we got so close to a seal as nearly to have run a boarding pike into it, there being little wind. At five P.M. we passed another, which followed us for some time, looking up at us, and shaking his head as he leaped from the sea In the middle watch; that is to say, between twelve and four in the morning, we heard and saw several seals. The wind was from the E. N. E. to N. E. by E. moderate with heavy dews.
At noon on the 2d, we observed the latitude to be 38º 19' S. longitude by account 139º 44' E. We had light winds inclining to calm. We had lost all the birds that generally followed us. The clouds hung heavy to the eastward, and about the horizon had much the appearance of land.
In the evening one of those long flies, known by the name of horse-stingers, came on board and lighted on the main-sail, where it continued for some time. This was a stronger proof of land being near us than any we had yet seen, as this insect could not exist for any length of time at sea. Though no land was to be seen I redoubled my watchfulness. In the evening it came on to blow with much sea during the night, which obliged us to keep very snug sail, in order to be enabled to haul, if necessary, close to the wind without losing time.
It continued to blow with heavy squalls and rain until four in the morning of the 3d, when we had day-light; after which I made all the sail I could.
At eight A. M. I saw the land from the N. training as far to the E. as E. N. E. The part that was right ahead appearing like unconnected islands, being four in number, distant six or seven leagues. At noon I observed, being in with the land, our latitude to be 38º 10' S. longitude by account 142º 30' E. which, according the best of my judgment, after looking over my Reckoning, I allowed the western point of land to lay in 142º E. From the distance I was from the shore, and observing in 38º 10', I make Cape Banks to lie in 58º 4' S.
It will be proper to give in this place the following copy of the Journal which I gave Governor King, being a narrative of what happened from the day I saw the land till I came to Wilson's Promontory; to which I shall add some marginal notes made by the Governor himself. I beg however previously to observe, that I have strong suspicions of land lying to the E. of New Holland from the number of seals and the fly which came on board, as already mentioned. I remark this, as from the run I made after until I made the land was 126 miles by the log: it is true we had for some days easterly winds which might have blown the insect off, but the distance is so great that I doubt it much.
Remarks made on board the Lady Nelson, coming in with the Land of New Holland .
” December 3d, at day-light made all possible sail, judging myself to be in the latitude of 38º S.* At eight A. M. saw the land from N. to E. N. E. the part that was right ahead appearing like unconnected islands, being four in number, which, on our nearer approach turned out to be two Capes and two high mountains a considerable way in shore. One of them was very like the Table Hill at the Cape of Good Hope , the other stands farther in the country. Both are covered with large trees, as is also the land which is low and flat, as far as the eye can reach. I named the first of these mountains after Captain Schank, and the other Gambier's Mountain.
The first Cape I called Northumberland, after his Grace the Duke of Northumberland, and another smaller but very conspicuous jut of the land, which we plainly saw when abreast of Cape Northumberland, I named. Cape Banks . When the former Cape bears N. W. by W. distant eight or nine miles, Schank's Mountain bearing N. and Gambier's N. by E.; from the vessel Schank's Mountain loses its table form and appears like a saddle. There does not appear to be an harbour here, but vessels may find shelter under Cape Northumherland from N. and N. N. W. winds, as also between Cape Banks and it from the E. winds. The shore is in general a flat sandy beach, the sea at present making no breach upon it.
” 4th. As we stood along the shore steering E. saw the land, as far as we could see, bearing S. E. hauled close up for it. This forming a conspicuous Cape I named it Bridgewater , in honour of the Duke of that title. At seven, little wind and heavy sea. The shore is a sandy beach, from where we made the land to this Cape , and flat land covered with bushes, and large woods inland. Finding we could not weather Cape Bridgewater , tacked occasionally, and got four oars on the lee side, which were employed all night. Baffling light winds from S. S.W. to S. E. with a heavy swell.
At day-break in the morning we weathered the Cape six or seven miles, when another Cape appeared bearing E. by N. about fifteen or sixteen miles distant, forming with Cape Bridgewater a very deep bay, and to appearance had shelter for anchorage, though much heavy swell. The land appeared beautiful, rising gradually, and covered with wood.
Being anxious to examine whether it was safe to venture in or not, and apprehensive we could not clear the shore, I ordered a boat out, and took two hands with me armed. At this time there was but little wind, but much sea and gloomy weather. After getting in shore about five miles, we found there was not any shelter from S. winds, the water very deep, and apparently the same all the way in. The vessel had now hove to with a fresh wind at W. S. W. and being very likely to blow with rain, we put back. The wind, however, did not stand. While near shore we saw plainly several fires. The sea being still very heavy and no wind, we got the launch ahead * Longitude worked back 141º 20' E. to tow. At noon it was a matter of great doubt, whether we should not be forced to anchor, the bay being very deep, we could hardly clear it with a steady breeze. Our latitude was 38º 21' S. Cape Bridgewater then bearing N. W. by W. twelve or thirteen miles. I called the other Cape Nelson after the vessel. At one, a light breeze sprung up, which with the boat ahead got us clear of the shore.
” 5th. P. M. light airs, and a very heavy rolling swell setting in upon the shore. Saw several fires. Being rather too far into the Bay, which is deep, I was for some time very doubtful whether we should not be obliged to trust to our anchors. A light breeze springing up, and the boat being ahead towing we got our head to the S. The West Cape I called Bridgewater , as already mentioned, and that to the East, Nelson. This is a very deep Bay, and with S. winds ought carefully to be avoided. Cape Nelson bears from Cape Bridgewater E. N. E. fifteen or sixteen miles.
The country is beautiful, apparently a good soi1, plenty of grass and fine woods. Towards evening saw many fires a little way inland. Many seals and porpoises about to- day. At six in the evening we had a moderate breeze from S. S. E. Cape Bridgewater bearing N. by E. four leagues, and Cape Nelson E.N. E. distant six leagues. Got in the boats, tacked occasionally during the night, working to windward.
At five A.M. saw another Cape not unlike the Dedman in the English Channel ; it runs a considerable way into the sea. When to the W. it appears like a long barn, arched on the top, with a high bluff, and next the sea resembling the gable-end of a house. I named this land Sir William Grant's Cape . Off this Cape are two small islands, the largest appears like two, having two hummocks joined together by a neck of low land, which is not seen till pretty close. On approaching, the smaller island is seen a little nearer the shore. These I called Lawrence 's Islands , after Captain Lawrence, one of the Elder Brethren of the Trinity House. As they will be an excellent mark for making this part, and save much trouble to those who have not an opportunity to keep far enough to the N. to make Cape Northumberland , and being very remarkable, navigators will know where they are as they draw abreast of them. The largest being to the S. with its two hummocks, its outer end from the shore appears like a square-topt tower very high with a white spot in the middle of it, which I suppose proceeds from birds. The other end is also very high. This island appears exactly, as here described, when it bears N. or N. by W. ½ W. when there is an offing of ten or twelve miles from it. Lawrence 's Islands bear from Cape Sir William Grant S. E. or S. E. by S. twelves miles distant, and there appears no danger between them and the shore.
The Cape now loses its long form as the vessel gets to the E. and its particular shape which was discernible when to the W. changes to a high bluff point, steep and inaccessible. The land round it is moderately high with much wood. Many fires were seen about this Cape . The land from it runs to the N. as far as the eye can reach or discern from the mast-head. I wished much for the wind from the N. that I might explore the land, as I think there must be harbours in it, but having it light from the S. S. E. varying every quarter of an hour to E. S. E. I could not throw away time in attempting it. The bottom of the Bay is hardly discernible from the masthead.
” 6th, P. M. light breezes and cloudy weather; tacked occasionally keeping the shore on board. At three, made a considerable large island, high and inaccessible on all sides. It was covered with grass but no trees. This island bears about E.S.E. from Cape Sir William Grant.
By a good observation at noon following, I made its latitude to be 38º 29' S. longitude by my account, reckoning from Cape Northumberland I make 144º account, reckoning from Cape Northumberland, (which I suppose is in '42º E. of Greenwich) I make 144º 40' E. it bearing from me when the observation was taken N. N. W. distant, eighteen or twenty miles, my latitude observed being 38º 45' S. I named this island Lady Julia's, in honour of Lady Julia Percy. Observed we ran faster along the land than our distance by log gave us, owing probably to a considerable drift to the E.
”7th. By the mean of four azimuths and amplitudes the variation is 2º 50' E. We had now fresh breezes and cloudy weather; we ran under a commanding sail during the night, the wind at S. S. W. and S. W. At day-light we saw the land making a Cape ahead, hauled up to clear it. This Cape is due E. S. E. with a moderate offing from Cape Sir William Grant, distant by log seventy miles. It is the E. promontory of this deep and extensive Bay, I named it Cape Albany Otway, in honour of William Albany Otway, Esq. Captain in the Royal Navy, and one of the Commissioners of the Transport Board.
Another very high and considerable Cape bearing from the last E.S. E. I called Patton's Cape . It is distant from Cape Albany Otway eight or ten miles, E. N. E. half E. I also distinguished the Bay by the name of Portland Bay , in honour of his Grace the Duke of Portland. The land is here truly picturesque and beautiful, resembling very much that about Mount Edgecumbe near Plymouth , which faces the Sound. It abounds in wood, very thick groves, and large trees.* It is moderately high but not mountainous. We did not see any fires on it, probably from the shore being inaccessible, and much surf breaking on it. From Cape Albany Otway E.N. E.
* Mr. Black, in the Harbinger, was close in with the land, and describes it nearly the same as Lieutenant Grant. P. G. K.
ten or twelve miles is another Point of Land, which appears as a vessel rounds the former Cape to the E. It is rather high land, with a clump of trees, as if regularly planted on its brow. Thinking from its projection we could find anchorage under it, and as we had a commanding breeze at W. S. W. I bore in pretty close; but as we approached I found several heavy breakers at least six miles from the shore, but not a rock to be seen: I therefore hauled off, and named the point of land, Cape Danger .
In getting to the E. I could not find any shelter, nor any place where there was a likelihood of anchoring; but from the number of little juts, and low points of land further to the N. and E. I was determined to try if any such place could be got. I never saw a finer country, the valleys appeared to have plenty of fresh water meandring through them.
At eleven A. M. I ordered the boats out, manned and armed, and went in search of a place to land on or anchor in. We got within a cable's length and an half of the shore, but finding the surf breaking heavy, I deemed it not prudent to attempt landing. The shore was a sandy beach, with small rocks interspersed here and there. In trying for soundings, with a hand lead line, none could be found; so that I really think the beach is steep also. I was very much disappointed in being so near, and obliged to return on board without setting foot on this beautiful spot. It resembles the Isle of Wight as near as possible in its appearance from the water; I therefore called this part of the coast, (which falls into the bottom of the small Bay from Cape Danger to the very low land, which is distinguished by a long ridge of breakers off it,) Wight's Land, in honour of Captain Wight of the Royal Navvy, son-in-law to Commissioner Schank.
On our return we got the boats in, and by observation I found the latitude to be 38º 52' S. about eight miles from the shore; Cape Danger bearing N. N, W. distant ten or twelve miles.
” 8th. At half past twelve P. M. bore away from the land, the wind being W. S. W. At one, having got sufficient offing, made sail to the eastward. At eight P. M. Cape Albany Otway bearing W. eighteen or twenty miles, we made a very high and lofty Cape covered with trees to the water's edge, as is all the country round it. From this Cape the land breaks short round. to the northward, when I lost it. We had now a fair wind, and might have done a great deal during the night, but I had my doubts whether this land, which fell off to the northward, should not have been followed and kept on board; as from a small chart given to me by Sir Joseph Banks, I found that as far as the coast had been surveyed, the land trained off to the northward, in the same form nearly as it did here from Cape Patton, with this difference, that the Cape I allude to on the chart had several islands lying off from it. Neither did the latitude exactly correspond; and the land which it laid down, running to the northward, was low and bushy, whereas that which I saw was high with large forests of trees, and no islands near it. I therefore chose the middle road; made snug sail; and ran sixty miles E. judging, if it was a Bay, I should see the eastern extremity of it.
At day-light, however, we could see nothing anywhere from the mast-head but the looming of the land we had left. We now bore up and ran N. by W. and at six, we saw the land again ahead, forming a very deep Bay, which I could not see the bottom of from the mast-head.*
At eight, the land was observed bearing from us E. S. E. extending farther to the southward than I could see. Being now certain of our route, I hauled up E. S. E. and named this Bay after Governor King. It is one of the longest we have yet met with; Cape Albany Otway forms the westernmost, and the South Cape the easternmost head-lands, the distance of about 120 miles due E. S. E. At noon it fell calm, the sun very sultry. Observed in 39º 30' S. mercury at 75º and 74º.
”9th, P. M. light airs inclining to calm. At four P. M. we saw several islands bearing E. S. E. the main land seemed to have an opening in it to the northward of them, which we stood in for, but I found it was another Bay with low land.
*If such a deep Bay as this actually exists, it favours the idea of New South Wales being insulated by a Mediterranean Sea . However, this the Lady Nelson must determine in the Voyage she is now gone upon. P. G. K.
This Bay runs in nearly E. I named the northernmost Cape after my friend John Liptrap, Esq. of London . The main land now shewed extending a considerable way to the southward, with several islands off the Cape . Judging this was the point of land we looked for from the colour of the water, we sounded, and had fifty fathoms with fine sand, South Cape distant nine or ten miles. The land abreast of the ship appearing to be at no great distance off, and it being quite calm, I got the boats out, and sent the launch ahead to tow. Thinking I should have the pleasure of setting my foot on this fine country, I set off in the gig with two hands, ordering the vessel to tow in after me, aod should a breeze spring up to get the launch in, and stand after me in for the Bay. At noon I sounded again in forty-one fathoms, sand and shells.
The weather still calm and hazy. We pulled in shore for some islands lying off from the main. at the western side of the South Cape , making for the largest of them which appeared to be the most fertile, on it I meant to have sowed some seeds, which I took with me, should I be able to land. The distance I could not have believed was so great as it proved to be; at least twelve miles from where we quitted the vessel, which we lost sight of before getting near the shore. Although we had not a breath of wind we found it impossible to land on this side, the shore being very steep, and a heavy surf running on it. Therefore as the ship was not in sight, and as it was two P. M. I judged it prudent to get back as soon as possible, which we effected by four o'clock .
We had now a light breeze from the E. and the weather intolerably close and sultry, the mercury standing at 72º and 3'. Got the boats in, and made sail to the southward. At seven, the wind at E. freshened into a strong gale, and at eight it blew a thunderstorm with much heavy forked lightning; but it being a weather shore, we kept close at the wind, in order to get to the southward of the islands lying off this Cape, when on a sudden it shifted due W. very dark, with heavy rain and lightning, which continued all night, the wind abating about twelve o'clock.
In the morning it was calm with hot sultry weather.
At noon I had a good observation in latitude 39º 30' S. The South part of the main, or South Cape bearing N. W. by N. distant twenty miles, and the longitude 147º 18' from a good lunar observation taken on the 8th instant. All round the Western side, and even thus far South of the Cape , there are soundings of fifty fathoms, forty-five and forty; white sand and shells. I called that space between Cape Liptrap and the South Cape, King George's Sound; and I have no doubt but there is good anchorage in the bite to the northward of the South Cape, on the westward side of which Cape Liptrap makes the northern head. The land here is high, and thc mountains covered with wood. Cape Liptrap is low and Hat, as is the land in this Bite, where I suppose there is shelter. There is an island bearing from the western part of the South Cape, South, a little easterly, about twelve miles from the shore. It is round and inaccessible on all sides.
The abovementioned island I called Rodondo, from its resemblance to that rock, well known to all seamen in the West Indies . A set of breakers to the south- ward and eastward of that rock, on which, though calm, the sea breaks much, bearing now from us N. N. W. ¼ W. distant six miles.
To the eastward there are five islands, the largest of which from its resemblance to the Lion's Mount at the Cape of Good Hope , I called Sir Roger Curtis's Island , who then commanded on that station. It is high and inaccessible on the N.W. side, and covered with small bushes on the top. The body of this island bearing from us E. S. E. distant seven or eight miles. Two other islands like hay-cocks, only higher and more perpendicular, standing a considerable distance from each other, the 1argest of which bore from us S. E. by S. distant sixteen or seven-teen miles, and the other S.E. by E. about ten miles. The latter is nearly shut in with the S. E. end of Sir Roger Curtis's Island . The fourth is a rock, standing a considerable height out of the water, nearly in a position between the two hay-cocks, or rather sugar-loaf-like islands, bearing S. E. ¼ S. The fifth is a high perpendicular barren cliff, which as we got almost abreast formed like two islands joined together at the bottom, rising to a sharp edge, ragged at the top, and resembling a large tower or castle. This island I named the Devil's Tower. It bore from us E. by N. about ten or twelve miles. An island in with the shore was observed, it bore W. N. W. distant ten miles; I called it Moncur's Island, in compliment to Captain Moncur of the Royal Navy: and another was visible bearing N. by E. sixteen or seventeen miles. Land, apparently an island, to the southward and eastward we can just see from the mast-head. It may be necessary to observe, that these bearings were taken at noon , aad as it was then a stark calm the vessel was nearly stationary. By a good observation the latitude was 39º 30', longitude 147º 18' E. calculated from lunar observation two days before; but I take it to be correctly 147º E. from my making the Ramhead, according to the best charts; therefore the bearings are laid down in any chart from 147º E.
”We now having made the Cape, which I presume is that laid down in the chart I got from Sir Joseph Banks, seen by Mr. Flinders,” any farther observation is unnecessary, as I find the land training along to the northward exactly as it is described by him.
” Wilson 's Promontory was so named. by Mr. George Bass, of his Majesty's ship Reliance, who was the first navigator that ascertained the real existence of a Strait separating Van Dieman's Land from New Holland, in his voyage in a whale boat, from Sydney to Western Port. Having made it, I set off in one of my boats early in the morning of the 10th, to endeavour to land on one of the islands lying off it; but, after a long pull, found the one I judged from its sloping aspect to be the easiest for that purpose, a solid rock for a considerable height, with surf too powerful for such a small boat as mine.
After several fruitless attempts I was obliged to abandon the idea, contenting myself with taking a view of it, and those contiguous. One of them was an immense rock; on one side perfectly round, with a large hole in the other, in the form of an arch, with a breast-work rising high enough above the level of the sea to preclude the water from getting into it: the hollow appeared as if scooped out by Art instead of Nature. I gave it the name of the Hole in the Wall; and to the range of islands stretching along the main, Glennie's Islands , after Mr. George Glennie, a particular friend of Captain Schank's, to whom I was under personal obligations. On the summit of all these islands there was a thick brush growing, whereas the land of Cape Liptrap, already mentioned, exhibited a fine level country.
The day being far spent in this survey, I deemed it best to get on board, as the vessel was but just visible with her head towards us, and becalmed. Round the Promontory we found from forty-five to fifty fathoms water, sand and shells. Towards night we had the wind E. S. E. with heavy clouds which brought on, with a sudden shift to N. E. and N. E. by N. a heavy squall, accompanied with much lightning and heavy rain. It cleared up at twelve; and in the morning we had calm weather.
* Mr. Bass, (from whose authority Lieutenant Flinders has ascertained thc position of Wilson 's Promontory) places it in 38º 56' S. Lieutenant Grant in 39º 17'; and Mr. Black in 39º 3'. As Mr. Bass's latitude is by computation from the Whale Boat, which might be liable to error, I think a preference may be given to Lieutenant Grant's position, as he had the advantage of a good Sextant. P. G. K.
+ The latitude of Wilson 's Promontory I afterwards determined to be 39º 2'S. but this will appear hereafter in its proper place.
” On the 12th we had fresh gales and cloudy weather; the shore we were running along was low and covered with thick brush, training in a N. E. direction, which Messieurs Flinders and Bass have given very accurate descriptions of. The weather being very rainy with fresh gales, I was prevented from ascertaining our latitude by observation.
” The heavy gales with constant rain prevailed on the following day, which continued until noon of the 14th, when it moderated, and became fair at times. This rain had continued to pour in torrents the heaviest and longest I ever experienced, being nearly forty-eight hours.
At noon I had a sight of the sun, and found by observation our latitude to be 37º 13' S. longitude 151º 40' E. I now found we had got to the E. of Port Jackson, as Sydney Town, or rather Bradley's Point, where the Fort stands, from several sets of lunar observations is found to lie in longitude E. of Greenwich 151º 18' 8”; latitude 33º 51' 28” S. The weather continued thick with S. and S. W gales, which made me, owing to these, delay some time for fear of overshooting Port Jackson, as these S. W. winds sometimes blow long and heavy; besides, objects on shore are not easily distinguished except when close. Governor King had taken the precaution of leaving a letter for me at the Cape , describing the particular marks for knowing the entrance of the Port, which no doubt saved us much trouble. They consisted of a pedestal and Bag-staff erected on the S. head or left-hand side of the entrance, and when vessels are seen the Rag is hoisted. This land being high, as is also the N. head, may be seen at a considerable distance in a clear day.
Botany Bay being the first opening that attracted our notice, we made the best of our way in the afternoon of the 16th to the northward, and soon after saw the Bag-staff as described by Governor King.
At six in the evening we entered between the Heads of Port Jackson. From the violence of the weather we found much swell in going in, but were soon in smooth water and an excellent harbour, perhaps, one of the finest in the known world. As the wind was from the S. and contrary to getting into Sydney Cove, we were obliged to beat up to it, and at half past seven in the evening we let go our anchors in eight fathoms water, after a voyage of seventy-one days from the Cape of Good Hope; and with the satisfaction of being the first vessel that ever pursued the same track across that vast ocean; as we have no traces of its being done, particularly from the Island of Amsterdam, viz. between the degrees of latitude 38º and 39º ½ S. until the Lady Nelson made the Coast of New Holland in latitude 38º, and steering to the eastward along a tract of land nearly four degrees to the westward of any seen by Messieurs Bass and Flinders; the former being the only one who had visited any part of that coast to the westward of Wilson's Promontory; Mr. Flinders' survey being more particularly attached to the S. side of those Straits (now deservedly named Bass's Straits,) along Van Dieman's Land.
I now report with much pleasure that I had conducted my little vessel safely out, which many judged impracticable, both in England and at the Cape, without any damage either in rigging, masts, or spars; besides fulfilling the Duke of Portland's orders to search for a passage through these Straits.
Many able officers and seamen at the Cape thought it too hazardous an attempt in running down the land in such high southern latitude, where in general heavy S. W. winds are constantly blowing, and where I might, from the long range of coast, not be able to extricate myself. The old beaten track to Port Jackson from the westward to the eastward was strongly recommended; as by that I should not be so liable to be baffled with westerly winds in any discoveries I should afterwards go upon in the Straits. The peevish and ignorant railed altogether at the attempt in such a vessel to make the voyage to New South Wales; and scrupled not to say we should have a long drift of it, as it was impossible to run or scud, the sea being too heavy for such a purpose.
Many of these men had been to New South Wales , and ought therefore to have known better, more particularly, as in the passage to the Cape of Good Hope from England , there is in winter, and in the neighbourhood of the Cape , as heavy weather and sea as in any part of the known world. Having however conquered all these difficulties of imagination, I felt thankful to God for the great success we had met with, and the protection he had shewn us throughout the whole voyage. Governor King had been expecting us for some time, as I had written to him from the Cape of Good Hope by the Porpoise, which left that place for New South Wales before us.
To the stranger the harbour of Port Jackson appears pleasing and picturesque, as he advances up it to the town. A small island with a house on it, named Garden Island , (which afterwards became my residence) enriches the view.