Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/231

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


those accidents to which ships employed in examining new, or little known coasts, are more peculiarly liable. To Mr. Whidbey, the master attendant, who had served in the expedition of captain Vancouver, I was also much indebted, for his valuable advice and assistance in the selection of the proper stores. Both these officers constantly took pleasure in promoting whatever could be useful to the voyage, or add to our comfort and convenience; and in some cases, our wants, and even wishes, were anticipated.


February 16, I was promoted to the rank of commander. On the 14th of the following month, the guns, twelve six-pounders, with their ammunition and a chest of fire works were received; and the provisions and stores being all on board on the 27th, and the ship ready for sea, we dropped out to the Nore. I was anxious to arrive upon the coasts of Terra Australis in time to have the whole of the southern summer before me; but various circumstances retarded our departure, and amongst others, a passport from the French government, to prevent molestation to the voyage, had not arrived. I took advantage of this delay to remedy an inconvenience, under which we were otherwise likely to suffer. The quantity of provisions necessary to be carried out did not leave room in the holds for more water than fifty tons; but by removing ten of the long guns, and substituting a few light carronades which could be carried on the upper deck, ten tons more of water might be received, without reducing our efficient strength; for the ship was too deep to admit of the guns below being used in bad weather, whereas the carronades would


be always serviceable. My application to have this exchange made, was complied with; and on May 20 it was effected.

On the 22nd, a set of astronomical and surveying instruments, for the use of myself and officers, was sent down by direction of the Navy Board; as also various articles for presents to, and barter with, the native inhabitants of the countries to be visited, and many for our own use and convenience. Amongst the latter were most of the books of voyages to the South Seas, which, with our own indi-