Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/89

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Western Coasts.]



As to the soil and vegetable productions upon several points near the sea, from Rottenest, northward to 16½°, there was tolerably good general information; the inhabitants, also, had been seen; and, at one place, communication with them had been obtained. The accounts did, certainly, not give any flattering prospect, that much interesting knowledge was likely to be acquired under these heads, unless a strait, or inland sea, were found; but the accounts were not only confined as to place, but, with the exception of Dampier's, were very imperfect; and the great extent of the coasts, in the richest climates of the world, excited hopes that a close investigation would not only be of advantage to natural history, but would bring to light something useful in the mineral or vegetable kingdoms.

In the case of penetrating the interior of Terra Australis, whether by a great river, or a strait leading to an inland sea, a superior country, and perhaps a different people, might be found, the knowledge of which could not fail to be very interesting, and might prove advantageous to the nation making the discovery.