Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/94

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



that in the appellation which it was judged proper to give to this extensive group, the French admiral had not rather thought of doing honour to the original discoverer, or to the Gulde Zeepaard, than to his own ship; more especially, as his examination was far from being complete. This would have been more conformable to his general practice; but Archipel de la Recherche was the name adopted.

Beyond the archipelago, the South Coast was found to trend east-north-eastward; without any island lying off it, or presenting any place of shelter. The shore was either a steep calcareous cliff, of an equal height, or low and sandy, with a few naked hillocks behind; and above these, no hill, nor any thing of the interior country, could be discerned. "It is not surprising," says D'Entrecasteaux, "that Nuyts has given no details of this barren coast; for its aspect is so uniform, that the most fruitful imagination could find nothing to say of it"

Frustrated in his expectation of procuring fresh water, and having no more than sufficient, at a 1793. short allowance, to reach Van Diemen's Land, the admiral abandoned the investigation of the South Coast, on Jan. 3; being then in latitude 31° 49' south, and longitude 131° 38½' east of Greenwich.

In the otherwise excellent charts constructed by M. Beautemps-Beaupré, geographical engineer on board La Recherche, there is an extraordinary omission, arising either from the geographer, or the conductor of the voyage. In the first 12° of longitude no soundings are marked along the coast; whilst, in the last 5°, they are marked with tolerable regularity: the cause of this difference is not explained.

In comparing the French chart with that of Nuyts, it appeared that the rear-admiral had not proceeded so far along this coast as the Dutch navigator had done; for he did not see the islands of St. Francis and St. Peter, nor the reef marked about thirty leagues to the west of them. The point, however, where D'Entrecasteaux's examination terminated, was, in all probability, within a few leagues