ON THE EXPEDIENCY OF AUTHORIZING AN EXPLORING EXPEDITION, BY VESSELS OF THE NAVY, TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN AND SOUTH SEAS.
COMMUNICATED TO THE SENATE, MARCH 21, 1836.
Mr. Southard, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred a memorial from sundry citizens of Connecticut, interested in the whale fishery, praying that an exploring expedition be fitted out to the Pacific ocean and South seas, reported:
That the subject of this memorial, in the opinion of your committee, merits immediate attention, and the exercise of an enlightened liberality on the part of Congress. The whole of the facts and reasoning upon which this opinion is founded cannot be embraced within the ordinary limits of a report, and the committee, therefore, content themselves, in the discharge of their duty, by a reference to a few historical facts, and an allusion to some of the arguments which have satisfied their own minds that it is wise and expedient to provide, by law, for an exploring expedition to the Pacific ocean and South seas.
Such an expedition has been an object of solicitude with a large number of intelligent and enterprising citizens for many years past, and has been repeatedly urged upon the attention of Congress by petitions and memorials from those whose interests were most directly concerned—by resolutions and other expressions of opinion of legislative bodies and assemblies of citizens in several of the States—and by reports from the Navy Department and messages from the Executive of the United States.
Eight years since, this subject was examined by a committee of the House of Representatives, and specially referred to the consideration and attention of the Navy Department. That Department had looked with anxiety to our commerce in the Pacific, and required from our naval officers such reports respecting its extent and condition as might be a safe guide in discharging the obligation of the government to protect it. These reports confirmed the views which had been previously entertained, and prepared the Department to urge the measure upon the favorable consideration of Congress.
At the subsequent session renewed attention was paid to it, and a bill was proposed, but did not become a law. In consequence of its failure, two resolutions were passed by the House, declaring it expedient that one of the small public vessels be sent to the Pacific ocean and South seas, to examine the coasts, islands, harbors, shoals and reefs in those seas, and to ascertain their true situation and description; and requesting the President to send such a vessel, and afford such facilities as might be within the reach of the Navy Department, to attain the objects proposed, provided it could be done without prejudice to the general interest of the naval service, and without further appropriations during the year. Suitable attention was paid to the duty assigned by these resolutions, and what had been done communicated to Congress at the subsequent session, at which a bill passed one House of Congress to carry the object into execution, but was lost by causes which it is not now necessary to explain.
From that period until the last session, there was no important movement or action upon the subject. At that time a committee of the House, after full inquiry, made a report in favor of the expedition, which is worthy the attention of those who desire to form a well-advised opinion upon the measure proposed.*
The committee think it proper to annex to their report, as a part thereof, and for the better illustration of the subject, the several reports and other documents to which they refer.†
The duty of Congress to extend, secure and "protect every portion of our commerce, has long since ceased to be matter for debate. There is but one opinion upon that point. This duty becomes more imperative, in proportion to the value of any particular portion, and the difficulties and dangers to which it is subjected.
No part of the commerce of this country is more important than that which is carried on in the Pacific ocean. It is large in amount. Not less than $12,000,000 of capital are invested in and actively employed by one branch of the whale fishery alone; and in the whole trade there is, directly and indirectly, involved not less than fifty to seventy millions of property. In like manner, from 170,000 to 200,000 tons of our shipping, and from 9,000 to 12,000 of our seamen are employed, amounting to about one-tenth of the whole navigation of the Union. Its results are profitable. It is, to a great extent, not a mere exchange of commodities, but the creation of wealth, by labor, from the ocean. The fisheries alone produce, at this time, an annual income of from five to six millions of dollars; and it is not possible to look at Nantucket, New Bedford, New London, Sag Harbor, and a large number of other districts upon our northern coasts, without the deep conviction that it is an employment alike beneficial to the moral, political and commercial interests of our fellow-citizens.
It is a nursery for seamen for which no substitute can be found; eminently fitted to form precisely
* For this report and accompanying documents, see vol. 4 State Papers, Naval Affairs, doc. No. 578.
† For the other report and document referred to, see vol. 3 same class, doc. No. 363 and 387. See also doc. 370, pages 211, 212.
such men as the nation requires for times of trial and struggle. The voyages are long; every climate is encountered; every sea, calm or tempestuous, is traversed, and a discipline and subordination enforced, which create a class of men unsurpassed, if they are equaled, by any who have ever made the ocean their dwelling place. They are adventurous and persevering—hardened by toil and danger—bold, watchful and skillful. If the encouragement and protection of government should be extended to any portion of our citizens, these have claims which cannot be overlooked. It is to this view of the subject that the Committee on Naval Affairs have directed their most anxious attention.
The commerce of the Pacific may be greatly extended in all its departments. Of the rapidity of its growth there is abundant evidence in the records of the Departments of our government, and the theatre for its enlargement is most ample; but it requires aid and encouragement.
No part of our commerce is so much exposed to hazard and peril. That portion of the globe is less known; and the ocean more filled with dangers, than any other that our seamen visit. There are hundreds of islands, reefs, and shoals, unmarked upon any chart, and unknown to common navigators. Their location, situation, facilities for commerce, are yet to be explored and exhibited to the world. Many of those islands are inhabited by savages, who render access to them dangerous, and whom it is the duty of the government to conciliate. The loss of property and life in that region has been immense. The committee refer to. the accompanying documents to illustrate some of the facts upon these points; and they do not hesitate to believe that an examination of them will satisfy the Senate of the policy and necessity of the measure which they propose.
But the committee have also been influenced by other considerations, connected with the duty which the government and the nation owe to its own character, and the common cause of all civilized nations— the extension of useful knowledge of the globe which we inhabit. Every other nation, which possesses either a commercial or military marine, has made contributions to this knowledge, which have benefited the rest of mankind, and given to themselves the most enviable of all kinds of national glory; and, by unanimous consent, those who are engaged in it are free from the perils of war, and receive, even from the hands of enemies, protection, countenance, support; a homage paid by Christian nations to science, knowledge, and civilization. It is, in truth, an employment of peace and humanity.
Enterprising, beyond all others, as our own citizens are, much as they have individually given to this cause, the nation and government have yet contributed nothing. The committee believe that this state of things should no longer exist, but that an effort should now be made on a scale commensurate with the value of the object; and they look to the Pacific ocean and South seas as the proper theatre for exertion. They are less known than other portions of the great deep; they are filled with more difficulties and dangers; greater and more splendid and profitable results may be anticipated there than elsewhere; and the theatre is peculiarly our own, from position and the course of human events. Christian and civilized Europe, in the spirit of discovery and enterprise, gave our continent to the world; we may repay them, in part, by a more accurate knowledge of the still unexplored regions of the southern hemisphere.
The committee recommend an expenditure which shall be entirely equal to the importance of the enterprise, and afford the best security for success, and for those practical results which shall be most honorable and useful. The expedition should be naval in its character; a portion of the means under the control of the Navy Department should be applied to it, and it should be fitted out and conducted under its auspices. The committee think it ought to consist of two vessels of about two hundred tons burden, for exploration; one, of about one hundred tons, as a tender; and a store or provision ship of competent dimensions; and these accompanied by a sloop-of-war, to afford protection, and secure peaceful and friendly relations with the inhabitants of the islands. The smaller vessels may either be purchased, or built of materials which are in our navy yards, and a large portion of the expense may be met by our naval means and facilities, without the slightest encroachment upon the interests of the service. It should be attended, also, by naval officers and citizens well qualified in the appropriate departments of science, to bring back the most accurate results of the examinations which may be made.
But the committee do not think it necessary or expedient to prescribe, in the law which may be passed, either the dimensions or the character of the vessels, or the number and qualifications of the persons who shall be employed; nor can they exhibit, by precise estimates, the exact sum which shall be expended. These are matters which must, to some extent, be left to the discretion of the Executive, who will carry the will of Congress into execution. If the amount which shall not be exceeded be fixed by the law, no possible evil can result. Every imaginable motive which can influence the preparation for, and prosecution of, the proposed enterprise, will be on the side of economy and efficiency.
The committee report a bill to authorize an expedition.
A BILL to provide for an exploring expedition.
Be it enacted, &c., That an exploring expedition to the Pacific ocean and South seas be, and the same is hereby, authorized and directed; and that the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to prepare and send out for that purpose a sloop of war, and to purchase or provide such other smaller vessels as may be necessary and proper to render the said expedition efficient and useful.
Section 2. And be it further enacted, That the use of so much of the appropriations for the support of the navy, and of the means and facilities under the control of the Navy Department, as may be necessary and proper for that object, be, and the same is hereby, authorized; and, in addition thereto, the sum of$ ----- be, and the same is hereby, appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwiseappropriated.
To the Hon. the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled:
The memorial of the subscribers, citizens of New London, respectfully represents: That, at different periods, for many years past, they have continued to represent to your honorable tody the nature and extent of their commercial operations in carrying on the whale fishery. They have
set forth, in earnest language, the nature of the difficulties they have encountered; that, from the unavoidable extension of their voyages in pursuit of whale into seas but little known, their business has been rendered hazardous to the property of their merchants and dangerous to the lives of their mariners.
Your memorialists refrain from going into any computation of the amount of tonnage employed in the fisheries from the United States, nor do they deem it necessary to dwell on the nature and extent of their losses consequent upon the want of a more perfect knowledge of the seas into which their shipping-has extended. These matters, as well as the objects to be effected by an expedition properly fitted out, and instructed "attentively to observe and circumstantially to describe every unusual appearance, and specially to measure everything measurable," within the pathway of our mariners, have been fully and fairly set forth in the able report of your Committee on Commerce, made during the last session of the twenty-third Congress, No. 94. (See State Papers, doc. 578.)
Such an expedition as is proposed in that report is, in the opinion of your memorialists, required by the best interest of our country; for it is an illiberal and short-sighted policy that regards the whale fishery as local in its bearing. The material used and labor employed in the construction of one hundred and forty thousand tons of shipping is no inconsiderable item in the navigation of this country, commercial as it is; nor is the supply of provisions for ten thousand men, the most hardy and effective of our seamen, whether employed in the pursuit of the leviathan of the deep or in defence of their country's rights, matters unworthy the special regard and protection of government.
Your memorialists would further represent, that many of the survivors of their lost vessels are now, no doubt, dragging out a miserable existence on some of the numerous islands in the Pacific, among which their adventurous pursuits had led them, and are still within the reach of aid, provided proper means were employed to seek them, and which can only be done by an expedition especially equipped for the purpose. Indeed, the advantages of commerce to science and national glory seem now to be sealed and sanctified by the calls of humanity and imperious duty. Your memorialists, therefore, indulge the earnest hope that their prayer in behalf of their partially protected commerce, carried on as it has been with varied success from a period coeval with the existence of our government, now that our resources can so well afford it, may be answered, without further delay, in the equipment of a suitable expedition.
And your memorialists, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
State of New Jersey:
Resolved, by the House of Assembly, That we approve of the fitting out of an expedition to the South seas, by the national government, on a voyage of discovery and survey, believing that such expedition, if properly conducted, could scarcely fail in adding something to the general stock of national wealth and knowledge, and to the honor of our common country.
House of Assembly, March 2, 1836.
I do hereby certify that the foregoing resolution was adopted by the House of Assembly of New Jersey this day.
JOS. C. POTTS, Clerk pro tempore of the House of Assembly of New Jersey.
MEMORIAL of the East India Marine Society of Salem, Massachusetts, praying that an expedition be fitted out by the government tomake a voyage of discovery and survey to the South seas.
To the honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, in Congress assembled:
The memorial of the subscribers, citizens of the United States, respectfully represents:
That the vivifying influence of unshackled and unobstructed commerce is, to our highly favored nation, what the healthful pulsation of the heart is to the human frame. It not only gives life and enjoyment to the immediate vibrations, but communicates the same, by a thousand mysterious channels, to the remotest extremity of the body politic. It is the fountain from which unfailing streams of revenue, our financial reservoir, is supplied with the means of national existence. To remove every obstacle which may impede or retard the healthful operation of this vital, is evidently the interest, and consequently the duty of the supreme legislature of the country.
Under such impressions, it is with no small degree of interest your memorialists perused an honorable expression of the legislature of Rhode Island, during its recent session, of which the following is a copy:
"State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in general assembly, October session, A. D. 1834.
"Resolved, That in the opinion of this general assembly, the subject of the memorial of J. N. Reynolds and others, dated November, 1834, praying that provision may be made by law for a voyage of discovery and survey to the South seas, is highly important to our shipping and commercial, interests, and is hereby recommended by said assembly to the favorable consideration of the Congress of the United States."
In favor of this memorial, that an expedition be fitted out under the sanction of government, the object of which shall be to examine the numerous places of traffic already opened by the enterprise of our citizens, and to open new channels for the extension of trade, by the examination of such groups of islands, in the great North and South Pacific ocean, as are imperfectly or entirely unknown; to ascertain their true positions on the charts, examine their harbors and capacities, open friendly intercourse with the natives, which may be the means of preventing the effusion of blood; in a word, there are so many ways in which such an expedition might be useful, if well conducted, to our extended and unprotected interests in those distant seas, that a minute specification of them seems unnecessary, as they must be obvious to every enlightened mind.
On this subject, many of your memorialists speak with a practical knowledge, for among them are those who were the first to display our national colors in our commerce to the eastern world; amongst
them are those who have been engaged in trade on coasts and among islands but little known; and they have felt, in losses and in painful solicitude, the want of the protection of their government, as well to point out the position of a dangerous reef as to defend them against the natives, who had seen nothing of our power to restrain them from unlawful attacks upon their vessels or their lives; among them are those who have visited the islands in the Pacific as well as those in the east, and have seen and felt the dangers our vessels are exposed to, for the want of such protection as an expedition fitted out for the express purpose alone can give.
Your memorialists refrain from going into any computation of the immense amount of tonnage and capital engaged, from the United States, in the whale fishery, all of which is more or less interested in such an expedition. Without attempting to designate the groups or islands most important to be examined, your memorialists would simply call the attention of your honorable body to one point, which may serve as an index to the rest. The Feejee or Beetee Islands—what is known of them? They were named, but not visited by Captain Cook, and consist of sixty or more in number. Where shall we find a chart of this group, pointing out its harbors? There are none to be found, for none exist. And yet, have we no trade there? We speak not for others, but for ourselves.
From this port the following vessels have been, or now are, employed in procuring beche le mer and shells at the Feejee Islands, in exchange for which eastern cargoes are brought into our country, and thus contributing no inconsiderable amount to our national revenue:
Ship Clay, brig Quill, have returned; brig Faun, lost at the islands; ships Glide, Niagara, also lost; and barque Peru greatly damaged, and in consequence condemned at Manilla; brig Spy damaged, but repaired again; brig Charles Daggett, barque Pallas, brig Edwin, ship Eliza, ship Emerald, ship Augustus, and brig Consul .
The Charles Daggett has recently returned, in consequence of having a portion of her crew massacred by the natives. The ship Oneo, of Nantucket, was lost on one of these islands, and her officers and crew, consisting of twenty-four in number, were all massacred in like manner, except one.
Thus, it must appear to your honorable body that the losses sustained at this single point, to say nothing of the value of human life, which is above all value, would not fall far short, if any, of the amount necessary to fit out an expedition for the better examination of such points in the Pacific ocean and South seas as require the attention of government.
Wherefore your memorialists beg leave to unite their prayer with that of the State of Rhode Island, praying that provision may be made by law for a voyage of discovery and survey to the South seas; and your memorialists, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
WM. FETTYPLACE, President of Salem East India Marine Society.
Hall of the East India Marine Society, November 22, 1834.
Members of the East India Marine Society.
W. Story, George Nichols, Gilbert G. Newhall, Joseph Popes, Jesse Smith, John B. Osgood, Ephraim Emmerton, Samuel Rea, Charles Treadwell, Lewis Endicott, Philip P. Pinel, Nathaniel Kinsman, Allen Putnam, James B. Briggs, Henry Prince, James D. Gillis, Richard S. Roders, C. Saunders, N. L. Rogers, James King, Thomas West, Wm. D. Waters, Wm. Ashton, Charles F. Barstow, John W. Treadwell, Francis Coffin, M. Townsend, George Cleveland, D. L. Putnam, John Fisk Allen, H. G. Bridges, Hotten S. Breed, Emery Johnson, Joseph J. Kinsman, Joseph Beadle, John Bertram, Samuel Groce, Daniel Sage, James Silver, H. Tibbet, Samuel Varno, J. W. Rogers, Jonathan P. Saunders, Henry Prince, jr., Edward Orne, John Marshall, Daniel Bray, jr., John Prince, B. W. Crowninshield.
Islands, reefs, shoals, &c., not contained in the preceding report.
[For that report, see preceding doc. No. 578, vol. 4 State Papers.]
Curry's Island, by some, 28 deg. 25 min. north latitude, 178 deg. 20 min. west longitude; by others, 28 deg. 25 min. north latitude, 178 deg. 14 min. west longitude.
Tamulanes' Island, 36 deg. 49 min. north latitude.
Washington Island, 4 deg. 33 min. north latitude, 159 deg. 45 min. west longitude; by others, 4 deg. 40 min. north latitude, 160 deg. 40 min. west longitude.
Jane's Island, 16 deg. 6 min. north latitude, 173 deg. 12 min. west longitude.
Louisa Island, 16 min. 25 deg. north latitude, 145 deg. west longitude.
Caroline Island, 17 deg. north latitude, 145 deg. 5 min. west longitude.
Charles Island, 25 deg. 15 min. north latitude, 172 deg 34 min. west longitude.
Island, 5 deg. north latitude, 160 deg. west longitude.
Island, 46 min. north latitude, 171 deg. 57 min. west longitude.
Island, 11 min. north latitude, 171 deg. 55 min. west longitude.
Island, 28 deg. 54 min. north latitude, 177 deg. 39 min. west longitude.
A rock, 11 deg. 6 min. north latitude, 154 deg. 20 min. west longitude.
A rock, 7 deg. 51 min. north latitude, 139 deg. 50 min. west longitude.
Reef, 17 deg. 12 min. north latitude, 156 deg. 12 min. west longitude.
Pollard's reef, 24 deg. 9 min. north latitude, 168 deg. 9 min. west longitude.
Reef, 1 deg. 14 min. north latitude, 179 deg. 18 min. west longitude.
Reef, 8 deg. 6 min. north latitude, 140 deg. west longitude.
Shoal, 1 deg. 44 min. north latitude, 170 deg. 30 min. west longitude.
Shoal, 25 deg. 36 min. north latitude, 151 deg. 28 min. west longitude.
Shoal, 26 deg. 5 min. north latitude, 177 deg. 56 min. west longitude.
Island, 21 deg. 29 min. north latitude, 131 deg. 28 min. west longitude.
Island, 13 min. north latitude, 171 deg. 45 min. west longitude.
Island, 49 min. north latitude, 171 deg. 40 min. west longitude.
Reef, 10 deg. 15 min. north latitude, 133 deg. 50 min. west longitude.
Sarah Ann's Island, 16 deg. 8 min. north latitude, 143 deg. 16 min. east longitude.
Worth's Isle, 8 deg. 48 min. north latitude, 151 deg. D. east longitude.
Copper Island, 26 deg. 6 min. north latitude, 131 deg. 48 min. east longitude.
Paul's Island, 21 deg. 9 min. north latitude, 141 deg. 39 min. east longitude.
Bassiosas Isle, 26 deg. 6 min. north latitude, 173 deg. 27 min. east longitude.
Tuck's Island, 1 deg. 7 min. north latitude, 150 deg. D. east longitude.
Whittington's Island, 6 deg. 48 min. north latitude, 159 deg. 48 min. east longitude.
Ascension Island, 6 deg. 52 min. north latitude, 158 deg. 50 min. east longitude.
North's Island, 8 deg. 48 min. north latitude, 150 deg. to 152 deg. D. east longitude.
Granger's Isle, 18 deg. 58 min. north latitude, 144 deg. 14 min. east longitude.
Halison's Isle, 19 deg. 39 min. north latitude, 166 deg. 50 min. east longitude.
Genevieve Island, 17 min. north latitude, 176 deg. 56 min. east longitude.
Mary's Islands, 9 deg. north latitude, 150 deg. east longitude.
Elizabeth Islands, 7 deg. north latitude, 151 deg. east longitude.
Emily Islands, 9 deg. 48 min. north latitude, 165 deg. 12 min. east longitude.
Joanna Island, 17 deg. 6 min. north latitude, 163 deg. 33 min. east longitude.
Susan's Island, 27 deg. 36 min. north latitude, 143 deg. east longitude.
Island, 30 deg. 40 min. north latitude, 155 deg. east longitude.
Island, 30 deg. north latitude, 137 deg. east longitude.
Island, 29 deg. 33 min. north latitude, 137 deg. east longitude.
Island, 30 deg. north latitude, 139 deg. east longitude.
Island, 30 deg. 59 min. north latitude, 146 deg. 57 min. east longitude.
Island, 29 deg. north latitude, 175 deg. 45 min. east longitude.
Island, 26 deg. 6 min. north latitude, 131 deg. 48 min. east longitude.
Island, 23 deg. 3 min. north latitude, 162 deg. 57 min. east longitude.
Reef, 19 deg. 16 min. north latitude, 165 deg. 43 min. east longitude.
Reef, 16 deg. 36 min. north latitude, 169 deg. 42 min. east longitude.
Reef, 17 deg. 30 min. north latitude, 144 deg. 45 min. east longitude.
Whytetuche Island, 18 deg. 52 min. south latitude, 159 deg. 42 min. west longitude.
Watuoo Island, 21 deg. 1 min. south latitude, 158 deg. 15 min. west longitude.
Chittorra Island, 22 deg. 30 min. south latitude, 151 deg. 30 min. west longitude.
Jarvis Island, 30 min. south latitude, 172 deg. west longitude.
Brind's Island, 3 deg. 14 min. south latitude, 172 deg. west longitude.
Long Island, 17 deg. 56 min. south latitude, 140 deg. 16 min. west longitude.
Claudius Island, 18 deg. 22 min. south latitude, 115 deg. 15 min. west longitude.
Pystoza Island, 22 deg. 23 min. south latitude, 175 deg. 41 min. west longitude.
Sarah Island, 1 deg. 5 min. south latitude, 158 deg. 54 min. west longitude.
Island, 19 deg. 13 min. south latitude, 139 deg. west longitude.
Helen Islands, from 3 deg. to 3 deg. 40 min. south latitude, and from 171 deg. 50 min. to 173 deg. 10 min. west longitude.
Theodora Island, 5 deg. 32 min. south latitude, 173 deg. 34 min. west longitude.
Group of islands, 17 deg. south latitude, 145 deg. 12 min. west longitude.
Fanny Island, 1 deg. south latitude, 172 deg. west longitude.
Julia Island, 1 deg. 30 min. south latitude, 171 deg. 10 min. west longitude.
Island, 2 deg. 20 min. south latitude, 171 deg. 15 min. west longitude.
Harper's Island, 2 deg. 40 min. south latitude, 172 deg. 35 min. west longitude.
Brother's Island, 2 deg. 48 min. south latitude, 171 deg. 59 min. west longitude.
Island, 6 deg. 36 min. south latitude, 163 deg. west longitude.
Fletcher Island, 7 deg. 4 min. south latitude, 173 deg. 12 min. west longitude.
Island, 15 deg. 40 min. south latitude, 144 deg. 50 min. west longitude.
Wesley Island, 15 deg. 54 min. south latitude, 141 deg. 42 min. west longitude.
Island, 16 deg. 8 min. south latitude, 145 deg. 12 min. west longitude.
Island, 16 deg. 9 min. south latitude, 142 deg. 12 min. west longitude.
Island, 17 deg. 28 min. south latitude, 140 deg. 56 min. west longitude.
Anthon's group, 17 deg. 54 min. south latitude, 142 deg. west longitude.
Island, 19 deg. 20 min. south latitude, 179 deg. 30 min. west longitude.
Island, 21 deg. 10 min. south latitude, 149 deg. 50 min. west longitude.
Island, 23 deg. 20 min. south latitude, 104 deg. 50 min. west longitude.
Island, 10 deg. south latitude, 152 deg. 32 min. west longitude.
Island, 16 deg. south latitude, 148 deg. 56 min. west longitude.
Rock, 26 deg. 24 min. south latitude, 170 deg. 54 min. west longitude.
Rock, 25 deg. 30 min. south latitude, 174 deg. 3 min. west longitude.
Rock, (near Tapocalma, fifty miles south of Valparaiso; several vessels have been lost on it,) 33 deg. 51 min. south latitude, 71 deg. 28 min. west longitude.
Reef, (dangerous,) 5 deg. 38 min. south latitude, 173 deg. 33 min. west longitude.
Reef, 3 deg. 38 min. south latitude, 157 deg. 59 min. west longitude.
Reef, 10 deg. 48 min. south latitude, 166 deg. 6 min. west longitude.
New Bladone, 18 deg. 11 min. south latitude, 118 deg. 40 min. west longitude.
Tencher's Isle, 1 deg. 33 min. south latitude, 150 deg. 40 min. east longitude.
Roturia Isle, 12 deg. 29 min. south latitude, 177 deg. 10 min. east longitude.
Island, 1 deg. south latitude, 171 deg. 10 min. east longitude.
Rambler's reef, 22 deg. south latitude, 174 deg. 39 min. east longitude.
Reef, 31 deg. 30 min. south latitude, 154 deg. east longitude.
Island, 23 deg. 40 min. south latitude, 160 deg. 14 min. east longitude.
Island, 11 deg. 29 min. south latitude, 165 deg. 25 min. west longitude.
Island, 2 deg 45 min. south latitude, 172 deg. 30 min. west longitude.
Farmer's Island, 3 deg. south latitude, 170 deg. 45 min. west longitude.
Arthur's Island, 3 deg. 40 min. south latitude, 176 deg. 15 min. west longitude.
Solitary Island, 10 deg. 39 min. south latitude, 177 deg. west longitude.
Savage Island, 19 deg. 5 min. south latitude, 169 deg. 50 min. west longitude.
A rock, between Falkland Islands and the continent—about two hundred miles west of the former.
Offshore whaling ground, from 103 deg. to 115 deg., in latitude from 3 deg. to 5 deg., 7 deg. south, and sometimes on the line, Captain Mitchell discovered a low island, well covered with timber. It was
not seen until the vessel was near, and had it been night, the chances are that the vessel would have been lost. There were no other islands in sight, and this one not on any chart. The island should bear the name of its discover, Mitchell.
Navigator's Islands. These islands are said to be eight in number, were discovered by Bougainville, and examined by Perouse in 1787, and may be said to extend from 14 deg. 9 min. to 18 deg. 57 min. south. The number of inhabitants is probably from forty to fifty thousand.
Captain Worth, of the Howard, informs us that, having visited most of the islands in the South Pacific, he considers the Island of Ottewhy as presenting advantages and facilities to whalemen, superior to those of any other island in that ocean. It affords fruit, yams, poultry, swine, &c, in the greatest abundance, plenty of wood and excellent water. For a musket, the natives give thirteen hogs, or eight hundred to a thousand yams; and great quantities of fowls, cocoa nuts, bananas, &c., may be purchased for a few pipes, flints, and blue glass beads. The fruit is generally obtained at the northwest part of the island; but hogs, wood and water are procured from the north side. Sufficient supplies maybe taken on board in the short space of four days; and no danger need be apprehended from the natives, provided the precaution be taken to keep the head chief on board as a hostage, day and night—a requisition very willingly complied with, when two or three of the natives and an interpreter are also allowed to remain. By pursuing this course in both his visits to this place, Captain Worth passed and repassed unarmed in his boats with perfect safety, and found the natives extremely civil, never attempting to steal from the boats on shore, nor while on board his ship. He thinks, however, without this precaution, they would not hesitate to seize a boat and crew, merely for the sake of two or three muskets, which article they seemed very anxious to obtain, though they never inquired for shot or ball. The white residents, (of which there are only two, who are chiefly engaged in agriculture,) informed Captain Worth that they made no other use of the muskets than to discharge them at their great feasts, considering those the best which made the loudest reports.
The chains of islands in Oceanica and the Pacific extend, in general, from southeast to northwest, and the groups often terminate with a large island, as Otaheite and Owyhee. This fact may facilitate discovery, and a knowledge of it add to the security of navigation; by avoiding the immense reefs which extend, no doubt, at a great distance from the point where the islands terminate.
Solomon Islands, seen by Byron in 1765, and supposed by him to be the Islands of Quiros, in the 17th century. They are exceedingly dangerous. Lie in 10 deg. 15 min. south, 169 deg. 28 min. west.
Admiralty Islands lie to the northwest of New Ireland; are numerous, extending from 1 deg. 28 min. south, to 5 deg. 20 min. south, and from 148 deg. 20 min. east, to 162 deg. 16 min. east. This group embraces the whole extent of New Britain.
New Guinea, that great link by which the Molucca Islands are connected on the one hand with New Holland, and with the Polynesian archipelago on the other. Of this extensive chain we know nothing except the line of coast, and, unfortunately, even of that but little. The length of this country cannot be much short of 1,200 miles, and from 15 to 360 in width. This country is called Papua, or the country of the Papoos, a name by which the inhabitants are known among the Malays. It is from these islands that birds of paradise are procured, of which there are known to be not less than twelve species.
St. David and Freewill Islands form the most natural transition from New Guinea to Polynesia, or Eastern Oceanica; and what is strange, these islands are inhabited by a race entirely different from the Papua, being of a copper color, and in language resembling the Sandwich Islands.
Leaving the Molucca sea, next come the Pelew Islands, called by the early navigators Palaos. The inhabitants are naturally an amiable, gay, and innocent people, of middling size, and by no means bad looking. They lie between 133 deg. and 136 deg. east, and from 6 deg. to 8 deg. north.
To the north of the Pelew Islands are those called Matetotes, Martyrs, Sagoadiahh, &c.
The groups of St. Andrew, Pedeo, Warwick, &c, stretch off to the south, and are but imperfectly known.
Turning to the northeast from the Pelew Islands, we find the Marian group, consisting of near twenty in number. These islands are of ancient discovery, by Magellan, in 1621, and called by him Ladrones, but were, afterward, under Philip IV, changed to the present name in honor of Mary Ann, of Austria. They extend from 13 deg. to 22 deg. north, and from 145 deg. 35 min. to 148 deg. east.
To the north of Marian Islands are different groups, of which nothing is known except that they are volcanic.
What is known, even at this late day, of the Caroline Islands? Nothing, except that this archipelago lies between the Pescadores on the east, the Marian Islands on the north, and the Pelew Islands on the west. The group does not contain less than two hundred islands. The soil is fertile, but the country is subject to hurricanes.
Of the Mulgrave Islands, (from 0 deg. to 8 deg. south, and 171 deg. to 175 deg. east,) we know their name and position. This chain is connected with the Caroline group by the Pescadores; and probably with the other archipelagos of Polynesia by chains still unknown.
All the seas west from Navigator's Islands to Solomon's group are speckled with detached islands; some of them remarkably fertile and productive.
Feejee Islands, or archipelago, from 16 deg. 30 min. to 19 deg. 48 min. north, and from 175 deg. 5 min. to 179 deg. and 19 min. west.
Sailing eastward, we fall in with the hills and plains of the Friendly Islands. Allowing this cluster to extend as far as the Feejees in the west, the Cocoa and Traitor's Islands in the north, to Savage Island in the east, and to Pytstaert in the south, it will include more than one hundred islands.
The Society Islands have been the theme of more writing than some kingdoms of Europe. Who that has read and not admired the charms of Queen Oberia, and viewed in imagination the festivals of Potomare? The Otaheitans are better known to us than the inhabitants of Sardinia or of Corsica. Otaheite is indeed entitled to the appellation of Queen of the Pacific.
To the southwest and southeast of the Society Islands, a long chain of widely-separated islands extends, beginning with Palmerston, and ending with Easter Islands. To the northeast and east are Gloucester, St. Paul's, Conversion, Michall, and many others but little known.
In passing from Easter Island to the Marquesas, the whole ocean is sprinkled with small islands, low, sandy, and encircled with coral reefs; and here the navigation is exceedingly dangerous. At the north of these low islands we find the lofty Marquesas. These islands were discovered by Mandana, and lie from 7 deg. to 10 deg. south, and from 138 deg. 48 min. to 165 deg. 9 min. west. In sailing east from the Marquesas, no doubt important discoveries are to be made; perhaps Roggerwyer's would be redis-
covered; for these, bearing the name of their discoverer in 1722, must lie between the 9th and 12th parallels of south latitude. No complete account of Roggerwyer's voyage was ever published.
J. N. R.
Washington City, March, 1836.