IN 1766, Capt. Wallis, of London, having been appointed to command the ship Dolphin, destined for a voyage round the world received orders to take under his command the Swallow sloop, and Prince Frederick store ship. They sailed on the 22d of August, and, on the 7th of September, came to anchor in the road of Maderia.
On the 12th, they sailed thence; and by the 12th of November, were in 30 degrees of south latitude, when they found the weather so cold as to have recourse to their thick jackets. On the 16th of December, being very near Cape Virgin Mary, they saw several men riding on the shore. The captain went ashore, and gave them combs, buttons, knives, scissors, beads, etc., and pleased the women greatly by the distribution of some ribbons. The tallest among these people was six feet seven inches; but the general height was from five feet ten to six feet. They were muscular and well made, but their hands and feet very small, in proportion to the rest of their bodies. The captain took eight of them into the boats: when they came into the ship, they expressed no surprise at the novelties which they beheld, till a looking-glass being observed, they acted many antic gestures before it. The marines being exercised before them, they were terrified at the firing of the muskets, and one of them falling down, shut his eyes, and lay without motion, as if to intimate that he knew the destructive nature of these weapons.
On the 21st, they turned into the Strait of Magellan, and on the 26th, anchored in Port Famine Bay; and the sick were sent on shore. On the 28th, the empty water-casks were landed. When they arrived here, many of the people were very sick with the scurvy; but, by the plentiful use of vegetables, , and bathing in the sea, they all recovered, in a short time.
They sailed on the 18th, and on the 3d of February came to anchor in York Road. The next day, Captain Wallis, with a party, went on shore near Bachelor's River. There is a cataract near this river, the noise of which is tremendous, as it falls more than four hundred yards, partly over a very steep descent, and partly in a perpendicular line. In the 1st of March sailed again, and anchored in a place called Swallow harbor, whence they sailed the next morning; and, on the following day, the Swallow, being driven among breakers, made signals of distress; but was happily relieved by a breeze from the shore. On the 10th of April the two ships sailed in company; and, on the 11th, lost sight of each other, and did not meet again during the whole voyage.
This day the Dolphin cleared the Strait of Magellan, in which she had `labored with innumerable difficulties, and escaped most imminent dangers, in a passage of almost four months, viz: from December the 17th, 1776, to the 11th of April following. The Spaniards, it seems, built a town here in 1581, which they named Phillipville, and left in it a colony of four hundred persons. They were all starved to death except twenty-four; and the place was called Port Famine, from the melancholy fate of these unfortunate men.
The long wished for relief was now fast approaching, for on Saturday, the 6th, the man at the mast-head cried, 'Land in the west-north-west.' As no anchorage was to be found, the captain steered for the other island, giving the name of Whitsun Island to this, because it was discovered on the eve of Whitsunday. Having approached the second, the lieutenant was sent on shore, with two boats, to take possession of the island and to call it Queen Charlotte's Island. The boats returned loaded with cocoanuts and scurvy-grass, after having found two wells of excellent water. Provisions for a week were now allotted for an officer and twenty men, who were left on shore to take in water; the sick were landed for the benefit of the air; and a number of hands were appointed to climb the cocoa-trees, and gather the nuts.
An adjoining island, lying in nineteen degrees twenty minutes south latitude, and one hundred thirty-eight degrees thirty minutes west longitude, received the name of Egmont Island. On the 11th, they observed about sixteen persons on an island, which was called Gloucester Island. This day they likewise discovered another, which was called Cumberland Island; and on the day following, a third, which received the name of Prince William Henry's Island. On the 17th, again discovered land, but could find no place in which the ship might anchor. This was named Osnaburgh Island, and having soon discovered high land, they came to anchor because the weather was foggy; but it no sooner cleared away, than they found the ship encompassed by hundreds of people. They sailed along the shore, while the canoes made towards the land. On the 21st, the ship came to anchor.