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Atheneu ni imasaz: DECEMBER, 1825.



Art. I.-A Voyage towards the South Pole, performed in the

years 1822-24. Containing an Examination of the Antarctic
Sea, to the Seventy-fourth Degree of Latitude: and a Visit to
Terra del Fuego, with a Particular Account of the Inhabitants.
To which is added, much Useful Information on the Coasting
Navigation of Cape Horn, and the adjacent Lands, with Charts
of Harbours, &c. By JAMES WEDDELL, Esq. Master in the
Royal Navy. London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees,
Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster-Row. 1825.

WHILE Parry and Franklin, in the service of the British go-
vernment, were prosecuting their discoveries within the Arctic
Circle, the writer of this book, with no other motive than his
own love of enterprise and adventure, was exploring the icy
seas of the south. It could not be expected that he should bring
back such a rich collection of facts and observations, as has
been made in the expeditions to the neighbourhood of the oppo-
site pole, equipped and provided at the public cost, for the sole
purpose of discovery. His voyage has, however, not been with-
out its fruits ; he has succeeded in penetrating more than three
degrees of latitude farther than any former navigator; he has
verified many curious facts, and made some important addi-
tions to the sum of geographical knowledge. His narrative is
that of a well informed, intelligent man, who observes all that
is worth observing in such a voyage. The journals of all pro-
fessed seamen, however, and this among the number, have ma-
ny passages, where we might fancy we were reading a log-book,
and which entertain us with the agreeable detail of the courses
of the winds, the variations of the weather, and the different
tacks of the vessel. These, though a little dull to the general
reader, may sometimes be of use to the future navigator-at all
events, they give an air of credibility to the narrative, and are,
in some sort, the uchers of the writer's veracity.

The object of Capt. Weddell's voyage was to obtain a cargo of skins of the fur-seal. He left England in September, 1824,


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in the brig Jane, of 160 tons, with a crew of twenty-two officers and men under his command, accompanied by the cutter Beaufoy of 65 tois, with a crew of thirteen, commanded by Mr. Matthew Brisbane. Both vessels were fitted out in the ordinary way, and provisioned for two years. Capt. Weddell, on sailing from London, had not expected to arrive at so high a latitude as it was his good fortune to reach, and had therefore provided himself only with such nautical instruments as are in common use; they were however of the best construction.

On the voyage he touched at Bonavista, one of the Cape de Verde Islands. Here is a population of about three thousand, excessively indolent, living miserably on a fertile soil, and dwelling mostly in huts. The slaves are numerous, and are worked hard and treated with uncommon severity by the lazy masters, many of whom, as it should seem from this narrative, are no whiter than themselves. The governor, a native of Portugal, dressed in a general's uniform, whom Capt. Weddell found on board a schooner of war in the bay, on hearing that he wanted a supply of poultry, sent him to make a bargain with his lady. He accordingly proceeded to the palace, but found that a poultrymerchant, who had the honour of being a governor's lady, was not to be approached without extraordinary formalities. An armed sentinel at the door refused to admit him until assured that his intentions were merely pacific and commercial; and after the same explanation with two others he succeeded in arriving into the presence of her ladyship, who was in the poultry-yard, inspecting her stock of pigs, turkeys, and hens. Capt. Weddell purchased a number of lean fowls, which, for his consolation, her ladyship assured him were exceedingly fat and cheap.

In latitude 140 S. Capt. Weddell fell in with a Portuguese schooner bound to Bahia, with a cargo of two hundred and fifty slaves. The males were crowded together in the hold, almost suffocated with the confined air and torrid heat, while the women and children were seated on the lee-side of the deck, many of them fastened by iron shackles.

When arrived at the fifty-eighth degree of south latitude, the vessels found themselves among the ice islands, and on the 16th of January they came close under the shore of the South Orkneys. The appearance of the coast is terrific. Almost every where the islands rise into lofty peaks, covered with snow, looking like the mountain summits of a drowned continent, which yet tower above the waters. In some places these summits present almost every irregularity of shape and size; in others a multitude of neighbouring ones rising to nearly an equal

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Weddell's Voyage towards the South Pole.


Isteht, and of a conical figure, resemble a group of pyramids. One of these peaks, the loftiest in the whole range, named by Capt. Weddell, Noble's Peak, can be seen in a clear day at the distance of fifteen leagues. In the bays that run in between these steep shores, innumerable ice-bergs are formed, which breaking away in summer, fill the neighbouring waters with drift-ice, and render the navigation exceed n, ly hazardous. Captain Weddell remained in the neigbourhood until the twenty-third of January, during which his boats coasted the islands in search of fur-seals without success. In the mean time he employed himself in settling the latitude and longitude of the several islands. He found the western extremity of Pomona, the largest in this group, to lie in latitude 60° 42' S. and longitude 46° 23' 52" west from Greenwich.

Not being able to effect the object of his voyage at the South Orkneys, Captain Weddell navigated, in different directions, the sea lying between them and the imperfectly explored coast laid down in the charts under the name of Sandwich land, until he had satisfied himself that there was no land in that quarter. He then stood to the southward. To encourage the vigilance of his crew, he offered a bounty of ten pounds to the man who should first discover land. In latitude 650 a large ice-island, the north side of which contained a mixture of dark earth, was mistaken for land, and it was only on a near examination that the error could be detected. Capt. Weddell thinks that many of the doubtful rocks laid down in the chart of the northern Atlantic ocean, may have been similar masses of ice. In latitude 65° 32' the variation of the needle by the azimuth compass was 12° 2' east; in 68° 28' it was 8° 5' east, and the vessels found themselves so thickly surrounded with ice-islands as almost to prevent their progress. On the 15th of February, in latitude 68° 44' Capt Weddell, in the forenoon, took a set of azimuths, which, to his astonishment, gave the variation but 1° 20' east; in the afternoon he took a second set, which gave 4° 58'.

“On the 16th at noon,” says the author," our latitude by account was 700 26', and longitude by chronometers 290 58'; the wind was moderate from the westward, and the sea tolerably smooth. Ice islands had almost disappeared, and the weather became very pleasant. Through the afternoon we had the wind fresh from the N.E., and we steered S.W. by W.

“ In the morning of the 17th the water appeared discoloured, we hove a cast of the lead, but found no bottom. A great number of birds of the blue peterel kind were about us, and many hump and finned back whales.

In the morning I look an amplitude, which gave variation 12° 24' east. The wind had shifted to the S.E. and became light. Our latitude at noon by account was 71° 34', and longitude by chronometers 30° 12'. As the weather was now more settled, our consort sailed wide, in order to extend our view.

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