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Octavo, colour illustrations, map, fine copy in dustwrapper. On the great Pacific discovery expeditions of the eighteenth century, naturalists were commonly found aboard ships sailing forth from European ports. Lured by intoxicating opportunities to discover exotic and perhaps lucrative flora and fauna unknown at home, these men set out eagerly to collect and catalogue, study and document an uncharted natural world. This enthralling book is the first to describe the adventures and misadventures, discoveries and dangers of this devoted and sometimes eccentric band of explorer-scholars.

Their individual experiences are uniquely their own, but together their stories offer a new perspective on the extraordinary era of Pacific exploration and the achievements of an audacious generation of naturalists. Historian Glyn Williams illuminates the naturalist's lot aboard ship, where danger alternated with boredom and quarrels with the ship's commander were the norm.

The venture collapsed when mutineers led by Henry Every soon to become better known as the pirate 'Captain John Avery' sailed away on the flagship to embark on a career of freebooting in eastern waters.

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Of Dampier's care in writing and safeguarding his notes there can be no doubt. Escaping from the Cygnet among the Nicobar Islands in May , he was in a canoe that overturned, soaking 'my Journal and some Drafts of Land of my own taking, which I much prized', and which were only saved after much drying in front of 'great fires'.

During this canoe voyage Dampier also referred to his 'Pocket-book' in which he had entered navigational details before leaving the ship. Three years later, he described another escapade in which 'I came by stealth from Bencooly [Benkulen], and left all my books Drafts and Instruments Cloaths bedding I only brought with me this Journall and my painted prince.

As he crossed the rivers and swamps of the Panama Isthmus in he described how he placed 'my Journal and other writings' in a bamboo cane plugged with wax to keep them dry, and 'the journal' that Dampier brought back to England probably consisted of a number of separate logs, notebooks and loose sheets. Given the precarious circumstances of his travels, moving from ship to ship, sometimes in small boats, sometimes living a hand-to-mouth existence on land, it is remarkable that Dampier managed to obtain the necessary writing materials to keep a detailed record, and then protected it from insect ravages, enemy action and the carelessness of shipmates.

Of these original manuscripts there is no trace, although the Sloane Manuscripts in the British Library contain a journal of Dampier's voyages which internal evidence shows was written after his return to England. The main text is in the hand of an unknown clerk, but it contains many additions and corrections in Dampier's handwriting. Even so, it is considerably shorter than the published account of , and contains little of the information on the natural history of the places Dampier visited that made A New Voyage so original and valuable an account. One of the most puzzling aspects of the authorial relationship between Dampier's New Voyage and the Sloane journal is their different descriptions of the Aborigines of New Holland.

The Cygnet 's anchorage of five weeks in King Sound in early was the longest known stay by Europeans on the Australian mainland. Earlier Dutch landings had been for a matter of days, sometimes only hours, and often without any contact with the local inhabitants.


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Dampier, by contrast, saw enough of the Aborigines to devote several pages to them, and his description of them in the New Voyage was to live long in the European memory. Naked, black, without dwellings,.

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They are tall, strait-bodied, and thin, with small long Limbs Their Eyelids are always half closed, to keep the Flies out of their Eyes They are long-visaged, and of a very unpleasing Aspect, having no one graceful Feature in their Faces. Their Hair is black, short and curl'd like that of the Negroes, and not long and lank, like the Common Indians. They had no metal or implements; their only weapons were wooden swords and spears. They grew no crops, trapped nothing and seemed to live on small fish stranded at low tide.

Their speech was unintelligible. Some of them were taken on board the ship, where they showed no curiosity about their new surroundings. Attempts were made to press them into service carrying water casks, but 'all the signs we could make were to no purpose, for they stood like Statues, without motion, but grinn'd like so many Monkeys, staring one upon another'. It is reported of this plant, that if it is infused in any liquor, it will stupefy the brains of any person that drinks thereof; but it operates diversely, according to the constitution of the person.

Some it keeps sleepy, some merry, putting them into a laughing fit, and others it makes mad.

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At last he was showing signs of travel-weariness — 'I began to long after my native Country, after so tedious a Ramble from it' — and in January he set sail from Sumatra in an East Indiaman, and arrived home in September. With him came an enforced visitor to England: Jeoly, 'the painted [tattooed] Prince', captured on a small island near Mindanao.

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Once back in England, shortage of funds compelled Dampier to sell his half-share in the unfortunate Jeoly, who was exhibited at sideshows before dying of smallpox. Little is known about Dampier's movements between his return to England and the publication of his New Voyage six years later. The venture collapsed when mutineers led by Henry Every soon to become better known as the pirate 'Captain John Avery' sailed away on the flagship to embark on a career of freebooting in eastern waters.

Of Dampier's care in writing and safeguarding his notes there can be no doubt. Escaping from the Cygnet among the Nicobar Islands in May , he was in a canoe that overturned, soaking 'my Journal and some Drafts of Land of my own taking, which I much prized', and which were only saved after much drying in front of 'great fires'. During this canoe voyage Dampier also referred to his 'Pocket-book' in which he had entered navigational details before leaving the ship.

Three years later, he described another escapade in which 'I came by stealth from Bencooly [Benkulen], and left all my books Drafts and Instruments Cloaths bedding I only brought with me this Journall and my painted prince. As he crossed the rivers and swamps of the Panama Isthmus in he described how he placed 'my Journal and other writings' in a bamboo cane plugged with wax to keep them dry, and 'the journal' that Dampier brought back to England probably consisted of a number of separate logs, notebooks and loose sheets.

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Given the precarious circumstances of his travels, moving from ship to ship, sometimes in small boats, sometimes living a hand-to-mouth existence on land, it is remarkable that Dampier managed to obtain the necessary writing materials to keep a detailed record, and then protected it from insect ravages, enemy action and the carelessness of shipmates.

Of these original manuscripts there is no trace, although the Sloane Manuscripts in the British Library contain a journal of Dampier's voyages which internal evidence shows was written after his return to England.

The main text is in the hand of an unknown clerk, but it contains many additions and corrections in Dampier's handwriting. Even so, it is considerably shorter than the published account of , and contains little of the information on the natural history of the places Dampier visited that made A New Voyage so original and valuable an account. One of the most puzzling aspects of the authorial relationship between Dampier's New Voyage and the Sloane journal is their different descriptions of the Aborigines of New Holland. The Cygnet 's anchorage of five weeks in King Sound in early was the longest known stay by Europeans on the Australian mainland.

Earlier Dutch landings had been for a matter of days, sometimes only hours, and often without any contact with the local inhabitants. Dampier, by contrast, saw enough of the Aborigines to devote several pages to them, and his description of them in the New Voyage was to live long in the European memory. Naked, black, without dwellings,. They are tall, strait-bodied, and thin, with small long Limbs Their Eyelids are always half closed, to keep the Flies out of their Eyes They are long-visaged, and of a very unpleasing Aspect, having no one graceful Feature in their Faces.


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