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of stones and ashes. These islands extend along the coast, from east to west above four hundred miles, and were supposed to join the continent till Magellan sailed through the straits that part them from it. They were then thought one continued island, till several navigators found they were divided by narrow channels. To these may be added the Bermudas, and the islands of Cape Breton, St. John, and Newfoundland.
CLIMATE, SOIL, MOUNTAINS, SPRINGS,
THE island of Juan Fernandes is of an irregular figure, about fifteen miles long, and six broad; but is remarkable for its beauty. The face of the country, at least of the north part of the island, is extremely singular : the woods that cover most of the steepest hills, being free from bushes and underwood, afford an easy passage through every part of them; and the irregularity of the hills and precipices trace out, by their various combinations, a great number of romantic valleys, most of which have a stream of clear water running through them that falls in cascades from rock to rock, as the bottom of the valley, by the course of the neighbouring hills, is broken into a sudden sharp descent. In these valleys, are some particular spots, where the shade and fragrance of the contiguous woods, the loftiness of the overhanging rocks, and the transparency and frequent falls of the neighbouring streams, exhibit scenes of such elegance and dignity as would with difficulty be rivalled in any other part of the globe ; for here the simple pro
ductions of unassisted nature may be said to excel all the fictitious descriptions of the most animated imagination. This island was very propitious to the remains of Commodore Anson's squadron in 1741; after they had been buffeted with tempests and debilitated by an inveterate scurvy. The piece of ground, in which the Commodore pitched his tent, was a small lawn, that lay on a little ascent, at the distance of about half a mile from the sea.
In the front of his tent was a large avenue cut through the woods to the sea-side, which, sloping to the water with a gentle descent, opened a prospect of the bay and the ships at anchor. This lawn was screened behind by a tall wood of myrtle, sweeping round it in form of a theatre; the slope on which the wood stood rising with a much sharper ascent than the lawn itselt; though not so much but that the hills and precipices within land, towered up considerably above the tops of the trees, and added to the grandeur of the view. There were likewise two streams of crystal water which ran to the right and left of the tent within a hundred yards distance; and were shaded by the trees, which bordered the lawns on either side, and completed the symmetry of the whole.
There are instances of two men living, at different times, alone, on this island for many years ; the one a Mosquito Indian, the other Alexander Selkirk a Scotchinan, who was, after five years, taken on board an English ship and brought back to Europe. From the history of this recluse, Daniel De Foe wrote his “ Adventures of Robinson Crusoe," and robbed Selkirk of both the honour and profits of his manuscripts. • Here we shall take the liberty to make a short digression, in order to present our readers with some account of this extraordinary man.-Alexander Selkirk was born in thecounty of Fife about the year 1676, and was bred a seaman. He went from England in 1703, in the capacity of sailing master of a small vessel, called the Cinque Ports Galley, Charles Pickering captain ; and in September the same year, he sailed from Cork in company with another ship called the St. George, commanded by William Dampier, intending to cruize on the Spaniards in the South Sea. On the coast of Brasil Pickering died, and was succeeded in his command by lieutenant Stradling. They proceeded on their voyage round Cape Horn to the island of Juan Fernandes, whence they were driven hy the appearance of two French ships of thirty-six guns each, and left five of Stradling's men there on shore, who were taken off by the French. From hence they sailed to the coast of America, where Dampier and Stradling quarrelled and separated by agreement on the 19th of May 1704. In September following, Stradling came again to the island of Juan Fernandes, where Selkirk and his captain had a difference, which, with the circumstance of the ship's being very leaky, induced him to determine on staying there alone. When his companions were about to depart, his resolution was shaken, and he desired to be taken on board ; but the captain positively refused to admit him, and he was consequently obliged to remain, having nothing but his clothes, bedding, a gun, and a small quantity of powder and ball; a hatchet, knife, and kettle ; and his books and mathematical and nautical instruments. He kept up his spirits tolerably well till he saw the vessel put off ; but then (as he afterwards related) his heart yearned within him,
rand melted at the thought of parting with his comrades and all human society at once.,
A vinse bourg minst the rooted, eve me Arcas,
love we hear mankind, Alruffians as they were,
never heard MBX29!'(A sound so dismal as their parting oars."
Thomson's Agamemnon. .7%; B. *. Thus lelt sóle monarch of the island, with plenty
of the necessaries of life," he found himself in a situation hardly supportable. He had fish, goats
flesh, turnips, and other vegetables; yet he grew dejected, fanguid, and melancholy, to such a degree as to be scarcely able to refrain from putting a period to his existence. "Eighteen months passed before he could, by reasoning, reading his bible, and meditation, be thoroughly reconciled to his situation. At length, however, he grew happy, employing himself in decorating his hut, and chas.. ing the goats, which he seldom failed of catching. He also tamed young kids, laning them, to prevent
their running away; and, he constantly kept a · guard of tâme'cats about him, to defend him from
the rats, which were exceedingly troublesome. When his clothes- were worn out, he made others of goats skins, but could not succeed in making shoes; with the use of which, lowever, he was in
ime enabled to dispense. He computed that he diad englit a thousand goats during his abode in the island of which lie had released five hundred safter matk iniga them by slitting their horns. He -made companions of his tame goats, and cats, ofien dancingi and singing with them. He also frequently reall #loud; anel-performed his devotions eft . 'stated hotits; yet whenylie was taken off the
island, his language, from disuse of conversation, was become scarcely intelligible.
In this solitude Selkirk continued nearly five years; during which time only two incidents hap. pened which he thought worth relating, the occurrences of every day being, in his circumstances, nearly similar. The one was, that pursuing a goat eagerly, he caught it just on the edge of a precipice, which was covered with bushes, so that be did not perceive it, and he fell over to the bottom, where he supposed by the alteration of the moon that he had lain three days. When he came to himself, he found the goat lying under him dead, and it was with great difficulty that he could crawl to his habitation, whence he was unable to stir for ten days. The other event was the arrival of a ship which he supposed to be French; and so strong was the love of society in his mind that he was eager to abandon his solitary felicity, and sur, render himself to them, although enemies; but upon their landing he found them to be Spaniards, of whom he had too great a dread to trust himself in their hands. They were by this time so near, that it required all his agility to escape, which he effected by climbing into a thick tree, being shot at several times as he ran off.
His enemies having deparled, Selkirk returned to his situation, and reconciled himself as much as possible to his solitary life till the ed of February, 1709, where captains Rogers and Courtney arsived in two privateers from Bristol, and after a fortnight's stay at Juan Fernandes, appointed him master's mate of one of their vessels. In October 1711, he arrived in England, where the public curiosity was so strongly excited concerning him, that he was persuaded to put his papers into the