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Dampier's New Voyage on its publication won immediate success, and has ever since maintained its place in the front rank among the most notable records of maritime adventure.
It stands midway between the epic tales of Hakluyt and the official narratives of the world voyages of Anson and Cook. As a record of buccaneering it comes between the applauded filibustering of Hawkins and Drake and the condemned piracy of the eighteenth century. The stories of the buccaneers are on the verge of romance.
On an episode in the life of one of them Defoe founded one of the great romances of all time--"a most circumstantial and elaborate lie," as Leslie Stephen calls it, "for which we are all grateful. In his Preface Dampier describes his book as "composed of a mixed relation of places and actions," a modest and inadequate indication which would hardly be approved by the advertising experts of the present day.
The relation of places was, in fact, an extensive contribution to the geographical and ethnographical knowledge of his time. Nor does the description take count of the frequent excursions in the realm of natural history which diversify the main story with detailed accounts of tropical animals and plants, not highly scientific indeed, but accurate for the most part and novel to his readers.
Another more general description is that of the title page, "A voyage round the world. Dampier, however, left England without any purpose of rounding the globe, and apparently had no mind to do so until, after many years of devotion to other pursuits, he found himself already halfway home.
His was no single voyage, rather the haphazard resultant of episodical voyages, some only of which were in the line of circumnavigation; in the course of these writing research papers a complete guide perfect-bound 11th edition he must have sailed in a dozen ships, apart from canoes and other boats.
He accomplished the grand tour, however, a feat which in his time could with luck have been achieved in two years--it took him twelve and a half.
Many men who recount adventures in which they have borne a part describe fully their own actions and conduct; some with a particularity trying to the reader's patience.
Dampier is not one of these. In the New Voyage, which began when he was 27, he says nothing of his previous life and throughout shows a too strict reserve in regard to his share in the events related.
To enable readers of the present volume to form some estimate of the man a sketch of his life, however inadequate, has to be provided. The details of his subsequent career, which includes a second circumnavigation and two other notable voyages, would be hardly appropriate here.
They will not be touched further than seems necessary for an appraisement of Dampier's conduct and character. All that is known of Dampier's early life is told by himself in the first chapter of his Voyages to the Bay of Campeachy.
He was born in the earlier half ofthe son of a farmer at East Coker, near Yeovil.
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His father died inand his mother in His parents had designed him for commercial life; he was sent to school, probably at Yeovil, and attended the Latin class. On the death of his mother his guardians "took other measures" and "removed me from the Latin school to learn writing and arithmetic," in other words, transferred him to the Modern Side.
A year or so later, having had "very early inclinations to see the world," he was apprenticed to the master of a Weymouth ship and with him made a voyage to France and then to Newfoundland.
He was "pinched with the rigour of that cold climate" and set his heart on a long voyage in summer seas. Soon after his return to London his chance came and, now 19 years of age, he embarked on a voyage to Bantam, serving before the mast.
Returning home early inhe spent the rest of the year with his brother in Somersetshire. He soon tired of home life and the Second Dutch War was now afoot. Dampier enlisted and fought under Sir Edward Spragge in his first two engagements.
A day or two before the third, in which Sir Edward was killed, he fell sick and after a long illness went home to his brother. There a neighbouring gentleman, Colonel Hillier, made him an offer of employment in the management of his plantation in Jamaica under a Mr.
Whalley, and he set forth in the Content of London, working his passage as a seaman, under agreement for his discharge on arrival. This he deemed necessary lest he should be "trepanned and sold as a servant after my arrival in Jamaica.
Whalley on the plantation "Mile walk," i. Ann's, in the north of the island. He soon left an employment in which, as he says, he was clearly out of his element, and spent some months in trading cruises round the island, during which he "came acquainted with all the ports and bays about Jamaica and with their manufactures, as also with the benefit of the land and sea-winds.
Now also began his practice of keeping a journal, which he had omitted in his voyage to Bantam. Between and Dampier spent about two years in cutting and loading log-wood on the Bay of Campeachy, an occupation which he seemed to have enjoyed.
The resistance of Spain to foreign intrusion was becoming feeble, and Dampier reckons there were Englishmen engaged in the log-wood trade.
For a short time he resumed work at Campeachy, thence returning to Jamaica and back to London August It does not appear that they had any children, and nothing more is known of the wife till some 25 years later. He had to work for his living and now projected another expedition to Campeachy--"but it proved to be a voyage round the world.The definitive research paper guide, Writing Research Papers combines a traditional and practical approach to the research process with the latest information on electronic research and presentation.
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