Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On wild deer and buffaloes and the king of Denmark

Wed 24 Feb 1773: A very remarkable paragraph was published in one of the Edinburgh Papers:—
"We learn from the Rosses, in the county of Donegal, in Ireland, that a Danish man-of-war, called the North Crown, commanded by the Baron D'Ulfeld, arrived off those islands, from a voyage of discovery towards the Pole. They sailed from Bornholme, in Norway, the 1st of June, 1769, with stores for eighteen months, and some able astronomers, landscape-painters, and every apparatus suitable to the design; and steering N. by E. half E., for thirty-seven days, with a fair wind and open sea, discovered a large rocky island, which having doubled, they proceeded W. N. W., till the 17th of September, when they found themselves in a strong current, between two high lands, seemingly about ten leagues distant, which carried them at a prodigious rate for three days, when, to their great joy, they saw the main land of America, that lies between the most westerly part of the settlements on Hudson’s River and California. Here they anchored, in a fine cove, and found abundance of wild deer and buffaloes, with which they victualled; and sailing southward, in three months got into the Pacific Ocean, and returned by the Straits of Le Maine and the West India Islands. They have brought many curiosities, particularly a prodigious bird, called a contor, or contose, above six feet in height, of the eagle kind, whose wings, expanded, measure twenty-two feet four inches. After bartering some skins with the country people, for meal, rum, and other necessaries, they sailed for Bremen, to wait the thaw, previous to their return to Copenhagen.
"February 24, 1773."
If this account is true, one would hope not only the King of Denmark will avail himself of so important a discovery.

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