Laperouse By Ernest Scott

 -  The reader of this
little book knows by this time that the visit to Botany Bay was not
originally contemplated - Page 60
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The Reader Of This Little Book Knows By This Time That The Visit To Botany Bay Was Not Originally Contemplated.

It was not in the programme.

What would have happened if Laperouse had safely returned home, and if the French Revolution had not destroyed Louis XVI and blown his exploration and colonisation schemes into thin air, is quite another question; but "ifs" are not history. You can entirely reconstruct the history of the human race by using enough "ifs," but with that sort of thing, which an ironist has termed "Iftory," and is often more amusing than enlightening, more speculative than sound, we have at present nothing to do. Here is the version of the visit given by Laperouse himself: -

"We made the land on the 23rd January. It has little elevation, and is scarcely possible to be seen at a greater distance than twelve leagues. The wind then became very variable; and, like Captain Cook, we met with currents, which carried us every day fifteen minutes south of our reckoning; so that we spent the whole of the 24th in plying in sight of Botany Bay, without being able to double Point Solander, which bore from us a league north. The wind blew strong from that quarter, and our ships were too heavy sailers to surmount the force of the wind and the currents combined; but that day we had a spectacle to which we had been altogether unaccustomed since our departure from Manilla. This was a British squadron, at anchor in Botany Bay, the pennants and ensigns of which we could plainly distinguish.

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