From the observations I have had an opportunity of making at this place; I determine the Church of St. Francis which has a Cupola Tower to lie in Latitude 28°28′N and Longitude from Greenwich 16°17′48″ West, and allowing the Pic as I found it in 1776 to be 12 Miles South of it at Longitude 29′33″ West, the Situation of the Pic then becomes 28°16′N and 16°47′ West —I know when I was with Captain Cook that the Situations of those places were determined to be near a quarter of a degree further to the West; but I am inclined to believe that the present, by agreeing so near with the French Astronomers observations are most likely to be exact.
I am sorry I had not an opportunity of making more observations for the Variation of the Compass, for as I had led myself to believe it did not exceed 15 degrees I could not help being more particularly surprised to find we had made it full 20 degrees. The Weather has been remarkably Cloudy the whole Passage which has prevented me from making the number of observations I otherwise would, and most liely could have determined the Value of these observations; but it is to be remarked that in Latitude 30°52′N I found 22° Variation. time and opportunity therefore must determine how far my Compasses may be affected by Iron in the ship. My observations are invariably made in one Spot (that is on the Binnacle) so that at all times it is to be supposed they will equally be affected.
The Course into this Road of Santa Cruz is WBS by Compass from the NE part of the Island, keeping at a distance of two or three miles from the Shore which is One Continued Range of craggy hills. The Town lies at the Western part of those Hills, off which you anchor from 20 to 25 fathoms. St. Francis's Church bearing from the WBS to [?] and the Fort on the South point of the Road bearing from SWBW to SW½South. The Southermost Land that can be seen then, will be a half to a quarter point further out, and your distance from the shore will be about 3/4 of a mile.
There is a Town which can be easily seen to the South of Santa Cruz as you're standing into the Road. While this Town remains open with the South point of the Road, altho you appear near in you can find no ground for anchorage; but after you have shut it entirely in, you will begin to draw in upon the Bank, and not untill the Southermost Castle bears full SW should a ship be anchored.
The bottom is black soft mud which however they say is not free from Rocks and causes them to buoy their Cables up. This precaution whether useful or not in that particular they [?] easeth their riding when there is much Sea setting into the Road. They moor in general with four anchors, but two of them are very commonly a Burlesque of security, being of small weight and small Hawsers. [?] is much to be recommended at this place and the tawter [tauter] the ship is moored the better, that in little winds the cable may not drop to the bottom, as it is probable there is some patches of foul ground as I this time found one of my cables a little rubbed.
The landing on the Beach is generally impracticable with our own Boats; but there is a very fine Pier on which People may land with little difficulty, and where very fine fresh water is conducted down for the use of shipping in general, and to which all Merchant Ships pay.
As soon as I anchored I sent an officer to the Governer to pay my Respects to him, and to acquaint him I had put in to receive some few refreshments, and to repair what damages I had sustaned in bad weather; which both to my Boats and Ship, altho I had got the better of the deffects in some degree, yet it required to be better done before I proceeded on my Voyage. The officer returned with a very polite message from the governor the Marquis of Brancheforte, that I whould most readily be suppplied with anything the Island afforded. I also desired the officer to acquaint the Governor I would Salute provided I had the same number of guns returned, but as his Excellency never returned the same number but to persons of equal Rank to himself, this ceremoney was put aside.
I was soon visited by the Port Master a Captain Adams in the Spanish Service, the intent of which was to get informed of what I had already informed his Excellency with, who on being informed of the circumstances by this officer sent him on board with some other officers to Compliment me upon my arrival, and in the afternoon as soon as the ship was safe moored I waited the Governor in person. I thanked him for his politenss and Civility.
On Monday Morning I began to forward the Ships business with the utmost dispatch, I found Mr. McCarrick who was Contractor when I was here in 1776 had given it up to Mr. Collogan to whom I immediately went. I ordered the necessary supplies I wanted. As I had the honor to receive a most polite invitation to dine with the Governor today, I accepted of it, and before I left him took an opportunity to ask his permission for a Botanical person Mr. Nelson (who is with me) to range the Hills and any part he might think elligible, in search of Plants and Natural Curiosities. This was readily complyed with. He has instituted here a most charitable and laudable Society of which himself is the head, and they have by considerable contributions built a large Airy dwelling that contains 120 poor Girls, and as many Men and Boys, with a Sufficiency of land round it to enlarge the building for more objects of charity as their funds increase. I had the honor to be shown by His Excellency, this Asylum (or Hospice as they call it) where every degree of Chearfulness and content was very conspicuous in the Countenances of every one. The decency and cleanliness of the dress of the young Females, with the order they were arranged in at their spinning wheels and looms, in an extensive, airy apartment, was equal to any thing I ever saw, they had a Governess who inspected and regulated all their work. Their Manufactories were Ribbons of all Colours, Tapes & Coarse Linnens, all which is managed and brought to perfection by themselves from the flax or [?] in its first state. Even the dying of the Colours are all done by them, and have great beauty and lustre as well as variety. They are kept in the most regular manner with respect to hours and their health is most carefully attended to. Their apartments are exceedingly clean & decent, and their meals altho homely are plentiful and good. They are taken in for five years, at the end of which they are at liberty to marry, and have for their portion, their Wheel and Loom, and a sum of monies in proportion to the Value of their funds, which at present is estimated at two Thousand Dollars per year from the sale of their Manufactories.
The Men and Boys are not less attended to. They are employed in coarser Work, blanketing and all kinds of Woolens, and if they become infirm they spend the remainder of their days comfortably and under a watchful Inspector, who is placed here also in the same manner as the Governess over the Girls. They are visited every day by the Governor, and a Minister attends them daily towards the evening who admonishes them to continue to behave well and look forward to the greatest benefits that will result from their good conduct and Industry.
Such is this Noble Institution before which in this Island the Poor naturally given to indolence, and the climate rather admitting them to find their wants but few; would wander in Rags and uncleanliness, and bear in preference that wretched Situation to an Industrious way of life.
Altho I find the Season is not favorable for any other supplies besides wine, we have this advantage to get it tolerably good, and as I conceive it to be far preferable in hot weather to any Spirits, I have ordered a sufficient Quantity on board. I have also bought some for my own use of the first quality for £15 Sterling per Pipe, which with an additional age of two years may challenge the best London Madeira. Captain Cook in his account of this place in our first Voyage says he got the best Wine for £12 per Pipe, but it has been denyed to me that it was so, mine however has cost me £15, and the Contract Wine is at 20 pound Sterling per Gallon, for which I must do Mr Collogan Justice to say that he has given me Wine of an excellent quality. Indian Corn, Potatoes, Pompions & Onions are all very scarce and double the price of what they are in Summer. Beef also is scarce to be got, and is exceedingly lean. I received 230 pounds at nearly 6¼d per pound. The Corn was 3 Current Dollars per Tanneg equal to 10/ Sterling the Tanneg only equal to Two Small Bushels. Bread sold at 7½ Dollars per Kental* or 100 lbs English, which is 25/ Sterling. Poultry also was scarce, and a good Fowl was sold for nearly 3 Shillings. This is not therefore a place for ships to touch at this season of the year unless for Wine, but from March to November the Supplies are plentiful, and a variety of Fruit of which at this time I have only seen a few dryed Figs & some Oranges.
* [quintal: hundredweight]
Mr McCarrick from whom is Doctor Henderson's Account in Cook's Voyage respecting the Tea Plant and the Impregnated Lemon, related to me the same matter. The Impregnated Lemon which is one perfect lemon within another he assured me was only produced from the blossoms that are thrown out in the Month of May, and not then are all the Fruit impregnated. At this time I saw a Tree in his garden which had a few fruit on it, but these were just the same as the common Lemon. Mr Nelson informed me [he] had seen what they called the Tea Plant, but he thought it was not all like any of that which is in the East Indies.
The Town of Santa Cruz is near half a mile in extent each way built in a regular manner, but the Streets very ill paved. Having very little verdure on the adjacent Hills. The Situation in Summer time is intolerably hot, but as their Dwellings are in general large and airy, the heat is very variable when not exposed to the Sun. Indeed the Climate of this Island is as desireable as any in the World, and the diferent Situations it affords, give you as many different Temperatures of Air which with the Temperance of the Inhabitants, it is not to be wondered at if they live in general to be Old. Diseases are not various or common, but if any epidemick maladies happen among them they are after attended with the several consequences, particularly the small Pox, which however, they endeavor to counteract by Inoculation. From this it is highly proper that they should be as particular as they are in admitting ships or vessels to have any communication with the shore without Blls of health.
A Sloop from London called the Chance Mr Meredith, Master, bound for Barbadoes, out 19 days from the Downs came in the day before I sailed, in want of several Articles owing to the bad Weather he had met with in his Passage, but as he had brought no Bill of health the Governor would not allow any One to come on shore, unless I could vouch for them that no epidemic disease raged particularly in England at the time they sailed. As it was nearly my time of leaving the land I could of course very safely do it, and the Governor immediately gave them permission to receive the necessary supplies.
The Town is supplied with very fine water from a Fountain near the residence of the Governor. It is brought to this place from a Stream about 6 miles distant across the Hills to the NE of the Town by wood Gutterings.
I was induced to hire Craft to bring our water off in preference to risking my own Boats, and I paid at the Rate of .5/Sterling per Ton.
The Computation of the number of Inhabitants of this Island varies from 80 to 100 Thousand, and however the export of Wine has been Stated, I have been assured that 20 Thousand Pipes and half the Quantity of Brandys is the most that has ever taken place. Vessels are frequently here from St. Eustatius, and from thence a great quanitity of Wine is carried to the West India Islands under the name of Madeira and I see no great reason to lament their being deceived.
The greatest extent of this Island is computed by the Inhabitants to be 54 Miles which may be the Case as they ride it, but I make it no more than 37 as I fix its Northern Extremity in 20°43′N and its Southern in 20°06′N. However making a Diagram of the Island I compute it to contain 728 Sqauare Miles.
The Tenariffeans say the Island is of more Value than all the other Canaries put together, yet they are often glad and in scarce seasons receive Supplies from the Grand Canary; but as much as this may be the Case, their Vineyards are considered vastly Superior. Their produce of Corn altho extremely good, is not sufficient for their Consumption, and the Americans supply them and take their Wine in return.
It may not be unworthy of notice a Grand essay of the Governors rearing Trees near the Water side in front of the Town, as the Rains here are not sufficient to produce the desired effect. They have ingenuously conducted water to their Roots by pipes and the soil being improved they have every Chance of Living. A pretty extensive promenade is formed among those Trees, ornamented with Vases and a Jet d'eau.
It was Wednesday Afternoon before I could get all the Ships duty & business completed, and having acquainted the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty of my proceedings, a Packet being to sail for Corruna in the Course of Ten days; I left this place with a Chearful & happy Ships Company all in good health and spirits with a fine Breeze from the SE.