By Georg Forster
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Extra resources for A Voyage Round the World (2-Volume Set)
Forster addresses the paradox by hazarding that [p]erhaps instead of placing the causes which effect disparity of stature among various nations in the difference of food, this instance ought to teach us, to have some retrospect likewise to the original races from which those tribes are descended. . Let us Introduction for instance suppose, that the people of New Caledonia are the offspring of a nation, who by living in affluence, and in a genial climate, have not been stinted in their growth; the colony which removed into the barren soil of New Caledonia, will probably preserve the habit of body of their ancestors for many generations.
I must confess, it hurt me much, to see the chief intent of my father’s mission defeated, and the public disappointed in their expectations of a philosophical recital of facts. However, as I had been appointed his assistant in the course of this expedition, I thought it incumbent upon me, at least to attempt to write such a narrative. Every consideration prompted me to undertake the task, which it was no longer in his power to perform. 5 I was bound by no agreement whatsoever, and that to which my father had signed, did not make him answerable for my actions, nor in the most distant manner preclude his giving me assistance.
Stylistically, he suggests that an accumulation of nautical detail would make for a tedious read, purporting to have “studiously avoided nautical details” (8) to which in truth William Wales, the ship’s astronomer, had prevented him access, and equating, as if they were matters of equal interest, repetitious routine (“how often we reefed, or split a sail in a storm”) and what he calls, somewhat belittlingly, “instructive particulars” like the “bearings and distances of projecting capes, of peaks, hills, .
A Voyage Round the World (2-Volume Set) by Georg Forster