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In all ages and countries individuals have arisen, so deeply imbued with the spirit of enterprise, and a desire to visit distant climes, that they have cheerfully resigned the comforts and even the luxuries of life, to make discoveries in the fields of science, or to gratify a refined taste for the picturesque; braving noxious climates, and the perils which abound in savage lands, for the sake of acquiring knowledge, and increasing the store of facts which the statesman and the moralist turn to so great an account. For this the traveller toils: his details,
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perchance, leading to the establishment of cities, where all was heretofore barbarism and desolation; his suggestions and experience teaching the untutored savage to rear the aliments of life, and gradually introducing those arts which civilise and elevate him in the scale of humanity.
These reflections have been called forth by a careful perusal of the New Zealand Journal, and they here terminate -- the purpose of this Introduction being to supply the reader with a brief and succinct narrative of the events which led our traveller to Tristan d'Acunha and New Zealand.
It appears (from documents furnished by himself), that, although educated as an artist, "a love of roving and adventure" tempted him, at an early age, to sea. Accordingly, in 1815, through some interest he possessed at the Admiralty, he procured a passage on board a store-
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ship bound to Sicily and Malta, where he had a brother stationed who was a captain in the navy. In one of the small craft attached to the British flotilla, he visited many parts of the Mediterranean, accompanying Lord Exmouth's fleet in his brother's gun-boat, on his Lordship's first expedition against the Barbary states. A peace being concluded with the Bey, he visited the ruins of Carthage, and likewise the remains of the ancient city of Ptolomea or Lepida, situated in ancient Libya; the Bey providing our traveller and his companions with a tent, camels, and a strong guard of Janissaries to protect them against the Arabs. After this he returned to Malta, passed through Sicily, and ascended Mount Aetna. He next proceeded to Gibraltar, taking a minute survey of that mighty rock, its batteries, caves, and Moorish ruins.
In the summer of 1817 he returned to England, which he quitted in the March
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following for the United States of America. After rambling through them, which occupied nearly two years, he embarked, February 11th, 1820, on board "The Warrior," and reached Rio de Janeiro on the 2d of April. In the June following he visited the coast of Chili; and on the 18th of July he reached Lima, where he remained practising his profession as an artist till the 10th of December, when he left it on board "The Hyperion," bound to England, in the expectation of meeting a vessel proceeding to Rio. "The Hyperion" having spoken "The Anna," from Stockholm, he was put on board of her, and returned to Rio, where he pursued his art with great perseverance and success; and, towards the commencement of 1824, having received the most flattering offers of introduction to Lord Amherst, who had just left England to take upon himself the government of India, Mr. Earle
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resolved on quitting Rio, and proceeding to the Cape of Good Hope, thence intending to take his passage to Calcutta. Wearied, however, with awaiting the arrival of a vessel bound to the Cape, he was enterprising enough, contrary to the advice of all his friends at Rio, to intrust himself on board "The Duke of Gloucester," a worn-out Margate hoy, which was proceeding thither with potatoes, laden to the water's edge. In what manner she was driven into Tristan D'Acunha my readers are informed in the "Journal." Suffice it to say, he remained on the island till taken off by "The Admiral Cockburn," Captain Cooling, commander, bound to Van Diemen's Land; whence he visited New South Wales and New Zealand, returning again to Sidney, where, after making innumerable sketches, and furnishing Mr. Burford with the original drawings for his Panorama, recently exhibited in Leices-
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ter Square, he determined to proceed to India, and accordingly left the coast of New Holland in "The Rainbow," commanded by the Hon. Captain Roos. This vessel touched at the Caroline Islands, proceeded to Guam, one of the Ladrones, thence to Manilla, and afterwards to Sincapoor; where he was introduced to "the Resident," who paid him every attention. The vessel then sailed through the Straits of Malacca to Pulo-Penang, he enriching his portfolio at every resting-place.
At Madras he acquired both fame and money; and during his short stay there executed the original drawings of that Presidency, which have been since copied and exhibited as a Panorama, by Messrs. Daniell and Parris. While in the zenith of his celebrity, his health unfortunately declined, and he was advised to leave India with as little delay as possible; and, feeling convinced his life depended
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on his speedy departure, he immediately went down to Pondicherry, taking thence his passage to England, by way of France, on board "La Julie," a trader bound to Bourdeaux, and laden with a heavy cargo of sugar; but being overtaken by adverse gales, the captain was compelled to lighten his vessel by throwing overboard the whole of the cargo, and after considerable difficulty made the Mauritius; where, "La Julie" being condemned, our traveller was obliged to remain until the arrival of the first ship bound for England. This proved to be the free trader "Resource," commanded by Captain Stodart. During the stay of this vessel at the Mauritius, Mr. Earle executed a series of beautiful panoramic views of this picturesque and interesting island. He arrived safely in this country, with a spirit not at all depressed by the vicissitudes and perils he had gone through, but with an increased
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and more insatiable desire to visit climes which he had read of, but never seen. An opportunity soon offered, and he unhesitatingly availed himself of it; accepting the situation of draughtsman to his Majesty's ship "Beagle," commanded by Captain Fitzroy, and which has lately left these shores on a voyage of discovery not likely to terminate under four years.