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Philipp1nes, Borneo, the Molluccas, Singapore, etc., crossing the Indian Ocean, rounding the Cape of Good Hope,- calling at the island of St. Helena, and other points of interest in the Atlantic; reaching New York, January 1oth, 1842. Wilkes was the author of many important works, while the voluminous records kept of the expedition, and published by our Government, contain an immense amount of valuable information. Wilkes took part in the United States Civil War, serving with marked ability, and was created rear-admiral on the retired list, July 25th, 1866.
I8I.AND HISCELLANV, AND DEPTHS OF THE SEA.
Stcill'd in the globe and sphere, he gravely stands,
Dryden (Sixth Satire of Juvenal).
THERE are many points of interest to be glanced at, still, on the Pacific Ocean, a few of which I note below, before concluding with the depths of the sea.
This island, located in latitude 28 deg. 58 min. south, and longitude 167 deg. 46 min. east, something over one thousand miles northeast from Sydney, has a population, at present, of not over five hundred people, and an area of about fifteen square miles. It is the principal of a group of small islets, known as the Bird Islands. It is put down as one of Cook's discoveries, in 1774. The surface is extremely rugged, standing high above the ocean level. In fact, so precipitous are its sides, that but two landing places are to be found, indenting the shores, and these dangerous, from the baffling currents and heavy surf. A portion of the lands, back from the coast, is very fertile, nearly all the products of tropical and temperate
regions growing luxuriantly. The island was not made a point of interest till 1787, when it was settled by convicts and ticket-of-leave men from Australia. In 1825, it was made a penal colony by that country, but finally abandoned in 1855. It was granted to the descendants of the Bounty mutineers, in 1857. A part of their number (about one hundred) became dissatisfied, and returned to Pitcairn. I am told that, on some parts of the island, there is a perfect network of underground workings, such as tunnels, shafts, etc., made by the prisoners, more to occupy the time of a horrible existence, than for any other purpose.
THE CHATAM GROUP.
Between latitudes 43 deg. 30 min., and 45 deg. 20 min. south, and longitudes 176 deg. 10 min., and 177 deg. 20 min. west—about six hundred miles to the east of New Zealand, and under the same rule, are the Chatam Islands. There are fifteen in the group, if we count the islets, with an area of about eight hundred square miles, and a population not exceeding five hundred. Chatam, Southeast and Pitt, are of some importance, growing all the products of temperate climes, when properly cultivated.
Through wars with the Maoris of New Zealand, the inhabitants have almost disappeared, and agriculture neglected, leaving little to be found of interest, outside of the bleak comforts of a South Sea whaling station.
The geological formation is that of New Zealand; the soil very fertile, but without the extensive floral growth of the former. Some curious lakes and lagoons, of brackish water, are found here—often many miles in extent, and separated from the sea, at some points,