A Voyage Round the World (2-Volume Set) by Georg Forster

By Georg Forster

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De Bougainville spent some time at Juan Fernandez, and completely refreshed his crew there, though he wishes to have it understood, that contrary winds prevented his touching at that island. Captain Cook in the Endeavour, battered the Loo-fort at Madeira, in conjunction with an English frigate, thus resenting an affront which had been offered to the British flag. F o r s t e r ’ s P r e f ac e The philosophers of the present age, to obviate the seeming contradictions in the accounts of different travellers, have been at the trouble to select certain authors in whom they have placed confidence, and rejected as fabulous the assertions of all the rest.

Forster does not take physical difference as a biological given in a strictly racist fashion. He instead supposes broad correspondence that is only gradually altered when people shift from one environmental situation to another. His suggestion that reference needs to be made back to “original races” is not the essentialist idea it might superficially appear to be; his own expression is misleading in this respect, since he proceeds to speculate that the ancestors of the New Caledonians and Tannese were adapted to richer and poorer environments respectively.

Captain Cook in the Endeavour, battered the Loo-fort at Madeira, in conjunction with an English frigate, thus resenting an affront which had been offered to the British flag. F o r s t e r ’ s P r e f ac e The philosophers of the present age, to obviate the seeming contradictions in the accounts of different travellers, have been at the trouble to select certain authors in whom they have placed confidence, and rejected as fabulous the assertions of all the rest. Without being competent judges of the subject, they have assumed a few circumstances as facts; and wresting even those to suit their own systems, have built a superstructure which pleases at a distance, but upon nearer examination partakes of the illusive nature of a dream.

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