James Cook - A Journal of the proceedings of His Majesty's Bark Endeavour on a voyage round the world, by Lieutenant James Cook, Commander, commencing the 25th of May 1768 - 23 Oct. 1770 - Page 319
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New Wales or En Coast of New Holland
be said of the islands, especially between Lat.de of 20° & 22° where we saw island out at sea as far as we could distinguish anything. however take the chart in general & I believe it will be found to contain as few errors as most sea charts which have not undergone a thorough correction, the latitude & Long.de fall or most of the principal headlands bays etc may be relied on for we seldom fail'd of getting an observation every day to correct our lat.de by & the observation for setting the Long.de were no less numerous & made as often as the Sun & Moon came in play so that it was impossible for any material error to creep into our reckoning in the intermediate times. In justice to Mr Green I must say that he was indefaligable in making & calculating these observations which otherwise must have taken up a good deal of my time which I could not at all times very well spare, not only this, but by his instructions several of the petty officers can make & calculate these observa.ns almost as well as himself it is only by such means that this method of finding the Long.de at sea can be put into universal practice a method that we have generally found may be depended upon to within 1/2 a degree which is a degree of accuracy more than sufficient for all nautical purposes, would sea officers once apply themselves to the making & calculating these observations they would not find them so very difficult as they at first imagine especially with the assistance of the Nautical Almanack & a Chronomical Ephemeries by the help of w.ch the calculations for finding the Long.de takes up but little more time than that of an Azim.th for find the variation of the compass, but unless this Ephemeries is published for sometime to come more than either one or 2 years it can never be of general us in long voyages. & on short voyages its not so much wanted without ir the calculations are labourious & discouraging to beginners & such as are not well vers'd in this kind of calculations.
In the course of this journal I have at different times made mention of the appearance or aspect of the face of the country the nature of the soil its produce etc, by the first it will appear that to the southward of 33° or 34° the land in general is low & level with very few hills or mountains further to the northward it may in some places be called a hilly but hardly any where can be called a mountainous country for the hills & mountains put together take up but a small part of the surface in comparison to what the planes & valleys do, which intersect or divide these hills & mountains it is differently well water'd even in the dry seasons with small brooks & springs but no great rivers unless it be ibn the wet season when the low lands & vallies near the sea I do suppose are mostly laid under water