William Dampier, 1652-1715

Portrait

Biographical note

Discoverer and buccaneer, born near Yeovil. After various seafaring adventures, and leading a semi-piratical life, he was in 1688 marooned on Nicobar Island, but escaped to Acheen, returned to England in 1691. He published his Voyage Round the World (1697), and A Discourse of Winds (1699). He was then employed by government on a voyage of survey and discovery (1699–1700), in the course of which he explored the north-west coast of Australia and the coasts of New Guinea and New Britain. In 1701 he was wrecked upon Ascension Island, from which he was rescued by an East Indiaman. He was afterwards court-martialled for cruelty, and wrote an angry but unconvincing vindication. His Voyage is written in a style plain and homely, but is perspicuous and interesting.

[From A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature by John W. Cousin, 1910]

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