Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DAMPIER, William, navigator, born in East Coker, Somersetshire, about 1652; the place and date of his death are unknown. Early in life he was left an orphan, when he was taken from school and placed on board of a vessel bound for Newfoundland, and on his return he engaged as a common sailor on a vessel sailing for the East Indies. He served in the Dutch war during 1673 under Sir Edward Spragne, but failing health led him to settle in the country. In 1674 he became under-manager of an estate in Jamaica, but soon engaged in the coasting trade, and made two voyages to the bay of Campeachy, where he also remained for some time with the logwood-cutters as a common workman, and subsequently published an account of his experiences. In 1678 he returned to Jamaica, and then sailed to England, but again returned to the West Indies during the following year, when he was persuaded to join a party of buccaneers, with whom he crossed the isthmus of Panama, and spent 1680 on the Peruvian coast, successfully plundering several towns. After another privateering voyage on the Spanish main, ha set out on an expedition, under Captain John Cook, against the Spaniards in the South sea. They sailed from Virginia in August 1684, cruised along the coasts of Guinea, and then, doubling Cape Horn, entered the Pacific. Here the expedition was joined by another ship from London, bent on a similar errand, and, after stopping at the Island of Juan Fernandez, they cruised together up the coast of South America, capturing several prizes. While near Cape Blanco, off the coast of Mexico, Captain Cook died, and was succeeded by Captain Davis. Here a vessel commanded by Captain Swan joined the expedition. Unsuccessful attacks were made on Guayaquil, and also on a Spanish fleet laden with treasures from Peru, but they succeeded in capturing several prizes. After a time Dampier left. Davis and, joining Swan, set out for the East Indies across the Pacific Ocean.
On reaching Mindanao, the crew mutinied, and Swan, with others, was left on the island. Dampier continued cruising in East Indian waters for several years, until he landed at Bencoolen, where he acted as a gunner in the English fort. In 1691 he sailed for England, reaching home in September. Subsequently he entered the British navy, and commanded the "Roebuck." He was sent on a voyage of discovery and sailed to Brazil, and thence to Australia, where he spent some time in exploration and circumnavigated the island, to which he gave the name of New Britain. The small archipelago and the strait between Papua and New Britain were named for him at this time. After other discoveries, he returned by a new route to Ceram, in the Moluccas, and in February 1701, arrived off the Island of Ascension, where his yes-sel sprung a leak and foundered. He reached England, however, during the latter part of the year. He had command of a ship in the South seas about 1705, and sailed with Captain Stradling, whose vessel foundered at sea. Later Dampier accompanied Woodes Rogers in his voyage around the world during 1708-'11 in the capacity of pilot. On this expedition Guayaquil was taken. He published "A Voyage around the World," and a supplement to it, describing the countries of Tonquin, Malacca, etc.; "Two Voyages to Cam-peachy"; "A Discourse of Trade Winds, etc., in the Torrid Zone" (1707); and " A Voyage to New Holland" (1709). The best edition of his collected voyages is in four volumes (London, 1729).
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