TOBIAS FURNEAUX (1735-1781), English navigator, was born at Swilly near Plymouth on the 21st of August 1735. He entered the royal navy, and was employed on the French and African coasts and in the West Indies during the latter part of the Seven Years' War (1760-1763). He served as second lieutenant of the "Dolphin" under Captain Samuel Wallis on the latter's voyage round the globe (August 1766 - May 1768); was made a commander in November 1771; and commanded the "Adventure" which accompanied Captain Cook (in the "Resolution") in Cook's second voyage. On this expedition Furneaux was twice separated from his leader (February 8 - May 1 9, 1773 October 22, 1 773 - J uly 14, 1774, the date of his return to England). On the former occasion he explored a great part of the south and east coasts of Tasmania, and made the earliest British chart of the same. Most of his names here survive; Cook, visiting this shore-line on his third voyage, confirmed Furneaux's account and delineation of it (with certain minor criticisms and emendations), and named after him the islands in Banks Straits, opening into Bass's Straits, and the group now known as the Low Archipelago. After the "Adventure" was finally separated from the "Resolution" off New Zealand in October 1773, Furneaux returned home alone, bringing with him Omai of Ulaietea. This first South Sea Islander seen in the British Isles returned to his home with Cook in 1776-1777. Furneaux was made a captain in 1775, and commanded the "Syren" in the British attack of the 28th of June 1776 upon Charleston, South Carolina. His successful efforts to introduce domestic animals and potatoes into the South Sea Islands are worthy of note. He died at Swilly on the 19th of September 1781.
See Hawkesworth's Narrative of Wallis' Voyage; Captain Cook's Narrative of his Second Voyage; also T. Furneaux's life by Rev. Henry Furneaux in the Dictionary of National Biography.
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