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1767. better and shorter passage, whether from the September.
og eastward or the westward, than round all the land Sunday 13. and islands to the northward ; the distress there
fore which pushed me upon this discovery, may probably be, in its consequences, of great advantage to future navigators, especially as there can be no doubt but that refreshments of every. kind may easily be procured from the natives who inhabit either of the coasts of the channel, or the islands that lie near them, for beads, ribands, looking-glasses, and especially iron tools and cutlery-ware, of which they are immoderately fond, and with which, to our great misfortune, we were not furnished.
Queen Charlotte's Foreland, the south-west part of New Hanover, lies in latitude 2° 29' S., longitude 148° 27' E.; and the middle of Portland's Nands in latitude 20 27 S., longitude 148° 3'E. The length of this streight or channel, from Cape Saint George to Cape Byron, the south-west extremity of New Ireland, is above eighty leagues; the distance from Cape Byron to Queen Charlotte's Foreland is about twelve leagues, and from the Foreland to Portland's Inands about eight leagues, so that the whole length of Saint George's Channel is about one hundred leagues, or three hundred miles.
Though we cleared the Streight in the morning of Sunday the 13th of September, we had no observation of the sun till the 15th, which I.
could not but greatly regret, as it prevented my 1767. being so exact in my latitude and longitude as Sent might be expected. The description also of the Sunday 13. country, its productions and people, would have been much more full and circumstantial, if I had not been so much enfeebled and dispirited by sickness, as almost to sink under the duty that for want of officers devolved upon me, being obliged, when I was scarcely able to crawl, to keep watch and watch, and share other duties with my lieutenant, whose health also was greatly impaired.
CH A P. VII.
The Passage from Saint George's Channel to
the land of Mindanao, with an Account of many Islands that were seen, and Incidents that happened by the Way.
1767. As soon as we had cleared Saint George's September.
n Channel, we steered westward, and the Smaday 13. next day we discovered land bearing W. N. W.
and hauled up for it; it proved co be an isand of considerable extent, and soon afterwards we saw another to the north-east of it, but this appeared to be little more than a large rock above water. As I had here strong currents, and for several days had not been able to get an observation of the sun, I cannot so exactly ascertain the situation of these islands as I might otherwise have done. As we proceeded to the westward, we discovered more land, consisting of many islands lying to the southward of the large one which we had first discovered. As the nights were now moonlight, we kept on till eleven o'clock, and the lieutenant, who was then officer of the watch, finding that the course we were steering would carry us among them, and not being willing to awaken me till it was my turn to
watch, hauled off S. by E. and S.S. E. I came 1767. upon deck about midnight, and at one in the deptember morning, perceiving that we were clear of them, Tuesday eso I bore away again to the westward with an easy fail: the islands, however, were not far distant, and about six o'clock, a considerable number of canoes, with several hundred people on board, came off, and paddled toward the thip: one of them, with seven men on board, came near enough to hail us, and made us several signs which we could not perfectly understand, but repeated, as near as we could, to fhew that whatever they meant to us we meant to them ; however, the better to bespeak their good-will, and invite them on board, we held up to them several of the few trifles we had : upon this they drew nearer to the ship, and I fattered myself that they were coming on board; but on the contrary, as soon as they came within reach of us they threw their lances, with great force, where we stood thickest upon the deck. As I thought it better to prevent than to repress a general attack, in which, as the number would be more, the mischief would be greater, and having now no doubt of their hostile intentions, I fired some muskets, and one of the swivel guns, upon which some of them being killed ori wounded, they rowed off and joined the other canoes, of which there were twelve or fourteen, with several hundred men on board. I then
1767. brought to, waiting for the issue, and had the September.
satisfaction to see, that, after having long con. Tuesday 15. sulted together, they made for the shore: that I
might ftill farther intimidate them, and more effectually prevent their return, I fired a round Thot from one of my fix-pounders, so as to fall into the water beyond them: this seemed to have a good effect, for they not only used their paddles more nimbly, but hoisted fail, still standing towards the shore. Soon after, however, several more canoes put off from another part of the island, and came towards us very fast: they stopped at about the same distance as the other had done, and one of them also in the same manner came forward : to the people on board this vessel we made all the signs of friend. ship we could devise, shewing them every thing we had which we thought would please them, opening our arms, and inviting them on board : but our rhetoric was to no effect, for as soon as they came within a cast of the ship, they poured in a shower of darts and lances, which, however, did us no harm. We returned the assault by firing some muskets, and one man being killed, the rest precipitately leaped into the sea, and swimming to the others, who waited at a distance, all returned together from whence they came. As soon as the canoe was deserted, we got out our boat and brought it on board: it was full fifty feet long, though one of the