Abbildungen der Seite

eagerly to give them chace. Upon this I made the I76Ssignal for the boats to speak with the canoes, and as vj^it soon as they perceived it, they turned, and made towards the Indians, who seeing this, were seized with a sudden panic, and immediately hauling down their fails, paddled back again at a surprizing rate. Ourboats however came up with them; but notwithstanding the dreadsul surf that broke upon the shore, the canoes pushed through it, and the Indians immediately hauled them up upon the beach. Our boats followed them, and 'the Indians, dreading an invasion of their coast, prepared to desend it withclubs and stones, upon which our men fired, and killed two or three of them : one of them received three balls which went quite through his body; yet he afterwards took up a large stone, and died in the action of throwing it against his enemy. This man sell close to our boats, so that the Indians who remained unhurt did not dare to attempt the carrying off his body, which gave us an opportunity to examine it; but they carried off the rest of their dead, and made the best of their way back to their companions at the inlet. Our boats then returned, and brought off the two canoes which they had pursued. One of them was thirty two seet long, and the other somewhat less, but they were both of a very curious constructibn, and must have cost those who made them infinite labour. They consisted of planks exceedingly 'well wrought, and in many places adorned with carving; these planks were sewed together, and over every seam there was a strip of tortoise-shell, very artificially fastened, to keep out the weather: their bottoms were as sharp as a wedge, and they were very narrow; and therefore two of them were joined laterally together by a couple of strong spars, so that there was aspace of about six or eight seet between them: a mast, was hoisted in each of them, and the fail was spread between the masts: the fail which I preserved, and which is now in my possession, is made of matting, and is as neat a piece of work as ever I faw: their paddles were very curious, and their cordage was as good and as well laid as any in England, though it appeared to be made of the outer covering of the



cocoa-nut. When these vessels fail, several men sit upon the spars which hold the canoes together.

As the surf, which broke very high upon the shore, rendered it impossible to procure refreshments for the sick in this part of the island, I hauled the wind, and worked back to the inltt, being determined to try once more what could be done there.

I recovered that station in the afternoon, and immediately sent the boats to sound the inlet again, but they confirmed the account which had been made before, that it afforded no anchorage for a ship. While the boats were absent, I observed a great number of the natives upon the point near the spot where we had left them in the morning, and they seemed to be very busy in loading a great number of large canoes which lay close to the beach. As 1, thought they might be troublesome, and was unwilling that they should suffer bv another unequal contest with our people, I fired a shot over their heads, which produced the effect I intended, for they all difappeared in a moment.

Just before the evening closed in, our boats landed, and got a sew cocoa-nuts which they brought off, but faw none of the inhabitants. In the night, during which we had rain and hard squalls, I stood off and on Tutflavn. with the ships, and at seven o'clock in the morning brought to off the inlet. I immediately sent the boats on shore in search of refreshments, and made" all the men who were not so ill of the scurvy as to be laid up, go in them; I also went on shore myself, and continued there the whole day. We faw many houses or wigwams of the natives, but they were totally deserted, except by the dogs, who kept an incessant howling, from the time we came on shore till we returned to the lhip: they were low mean hovels, thatched with cocoa-nut branches; but they were most delightfully situated in a fine grove of stately trees, many of which were the cocoa-nut, and many such as we were utterly unacquainted with. The cocoa-nut trees seem to surnish them with almost all the necessaries of lise} particularly food, fails, cordage, timber, and vessels to hold water; so that probably these people always fix their habitations where these trees abound. We observed the shore to be covered with coral, and the

shell* stiells of very large pearl oysters; so that I maker no *7&Sdoubt but that as profitable a pearl fishery might be ,^|^ established here as any in the world. We faw but little of the people, except at a distance; we could however perceive that the women had a piece of cloth of some kind, probably fabricated of the fame stuff as their fail, hanging from the waist as low as the knee; the men were naked.

Our people, in rummaging some of the huts, found the carved head of a rudder, which had manisestly belonged to a Dutch long-boat, and was very old and worm-eaten. They found also a piece of hammerediron, a piece of brass, and some small iron tools, which the ancestors of the present inhabitants of this place probably obtained from the Dutch ship to which the long-boat had belonged, all which I brought away 'with me. Whether these people found means to cut off the ship, or whether she was lost upon the rsland or after she lest it,cannot be known; but there is reason to believe that she never returned to Europe, because no account of her voyage, or of any discoveries that she made, is extant. If the ship failed from this place in fasety, it is not perhaps easy to account for her leaving the rudder of her long-boat behind her; and if she was cut off by the natives, there must be much more considerable remains of her in the island, especially os her iron-work, upon which all Indian nations, who have no metal, set the highest value; we had no opportunities however to examine this matter farther. The hammered-iron, brass, and iron tools, I brought away with me; but we found a tool exactly in the form of a carpenter's adze, the blade of which was a pearl oyster-shell; possibly this might have been made in imitation of an adze which had belonged to the carpenter of the Dutch Ship ; for among the tools that I brought away there was one which seemed to be the remains of such an implement, though it was worn away almost to nothing:

Close to the houses of these people, we faw buildings of another kind, which appeared to be buryingplaces, and from which we judged that they had great veneration for their dead. They were situated under lofty trees, that gave a thick shade; the sides and top*

Vol. I. G were


were of stone; and in their figure they somewhat resembled the square tombs, with a slat top, which are always to be found in our country church-yards. Near these buildings we found many neat boxes full of human bones, and upon the branches of the trees which shaded them, hung a great number of the heads and bones of turtle, and a variety of fish, inclosed in a kind of basket-work of reeds: some of the fish we took down, and found that nothing remained but the skin and teeth: the bones and entrails seemed to have been extracted, and the muscular slesh dried away.

We sent off several boat-loads of cocoa-nuts, and a great quantity of scurvy-grass, with which the island is covered; refreshments which were of infinite service to us, as by this time I believe there was not a man among us wholly untouched by the scurvy.

The fresh water here is very good; but it is scarce; the wells which supply the natives are so small, that when two or three cocoa-nut shells have been filled from them, they are dry for a few minutes ; but as they presently fill again, if a little pains were taken to enlarge them, they would abundantly supply,any ship with water. i

We saw novenemous creature here; but the slies were an intolerable torment, they covered us from head to foot, and filled not only the boat, but the ships. We saw great numbers of parrots and parroquets, and several other birds, which were altogether unknown to us 5 We saw also a beautiful kind of dove, so tame that some of them frequently came close to us, and even followed us into the Indian huts. .. .

All this day the natives kept themselves closely concealed, and did not even make a smoke upon any part of the islands as far as.we.could fee; probably fearing that a smoke might discover the place of their retreat: In the evening we all returned on board the ship. •>-•••

This part of the island lies in latitude 140 29' S. longitude 1480 50' W. and aster I got on board, I hauled a little way farther from the shore, intending to visit the other island in the morning, which had been seen to the westward of that before which the ship lay, and which is distant .ibout sixty-nine leagues from

the the Islands of Disappointment, in the direction os ?7SS-.

W.fS. J^i,

The next morning, at six o'clock, I made fail for Wednes.u.. the island which I intended to visit, and when I reached it, I steered S. W. by W. close along the north-east side of it, but could get no soundings: this side is about six or seven leagues long, and the whole makes much the fame appearance as the other, having a large salt water lake in the middle of it. As soon as: the •shipcame in sight, the natives ran down to the beach in great numbers : they were armed in the fame manner as those we had seen upon the other island, and kept a-breast of the ship for several leagues. As the heat of this climate is very great, they seemed' to suffer much by running so far in the sun, for they sometimes plunged into the sea, and sometimes fell slat upon the sand, that the furf might break over them, aster which they renewed the race with great vigour. Our boats were at this time sounding along the shore, as usual; but I had given strict orders to the'officers who commanded them never to molest the natives, except it should become absolutely necessary for their own defence, but to try all possible'means to obtaintheif confidence and good-will: our people - therefore went as near to the shore as they durst for the surf, drid made signs that;they wanted water'; the Indians readily understood them, and directed them to run down farther along the shore, which they did, till they came a-breast of such a cluster of houses-'as we had just left upon the other island ; to this place the Indians still followed them, and were there joined by -many others; the .boats immediately hauled close into the surf, and we brought to, with -ths-sllip, at a little distance from the shore, upon which a stout old man, with a long .white beard, that gave him a very venerable appearance, came down from the houses to the beach. He 'was attended by a young man, and appeared to have the authorityof a Chief or King: the rest of the Indians, at a signal which he made, retired to a little distance, and he then advanced quite to the water's edge; in one hand he held a green branch of a tree, and in the other he grasped his beard, which he pressed to his bosom; in this attitude he made a long oration, G 5 or

« ZurückWeiter »