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kind of apple or plum, of a sweetish taste and farinace- 1767.
These Indians were the same kind of people that we had seen before on the coast of New Ireland, and at Egmont Island: they were of a very dark copper colour, nearly black, with woolly heads. They chew beetlenut, and go quite naked, except the rude ornaments of shells ítrung together, which they wear round their legs and arms; they were also powdered like our last visitors, and had, besides, their faces painted with white streaks; but I did not observe that they had any beards. Their lances were pointed with a kind of bluish iint.
Having disengaged ourselves from this fierce and unfriendly people, we pursued our course along the other islands, which are between twenty and thirty in number, and of confiderable extent'; one in particular would alone make a large kingdom. I called them the ADMIRALTY ISLANDS, and should have been glad to Admiralty have examired them, if my ship had been in a better Nands, condition, and I had been provided with such articles as are proper for an Indian trade, especially as their appearance is very inviting: they are cloathed with a most beautiful verdure; the woods are lofty and luxuriant, interspersed with spots that have been cleared for planta
of cocoa-nut trees, and houses of the na tives, who seem to be very numerous. Nothing would be more easy than to establish an amicable intercourse with them, as they would soon be sensible that our superiority would render conteft vain, and traffic advantageous. I judge the middle of the largest to lie in lati
1767. tude 2° 18' S. longitude 146° 44' E. and at the distance September.
of five and thirty leagues from Queen Charlotte's Foreland in New Hanover, in the direction of W. I N. On the south side of this island, there is a small one, which rises conically in a high peak. The latitude of this peak is 227'S. and it lies five degrees and an half westward of cape Saint George in New Ireland. As we san along the south side of the large island, we found it to be eighteen leagues long, in the direction of eail and weit; how far it runs to the northward, I do not know, but by its appearance there is reason to suppose a very considerable distance. I think it probable, in the highest degree, that these islands produce many valuable articles of trade, particularly spices, especially as they lie in the same climate and latitude as the Malaccas, and as I found the nutmeg tree in a soil comparatively rocky and barren upon the coast of New Ireland.
Having passed these islands we continued our course
W. by N. with a fine eastern breeze, ard smooth water. Wedn. 16. On the 16th in the morning, we found the variation,
by a medium of several azimuths, to be 6° 30' E. our latitude being 20 19' S. and our longitude 145° 40' E. by observation. I was furprised to find the variation on this side the land of New Britain and New Ireland so much, as we had found it gradually decreasing during our progress to the N. W. but I recollected that about two years before I had found nearly the same variation in this meridian, about the island of Tinian.
On Saturday evening the 19th, we discovered two small islands, both low land, level, and green: one of them we saw only from the main-top-gallant-masthead; this I called DUROUR'S ISLAND. Its latitude is about
1° 14' or 16' S. its longitude 143° 21' E. The other Matty's island, which I called MATTY'S ISLAND, we coasted Iland.
during the night, and saw the inhabitants, in great numbers, run along the beach, a-breast of the Thip, with lights: the side along which we failed seemed to be about six miles in length, E. by N. and W. by S. As it was dark we could see no more of it, and having a fine breeze which we could not afford to lose, we kept on. Its latitude is about 10 45' S. and its longitude about 143° 2' E. the variation here was 4° 40' E. and we found a Atrong north-westerly current. We had now fresh gales
and squalls with rain, the wind blowing very unsteadi. 1767. ly from E. S. E. to E. N. E. till the 22d, when it be- Sptember came variable. Our latitude was then 53' S. longitude Tuesday 2. 140° 5' E. the variation was 4° 40' E.
On the 24th we saw two small islands to the south- Thurs. 24. welt, but it being calm, with light airs, and a strong westerly current, we could not get nearer to them than four or five leagues: they had a green, pleasant appearance, and were well covered with trees ; but whether they are inhabited I do not know. They run about N. W. by W. S. E. by E. One is about three miles long, and the other about fix: the passage between them appeared to be about two miles broad. They lie in latitude 22'S. longitude 138° 29' E. and I gave them the name of STEPPENS's ISLANDS. We kept steering N. Stephen's W. by W. with a light variable wind, and a strong Mands. north-west current.
On the 25th we saw land a-head, which proved to be Friday 25. three small islands; and before it was dark, we got pretty near them. Several canoes soon came off, filled with the natives, who, after making signs of peace, came on board without the least sign of fear or mistrust: they had nothing with them but a few cocoa-nuts, which they sold with great joy for a few pieces of an iron hoop; we soon found that they were not unacquainted with that metal which they called Parram, and they made us understand, by signs that a ship like ours sometimes touched their islands for refreshment. I gave one of them three pieces of an old iron hoop, each about four inches long, which threw him into an extacy little short of diftra&tion : I could not but sympathize in his joy, nor observe, without great pleasure, the changes of countenance, and extravagance of gesture, by which it was expressed. All these people indeed appeared to be more fond of iron than any we had seen before, and I am sure, that for iron tools we might have purchased every thing upon the lands which we could have brought away. They are of the Indian copper colour, the first of that complexion that we had seen in these parts, with fine long black hair, and little beards, for we observed that they were continually plucking the hair from their chin and upper lip by the roots. Their features are pleasing, and their teeth remarkably white
1767, and even: they were of the common ftature, but nimSepiember.
ble, vigorous, and active in a surprising degree, running up to the mast-head much faster than our own people. Their disposition was free and open, they eat and drank whatever was given them, went without hesitation into every part of the ship, and were as familiar and merry with the crew, as if they had been of long and intimate acquaintance. They were not, like the people on all the other islands that we had visited, quite naked, though they had only a slight covering for the waist, which consisted of a narrow piece of fine matting. Their canoes were very well and neatly made, having a hollow tree for the bottom, and planks for the sides, with a sail of fine matting, and an outrigger : their ropes and netting were also very good. They urged us strongly to go on shore, offering to leave an equal number of their own people behind, as a pledge of their safe return; and indeed I would gladly have consented if it had been in my power, but a strong westerly current hurried me to so great a distance, that I had no opportunity to seek for anchorage, and night coming on, we pursued our course. When our visitors perceived this, one of them insisted upon going with us, and, notwithstanding all that I and his companions could say or do, obstinately refused to go on shore. As I thought it possible that this man might be the means of our making some useful discovery, I did not put him a-shore by force, but indulged him in his desire: we learnt from him that there were other islands to the northward, the inhabitants of which he said had iron, and always killed his countrymen when they could catch them out at fea. It was with great concern that I perceived this poor fellow, whom I called Joseph Freewill, from his readiness to go withus, became gradually sickly after he had been some time at sea: he lived till I got to the islands of Celebes, and there died. As the islands from which I had taken him were very small and low, the largest being not more than five miles in compass, I was surprised to see with how many of the productions of Celebes he was acquainted; beside the cocoa-nut and palm, he knew the beetle-nutand the lime, and the moment he got a bread-fruit, he went to the fire and roast
ed it in the embers. He made us understand also, that 1767. in his country they had plenty of fish, and turtle in their season. It is however very probable, notwithstanding September. the number of people who subfist upon these islands, that they have no fresh water but what falls in rain : how they catch and preserve it, I had no opportunity to learn, but I never met with a spring in a spot so small and low, and in such a place I believe no spring was ever found. The largest of these islands, which the natives call Pegan, and to which I gave the name of FREEWILL ISLAND, lies fifty minutes north of the line, Freewill and in 137° 51' east longitude. They are all surround-Iland. ed by a reef of rocks. The chart of these islands I drew from the Indian's description, who delineated them with chalk upon the deck, and ascertained the depth of water by stretching his arms as a fathom.
I now steered N. W. by N. to get from under the sun, and had light winds at E. S. E. with which almost any ship but the Swallow would have made good way, but with every possible advantage she went at a heavy rate. We now found our variation begin again to decrease, as will appear by the following table:
On the 28th, being in latitude 2° 53' N. longitude Monday 28. 136° 10' E. we fell in with a very dangerous Thoal, which is about eleven or twelve miles in circuit, and surrounded with small stones that just thew themselves above water. We found here a strong northerly current, but could not determine whether it inclined to the east
In the evening we discovered from the mast-head another island to the southward of us: the east and of it seemed to rise in a peak, and had the appearance of a fail, but we did not go near enough to see any thing of it from the deck. I suppose its latitude to be about 20 so' N. and its longitude, east of London, about 136° 10'E.