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1765. June.

Their situation in itself indeed was no worse than it would have been if the obstacle to their wishes had been distance, and not a reef of rocks ; and both being alike insuperable, a being wholly under the influence of reason, would, by both, have been equally affected; but this is a situation, among many others, that may be remarked by a diligent observer, in which reason cannot preserve mankind from the power which fancy is perpetually exerting to aggravate the calamities of life. When I knew the foundings, I could not forbear standing close round the island with the ship, though I also knew it was impossible to procure any of the refreshments which it produced. The natives ran along the shore a-breast of the ship, shouting and dancing ; they also frequently brandished their long spears, and then threw themselves backward, and lay a few minutes motionless, as if they had been dead : this we understood as a menace that they would kill us, if we ventured to go on shore.

As we were failing along the coast, we took notice that in one place the natives had fixed upright in the sand two fpears, to the top of which they had fastened several things that Aụttered in the air, and that some of them were every moment kneeling down before them, as we supposed, invoking the assistance of some invisible Being to defend them against us. While I was thus circumnavigating the island with the ship, I sent the boats out again to sound, and when they came near the shore, the Indians set up one of the most hideous yells I had ever heard, pointing at the same time to their spears, and poising in their hands large stones which they took up from the beach. Our men on the contrary made all the signs of amity and good-will that they could devise, and at the same time threw them bread and many other things, none of which they vouchsafed so much as to touch, but with great expedi. tion hauled five or six large canoes, which we saw lying upon the beach, up into the wood. When this was done, they waded into the water, and seemed to watch for an opportunity of laying hold of the boat, that they might drag her on shore: the people on board her, apprehending that this was their design, and that it they got them on shore they would certainly put


1765. Junc.

them to death, were very impatient to be before-hand with them, and would fain have fired upon them; but the officer on board, having no permission from me to commit any hostilities, restrained them. I should indeed have thought myself at liberty to have obtained by force the refreshments, for want of which our people were dying, if it had been possible to have come to an anchor, supposing we could not have made these poor favages our friends ; but nothing could justify the taking away their lives for a mere imaginary or intentional injury, without procuring the least advantage to ourselves. They were of a deep copper colour, exceedingly stout and well-limbed, and remarkably vimble and active, for I never saw men run fo fast in my life. This island lies in latitude 14° 5' S. longitude 145° 4' W. from the meridian of London. As the boats reported a second time that there was no anchoring ground about this island, I determined to work up to the other, which was accordingly done all the rest of the day and the following night.

At fix o'clock in the morning of the 8th, we brought to on the west side of it, at the distance of about three quarters of a mile from the shore, but we had no soundings with one hundred and forty fathom of line. We now perceived several other low islands, or rather peninsulas, most of them being joined one to the other by a neck of land, very narrow, and almost level with the surface of the water, which breaks high over it. In approaching these islands the cocoa-nut trees are first discovered, as they are higher than any part of the surface. I sent a boat with an officer from each ship to found the lee-side of these islands for an anchoring place; and as soon as they left the ship, I saw the Indians run down to the beach in great numbers, armed with long spears and clubs ; they kept a-breast of the boats as they went sounding along the Chore, and used many threatening gestures to prevent their landing. I therefore fired a nine pound shot from the shipover their heads, upon which they ran into the woods with great precipitation. At ten o'clock the boats returned, but could get no soundings clofe in with the surf, which broke very high upon the shore. The middle of this cluster of illands lies in latitude 14° 10' $. longi

Satur. 8.


1965. . June.

gitude 144° 52' W. the variation of the compass was here 4° 30' E.

At half an hour after ten, we bore away and made fail to the westward, finding it impossible to procure at these islands any refreshment for our fick, whose fituation was becoming more deplorable every hour, and I therefore called them the ISLANDS OF DISAPPOINT

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The Discovery of King George's Iands, with a descrip

tion of them, and an Account of several Incidents that happened there.

Α ́

T half an hour after five o'clock in the afternoon

of the gth, we saw land again bearing W. S. Sund. g. W. at the distance of fix or seven leagues; and at seven we brought to for the night. In the morning, Mond. 1o. being within three miles of the shore, we discovered it to be a long low island, with a white beach, of a pleasant

appearance, full of cocoa-nut and other trees, and surrounded with a rock of red coral. We stood along the north east side of it, within half a mile of the shore; and the favages, as soon as they saw us, made great fires, as we supposed, to alarm the distant inhabitants of the island, and ran along the beach, a-breast of the ship, in great numbers, armed in the same manner as the natives of the Islands of Disappointment. Over the land on this side of the island we could see a large lake of salt water, or lagoon, which appeared to be two or three leagues wide, and to reach within a small distance of the opposite shore. Into this lagoon we saw a small inlet about a league from the south-west point, off which we brought to. At this place the natives have built a little town, under the shade of a fine grove of cocoa-nut trees. I immediately sent off the boats, with an officer in each, to found; but they could find no anchorage, the shore being every where as steep as a wall, except at the very mouth of the inlet, which was scarcely a ship's length wide, and there they had thirteen fathom, with a bottom of coral


1765. June.

rock. We stood clofe in with the ships, and saw huna dreds of the favages, ranged in very good order, and standing up to their waists in water; they were all armed in the same manner as those that we had seen at the other islands, and one of them carried a piece of mat fastened to the top of a pole, which we imagined was an ensign. They made a most hideous and incefiant noise, and in a short time many large canoes came down the lake to join them. Our boats were still out, and the people on board them made all the signs of friendship that they could invent, upon which some of the canoes came through the inlet and drew near them. We now began to hope that a friendly intercourse might be established; but we soon discovered that the Indians had no other design than to haul the boats on fhore: many of them leaped off the rocks, and swam to them; and one of them got into that which belonged to the Tamar, and in the twinkling of an eye seized a seaman's jacket, and jumping over board with it, never once appeared above water till he was close in shore among his companions. Another of them got hold of a midshipman's hat, but not knowing how to take it off, he pulled it downward instead of lifting it up ; so that the owner had time to prevent its being taken away, otherwise it would probably have disappeared as fuddenly as the jacket ; our men bore all this with much patience, and the Indians seemed to triumph in their impunity.

About noon, finding there was no anchorage here, I bore away and steered along the shore to the westermost point of the island : the boats immediately followed us, and kept sounding close to the beach, but could get no ground.

When we came to the westermost point of this island, we saw another, bearing S. W. by W. about four leagues distant. We were at this time about a league beyond the inlet where we had left the natives, but they were not satisfied with having got rid of us quietly ; for I now perceived two large double canoes sailing after the ship, with about thirty men in each, all armed after the manner of their country. The boats were a good way to the leeward of us, and the cances, passing between the ship and the More, seemed very

eagerly eagerly to give them chace. Upon this I made the 1765.

June. signal for the boats to speak with the canoes, and as foon 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. Our boats however came up with them; but notwithstanding the dreadful 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 coaft, prepared to defend it with clubs 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 fell 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 feet long, and the other somewhat less, but they were both of a very curious construction, and must have cost thole 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-lhell, 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 a. space of about six or eight feet between them: a mast. was hoisted in each of them, and the sail 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 saw: 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 •

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