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THE FRIENDLESS ISLANDS.
April 11, 1816. A VESSEL just arrived round about from New Holland has brought an account of this interesting cluster of Islands, which had hitherto been little noticed by former circumnavigators. By some they have been mistaken for the Ladrones, but these are now ascertained to be exactly the antipodes of Eugland, and to lie precisely opposite to the Cape of Good Hope. The following are the most remarkable
of the group :
Twaddle Poon-son-boo, the principal of the cluster, is very flat and uninteresting, but it is one of the richest of the whole, having an annual revenue of
40001. of our money, which it derives from its dexberity in catehing a species of Great Seal.*
Teer-nee, or Juggler's Island.-The character of this varies so much according to the side on which it is seen, that those who have viewed it only on one side would hardly know it again when they approach it on the other. The people are a shrewd, cunning race, famous for their expertness in legerdemain. They are, however, much distrusted by their neighbours, and it is a proverb in these islands, when they wish to express strongly the hopelessness of a search, to say, 6. You might as well look for truth in Teer-nee," just as we talk of looking for a needle in Hyde-Park.
Taf-fee-Wyn-nee.—This is a most dismal island, being much infested with screech-owls, and the discordant noise perpetually produced in it by these
* Mr. Ponsonby having held the Great Seal of Ireland during the Talents’administration, had a pension of 40001. per annum for life.
birds, combined with the hoarse croaking of a number of ravens, who also infest it, remind one of fabulous stories of the stymphalides and harpies. Mariners are recommended, when coming near it, to adopt (though for a contrary reason) the precaution of Ulysses, and to stuff their ears with cotton while they remain in its neighbourhood. There is such a surf breaks on its harbour mouth, that one can seldom approach it without being covered with spray.
Pawlo ; or Booby's Island. The inhabitants of this are a singular race. They are very low in the scale of intellectual beings, but yet have all the vanity of an intelligent people. They are so little to be depended upon, that they will address you one day as a friend, and attack you the next as an enemy. Strangers are advised to have as little to do with these people as possible; and from their extreme dulness, the scantiness of their resources, and captious temper, there is little inducement to hold any
intercourse with them—and indeed their sole support is derived from petty war :-their hair is short and curly--their features without the least expression—their countenances very grave and unmeaning, and they dress themselves very gaudily with a profusion of parrots' feathers. This contrast of solemnity and foppery is very ridiculous,
The island of Francisco, called by the natives Boor-dee-too.—This island is nothing but a mountain, and is very barren and unproductive. It derived its first name from a Jacobine Monk, who was the first Missionary in those parts: he came round Cape Horn, and as long as a communication on that side remained, the island was pretty well supplied ; since that has been cut off, the people have been obliged to betake themselves to hunting; but, from want of early habit, are but awkward in that pursuit. They are an extremely disorderly and turbulent race, though mild in their manners and appearance.' An
old and strange account of this island is to be found in the Harleian Miscellany.
Yankee, supposed by some to be Behringos* island, is evidently peopled by a separate race, who have, as the name imports, the strongest affinity to the Americans. These are the ugliest race of the whole, and the sounds they utter, as language, are hardly articulate.
Hoo-too-shoo-poo-coc-a-too-hub-bub-boo, or the island of Coarse Broom, which, it seems, is the meaning of this long and strange name. A most singular instance of mirage was observed on first approaching this island; its great promontory, or, in the sailors language, its ness or nose, appeared to vibrate from one side to the other, in a manner which the Captain of the vessel could only compare to the waving of an elephant's snout. This island is extremely mountainous in its interior: it is subject to the most violent tornadoes; but it is remarkable, that frequent
* A. Baring, Esq.M.P. for Tauntonga greatAmerican merchant.