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ing: She may lie in any depth from thirty to five fathom, and at any distance from the shore, with a bottom of soft mud. The harbour runs about S.E. by S. and N.W. by N. and is about three miles long, and four cables'length broad. We anchored in thirty fathom, near the north-west entrance, and a-breast of the trees on Cocoa-nut Island.
Discovery of a Strait dividing the Land called Nova Bri
tannia' into two Islands, with a Description of several small Islands that lie in the Passage, and the Land on each Side, with the Inhabitants.
When we got about four leagues off the land, after leaving this harbour, we met with a strong gale at E.S.E. a direction just contrary to that which would have favoured our getting round the land, and doubling Cape Saint Maria. We found at the same time a strong current, setting us to the N.W. into a deep bay or gulph, which Dampier calls St George's Bay, and which lies between Cape St George and Capě Orford. As it was impossible to get round the Jand, against both the wind and current, and follow the track of Dampier, I was under the necessity of attempting à passage to the westward by this gulph, and the current gave me hopes that I should succeed. When I had got, therefore, about five miles to the south-west of Cocoa-nut Island, I steered to the N.W. and the N.N.W. as the land trends, and had soon good reason to believe that what has been called St George's Bay, and thought to be formed by two points of the same island, was indeed a channel between two islands, and so the event proved it to be.
Before it was dark, we found this channel divided by a pretty large island which I called the Duke of York's Island, and some smaller islands that were scattered about it. On the southermost side of the main, or the largest of the two 'islands that are divided by the channel or strait, which I left in possession of its ancient name, New Britain, there is some high land, and three remarkable hills close to each other, which I called the Mother and Daughters. The Mother is the middlemost and largest, and bebind them we sajv a vast column of smoke, so that probably one of them is a volcano : They are easily seen in clear weather at the distance of twenty leagues, and will then, by those who do not know them, be taken for islands; they seem to lie far inland, and the Mother bears about west from the Duke of York's Island. To the east of these hills there is a point making like a cape land, which I called Cape Palliser; and another to the westward, which I called Cape Stephens. Cape Stephens is the northermost part of New Britain. North of this Cape is an island, which I called the Isle of Man. Cape Palliser and Cape Stephens bear about N.W. and S.E. of each other; and between them is a bay, the land of which near the water-side is low, pleasant, and level, and gradually rises, as it retires towards the Mother and Daughters, into very lofty hills, in general covered with vast woods, but having many clear spots like plantations intermixed. Upon this part of the country we saw many fires in the night, and have therefore reason to suppose that it is well inhabited. The Duke of York's Island lies between the two points, Cape Palliser and Cape Stephens. Asit was not safe to attempt either of the passages into which the strait was divided by this island in the dark, we brought to for the night, and kept sounding, but had no ground with one hundred and forty fathon. The strait here, including the two passages, is about fifteen leagues broad. The land of the Duke of York's Island is level, and has a delightful appearance: Inland it is covered with lofty woods, and near the water-side are the houses of the natives, which stand not far from each other, among groves of cocoa-nut trees, so that the whole forms a prospect the most beautiful and romantic that can be imagined. We saw many of their canoes, which are very neatly made, and in the morning, soon after I made sail, some of them came off towards the ship; but as we had a fresh gale at that time, we could not stay for them. The latitude of this island is 4° 9' S., longitude 151° 20' E.; and it is five-and-twenty leagues distant from Cape George. As I coasted not New Britain, but the northermost coast of the strait, I passed through the passage that is formed by that coast, and the corresponding side of the Duke of York's Island, which is about eight leagues broad, and may be considered as the first narrow of the strait, and then steering N.W, by W. all night, we found at day-break that we had lost sight of the southermost island, or New Britain, and having now ascertained
the supposed bay to be a strait, I called it St George's Chańnel, and to the northern island I gave the name of Nova Hibernia, or New Ireland. The weather being hazy, with a strong gale and sudden gusts, I continued to steer along the coast of New Ireland at about the distance of six leagues from the shore, till I came off the west end of it, and then, altering our course, I steered W.N.W. I could plainly perceive, that we were set along the shore by a strong westerly current. At noon, we found, by observation, that we were much to the northward of the log ; but as it was impossible the current could set due north, as that would be right against the land, I was obliged, for the correction of my account, to allow no less than four-and-twenty miles W.N.W. which is nearly as the land lies along the shore. At this time we bad about half a point east variation; and at night we discovered a fine large island, forming a strait or passage with New Ireland. As it was very dark and squally, with rain, we brought-to, not knowing to what danger the navigation of this strait might expose us. The night was tempestuous, with much thunder and lightning, but about two in the morning the weather cleared; the gusts settled into a little breeze, and the moon shone very bright. At this time therefore we made sail again, and found a strong current setting us to the westward, through the passage of the second narrow, which is about five leagues wide. The island, which has a pleasant appearance, and is very populous, I called Sandwich Island, in honour of the earl, then first lord of the admiralty : It is larger than the Duke of York's Island, and there seems to be some good bays and harbours upon the coast. On the north part of it there is a remarkable peak, like a sugarloaf; and opposite to it, upon the coast of New Ireland, there is just such another: They are distant about five leagues, in the direction of S. by E. ; E. and N. by W. W. All the while we lay-to off this island, we heard an incessant noise in the night, like the beating of a drum: And being becalmed just as we got through the strait, ten canoes put of from New Ireland, with about one hundred and fifty men on board, and rowed towards the ship; they came near enough to exchange some trifles with us, which were conveyed at the end of a long stick, but none of them would venture on board. They seemed to prefer such iron as we gave them to every thing else, though none of it was
manufactured manufactured except nails ; for, as I observed before, we had no cutlery ware on board. The canoes were very long and very narrow, with an outrigger, and some of them were very neatly made; One of them could not be less than ninety feet long, for it was very little shorter than the ship; it was, notwithstanding, formed of a single tree; it had some carved ornaments about it, and was rowed or paddled by three-and-thirty men: We saw no appearance of sails. The people are black, and woolly-headed, like Negroes, but have not the flat nose and thick lips; and we thought them much the same people as the inhabitants of Egmont's Island : Like them, they were all stark naked, except a few ornaments made of shells upon their arms and legs. They had, hown ever, adopted a practice without which none of our belles and beaux are supposed to be completely drest, for the hair, or rather the wool, upon their heads, was very abundantly powdered with white powder; the fashion of wearing powder, therefore, is probably of higher antiquity than it is
generally supposed to be, as well as of more extensive influence; it is indeed carried farther among these people than among any of the inhabitants of Europe, for they powder not only their heads but their beards too. Their heads however were decorated with more showy ornaments, for I observed that most of them had, just above one ear, stuck a feather, which appeared to have been taken from the tail of the common dunghill cock; so that these gentlemen are not without poultry for their table. They were armed with spears, and long sticks or poles, like the quarter-staff; but we did not see any bows and arrows among them: Possibly they might have them on board, and think proper to keep them out of sight. On my part, I kept every body at their quarters while they were hovering about the ship, and I observed that they had a very watchful eye upon our guns, as if they apprehended danger from them; so that possibly they are not wholly unacquainted with the effect of firem arms. They had fishing nets with them, which, as well as their cordage, seemed to be very well made. After they had been some time with us, a breeze sprung up, and they returned to the shore.
The peak upon Sandwich Island lies in latitude 2° 53' S., longitude 1499 17' E. After the Indians had left us, we steered nearly west, and soon after saw a point of land, which proved to be the south-west extremity of New Ireland, to which I gave the name of Cape Byron : It lies in latitude 2° 30' S., longitude 149° 2' E. Over-against the coast of New Ireland, to the westward of Cape Byron, lies a fine large island, to which I gave the name of New Hanover. Between this island and New Ireland, there is a strait or passage, which turns away to the N.E.
In this passage lie several small islands, upon one of which there is a remarkable peak : This island I called Byron's Island, and the passage, or strait, I called Byron's Strait. The land of New Hanover is high; it is finely covered with trees, among which are many plaotations, and the whole has a most beautiful appearance. The south-west point of it, which is a high bluff point, I called Queen Charlotte's Foreland, in honour of her majesty. This foreland, and the land about it, is remarkable for a great number of little hummocks or hills, but night coming on, with thick weather, hard squalls, and much rain, we could not see more of it distinctly enough to describe its appearance.
We steered westward all night, and in the morning, the weather being still thick, our view of New Hanover was very imperfect; but we saw, about eight leagues to the westward of it, six or seven small islands, which I called the Duke of Portland's Islands, two of which are pretty large. I now perceived by the swell of the s
sea that we were clear of all the land, and I found Saint George's Channel to be a much better and shorter passage, whether from the eastward or the westward, than round all the land and islands to the north ward; the distress, therefore, 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, ribbands, 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 Islands in latitude 2° 27' S., longitude 148° 3. E. The length of this streight or channel, from Cape Saint George to Cape Byron, the southwest extremity of New Ireland, is above eighty leagues ; the