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The Sequel of the Passage from Cape Horn to the newly dis
covered Islands in the South Seas, with a Description of their Figure and Appearance; some Account of the Inhabitants, and several Incidents that happened during the Course, and at the Ship’s Arrival among them.
On the 1st of March, we were in latitude 38° 44' S. and longitude 110° 33' W. both by observation and by the log. This agreement, after a run of 660 leagues, was thought to be very extraordinary; and is a demonstration, that after we left the land of Cape Horn we had no current that af: fected the ship. It renders it also highly probable, that we had been near no land of any considerable extent; for carrents are always found when land is not remote, and sometimes, particularly on the east side of the continent in the North Sea, when land has been distant one hundred leagues.
Many birds, as usual, were constantly about the ship, so that Mr Banks killed no less than sixty-two in one day; and what is more remarkable, he caught two forest flies, both of them of the same species, but different from any that have hitherto been described; these probably belong. ed to the birds, and came with them from the land, which we judged to be at a great distance. Mr Banks also, about this time, found a large cuttle-fish, which had just been kille ed by the birds, floating in a mangled condition upon the water; it is very different from the cuttle-fishes that are found in the European seas; for its arms, instead of suckers, were furnished with a double row of very sharp talons, which resemble those of a cat, and, like them, were retractable into a sheath of skin, from which they might be thrást at pleasure. Of this cuttle-fish we made one of the best soups we had ever tasted.
The albatrosses now began to leave us, and after the Sth there was not one to be seen. We continued our course without any memorable event till the 24th, when some of the people who were upon the watch in the night reported that they saw a log of wood pass by the ship; and that the sea, which was rather rough, became suddenly as smooth as a miil-pond. it was a general opinion, that there was land to windward; but I did not think myself at libertý to search for what I was not sure to find; though I judged we were not far from the islands that were discovered by Quiros in 1606. Our latitude was 22° 11' S. and longitude 127° 55' W.
On the 25th, about noon, one of the marines, a young fellow about twenty, was placed as sentry at the cabin. door; while he was upon this duty, one of my servants was at the same place preparing to cut a piece of seal-skin into tobacco-pouches: He had promised one to several of the men, but had refused one to this young fellow, though he had asked him several times ; upon which he jocularly threatened to steal one, if it should be in his power. It happened that the servant, being called hastily away, gave the skin in charge to the centinel, without regarding what had passed between them. The centinel immediately secured a piece of the skin, which the other missing at his return, grew angry; but, after some altercation, contented himself with taking it away, declaring, that, for so trifling an affair, he would not complain of him to the officers. But it happened that one of his fellow-soldiers, overhearing the dispute, came to the knowledge of what had happened, and told it to the rest; who, taking it into their heads to stand up for the honour of their corps, reproached the offender with great bitterness, and revised him in the most opprobrious terms; they exaggerated his offence into a crime of the deepest dye; they said it was a theft by a centry when he was upon duty, and of a thing that had been committed to his trust; they declared it a disgrace to associate with him; and the serjeant, in particular, said, that, if the person from whom the skin had been stolen would not complain, he would complain himself; for that his ho, nour would suffer if the offender was not punished. From the scoffs and reproaches of these men of honour, the poor young
fellow retired to his hammock in an agony of confusion and shame. The serjeant soon after went to him, and ordered him to follow him to the deck. He obeyed without reply; but it being in the dusk of the evening, he slipped from the serjeant and went forward. He was seen by some of the people, who thought he was gone to the head; but a search being made for him afterwards, it was
Arrowsmith has laid down Ducies Island very near to this position. See his map of America.
found that he had thrown bimself overboard ; and I was then first made acquainted with the theft and its circumstances. The loss of this man was the more regretted, as he was remarkably quiet and industrious.
On Tuesday the 4th of April, about ten o'clock in the morning, Mr Banks's servant, Peter Briscoe, discovered land, bearing south, at the distance of about three or four leagues. I immediately hauled up for it, and found it to be an island of an oval form, with a lagoon in the middle, which occupied much the larger part of it; the border of land wbich circumscribes the lagoon is in many places very low and narrow, particularly on the south side, where it consists principally of a beach or reef of rocks : It has the same appearance also in three places on the north side ; .so that the firm land being disjoined, the whole looks like many islands covered with wood. On the west end of the island is a large tree, or clump of trees, that in appearance resembles a tower; and about the middle are two cocoanut trees, which rise above all the rest, and, as we came near to the island, appeared like a flag. We approached it on the north side, and though we came within a mile, wę found no bottom with one bundred and thirty fathom of line, nor did there appear to be any anchorage about it. The whole is covered with trees of different verdure, but we could distinguish pone, even with our glasses, except cocoa-nuts and palm-nuts. We saw several of the natives upon the shore, and counted four-and-twenty, They appeared to be tall, and to have heads remarkably large; perhaps they had something wound round them, which we could not distinguish ; they were of a copper colour, and had long black hair. Eleven of them walked along the beach abreast of the ship, with poles or pikes in their hands, which reached twice as high as themselves. While they walked on the beach they seemed to be naked; but soon after they retired, which they did as soon as the ship had passed the island, they covered themselves with something that made them appear of a light colour. Their habitatione were under some clumps of palm-nut trees, which at a distance appeared like high ground; and to us, who for a long time had seen nothing but water and sky, except the dreary hills of Terra del Fuego, these groves seemed a terrestrial paradise. To this spot, which lies in latitude 18 47" '
S. and longitude 139° 28" W. we gave the name of Lagoon Island. The variation of the needle here is 2° 54' E.
About one o'clock we made sail to the westward, and about half an hour after three we saw land again to the N. W. We got up with it at sun-set; and it proved to be a low woody island, of a circular form, and not much above a mile in compass. :. We discovered no inhabitants, nor could we distinguish any cocoa-nut trees, though we were within half a mile of the shore. The land, however, was covered with verdure of many hues. It lies in latitude 189 35' S. and longitude 139° 48' W. and is distant from Lagoon Island, in the direction of N. 62 W. about seven leagues. We called it Thrumb-Cap. I discovered, by the appearance of the shore, that at this place it was low water; and I had observed at Lagoon Island, that it was either high-water, or that the sea neither ebbed nor flowed. I infer, therefore, that a S. by E. or S. moon makes high water.
We went on with a fine trade-wind and pleasant weather; and on the 5th, about three in the afternoon, we discovered land to the westward. It proved to be a low island, of much greater extent than either of those that we had seen before, being about ten or twelve leagues in compass. Several of us remained at the mast-head the whole evening, admiring its extraordinary figure. It was-shaped exactly like a bow; the arch and cord of which were land, and the space between them water; the cord was a flat beach, without any signs of vegetation, having nothing upon it but heaps of sea-weed, which lay in different ridges, as higher or lower tides had left them. It appeared to be about three or four leagues long, and not more than two hundred yards wide : but as a horizontal plane is always seen in perspective, and greatly foreshortened, it is certain
much wider than it appeared: The horns, or extremities of the bow, were two large tufts of cocoa-nut trées ; aud much the greater part of the arch was covered with trees of different height, figure, and hue; in some parts, however, it was naked and low like the cord. Some of us thought they discovered openings through the cord into the pool or lake, that was included between that and the bow; but whether there were or were not such openings is uncertain. We sailed abreast of the low beach or bowstring, within less than a league of the shore, till sun-set,
and we then judged ourselves to be about half-way between the two horns. Here we brought-to, and sounded, but found no bottom with one hundred and thirty fathom; and as it is dark almost instantly after sun-set in these latitudes, we suddenly lost sight of the land; and making sail again, before the line was well hauled in, we steered by the sound of the breakers, which were distinctly heard till we got clear of the coast.
We knew this island to be inhabited, by smoke which we saw in different parts of it, and we gave it the name of Bow Island. Mr Gore, my second lieutenant, said, after we had sailed by the island, that he had seen several of the natives, under the first clump of trees, from the deck; that he had distinguished their houses, and seen several canoes hauled
up under the shade; but in this he was more fortunate than any other person on board. The east end of this island, which, from its figure, we called the Bow, lies in latitude 18° 23' S. and longitude 141° 12 W. We observed the variation of the compass to be 5° 38' E.
On the next day, Thursday the 6th, about noon, we saw land again to the westward, and came up with it about three. It appeared to be two islands, or rather groups of islands, extending from N.W. by N. to S.E. by S. about nine leagues. Of these, the two largest were separated from each other by a channel of about half-a-mile broad, and were severally surrounded by smaller islands, to which they were joined by reefs that lay under water.
These islands were long narrow strips of land, ranging in all directions, some of them ten miles or upwards in length, but none more than a quarter of a mile broad, and upon all of them there were trees of various kinds, particularly the cocoa-nut. The south-eastermost of them lies in the latitude of 18° 12' S. and longitude 142° 42' W. and at the distance of twenty-five leagues in the direction of W. Į N. from the west end of Bow Island. We ranged along the S.W. side of this island, and hauled into a bay which lies to the N.W. of the southerınost point of the Group, where there was a smooth sea, and the appearance of anchorage, without much surf on the shore. We sounded, but we found no bottom with one hundred fathoin, at the distance of no more than three quarters of a mile from the beach, and I did not think it prudent to go nearer. While this was doing, several of the inhabitants assem