Abbildungen der Seite

ders to land, if it were possible, and procure some refreshments for the sick: they landed with great difficulty, and brought off about two hundred cocoa-nuts, which, to persons in our circumstances, were an inestimable treasure. The people who were on shore, reported that there were no signs of its having ever been inhabited, but that they found thousands of sea fowl sitting upon their nests, which were built in high trees : These birds were so tame that they suffered themselves to be knocked down without leaving their nests : The ground was covered with land crabs, but our people saw no other animal. At first I was inclined to believe that this island was the same that in the Neptune François is called Maluita, and laid down about a degree to the eastward of the great island of Saint Elizabeth, which is the principal of the Solomon's Islands; but being afterwards convinced to the contrary, I called it the Duke of York's Island, in honour of his late royal highness, and I am of opinion that we were the first human beings who ever saw it. There is indeed great reason to believe that there is no good authority for laying down Solomon's Islands in the situation that is assigned to them by the French: The only person who has pretended to have seen them is Quiros, and I doubt whether he left behind him any account of them by which they might be found by future navigators.”

We continued our course till the 29th, in the track of these islands, and being then ten degrees to the westward of their situation in the chart, without having seen any thing of them, I hauled to the northward, in order to cross the equinoxial, and afterwards shape my course for the Ladrone Islands, which, though a long run, I hoped to accomplish before I should be distressed for water, notwithstanding it now began to fall short. Our latitude, this day,

vas go 13' S., longitude 176° 20' E. and the variation was 10° 10' E.

On Tuesday the 2d of July, we again saw many birds about the ship, and at four o'clock in the afternoon, discovered an island bearing north, and distant about six leagues : We stood for it till sun-set, when it was distant about four leagues, and then kept off and on for the night. In the morning, we found it a low flat island, of a most delightful appearance, and full of wood, among which the cocoa-nut tree was very conspicuous : We saw, however, to our great regret, much foul ground about it, upon which the sea broke with a dreadful surf. We steered along the southwest side of it, which we judged to be about four leagues in length, and soon perceived not only that it was inhabited, but very populous ; for presently after the ship came in sight, we saw at least a thousand of the natives assembled upon the beach, and in a very short time more than sixty canoes, or rather proas, put off from the shore, and made towards us. We lay by to receive them, and they were very soon ranged in a circle round us. These vessels were very neatly made, and so clean that they appeared to be quite new : None of them had fewer than three persons on board, nor any of them more than six. 3 After these Indians had gazed at us some time, one of them suddenly jumped out of his proa, swam to the ship, and ran up the side like a cat: As soon as he had stepped over the gunwale, he sat down upon it, and burst into a violent fit of laughter, then started up, and ran all over the ship, attempting to steal whatever he could lay his hands upon, but without success, for, being stark naked, it was impossible to conceal his booty for a moment. Our seamen put on him a jacket and trowsers, which produced great merriment, for he had all the gestures of a monkey newly dressed : We also gave him bread, which he eat with a voracious appetite, and after having played a thousand antic tricks, he leaped overboard, jacket and trowsers and all, and swam back again to his proa; after this several others swam to the ship, ran up the side of the gun-room ports, and having crept in, snatched up whatever lay in their reach, and immediately leaped again into the sea, and swam away at a great rate, though some of them, having both hands full, held up their arms quite out of the water, to prevent their plunder from being spoiled. These people are tall, well-proportioned, and clean-limbed : Their skin is a bright copper-colour, their features are extremely good, and there is a mixture of intrepidity and cheerfulness in their countenances that is very striking. They have long black hair, which some of them wore tied up behind in a great bunch, others in three knots : Some of them had long beards, some only whiskers, and some nothing more than a small tuft at the point of the chin. They were all of them stark naked, except their ornaments, which consisted of shells, very prettily disposed and strung together, and were worn round their necks, wrists, and waists: All their ears were bored, but they had no ornaments in them when we saw them : Such ornaments as they wear, when they wear any, are probably very heavy, for their ears hang down almost to their shoulders, and some of them were quite split through. One of these men, who appeared to be a person of some consequence, had a string of human teeth about his waist, which was probably a trophy of his military prowess, for he would not part with it in exchange for any thing I could offer him. Some of them were unarmed, but others had one of the most dangerous weapons I had ever seen : It was a kind of spear, very broad at the end, and sluck full of sharks' teeth, which are as sharp as a lancet, at the sides, for about three feet of its length. We shewed them some cocoa-nuts, and made signs that we wanted more; but instead of giving any intimation that they could supply us, they endeavoured to take away those


2 The opinion here stated is now pretty generally confided in. Byron we see sailed over the northern, and Captain Carteret (as we shall find) the southern limits of these supposed islands, but could not find them. The name is now given to a cluster of islands lying betwixt the north of Queen Charlotte's Archipelago, discovered by Carteret, and the south-east coast of New Britain, &c.-E.


3 « These have some resemblance to the proas used by the Indians of the Ladrone Islands, they having what is termed an outrigger, that is, a frame laid out to the windward, to balance this little vessel, and prevent its oversetting, which would otherwise infallibly happen, from its small breadth in proportion to its length.”

I sent out the boats to sound soon after we brought-to off the island, and when they came back, they reported that there was ground at the depth of thirty fathom, within two cables' length of the shore ; but as the bottom was coral rock, and the soundings much too near the breakers for a ship to lie in safety, I was obliged again to make sail without procuring any refreshments for the sick. This island, to which my officers gave the name of Byron's Island, lies


we had.

4 « Though we saw upwards of a hundred of them in their proas, there was but one woman among them, and of her they seemed to take notice; she was distinguished by wearing something about her waist.


in latitude 1° 18' S., longitude 173° 46 E., the variation of the compass here was one point E.

In our course from this place, we saw, for several days, abundance of fish, but we could take only sharks, which were become a good dish even at my own table. Many of the people now began to fall down with fluxes, which the surgeon imputed to the excessive heat and almost perpetual rains.

By the 21st, all our cocoa-nuts being expended, our people began to fall down again with the scurvy. The effect of these nuts alone, in checking this disease, is astonishing : Many whose limbs were becoine as black as ink, who could not move without the assistance of two men, and who, besides total debility, suffered excruciating pain, were in a few days, by eating these nuts, although al sea, so far recovered as to do their duty, and could even go aloft as they did before the distemper seized them. For several days about this time, we had only faint breezes, with smooth water, so that we made but little way, and as we were now not far from the Ladrone Islands, where we hoped some refreshments might be procured, we most ardently wished for a fresh gale, especially as the heat was still intolerable, the glass for a long time having never been lower than eightyone, but often up to eighty-four ; and I am of opinion that this is the hottest, the longest, and most dangerous run that ever was made.

On the 18th, we were in latitude 13° 9 N., longitude 158° 50' E., and on the 22d, in latitude 14° 25' N., longitude 153° 11' E. during which time we had a northerly current. Being now nearly in the latitude of Tinian, I shaped my course for that island.

as well


The Arrival of the Dolphin and Tamar at Tinian, a Descrip

tion of the present Condition of that Island, and an Account of the Transactions there.

On the 28th, we saw a great number of birds about the ship, which continued till the 30th, when about two o'clock in the afternoon we saw land, bearing W. 1 N. which proved to be the islands Saypan, Tinian, and Aiguigan. At




sun-set, the extremes of them bore from N. W. Í N. westward to S. W.; and the three islands had the appearance of one.

At seven, we hauled the wind, and stood off and on all night; and at six the next morning, the extremes of the islands, which still made in one, bore from N. W. by N. to S. W. by S. distant five leagues. The east side of these islands lies N. E. by N. and S. W. by S. Saypan is the northermost; and from the north-east point of that island to the south-west point of Aiguigan, the distance is about seventeen leagues. These three islands are between two and three leagues distant from each other; Saypan is the largest, and Aguigan, which is high and round, the smallest. We steered along the east side of them, and at noon hauled round the south point of Tinian, between that island and Aiguigan, and anchored at the south-west end of it, in sixteen fathom water, with a bottom of hard sand and coral rock, opposite to a white sandy bay, about a mile and a quarter from the shore, and about three quarters of a mile from a reef of rocks that lies at a good distance from the shore, in the very spot where Lord Anson lay in the Centurion. The water at this place is so very clear that the bottom is plainly to be seen at the depth of four-and-twenty fathom, which is no less than one hundred and forty-four feet.

As soon as the sbip was secured, I went on shore, to fix upon a place where tents might be erected for the sick, which were now very numerous; not a single man being wholly free from the scurvy, and many in the last stage of it. We found several huts which had been left by the Spaniards and Indians the year before; for this year none of them had as yet been at the place, nor was it probable that they should come for some months, the sun being now almost vertical, and the rainy season set in. After I had fixed upon a spot for the tents, six or seven of us endeavoured to push through the woods, that we might come at the beautiful lawns and meadows of which there is so luxuriant a description in the Account of Lord Anson's Voyage, and if possible kill some cattle. The trees stood so thick, and the place was so overgrown with underwood, that we could not see three yards before us, we therefore were obliged to keep continually hallooing to each other, to prevent our being separately lost in this trackless wilderness. As the weather was intolerably hot, we had nothing on besides


« ZurückWeiter »