« ZurückWeiter »
scattered to the north-west, in a direction parallel with the main as far as I could fee. I steered north-east for the north-eastermost of these islands; but the wind coming to the north-west, I was obliged to stand out to sea.
To the bay which we had now left I gave the name of Mercury Bay, on account of the observation which we had made-there of the transit of that planet over the sun. It lies in latitude 36' 4/ S. and in the longitude of 1840 4' W. there are several, islands lying both to the southward and northward of it, and a small island or rock in the middle of the entrance: within this island the depth of water no uhere exceeds nine fathom: the best anchoring is in a sandy bay, which lies just within the south head, in five and four fathom, bringing a high tower or rock, which lies without the head, in one with the head, or just shut in behind it. This place is very convenient boih for wooding and watering, and in the river there is an immense quantity of. oysters and other shell-fish: I have for this reason given it the name of Oyster RiVer. But fora ship that wants to stay here any time, the best and safest place is in the river at the head of the bay; which, from the number of mangrove trees about it, I have called Mangrove River. To fail into this river, the south shore must be kept all the way on board. The country on the east fide of the river and bay is very barren, its only produce being fern, and a few other | lants that will grow in a poor foil. The land on the north-west side is covered with wood, and the soil being much more fertile, would doubtless produce all the necessaries of life with proper cultivation: it is not however so fertile as the lands that we have seen to the southward; nor do the inhabitants, though numerous, make so good 3n appearance: they have no plantations; their canoes are mean and without ornament; they sleep in the open air; and fay, that Teratu, whose sovereignty they do not .acknowledge, if he was to come among them, would kill them. This favoured our opinion of their being outlaws; yet they told us, that they had Heppahs or strong holds, to which they retired in time of imminent danger.
17S9. We found, thrown upon the shore, in several parts y^"L^_,of this bay, great quantities of iron sand, which is brought down by every little rivulet of fresh water that finds its way from the country ; which is a demonstration that there is ore of that metal not far inland: yet neither the inhabitants of this place not any other part of the coast that we have seen, know the use of iron, or set the least value upon it; all of them preferring the most worthless and useless trifle, not only to a nail, but to any tool ot that metal.
Before we left the bay, we cut upon one of the trees near the watering-place the ship's name, and that of the Commander, with the date of the year anil month when we were there; and, after displaying the English colours, I took a formal possession of it in the name of his Britannic Majesty King George the I hird.
The Range from Mercury Bay to tbe Bay of Island*. Ar. Expedition up tbe River Thames: Some Account of the Indians who inhabit its Banks, and tbe fine Timber that grows there. Several interviews ivitb tbe Natives en different Parts of the Coafi, antfra Skirmish -with them upon an Island.
I Continued plying to windward two days to get under the land, and on the 18th, about seven in the morning, we were a-breast of a very conspicuous promontory, being then in latitude 360 26', and in the direction of N. 48 W. from the north head of Mercury Bay or Point Mercury, which was distant nine leagues: upon this point stood many people, who seemed to take little notice of us, but talked together with great earnestness. In about half an hour, several canoes put off from different places, and came towards the ship ^ upon which the people on the point also launched a canoe, and about twenty of them came in her up with the others. When two of these canoes, in which there might be about sixty men, came near enough to make themselves heard, they fung their war-song; but see
ing that we took little notice of it, they threw a sew '769stones at us, and then rowed off towards the shore. lm^^L^M We hoped that we had now done with them, but in a short time they returned, as if with a fixed resolution to provoke us into a battle, animating themselves by their song as they had done before. Tupia, without any directions from us, went to the poop, and began to expostulate: he told them, that we had weapons which would destroy them in a moment: and that, if they ventured to attack us, we should be obliged to use them. Upon this, they flourished their weapons and cried out in their language, "Come on shore, and we "will kill you all:" Well, said Tupia, but why should you molest us while we are at sea? As we do not wish to fight, we shall not accept your challenge to come on shore; and here is no pretence for a quarrel, the sea being no more your property than the ship. This eloquence of Tupia, though it greatly surprized us, having given him no hints for the arguments he used, had no effect upon our enemies, who very soon renewed their battery: a musquet was then fired through one of their boats, and this was an argument of sufficient weight, for they immediately fell a-stern and left us.
From the point, of which we were now a-breast, the land trends W. \ S. near a league, and then S. S. E. as far as we could fee; and, besides the islands that lay without us, we could fee land round by the S. W. as far as the N. W. but whether this was the main or islands, we could not then determine: the fear of losing the main, however, made me resolve to follow its direction. With this view, I hauled round the point and steered to the southward, but there being light airs all round the compass, we made but little progress.
About one o'clock, a breeze sprung up at east, which afterwards came to N. E. and we steered along the ffiore S. by E. and S. S. E. having from twenty-five to eighteest fathom.
At about half an hour after seven in the evening, having run seven or eight leagues since noon, I anchored in twenty-three fathom, not chusing to run any farther id the dark, as I had now land on both sides, form
ina; the entrance of a streight, bay, or river, Iving S. by or on that point we could fee no land. At day-break, on the 19th, the wind beitig still favourable, we weighed and stood with an easy lail up the inlet, keeping nearest to the east fide. In a short time two large cai oes came off to us from the shore; the people 011 board said, that they knew Toiava very well, and called Tupia by his name. I invited some of them on board; and as they knew they had nothing to fear from us, while they behaved honellly and peaceably, they immediately complied: 1 made each of them some presents, and dismissed them much gratified. Other canoes afterwards came up to us from a different fide of the bay ; and the people on board of these also mentioned the name of "I oiava, and sent a young man into the ihip, who told us he was his grandson, and he also was dismissed with a present.
Alter having run about five leagues from the place where we had anchored the night before, our depth of water gradually decreased to six fathom ; and not choosing to go into less, as it was tide of flood, and the wind blew right up the inlet, I came to an anchor about the middle of the channel, which is near eleven miles over; alter which I sent two boats out to sound, one on one fide, atid the other on the other.
The boats not having found above three feet more water than we were now in, I determined to go no farther with the ship, but to examine the head of the bay in the boats; for, as it appeared to run a good way inland, 1 thought this a favourable opportunity to examine the interior part of the country and its produce.
At day-break, therefore, I set out in the pinnace and long-boat, accompanied by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and Tupia; aud we found the inlet end in a river, about nine miles above the fliip: into this river we entered with the first of the flood, r.nd within three miles lound the water perfectly fresh. Before we had proceeded more than one third of that distance, we found an Indian town, which was built upon a small bank of dry sand, but intircly surrounded by a deep mud, which possibly the inhabitants might consider.as a deience. .These people, as soon as they law us, thronged
to. to the banks, and invited us on shore. We accepted '76s>_ the invitation, and made them a visit, notwithstanding the mud. They received us with open arms, having heard of us from our good old friend Toiava; but our stay could not be long, as we had other objects of curiosity in view. We proceeded up the river tiil near noon, when we were fourteen miles within its entrance; and then, finding the face of the country to continue nearly the lame, without any alteration in the course of the stream, which we had no hopes of tracing to its source, we landed on the west side, to take a view of the lofty trees which every where ndorned its banks. They were of a kind that we had seen before, though only at a distance, both in PovertyBay and Hawke's-Bay. Before we had walked an hundred yards into ihe wood, we met with one of them which was nineteen feet eight inches in the girt, at the height of six feet above the ground: having a quadrant with me, I measured its height from the root to the first branch, and found it to be eighty-nine feet: it was as strait as an arrow, and tapered but very little in proportion to its height, so that I judged there were three hundred and fifty-six feet of solid timber in it, exclusive of the branches. As we advanced, we saw many others that were still larger; we cut down a young one, and the wood proved heavy and solid, not fit for masts, but such as would make the finest plank in the world. Our carpenter, who was with us, said that the timber resembled thai of the pitch-pine, which is lightened by tapping; and possibly some such method might be found to lighten these, and they would then be such masts as no country in Europe can produce. As the wood was swampy, we could not rai.ge far; but found many stout trees of other kinds, all of them utterly unknown to us, specimens ot which we brought away.