Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

'77°- the approach of the native savages, at a time when they y_J-a■ must have fallen an easy prey to their malice or their fears: and it is remarkable, that the greater part of thole who have been condemned to suffer a violent death, have slept the night immediately preceding their execution; though there is, perhaps, no instance of a person accused of a capital crime having slept the first night of his confinement. Thus is the evil of life in some degree a remedy for itself; and though every man at twenty deprecates fourscore, almost every man is as tenacious of life at fourscore as at twenty; and if he does not suffer under any painful disorder, loses as little of the comforts that remain, by reflecting that he is upon the brink of the grave, where the earth already crumbles under his feet, as he did of the pleasures of his better days, when his dissolution, though certain, was supposed to be at a distance.

Our travellers having slept, without once awaking, till the morning, examined the river, and finding the tide favoured their return, and the country promised nothing worthy of a farther search, they re-imbarked in their boat, and made the best of their way to the ship.

Soon after the arrival of this party, the Master also returned, having been several leagues out to sea, and he was now ofopinion, that there was no getting out where before he thought there had been a passage; his expedition, however, was by no means without its advantage; for having been a second time upon the rock where he had seen the large cockles, he met with a great number of turtle, three of which he caught, that together weighed seven hundred and ninety-one pounds, though he had no better instrument than a boat-hook. Monday 9. The next morning, therefore, I sent him out again, with proper instruments for taking them, and Mr. Banks went with him; but the success did not at all answer our expectations, for, by the unaccountable conduct of the officer, not a single turtle was taken, nor could he be persuaded to return. Mr. Banks, however, went a-sliore upon the reef, where he saw several of the large cockles, and having collected many shells, and marine productions, he returned at eleven

o'clock

o'clock at night, in his own small boat, the Master still >77°continuing with the large one upon the rock. In the. r°—', ■ afternoon seven or eight of the natives had appeared on the south fide of the river, and two of them came down to the sandy point, opposite to the ship; but upon seeing me put off in a boat to speak with them, they all ran away with the greatest precipitation.

As the Master continued absent with the boat all night, I was forced to fend the Second Lieutenant for him early the next morning in the yawl; and soon aster Tuesday 10. four of the natives appeared upon the sandy point, on the north side of the river, having with them a small wooden canoe with outriggers.- They seemed for some time to be busily employed in striking fish. Some of our people were for going over to them in a boat, but this I would by no means permit, repeated experience having convinced me that it was more likely to prevent than procure an interview. I was determined to try what could be done by a contrary method, and accordingly let them alone, without appearing to take the least notice of them. This succeeded so well, that at length two of them came in the canoe within musket shot of the fliip, and there talked a great deal in a very loud tone. We understood nothing that they said, and therefore could answer their harangue only by shouting, and making all the signs of invitation and kindness that we could devise. During this conference, they came insensibly nearer and nearer, holding up their lances, not in a threatening manner, but as if to intimate, that if we offered them any injury rhey had weapons to revenge it. When they were almost alongside of us, we threw them some cloth, nails, beads, paper, and other trifles, which they received without the least appearance of satisfaction. At last, one of the people happened to throw them a small fish; at this they expressed the greatest joy imaginable, and intimating by signs that they would fetch their companions, immediately paddled away towards the shore. In the mean time some of our people, and among them Tupia, landed on the opposite side of the river. The canoe, with all the four Indians, very soon returned to the fliip, and came quite alongA a 2 side,

'77°- side, without expressing any fear or distrust. We dis•* II .tributed some more presents among them, and soon after they left us, and landed on the fame side of the river where our people had gone a-stiore: every man carried in his hand two lances, and a stick, which is used in throwing them, and advanced to the place where Tupia and the rest of our people were sitting. Tupia soon prevailed upon them to lay down their arms, and come forward without them; he then made signs that they should sit down by him, with which they cornplied, and seemed to be under no apprehension or constraint; several more of us then going a-shore, they expressed some jealousy lest- we should get between them and their arms; we took care, however, to shew them that we had no such intention, and having joined them, we made them some more presents, as a farther testimony of our good-will, and our desire to obtain theirs. We continued together, with the utmost cordiality, till dinner-time, and then, giving them to understand that we were going to eat, we invited them by signs to go with us; this, however, they declined, and as soon as we left them, they went away in their canoe. One of these men was somewhat above the middle age, the other three were young; they were in general of the common stature, but their limbs were remarkably small; their skin was of the colour of wood-soot, pr what would be called a dark chocolate colour; their hair was black, but not woolly; it was short cropped, in some lank, and in others curled. Dampier fays, that the people whom he saw on the western coast of this country wanted two of their fore-teeth, but these had no such defect; some part of their bodies had been painted red, and the upper lip and breast of one of them was painted with streaks of white, which he called Carbanda\ their features were far from being disagreeable, their eyes were lively, and their teeth even and white, their voices were soft and tuneable, and they repeated many words after us with great facility. In the night Mr. Gore and the Master returned with the long-boat, and brought one turtle and a few shell-fish. The yawl had been left upon the shoal with six men, to make a farther trial for turtle.

The

The next morning we had another visit from four of '77°the natives, three of them had been with us before, butt -*"y' the fourth was a stranger, whose name, as we learnedwedues. n. from his companions who introduced him, was YapaRico. This gentleman was distinguished by an orna, ment of a very striking appearance, it was the bone of a bird, nearly as thick as a man's finger, and five or six inches long, which he had thrust into a hole, made in the gristle that divides the nostrils; of this we had seen one instance, and only one, in New Zealand; but, upon examination, we found, that among all these people this part of the nose was perforated, to receive an ornament of the fame kind. They had also holes in their ears, though nothing was then hanging to them, and had bracelets upon the upper part of their arms, made of plaited hair, so that, like the inhabitants of Terra del Fuego, they seem to be fond of ornament, though they are absolutely without apparel; and one of them, to whom I had given part of an old shirt, instead of throwing it over any part of his body, tied it as a fillet round his head. They brought with them a fish, which they gave us, as we supposed, in return for the fish that we had given them the day before. They seemed to be much pleased, and in no haste to leave us; but seeing some of our gentlemen examine their canoe with great curiosity and attention, they were alarmed, and jumping immediately into it, paddled away without speaking a word.

About two the next morning the yawl, which hadThurs. 1%, been left upon the shoal, returned with three turtles, and a large skeat. As it seemed now probable that this fishery might be prosecuted with advantage, I sent her out again, after breakfast, for a further lupply. Soon after three Indians ventured down to Tupia's tent, and were so well pleased with their reception, that one of them went with the canoe to fetch two others, whom we had never seen: when he returned, he introduced the strangers by name, a ceremony which, upon such occasions, was never omitted. As they had received the fish that was thrown into their canoe, when they first approached the ship, with so much pleasure, some fish was offered to them now, and we were greatly iurA a 3 prized

[graphic]

prized to see that it was received with the greatest indifference: they made signs, however, to some of the people, that they should dress it for them, which was immediately done; but after eating a little of it, they threw the rest to Mr. Banks's dog. They staid with us all the forenoon, but would never venture above twenty yards from their canoe. We now perceived that' the colour of their skin was not so dark as it appeared, what we had taken for their complexion, being the effects of dirt and smoke, in which, we imagined, they contrived to sleep, notwithstanding the heat of the climate, as the only means in their power to keep off the musquitos. Among other things that we had given them when we first saw them, were some medals, which we had hung round their necks by a riband; and these ribands were so changed by smoke, that we could not easily distinguish of what colour they had been. This incident led us more narrowly to examine the colour of their skin. While these people were with us, we sawtwo others on the point of land that lay on the opposite side of the river, at the distance of about two hundred yards, and by our glasses discovered them to be a woman and a boy; the woman, like the rest, being stark naked. We observed, that all of them were remarkably clean limbed, and exceedingly active and nimble. One or these strangers had a necklace of shells, very prettily made, and a bracelet upon his arm, formed of several strings, so as to resemble what in England is called gymp: both of them had a piece of bark tied over the sorehead, and were disfigured J»y the bone in the nose. We thought their language more harsh than that os the Islanders in the South Sea, and they were continually repeating the word cbercau, which we imagined to be a term expressing admiration, by the manner in which it was uttered: they also cri*d out, when they saw any thing new, cher, trt, tut, tut, tuts which probably had a similar signification. Their canoe was not above ten feet long, and very narrow, but it was fitted with an outrigger, much hke those of the islands, though in every respect very much inferior: when it was i„ shallow water they let it on with poles, and when in deep they worked ,t with paddles about four feet long • it conutned just sour people, so that the people who visited

us

« ZurückWeiter »