Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

us to-day, went away at two turns. Their lances were '770like those that we had seen in Botany Bay, except that ^,j" —,_i they had but a (ingle point, which in some of them was the stingos the ray, and barbed with two or three sliarp bones or the fame fish: it was indeed a most terrible weapon, and the instrument which they used in throwing it, seemed to be formed with more art than any we had seen before. About twelve o'clock next day theFriday 13. yawl returned, with another turtle and a large sting-ray, and in the evening was sent out again.

The next morning two of the Indians came on board,Siturd- '4but after a short stay went along the shore, and applied themselves with great diligence to the striking of fish. Mr. Gore, who went out this day with his gun, had the good fortune to kill one of the animals which had been so much the subject of our speculation; an idea of it will be best conceived by the cut, page 345, without ■which the most accurate verbal description would answer very little purpose, as it has not similitude enough to any animal already known, to admit of illustration by reference. In form it is most like the gerbua, which it also resembles in its motion, as has been observed already; but it greatly differs in size, the gerbua not being larger than a common rat, and this animal, when full grown, being as big as a sheep; this individual was a young one, much under its full growth, weighing only thirty-eight pounds; the head, neck, and shoulders are very small, in proportion to the other parts of ihe body; the tail is nearly as long as the body, thick near the rump, and tapering towards the end; the fore-legs of this individual were only eight inches long, and the hind-legs two-and-twenty; its progress is by successive leaps or hops, of a great length, in an erect posture; the fore-legs are kept bent close to the breast, and seemed to be of use only for digging; the skin is covered with a short fur, of a dark mouse or grey colour, excepting the head and ears, which bear a flight resemblance to those of a hare. This animal is called by the natives Kanguroo.

'The next day our kanguroo was dressed for dinner,Sunday 15. and proved most excellent meat. We might now indeed be said to fare sumptuously every day, for we had turtle in great plenty, and we all agreed that they were A a 4 much

1770. much better than any we had tasted in England, which July-* We imputed to their being eaten fresh from the sea, be

L * fore their natural fat had been wasted, or their juices changed, by a diet and situation so different from what the sea affords them, as garbage and a tub. Most of those that we caught here were of the kind called green turtle, and weighed from two to three hundred weight, and when these were killed, they were always found to be full of turtle grafs, which our naturalists took to be a kind of conferva; two of them were loggerheads, the flesh of which was much less delicious, and in their stomachs nothing was to be found but (hells.

Monday 16. *n tne rooming °f tne 16th, while the people were employed, as usual, in getting the ship ready for the sea, I climbed one of the hills on the north side of the river, from which I had an extensive view of the inland country, and found it agreeably diversified by hills, vallies, and large plains, which in many places were richly covered with wood. This evening we observed an emersion of Jupiter's first satellite, which gave 214* 53' 45" °f longitude. The observation which was made on the 29th of June gave 214° 42' 30"; the mean is 2140 48' 73", the longitude of this place west of Greenwich.

Tnesday 17- ^n tne I7t^1 * ^ent '^e Master and one °f tne Mates in the pinnace, to look for a channel to the northward, and I went myself with Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander into the woods, on the other fide of the water. Tupia, who had been thither by himself, reported, that he had seen three Indians, who had given him some roots about as thick as a man's finger, in shape not much unlike a raddish, and of a very agreeable taste. This induced us to go over, hoping that we should be able to improve our acquaintance with the natives: in a very little time we discovered sour of them in a canoe, who as soon as they saw us came a-shore, and, though they were all strangers, walked up to us, without any signs of suspicion or fear. Two of these had necklaces of shells, which we could not persuade them to part with for any thing we could give them: we presented them however with some beads, and after- a short

slay stay they departed. We attempted to follow them, |77°hoping that they would conduct us to some place^vL,^ where we should find more of them, and have an opportunity of seeing their women; but they made us understand by signs, that they did not desire our company.

At eight o'clock the next morning we were visited Wedn. 18. by several of the natives, who were now become quite familiar. One of them, at our desire, threw his lance, which was about eight feet long: it flew with a swiftness and steadiness that surprised us, and though it was never more than four feet from the ground, it entered deeply into a tree at fifty paces distance. After this they ventured on board, where I left them, to all appearance much entertained, and went again with Mr. Banks to take a view of the country; but chiefly to indulge an anxious curiosity, by looking round us upon the sea, of which our wishes almost persuaded us we had formed an idea more disadvantageous than the truth. After having walked about seven or eight miles along the shore to the northward, we ascended a very high hill, and were soon convinced that the danger of our situation was at least equal to our apprehensions; for in whatever direction we turned our eyes, we saw rocks and shoals without number, and no passage out to sea, but through the winding channels between them, which could not be navigated without the last degree of difficulty and danger. We returned therefore to the ship, not in better spirits than when we left it; we found several natives still on board, and we were told that the turtles, of which we had then no less than twelve upon the deck, had fixed their attention more than any thing else in the ship.

On the 19th in the morning we were visited by tenThursd. 19. os the natives, the greater part from the other side of the river, where we saw six or seven more, most of them women, and, like all the rest of the people we had seen in this country, they were stark naked. Our guests brought with them a greater number of lances than they had ever done before, and having laid them up in a tree, they set a man and a boy to watch them: the rest then came on board, and we soon perceived

that

>77°- that they had determined to get one of our turtle, which _.°Zl, »was probably as great a dainty to them as to us. They first asked us, by signs, to give them one; and being refused, they expressed, both by looks and gestures, great disappointmtnt and anger. At this time we happened to have no victuals dressed, but I offered one of them some biscuit, which he snatched and threw overboard with great disdain. One of them renewed his request to Mr. Banks, and upon a refusal stamped with his foot, and pushed him from him in a transport of resentment and indignation: having applied by turns to almost every person who appeared to have any command in the ship, without success, they suddenly seized two os the turtles, and dragged them towards the side of the ship where their canoe lay: our people soon forced them out of their hands, ana replaced them with the rest. They would not however relinquish their enterprise, but made several other attempts of the fame kind, in all which being equally disappointed, they suddenly leaped into their canoe in a rage, and began to paddle towards the shore. At the same time, I went into the boat with Mr. Banks, and five or six of the ship's crew, and we got ashore before them, where many more of our people were already engaged in various employments; as soon as they landed, they seized their arms, and, before we were aware of their design, they snatched a brand from under a pitch kettle which was boiling, and making a circuit to the windward of the few things we had on shore, they set fire to the grass in their way, with surprising quickness and dexterity: the grafs, which was five or six feet high, and as dry as stubble, burnt with amazing fury; and the fire made a rapid progress towards a tent of Mr. Banks's, which had been set up for Tupia when he was sick, taking in its course a sow and pigs, one of which it scorched to death. Mr. Banks leaped into a boat, and fetched some people from on board, just time enough to save his tent, by hauling it down upon the beach; but the smith's forge, at least such part of it as would burn, was consumed. While this was doing, the Indians went to a place at some distance where several of our people were washing, and where our nets, among which was

the

the seine, and a great quantity of linen, were laid out 1770. to dry; here they again set fire to the grass, entirely. J"1?disregarding both treats and entreaties. We were therefore obliged to discharge a musquet, loaded with small shot, at one of them, which drew blood at the distance of about forty yards, and this putting them to flight, we extinguished the fire at this place before it had made much progress; but where the grafs had been first kindled, it spread into the woods to a great distance. As the Indians were still in fight, I fired a musquet, charged with ball, a-breast of them among the mangroves, to convince them that they were not yet out of our reach: upon hearing the ball they quickened their pace, and we soon lost sight of them. We thought they would now give us no more trouble; but soon after we heard their voices in the woods, and perceived that they came nearer and nearer. I set out, therefore, with Mr. Banks and three or four more, to meet them: when our parties came in sight of each other, they halted, except one old man, who came forward to meet us: at length he stopped, and having uttered some words, which we were very sorry we could not understand, he went back to his companions, and the whole body slowly retreated. We found means however to seize some of their darts, and continued to follow them about a mile: we then fat down upon some rocks, from which we could observe their motions, and they also sat down at about an hundred yards distance. After a short time, the old man again advanced towards us, carrying in his hand a lance without a point: he stopped several times, at different distances, and spoke; we answered by reckoning and making such signs of amity as we could devise; upon which the messenger of peace, as we supposed him to be, turned and spoke aloud to his companions, who then set up their lances against a tree, and advanced towards us in a friendly manner: when they came up, we returned the darts or lances that we had taken from them, and we perceived with great satisfaction that this rendersd the reconciliation compleat. We found in this party four persons whom we had never seen before, who as usual were introduced to us by name; but the man who had been wounded in the attempt

« ZurückWeiter »