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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 14 by Robert Kerr

Part 9 out of 11

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were about this, we observed the natives assembling from all parts, and
forming themselves into two parties, as they did the preceding evening, one
on each side the landing-place, to the amount of some thousands, armed as
before. A canoe, sometimes conducted by one, and at other times by two or
three men, now and then came off, bringing a few cocoa-nuts or plantains.
These they gave us without asking for any return; but I took care they
should always have something. Their chief design seemed to invite us on
shore. One of those who came off was the old man, who had already
ingratiated himself into our favour. I made him understand, by signs, that
they were to lay aside their weapons, took those which were in the canoe,
and threw them overboard, and made him a present of a large piece of cloth.
There was no doubt but he understood me, and made my request known to his
countrymen. For as soon as he landed, we observed him to go first to the
one party, and then to the other; nor was he, ever after, seen by us with
any thing like a weapon in his hand. After this, three fellows came in a
canoe under the stern, one of them brandishing a club, with which he struck
the ship's side, and committed other acts of defiance, but at last offered
to exchange it for a string of beads, and some other trifles. These were
sent down to him by a line; but the moment they were in his possession, he
and his companions paddled off in all haste, without giving the club or any
thing else in return. This was what I expected, and indeed what I was not
sorry for, as I wanted an opportunity to shew the multitude on shore, the
effect of our fire arms, without materially hurting any of them. Having a
fowling-piece loaded with small shot (No. 3) I gave the fellow the
contents; and, when they were above musquet-shot off, I ordered some of the
musquetoons, or wall-pieces, to be fired, which made them leap out of the
canoe, keep under her offside, and swim with her ashore. This transaction
seemed to make little or no impression on the people there. On the
contrary, they began to halloo, and to make sport of it.[1]

After mooring the ship, by four anchors, with her broadside to the landing-
place, hardly musquet-shot off, and placing our artillery in such a manner
as to command the whole harbour, I embarked with the marines, and a party
of seamen, in three boats, and rowed in for the shore. It hath been already
mentioned, that the two divisions of the natives were drawn up on each side
the landing-place. They had left a space between them of about thirty or
forty yards, in which were laid, to the most advantage, a few small bunches
of plantains, a yam, and two or three roots. Between these and the water
were stuck upright in the sand, for what purpose I never could learn, four
small reeds, about two feet from each other, in a line at right angles to
the shore, where they remained for two or three days after. The old man
before-mentioned, and two more, stood by these things, inviting us, by
signs, to land; but I had not forgot the trap I was so near being caught in
at the last island; and this looked something like it. We answered, by
making signs for the two divisions to retire farther back, and give us more
room. The old man seemed to desire them so to do, but no more regard was
paid to him than to us. More were continually joining them, and, except two
or three old men, not one unarmed. In short, every thing conspired to make
us believe they meant to attack us as soon as we should be on shore; the
consequence of which was easily supposed; many of them must have been
killed and wounded, and we should hardly have escaped unhurt; two things I
equally wished to prevent. Since, therefore, they would not give us the
room required, I thought it was better to frighten them into it, than to
oblige them by the deadly effect of our fire-arms. I accordingly ordered a
musquet to be fired over the party on our right, which was by far the
strongest body; but the alarm it gave them was momentary. In an instant
they recovered themselves and began to display their weapons. One fellow
shewed us his backside, in a manner which plainly conveyed his meaning.

After this I ordered three or four more musquets to be fired. This was the
signal for the ship to fire a few great guns, which presently dispersed
them; and then we landed, and marked out the limits, on the right and left,
by a line. Our old friend stood his ground, though deserted by his two
companions, and I rewarded his confidence with a present. The natives came
gradually to us, seemingly in a more friendly manner; some even without
their weapons, but by far the greatest part brought them; and when we made
signs to lay them down, they gave us to understand that we must lay down
ours first. Thus all parties stood armed. The presents I made to the old
people, and to such as seemed to be of consequence, had little effect on
their conduct. They indeed climbed the cocoa-nut trees, and threw us down
the nuts, without requiring any thing for them; but I took care that they
should always have somewhat in return. I observed that many were afraid to
touch what belonged to us; and they seemed to have no notion of exchanging
one thing for another. I took the old man (whose name we now found to be
Paowang) to the woods, and made him understand, I wanted to cut down some
trees to take on board the ship; cutting some down at the same time, which
we put into one of our boats, together with a few small casks of water,
with a view of letting the people see what it was we chiefly wanted.
Paowang very readily gave his consent to cut wood; nor was there any one
who made the least objection. He only desired the cocoa-nut trees might not
be cut down. Matters being thus settled, we embarked and returned on board
to dinner, and, immediately after, they all dispersed. I never learnt that
any one was hurt by our shot, either on this or the preceding day; which
was a very happy circumstance. In the afternoon having landed again, we
loaded the launch with water, and having made three hauls with the seine,
caught upwards of three hundred pounds of mullet and other fish. It was
some time before any of the natives appeared, and not above twenty or
thirty at last, amongst whom was our trusty friend Paowang, who made us a
present of a small pig, which was the only one we got at this isle, or that
was offered to us.

During the night the volcano, which was about four miles to the west of us,
vomited up vast quantities of fire and smoke, as it had also done the night
before; and the flames were seen to rise above the hill which lay between
us and it. At every eruption it made a long rumbling noise like that of
thunder, or the blowing up of large mines. A heavy shower of rain, which
fell at this time, seemed to increase it; and the wind blowing from the
same quarter, the air was loaded with its ashes, which fell so thick that
every thing was covered with the dust. It was a kind of fine sand, or
stone, ground or burnt to powder, and was exceedingly troublesome to the

Early in the morning of the 7th, the natives began again to assemble near
the watering-place, armed as usual, but not in such numbers as at first.
After breakfast, we landed, in order to cut wood and fill water. I found
many of the islanders much inclined to be friends with us, especially the
old people; on the other hand, most of the younger were daring and
insolent, and obliged us to keep to our arms. I staid till I saw no
disturbance was like to happen, and then returned to the ship, leaving the
party under the command of Lieutenants Clerke and Edgcumbe. When they came
on board to dinner, they informed me that the people continued to behave in
the same inconsistent manner as in the morning; but more especially one
man, whom Mr Edgcumbe was obliged to fire at, and believed he had struck
with a swan shot. After that the others behaved with more discretion; and
as soon as our people embarked they all retired. While we were sitting at
dinner an old man came on board, looked into many parts of the ship, and
then went ashore again.

In the afternoon, only a few of those who lived in the neighbourhood, with
whom we were now upon a tolerable footing, made their appearance at the
watering-place. Paowang brought us an axe which had been left by our
people, either in the woods or on the beach, and found by some of the
natives. A few other articles were afterwards returned to us, which either
they had stolen, or we had lost by our negligence, so careful were they now
not to offend us in this respect.

Early the next morning, I sent the launch, protected by a party of marines
in another boat, to take in ballast, which was wanted. This work was done
before breakfast; and after it, she was sent for wood and water, and with
her the people employed in this service, under the protection of a
serjeant's guard, which was now thought sufficient, as the natives seemed
to be pretty well reconciled to us. I was told, that they asked our people
to go home with them, on condition they stripped naked as they were. This
shews that they had no design to rob them, whatever other they might

On the 9th, I sent the launch for more ballast, and the guard and wooders
to the usual place. With these I went myself, and found a good many of the
natives collected together, whose behaviour, though armed, was courteous
and obliging; so that there was no longer any occasion to mark out the
limits by a line; they observed them without this precaution. As it was
necessary for Mr Wales's instruments to remain on shore all the middle of
the day, the guard did not return to dinner, as they had done before, till
relieved by others. When I came off, I prevailed on a young man, whose name
was Wha-a-gou, to accompany me. Before dinner I shewed him every part of
the ship; but did not observe that any thing fixed his attention a moment,
or caused in him the least surprise. He had no knowledge of goats, dogs, or
cats, calling them all hogs (_Booga_ or _Boogas_). I made him a
present of a dog and a bitch, as he shewed a liking to that kind of animal.
Soon after he came on board, some of his friends followed in a canoe, and
enquired for him, probably doubtful of his safety. He looked out of the
quarter gallery, and having spoken to them, they went ashore, and quickly
returned with a cock, a little sugar-cane, and a few cocoa-nuts, as a
present to me. Though he sat down with us, he did but just taste our salt
pork, but eat pretty heartily of yam, and drank a glass of wine. After
dinner I made him presents, and then conducted him, ashore.[3]

As soon as we landed, the youth and some of his friends took me by the
hand, with a view, as I understood, to conduct me to their habitations. We
had not gone far, before some of them, for what reason I know not, were
unwilling I should proceed; in consequence of which the whole company
stopped; and, if I was not mistaken, a person was dispatched for something
or other to give me; for I was desired to sit down and wait, which I
accordingly did. During this interval, several of our gentlemen passed us,
at which they shewed great uneasiness, and importuned me so much to order
them back, that I was at last obliged to comply. They were jealous of our
going up the country, or even along the shore of the harbour. While I was
waiting here, our friend Paowang came with a present of fruit and roots,
carried by about twenty men; in order, as I supposed, to make it appear the
greater. One had a small bunch of plantains, another a yam, a third a
cocoa-nut, &c.; but two men might have carried the whole with ease. This
present was in return for something I had given him in the morning;
however, I thought the least I could do now, was to pay the porters.

After I had dispatched Paowang, I returned to Wha-a-gou and his friends,
who were still for detaining me. They seemed to wait with great impatience
for something, and to be unwilling and ashamed to take away the two dogs,
without making me a return. As night was approaching, I pressed to be gone;
with which they complied, and so we parted.

The preceding day, Mr Forster learnt from the people the proper name of the
island, which they call Tanna; and this day I learnt from them the names of
those in the neighbourhood. The one we touched at last is called Erromango;
the small isle, which we discovered the morning we landed here, Immer; the
Table island to the east, discovered at the same time, Erronan or Footoona;
and an island which lies to the S.E. Annattom. All these islands are to be
seen from Tanna.

They gave us to understand, in a manner which I thought admitted of no
doubt, that they eat human flesh, and that circumcision was practised among
them. They began the subject of eating human flesh, of their own accord, by
asking us if we did; otherwise I should never have thought of asking them
such a question. I have heard people argue, that no nation could be
cannibals, if they had other flesh to eat, or did not want food; thus
deriving the custom from necessity. The people of this island can be under
no such necessity; they have fine pork and fowls, and plenty of roots and
fruits. But since we have not actually seen them eat human flesh, it will
admit of doubt with some, whether they are cannibals.[4]

When I got on board, I learnt that, when the launch was on the west side of
the harbour taking in ballast, one of the men employed in this work, had
scalded his fingers in taking a stone up out of some water. This
circumstance produced the discovery of several hot springs, at the foot of
the cliff, and rather below high-water mark.

This day Mr Wales, and two or three of the officers advanced a little, for
the first time, into the island. They met with a small straggling village,
the inhabitants of which treated them with great civility; and the next
morning Mr Forster and his party made another excursion inland. They met
with several fine plantations of plantains, sugar-canes, yams, &c.; and the
natives were courteous and civil. Indeed, by this time, the people,
especially those in our neighbourhood, were so well reconciled to us, that
they shewed not the least dislike at our rambling about in the skirts of
the woods, shooting, &c. In the afternoon some boys having got behind
thickets, and having thrown two or three stones at our people who were
cutting wood, they were fired at by the petty officers present on duty.
Being ashore at that time, I was alarmed at hearing the report of the
musquets, and seeing two or three boys run out of the wood. When I knew the
cause I was much displeased at so wanton an use being made of our fire-
arms, and took measures to prevent it for the future. Wind southerly, with
heavy showers of rain.[5]

During the night, and also all the 11th, the volcano was exceedingly
troublesome, and made a terrible noise, throwing up prodigious columns of
fire and smoke at each explosion, which happened every three or four
minutes; and, at one time, great stones were seen high in the air. Besides
the necessary work of wooding and watering, we struck the main-top-mast to
fix new trestle-trees and back-stays. Mr Forster and his party went up the
hill on the west side of the harbour, where he found three places from
whence smoke of a sulphureous smell issued, through cracks and fissures in
the earth. The ground about these was exceedingly hot, and parched or
burnt, and they seemed to keep pace with the volcano; for, at every
explosion of the latter, the quantity of smoke or steam in these was
greatly increased, and forced out so as to rise in small columns, which we
saw from the ship, and had taken for common fires made by the natives. At
the foot of this hill are the hot-springs before mentioned.

In the afternoon, Mr Forster having begun his botanical researches on the
other side of the harbour, fell in with our friend Paowang's house, where
he saw most of the articles I had given him, hanging on the adjoining trees
and bushes, as if they were not worthy of being under his roof.

On the 12th, some of the officers accompanied Mr Forster to the hot places
he had been at the preceding day. A thermometer placed in a little hole
made in one of them, rose from 80, at which it stood in the open air, to
170. Several other parts of the hill emitted smoke or steam all the day,
and the volcano was unusually furious, insomuch that the air was loaded
with its ashes. The rain which fell at this time was a compound of water,
sand, and earth; so that it properly might be called showers of mire.
Whichever way the wind was, we were plagued with the ashes; unless it blew
very strong indeed from the opposite direction. Notwithstanding the natives
seemed well enough satisfied with the few expeditions we had made in the
neighbourhood, they were unwilling we should extend them farther. As a
proof of this, some undertook to guide the gentlemen when they were in the
country, to a place where they might see the mouth of the volcano. They
very readily embraced the offer; and were conducted down to the harbour,
before they perceived the cheat.[6]

The 13th, wind at N.E., gloomy weather. The only thing worthy of note this
day was, that Paowang being at dinner with us on board, I took the
opportunity to shew him several parts of the ship, and various articles, in
hopes of finding out something which they might value, and be induced to
take from us in exchange for refreshments; for what we got of this kind was
trifling. But he looked on every thing that was shewn him with the utmost
indifference; nor did he take notice of any one thing, except a wooden
sand-box, which he seemed to admire, and turned it two or three times over
in his hand.

Next morning after breakfast, a party of us set out for the country, to try
if we could not get a nearer and better view of the volcano. We went by the
way of one of those hot smoking places before mentioned, and dug a hole in
the hottest part, into which a thermometer of Fahrenheit's construction was
put; and the mercury presently rose to 100 deg.. It remained in the hole two
minutes and a half without either rising or falling. The earth about this
place was a kind of white clay, had a sulphureous smell, and was soft and
wet, the surface only excepted, over which was spread a thin dry crust,
that had upon it some sulphur, and a vitriolic substance, tasting like
alum. The place affected by the heat was not above eight or ten yards
square; and near it were some fig-trees, which spread their branches over
part of it, and seemed to like their situation. We thought that this
extraordinary heat was caused by the steam of boiling water, strongly
impregnated with sulphur. I was told that some of the other places were
larger than this; though we did not go out of the road to look at them, but
proceeded up the hill through a country so covered with trees, shrubs, and
plants, that the bread-fruit and cocoa-nut trees, which, seem to have been
planted here by nature, were, in a manner, choaked up. Here and there we
met with a house, some few people, and plantations. These latter we found
in different states, some of long standing, others lately cleared, and some
only clearing, and before any thing had been planted. The clearing of a
piece of ground for plantation, seemed to be a work of much labour,
considering the tools they had to work with, which, though much inferior to
those at the Society Isles, are of the same kind. Their method is, however,
judicious, and as expeditious as it can well be. They lop off the small
branches of the large trees, dig under the roots, and there burn the
branches and small shrubs and plants which they root up. The soil, in some
parts, is a rich black mould; in other parts, it seemed to be composed of
decayed vegetables, and of the ashes the volcano sends forth throughout all
its neighbourhood. Happening to turn out of the common path, we came into a
plantation where we found a man at work, who, either out of good-nature, or
to get us the sooner out of his territories, undertook to be our guide. We
followed him, accordingly, but had not gone far before we came to the
junction of two roads, in one of which stood another man with a sling and a
stone, which he thought proper to lay down when a musquet was pointed at
him. The attitude in which we found him, the ferocity appearing in his
looks, and his behaviour after, convinced us that he meant to defend the
path he stood in. He, in some measure, gained his point, for our guide took
the other road, and we followed, but not without suspecting he was leading
us out of the common way. The other man went with us likewise, counting us
several times over, and hallooing, as we judged, for assistance; for we
were presently joined by two or three more, among whom was a young woman
with a club in her hand. By these people we were conducted to the brow of a
hill, and shewn a road leading down to the harbour, which they wanted us to
take. Not choosing to comply, we returned to that we had left, which we
pursued alone, our guide refusing to go with us. After ascending another
ridge, as thickly covered with wood as those we had come over, we saw yet
other hills between us and the volcano, which seemed as far off as at our
first setting out. This discouraged us from proceeding farther, especially
as we could get no one to be our guide. We therefore came to a resolution
to return; and had but just put this in execution when we met between
twenty and thirty people, whom the fellow before mentioned had collected
together, with a design, as we judged, to oppose our advancing into the
country; but as they saw us returning they suffered us to pass unmolested.
Some of them put us into the right road, accompanied us down the hill, made
us stop by the way, to entertain us with cocoa-nuts, plantains, and sugar-
cane; and what we did not eat on the spot, they brought down the hill with
us. Thus we found these people hospitable, civil, and good-natured, when
not prompted to a contrary conduct by jealousy; a conduct I cannot tell how
to blame them for, especially when I considered the light in which they
must view us. It was impossible for them to know our real design; we enter
their ports without their daring to oppose; we endeavour to land in their
country as friends, and it is well if this succeeds; we land, nevertheless,
and maintain the footing we have got, by the superiority of our fire-arms.
Under such circumstances, what opinion are they to form of us? Is it not as
reasonable for them to think that we are come to invade their country, as
to pay them a friendly visit? Time, and some acquaintance with us, can only
convince them of the latter. These people are yet in a rude state; and, if
we may judge from circumstances and appearances, are frequently at war, not
only with their neighbours, but among themselves; consequently must be
jealous of every new face. I will allow there are some exceptions to this
rule to be found in this sea; but there are few nations who would willingly
suffer visitors like us to advance far into their country.

Before this excursion, some of us had been of opinion that these people
were addicted to an unnatural passion, because they had endeavoured to
entice some of our men into the woods; and, in particular, I was told, that
one who had the care of Mr Forster's plant bag, had been once or twice
attempted. As the carrying of bundles, &c. is the office of the women in
this country, it had occurred to me, and I was not singular in this, that
the natives might mistake him and some others for women. My conjecture was
fully verified this day. For this man, who was one of the party, and
carried the bag as usual, following me down the hill, by the words which I
understood of the conversation of the natives, and by their actions, I was
well assured that they considered him as a female; till, by some means,
they discovered their mistake, on which they cried out, "Erramange!
Erramange!" "It is a man! It is a man!" The thing was so palpable, that
every one was obliged to acknowledge, that they had before mistaken his
sex: and that, after they were undeceived, they seemed not to have the
least notion of what we had suspected. This circumstance will shew how
liable we are to form wrong conjectures of things, among people whose
language we are ignorant of. Had it not been for this discovery, I make no
doubt that these people would have been charged with this vile custom.

In the evening I took a walk with some of the gentlemen into the country on
the other side of the harbour, where we had very different treatment from
what we had met with in the morning. The people we now visited, among whom
was our friend Paowang, being better acquainted with us, shewed a readiness
to oblige us in every thing in their power. We came to the village which
had been visited on the 9th. It consisted of about twenty houses, the most
of which need no other description than comparing them to the roof of a
thatched house in England, taken off the walls and placed on the ground.
Some were open at both ends, others partly closed with reeds, and all were
covered with palm thatch. A few of them were thirty or forty feet long, and
fourteen or sixteen broad. Besides these, they have other mean hovels,
which, I conceived, were only to sleep in. Some of these stood in a
plantation, and I was given to understand, that in one of them lay a dead
corpse. They made signs that described sleep, or death; and circumstances
pointed out the latter. Curious to see all I could, I prevailed on an
elderly man to go with me to the hut, which was separated from the others
by a reed fence, built quite round it at the distance of four or five feet.
The entrance was by a space in the fence, made so low as to admit one to
step over. The two sides and one end of the hut were closed or built up in
the same manner, and with the same materials, as the roof. The other end
had been open, but was now well closed with mats, which I could not prevail
on the man to remove, or suffer me to do it. There hung at this end of the
hut a matted bag or basket, in which was a piece of roasted yam, and some
sort of leaves, all quite fresh. I had a strong desire to see the inside of
the hut but the man was peremptory in refusing this, and even shewed an
unwillingness to permit me to look into the basket. He wore round his neck,
fastened to a string, two or three locks of human hair; and a woman present
had several about her neck. I offered something in exchange for them, but
they gave me to understand they could not part with them, as it was the
hair of the person who lay in the hut. Thus I was led to believe that these
people dispose of their dead in a manner similar to that of Otaheite. The
same custom of wearing the hair is observed by the people of that island,
and also by the New Zealanders. The former make tamau of the hair of their
deceased friends, and the latter make ear-rings and necklaces of their

Near most of their large houses were fixed, upright in the ground, the
stems of four cocoa-nut trees, in a square position, about three feet from
each other. Some of our gentlemen who first saw them, were inclined to
believe they were thus placed on a religious account; but I was now
satisfied that it was for no other purpose but to hang cocoa-nuts on to
dry. For when I asked, as well as I could, the use of them, a man took me
to one, loaded with cocoa-nuts from the bottom to the top; and no words
could have informed me better. Their situation is well chosen for this use,
as most of their large houses are built in an open airy place, or where the
wind has a free passage, from whatever direction it blows. Near most, if
not all of them, is a large tree or two, whose spreading branches afford an
agreeable retreat from the scorching sun. This part of the island was well
cultivated, open and airy; the plantations were laid out by line, abounding
wilh plantains, sugar-canes, yams and other roots, and stocked with fruit-
trees. In our walk we met with our old friend Paowang, who, with some
others, accompanied us to the water side, and brought with them, as a
present, a few yams and cocoa-nuts.

On the 15th, having finished wooding and watering, a few hands only were on
shore making brooms, the rest being employed on board setting up the
rigging, and putting the ship in a condition for sea. Mr Forster, in his
botanical excursion this day, shot a pigeon, in the craw of which was a
wild nutmeg. He took some pains to find the tree, but his endeavours were
without success. In the evening a party of us walked to the eastern sea-
shore, in order to take the bearing of Annattom, and Erronan or Footoona.
The horizon proved so hazy that I could see neither; but one of the natives
gave me, as I afterwards found, the true direction of them. We observed
that in all, or most of their sugar plantations, were dug holes or pits,
four feet deep, and five or six in diameter; and on our enquiring their
use, we were given to understand that they caught rats in them. These
animals, which are very destructive to the canes, are here in great plenty.
The canes, I observed, were planted as thick as possible round the edge of
these pits, so that the rats in coming at them are the more liable to
tumble in.

Next morning we found the tiller sprung in the rudder head, and, by some
strange neglect, we had not a spare one on board, which we were ignorant of
till now it was wanting. I knew but of one tree in the neighbourhood fit
for this purpose, which I sent the carpenter on shore to look at, and an
officer, with a party of men, to cut it down, provided he could obtain
leave of the natives; if not, he was ordered to acquaint me. He understood
that no one had any objection, and set the people to work accordingly. But
as the tree was large, this required some time; and, before it was down,
word was brought me that our friend Paowang was not pleased. Upon this I
gave orders to desist, as we found that, by scarfing a piece to the inner
end of the tiller, and letting it farther into the rudder-head, it would
still perform its office. But as it was necessary to have a spare one on
board, I went on shore, sent for Paowang, made him a present of a dog and a
piece of cloth, and then explained to him that our great steering paddle
was broken, and that I wanted that tree to make a new one. It was easy to
see how well pleased every one present was, with the means I took to obtain
it. With one voice they gave their consent, Paowang joining his also, which
he perhaps could not have done without the others; for I do not know that
he had either more property, or more authority, than the rest. This point
being obtained, I took our friend on board to dinner, and after it was
over, went with him ashore, to pay a visit to an old chief, who was said to
be king of the island; which was a doubt with me. Paowang took little or no
notice of him. I made him a present, after which he immediately went away,
as if he got all he came for. His name was Geogy, and they gave him the
title of Areeke. He was very old, but had a merry open countenance. He wore
round his waist a broad red-and-white chequered belt, the materials and
manufacture of which seemed the same as that of Otaheite cloth; but this
was hardly a mark of distinction. He had with him a son, not less than
forty-five or fifty years of age. A great number of people were at this
time at the landing-place, most of them from distant parts. The behaviour
of many was friendly; while others were daring and insolent, which I
thought proper to put up with, as our stay was nearly at an end.

On the 17th, about ten o'clock, I went ashore, and found in the crowd old
Geogy and his son, who soon made me understand that they wanted to dine
with me; and accordingly I brought them and two more on board. They all
called them Areekees (or kings); but I doubt if any of them had the least
pretensions to that title over the whole island. It had been remarked, that
one of these kings had not authority enough to order one of the people up
into a cocoa-nut tree, to bring him down some nuts. Although he spoke to
several, he was at last obliged to go himself, and, by way of revenge, as
it was thought, left not a nut on the tree, taking what he wanted himself,
and giving the rest to some of our people.

When I got them on board, I went with them all over the ship, which they
viewed with uncommon surprise and attention. We happened to have for their
entertainment a kind of pie or pudding made of plantains, and some sort of
greens which we had got from one of the natives. On this and on yams they
made a hearty dinner; for, as to the salt beef and pork, they would hardly
taste them. In the afternoon, having made each of them a present of a
hatchet, a spike-nail, and some medals, I conducted them ashore.

Mr Forster and I then went over to the other side of the harbour, and,
having tried, with Fahrenheit's thermometer, the head of one of the hot
springs, we found that the mercury rose to 191 deg.. At this time the tide was
up within two or three feet of the spring, so that we judged, it might, in
some degree, be cooled by it. We were mistaken however, for on repeating
the experiment next morning, when the tide was out, the mercury rose no
higher than 187 deg.; but, at another spring, where the water bubbled out of
the sand from under the rock at the S.W. corner of the harbour, the mercury
in the same thermometer rose to 202 deg.-1/2, which is but little colder than
boiling water. The hot places before mentioned are from about three to four
hundred feet perpendicular above these springs, and on the slope of the
same ridge with the volcano; that is, there are no vallies between them,
but such as are formed in the ridge itself; nor is the volcano on the
highest part of the ridge, but on the S.E. side of it. This is, I have been
told, contrary to the general opinion of philosophers, who say that
volcanos must be on the summits of the highest hills. So far is this from
being the case on this island, that some of its hills are more than double
the height of that on which the volcano is, and close to it. To these
remarks I must add, that, in wet or moist weather, the volcano was most
violent. There seems to be room for some philosophical reasoning on these
phenomena of nature; but not having any talent that way, I must content
myself with stating facts as I found them, and leave the causes to men of
more abilities.[7]

The tiller was now finished; but, as the wind was unfavourable for sailing,
the guard was sent on shore on the 19th as before, and a party of men to
cut up and bring off the remainder of the tree from which we had got the
tiller. Having nothing else to do, I went on shore with them, and finding a
good number of the natives collected about the landing-place as usual, I
distributed among them all the articles I had with me, and then went on
board for more. In less than an hour I returned, just as our people were
getting some large logs into the boat. At the same time four or five of the
natives stepped forward to see what we were about, and as we did not allow
them to come within certain limits, unless to pass along the beach, the
centry ordered them, back, which they readily complied with. At this time,
having my eyes fixed on them, I observed the sentry present his piece (as I
thought at these men,) and was just going to reprove him for it, because I
had observed that, whenever this was done, some of the natives would hold
up their arms, to let us see they were equally ready. But I was astonished
beyond measure when the sentry fired, for I saw not the least cause. At
this outrage most of the people fled; it was only a few I could prevail on
to remain. As they ran off, I observed one man to fall; and he was
immediately lifted up by two others, who took him into the water, and
washed his wound, and then led him off. Presently after, some came and
described to me the nature of his wound; and as I found he was not carried
far, I sent for the surgeon. As soon as he arrived, I went with him to the
man, whom, we found expiring. The ball had struck his left arm, which was
much shattered, and then entered his body by the short ribs, one of which
was broken. The rascal who fired, pretended that a man had laid an arrow
across his bow, and was going to shoot at him, so that he apprehended
himself in danger. But this was no more than they had always done, and with
no other view than to shew they were armed as well as we; at least I have
reason to think so, as they never went farther. What made this incident the
more unfortunate was, it not appearing to be the man who bent the bow, that
was shot, but one who stood by him. This affair threw the natives into the
utmost consternation; and a few that were prevailed on to stay, ran to the
plantations and brought cocoa-nuts, &c. which they laid down at our feet.
So soon, were those daring people humbled! When I went on board to dinner,
they all retired, and only a few appeared in the afternoon, amongst whom
were Paowang and Wha-a-gou. I had not seen this young man since the day he
had dined on board. Both he and Paowang promised to bring me fruit, &c. the
next morning, but our early departure put it out of their power.[8]

[1] "In order to make the sequel more intelligible, it will be
necessary to give a slight sketch of the appearance of the country
which encloses the harbour. The point which forms its eastern shore is
very low and flat, but presently rises into a level hill, about
fifteen or twenty yards high, which is wholly laid out in plantations.
This encompasses the eastern and southern shore of the bay, being near
three miles long, and extending several miles inland to the sea on the
other side. Where this flat hill ends, a fine plain covered with
plantations runs to the southward, bounded by several ranges of
pleasant hills, of which the nearest are of easy ascent. To the west
this plain, as well as the whole bay itself, is enclosed by a steep
hill, three or four hundred yards high, which is nearly perpendicular
in most places. A narrow beach of large broken shingles and stones
runs along the western shore, but a perpendicular rock separates it
from the southern beach. This last is very broad, and consists of a
firm black sand; it bounds the plain, and is the same where we cut
wood and filled our casks with water. A beach of coral rock and shell
sand continues from thence along the foot of the flat hill quite to
the eastern point of the harbour. The flat hill does not lie close to
this beach, but a space of level land, thirty or forty yards wide,
covered with groves of palms, extends to its foot. The whole south
east corner of the bay is filled with a flat reef of coral, which is
overflowed at low water."--G.F.

[2] "The women and children, though they brought us several dainties,
were notwithstanding so extremely timorous, that if we only fixed our
eyes upon them, they instantly ran away, to the great entertainment of
the men. However, their coming so near us, was sufficient proof that
we had made great progress towards gaining their confidence. We
observed some of them who had a smile on their countenances, but in
general they looked gloomy and melancholy. Whenever we presented a
bead, a nail, or ribbon to any of the people, they refused to touch
it, but desired us to lay it down, and then took it up in a leaf.
Whether this was owing to some superstitious notions, or to a fancied
idea of cleanliness, or of civility, must remain a matter of doubt."--

[3] "He, as well as all his countrymen, had not the same facility of
pronunciation as the Mallecollese; we were therefore obliged to tell
him our names, modified according to the softer organs of the
Otaheitans. His features were rather handsome, his eyes large and very
lively; and the whole countenance expressed good humour,
sprightliness, and acuteness.

To mention only a single instance of his ingenuity; it happened that
my father and Captain Cook, on comparing their vocabularies,
discovered that each had collected a different word to signify the
sky; they appealed to him to know which of the two expressions was
right; he presently held out one hand, and applied it to one of the
words, then moving the other hand under it, he pronounced the second
word; intimating that the upper was properly the sky, and the lower
the clouds which moved under it. His manners at table were extremely
becoming and decent; and the only practice which did not appear quite
cleanly in our eyes, was his making use of a stick, which he wore in
his hair, instead of a fork, with which he occasionally scratched his

[4] These people, according to Mr G.F., frequently alluded to this
horrid practice, and threatened it indeed to those of the crew that,
in opposition to their will, offered to go to certain spots on the
island. Hence, that gentleman infers the existence of the practice
among them, and perhaps with great justice, as there can be little or
no doubt that it either has prevailed or now prevails in all the
islands of the South Seas.--E.

[5] "We took a walk to the eastward along the shore of the bay, and
looked into the groves which skirted the flat hill before spoken of.
We found these groves to consist of coco-palms, and several species of
shady fig-trees, with eatable fruits, nearly of the size of the common
figs. We also observed several sheds, under which some of their canoes
were secured from the sun and weather; but there were no habitations,
except towards the eastern point. We found a path, which led through a
variety of bushes upon the flat hills. In our way to it, we crossed
some glades, or meadows, enclosed in woods on all sides, and covered
with a very rich herbage of the most vivid green. We passed through a
little airy grove, into several extensive plantations of bananos,
yams, eddoes, and fig-trees, which were in some places enclosed in
fences of stone two feet high."--G.F.

[6] "We took the opportunity of the absence of the natives, to walk
out upon the plain, behind the watering-place. We met with several
ponds of stagnant water, in which the natives had planted great
quantities of eddoes. The coco-palms formed spacious groves, full of
different shrubberies, where a great number of birds of different
sorts, chiefly fly-catchers, creepers, and parroquets, resided. We saw
likewise many lofty trees, covered with nuts, which are common at
Otaheite, (_isrocarpus_ Nov. Gen.). These trees were commonly the
resort of pigeons of different kinds, and chiefly of the sort which
are to be met with at the Friendly Islands, where the natives catch
and tame them. We passed by some plantations of bananas and sugar-
canes, but saw no houses, the greatest part of the ground being
uncultivated, and covered with shady forests, or low shrubberies. At
the east end of the plain we observed a long and spacious valley, from
whence we saw a great number of smokes rising, and heard the
promiscuous voices of many men, women and children. We stood in a
path, on both sides of which were thick shrubberies; and the vale
itself was so full of groves, that we neither saw the people, whose
voices we heard, nor any of their dwellings. It being late in the
evening, we proceeded no farther, and without discovering ourselves,
retreated to the beach."--G.F.

[7] The elder Forster has some judicious and important remarks on
volcanos, in his observations, but they are too long to be given here.
"It may be remarked," says his son, "that the volcano and its
productions seem to contribute greatly to that prodigious luxuriance
of vegetation which is so remarkable on this island. Many plants here
attain twice the height which they have in other countries; their
leaves are broader, their flowers larger, and more richly scented. The
same observation has been made in various volcanic countries. The soil
of Vesuvius and Etna is reckoned the most fertile in Italy and Sicily;
and some of the best flavoured wines which Italy produces are raised
upon it. The volcanic ground on the Habichtswald in Hesse, though
situated in a high, cold, and barren country, is surprisingly fertile,
and covered with verdure. All kinds of plants, indigenous and foreign,
thrive with luxuriance, and make this beautiful spot, on which the
gardens of the landgrave are situated, the admiration of all
beholders. Nay, to confine ourselves to our own voyage, the Society
Islands, the Marquesas, and some of the Friendly Islands, where we
found volcanic remains, as well as Ambrrym and Tanna, where we
actually saw burning mountains, have a rich and fertile soil, in which
nature displays the magnificence of the vegetable kingdom. Easter
Island itself, wholly overturned by some volcanic eruption, produces
different vegetables and useful roots, without any other soil than
flags, cinders, and pumice-stones; though the burning heat of the sun,
from which there is no shelter, should seem sufficient to shrivel and
destroy every plant."--G.F.

[8] Mr G.F. has spoken of the atrocious deed above recited with much
indignation, and the more so apparently, as it broke in on a very
pleasing series of reflections he was indulging, on the felicity of
these islanders and the friendly intercourse with them that had been
at last effected. He concludes his account of it in the following
manner.--"Thus one dark and detestable action effaced all the hopes
with which I had flattered myself. The natives, instead of looking
upon us in a more favourable light than upon other strangers, had
reason to detest us much more, as we came to destroy under the
specious mask of friendship; and some amongst us lamented that instead
of making amends at this place for the many rash acts which we had
perpetrated at almost every island in our course, we had wantonly made
it the scene of the greatest cruelty. Captain Cook resolved to punish
the marine with the utmost rigour for having transgressed his positive
orders, according to which the choleric emotions of the savages were
to be repressed with gentleness, and prudently suffered to cool. But
the officer who commanded on shore, declared that he had not delivered
these orders to the sentry, but given him others which imported, that
the least threat was to be punished with immediate death. The soldier
was therefore immediately cleared, and the officer's right to dispose
of the lives of the natives remained uncontroverted." The reader must
have long ago perceived in the sentiments and language of this
certainly eloquent writer, very sufficient grounds for much of the
offence which his account of this voyage gave in England at the time
of its publication. Now perhaps we can bear to be told of past
transgressions, with considerable tranquillity, because we pride
ourselves on the conviction of increased moral feeling; but the man
who should act the friendless part of a censor among us, would still
be able to discover our iniquity, in the resentment we exhibited at
his officiousness.--E.


_Departure from Tanna; with some Account of its Inhabitants, their
Manners and Arts._

During the night the wind had veered round to S.E. As this was favourable
for getting out of the harbour, at four o'clock in the morning of the 20th,
we began to unmoor, and at eight, having weighed our last anchor, put to
sea. As soon as we were clear of the land, I brought-to, waiting for the
launch, which was left behind to take up a kedge-anchor and hawser we had
out, to cast by. About day-break a noise was heard in the woods, nearly
abreast of us, on the east side of the harbour, not unlike singing of
psalms. I was told that the like had been heard at the same time every
morning, but it never came to my knowledge till now, when it was too late
to learn the occasion of it. Some were of opinion, that at the east point
of the harbour (where we observed, in coming in, some houses, boats, &c.)
was something sacred to religion, because some of our people had attempted
to go to this point, and were prevented by the natives. I thought, and do
still think, it was owing to a desire they shewed on every occasion, of
fixing bounds to our excursions. So far as we had once been, we might go
again; but not farther with their consent. But by encroaching a little
every time, our country expeditions were insensibly extended without giving
the least umbrage. Besides, these morning ceremonies, whether religious or
not, were not performed down at that point, but in a part where some of our
people had been daily.[1]

I cannot say what might be the true cause of these people shewing such
dislike to our going up into their country. It might be owing to a
naturally jealous disposition, or perhaps to their being accustomed to
hostile visits from their neighbours, or quarrels among themselves.
Circumstances seemed to shew that such must frequently happen; for we
observed them very expert in arms, and well accustomed to them; seldom or
never travelling without them. It is possible all this might be on our
account; but I hardly think it. We never gave them the least molestation,
nor did we touch any part of their property, not even the wood and water,
without first having obtained their consent. The very cocoa-nuts, hanging
over the heads of the workmen, were as safe as those in the middle of the
island. It happened rather fortunately, that there were so many cocoa-nut
trees, near the skirts of the harbour, which seemed not to be private
property; so that we could generally prevail on the natives to bring us
some of these nuts, when nothing would induce them to bring any out of the

We were not wholly without refreshments; for besides the fish, which our
seine now and then provided us with, we procured daily some fruits or roots
from the natives, though but little in proportion to what we could consume.
The reason why we got no more might be our having nothing to give them in
exchange, which they thought valuable. They had not the least knowledge of
iron; consequently, nails and iron tools, beads, &c. which had so great a
run at the more eastern isles, were of no consideration here; and cloth can
be of no use to people who go naked.

The produce of this island is bread-fruit, plantains, cocoa-nuts, a fruit
like a nectarine, yams, tarra, a sort of potatoe, sugar-cane, wild figs, a
fruit like an orange, which is not eatable, and some other fruit and nuts
whose names I have not. Nor have I any doubt that the nutmeg before
mentioned was the produce of this island. The bread-fruit, cocoa-nuts, and
plantains, are neither so plentiful nor so good as at Otaheite; on the
other hand, sugar-canes and yams are not only in greater plenty, but of
superior quality, and much larger. We got one of the latter which weighed
fifty-six pounds, every ounce of which was good. Hogs did not seem to be
scarce; but we saw not many fowls. These are the only domestic animals they
have. Land-birds are not more numerous than at Otaheite, and the other
islands; but we met with some small birds, with a very beautiful plumage,
which we had never seen before. There is as great a variety of trees and
plants here, as at any island we touched at, where our botanists had time
to examine. I believe these people live chiefly on the produce of the land,
and that the sea contributes but little to their subsistence. Whether this
arises from the coast not abounding with fish, or from their being bad
fishermen, I know not; both causes perhaps concur. I never saw any sort of
fishing-tackle amongst them, nor any one out fishing, except on the shoals,
or along the shores of the harbour, where they would watch to strike with a
dart such fish as came within their reach; and in this they were expert.
They seemed much to admire our catching fish with the seine; and, I
believe, were not well pleased with it at last. I doubt not, they have
other methods of catching fish besides striking them.[2]

We understood that the little isle of Immer was chiefly inhabited by
fishermen, and that the canoes we frequently saw pass, to and from that
isle and the east point of the harbour, were fishing canoes. These canoes
were of unequal sizes, some thirty feet long, two broad, and three deep;
and they are composed of several pieces of wood clumsily sewed together
with bandages. The joints are covered on the outside by a thin batten
champered off at the edges, over which the bandages pass. They are
navigated either by paddles or sails. The sail is lateen, extended to a
yard and boom, and hoisted to a short mast. Some of the large canoes have
two sails, and all of them outriggers.

At first we thought the people of this island, as well as those of
Erromango, were a race between the natives of the Friendly Islands and
those of Mallicollo; but a little acquaintance with them convinced us that
they had little or no affinity to either, except it be in their hair, which
is much like what the people of the latter island have. The general colours
of it are black and brown, growing to a tolerable length, and very crisp
and curly. They separate it into small locks, which they woold or cue round
with the rind of a slender plant, down to about an inch of the ends; and,
as the hair grows, the woolding is continued. Each of these cues or locks
is somewhat thicker than common whipcord; and they look like a parcel of
small strings hanging down from the crown of their heads. Their beards,
which are strong and bushy, are generally short. The women do not wear
their hair so, but cropped; nor do the boys, till they approach manhood.
Some few men, women, and children, were seen, who had hair like ours; but
it was obvious that these were of another nation; and, I think, we
understood they came from Erronan. It is to this island they ascribe one of
the two languages which they speak, and which is nearly, if not exactly,
the same as that spoken in the Friendly Islands. It is therefore more than
probable that Erronan was peopled from that nation, and that by long
intercourse with Tanna and the other neighbouring islands, each had learnt
the other's language, which they use indiscriminately.

The other language which the people of Tanna speak, and, as we understood,
those of Erromango and Annatom, is properly their own. It is different from
any we had before met with, and bears no affinity to that of Mallicollo; so
that, it should seem, the people of these islands are a distinct nation of
themselves. Mallicollo, Apee, &c. were names entirely unknown to them; they
even knew nothing of Sandwich Island, which is much nearer. I took no small
pains to know how far their geographical knowledge extended; and did not
find that it exceeded the limits of their horizon.[3]

These people are of the middle size, rather slender than otherwise; many
are little, but few tall or stout; the most of them have good features, and
agreeable countenances; are, like all the tropical race, active and nimble;
and seem to excel in the use of arms, but not to be fond of labour. They
never would put a hand to assist in any work we were carrying on, which the
people of the other islands used to delight in. Bat what I judge most from,
is their making the females do the most laborious work, as if they were
pack-horses. I have seen a woman carrying a large bundle on her back, or a
child on her back and a bundle under her arm, and a fellow strutting before
her with nothing but a club or spear, or some such thing. We have
frequently observed little troops of women pass, to and fro, along the
beach, laden with fruit and roots, escorted by a party of men under arms;
though, now and then, we have seen a man carry a burden at the same time,
but not often. I know not on what account this was done, nor that an armed
troop was necessary. At first, we thought they were moving out of the
neighbourhood with their effects, but we afterwards saw them both carry
out, and bring in, every day.

I cannot say the women are beauties, but I think them handsome enough for
the men, and too handsome for the use that is made of them. Both sexes are
of a very dark colour, but not black; nor have they the least
characteristic of the negro about them. They make themselves blacker than
they really are, by painting their faces with a pigment of the colour of
black-lead. They also use another sort which is red, and a third sort
brown, or a colour between red and black. All these, but especially the
first, they lay on with a liberal hand, not only on the face, but on the
neck, shoulders, and breast. The men wear nothing but a belt, and the
wrapping leaf as at Mallicollo. The women have a kind of petticoat made of
the filaments of the plantain-tree, flags, or some such thing, which
reaches below the knee. Both sexes wear ornaments, such as bracelets, ear-
rings, necklaces, and amulets. The bracelets are chiefly worn by the men;
some made of sea-shells, and others of those of the cocoa-nut. The men also
wear amulets; and those of most value being made of a greenish stone, the
green stone of New Zealand is valued by them for this purpose. Necklaces
are chiefly used by the women, and made mostly of shells. Ear-rings are
common to both sexes, and those valued most are made of tortoise-shell.
Some of our people having got some at the Friendly Islands, brought it to a
good market here, where it was of more value than any thing we had besides;
from which I conclude that these people catch but few turtle, though I saw
one in the harbour, just as we were getting under sail. I observed that,
towards the latter end of our stay, they began to ask for hatchets, and
large nails, so that it is likely they had found that iron is more
serviceable than stone, bone, or shells, of which all their tools I have
seen are made. Their stone hatchets, at least all those I saw, are not in
the shape of adzes, as at the other islands, but more like an axe. In the
helve, which is pretty thick, is made a hole into which the stone is fixed.

These people, besides the cultivation of ground, have few other arts worth
mentioning. They know how to make a coarse kind of matting, and a coarse
cloth of the bark of a tree, which is used chiefly for belts. The
workmanship of their canoes, I have before observed, is very rude; and
their arms, with which they take the most pains in point of neatness, come
far short of some others we have seen. Their weapons are clubs, spears or
darts, bows and arrows, and stones. The clubs are of three or four kinds,
and from three to five feet long. They seem to place most dependence on the
darts, which are pointed with three bearded edges. In throwing them they
make use of a becket, that is, a piece of stiff plaited cord about six
inches long, with an eye in one end and a knot at the other. The eye is
fixed on the fore-finger of the right hand, and the other end is hitched
round the dart, where it is nearly on an equipoise. They hold the dart
between the thumb and remaining fingers, which serve only to give it
direction, the velocity being communicated by the becket and fore-finger.
The former flies off from the dart the instant its velocity becomes greater
than that of the hand. But it remains on the finger ready to be used again.
With darts they kill both birds and fish, and are sure of hitting a mark,
within the compass of the crown of a hat, at the distance of eight or ten
yards; but, at double that distance, it is chance if they hit a mark the
size of a man's body, though they will throw the weapon sixty or seventy
yards. They always throw with all their might, let the distance be what it
will. Darts, bows and arrows are to them what musquets are to us. The
arrows are made of reeds pointed with hard wood; some are bearded and some
not, and those for shooting birds have two, three, and sometimes four
points. The stones they use are, in general, the branches of coral rocks
from eight to fourteen inches long, and from an inch to an inch-and-half in
diameter. I know not if they employ them as missive weapons; almost every
one of them carries a club, and besides that, either darts, or a bow and
arrows, but never both; those who had stones kept them generally in their

I cannot conclude this account of their arms without adding an entire
passage out of Mr Wales's journal. As this gentleman was continually on
shore amongst them, he had a better opportunity of seeing what they could
perform, than any of us. The passage is as follows: "I must confess I have
been often led to think the feats which Homer represents his heroes as
performing with their spears, a little too much of the marvellous to be
admitted into an heroic poem; I mean when confined within the strait stays
of Aristotle. Nay, even so great an advocate for him as Mr Pope,
acknowledges them to be _surprising_. But since I have seen what these
people can do with their wooden spears, and them badly pointed, and not of
a very hard nature, I have not the least exception to any one passage in
that great poet on this account. But, if I see fewer exceptions, I can find
infinitely more beauties in him; as he has, I think, scarce an action,
circumstance, or description of any kind whatever, relating to a spear,
which I have not seen and recognised among these people; as their whirling
motion, and whistling noise, as they fly; their quivering motion, as they
stick in the ground when they fall; their meditating their aim, when they
are going to throw, and their shaking them in their hand as they go along,
&c. &c."

I know no more of their cookery, than that it consists of roasting and
baking; for they have no vessel in which water can be boiled. Nor do I know
that they have any other liquor but water and the juice of the cocoa-

We are utter strangers to their religion; and but little acquainted with
their government. They seem to have chiefs among them; at least some were
pointed out to us by that title; but, as I before observed, they appeared
to have very little authority over the rest of the people. Old Geogy was
the only one the people were ever seen to take the least notice of; but
whether this was owing to high rank or old age, I cannot say. On several
occasions I have seen the old men respected and obeyed. Our friend Paowang
was so; and yet I never heard him called chief, and have many reasons to
believe that he had not a right to any more authority than many of his
neighbours, and few, if any, were bound to obey him, or any other person in
our neighbourhood; for if there had been such a one, we certainly should,
by some means, have known it. I named the harbour Port Resolution, after
the ship, she being the first which ever entered it. It is situated on the
north side of the most eastern point of the island, and about E.N.E. from
the volcano; in the latitude of 19 deg. 32' 25" 1/2 S., and in the longitude of
169 deg. 44' 35" E. It is no more than a little creek running in S. by W. 1/2
W. three quarters of a mile, and is about half that in breadth. A shoal of
sand and rocks, lying on the east side, makes it still narrower. The depth
of water in the harbour is from six to three fathoms, and the bottom is
sand and mud. No place can be more convenient for taking in wood and water;
for both are close to the shore. The water stunk a little after it had been
a few days on board, but it afterwards turned sweet; and even when it was
at the worst, the tin machine would, in a few hours, recover a whole cask.
This is an excellent contrivance for sweetening water at sea, and is well
known in the navy.

Mr Wales, from whom I had the latitude and longitude, found the variation
of the needle to be 7 deg. 14' 12" E., and the dip of its south end 45 deg. 2' 3/4.
He also observed the time of high water, on the full and change days, to be
about 5h 45m; and the tide to rise and fall three feet.

[1] According to Mr G.F. nothing, except this very dubious
circumstance of the solemn song, could be discovered among these
people, to indicate religion or superstitious notions. He mentions
indeed, their practice of taking up the presents given them on a leaf,
but properly enough remarks, that as even this was not general, and as
it even ceased on the parties becoming better acquainted, no stress
ought to be laid upon it. Obviously, the information is too scanty to
warrant decided opinions on the subject; but reasoning from analogy
and what is related of the conduct and enjoyments of these islanders,
one could not readily embrace the notion that they were quite
destitute of both religious ideas and practices.--E.

[2] Mr G.F. informs us that not less than forty different species of
plants are cultivated in this island, and the nutmeg he conceives to
be among its spontaneous ones. Of the fish found here he specifies
mullet, Brasilian pike, garfish, dolphins, cavalhas, parrot-fish,
sting-rays, toothless-rays, angel-fish, sharks, sinking-fish, and
varieties of mackrel. Its birds are several sorts of pigeons,
parroquets, fly-catchers, the Ceylonese owl, a species of creeper, a
sort of duck, and a purple water-hen. The cock and hen are its only
tame fowls; and there are but three quadrupeds, hogs, rats, and

[3] If I might venture a conjecture, founded upon the languages which
we heard spoken in this island, I should suppose that several tribes
of different nations have peopled it, and may have disputed the
possession of the ground with each other. Besides the common language
of the island, and a dialect of that of the Friendly Islands, we
collected some words of a third language, chiefly current among the
inhabitants of its western hills; and we particularly obtained the
numerals of all the three tongues, which are indeed totally extinct.
In the common language of Tanna we met with two or three words, which
have a clear affinity with the language of Mallicollo, and about the
same number corresponded with some words of the Malay; but in general
they are wholly unlike each other, and related to no other language
that I know of. There is a strong kind of aspiration, and a guttural
sound, in many words at Tanna, which are however very sonorous and
full of vowels, and therefore easily pronounced."--G.F.

[4] Captain Cook has neglected to notice the musical genius of these
people. The following remarks on it are worthy of quotation.--"As I
happened to hum a song one day, many of them very eagerly entreated me
to sing to them, and though not one of us was properly acquainted with
music, yet we ventured to gratify their curiosity, and offered them a
great variety of airs. Some German and English songs, especially of
the more lively kind, pleased them very much; but Dr Sparrman's
Swedish tunes gained universal applause; from whence it appeared that
their judgment in music was not influenced by the same rules which
regulate the taste of other countries. When we had performed, we
desired them in return to give us an opportunity of admiring their
talents, and one of them immediately began a very simple tune; it was
however harmonious, and, as for as we could judge, superior to the
music of all the nations in the tropical part of the South Sea, which
we had hitherto heard. It ran through a much more considerable compass
of notes, than is employed at Otaheite, or even at Tonga-Tabboo; and
had a serious turn which distinguished it very remarkably from the
softer effeminate music of those islands. The words seemed to be
naturally arranged, and flowed very currently from the tongue. When
the first had finished his song, another began; his tune was different
as to the composition, but had the same serious style which strongly
marked the general turn of the people. They were indeed seldom seen to
laugh so heartily, and jest so facetiously, as the more polished
nations of the Friendly and Society Islands, who have already learnt
to set a great value on these enjoyments. On the afternoon of this
day, our friends importuned us to sing to them again. We readily
complied with their request, and when they seemed to wonder at the
difference in our songs, we endeavoured to make them comprehend that
we were natives of different countries. Hearing this, they pointed out
an elderly thin man in the circle of our hearers, and telling us that
he was a native of Irromanga, desired him to sing to us. The man
immediately stepped forward, and began a song, in the course of which
he made a variety of gesticulations, not only to our entertainment,
but to the great satisfaction of all the people about him. His song
was to the full as musical as that of the people of Tanna, but it
seemed to be of a droll or humorous nature, from his various ludicrous
postures, and from the particular tone of the whole. The language was
utterly distinct from that of Tanna, but not harsh or ill suited to
music. It seemed likewise to have a certain metre, but very different
from that slow and serious one which we heard this morning. It
appeared to us when he had done singing, that the people of Tanna
spoke to him in his own language, but that he was not acquainted with
theirs. Whether he came as a visitor, or had been taken prisoner, we
could not determine."--G.F.

According to this gentleman, these people had a musical instrument,
which consisted of eight reeds like the syrin of Tonga-Tabbo, with
this difference, that the reeds regularly decreased in size, and
comprehended an octave, though the single reeds were not perfectly in
tune. It is worth while noticing here, that one of these people having
one day blown with great violence into his hand several times, as a
signal, he was soon answered by the sounding of several conchs in
different places.--E.


_The Survey of the Islands continued, and a more particular Description
of them._

As soon as the boats were hoisted in, we made sail, and stretched to the
eastward, with a fresh gale at S.E., in order to have a nearer view of
Erronan, and to see if there was any land in its neighbourhood. We stood on
till midnight, when, having passed the island, we tacked, and spent the
remainder of the night making two boards. At sun-rise on the 21st, we stood
S.W., in order to get to the south of Tanna, and nearer to Annatom, to
observe if any more land lay in that direction; for an extraordinary clear
morning had produced no discovery of any to the east. At noon, having
observed in latitude 20 deg. 33' 30", the situation of the lands around us was
as follows: Port Resolution bore north 86 deg. W., distant six and a half
leagues; the island of Tanna extended from S. 88 deg. W., to N. 64 deg. W.;
Traitor's Head N. 58 deg. W., distant twenty leagues; the island of Erronan N.
80 deg. E., distant five leagues; and Annatom from S. 1/2 E. to S. 1/2 W.,
distant ten leagues. We continued to stretch to the south till two o'clock
p.m. when, seeing no more land before us, we bore up round the S.E. end of
Tanna; and, with a fine gale at E.S.E., ran along the south coast at one
league from shore. It seemed a bold one, without the guard of any rocks;
and the country full as fertile as in the neighbourhood of the harbour, and
making a fine appearance. At six o'clock the high land of Erromango
appeared over the west end of Tanna in the direction of 10 deg. W.; at eight
o'clock we were past the island, and steered N.N.W. for Sandwich Island, in
order to finish the survey[1] of it, and of the isles to the N.W. On the
22d, at four o'clock p.m., we drew near the S.E. end, and ranging the south
coast, found it to trend in the direction of W. and W.N.W. for about nine
leagues. Near the middle of this length, and close to the shore, are three
or four small isles, behind which seemed to be a safe anchorage. But not
thinking I had any time to spare to visit this fine island, I continued to
range the coast to its western extremity, and then steered N.N.W, from the
S.E. end of Mallicollo, which, at half past six o'clock next morning, bore
N. 14 deg. E., distant seven or eight leagues, and Three-Hills Island S. 82 deg.
E.[2] Soon after, we saw the islands Apee, Paom, and Ambrym. What we had
comprehended under the name of Paom appeared now to be two isles, something
like a separation being seen between the hill and the land to the west of
it. We approached the S.W. side of Mallicollo to within half a league, and
ranged it at that distance. From the S.E. point, the direction of the land
is west, a little southerly, for six or seven leagues, and then N.W. by W.
three leagues, to a pretty high point or head-land, situated in latitude
16 deg. 29', and which obtained the name of South-west Cape. The coast, which
is low, seemed to be indented into creeks and projecting points; or else,
these points were small isles lying under the shore. We were sure of one,
which lies between two and three leagues east of the Cape. Close to the
west side or point of the Cape, lies, connected with it by breakers, a
round rock or islet, which helps to shelter a fine bay, formed by an elbow
in the coast, from the reigning winds.[3]

The natives appeared in troops on many parts of the shore, and some seemed
desirous to come off to us in canoes, but they did not; and, probably, our
not shortening sail, was the reason. From the South-west Cape, the
direction of the coast is N. by W.; but the most advanced land bore from it
N.W. by N., at which the land seemed to terminate. Continuing to follow the
direction of the coast, at noon it was two miles from us; and our latitude,
by observation, was 16 deg. 22' 30" S. This is nearly the parallel to Port
Sandwich, and our never-failing guide, the watch, shewed that we were 26'
west of it; a distance which the breadth of Mallicollo cannot exceed in
this parallel. The South-east Cape bore S. 26 deg. E., distant seven miles; and
the most advanced point of land, for which we steered, bore N.W. by N. At
three o'clock, we were the length of it, and found the land continued, and
trending more and more to the north. We coasted it to its northern
extremity, which we did not reach till after dark, at which time we were
near enough to the shore to hear the voices of people, who were assembled
round a fire they had made on the beach. There we sounded, and found twenty
fathoms and a bottom of sand; but, on edging off from the shore, we soon
got out of sounding, and then made a trip back to the south till the moon
got up. After this we stood again to the north, hauled round the point, and
spent the night in Bougainville's passage; being assured of our situation
before sun-set, by seeing the land, on the north side of the passage,
extending as far as N.W. 1/2 W.

The south coast of Mallicollo, from the S.E. end to the S.W. Cape, is
luxuriantly clothed with wood, and other productions of nature, from the
sea-shore to the very summits of the hills. To the N.W. of the Cape the
country is less woody, but more agreeably interspersed with lawns, some of
which appeared to be cultivated. The summits of the hills seemed barren;
and the highest lies between Port Sandwich and the S.W. Cape. Farther north
the land falls insensibly lower, and is less covered with wood. I believe
it is a very fertile island, and well inhabited; for we saw smoke by day
and fire by night, in all parts of it.[4]

Next morning at sun-rise, we found ourselves nearly in the middle of the
passage, the N.W. end of Mallicollo extending from S. 30 deg. E., to S. 58 deg. W.;
the land to the north from N. 70 deg. W. to N. 4 deg. E.; and the Isle of Lepers
bearing N. 30 deg. E., distant eleven or twelve leagues. We now made sail, and
steered N. by E., and afterwards north, along the east coast of the
northern land, with a fine breeze at S.E. We found that this coast, which
at first appeared to be continued, was composed of several low woody isles,
the most of them of small extent, except the southernmost, which, on
account of the day, I named St Bartholomew. It is six or seven leagues in
circuit, and makes the N.E. point of Bougainville's Passage. At noon the
breeze began to slacken. We were at this time between two and three miles
from the land, and observed in latitude 15 deg. 23' the Isle of Lepers bearing
from E. by N. to S., distance seven leagues; and a high bluff-head, at
which the coast we were upon seemed to terminate, N.N.W. 1/2 W., distant
ten or eleven leagues; but from the mast-head we could see land to the
east. This we judged to be an island, and it bore N. by W. 1/2 W.

As we advanced to N.N.W., along a fine coast covered with woods, we
perceived low land that extended off from the bluff-head towards the island
above mentioned, but did not seem to join it. It was my intention to have
gone through the channel, but the approach of night made me lay it aside,
and steer without the island. During the afternoon, we passed some small
isles lying under the shore; and observed some projecting points of unequal
height, but were not able to determine whether or no they were connected
with the main land. Behind them was a ridge of hills which terminated at
the bluff-head. There were cliffs, in some places of the coast, and white
patches, which we judged to be chalk. At ten o'clock, being the length of
the isle which lies off the head, we shortened sail, and spent the night in
making short boards.

At day-break on the 25th, we were on the north side of the island (which is
of a moderate height, and three leagues in circuit,) and steered west for
the bluff-head, along the low land under it. At sun-rise an elevated coast
came in sight beyond the bluff-head, extending to the north as far N.W. by
W. After doubling the head we found the land to trend south, a little
easterly, and to form a large deep bay, bounded on the west by the coast
just mentioned.

Every thing conspired to make us believe this was the Bay of St Philip and
St Jago, discovered by Quiros in 1606. To determine this point, it was
necessary to proceed farther up; for at this time we saw no end to it. The
wind being at south, we were obliged to ply, and first stretched over for
the west shore, from which we were three miles at noon, when our latitude
was 14 deg. 55' 30" S., longitude 167 deg. 3' E.; the mouth of the bay extending
from N. 64 deg. W., to S. 86 deg. E., which last direction was the bluff-head,
distant three leagues. In the afternoon the wind veering to E.S.E., we
could look up to the head of the bay; but as the breeze was faint, a N.E.
swell hurtled us over to the west shore; so that, at half past four o'clock
p.m., we were no more than two miles from it, and tacked in one hundred and
twenty fathoms water, a soft muddy bottom. The bluff-head, or east point of
the bay, bore north 53 deg. east.

We had no sooner tacked than it fell calm, and we were left to the mercy of
the swell, which continued to hurtle us towards the shore, where large
troops of people were assembled. Some ventured off in two canoes; but all
the signs of friendship we could make, did not induce them to come along-
side, or near enough to receive any present from us. At last they took
sudden fright at something, and returned ashore. They were naked, except
having some long grass, like flags, fastened to a belt, and hanging down
before and behind, nearly as low as the knee. Their colour was very dark,
and their hair woolly, or cut short, which made it seem so.[5] The canoes
were small and had outriggers. The calm continued till near eight o'clock,
in which time we drove into eighty-five fathoms water, and so near the
shore that I expected we should be obliged to anchor. A breeze of wind
sprung up at E.S.E., and first took us on the wrong side; but, contrary to
all our expectations, and when we had hardly room to veer, the ship came
about, and having filled on the starboard tack, we stood off N.E. Thus we
were relieved from the apprehensions of being forced to anchor in a great
depth, on a lee shore, and in a dark and obscure night.

We continued to ply upwards, with variable light breezes between E.S.E. and
S., till ten next morning, when it fell calm. We were, at this time, about
seven or eight miles from the head of the bay, which is terminated by a low
beach; and behind that, is an extensive flat covered with wood, and bounded
on each side by a ridge of mountains. At noon we found the latitude to be
15 deg. 5' S., and were detained here by the calm till one o'clock p.m., when
we got a breeze at N. by W., with which we steered up to within two miles
of the head of the bay; and then I sent Mr Cooper and Mr Gilbert to sound
and reconnoitre the coast, while we stood to and fro with the ship. This
gave time to three sailing canoes which had been following us some time, to
come up. There were five or six men in each; and they approached near
enough to receive such things as were thrown to them fastened to a rope,
but would not advance alongside. They were the same sort of people as those
we had seen the preceding evening; indeed we thought they came from the
same place. They seemed to be stouter and better shaped men than those of
Mallicollo; and several circumstances concurred to make us think they were
of another nation. They named the numerals as far as five or six in the
language of Anamocka, and understood us when we asked the names of the
adjacent lands in that language. Some, indeed, had black short frizzled
hair like the natives of Mallicollo, but others had it long, tied up on the
crown of the head, and ornamented with feathers like the New Zealanders.
Their other ornaments were bracelets and necklaces; one man had something
like a white shell on his forehead, and some were painted with a blackish
pigment. I did not see that they had any other weapon but darts and gigs,
intended only for striking of fish. Their canoes were much like those of
Tanna, and navigated in the same manner, or nearly so. They readily gave us
the names of such parts as we pointed to; but we could not obtain from them
the name of the island. At length, seeing our boats coming, they paddled in
for the shore, notwithstanding all we could say or do to detain them.

When the boats returned, Mr Cooper informed me, that they had landed on the
beach which is at the head of the bay, near a fine river, or stream of
fresh water, so large and deep that they judged boats might enter it at
high water. They found three fathoms depth close to the beach, and fifty-
five and fifty, two cables' length off. Farther out they did not sound; and
where we were with the ship, we had no soundings with a hundred and seventy
fathoms line. Before the boats got on board, the wind had shifted to the
S.S.E. As we were in want of nothing, and had no time to spare, I took the
advantage of this shift of wind, and steered down the bay. During the fore-
part of the night, the country was illuminated with fires, from the sea-
shore to the summits of the mountains; but this was only on the west side
of the shore. I cannot pretend to say what was the occasion of these fires,
but have no idea of their being on our account. Probably, they were burning
or clearing the ground for new plantations. At day-break on the 27th, we
found ourselves two-thirds down the bay, and, as we had but little wind, it
was noon before we were the length of the N.W. point, which at this time
bore N. 82 deg. W., distant five miles. Latitude observed 14 deg. 39' 30".

Some of our gentlemen were doubtful of this being the bay of St Philip and
St Jago, as there was no place which they thought could mean the port of
Vera Cruz. For my part I found general points to agree so well with
Quiros's description, that I had not the least doubt about it. As to what
he calls the Port of Vera Cruz, I understand that to be the anchorage at
the head of the bay, which in some places may extend farther off than where
our boats landed. There is nothing in his account of the port which
contradicts this supposition. It was but natural for his people to give a
name to the place, independent of so large a bay, where they lay so long at
anchor. A port is a vague term, like many others in geography, and has been
very often applied to places far less sheltered than this.

Our officers observed that grass and other plants grew on the beach close
to high water-mark, which is always a sure sign of pacific anchorage, and
an undeniable proof that there never is a great surf on the shore. They
judged that the tide rose about four or five feet, and that boats and such
craft might, at high-water, enter the river, which seemed to be pretty deep
and broad within; so that this, probably, is one of those mentioned by
Quiros; and if we were not deceived, we saw the other.

The bay hath twenty leagues sea-coast, six on the east side, which lies in
the direction of S. half W. and N. half E., two at the head, and twelve on
the west side, the direction of which is S. by E. and N. by W., from the
head down to two-thirds of its length, and then N.W. by N. to the N.W.
point. The two points which form the entrance, lie in the direction of S.
53 deg. E., and N. 53 deg. W., from each other, distant ten leagues. The bay is
every where free from danger, and of an unfathomable depth, except near the
shores, which are for the most part low. This, however, is only a very
narrow strip between the sea-shore and the foot of the hills; for the bay,
as well as the flat land at the head of it, is bounded on each side by a
ridge of hills, one of which, that to the west, is very high and double,
extending the whole length of the island. An uncommonly luxuriant
vegetation was every where to be seen; the sides of the hills were
chequered with plantations; and every valley watered by a stream. Of all
the productions of nature this country was adorned with, the cocoa-nut
trees were the most conspicuous. The columns of smoke we saw by day, and
fires by night all over the country, led us to believe that it is well
inhabited and very fertile. The east point of this bay, which I name Cape
Quiros, in memory of its first discoverer, is situated in latitude 14 deg. 56'
S., longitude 167 deg. 13' E. The N.W. point, which I named Cape Cumberland, in
honour of his Royal Highness the Duke, lies in the latitude of 14 deg. 38' 45"
S., longitude 166 deg. 49' 1/2 E., and is the N.W. extremity of this
archipelago; for, after doubling it, we found the coast to trend gradually
round to the S. and S.S.E.[6]

On the 28th and 29th, we had light airs and calms, so that we advanced but
little. In this time, we took every opportunity, when the horizon was
clearer than usual, to look out for more land, but none was seen. By
Quiros's track to the north, after leaving the bay above-mentioned, it
seems probable that there is none nearer than Queen Charlotte's Island,
discovered by Captain Carteret, which lies about ninety leagues N.N.W. from
Cape Cumberland, and I take to be the same with Quiros's Santa Cruz.

On the 30th, the calm was succeeded by a fresh breeze at S.S.E. which
enabled us to ply up the coast. At noon we observed in 15 deg. 20'; afterwards
we stretched in east, to within a mile of the shore, and then tacked in
seventy-five fathoms, before a sandy flat, on which several of the natives
made their appearance. We observed on the sides of the hills, several
plantations that were laid out by line, and fenced round.

On the 31st, at noon, the S. or S.W. point of the island bore N. 62 deg. E.,
distant four leagues. This forms the N.W. point of what I call
Bougainville's Passage; the N.E. point at this time bore N. 85 deg. E., and the
N.W. end of Mallicollo from S. 54 deg. E. to S. 72 deg. E. Latitude observed 15 deg.
45' S. In the afternoon, in stretching to the east, we weathered the S.S.W.
point of the island, from which the coast trends east, northerly. It is
low, and seemed to form some creeks or coves; and, as we got farther into
the passage, we perceived some small low isles lying along it, which seemed
to extend behind St Bartholomew Island.

Having now finished the survey of the whole archipelago, the season of the
year made it necessary for me to return to the south, while I had yet some
time left to explore any land I might meet with between this and New
Zealand; where I intended to touch, that I might refresh my people, and
recruit our stock of wood and water for another southern course. With this
view, at five p.m. we tacked, and hauled to the southward with a fresh gale
at S.E. At this time the N.W. point of the passage, or the S.W. point of
the island Tierra del Espiritu Santo, the only remains of Quiros's
continent, bore N. 82 deg. W., distant three leagues. I named it Cape Lisburne,
and its situation is in latitude 15 deg. 40', longitude 165 deg. 59' E.

The foregoing account of these islands, in the order in which we explored
them, not being particular enough either as to situation or description, it
may not be improper now to give a more accurate view of them, which will
convey to the reader a better idea of the whole groupe.

The northern islands of this archipelago were first discovered by that
great navigator Quiros in 1606; and, not without reason, were considered as
part of the southern continent, which, at that time, and until very lately,
was supposed to exist. They were next visited by M. de Bougainville, in
1768; who, besides landing on the Isle of Lepers, did no more than discover
that the land was not connected, but composed of islands, which he called
the Great Cyclades. But as, besides ascertaining the extent and situation
of these islands, we added to them several new ones which were not known
before, and explored the whole, I think we have obtained a right to name
them; and shall in future distinguish them by the name of the New Hebrides.
They are situated between the latitude of 14 deg. 29' and 20 deg. 4' S., and
between 166 deg. 41' and 170 deg. 21' E. longitude, and extend an hundred and
twenty-five leagues in the direction of N.N.W. 1/2 W. and S.S.E. 1/2 E.

The most northern island is that called by M. de Bougainville, Peak of the
Etoile; it is situated, according to his account, in latitude, 14 deg. 29',
longitude 168 deg. 9'; and N. by W., eight leagues from Aurora.

The next island, which lies farthest north, is that of Tierra del Espiritu
Santo. It is the most western and largest of all the Hebrides, being
twenty-two leagues long, in the direction of N.N.W. 1/2 W. and S.S.E. 1/2
E., twelve in breadth, and sixty in circuit. We have obtained the true
figure of this island very accurately. The land of it, especially the west
side, is exceedingly high and mountainous; and, in many places the hills
rise directly from the sea. Except the cliffs and beaches, every other part
is covered with wood, or laid out in plantations. Besides the bay of St
Philip and St Jago, the isles which lie along the south and east coast,
cannot, in my opinion, fail of forming some good bays or harbours.

The next considerable island is that of Mallicollo. To the S.E. it extends
N.W. and S.E., and is eighteen leagues long in that direction. Its greatest
breadth, which is at the S.E, end, is eight leagues. The N.W. end is two-
thirds this breadth, and near the middle, one-third. This contraction is
occasioned by a wide and pretty deep bay on the S.W. side. To judge of this
island from what we saw of it, it must be very fertile and well inhabited.
The land on the sea-coast is rather low, and lies with a gentle slope from
the hills which are in the middle of the island. Two-thirds of the N.E.
coast was only seen at a great distance; therefore the delineations of it
can have no pretensions to accuracy; but the other parts, I apprehend, are
without any material errors.

St Bartholomew lies between the S.E. end of Tierra del Espiritu Santo, and
the north end of Mallicollo; and the distance between it and the latter is
eight miles. This is the passage through which M. de Bougainville went; and
the middle of it is in latitude 15 deg. 48'.

The Isle of Lepers lies between Espiritu Santo and Aurora Island, eight
leagues from the former, and three from the latter, in latitude 15 deg. 22',
and nearly under the same meridian as the S.E.. end of Mallicollo. It is of
an egg-like figure, very high, and eighteen or twenty leagues in circuit.
Its limits were determined by several bearings; but the lines of the shore
were traced out by guess, except the N.E. part where there is anchorage
half a mile from the land.

Aurora, Whitsuntide, Ambrym, Paoom, and its neighbour Apee, Threehills, and
Sandwich Islands, lie all nearly under the meridian of 167 deg. 29' or 30' E.,
extending from the latitude of 14 deg. 51' 30", to 17 deg. 53' 30".

The island of Aurora lies N. by W. and S. by E., and is eleven leagues long
in that direction; but I believe, it hardly any where exceeds two or two
and a half in breadth. It hath a good height, its surface hilly, and every
where covered with wood, except where the natives have their dwellings and

Whitsuntide Isle, which is one league and a half to the south of Aurora, is
of the same length, and lies in the direction of north and south, but is
something broader than Aurora Island. It is considerably high, and clothed
with wood, except such parts as seemed to be cultivated, which were pretty

From the south end of Whitsuntide Island to the north side of Ambrym is two
leagues and a half. This is about seventeen leagues in circuit; its shores
are rather low, but the land rises with an unequal ascent to a tolerably
high mountain in the middle of the island, from which ascended great
columns of smoke; but we were not able to determine whether this was
occasioned by a volcano or not. That it is fertile and well inhabited,
seems probable from the quantities of smoke which we saw rise out of the
woods, in such parts of the island as came within the compass of our sight;
for it must be observed, that we did not see the whole of it.

We saw still much less of Paoom and its neighbourhood. I can say no more of
this island than that it towers up to a great height in the form of a round
hay-stack; and the extent of it, and of the adjoining isle (if there are
two), cannot exceed three or four leagues in any direction; for the
distance between Ambrym and Apee is hardly five; and they lie in this
space, and east from Port Sandwich, distant about seven or eight leagues.

The island of Apee is not less than twenty leagues in circuit; its longest
direction is about eight leagues N.W. and S.E.; it is of considerable
height; and hath a hilly surface diversified with woods and lawns, the west
and south parts especially; for the others we did not see.

Shepherd's Isles are a group of small ones of unequal size, extending off
from the S.E. point of Apee about five leagues in the direction of S.E.

The island Threehills lies south four leagues from the coast of Apee, and
S.E. 1/2 S., distant seventeen leagues from Port Sandwich; to this, and
what hath been already said of it, I shall only add, that W. by N., five
miles from the west point, is a reef of rocks on which the sea continually

Nine leagues, in the direction of south, from Threehills, lies Sandwich
Island. Twohills, the Monument, and Montagu Islands, lie to the east of
this line, and Hinchinbrook to the west, as also two or three small isles
which lie between it and Sandwich Island, to which they are connected by

Sandwich Island is twenty-five leagues in circuit; its greatest extent is
ten leagues; and it lies in the direction of N.W. by W. and S.E. by E. The
N.W. coast of this island we only viewed at a distance; therefore our chart
of this part may be faulty so far as it regards the line of the coast, but
no farther. The distance from the south end of Mallicollo to the N.W. end
of Sandwich Island, is twenty-two leagues in the direction of S.S E. 1/2 E.

In the same direction lie Erromango, Tanna, and Annatom. The first is
eighteen leagues from Sandwich Island, and is twenty-four or twenty-five
leagues in circuit. The middle of it lies in the latitude of 18 deg. 54',
longitude 169 deg. 19' E., and it is of a good height, as may be gathered from
the distance we were off when we first saw it.

Tanna lies six leagues from the south side of Erromango, extending S.E. by
S. and N.W. by N., about eight leagues long in that direction, and every
where about three or four leagues broad.

The isle of Immer lies in the direction of N. by E. 1/2 E., four leagues
from Port Resolution in Tanna; and the island of Erronan or Footoona East,
in the same direction, distant eleven leagues. This, which is the most
eastern island of all the Hebrides, did not appear to be above five leagues
in circuit, but is of a considerable height and flat at top. On the N.E.
side is a little peak seemingly disjointed from the isle; but we thought it
was connected by low land. Annatom, which is the southernmost island, is
situated in the latitude of 20 deg. 3', longitude 170 deg. 4', and S. 30 deg. E.,
eleven or twelve leagues from Port Resolution. It is of a good height, with
an hilly surface; and more I must not say of it.[7]

Here follow the lunar observations by Mr Wales, for ascertaining the
longitude of these islands, reduced by the watch to Port Sandwich in
Mallicollo, and Port Resolution in Tanna.

Port Sandwich, ( Mean of 10 sets of ob. before 167 deg. 56' 33" 1/4 ) E.
( 2 ditto, at 168 2 37 1/2 ) long
( 20 ditto, after 167 52 57 )
( ----------------
( Mean of those means, 167 57 22 3/4

Port Resolution, ( Mean of 20 sets of ob. before 169 37 35 ) E.
( 5 ditto, at 169 48 48 ) long
( 20 ditto, after 169 47 22 1/2 )
( ----------------
( Mean of these means, 169 44 33

It is necessary to observe, that each set of observations, consisting of
between six and ten observed distances of the sun and moon, or moon and
stars, the whole number amounts to several hundreds; and these have been
reduced by means of the watch to all the islands; so that the longitude of
each is as well ascertained as that of the two ports above-mentioned. As a
proof of this I shall only observe, that the longitude of the two ports, as
pointed out by the watch and by the observations, did not differ two miles.
This also shews what degree of accuracy these observations are capable of,
when multiplied to a considerable number, made with different instruments,
and with the sun and stars, or both sides of the moon. By this last method,
the errors which may be either in the instruments or lunar tables, destroy
one another, and likewise those which may arise from the observer himself;
for some men may observe closer than others. If we consider the number of
observations that may be obtained in the course of a month (if the weather
is favourable,) we shall perhaps find this method of finding the longitude
of places as accurate as most others; at least it is the most easy, and
attended with the least expence to the observer. Every ship that goes to
foreign parts is, or maybe, supplied with a sufficient number of quadrants
at a small expence; I mean good ones, proper for making these observations.
For the difference of the price between a good and a bad one, I apprehend,
can never be an object with an officer. The most expensive article, and
what is in some measure necessary in order to arrive at the utmost
accuracy, is a good watch; but for common use, and where that strict
accuracy is not required, this may be dispensed with. I have observed
before, in this journal, that this method of finding the longitude is not
so difficult but that any man, with proper application, and a little
practice, may soon learn to make these observations as well as the
astronomers themselves. I have seldom known any material difference between
the observations made by Mr Wales, and those made by the officers at the
same time.

In observing the variation of the magnetic needle, we found, as usual, our
compasses differ among themselves, sometimes near 2 deg.; the same compass too,
would sometimes make nearly this difference in the variation on different
days, and even between the morning and evening of the same day, when our
change of situation has been but very little. By the mean of the
observations which I made about Erromango; and the S.E. part of these
islands, the variation of the compass was 10 deg. 5' 48" E.; and the mean of
those made about Tierra del Espiritu Santo, gave 10 deg. 5' 30" E. This is
considerably more than Mr Wales found it to be at Tanna. I cannot say what
might occasion this difference in the variation observed at sea and on
shore, unless it be influenced by the land; for I must give the preference
to that found at sea, as it is agreeable to what we observed before we made
the islands, and after we left them.

[1] The word Survey is not here to be understood in its literal sense.
Surveying a place, according to my idea, is taking a geometrical plan
of it, in which every place is to have its true situation, which
cannot be done in a work of this nature.

[2] Mr G.F. says that the aspect of the southern shore of Sandwich
Island was very beautiful, and that its forests seemed more rich and
copious than had been observed to the northward. According to him too,
the small islands which formed the harbour were of inconsiderable
height, but finely wooded with the most tufted trees.--E.

[3] "Mallicollo surprised us again with the beauty and shagginess of
its forests, from whence vast numbers of smokes ascended, sufficient
to prove, that a great part of them was inhabited. The land about the
bay which opened up to our view, was to all appearance extremely
populous and fertile. Two small islands were situated in this bay, and
we feasted our eyes on the richness and luxuriance of the prospect,
when the brightest tints of verdure were properly spread."--G.F.

[4] "Beyond the point which included the bay to the north-west, the
country lost something of its exuberant fertility, and was
interspersed with barren spots, though we saw smokes and habitations
on the highest ridges: And at night the mountains were illuminated in
different places, by several lines of fire, some of which appeared to
extend at least half-a-mile in length. The land, which forms the north
side of Bougainville's passage, appeared very extensive, high and
mountainous, and a number of small islands lay along its southern
coast, which were of a very moderate height, and covered with the
finest forests. The continual fair weather which attended this part of
our navigation, made all these beautiful landscapes appear to the
greatest advantage; and the pleasure of contemplating a great variety
of rich sceneries, made us some amends for the wretchedness of our
diet, which at present consisted of no other than the ship's

[5] Mr G.F. says some of them had bunches of feathers on their heads,
others a white shell tied on the forehead, and one a sago leaf rolled
round his head forming a kind of cap. They came near enough to the
vessel to receive presents, and shewed a peculiar partiality for
nails, which implied some acquaintance with their value and use. It
was impossible to hold conversation with them by any known language,
but it would seem, that their numerals bore strong resemblance to
those of the Friendly Islands, or were indeed the same. There is
reason to think then, as Captain Cook afterwards notices, that these
are the same sort of people, if not the same individuals, that were
seen on the following day.--E.

[6] "Quiros had great reason to extol the beauty and fertility of this
country; it is indeed, to appearance, one of the finest in the world.
Its riches in vegetable productions would doubtless have afforded the
botanist an ample harvest of new plants, as, next to New Zealand, it
was the largest island we had hitherto seen, and had the advantage of
having never been examined by other naturalists. But the study of
nature was only the secondary object in this voyage, which, contrary
to its original intent, was so contrived in the execution as to
produce little more than a new track on the chart of the southern
hemisphere. We were therefore obliged to look upon those moments, as
peculiarly fortunate, when the urgent wants of the crew, and the
interest of the sciences, happened to coincide."--G.F.

This language is by no means to be imputed to any thing like
disrespect towards Captain Cook, who seems to have stood very high in
the author's estimation; it is, in fact, the natural expression of
disappointment at the unexpected and unintended failure of a favourite
speculation, without any reference to the moral agents by whom it had
been immediately occasioned. It does, however, seem to imply censure
of those, who, in planning the expedition, were far more anxious to
make discoveries, than to extend their importance by the labours of
the naturalist. Considering then from whom it comes, a liberal
interpreter would concede a little allowance to its poignancy of
complaint. Men very naturally attach superior importance to studies
which have long and almost exclusively engrossed their own attention,
and are exceedingly apt to ascribe to ignorance, or something still
more dishonourable, that indifference to them which those who are in
power seem to manifest. Much self-denial, as well as much liberal
observation, is required, to overcome such evil surmisings, and to
induce a candid construction of the conduct that thwarts our own
sanguine prospects. These perhaps are rarely to be met with in young
men, who, in general, are intolerant in proportion to the really
honest industry they exercise in particular pursuits, and their
consciousness of the disinterestedness by which they are actuated. But
time accomplishes two great things for those who are capable of
improvement; it demonstrates the erroneousness of many of the
judgments they had formed of the human character and conduct, and it
discloses within their own breasts, several very disquieting
principles and mortifying drawbacks, which necessitate them to lower
the estimate they had made of their own excellence. Where, from
uncommon circumstances, this tuition has never been applied, we shall
find at forty, the same petulance and conceit which characterised the
clever, it may be, but certainly foolish youth of eighteen; and some
persons there are, who, not quite ignorant of the process, are so much
enraged at it, that they continue through life to display the same
offensive appearances, out of mere spite, and because they have not
the honesty to acknowledge that they ever stood in need of
instruction. G.F. appears to have been in the first-mentioned
predicament; and probably his early death occurred in the midst of a
salutary though severe correction.--E.

[7] "This group of islands, which we had now cursorily examined in the
space of forty-six days, seems to be well worth the attention of
future navigators, especially if they should ever be sent out upon the
liberal plan of making discoveries in all the various branches of
science. I will not pretend to say that they would find great riches
of silver and pearls, which Quiros was forced to speak of, in order to
engage an interested, avaricious court, to support his great and
spirited undertakings. These incitements are not necessary now-a-days,
when several monarchs in Europe have convinced the world that they can
institute voyages of discovery, with no other view than the increase
of human knowledge, and the improvement of man-kind. The sums which
some of their predecessors have lavished on parasites, have been found
sufficient to make an immense progress, nay to produce a new and
important revolution in the state of the sciences, which have ever
required a trifling expence to triumph over the numberless obstacles
that ignorance, envy, or superstition opposed against them."--G.F.

This gentleman we see, is capable of courtesy. The terms in which it
is expressed, however, are sufficiently guarded against admitting too
great a latitude of application, and consequently, are not
particularly liable to abuse--the less so indeed, as it is likely,
that those who might most covet his commendation, would be found best
entitled to it. The recent distractions of Europe, however, have not
enhanced the claims of its monarchs to the honour of patronising such
important undertakings. Some of them, it is probable, are content with
the common but assuredly not less expensive ambition of having shared,
though but by proxy, in a more splendid speculation for fame: And the
glory so acquired, they may chance to think, is ample enough, without
farther concern, to gild their names throughout all succeeding
generations. If so, unfortunately, there is an end of such labours of
discovery as are here recommended; and the islands in question must
remain unexplored, till the increase of human knowledge, and the
improvement of mankind, are thought practicable without bloodshed, and
are felt to be cheaply purchased by the sacrifice of personal
ostentation and public extravagance. Let us hope that the early
example of the truly noble Alexander, in comparatively untoward
circumstances of the world, will be emulated by older sovereigns, who
cannot but be sensible, notwithstanding their catholic affection, that
no small exercise of philanthropy and the love of science is required,
to give them any thing like an equal chance for immortality.--E.


_An Account of the Discovery of New Caledonia, and the Incidents that
happened while the Ship lay in Balade._

At sun-rise on the 1st of September, after having stood to S.W. all night,
no more land was to be seen. The wind remaining in the S.E. quarter, we
continued to stand to S.W. On the 2d, at five o'clock, p.m., being in the
latitude 18 deg. 22', longitude 165 deg. 26', the variation was 10 deg. 50' E.; and at
the same hour on the 3d, it was 10 deg. 51', latitude at that time 19 deg. 14',
longitude 165 deg. E. The next morning, in the latitude of 19 deg. 49' longitude
164 deg. 53", the amplitude gave 10 deg. 21', and the azimuths 10 deg. 7' E. At eight
o'clock, as we were steering to the south, land was discovered bearing
S.S.W., and at noon it extended from S.S.E. to W. by S., distant about six
leagues. We continued to steer for it with a light breeze at east, till
five in the evening, when we were stopped by a calm. At this time we were
three leagues from the land, which extended from S.E. by S. to W. by N.,
round by the S.W. Some openings appeared in the west, so that we could not
tell whether it was one connected land or a group of islands. To the S.E.
the coast seemed to terminate in a high promontory, which I named Cape
Colnett, after one of my midshipmen who first discovered this land.
Breakers were seen about half-way between us and the shore; and, behind
them, two or three canoes under sail, standing out to sea, as if their
design had been to come off to us; but a little before sun-set they struck
their sails, and we saw them no more. After a few hours calm, we got a
breeze at S.E., and spent the night standing off and on.[1]

On the 5th, at sun-rise, the horizon being clear, we could see the coast
extend to the S.E. of Cape Colnett, and round by the S.W. to N.W. by W.
Some gaps or openings were yet to be seen to the west; and a reef, or
breakers, seemed to lie all along the coast, connected with those we
discovered the preceding night. It was a matter of indifference to me,
whether we plied up the coast to the S.E., or bore down to N.W. I chose the
latter; and after running two leagues down the outside of the reef (for
such it proved) we came before an opening that had the appearance of a good
channel, through which we might go in for the land. I wanted to get at it,
not only to visit it, but also to have an opportunity to observe an eclipse
of the sun which was soon to happen. With this view we brought-to, hoisted
out two armed boats, and sent them to sound the channel; ten or twelve
large sailing canoes being then near us. We had observed them coming off
from the shore, all the morning, from different parts; and some were lying
on the reef, fishing, as we supposed. As soon as they all got together,
they came down to us in a body, and were pretty near when we were hoisting
out our boats, which probably gave them some alarm; for, without stopping,
they hauled in for the reef, and our boats followed them. We now saw that
what we had taken for openings in the coast was low land, and that it was
all connected, except the western extremity, which was an island known by
the name of Balabea, as we afterwards learnt.

The boats having made a signal for a channel, and one of them being placed
on the point of the reef on the weather side of it, we stood in with the
ship, and took up the other boat in our way, when the officer informed me,
that where we were to pass, was sixteen and fourteen fathoms water, a fine
sandy bottom, and that having put alongside two canoes, he found the people
very obliging and civil.[2] They gave him some fish; and, in return, he
presented them with medals, &c. In one was a stout robust young man, whom,
they understood to be a chief. After getting within the reef, we hauled up
S. 1/2 E., for a small low sandy isle that we observed lying under the
shore, being followed by all the canoes. Our sounding in standing in, was
from fifteen to twelve fathoms (a pretty even fine sandy bottom,) for about
two miles; then we had six, five, and four fathoms. This was on the tail of
a shoal which lies a little without the small isle to the N.E. Being over
it, we found seven and eight fathoms water, which shallowed gradually as we
approached the shore, to three fathoms, when we tacked and stood off a
little, and then anchored in five fathoms, the bottom a fine sand mixed
with mud. The little sandy isle bore E. by S., three-quarters of a mile
distant; and we were one mile from the shore of the main, which extended
from S.E. by E., round to the south, to W.N.W. The island of Balabea bore
N.W. by N., and the channel, through which we came, north, four miles
distant. In this situation we were extremely well sheltered from the
reigning winds, by the sandy isle and its shoals, and by the shoal without

We had hardly got to an anchor, before we were surrounded by a great number
of the natives, in sixteen or eighteen canoes, the most of whom were
without any sort of weapons. At first they were shy in coming near the
ship; but in a short time we prevailed on the people in one boat to get
close enough to receive some presents. These we lowered down to them by a
rope, to which, in return, they tied two fish that stunk intolerably, as
did those they gave us in the morning. These mutual exchanges bringing on a
kind of confidence, two ventured on board the ship; and presently after,
she was filled with them, and we had the company of several at dinner in
the cabin. Our pease-soup, salt-beef and pork, they had no curiosity to
taste; but they eat of some yams, which we happened to have yet left,
calling them _Oobee_. This name is not unlike _Oofee_, as they
are called at most of the islands, except Mallicollo; nevertheless, we
found these people spoke a language new to us. Like all the nations we had
lately seen, the men were almost naked; having hardly any other covering
but such a wrapper as is used at Mallicollo. They were curious in examining
every part of the ship, which they viewed with uncommon attention. They had
not the least knowledge of goats, hogs, dogs, or cats, and had not even a
name for one of them. They seemed fond of large spike-nails, and pieces of
red cloth, or indeed of any other colour, but red was their favourite.

After dinner, I went on shore with two armed boats, having with us one of
the natives who had attached himself to me. We landed on a sandy beach
before a vast number of people, who had got together with no other intent
than to see us; for many of them had not a stick in their hands;
consequently we were received with great courtesy, and with the surprise
natural for people to express, at seeing men and things so new to them as
we must be. I made presents to all those my friend pointed out, who were
either old men, or such as seemed to be of some note; but he took not the
least notice of some women who stood behind the crowd, folding my hand when
I was going to give them some beads and medals. Here we found the same
chief, who had been seen in one of the canoes in the morning. His name, we
now learnt, was Teabooma; and we had not been on shore above ten minutes,
before he called for silence. Being instantly obeyed by every individual
present, he made a short speech; and soon after another chief having called
for silence, made a speech also. It was pleasing to see with what attention
they were heard. Their speeches were composed of short sentences; to each
of which two or three old men answered, by nodding their heads, and giving
a kind of grunt, significant, as I thought, of approbation. It was
impossible for us to know the purport of these speeches; but we had reason
to think they were favourable to us, on whose account they doubtless were

I kept my eyes fixed on the people all the time, and saw nothing to induce
me to think otherwise. While we were with them, having enquired, by signs,
for fresh water, some pointed to the east and others to the west. My friend
undertook to conduct us to it, and embarked with us for that purpose. We
rowed about two miles up the coast to the east, where the shore was mostly
covered with mangrove-trees; and entering amongst them, by a narrow creek
or river, which brought us to a little straggling village, above all the
mangroves, there we landed and were shewn fresh water. The ground near this
village was finely cultivated, being laid out in plantations of sugar-
canes, plantains, yams, and other roots, and watered by little rills,
conducted by art from the main stream, whose source was in the hills. Here
were some cocoa-nut trees, which did not seem burdened with fruit. We heard
the crowing of cocks, but saw none. Some roots were baking on a fire in an
earthen jar, which would have held six or eight gallons; nor did we doubt
its being their own manufacture. As we proceeded up the creek, Mr Forster
having shot a duck flying over our heads, which was the first use these
people saw made of our fire-arms, my friend begged to have it; and when he
landed, told his countrymen in what manner it was killed. The day being far
spent, and the tide not permitting us to stay longer in the creek, we took
leave of the people and got on board a little after sun-set.[3] From this
little excursion, I found that we were to expect nothing from these people
but the privilege of visiting their country undisturbed. For it was easy to
see they had little else than good-nature to bestow. In this they exceeded
all the nations we had yet met with; and, although it did not satisfy the
demands of nature, it at once pleased and left our minds at ease.[4]

Next morning we were visited by some hundreds of the natives; some coming
in canoes, and others swimming off; so that, before ten o'clock, our decks,
and all other parts of the ship, were quite full with them. My friend, who
was of the number, brought me a few roots, but all the others came empty in
respect to eatables. Some few had with them their arms, such as clubs and
darts, which they exchanged for nails, pieces of cloth, &c. After
breakfast, I sent Lieutenant Pickersgill with two armed boats to look for
fresh water; for what we found the day before was by no means convenient
for us to get on board. At the same time Mr Wales, accompanied by
lieutenant Clerke, went to the little isle to make preparations for
observing the eclipse of the sun, which was to be in the afternoon. Mr
Pickersgill soon returning, informed me that he had found a stream of fresh
water, pretty convenient to come at. I therefore ordered the launch to be
hoisted out to complete our water, and then went to the isle to assist in
the observation.[5]

About one p.m., the eclipse came on. Clouds interposed, and we lost the
first contact, but were more fortunate in the end, which was observed as

By Mr Wales with Dollond's 3 1/2 foot
achromatic refractor, at 3h 28' 39" 1/4 \
By Mr Clerke with Bird's 2 feet |Appa-
reflector, at 3 28 52 1/4 |rent
And by me with an 18 inch reflector |time.
made by Watkins, 3 28 53 1/4 /
Latitude of the isle or place
of observation, 20 deg. 17' 39" S.
Longitude per distance of the sun and moon,
and moon and stars, 48 sets, 164 deg. 41' 21" East.
Ditto per watch 163 58 0

Mr Wales measured the quantity eclipsed by a Hadley's quadrant, a method
never before thought of. I am of opinion it answers the purpose of a
micrometer to a great degree of certainty, and is a great addition to the
use of this most valuable instrument. After all was over, we returned on
board, where I found Teabooma the chief, who soon after slipped out of the
ship without my knowledge, and by that means lost the present I had made up
for him.

In the evening I went ashore to the watering-place, which was at the head
of a little creek, at a fine stream that came from the hills. It was
necessary to have a small boat in the creek to convey the casks from and to
the beach over which they were rolled, and then put into the launch; as
only a small boat could enter the creek, and that only at high water.
Excellent wood for fuel was here far more convenient than water, but this
was an article we did not want. About seven o'clock this evening, died
Simon Monk, our butcher, a man much esteemed in the ship; his death being
occasioned by a fall down the fore-hatch-way the preceding night.

Early in the morning of the 7th, the watering-party, and a guard, under the
command of an officer, were sent ashore; and soon after a party of us went
to take a view of the country. As soon as we landed we made known our
design to the natives, and two of them undertaking to be our guides,
conducted us up the hills by a tolerably good path. In our route, we met
several people, most or whom turned back with us; so that at last our train
was numerous. Some we met who wanted us to return; but we paid no regard to
their signs, nor did they seem uneasy when we proceeded. At length we
reached the summit of one of the hills, from which we saw the sea in two
places, between some advanced hills, on the opposite or S.W. side of the
land. This was an useful discovery, as it enabled us to judge of the
breadth of the land, which, in this part, did not exceed ten leagues.

Between those advanced hills, and the ridge we were upon, was a large
valley, through which ran a serpentine river. On the banks of this were
several plantations, and some villages, whose inhabitants we had met on the
road, and found more on the top of the hill gazing at the ship, as might be
supposed. The plain, or flat of land, which lies along the shore we were
upon, appeared from the hills to great advantage; the winding streams which
ran through out, the plantations, the little straggling villages, the
variety in the woods, and the shoals on the coast, so variegating the
scene, that the whole might afford a picture for romance. Indeed, if it
were not for those fertile spots on the plains, and some few on the sides
of the mountains, the whole country might be called a dreary waste. The
mountains, and other high places, are, for the most part, incapable of
cultivation, consisting chiefly of rocks, many of which are full of
mundicks. The little soil that is upon them is scorched and burnt up with
the sun; it is, nevertheless, coated with coarse grass and other plants,
and here and there trees and shrubs. The country, in general, bore great
resemblance to some parts of New Holland under the same parallel of
latitude, several of its natural productions seeming to be the same, and
the woods being without underwood, as in that country. The reefs on the
coast and several other similarities, were obvious to every one who had
seen both countries. We observed all the N.E. coast to be covered with
shoals and breakers, extending to the northward, beyond the Isle of
Balabea, till they were lost in the horizon. Having made these
observations, and our guides not chusing to go farther, we descended the
mountains by a road different from that by which we ascended. This brought
us down through some of their plantations in the plains, which I observed
were laid out with great judgment, and cultivated with much labour. Some of
them were lying in fallow, some seemingly lately laid down, and others of
longer date, pieces of which they were again beginning to dig up. The first
thing I observed they did, was to set fire to the grass, &c. which had
over-run the surface. Recruiting the land by letting it lie some years
untouched, is observed by all the nations in this sea; but they seem to
have no notion of manuring it, at least I have no where seen it done. Our
excursion was finished by noon, when we returned on board to dinner; and
one of our guides having left us, we brought the other with us, whose
fidelity was rewarded at a small expence.

In the afternoon I made a little excursion along-shore to the westward, in
company with Mr Wales. Besides making observations on such things as we
met, we got the names of several places, which I then thought were islands;
but upon farther enquiry, I found they were districts upon the same land.
This afternoon a fish being struck by one of the natives near the watering-
place, my clerk purchased it, and sent it to me after my return on board.

It was of a new species, something like a sun-fish, with a large long ugly
head. Having no suspicion of its being of a poisonous nature, we ordered it
to be dressed for supper; but, very luckily, the operation of drawing and
describing took up so much time, that it was too late, so that only the
liver and row were dressed, of which the two Mr Forsters and myself did but
taste. About three o'clock in the morning, we found ourselves seized with
an extraordinary weakness and numbness all over our limbs. I had almost
lost the sense of feeling; nor could I distinguish between light and heavy
bodies, of such as I had strength to move; a quart-pot, full of water, and
a feather, being the same in my hand. We each of us took an emetic, and
after that a sweat, which gave us much relief. In the morning, one of the
pigs, which had eaten the entrails, was found dead. When the natives came
on board and saw the fish hanging up, they immediately gave us to
understand it was not wholesome food, and expressed the utmost abhorrence
of it; though no one was observed to do this when the fish was to be sold,
or even after it was purchased.

On the 8th, the guard and a party of men were on shore as usual. In the
afternoon, I received a message from the officer, acquainting me that
Teabooma the chief was come with a present consisting of a few yams and
sugar-canes. In return, I sent him, amongst other articles, a dog and a
bitch, both young, but nearly full grown. The dog was red and white, but
the bitch was all red, or the colour of an English fox. I mention this,
because they may prove the Adam and Eve of their species in that country.
When the officer returned on board in the evening, he informed me that the
chief came, attended by about twenty men, so that it looked like a visit of
ceremony. It was some time before he would believe the dog and bitch were
intended for him; but as soon as he was convinced, he seemed lost in an
excess of joy, and sent them away immediately.

Next morning early, I dispatched Lieutenant Pickersgill and Mr Gilbert with
the launch and cutter to explore the coast to the west; judging this would
be better effected in the boats than in the ship, as the reef would force
the latter several leagues from land. After breakfast, a party of men was
sent on shore, to make brooms; but myself and the two Mr Forsters were
confined on board, though much better, a good sweat having had an happy
effect. In the afternoon a man was seen, both ashore and alongside the
ship, said to be as white as an European. From the account I had of him
(for I did not see him,) his whiteness did not proceed from hereditary
descent, but from chance or some disease; and such have been seen at
Otaheite and the Society Isles.[6] A fresh easterly wind, and the ship
lying a mile from the shore, did not hinder those good-natured people from
swimming off to us in shoals of twenty or thirty, and returning the same

On the 10th, a party was on shore as usual; and Mr Forster so well
recovered as to go out botanizing.

In the evening of the 11th, the boats returned, when I was informed of the
following circumstances. From an elevation which they reached the morning
they set out, they had a view of the coast. Mr Gilbert was of opinion that
they saw the termination of it to the west, but Mr Pickersgill thought not;
though both agreed that there was no passage for the ship that way. From
this place, accompanied by two of the natives, they went to Balabea, which
they did not reach till after sun-set, and left again next morning before
sun-rise; consequently this was a fruitless expedition, and the two
following days were spent in getting up to the ship. As they went down to
the isle, they saw abundance of turtle; but the violence of the wind and
sea made it impossible to strike any. The cutter was near being lost, by

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