A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 14
by Robert Kerr
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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 provisions."—G.F.

[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 them.

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 made.

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 follows:

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 way.

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 suddenly filling with water, which obliged them to throw several things overboard, before they could free her, and stop the leak she had sprung. From a fishing canoe, which they met coming in from the reefs, they got as much fish as they could eat; and they were received by Teabi, the chief of the isle of Balabea, and the people, who came in numbers to see them, with great courtesy. In order not to be too much crowded, our people drew a line on the ground, and gave the others to understand they were not to come within it. This restriction they observed, and one of them, soon after, turned to his own advantage. For happening to have a few cocoa-nuts, which one of our people wanted to buy, and he was unwilling to part with, he walked off, and was followed by the man who wanted them. On seeing this, he sat down on the sand, made a circle round him, as he had seen our people do, and signified that the other was not to come within it; which was accordingly observed. As this story was well attested, I thought it not unworthy of a place in this journal.[7]

Early in the morning of the 12th, I ordered the carpenter to work, to repair the cutter, and the water to be re-placed, which we had expended the three preceding days. As Tea Booma the chief had not been seen since he got the dogs, and I wanted to lay a foundation for stocking the country with hogs also, I took a young boar and a sow with me in the boat, and went up to the mangrove creek to look for my friend, in order to give them to him.

But when we arrived there, we were told that he lived at some distance, and that they would send for him. Whether they did or no I cannot say; but he not coming, I resolved to give them to the first man of note I met with. The guide we had to the hills happening to be there, I made him understand that I intended to leave the two pigs on shore, and ordered them out of the boat for that purpose. I offered them to a grave old man, thinking he was a proper person to entrust them with; but he shook his head, and he and all present, made signs to take them into the boat again. When they saw I did not comply, they seemed to consult with one another what was to be done; and then our guide told me to carry them to the Alekee (chief). Accordingly I ordered them to be taken up, and we were conducted by him to a house, wherein were seated, in a circle, eight or ten middle-aged persons. To them I and my pigs being introduced, with great courtesy they desired me to sit down; and then I began to expatiate on the merits of the two pigs, explaining to them how many young ones the female would have at one time, and how soon these would multiply to some hundreds. My only motive was to enhance their value, that they might take the more care of them; and I had reason to think I in some measure succeeded. In the mean time, two men having left the company, soon returned with six yams, which were presented to me; and then I took my leave and went on board.

I have already observed, that here was a little village; I now found it much larger than I expected; and about it, a good deal of cultivated land, regularly laid out, planted and planting with taro or eddy root, yams, sugar-canes, and plantains. The taro plantations were prettily watered by little rills, continually supplied from the main channel at the foot of the mountains, from whence these streams were conducted in artful meanders. They have two methods of planting these roots, some are in square or oblong patches, which lie perfectly horizontal, and sink below the common level of the adjacent land, so that they can let in on them as much water as they think necessary. I have generally seen them covered two or three inches deep; but I do not know that this is always necessary. Others are planted in ridges about three or four feet broad, and two, or two and a half high. On the middle or top of the ridge, is a narrow gutter, in and along which is conveyed, as above described, a little rill that waters the roots, planted in the ridge on each side of it; and these plantations are so judiciously laid out, that the same stream waters several ridges. These ridges are sometimes the divisions to the horizontal plantations; and when this method is used, which is for the most part observed where a pathway, or something of that sort, is requisite, not an inch of ground is lost. Perhaps there may be some difference in the roots, which may make these two methods of raising them necessary. Some are better tasted than others, and they are not all of a colour; but be this as it may, they are very wholesome food, and the tops make good greens, and are eaten as such by the natives. On these plantations men, women, and children were employed.

In the afternoon I went on shore, and, on a large tree, which stood close to the shore, near the watering-place, had an inscription cut, setting forth the ship's name, date, &c. as a testimony of our being the first discoverers of this country, as I had done at all others, at which we had touched, where this ceremony was necessary. This being done, we took leave of our friends, and returned on board; when I ordered all the boats to be hoisted in, in order to be ready to put to sea in the morning.

[1] "The land, when discovered, appeared to be very high, and its distance from us was about eight leagues, being seen through a haze, which made it appear farther off than it really was. M. de Bougainville takes notice of meeting with a part of the sea which was entirely smooth, and where several pieces of wood and fruits floated past his ship. This was nearly to the N.W. of the land which we now discovered, and which, as an able and intelligent navigator, he had conjectured to be in that direction."—G.F.

[2] A very striking proof of this is mentioned by Mr G.F. These people, he says, laid some of their canoes on both sides of the channel, in a place where it was narrow, and then beckoned to the boats to keep in the middle between them. According to this gentleman, the face of the country had a barren appearance, and was covered with a sort of whitish grass, and trees somewhat resembling willows were thinly spread on the mountains.—E.

[3] Mr. G.F. who shot the duck, tells us, that the natives expressed some admiration, but not the smallest fear, at the report and effects of the firearms.—E.

[4] "The whole plantation we saw, had a very scanty appearance, and seemed to be insufficient to afford nourishment to the inhabitants throughout the year. We entirely missed that variety of fruits, which we had hitherto met with in the tropical islands, and naturally recollected the poverty of the inhabitants of Easter Island, above whom it appeared, that the people before us enjoyed but few advantages. Towards the hills, of which the first risings were at the distance of about two miles, the country looked extremely dreary; here and there, indeed, we saw a few trees, and small uncultivated spots, but they appeared to be lost on the great extent of barren and unprofitable country, which resembled our moors more than any thing else."—G.F.

[5] Mr G.F., who seems to have accompanied the watering-party, gives the following account of the appearance of the country.—"We walked along the beach which was sandy, and bounded by a fine wild shrubbery; we soon came to a hut, from whence a number of plantations extended to the back of the bank and wild wood. We rambled into the country, and came to a canal that watered this plantation, but of which the water was very brackish. From hence, however, we ran immediately to an eminence near us, where the nature of the country appeared evidently changed. The plain was covered with a thin stratum of vegetable soil, which being very poor, was manured in the plantations with broken shells and corals. The eminence, on the contrary, was a rocky ground, consisting of large pieces of quartz and glimmer (mica). Here grew a quantity of dry grasses, about two or three feet high, very thin in most places; and at the distance of fifteen or twenty yards asunder, we saw large trees black at the root, but with a bark perfectly whole and loose, and having narrow long leaves like our willows. They were of the sort which Linne calls melaleuca leucadendra, and Rumphius arbor alba, who says that the natives of the Moluccas make the oil of cayputi, from the leaves, which are indeed extremely fragrant and aromatic. Not the least shrub was to be seen on this eminence, and the trees did not intercept the distant prospect. We discerned from hence a line of tufted trees and shrubberies, which extended from the sea- side towards the mountains, and immediately concluded that they stood on the banks of a rivulet. The banks of this were lined with mangroves, beyond which a few other sorts of plants and trees occupied a space of fifteen or twenty feet, which had a layer of vegetable mould, charged with nutritive moisture, and covered with a green bed of grasses, where the eye gladly reposed itself after viewing a painted prospect. The border of shrubberies and wild-trees which lined the sea-shore, was the most advantageous to us as naturalists; here we met with some unknown plants, and saw a great variety of birds of different classes, which were for the greatest part entirely new. But the character of the inhabitants, and their friendly inoffensive behaviour towards us, gave us greater pleasure than all the rest. We found their number very inconsiderable, and their habitations very thinly scattered. They commonly had built two or three houses near each other, under a group of very lofty fig-trees, of which the branches were so closely entwined, that the sky was scarcely visible through the foliage, and the huts were involved in a perpetual cool shade. They had another advantage besides, from this pleasant situation; for numbers of birds continually twittered in the tufted tops of the tree, and hid themselves from the scorching beams of the sun. The wild circle of some species of creepers was very agreeable; and conveyed a sensible pleasure to every one who delighted in this kind of artless harmony. The inhabitants themselves were commonly seated at the foot of these trees, which had this remarkable quality, that they shot long roots from the upper part of the stem, perfectly round, as if they had been made by a turner, into the ground, ten, fifteen, and twenty feet from the tree, and formed a most exact strait line, being extremely elastic, and as tense as a bow-string prepared for action. The bark of these trees seems to be the substance of which they make those little bits of cloth, so remarkable in their dress."— G.F.

[6] Wafers met with Indians in the Isthmus of Darien of the colour of a white horse. See his Description of the Isthmus, page 134. See also Mr de Paw's Philosophical Enquiries concerning Americans, where several other instances of this remarkable whiteness are mentioned, and the causes of it attempted to be explained.—This note is by Captain Cook. The reader may not have forgotten some remarks on the subject, in a former volume.—E.

[7] It is also worth while noticing the following circumstance, which occurred during this excursion. "The appearance of a large beef-bone, which some of our people began to pick towards the conclusion of their supper, interrupted a conversation that was carried on with the natives. They talked very loud and earnestly to each other, looked with great surprise, and some marks of disgust, at our people, and at last went away altogether, expressing by signs that they suspected the strangers of eating human flesh. Our officer endeavoured to free himself and his shipmates from this suspicion; but the want of language was an insurmountable obstacle to his undertaking, even supposing it possible to persuade a set of people, who had never seen a quadruped in their lives."—G.F.

Notwithstanding this appearance of dislike to so horrid a practice, it must not be hastily inferred, that these people are themselves free from the vice which they condemned. On the contrary, one might rather imagine that their so readily conjecturing the circumstance, from what they saw, proceeded from a conviction of their own occasional acquiescence in it; and that their present umbrage arose from apprehension of their own danger in the hands of persons so much more powerful than themselves. But we reserve the subject of cannibalism for another place, where perhaps it will be shewn that those very people are not free from this opprobrium of the savage state. The reader is already aware, that the younger Forster is not to be too strictly relied on as to his accounts of our species in its rude condition, more particularly where it is possible, with some stretch of liberality, to substitute the pleasing dreams of fancy for the disagreeable realities of truth.—E.


A Description of the Country and its Inhabitants; their Manners, Customs, and Arts.

I shall conclude our transactions at this place with some account of the country and its inhabitants. They are a strong, robust, active, well-made people, courteous and friendly, and not in the least addicted to pilfering, which is more than can be said of any other nation in this sea. They are nearly of the same colour as the natives of Tanna, but have better features, more agreeable countenances, and are a much stouter race; a few being seen who measured six feet four inches. I observed some who had thick lips, flat noses, and full cheeks, and, in some degree, the features and look of a negro. Two things contributed to the forming of such an idea; first, their rough mop heads, and, secondly, their besmearing their faces with black pigment. Their hair and beards are, in general, black. The former is very much frizzled, so that, at first sight, it appears like that of a negro. It is, nevertheless, very different, though both coarser and stronger than ours. Some, who wear it long, tie it up on the crown of the head; others suffer only a large lock to grow on each side, which they tie up in clubs; many others, as well as all the women, wear it cropped short. These rough heads, most probably, want frequent scratching; for which purpose they have a most excellent instrument. This is a kind of comb made of sticks of hard wood, from seven to nine or ten inches long, and about the thickness of knitting-needles. A number of these, seldom exceeding twenty, but generally fewer, is fastened together at one end, parallel to, and near one-tenth of an inch from each other. The other ends, which are a little pointed, will spread out or open like the sticks of a fan, by which means they can beat up the quarters of an hundred lice at a time. These combs or scratchers, for I believe they serve both purposes, they always wear in their hair, on one side their head. The people of Tanna have an instrument of this kind for the same use; but theirs is forked, I think, never exceeding three or four prongs; and sometimes only a small pointed stick. Their beards, which are of the same crisp nature as their hair, are, for the most part, worn short. Swelled and ulcerated legs and feet are common among the men; as also a swelling of the scrotum. I know not whether this is occasioned by disease, or by the mode of applying the wrapper before-mentioned, and which they use as at Tanna and Mallicollo. This is their only covering, and is made generally of the bark of a tree, but sometimes of leaves. The small pieces of cloth, paper, &c. which they got from us, were commonly applied to this use. We saw coarse garments amongst them, made of a sort of matting, but they seemed never to wear them, except when out in their canoes and unemployed. Some had a kind of concave, cylindrical, stiff black cap, which appeared to be a great ornament among them, and, we thought, was only worn by men of note or warriors. A large sheet of strong paper, when they got one from us, was generally applied to this use.

The women's dress is a short petticoat, made of the filaments of the plantain-tree, laid over a cord, to which they are fastened, and tied round the waist. The petticoat is made at least six or eight inches thick, but not one inch longer than necessary for the use designed. The outer filaments are dyed black; and, as an additional ornament, the most of them have a few pearl oyster-shells fixed on the right side. The general ornaments of both sexes are ear-rings of tortoise-shell, necklaces or amulets, made both of shells and stones, and bracelets, made of large shells, which they wear above the elbow. They have punctures, or marks on the skin, on several parts of the body; but none, I think, are black, as at the Eastern Islands. I know not if they have any other design than ornament; and the people of Tanna are marked much in the same manner.[1]

Were I to judge of the origin of this nation, I should take them to be a race between the people of Tanna and of the Friendly Isles, or between those of Tanna and the New Zealanders, or all three; their language, in some respects, being a mixture of them all. In their disposition they are like the natives of the Friendly Isles; but in affability and honesty they excel them.

Notwithstanding their pacific inclination they must sometimes have wars, as they are well provided with offensive weapons, such as clubs, spears, darts, and slings for throwing stones. The clubs are about two feet and a half long, and variously formed; some like a scythe, others like a pick- axe; some have a head like an hawk, and others have round heads, but all are neatly made. Many of their darts and spears are no less neat, and ornamented with carvings. The slings are as simple as possible; but they take some pains to form the stones that they use into a proper shape, which is something like an egg, supposing both ends to be like the small one.[2] They use a becket, in the same manner as at Tanna, in throwing the dart, which, I believe, is much used in striking fish, &c. In this they seem very dexterous; nor, indeed, do I know that they have any other method of catching large fish, for I neither saw hooks nor lines among them.

It is needless to mention their working-tools, as they are made of the same materials, and nearly in the same manner, as at the other islands. Their axes, indeed, are a little different; some, at least, which may be owing to fancy as much as custom.

Their houses, or at least most of them, are circular, something like a bee- hive, and full as close and warm. The entrance is by a small door, or long square hole, just big enough to admit a man bent double. The side-walls are about four feet and a half high, but the roof is lofty, and peaked to a point at the top; above which is a post, or stick of wood, which is generally ornamented either with carving or shells, or both. The framing is of small spars, reeds, &c. and both sides and roof are thick and close covered with thatch, made of coarse long grass. In the inside of the house are set up posts, to which cross spars are fastened, and platforms made, for the conveniency of laying any thing on. Some houses have two floors, one above the other. The floor is laid with dry grass, and here and there mats are spread, for the principal people to sleep or sit on. In most of them we found two fire-places, and commonly a fire burning; and, as there was no vent for the smoke but by the door, the whole house was both smoky and hot, insomuch that we, who were not used to such an atmosphere, could hardly endure it a moment. This may be the reason why we found these people so chilly when in the open air, and without exercise. We frequently saw them make little fires any where, and hustle round them, with no other view than to warm themselves. Smoke within doors may be a necessary evil, as it prevents the musquitoes from coming in, which are pretty numerous here. In some respects their habitations are neat; for, besides the ornaments at top, I saw some with carved door-posts. Upon the whole, their houses are better calculated for a cold than a hot climate; and as there are no partitions in them, they can have little privacy.

They have no great variety of household utensils; the earthen jars before mentioned being the only article worth notice. Each family has at least one of them, in which they bake their roots, and perhaps their fish, &c. The fire, by which they cook their victuals, is on the outside of each house, in the open air. There are three or five pointed stones fixed in the ground, their pointed ends being about six inches above the surface. Those of three stones are only for one jar, those of five stones for two. The jars do not stand on their bottoms, but lie inclined on their sides. The use of these stones is obviously to keep the jars from resting on the fire, in order that it may burn the better.

They subsist chiefly on roots and fish, and the bark of a tree, which I am told grows also in the West Indies. This they roast, and are almost continually chewing. It has a sweetish, insipid taste, and was liked by some of our people. Water is their only liquor, at least I never saw any other made use of.

Plantains and sugar-canes are by no means in plenty. Bread-fruit is very scarce, and the cocoa-nut trees are small and but thinly planted; and neither one nor the other seems to yield much fruit.

To judge merely by the numbers of the natives we saw every day, one might think the island very populous; but I believe that, at this time, the inhabitants were collected from all parts on our account. Mr Pickersgill observed, that down the coast, to the west, there were but few people; and we knew they came daily from the other side of the land, over the mountains, to visit us. But although the inhabitants, upon the whole, may not be numerous, the island is not thinly peopled on the sea-coast, and in the plains and valleys that are capable of cultivation. It seems to be a country unable to support many inhabitants. Nature has been less bountiful to it than to any other tropical island we know in this sea. The greatest part of its surface, or at least what we saw of it, consists of barren rocky mountains; and the grass, &c. growing on them, is useless to people who have no cattle.

The sterility of the country will apologise for the natives not contributing to the wants of the navigator. The sea may, perhaps, in some measure, compensate for the deficiency of the land; for a coast surrounded by reefs and shoals, as this is, cannot fail of being stored with fish.

I have before observed, that the country bears great resemblance to New South Wales, or New Holland, and that some of its natural productions are the same. In particular, we found here, the tree which is covered with a soft white ragged bark, easily peeled off, and is, as I have been told, the same that, in the East Indies, is used for caulking of ships. The wood is very hard, the leaves are long and narrow, of a pale dead green, and a fine aromatic; so that it may properly be said to belong to that continent. Nevertheless, here are several plants, &c. common to the eastern and northern islands, and even a species of the passionflower, which, I am told, has never before been known to grow wild any where but in America. Our botanists did not complain for want of employment at this place; every day bringing something new in botany or other branches of natural history. Land-birds, indeed, are not numerous, but several are new. One of these is a kind of crow, at least so we called it, though it is not half so big, and its feathers are tinged with blue. They also have some very beautiful turtle-doves, and other small birds, such as I never saw before.[3]

All our endeavours to get the name of the whole island proved ineffectual. Probably it is too large for them to know by one name. Whenever we made this enquiry, they always gave us the name of some district or place, which we pointed to; and, as before observed, I got the names of several, with the name of the king or chief of each. Hence I conclude, that the country is divided into several districts, each governed by a chief; but we know nothing of the extent of his power. Balade was the name of the district we were at, and Tea Booma the chief. He lived on the other side of the ridge of hills, so that we had but little of his company, and therefore could not see much of his power. Tea seems a title prefixed to the names of all, or most, of their chiefs or great men. My friend honoured me by calling me Tea Cook.

They deposit their dead in the ground. I saw none of their burying-places, but several of the gentlemen did. In one, they were informed, lay the remains of a chief who was slain in battle; and his grave, which bore some resemblance to a large mole-hill, was decorated with spears, darts, paddles, &c. all stuck upright in the ground round about it. The canoes, which these people use, are somewhat like those of the Friendly Isles; but the most heavy clumsy vessels I ever saw. They are what I call double canoes, made out of two large trees, hollowed out, having a raised gunnel, about two inches high, and closed at each end with a kind of bulk-head of the same height; so that the whole is like a long square trough, about three feet shorter than the body of the canoe; that is, a foot and a half at each end. Two canoes, thus fitted, are secured to each other, about three feet asunder, by means of cross spars, which project about a foot over each side. Over these spars is laid a deck, or very heavy platform, made of plank, and small round spars, on which they have a fire-hearth, and generally a fire burning; and they carry a pot or jar to dress their victuals in. The space between the two canoes is laid with plank, and the rest with spars. On one side of the deck, and close to the edge, is fixed a row of knees, pretty near to each other, the use of which is to keep the masts, yards, &c. from, rolling over-board. They are navigated by one or two lateen-sails, extended to a small lateen-yard, the end of which fixes in a notch or hole in the deck. The foot of the sail is extended to a small boom. The sail is composed of pieces of matting, the ropes are made of the coarse filaments of the plantain-tree, twisted into cords of the thickness of a finger; and three or four more such cords, marled together, serve them for shrouds, &c. I thought they sailed very well; but they are not at all calculated for rowing or paddling. Their method of proceeding, when they cannot sail, is by sculling, and for this purpose there are holes in the boarded deck or platform. Through these they put the sculls, which are of such a length, that, when the blade is in the water, the loom or handle is four or five feet above the deck. The man who works it stands behind, and with both his hands sculls the vessel forward. This method of proceeding is very slow; and for this reason, the canoes are but ill calculated for fishing, especially for striking of turtle, which, I think, can hardly ever be done in them. Their fishing implements, such as I have seen, are turtle- nets, made, I believe, of the filaments of the plantain-tree twisted; and small hand-nets, with very minute meshes made of fine twine and fish-gigs. Their general method of fishing, I guess, is to lie on the reefs in shoal water, and to strike the fish that may come in their way. They may, however, have other methods, which we had no opportunity to see, as no boat went out while we were here; all their time and attention being taken up with us. Their canoes are about thirty feet long, and the deck or platform about twenty-four in length, and ten in breadth. We had not, at this time, seen any timber in the country so large as that of which their canoes were made. It was observed that the holes, made in the several parts, in order to sew them together, were burnt through, but with what instrument we never learnt. Most probably it was of stone, which may be the reason why they were so fond of large spikes, seeing at once they would answer this purpose. I was convinced they were not wholly designed for edge-tools, because every one shewed a desire for the iron belaying-pins which were fixed in the quarter-deck rail, and seemed to value them far more than a spike-nail, although it might be twice as big. These pins, which are round, perhaps have the very shape of the tool they wanted to make of the nails. I did not find that a hatchet was quite so valuable as a large spike. Small nails were of little or no value; and beads, looking-glasses, &c. they did not admire.

The women of this country, and likewise those of Tanna, are, so far as I could judge, far more chaste than those of the more eastern islands. I never heard that one of our people obtained the least favour from any one of them. I have been told that the ladies here would frequently divert themselves by going a little aside with our gentlemen, as if they meant to be kind to them, and then would run away laughing at them. Whether this was chastity or coquetry, I shall not pretend to determine; nor is it material, since the consequences were the same.[4]

[1] Mr G.F. says their dress was very disfiguring, and gave them a thick squat shape. He describes it much like Captain Cook. According to him, these women's features, though coarse, expressed great good- nature; they had high foreheads, broad flat noses, rather small eyes, and very prominent cheek-bones. His reflections on the degraded state in which these women live, as subservient entirely to the arbitrary will and necessary purposes of their husbands, have not so much originality as force, but possess, however, enough of both to deserve a place here. "They commonly kept at a distance from the men, and seemed fearful of offending them by a look or gesture; they were the only persons in the family who had any employment, and several of them brought bundles of sticks and fuel on their backs. Their insensible husbands seldom deigned to look upon them, and continued in a kind of phlegmatic indolence, whilst the women sometimes indulged that social cheerfulness, which is the distinguishing ornament of the sex. Thus, in every country, mankind are fond of being tyrants, and the poorest Indian, who knows no wants but those which his existence requires, has already learnt to enslave his weaker help-mate, in order to save himself the trouble of supplying their wants, and cruelly exacts an obedience from her, which has been continued among savages as a curse upon the sex. Considering these humiliations and cruel oppressions of the sex, we have sometimes the greatest reason to admire, that the human race has perpetuated itself, and that the Creator has wisely planted a motive in the female breast, which stands the test of every outrage, which makes them patient to suffer, and prevents their withdrawing from the power of their tyrants." This indeed is one of the most striking and important instances that can be adduced, of what has been called final causes, the determinate choice of an end, and the skilful adaptation of means to the accomplishment of it. A nation of women, we may confidently say, is as much a chimera, as a nation of two-headed men; and that individual has little acquaintance with herself that knows not, there is an insuperable objection to so anomalous an occurrence. With whatever abuses of authority, therefore, the other sex may be chargeable, it is not to be denied, that they assert their superiority on the ground of natural constitution, and that they cannot be considered as usurpers. Admitting this, it is important to enquire, what is the principle common to both, on which their mutual welfare depends, and which is as certainly violated by unfeeling rigour on one side, as by peevish rebellion on the other. Several principles might be mentioned, claiming in part this distinction, but none will answer all the conditions, except a right sense of their entire and common dependence on the source of their being and judge of their conduct, which is indeed the essence of religion and morality. It is vain, in fact, to determine almost any thing respecting such a creature as man, but by reasons of an eternal nature, and referring to the laws of an invisible world. Every system of an inferior kind, will be found inadequate in its application, and unsatisfactory in its sanctions—calculated, it may be, to amuse the philosopher in his closet, and attract the admiration of young and inexperienced minds, but too weak to sustain the shock of human passions, and too circumscribed to reach the heights of human hopes and fears. The condition of women improves, undoubtedly, as a people advances towards civilization; but there is a period in the process, at which voluptuousness, more cruel than indifference, and often maddened by jealousy, subjects her to greater degradation than her original insignificance, and destroys all hope of her amelioration in the tyranny of her own licentiousness. It is only where the principle alluded to, is publicly recognised in the civil institutions of a country, and conscientiously reverenced by the piety of its citizens, that she attains the true dignity of her destiny in an equal subordination, and vindicates the benevolence of the Deity in her creation, by the increase of happiness she confers on her consort. This cannot be looked for in a state of nature.—E.

[2] "These slings consisted of a slender round cord, no thicker than a packthread, which had a tassel at one end, and a loop at the other end and in the middle. The stones which they used were oblong, and pointed at each end, being made of a soft and unctuous soap-rock (smectitis), which could easily be rubbed into that shape. These exactly fitted the loop in the middle of the sling, and were kept in a wallet or pocket of coarse cloth, strongly woven, of a kind of grass, which was tied on about the middle. Their shape gives them a striking resemblance to the glandes plumbeae of the Romans."—G.F.

[3] Unfortunately the severe effects of the noxious fish, so sparingly partaken of, disabled the two Forsters from their favourite pursuits, during the greater part of their residence at New Caledonia. The result of their labours was, in consequence, very scanty, and, according to the younger F.'s assertions, received little or no encouragement from the friendly services of many of their fellow voyagers. He has inveighed with no small asperity against the ignorant selfishness and unprincipled hostility with which they had to contend. These seem to have been of a flagrant appearance, and almost systematic consistency. "If there had not been a few individuals," says he, "of a more liberal way of thinking, whose disinterested love for the sciences comforted us from time to time, we should in all probability have fallen victims to that malevolence, which even the positive commands of Captain Cook were sometimes insufficient to keep within bounds." However the reader may conjecture the existence of certain personal causes which are here complained of, he cannot but regret, that the interests of the expedition should in any manner have suffered loss by the contention. But such things, he will say, are incident to human nature, and have frequently taken place on even more important occasions. This is very true, but gives no comfort.—E.

[4] Mr G.F. calls this deceptive amusement, "an innocent recreation, which shewed them good-humoured, and not destitute of ingenuity!" He agrees with Cook respecting the universal decency of these people, which forms so striking a dissimilarity to the immodest conduct of the other islanders met with in this voyage. The following remarks specify other differences, and are worthy of being transcribed:—"It is easy to be conceived, that the contrast between New Caledonia and the New Hebrides, was very striking to us, who had so lately visited those rich and fertile islands, where the vegetable kingdom glories in its greatest perfection. The difference in the character of the people was no less surprising. All the natives of the South-Sea islands, excepting those only which Tasman found on Tonga-Tabboo and Annamocka, (and those perhaps had been informed of what had passed between Le Maire, and the natives of Horne, Cocos, and Traitor's island, some years before,) made some attempt to drive away the strangers who came to visit them. But the people of New Caledonia, at the first sight of us, received us as friends; they ventured to come on board our ship, without the least marks of fear or distrust, and suffered us to ramble freely throughout their country as far as we pleased. As nature has been so sparing here of her gifts, it is the more surprising that instead of seeing the inhabitants savage, distrustful, and warlike, as at Tanna, we should find them peaceable, well-disposed, and unsuspicious. It is not less remarkable, that, in spite of the drought which prevails in their country, and the scanty supply of vegetable food, they should have attained to a greater size, and a more muscular body. Perhaps, instead of placing the causes which effect disparity of stature among various nations in the difference of food, this instance ought to teach us to have retrospect likewise to the original races from which those tribes are descended, that fell under our examination. Let us, for instance, suppose, that the people of New Caledonia are the offspring of a nation, who, by living in affluence and in a genial climate, have not been stinted in their growth; the colony which removed into the barren soil of New Caledonia, will probably preserve the habit of body of their ancestors for many generations. The people of Tanna may have undergone a contrary revolution, and being descended of a slender and short race, like the Mallicollese, the richness of their present country may not yet have entirely taken effect. The inoffensive character of the people of New Caledonia appears to great advantage in their conduct towards us. They are the only people in the South Seas who have not had reason to complain of our arrival among them. When we consider how easy it is to provoke the mariner to sport with the lives of Indians, from the numerous examples throughout this narrative, we must acknowledge that it required an uncommon degree of good temper, not to draw upon themselves a single act of brutality. Those philosophers who are of opinion that the temper, the manners, and genius of a people, depend entirely upon the climate, will be at a loss to account for the peaceful character of the inhabitants of New Caledonia. If we admit that they are only strangers to distrust, because they have little to lose, we shall not solve the difficulty; since the people of New Holland, under the influence of a similar climate and soil, and in a more wretched situation than the inhabitants of New Caledonia, are savage and unsociable. The different characters of nations seem therefore to depend upon a multitude of different causes, which have acted together during a series of many ages. The inhabitants of New Caledonia do not owe their kind disposition to a total ignorance of wars and disputes; the variety of their offensive weapons being alone sufficient to put this matter out of doubt. By conversing with them we learnt that they have enemies, and that the people of an island called Mingha had a very different character from their own. Civilization is much farther advanced in some respects among them, than with their more opulent neighbours. That higher degree of culture, however, where the understanding is sufficiently enlightened to remove the unjust contempt shown to the fair sex, is unknown to them; their temper is too grave to be captivated by female blandishments, or to set a proper value upon the refined enjoyments of life. They are obliged to work hard, at times, for the means of subsistence; but their leisure hours are spent in indolence, without those little recreations which contribute so much to the happiness of mankind, and diffuse a spirit of chearfulness and vivacity throughout the Society and Friendly Islands. Besides a sort of whistle, made of wood, about two inches long, and shaped like a bell, having two holes at its base and one at the upper end, we never saw a musical instrument among the people of New Caledonia. Their dances and songs are equally unknown to us; and what we observed during our short stay, gave us reason to suppose, that even laughter is an uncommon guest among them."—G.F.


Proceedings on the Coast of New Caledonia, with Geographical and Nautical Observations.

Everything being in readiness to put to sea, at sun-rise, on the 13th of September, we weighed, and with a fine gale at E. by S., stood out for the same channel we came in by. At half past seven we were in the middle of it. Observatory Isle bore S. 5 deg. E., distant four miles, and the isle of Balabea W.N.W. As soon as we were clear of the reef, we hauled the wind to the starboard tack, with a view of plying in to the S.E.; but as Mr Gilbert was of opinion that he had seen the end, or N.W. extremity of the land, and that it would be easier to get round by the N.W., I gave over plying, and bore up along the outside of the reef, steering N.N.W., N.W., and N.W. by W., as it trended. At noon the island of Balabea bore S. by W., distant thirteen miles; and what we judged to be the west end of the great land, bore S.W. 1/2 S., and the direction of the reef was N.W. by W., latitude observed 19 deg. 53' 20". Longitude from Observatory Isle 14' W. We continued to steer N.W. by W. along the outside of the reef till three o'clock, at which time the isle of Balabea bore S. by E. 1/2 E. In this direction we observed a partition in the reef, which we judged to be a channel, by the strong tide which set out of it. From this place the reef inclined to the north for three or four leagues, and then to the N.W. We followed its direction, and as we advanced to N.W., raised more land, which seemed to be connected with what we had seen before; so that Mr Gilbert was mistaken, and did not see the extremity of the coast. At five o'clock this land bore W. by N. 1/2 N., distant twenty miles; but what we could see of the reef trended in the direction of N.W. by N.

Having hauled the wind to the starboard tack, and spent the night plying, on the 14th, at sun-rise, the island of Balabea bore S. 6 E., and the land seen the preceding night W., but the reef still trended N.W., along which we steered with a light breeze at E.S.E. At noon we observed in latitude 19 deg. 28', longitude from Observatory Isle 27' W. We had now no sight of Balabea; and the other land, that is, the N.W. part of it, bore W. by S. 1/2 S., but we were not sure if this was one continued coast, or separate islands. For though some partitions were seen, from space to space, which made it look like the latter, a multitude of shoals rendered a nearer approach to it exceedingly dangerous, if not impracticable. In the afternoon, with a fine breeze at E.S.E., we ranged the outside of these shoals, which we found to trend in the direction of N.W. by W., N.W. by N., and N.N.E. At three o'clock we passed a low sandy isle, lying on the outer edge of the reef, in latitude 19 deg. 25', and in the direction of N.E. from the north-westernmost land, six or seven leagues distant. So much as we could see of this space was strewed with shoals, seemingly detached from each other; and the channel leading in amongst them appeared to be on the S.E. side of the sandy isle; at least, there was a space where the sea did not break. At sun-set we could but just see the land, which bore S.W. by S., about ten leagues distant. A clear horizon produced the discovery of no land to the westward of this direction; the reef too trended away W. by N. 1/2 N., and seemed to terminate in a point which was seen from the mast- head. Thus every thing conspired to make us believe that we should soon get round these shoals; and with these flattering expectations we hauled the wind, which was at E.N.E., and spent the night making short boards.

Next morning at sun-rise, seeing neither land nor breakers, we bore away N.W. by W., and two hours after saw the reef extending N.W. farther than the eye could reach; no land was to be seen. It was therefore probable that we had passed its N.W. extremity; and, as we had seen from the hills of Balade its extent to the S.W., it was necessary to know how far it extended to the east or southeast, while it was in our power to recover the coast; for, by following the direction of the shoals, we might have been carried so far to leeward as not to be able to beat back without considerable loss of time. We were already far out of sight of land; and there was no knowing how much farther we might be carried, before we found an end to them. These considerations, together with the risk we must run in exploring a sea strewed with shoals, and where no anchorage, without them, is to be found, induced me to abandon the design of proceeding round by the N.W., and to ply up to the S.E, in which direction I knew there was a clear sea. With this view we tacked and stood to the S.E., with the wind at N.E. by E., a gentle breeze. At this time we were in the latitude of 19 deg. 7' S., longitude 163 deg. 57' E.

In standing to the S.E. we did but just weather the point of the reef we had passed the preceding evening. To make our situation the more dangerous the wind began to fail us; and at three in the afternoon it fell calm, and left us to the mercy of a great swell, setting directly on the reef, which was hardly a league from us. We sounded, but found no bottom with a line of two hundred fathoms. I ordered the pinnace and cutter to be hoisted out to tow the ship, but they were of little use against so great a swell. We, however, found that the ship did not draw near the reef so fast as might be expected; and at seven o'clock a light air at N.N.E. kept her head to the sea, but it lasted no longer than midnight, when it was succeeded by a dead calm.

At day-break on the 16th we had no sight of the reef; and at eleven, a breeze springing up at S.S.W., we hoisted in the boats, and made sail to S.E. At noon we observed in 19 deg. 35' S., which was considerably more to the south than we expected, and shewed that a current or tide had been in our favour all night, and accounted for our getting so unexpectedly clear of the shoals. At two o'clock p.m. we had again a calm which lasted till nine, when it was succeeded by a light air from E.N.E. and E., with which we advanced but slowly.

On the 17th at noon, we observed in latitude 19 deg. 54', when the isle of Balabea bore S. 68 deg. W., ten and a half leagues distant. We continued to ply, with variable light winds, between N.E. and S.E., without meeting with any thing remarkable till the 20th at noon, when Cape Colnett bore N. 78 deg. W., distant six leagues. From this cape the land extended round by the south to E.S.E. till it was lost in the horizon, and the country appeared with many hills and vallies. Latitude observed 20 deg. 41', longitude made from Observatory Isle 1 deg. 8' E. We stood in shore with a light breeze at east till sun-set, when we were between two and three leagues off. The coast extended from S. 42 deg. 1/2 E. to N. 59 deg. W. Two small islets lay without this last direction, distant from us four or five miles; some others lay between us and the shore, and to the east, where they seemed to be connected by reefs, in which appeared some openings from space to space. The country was mountainous, and had much the same aspect as about Balade. On one of the western small isles was an elevation like a tower; and over a low neck of land within the isle were seen many other elevations, resembling the masts of a fleet of ships.

Next day at sun-rise, after having stood off all night with a light breeze at S.E., we found ourselves about six leagues from the coast; and in this situation we were kept by a calm till ten in the evening, when we got a faint land-breeze at S.W., with which we steered S.E. all night.,

On the 22d at sun-rise the land was clouded, but it was not long before the clouds went off, and we found, by our land-marks, that we had made a good advance. At ten o'clock, the land-breeze being succeeded by a sea-breeze at E. by S., this enabled us to stand in for the land, which at noon extended from N. 78 deg. W. to S. 31 deg. 1/2 E., round by the S. In this last direction the coast seemed to trend more to the south in a lofty promontory, which, on account of the day, received the name of Cape Coronation. Latitude 22 deg. 2', longitude 167 deg. 7' 1/2 E. Some breakers lay between us and the shore, and probably they were connected with those we had seen before.

During the night, we had advanced about two leagues to the S.E.; and at day-break on the 23d an elevated point appeared in sight beyond Cape Coronation, bearing S. 23 deg. E. It proved to be the south-east extremity of the coast, and obtained the name of Queen Charlotte's Foreland. Latitude 22 deg. 16' S., longitude 167 deg. 14' E. About noon, having got a breeze from the N.E., we stood to S.S.E., and as we drew towards Cape Coronation, saw in a valley to the south of it, a vast number of those elevated objects before- mentioned; and some low land under the foreland was wholly covered with them. We could not agree in our opinions of what they were. I supposed them to be a singular sort of trees, being too numerous to resemble any thing else; and a great deal of smoke kept rising all the day from amongst those near the cape. Our philosophers were of opinion that this was the smoke of some internal and perpetual fire. My representing to them that there was no smoke here in the morning would have been of no avail, had not this eternal fire gone out before night, and no more smoke been seen after. They were still more positive that the elevations were pillars of basaltes, like those which compose the Giant's Causeway in Ireland. At sun-set, the wind veering round to the south, we tacked and stood off, it not being safe to approach the shore in the dark. At day-break we stood in again, with a faint land-breeze between E.S.E. and S.S.E. At noon observed, in latitude 21 deg. 59' 30", Cape Coronation being west southerly, distant seven leagues, and the foreland S. 38 deg. W. As we advanced S.S.W. the coast beyond the foreland began to appear in sight; and at sun-set we discovered a low island lying S.S.E, about seven miles from the foreland. It was one of those which are generally surrounded with shoals and breakers. At the same time a round hill was seen bearing S. 24 deg. E, twelve leagues distant. During night, having had variable light winds, we advanced but little either way.

On the 25th, about ten o'clock a.m., having got a fair breeze at E.S.E., we stood to the S.S.W., in hopes of getting round the foreland; but, as we drew near, we perceived more low isles, beyond the one already mentioned, which at last appeared to be connected by breakers, extending towards the foreland, and seeming to join the shore. We stood on till half past three o'clock, when we saw, from the deck, rocks, just peeping above the surface of the sea, on the shoal above-mentioned. It was now time to alter the course, as the day was too far spent to look for a passage near the shore, and we could find no bottom to anchor in during the night. We therefore stood to the south to look for a passage without the small isles. We had a fine breeze at E.S.E., but it lasted no longer than five o'clock, when it fell to a dead calm. Having sounded, a line of 170 fathoms did not reach the bottom, though we were but a little way from the shoals, which, instead of following the coast to S.W., took a S.E. direction towards the hill we had seen the preceding evening, and seemed to point out to us that it was necessary to go round that land. At this time the most advanced point on the main bore S. 68 deg. W., distant nine or ten leagues. About seven o'clock we got a light breeze at north, which enabled us to steer out E.S.E., and to spend the night with less anxiety. On some of the low isles were many of those elevations already mentioned. Every one was now satisfied they were trees, except our philosophers, who still maintained that they were basaltes.[1]

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