Our people having frequently visited this river for coals, and always treating with kindness and civility the natives whom they met, this behaviour was not to be accounted for, except by its being allowed that all savages are under the dominion of a sudden impulse; which renders it impossible to know when to trust them.
As the men belonging to the boat were not heard of for a considerable time, it was feared they had been murdered by the natives; but they fortunately reached the settlement safe.
On the morning of the 24th, the Nautilus returned from Norfolk Island, and with her came in a Spanish ship, a prize to two whalers, which they had captured off Cape Blanco on the coast of Peru. She was bound from Lima to Guiaquill.
A court of vice-admiralty having been assembled, she was condemned as a legal prize, and part of her cargo* was in a few days sold by public auction.
[* This consisted of sugar, flour, and an ardent spirit similar to the aqua ardente of the Brazils. The governor would not allow this article to be sold by auction.]
This was a new circumstance in the annals of the settlement, and wore the appearance of rendering it of more consequence than it had hitherto been. Did it not go to prove, that at some future period, in the event of a Dutch or Spanish war, it might become a place of much importance, by offering a reception to the prizes of our cruisers, a court whereat they could be condemned, and a market for their cargoes?
Two days afterwards the Norfolk returned from Norfolk Island, where the maize harvest had entirely failed, owing to the long drought which had prevailed there.