A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 822 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14.
that was loaded with dirt, and out of which the hogs had been but that moment eating, without giving it the least washing, or even washing their hands, which were equally dirty; and when I expressed a dislike, was laughed at.  I know not if all are so.  The actions of a few individuals are not sufficient to fix a custom on a whole nation.  Nor can I say if it is the custom for men and women to have separate messes.  I saw nothing to the contrary:  Indeed I saw but few women upon the whole.

They seemed to have dwellings, or strong-holds, on the summits of the highest hills.  These we only saw by the help of our glasses; for I did not permit any of our people to go there, as we were not sufficiently acquainted with the disposition of the natives, which (I believe) is humane and pacific.

Their weapons are clubs and spears, resembling those of Otaheite, but somewhat neater.  They have also slings, with which they throw stones with great velocity, and to a great distance, but not with a good aim.

Their canoes are made of wood, and pieces of the bark of a soft tree, which grows near the sea in great plenty, and is very tough and proper for the purpose.  They are from sixteen to twenty feet long, and about fifteen inches broad; the head and stern are made of two solid pieces of wood; the stern rises or curves a little, but in an irregular direction, and ends in a point; the head projects out horizontally, and is carved into some faint and very rude resemblance of a human face.  They are rowed by paddles, and some have a sort of lateen sail, made of matting.

Hogs were the only quadrupeds we saw; and cocks and hens the only tame fowls.  However, the woods seemed to abound with small birds of a very beautiful plumage, and fine notes; but the fear of alarming the natives hindered us from shooting so many of them as might otherwise have been done.[1]

[1] Mr G.F. concurs generally with Captain Cook in his account of the matters spoken of in this section, and is very particular in noticing the strong and distinct resemblance of the natives of the Marquesas to those of the Society Islands.  What differences he remarked, he thinks may be specifically ascribed to the nature of the respective countries, whilst in his judgment the many points of identity imply a common origin.  The reader, it is believed, will hereafter see the most reasonable grounds, for such an inference.—­E.


A Description of several Islands discovered, or seen in the Passage from the Marquesas to Otaheite; with an Account of a Naval Review.

With a fine easterly wind I steered S.W.—­S.W. by W. and W. by S. till the 17th, at ten o’clock in the morning, when land was seen bearing W. 1/2 N., which, upon a nearer approach, we found to be a string of low islets connected together by a reef of coral rocks.  We ranged the northwest coast, at the distance of one mile from shore, to three quarters of its length, which in the whole is near four leagues, when we came to a creek or inlet that seemed to open a communication into the lake in the middle of the isle.  As I wanted to obtain some knowledge of the produce of these half-drowned isles, we brought-to, hoisted out a boat, and sent the master in to sound; there being no soundings without.

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