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.

As we ran along the coast, the natives appeared in several places armed with long spears and clubs; and some were got together on one side of the creek.  When the master returned he reported that there was no passage into the lake by the creek, which was fifty fathoms wide at the entrance, and thirty deep; farther in, thirty wide, and twelve deep; that the bottom was every where rocky, and the sides bounded by a wall of coral rocks.  We were under no necessity to put the ship into such a place as this; but as the natives had shewn some signs of a friendly disposition, by coming peaceably to the boat, and taking such things as were given them, I sent two boats well armed ashore, under the command of Lieutenant Cooper, with a view of having some intercourse with them, and to give Mr Forster an opportunity of collecting something in his way.  We saw our people land without the least opposition being made by a few natives who were on the shores.  Some little time after, observing forty or fifty more, all armed, coming to join them, we stood close in shore, in order to be ready to support our people in case of an attack.  But nothing of this kind happened; and soon after our boats returned aboard, when Mr Cooper informed me, that, on his landing, only a few of the natives met him on the beach, but there were many in the skirts of the woods with spears in their hands.  The presents he made them were received with great coolness, which plainly shewed we were unwelcome visitors.  When their reinforcement arrived he thought proper to embark, as the day was already far spent, and I had given orders to avoid an attack by all possible means.  When his men got into the boats, some were for pushing them off, others for detaining them; but at last they suffered them to depart at their leisure.  They brought aboard five dogs, which seemed to be in plenty there.  They saw no fruit but cocoa-nuts, of which, they got, by exchanges, two dozen.  One of our people got a dog for a single plantain, which led us to conjecture they had none of this fruit.[1]

This island, which is called by the inhabitants Ti-oo-kea, was discovered and visited by Commodore Byron.  It has something of an oval shape, is about ten leagues in circuit, lying in the direction of E.S.E. and W.N.W., and situated in the latitude of 14 deg. 27’ 30” S., longitude 144 deg. 56’ W. The inhabitants of this island, and perhaps of all the low ones, are of a much darker colour than those of the higher islands, and seem to be of a more ferine disposition.  This may be owing to their situation.  Nature not having bestowed her favours to these low islands with that profusion she has done to some of the others, the inhabitants are chiefly beholden to the sea for their subsistence, consequently are much exposed to the sun and weather; and by that means become more dark in colour, and more hardy and robust; for there is no doubt of their being of the same nation.  Our people observed that they were stout, well-made men, and had the figure of a fish marked on their bodies; a very good emblem of their profession.[2]

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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