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.
five or six woody islets, connected together by sand-banks and breakers inclosing a lake, into which we could see no entrance.  We ranged the west and N.W. coasts, from its southern to its northern-extremity, which is about two leagues, and so near the shore, that at one time we could see the rocks under us; yet we found no anchorage, nor saw we any signs of inhabitants.  There were plenty of various kinds of birds, and the coast seemed to abound with fish.  The situation of this isle is not very distant from that assigned by Mr Dalrymple for La Sagitaria, discovered by Quiros; but, by the description the discoverer has given of it, it cannot be the same.  For this reason, I looked upon it as a new discovery, and named it Palmerston Island, in honour of Lord Palmerston, one of the lords of the Admiralty.  It is situated in latitude 18 deg. 4’ S. longitude 163 deg. 10’ W.

At four o’clock in the afternoon, we left this isle, and resumed our course to the W. by S. with a fine steady gale easterly, till noon on the 20th, at which time, being in latitude 18 deg. 50’, longitude 168 deg. 52, we thought we saw land to S.S.W. and hauled up for it accordingly.  But two hours after, we discovered our mistake, and resumed our course W. by S. Soon after, we saw land from the mast-head in the same direction; and, as we drew nearer, found it to be an island, which, at five o’clock, bore west, distant five leagues.  Here we spent the night plying under the topsails; and at day-break next morning, bore away, steering to the northern point, and ranging the west coast at the distance of one mile, till near noon.  Then perceiving some people on the shore, and landing seeming to be easy, we brought-to, and hoisted out two boats, with which I put off to the land, accompanied by some of the officers and gentlemen.  As we drew near the shore, some of the inhabitants, who were on the rocks, retired to the woods, to meet us, as we supposed; and we afterwards found our conjectures right.  We landed with ease in a small creek, and took post on a high rock to prevent a surprise.  Here we displayed our colours, and Mr Forster and his party began to collect plants, &c.  The coast was so over-run with woods, bushes, plants, stones, &c. that we could not see forty yards round us.  I took two men, and with them entered a kind of chasm, which opened a way into the woods.  We had not gone far before we heard the natives approaching; upon which I called to Mr Forster to retire to the party, as I did likewise.  We had no sooner joined than the islanders appeared at the entrance of a chasm not a stone’s throw from us.  We began to speak, and make all the friendly signs we could think of, to them, which they answered by menaces; and one of two men, who were advanced before the rest, threw a stone, which struck Mr Sparrman on the arm.  Upon this two muskets were fired, without order, which made them all retire under cover of the woods; and we saw them no more.

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