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.

After mooring the ship, by four anchors, with her broadside to the landing-place, hardly musquet-shot off, and placing our artillery in such a manner as to command the whole harbour, I embarked with the marines, and a party of seamen, in three boats, and rowed in for the shore.  It hath been already mentioned, that the two divisions of the natives were drawn up on each side the landing-place.  They had left a space between them of about thirty or forty yards, in which were laid, to the most advantage, a few small bunches of plantains, a yam, and two or three roots.  Between these and the water were stuck upright in the sand, for what purpose I never could learn, four small reeds, about two feet from each other, in a line at right angles to the shore, where they remained for two or three days after.  The old man before-mentioned, and two more, stood by these things, inviting us, by signs, to land; but I had not forgot the trap I was so near being caught in at the last island; and this looked something like it.  We answered, by making signs for the two divisions to retire farther back, and give us more room.  The old man seemed to desire them so to do, but no more regard was paid to him than to us.  More were continually joining them, and, except two or three old men, not one unarmed.  In short, every thing conspired to make us believe they meant to attack us as soon as we should be on shore; the consequence of which was easily supposed; many of them must have been killed and wounded, and we should hardly have escaped unhurt; two things I equally wished to prevent.  Since, therefore, they would not give us the room required, I thought it was better to frighten them into it, than to oblige them by the deadly effect of our fire-arms.  I accordingly ordered a musquet to be fired over the party on our right, which was by far the strongest body; but the alarm it gave them was momentary.  In an instant they recovered themselves and began to display their weapons.  One fellow shewed us his backside, in a manner which plainly conveyed his meaning.

After this I ordered three or four more musquets to be fired.  This was the signal for the ship to fire a few great guns, which presently dispersed them; and then we landed, and marked out the limits, on the right and left, by a line.  Our old friend stood his ground, though deserted by his two companions, and I rewarded his confidence with a present.  The natives came gradually to us, seemingly in a more friendly manner; some even without their weapons, but by far the greatest part brought them; and when we made signs to lay them down, they gave us to understand that we must lay down ours first.  Thus all parties stood armed.  The presents I made to the old people, and to such as seemed to be of consequence, had little effect on their conduct.  They indeed climbed the cocoa-nut trees, and threw us down the nuts, without requiring any thing for them; but I took care that they should always have somewhat in return.  I

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