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 the interests of the expedition should in any manner have suffered loss by the contention.  But such things, he will say, are incident to human nature, and have frequently taken place on even more important occasions.  This is very true, but gives no comfort.—­E.
[4] Mr G.F. calls this deceptive amusement, “an innocent recreation, which shewed them good-humoured, and not destitute of ingenuity!” He agrees with Cook respecting the universal decency of these people, which forms so striking a dissimilarity to the immodest conduct of the other islanders met with in this voyage.  The following remarks specify other differences, and are worthy of being transcribed:—­“It is easy to be conceived, that the contrast between New Caledonia and the New Hebrides, was very striking to us, who had so lately visited those rich and fertile islands, where the vegetable kingdom glories in its greatest perfection.  The difference in the character of the people was no less surprising.  All the natives of the South-Sea islands, excepting those only which Tasman found on Tonga-Tabboo and Annamocka, (and those perhaps had been informed of what had passed between Le Maire, and the natives of Horne, Cocos, and Traitor’s island, some years before,) made some attempt to drive away the strangers who came to visit them.  But the people of New Caledonia, at the first sight of us, received us as friends; they ventured to come on board our ship, without the least marks of fear or distrust, and suffered us to ramble freely throughout their country as far as we pleased.  As nature has been so sparing here of her gifts, it is the more surprising that instead of seeing the inhabitants savage, distrustful, and warlike, as at Tanna, we should find them peaceable, well-disposed, and unsuspicious.  It is not less remarkable, that, in spite of the drought which prevails in their country, and the scanty supply of vegetable food, they should have attained to a greater size, and a more muscular body.  Perhaps, instead of placing the causes which effect disparity of stature among various nations in the difference of food, this instance ought to teach us to have retrospect likewise to the original races from which those tribes are descended, that fell under our examination.  Let us, for instance, suppose, that the people of New Caledonia are the offspring of a nation, who, by living in affluence and in a genial climate, have not been stinted in their growth; the colony which removed into the barren soil of New Caledonia, will probably preserve the habit of body of their ancestors for many generations.  The people of Tanna may have undergone a contrary revolution, and being descended of a slender and short race, like the Mallicollese, the richness of their present country may not yet have entirely taken effect.  The inoffensive character of the people of New Caledonia appears to great advantage in their conduct towards us.  They are the only people in the South Seas who have not had
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