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.
or more filaments or threads.  The tree sometimes grows to a moderate height, and is generally bare on the lower part, with a number of small branches growing close together towards the top.  The leaves are small and pointed, like those of the myrtle; it bears a dry roundish seed-case, and grows commonly in dry places near the shores.  The leaves, as I have already observed, were used by many of us as tea, which has a very agreeable bitter and flavour when they are recent, but loses some of both when they are dried.  When the infusion was made strong, it proved emetic to some in the same manner as green tea.

The inhabitants of this bay are of the same race of people with those in the other parts of this country, speak the same language, and observe nearly the same customs.  These indeed seem to have a custom of making presents before they receive any, in which they come nearer to the Otaheiteans than the rest of their countrymen.  What could induce three or four families (for I believe there are not more) to separate themselves so far from the society of the rest of their fellow-creatures, is not easy to guess.  By our meeting with inhabitants in this place, it seems probable that there are people scattered over all this southern island.  But the many vestiges of them in different parts of this bay, compared with the number that we actually saw, indicates that they live a wandering life; and, if one may judge from appearances and circumstances, few as they are, they live not in perfect amity, one family with another.  For, if they did, why do they not form themselves into some society? a thing not only natural to man, but observed even by the brute creation.

I shall conclude this account of Dusky Bay with some observations made and communicated to me by Mr Wales.  He found by a great variety of observations, that the latitude of his observatory at Pickersgill Harbour, was 45 deg. 47’ 26” half south; and, by the mean of several distances of the moon from the sun, that its longitude was 106 deg. 18’ E., which is about half a degree less than it is laid down in my chart constructed in my former voyage.  He found the variation of the needle or compass, by the mean of three different needles, to be 13 deg. 49’ E, and the dip of the south end 70 deg. 5’ three quarters.  The times of high water, on the full and change days, he found to be at 10 deg. 57’, and the tide to rise and fall, at the former eight feet, at the latter five feet eight inches.  This difference, in the rise of the tides between the new and full moon, is a little extraordinary, and was probably occasioned at this time by some accidental cause, such as winds, &c., but, be it as it will, I am well assured there was no error in the observations.

Supposing the longitude of the observatory to be as above, the error of Mr Kendal’s watch, in longitude, will be 1 deg. 48’ minus, and that of Mr Arnold’s 39 deg. 25’.  The former was found to be gaining 6",461 a-day on mean time, and the latter losing 99",361.  Agreeably to these rates the longitude by them was to be determined, until an opportunity of trying them again.

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