The Sick sent on Shore, and a regular Trade established with the Natives; some Account of their Character and Manners, of their Visits on board the Ship, and a Variety of Incidents that happened during this Intercourse.
Matters being thus happily settled, I sent the surgeon, with the second lieutenant, to examine the country, and fix upon some place where the sick might take up their residence on shore. When they returned, they said, that with respect to health and convenience, all the places they had seen upon the island seemed to be equally proper; but that with respect to safety, they could recommend none but the watering-place, as they would be there under the protection of the ship and the guard, and would easily be prevented from straggling into the country, and brought off to their meals. To the watering-place therefore I sent them, with those that were employed in filling the casks, and appointed the gunner to command the party that was to be their guard. A tent was erected for them as a shelter both from the sun and the rain, and the surgeon was sent to superintend their conduct, and give his advice if it should be wanted. It happened that walking out with his gun, after he had seen the sick properly disposed of in the tent, a wild duck flew over his head, which he shot, and it fell dead among some of the natives who were on the other side of the river. This threw them into a panic, and they all ran away; when they got to some distance they stopped, and he made signs to them to bring the duck over: This one of them at last ventured to do, and, pale and trembling, laid it down at his feet. Several other ducks happening at the instant to fly over the spot where they were standing, he fired again, and fortunately brought down three more. This incident gave the natives such a dread of a gun, that if a musket was pointed at a thousand of them, they would all run away like a flock of sheep; and probably the ease with which they were afterwards kept at a distance, and their orderly behaviour in their traffic, was in a great measure owing to their having upon this occasion seen the instrument, of which before they had only felt the effects.