A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 760 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12.
east and west of each other, and were distant about two miles.  That to the eastward is much the smallest, and this we called Simpson’s Island; to the other, which is lofty, and has a stately appearance, we gave the name of Carteret’s Island.  The east end of it bears about south from Gower’s island, and the distance between them is about ten or eleven leagues.  Carteret’s Island lies in about the latitude of 8 deg. 26’ S. longitude 159 deg. 14’ E. and its length from east to west is about six leagues.  We found the variation here 8 deg. 30’ E. Both these islands were right to windward of us, and we bore down to Gower’s Island.  It is about two leagues and a half long on the western side, which makes in bays:  The whole is well wooded, and many of the trees are cocoa-nut.  We found here a considerable number of the Indians, with two boats or canoes, which we supposed to belong to Carteret’s Island, and to have brought the people hither only to fish.  We sent the boat on shore, which the natives endeavoured to cut off; and hostilities being thus commenced, we seized their canoe, in which we found about an hundred cocoa-nuts, which were very acceptable.  We saw some turtle near the beach, but were not fortunate enough to take any of them.  The canoe, or boat, was large enough to carry eight or ten men, and was very neatly built, with planks well jointed; it was adorned with shell-work, and figures rudely painted, and the seams were covered with a substance somewhat like our black putty, but it appeared to me to be of a better consistence.  The people were armed with bows, arrows, and spears; the spears and arrows were pointed with flint.  By some signs which they made, pointing to our muskets, we imagined they were not wholly unacquainted with fire-arms.  They are much the same kind of people as we had seen at Egmont island, and, like them, were quite naked; but their canoes were of a very different structure, and a much larger size, though we did not discover that any of them had sails.  The cocoa-nuts which we got here, and at Egmont island, were of infinite advantage to the sick.

From the time of our leaving Egmont island, we had observed a current setting strongly to the southward, and in the neighbourhood of these islands we found its force greatly increased:  This determined me, when I sailed from Gower’s island, to steer N.W. fearing we might otherwise fall in with the main land too far to the southward; for if we had got into any gulph or deep bay, our crew was so sickly, and our ship so bad, that it would have been impossible for us to have got out again.

About eight o’clock in the morning of the 22d, as we were continuing our course with a fine fresh gale, Patrick Dwyer, one of the marines, who was doing something over the ship’s quarter, by some accident missed his hold and fell into the sea; we instantly threw overboard the canoe which we had seized at Gower’s island, brought the ship to, and hoisted out the cutter with all possible expedition; but the poor fellow, though remarkably strong and healthy, sunk at once, and we saw him no more.  We took the canoe on board again; but she had received so much damage by striking against one of the guns, as the people were hoisting her overboard, that we were obliged to cut her up.

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