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.
attempting a passage to the westward by this gulph, and the current gave me hopes that I should succeed.  When I had got, therefore, about five miles to the south-west of Cocoa-nut Island, I steered to the N.W. and the N.N.W. as the land trends, and had soon good reason to believe that what has been called St George’s Bay, and thought to be formed by two points of the same island, was indeed a channel between two islands, and so the event proved it to be.

Before it was dark, we found this channel divided by a pretty large island which I called the Duke of York’s Island, and some smaller islands that were scattered about it.  On the southermost side of the main, or the largest of the two islands that are divided by the channel or strait, which I left in possession of its ancient name, New Britain, there is some high land, and three remarkable hills close to each other, which I called the Mother and Daughters.  The Mother is the middlemost and largest, and behind them we saw a vast column of smoke, so that probably one of them is a volcano:  They are easily seen in clear weather at the distance of twenty leagues, and will then, by those who do not know them, be taken for islands; they seem to lie far inland, and the Mother bears about west from the Duke of York’s Island.  To the east of these hills there is a point making like a cape land, which I called Cape Palliser; and another to the westward, which I called Cape Stephens.  Cape Stephens is the northernmost part of New Britain.  North of this Cape is an island, which I called the Isle of Man.  Cape Palliser and Cape Stephens bear about N.W. and S.E. of each other; and between them is a bay, the land of which near the water-side is low, pleasant, and level, and gradually rises, as it retires towards the Mother and Daughters, into very lofty hills, in general covered with vast woods, but having many clear spots like plantations intermixed.  Upon this part of the country we saw many fires in the night, and have therefore reason to suppose that it is well inhabited.  The Duke of York’s Island lies between the two points, Cape Palliser and Cape Stephens.  As it was not safe to attempt either of the passages into which the strait was divided by this island in the dark, we brought to for the night, and kept sounding, but had no ground with one hundred and forty fathom.  The strait here, including the two passages, is about fifteen leagues broad.  The land of the Duke of York’s Island is level, and has a delightful appearance:  Inland it is covered with lofty woods, and near the water-side are the houses of the natives, which stand not far from each other, among groves of cocoa-nut trees, so that the whole forms a prospect the most beautiful and romantic that can be imagined.  We saw many of their canoes, which are very neatly made, and in the morning, soon after I made sail, some of them came off towards the ship; but as we had a fresh gale at that time, we could not stay for them.  The

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