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.
every thing else, though none of it was manufactured except nails; for, as I observed before, we had no cutlery ware on board.  The canoes were very long and very narrow, with an outrigger, and some of them were very neatly made:  One of them could not be less than ninety feet long, for it was very little shorter than the ship; it was, notwithstanding, formed of a single tree; it had some carved ornaments about it, and was rowed or paddled by three-and-thirty men:  We saw no appearance of sails.  The people are black, and woolly-headed, like Negroes, but have not the flat nose and thick lips; and we thought them much the same people as the inhabitants of Egmont’s Island:  Like them, they were all stark naked, except a few ornaments made of shells upon their arms and legs.  They had, however, adopted a practice without which none of our belles and beaux are supposed to be completely drest, for the hair, or rather the wool, upon their heads, was very abundantly powdered with white powder; the fashion of wearing powder, therefore, is probably of higher antiquity than it is generally supposed to be, as well as of more extensive influence; it is indeed carried farther among these people than among any of the inhabitants of Europe, for they powder not only their heads but their beards too.  Their heads however were decorated with more showy ornaments, for I observed that most of them had, just above one ear, stuck a feather, which appeared to have been taken from the tail of the common dunghill cock; so that these gentlemen are not without poultry for their table.  They were armed with spears, and long sticks or poles, like the quarter-staff; but we did not see any bows and arrows among them:  Possibly they might have them on board, and think proper to keep them out of sight.  On my part, I kept every body at their quarters while they were hovering about the ship, and I observed that they had a very watchful eye upon our guns, as if they apprehended danger from them; so that possibly they are not wholly unacquainted with the effect of firearms.  They had fishing nets with them, which, as well as their cordage, seemed to be very well made.  After they had been some time with us, a breeze sprung up, and they returned to the shore.

The peak upon Sandwich Island lies in latitude 2 deg. 53’ S., longitude 149 deg. 17’ E. After the Indians had left us, we steered nearly west, and soon after saw a point of land, which proved to be the south-west extremity of New Ireland, to which I gave the name of Cape Byron:  It lies in latitude 2 deg. 30’ S., longitude 149 deg. 2’ E. Over-against the coast of New Ireland, to the westward of Cape Byron, lies a fine, large island, to which I gave the name of New Hanover.  Between this island and New Ireland, there is a strait or passage, which turns away to the N.E.  In this passage lie several small islands, upon one of which there is a remarkable peak:  This island I called Byron’s Island, and the passage, or strait,

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