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.

At two o’clock, we anchored in the bay of Good Success; and after dinner I went on shore, accompanied by Mr Banks and Dr Solander, to look for a watering-place, and speak to the Indians, several of whom had come in sight.  We landed on the starboard side of the bay near some rocks, which made smooth water and good landing; thirty or forty of the Indians soon made their appearance at the end of a sandy beach on the other side of the bay, but seeing our number, which was ten or twelve, they retreated.  Mr Banks and Dr Solander then advanced about one hundred yards before us, upon which two of the Indians returned, and, having advanced some paces towards them, sat down; as soon as they came up, the Indians rose, and each of them having a small stick in his hand threw it away, in a direction both from themselves and the strangers, which was considered as the renunciation of weapons in token of peace:  They then walked briskly towards their companions, who had halted at about fifty yards behind them, and beckoned the gentlemen to follow, which they did.  They were received with many uncouth signs of friendship; and, in return, they distributed among them some beads and ribbons, which had been brought on shore for that purpose, and with which they were greatly delighted.  A mutual confidence and good-will being thus produced, our parties joined; the conversation, such as it was, became general; and three of them accompanied us back to the ship.  When they came on board, one of them, whom we took to be a priest, performed much the same ceremonies which M. Bougainville describes, and supposes to be an exorcism.  When he was introduced into a new part of the ship, or when any thing that he had not seen before caught his attention, he shouted with all his force for some minutes, without directing his voice either to us or his companions.[81]

[Footnote 81:  The incident related by Bougainville, to which the allusion is made, is somewhat affecting.  An interesting boy, one of the savages’ children, had unwarily, and from ignorance of its dangerous nature, put some bits of glass into his mouth which the sailors gave him.  His lips and palate, &c. were cut in several places, and he soon began to spit blood, and to be violently convulsed.  This excited the most distressing alarm and suspicion among the savages.  One of them, whom Bougainville denominates a juggler, immediately had recourse to very strange and unlikely means in order to relieve the poor child.  He first laid him on his back, then kneeling down between his legs, and bending himself, he pressed the child’s belly as much as he could with his head and hands, crying out continually, but with inarticulate sounds.  From time to time he raised himself, and seeming to hold the disease in his joined hands, opened them at once into the air, blowing, as if he drove away some evil spirit.  During those rites, an old woman in tears howled with great violence in the child’s ears.  These ceremonies, however,

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