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.
Our men on the contrary made all the signs of amity and good-will that they could devise, and at the same time threw them bread and many other things, none of which they vouchsafed so much as to touch, but with great expedition hauled five or six large canoes, which we saw lying upon the beach, up into the wood.  When this was done, they waded into the water, and seemed to watch for an opportunity of laying hold of the boat, that they might drag her on shore:  The people on board her, apprehending that this was their design, and that if they got them on shore they would certainly put them to death, were very impatient to be before-hand with them, and would fain have fired upon them; but the officer on board, having no permission from me to commit any hostilities, restrained them.  I should indeed have thought myself at liberty to have obtained by force the refreshments, for want of which our people were dying, if it had been possible to have come to an anchor, supposing we could not have made these poor savages our friends; but nothing could justify the taking away their lives for a mere imaginary or intentional injury, without procuring the least advantage to ourselves.  They were of a deep copper colour, exceedingly stout and well-limbed, and remarkably nimble and active, for I never saw men run so fast in my life.  This island lies in latitude 14 deg. 5’S., longitude 145 deg.4’W. from the meridian of London.  As the boats reported a second time that there was no anchoring ground about this island, I determined to work up to the other, which was accordingly done all the rest of the day and the following night.

[Footnote 36:  “Other objections stood also in our way:  for the Indians had surrounded the shore with staves and javelins 16 feet long, with a piece of bone at the end in the form of a harpoon, in their hands, hallooing and shouting in the most hideous manner, at the same time making signs with their hands for us to be gone; always taking care, as the boat sailed along the shore, to move in the same direction and accompany it; and though the men saw some turtle at a distance, they could get at none, as those Indians still kept opposite to them.”—­“They altogether amounted to about 50 in number, including women and children; and to the south-west we could perceive their huts, under the shade of the most lovely grove we ever saw.”]

At six o’clock in the morning of the 8th, we brought-to on the west side of it, at the distance of about three quarters of a mile from the shore, but we had no soundings with one hundred and forty fathom of line.  We now perceived several other low islands, or rather peninsulas, most of them being joined one to the other by a neck of land, very narrow, and almost level with the surface of the water, which breaks high over it.  In approaching these islands the cocoa-nut trees are first discovered, as they are higher than any part of the surface.  I sent a boat with an officer from each ship to sound the

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