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.
and incessant noise, and in a short time many large canoes came down the lake to join them.  Our boats were still out, and the people on board them made all the signs of friendship that they could invent, upon which some of the canoes came through the inlet and drew near them.  We now began to hope that a friendly intercourse might be established; but we soon discovered that the Indians had no other design than to haul the boats on shore:  Many of them leaped off the rocks, and swam to them; and one of them got into that which belonged to the Tamar, and in the twinkling of an eye seized a seaman’s jacket, and jumping over board with it, never once appeared above water till he was close in shore among his companions.  Another of them got hold of a midshipman’s hat, but not knowing how to take it off, he pulled it downward instead of lifting it up so that the owner had time to prevent its being taken away, otherwise it would probably have disappeared as suddenly as the jacket.  Our men bore all this with much patience, and the Indians seemed to triumph in their impunity.

[Footnote 37:  “They were in much greater number than at the other island, and followed us in the same manner, several hundreds of them running along the coast in great disorder.”—­“They had many canoes, which, on our approaching the shore, they dragged into the woods, and at the same time, the women came with great stones in their hands to assist the men in preventing our landing.”—­“We had now 50 sick on board, to whom the land air, the fruit and vegetables, that appeared so beautiful and attractive, would doubtless have afforded immediate relief.”  It seems very probable, from the conduct of these islanders, and of the others mentioned in the next section, that some former visitants had used them so ill, as to unite them in determined opposition to the entrance of all strangers.  Would it be unfair to imagine, from a circumstance afterwards narrated, that these visitants were Dutch?  All the seafaring nations of Europe, alas! are too deeply implicated in the animosities and miseries of the South Sea inhabitants.—­E.]

About noon, finding there was no anchorage here, I bore away and steered along the shore to the westermost point of the island:  The boats immediately followed us, and kept sounding close to the beach, but could get no ground.

When we came to the westermost point of this island, we saw another, bearing S.W. by W. about four leagues distant.  We were at this time about a league beyond the inlet where we had left the natives, but they were not satisfied with having got rid of us quietly; for I now perceived two large double canoes sailing after the ship, with about thirty men in each, all armed after the manner of their country.  The boats were a good way to leeward of us, and the canoes passing between the ship and the shore, seemed very eagerly to give them chace.  Upon this I made the signal for the boats to speak with the canoes,

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