The danger was by no means over as soon as discovered, as it cost the Dutch no less than five days to extricate themselves from their perilous situation, during which time the commodore was separated from the Tienhoven, and remained ignorant of the fate of the African. At length, the boat of the Tienhoven, having sailed all round the group of islands, brought information that the crew of the African had got safe on shore; and that the natives, after being once fired on, had retired into the interior in all haste. Roggewein now sent his boat to bring off all those who had got on shore; and on mustering the crew of the African on board the Eagle, it appeared that a quarter-master and four seamen were missing. On enquiry, it was found that these men had chosen to remain on the island, as they had mutinied against their officers on getting ashore, because they had interposed to prevent them from killing each other with their knives, and Captain Rosenthall had threatened to have them all put to death when he got them aboard the commodore, wherefore they had fled to avoid punishment. Being unwilling to lose them, the commodore sent the author of this narrative with a detachment of soldiers to bring them away, but he was unable to succeed.
These islands are situated between the latitudes of 15 deg. and 16 deg. S. about twelve leagues west from Carlshoff, each of them appearing to be four or five leagues in compass. That on which the African was shipwrecked was named Mischievous Island, the two next it the Brothers, and the fourth the Sister All four islands were beautifully verdant, and abounded in fine tall trees, especially cocoas; and the crews found material benefit while here by refreshing themselves on the vegetable productions of these islands, by which many of them were surprisingly recovered from the scurvy. The Dutch found here vast quantities of muscles, cockles, mother-of-pearls, and pearl-oysters, which gave reason to expect that a valuable pearl fishery might have been established here. These islands are extremely low, so that some parts of them must be frequently overflowed; but the inhabitants have plenty of stout canoes, as also stout barks provided with sails and cables; and the Dutch found several pieces of rope on the shore, that seemed made of hemp. The natives were of extraordinary size, all their bodies being painted [or tatooed] with many colours, and had mostly long black hair, though some had brown hair even inclined towards red. They were armed with pikes or lances eighteen or twenty feet long, and kept in bodies of fifty or an hundred together, endeavouring to entice the Dutch to follow them into the interior, as if to draw them into an ambuscade, on purpose to be revenged for the loss they had sustained by the firing on the night of the shipwreck.
[Footnote 10: Pernicious islands, almost certainly the Mischievous islands of the text, are placed in lat. 16 deg. 5’ S. and long. 148 deg. 50’ W. about 20 leagues W. by S. from Carlshoff by Arrowsmith.—E.]