A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 783 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.

[Footnote 1:  Aurora and Vesper are called in modern geography Roggewein’s or Palliser’s Islands, in lat. 15 deg. 32’ S, about 10 leagues N. by W. of Pernicious Islands.—­E.]

[Footnote 2:  Perhaps Prince of Wales’ islands are here alluded to, in lat. 15 deg. 50’ S. and long. 148 deg. 5’ W. about 40 marine leagues W.N.W. from Pernicious islands.—­E.]

As it was very dangerous to anchor on the coast, and as none of the inhabitants came off in their canoes, the Dutch did not think fit to make any stay, but continued still a western course, and in a few days discovered another island, which at a distance appeared very high and beautiful; but, on a nearer approach they found no ground for anchorage, and the coast appeared so rocky that they were afraid to venture near.  Each ship therefore embarked twenty-five men in their boats, in order to make a descent.  The natives no sooner perceived their design than they came down in crowds to the coast to oppose their landing, being armed with long spears, which they soon shewed they knew how to use to the best advantage.  When the boats drew near, the shore was found to be so steep and rocky, that the boats could not come to land, on which most of the sailors went into the water with their arms in their hands, having some baubles fit for presents to the natives tied upon their heads; while those who remained in the boats kept up a continual fire to clear the shore.  This expedient succeeded, and the seamen got ashore without much resistance from the natives; who were frightened by the fire of the musquetry, and retired up the mountains, but came down again as soon as the Dutch ceased firing.

On the return of the islanders, the Dutch who had landed shewed them small mirrors, beads, and other baubles, and the people came up to them without fear, took their presents, and suffered them to search where they pleased for herbs and sallading for the sick.  They found abundance of these, and soon filled twelve sacks, six for the Eagle and six for the Tienhoven, the inhabitants even assisting them and shewing them the best sorts.  They carried their cargo of greens immediately on board, which were more acceptable to the sick than if they had brought them as much gold and silver.  Next morning a larger body of men were ordered on shore, both on purpose to gather herbs and to examine the island.  The first thing they did was to make a present to the king or chief of a considerable assortment of trinkets, which he received with an air of indifference and disdain, which did not promise much good in their future intercourse, yet sent the Dutch a considerable quantity of cocoa nuts in return, which were very agreeable to them in their present circumstances.  The chief was distinguished from the ordinary inhabitants by wearing various ornaments of pearls, as they judged to the value of 600 florins, or L. 55 sterling.  The women of the island seemed to admire the white men much, and almost stifled them with caresses:  But this was all employed to lull the Dutch into security, that the plot contrived by the men for their destruction might the more readily succeed.

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