Description of New Britain, and farther Continuation of the Voyage till the Arrival of Roggewein at Java.
The country of New Britain, and all the islands in its neighbourhood, is composed of very high land, many of the mountains hiding their heads in the clouds. The sea coasts are however both pleasant and fertile, the low lands being cloathed in perpetual verdure, and the hills covered with a variety of trees, mostly bearing fruit. It is in lat. between 4 deg.and 7 deg. S. and both in regard to situation and appearance, no country can promise better than this. After some consultation, it was resolved to go on shore here at all events, though now so much reduced by the long-continued sickness, that they could hardly muster a sufficient number of men from both ships to man a boat, and leave men enough, in case they were cut off, to navigate one ship home, supposing them even to sacrifice one of the ships. Yet such was the ardent desire of all to get on shore, and so urgent was the necessity for that measure, that it appeared indispensable to venture on landing, let the consequences be what they might. Accordingly, our author was ordered into the boat, with as many men as could be spared, with orders to get on shore at any rate, by fair means if possible, and with the consent of the inhabitants, for whom he carried a great number of baubles to distribute among them as presents. If, however, these had no effect, he was then to use force, as the circumstances to which they were reduced made it as eligible to die by the hands of barbarians as to perish gradually by disease and famine.
[Footnote 1: No account is given of this voyage from Bowman’s islands, perhaps the Fee-jees, as already mentioned, to New Britain, neither indeed is it any way expressed on what part of New Britain they had now arrived. They probably steered a course N.W. or N.W. by W. from the Fee-jees, and fell in with the N.E. part of New Britain, now known to be a separate island, and called New Ireland; and by the lower latitude mentioned, in the text, they appear to come first to the eastern part of New Ireland; but it is impossible to say whether they went to the N. or S. of Solomon’s island.—E.]