An Account of the Voyages undertaken by the order of His Present Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour: Drawn from the Journals which were kept by the several Commanders, and from the Papers of Joseph Banks, Esq. [Vol. II]
Transactions in Queen Charlotte's Sound. Passage through the Streight which divides the two islands, end back to Cape Turnagain. Horrid Custom of the Inhabitants. Remarkable Melody of Birds. A Visit to a Hippah, and many other Particulars.
The shore at this place seemed to form several bays, into one of which I proposed to carry the ship, which was very foul, in order to careen her, and at the same time repair some defects, and recruit our wood and water.
With this view, I kept plying on and off all night, having from eighty to sixty-three sathoms. At daybreak, the next morning, I stood for an inlet which runs in S. W. and at eight I got within the entrance, which may be known by a reef of rocks, stretching from the north-west point, and some rocky islands which lie off the south-east point. At nine o'clock, there being little wind, and what there was being variable, we were carried by the tide or current within two cables length of the north-west shore, where we had fifty-four fathoms water, but by the help of our boats we got clear. Just at this time we saw a sea-lion rise twice near the shore, the head of which exactly resembled that of the male, which has been described in the Account of Lord Anson's Voyage. We also saw some of the natives in a canoe cross the bay, and a page 201 village situated upon the point of an island which lies seven or eight miles within the entrance. At noon, we were the length of this island, but there being little wind, the boats were ordered a-head to row. About one o'clock, we hauled close round the south-west end of the island; and the inhabitants of the village which was built upon it, were immediately up in arms. About two, we anchored in a very safe and convenient cove, on the north-west side of the bay, and facing the south-west end of the island, in eleven fathoms water, with soft ground, and moored with the stream anchor.
We were about four long cannon shot distant from the village or Hippah, from which four canoes were immediately dispatched, as we imagined, to reconnoitre, and if they should find themselves able, to take us. The men were all well armed, and dressed nearly as they are represented in the figure published by Tasman; two corners of the cloth which they wrapped round the body were passed over the shoulders from behind, and being brought down to the upper edge of it before, were made fast to it just under the breast; but few, or none, had feathers in their hair. They rowed round the ship several times, with their usual tokens of menace and defiance, and at last began the assault by throwing some stones. Tupia expostulated with them, but apparently to very little purpose; and we began to fear that they would oblige us to fire at them, when a very old man in one of the boats expressed a desire of coming on board. We gladly encouraged him in his design, a rope was thrown into his canoe, and she was immediately along-side of the ship: the old man rose up, and prepared to come up the ship's side, upon which all the rest expostulated with great vehemence against the attempt, and at last laid hold of him, and held him back: he adhered however to his purpose, with a calm but steady perseverance, and having at length disengaged himself, he came on board. We received him with all possible expressions of friendship and kindness, and after some time dismissed him, with many presents to his companions. As soon as he was returned on board his canoe, the people in all the rest began to dance, but page 202 whether as a token of enmity or friendship, we could not certainly determine, for we had seen them dance in a disposition both for peace and war. In a short time, however, they retired to their sort, and soon after I went on shore, with most of the gentlemen, at the bottom of the cove, a-breast of the ship.
We found a fine stream of excellent water, and wood in the greatest plenty, for the land here was one forest, of vast extent. As we brought the seine with us, we hauled it once or twice, and with such success that we caught near three hundred weight of fish of different sorts, which was equally distributed among the ship's company.
At day-break, while we were busy in careening the ship, three canoes came off to us, having on board above an hundred men, besides several of their women, which we were pleased to see, as in general it is a sign of peace; but they soon afterwards became very troublesome, and gave us reason to apprehend some mischief from them to the people that were in our boats along-side the ship. While we were in this situation the long-boat was sent ashore with some water casks, and some of the canoes attempting to follow her, we found it necessary to intimidate them by firing some small shot; we were at such a distance that it was impossible to hurt them, yet our reproof had its effect, and they desisted from the pursuit. They had some fish in their canoes which they now offered to fell, and which, though it stunk, we consented to buy: for this purpose a man in a small boat was sent among them, and they traded for some time very fairly. At length however, one of them watching his opportunity, snatched at some paper which our marketman held in his hand, and missing it, immediately put himself in a posture of defence, flourishing his patoo-patoo, and making show as if he was about to strike; some small shot were then fired at him from the ship, a few of which struck him upon the knee: this put an end to our trade, but the Indians still continued near the ship, rowing round her many times, and conversing with Tupia, chiefly concerning the traditions they had among them with respect to the antiquities of their country. To this subject they were led by the page 203 inquiries which Tupia had been directed to make, whether they had ever seen such a vessel as ours, or had heard that any such had been upon their coast? These inquiries were all answered in the negative, so that tradition has preserved among them no memorial of Tasman; though, by an observation made this day, we find that we are only fifteen miles south of Murderer's bay, our latitude being 41° 5′ 32″', and Murderer's bay, according to his account, being 40° 50″.
The women in these canoes, and some of the men, had a head dress which we had not seen before. It consisted of a bunch of black feathers, made up in a round form, and tied upon the top of the head, which is entirely covered, and made it twice as high, to appearance, as it was in reality.
After dinner I went in the pinnace with Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, Tupia, and some others, into another cove, about two miles distant from that in which the ship lay: in our way we saw something floating upon the water, which we took for a dead seal, but upon rowing up to it, found it to be the body of a woman, which to all appearance had been dead some days. We proceeded to our cove, where we went on shore, and found a small family of Indians, who appeared to be greatly terrified at our approach, and all ran away except one. A conversation between this person and Tupia soon brought back the rest, except an old man and a child, who still kept aloof, but stood peeping at us from the woods. Of these people, our curiosity naturally led us to enquire after the body of the woman which we had seen floating upon the water: and they acquainted us, by Tupia, that she was a relation, who had died a natural death; and that, according to their custom, they had tied a stone to the body, and thrown it into the sea, which stone, they supposed, had by some accident been disengaged.
This family, when we came on shore, was employed in dressing some provisions: the body of a dog was at this time buried in their oven, and many provision baskets stood near it. Having cast our eyes carelessly into one of these, as we passed it, we saw two bones pretty nearly picked, which did not seem to be page 204 the bones of a dog, and which, upon a nearer examination, we discovered to be those of a human body. At this sight we were struck with horror, though it was only a confirmation of what we had heard many times since we arrived upon this coast. As we could have no doubt but the bones were human, neither could we have any doubt but that the flesh which covered them had been eaten. They were found in a provision-basket; the flesh that remained appeared manifestly to have been dressed by fire, and in the gristles at the end, were the marks of the teeth which had gnawed them: to put an end however to conjecture, founded upon circumstances and appearances, we directed Tupia to ask what bones they were; and the Indians, without the least hesitation, answered, the bones of a man. They were then asked what was become of the flesh? and they replied that they had eaten it. But, said Tupia, why did you not eat the body of the woman which we saw floating upon the water? The woman, said they, died of disease; besides, she was our relation, and we eat only the bodies of our enemies, who are killed in battle. Upon enquiry who the man was whose bones we had found, they told us, that about five days before, a boat belonging to their enemies came into the bay, with many persons on board, and that this man was one of seven whom they had killed. Tho' stronger evidence of this horrid practice prevailing among the inhabitants of this coast will scarcely be required, we have still stronger to give. One of us asked if they had any human bones with the flesh remaining upon them, and upon their answering us that all had been eaten, we affected to disbelieve that the bones were human, and said that they were the bones of a dog; upon which one of the Indians with some eagerness took hold of his own fore-arm, and thrusting it towards us, said, that the bone which Mr. Banks held in his hand had belonged to that part of the human body; at the same time, to convince us that the flesh had been eaten, he took hold of his own arm with his teeth, and made shew of eating: he also bit and gnawed the bone which Mr. Banks had taken, drawing it through his mouth, and shewing, by signs, that it had afforded a delicious repast: the bone was then returned to Mr. Banks, and he brought page 205 it away with him. Among the persons of this family, there was a woman who had her arms, legs, and thighs frightfully cut in several places; and we were told that she had inflicted the wounds upon herself, in token of her grief for the loss of her husband, who had been lately killed and eaten by their enemies, who had come from some place to the eastward, towards which the Indians pointed.
The ship lay at the distance of somewhat less than a quarter of a mile from the shore, and in the morning we were awakened by the singing of the birds: the number was incredible, and they seemed to strain their throats in emulation of each other. This wild melody was infinitely superior to any that we had ever heard of the same kind; it seemed to be like small bells, most exquisitely tuned, and perhaps the distance, and the water between, might be no small advantage to the sound. Upon inquiry, we were informed that the birds here always began to sing about two hours after midnight, and continuing their music till sun-rise, were, like our nightingales, silent the rest of the day. In the forenoon, a small canoe came off from the Indian village to the ship, and among those that were in it, was the old man who had first come on board at our arrival in the bay. As soon as it came along-side, Tupia renewed the conversation that had passed the day before, concerning their practice of eating human flesh, during which they repeated what they had told us already: but, said Tupia, where are the heads? do you eat them too? Of these heads, said the old man, we eat only the brains, and the next time I come I will bring some of them to convince you that what we have told you is truth. After some farther conversation between these people and Tupia, they told him that they expected their enemies to come very shortly, to revenge the death of the seven men whom they had killed and eaten.
On the 18th, the Indians were more quiet than usual, no canoe came near the ship, nor did we see one of them moving on the shore, their fishing, and other usual occupations being totally suspended. We thought they expected an attack on this day, and therefore attended more diligently to what passed on shore; but we saw nothing to gratify our curiosity.page 206
After breakfast we went out in the pinnce, to take a view of the bay, which was of vast extent, and consisted of numberless small harbours and coves in every direction. We confined our excursion, however, to the western side, and the country being an impenetrable forest where we landed, we could see nothing worthy of notice: we killed, however, a good number of shaggs, which we saw sitting upon their nests in the trees, which, whether roasted or stewed, we considered as very good provision. As we were returning, we saw a single man in a canoe fishing; we rowed up to him, and, to our great surprize, he took not the least notice of us, but, even when we were along-side of him, continued to follow his occupation, without adverting to us any more than if we had been invisible. He did not, however, appear to be either sullen or stupid. We requested him to draw up his net, that we might examine it, and he readily complied. It was of a circular form, extended by two hoops, and about seven or eight feet in diameter; the top was open, and sea-ears were fastened to the bottom as a bait; this he let down so low as to lie upon the ground, and when he thought fish enough were assembled over it, he drew it up by a very gentle and even motion, so that the fish rose with it, scarcely sensible that they were lifted, till they came very near the surface of the water, and then were brought out in the net by a sudden jerk. By this simple method he had caught abundance of fish, and indeed they are so plenty in this bay, that the catching them requires neither much labour nor art.
This day, some of our people found in the skirts of the wood, near a hole or oven, three human hip-bones, which they brought on board; a farther proof that these people eat human flesh. Mr. Monkhouse, our Surgeon, also brought on board, from a place where he saw many deserted houses, the hair of a man's head, which he had found, among many other things, tied up to the branches of trees.
In the morning of the 19th, we set up the armourer's forge, to repair the braces of the tiller, and other iron-work, all hands on board being still busy in careening, and other necessary operations about the vessel; page 207 This day some Indians came on board from another part of the bay, where they said there was a town which we had not seen: they brought plenty of fish, which they sold for nails, having now acquired some notion of their use; and in this traffic no untair practice was attempted.
In the morning of the 29th, our old man kept his promise, and brought on board four of the heads of the seven people who had been so much the subject of our inquiries: the hair and flesh were entire, but we perceived that the brains had been extracted; the flesh was soft, but had by some method been preserved from putrefaction, for it had no disagreeable smell. Mr. Banks purchased one of them, but they sold it with great reluctance, and could not by any means be prevailed upon to part with a second; probably they may be preserved as trophies, like the scalps in America, and the jaw-bones in the islands of the South-Seas. Upon examining the head which had been bought by Mr. Banks, we perceived that it had received a blow upon the temple, which had fractured the skull. This day we made another excursion in the pinnace, to survey the bay, but we found no flat large enough for a potatoegarden, nor could we discove the least prospect of cultivation: we met not a single Indian, but found an excellent harbour, and about eight o'clock in the evening returned on board the ship.
On the 21 st, Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander went out fishing with hook and line, and caught an immense quantity every where upon the rocks, in between four and five fathoms water: the seine was hauled every night, and seldom failed to supply the whole ship's company with as much fish as they could eat This day all the people had leave to go on shore at the watering-place, and divert themselves as they should think proper.
In the morning of the 22d, I set out again in the pinnace, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, with a design to examine the head of the inlet; but after rowing about four or five leagues, without so much as coming within sight of it, the wind being contrary, and the day half-spent, we went on shore page 208 on the south-east side, to try what might be discovered from the hills.
Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander immediately employed themselves in botanizing near the beach; and I, taking a seaman with me, ascended one of the hills. When I reached the summit, I found a view of the inlet intercepted by hills, which in that direction rose still higher, and which was rendered inaccessible by impenetrable woods: I was, however, abundantly compensated for my labour, for I saw the sea on the eastern side of the country, and a passage leading from it to that on the west, a little to the eastward of the entrance of the inlet where the ship now lay. The main land, which lay on the south-east side of this inlet, appeared to be a narrow ridge of very high hills, and to form part of the south-west side of the streight; the land on the op-posite side appeared to trend away east as far as the eye could reach; and to the south-east there appeared to be an opening to the sea, which washed the eastern coast: on the east side of the inlet also I saw some islands, which I had before taken to be part of the main land. Having made this discovery, I descended the hill, and as soon as we had taken some refreshment, we set out on our return to the ship. In our way, we examined the harbours and coves which lie behind the islands that J had discovered from the hill; and in this route we saw an old village, in which there were many houses that seemed to have been long deserted: we also saw another village which was inhabited, but the day was too far spent for us to visit it, and we therefore made the best of our way to the ship, which we reached between eight and nine o'clock at night.
The 23d I employed in carrying on a survey of the place; and, upon one of the islands where I landed, I saw many houses, which seemed to have been long deserted, and no appearance of any inhabitant.
On the 24th, we went to visit our friends at the Hippah, or village, on the point of the island, near the ship's station, who had come off to us on our first arrival in the bay. They received us with the utmost confidence and civility, shewing us every part of their habitations, which were commodious and neat. The page 209 island, or rock, on which this town is situated, is divided from the main by a breach or fissure, so narrow that a man might almost leap from one to the other: the sides of it are every where so steep, as to render the artificial fortification of thesc people almost unnecessary: there was, however, one slight pallisade, and one small fighting-stage towards that part of the rock where access was least difficult.
The people here brought us out several human bones, the flesh of which they had eaten, and offered them to sale, for the curiosity of those among us who had purchased them, as memorials of the horrid practice which many, notwithstanding the reports of travellers, have professed not to believe, has rendered them a kind of article of trade. In one part of this village we observed, not without some surprize, a cross exactly like that of a crucifix; it was adorned with feathers; and upon our inquiring for what purpose it had been set up, we were told that it was a monument for a man that was dead. We had before understood, that their dead were not buried, but thrown into the sea; but to our inquiry how the body of the man had been disposed of, to whose memory this cross had been erected, they refused to answer.
When we left these people, we went to the other end of the island, and there, taking water, crossed over to the main, where we saw several houses, but no inhabitants, except a few in some straggling canoes, that seemed to be fishing. After viewing this place, we returned on board the ship to dinner.
During our visit to the Indians this day, Tupia being always of our party, they had been observed to be continually talking of guns, and shooting people; for this subject of their conversation we could not at all account, and it had so much engaged our attention, that we talked of it all the way back, and even after we got on board the ship. We had perplexed ourselves with various conjectures, which were all given up in their turn; but now we learned, that on the 21st one of our officers, upon pretence of going out to fish, had rowed up to the Hippah, and that two or three canoes coming off towards his boat, his fears suggested that an attack was intended, in consequece page 210 of which three muskets were fired, one with small shot, and two with ball, at the Indians, who retired with the utmost precipitation, having probably come out with friendly intentions, for such their behaviour both before and after expressed, and having no reason to expect such treatment from people who had always behaved to them not only with humanity but kindness, and to whom they were not conscious of having given offence.
On the 25th, I made another excursion along the coast in the pinnace, towards the mouth of the inlet, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, and going on shore at a little cove, to shoot shaggs, we fell in with a large family of Indians, whose custom it is to disperse themselves among the different creeks and coves, where fish is to be procured in the greatest plenty, leaving a few only in the Hippah, to which the rest repair in times of danger: some of these people came out a good way to meet us, and gave us an invitation to go with them to the rest of their party, which we readily accepted. We found a company of about thirty, men, women, and children, who received us with all possible demonstrations of friendship: we distributed among them a few ribands and beads, and, in return, received the kisses and embraces of both sexes, both young and old: they gave us also some fish, and after a little time we returned, much pleased with our new acquaintance.
In the morning of the 26th, I went out again in the boat, with Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, and entered one of the bays, which lie on the east side of the inlet, in order to get another sight of the streighr, which passed between the eastern and western seas. For this purpose, having landed at a convenient place, we climbed a hill of very considerable height, from which we had a full view of it, with the land on the opposite shore, which we judged to be about four leagues distant; but, as it was in the hazy horizon, we could not see far to the south-east; I resolved, however, to search the passage with the ship, as soon as I should put to sea. Upon the top of this hill we found a parcel of loose stones, with which we erected a pyramid, and left in it some musket-balls, small-shot, beads, page 211 and other things, which we happened to have about us, that were likely to stand the test of time, and not being of Indian workmanship, would convince any European, who should come to the place and pull it down, that other natives of Europe had been there before him. When this was done, we descended the hill, and made a comfortable meal of the shaggs and fish which our guns and lines had procured us, and which were dressed by the boat's crew in a place that we had appointed. In this place we found another Indian family, who received us, as usual, with strong expressions of kindness and pleasure, shewing us where to procure water, and doing us such other good offices as were in their power. From this place we went to the town, of which the Indians had told us, who visited us on the 19th. This, like that which we had seen before, was built upon a small island or rock, so difficult of access, that we gratified our curiosity at the risk of our necks. The Indians here also received us with open arms, carried us to every part of the place, and shewed us all that it contained. This town, like the other, consisted of between eighty and an hundred houses, and had only one sighting-stage. We happened to have with us a few nails and ribands, and some paper, with which our guests were so gratified, that at our coming away they filled our boat with dried fish, of which we perceived they had laid up great quantities.
The 27th and 28th were spent in refitting the ship for the sea, fixing a transom for the tiller, getting stones on board to put into the bottom of the bread-room, to bring the ship more by the stern, in repairing the casks, and catching fish.
On the 29th, we received a visit from our old man, whose name we found to be Toppa, and three other natives, with whom Tupia had much conversation. The old man told us, that one of the men who had been fired upon by the officer who had visited their Hippah, under pretence of fishing, was dead; but, to my great comfort, I afterwards discovered that this report was not true, and that if Topaa's discourses were taken literally, they would frequently lead us into mistakes. Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander were several times page 212 on shore during the last two or three days, not without success, but greatly circumscribed in their walks by climbers of a most luxuriant growth, which were so interwoven together, as to fill up the space between the trees about which they grew, and render the woods altogether impassable. This day also I went on shore again myself, upon the western point of the inlet, and, from a hill of considerable height, I had a view of the coast to the N. W. The farthest land I could see in that quarter was an island which has been mentioned before, at the distance of about ten leagues, lying not far from the main. Between this island and the place where I stood, I discovered, close under the shore, several other islands, forming many bays, in which there appeared to be good anchorage for shipping. After I had set off the different points for my survey, I erected another pile of stones, in which I left a piece of silver coin, with some musket balls and beads, and a piece of an old pendant flying at the top. In my return to the ship, I made a visit to several of the natives, whom I saw along the shore, and purchased a small quantity of fish.
On the 30th, early in the morning, I sent a boat to one of the islands for celery, and while the people were gathering it, about twenty of the natives, men, women, and children, landed near some empty huts: as soon as they were on shore, five or six of the women sat down upon the ground together, and began to cut their legs, arms, and faces, with shells, and sharp pieces of talc, or jasper, in a terrible manner. Our people understood that their husbands had lately been killed by their enemies: but while they were performing this horrid ceremony, the men set about repairing the huts, with the utmost negligence and unconcern.
The Carpenter having prepared two posts, to be left as memorials of our having visited this place, I ordered them to be inscribed with the ship's name, and the year and month; one of them I set up at the wateringplace, hoisting the Union flag upon the top of it, and the other I carried over to the island that lies nearest to the sea, called by the natives Motuara. I went first to the village, or Hippah, accompanied by Mr. Monkhouse page 213 and Tupia, where I met with our old man, and told him and several others by means of Tupia, that we were come to set up a mark upon the island, in order to show to any other ship which should happen to come thither, that we had been there before. To this they readily consented, and promised that they never would pull it down: I then gave something to every one present, and to the old man I gave a silver three-pence, dated 1736, and some spike-nails, with the king's broad arrow cut deep upon them; things which I thought most likely to remain among them: I then took the post to the highest part of the island, and after fixing it firmly in the ground, I hoisted upon it the Union flag, and honoured this inlet with the name of Queen Charlottie's Sound, at the same time taking formal possession of this and the adjacent country, in the name and for the use of his Majesty King George the Third. We then drank a bottle of wine to her Majesty's health, and gave the bottle to the old man, who had attended us up the hill, and who was mightily delighted with his present.
While the post was setting up, we enquired of the old man concerning the passage into the eastern sea, the existence of which he confirmed; and then asked him about the land to the S. W. of the streight, where we were then situated. This land, he said, consisted of two Whennuas, or islands, which might be circumnavigated in a few days, and which he called Tovy Poenammoo; the literal translation of the word is, “the water “of green talc:” and probably, if we had understood him better, we should have found that Tovy Poenammoo was the name of some particular place where they got the green talc, or stone, of which they make their ornaments and tools, and not a general name for the whole southern district. He said, there was also a third Whennua on the east side of the streight, the circumnavigation of which would take up many moons: this he called Eaheinomauwe, and to the land on the borders of the streight, he gave the name of Tieka. Witte. Having set up our post, and procured this intelligence, we returned on board the ship, and brought the old man with us, who was attended by his canoe, in which, after dinner, he returned home.page 214
On the 31st, having completed our wooding, and filled all our water-casks, I sent out two parties, one to cut and make brooms, and another to catch fish. In the evening we had a strong gale from the N. W. with such a heavy rain, that our little wild musicians on shore suspended their song, which till now we had constantly heard during the night, with a pleasure which it was impossible to lose without regret.
On the 1st the gale increased to a storm, with heavy gusts from the high land, one of which broke the hawser that we had fastened to the shore, and obliged us to let go another anchor. Towards midnight the gale became more moderate, but the rain continued with such violence, that the brook which had supplied us with water, overflowed its banks, and carried away ten small casks, which had been left there full of water, and, not-withstanding we searched the whole cove, we could never recover one of them.
On the 3d, as I intended to sail the first opportunity, I went over to the Hippah on the east side of the Sound, and purchased a considerable quantity of split and half-dried fish, for sea-stores. The people here confirmed all that the old man had told us concerning the streight and the country, and about noon I took leave of them: some of them seemed to be sorry, and others glad, that we were going. The fish which I had bought, they sold freely, but there were some who shewed manifest signs of disapprobation. As we returned to the ship, some of us made an excursion along the shore to the northward, to traffick with the natives for a farther supply of fish, in which, however, they had no great success. In the evening we got every thing off from the shore, as I intended to sail in the morning, but the wind would not permit.
On the 4th, while we were waiting for a wind, we amused ourselves by fishing, and gathering shells and seeds of various kinds; and early in the morning, the 5th, we cast off the hawser, hove short on the bower, and carried the kedge-anchor out, in order to warp the ship out of the cove; which having done about two o'clock in the afternoon, we hove up the anchor, and got under sail; but the wind soon failing, we were obliged to come to an anchor again a little above Motuara. page 215 When we were under sail, our old man Topaa came on board, to take his leave of us; and as we were still desirous of making farther inquiries, whether any memory of Tasman had been preserved among these people, Tupia was directed to ask him, whether he had ever heard that such a vessel as ours had before visited the country. To this he replied in the negative, but said, that his ancestors had told him, there had once come to this place a small vessel, from a distant country, called Ulimaroa, in which were four men, who, upon their coming on shore, were all killed. Upon being asked, where this distant land lay, he pointed to the northward. Of Ulimaroa we had heard something before from the people about the Bay of Islands, who said that their ancestors had visited it; and Tupia had also talked to us of Ulimaroa, concerning which he had some confused traditionary notions, not very different from those of our old man, so that we could draw no certain conclusion from the accounts of either.
Soon after the ship came to an anchor the second time, Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander went on shore, to see if any gleanings of natural knowledge remained, and by accident fell in with the most agreeable Indian family they had seen, which afforded them a better opportunity of remarking the personal subordination among these people, than had before offered. The principal persons were a widow, and a pretty boy about ten years old: the widow was mourning for her husband with tears of blood, according to their custom, and the child, by the death of its father, was become proprietor of the land where we had cut our wood. The mother and the son were sitting upon mats, and the rest of the family, to the number of sixteen or seventeen, of both sexes, sat round them in the open air, for they did not appear to have any house, or other shelter from the weather, the inclemencies of which, custom has probably enabled them to endure without any lasting inconvenience. Their whole behaviour was affable, obliging, and unsuspicious; they presented each person with fish, and a brand of fire to dress it, and pressed them many times to stay till the morning, which they would certainly have done if they had not expected the ship to sail, greatly regretting that they page 216 had not been acquainted with them sooner, as they made no doubt but that more knowledge of the manners and disposition of the inhabitants of this country would have been obtained from them in a day, than they had yet been able to acquire during our whole stay upon the coast.
On the 6th, about six o'clock in the morning, a light breeze sprung up at north, and we again got under sail; but the wind proving variable, we reached no farther than just without Motuara. In the afternoon, however, a more steady gale at N. by W. set us clear of the sound, which I shall now describe.
The entrance of Queen Charlotte's Sound is situated in latitude 41° S. longitude 184° 45′ W. and near the middle of the south-west side of the streight in which it lies. The land of the south-east head of the Sound, called by the natives Koamaroo, off which lie two small islands and some rocks, makes the narrowest part of the streight: From the north-west head a reef of rocks runs out about two miles, in the direction of N. E. by N. part of which is above the water, and part below. By this account of the heads, the Sound will be sufficiently known. At the entrance, it is three leagues broad, and lies in S. W. by S. S. W. and W. S. W. at least ten leagues, and is a collection of some of the finest harbours in the world. The land forming the harbour or cove in which we lay, is called by the natives Totarranue: the harbour itself, which I called Ship Cove, is not inferior to any in the Sound, either for convenience or safety; it lies on the west side of the Sound, and is the southermost′ of three coves, that are situated within the island of Motuara, which bears east of it. Ship Cove may be entered, either between Motuara and a long island, called by the natives Hamote, or between Motuara and the western shore. In the last of these channels are two ledges of rock, three fathoms under water, which may easily be known by the sea weed that grows upon them. In sailing either in or out of the Sound, with little wind, attention must be had to the tides, which flow about nine or ten o'clock at the full and change of the moon, and rise and fall between seven and eight feet perpendicularly. The flood comes in through the page 217 streight from the S. E. and sets strongly over upon the north-west head, and the reef that lies off it: the ebb sets with still greater rapidity to the S. E. over upon the rocks and islands that lie off the south-east head. The variation of the compass we found from good observation, to be 13° 5′ E.
The land about this Sound, which is of such a height that we saw it at the distance of twenty leagues, consists wholly of high hills and deep vallies, well stored with a variety of excellent timber, fit for all purposes except masts, for which it is too hard and heavy. The sea abounds with a variety of fish, so that, without going out of the cove where we lay, we caught every day, with the seine and hooks and lines, a quantity sufficient to serve the whole ship's company: and along the shore we found plenty of shaggs, and a few other species of wild fowl, which those who have long lived upon salt provisions will not think despicable food.
The number of inhabitants scarcely exceeds four hundred, and they live dispersed along the shores, where their food, consisting of fish and fern roots, is most easily procured, for we saw no cultivated ground. Upon any appearance of danger, they retire to their Hippahs, or forts; in this situation we found them, and in this situation they continued for some time after our arrival. In comparison of the inhabitants of other parts of this country, they are poor, and their canoes are without ornament. The little traffic we had with them was wholly for fish, and indeed they had scarcely any thing else to dispose of. They seemed, however, to have some knowledge of iron, which the inhabitants of some other parts had not; for they willingly took nails for their fish, and sometimes seemed to prefer them to every thing else that we could offer, which had not always been the cafe. They were at first very fond of paper, but when they found that it was spoiled by being wet, they would not take it; neither did they set much value upon the cloth of Otaheite; but English broad-cloth, and red-kersey, were in high estimation; which shewed that they had sense enough to appretiate the commodities which we offered by their use; which is more than could be said of some of their page 218 neighbours, who made a much better appearance. Their dress has been mentioned already, particularly their large round head-dresses of feathers, which were far from being unbecoming.
As soon as we got out of the Sound, I stood over to the eastward, in order to get the streight well open before the tide of ebb came on. At seven in the evening, the two small islands which lie off Cape Koamaroo, the south-east head of Queen Charlotte's Sound, bore east, distant about four miles. At this time it was nearly calm, and the tide of ebb setting out, we were, in a very short time, carried by the rapidity of the stream close upon one of the islands, which was a rock rising almost perpendicularly out of the sea. We perceived our danger increase every moment, and had but one expedient to prevent our being dashed to pieces, the success of which a few minutes would determine. We were now within little more than a cable's length of the rock, and had more than seventy-five fathoms water; but upon dropping an anchor, and veering about one hundred and fifty fathoms of cable, the ship was happily brought up. This, however, would not have saved us, if the tide, which set S. by E. had not upon meeting with the island, changed its direction to S. E. and carried us beyond the first point. In this situation, we were not above two cables length from the rocks; and here we remained in the strength of the tide, which set to the S. E. after the rate of at least five miles an hour, from a little after seven till near midnight, when the tide abated, and we began to heave. By three in the morning the anchor was at the bows, and having a light breeze at N. W. we made sail for the eastern shore; but the tide being against us, we made but little way. The wind, however, afterwards freshened, and came to N. and N. E. with which, and the tide of ebb, we were in a short time hurried through the narrowest part of the streight, and then stood away for the southermost land, we had in sight, which bore from us S. by W. Over this land appeared a mountain of stupendous height, which was covered with snow.page 219
The narrowest part of the streight, through which we had been driven with such rapidity, lies between Cape Tierawitte, on the coast of Eaheinomanwe and Cape Koamaroo: the distance between them I judged to be between four and five leagues, and, notwithstanding the tide, now its strength is known, may be passed without much danger. It is safest, however, to keep on the north-east shore, for on that side there appeared to be nothing to fear; but on the other shore there are not only the islands and rocks which lie off Cape Koamaroo; but a reef of rocks stretching from these islands six or seven miles to the southward, at the distance of two or three miles from the shore, which I had discovered from the hill, when I took my second view of the streight from the east to the western sea.
About nine leagues north from Cape Tierawitte, and under the same shore, is a high and remarkable island, which may be distinctly seen from Queen Charlotte's Sound, from which it is distant between six or seven leagues. This island, which was noticed when we passed it on the 14th of January, I have called Entry Islf.
On the east side of Cape Tierawitte, the land trends away S. E. by E. about eight leagues, where it ends in a point, and is the southermost land on Eaheinomauwe. To this point I have given the name of Cape Palliser, in honour of my worthy friend Captain Palliser. It lies in latitude 41° 37′ S. longitude 183° 58′ W. and bore from us this day at noon S. 79 E. distant about thirteen leagues, the ship being then in the latitude of 41° 27′ S. Koamaroo at the same time bearing N. ½ E. distant seven or eight leagues. The southermost land in sight bore S. 16 W. and the snowy mountains S. W. At this time we were about three leagues from the shore, and a-breast of a deep bay or inlet, to which I gave the name of Cloudy Bay, and at the bottom of which there appeared low land covered with tall trees.
At three o'clock in the afternoon, we were a-breast of the southermost point of land that we had seen at noon, which I called Cape Campbell; it lies S. by W. distant between twelve and thirteen leagues from page 220 Cape Coamaroo, in latitude 41° 44′ S. longitude 183° 45′ W. and with Cape Palmer forms the southern entrance of the streight, the distance between them being between thirteen and fourteen leagues W. by S. and E. by N.
From the Cape we steered along the shore S. W. by S. till eight o'clock in the evening, when the wind died away. About half an hour afterwards, however, a fresh breeze sprung up at S. W. and I put the ship right before it. My reason for this, was a notion which some of the officers had just started, that Eaheinomauwe was not an island, and that the land might stretch away to the S. E. from between Cape Turn-again and Cape Palliser, there being a space of between twelve and fifteen leagues that we had not seen. I had indeed the strongest conviction that they were mistaken, not only from what I had seen the first time I discovered the streight, but from many other concurrent testimonies, that the land in question was an island; but being resolved to leave no possibility of doubt, with respect to an object of such importance, I took the opportunity of the wind's shifting to stand eastward, and accordingly steered N. E. by E. all the night. At nine o'clock in the morning we were a-breast of Cape Pallifer, and sound the land trend away N. E. towards Cape Turnagain, which I reckoned to be distant about twenty-six leagues: however, as the weather was hazy, so as to prevent our seeing above four or five leagues, I still kept standing to the N. E. with a light breeze at south; and at noon Cape Palliser bore N. 72 W. distant about three leagues.
About three o'clock in the afternoon three canoes came up to the ship, with between thirty and forty people on board, who had been pulling after us with great labour and perseverance for some time. They appeared to be more cleanly, and a better class, than any we had met with since we left the Bay of Islands, and their canoes were also distinguished by the same ornaments which we had seen upon the northerly part of the coast. They came on board with very little invitation, and their behaviour was courteous and friendly: upon receiving presents from us, they made us presents in return, which had not been done by any of the natives page 221 that we had seen before. We soon perceived that our guests had heard of us, for as soon as they came on board, they asked for Whow, the name by which nails were known among the people with whom we had trafficked: but though they had heard of nails, it was plain they had seen none: for when nails were given them, they asked Tupia what they were. The term Whow, indeed, conveyed to them the idea not of their quality, but only of their use; for it is the same by which they distinguish a tool, commonly made of bone, which they use both as an augur and a chissel. However, their knowing that we had Whow to sell, was a proof that their connections extended as far north as Cape Kidnappers, which was distant no less than forty-five leagues: for that was the southermost place on this side the coast where he had any traffic with the natives. It is also probable, that the little knowledge which the inhabitants of Queen Charlotte's Sound had of iron, they obtained from their neighbours at Tierawitte; for we had no reason to think that the inhabitants of any part of this coast had the least knowledge of iron or its use before we came among them, especially as when it was first offered they seemed to disregard it as of no value. We thought it probable, that we were now once more in the territories of Teratu; but upon inquiring of these people, they said that he was not their king. After a short time, they went away, much gratified with the presents that we had made them; and we pursued our course along the shore to the N. E. till eleven o'clock the next morning. About this time, the weather happening to clear up, we saw Cape Turn-again, bearing N. by E. ½ E. at the distance of about seven leagues: I then called the officers upon deck, and asked them, whether they were not now satisfied, that Eaheinomauwe was an island; they readily answered in the affirmative, and all doubts being now removed, we hauled our wind to the eastward.