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]
Having sailed from Cape Farewell, which lies in latitude 40° 33′ S. longitude 186′ W. on Saturday the 31st of March, 1770, we steered westward, with a fresh gale at N. N. E. and at noon, on the 2d of April, our Jatitude, by observation, was 40°, our longitude from Cape Farewell. 2° 31′ W.
In the morning of the 9th, being in latitude 38° 29′ S. we saw a tropic bird, which in so high a latitude is very uncommon.
In the morning of the loth, being in latitude 38° 51′ S. longitude 202″ 43′ W. we found the variation, by the amplitude, to be 11° 25′ E. and by the azimuth 11° 20′
In the morning of the 11th, the variation was 13° 48′, which is two degrees and an half more than the day before, though I expected to have found it less.page 280
In the course of the 13th, being in latitude 39° 23′ S. longitude 204° 2′ W. I found the variation to be 12° 27′ E. and in the morning of the 14th it was 11° 30′. This day we also saw some flying-fish. On the 15th we saw an egg-bird and a gannet; and as these are birds that never go far from the land, we continued to sound all night, but had no ground with 130 fathoms. At noon, on the 16th, we were in latitude 39° 45′ S. longitude 208° W. At about two o'clock the wind came about to the W. S. W. upon which we tacked and stood to the N. W. soon after a small land-bird perched upon the rigging, but we had no ground with 120 fathoms. At eight we wore and stood to the southward till twelve at night, and then wore and stood to the N. W. till four in the morning, when we again stood to the southward, having a fresh gale at W. S. W. with squalls and dark weather till nine, when the weather became clear, and there being little wind, we had an opportunity to take several observations of the sun and moon, the mean result of which gave 207° 56′ W. longitude; our latitude at noon was 39° 36′ S. We had now a hard gale from the southward, and a great sea from the same quarter, which obliged us to run under our fore-sail and mizen all night, during which we sounded every two hours, but had no ground with 120 fathoms.
In the morning of the 18th we saw two Port Egmont hens, and a pintado bird, which are certain signs of approaching land, and indeed, by our reckoning, we could not be far from it, for our longitude was now one degree to the westward of the east side of Van Diemen's land, according to the longitude laid down by Tasman, whom we could not suppose to have erred much in so short a run as from this land to New Zealand; and by our latitude we could not be above fifty or fifty-five leagues from the place whence he took his departure. All this day we had frequent squalls and a great swell. At one in the morning we brought to and sounded, but had no ground with 130 fathoms. At six we saw land extending from N. E. to W. at the distance of five or six leagues, having eighty fathoms water, with a fine sandy bottom.page 281
We continued standing westward, with the wind at S. S. W. till eight, when we made all the sail we could, and bore away along the shore N. E. for the eastermost land in sight, being at this time in latitude 37° 58′ S, and longitude 210° 39′ W. The southermost point of land in sight, which bore from us W. ¼ S. I judged to lie in latitude 38°, longitude 211° 7′, and gave it the name of Point Hicks, because Mr. Hicks, the First Lieutenant, was the first who discovered it. To the southward of this Point no land was to be seen, though it was very clear in that quarter, and by our longitude, compared with that of Tasman, not as it is laid down in the printed charts, but in the extracts from Tasman's journal, published by Rembrantse, the body of Van Diemen's land ought to have borne due south: and indeed, from the sudden falling of the sea, after the wind abated, I had reason to think it did; yet as I did not see it, and as I found this coast trend N. E. and S. W. or rather more to the eastward, I cannot determine whether it joins to Van Diemen's land or not.
At noon we were in latitude 37° 50′, longitude 210° 29′ W. The extremes of the land extended from N. W. to E. N. E. and a remarkable point before N, 20 E. at the distance of about four leagues. This point rises in a round hillock, very much resembling the Ram Head at the entrance of Plymouth Sound, and therefore I called it by the same name. The variation by an azimuth, taken this morning, was 3° 7′ E. and what, we had now seen of the land appeared low and level; the sea-shore was a white sand, but the country within was green and woody. About one o'clock we saw three water-spouts at once, two were between us and the shore, and the third at some distance, upon our larboard quarter: this phaenomenon is so well known, that it is not necessary to give a particular description of it here.
At six o'clock in the evening we shortened sail, and brought to for the night, having fifty-six fathoms water, and a fine sandy bottom. The northermost land in sight then bore N. E. by E. ½ E. and a small island lying close to a point on the main bore W. distant two leagues. This point, which I called Cape Howe, page 282 may be known by the trending of the coast, which is north on the one side, and south-west on the other; it may also be known by some round hills upon the main, just within it.
We brought to for the night, and at four in the morning made sail along shore to the northward. At six, the northermost land in sight bore N. N. W. and we were at this time about four leagues from the shore. At noon we were in latitude 36° 51′ S. longitude 209° 53′ W. and about three leagues distant from the shore. The weather being clear, gave us a good view of the country, which has a very pleasing appearance: it is of a moderate height, diversified by hills and vallies, ridges and plains, interspersed with a few lawns of no great extent, but in general covered with wood; the ascent of the hills and ridges is gentle, and the summits are not high. We continued to sail along the shore to the northward, with a southerly wind, and in the afternoon we saw smoke in several places, by which we knew the country to be inhabited. At six in the evening we shortened sail and sounded; we found forty-four fathoms water, with a clear sandy bottom, and stood on under an easy sail till twelve, when we brought to for the night, and had ninety fathoms water.
At four in the morning we made sail again, at the distance of about five leagues from the land, and at six we were a-breast of a high mountain, lying near the shore, which, on account of its figure, I called Mount Dromedary; under this mountain the shore forms a point, to which I gave the name of Point Dromedary, and over it there is a peaked hillock. At this time, being in latitude 36° 18′ S. longitude 209° 55′ W. we found the variation to be 10° 42′ E.
Between ten and eleven, Mr. Green and I took several observations of the sun and moon, the mean result of which gave 209″ 17′ longitude W. By an observation made the day before, our longitude was 210° 9′ W. from which 20′ being subtracted, there remained 209° 49′, the longitude of the ship this day at noon; the mean of which, with this day's observation, give 209° 33′, by which I fix the longitude of this coast. At noon our latitude was 35° 49′ S. Cape Dromedary page 283 bore S. 30 W. at the distance of twelve leagues, and an open bay, in which were three or four small islands, bore N. W. by W. at the distance of five or six leagues. This bay seemed to afford but little shelter from the sea winds, and yet it is the only place where there appeared a probability of finding anchorage upon the whole coast. We continued to steer along the shore N. by E. and N. N. E. at the distance of about three leagues, and saw smoke in many places near the beach. At five in the evening we were a-breast of a point of land which rose in a perpendicular cliff, and which, for that reason, I called Point Upright. Our latitude was 35° 35′ S. when this Point bore from us due west, distant about two leagues. In this situation we had about thirty-one fathoms water, with a sandy bottom. At six in the evening, the wind falling, we hauled off E. N. E. and at this time the northermost land in fight bore N. by E. ½ E. At midnight, being in seventy fathoms water, we brought to till four in the morning, when we made sail in for the land: but at day-break found our situation nearly the same as it had been at five the evening before, by which it was apparent, that we had been driven about three leagues to the southward, by a tide or current, during the night. After this we steered along the shore N. N. E. with a gentle breeze at S. W. and were so near the land as to distinguish several of the natives upon the beach, who appeared to be of a black or very dark colour. At noon, our latitude, by observation, was 35° 27′ S. and longitude 209° 23′ W. Cape Dromedary bore S. 28 W. distant nineteen leagues, a remarkable peaked hill, which resembled a square dove-house, with a dome at the top, and which, for that reason, I called the Pigeon-House, bore N. 32° 30′ W. and a small low island, which lay close under the shore, bore N. W. distant about two or three leagues. When I first discovered this island, in the morning, I was in hopes, from its appearance, that I should have found shelter for the ship behind it, but when we came near it, it did not promise security even for the landing of a boat: I should, however, have attempted to send a boat on shore, if the wind had not veered to that direction, with a large hollow page 284 sea rolling in upon the land from the S. E. which in deed had been the case ever since we had been upon it. The coast still continued to be of a moderate height, forming alternately rocky points and sandy beaches; but within, between Mount Dromedary and the Pigeon-House, we saw high mountains, which, except two, are covered with wood; these two lie inland behind the Pigeon-House, and are remarkably fiat at the top, with sleep rocky cliffs all round them, as far as we could see. The trees, which almost every where clothe this country, appear to be large and lofty. This day the variation was found to be 9° 50′ E. and, for the two last days, the latitude, by observation, was twelve or fourteen miles to the southward of the ship's account, which could have been the effect of nothing but a current setting in that direction. About four in the afternoon, being near five leagues from. the land, we tacked and stood off S. E. and E, and the wind having veered in the night from E. to N. E. and N. we tacked about four in the morning, and stood in, being then about nine or ten leagues from the shore. At eight the wind began to die away, and soon after it was calm. At noon our latitude, by observation, was 35° 38′, and our distance from the land about six leagues. Cape Dromedary bore S. 37 W. distant seventeen leagues, and the Pigeon-House N. 40 W. in this situation we had seventy-four fathoms water. In the afternoon we had variable light airs and calms till six in the evening, when a breeze sprung up at N. by W. At this time, being about four or five leagues from the shore, had seventy fathoms water. The Pigeon-House bore N. 45 W. Mount Dromedary S, 30 W. and the norther-most land in fight N. 19 F.
We stood to the north-east till noon the next day, with a gentle breeze at N. W. and then we tacked and stood westward. At this time our latitude, by observation, was 35° 10′ S. and longitude 208° 51′ W. A point of land which I had discovered on St. George's Day, and which therefore I called Cape George, bore W. distant nineteen miles, and the Pigeon-House (the latitude and longitude of which I found to he 35° 19′ S. and 209° 42′ W.) S. 75 W. In the morning we page 285 had found the variation, by amplitude, to be 7° 50′ E. and by several azimuths 7° 54′ E. We had a fresh breeze at N. W. from noon till three; it then came to the west, when we tacked and stood to the northward. At five in the evening, being about five or six leagues from the shore, with the Pigeon-house bearing W. S. W. distant about nine leagues, we had eighty-six fathoms water; and at eight having thunder and lightning, with heavy squalls, we brought to in 120 fathoms.
At three in the morning, we made sail again to the northward, having the advantage of a fresh gale at S. W. At noon, we were about three or four leagues from the shore, and in latitude 34° 22′ S. longitude 208° 36′ W. In the course of this day's run from the preceding noon, which was forty-five miles north-east, we saw smoke in several places near the beach. About two leagues to the northward of Cape George, the shore seemed to form a bay, which promised shelter from the north-east winds; but as the wind was with us, it was not in my power to look into it without beating up, which would have cost me more time than I was willing to spare. The north point of this bay, on account of its figure, I named Long Nose; its latitude 35° 6′, and about eight leagues north of it there lies a point, which, from the colour of the land about it, I called Red Point: its latitude is 34° 29′, and longitude 208° 45′ W. To the north-west of Red Point, and a little way inland, stands a round hill, the top of which looks like the crown of a hat. In the afternoon of this day, we had a light breeze at N. N. W. till five in the evening, when it fell calm: at this time, we were between three and four leagues from the shore, and had forty-eight fathoms water: the variation by azimuth was 8° 48′ E. and the extremities of this land were from N. E. by N. to S. W. by S. Before it was dark, we saw smoke in several places along the shore, and a fire two or three times afterwards. During the night we lay becalmed, driving in before the sea till one in the morning, when we got a breeze from the land, with which we steered N. E. being in thirty-eight fathoms. At noon it veered to N. E. by N. and we were then in latitude 34° 10′ S. longitude page 286 208° 27′ W. the land was distant about five leagues, and extended from S. 37 W. to N. ½ E. In this latitude, there are some white cliffs, which rise perpendicularly from the sea to a considerable height. We stood off the shore till two o'clock, and then tacked and stood in till six, when we were within four or five miles of it, and at that distance had fifty fathoms water. The extremities of the land bore from S. 28 W. to N. 25° 30′ E. We now tacked and stood off till twelve, then tacked and stood in again till four in the morning, when we made a trip off till day-light; and during all this time we lost ground, owing to the variableness of the winds. We continued at the distance of between four and five miles from the shore, till the afternoon, when We came within two miles, and I then hoisted out the pinnace and yawl, to attempt a landing; but the pinnace proved to be so leaky, that I was obliged to hoist her in again. At this time we saw several of the natives walking briskly along the shore, four of whom carried a small canoe upon their shoulders: we fiattered ourselves that they were going to put her into the water, and come off to the ship; but finding ourselves disappointed, I determined to go on shore in the yawl, with as many as it would carry: I embarked, therefore, with only Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, Tupia and four rowers: we pulled for that part of the shore where the Indians appeared, near which four small canoes were lying at the water's edge. The Indians sat down upon the rocks, and seemed to wait for our landing; but to our great regret, when we came within about a quarter of a mile, they ran away into the woods: we determined however to go ashore, and endeavour to procure an interview, but in this we were again disappointed, for we found so great a surf beating upon every part of the beach, that landing with our little boat was altogether impracticable: we were therefore obliged to be content with gazing at such objects as presented themselves from the water: the canoes, upon a nearer view, seemed very much to resemble those of the smaller sort at New Zealand. We observed, that among the trees on shore, which were not very large, there was no underwood; and could distinguish that many of them were of the palm kind, page 287 and some of them cabbage-trees: after many a wishful look we were obliged to return, with our curiosity rather excited than satisfied, and about five in the evening got on board the ship. About this time it fell calm, and our situation was by no means agreeable: we were now not more than a mile and a half from the shore, and within some breakers, which lay to the southward, but happily a light breeze came off the land, and carried us out of danger: with this breeze we stood to the northward, and at day-break we discovered a bay, which seemed to be well sheltered from all winds, and into which therefore I determined to go with the ship. The pinnace being repaired, I sent her, with the Master, to sound the entrance, while I kept turning up, having the wind right out. At noon, the mouth of the bay bore N. N. W. distant about a mile, and seeing a smoke on the shore, we directed our glasses to the spot, and soon discovered ten people, who, upon our nearer approach, left the fire, and retired to a little eminence, whence they could conveniently observe our motions. Soon after two canoes, each having two men on board, came to the shore just under the eminence, and the men joined the rest on the top of it. The pinnace, which had been sent a-head to sound, now approached the place; upon which all the Indians retired farther up the hill, except one, who hid himself among some rocks near the landing-place. As the pinnace proceeded along the shore, most of the people took the same route, and kept a-breast of her at a distance; when she came back, the Master told us, that in a cove a little within the harbour, some of them had come down to the beach, and invited him to land by many signs and words of which he knew not the meaning; but that all of them were armed with long pikes and a wooden weapon shaped somewhat like a cimeter. The Indians who had not followed the boat, seeing the ship approach, used many threatening gestures, and brandished their weapons; particularly two, who made a very singular appearance, for their faces seemed to have been dusted with a white powder, and their bodies painted with broad streaks of the same colour, which passing obliquely over their breasts and backs, looked not unlike the cross-belts worn page 288 by our soldiers; the same kind of streaks were also drawn round their legs and thighs like broad garters: each of these men held in his hand the weapon that had been described to us as like a cimeter, which appeared to be about two feet and a half long, and they seemed to talk to each other with great earnestness.
We continued to stand into the bay, and early in the afternoon anchored under the south shore, about two miles within the entrance, in six fathoms water, the south point bearing S. E. and the north point E. As we came in we saw, on both points of the bay, a few huts, and several of the natives, men, women, and children. Under the south head we saw four small canoes, with each one man on board, who were very busily employed in striking fish with a long pike or spear: they ventured almost into the surf, and were so intent upon what they were doing, that although the ship passed within a quarter of a mile of them, they scarcely turned their eyes towards her; possibly being deafened by the surf, and their attention wholly fixed upon their business or sport, they neither saw nor heard her go past them.
The place where the ship had anchored was a-breast of a small village, consisting of about six or eight houses; and while we were preparing to hoist out the boat, we saw an old woman, followed by three children, come out of the wood; she was loaded with fire-wood, and each of the children had also its little burden. When she came to the houses three more children, younger than the others, came out to meet her; she often looked at the ship, but expressed neither fear nor surprise; in a short time she kindled a fire, and the four canoes came in from fishing. The men landed, and having hauled up their boats, began to dress their dinner, to all appearance, wholiy unconcerned about us, though we were within half a mile of them. We thought it remarkable, that of all the people we had yet seen, not one had the least appearance of clothing, the old woman herself being destitute even of a fig-leaf.
After dinner the boats were manned, and we set out from the ship, having Tupia of our party. We intended to land where we saw the people, and began to hope, that as they had so little regarded the ship's page 289 coming into the bay, they would as little regard our coming on shore; in this, however, we were disappointed, for as soon as we approached the rocks, two of the men came down upon them to dispute our landing, and the rest ran away. Each of the two champions was armed with a lance about ten feet long, and a short stick, which he seemed to handle as if it was a machine to assist him in managing or throwing the lance. They called to us in a very loud tone, and in a harsh dissonant language, of which neither we nor Tupia understood a single word: they brandished their weapons, and seemed resolved to defend their coast to the uttermost, though they were but two, and we were forty. I could not but admire their courage, and being very unwilling that hostilities should commence with such inequality of force between us, I ordered the boat to lie upon her oars: we then parlied by signs for about a quarter of an hour, and, to bespeak their goodwill, I threw them nails, beads, and other trifles, which they took up, and seemed to be well pleased with. I then made signs that I wanted water, and, by all the means that I could devise, endeavoured to convince them that we would do them no harm. They now waved to us, and I was willing to interpret it as an invitation; but upon our putting the boat in, they came again to oppose us. One appeared to be a youth about nineteen or twenty, and the other a man of middle age: as I had now no other resource, I fired a musquet between them. Upon the report, the youngest dropped a bundle of lances upon the rock, but, recollecting himself, in an instant he snatched them up again with great haste. A stone was then thrown at us, upon which I ordered a musquet to be fired with small shot, which struck the eldest upon the legs, and he immediately ran to one of the houses, which was distant about an hundred yards. I now hoped that our contest was over, and we immediately landed; but we had scarcely left the boat when he returned, and we then perceived, that he had left the rock only to fetch a shield or target for his defence. As soon as he came up, he threw a lance at us, and his comrade another; they fell where we stood thickest, but happily hurt nobody. A third musquet with small-shot was then fired at them, page 290 upon which one of them threw another lance, and both immediately ran away: If we had pursued, we might probably have taken one of them; but Mr. Banks suggesting that the lances might be poisoned, I thought it not prudent to venture into the woods. We repaired immediately to the huts, into one of which we found the children, who had hidden themselves behind a shield and some bark; we peeped at them, but left them in their retreat, without their knowing that they had been discovered, and we threw into the house, when we went away, some beads, ribands, pieces of cloth, and other presents, which we hoped would procure us the goodwill of the inhabitants when they should return; but the lances which we found lying about we took away with us, to the number of about fifty; they were from six to seven feet long, and all of them had four prongs, in the manner of a fish-gig, each of which was pointed with fish-bone, and very sharp: we observed that they were smeared with a viscous substance of a green colour, which favoured the opinion of their being poisoned, though we afterwards discovered that it was a mistake; they appeared, by the sea-weed that we found sticking to them, to have been used in striking fish. Upon examining the canoes that lay upon the beach, we found them to be the worst we had ever seen; they were between twelve and fourteen feet long, and made of the bark of a tree, in one piece, which was drawn together and tied up at each end, the middle being kept open by sticks, which were placed across them from gunwale to gunwale, as thwarts. We then searched for fresh water, but found none, except in a small hole which had been dug in the sand.
Having reimbarked in our boat, we deposited our lances on board the ship, and then went over to the north point of the bay, where we had seen several of the inhabitants when we were entering it, but which we now found totally deferted. Here, however, we found fresh water, which trickled down from the top of the rocks, and stood in pools among the hollows at the bottom; but it was situated so, as not be procured for our use without difficulty.page 291
In the morning, therefore, I sent a party of men to that part of the shore where we first landed, with orders to dig holes in the sand, where the water might gather; but going a-shore myself with the gentlemen soon afterwards, we found, upon a more diligent search, a small stream, more than sufficient for our purpose.
Upon visiting the hut where we had seen the children, we were greatly mortified to find that the beads and ribands, which we had left there the night before, had not been moved from their places, and that not an Indian was to be seen.
Having sent some empty water-casks on shore, and left a party of men to cut wood, I went myself in the pinnace to found, and examine the bay; during my excursion I saw several of the natives, but they all fled at my approach. In one of the places where I landed I found several small fires, and fresh muscles broiling upon them; here also I found some of the largest oyster-shells I had ever seen.
As soon as the wooders and waterers came on board to dinner, ten or twelve of the natives came down to the place, and looked with great attention and curiosity at the casks, but did not touch them; they took away, however, the canoes which lay near the landing-place, and again disappeared. In the afternoon, when our people were again a-shore, sixteen or eighteen Indians, all armed, came boldly within about an hundred yards of them, and then stopped: two of them advanced somewhat nearer; and Mr. Hicks, who commanded the party on shore, with another, advanced to meet them, holding out presents to them as he approached, and expressing kindness and amity by every sign he could think of, but all without effect; for before he could get up with them they retired, and it would have answered no purpose to pursue. In the evening I went with Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander to a sandy cove on the north side of the bay, where, in three or four hauls with the seine, we took above three hundred weight of fish, which was equally divided among the ship's company.
The next morning, before day-break, the Indians came down to the houses that were a-breast of the ship, page 292 and were heard frequently to shout very loud. As soon as it was light they were seen walking along the beach, and soon after they retired to the woods, where, at the distance of about a mile from the shore, they kindled several fires.
Our people went a-shore as usual, and with them Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, who, in search of plants, repaired to the woods. Our men, who were employed in cutting grass, being the farthest removed from the main body of the people, a company of fourteen or fifteen Indians advanced towards them, having sticks in their hands, which, according to the report of the Serjeant of the marines, shone like a musquet. The grass-cutters, upon seeing them approach, drew together, and repaired to the main body. The Indians, being encouraged by this appearance of a flight, pursued them; they stopped, however, when they were within about a furlong of them, and after shouting several times went back into the woods. In the evening they came again in the same manner, stopped at the same distance, shouted, and retired. I followed them myself, alone and unarmed, for a considerable way along the shore, but I could not prevail upon them to stop.
This day Mr. Green took the fun's meridian altitude, a little within the south entrance of the bay, which gave the latitude 34° S. the variation of the needle was 11° 3′E.
Early the next morning the body of Forby Sutherland, one of our seamen, who died the evening before, was buried near the watering-place, and from this incident I called the south point of this bay Sutherland Point. This day we resolved to make an excursion into the country. Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, myself, and seven others, properly accoutred for the expedition, set out, and repaired first to the huts near the watering-place, whither some of the natives continued every day to resort; and though the little presents which we had left there before had not yet been taken away, we left others of somewhat more value, consisting of cloth, looking-glasses, combs, and beads, and then went up into the country. We found the soil page 293 to be either swamp or light sand, and the face of the country finely diversified by wood and lawn. The trees are tall, straight, and without underwood, standing at such a distance from each other, that the whole country, at least where the swamps do not render it incapable of cultivation, might be cultivated without cutting down one of them: between the trees the ground is covered with grass, of which there is great abundance, growing in tufts about as big as can well be grasped in the hand, which stand very close to each other. We saw many houses of the inhabitants, and places where they had slept upon the grass without any shelter; but we saw only one of the people, who the moment he discovered us ran away. At all these places we left presents, hoping that at length they might produce confidence and good-will. We had a transient and imperfect view of a quadruped about as big as a rabbit: Mr. Banks's greyhound, which was with us, got sight of it, and would probably have caught it, but the moment he set off he lamed himself, against a stump which lay concealed in the long grass. We afterwards saw the dung of an animal which fed upon grass, and which we judged could not be less than a deer; and the footsteps of another, which was clawed like a dog, and seemed to be about as big as a wolf: we also tracked a small animal, whose foot resembled that of a polcat or weasel. The trees over our heads abounded with birds of various kinds, among which were many of exquisite beauty, particularly loriquets and cockatoos, which flew in flocks of several scores together. We found some wood which had been felled by the natives with a blunt instrument, and some that had been barked. The trees were not of many species; among others there was a large one, which yielded a gum not unlike the sanguis draconis; and in some of them steps had been cut, at about three feet distance from each other, for the convenience of climbing them.
From this excursion we returned between three and four o'clock, and having dined on board, we went a-shore again at the watering-place, where a party of men were filling casks. Mr. Gore, the Second Lieutenant, had been sent out in the morning with a boat, to dredge for oysters at the head of the bay; when he page 294 had performed this service, he went a-shore, and having taken a midshipman with him, and sent the boat away, set out to join the waterers by land. In his way be fell in with a body of two-and-twenty Indians, who followed him, and were often not more than twenty yards distant; when Mr. Gore perceived them so near, he stopped, and faced about, upon which they stopped also; and when he went on again, continued their pursuit: they did not, however, attack him, though they were all armed with lances, and he and the midshipman got in safety to the watering-place. The Indians, who had slackened their pursuit when they came in fight of the main body of our people, halted at about the distance of a quarter of a mile, where they stood still. Mr. Monkhouse, and two or three of the waterers, took it in their heads to march up to them; but seeing the Indians keep their ground till they came pretty near them, they were seized with a sudden fear, very common to the rash and fool-hardy, and made a hasty retreat. This step, which insured the danger that it was taken to avoid, encouraged the Indians, and four of them running forward discharged their lances at the fugitives with such force, that, flying no less than forty yards, they went beyond them. As the Indians did not pursue, our people, recovering their spirits, stopped to collect the lances, when they came up to the place where they lay; upon which the Indians, in their turn, began to retire. Just at this time I came up, with Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and Tupia; and being desirous to convince the Indians that we were neither afraid of them, nor intended them any mischief, we advanced towards them, making signs of expostulation and entreaty, but they could not be persuaded to wait till we could come up. Mr. Gore told us, that he had seen some of them up the bay, who had invited him by signs to come on shore, which he, certainly with great prudence, declined.
The morning of the next day was so rainy, that we were all glad to stay on board. In the afternoon, however, it cleared up, and we made another excursion along the sea-coast to the southward. We went a-shore, and Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander gathered many plants; page 295 but besides these we saw nothing worthy of notice. At our first entering the woods, we met with three of the natives, who instantly ran away; more of them were seen by some of the people, but they all disappeared, with great precipitation, as soon as they found that they were discovered. By the boldness of these people at our first landing, and the terror that seized them at the sight of us afterwards, it appears that they were sufficiently intimidated by our fire-arms; not that we had any reason to think the people much hurt by the small-shot which we were obliged to fire at them, when they attacked us at our coming out of the boat; but they had probably seen the effects of them, from their lurking places, upon the birds that we had shot. Tupia, who was now become a good marksman, frequently strayed from us to shoot parrots, and he told us, that, while he was thus employed, he had once met with nine Indiane who, as soon as they perceived he saw them, ran from him in great confusion and terror.
The next day twelve canoes, in each of which was a single Indian, came towards the watering-place, and were within half a mile of it a considerable time; they were employed in striking fish, upon which, like others that we had seen before, they were so intent that they seemed to regard nothing else. It happened, however, that a party of our people were out a shooting near the place, and one of the men, whose curiosity might at length perhaps be roused, by the report of the fowling-pieces, was observed by Mr. Banks to haul up his canoe. Upon the beach, and go towards the shooting party; in something more than a quarter of an hour he returned, launched his canoe, and went off in her to his companions. This incident makes it probable, that the natives acquired a knowledge of the destructive power of our fire-arms, when we knew nothing of the matter; for this man was not seen by any of the party whose operations he had reconnoitred.
While Mr. Banks was gathering plants near the watering-place, I went with Dr. Solander and Mr. Monkhouse to the head of the bay, that I might examine that part or the country, and make farther attempts to form some connection with the natives. In page 296 our way we met with eleven or twelve small canoes, with each a man in it, probably the same that were afterwards a-breast of the shore, who all made into shoal water upon our approach. We met other Indians on shore the first time we landed, who instantly took to their canoes, and paddled away. We went up the country to some distance, and found the face of it nearly the same with that which has been described already, but the soil was much richer; for instead of sand, I found a deep black mould, which I thought very fit for the production of grain of any kind. In the woods we found a tree which bore fruit, that in colour and shape resembled a cherry; the juice had an agreeable tartness, though but little flavour. We found also interspersed some of the finest meadows in the world; some places, however, were rocky, but these were comparatively few: the stone is sandy, and might be used with advantage for building. When we returned to the boat, we saw some smoke upon another part of the coast, and went thither in hopes of meeting with the people, but at our approach these also ran away. We found six small canoes, and six fires very near the beach, with some muscles roasting upon them, and a few oysters lying near; by this we judged that there had been one man in each canoe, who having picked up some shell-fish had come a-shore to eat it, and made his separate fire for that purpose. We tasted of their cheer, and left them in return some strings of beads, and other things which we thought would please them. At the foot of a tree in this place we found a small well of fresh water, supplied by a spring, and the day being now far spent we returned to the ship. In the evening Mr. Banks made a little excursion with his gun, and found such a number of quails, resembling those in England, that he might have shot as many as he pleased; but his object was variety, and not number.
The next morning, as the wind would not permit me to sail, I sent several parties into the country, to try again whether some intercourse could not be established with the natives. A midshipman, who belonged to one of these parties, having straggled a long way from his companions, met with a very old man page 297 and woman, and some little children; they were sitting under a tree by the water side, and neither party saw the other till they were close together; the Indians shewed signs of fear, but did not attempt to run away. The man happened to have nothing to give them but a parrot that he had shot; this he offered, but they refused to accept it, withdrawing themselves from his hand either through fear or aversion. His stay with them was but short, for he saw several canoes near the beach fishing, and being alone, he feared they might come a-shore and attack him: he said, that these people were very dark coloured, but not black; that the man and woman appeared to be very old, being both greyheaded; that the hair of the man's head was bushy, and his beard long and rough; that the woman's hair was cropped short, and both of them were stark naked. Mr. Monkhouse the Surgeon, and one of the men, who were with another party near the watering-place, also strayed from their companions, and as they were coming out of a thicket observed six Indians standing together, at the distance of about fifty yards. One of them pronounced a word very loud, which was supposed to be a signal, for a lance was immediately thrown at him out of the wood, which very narrowly missed him. When the Indians saw that the weapon had not taken effect, they ran away with the greatest precipitation; but on turning about towards the place whence the lance had been thrown, he saw a young Indian, whom he judged to be about nineteen or twenty years old, come down from a tree, and he also ran away with such speed as made it hopeless to follow him. Mr. Monkhouse was of opinion that he had been watched by these Indians in his passage through the thicket, and that the youth had been stationed in the tree, to discharge the lance at him, upon a signal as he should come by; but however this be, there could be no doubt but that he was the person who threw the lance.
In the afternoon, I went myself with a party over to the north shore, and while some of our people were hauling the seine, we made an excursion a few miles, into the country, proceeding afterwards in the direction of the coast. We found this place without wood, and page 298 somewhat resembling our moors in England; the surface of the ground, however, was covered with thin brush of plants, about as high as the knees: the hills near the coast are low, but others rise behind them, increasing by a gradual ascent to a considerable distance, with marthes and morasses between. When we returned to the boat, we found that our people had canght with the seine a great number of small fish, which are well known in the West-Indies, and which our sailon call Leather-jackets, because their skin is remarkably thick. I had sent the second Lieutenant out in the yawl a striking, and when we got back to the ship, we found that he also had been very successful. He had observed that the large sting-rays, of which there is great plenty in the bay, followed the flowing tide into very shallow water; he therefore took the opportunity of flood, and struck several in not more than two or three feet water; one of them weighed no less than two hundred and forty pounds after his entrails were taken out.
The next morning, as the wind continued northerly I sent out the yawl again, and the people struck one still larger, for when his entrails were taken out he weighed three hundred and thirty-six pounds.
The great quantity of plants which Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander collected in this place induced me to give it the name of Botany Bay. It is situated in the latitude of 34° S. longitude 208° 37′ W. It is capacious, safe, and convenient, and may be known by the land on the sea-coast, which is nearly level, and of a moderate height; in general higher than it is farther inland, with steep rocky cliffs next the sea, which have the appearance of a long island lying close under the shore. The harbour lies about the middle of this land, and in approaching it from the southward, is discovered before the ship comes a-breast of it; but from the northward it is not discovered so soon: the entrance is a little more than a quarter of a mile broad, and lies in W. N. W. To sail into it the southen shore should be kept on board, till the ship is within a small bare island, which lies close under the north shore; within this island the deepest water on page 299 that side is seven fathoms, shallowing to five a good way up. At a considerable distance from the south shore there is a shoal, reaching from the inner south point quite to the head of the harbour; but over towards the north and north-west shore, there is a channel of twelve or fourteen feet at low water, for three or four leagues, up to a place where there is there or four fathoms, but here I found very little fresh water, We anchored near the south shore, about a mile within the entrance, for the convenience of sailing with a southerly wind, and because I thought it the best situation for watering: but I afterwards found a very fine stream on the north shore, in the first sandy cove within the island, before which a ship might lie almost land-locked, and procure wood as well as water in great abundance. Wood indeed is every where plenty, but I saw only two kind which may be considered as timber. These trees are as large, or larger than the English oak, and one of them has not a very different appearance: this is the same that yields the reddish gum like sanguis draconis, and the wood is heavy, hard, and dark-coloured, like lignum vitae; the other grows tall and strait, something like the pine; and the wood of this, which has some resemblance to the live oak of America, is also hard and heavy. There are a few shrubs, and several kinds of the palm; mangroves also grow in great plenty near the head of the bay. The country in general is level, low, and woody, as far as we could see. The woods, as I have before observed, abound with birds of exqursite beauty, particularly of the parrot kind; we found also crows here, exactly the same with those in England. About the head of the harbour, where there are large flats of sand and mud, there is great plenty of waterfowl, most of which were altogether unknown to us: one of the most remarkable was black and white, much larger than a swan, and in shape somewhat resembling a pelican. On these banks of sand and mud there are great quantities of oysters, muscles, cockles, and other shell-fish, which seem to be the principal subsistence of the inhabitants, who go into shoal water with their little canoes, and pick them out with their hands. We did not observe that they eat any of them raw, nor do they page 300 always go on shore to dress them, for they have frequently fires in their canoes for that purpose. They do not however subsist wholly upon this food, for they catch a variety of other fish, some of which they strike with gigs, and some they take with hook and line. All the inhabitants that we saw were stark naked: they did not appear to be numerous, nor to live in societies, but like other animals were scattered about along the coast, and in the woods, Of their manner of life, however, we could know but little, as we were never able to form the least connection with them: after the first contest at our landing, they would never come near enough to parley; nor did they touch a single article of all that we had left at their huts, and the places they frequented, on purpose for them to take away.
During my stay in this harbour, I caused the English colours to be displayed on shore every day and the ship's name, and the date of the year, to be inscribed upon one of the trees near the watering-place.
It is high-water here at the full and change of the moon about eight o'clock, and the tide rises and falls perpendicularly between four and five feet.