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 while the Ship was refitting in Endeavour River: a Description of the adjacent Country, its Inhabitants, and Productions.
In the morning of Monday the 18th, a stage was made from the ship to the shore, which was so bold that she floated at twenty feet distance: two tents were also set up, one for the sick, and the other for stores and provisions, which were landed in the course of the day. We also landed all the empty water casks, and part of the stores. As soon as the tent for the sick was got ready for their reception, they were sent ashore to the number of eight or nine; and the boat was dispatched to haul the seine, in hopes of procuring some fish for their refreshment; but she returned without success. In the mean time, I climbed one of the highest hills among those that over looked the harbour, which afforded by no means a comfortable prospect: the low land near the river is wholly overrun with mangroves, among which the salt water flows, every tide; and the high land appeared to be every where stony and barren. In the mean time Mr. Banks had also taken a walk up the country, and met with the frames of several old Indian houses, and places where they had dressed shell-fish; but they seemed not to have been frequented for some months. Tupia, who had employed himself in angling, and lived intirely upon what he caught, recovered in a surprising degree; but Mr. Green still continued to be extremely ill.
The next morning I got the four remaining guns out of the hold, and mounted them upon the quarterdeck; I also got a spare anchor and anchor-stock ashore, and the remaining part of the stores and ballast that were in the hold: set up the smith's forge, and employed the armourer and his mate to make nails and other necessaries for the repairs of the ship. In the afternoon all the officers stores and the ground tier of water were got out; so that nothing remained in the fore and main hold, but the coals, and a small quantity of stone ballast. This page 343 day Mr. Banks crossed the river to take a view of the country on the other side: he found it consist principally of sand-hills, where he saw some Indian houses, which appeared to have been very lately inhabited. In his walk he met with vast flocks of pigeons and crows: of the pigeons, which were exceedingly beautiful, he shot several, but the crows, which were exactly like those in England, were so shy, that he could not get within reach of them.
On the 20th, we landed the powder, and got out the stone ballast and wood, which brought the ship's draught of water to eight feet ten inches forward, and thirteen feet a-bast; and this I thought, with the difference that would be made by trimming the coals aft, would be sufficient; for I found that the water rose and fell perpendicularly eight feet at the spring-tides: but as soon as the coals were trimmed from over the leak, we could hear the water rush in a little abast the foremast, about three feet from the keel: this determined me to clear the hold intirely. This evening Mr. Banks observed that in many parts of the inlet there were large quantities of pumice stones, which lay at a considerable distance above high-water mark; whither they might have been carried either by the freshes or extraordinary high tides, for there could be no doubt but that they came from the sea.
The next morning we went early to work, and by four o'clock in the afternoon had got out all the coals, cast the moorings loose, and warped the ship a little higher up the harbour to a place which I thought most convenient for laying her a-shore in order to stop the lake. Her draught of water forward was now seven feet nine inches, and abast thirteen feet six inches. At eight o'clock, it being high-water, I hauled her bow close a-shore; but kept her stern a-float, because I was afraid of helping her; it was however necessary to lay the whole of her as near the ground as possible.
At two o'clock in the morning of the 22d, the tide left her, and gave us an opportunity to examine the leak, which we found to be at her floor heads, a little before the starboard fore-chains. In this place the rocks had made their way through four planks, and even into the timbers; three more planks were much page 344 damaged, and the appearance of these breaches was very extraordinary: there was not a splinter to be seen, but all was as smooth, as if the whole had been cut away by an instrument: the timbers in this place were happily very close, and if they had not, it would have been absolutely impossible to have saved the ship. But after all, her preservation depended upon a circumstance still more remarkable: in one of the holes, which was big enough to have funk us, if we had had eight pumps instead of four, and been able to keep them incessantly going, was in great measure plugged up by a fragment of the rock, which, after having made the wound, was left sticking in it; so that the water which at first had gained upon our pumps, was what came in at the interstices, between the stone and the edges of the hole that received it. We found also several pieces of the fothering, which had made their way between the timbers, and in a great measure stopped those parts of the leak which the stone had left open. Upon further examination, we found that, besides the leak, considerable damage had been done to the bottom; great part of the sheathing was gone from under the larboard bow; a considerable part of the false keel was also wanting, and these indeed we had seen swim away in fragments from the vessel, while she lay beating against the rock: the remainder of it was in so shattered a condition that it had better have been gone, and the fore-foot and main keel were also damaged, but not so as to produce any immediate danger: what damage she might have received abast could not yet be exactly known, but we had reason to think it was not much, as but little water made its way into her bottom, while the tide kept below the leak which has already been described. By nine o'clock in the morning the carpenters got to work upon her, while the smiths were busy in making bolts and nails. In the mean time, some of the people were sent on the other side of the water to shoot pigeons for the sick, who at their return reported that they had seen an animal as large as a greyhound, of a slender make, a mouse colour, and extremely swist; they discovered also many Indian houses, and a sine stream of fresh water.page 345
The next morning I sent a boat to haul the seine; but at noon it returned with only three fish, and yet we saw them in plenty leaping about the harbour. This day the Carpenter finished the repairs that were necessary on the starboard side, and at nine o'clock in the evening we heeled the ship the other way, and hauled her off about two feet, for fear of neiping. This day almost every body had seen the animal which the pigeon-shooters had brought an account of the day before; and one of the seamen, who had been rambling in the woods, told us at his return, that he verily believed he had seen the devil. We naturally inquired in what form he had appeared, and his answer was in so singular stile that I shall set down his own words: He was, says John, as large as a one gallon keg, and “very like it: he had horns and wings, yet he crept “so slowly through the grass, that if I had not been afeard I might have touched him.” This formidable apparition we afterwards discovered to have been a bat; and the bats here must be acknowledged to have a frightful appearance, for they are nearly black, and full as large as a partridge; they have indeed no horns, but the sancy of a man who thought he saw the devil might easily supply that defect.
Early on the 24th the carpenters began to repair the sheathing under the larboard bow, where we found two planks cut about half through; and in the mean time I sent a party of men, under the direction of Mr. Gore, in search of refreshments for the sick; this party returned about noon with a few palm-cabbages, and a bunch or two of wild plantains; the plantains were the smallest I had ever seen, and the pulp, though it was well tasted, was full of small stones. As I was walking this morning, at a little distance from the ship, I saw myself one of the animals which had been so often described; it was of a light mouse colour, and in size and shape very much resembling a greyhound; it had a long tail also, which it carried like a greyhound; and I should have taken it for a wild dog, if, instead of running, it had not leaped like a hare or deer; its legs were said to be very slender, and the print of its foot to be like that of a goat; but where I saw it, the grass was so high that the legs were concealed, and the ground page 346 was too hard to receive the track. Mr. Banks also had an imperfect view of this animal, and was of opinion that its species was hitherto unknown.
After the ship was hauled ashore, all the water that came into her of course went backwards; so that, although she was dry forward, she had nine feet water abast. As in this port, therefore, her bottom could not be examined on the inside, I took the advantage of the tide being out, this evening, to get the master and two of the men to go under her, and examine her whole larboard side without. They found the sheathing gone about the floor-heads a-breast of the main-mast, and part of a plank a little damaged; but all agreed that she had received no other material injury. The loss of her sheathing alone was a great misfortune, as the worms would now be let into her bottom, which might expose us to great inconvenience and danger; but as I knew no remedy for the mischief but heaving her down, which would be a work of immense labour and long time, if practicable at all in our present situation, I was obliged to be content. The carpenters, however, continued to work under her bottom in the evening, till they were prevented by the tide: the morning tide did not ebb out far enough to permit them to work at all; for we had only one tolerable high and low tide in four-and-twenty hours, as indeed we had experienced when we lay upon the rock. The position of the ship, which threw the water in her a-bast, was very near depriving the world of all the knowledge which Mr. Banks had endured so much labour, and so many risks to procure; for he had removed the curious collection of plants, which he made during the whole voyage, into the bread-room, which lies in the after part of the ship, as a place of the greatest security; and nobody having thought of the danger to which laying her head so much higher than the stern would expose them, they were this day found under water. Most of them, however, were, by indefatigable care and attention, restored to a state of preservation, but some were entirely spoiled and destroyed.
The 25th was employed in filling water and overhauling the rigging, and at low water the carpenters page 347 finished the repairs under the larboard bow, and every other place which the tide would permit them to come at: some casks were then lashed under her bows, to facilitate her floating; and at night, when it was high water, we endeavoured to heave her off, but without success, for some of the casks that were lashed to her gave way.
The morning of the 26th was employed in getting more casks ready for the same purpose; and in the afternoon we lashed no less than eight-and-thirty under the ship's bottom; but, to our great mortification, these also proved ineffectual, and we found ourselves reduced to the necessity of waiting till the next springtide.
This day some of our gentlemen, who had made an excursion into the woods, brought home the leaves of a plant, which was thought to be the same that in the West Indies is called coccos, but upon trial the roots proved too acrid to be eaten; the leaves, however, were little inferior to spinnage. In the place where these plants were gathered grew plenty of the cabbagetrees, which have occasionally been mentioned before, a kind of wild plantain, the fruit of which was so full of stones as scarcely to be eatable; another fruit was also found, about the size of a small golden pippin, but flatter, and of a deep purple colour; when first gathered from the tree it was very hard and disagreeable, but after being kept a few days became soft, and tasted very much like an indifferent damascene.
The next morning we began to move some of the weight from the after-part of the ship forward, to ease her; in the mean time the Armourer continued to work at the forge, the Carpenter was busy in caulking the ship, and the men employed in filling water and over-hauling the rigging. In the forenoon I went myself in the pinnace up the harbour, and made several hauls with the seine, but caught only between twenty and thirty fish, which were given to the sick and convalescent.
On the 28th Mr. Banks went with some of the seamen up the country, to shew them the plant which in the West Indies is called Indian kalc, and which served us for greens. Tupia had much meliorated the page 348 root of the coccos, by giving them a long dressing in his country oven, but they were so small that we did not think them an object for the ship. In their walk they found one tree which had been notched for the convenience of climbing it, in the same manner with those we had seen in Botany Bay; they saw also many nests of white ants, which resemble those of the East Indies, the most pernicious insects in the world. The nests were of a pyramidical figure, from, a few inches to six feet high, and very much resembled the stones in England, which are said to be monuments of the Druids. Mr. Gore, who was also this day four or five miles up the country, reported that he had seen the footsteps of men, and tracked animals of three or four different forts, but had not been fortunate enough to see either man or beast.
At two o'clock in the morning of the 29th I observed, in conjunction with Mr. Green, an emersion of Jupiter's first satellite; the time here was 2h 18′ 53″, which gave the longitude of this place 214° 42′ 30″ W. its latitude is 15° 26′ S. At break of day I sent the boat again with the seine, and in the afternoon it returned, with as much fish as enabled me to give every man a pound and an half. One of my midshipmen, an American, who was this day abroad with his gun, reported that he had seen a wolf, exactly like those which he had been used to see in his own country, and that he had shot at it, but did not kill it.
The next morning, encouraged by the success of the day before, I sent the boat again to haul the seine, and another party to gather greens; I sent also some of the young gentlemen to take a plan of the harbour, and went myself upon a hill, which lies over the south point, to take a view of the sea. At this time it was low water, and I saw, with great concern, innumerable sand-banks and shoals lying all along the coast in every direction. The innermost: lay about three or four miles from the shore, the outermost extended as far as I could see with my glass, and many of them did but just rise above water. There was some appearance of a passage to the northward, and I had no hope of getting clear but in that direction; for as the wind blows constantly from the S. E. it would have been. page 349 difficult, if not impossible, to return back to the southward.
Mr. Gore reported, that he had this day seen two animals like dogs, of a straw colour, that they ran like a hare, and were about the same size. In the afternoon the people returned from hauling the seine, with still better success than before, for I was now able to distribute two pounds and an half to each man: the greens that had been gathered I ordered to be boiled among the pease, and they made an excellent mess, which, with two copious supplies of fish, afforded us unspeakable refreshment.
The next day, July the 1st, being Sunday, every body had liberty to go a-shore, except one from each mess, who were again sent out with the seine. The seine was again equally successful, and the people who went up the country gave an account of having seen several animals, though none of them were to be caught. They saw a fire also about a mile up the river, and Mr. Gore, the Second Lieutenant, picked up the husk of a cocoa-nut, which had been cast upon the beach, and was full of barnacles; this probably might come from some island to windward, perhaps from the Terra del Espirito Santo of Quiros, as we were now in the latitude where it is said to lie. This day the thermometer in the shade rose to 87, which was higher than it had been at any day since we came upon this coast.
Early the next morning I sent the matter in the pinnace, out of the harbour, to sound about the shoals in the offing, and look for a channel to the northward. At this time we had a breeze from the land, which continued till about nine o'clock, and was the first we had had since our coming into the river. At low water we lashed some empty casks under the ship's bows, having some hope that, as the tides were rising, she would float the next high water. We still continued to fish with great success, and at high water we again attempted to heave the ship off, but our utmost efforts were still ineffectual.
The next day at noon the Master returned, and reported, that he had found a passage out to sea between the shoals, and described its situation. The shoals, he page 350 said, consisted of coral rocks, many of which were dry at low water, and upon one of which he had been a-shore. He found here some cockles, of so enormous a size, that one of them was more than two men could eat, and a great variety of other shell-fish, of which he brought us a plentiful supply. In the evening he had also landed in a bay about three leagues to the northward of our station, where he disturbed some of the natives who were at supper; they all fled with the greatest precipitation at his approach, leaving some fresh sea eggs and a fire ready kindled behind them, but there was neither house nor hovel near the place. We observed, that although the shoals that lie just within light of the coast, abound with shell-fish, which may be easily caught at low water, yet we saw no such shells about the fire-places on shore. This day an allegator was seen to swim about the ship for some time, and at high water we made another effort to float her, which happily succeeded: we found, however, that by lying so long with her head a-ground, and her stern a float, she had sprung a plank between decks, a-breast of the main-chains, so that it was become necessary to lay her a-shore again.
The next morning was employed in trimming her upon an even keel; and in the afternoon, having warped her over, and waited for high water, we laid her a shore on the sand-bank, on the south side of the river; for the damage she had received already from the great descent of the ground, made me afraid to lay her broadside to the shore in the same place from which we had just floated her. I was now very desirous to make another trial to come at her bottom, where the sheathing had been rubbed off; but though she had scarcely four feet water under her, when the tide was out, yet that part was not try.
On the 5th I got one of the Carpenter's crew, a man in whom I could conside, to go down again to the ship's bottom, and examine the place. He reported, that three streaks of the sheathing, about eight feet long, were wanting, and that the main plank had been a little rubbed: this account perfectly agreed with the report of the Master, and others, who had been under her bottom before. I had the comfort, however, to find page 351 the Carpenter of opinion, that this would be of little consequence, and therefore, the other damage being, repaired, she was again floated at high water, and moored along-side the beach, where the stores had been deposited: we then went to work to take the stores on board, and put her in a condition for the sea. This day Mr. Banks crossed to the other side of the harbour, where, as he walked along a sandy beach, he found innumerable fruits, and many of them such as no plants which he had discovered in this country produced; among others were some cocoa-nuts, which Tupia said had been opened by a kind of crab, which, from his description, we judged to be the same that the Dutch call Beurs Krabbe, and which we had not seen in these seas. All the vegetable substances which he found in this place were encrusted with marine productions, and covered with barnacles; a sure sign that they must have come far by sea, and, as the trade-wind blows right upon the shore, probably from Terra del Espirito Santo, which has been mentioned already.
The next morning Mr. Banks, with Lieutenant Gore, and three men, set out in a small boat up the river, with a view to spend two or three days in an excursion, to examine the country, and kill some of the animals which had been so often seen at a distance.
On the 7th I sent the Master again out to sound about the shoals, the account which he brought me of a channel being by no means satisfactory; and we spent the remainder of this day, and the morning of the next, in fishing and other necessary occupations.
About four o'clock in the afternoon Mr. Banks and his party returned, and gave us an account of their expedition. Having proceeded about three leagues among swamps and mangroves, they went up into the country, which they found to differ but little from wht they had seen before; they pursued their course therefore up the river, which at length was contracted into a narrow channel, and was bounded, not by swamps and mangroves, but by steep banks, that were covered with trees of a most beautiful verdure, among which was that which in the West Indies is called Mohoe, or the bark tree, the bibiscus tiliaceus. The land page 352 within was in general low, and had a thick covering of long grass; the soil seemed to be such as promised great fertility, to any who should plant and improve it. In the course of the day Tupia saw an animal, which, by his description, Mr. Banks judged to be a wolf; they also saw three other animals, but could neither catch nor kill one of them, and a kind of bat as large as a partridge; but this also eluded all their diligence and skill. At night they took up their lodging close to the banks of the river, and made a fire, but the musquitos swarmed about them in such numbers, that their quaners were almost untenable; they followed them into the smoke, and almost into the fire, which, hot as the climate was, they could better endure than the stings of these insects, which were an intolerable torment. The fire, the flies, and the want of a better bed than the ground, rendered the night extremely uncomfortable, so that they passed it not in sleep, but in restless wishes for the return of day. With the first dawn they set out in search of game, and, in a walk of many miles, they saw four animals of the same kind, two of which Mr. Banks's greyhound sairly chaced; but they threw him out at a great distance, by leaping over the long thick grass, which prevented his running: this animal was observed not to run upon four legs, but to bound or hop forward upon two, like the Jerbua, or Mus Jaculus. About noon they returned to the boat, and again proceeded up the river, which was soon contracted into a fresh water brook, where, however, the tide rose to a considerable height. As the evening approached it became low water, and it was then so shallow that they were obliged to get out of the boat and drag her along, till they could find a place in which they might, with some hope of rest, pass the night. Such a place at length offered, and while they were getting the things out of the boat, they observed a smoke at the distance of about a furlong: as they did not doubt but that some of the natives, with whom they had so long and earnestly desired to become personally acquainted, were about the fire, three of the party went immediately towards it, hoping that so small a number would not put them to flight: page 353 when they came up to the place, however, they found it deserted, and therefore they conjectured, that before they had discovered the Indians, the Indians had discovered them. They found the fire still burning, in the hollow of an old tree that was become touch-wood, and several branches of trees newly broken down, with which children appeared to have been playing: they observed also many footsteps upon the sand, below high water mark, which were certain indications that the Indians had been recently upon the spot. Several houses were found at a little distance, and some ovens dug in the ground in the same manner as those of Otaheite, in which victuals appeared to have been dressed, since the morning, and, scattered about them, lay some shells of a kind of clam, and some fragments of roots, the refuse of the meal. After regretting their disappointment, they repaired to their quarters, which was a broad sand-bank, under the shelter of a bush. Their bed were plantain leaves, which they spread upon the sand, and which were as soft as a mattress; their cloaks served them for bed-clothes, and some bunches of grass for pillows; with these accommodations they hoped to pass a better night than the last, especially as, to their great comfort, not a musquito was to be seen. Here then they lay down, and, such is the force of habit, they resigned themselves to sleep, without once reflecting upon the probability and danger of being found by the Indians in that situation. If this appears strange, let us for a moment reflect, that every danger, and every calamity, after a time becomes familiar, and loses its effect upon the mind. If it were possible that a man should first be made acquainted with his mortality, or even with the inevitable debility and infirmities of old age, when his understanding had arrived at its full strength, and life was endeared by the enjoyments of youth, and vigour, and health, with what an agony of terror and distress would the intelligence be received I yet, being gradually acquainted with these mournful truths, by insensible degrees, we scarce know when, they lose all their force, and we think no more of the approach of old age and death, than these wanderers of an unknown desert did of a less obvious and certain evil, page 354 the approach of the native savages, at a time when they must have fallen an easy prey to their malice or their fears: and it is remarkable, that the greater part of those who have been condemned to suffer a violent death, have slept the night immediately preceding their execution; though there is, perhaps, no instance of a person accosed of a capital crime having flept the first night of his confinement. Thus is the evil of life in some degree a remedy for itself; and though every man at twenty deprecates fourscore, almost every man is as tenacious of life at fourscore as at twenty; and if he does not suffer under any painful disorder, loses as little of the comforts that remain, by reflecting that he is upon the brink of the grave, where the earth already crumbles under his feet, as he did of the pleasures of his better days, when his dissolution, though certain, was supposed to be at a distance.
Our travellers having slept, without once awaking, till the morning, examined the river, and finding the tide favoured their return, and the country promised nothing worthy of a farther search, they re-imbarked in their boat, and made the best of their way to the ship.
Soon after the arrival of this party, the Master also returned, having been several leagues out to sea, and he was now of opinion, that there was no getting out where before he thought there had been a passage; his expedition, however, was by no means without its advantage; for having been a second time upon the rock where he had seen the large cockles, he met with a great number of turtle, three of which he caught, that together weighed seven hundred and ninety-one pounds, though he had no better instrument than a boat-hook.
The next morning, therefore, I sent him out again, with proper instruments for taking them, and Mr. Banks went with him; but the success did not at all answer our expectations, for, by the unaccountable conduct of the officer, not a single turtle was taken, nor could he be persuaded to return. Mr. Banks, however, went a-shore upon the reef, where he saw several of the large cockles, and having collected many shells, and marine productions, he returned at eleven page 355 o'clock at night, in his own small boat, the Master still continuing with the large one upon the rock. In the, afternoon seven or eight of the natives had appeared on the south side of the river, and two of them came down to the sandy point, opposite to the ship; but upon seeing me put off in a boat to speak with them, they all ran away with the grearest precipitation.
As the Master continued absent with the boat all night, I was forced to send the Second Lieutenant for him early the next morning in the yawl; and soon after four of the natives appeared upon the sandy point, on the north side of the river, having with them a small wooden canoe with outriggers. They seemed for some time to be busily employed in striking fish. Some of our people were for going over to them in a boat, but this I would by no means permit, repeated experience having convinced me that it was more likely to prevent than procure an interview. I was determined to try what could be done by a contrary method, and accordingly let them alone, without appearing to take the least notice of them. This succeeded so well, that at length two of them came in the canoe within musket shot of the ship, and there talked a great deal in a very loud tone. We understood nothing that they said, and therefore could answer their harangue only by shouting, and making all the signs of invitation and kindness that we could devise. During this conference, they came insensibly nearer and nearer, holding up their lances, not in a threatening manner, but as if to intimate, that if we offered them any injury they had weapons to revenge it. When they were almost along-side of us, we threw them some cloth, nails, beads, paper, and other trifles, which they received without the least appearance of satisfaction. At last, one of the people happened to throw them a small fish; at this they expressed the greatest joy imaginable, and intimating by signs that they would fetch their companions, immediately paddled away towards the shore. In the mean time some of our people, and among them Tupia, landed on the opposite side of the river. The canoe, with all the four Indians, very soon returned to the ship, and came quite alongside, page 356 without expressing any fear or distrust. We distributed some more presents among them, and soon after they left us, and landed on the same side of the river where our people had gone a-shore: every man carried in his hand two lances, and a stick, which is used in throwing them, and advanced to the place where Tupia and the rest of our people were sitting. Tupia soon prevailed upon them to lay down their arms, and come forward without them; he then made signs that they should sit down by him, with which they complied, and seemed to be under no apprehension or constraint; several more of us then going a-shore, they expressed some jealousy lest we should get between them and their arms; we took care, however, to shew them that we had no such intention, and having joined them, we made them some more presents, as a farther testimony of our good-will, and our desire to obtain theirs. We continued together, with the utmost cordiality, till dinner-time, and then, giving them to understand that we were going to eat, we invited them by signs to go with us; this, however, they declined, and as soon as we left them, they went away in their canoe. One of these men was somewhat above the middle age, the other three were young; they were in general of the common stature, but their limbs were remarkably small; their skin was of the colour of wood-foot, or what would be called a dark chocolate colour; their hair was black, but not woolly; it was short cropped, in some lank, and in others curled. Dampier says, that the people whom he saw on the western coast of this country wanted two of their fore-teeth, but these had no such defect; some part of their bodies had been painted red, and the upper lip and breast of one of them was painted with streaks of white, which he called Carbanda; their features were far from being disagreeable, their eyes were lively, and their teeth even and white, their voices were soft and tuneable, and they repeated many words after us with great facility. In the night Mr. Gore and the Master returned with the long-boat, and brought one turtle and a few shell-fish. The yawl had been left upon the shoal with six men, to make a farther trial for turtle.page 357
The next morning we had another visit from four of the natives, three of them had been with us before, but the fourth was a stranger, whose name, as we learned from his companions who introduced him, was YAPARICO. This gentleman was distinguished by an ornament of a very striking appearance, it was the bone of a bird, nearly as thick as a man's finger, and five or six inches long, which he had thrust into a hole, made in the gristle that divides the nostrils; of this we had seen one instance, and only one, in New Zealand; but, upon examination, we found, that among all these people this part of the nose was perforated, to receive an ornament of the same kind. They had also holes in their ears, though nothing was then hanging to them, and had bracelets upon the upper part of their arms, made of plaited hair, so that, like the inhabitants of Terra del Fuego, they seem to be fond of ornament, though they are absolutely without apparel; and one of them, to whom I had given part of an old shirt, instead of throwing it over any part of his body, tied it as a fillet round his head. They brought with them a fish, which they gave us, as we supposed, in return for the fish that we had given them the day before. They seemed to be much pleased, and in no haste to leave us; but seeing some of our gentlemen examine their canoe with great curiosity and attention, they were alarmed, and jumping immediately into it, paddled away without speaking a word.
About two the next morning the yawl, which had been left upon the shoal, returned with three turtles, and a large skeat. As it seemed now probable that this fishery might be prosecuted with advantage, I sent her out again, after breakfast, for a further supply. Soon after three Indians ventured down to Tupia's tent, and were so well pleased with their reception, that one of them went with the canoe to fetch two others, whom we had never seen: when he returned, he introduced the strangers by name, a ceremony which, upon such occasions, was never omitted. As they had received the fish that was thrown into their canoe, when they first approached the ship, with so much pleasure, some fish was offered to them now, and we were greatly surprized page 358 to see that it was received with the greatest indifference: they made signs, however, to some of the people, that they should dress it for them, which was immediately done; but after eating a little of it, they threw the rest to Mr. Banks's dog. They staid with us all the forenoon, but would never venture above, twenty yards from their canoe. We now perceived that the colour of their skin was not so dark as it appeared, what we had taken for their complexion, being the effects of dirt and smoke, in which, we imagined, they contrived to sleep, notwithstanding the beat of the climate, as the only means in their power to keep off the musquitos. Among other things that we had given them when we first saw them, were some medals, which we had hung round their necks by a riband; and these ribands were so changed by smoke, that we could not easily distinguish of what colour they had been. This incident led us more narrowly to examine the colour of their skin. While these people were with us, we saw two others on the point of land that lay on the opposite side of the river, at the distance of about two hundred yards, and by our glasses discovered them to be a woman and a boy; the woman, like the rest, being stark naked. We observed, that all of them were remarkably clean limbed, and exoeedingly active and nimble. One of these strangers had a necklace of shells, very prettily made, and a bracelet upon his arm, formed of several strings, so as to resemble what in England is called gymp: both of them had a piece of bark tied over the forehead, and were disfigured by the bone in the nose. We thought their language more harsh than that of the Islanders in the South Sea, and they were continually repeating the word chercau, which we imagined to be a term expressing admiration, by the manner in which it was uttered: they also cried out, when they saw any thing new, cher, tut, tut, tut, tut! which probably had a similar signification. Their canoe was not above ten feet long, and very narrow, but it was fitted with an outrigger, much like those of the islands, though in every respect very much inferior: when it was in shallow water they set it on with poles, and when in deep they worked it with paddles about four feet long; it contained just four people, so that the people who visited page 359 us to-day, went away at two turns. Their lances were like those that we had seen in Botany Bay, except that they had but a single point, which in some of them was the sting of the ray, and barbed with two or three sharp bones of the same fish: it was indeed a most terrible weapon, and the instrument which they used in throwing it, seemed to be formed with more art than any we had seen before. About twelve o'clock next day the yawl returned, with another turtle and a large sting-ray, and in the evening was sent out again.
The next morning two of the Indians came on board, but after a short stay went along the shore, and applied themselves with great diligence to the striking of fish. Mr. Gore, who went out this day with his gun, had the good fortune to kill one of the animals which had been so much the subject of our speculation; an idea of it will be best conceived by the cut, page 345, without which the most accurate verbal description would answer very little purpose, as it has not similitude enough to any animal already known, to admit of illustration by reference. In form it is most like the gerbua, which it also resembles in its motion, as has been observed already; but it greatly differs in size, the gerbua not being larger than a common rat, and this animal, when full grown, being as big as a sheep; this individual was a young one, much under its full growth, weighing only thirty-eight pounds; the head, neck, and shoulders are very small, in proportion to the other parts of the body; the tail is nearly as long as the body, thick near the rump, and tapering towards the end; the fore-legs of this individual were only eight inches long, and the hind-legs two-and-twenty; its progress is by successive leaps or hops, of a great length, in an erect posture; the fore-legs are kept bent close to the breast, and seemed to be of use only for digging; the skin is covered with a short fur, of a dark mouse or grey colour, excepting the head and ears, which bear a slight resemblance to those of a hare. This animal is called by the natives Kanguroo.
The next day our kanguroo was dressed for dinner, and proved most excellent meat. We might now indeed be said to fare sumptuously every day, for we had turtle in great plenty, and we all agreed that they were page 360 much better than any we had tasted in England, which we imputed to their being eaten fresh from the sea, before their natural fat had been wasted, or their juices changed, by a diet and situation so different from what the sea affords them, as garbage and a tub. Most of those that we caught here were of the kind called green turtle, and weighed from two to three hundred weight, and when these were killed, they were always found to be full of turtle grass, which our naturalists took to be a kind of conferva; two of them were loggerheads, the flesh of which was much less delicious, and in their storoachs nothing was to be found but shells.
In the morning of the 16th, while the people were employed, as usual, in getting the ship ready for the sea, I climbed one of the hills on the north side of the river, from which I had an extensive view of the inland country, and found it agreeably diversified by hills, vallies, and large plains, which in many places were richly covered with wood. This evening we observed an emersion of Jupiter's first satellite, which gave 214° 53′ 45″ of longitude. The observation which was made on the 29th of June gave 214° 42′ 30″; the mean is 214° 48′ 72″, the longitude of this place west of Greenwich.
On the 17th I sent the Master and one of the Mates in the pinnace, to look for a channel to the northward, and I went myself with Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander into the woods, on the other side of the water. Tupia, who had been thither by himself, reported, that he had seen three Indians, who had given him some roots about as thick as a man's finger, in shape not much unlike a raddish, and of a very agreeable taste. This induced us to go over, hoping that we should be able to improve our acquaintance with the natives: in a very little time we discovered four of them in a canoe, who as soon as they saw us came a-shore, and, though they were all strangers, walked up to us, without any signs of suspicion or fear. Two of these had necklaces of shells which we could not persuade them to part with for any thing we could give them: we presented them however with some beads, and after a short page 361 stay they departed. We attempted to follow them, hoping that they would conduct us to some place where we should find more of them, and have an opportunity of seeing their women; but they made us understand by signs, that they did not desire our company.
At eight o'clock the next morning we were visited by several of the natives, who were now become quite familiar. One of them, at our desire, threw his lance, which was about eight feet long: it flew with a swift-ness and steadiness that surprised us, and though it was never more than four feet from die ground, it entered deeply into a tree at fifty paces distance. After this they ventured on board, where I left them, to all appearance much entertained, and went again with Mr. Banks to take a view of the country; but chiefly to indulge an anxious curiosity, by looking round us upon the sea, of which our wishies almost persuaded us we had formed an idea more disadvantageous than the truth, After having walked about seven or eight miles along the shore to the northward, we ascended a very high hill, and were soon convinced that the danger of our situation was at lead equal to our apprehensions; for in whatever direction we turned our eyes, we saw rocks and shoals without number, and no passage out to sea, but through the winding channels between them, which could not be navigated without the last degree of difficulty and danger. We returned therefore to the ship, not in better spirits than when we left it; we found several natives still on board, and we were told that the turtles, of which we had then no less than twelve upon the deck, had fixed their attention more than any thing else in the ship.
On the 19th in the morning we were visited by ten of the natives, the greater part from the other side of the river, where we saw six or seven more, most of them women, and, like all the rest of the people we had seen in this country, they were stark naked. Our guests brought with them a greater number of lances than they had ever done before, and having laid them up in a tree, they set a man and a boy to watch them: the rest then came on board, and we soon perceived page 362 that they had determined to get one of our turtle, which was probabl as great a dainty to them as to us. They first asked us, by signs, to give them one; and being refused, they expressed, both by looks and gestures. great disappointmsnt and anger. At this time we happened to have no victuals dressed, but I offered one of them some biscuit, which he snatched and threw overboard with great, disdain. One of them renewed his request to Mr. Banks, and upon a refusal stamped with his foot, and pushed him from him in a transport of resentment and indignation: having applied by turns to almost every person who appeared to have any command in the ship, without success, they suddenly seized two of the turtles, and dragged them, towards the side of the ship where their canoe lay: our people soon forced them out of their hands, and replaced them with the rest. They would not however relinquish their enter prise, but made several other attempts of the same kind, in all which being equally disappointed, they suddenly leaped into their canoe in a rage, and began to paddle towards the shore. At the same time, I went into the boat with Mr. Banks, and five or six of the ship's crew, and we got ashore before them, where many more of our people were already engaged in various employments; as soon as they landed, they seized their arms, and, before we were aware of their design, they snatched a brand from under a pitch kettle which was boiling, and making a circuit to the windward of the few things we had on shore, they set fire to the grass in their way, with surprising quickness and dexterity: the grass, which was five or six feet high, and as dry as stubble, burnt with amazing fury; and the fire made a rapid progress towards a tent of Mr. Banks's, which had been set up for Tupia when he was sick, taking in its course a sow and pigs, one of which it scorched to death. Mr. Banks leaped into a boat, and fetched some people from on board, just time enough to save his tent, by hauling it down upon the beach; but the smith's forge, at least such part of it as would burn, was consumed. While this was doing, the Indians went to a place at some distance where several of our people were washing, and where our nets, among which was page 363 the seine, and a great quantity of linen, were laid out to dry; here they again set fire to the grass, entirely disregarding both treats and entreaties. We were therefore obliged to discharge a musquet, loaded with small shot. at one of them, which drew blood at the distance of about forty yards, and this putting them to flight, we extinguished the fire at this place before it had made much progress; but where the grass had been first kindled, it spnead into the woods to a great distance. As the Indians were still in sight, I fired a mousquet, charged with ball, a-breast of them among the mangroves, to convince them that they were not yet out of our reach: upon hearing the ball they quickened their pace, and we soon lost sight of them. We thought they would now give us no more trouble; but soon after we heard their voices in the woods, and perceived that they came nearer and nearer. I set out, therefore, with Mr. Banks and three or four more, to meet them: when our parties came in sight of each other, they halted, except one old man, who came forward to meet us: at length he stopped, and having uttered some words, which we were very sorry we could not under-stand, he went back to his companions, and the whole body slowly retreated. We found means however to seize tome of their darts, and continued to follow them about a mile: we then sat down upon some rocks, from which we could observe their motions, and they also sat down at about an hundred yards distance. After a short times, the old man again advanced towards us, carrying in his hand a lance without a point: he stopped several times, at different distances, and spoke; we answered by reckoning and making such signs of amity as we could devise; upon which the messenger of peace, as we supposed him to be, turned and spoke aloud to his companions, who then set up their lances against a tree, and advanced towards us in a friendly manner: when they came up, we returned the darts or lances that we had taken from them, and we perceived with great satissaction that this rendered the reconciliation compleat. We found in this party four persons whom we had never seen before, who as usual were introduced to us by name; but the man who had been wounded in the attempt page 364 to burn our nets and linen, was not among them; we knew however that he could not be dangerously hurt, by the distance at which the shot reached him. We made all of them presents of such trinkets as we had about us, and they walked back with us towards the ship: as we went along, they told us, by signs, that they would not set fire to the grass any more; and we distributed among them some musquet balls, and endeavoured to make them understand their use and effect. When they came a-breast of the ship, they sat down, but could not be prevailed upon to come on board; we therefore left them, and in about two hours they went away, soon after which we perceived the woods on fire at about two miles distance. If this accident had happened a very little while sooner, the consequence might have been dreadful; for our powder had been aboard but a few days, and the store tent, with many valuable things which it contained, had not been removed many hours. We had no idea of the fury with which grass would burn in this hot climate, nor consequently of the difficulty of extinguishing it; but we determined, that if it should ever again be necessary for us to pitch our tents in such a situation, our first measure should be to clear the ground round us.
In the afternoon we got every thing on board the ship, new birthed her, and let her swing with the tide; and at night the Master returned, with the discouraging account that there was no passage for the ship to the northward.
The next morning, at low water, I went and sounded, and buoyed the bar, the ship being now ready for the sea. We saw no Indians this day, but all the hills round us for many miles were on fire, which at night made a most striking and beautiful appearance.
The 21st passed without our getting sight of any of the inhabitants, and indeed without a single incident worth notice. On the 22d we killed a turtle for the day's provision, upon opening which we found a wooden harpoon, or turtle-peg, about as thick as a man's finger, near fifteen inches long, and bearded at the end, such as we had seen among the natives, sticking through both shoulders: it appeared to have been page 365 struck a considerable time, for the wound had perfectly healed up over the weapon.
Early in the morning of the 23d I sent some people into the country to gather a supply of the greens which have been before-mentioned by the name of Indian Kale; and one of them having straggled from the rest, suddenly fell in with four Indians, three men and a boy, whom he did not see till, by turning short in the wood, he found himself among them. They had kindled a fire, and were broiling a bird of some kind, and part of a kanguroo, the remainder of which, and a cock atoo, hung at a little distance upon a tree: the man, being unarmed, was at first greatly terrified; but he had the presence of mind not to runaway, judging very rightly, that he was most likely to incur danger by appearing to apprehend it; on the contrary, he went and sat down by them, and, with an air of chearfulness and good humour, offered them his knife, the only thing he had about him which he thought would be acceptable to them; they received it, and having handed it from one to the other, they gave it him again: he then made an offer to leave them; but this they seemed not disposed to permit: still however he dissembled his fears, and sat down again; they considered him with great attention and curiosity, particularly his clothes, and then felt his hands and face, and satisfied themselves that his body was of the same texture with their own. They treated him with the greatest civility, and having kept him about half an hour, they made signs that he might depart: he did not wait for a second dismission, but when he lest them, not taking the direct way to the ship, they came from their fire and directed him; so that they well knew whence he came.
In the mean time, Mr. Banks, having made an excursion on the other side of the river to gather plants, found the greatest part of the cloth that had been given to the Indians lying in a heap together, probably as useless lumber, not worth carrying away: and perhaps, if he had sought further, he might have found the other trinkets; for they seemed to set very little value upon any thing we had, except our page 366 turtle, which was a commodity that we were least able to spare.
The blowing weather, which prevented our attempt to get out to sea, still continuing, Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander went again out on the 24th to see whether any new plant could be picked up: they traversed the wood all day without success; but as they were returning through a deep valley, the sides of which, though al most as perpendicular as a wall, were covered with trees and bushes; they found lying upon the ground Several marking nuts, the Anacardium Orientale; these pat them upon a new scent, and they made a most dilvgent search after the tree that bore them, which perhaps no European botanist ever saw; but to their great mortification they could not find it: so that, after spending much sime, and cutting down four or five trees, they returned quite exhauited with fatigue to the ship.
On the 25th, having made an excursion up the river, I found a canoe belonging to our friends the Indians, whom we had not seen since the affair of the turtle; they had left it tied to some mangroves, about a mile distant from the ship, and I could see by their fires that they were retired at least six miles directly inland.
As Mr. Banks was again gleaning the country for his Natural History on the 26th, he had the good fortune to take an animal of the Opoffam tribe: it was a female, and with it he took two young ones: it was found much to resemble the remarkable animal of the kind, which Mons, de Buffon has described in his Natural History by the name of Pharanger, but it was not the same. Mons. Buffon supposes this tribe to be peculiar to America, but in this he is certainly mistaken; and probably, as Pallas has observed in his Zoology, the Phalanger itself is a native of the East Indies, as the animal which was caught by Mr. Banks resembled it in the extraordinary conformation of the feet, in which it differs from animals of every other tribe.
On the 27th Mr. Gore shot a kanguroo, which, with the skin, entrails, and head, weighed eighty-four pounds. Upon examination, however, we found that this animal was not at its full growth, the innermost grinders not page 367 being yet formed. We dressed it for dinner the next day; but to our great disappointment, we found it had a much worse flavour than we had eaten before.
The wind continued in the same quarter, and with the same violence, till five o'clock in the morning of the 29th, when it sell calm; soon after a light breeze sprung up from the land, and it being about two hours ebb, I sent a boat to see what water was upon the bar; in the mean time we got the anchor up, and made all ready to put to sea. But when the boat came back, the officer reported that there were only thirteen feet water upon the bar, which was six inches lese than the ship drew. We were therefore obliged to come to, and the sea breeze setting in again about eight o'clock, we gave up all hope of sailing that day.
We had fresh gales at S. E. with hazy weather and rain, till two in the morning of the 31st, when the weather being somewhat more moderate, I had thoughts of trying to warp the ship out of the harbour; but upon going out myself first in the boat, I found it still blow too fresh for the attempt. During all this time the pinnace and yawl continued to ply the net and hook with tolerable success; sometimes taking a turtle, and frequently bringing in from two to three hundred weighs of fish.
On the first of August the Carpenter examined the pumps, and, to our great mortification, found them all in a state of decay, owing, as he said, to the sap's having been lest in the wood; one of them was so rotten as, when hoisted up, to drop to pieces, and the rest were little better; so that our chief trust was now in the soundness of our vessel, which happily did not admit more than one inch of water in an hour.
At six o'clock in the morning of Friday the 3d we made another unsuccessful attempt to warp the ship out of the harbour; but at five o'clock in the morning of the 4th, our efforts had a better effect, and about even, we got once more under sail, with a light air from the land, which soon died away, and was followed by the sea-breezes from S. E. by S. with which we stood off to sea E. by N. having the pinnace a-head, which was ordered to keep sounding continually. The yawl had been sent to the turtle bank, to take up the page 368 net which had been left there; but as the wind freshened, we got out before her. A little before noon we anchored in fifteen fathoms water, with a sandy bottom; for I did not think it safe to run in among the shoals, till I had well viewed them, at low-water, from the mast-head, which might determine me which way to steer: for as yet I was in doubt whether I should beat back to the southward, round all the shoals, or seek a passage to the eastward or the northward, all which at present appeared to be equally difficult and dangerous. When we were at anchor the harbour from which we sailed bore S. 70 W. distant about five leagues; the northernmost point of the main in fight, which I named Cape Bedford, and which lies in latitude 15° 16′ S. longitude 214° 45′ W. bore N. 20 W. distant three leagues and a half; but to the N. E. of this Cape we could see land which had the appearance of two high isands: the turtle banks bore east, distant one mile: our latitude by observation was 15° 33′ S. and our depth of water in standing off from the land was from three and an half to fifteen fathoms.