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Murihiku: A History of the South Island of New Zealand and the Islands Adjacent and Lying to the South, from 1642 to 1835

CHAPTER XVII. — Bellingshausen at Queen Charlotte Sound, 1820

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Bellingshausen at Queen Charlotte Sound, 1820.

ALEXANDER I., Czar of Russia, in March, 1819, decided to despatch two scientific expeditions, one to visit the northern polar seas, the other the southern. The command of the latter, in which we are interested, was given to Commodore Roschmanow, but that officer having been shipwrecked and thereby broken in health, the command was handed over to Thaddaus Bellingshausen.

The expedition consisted of two vessels, the corvette Wostok, under Bellingshausen personally, and the sloop Mirny, 530 tons, under Lasarew, an officer who had obtained his sea training in the British marine. Both these men had already circumnavigated the Globe and both were men of the highest experience.

Bellingshausen sailed from Sydney on 8th May, 1820, intending to round the north coast of New Zealand and make for the Society Islands, as he did not anticipate fresh discoveries in the neighbourhood of Australia. Opara was selected as the rendezvous. After leaving Sydney however, he met with such persistently adverse weather that he had to abandon his idea of passing to the north of New Zealand, change the rendezvous to Queen Charlotte Sound, and steer for the entrance of Cook Strait.

Copies of Bellingshausen's work in Russian are very rare. The author has only had an opportunity of examining one, in the British Museum, and he is not aware of any in Australasia. In 1904, in Germany, there was published an abridged translation of the original Russian, and this work can be readily procured to-day. No English translation has been made and the references to Bellingshausen in English books are exceedingly few and very page 236 meagre in detail. On that account the author has had a translation made from the Russian, of the voyage from the time of sighting the coast of New Zealand until the departure from Queen Charlotte Sound, and from the German copy, of the remainder of the voyage until clear of the coast.

“Having lost much time in waiting for a favourable wind I decided not to run any longer the risk of a similar failure. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon (23rd May, 1820) a signal was given to the sloop Mirny (The Peaceful) to follow us eastwards, and I entered the Sound of Captain Cook, which divides New Zealand into two parts, the Northern and Southern.

“At midnight the wind had abated. The night was clear and the sky strewn with stars, whilst on the eastern horizon clouds gathered, sometimes torn by lightning. We guessed that the clouds were over the shore.

“At dawn (24th) we perceived at a short distance from the sloop several fires; the shore appeared nearer than we had imagined, and we therefore kept more southwards, directing our course in parallel line with the shore. At seven o'clock, when it became quite light we were in sight of New Zealand covered with clouds. Although the majestic Mount Egmont could be quite distinctly discerned, its summit was cloudcapped and snow was underneath the clouds. The sloping shore surrounding this southern giant was covered in many places with trees and bushes. The morning dew spread over the sloping valleys, and on various spots of the shore, smoke, carried in the direction of the wind, served as the only sign indicating the existence of a small settlement.

“At midday on the 25th we found that the place was 39° 47′ 38″ southern latitude and 174° 58′ 56″ eastern longitude, the promontory of the Egmont was therefore 39° 19′ 40″ southern latitude and 173° 47′ 45″ eastern longitude. According to the observations made on the Mirny, it was 39° 24′ latitude and 173° 57′ 30″ longitude. The difference in the observation is evidently due to the page 237 fact that, Cape Egmont being round, one cannot find a specially proper spot for observations.

“Mount Egmont itself is 39° 14′ 40″ southern latitude, and 174° 13′ 45″ eastern longitude. According to observations made on the sloop Mirny it is 39° 15′ 30″ and 174° 14′. The wind was favourable till 4 o'clock in the afternoon when it turned southwards and increasing considerably compelled us to play windward. Around the sloop a number of dippers (goosanders) were plunging and swimming. The compass on our entry into the sound shewed 13° 1′ Eastern.

“In the morning of the 26th of May the wind increased so that at 8 o'clock it blew with such vehemence that we were compelled to take in two reefs from the topsail. At that moment our course was directed S.W. According to our observations Cape Stephens was 40° 43′ 10″ southern latitude and 177° 3′ 20″ eastern longitude. The private map of Captain Cook showed the figures of 40° 36′ 10″ and 174° 53′ 40″. The difference is certainly considerable. The position has evidently been determined by triangles and not by astronomical observations. The southern shore or the Cook Sound forms several bays covered with islets and shores. The shores of these bays consist of pointed ridges, rising one above the other, and the highest of them covered with snow, whilst those nearest the sea are covered with trees and bushes, especially in the gorges. At half past twelve we came quite near to the stones lying in front of Admiralty Bay, and tacked about to the right, N.E.

“At four o'clock Mount Egmont was quite clear of the clouds; it was at a distance of 87.3 miles and we could only see its majestic silvery summit rising above the horizon. During his second voyage round the globe Captain Cook was at this promontory on October 6th, 1774, and he writes: ‘We perceived at S.E.½E. Mount Egmont covered with eternal snow and at a distance of eight miles from us. The mountain has a magnificient aspect and is not lower page 238 than the famous Cape Teneriffe, which, according to the statements of M. de Bordeau, measures 12,199 feet in height.’

“Mr. Forster, the companion of Captain Cook, in his capacity of naturalist makes the following statement: ‘In France under the northern latitude of 46° eternal snow is to be found on elevation of 3,280 or 3,400 yards above the surface of the sea.’ But as in the course of the experiments made by Mr. Forster, in the equal latitudes of the southern and northern hemispheres, he found that the cold is severer in the first, the climate of the Mount Egmont, situated in 39° of the southern latitude, being equal to that of France in 46° northern latitude, the snow line on the Mount Egmont is therefore according to our Mr. Forster's calculations situated at a height of 3,280 yards; and as a third of the mountain is covered with snow, the height of the mountain must therefore be 14,760 English feet.

“I do not think that these calculations are quite reliable. It is a well-known fact that in summer eternal snow is to be found in the Northern Hemisphere on the coast of Greenland on the very horizon, whilst at the same period and in the same latitude no snow is to be found on the Norwegian mountains. At the northern latitude of 48°, I met an ice block on May 27th, 1805, at the Island of Sakhalin. This latitude corresponds to that of the Bay of Biscay, where no one has ever encountered an ice block. It will therefore be evident that it is quite impossible to fix the height of the mountains from the snow lines.

“Captain Cook, as well as our compatriots on the vessels of the Russo-American Company, have found no ice in the Cook River, or in the so-called Bay of Kenay (?), whilst there is eternal snow on the very horizon in Greenland, in a corresponding latitude. This fact simply proves the difference of temperature in the air at the surface of the sea in the same hemisphere. I therefore think that it is quite impossible to determine the height of a mountain according to the snow line, with the exception of those page 239 mountains which are situated on various islands at a short distance from each other.

“Thus when one mountain is situated on an island, whilst another is on the shore of the mainland, the snowlines on both mountains will be unequal; the shore, warmed in the course of the day by the sun's rays, communicates the heat to the air and thus causes the snowline of the mountains on the mainland to rise, whilst on the other hand the sea is receiving and communicating less heat, and the snowline of mountains on the shore is therefore lower.

“Mr. Forster, basing his calculations upon these unreliable comparisons between the hemispheres, determines the height of Mount Egmont as 14,760 feet, much more than it in reality is. M. Savadovsky made astronomical measurements during our voyage and fixed the height of Mount Egmont at 9,947 English feet, above the surface of the sea. M. Lazarew fixed it at 8,232 feet, and in spite of the difference between these two figures it is in any case much lower than that accepted by Forster and Captain Cook who compare it to Cape Teneriffe.

“Towards the evening the wind abated, and during the night and the following day, i.e., Thursday the 27th, we continually endeavoured to keep in the middle of the Sound, as it was raining and the shores were wrapt in darkness. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon two green parrots appeared on the sloop Wostok from which we derived a great deal of entertainment. They also visited the sloop Mirny but could not be caught, and returned on shore. We saw one penguin, a number of dippers and small sea pigs.

“We sailed on boldly relying upon the private map of the Sound of Queen Charlotte, made by Captain Cook during his first voyage. At four o'clock in the afternoon (28th May), on account of the unfavourable wind, currents, and the approaching darkness. I cast anchor on the northwestern side of the island Mothuareau (Motuara) on a depth of 9 sazhens where the bottom was slimy.

“We were at that moment surrounded by high, steep mountains, mostly covered with forest. Towards the north page 240 we perceived the southern slope of the northern part of New Zealand, also rather high. On the western side we perceived a fenced-in space and apparently inhabited. Soon afterwards two boats approached us from this side, one containing 23 men and the other 16. Over the stern side of the boats rose a rectangular squared beam of about 6 feet. The oars were like shovels, like those employed by all the inhabitants on the shores of the Southern Sea, and painted dark red. The men were rowing two and two. When they reached a distance of a few sazhen from our vessel they stopped. One of them rose and gesticulating wildly, pronounced a loud speech. We understood nothing of course of what he was talking, and I answered with the universally accepted signs of peace and friendship. I waved a white flag and asked them to approach. The islanders consulted among themselves and at last approached our vessel. I invited the old man who had delivered the speech, and who appeared to be their chief, to come on board. He came trembling and seemed quite lost. I treated him in an amiable manner, made him a present of a few trifles, such as glass beads, a mirror, printed linen, a knife. He was greatly delighted with these presents. I then explained to him that I wanted some fish, pronouncing the word in New Zealandese (giyka) fish. He at once understood me, laughed aloud and communicated my request to his comrades, pronouncing the word giyka. All the men in the boat seemed very pleased at it, they also repeated the same word and clearly expressed their readiness to serve us. When it grew dark they hastened on shore.

“All the men were clad in a garment made of a tissue, reaching down to the knees and buttoned over the chest with a bone or a basalt. They were all girt with a rope and had a piece of tissue thrown over the shoulder by way of a felt cloak. Their garments were woven of the New Zealand flax which grew in large quantities on the shore. Their faces were tattooed with regular figures of a dark blue colour, but these ornaments were evidently the page 241 privilege of the elder or distinguished people. Their knees were rather thin which was due to the fact that they are sitting with their legs underneath them.

“The sloop Mirny made only a moderate course and could not manage to run into the Sound before dark. She was therefore compelled to manoeuvre with all her sails in unfavourable wind. When it had grown dark I gave orders to raise two lanterns, one above the other, on the sloop Wostok, and also to raise blue lights from time to time, so that M. Lazarew should not mistake the shore, where the inhabitants had lit fires, for the sloop Wostok toward which he was regulating his tacks.

“The current coming from the Sound had hindered them a great deal, and when it changed he made several tacks and cast anchor at eleven o'clock, near the sloop Wostok in a depth of about 11 sazhens, the ground consisting of green slime.

“I gave orders that the sailors standing on watch should have loaded firearms, and that they should be ready for action. These measures were absolutely necessary in consequence of the well-known cowardly attacks of the New Zealanders, who were waging a constant war among themselves, and were known to eat the flesh of their enemies. A cool wind was blowing all the night from S. by E. The sky was covered with clouds and raindrops began to fall. The place where we had cast our anchor was not free from danger, on account of the strong wind blowing from N.W. At nine o'clock in the morning both sloops therefore raised anchor, manoeuvred between the two islands Dolgy (?) and Mothuareau (Motuara) in a very unfavourable south wind. The depth decreased from 10 to 7 sazhens. We made about 25 tacks and cast anchor at midday at the island of Mothuareau (Motuara) in a depth of 12 sazhens.

“The island M. was N.B. 16° from us, and the southern promontory of Ship Cove S.W. 37°; the place where we had cast anchor was free from danger, protected from winds, the depth was small, the ground good, and we could page 242 raise the anchor in every wind; we had also water and wood near. Whilst we were manoeuvring to windward, two boats full of New Zealanders were trying to approach us. They were rowing after us following every tack, evidently not understanding the movements of the sloops. When we had cast our anchors they boarded the Wostok; they had brought fish for sale. I gave orders to the purser to take about seven pounds in exchange for various trifles, such as mirrors, nails, &c.; we also took in exchange various objects they had fabricated.

“We acknowledged the old man upon whom I had yesterday lavished my gifts (in the opinion of the New Zealanders) so freely, as their chief. I received him with all the amiabilities customary in the Southern Ocean, and embraced him, rubbed noses with him and we confirmed our mutual friendship which we kept up during our stay in the Sound of Queen Charlotte. It was dinner time and I invited the old man to dine in my cabin. We placed him in the seat of honour between me and M. Lazarew. He took up everything on the table and examined it with amazement but did not begin to eat until we had set him the example. Only then he carefully and somewhat awkwardly put the food into his mouth with a fork. Wine he did not appreciate. At table we again assured each other by means of signs and a few words I had learned, of our mutual friendship. In order to convince him even more completely of my friendship I made him a present of a beautifully polished hatchet. He was so delighted with it, that he could no longer in his joyous excitement sit at table and asked to be taken on deck. There he straightway rushed to his companions and embracing me with great joy repeatedly cried, ‘toki! toki!’ (hatchet, hatchet).

“The other New Zealanders were treated on the quarterdeck to biscuits, butter, gruel-porridge and rum. They ate everything with a good appetite, but one cup of rum was sufficient for the whole company. This sobriety is a sure sign of the rare visits of the Europeans among them. Wherever the latter settle they teach the inhabitants to page 243 make use of strong drinks, to smoke, and to put tobacco into their mouth, and when these uncivilized people afterwards suffer the bad results arising from drink, then the Europeans endeavour to prove to them how abominable it is to follow such bad inclinations as drink, &c. When they had finished their dinner, the New Zealanders sat down in two rows facing each other, and started singing quite harmoniously. One of them always started and the others took up the refrain, finishing loudly and abruptly; then the same singer began again and so they continued. It appeared to us that the songs of the New Zealanders greatly resembled the melodies in use among our own lower classes and consisted of various short couplets. Our drum and flute at first attracted their attention, but they listened almost with indifference to the sounds of these instruments, and their chief explained that they also used musical instruments the sounds of which resembled those of the drum and flute. M. Michailow drew a portrait of the chief.

“Having remained sometime with us the New Zealanders returned on shore. They were very satisfied with the success of their transactions. They had provided us with fresh fish sufficient for supper for the two sloops. On leaving they invited us to come on shore….

“After dinner I gave orders on the Wostolc to fire a few cannon, and when it grew dark to let off a few rockets, this was done in order to inform the inhabitants in the interior of the island of our arrival, supposing that on the next morning they would arrive in large numbers from various parts of the island.

“We let down from both sloops the rowing vessels and started to draw up the rigging which, in consequence of the constant struggle against unfavourable winds, had been spoilt.

“The next morning (30th May) the New Zealanders again appeared in their boats, and whilst some of them visited the vessel Mirny the others went on board the Wostok. Among those who visited the Mirny, was, the page 244 old man who was their chief, as well as several other chiefs. M. Lazarew treated them to dinner. What they liked best was cow's butter and they swallowed it eagerly, even when it was spoilt. In the meantime we were spreading out the shrouds on the Mirny and were pulling up the casks from the holds. The New Zealanders willingly and with great zeal helped us in the work, dragged the ropes, pronouncing a loud sufficiently melodious sound. When a rope broke and they suddenly fell down they laughed aloud. They then enjoyed themselves and danced their dances consisting of various grimaces, accompanied by a loud song, stamping of feet and gesticulations. They made such grimaces that it was almost painful to look upon them; they turned up their eyes as much as possible. This dance proved to be a war dance, expressing disdain for the enemy and victory over him. M. Michailow make a sketch of the dancers, he drew the grimaces of their faces, the position of the various parts of the body and the highly strained muscles. He also drew the portrait of one of the chiefs. The latter was invited into the cabin, where we placed him on a chair, and in order to make him sit still we occupied his attention with various objects new to him, whilst the boat in which were his wife and family was brought up near to the stern so that he could see them.

“In the morning (of the 30th) I went with the officers to Ship Cove to find a favourable place for providing ourselves with water. On our entry into the bay we were struck by the song of birds which resembled the sounds of a piano and a flute; it enraptured our ear, long disused to such pleasure. We landed in the bay and disembarked. At a distance of a few sazhens we perceived a river of fresh water, running from high mountains and passing through a dense forest, which consisted of bushes and winding lianas, entwined with each other and equalling in thickness wild vine shoots. In the forest near the river we perceived a small hut made of leaves and containing some fish, a number of small mussels known as sea ears. The hut evidently served the purpose of a refuge for a page 245 small family. The officers accompanying me shot down a few cormorants and a few small birds, evidently belonging to the same species which were described by the two Forsters during the voyage of Captain Cook. After a while we returned to our sloop, and I then gave orders to send out long boats for water. It happened that the inhabitants near the place where we were taking the water were behind an insurmountable mountain, and thus we were not disturbed in our work. We cast our nets but caught only little fish.

“On my return to the sloop M. Savadovsky informed me that he had tried to buy from one New Zealander an implement made of green basalt and resembling a tiny shovel, but as the islander wanted Mr. Savadovsy's cloak in exchange the transaction was abandoned.

“In the morning (of the 31st) I invited Messrs. Michailow, Simanow and a few officers from the sloop Wostok, Messrs. Lazarew and the officers of the sloop Mirny to visit the islanders. We left in two cutters placing a swivel gun in each. Each of us was also armed with a gun and a couple of revolvers. We thus could fear nothing from any cowardly attacks of the inhabitants.

“We approached the nearest settlement, at the first promontory northwards of the Ship Cove, at the very spot where Captain Cook had found human flesh. The inhabitants had dispersed, one of them only approached us but he was trembling for fear, but when they saw that we treated him in a very friendly manner, the other inhabitants also came back. Their chief, a man of already advanced age, was seated on a mat in an open hut. I went up to him. The curiosity of this family made them conquer their timidity. At first his wife appeared and then his daughter, and both sat down on the mat. I made them a few presents, and as the daughter was rather good looking I presented her with a mirror, so that she might convince herself that she surpassed other women in beauty. They at once made me a present of a piece of tissue made from New Zealand flax and ornamented with designs. The chief's wife then page 246 proposed an exchange and I consented. All these settlements are very small. I passed some time with the people and then we went northwards to see my friend the old man. He came to meet us, embraced me, we rubbed noses, and the old man was very pleased to see me. We went on shore, leaving a watch on the boats.

“The settlement is surrounded from the seaside by a palisade, a little higher than a man; through a gate in the palisade we entered the settlement; a small river was winding its course through the habitations scattered about irregularly; the shore was paved with cobble stones and we passed on cross beams into the chief's house. I did not enter it but cast a look inside. The construction consisted of pillars placed in three rows, the middle ones being about twiee as high as a man; on each pillar the image of a man is carved and painted red. Over these pillars the roof is placed, and consists of girders covered with leaves. About 6 feet from the entrance the ante room is fenced off. The interior is everywhere tidily and neatly covered with mats, and mats were also placed on the floor where the inmates are wont to sit down and also to sleep. The walls all along the house are covered with spears 24 feet long, with a mace (sceptre) the insignia of chieftainship and with various other human images made of wood and painted red. The other habitations were not so beautifully arranged. Further down in the wood, where we went out of curiosity, we perceived a small hut constructed over a big tree, the branches of which had been hewn off, at a height of 20 feet. As we could not look into the hut nor express ourselves in the language of the country we remained ignorant of the contents of the hut. Beneath this hut we also saw the skin of an albatross, stretched on a hoop, and a few black feathers bound together in a plume. This attire was evidently used for war purposes. A little farther we saw a tree of the height of 2½ men and measuring 1½ foot in diameter; the upper part was carved in the shape of a man. I almost thought that we had come to a cemetery, but I saw neither mounds nor page 247 any other signs of graves about. The idol had perhaps something to do with their religious worship, but as our stay was a very short one I could not ascertain anything. When we came on shore we were met by the men, but now the women also joined them. My friend, the chief, evidently still thinking of the presents I had made him during his first visit on our sloop, was eager to treat and oblige me.

“On our way back to our landing place we noticed an open hut containing a large number of wooden hooks and cords for fishing; we concluded that these implements were the common property of several families, as the quantity was too large for one family. That these implements were for sale we could scarcely imagine, considering that everybody could easily manufacture such himself. During our stay in the settlement we exchanged several tools and other objects worked by hand. When on the point of taking leave the old man detained me for a moment, and by his order a mace about 8 feet long was brought out. The upper part resembled a halberd, it was sculptured and let in with shells and hooked like a narrow shovel. I imagined that he was making me a present of it, when he noticed that I ordered some one to carry it on the cutter, he caught hold of it with both his hands. I then understood that he only wished to exchange it for something else. To gratify his request I gave him a piece of about two arsheen (56 inches) of red cloth, which pleased him so mightily that he louldly related his fortune to his countrymen. Returning to our sloop and sailing along the shore we noticed on the promontories, land highly situated and cultivated. We stopped in one place where we perceived a long row of baskets full of potatoes, just dug out from the ground. We took a few with us and having boiled them found them very tasty and as good as the English potatoes.

“We also landed on the island Mothuareau (Motuara). I wanted to gather the seeds of the New Zealand flax, in order to plant it on the southern shore of the Crimea, the climate and the soil being similar. I thus hoped to be able page 248 to render a great service to that district and to my native land. I did not find any seeds but nevertheless did not regret having landed on the island, as we gathered such a quantity of wild cabbage that we had sufficient for one meal of cabbage soup for all the servants and the officers.

“M. Savadovsky went on shore to the Ship Cove. On his return (1st June) on the sloop he told me that he had been joined by M. Lazarew and that both of them went along the river through the thick forest grown and entertwined with lianas but it was quite impossible to proceed even for a mile. No human foot ever trod those spots, for it was so covered with various plants that one was obliged to cut a passage at every step. The birds were so little frightened that a sailor caught one with his hand. M. Savadovsky shot a blackbird; it had a grizzled beard near its neck and two white curly feathers on its chest, it was as big as a merle and sang very beautifully, like our nightingale. They met no New Zealander on the shore.

“At three o'clock in the afternoon (of 2nd June) a cutter and a long boat, which had been sent out under the direction of Lieutenant Lyescow to fill the casks with fresh water returned. The wind grew fiercer from hour to hour, a heavy rain was falling and the thunder re-echoed from the mountains.

“Early in the morning (3rd June) the midshipman Adams was sent out to collect the small casks which had been thrown out from the long-boat; he found nine, some of which were already broken, and the inhabitants were already proceeding to collect the hoops but immediately returned them when ordered to do so. We raised anchor and in a favourable wind, under stay-sails proceeded to another place. I sailed with M. Lazarew into the interior of the Sound. We landed at various spots, collected a quantity of cabbage and garden cress; we went into the interior for about 13 miles and in many cases we came across abandoned temporary huts. These huts are evidently used by the inhabitants settled on the western shore opposite Mothuareau (Motuara), as dwelling places whenever they page 249 sail in the Sound. We noticed no settlements and there practically could be none, the place being inappropriate for storing food, because New Zealanders chiefly live on fish which is to be found in large quantities at the mouth of the river in shallow places, whilst in the interior the depth is as much as 25 sazhens. The farther we went into the Sound the more mountains we saw which had no green but showed a yellow colour; trees were only to be seen on the lower parts nearer the water. On our way we shot a few cormorants, and towards evening we returned to our sloops. Had we however been detained by the weather we would not have suffered from hunger, as Mr. Lazarew did not forget to take a large quantity of provisions with him, and we each also had guns and powder with us, whilst kitchen green was to be found in quantities. On our return to the sloops I learned that the inhabitants had again visited both sloops and effected some transactions. They had brought spears, various sculptured little boxes, fishing hooks, maces, insignia of chieftainship, hurlbats, made of a green stone, hatchets and various clasps and ornaments made of green basalt, which they usually wear on their necks. They also brought tissues. All these things which they manufactured with great labour from wood or stone they endeavoured to exchange for hatchets, chisels, gimlets, shirts, mirrors, hammers, and glass beads.

“In the morning (4th June) we were quite ready to lift anchor. In the meantime the New Zealanders did not omit to visit us (wishing to exchange various trifles for objects highly valuable to them). I made a few more presents to the chief, giving him to understand that we were about to leave them. He expressed an unfeigned regret, and all of them entreated us to return to them. When they saw that we were raising anchor the chief embraced me and sadly repeated the words: eh! eh! eh!

“One young islander expressed his desire of remaining with us, but the others dissuaded him and entreated him to return on shore. I left it to him to decide for himself. The inhabitants of Queen Charlotte Sound are of middle page 250 stature, strongly built and sufficiently well formed, only their knees are a little thick, their bodies and faces are of a dark yellowish complexion, their eyes dark and lively, their hair dark, all of them have their ears pierced, and in a great majority of them also the cartilage of the nose. Their faces they speckle with cut, and curved but sufficiently regular lines, which they fill in with a dark blue colour, the distinguished people more so than ordinary folk. Some women had only their lips streaked. In this habit the inhabitants of New Zealand resemble those of the island Marquis Mendoza, whilst by their speech they belong to one of the groups on either the islands of Marquis Mendoza, Amity or Company Islands(?). Being accustomed from their earliest youth, never to restrain their feelings and to give vent to their good as well as bad emotions of the heart, the inhabitants of New Zealand, though passionate in their friendship are rather fickle and the smallest pretext suffices to cause quarrels among them, leading to pernicious consequences. The New Zealanders are rather agile and seem always ready to fight, but nothing happened in our presence. When the chief was dining with me I asked him whether he liked human flesh and showed him my hand. He explained that he liked human flesh very much indeed, and it seems to me that there is very little doubt about it indeed, as Captain Cook has been an eye witness of the fact and saw the New Zealanders devouring with great appetite the flesh of their enemies slain in battle. In 1772 the unhappy Marion and seventeen of his companions fell a victim to this disgusting revenge. Those sent out to his assistance on an armed sloop reported afterwards that they had found portions of their bodies cut up for a meal and some parts of their colleagues already roasted. In 1773 the English naval officer Rowe and ten men from the English vessel Adventure, in consequence of a superfluous outburst of anger against one of the islanders who had stolen a jacket from one of the sailors, also fell victims to this revenge on the part of the New Zealanders. The sloop sent after them found on the shore the clothes and the cut up members, page 251 part of the heads and the stomachs of their comrades. The New Zealanders cover their body, from below the chest down to the middle of the thighs, with a piece of white tissue, and are girt with a narrow girdle; over their shoulders they usually throw a piece of white or red cloth very artistically ornamented with a design all round. It is clasped together on the chest with clasps of about 4 or 5 inches long and made of green basalt and bones, probably human, or perhaps of dogs, because apart from dogs no traveller has come across any other animals in this part. The clasps are suspended on thin cords so that they should not be lost. In cold weather they put on a shaggy felt cloak similar to those of the Tsherkesses. Thus my friend the chief was arrayed, the younger ones had only the one above mentioned attire on their shoulders; the majority of the young people usually wore nothing except the felt cloak, and even this they wore loosely. Their hair they arrange in a bunch, pushing a few white feathers through it, they also put through their ears a piece of skin from some bird with white down on it. On their chests they usually wear human images, clasps, or some kind of a little knife made of a green stone or simply of bones.

“All these objects they very willingly exchanged and it is therefore impossible that they should form part of their idols. Their weapons consist of long, thin sharp spears, made of a dark wood and measuring about 30 feet in length, and also of short hurl-bats which they call petou and of the bones of sea animals or of a green stone with a carved work from 15 to 18 inches long, 4 inches wide and 2 inches thick. They are so arranged that they can be easily handled, a hole being made in the handle. The hurl-bat is held in the hands by means of a cord put through the hole. The Zealanders further possess two other kinds of weapons made of the above mentioned dark coloured wood. One is about 8 feet long, a little wider towards the bottom, whilst the upper part is something like a halberd, some ugly human image is carved on it, with shells of a reflecting green colour, set in the eyes. The page 252 other weapon is a kind of hatchet only half so long as the first. These objects seem to be more the signs of distinction of the chiefs and serve for their defence. Captain Cook measured the big war boats of the New Zealanders and found that they were 68 feet long, but during our visit, the longest boat was only 47 feet long and 4¾ feet wide. These boats too contain carved human images, with a thrust-out tongue and eyes made of shells known as sea ears and reflecting a green colour. Even now the islanders consider the gift of a nail a great acquisition, and give in exchange for it their weapons petou, upon the construction of which they waste a good deal of labour; their oars are also ornamented with carved images and are usually about 5½ feet long. When they are pursuing someone they row standing, the boats then glide along more quickly.

“On his first visit in the Queen Charlotte Sound, Captain Cook met on the shores of the Sound several families, numbering in all about 400 men. He visited this place again during his second voyage and expresses himself to the following effect: ‘The majority of New Zealanders who lived in the neighbourhood of Queen Charlotte Sound in 1770 must either have been driven out or must have wandered out voluntarily.’ Their number at present, i.e., June, 1820, does not exceed 80 souls. Such a diminution is not astonishing considering the continual wars these people are waging among themselves. Captain Cook must also have exaggerated the number of inhabitants, counting also the visitors who came from other settlements anxious to see a big vessel for the first time, or in the hope of seeing killing and eating one of the Europeans, as they knew by tradition that their forefathers had done so.

“Considering their small number, the New Zealanders have plenty of food. They have sufficient fish and mussels for nourishment. We daily caught some, sufficient for both sloops. At present the New Zealander also grows potatoes which are as good as the English species. They learned to grow this vegetable from Captain Cook, and although after 47 years they grow sufficient quantities they page 253 only use the potatoes for themselves, but do not part with any. During our visit in Queen Charlotte Sound, I gave my friend the chief, and the other elderly people, many other kinds of seeds, such as turnips, carrots, pumpkins, large beans and peas. I showed them, as well as I could, how to put the seeds in the ground, and they understood me and were well satisfied, promising to grow these vegetables in their orchards.

“Pastor Marsden of New South Wales is now dwelling in the northern part of New Zealand, his intention being to teach the inhabitants the gospel and enlighten them.

“We saw no quadrupeds except dogs of a small species. Captain Lazarew bought a couple. They are rather small, have a woolly tail, erect ears, a large mouth and short legs.

“I think that often sea bears are coming out to rest on the stones on the shore, as I obtained a kind of a garment, a kind of jacket, made from the skins of these sea monsters. When the sloops were setting out on June 3rd, corresponding to December 3rd on the Northern Hemisphere, all the trees were still very green and we saw as yet no signs of approaching autumn.”

(From the German.)

“As we proceeded through the passage between Motuara Island and another rather long stretched island (Long Island), the wind freshened from the west. We there had tc be more careful in our steering, as the channel we were navigating was bound on both sides by cliffs and rocks. We steered in various alternating courses towards the S.E. in order to get out of the bay, and as we did so it became more and more rainy and misty, so that we were forced to creep along under reefed topsails. During the night of June 5th, we had the same weather, increasing to heavy rain, and afterwards to snow and hail. From what we saw in the vicinity I am of opinion that electric meteors were frequent, for during this night thunder roared sometimes without a break, and the vivid lightning disclosed to us how near the land we were, and in what danger we page 254 sailed. Also in the morning the tremendous wind accumulated heavy clouds from all directions, and I can truly say that we experienced during these hours, in addition to the buffetings of the wind, the worst weather conditions which intense atmospheric action can produce in the Southern Hemisphere. And the weather was certainly no better during the night, and towards morning the wind had risen to a regular hurricane with driving rain, snow and hail, and even in the middle of the day we were scarcely able to see anything on the ship, and were certain from these circumstances that we were near the land. We accordingly shortened sail. The weather did not improve until the night of June 6th when for a few moments the moon and stars could be seen through the storm driven clouds.

“The Mirny had not been answering our signals, and I hoped she would be in the neighbourhood of the north coast of the bay. At noon on June 6th our reckoning showed our position to be 40° 16′ 15″ south latitude, and 174° 5′ 46″ east longitude. From this it appears that the gale had driven us 65 miles into the middle of the Strait. In the afternoon the wind had abated, but it was not a fair wind for our course. I ordered all sail to be set and to beat to windward. Up to the following morning we had seen nothing of the Mirny. Finally on June 7th, the strength of the wind was completely broken and we had only a light air and a S.W. current, which was very favourable to us. In consequence I shaped the course towards the outlet of the Straits. The wind soon freshened and we made a good speed, the corvettes going 8 to 9 miles per hour. At 10 o'clock in the evening the wind died down entirely and during the night was faint and changeable. At 4 in the morning of June 8th, the fine weather was again gone, exactly when we were at the exit of the Straits into the ocean. S.E. squalls set in blowing hard with snow, hail and rain; and as we reached the open ocean the wind increased to a gale, and we were compelled to seek shelter under the lee of the page 255 land. Therefore I got the ship under storm topsails and made for the shelter offered by Cape Stephens.

“Lasarew followed us and we could see his ship rolling heavily. About 3 in the morning of June 9th the wind moderated, and at 6 o'clock we were able under a westerly breeze to steer out of the bay, when we had the opportunity of seeing the terrible strength of the breakers on the reefs which we had the good fortune to escape. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon I had to shorten sail again to keep in close company with the Mirny. Still the weather was threatening and the sky overcast with heavy clouds. This narrow passage in Cook Channel between Cape Terawitta (Terawhiti) and Cape Comaroo (Koamaru) is altogether only 15 miles wide. After leaving Cape Terawitta (Terawhiti) astern the Straits opened out. In passing out we observed that some of the islands in the Straits were heavily timbered. Owing to the state of the weather up till now our outlook did not reach far; but from what we could see of the nearest land we were satisfied, as we thought all along that the country on the coastline at least was very suitable for settlement and cultivation according to European methods. In the middle of the headland there flamed a mighty fire, probably raised by the natives to attract us there. At midnight we sighted Cape Palliser bearing N.E. 18° about 11½ miles distant.

“We had now a light southerly breeze, which gradually died away in the morning. While the darkness lasted I ordered special lights to be hoisted in the main rigging without receiving any answering signal from the Mirny, and I afterwards ascertained that the fog was so thick on the water that our lights could not be seen. Not until 10 in the morning did we see her on the horizon in the S.W. About noon on June 10th, the Wostok was in 44° 50′ 4″ south latitude and 175° 50′ 28″ east longitude, Cape Palliser now bearing N.W. 70°. At the outlet of the Straits we saw two high snow covered mountains, one of which was in S.W. 70° and the other in S.W. 62°. We took soundings but found no bottom at 250 sazhens. page 256 Around the ship there swam large flocks of white and gray albatrosses, sea gulls, stormy petrels and other marine birds. From noon on June 10th, to noon on June 13th, we sailed eastward under westerly to southerly winds. We saw on the surface of the sea much sea weed and roots of plants which had probably been torn away from the reefs and cliffs of New Zealand. At noon on June 13th, we were in 40° 9′ 6″ south latitude, and 182° 6′ 26″ east longitude, the magnetic declination being 10° 21′ 30″.

NOTE.—A sazhen equals seven feet.