[VOYAGE FOUR] CHAPTER III
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New-Zealand--Intercourse with the Natives--Their Habitations, Apparel, Working tools, and Weapons--Eating Human Flesh--Face of the Country--Banks's Peninsula--Cook's Cape, Harbour, and Strait--Visit from the Natives--Women an Article of Traffic--East Cape--Mercury Bay--Great Utility of Missionaries--Bay of Islands--Royal Visiters--Visit to the Mission--Orderly Arrangement--Sail to the North--The New-Hebrides--Hope Island--Steer to the West-New Discoveries anticipated.
NEW-ZEALAND consists of two large islands, lying north-east and south-west of each other, in the South Pacific Ocean, separated by a passage called Cook's Strait. The northernmost of these islands is called by the natives Eaheino-mawe, and the southernmost Tavi Poenammoo. The northern island is four hundred and thirty-six miles in length, and its medium breadth is probably about sixty miles; it comprises, therefore, more than twenty-six thousand square miles. The southern island is three hundred and sixty miles in length, and averages about one hundred in breadth; comprising thirty-six thousand square miles.
The whole country of New-Zealand lies between the thirty-fourth and forty-eighth degrees of south latitude; and between the longitudinal degrees of one hundred and sixty-six and one hundred and seventy-nine, east from Greenwich. Its mean location, therefore, is latitude 41 deg. 0' long. 173 deg. 0' east. This country, or rather its western coast, was first discovered in 1642 by Tasman. The discovery was afterward pursued by M. de Surville, a French navigator; continued by the celebrated Cook, and completed by the enterprising Vancouver, who was the pupil of that great navigator. Not being able to reach one of the arms of Dusky Bay, near the western point of the northern island, Cook gave it the name of "Nobody-knows-what." His pupil succeeded, and changed the name to "Somebody-knows-what." This point, which is called Cape West, is about three hundred and fifty leagues south-east of Port Jackson, Botany Bay.
This country is rapidly rising into importance in proportion as it
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becomes more known. It is well watered, fertile, and highly productive of every species of vegetation congenial to its variety of climate, in an extent of fourteen degrees of latitude. But it is mostly interesting on account of its extensive population of aborigines; a peculiar people, who are separated into tribes or nations, each of which is governed by its own chief or king. The northern island is divided into eight principal districts, which are again subdivided into smaller sections, over which inferior chiefs hold dominion. It appears, however, that the areekee, or king of a district, is not absolute in power, as the inferior chiefs make frequent wars on each other, without consulting him.
The native inhabitants of New-Zealand are evidently of the same original stock with the Otaheitans, the people of the Friendly Islands, and the other Polynesians. Their language is radically the same as that of the Otaheitans. They have generally dark tawny complexions, though I have seen a few of them comparatively fair, and others again quite black. Their countenances are, with few exceptions, pleasing and intelligent, without those indications of ferocity which some of their actions would lead us to anticipate. The men are tall, muscular, and well made.
The village at the head of Molyneux's Harbour, which is called by the natives Tavaimoo, contains twenty-eight huts, of miserable accommodations. The best among them are shaped like our barns, being about ten feet high, thirty feet in length, and twelve or fifteen in breadth. The inside is strongly constructed, and well fastened together by osiers or supple vines. They are painted, generally, with red sides and black roofs, using the same kind of material as that with which they daub their faces. At one end is a small hole, just large enough to admit one person, stooping low; this serves as a door; while another hole considerably smaller, answers the double purpose of chimney and window.
Few of their habitations, however, are constructed in this luxurious manner. The most of them are less than half this size, and are seldom more than four or five feet in height. They are framed of young trees, and thatched with long coarse grass. Their household furniture consists of a few small baskets or bags, in which they deposite their fishing-gear, and other trifles. They squat down in the middle of these huts, around the fire, and often sleep all night in this manner, without any other covering than what they have worn during the day.
Both sexes are clothed alike, having a garment made of the silky hemp, which is a natural production of the country. These robes are five feet long, and four broad, and this is their principal manufacture, which is performed by knotting and running the warp on the ground, and working in the filling by hand. Their war mats are made in the same manner, and are sometimes highly ornamented. I brought home a number of them, two of which I presented to the proprietor of Peale's Museum, in Broadway, New-York, together with a New-Zealand axe made of jasper, and a number of their bows, arrows, spears, war-clubs, paddles, &c. &c. I made a similar donation to Scudder's American Museum, where they have been much admired; and also to the Museum in the city of Albany.
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As it is in all villages as well as cities, society is here divided into two distinct classes, corresponding to patricians and plebeians; the New-Zealanders call the former class rungateedas, and the latter they call kookies. Besides these mats or robes, which are fastened round the body with a highly ornamented girdle, the rungateedas wear ornaments of shells, feathers, beads, &c. But the humble kookies generally wear nothing more than a quantity of the sedge-plant, badly manufactured, thrown over the shoulders, and fastened with a string, falling down on all sides to the knees. When sitting down in this dress, they could hardly be distinguished from the gray rocks or stones, if their black heads did not project above the garment which covers the body.
The New-Zealanders have some excellent domestic habits, and evince extraordinary ingenuity in a few arts. Having no metallic vessels for boiling their food, they contrive to cook their fern-root, and their potatoes, by means of two hollow stones, in which they first put the roots, surrounded by a few moist leaves of some well-flavoured plant, and then applying the hollow sides of the stones to one another, heat them thoroughly for a due length of time; at the end of which the contents are well stewed and palatable food. They make wooden vessels, and carve them with much taste; cultivate their fields with great neatness, with nothing but a wooden spade; construct large and well-finished canoes; and prepare fishing tackle and other implements in a wonderful manner, considering their limited means and want of tools. Their principal mechanical tool is formed in the shape of an adze, and is made of the serpent-stone, or jasper. Their chisels and gouges are generally made of the same material, but sometimes of a black solid stone similar to the jasper. Their masterpiece of ingenuity is carving, which they display on the most trivial objects, as well as in the elegant figure-heads of their canoes, &c. Their cordage for fishing-lines, nets, &c., is not inferior to the finest we have in this country, and their nets are admirably made. A bit of flint, or a shell, is their only substitute for a knife, and a shark's tooth, fixed in a piece of wood, serves for an auger or gimlet. They also fix on a piece of wood, nicely carved, a row of large shark's teeth, setting them in a line, and their sharp edges all one way. This answers for a saw, which they use in their carpenter-work, and also for the purpose of cutting up the bodies of their enemies who are slain in battle.
Their wars are conducted with the utmost ferocity. They have short spears, which they throw like javelins, from a distance; long-ones, which they use as lances; and a broad, thick, sharp-edged weapon of stone, called patoo-patoo, with which they strike each other in close combat, and which sometimes cleaves the scull at a single blow. I brought home specimens of each of these weapons, which are now in the museums before mentioned. They devour the bodies of their enemies; but not from a physical appetite or relish for human flesh, as many suppose. Such an appetite or relish was never yet experienced by any cannibal that ever existed. The horrid rite is performed merely to appease a moral appetite, far more voracious than that of hunger. It is done to express the extent of their hate, their vengeance, or rather an insatiable malice that would pursue its victim
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beyond the confines of the grave; for it is an article of their religious creed that the soul of a man thus devoured is doomed to eternal fire.
On this subject, I speak from personal observation and experience ; for I have had much to do with cannibals, as will appear in the sequel. I have been present when the New-Zealanders have celebrated their victories on the field of battle, and witnessed their disgusting banquet, at which their own stomachs revolted with every symptom of loathing, often attended with reaching, and sometimes vomiting. I have witnessed this horrible scene several times, with the same irresistible inference; otherwise I should not thus hazard so bold a contradiction of popular opinion.
But the prescribed limits of this volume will not permit me to extend these remarks farther; I must therefore refer the reader to the narratives of other voyages for farther particulars respecting this curious and interesting people. See Cook's Voyages, Dalrymple's Historical Collection, the Narrative of Nicholas, Dr. Forster, Marion, Porkinas, Collins, Savage, and others.
The general face of the country, says Malte Brun, so far as it has hitherto been explored, is undulating; the hills rising with a varied ascent from inconsiderable eminences to lofty mountains. A continued chain of hills runs from the north cape, southward, through the whole country, gradually swelling into mountains, the highest of which, according to Dr. Forster, is Mount Egmont, lying in latitude 39 deg. 16' S., and is said to be the same in elevation as well as in general appearance as the Peak of Teneriffe. It is covered with perpetual snow a great way down, and from calculations and comparisons respecting the snowline, he concluded its height to be fourteen thousand seven hundred and sixty feet. Others are led by various considerations to assign to it an elevation of ten thousand feet. Snares Islands, Lord Auckland's Group, and Macquarrie Island, to the south of New-Zealand, show the continuation of the same chain of mountains, under water, by which this country is pervaded.
January 10th.--On leaving Molyneux's Harbour, we steered to the north, with a fine breeze from the west, fair weather, and very smooth water. At 4, P.M., on Sunday, the 10th of January, we were close in with Banks's Peninsula, where we found a tolerable shelter on the north side, in the south-west part of Gore's Bay. The eastern extremity of Banks's Peninsula is in lat. 43 deg. 52' south, long. 173 deg. 14' east.
Vessels bound to the north, along this coast, after doubling the peninsula, wishing to have communication with the natives, will find good anchorage by steering to the north-westward, on the north side of the peninsula, until they come up with Cook's Cape, in lat. 43 deg. 41' south, long. 172 deg. 51' east. They may then steer a little southerly, about eighteen miles, to Cook's Harbour, where they will be sheltered from all winds, excepting from east-north-east to east-south-east, from which quarter the winds seldom blow home to the bottom of the bay with any violence. If bound into this harbour, they may keep the north shore of the peninsula close on board, until they reach the anchorage; excepting in passing Cook's Cape, off which there is a
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small reef, about two miles and a half from the main shore. When at the head of the bay, the best anchorage will be found on the north side, between a small island and the mainland, in fifteen fathoms of water, muddy bottom.
There are but few natives residing at this bay, and these few live in a very miserable manner, subsisting almost entirely on shellfish, as the fern-root is here very scarce, owing probably to the mountains of rock which line the coast near the peninsula.
January 13th.--We continued examining the coast to the north and eastward, frequently seeing natives on shore, making signals for us to land. On Wednesday, the 13th, we were close in with the southern point of Cook's Strait, at the eastern entrance, called Cape Campbell. It was in a harbour within this strait that Vancouver lost a boat's crew, upon whose bodies, it is generally supposed, that the natives feasted; but from the account I received from one of the chiefs on the north side of the strait, I am led to believe that the flesh was thrown away, and the bones worn as ornaments by the principal chiefs. Some of these bones converted to this use were still to be found among the tribes in this vicinity. There are many fine harbours on the south side of the strait, with sufficient water to admit ships of any size.
At 4, P.M., we were close in with Cape Palliser, which is the north-east point of Cook's Strait, and is in lat. 41 deg. 38' south, long. 175 deg. 29' east. Off Flat Point, we received a visit from about fifty natives, who insisted upon some of us going on shore. Their articles of traffic were fish and fishing gear, curiosities, and women. The two first were immediately purchased, but the latter did not come to a good market.
January 15th.--We continued on our passage to the north-east, carefully examining the south-eastern shores of this island, until Friday, the 15th, when, at 2, P.M., we were in the entrance of Hawk's Bay, but did not examine the head of it, which is deep, and from appearance contains many fine harbours. In the south-west arm of this bay are a few small islands, about one mile off-shore from Cape Kidnapper, or the south point of the bay, with some sunken rocks around them. Off the north point of the bay, or Cape Toahowray, there are many islets and reefs, running along shore to Table Cape; eight leagues to the north of which is Taoneroa Bay or Harbour, sheltered from all winds, excepting from east to east-south-east. At this place there appeared a number of natives on the beach, making signals for us to land; but knowing that they had no articles of trade of any value, and finding no seals on this part of the coast, we kept on our course to the north and east, improving a fine breeze from the west, and fair weather.
January 17th.--After passing many small islets that lie close to the shore, several of which harboured a few fur-seal, but very wild, from being continually harassed by the natives, we arrived at East Cape, on Sunday, the 17th. This is the most eastern point of New-Zealand, being in lat. 37 deg. 47' south, long. 178 deg. 43' east. There are a few sunken rocks lying about one mile off-shore from the extremity of the cape. After doubling this cape, bound to the north, the coast suddenly
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tends round to the west and south-west, forming what is called the Bay of Plenty, at the head of which there are several small islands, with good anchorage within them, where many natives may be found, and refreshments procured, such as hogs and potatoes, at a very low rate, by paying in barter.
To the north of this bay is Mercury Bay, fronted by numerous small islets, behind which there are many spacious harbours, and an abundance of natives. But it is necessary to be careful at this bay, as well as at the Bay of Plenty, that many of them do not come on board, as they often prove treacherous to strangers; and if they do not attempt to take your vessel, they will steal every thing which they can lay their hands on. To the north of this is the river Thames, having many fine harbours near its head, where the natives are quite numerous, and often hostile. This is a fine place, however, for ships to obtain refreshments, such as hogs, goats, and vegetables, in abundance. The island here is quite narrow, and no part of it north of this is more than thirty miles in breadth.
Not long previous to our arrival, the natives had risen on the mission, which had been established here but a short time, and it was with great difficulty that these disinterested labourers in the cause of humanity escaped with their lives. They succeeded, however, in reaching the Bay of Islands, where they found protection. Such are the perils and hardships which these good people voluntarily encounter and endure, in their godlike attempts to civilize and humanize the savage islanders of the Pacific Ocean; and yet their services have been decried, and even their motives questioned, by those who cannot conceive of such a thing as disinterested benevolence. But New-Zealand itself is a splendid proof of the utility of missionary labours. There are many parts of this island which it was once dangerous for a ship to approach, unless she was well armed, with officers and crew continually on their guard. But, thanks to the missionaries, and the blessing of Heaven which has attended their pious and humane exertions, ships may now anchor in safely in many of those very harbours where the greatest danger was once to be apprehended, and obtain supplies at the most reasonable rate, with many testimonies of kindness and hospitality.
January 20th.--From this place we steered for the Bay of Islands, where the English settlement is fixed, with a south-east wind; and on Wednesday, the 20th, at 6, P.M., we passed Cape Brett, the eastern point of the bay, which lies in lat. 35 deg. 8', south long. 174 deg. 17' east. In going into this bay with a southerly wind, the north shore should be kept best on board, until you come up with Point Kippy-kippy. You will then haul close round this point, and steer into the south-east for a short distance; when you may anchor abreast of the village, in from six to four fathoms of water, muddy bottom, about one-third of a mile from the shore that fronts the town. This bay opens to the north-east, and, as it name imports, has several islands near it. We came to anchor at this place at 1, A.M., in four fathoms of water, mud and clay bottom.
January 21st.--On the opening of the morning, Thursday, the
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21st, we found four British whaling-ships, which had touched here for refreshments; viz. the George, Captain M'Auly; the Royal Sovereign, Capt. King; the Thetis, Capt. Gray; and the Eagle, Capt. Powell. Refreshments may be obtained here in any quantities, on very moderate terms. Hogs are sold at the rate of half a dollar a hundred weight, and potatoes at six cents a bushel; and they are the best to keep of any I ever saw.
This place was once inhabited by wild and ferocious cannibals; but through the philanthropic labours of missionaries, the natives here and in the vicinity have become civilized, friendly, hospitable, and anxious to do good to others. Indolence and filthiness have given place to industry and personal cleanliness; ferocity, to gentleness; ignorance, to intelligence; idolatry, to the pure and undefiled religion of the Gospel. Go on, ye messengers of Divine Mercy; pursue the good work, until all the isles of the ocean shall rejoice; "until the knowledge of Jehovah covers the earth as the waters cover the sea." Soon may these labours of love be extended to the south island of New-Zealand, where the people now sit in intellectual darkness, and in the shadow of moral death. Heaven will continue to bless your exertions, and to reward those who contribute to the promotion of so good, so great a cause. Mankind will bless you; but above all, they will doubly bless you "who go down to the sea in ships, and do business in great waters;" they who "see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep;" for every missionary is emphatically the mariner's friend.
In the course of the forenoon, the deck of the republican schooner Antarctic was honoured by the footsteps of royalty! The areekee and his august consort--i.e. the king and queen of the northern district of Eaheino-mawe, paid us a friendly and familiar visit. His majesty, old Kippy-kippy, as soon as he came on board, begged to know in what he could serve me, at the same time intimating that he and his people owed an immense debt of gratitude to the whites, for the civil, moral, intellectual, and spiritual blessings they had received from them through the instrumentality of the English missionaries. His majesty was pleased to make a long speech on the occasion, replete with sentiments of gratitude and friendship, and not deficient in good sense and propriety of expression; to all of which I replied in seaman-like brevity, and so the conference terminated, to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.
This is one of the most commodious harbours that it is possible for a seaman to desire. The entrance is free and easy of access; there being only one hidden danger more than a cable's length from the shore; and this one is about half-way up the passage, in going into the harbour, and a little on the south shore. It is about the size of the deck of a ship, and has nine feet of water over it at low water. With a strong easterly wind, the sea breaks upon it. I had no opportunity of examining the sound that leads into this harbour, as we entered at night, and departed in a thick rain-storm, which is strong presumptive evidence that the passage is not dangerous.
It was in this bay that the unfortunate French navigator Marion
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anchored, and his crew lived on terms of familiarity and apparently of cordial friendship with the natives. But some offence was given unintentionally to the passionate and capricious savages. Ever eager for revenge, they came upon the Europeans unawares, and murdered Marion in a most brutal manner, with sixteen of his crew, who accompanied him on shore. Another party of his crew, consisting of eleven men, who were cutting wood in a different part of the bay, were attacked at the same time, and only one of them escaped to the ship, to communicate the disastrous intelligence. When the French landed with all their force, to seek the remains of their unfortunate countrymen and brave commander, who fell at the first onset, the natives insultingly called to them from their fastnesses, and boasted that their chief had eaten Marion's heart!
The English have suffered from similar acts of perfidy, the last of which was the case of the ship Boyd, in 1809, the crew of which, to the number of seventy, was massacred by the chief named George. Since that period, the nature and disposition of these people have undergone a most wonderful change for the better, through the unwearied labours of benevolent and pious missionaries. They are now a civilized, rational business people, having a very brisk intercourse with the British settlements of New South Wales, and Van Dieman's Land. They make excellent sailors too, after a short course of training; as I can vouch for from experience, having had several of them at sea with me.
January 23d.--On Saturday, the 23d, agreeably to previous arrangements, I attended Mrs. Morrell to the missionary establishment, which she was very anxious to visit. We were accompanied by three of the English captains before mentioned, King, M'Auly, and Gray; and were met on the beach by the Rev. Mr. Williams, who appeared to be very much rejoiced to see us. After a mutual interchange of the customary courtesies, he conducted us to his house, and introduced us to his amiable family--a lovely wife, and two very interesting daughters, just fitted to receive and impart pleasure, in the rational sphere of moderate fashionable life. I contemplated these females with peculiar interest, and could not conceal my admiration of that disinterested devotedness which could induce them to leave their country, with so many endearing relationships, and become immured for life in a solitary spot, on the opposite side of the globe, surrounded by barbarous savages, and exposed to a thousand privations. 'Twas the divinity which stirred within them.
In this missionary establishment, which lies about five miles from the Antarctic's anchorage, on the west side of the bay, the most admirable and perfect system of order prevails which I have ever witnessed; and this is all owing to a proper and judicious apportionment of time. They rise, every morning, at daybreak, when the labouring-natives assemble, and the day is opened with prayer. After despatching a hasty but wholesome breakfast, they repair to the field, each missionary dressed in his coarse frock and trousers, carrying in his hand a hoe or spade, or some other agricultural implement. Here they labour all the forenoon, with as much industry and perseverance as any of our
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New-England farmers, until the hour of midday, when they all partake of an excellent dinner, preceded by prayers, and followed by a brief return of thanks. After this, they again repair to the field, and continue to work until four o'clock, when the labours of the day are finished, the two following hours being appropriated to amusements and recreation. They assemble at six o'clock, and partake of a light supper, after which the natives receive lessons in reading, writing, and arithmetic; or hear a religious lecture. At nine, P.M., the day is closed with prayer, when a sweet night's rest recruits their health, and spirits, and fits them for the exercises of the following day.
While the missionaries are thus occupied with the male natives, their wives and daughters are equally busy with the females, teaching them to read and write, and also the art of needlework. Thus these good people devote their whole time in labouring to promote the temporal as well as the eternal welfare of the natives of New-Zealand. Several handsome specimens of their writing were shown us, together with some pieces of original composition that evinced no ordinary degree of genius and talent. I heard some of them read, also, with great accuracy, both in English and in their own tongue, which the missionaries have so reduced to a grammatical system, that it has become a written and printed language. Mrs. Morreil examined several specimens of needlework executed by the female natives, which she pronounced to be equal to any thing of the kind she had ever seen.
A very pretty village encircles the mission, the buildings of which are mostly framed and built like the houses in our country villages. The better sort, however, are built of stone, and handsomely painted. All of them are whitewashed, and have beautiful gravel walks in front, with neatly cultured gardens in the rear. Some of the natives have become ingenious mechanics as well as experienced and skilful farmers. Thus those plains, which but a few years ago were the scenes of bloodshed and human sacrifices, have been converted into cultivated plantations and fields for innocent amusement; where the horrid rites of pagan superstition were once performed, are now erected altars consecrated to the one true and only living God.
After spending a few hours at this delightful establishment, which my wife reckons among the pleasantest of her whole life, we took an affectionate leave of our excellent friends, and proceeded to the beach, attended by several of the Christian natives, who parted from us with great reluctance. On shoving off, they exclaimed, as with one voice, "Farewell! good Americans! Gentlemen and lady, God bless you!" Our honest tars seemed inspired by this ebullition of feeling from the natives; and with their muscular arms caused our little boat to skim like a swallow over the waters of the bay, whose bosom seemed as placid as our own. Not a soul left the beach till they saw us in safety on the Antarctic's deck.
We reached the vessel just before dark, where I found that my excellent officer, Mr. Hunt, had as usual been prompt and vigilant in the performance of his duty, and every thing was ready for sailing. I was met at the gangway by my royal visiters of the morning, old
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Kippy-kippy and his queen. The latter made my wife a present of five beautiful mats, manufactured by the natives, of the silken hemp, which is a natural production of the country; and which, if the plant was once introduced into the United States, would supply the whole nation with a sufficient quantity of a superior article to any they have ever manufactured.
This chief is of common stature, stout, muscular, and active; with a countenance that indicates intelligence, shrewdness, and mental energy. As an areekee, he is in the habit of assuming more dignity, perhaps, than he really feels; but, though "the milk of human kindness" preponderates in his heart, he deserves and commands an unlimited degree of respect from his people. His wife is smaller and more delicately proportioned, with a countenance beaming with kindness, tenderness, and benevolence; I doubt whether it was ever ruffled by an angry or ill-natured sensation.
From some indefinable cause or other, they both became very much attached to me, and expressed a strong desire to accompany me to America, in order to see the country, acquire some of our useful arts, and then return to teach the same to their people. This was certainly a laudable ambition, not unworthy of Peter the Great, czar of all the Russias. I was obliged to throw a damper on it, however, by telling them that it would be a very long time before my duty would permit me to sail for America, as I must first visit many other islands and countries, and load my vessel with their productions. This unexpected repulse caused them to look quite dejected for a few minutes; after which they requested me to stop at their island on my way home, and they would hold themselves in readiness to embark with me, and would fill the Antarctic with hemp, as a remuneration for my trouble. We finally parted with mutual regret.
January 25th.--Having completed our "wooding and watering," as seamen term it, and taken on board a large supply of hogs and potatoes, we got under way, on Monday, the 25th, at six, A.M., and put to sea, with the wind at south-east, attended with heavy falls of rain. Captains King, Gray, and M'Auly, and his majesty Kippy-kippy accompanied me several miles down the bay; where, at seven, A.M., they took their leave, and in a few minutes their little boat was out of sight astern. I had become quite attached to the three English gentlemen just named, and wished that I could have longer enjoyed their society. They wore no stars, and bore no titles; but they were noblemen of Heaven's own make. They were simple mariners, like myself; but real gentlemen in the best sense of the word. It is not probable, scarcely possible, that we shall ever meet again; but if this humble narrative should happen to meet the eye of either, it will be seen that some impressions fasten strongly on my heart.
Having been thus far disappointed in procuring a cargo of furs, I now determined to change the original character of the voyage, and steer for Manilla, to procure a freight for Europe or America. At eight, A.M., we were clear of the bay, and steered to the north, intending to pass between the Feejee Islands and the New-Hebrides, to the east of Charlotte's archipelago, and cross the equator in about
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longitude 165 deg.; then to shape our course for the Philippine Islands. We continued in this northerly course, with variable winds, and occasional foul weather, until Monday, the 1st of February, when we took the south-east trade-winds, in latitude 20 deg. 30' S., long. 170 deg. 52' E.
February 2d.--On the following day, at six, P.M., we passed the island of Erronan, which lies in latitude 19 deg. 28' S., long. 170 deg. 24' E. This island is one of the New-Hebrides, of which group we have not sufficient knowledge to give any particular description. Most readers are aware that this cluster of islands was discovered by Quiros, in 1606, who thought them to be part of a great southern continent, to which he gave the name of Australia del Espiritu Santo. They were next visited by Bouganville, in 1768, who did no more than discover that the land was not connected, but composed of islands, to which he gave the elegant name of the Great Cyclades. After another interval of seven years, the celebrated Captain Cook completed the discovery, who gave the whole cluster the name of the New-Hebrides, after a group which lies on the west coast of Scotland.
February 4th.--We continued on our passage to the north, until Thursday, the 4th of February, when, being in latitude 14 deg. 30' S., long. 170 deg. 0' E., we took the winds from north-west, to north-north-east, which continued to blow from these quarters for about a fortnight. In the mean time we crossed the equator in longitude 166 deg. 30'; and on Thursday, the 18th, in latitude 4 deg. 20' N., long. 167 deg. 20' E., we took the north-east trade-winds from east-north-east. On the same day we saw several indications of land. 1
February 19th.--On the 19th we passed close in with Hope Island, which is in latitude 5 deg. 17' N., long. 164 deg. 47' E. It is moderately elevated in the centre, and descends into beautiful plains and fertile valleys towards the shore, which are literally covered with cocoanut-trees, plantains, and bananas. We now changed our course to west-north-west and west-by-north, seeing drift-wood and land-birds every day; these were sure indications of our being near land, and brightened my anticipations of making some new discoveries.