Page images

The scarlet birds, which were brought for sale, were never met with alive; but we taw a single small one, about the size of a canary-bird, of a deep crimson colour; a large owl; two large brown hawks, or kites; and a wild duck; and it is probable there are a great many forts; judging by the quantity of fine yellow, green, and very finall velvet-like, black feathers, used upon the cloaks, and other ornaments, worn by the inhabitants.

Fish, and other marine productions, were, to appearance, not various.

The hogs, dogs, and fowls, which were the only tame or domestic animals that we found here, were all of the same kind that we met with at the South Pacific Illands.

The inhabitants are of a middling stature, firmly made. Their visage, especially amongst the women, is sometimes round; but we cannot say that they are distinguished, as a nation, by any general cast of countenance. Their colour is nearly of a nut-brown. The women are little more delicate than the men in their formation; and I may say that, with a very few exceptions, they have little claim to those peculiarities that diftinguish the sex in other countries. There is, indeed, a more remarkable equality in the size, colour, and figure of both sexes, than in most places I have visited.

They are very expert swimmers. It was very common to fee women with infants at the breast, when the surf was so high that they could not Jand in the canoes, leap overboard, and, without endangering their little ones, swim to the shore through a fea that looked dreadful.

They seem to be bleft with a frank, cheerful difpofition; they live yery sociably in their in


tercourse with one another; and, except the propensity to thieving, which seems innate in most of the people'we have visited in this ocean, they were exceedingly friendly to us. It was a pleasure to observe with how much affection the women manage their infants, and how readily the men lent their aslistance to fuch a tender office; thus fufficiently diftinguilling themselves from those favages, who efieem a wife and child as things rather neceflary than desirable, or worthy of their notice.

Though they seem to have adopted the mode of living in villages, there is no appearance of deferice, or fortification, near any of them; and the houses are scattered about without any order. Some are large and commodious, from forty to fifty feet long, and twenty or thirty broad, while others of them are mere hovels. They are well thatched with long grass, which is laid on slender poles, disposed with some regularity. The entrance is made indifferently in the end or fide, and is an oblong hole, fo low, thai one must rather creep than walk in. No light enters the house, but by this opening; and though such close habitations may afford a comfortable retreat in bod weather, they seem but ill adapted to the warmth of the climate. Of animal food they can be in no want, as they have abundance of hogs, which run without restraint about the houles; and if they eat dogs, which is not improbable, their stock of there seemed to be very considerable. The great number of fishing books found amongst hem, shewed that they derived no inconsiderable supply of animal food from the sea.

They bake their vegetable food with heated ftones, in the same manner as the inhabitants of P 2


the southern islands. The only artificial din we met with, was a taro pudding; which, though a disagreeable mers, from its fourness, was gieedily devoured by the natives.

In every thing manufactured by these people, there appears to be an uncommon degree of neatness and ingenuity. Their cloth, which is the principal manufacture, is made from the morus papyrifera; and doubtless in the same manner as at Otaheite and Tongataboo ; in colouring or staining it, the people of Atooi display a superiority of tatte, by the endless variation of figures which they execute.

They fabuvate a great many white mats, which are strong, with many red stripes, rhombuses, and other figures interwoven on one side; and often pretty large.

They stain their gourd-shells prettily with undulated lines, triangles, and other figures of a black colour; instances of which we law practised at New Zealand. Their wooden dishes and bowls, out of which they drink their ava, are of the etooa-tree, or cordia, as neat as if made in our turning-lathe, and perhaps better polithed. A great variety of fishing-hooks are ingeniously inade of pearl shell. One fishing-hook was proeured, nine inches long, of a single piece of bone, which doubtless belonged to some large fith. The elegant form and polith of this could not certaine ly be outdone by any European artifi, even if he should add all his knowledge in design to the number and convenience of his tools.

The only iron tools, or rather bits of iron, seen amongst them, and which they had before our arrival, were a piece of iron hoop, about two inches Jong, fitted into a wooden handle; and another


edge-tool, which our people guessed to be made of ihe point of a broad-sword. How they came by them I cannot account for.

Though I did vot see a chief of any note, there were, however, several, as the natives informed

us, who refide upon Atooi, and to whom they s proftrate themselves as a mark of submiffion.

After I had left the island, one of the chiefs made his appearance, and paid a visit to Captain Clerke on board the Discovery. His attendants helped him into the thip, and placed him on the gang way. Their care of him did not cease then; for they stood round him, holding each other by the hands; nor would they suffer any one to come near him but Captain Clerke himself. He was a young man, clothed from head to foot, accompanied by a young woman, supposed to be his wife. His name was said to be Tamahano. Captain Clerke made bim some fuitable presents; and received from him, in return, a large bowl, fupported by two figures of men, the carving of which, both as to the design and the execution, fbewed fome degree of ikill.

In their language they had not only adopted the soft mode of the Otaheiteans in avoiding harih founds, but the whole idiom of their language; using not only the same asfixes and suffixes to their words, but the fame measure and cadence in their fongs; though in a manner somewhat less agreeable.

How happy would Lord Anson have been, and what hardthips would he have avoided, if he had known that there was a group of islands, hair way between America and Tinian, where all his wants could have been effcétually fupplied; and in describing which, the elegant historian of that

P 3


yoyage, would have presented his reader with a more agreeable picture than I have been able to draw.

On the 2d of February, we stood away to the northward, and without meeting with any thing memorable, on the 7th of March, the long-looked for coast of New Albion * was seen, extending from north-east to south-east, distant ten or twelve leagues. The land appeared to be of a moderate height, diversified with hills and valleys, and almost every where covered with wood. . After coafting along, and combating contrary winds, on the 29th we anchored in eighty-five fathoms water, so near the shore as to reach it with a 'hawser.

We no sooner drew near the inlet, than we found the coast to be inhabited ; and three canoes came off to the ship. In one of these were two men, in another six, and in the third ten. Having come pretty near us, a person in one of the two last stood up, and made a long harangue, inviting us to land, as we gueiled by his gestures. At the same time he kept strewing handfuls of feathers towards us; and some of his companions threw handfuls of red dust or powder in the same manner. The person who performed the office of orator, wore the skin of some animal, and held, in each hand, something which rattled as he kept Thaking it. After tiring hinitelf with his repeated exhortations, of which we did not understand a word, 'he was quiet. After the tumultuous oration had ceased, one of them sung a very agreeable air, with a degree of softness and me


This part of the west side of North America, was so nam-
Sir Francis Drake.


« PreviousContinue »