Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/44

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xxii
[Prior Discoveries.
INTRODUCTION.

Bligh and
Portlock
1792.

to the north. After running twelve miles beyond this narrow pass, they anchored in 13 fathoms; the latitude being 9° 37', and longitude 143° 41'. In the afternoon, they proceeded five miles further, to the N. N. W ; and Darnley's Island then bore S. 7°* to 55° E. two league : except on the north side, this island appeared to be surrounded with reefs and sand banks to a considerable distance. In sailing from Canoe Key, the vessels had left, on the larbord hand, a long chain of reefs and banks; at the north-west end of which, were three low, woody islands: the nearest of these, bearing S. 41° W. two or three miles from the anchorage, was named Nepean Island. The view to the northward, from W. by N. to E. by S., was free from dangers; but in every other direction there were reefs, islands, or dry banks.

This day, several canoes from Darnley's Island came off to both vessels. On approaching, the Indians clapped upon their heads, and exclaimed Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! repeatedly, with much vehemence; at the same time, they held out arrows and other weapons, and asked for toore-tooree! by which they meant iron.[1] After much difficulty, they were persuaded to come along-side; and two men ventured into the ship. They had bushy hair,—were rather stout made,—and nearly answered the description given of the natives of New Guinea.[2] The cartilage, between the nostrils, was cut away in both these people; and the lobes of their ears slit, and stretched to a great length, as had before been observed in a native of the Fejee Islands. They had no kind of clothing; but wore necklaces of cowrie shells, fastened to a braid of fibres; and some of their companions had pearl-oyster shells hung round their necks. In speaking to each other, their words seemed to be distinctly pronounced.

Their arms were bows, arrows, and clubs, which they bartered

for every kind of iron work with eagerness; but appeared to set

  1. The name for Iron at Taheity, is eure-euree, or ooree, or, according to Bougainville, aouri.
  2. See a Voyage to New Guinea, by Captain Thomas Forrest.