Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/60

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xxxviii
[Prior Discoveries.
INTRODUCTION.

Bampton and
Alt
1793.

ings of 15 to 19 fathoms. After three hours run, with a fresh breeze, a reef and sand bank were seen a-head, and the ship was veered to the south-west. Another reef and bank were descried, soon afterward, in the west; and, at the same time, a signal for seeing the long boat was made by the Chesterfield. In the afternoon, the boat was picked up, and both ships anchored under Stephens' Island.

An armed party was immediately sent on shore, to obtain intelligence, if possible, of the lost whale boat. The natives were assembled in hostile array, upon the hills, sounding their conchs; but, after lancing a few arrows, they fled. Several were wounded by the shots fired in return; but they succeeded in escaping to a canoe at the back of the island, and getting off; all except one boy, who was taken unhurt.[1] In the huts, which were burnt, several things were found; and amongst them, a sheet of copper which belonged to the Chesterfield.

July 12. Stephens' Island was traversed all over; and a spike nail, with the king's broad arrow upon it, was brought on board, and excited many conjectures as to whence it came.[2] The plantations, huts, images, skulls, and hands, were found similar to those of Darnley's Island. Amongst the trees, there was one resembling an almond, the nuts of which were good. The cocoa nut grows abundantly; especially in the south-eastern part, where the trees formed a continued grove. The sole quadruped seen; except rats, was a pretty animal of the opossum tribe. It was found in a cage; and had probably been brought, either from New Guinea, or New South Wales.[3]

  1. It does not appear in the journal, when, or where this boy was set on shore; nor is any further mention made of him.
  2. It had probably been obtained from the crews of either the Providence or Assistant; which had anchored under Stephens' Island, nine months before.
  3. Mr. Bampton's description of this animal is briefly as follows. Size and shape, of the opossum. Colour, yellowish white with brown spots. End of the tail, deep red: