Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/227

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

Captain Beech?'s F'o?jacje. 195 mile in width,--mmth less than has been stated. The surface was covered with rugged stones, of a dark brown colour, except where used as roosting places for the sea-fowl; and from some observations, it seems probable that the island is of volcanic origin. Between Salas y Gomez and Easter Island, they passed near the situation of an island named Washington and Coffin, reported to have been discovered by an American ship, but without perceiving any traces of it, though within four leagues of the spot, with a per- fectly clear sky and horizon. On the 17th o?November they were off Easter Island. Cap?' tain Beechey is inclined to the opinion that this is the island upon which Davis had so nearly lost his vessel; and, considering the rapid current that exists in the vicinity of the Galapagos, and which extends throughout the trade-wind, though with diminished force, the error in that navigator's reckoning he does not think more than might have happened to any dull-sailing vessel circum- stanced as his was. The Blossom, in passing from the meridian of Juan Fernandez to Easter Island, was set 270 miles to the west- ward in eighteen days. Easter Island is 2000 miles from the coast of Chili, and 1500 from the nearest inhabited island, Pitcairn Island excepted, which has been peopled by Europeans. The geographical description of the island given by Mr. Berniget, who was engineer to the Astrolabe, was found to be perfectly accurate*.' The population Captain Beechey estimates at about 1200. The natives tattoo themselves, so as to have the appearance of wearing breeches. Most of them go naked, though some wear the maro, which is made either of fine Indian cloth of a reddish colour? of a wild kind of parsley, or of a species of sea-weed. -The straw hats mentioned by Cook and La Perouse appeared to be no longer in use. Captain Beechey thinks that the idea of there being a community of property among the'islanders is extremely improbable. The interview of our navigators with them was very unfortunate, and terminated in a serious and unpleasant dispute. Captain Beechey remarks, that those gigantic busts of stone which once existed on various parts of the island, of which Captain Cook found only. two remaining, while Kotzebue found nothing more than a square pedestal in their place, have now altogether disappeared, and that a few heaps of rubbish only occupy a spo? where it is doubtful whether one of the busts was erected or not. Pitcairn Island, he observes, affords a curious example of a race of men settling upon an island, erecting stone images upon its'

  • The highest part of it is 3200 feet, an?l in clear weather it may be seen at

twelve or fourteen leagues distance. 02 Dig,tiz?d by Google