that time, a high rocky island, not more than three miles in circumference, was discovered, and called Pylstaart (Tropic Bird) Island, from the multitude of those birds that flocked around it. Two days after, in lat. 21° 20'S. and in lon. 205°. 29° E., were discovered two islands about a mile and a half asunder; to the northern island, where the Hollanders found plenty of provisions, they gave the name of Amsterdam. This was the principal island of the group which captain Cook afterwards named the Friendly Islands, and is called by the natives Tonga-tabu. The island which lay to the south (the Eooa of the natives) received from the Dutch the name of Middleburgh. Shortly after, three natives came off to the ships in a canoe : they were of a brown complexion and nearly naked: their stature seemed to exceed that of Europeans. The Dutch threw to them a piece of white linen ; and as it began to sink, one of the islanders jumped out of his canoe and dived after it. He remained a long time under water, but at length came up with the linen, which he placed several times upon his head to signify his gratitude. They were then presented with two large nails, a string of beads, and a small Chinese looking-glass; in return for which they gave to the Dutch a fishing line and one of their hooks: the latter was made of shell like a small anchovy. The looking-glass and beads they placed upon their heads. The Dutch showed them an old cocoa nut and a fowl, and asked for hogs and for fresh water in the best terms their vocabularies could supply them with ; but the islanders did not seem to understand them: however, the friendly correspondence, thus commenced, improved very rapidly. In the afternoon, numbers of people were seen running along the shore bearing white flags; and the Dutch, supposing this to be a sign of peace, answered it by hoisting white flags at the sterns of their ships. This was no sooner done than four large and handsome men came off to the ships, and boarded Tasman's vessel. They brought a present of cloth made of the bark of a tree; and from this gift, as well as from the appearance of their canoe, it was judged that they were messengers from the king or chief of the island. The Dutch filled a glass with wine, and drank it to show them that it was not hurtful; and then filling the glass again, offered it to them; but they threw away the wine and carried off the glass to shore. Canoes now came off in numbers, loaded with cocoa-nuts, which the Dutch purchased at an easy rate. An old man, who was understood to be a chief, also came on board: and a cup of water being shown to him, he intimated by signs that fresh water might be had on shore. About sunset, above twenty canoes stationed themselves in regular order near the ship. The natives who were in them cried out several times, Woo, woo ! on which all those that remained on board sat down; and one of the canoes coming close to the vessel, brought a present from the king of a fine large hog and a number of cocoa-nuts and yams. The messenger who brought this received in return a plate and some brass wire. The Dutch were pleased to find that this advantageous traffic flourished rapidly. On the following day the ships were surrounded with canoes bearing cocoa-nuts, yams, bananas, plantains, hogs, and fowls, which were exchanged for nails, beads, and linen. Several women, both old and young, likewise came on board. The elder women had the little finger cut off from both hands. One of the great guns was fired off, at which the islanders at first were not a little frightened; but seeing that no harm was done, they soon recovered their spirits. An attempt was made to procure water, but to no purpose, the wells being small and scantily supplied. The men who went in search of it were conducted by the natives into an agreeable valley, where they were seated upon mats, and fresh water presented to them in cocoa-nut shells. The native chief, when he learned the wants of the strangers, ordered the wells to be made larger, and entertained his visiters with fruits, fresh fish, and cocoanuts. “He behaved to us,” says Tasman, “with great friendship, and enquired of us whence we came and

[ocr errors]

where we intended to go. We told him that we had been more than a hundred days at sea, at which he and the natives were much astonished. We explained to them that we came to their country for water and provisions; and they answered that we should have as much as we wished for. These people have no idea of tobacco or of smoking. We saw no arms among them; so that here

was altogether peace and friendship.” Fresh provisions were coming in rapidly, and new gratification was expected from the improved acquaintance with the natives, when one of the Dutch ships was driven from her anchorage by the strength of the trade wind, and drifted out to sea. On the following day the other vessel stood out to join her; and as the strength of the wind rendered it very difficult to make the island again, it was resolved to abandon the design, and to proceed on the voyvge. It is gratifying to observe that the first intercourse of Europeans with the inhabitants of the Friendly Islands was not sullied by any of those acts of tyranny and violence which in other parts of the South Sea have drawn upon them the

determined animosity of the natives. Proceeding north-east, Tasman's ships arrived in a few hours at a group of islands, near the largest of which they found good anchorage. The Dutch went on shore in search of fresh water, and received the same attention from the natives here which they had received from those of Amsterdam Island. They saw several pieces of cultivated ground, or gardens, in which the beds were regularly laid out into squares and planted with different vegetables and fruits; bananas and other trees ranged in straight lines made an agreeable appearance, and spread a fine perfume around them. At this appearance of happiness and industry Tasman rather harshly observes, “So that among these people, who have the form of the human species, but no human manners, you may see traces of reason and understanding. They know nothing about religion or divine worship; they have no idols, relics, or priests, but they have nevertheless superstitions; for I saw a man take up a water-snake which was near his boat, and put it respectfully on his head, and then again into the water. They kill no flies, though they are very numerous and plague them extremely. Our steersman accidently killed a fly in the presence of one of the principal people, who could not conceal his anger at it.” To this island, which the natives called Amamocka, Tasman gave the name of Rotterdam. The Dutch ships now held their course westward, and in six days arrived at a group of small islands surrounded to a great distance by shoals and dangerous reefs. He named them respectively Prince William's Islands and Heemskirk's shoals. This group has been seen but seldom since it was first discovered, navigators studiously avoiding the dangerous reefs which Tasman descried in their neighbourhood. The islands called by Le Maire Onthona Java, and Marken, were the next that occurred. The ship was visited by a canoe full of natives from the latter island; they were much darker than the inhabitants of Amsterdam Island, and less friendly in their demeanour. Some of them resembled the New Zealanders, and one had rings through his nose. The Green Islands of Le Maire, which lay still farther to the west, were reached in four days: here the inhabitants were quite black; their hair was curled, but not so woolly as that of the negroes, nor were their noses quite so flat; they were quite naked, but wore bracelets apparently made of bone, and some of them had their faces painted. The Dutch spoke to them from their vocabulary of the language of New Guinea, but were not understood in any thing except the word lamas, which signifies cocoa-nuts. At Fisher's Islands, still nearer to New Guinea, a number of canoes came off to the ships: they gave the Dutch a small quantity of sago, which was the only article of food they had in their boats. The Hollanders called out to them anieuw, oufi, pouacka, which in the language of the Salomon Islands signify cocoa-nuts, yams, and pork; and the natives seemed to understand them, for they pointed to the land and soon

after departed. These people were as black as Hottentots; their faces were painted red, their hair was powdered with lime and ochre, and bones as thick as the little finger were stuck through their noses. In a very few days Tasman arrived at the eastern extremity of New Guinea, and held his course along the northern side of that great country, nearly in the same route which had formerly been followed by Le Maire. At the small islands Garana and Moa he purchased 6000 cocoa-nuts and about a hundred bunches of bananas for the two ships. In order to help them in their traffic with the natives, the Dutch took pieces of iron hoop, which they fitted into handles, in the form of knives, and ground them till they looked sharp and bright. The west point of New Guinea, Tasman informs us, is a remarkably broken hilly land; the coast is full of turnings, with innumerable bays and islands near it ; and the currents in many places are as strong as the tide before the pier-head at Flushing. The two ships arrived at Batavia after a prosperous voyage of nine months and a few days. Tasman was an able as well as fortunate navigator. By his circumnavigation of New Holland he reduced very much the limits of the Terra Australis, and thereby made a great step to rid geography of its most important errors. He supposed, it is true, that his Staten Land, or New Zealand, might be connectcd with the Staten Land of Le Maire at the extremity of America, so that the great Terra Avstralis incognita might hem in the Pacific Ocean on the south ; but he never insisted on this hypothesis, which could hardly be entertained by seamen who had doubled Cape Horn. About the year 1662, a new stadthouse was built at Amsterdam, the old edifice having been destroyed by fire. Among the ornaments of the new building was a map of the world cut in stone, in which was marked the discoveries of Tasman. Three years later, the name Nova Hollandia, or New Holland, was given to the western part of Terra Australis by the direction of the states-general.

« ForrigeFortsett »