Monday, 4th. Gentle breezes at North-West, West-North-West, and West; very fair weather. P.M., Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and myself landed upon one of the Islands on the North side of the one the Ship lays under. This Island is about 3 Miles in Circuit, and hath upon it 40 or 50 Acres of Land cultivated and planted with roots; here are likewise several small streams of Excellent water. This Island, as well as most others in this Bay, seem to be well inhabited. At 4 a.m. sent the Long boat to the above Island for water and some hands to cut Grass, and at 9, I went with the Pinnace and Yawl over upon the Main, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander. In our way we passed by a point of land on which stood a Hippa or Fortified Village, the inhabitants of which waved us to come ashore, and accordingly we landed, which we had no sooner done than the People came about us with Quantitys of various sorts of fish, which we purchased of them for meer Trifles. After this they shew’d us the Village, which was a neat Compact place, and its situation well Choose. There were 2 or 3 more near unto this, but these we did not go to. We afterwards went a little way into the Country, and had some of the Natives along with us; we met with a good deal of Cultivated land, planted mostly with sweet potatoes. The face of the Country appear’d Green and pleasant, and the soil seem’d to be pretty rich and proper for Cultivation. The land is every where about this Bay of a moderate height, but full of small Hills and Vallies, and not much incumbered with wood. We met with about 1/2 a dozen Cloth plants, being the same as the inhabitants of the Islands lying within the Tropics make their finest Cloth on. This plant must be very scarce among them, as the Cloth made from it is only worn in small pieces by way of Ornaments at their ears, and even this we have seen but very seldom. Their knowing the use of this sort of Cloth doth in some measure account for the extraordinary fondness they have shew’d for it above every other thing we had to give them. Even a sheet of white paper is of more value than so much English Cloth of any sort whatever; but, as we have been at few places where I have not given away more or less of the latter, it’s more than probable that they will soon learn to set a value upon it, and likewise upon Iron, a thing not one of them knows the use of or sets the least value upon; but was European commodities in ever such Esteem among them, they have no one thing of Equal value to give in return, at least that we have seen.
December 4, 2012
Monday, 4th December, 1769