Page images
PDF
EPUB

length. The natives are like those of New Holland, without clothing, black, of common stature, with woolly hair, like the blacks of Africa, but with more pleasing features. Their hair and faces are smeared with red paint. Their habitations are miserable hovels, and in some instances a hollow tree. Their food consists chiefly of birds and fish, but they eat the kangaroo. The only quadrupeds which capt. Cook saw on the island were the kangaroo and opossum.

866. The Pelew Isles. The Pelew Isles are a groop situated between the 5th and 10th degrees of north latitude, in the Pacific Ocean. These were discovered by capt. Wilson, who was shipwrecked on one of them in in 1783. The inhabitants are of a remarkably mild character, humane and peaceable. They are of a deep copper color, stout and well made, without clothing, except an apron or fringe made of the husk of the cocoa-nut. They have no appearance of religion, but some faint idea that the soul survives the body. Their houses are raised on large stones, about three feet from the ground, being constructed of timber and bamboo, and covered with bamboo and palm leaves. They subsist chiefly on yams and cocoa nuts, and the milk of the latter is their drink. Their knives are made of the mother of pearl oyster; their combs of orange tree, with wooden teeth inserted; their fish hooks of tortoise shell, twine and nets of the fibers of the cocoa nut; large bamboos form their buckets ; their beds and plates are mats of plaintain leaves. Both sexes tatoo their skins, and stain their teeth black, while a bone, worn as a bracelet round the wrist, is the badge of nobility.

867. The Ladrones. Northward of the Pelew Isles are the Ladrones, or Isles of Thieves, a name given them by Magellan, on account of the disposition of the inhabitants to pilfer. They are called also the Marian Isles. They are 12 or 14 in number, and occupy the space of 150 leagues. The inhabitants resemble those of Pelew in color and manners. Before they saw the Spaniards, they regarded themselves as the only people in the world, believing the first man to be formed of a rock, or as others supposed, of earth, in one of their isles. Their

vessels or proas are constructed with wonderful ingenuity. The nobles are treated with great respect, and it is a crime for them to marry a girl of common rank. Their houses are divided in four apartments by partitions of palm leaves. Each man avenges his own qualrel, but their wars are not very sanguinary. Their magicians invoke the dead, whose sculls are preserved in the house, and they appear solicitous that a ghost should not disturb their nocturnal repose.

868. The Carolines. East of Pelew, are the Caro. lines, a groop of about 30 isles, most of which are in. habited. They were discovered by the Spaniards in 1686, and a few Spaniards are said to have been left on one of them, but none of them have any European col. ony. The inhabitants live chiefly on fish, and cocoa-nuts. They believe in celestial spirits, and think these spirits descend to bathe in a sacred lake ; but they have neither temples, idols, nor worship. The dead are interred or thrown into the sea. Polygamy is allowed, and criminals are banished from one isle to another. They have no instruments of music, but their dances are accompanied with songs. Their only weapon is a lance armed with a bone. In 1733, Cantova, a Jesuit missionary, with eight Spaniards, was massacred on Mogmog, one of the Carolines, but late navigators seldom visit these isles.

869. Sandwish Isles. The Sandwish isles lie in the Pacific, nearly under the tropic of Cancer. They were discovered and named by Capt. Cook, in gratitude to the earl of Sandwich, the patron of his voyage. The natives are of a dark olive complexion, with pleasing features, long or curled hair, but the nose is spread at the point. The beard is worn, and both sexes tatoo their bodies, as females do the tip of their tongues. A narrow strip of cloth about the loins is the principal dress; but in battle the men throw over their shoulders a cloth or mat. On solemn occasions, the chiefs wear dresses ingeniously formed of fethers, and both sexes use a fan to drive away flies, made of the fibers of the cocoanut or of long fethers. The chief, called Eree Taboo, has absolute command, and when he dies, his funeral is celebrated by the sacrifice of two or more servants.

Y

870, Climate and Productions. The climate of the isles in the Pacific, is remarkably mild or temperate ; the east or trade winds are regular, and hurricanes and violent tempests are not known. The isles produce yams, plantain, sugar-cane, and bread fruit in abundance. These, with fish, constitute almost the only subsistence of the natives. The animals are few; the quadrupeds are only hogs, dogs and rats; the birds are white pigeons and plovers, owls, and a sort of raven. On Owy. hee, one of the Sandwich isles, capt. Cook was killed by the natives in Feb. 1779 ; but his death was owing to a sudden impulse of unmerited resentment, and not to the natural ferociousness of the people.

871. Society Isles. Otaheite. A cluster ofisles in the Pacific, is called the Society Isles, in honor of the Roy. al Society in England. The number is sixty or seventy; the principal of which, Otaheite, is about 120 miles in circumference, in the 18th degree of south latitude. It consists of two peninsulas, connected by a neck of land, surrounded by a reef of coral rocks. The land rises from the shore into hills and mountains, and is very fertile, being covered with trees and plants. The chief animals are bogs, dogs and poultry, with some will fowls. Cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and ducks have been introduced by Europeans. The plants of all the tropical isles of the Pacific are nearly the same, yams, bananas, plantain, cocoa, sweet potatoes and the bread fruit.

872. Inhabitants. The inhabitants of Otaheite are esti. mated at 16000, who are remarkable for the simplicity of their minds, their good nature, affability, sincerity and benevolence. Their color is olive, and their stature exceeds the middle size. The females have fine black eyes, with white even teeth, and handsome limbs,with long black hair perfumed and ornamented with flowers. The dress and food of the inhabitants are nearly the same as in the Sandwich isles. They have one supreme Deity, and many inferior ones ; each family has its Tee, or guardi. an spirit, which is worshipped at the Morai, or burying place. These benevolent children of undisguised nature, admit the iminortality of the soul, but not a state

of future punishment. Their priests are numerous, and human victims are commonly criminals. Their happiness is often disturbed by wars between different isles or tribes. Their battles are fought on the water in long canoes, fitted with out-riggers or cross-pieces, to prevent them from oversetting, two of which are often fastened together. Their language is remarkably soft and melodious, and attempts are making to christianize them.

873. The Marquesas. The Marquesas, a groop of isles north east of Otaheite, in the 8th and 9th degrees of south latitude, were discovered by Mendana, a Spaniard, and named after Mendoza, a governor of Peru, Marquis of Caniente. The climate, productions and animals are nearly the same as those of the Society isles. But the inhabitants are described as far superior to the natives of other isles, in symmetry of shape and regularity of features. Their complexion is olive, but rather fairer than that of the natives of the Sandwich isles; but the practice of tatooing the body, which blackens the skin by numerous punctures, is universal. Their garments are simple, and made of the bark or fibers of plants. They have idols of wood, and are governed by a chief who has little power, and by their customs which are regarded as laws.

874. Friendly Isles. The Friendly isles are a groop near the 20th degree of south latitude, which, in climate and productions, resemble those last described. But the inhabitants are represented as more grave and regular in their deportment, and distinguished for their indus, try and ingenuity. The principal isle, discovered by the Dutch navigator, Tasman, in 1643, is called Ton. gataboo, which exhibits a surprizing state of cultivation. The land is divided into fields, inclosed with reed fences of 6 feet high, and intersected with innumerable roads, The Fejee isles to the north west, are subject to Ton: gataboo. Still further north, are the Navigators, in, habited by a stout race of men, but ferocious, living in the midst of natural productions of the richest luxuriance. Innumerable other islands appear in the vast Pa, cific Ocean, too numerous and to nearly reserubling

cach other in every important feature, to require descrip

uion.

BRITISH COLONIES IN AMERICA. 875, Nova Scotia. History. The territory now cal. led Nova Scotia, was first granted by the French king Henry IV. to De Monts, in 1603, and called Acadie. The next year it was settled by a few Frenchmen at Port Royal. In 1621, king James granted the same territory to a Scots gentleman, Sir William Alexander, by the name of Nova Scotia, or New Scotland. It has been the subject of contending claims between Great Britain and France, and repeatedly in the possession of each.

876. Extent and Division. Nova Scotia, before the province was divided, comprehended the territory on the main land as far west as the river Scooduc, formerly cal. led St. Croix, and the borders of Canada, with the island of St. Jolin, and other islands within six leagues of the shore. It was more than 300 miles in length, and 250 in bredth. But in 1784 it was divided into two govern ments, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

877. Nova Scotia. The present government of Nova Scotia extends from 45 to 48 degrees of north latitude, to the south of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and is nearly surrounded by the Ocean. On the north east it is separated from Breton by the strait of Canso, and to the north lies St. Johns. On the west it is bounded by the Bay of Fundy, and by New Brunswick, from which it is separated by the river Missiquash.

878. Extent and Form. The length of Nova Scotia is nearly 200 miles, and its medial bredth about 80. It is almost insulated by the Bay of Fundy, which penetrates 150 miles into the land, towards the Gulf of St. Lawrence, leaving an istmus of only 18 miles, connecting Nova Scotia with New Brunswick. Nova Scotia contains nearly 9 millions of akers, not more than a fourth part of which is settled. : 879. Bays. The Bay of Fundy, on the west of Nova

Scotia, is one of the most remarkable in America. Its : medial bredth is about 35 miles, and here is the highest

« PreviousContinue »