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mined to exert myself to the utmost to develop the mystery attending the fate of these two men, and if possible to afford them relief.
I inquired of the natives if they knew any thing concerning the guns seen by the lascar; but they denied that they did. They said that there were several large pieces of iron remaining on the island, which were carried about by the natives as they succeeded in conquering each other's districts. They likewise mentioned that at Denimah there was a very large piece of iron, which was too heavy to be removed; it was, therefore, not shifted about as the other pieces were, but served to make fast their canoes.
Rathea now told me, that after the ships had been wrecked, several pieces of the plank bad drifted to Tucopia, one of which his friends picked up there, and that it was still ou a loft in his brother's house, where he had shewn it to the lascar. I replied that his story was improbable, for how could plank drift to windward against the trades. He met my objection by saying that the ships were wrecked at the time the north-west wind blew, or, as he expressed it, “when the wind blew from leeward,” and that on our return to Tucopia he would sell me the plank. I asked him why he did not let me have the iron bolts which he brought from this island, the day on which I sent ashore at Tucopia to purchase all the things there
which had been brought from Mannicolo. He excused himself by saying that his brother did not wish to part with these bolts, and had secreted them to prevent him from bringing them to me.
Notwithstanding the complaint I have made against Rathea, I must do him the justice to say that without him I could not have effected any thing in the way of friendly intercourse with the Mannicolans; as the greater number of them had never seen an European before, and considered myself and the other persons on board wearing hats and clothing, as ghosts, although Rathea laboured to undeceive them in that respect. It was, no doubt, under the same superstitious impression that they treated the shipwrecked Frenchmen so barbarously.
If I may be allowed to express an opinion as to their dispositions, they appear to be tractable, generous, and grateful; and so independent in their principles, as not to receive a single article without making what they consider an equivalent return. The confidence with which they pulled off to the ship, six or seven miles from the land, unarmed, marks them as a people not comprehending in themselves even such a thing as the breach of a friendly compact, and unsuspicious of such baseness in others.
About 4 P.M. the boats returned ; when the
officer in charge reported that he had discovered a channel leading into Charles Lushington's Bay of sufficient depth for a ship of the largest size. The course steered along the reef towards it was S.W., and the course up the bay from it S. E. To this passage I have given the name of Commodore Hayes' Channel. The winds prevailing at this season from the south-eastward, I could not enter this channel without tacking, which it was too narrow to admit of, as I understood, although its depth of water was from twenty-five to thirty fathoms. I there. determined to pass round to the east side of Lord Combermere's Island, and anchor in Bayley's Bay. Should the wind not be favourable for getting out from the bay by the same passage through which we entered it, I proposed sailing to the westward, through Charles Lushington's Bay, and out to sea by Commodore Hayes' Channel.
11th.--Not wishing to enter Bayley's Bay without re-examining the channel leading into it, I despatched two boats, manned and armed as usual, at 5 A.M., to perform the above duty. There being a fresh breeze from the southward, I stood off to the eastward with all plain sail set.
At half past seven o'clock I stood back towards the land, and by nine brought the north point of Lord Combermere's Island to bear S.S.W. At this time I was a mile distant from
a detached patch of coral, on which the sea broke lightly every ten or fifteen minutes. It might be distant from the north point of Lord Combermere's Island three miles, and separated by a narrow channel of half a mile wide from the reef which surrounds this part of the island.
Daylight brought to my view the dangers to which I was exposed, when I hove-to this morning to send the boats off for the shore: had I stood on to the westward fifteen minutes longer, the Research would have shared a similar fate to that of la Pérouse's ships on those hidden dangers just described. I could perceive at the same time some detached patches extending out from the east side of the island, with the sea breaking on them occasionally. From the southeast point of Mannicolo Island there appeared a ledge of rocks extending a considerable distance off, upon which the sea broke very high.
Towards noon the wind was variable, from E.S.E. to S.E., S. and S.W., with heavy rain. Being now off the eastern entrance into Bayley's Bay, and not seeing the boats coming out, I was very uneasy, the weather having a very stormy appearance, and the land being occasionally enveloped in clouds. twelve I fired a six-pounder, and shortly after a second, as a signal for the boats to return. At two o'clock 1 lost sight of the land in thick clouds and rain. I kept standing off and on
At half past
towards the reef under easy sail, expecting the boats, which appeared in view at half past three. They had heard the last gun on shore, and came off without delay. The officer's report was favourable, having found a good port with a clear entrance, and plenty of fresh water at a convenient distance from the anchorage.
The Mannicolans who had promised to visit us to-day were prevented by the badness of the weather. The people in the boats saw several of the islanders while sounding the harbour. A few of them came to the boats in their canoes, with a perfect confidence, not having one offensive weapon with them. The officer presented those gentry with fish-hooks and glass beads, and received in return cocoa-nuts and sugar-canes.
12th.—Strong south-east trades, with a very high sea. I had all sail set throughout the day beating to windward, but could not reach the anchorage, occasioned by the roughness of the sea throwing the ship to leeward.
My Tucopian interpreter was rather indisposed last night and this day, and anxious to get on shore to see his friends. I had some further conversation with him respecting the two ships wrecked off this island, and asked if the dreadful disaster happened during the night or day. He replied, that at daylight one morning the Wannow people went out from their houses, and found several white men with the