« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
you why this island is so much unlike the rest, but I think the people must be far wiser, and happier than those of the other islands.
To the north of the Caroline isles, are the Ladrones or Marion isles, or the islands of robbers. This name is given to them because the inhabitants are great thieves. The number of these islands is about fifteen. The climate is very delightful, but hurricanes sometimes visit the islands. The people color their teeth black, and paint their bodies red.
Thus I have told you of some of the principal groups of islands, in the eastern and northern part of the Pacific ocean. Taken together, these islands are sometimes called Polynesia, a term signifying many islands. The climate in them all, is very agreeable, seeming to combine the beauties of spring and summer.
The trees, fruits, and animals, are nearly the same in all. The inhabitants are very similar in complexion ; almost all practice tattooing, are given to thievery, and, on common occasions, go nearly naked. There are shades of difference between them ; but there is a general resemblance in their appearance, their customs, opinions, and modes of life.
The ship approaches the Philippine isles. A hurricane.
Volcanic eruption. Ship is wrecked on the coast of Luzon. Parley and two sailors only are saved. They are kindly treated by the natives. They travel to Manilla.
I must now return to my story. . After sailing to the westward, for several weeks, with a steady breeze, we supposed ourselves to be near the Philippine islands. It is said that this group consists of more than a thousand islands. The largest of these is Luzon.
Well! in a short time we discovered some high rocky mountains, looking like clouds in the distance. These, we had no doubt, were the mountains of Luzon. It was not our intention to stop there, so we kept on our way.
But as night set in, a storm commenced, and before morning, it blew a hurricane. About midnight, we had the misfortune to have the rudder of our ship broken and carried away. This left us at the mercy of the storm. All our attempts to rig up a temporary rudder were unsuccessful, and we were driven before the wind with the greatest violence.
The night was so dark that we could see nothing around us. We had reason to suppose, however, that we were drifting toward the rocky shores of Luzon, and that we were not far from them.
In this state of uncertainty, the captain, myself, and every sailor on board the ship, were making every exertion for our safety; yet we were all preparing our minds to meet the event which seemed inevitable.
The storm continued with unabated fury, The noise of the waves, the rush of the tempest, and the roar of the sea, filled the ear with their almost deafening sounds. But a sudden noise, louder than these, now burst upon us. Instantly a pillar of fire rose from a neighbouring mountain, shedding its glare on the land, the sea, and the sky, seeming for a moment to set them all in a blaze.
In a few moments, this pillar of fire appeared to fall suddenly back into the mountain. Then the mountain was agitated with loud bellowings like thunder. Then large red hot stones were cast from the crater, far into the air. Some of these fell near the ship, and went hissing into the sea. Then red hot lava began to pour from the crater of the volcano, and rolled down the sides of the mountain.
For sometime we forgot our own perilous condition, in looking at the frightful scene have described. But the hurricane continued, and we were soon obliged to attend to our own condition. The blaze of the volcano had shown us the rocky shores of the island of Luzon immediately before us, and the gale was sweeping us toward it with the greatest fury.
Nor was this all. The volcanic mountain,
from whose top the red hot lava was gushing out, stood upon the very coast, and the sea washed its base. It was against the foot of this mountain, and immediately beneath, where the lava was rolling down its sides, that it seemed our destiny to be thrown.
There are some things so painful to the memory, that we do not love to dwell upon them. This fearful night, was one that I should be glad to forget. I need only tell you, that our ship was driven against the sharp rocks at the foot of the volcanic mountain, and, in a few moments, she went to pieces.
Three individuals only, of all that were on board the ship, escaped; the captain and twelve men were all drowned. I was thrown upon the rocks as if by miracle, in an exhausted state; and when I recovered, the morning had dawned, and the tempest had passed away. The eruption of the volcano had also ceased ; but the sea was yet agitated, and on its restless bosom I could see, far and wide, the scattered frag