Monsieur de la Perouse

At eight in the morning of the 7th, he made an island which seemed of great extent; he supposed, at first, that this was Segalien Island, the south part of which some geographers had placed two degrees too far to the northward. The aspect of this land was extremely different from that of Tartary; nothing was to be seen but barren rocks, the cavities of which retained the snow. To the highest of the mountains La Perouse gave the appellation of Peak Lamanon. M. de Lange, who had come to anchor, came instantly on board his ship, having already hoisted out his long boat and small boats. He submitted to La Perouse whether it would not be proper to land before night, in order to reconnoitre the country, and gather some necessary information from the inhabitants. By the assistance of their glasses, they perceived some cabins, and two of the islanders hastening towards the woods.

Our navigators were successful in making the natives comprehend that they requested a description of their country, and that of the Mantchous; one of the old sages rose up, and, with great perspicuity pointed out the most essential and interesting particulars with the end of his staff. His sagacity in guessing the meaning of the questions proposed to him was astonishing, though, in this particular, he was surpassed by another islander of about thirty years of age. The last-mentioned native informed our navigators that they had a commercial intercourse with the people who inhabit the banks of Segalien river, and he distinctly marked, by strokes of a pencil, the number of days it required for a canoe to sail up the river to the respective places of their general traffic. The bay in which they lay at anchor was named Baie de Langle, as Captain de Langle was the first who discovered it, and first landed on its shore. They spent the remainder of the day in visiting the country and its inhabitants. They were surprised to find among a people composed of hunters and fishermen, who were strangers to the cultivation of the earth, and without flocks or herds, such gentle manners, and such a superiority of intellect. The attention of the inhabitants of the Baie de Langle was attracted by the arts and manufactures of the French, they judiciously examined them, and debated among themselves the manner of fabricating the several articles. They were not unacquainted with the weaver's shuttle. A loom of their construction was carried to France, by which it appeared that their methods of making linens was similar to that of the Europeans; but the thread of it is formed of the bark of the willow-tree. Though they do not cultivate the soil, they convert the spontaneous produce of it to the most useful and necessary purposes.

At daybreak, on the 4th of July, La Perouse made the signal for getting under way; early on the 19th, he saw the land of an island from north-east-by-north, as far as east-south-east, but so thick a fog prevailed that none of the points could be particularly discovered. The bay, which is the best in which he had anchored since his departure from Manilla, he named Baie d. Estaing. M. de Langle, who first landed in the island, found the islanders assembled round three or four canoes, laden with smoked fish: he was there informed that the men who composed the crews of the canoes were Mantchous, and had quitted the banks of the Se g alien river to become purchasers of these fish. In the corner of the island, within a kind of circus planted with stakes, each surmounted with the head of a bear, the bones of animals lay scattered. As these people use no firearms, but engage the bears in close combat, their arrows being only capable of wounding them, this circus might probably be intended to perpetuate the memory of certain great exploits. Having entertained conjectures relative to the proximity of the Coast of Tartarty, La Perouse at length discovered that his conjectures were well-founded; for when the horizon became a little more extensive, he saw it perfectly. In the evening of the 22d he came to anchor in thirty-seven fathoms, about a league from land. He was then abreast of a small river, to the northward of which he saw a remarkable peak; its base is on the shore, and its summit on all sides pre serves a regular form. La Perouse bestowed on it the title of Peak la Martiniere.

On the 28th, in the evening, our navigators were at the opening of a bay which presented a safe and convenient anchorage. M. de Langle reported to La Perouse that there was excellent shelter behind four islands he had landed at a village of Tartars, where he was kindly received, and. where he discovered a watering place abounding with the most limpid element. From M. de Langle's report, La Perouse gave orders to prepare for anchoring in the bottom of the bay, which was named Baie de Castris.