They quitted the Friendly Islands on the 10th of April, 1793. April 15th saw Enouan, the most eastern of the islands of the Archipelago of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards that of Anaton. The eruptions of the volcano of Tana presented in the night a spectacle truly sublime. April 27th, steering for New Caledonia; in a night darker than usual, they ran among some islands surrounded with breakers, not noticed till then by navigators; they were only apprised of danger by an uncommon circumstance; the flight of a flock of sea-fowl over their heads about three in the morning. This indication of the proximity of land induced the officer upon watch to slacken sail, and lie-to, at a critical juncture, when an hour's more sailing must have dashed them to pieces against the rocks. These new discovered islands lie about thirty leagues north-east of New Caledonia, where they anchored April 26th.
After the description that Cook and Foster had given of the inhabitants of New Zealand, they expected to find realized the advantageous portrait given of them by these celebrated voyagers. They had reason, however, partly to suspend their belief of those accounts, when they afterwards observed a number of human bones, broiled, which the savages were devouring, eagerly fastening on the smallest tendinous parts which adhere to them. This fact at least suffices to prove that the New Zealanders are cannibals. They often attacked the boat; but the good countenance exhibited prevented their assailing or massacreing any of their company. Notwithstanding these hostilities, the ship was every day visited by numerous bodies of the islanders. The soil being every where barren, they perceived but few vestiges of any taste for agriculture; still, however, they observed in some gardens the Colocasia, the Caribbe cabbage, the banana-tree, and the sugar-cane. The barbarous customs of the natives did not prevent their reiterated excursions into the interior parts of the country. On these occasions they kept together to the number of twenty, always well armed. As evening came on, they commonly took their station on some elevated post in the mountains, where they passed the night in a situation which protected them from hostile assaults. To guard against surprise, they kept watch by turns.
May 9th, they weighed anchor, and sailed before the wind for the north. In their course, observed the eastern part of the reefs and islands, the western side of which they saw the year before. May 21st, were close on the island of St. Croix, and sent in two boats to look out for an anchoring place. While the sailors were employed in sounding, one of the natives, at the distance of upwards of eighty paces, lanced an arrow, which slightly wounded the forehead of one of them. A volley of firearms, however, soon dispersed the group of canoes which had surrounded the boats, and from which the lance proceeded. Although the wound was apparently so inconsiderable, it was attended with a tetanus, which proved mortal to the unfortunate sailor after only eight days. The arrow did not appear to have been poisoned, as it is well known that beasts pierced with the same weapons do not experience any fatal symptoms. In India, it is no uncommon thing to see the slightest puncture followed by a spasm, which is a certain forerunner of death.
July 16th and 17th, they sailed in view of the Anchoret Islands of Bougainville. On the 20th they lost D'Entrecasteaux, the captain. He died of convulsions, every fit of which was succeeded by a speechless stupor, August 16th, 1793, in 129 deg. 14 min. of east longitude, and so near the equator, that they were only half a minute to the south. Here the inhabitants brought very large sea-turtles, the soup of which they experienced to be a salutary remedy for the scurvy, which was now prevalent among them. In this island they procured a number of interesting objects, and quitted it August the 29th, and sailed for Bouao, where they anchored September the 3d, 1793. In this mountainous isle, where the productions of nature are extremely varied, they had a favorable opportunity of continuing their botanical researches, etc. Here several of the men died of a contagious bilious dysentery, contracted in the low marshy grounds of the country.
October 28, 1793, cast anchor in the road of Sourabaya, in the Isle of Java. Here divisions broke out among the crews, in consequence of gaining intelligence of the further progress of the French revolution. D' Auribeau hoisted the white flag Feb. 19th, 1794, and surrendered the two vessels to the Dutch. He also seized all the journals, charts, and memoirs, which were connected with the voyage, and arrested all those of the ship's companies that were obnoxious to his own political sentiments. One journal, however, was fortunately saved, by having been stowed in a box of tea. In this hazardous, yet important voyage, of two hundred and fifteen persons, thirty-six lost their lives; astronomer, Pearson, died at Java; and Ventenat at the Isle of France. Riche, the naturalist, remained at Java, as well as Billadiere. Lahay, the botanist, also stopped there; having under his care the bread-fruit trees, brought from the Friendly Islands. Pison, the painter, tarried with the governor of Sourabaya; but afterwards returned to Europe, and published an account of the voyage.