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9 October 1769
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9 October 1769

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in Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine
9 October 1769

9. We could see with our glasses but few people on the beach; they walkd with a quick pace towards the river where we landed yesterday, most of these without arms, 3 or 4 with long Pikes in their hands. The captn orderd three boats to be mannd with seamen and marines intending to land and try to establish a communication with them. A high surf ran on the shore. The Indians about 50 remaind on the farther side of the river; we lookd upon that as a sign of fear, so landing with the little boat only the Captn Dr Solander, Tupia and myself went to the river side to speak to them. As soon almost as we appeard they rose up and every man producd either a long pike or a small weapon of well polishd stone about a foot long and thick enough to weigh 4 or 5 pounds, with these they threatned us and signd to us to depart. A musquet was then fird wide of them the ball of which struck the water, they saw the effect and immediately ceasd their threats. We though[t] that it was prudent to retreat till the marines were landed and drawn up to intimidate them and support us in case of nesscessity. They landed and marchd with a Jack carried before them to a little bank about 50 yards from the river, which might be about 40 broad; here they were drawn up in order and we again advancd to the river side with Tupia, who now found that the language of the people was so like his own that he could tolerably well understand them and they him. He immediately began to tell them that we wanted provisions and water for which we would give them Iron in exchange: they agreed to the proposal but would by no means lay by their arms which he desird them do: this he lookd upon as a sign of treachery and continualy told us to be upon our guard for they were not our freinds. Many words passd the cheif purport of which was that each side desird the other to come over to them; at last however an Indian stripd himself and swam over without arms, he was followd by two more and soon after by most of the rest who brought with them their arms. We gave them Iron and beads, they seemd to set little value upon either but especialy upon the iron the use of which they certainly were totaly ignorant of. They caught at whatever was offerd them but would part with nothing but a few feathers: their arms indeed they offerd to exchange for ours which they made several atempts to snatch from us; we were upon our guard so much that their attempts faild and they were made to understand that we must kill them if they snatchd any thing from us. After some time Mr Green in turning himself about exposd his hanger, one of them immediately snatchd it, set up a cry of exultation and waving it round his head retreated gently. It now appeard nescessary for our safeties that so daring an act should be instantly punishd, this I pronouncd aloud as my opinion, the Captn and the rest Joind me on which I fird my musquet which was loaded with small shot, leveling it between his shoulders who was not 15 yards from me. On the shot striking him he ceasd his cry but instead of quitting his prize continued to wave it over his head retreating as gently as before; the surgeon who was nearer him, seeing this fird a ball at him at which he dropd. Two more who were near him returnd instantly, one seizd his weapon of Green talk, the other attempted to recover the hanger which the surgeon had scarce time to prevent. The main body of them were now upon a rock a little way in the river. They took the water returning towards us, on which the other three, for we were only 5 in number, fird on them. They then retird and swam again across the river. On their landing we saw that 3 were wounded, one seemingly a good deal hurt: we may hope however that neither of them were killd as one of the musquets only was loaded with ball, which I think I saw strike the water without taking effect, and Tupias gun which was the last that was fird I clearly saw strike two men low down upon their legs, who probably would be so lame as to walk with difficulty when they landed.

The Indians retird gently carrying with them their wounded and we reembarkd in our boats intending to row round the bay, see if there might be any shelter for the ship on the other side, and attempt to land there where the countrey appeard to be much more fruitfull than where we now were. The bottom of the bay provd to be a low sandy beach on which the sea broke most prodigiously so that we could not come near it; within was flat, a long way inland over this water might be seen from the mast head probably a lagoon but in the boat we could see no entrance into it. We had almost arrivd at the farthest part of the bay when a fresh breze came in from the seaward and we saw a Canoe sailing in standing right towards [us], soon after another padling. The Captn now resolvd to take one of these which in all probability might be done without the least resistance as we had three boats full of men and the canoes seemd to be fishermen, who probably were without arms. The boats were drawn up in such a manner that they could not well escape us: the padling canoe first saw us and made immediately for the nearest land, the other saild on till she was in the midst of us before she saw us, as soon as she did she struck her sail and began to paddle so briskly that she outran our boat; on a musquet being fird over her she however immediately ceasd padling and the people in her, 7 in all, made all possible haste to strip as we thought to leap into the water, but no sooner did our boat come up with her than they began with stones, paddles &c. to make so brisk a resistance that we were obligd to fire into her by which 4 were killd. The other three who were boys leapd overboard, one of them swam with great agility and when taken made every effort in his power to prevent being taken into the boat, the other two were more easily prevaild upon. As soon as they were in they squatted down expecting no doubt instant death, but on finding themselves well usd and that Cloaths were given them they recoverd their spirits in a very short time and before we got to the ship appeard almost totaly insensible of the loss of their fellows. As soon as they came onboard we offerd them bread to eat of which they almost devourd a large quantity, in the mean time they had Cloaths given them; this good usage had such an effect that they seemd to have intirely forgot every thing that had happned, put on chearfull and lively countenances and askd and answerd questions with a great deal of curiosity. Our dinner came, they expressd a curiosity to taste whatever they saw us eat, and did; salt pork seemd to please them better than any thing else, of this they eat a good deal. At sunset they eat again an enormous quantity of Bread and drank above a quart of water each; we then made them beds upon the lockers and they laid down to sleep with all seeming content imaginable. After dark loud voices were heard ashore as last night. Thus ended the most disagreable day My life has yet seen, black be the mark for it and heaven send that such may never return to embitter future reflection. I forgot to mention in its proper place that we pickd up a large pumice stone floating in the bay in returning to the ship today, a sure sign that there either is or has been a Volcano in this neighbourhood.


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© Derived from State Library of NSW 1998 Transcription of Banks's Endeavour Journal page (vol.2) 20, 2004
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