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11 October 1769
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11 October 1769

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11 October 1769

11. This morn We took our leave of Poverty bay with not above 40 species of Plants in our boxes, which is not to be wonderd at as we were so little ashore and always upon the same spot; the only time we wanderd about a mile from the boats was upon a swamp where not more than 3 species of Plants were found.

Weather this day was most moderate: several Canoes put off from shore and came towards us within less than a quarter of a mile but could not be persuaded to come nearer, tho Tupia exerted himself very much shouting out and promising that they should not be hurt. At last one was seen coming from Poverty bay or near it, she had only 4 people in her, one who I well rememberd to have seen at our first interview on the rock: these never stopd to look at any thing but came at once alongside of the ship and with very little persuasion cam[e] on board; their example was quickly followd by the rest 7 Canoes in all and 50 men. They had many presents given to them notwithstanding which they very quickly sold almost every thing that they had with them, even their Cloaths from their backs and the paddles out of their boats; arms they had none except 2 men, one of whom sold his patoo patoo as he calld it, a short weapon of green talk of this shape intended doubtless for fighting hand to hand and certainly well contrivd for splitting sculls as it weigh[s] not less than 4 or 5 pounds and has sharp edges excellently polishd.

We were very anxious to know what was become of our poor boys, therefore as soon as the people began to lose their first impressions of fear that we saw at first disturbd them a good deal we askd after them. The man who first came on board immediately answerd that they were at home and unhurt and that the reason of his coming on board the ship with so little fear was the account they had given him of the usage they had met with among us.

The people were in general of a midling size tho there was one who measurd more than 6 feet, their colour dark brown. Their lips were staind with something put under the skin (as in the Otahite tattow) and their faces markd with deeply engravd furrows Colourd also black and formd in regular spirals; of these the oldest people had much the greatest quantity and deepest channeld, in some not less than 1/16 part of an inch. Their hair always black was tied on the tops of their heads in a little knot, in which was stuck feathers of various birds in different tastes according to the humour of the wearer, generaly stuck into the knot, sometimes one on each side the temples pointing forwards which made a most disagreable apearance; in their Ears they generaly wore a large bunch of the down of some bird milk white. The faces of some were painted with a red colour in oil some all over, others in parts only, in their hair was much oil that had very little smell, more lice than ever I saw before! and in most of them a small comb neatly enough made, sometimes of wood sometimes of bone, which they seemd to prize much. Some few had on their faces or arms regular scars as if made with a sharp instrument: such I have seen on the faces of negroes. The inferior sort were clothd in something that very much resembled hemp; the loose strings of this were fastned together at the top and hung down about 2 feet long like a petticoat; of these garments they wore 2, one round their shoulders the other about their wastes. The richer had garments probably of a finer sort of the same stuff, most beatifully made in exactly the same manner as the S. American Indians at this day, as fine or finer than one of them which I have by me that I bough[t] at Rio de Janeiro for 36 shillings and was esteemd uncommonly cheap at that price. Their boats were not large but well made, something in the form of our whale boats but longer; their bottom was the trunk of a tree hollowd and very thin, this was raisd by a board on each side sewd on, with a strip of wood sewd over the seam to make it tight; on the head of every one was carvd the head of a man with an enormous tongue reaching out of his mouth. These grotesque figures were some at least very well executed, some had eyes inlaid of something that shone very much; the whole servd to give us an Idea of their taste as well as ingenuity in execution, much superior to any thing we have yet seen.

Their behaviour while on board shewd every sign of freindship, they invited us very cordialy to come back to our old bay or to a small cove which they shewd us nearer to it. I could not help wishing that we had done so, but the captn chose rather to stand on in search of a better harbour than any we have yet seen. God send that we may not there have the same tragedy to act over again as we so lately perpetrated: the countrey is certainly divided into many small principalities so we cannot hope that an account of our weapons and management of them can be conveyd as far as we in all probability must go and this I am well convincd of, that till these warlike people have severly felt our superiority in the art of war they will never behave to us in a freindly manner.

About an hour before sunset the canoes left us, and with us three of their people who were very desirous to have gone with them but were not permitted to return to the Canoes. What their reason for so doing is we can only guess, possibly they may think that their being on board will induce us to remain here till tomorrow when they will return and renew the traffick by which they find themselves so great gainers. The people were tolerably chearfull, entertaind us with dancing and singing after their custom, eat their suppers and went to bed very quietly.


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© Derived from State Library of NSW 1998 Transcription of Banks's Endeavour Journal page (vol.2) 31, 2004
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