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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. IVoyaging Accounts
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Character and Manners of the Natives at Otaheite


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Character and Manners of the Natives at Otaheite (continued)

they all ran away: when they got to some distance they stopped, and he made signs to them to bring the duck over: this one of them at last ventured to do, and, pale and trembling, laid it down at his feet. Several other ducks happening at the instant to fly over the spot where they were standing, he fired again, and fortunately brought down three more. This incident gave the natives such a dread of a gun, that if a musquet was pointed at a thousand of them, they would all run away like a flock of sheep; and probably the ease with which they were afterwards kept at a distance, and their orderly behaviour in their traffick, was in a great measure owing to their having upon this occasion seen the instrument of which before they had only felt the effects.

As I foresaw that a private traffick would probably commence between such of our people as were on shore, and the natives, and that if it was left to their own caprice, perpetual quarrels and mischief would ensue, I ordered that all matters of traffick should be transacted by the gunner, on behalf of both parties, and I directed him to see that no injury was done to the natives, either by violence or fraud, and by all possible means to attach the old man to his interest. This service he performed with great diligence and fidelity, nor did he neglect to complain of those who transgressed my orders, which was of infinite advantage to all parties; for as I punished the first offenders with a necessary severity, many irregularities, that would otherwise have produced the most disagreeable consequences, were prevented: we were also indebted for many advantages to the old man, whose caution kept our people perpetually upon their guard, and soon brought back those who straggled from the party. The natives would indeed sometimes pilfer, but by the terror of a gun, without using it, he always found means to make them bring back what was stolen. A fellow had one day the


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© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, page 455, 2004
Published by South Seas, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-jrnl-hv01-455