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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
20 - 24 November 1768

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Madeira to Rio de Janeiro


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Madeira to Rio de Janeiro (continued)

About eight o’clock this evening it began to blow very hard in sudden gusts from the South, and our long-boat coming on board just at this time with four pipes of rum, the rope which was thrown to her from the ship, and which was taken hold of by the people on board, unfortunately broke, and the boat, which had come to the ship before the wind, went adrift to windward of her, with a small skiff of Mr. Banks’s that was fastened to her stern. This was a great misfortune, as the pinnace being detained an shore, we had no boat on board but a four oar’d yawl: the yawl, however, was immediately manned and sent to her assistance; but, notwithstanding the utmost effort of the people in both boats, they were very soon out of sight: far indeed we could not see at that time in the evening, but the distance was enough to convince us that they were not under command, which gave us great uneasiness, as we knew they must drive directly upon a reef of rocks which ran out just to leeward of where we lay: after waiting some hours in the utmost anxiety, we gave them over for lost, but about three o’clock the next morning had the satisfaction to see all the people come on board in the yawl. From them we learnt, that the long-boat having filled with water, they had brought her to a grappling and left her; and that, having fallen in with the reef of rocks in their return to the ship, they had been obliged to cut Mr. Banks’s little boat adrift. As the loss of our long-boat, which we had now too much reason to apprehend, would have been an unspeakable disadvantage to us, considering the nature of our expedition, I sent another letter to the Viceroy, as soon as I thought he could be seen, acquainting him with our misfortune, and requesting the assistance of a boat from the shore for the recovery of our own; I also renewed my demand that the pinnace and her crew should be no longer detained: after some delay, his Excellency thought fit to comply both with my request and demand; and the same day we happily recovered both the long-boat and skiff, with the rum, but every thing else that was on board was lost. On the 23d, the Viceroy, in his answer to my remonstrance against seizing my men and detaining the boat, acknowledged that I had been treated with some incivility, but said that the resistance of my officers, to what he had declared to be the King’s orders, made it absolutely necessary; he also expressed some doubts whether the Endeavour, considering her structure and other circumstances, was in the service of his Majesty, though I had before shewed him my commission: to this I answered in writing, That, to remove all scruples, I was ready to produce my commission again. His Excellency’s scruples however still remained, and in his reply to my letter he not only expressed them in still plainer terms, but accused my people of smuggling. This charge, I am confident, was without the least foundation in truth. Mr. Banks’s servants had indeed found means to go on shore on the 22d at day-break, and stay till it was dark in the evening, but they brought on board only plants and insects, having been sent for no other purpose. And I had the greatest reason to believe that not a single article was smuggled by any of our people who were admitted on shore, though many artful means were used to tempt them even by the very officers that were under his Excellency’s roof, which made the charge still more injurious and provoking. I have indeed some reason to suspect that one poor fellow bought a single bottle of rum with some of the clothes upon his back; and in my answer I requested of his Excellency, that, if such an attempt at illicit trade should be repeated, he would without scruple order the offender to be taken into custody. And thus ended our altercation, both by conference and writing, with the Viceroy of Rio de Janeiro.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 22 - 24, 2004
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