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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
8 - 25 March 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

From cape Horn to the South Seas


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From cape Horn to the South Seas (continued)

The albatrosses now began to leave us, and after the 8th there was not one to be seen. We continued our course without any memorable event till the 24th, when some of the people who were upon the watch in the night, reported that they saw a log of wood pass by the ship; and that the sea, which was rather rough, became suddenly as smooth as a mill-pond. It was a general opinion, that there was land to windward; but I did not think myself at liberty to search for what I was not sure to find; though I judged we were not far from the islands that were discovered by Quiros in 1606. Our latitude was 22° 11’ S. and longitude 127° 55’ W.

On the 25th, about noon, one of the marines, a young fellow about twenty, was placed as centry at the cabbin door; while he was upon this duty, one of my servants was at the same place preparing to cut a piece of seal-skin into tobacco-pouches: he had promised one to several of the men, but had refused one to this young fellow, though he had asked him several times; upon which he jocularly threatened to steal one, if it should be in his power. It happened that the servant being called hastily away, gave the skin in charge to the centinel, without regarding what had passed between them. The centinel immediately secured a piece of the skin, which the other missing at his return, grew angry; but after some altercation, contented himself with taking it away, declaring, that, for so trifling an affair, he would not complain of him to the officers. But it happened that one of his fellow soldiers, over-hearing the dispute, came to the knowlege of what had happened, and told it to the rest; who, taking it into their heads to stand up for the honour of their corps, reproached the offender with great bitterness, and reviled him in the most opprobrious terms; they exaggerated his offence into a crime of the deepest die; they said it was a theft by a centry when he was upon duty, and of a thing that had been committed to his trust; they declared it a disgrace to associate with him; and the Serjeant, in particular, said that, if the person from whom the skin had been stolen would not complain, he would complain himself; for that his honour would suffer if the offender was not punished. From the scoffs and reproaches of these men of honour, the poor young fellow retired to his hammock in an agony of confusion and shame. The Serjeant soon after went to him, and ordered him to follow him to the deck: he obeyed without reply; but it being in the dusk of the evening, he slipped from the Serjeant and went forward: he was seen by some of the people, who thought he was gone to the head; but a search being made for him afterwards, it was found that he had thrown himself overboard; and I was then first made acquainted with the theft and its circumstances.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 70 - 71, 2004
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