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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
15 April 1769

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James Cook
Joseph Banks
Parkinson


Place fixed for an Observatory and Fort


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CHAP. IX. A Place fixed upon for an Observatory and Fort: an Excursion into the Woods, and its Consequences. The Fort erected: a Visit from several Chiefs on board and at the Fort.

ON the next morning, Saturday the 15th, several of the Chiefs whom we had seen the day before came on board, and brought with them, hogs, bread-fruit, and other refreshments, for which we give them hatchets and linen, and such things as seemed to be most acceptable.

As in my excursion to the westward, I had not found any more convenient harbour than that in which we lay, I determined to go on shore and fix upon some spot, commanded by the ship’s guns, where I might throw up a small fort for our defence, and prepare for making our astronomical observation.

I therefore took a party of men, and landed without delay, accompanied by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and the astronomer, Mr. Green. We soon fixed upon a part of the sandy beach, on the N.E. point of the bay, which was in every respect convenient for our purpose, and not near any habitation of the natives. Having marked out the ground that we intended to occupy, a small tent belonging to Mr. Banks was set up, which had been brought on shore for that purpose: by this time a great number of the people had gathered about us; but, as it appeared, only to look on, there not being a single weapon of any kind among them. I intimated, however, that none of them were to come within the line I had drawn, except one who appeared to be a chief, and Owhaw. To these two persons I addressed myself by signs, and endeavoured to make them understand, that we wanted the ground which we had marked out to sleep upon for a certain number of nights, and that then we should go away. Whether I was understood I cannot certainly determine; but the people behaved with a deference and respect that at once pleased and surprised us: they sat down peaceably without the circle, and looked on, without giving us any interruption, till we had done, which was upwards of two hours. As we had seen no poultry, and but two hogs, in our walk when we were last on shore at this place, we suspected that, upon our arrival, they had been driven farther up the country; and the rather, as Owhaw was very importunate with us, by signs, not to go into the woods, which, however, and partly for these reasons, we were determined to do. Having therefore appointed the thirteen marines and a petty officer to guard the tent, we set out, and a great number of the natives joined our party. As we were crossing a little river that lay in our way we saw some ducks, and Mr. Banks, as soon as he had got over, fired at them, and happened to kill three at one shot: this struck them with the utmost terror, so that most of them fell suddenly to the ground, as if they also had been shot at the same discharge: it was not long, however, before they recovered from their fright, and we continued our rout; but we had not gone far before we were alarmed by the report of two pieces, which were fired by the guard at the tent. We had then straggled a little distance from each other, but Owhaw immediately called us together, and by waving his hand, sent away every Indian who followed us except three, each of whom, as a pledge of peace on their part, and an entreaty that there might be peace on ours, hastily broke a branch from the trees, and came to us with it in their hands. As we had too much reason to fear that some mischief had happened, we hasted back to the tent, which was not distant above half a mile, and when we came up, we found it entirely deserted, except by our own people.


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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 89 - 91, 2004
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