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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
24 - 25 April 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

An Excursion to the Eastward and interview with Oberea


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An Excursion to the Eastward and interview with Oberea (continued)

At their return they were met by Tubourai Tamaide, and his women, who, at seeing them, felt a joy which not being able to express, they burst into tears, and wept some time before their passion could be restrained.

This evening Dr. Solander lent his knife to one of these women, who neglected to return it, and the next morning Mr. Banks’s also was missing; upon this occasion I must bear my testimony, that the people of this country, of all ranks, men and women, are the errantest thieves upon the face of the earth: the very day after we arrived here, when they came on board us, the chiefs were employed in stealing what they could in the cabbin, and their dependants were no less industrious in other parts of the ship; they snatched up every thing that it was possible for them to secrete till they got on shore, even to the glass ports, two of which they carried off undetected. Tubourai Tamaide was the only one except Tootahah who had not been found guilty, and the presumption, arising from this circumstance, that he was exempt from a vice, of which the whole nation besides were guilty, cannot be supposed to outweigh strong appearances to the contrary. Mr. Banks therefore, though not without some reluctance, accused him of having stolen his knife: he solemnly and steadily denied that he knew any thing of it; upon which Mr. Banks made him understand, that whoever had taken it, he was determined to have it returned: upon this resolute declaration, one of the natives who was present, produced a rag in which three knives were very carefully tied up. One was that which Dr. Solander had lent to the woman, another was a table knife belonging to me, and the owner of the third was not known. With these the chief immediately set out, in order to make restitution of them to their owners at the tents. Mr. Banks remained with the women, who expressed great apprehensions that some mischief was designed against their lord. When he came to the tents he restored one of the knives to Dr. Solander and another to me, the third not being owned, and then began to search for Mr. Banks’s in all the places where he had ever seen it. After some time, one of Mr. Banks’s servants, understanding what he was about, immediately fetched his master’s knife, which it seems he had laid by the day before, and till now knew nothing of its having been missed. Tubourai Tamaide, upon this demonstration of his innocence, expressed the strongest emotions of mind, both in his looks and gestures; the tears started from his eyes, and he made signs, with the knife, that, if he was ever guilty of such an action as had been imputed to him, he would submit to have his throat cut. He then rushed out of the lines, and returned hastily to Mr. Banks, with a countenance that severely reproached him with his suspicions. Mr. Banks soon understood that the knife had been received from his servant, and was scarcely less affected at what had happened than the Chief; he felt himself to be the guilty person, and was very desirous to atone for his fault. The poor Indian, however violent his passions, was a stranger to sullen resentment; and upon Mr. Banks’s spending a little time familiarly with him, and making him a few trifling presents, he forgot the wrong that had been done him, and was perfectly reconciled.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 100 - 101, 2004
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