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

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Ceremonies of a Funeral and General Observations on that Subject


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Ceremonies of a Funeral and General Observations on that Subject (continued)

On the 21st, we were visited at the fort by a Chief, called OAMO, whom we had never seen before, and who was treated by the natives with uncommon respect; he brought with him a boy about seven years old, and a young woman about sixteen: the boy was carried upon a man’s back, which we considered as a piece of state, for he was as well able to walk as any present. As soon as they were in sight, Oberea, and several other natives who were in the fort, went out to meet them, having first uncovered their heads and bodies as low as the waist: as they came on, the same ceremony was performed by all the natives who were without the fort. Uncovering the body, therefore, is in this country probably a mark of respect; and as all parts are here exposed with equal indifference, the ceremony of uncovering it from the waist downwards, which was performed by Oorattooa, might be nothing more than a different mode of compliment, adapted to persons of a different rank. The Chief came into the tent, but no entreaty could prevail upon the young woman to follow him, though she seemed to refuse contrary to her inclination: the natives without were indeed all very solicitous to prevent her; sometimes, when her resolution seemed to fail, almost using force: the boy also they restrained in the same manner; but Dr. Solander happening to meet him at the gate, took him by the hand, and led him in before the people were aware of it: as soon, however, as those that were within saw him, they took care to have him sent out.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, page 153, 2004
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