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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
10 - 11 July 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Expedition of Mr. Banks, Preparations for Leaving, and Account of Tupia


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Expedition of Mr. Banks, Preparations for Leaving, and Account of Tupia (continued)

About nine o’clock, Webb was brought back by some of the natives, who declared, that Gibson, and the petty officer and corporal, would be detained till Tootahah should be set at liberty. The tables were now turned upon me; but I had proceeded too far to retreat. I immediately dispatched Mr. Hicks in the long-boat, with a strong party of men, to rescue the prisoners, and told Tootahah that it behoved him to send some of his people with them, with orders to afford them effectual assistance, and to demand the release of my men in his name, for that I should expect him to answer for the contrary. He readily complied; this party recovered my men without the least opposition; and about seven o’clock in the morning, returned with them to the ship, though they had not been able to recover the arms which had been taken from them when they were seized: these, however, were brought on board in less than half an hour, and the Chiefs were immediately set at liberty.

When I questioned the petty officer concerning what had happened on shore, he told me, that neither the natives who went with him, nor those whom they met in their way, would give them any intelligence of the deserters; but, on the contrary, became very troublesome: that, as he was returning for further orders to the ship, he and his comrade were suddenly seized by a number of armed men, who having learnt that Tootahah was confined, had concealed themselves in a wood for that purpose, and, who having taken them at a disadvantage, forced their weapons out of their hands, and declared, that they would detain them till their Chief should be set at liberty. He said, however, that the Indians were not unanimous in this measure; that some were for setting them at liberty, and others for detaining them: that an eager dispute ensued, and that from words they came to blows, but that the party for detaining them at length prevailed: that soon after, Webb and Gibson were brought in by a party of the natives, as prisoners, that they also might be secured as hostages for the Chief; but that it was after some debate resolved to send Webb to inform me of their resolution, to assure me that his companions were safe, and direct me where I might send my answer. Thus it appears that whatever were the disadvantages of seizing the Chiefs, I should never have recovered my men by any other method. When the Chiefs were set on shore from the ship, those at the fort were also set at liberty, and, after staying with Mr. Banks about an hour, they all went away. Upon this occasion, as they had done upon another of the same kind, they expressed their joy by an undeserved liberality, strongly urging us to accept of four hogs. These we absolutely refused as a present, and they as absolutely refusing to be paid for them, the hogs did not change masters. Upon examining the deserters, we found that the account which the Indians had given of them was true: they had strongly attached themselves to two girls, and it was their intention to conceal themselves till the ship had sailed, and take up their residence upon the island. This night every thing was got off from the shore, and every body slept on board.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 178 - 180, 2004
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