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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
17 - 18 July 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Description of Several other Islands


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Description of Several other Islands (continued)

The next morning, we went on shore again, and walked up the hills, where the productions were exactly the same as those of Otaheite, except that the rocks and clay appeared to be more burnt. The houses were neat, and the boathouses remarkably large; one that we measured was fifty paces long, ten broad, and twenty-four feet high; the whole formed a pointed arch, like those of our old cathedrals, which was supported on one side by twenty-six, and on the other by thirty pillars, or rather posts, about two feet high, and one thick, upon most of which were rudely carved the heads of men, and several fanciful devices, not altogether unlike those which we sometimes see printed from wooden blocks, at the beginning and end of old books. The plains, or flat part of the country, abounded in bread-fruit, and cocoa-nut trees; in some places, however, there were salt swamps and lagoons, which would produce neither.

We went again a-shore on the 18th, and would have taken the advantage of Tupia’s company, in our perambulation; but he was too much engaged with his friends: we took however his boy, whose name was TAYETO, and Mr. Banks went to take a farther view of what had much engaged his attention before; it was a kind of chest or ark, the lid of which was nicely sewed on, and thatched very neatly with palm-nut leaves: it was fixed upon two poles, and supported on little arches of wood, very neatly carved; the use of the poles seemed to be to remove it from place to place, in the manner of our sedan chairs: in one end of it was a square hole, in the middle of which was a ring touching the sides, and leaving the angles open, so as to form a round hole within a square one. The first time Mr. Banks saw this coffer, the aperture at the end was stopped with a piece of cloth, which, least he should give offence, he left untouched; probably there was then something within, but now the cloth was taken away, and, upon looking into it, it was found empty. The general resemblance between this repository and the Ark of the Lord among the Jews is remarkable; but it is still more remarkable, that upon enquiring of the boy what it was called, he said, Ewharre no Eatua, the house of the God: he could however give no account of its signification or use. We had commenced a kind of trade with the natives, but it went on slowly; for when any thing was offered, not one of them would take it upon his own judgment, but collected the opinions of twenty or thirty people, which could not be done without great loss of time. We got, however, eleven pigs, and determined to try for more the next day.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, page 252, 2004
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