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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
7 - 8 August 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Description of Several other Islands


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Description of Several other Islands (continued)

Early in the morning, therefore, I set out both with the pinnace and long-boat for Otaha, having some of the gentlemen with me; and in our way we called upon Opoony, who was in his canoe, ready to join us. As soon as we landed at Otaha, I made him a present of an ax, which I thought might induce him to encourage his subjects to bring us such provision as we wanted; but in this we found ourselves sadly disappointed, for after staying with him till noon, we left him without being able to procure a single article. I then proceeded to the north point of the island, in the pinnace, having sent the long-boat another way. As I went along I picked up half a dozen hogs, as many fowls, and some plantains and yams. Having viewed and sketched the harbour on this side of the island, I made the best of my way back, with the long-boat, which joined me soon after it was dark; and about ten o’clock at night we got on board the ship.

In this excursion Mr. Banks was not with us; he spent the morning on board the ship, trading with the natives, who came off in their canoes, for provisions and curiosities; and in the afternoon he went on shore with his draughtsman, to sketch the dresses of the dancers which he had seen a day or two before. He found the company exactly the same, except that another woman had been added to it: the dancing also of the women was the same, but the interludes of the men were somewhat varied; he saw five or six performed, which were different from each other, and very much resembled the drama of our stage dances. The next day, he went ashore again, with Dr. Solander, and they directed their course towards the dancing company, which, from the time of our second landing, had gradually moved about two leagues in their course round the island. They saw more dancing and more interludes, the interludes still varying from each other: in one of them the performers, who were all men, were divided into two parties, which were distinguished from each other by the colour of their cloaths, one being brown, and the other white. The brown party represented a master and servants, and the white party a company of thieves: the master gave a basket of meat to the rest of his party, with a charge to take care of it: the dance of the white party consisted of several expedients to steal it, and that of the brown party in preventing their success. After some time, those who had charge of the basket placed themselves round it, upon the ground, and leaning upon it, appeared to go to sleep; the others, improving this opportunity, came gently upon them, and lifting them up from the basket, carried off their prize: the sleepers soon after awaking, missed their basket, but presently fell a dancing, without any farther regarding their loss; so that the dramatic action of this dance was, according to the severest laws of criticism, one, and our lovers of simplicity would here have been gratified with an entertainment perfectly suited to the chastity of their taste.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 268 - 269, 2004
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