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

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Description of Several other Islands


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Description of Several other Islands (continued)

When the boat had got round the point, she perceived that all her followers had desisted from the pursuit: she now opened a large bay, at the bottom of which appeared another body of men, armed with long lances like the first. Here our people prepared to land, and pushed towards the shore, a canoe at the same time putting off to meet them. As soon as it came near them, they lay upon their oars, and calling out to them, told them that they were friends, and that if they would come up they would give them nails, which were held up for them to see: after some hesitation they came up to the boat’s stern, and took some nails that were offered them with great seeming satisfaction; but in less than a minute they appeared to have formed a design of boarding the boat, and making her their prize: three of them suddenly leaped into it, and the others brought up the canoe, which the motion in quitting her had thrown off a little, manifestly with a design to follow their associates, and support them in their attempt. The first that boarded the boat, entered close to Mr. Banks, and instantly snatched his powder-horn out of his pocket: Mr. Banks seized it, and with some difficulty wrenched it out of his hand, at the same time pressing against his breast in order to force him over-board, but he was too strong for him, and kept his place: the officer then snapped his piece, but it missed fire, upon which he ordered some of the people to fire over their heads; two pieces were accordingly discharged, upon which they all instantly leaped into the water: one of the people, either from cowardice or cruelty, or both, levelled a third piece at one of them as he was swimming away, and the ball grazed his forehead; happily, however, the wound was very slight, for he recovered the canoe, and stood up in her as active and vigorous as the rest. The canoe immediately stood in for the shore, where a great number of people, not less than two hundred, were now assembled. The boat also pushed in, but found the land guarded all round with a shoal, upon which the sea broke with a considerable surf; it was therefore thought advisable by the officer to proceed along shore in search of a more convenient landing-place: in the mean time the people on board saw the canoe go on shore, and the natives gather eagerly round her to enquire the particulars of what had happened. Soon after, a single man ran along the shore, armed with his lance, and when he came a-breast of the boat he began to dance, brandish his weapon, and call out in a very shrill tone, which Tupia said was a defiance from the people. The boat continued to row along the shore, and the champion followed it, repeating his defiance by his voice and his gestures; but no better landing-place being found than that where the canoe had put the natives on shore, the officer turned back with a view to attempt it there, hoping, that if it should not be practicable, the people would come to a conference either on the shoals or in their canoes, and that a treaty of peace might be concluded with them.

As the boat rowed slowly along the shore back again, another champion came down, shouting defiance, and brandishing his lance: his appearance was more formidable than that of the other, for he wore a large cap made of the tail feathers of the tropic bird, and his body was covered with stripes of different coloured cloth, yellow, red, and brown. This gentleman also danced, but with much more nimbleness and dexterity than the first; our people therefore, considering his agility and his dress, distinguished him by the name of HARLEQUIN. Soon after a more grave and elderly man came down to the beach, and hailing the people in the boat, enquired who they were, and from whence they came; Tupia answered in their own language, from Otaheite: the three natives then walked peaceably along the shore till they came to a shoal, upon which a few people were collected; here they stopped, and after a short conference, they all began to pray very loud: Tupia made his responses, but continued to tell us that they were not our friends. When their prayer, or as they call it, their Poorah, was over, our people entered into a parley with them, telling them, that if they would lay by their lances and clubs, for some had one and some the other, they would come on shore, and trade with them for whatever they would bring: they agreed, but it was only upon condition that we would leave behind us our musquets: this was a condition which, however equitable it might appear, could not be complied with, nor indeed would it have put the two parties upon an equality, except their numbers had been equal. Here then the negociation seemed to be at an end; but in a little time they ventured to come nearer to the boat, and at last came near enough to trade, which they did very fairly, for a small quantity of their cloth and some of their weapons; but as they gave our people no hope of provisions, nor indeed any thing else except they would venture through a narrow channel to the shore, which, all circumstances considered, they did not think it prudent to do, they put off the boat and left them.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 273 - 276, 2004
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