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

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

The Passage from Oteroah to New Zealand


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The Passage from Oteroah to New Zealand (continued)

In the morning, we saw several of the natives where they had been seen the night before, and some walking with a quick pace towards the place where we had landed, most of them unarmed; but three or four with long pikes in their hands. As I was desirous to establish an intercourse with them, I ordered three boats to be manned with seamen and marines, and proceeded towards the shore, accompanied by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, the other Gentlemen, and Tupia; about fifty of them seemed to wait for our landing, on the opposite side of the river, which we thought a sign of fear, and seated themselves upon the ground: at first, therefore, myself, with only Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and Tupia, landed from the little boat, and advanced towards them; but we had not proceeded many paces before they all started up, and every man produced either a long pike, or a small weapon of green Talc, extremely well polished, about a foot long, and thick enough to weigh four or five pounds: Tupia called to them in the language of Otaheite; but they answered only by flourishing their weapons, and making signs to us to depart; a musquet was then fired wide of them, and the ball struck the water, the river being still between us: they saw the effect, and desisted from their threats; but we thought it prudent to retreat till the marines could be landed. This was soon done; and they marched, with a jack carried before them, to a little bank, about fifty yards from the water-side; here they were drawn up, and I again advanced, with Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander; Tupia, Mr. Green, and Mr. Monkhouse, being with us. Tupia was again directed to speak to them, and it was with great pleasure that we perceived he was perfectly understood, he and the natives speaking only different dialects of the same language. He told them that we wanted provision and water, and would give them iron in exchange, the properties of which he explained as well as he was able. They were willing to trade, and desired that we would come over to them for that purpose: to this we consented, provided they would lay by their arms; which, however, they could by no means be persuaded to do. During this conversation, Tupia warned us to be upon our guard, for that they were not our friends: we then pressed them in our turn to come over to us; and at last one of them stripped himself, and swam over without his arms: he was almost immediately followed by two more, and soon after by most of the rest, to the number of twenty or thirty; but these brought their arms with them. We made them all presents of iron and beads; but they seemed to set little value upon either, particularly the iron, not having the least idea of its use; so that we got nothing in return but a few feathers: they offered indeed to exchange their arms for ours, and, when we refused, made many attempts to snatch them out of our hands. As soon as they came over, Tupia repeated his declaration, that they were not our friends, and again warned us to be upon our guard; their attempts to snatch our weapons, therefore, did not succeed; and we gave them to understand by Tupia, that we should be obliged to kill them if they offered any farther violence. In a few minutes, however, Mr. Green happening to turn about, one of them snatched away his hanger, and retiring to a little distance, waved it round his head, with a shout of exultation: the rest now began to be extremely insolent, and we saw more coming to join them from the opposite side of the river. It was therefore become necessary to repress them, and Mr. Banks fired at the man who had taken the hanger with small shot, at the distance of about fifteen yards: when the shot struck him, he ceased his cry; but instead of returning the hanger, continued to flourish it over his head, at the same time slowly retreating to a greater distance. Mr. Monkhouse seeing this, fired at him with ball, and he instantly dropped. Upon this the main body, who had retired to a rock in the middle of the river upon the first discharge, began to return; two that were near to the man who had been killed, ran up to the body, one seized his weapon of green Talc, and the other endeavoured to secure the hanger, which Mr. Monkhouse had but just time to prevent. As all that had retired to the rock were now advancing, three of us discharged our pieces, loaded only with small shot, upon which they swam back for the shore; and we perceived, upon their landing, that two or three of them were wounded. They retired slowly up the country, and we reimbarked in our boats.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 286 - 288, 2004
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