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

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James Cook
Joseph Banks
Parkinson


The Range from Tolaga to Mercury Bay


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The Range from Tolaga to Mercury Bay (continued)

At day-break, on the first of November, we counted no less than five and forty canoes that were coming from the shore towards the ship: seven of them came up with us, and after some conversation with Tupia, sold us some lobsters and muscles, and two conger eels. These people traded pretty fairly: but when they were gone, some others came off from another place, who began also to trade fairly; but after some time they took what was handed down to them, without making any return; one of them who had done so, upon being threatened, began to laugh, and with many marks of derision set us at defiance, at the same time putting off the canoe from the ship: a musquet was then fired over his head, which brought him back in a more serious mood, and trade went on with great regularity. At length, when the cabbin and gun-room had got as much as they wanted, the men were allowed to come to the gang-way, and trade for themselves. Unhappily the same care was not taken to prevent frauds as had been taken before, so that the Indians, finding that they could cheat with impunity, grew insolent again, and proceeded to take greater liberties. One of the canoes, having sold every thing on board, pulled forward, and the people that were in her seeing some linen hang over the ship’s side to dry, one of them, without any ceremony, untied it, and put it up in his bundle: he was immediately called to, and required to return it; instead of which, he let his canoe drop a stern, and laughed at us: a musquet was fired over his head, which did not put a stop to his mirth; another was then fired at him with small shot, which struck him upon the back; he shrunk a little when the shot hit him, but did not regard it more than one of our men would have done the stroke of a rattan: he continued with great composure to pack up the linen that he had stolen. All the canoes now dropped astern about a hundred yards, and all set up their song of defiance, which they continued till the ship was distant from them about four hundred yards. As they seemed to have no design to attack us, I was not willing to do them any hurt; yet I thought their going off in a bravado might have a bad effect when it should be reported ashore. To show them therefore that they were still in our power, though very much beyond the reach of any missile weapon with which they were acquainted, I gave the ship a yaw, and fired a four pounder so as to pass near them. The shot happened to strike the water, and rise several times at a great distance beyond the canoes: this struck them with terror, and they paddled away without once looking behind them.


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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 325 - 326, 2004
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To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-jrnl-hv23-326