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

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

The Range from Tolaga to Mercury Bay


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The Range from Tolaga to Mercury Bay (continued)

On the side of the hill, near this inclosure, we saw about half an acre planted with gourds and sweet potatoes, which was the only cultivation in the bay: under the foot of the point upon which this fortification stands, are two rocks, one just broken off from the main, and the other not perfectly detached from it: they are both small, and seem more proper for the habitations of birds than men; yet there are houses and places of defence upon each of them. And we saw many other works of the same kind upon small islands, rocks, and ridges of hills, on different parts of the coast, besides many fortified towns, which appeared to be much superior to this.

The perpetual hostility in which these poor savages, who have made every village a fort, must necessarily live, will account for there being so little of their land in a state of cultivation; and, as mischiefs very often reciprocally produce each other, it may perhaps appear, that there being so little land in a state of cultivation, will account for their living in perpetual hostility. But it is very strange, that the same invention and diligence which have been used in the construction of places so admirably adapted to defence, almost without tools, should not, when urged by the same necessity, have furnished them with a single missile weapon except the lance, which is thrown by hand: they have no contrivance like a bow to discharge a dart, nor any thing like a sling to assist them in throwing a stone; which is the more surprising, as the invention of slings, and bows and arrows, is much more obvious than of the works which these people construct, and both these weapons are found among much ruder nations, and in almost every other part of the world. Besides the long lance and Patoo-Patoo, which have been mentioned already, they have a staff about five feet long, sometimes pointed, like a Serjeant’s halberd, sometimes only tapering to a point at one end, and having the other end broad, and shaped somewhat like the blade of an oar. They have also another weapon, about a foot shorter than these, pointed at one end, and at the other shaped like an axe. The points of their long lances are barbed, and they handle them with such strength and agility, that we can match them with no weapon but a loaded musquet.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 345 - 346, 2004
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