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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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18 November 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Mercury Bay to the Bay of Islands


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CHAP. IV. The Range from Mercury Bay to the Bay of Islands: An Expedition up the River Thames: Some Account of the Indians who inhabit its Banks, and the fine Timber that grows there.

I Continued plying to windward two days to get under the land, and on the 18th, about seven in the morning, we were abreast of a very conspicuous promontory, being then in latitude 36° 26’, and in the direction of N. 48 W. from the north head of Mercury Bay or Point Mercury, which was distant nine leagues: upon this point stood many people, who seemed to take little notice of us, but talked together with great earnestness. In about half an hour, several canoes put off from different places, and came towards the ship; upon which the people on the point also launched a canoe, and about twenty of them came in her up with the others. When two of these canoes, in which there might be about sixty men, came near enough to make themselves heard, they sung their war-song; but seeing that we took little notice of it, they threw a few stones at us, and then rowed off towards the shore. We hoped that we had now done with them, but in a short time they returned, as if with a fixed resolution to provoke us into a battle, animating themselves by their song as they had done before. Tupia, without any directions from us, went to the poop, and began to expostulate: he told them, that we had weapons which would destroy them in a moment; and that, if they ventured to attack us, we should be obliged to use them. Upon this, they flourished their weapons, and cried out, in their language, "Come on shore, and we will kill you all:" Well, said Tupia, but why should you molest us while we are at sea? as we do not wish to fight, we shall not accept your challenge to come on shore; and here there is no pretence for a quarrel, the sea being no more your property than the ship. This eloquence of Tupia, though it greatly surprised us, having given him no hints for the arguments he used, had no effect upon our enemies, who very soon renewed their battery: a musquet was then fired through one of their boats, and this was an argument of sufficient weight, for they immediately fell astern and left us.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 349 - 350, 2004
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