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Parkinson's JournalVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
15 - 31 January 1770

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Coastal views


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Coastal views (continued)

The country, about the cove where we lay, is entirely covered with wood, and so full of a sort of supple-jack, that it is difficult to pass through it: there is also a little sand fly which is very troublesome; and the bite of it is venomous, raising a bump upon the skin which itches very much. The tops of some of the hills, which at first appeared to be bare, we found covered with the fern plant, which grows up to about a mans height. The hills decline gently to the waters-edge, and leave no flat land excepting one place.

The woods abound with divers kinds of birds, such as parrots, wood-pigeons, water-hens; three sorts of birds having wattles; hawks; with a variety of birds that sing all night. We also found a great quantity of a species of Philadelphus, which makes a good substitute for tea. At one particular place we met with a substance that appeared like a kids skin, but it had so weak a texture, that we concluded it was not leather; and were afterward informed, by the natives, that it was gathered from some plant called Teegoomme: one of them had a garment made of it, which looked like their rug cloaks.

The air of the country, one would imagine, is very moist, and endued with some peculiar putrescent qualities, as we found maggots in birds a few hours after they had been shot.

The natives came to us sometimes, and behaved peaceably; but, to our surprise, we had adequate proofs that they are CANNIBALS. Some of our people, in the pinnace, went into a little cove, where one family resided, and saw several human bones which appeared to have been lately dressed and picked; and were told, that a little while before, six of their enemies had fallen into their hands; four they killed and ate; the other two jumped into the water and escaped from them, but they were unfortunately drowned, and our people saw one of their bodies floating upon the water. The natives also brought us several human bones on board, and offered them to sale, sucking them in their mouths, and, by the signs which they made to us, evinced that they thought human flesh delicious food. One day, in particular, they brought four skulls to sell; but they rated them very high. These skulls had their brains taken out, and some of them their eyes, but the scalp and hair was left upon them. They looked as if they had been dried by the fire, or by the heat of the sun. We also found human bones in the woods, near the ovens, where they used to partake of their horrid midnight re-pasts: and we saw a canoe the baler of which was made of a mans skull. The natives seemed even to take pride in their cruelty, as if it was the most laudable virtue, instead of one of the worst of moral vices; and shewed us the manner in which they dispatched their prisoners, which was to knock them down with their patta pattoos, and then to rip them up.

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© Derived from the London 1773 edition printed for Stanfield Parkinson, pages 115 - 116, 2004
Published by South Seas, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher
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