The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume One]
[- April 1769]
13. This morn early came to an anchor in Port Royal bay1 King George the thirds Island. Before the anchor was down we were surrounded by a large number of Canoes who traded very quietly and civily, for beads cheifly, in exchange for which they gave Cocoa nuts Bread fruit both roasted and raw some small fish and apples. They had one pig with them which they refus'd to sell for nails upon any account but repeatedly offerd it for a hatchet; of these we had very few on board so thought it better to let the pig go away than to give one of them in exchange, knowing from the authority of those who had been here before that if we once did it they would never lower their price. As soon as the anchors were well down the boats were hoisted out and we all went ashore where we were met by some hundreds of the inhabitants whose faces at least gave evident signs that we were not unwelcome guests, tho they at first hardly dare aproach us, after a little time they became very familiar. The first who aproachd us came creeping almost on his hands and knees and gave us a green bough2 the token of peace, this we receivd and immediately each gatherd a green bough and carried in our hands. They march'd with us about £½ a mile then made a general stop and scraping the ground clean from the plants that grew upon it every one of the principals threw his bough down upon the bare place and made signs that we should do the same: the marines were drawn up and marching in order dropd each a bough upon those that the Indians had laid down, we all folowd their example and thus peace was concluded. We then walkd into the woods followd by the whole train to whoom we gave beads and small presents. In this manner we walkd for 4 or 5 miles under groves of Cocoa nut and bread fruit trees loaded with a protusion of fruit and giving the most gratefull shade I have ever experienced, under these were the habitations of the people most of them without walls: in short the scene we saw was the truest picture of an arcadia of which we were going to be kings that the imagination can form.
2 A plantain or banana frond.
14. This morn several Canoas came on board among which were two in which were people who by their dress and appearance seemd to be of a rank superior to those who we had seen yesterday. These we invited to come on board and on coming into the Cabbin each singled out his freind,3 one took the Captn and the other me, they took off a large part of their cloaths and each dress'd his freind with them he took off: in return for this we presented them with each a hatchet and some beads. They made many signs to us desiring us to go the place where they livd to the SW of where we lay; the boats were hoisted out and we took them with us and immediately proceeded according to their directions.
After rowing about a league they beckon'd us in shore and shewd us a long house where they gave us to understand that they livd; here we landed and were met by some hundreds of inhabitants who conducted us into the long house.4 Matts were spread and we were desired to set down fronting an old man5 who we had not before seen, he immediately orderd a cock and hen to be brought which were presented to Captn Cook and me, we accepted of the present. Then a peice of Cloth was presented to each of us perfumd after their manner not disagreably which they took great pains to make us understand. My peice of Cloth was 11 yards long and 2 wide: for this I made return by presenting him with a large lacd silk neckcloth I had on and a linnen pocket handkercheif, these he immediately put on him and seemd to be much pleasd with.
1 The ‘Queen's palace’ was evidently the guest-house or ‘arioi-house’, of the Haapape district, the place of general entertainment, to which Wallis was taken on his visit to Purea on 12 July 1767. It was of course not a palace, nor did it belong to Purea, nor was she the ‘Queen’.
2 ‘Blackguards’ in the old sense of servants, camp-followers, the lower classes or ‘common sort’ generally.
3 Friend, i.e. taio, a word used to signify an attachment formal as well as warm—almost a ‘blood-brother’ though without the ceremony of blood.
5 Marginal note to these words, ‘Dootahah’. This note, like others, was obviously written in later, because it is not till 28 April that Banks registers the discovery of Tuteha's correct name.
After this ceremony was over we walkd freely about several large houses attended by the ladies who shewd us all kind of civilities our situation could admit of, but as there were no places of retirement, the houses being intirely without walls, we had not an opportunity of putting their politeness to every test that maybe some of us would not have faild to have done had circumstances been more favourable; indeed we had no reason to doubt any part of their politeness, as by their frequently pointing to the matts on the ground and sometimes by force seating themselves and us upon them they plainly shewd that they were much less jealous of observation than we were.
1 Marginal note, ‘Tubourai Tamaide’. Sec p. 265, n. 2 below.
1 Marginal note, ‘Tomio’.
2 Cook says this other gentleman was Monkhouse, the surgeon.
3 Cook says a spy glass, which seems more in keeping.
1 This was on the bank of the Vaipopoo river, close to the end of Point Venus; the river ran parallel with the beach from about half-way along the bay.
2 Banks has not previously mentioned this old man. Cook gives his name as Owhaa (? Faa, but he is often referred to as Hau); he appears to have been some sort of subchief, who was useful as an intermediary both to the Dolphin's people and in the first days of the Endeavour's visit.
16. No canoes about the ship this morning, indeed we could not expect any as it is probable that the news of our behaviour yesterday was now known every where, a circumstance which will doubtless not increase the confidence of our freinds the Indians. We were rather surprizd that the Dolphins old man who seemd yesterday so desirous of making peace was not come on board today; some few people were upon the beach but very few in proportion to what we saw yesterday. At noon went ashore the people rather shy of us as we must expect them to be till by good usage we can gain anew their confidence.
Poor Mr Buchan the young man who I brought out as lanscape and figure painter was yesterday attackd by an epileptick fit, he was today quite insensible, our surgeon gives me very little hopes of him.
2 In a marginal note Banks gives the man's name as ‘Outou’. This may conceivably be correct; but he is rather more likely to have picked up the word utu, a price paid, reward, penalty—i.e. the man had paid with his life for the musket.
Our two freinds the cheifs of the west came this morn to see us. One I shall for the future call Lycurgus from the justice he executed on his offending subjects on the 14th, the other from the large size of his body I shall call Hercules.2 Each of these brought a hog and bread fruit ready dressd as a present for which they were presented in return with a hatchet and a nail each. Hercules's present is the largest he seems indeed to be the richest man.
In the afternoon we all went ashore to measure out the ground for the tents, which done Cap Cooke and Mr Green slept ashore in a tent erected for that purpose after having observd an eclipse of one of the satellites of Jupiter.
18. This morn at day break all hands were ashore and employd in getting up the tents and making a defence round them. The ground we have pitchd upon is very sandy which makes it nescessary to support it with wood, for the doing of this our people cut the boughs of trees and the Indians very readily assisted them in bringing them down to the place. Three sides of our fort are to be thus guarded the other is bounded by a river on the banks of which water cask[s] are to be placd.
The Indians brought down so much provision of Cocoa nuts and bread fruit today that before night we were obligd to leave off buying and acquaint them by signs that we should not want any more for 2 days; every thing was bought for beads, a bead about as large as a pea purchasing 4 or 6 breadfruits and a like number of Cocoa nutts.
My tents were got up before night and I slept ashore in them for the first time. The lines were guarded round by many Sentries but no Indian atempted to come near them during the whole night.
1 It is curious that Banks does not mention the very sensible precaution he himself suggested: Cook writes, ‘Mr Banks thought it not so adviseable to Enterr the Body a shore in a place where we was utter strangers to the Customs of the Natives on such Occations, it was therefore se[n]t out to Sea and commited to that Element with all the decencey the circumstance of the place would admit of’.—I, p. 81.
2 See below, p. 266.
19. This morn Lycurgus and his wife come to see us and bring with them all their household furniture and even houses to be erected in our neighbourhood, a circumstance which gave me great pleasure as I had spard no pains to gain the freindship of this man who seemd more sensible than any of his fellow cheifs we have seen. His behavior in this Instance makes us not doubt of having gaind his confidence at least.
Soon after his arrival he took me by the hand and led me out of the lines, signing that I should accompany him into the woods, this I made no dificulty of dooing as I was desirous of knowing how near us he realy intended to settle. I followd him about a quarter of a mile when we arrivd at a small house or rather the awning of a canoe set upon the shore, which seemd to be his occasional habitation; here he unfolded a bundle of their cloaths and cloth'd me in two garments, one red cloth1 the other very pretty matting, after this we returnd to the tents. He eat pork and bread fruit which was brought him in a basket using salt water instead of sauce, and then retird into my bedchamber and slept about half an hour.
About dinner time Lycurgus's wife brought a hansome young man about 22 to the tents whoom they both seemd to acknowledge as their son. At night he and another chief who had also visited us went away to the westward, but Lycurgus and his wife went towards the place I was at in the morning which makes us not doubt of their staying with us for the future.
Mr Monkhouse our surgeon walkd this evening into the woods and brought back an account of having seen the body of the man who was shot on the 15th. It was placd on a kind of Bier supported by stakes and coverd by a small hut which seemd to have been built for the purpose; the body was wrappd up in cloth and near it were plac'd war instruments a hatchet some hair a cocoa nut and a cup of water. Farther he did not examine on account of the stench of the body which was intolerable. They also [saw] two more huts of the same kind in one of which they saw the bones of the person who had lain there quite dry. A custom so new as this appears to be surprized us all very much, but whether all who die are thus disposd of or it is a peculiar honour shewn to those who dye in war is to be cleard up by future observation.
1 The cloth made of the bark of trees, called tapa.
21. Several of our freinds at the tents this morn, one whoom from his grim countenance we have calld Ajax1 and at one time thought to be a great king. He had on his canoe a hog but he chose rather to sell it at the market than give it to us as a present; which we account for by his having in the morning receivd a shirt in return for a peice of cloth, which made him fear that had he given the hog it might have been taken into the bargain—a conduct very different from that of our freind Lycurgus who seems in every instance to place a most unbounded confidence in us.
22. Pleasant weather, our freinds as usual come early to visit us, Hercules with two piggs and a Dolphins ax2 which he wishd to have repaird as it acordingly was. Lycurgus brought 2 large fish an acceptable present as that article has always been scarce with us. Trade brisk today; since our new manufacture of hatchets has been set on foot we get some hogs tho our tools are so small and bad that I only wonder how they can stand one stroke.
The flies have been so troublesome ever since we have been ashore that we can scarce get any business done for them; they eat the painters colours off the paper as fast as they can be laid on, and if a fish is to be drawn there is more trouble in keeping them off it than in the drawing itself.
1 It does not seem possible to identify this person clearly. No doubt he was an arii; he may have been the huge chief later well known as Potatau, of Punaauia, though Potatau was generally regarded as affable rather than grim.
2 The Dolphin disposed of a number of axes in trade.
Hercules gave us today a specimen of the musick of this countrey: 4 people performd upon flutes which they sounded with one nostril while they stopd the other with their thumbs, to these 4 more sang keeping very good time but during ½ an hour which we stayd with them they playd only one tune consisting of not more than 5 or 6 notes. More I am inclind to think they have not upon their instruments which have only two stops.
23. Mr Green and myself went today a little way upon the hills in order to see how the roads were. Lycurgus went with us but complaind much in the ascent saying that it would kill him. We found as far as we went, possibly 3 miles, exceeding good paths and at the farthest part of our walk boys bringing wood from the mountans, which we look upon to be a sure proof that journey will be easy whenever we atempt to go higher.
In our return I visited the Tomb or Bier in which was deposited the body of the man who was shot. I lifted up the cloth and saw part of the body already dropping to peices with putrefaction about him and indeed within all parts of his flesh were abundance of maggots of a species of Beetle very common here1 Such an advance of putrefaction in 8 days for it was no more since he was shot is almost past credit but what will not a hot climate and plenty of insects do.
We had this evening some conversation about an ax which was brought in the morning by Hercules, it wanting grinding. Its make was very different from that of our English ones, several gentlemen were of opinion that it was a French one, some went so far as to give it as their opinion that some other ship had been here since the Dolphin. The difficulty however appeard to me at least easily solvd by supposing axes to have been taken in the Dolphin as trade, in which case old ones might have been bought of the make of any countrey, for many such I suppose there are in every old iron shop in London.2
1 Fabricius worked on Banks's insect collection but he does not, in his Species Insectorum (1781), describe any beetle which can be identified with this reference. Different kinds of maggots live in succession on decaying flesh as it ripens and alters.
2 The axe under discussion must have been one of those traded by Bougainville, which had travelled from his anchorage at Hitiaa. The gentlemen who opposed Banks in the argument were right: another ship had been at Tahiti.
24. Dr Solander and myself went along shore to the eastward in hopes of finding something worth observation by inlarging our ground. For about 2 miles the countrey within us was flat and fertile, the hills then came very near the waters edge and soon after quite into the sea so that we were obligd to climb over them. This barren countrey continued for about 3 miles more when we came to a large flat full of good houses and wealthy looking people; here was a river much more considerable than our own, it came out of a very deep and beautifull valley and was where we crossd it near 100 yards wide tho not quite at the sea.1 About a mile farther than this river we went when the Land became again as barren as possible, the rocks every where projecting into the sea, so we resolvd to return. Soon after this resolution one of the natives made us an offer of refreshment which we accepted. He was remarkable for being much the whitest man we had seen. On examining him more nearly his skin was dead pale without the least signs of Complexion in any part of it, some parts were lighter than others but the darkest was lighter than any of our skins, his hair and eyebrows and beard were as white as his skin, his eyes bloodshot, he apeard to be very short sighted, his whole body was scurfy and maybe disease had been the cause of his colour;2 if not we shall see more such. In our return met Lycurgus who seem'd much rejoicd at seeing us as did all his women, to shew their regard I suppose they all cry'd most heartily.
25. I do not know by what accident I have so long omitted to mention how much these people are given to theiving. I will make up for my neglect however today by saying that great and small cheifs and common men all are firmly of opinion that if they can once get possession of any thing it immediately becomes their own. This we were convincd of the very second day we were here, the cheifs were employd in stealing what they could in the Cabbin while their dependants took every thing that was loose about the ship, even the glass ports not escaping them of which they got off with 2. Lycurgus and Hercules were the only two who had not yet been found guilty, but they stood in our opinion but upon tickilish ground as we could not well suppose them intirely free from a vice their countrey men were so much given up to.
1 This was the Vaituoru river, flowing down the Haapaianoo (Whapaiano on Cook's chart) valley. Both the river and the valley, now known as Papenoo, were the largest on the island.
2 This seems to have been a case of island albinoism, but the scurfy skin suggests that perhaps over-indulgence in the drink called [k]ava had something to do with it. Or it may have been what was called ‘chief's leprosy’, o'ovi arii.
Last night Dr Solander lent his knife to one of Lycurgus's women who forgot to return it, this morn mine was missing. I could give no account of it so resolvd to go to Lycurgus and ask him whether or not he had stole it trusting that if he had he would return it.
I went and taxd him with it. He denyd knowing any thing concerning it, I told him I was resolvd to have it returnd. On this a man present produc'd a rag in which was tied up 3 knives, one was Dr Solanders the other a table knife the other no one laid claim to. With these he marchd to the tents to make restitution while I remaind with the women who much feard that he would be hurt; when come there he restord the two knives to their proper owners and began immediately to search for mine in all the places where he had ever seen it lay. One of my servants seeing what he was about brought it to him, he had it seems laid it by the day before and did not know of my missing it. Lycurgus then burst into tears making signs with my knife that if he was ever guilty of such an action he would submit to have his throat cut. He returnd immediately to me with a countenance sufficiently upbraiding me for my suspicions; the scene was immediately changd, I became the guilty and he the innocent person, his looks affected me much. A few presents and staying a little with him reconcild him intirely; his behavior has however given me an opinion of him much superior to any of his countreymen.
26. Plenty of trade this morn indeed we have always had enough of bread fruit and cocoa nuts, refreshments maybe more nescessary for the people than pork tho they certainly do not like them so well.
Our freinds as usual at the tents today but do nothing worthy record.
1 This person seems to be unidentifiable.
This day we found that our freinds had names and they were not a little pleasd to discover that we had them likewise; for the future Lycurgus will be calld Tubourai tamaide and his wife Tomío and the three women who commonly come with him Tėrapo,Tėraru and Omíė.2 As for our names they make so poor a hand of pronouncing them that I fear we shall be obligd to take each of us a new one for the occasion.
2 Tubourai tamaide: Tepau i Ahurai Tamaiti. Tamaiti, the son. He was the eldest son of the arii Vaetua i Ahurai, chief of Faaa, and brother of Purea—an important chief. Molyneux gives his name as Tuburi, so he was probably habitually addressed by some shortened form. Cook Toobouratomita. Tomio, probably Tamaio; Banks later changes his spelling to Tamio. Terapo and Teraro are probably correct. Omie, Omae?
After breakfast Mr Molineux came ashore and the moment he enterd the tent fixing his eyes upon a woman who was setting there declard her to be the Dolphins Queen, she also instantly acknowledg'd him to be a person who she had before seen.2 Our attention was now intirely diverted from every other object to the examination of a personage we had heard so much spoken of in Europe: she appeard to be about 40, tall and very lusty, her skin white and her eyes full of meaning, she might have been hansome when young but now few or no traces of it were left.
As soon as her majesties quality was known to us she was invited to go on board the ship, where no presents were spard that were thought to be agreable to her in consideration of the service she had been of to the Dolphin. Among other things a childs dol was given to her of which she seemd very fond. On her landing she met Hercules who for the future I shall call by his real name Tootahah.3 She shewd him her presents: he became uneasy nor was he satisfied till he had also got a doll given to him, which now he seemd to preferr to a hatchet that he had in return for presents, tho after this time the dolls were of no kind of value.4
The men who visited us constantly eat with us of our provisions, but the women never had been prevaild on to taste a morsel; today however they retird sometime after dinner into the servants apartment and eat there a large quantity of plantains, tho they could not be persuaded to eat with us, a mystery we find it very dificult to account for.5
1 This was undoubtedly a mourning ceremony, which might be indulged in at any time. Blood was a potent medium of psychic influence, therefore tapu, and must be safely disposed of.
2 This was of course Purea, Wallis's Oborea.
3 S has a note: 'Tootahah, spelt here; but in many other places Dootahah; both which mean the same Person. Indeed Tootahah is rather the properest manner of spelling it, as the sound of the t is more generally expressed in their language than the d’. Tuteha.
4 Cook gives a very amusing account of this incident in his log—though not in his journal—which perhaps casts some light on the relations between these two important arii, as well as on a not to be suspected side of the character of Cook. See I, pp. 525–6.
5 Eating tapu was stringent, and the sexes never ate together, or shared the same food. But it is plain that the women of a lower social class who came on board the ship found it convenient to eat whatever they could get in the 'servants’ apartment’, as long as they were not seen, or the adventure known, by their countrymen. After all, infringement of tapu did not necessarily have the same result in a European environment as in a Tahitian.
On my return ashore I proceeded to pay a visit to her majesty Oborea [as] I shall for the future call her. She I was told was still asleep in her Canoe-awning, where I went intending to call up her majesty but was surprizd to find her in bed with a hansome lusty young man of about 25 whose name was Obadée.2 I however soon understood that he was her gallant a circumstance which she made not the least secret of.3 Upon my arrival Her majesty proceeded to put on her breeches4 which done she clothd me in fine cloth and proceeded with me to the tents.
At night I visited Tubourai as I often did by candle light and found him and all his family in a most melancholy mood: most of them shed tears so that I soon left them without being at all able to find out the cause of their greif. Ouwhá the Dolphins old man and another who we did not know had prophesied to some of our people that in 4 days we should fire our guns: this was the 4th night and the circumstance of Tubourai crying over me as it was interpreted alarmd our officers a good deal. The sentrys are therefore doubled and we sleep tonight under arms.
30. A very strict watch was kept last night as intended, at 2 in the morn myself went round the point, found every thing so quiet that I had no kind of doubts.
1 This is a good example of Cook's even-handed justice. Cf. Molyneux: ‘All hands being called, and the Prisoner being brought aft, the Captain explained the nature of his Crime in the most lively manner, and made a very Pathetick speech to the Ship's Company during his punishment. The woman was in the greatest agonies, and strongly interceded for him…’—Cook I, p. 554.
2 ? Pati.
3 The marriage connection between Purea and Amo was by this time purely a matter of form, and both as an important arii and as an arioi large liberties were in order for her without any loss of respectability. They did not necessarily make her, as William Wales later referred to her, ‘an old demi-rep’. (Wales, Remarks on Mr. Forster's Account of Captain Cook's last Voyage round the World, 1778, p. 52 n.)
4 Breeches, one supposes, in a metaphorical sense. He probably refers to the pareu, the skirt worn by both sexes, coming rather below the knees.
About 10 Tomio came running to the tents, she seizd my hand and told me that Tubourai was dying and I must go instantly with her to his house. I went and Found him leaning his head against a post. He had vomited they said and he told me he should certainly dye in consequence of something our people had given him to eat, the remains of which were shewn me carefully wrapd up in a leaf. This upon examination I found to be a Chew of tobacco which he had begg'd of some of our people, and trying to imitate them in keeping it in his mouth as he saw them do had chewd it almost to powder swallowing his spittle. I was now master of his disease for which I prescribd cocoa nut milk which soon restor'd him to health.