Historical Records of New Zealand
Captain Furneaux to Secretary Stephens
Captain Furneaux to Secretary Stephens.
Adventure, sloop, Cape Good Hope,5 April, 1774.
* This was the second time the ships had parted company. The first occasion was on the 8th February, 1773, in a fog near Kerguelen Island. They did not meet until 18th May of the same year, at the winter quarters—Queen Charlotte’s Sound, New Zealand. The second time, as stated here, they were separated in a gale, when near the southern entrance of Cook Strait. Furneaux’s account of his movements after the separation of the ships, containing a detailed description of the circumstances attending the massacre of the boat’s crew, will be found in Cook’s Voyage towards the South Pole, vol. ii, pp. 251–64. Cook had not fixed upon any rendezvous, consequently, Furneaux had practically no chance of falling in with the Resolution. This, and the fact that his vessel was not in the most seaworthy condition, while his provisions were much damaged and a quantity completely spoilt, induced him to shape his course for the Cape of Good Hope, and then make the best of his way to England. Cook, however, continued his search for a southern continent during that and the following summer, and it was not until February, 1775, that he bore up for the Cape of Good Hope.
By the 18th of December I got the ship ready for sea, and in the morning of that day sent the cutter up the Sound to gather a quantity of vegetables to carry to sea, with particular orders to the officer not to exceed three o’clock in his return to the ship. Not returning that evening, I suspected their safety, and next morning sent the launch, mann’d and armed, in search of them. At night the launch returned with some remains of the cutter’s crew, who were all murdered by the Indians, and the greatest part eaten. I here insert a list of the names of the unhappy sufferers. For further particulars relative to the voyage I beg leave to defer acquainting their Lordships till our arrival in England. My proceedings therein I hope will meet with their Lordships’ approbation.
I have, &c.,
* In his narrative of their proceedings in the Adventure, Furneaux thus describes this incident:—“On going ashore we discerned the place where she [the Resolution] had erected her tents; and on an old stump of a tree in the garden observed these words cut out, ‘Look underneath.’ There we dug, and soon found a bottle corked and waxed down, with a letter in it from Captain Cook, signifying their arrival on the 3rd instant’ [November, 1773], and departure on the 24th, and that they intended spending a few days in the entrance of the straits looking for us.“
A list of the men killed by the Indians :—John Rowe, master’s mate; Tho’s Woodhouse, midshipman; Francis Muphy, q’r-master; Ja’s Tob’s Swilley, Ab.; Wm. Milton, Ab.; Wm. Facey, Ab.; Mich. Bell, Ab.; Ja’s Jones, Ab.; Jn’o Cavanagh, Ab.; Tho’s Hill, Ab.