The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume One]
1. Proceed homewards without meeting any thing new, the countrey we pass'd by and over being the same as we had gone over on the 28th of last month. The day turnd out rainy and bad, the only bad weather we have had since we left the ship, in which instance we are certainly fortunate as we had neither of us a change of Gloaths with us, so little did either of us expect to go round the Island when we set out from Matavie.
2. All our freinds crouded this morn to See us and tell us that they were rejoicd at our return, nor were they empty handed, page 306 most of them brought something or other. The Canoes were still in the river: Captn Cooke finding that there was no likelihood now of any of the stolen goods being restord resolvd to let them go as soon as he could. His freind Potattow sollicited for one which was immediately [granted?] as it was imagind the favour was askd for some of his freinds, but no sooner did he begin to move the boat than the real owners and a number of Indians opposd him, telling him and his people very clamorously that it did not belong to them. He answerd that he had bought it of the Captn and given a pig for it. The people were by this declaration satisfied and had we not luckily overheard it he would have taken away this and probably soon after have sollicited for more. On being detected he became so sulky and ashamd that for the rest of the day neither he or his wife would open their mouths or look streight at any of us.
2 The Vaipopoo river flows down the Tuauru valley.
3 The Fei was a different sort from the lowland plantain or Meia. But perhaps Banks refers here to the mountain banana with erect spikes, Musa troglodytarum (cf. Merrill, p. 343.)
4 The breadfruit has three crops, in March-April (the largest), late July, and November; but different varieties of trees fruit at different times. It must be remembered that the Dolphin made a shorter stay than the Endeavour, and did not cause the same strain on food-supplies.
1 No such word was used for a flock of birds or a shoal of fish in the early nineteenth century, when John Davies was compiling his dictionary—at least collectively. Banks was probably rendering ua rau, ua rau, ‘hundreds and hundreds’.
2 i.e. the journals of the Dolphin's officers.
3 This hibiscus, Tahitian Fau, is widespread through Polynesia, and often called Purau; its bark has a strong bast fibre.
4 It seems to be on this experience that Banks bases a draft passage in Grey MS 48, which he does not later use: ‘The surface of the Island is very uneven near the shore in most but not all places are flats of different breadths never exceeding a mile & half here much the largest part of their fruits &c grow and all the natives live except a few who are up valleys where rivers are from these the ridges run up into mountains high enough to be seen at 20 leagues distant which produce several kinds of fruits of [which] the natives make use particularly Wild plantains Whei [?] for which as well as birds they climb almost inaccessible rocks & have paths up them with ropes tied by which they climb’.
In the whole course of this walk the rocks were almost constantly bare to the view, so that I had a most excellent opportunity of searching for any apearance of minerals but saw not the smallest. The stones every where shewd manifest signs of having been at some time or other burnd; indeed I have not seen a specimen of stone yet in the Island that has not the visible marks of fire upon it, small peices indeed of the hatchet stone may be without them but I have peices of the same species burnd almost to a pumice, the very clay upon the hills gives manifest signs of fire. Possibly the Island owes its original to a volcano which now no longer burns;1 or Theoreticaly speaking, for the sake of those authors who balance this globe by a proper weight of continent placed near about these latitudes, that so nesscessary continent may have been sunk by Dreadfull earthquakes and Volcanos 2 or 300 fathoms under the sea, the tops of the highest mountains only still remain[in]g above water in the shape of Islands: an undoubted proof that such a thing now exists to the great emolument of their theory, which was it not for this proof would have been already totaly demolishd by the Course our ship made from Cape Horn to this Island.
1 Banks's suggestion here is quite valid: Tahiti, like the other ‘high islands’ near it, is volcanic in origin.
2 A significant statement in light of the subsequent spread (and interpretation of origins) of Polynesian cultivars and weeds (cf. Merrill, The Botany of Cook's Voyages, Waltham, Mass., 1954, p. 216).
5. This morn I saw the operation of Tattowing the buttocks performd upon a girl of about 12 years old, it provd as I have always suspected a most painfull one. It was done with a large instrument about 2 inches long containing about 30 teeth,1 every stroke of this hundreds of which were made in a minute drew blood. The patient bore this for about £¼ of an hour with most stoical resolution; by that time however the pain began to operate too stron[g]ly to be peacably endurd, she began to complain and soon burst out into loud lamentations and would fain have persuaded the operator to cease; she was however held down by two women who sometimes scolded, sometimes beat, and at others coaxd her. I was setting in the adjacent house with Tomio for an hour, all which time it lasted and was not finishd when I went away tho very near. This was one side only of her buttocks for the other had been done some time before. The arches upon the loins upon which they value themselves much were not yet done, the doing of which they told causd more pain than what I had seen. About dinner time many of our freinds came, Oamo, Otheothea, Tuarua &c.
6. We begin now to prepare in earnest for our departure, the sails were today carried on board and bent, the guns also were taken on board. Our freinds begin now to beleive that we are realy preparing for our departure, a circumstance which they have of late much doubted. This evening we had a second visit from Tearee derry2 and Toimata,3 the people again paying them the same respect as on the 21st of June: poor Toimata was again baulkd in her desire of seeing the fort, Oamo insisting that she should not come in. Soon after these had left us some of our freinds came to inform us that Monaamia the man who stole the Quadrant was landed and meant this night to make an atempt upon us; all were ready to assist us and several, Tuanne Matte especialy, very desirous of sleeping in the Fort, which probably was the reason why this arch theif did not this night exercise his abilities.
1 This was called the ta; see below, p. 336.
2 Te arii-rere: Banks seems to be spelling out the more formal version of Teriirere.
3 This name is used for the first time of Teriirere's betrothed. It was taken from the name of a goddess.
8. Our freinds with us as usual, the fort more and more dismantled. Our freinds seem resolvd to stay till we go tho the greatest part of them are absolutely without victuals; we have been for some days obligd to spare them every little assistance that we can and the best of them are most thankfull for a single basket of apples. Notwithstanding this we had 4 small pigs brought today from Oborea and Polotheara.
9. Our freinds with us early in the morning as usual, some I beleive realy sorry at the aproach of our departu[r]e others desirous to make as much as they can of our stay. Several of the people were this evening out on liberty. Two foreign seamen were together and one had his knife stolen; he atempted to recover it, may be roughly, for the Indians attackd him and wounded him greivously with a stone over his eye, the other was also slightly wounded in the head; the people who had done this immediately fled to the mountains.—Two of our marines left the fort some time last night or this morn without leave.1 Their doing this at a time when our departure is so near makes us suspect them of an intention of staying among these people; nothing however has been said about them today in hopes of their returning which they have not yet done.
2 sic; it should be him, but Banks, who has first written ‘our two people’, alters this to ‘one of the people’, and forgets to make the consequential alteration. S and P follow the MS. But Cook, whose account must be taken as correct, says that Webb was first brought back, and that Monkhouse and Truslove had been disarmed and detained with Gibson. He then sent Hicks away in the longboat with a strong party to recover the men.
1 The anchor from the port side of the bow.
2 Tahua (cf. Maori tohunga, and other Polynesian variants).
3 This is rather an overstatement. Cook, in the list of islands which he gives (I, pp. 291–3) from Tupaia's information, marks no more than twelve that Tupaia said he had himself visited, and one of those was Raiatea, his native place. Cook writes, ‘This man had been with us the most part of the time we had been upon the Island which gave us an oppertunity to know some thing of him: we found him to be a very intelligent person and to know more of the Geography of the Islands situated in these seas, their produce and the religion laws and customs of the inhabitants then any one we had met with and was the likeliest person to answer our purpose; for these reasons and at the request of Mr Banks I received him on board together with a young boy his servant’.—p. 117. Tupaia came of a family well-known for its skill in navigation.
13. About 10 this morn saild From Otahite leaving our freinds Some of them at least I realy beleive personaly sorry for our departure, notwisthstanding the confinement of the day before yesterday had frigh[t]ned and affronted them as much as possible, yet our nearest freinds came on board at this Critical time except only Tubourai and Tamio. We had Oborea, Otheothea, Tayoa,2 Nuna, Tuanna Matte, Potattou, Polotheara &c. on board when the anchor was weighd; they took their leaves tenderly enough, not without plenty of tears tho intirely without that clamourous weeping made use of by the other Indians, several boats of whoom were about the ship shouting out their lamentations, as vyeing with each other not who should cry most but who should cry loudest — a custom we had often condemnd in conversation with our particular freinds as savouring more of affected than real greif.
1 If they simply went ashore after dinner to visit the marae no Tuteha, Tuteha's marae, it must have been at Point Utuhaihai; it can hardly have been that more usually known as his, Maraetaata. No drawing of the marae as such seems to have survived, though in B.M. Add. MS 15508 there is a very rough sketch-plan.
2 It is curious that Banks has not mentioned this ‘nearest friend’ before.—? Te-oa or Taioa.
In the Evening Tethuroa in sight; before night it appears clearly to be a very low Island and but small, which with Tupias declaring that there were no fixd inhabitants upon it only the people of Otahite who went there for a few days to fish, determind us to content ourselves with what we had seen and stand on in search of Urietea,2 which he describd to be a well peopled Island as large as Otahite.3
14. Before Noon today two Islands are in sight which Tupia calls Huahine and Ulhietea, both of them make high and large.
15. Calm all last night, this morn hazey so that no land is seen; light breezes and calms succeeding each other all morn. Our Indian often prayd to Tane4 for a wind and as often boasted to me of the success of his prayers, which I plainly saw he never began till he saw a breeze so near the ship that it generaly reachd her before his prayer was finishd. At sunset a pleasant breeze. Owahine5 and Ulhietea very plainly seen.
16. This morn we were very near the Island; some Canoes very soon came off but appeard very much frightned, one however came to us bringing a cheif and his wife, who on Tupia's assurances of Freindship from us came on board. They were like the Otahite people in Language, dress, tattow, in short in Every thing. Tupia has always said that the people of this Island and Urietea will not steal, in which they indeed differ much from our late freinds if they only keep up to their Character.
1 The name may be correct: or Potomai?
2 It is difficult to know precisely what name Banks was representing here. The fact that he heard an r in the word, which he follows with ie, suggests Raiatea. But then why the initial U?—which, one gathers from other spellings (e.g. Parkinson, Yoolee-Eteah) represents the English Yoo or you. It does not help matters that in his next entry he goes over to ‘Ulhietea’. The r/l sound in that part of the ocean was very indeterminate, and came to most early voyagers as l. Parkinson's ‘Yoolee-Eteah’, and hence the other variants, seems clearly derived from the island's older name, Ioretea; and presumably Banks's ie is not to be given its full value as in the English lie.
3 Raiatea is considerably smaller than Tahiti.
4 Tane was one of the great members of the Polynesian pantheon, a god of beauty, peace, and growing things: Tupaia here prays to him as also the god of fine weather.
6 Cook writes it Owharhe—another example of the indeterminate r/l. The harbour was Fare, on the west side of the island.
1 e atua, a god; atua was the word for any god.
2 S has here the note, ‘Young Plantains, and Malapoides, are plants used in Sacred Ceremonies’.
18. This morning went to take a farther view of a building which we had seen yesterday and admird a good deal, taking with us Tupias boy Tayeto1 for himself was too much engagd with his freinds to have time to accompany us. The boy told us that it was calld Ewharre no Eatua2 or the house of the god but could not explain at all the use of it. It consisted of a chest whose lid was nicely sewd on and thatched over very neatly with palm nut leaves, the whole was fixd upon two poles by little arches of carvd wood very neat; these poles seemd to be usd in carrying it from place to place tho when we saw it it was supported upon two posts. One end of the chest was open with a round hole within a square one, this was yesterday stopd up with a peice of cloth which least I should offend the people I left untouchd, but to day the cloth and probably the contents of the chest were removd as there was nothing at all in it.
Trade today does not go on with any spirit, the people when any thing is offerd will not take it on their own judgement, but take the opinion of 20 or 30 people about them which takes up much time; we however got 11 piggs.
19. This morn trade rather better: got 3 very large hogs and some piggs by producing hatchets, which had not been before given and we hop'd to have had no occasion for in an Island which had not before been seen by Europæans.3 In the afternoon go to Sea.
1 The name of this rather pathetic figure in history cannot be given with confidence. Banks Tayeto (?Te-ito or Taiato); Cook Tiata (?Taiata); Parkinson Taiyota (?Taiota).
2 fare no atua.
3 Cook also gave to ‘Oree’ the chief ‘a small plate on which was stamp'd the following Inscription viz. His Britannick Maj. Ship Endeavour, Lieutt Cook Commander 16th July 1769. Huaheine,’ with some medals or counters and other presents, which Oree promised never to part with; ‘this we thought would prove as lasting a Testimony of our having first discover'd this Island as any we could leave behind’.—Cook I, p. 143.
The Island of Huahine differs scarce at all from that of Otahite either in its productions or in the customs of the people. In all our searches here we have not found above 10 or 12 new plants, a few insects indeed and a species of scorpions which we did not see at Otahite.1 This Island seems however this year at least to be a month forwarder than the other, as the ripeness of the Cocoa nuts now full of kernel and the new breadfruit, some of which is fitt to Eat, fully evinces. Of the Cocoa nut kernels they make a food which they call Poe2 by scraping them fine and mixing them with yams also scrapd; these are put into a wooden trough and hot stones laid among them, by which means a kind of Oily hasty pudding is made which our people relishd very well especialy fryd.
The men here are large made and stout, one we measurd was 6ft 3 high and well made; the women very Fair, more so than at Otahite tho we saw none so hansome. Both Sexes seem'd to be less timid as well as less curious, the firing of a gun frightned them but they did not fall down as our Otahite freinds at first generaly did. On one of their people being taken in the fact of stealing and seizd upon by the hair they did not run away, but coming round inquird into the cause and seemingly at least approving of the Justice recomended a beating for the offender which was immediately put in practise.
When they first came on board the ship they seemd struck with a sight so new and wonderd at every thing that was shewn to them, but did not seem to search and inquire for matters of curiosity even so much as the Otahite people did, tho they had before seen almost every thing we had to shew them.
2 This spelling is also the orthodox spelling.
5 Porapora (more properly) or Borabora (as spelt today). See p. 314, n. 2 above. Borabora was a much smaller island, but its men were determined fighters.
1 Tahaa. Raiatea and Tahaa are enclosed by the same reef.
2 Taputapu-atea. Banks's spelling shows the ambiguity between the Tahitian t and d sounds. S has the note, ‘Tapodeboatea. Signifies in their Language, Head of the white Hog’. This is an unhappy bloomer on Banks's part; perhaps he gets it out of Te upoo (the human head) + te puaa (the hog) + tea (white). Henry (Ancient Tahiti, p. 95) gives its meaning as ‘Sacrifices from abroad’. Taputapu was a sacrifice, generally human, to the god Oro; one of the meanings of atea was ‘distant, far off’. Davies defines the word as ‘the name of a public and principal heiva, where the human sacrifices were made to Oro’. Such sacrifices were made at other marae in Tahiti named after this one. It was the most famous of all marae, and of international significance, as the most important marae of Raiatea, the centre from which the Society Islands and Tahiti were populated, and the homeland to which the Maori people trace back their historic origin. Emory (op.cit., pp. 145–8) has a full discussion of the marae, with drawings.
3 fata; Banks again includes the verbal e, it is.
4 Not surprisingly; and it is a tribute to Raiatean tolerance that they remained the young man's friends after this calm piece of sacrilege. The object which Banks was trying to get at was a sennit representation of an ancestral god, perhaps the great god Oro, to whom the marae was sacred.
1 Ficus prolixa Forst., called Aoa by the Tahitians, was a sacred tree planted about temples, its ‘congeries of roots’ like a banyan; its bark was used in making tapa cloth. Solander provided a full description both of this and of F. tinctoria (Prim. Fl. Insul. Oceani Pac. pp. 352–3 MS) but Forster in true form purloined Solander's names for his Prodromus (cf. Merrill, p. 352).
2 i.e. pp. 316 above, and 368 below.
3 pahi. The people of Raiatea were the great canoe-builders of the Society group. The description which Banks proceeds to give is more detailed than anything in Cook.
4 The timbers used for canoe-building were mainly Faifai (Serianthes myriadenia) a large valley-growing tree, a favourite for pahi; the Uru or breadfruit, and the Hutu (Barringtonia speciosa)—for which last see Pl. V.
When they have prepard their planks &c. the keel is layd on blocks and the whole Canoe put together much in the same manner as we do a ship, the sides being supported by stantions and all the seams wedg'd together before the last sewing is put on, so that they become tolerably tight considering that they are without calking.2
With these boats they venture themselves out of sight of land; we saw several of them at Otahite which had come from Ulhietea and Tupia has told us that they go voyages of twenty days, whether true or false I do not affirm. They keep them very carefully under such boathouses as are describd p.,3 one of which we measurd today 60 yards by 11.
1 Toa or ironwood.
2 This is evidently a mistake. Caulking was done with fine coconut fibre and the adhesive sap of the breadfruit used as pitch; but Banks probably did not see the process.
3 p. 316 above.
23. Weather mended a little. Dr Solander and myself go upon the hills in hopes of finding new plants but ill rewarded; return home at night having seen nothing worth mentioning.
24. Foul wind. The Captn attempts to go out of the reef at another passage situate between the two Islets of Opourourou and Taumou.2 The ship turning to windward within the reef in doing which she narrowly escapes going ashore, the Quartermaster in the chains calld out 2 fathom; the ship drawing at least 14 feet made it impossible that such a shoal could be under her Keel, so either the man was mistaken or she went along the edge of a coral rock many of which are here as steep as a wall.
Soon after this we came to an anchor and I went ashore but saw nothing but a small marai ornamented with 2 sticks about 5 feet long, each hung with Jaw bones as thick as possible and one having a skull stuck on its top.
25. This morn get to sea and turn to windward all day. Find that the two Islands Ulhietea and Otahah are inclosed by one reef: Tupia says that there is a large passage throug[h] it between them and a harbour within it, also another fronting a large bay on the Eastermost end of Otahah.
26. Foul wind Continues last night, the ship has faln much to leward. Before night however we have gaind our loss and something more, as we discover a low Island ahead which Tupia tells us is calld by the natives Tupi;3 he says that it is low without a harbour and yields nothing but Cocoa nuts and fish.
27. Turn to leward all night and all day again, so much that at night Tupi is not in sight.
1 Probably dolerite from the island of Maurua, now Maupiti. Corney, III, pl. 2 is a picture of a larger example.
2 On the chart in Hawkesworth as Opururu and Tamou. They have changed their names to Iriru and Tipaemau.
3 Tubai in Cook; now Motu-iti.
The Island itself seemd more barren than Ulhietea tho much like it in produce, bread fruit being less plentyfull than Plantains and Cocoa nuts. The people perfectly the same, so much so that I did not observe one new custom or any thing Else among them worth mention; they were not very numerous but flockd from all Quarters to the boat wherever she went bringing with them whatever they had to sell. Here as well as in the rest of the Islands they paid us the same Compliment they are used to pay to their own Kings, uncovering their shoulders and lapping their Garments round their breasts; here particularly they were so scrupulously observant of it that a man was sent with us who calld out to every one we met telling him what we were and what he was to do.
29. The wind last night has favourd us a little so that we are this morn close under the Island of Bola Bola, whose high craggy peak seems on this side at least totaly inaccessible to men; round it is a large quantity of low land which seems very barren. Tupia tells us that between the shore and the mountain is a large salt lagoon, a certain sign of barrenness in this climate; he however tells us that there are upon the Island plenty of Hogs and fowls as well as the vegetables we have generaly met with.
We see but few people on the shore, Tupia tells us that they are gone to Ulhietea where we shall find them. He says also that there is no breach in the reef on this side the Island but on the other there is one large enough for the ship to go in and a good harbour within it.
1 Toahatu and ?Fenu-aia; the latter is now called Mahea. The breach in the reef is the Toahatu pass.
2 Haamene or Hamene.
30. This morn wind right on end. See a new Island calld by Tupia Maurua,1 he says it is fertile and yeilds plentifully all kinds of provision, but that there is no breach in the reef large enough for the ship to go into.
31. Still turning to windward with the wind right in our teeth, towards evening however it mends and gives us hopes that we may tomorrow morn come to an anchor in Ulhietea. Tupia today shewes us a large breach in the reef of Otahah through which the ship migh[t] conveniently pass into a large bay, where he says there is good anchorage.2 We have now a very good opinion of Tupias pilotage, especialy since we observd him at Huahine send a man to dive down to the heel of the ships rudder; this the man did several times and reported to him the depth of water the ship drew, after which he has never sufferd her to go in less than 5 fathom water without being much alarmd.
1 Now Maupiti.
2 The Paipai pass into the bay called by Cook ‘Oherurua’, now Hurepiti.