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The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume Two]

Appendix II — ‘Mr B's Circuit round Otaheiti’

page 302

Appendix II
‘Mr B's Circuit round Otaheiti’

[An earlier version of this part of the Journal, I, pp. 294–305. Alexander Turnbull Library Ms. Cf. Textual Introduction, I, pp. 146–7 above.]

  • 24. The boat set off before 3 oclock going to the eastward — weather very fine — scarce any wind — about 8 we go ashore on the district or kingdom of Ohiaina, are introduced to a very mean looking chief of it by name Ahio. Here to our great surprize we met with our old friends Tituboaro and Hoona who soon introduced us to the well know[n] Tupapou of Hoonas Medua which it seems had been removed from Matavie to this place where Hoona's whennua was situated. From hence we proceed and meet nothing worthy observation till we arrive at Whidea a large district of which there are two Kings Toomohennea and Arretti — Here we understood the Spanish Ships had anchored, and found a place where the Natives said they had pitched their Tents, as well as the Situation of their Ships — The place is situate on the west of a very deep bay which almost divides the Island — Off which place are two small Islets Booarou and Taawirry — On the first of which Mr Hicks made his observation1 under the Shelter of this Island and a small part of the reef (for here is a very large open[ing]) the Ships lay in a very indifferent harbour — on shore the people sh[e]wed us where their Tents had been, and knew the figure of a Cross which I made shewing me where such a thing had been set up and calling it tooroo tooroo2 — I searched a little on the ground hoping to find some remains of Europians and at last found a small piece of tyle, a sure proof tho’ a small one that the Indians had not decieved me, From hence we proceeded on foot till the bay appeared so deep that it was scarce practicable to get to the bottom before night without the boat which was then called for — Tituboaro who had come with us to this place was asked to come in but told us that we were going to a place where no provision was to be got, Breadfruit particularly and where they would kill him — He said the people were at war with Tootaha and would kill us — We made light of these reports but let him see us put balls in our guns on which he consented to accompany us — we rowed down to the bottom of the bay but did not arrive at the Enemies Country on the contrary we

    1 He made it on Taaupiri: see Cook I, p. 97, n. 3.

    2 turuturu, the side-posts of a house—of which the shape of a cross would remind the Tahitians.

    page 303 met with some old Acquaintance who were there in their Canoes and gave me a nights lodging much to my Satisfaction.
  • 25.At day break we got up and found much to our Surprize that there was here all the signs of a carrying place, or rather a chain of morasses over which they trackd their Canoes across the Isle.

    We were told also that the Countrey we were now in was calld Oboreanoo or Otahite Nue, as was all the Countrey which we came from subject to Tootaha, but that we were now in the borders of Tiarreboo — or Otahite Ete the enemys Countrey we had yesterday heard of—We embark'd and following the directions of Tituboaro our pilot, landed in one of the first whennuas in this Enemys Country calld Annuwhe. the Kings name was Marie Tata and his Medua Pahairedo, two names which served much to confirm the idea of this Countrey being at War with what we had left — we were however received with much civility and after some delay furnished with a very large hog for which we gave a good hatchet — we observed here that on our landing every one but the King had their Ahous striped down over their Shoulders. We saw also 2 twelve pound shot, one markt with the English broad arrow which they said had been given them by Toottero the commander of the Spanish Ships. Among the Crowd, tho’ tolerably numerous, there were but two who I remembered to have seen at Matavie and among many beads which I knew did not come from our Ship only one which even bore dispute a small white one, smaller I think than any of ours.

    From hence we proceeded on foot and sent the boat to meet us at a distant point as these warlike people shewed as much friendship both to us and our Indians as we met even in Oboreanoo. At last we arriv'd at the Kingdom of Whaeatua Earee de hi of this kingdom of Tiarraboo, situate on the westermost1 point of the large bay before mentioned along the sides of which we had till now been travelling — Here we found a river so large that we were obliged to ferry over in a Canoe, and our train to Swim. the flat most fertile and very large but no remarkable houses upon it tho’ there were remains of some very large — we were desired to stay and sleep and were told that by and by Waheatua would come to us, but the day being far from spent we resolved not to stop, especially as we saw the eastermost point of the Island which we hoped to get round early next morning. We proceeded on foot and presently came to a place where a few Canoes and some very fine awnings stood — here we saw Towdidde Earee Vahine and Waheatua who was a very old Man with a white beard, little or not at all attended by a crowd of people. We stopt for a moment to pay our Complimts and recieved the same; after which we proceeded along a very fine Countrey

    1 A slip for eastermost.

    page 304 every inch of which was cultivated — the brooks here were walled into very narrow channels, and the very Sea banked out — Houses were not very thick nor very large — the quantity of large double Canoes which were hauled up upon the Shore were almost innumerable: they were of different built from those we had seen, much longer, and their awnings supported on a frame rais'd on Carved pillars — their heads and sterns were also very high, the latter ornamented with coarse carving, or probably no more than little raised pieces intended to support the Images which we had seen very large laid up in their houses. On every point here was a Marai, and many inland — all ornamented with carved work — some with the proper Ethee no Marai — the images of men standing on each others head — others with a kind of lattice work1 on the top of which were the figures of Birds, Cocks especially, one of which was painted red and yellow in a kind of imitation of the Bird itself. After having tired ourselves with walking we took to the boat and here we missed both our Indians Tituboalo and Tooahow who it seems had stayed behind at Whaeatuas depending on our having said that we shoud return and sleep there — We had with us however one whom we knew the little olive liped boy Tiaree who calld himself son of Waeatua and seemed to have much influence, he went with us and we rowed till dark when we went into a little creek almost opposite the Island on the eastermost point of the land — here we found a deserted long house where we resolved to sleep, but nothing had we to eat for supper: nor nothing cou'd we get but a few Ahees and a breadfruit and half which the people whom I went among in the dark gave me probably out of fear — before we had our small pittance Tiarees double Canoe came in, in the awning of which I slept with him while the Capt. and people slept in the house.
  • 26. In the morning got up to see the Countrey and waited here a little in hopes to get the people to furnish us with provisions — in this time went out and walked through several burying grounds, in some of which I saw bones of men laying loosely about as if no Care was taken to bury them — were whole, and many pieces of Sculls and ribbs and Vertibræ— in every thing else like that we had before seen — Return'd, but no provisions — the water was shallow off the point so we walkd and sent the boat to meet us — After walking a few miles came up to a number of double Canoes and were Surprized to find in them Tomita no Tootaha, Roudero, the fat man we used to call Fletcher and many more of our friends: here we thought ourselves sure to get Victuals but after many promises were again disappointed, the Cocoo-nut trees were full of fruit so we resolved at all events to have some of them — we

    1 here in the ms comes a fragement of diagram of lattice-work.

    page 305 tried to perswade the people to climb them but in vain we then sent for an axe and threatned to cut down the Trees which had not the least effect — In short our friends acted in all respects like people who were Strangers and had no property in the things which we wanted — resolved however not to go away empty, we found two Toutous peeling Cocoanuts about 16, these we obliged them to sell us and then embarking in our boat proceeded round the Eastermost point—Here the hills came close down to the water and the Countrey is of Course very thinly inhabited there were however on their sides some breadfruit trees and the reef was also broken and dangerous enough — We passed thro’ it by the direction of our Indians by waiting for a time till it did not break. After about a league's rowing along this desolate Countrey we arrived at a flat on the other side of the Island Ahowe governed by Chief Mathiabo — here we went ashore and by staying some time purchased Cocoa nuts enoug[h], about 20 breadfruits, a pig and a fowl — a long house was not far from the beach into which I went — here I saw a new and unusual sight — at one end of the house was a board of a semicircular figure to which was fasten'd 15 of the lower Jaw bones of Men, all seemingly firm and in good condition with scarce a tooth wanting among them — I tryed by all the signs I could make to learn the reason but it was impossible to make the people attend to my questions — when we left this place King Mathiabo desired leave to accompany us to a friends of his who was a great Man — we took him in and he made us call at as many Whennuas as possible: but we saw nothing in perticular worth remarking but the general face of the Countrey which was much more wooded than the other side of the Island the hills being in general feathered down to the waters edge; the flats were not large but fruitfull enough — In the course of our progress we bought Cocoanuts enough and some breadfruit and fish — in the evening we opened a large bay opposite to that on the other side of the Island which makes the breadth of the Island, where we suppose the carrying place to be, very small — about two thirds down this Bay we resolvd to take up our lodgings for the night at a large long-house which we saw — the name of the Whennua was Owiourou, the King Wiverow who recd us with great hospitality ordering his subjects to assist us in dressing our provision which they did with great readiness here then we supped — and observed that our friend Mathiabo was certainly a Great Man, as Wiverow with his own hands mixed a shell of poipoi for his supper We all eat hearty and bedtime came—I had taken much pains to procure a snug birth but without success, jilted three or four times I left off and resolv'd to sleep on the floor of the house among them all — our friend Mathiabo now complained much of Cold and desired a Cloak to sleep in which was readily granted him as he had behaved so well all day — we went and prepared page 306 a bed for him the Capt, and myself, in which we two lay down not at all alarm'd at Mathiabo's being absent who we tho't was gone to wash himself— soon how ever one of the Indians came telling us that our friend had made off with the Cloak: At first I wou'd not believe it but soon after another Messenger confirming the report we Started up and immediately gave chase — we return between ¾ and ½ a mile when the Cloak was brought back and we returned to our lodgings where all hands were mattowed — we soon however got them to return and Wiverow and his wife lay on the floor nigh us. We slept very sound, especially I till towards morning just before
  • 27 day break — how ever we were awaked by the alarming circumstance of our boat being missing; we leaped up and no boat was in sight — our Situation was truely uncomfortable — myself especially who had no one thing with me but one pistol loaded without a spare ball or charge of powder: all my Cloaths were in the boat according to my constant custom: and with them every article of trade which was to support us in our Journey — we were however soon relievd by the sight of the boat which had drove from her grapnail.

    As soon as the boat returned we set off and rowed to the next Countrey governed by Omoe he offered a hog for a hatchet but unluckily we had no hatchet left — we how ever took him into the boat with his Wife and proceeded towards the hog who was brought to us in great haste we could not how ever agree about price and they promised to bring him to Matavie. here we saw a very extraordinary curiosity called by the Indians Mahuwe, and said by them to be used in the Heiva — but how we could not learn — It was the figure of a Man made in basket work 7 feet high, and very thick and large proportions with feet exceedingly broad upon which it stood very firm — the head was ornamented with three bunches of feathers resembling horns — two before and one behind — the whole of this figure was covered with feathers, white for the ground, upon which black imitated hair and the marks of tattou — it had on a Maro under which were the proofs of its being intended for the figure of a man.

    From hence we proceeded in the boat a great way, passing the bottom of the bay where the Countries divide before we came ashore. When we did saw nothing remarkable but a burying ground paved and adorned with a pyramid about 5 feet high of the fruits of Crataeva and the palm nuts — on the paved floor near this were three Skulls of men laid in a row, and nigh them a little Shed covering a very rough image of stone about 18 inches high the first carving in Stone I have seen.

    From hence we proceeded to Papara the seat of Oborea our friend where we meant to sleep — we came here some time before night; our friend was not at home however we resolved to sleep page 307 in her house a small neat one with bamboo walls —- to pass the time took a walk towards a point where we saw some very large Etoa trees which made us think there was a burying ground there, as proved to be the Case and a most wonderfull one it was, built as they always are in form like the roof of a house consisting of large Steps, each of these 4 feet high which makes in all 44 feet — Its length 89 yards breadth 27. Every step of this masterpiece of Indian Architecture was composed of one row of Coral rock very neatly squared — the rest of round Stones like large pebbles, which also seemed to have been worked by their uniformness in Size and Shape — of the Coral Stones some were very large and one perticularly was 3½ feet by 2½ — The foundation was of a squared rock Stone of a reddish colour one corner stone of which measured 4 feet 7 Inches by 2 f. 4 I. its thickness 1 f: 4 I: — the whole was inclosed in a spacious Area paved with stone, part of one side of which it made — the length of this was 118 paces the breadth 100. Near this but not within the Square were many large Altars supported by 6 or 8 pillars each about 10 feet high, on which were exposed meat for Eatua Here we saw the sculls and bones of many hogs and dogs, about 50, which they told us had been sacraficed at the Marai.

    Returning from hence to the house about a ¼ of a mile distant along the beach I observed the bones of Men, many ribs and Vertebræ among the sand above highwater mark—but could not learn the meaning of so strange a Sight.

  • 28 This morning proceeded again meeting with nothing worth notice all day but that we bought a little Bread fruit which has been equally scarce all round the Island for I realy believe I have not seen ten ripe ones hanging on the Trees the whole way — At night came to Attahouroo where we met with many old acquaintance who recieved us very cordially, making us a very good bed and giving us a very good Supper — From these we learnt that the young bread fruit less than my fist of which we saw some on the trees, would not be fit to use till three months hence.

  • 29 Proceed homewards through a Countrey which we had before seen so of course met nothing new except a Tupapow eleven yards in length which they said had been for an Earee. At Tittaha find Tootaha; go ashore to see him and meet with a favourable reception, at least, he was not at all afraid of us — Stay here but a short time and proceed home.