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

July 1770

July 1770

1. Being Sunday all hands were ashore on liberty, many animals were seen by them. The Indians had a fire about a league off up the river. O[u]r second Lieutenant found the husk of a Cocoa nut full of Barnacles cast up on the Beach; probably it had come from some Island to windward, From Terra del Espirito Santo7 possibly as we are now in its latitude.

7 Espiritu Santo, one of the islands of the New Hebrides. Banks at first writes ‘New Jerusalem’, which was the name given by Quiros to the city he founded, on paper, on Espiritu Santo.

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The ship was now finishd and tomorrow being the highest spring tide it was intended to haul her off, so we began to think how we should get out of this place, where so lately to get only in was our utmost ambition. We had observ'd in coming in innumerable shoals and sands all round us so we went upon a high hill to see what passage to the sea might be open. When we came there the Prospect was indeed melancholy: the sea every where full of innumerable shoals, some above and some under water, and no prospect of any streight passage out. To return as we came was impossible, the trade wind blew directly in our teeth; most dangerous then our navigation must be among unknown dangers. How soon might we again be reducd to the misfortune we had so lately escapd! Escapd indeed we had not till we were again in an open sea.

2. A great dew, which is the first we have had, and a Land breeze in the morn the first likewise. The Wild Plantain trees,1 tho their fruit does not serve for food, are to us a most material benefit; we made Baskets of their stalks (a thing we learnd of the Islanders) in which our plants which would not otherwise keep home remain fresh for 2 or 3 days; indeed in a hot climate it is hardly Practicable to go on without such baskets which we call by the Island name of Papa Mya. Our Plants dry better in Paper Books than in Sand, with this precaution, that one person is intirely employd in attending them who shifts them all once a day, exposes the Quires in which they are to the greatest heat of the sun and at night covers them most carefully up from any damps, always carefull not to bring them out too soon in a morning or leave them out too late in the evening. Tide rose not so high as was expected so the ship would not come off.

3. The Pinnace which had been sent out yesterday in search of a Passage returnd today, having found a way by which she past most of the shoals that we could see but not all. This Passage was also to windward of us so that we could only hope to get there by the assistance of a land breeze, of which we have had but one since we lay in the Place, so this discovery added little comfort to our situation. He had in his return landed on a dry reef where he found vast plenty of shell fish so that the Boat was compleatly loaded, cheifly with a large kind of Cockles (Chama Gigas)2 One of which was more than 2 men could eat. Many indeed were larger; the Cockswain of the Boat a little man declard that he saw on the reef

1 paepae meia, baskets woven of banana leaves.

2 The Giant Clam, Tridacna gigas, the largest of bivalves.

page 88 a dead shell of one so large that he got into it and it fairly held him. At night the ship floated and was hauld off; an Allegator1 was seen swimming along side of her for some time. As I was crossing the harbour in my small boat we saw many sholes of Gar fish2 leaping high out of the water, some of which leap'd into the boat and were taken.

4. The ship has been a good deal straind by laying so long as she has done with her head aground and her stern afloat; so much so that she has sprung a plank between decks abreast the main chains. At night however she was laid ashore again in order if possible to examine if she had got any damage near that place.

5. Went to the other side of the harbour and walkd along a sandy beach open to the trade wind. Here I found innumerable fruits, many of Plants I had not seen in this countrey; among them were some Cocoa nuts that had been open'd (as Tupia told us) by a kind of Crab, calld by the Dutch Beurs Krabbe (Cancer Latro)3 that feeds upon them. All these fruits were incrusted with sea productions and many of them Coverd with Barnacles, a sure sign that they have come far by sea, and as the trade wind blows almost right on shore they must have come from some other countrey — probably that discoverd by Quiros and calld Terra del Esprito Santo4 as the Latitudes according to his own account agree pretty well.

Tupia, who parted from us and walkd away a shooting, on his return told us that he had seen 2 people who were digging in the ground for some kind of roots; on seeing him they ran away with great precipitation.

6. Set out today with the second lieutenant resolvd to Go a good way up the river and see if the countrey inland differd from that near the shore. We went for about 3 leagues among Mangroves, then we got into the countrey which differd very little from what we had seen. From hence we proceeded up the river which contracted itself much and lost most of its mangroves; Canks were steep and coverd with trees of a Beautifull verdure particularly what is calld in the West Indies Mohoe or Bark tree (Hibiscus tiliaceus);5 the land within was generaly low, coverd thick with

1 Probably the Estuarine Crocodile, Crocodilus porosus Schneider.

2 There are numerous species of garfish in Australia, belonging to the genera Belone and Strongylura.

3 The Coconut-opening Crab, Birgus latro.

4 The New Hebrides. It is interesting that Banks, like Cook (or did Cook simply follow Banks in this?) refers to the distribution of coconut by self-sown drift, not by man (cf. Merrill, pp. 266–7 et passim, 1954.)

5 Mahoe, the West Indian Sterculia caribaea; but the name was also used for more than one sort of Hibiscus.

page 89 long grass, and seemd to promise great fertility were these people to plant and improve it. In the course of the Day Tupia saw a Wolf, so at least I guess by his description,1 and we saw 3 of the animals of the countrey but could not get one; also a kind of Batts as large as a Partridge2 but these also we were not lucky enough to get. At night we took up our lodgins close to the banks of the river and made a fire, but the Musquetos, whose peacefull dominions it seems we had invaded, spard no pains to molest [us] as much as was in their Power: they followd us into the very smoak, nay almost into the fire, which hot as the Climate was we could better bear the heat of than their intolerable stings.

Between the hardness of our beds, the heat of the fire and the stings of these indefatigable insects the night was not spent so agreably but that day was earnestly wishd for by all of us; at last

7. it came and with its first dawn we set out in search of Game. We walkd many miles over the flats and saw 4 of the animals, 2 of which my greyhound fairly chas'd, but they beat him owing to the lengh and thickness of the grass which prevented him from running while they at every bound leapd over the tops of it. We observd much to our surprize that instead of Going upon all fours this animal went only upon two legs, making vast bounds just as the Jerbua (Mus Jaculus)3 does. We returnd about noon and pursued our course up the river, which soon contracted itself into a fresh water brook where however the tide rose pretty considerably; towards evening it was so shallow being almost low water that we were obligd to get out of the boat and drag her, so finding a convenient place for sleeping in we resolvd to go no farther. Before our things were got up out of the boat we observd a smoak about a furlong from us: we did not doubt at all that the natives, who we had so long had a curiosity to see well, were there so three of us went immediately towards it hoping that the smallness of our numbers would induce them not to be afraid of us; when we came to the place however they were gone, probably upon having discoverd us before we saw them. The fire was in an old tree of touchwood; their houses were there, and branches of trees broken down with which the Children had been playing not yet wither'd; their footsteps also upon the sand below the high tide mark provd that they had very lately been there; near their oven, in which victuals had

1 Cf. p. 86, n. 4 above.

2 Presumably one of the flying-foxes, Pteropus sp.

3 Jerboa, Dipus sagitta; it is the size of a rat, but like the kangaroo has short fore legs, very long hind legs, and a long tail, and is a powerful jumper; it inhabits the African deserts. It is a rodent and not a marsupial.

page 90 been dressd since morn, were shells of a kind of Clam and roots of a wild Yam which had been cookd in it. Thus were we disapointed of the only good chance we have had of seing the people since we came here by their unacountable timidity, and Night soon coming on we repaird to our quarters, which was upon a broad sand bank under the shade of a Bush where we hopd the Musquetos would not trouble us. Our beds of plantain leaves spread on the sand as soft as a mattrass, our Cloaks for bedcloths and grass pillows, but above all the intire absence of Musquetos made me and I beleive all of us sleep almost without intermission; had the Indians came they would certainly have caught us all Napping but that was the least in our thoughts.

The land about this place was not so fertile as lower down, the hills rose almost immediately from the river and were barren, stony and sandey much like those near the ship. The river near us abounded much in fish who at sun set leapd about in the water much as trouts do in Europe but we had no kind of tackle to take them with.

8. At day light in the Morn the tide serving we set out for the ship. In our passage down met several flocks of Whistling Ducks1 of which we shot some; we saw also an Allegator of about 7 feet long come out of the Mangroves and crawl into the Water.2 By 4 O'Clock we arrivd at the ship where we heard that the Indians had been near them but not come to them; Yesterday they had made a fire about a mile and a half of and this morn 2 had appeard on the beach opposite to the ship. At night the Pinnace which had been sent in search of a Passage to leward returnd, she had been unsuccessfull in her main errand. Shoals innumerable she had met with, upon one of them was lucky enough to see a turtle3 which was pursued and many more were seen, so many that three were taken with only the Boat hook. The promise of such plenty of good provisions made our situation appear much less dreadfull; were we obligd to Wait here for another season of the year when the winds might alter we could do it without fear of wanting Provisions: this thought alone put every body in vast spirits.

9. Myself went turtling in hopes to have loaded our long boat, but by a most unacountable conduct of the officer not one turtle

1 According to Storr (1953) two kinds of ducks with a shrill whistling call occur here: the Whistling Tree Duck, Dendrocygna arcuata Horsfield, and the Plumed Tree Duck, D. eytoni (Eyton).

2 Cf. p. 88, n. 1 above.

3 Presumably a Green Turtle, Chelonia sp. Cf. p. 94, n. 3 below.

page 91 was taken. I however went ashore upon the reef, saw the large Cockles and gatherd many shells and sea productions. At night returnd with my small boat leaving the large one upon the reef who I was sure would catch no turtle.

10. Four Indians appeard on the opposite shore; they had with them a Canoe made of wood with an outrigger in which two of them embarkd and came towards the ship but stop'd at the distance of a long Musquet shot, talking much and very loud to us. We hollowd to them and waving made them all the signs we could to come nearer; by degrees they venturd almost insensibly nearer and nearer till they were quite along side, often holding up their Lances as if to shew us that if we usd them ill they had weapons and would return our attack. Cloth, Nails, Paper, &c &c. was given to them all which they took and put into the canoe without shewing the least signs of satisfaction: at last a small fish was by accident thrown to them on which they expressd the greatest joy imaginable, and instantly putting off from the ship made signs that they would bring over their comrades, which they very soon did and all four landed near us, each carrying in his hand 2 Lances and his stick to throw them with. Tupia went towards [them]; they stood all in a row in the attitude of throwing their Lances; he made signs that they should lay them down and come forward without them; this they immediately did and sat down with him upon the ground. We then came up to them and made them presents of Beads, Cloth &c. which they took and soon became very easy, only Jealous if any one attempted to go between them and their arms. At dinner time we made signs to them to come with as and eat but they refusd; we left them and they going into their Canoe padled back to where they came from.

11. Indians came over again today, 2 that were with us yesterday and two new ones who our old acquaintance introduc'd to us by their names, one of which was Yaparico. Tho we did not yesterday Observe it they all had the Septum or inner part of the nose bord through with a very large hole, in which one of them had stuck the bone of a bird as thick as a mans finger and 5 or 6 inches long, an ornament no doubt tho to us it appeard rather an uncouth one. They brought with them a fish which they gave to us in return I suppose for the fish we had given them yesterday. Their stay was but short for some of our gentlemen being rather too curious in examining their canoe they went directly to it and pushing it page 92 off went away without saying a word. At night the boat which had been sent to the reef for turtle came home and brought 3.

12. Indians came again today and venturd down to Tupias Tent, where they were so well pleasd with their reception that three staid while the fourth went with the Canoe to fetch two new ones; they introduc'd their strangers (which they always made a point of doing) by name and had some fish given them. They receivd it with indifference, signd to our people to cook it for them, which was done, and they eat part and gave the rest to my Bitch. They staid the most part of the morning but never venturd to go above 20 yards from their canoe. The ribbands by which we had tied medals round their necks the first day we saw them were coverd with smoak; I suppose they lay much in the smoak to keep off the Musquetos. They are a very small people or at least this tribe consisted of very small people, in general about 5 feet 6 in hight and very slender; one we measurd 5 feet 2 and another 5 feet 9, but he was far taller than any of his fellows; I do not know by what deception we were to a man of opinion, when we saw them run on the sand about ¼ of a mile from us, that they were taller and larger than we were. Their colour was nearest to that of chocolate, not that their skins were so dark but the smoak and dirt with which they were all casd over, which I suppose servd them instead of Cloths, made them of that colour. Their hair was strait in some and curld in others; they always wore it croppd close round their heads; it was of the same consistence with our hair, by no means wooly or curld like that of Negroes. Their eyes were in many lively and their teeth even and good; of them they had compleat setts, by no means wanting two of their fore teeth as Dampiers New Hollanders did.1 They were all of them clean limn'd, active and nimble. Cloaths they had none, not the least rag, those parts which nature willingly conceals being exposd to view compleatly uncoverd; yet when they stood still they would often or almost allways with their hand or something they held in it hide them in some measure at least, seemingly doing that as if by instinct. They Painted themselves with white and red,2 the first in lines and barrs on different

1 This refers to a passage in Dampier's New Voyage round the World, which gives an unflattering picture of the Australians: ‘The two Fore-teeth of their Upper jaw are wanting in all of them, Men and Women, Old and Young; whether they draw them out, I know not… .’—Dampier's Voyages, ed. Masefield (1906), I, p. 453. Dampier was eagerly consulted by both Banks and Cook, as the only Englishman who had had contact with the aborigines, while Cook of course was interested also in his geography. It was a very common, though not universal, practice among the aborigines to knock out one or two incisors as part of the ritual of ‘initiation’ into adulthood.

2 i.e. with pipeclay and ochre; the ochre was burnt and mixed with emu-fat.

page 93 Parts of their bodies, the other in large patches. Their ornaments were few: necklaces prettyly enough made of shells, bracelets wore round the upper part of their arms, consisting of strings lapd round with other strings1 as what we Call gymp in England, a string no thicker than a packthread tied round their bodies which was sometimes made of human hair, a peice of Bark tied over their forehead, and the preposterous bone in their noses which I have before mentiond were all that we observd. One had indeed one of his Ears bord, the hole being big enough to put a thumb through, but this was peculiar to that one man and him I never saw wear in it any ornament. Their language was totaly different from that of the Islanders; it sounded more like English in its degree of harshness tho it could not be calld harsh neither. They almost continualy made use of the word Chircau,2 which we conceivd to be a term of Admiration as they still usd it when ever they saw any thing new; also Cherr, tut tut tut tut tut, which probably have the same signification. Their Canoe was not above 10 feet long and very narrow built, with an outrigger fitted much like those at the Islands only far inferior; they in shallow waters set her on with poles, in deep paddled her with paddles about 4 feet long; she just carried 4 people so that the 6 who visited us today were obligd to make 2 embarkations. Their Lances were much like those we had seen in Botany3 bay, only they were all of them single pointed, and some pointed with the stings of sting-rays and bearded with two or three beards of the same, which made them indeed a terrible weapon; the board or stick with which they flung them was also made in a neater manner.

After having staid with us the greatest part of the morning they went away as they came. While they staid 2 more and a young woman made their appearance upon the Beach; she was to the utmost that we could see with our glasses as naked as the men.

13. Two Indians came in their Canoe to the ship, staid by her a very short time and then went along shore striking fish. Our Boat returnd from the reef with one turtle and one large Sting ray.

14. Our second lieutenant who was a shooting today had the good fortune to kill the animal that had so long been the subject of our

1 The material commonly used in this part of the country for such armlets was pandanus fibre. Elsewhere they were often made of kangaroo sinews.

2 A rendering, spelt in various ways by the journal-keepers, of the word yir-ké, an expression of surprise.

3 ‘Stingrays’ deleted.

page 94 speculations.1 To compare it to any European animal would be impossible as it has not the least resemblance of any one I have seen. Its fore legs are extreemly short and of no use to it in walking, its hind again as disproportionaly long; with these it hops 7 or 8 feet at each hop in the same manner as the Gerbua, to which animal indeed it bears much resemblance except in Size, this being in weight 38 lb and the Gerbua no larger than a common rat.

15. The Beast which was killd yesterday was today Dressd for our dinners and provd excellent meat. In the evening the Boat returnd from the reef bringing 4 Turtles, so we may now be said to swim in Plenty. Our Turtles are certainly far preferable to any I have eat in England, which must proceed from their being eat fresh from the sea before they have either wasted away their fat, or by unatural food which is given them in the tubs where they are kept given themselves a fat of not so delicious a flavour as it is in their wild state. Most of those we have caught have been green turtle from 2 to 300 lb weight: these when killd were always found to be full of Turtle Grass2 (a kind of Conferva I beleive); two only were Loggerheads which were but indifferent meat; in their stomachs were nothing but shells.3

1 This moment of triumph must be annotated: the mysterious animal was of course the kangaroo—‘Kill Kanguru’ is Banks's running head. This animal and the others obtained at the Endeavour River have been discussed with learning by T. C. S. Morrison-Scott and F. C. Sawyer, in The Identity of Captain Cook's Kangaroo (Bull, of B.M. [N.H.], Zoology, I, No. 3, 1950). This one was possibly the young Great Grey Kangaroo, Macropus cangaru (Müller), the skull of which was given by Banks to John Hunter, the eminent surgeon and anatomist; it was preserved in the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons until the destruction of the second World War.—Some Australians still believe that the animal was given its name by mistake: that an aboriginal, asked what it was called, replied in his own tongue, ‘I don't understand’—which expression Banks in turn misunderstood as the name. Such an origin is inherently improbable, whatever the animal was called elsewhere in Australia: no one yet seems to have supplied the Koko-Yimidir form of words which Banks compressed into ‘kanguru’; and see Banks's account of the care taken in collecting his Australian vocabulary, p. 126 below. Ling Roth (cf. p. 127, n. 1) gives ganguru as the local name. See also E. E. Morris, Austral English (London 1898), pp. 230–1.

2 Banks's ‘turtle grass’ may have been any one, or more than one, of three possible genera: Cymodocea isoetifolia, or possibly C. serrulata; or Zostera capricorni, known as ‘Dugong grass’; or Thalassia hemprichii, which F. R. Fosberg says is often referred to as ‘turtle grass’ in the Marshall Islands. Thalassia testudinata is the well known neotropical ‘turtle grass’. Thalassia hemprichii is recorded from Low Island in North Queensland, and it seems likely that this was the marine phanerogam that Banks encountered.

3 Banks's Green Turtles were Chelonia sp. Some herpetologists maintain that there is but a single species of Green Turtle with a world-wide tropical and sub-tropical distribution; on this view the name would be C. mydas (Linn.). There are two drawings by Parkinson of a specimen from Endeavour River (I, pls. 39, 40), which is the turtle described by Solander (p. 125) since he refers to a drawing. Of the two genera of Loggerheads, Lepidochelys and Caretta, the former is usually vegetarian, at least in the Indian Ocean, so that as Banks reports that the stomachs of the Loggerheads examined contained nothing but shells, there is presumptive evidence that they were specimens of Carella. The Caretta of the Indo-Pacific region has been recognized as a subspecies different from that of the Atlantic Ocean, under the name Caretta caretta gigas Deraniyagala.

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16. As the ship was now nearly ready for her departure Dr Solander and myself employd ourselves in winding up our Botanical Bottoms,1 examining what we wanted, and making up our complement of specimens of as many species as possible.The Boat brought 3 Turtle again today, one of which was a male which was easily to be distinguishd from the female by the vast size of his tail, which was four times longer and thicker than hers; in every other respect they were exactly alike. One of our people on board the ship who has been a Turtler in the West Indies told me that they never sent male Turtle home to England from thence because they wasted in keeping much more than the females, which we found to be true.

17. Tupia who was over the water by himself saw 3 Indians, who gave him a kind of longish roots about as thick as a mans finger and of a very good taste.2 On his return the Captn Dr Solander and myself went over in hopes to see them and renew our connections; we met with four in a canoe who soon after came ashore and came to us without any signs of fear. After receiving the beads &c that we had given them they went away; we attempted to follow them hoping that they would lead us to their fellows where we might have an opportunity of seeing their Women; they however by signs made us understand that they did not desire our company.

18. Indians were over with us today and seemd to have lost all fear of us and became quite familiar; one of them at our desire threw his Lance which was about 8 feet in Lengh — it flew with a degree of swiftness and steadyness that realy surprizd me, never being above 4 feet from the ground and stuck deep in at the distance of 50 paces. After this they venturd on board the ship and soon became our very good freinds, so the Captn and me left them to the care of those who staid on board and went to a high hill about Six miles from the ship; here we overlookd a great deal of sea to Leward, which afforded a melancholy prospect of the dificulties we were to encounter when we came out of our present harbour: in which ever direction we turnd our eyes shoals innumerable were to be seen and no such thing as any passage to sea but through the winding channels between them, dangerous to the last degree.

19. Ten Indians visited us today and brought with them a larger quantity of Lances than they had ever done before, these they laid up in a tree leaving a man and a boy to take care of them and came

1 i.e. in finishing the botanical tasks they had set themselves; cf. I, p. 463, n. 1.

2 . Colocasia esculenta, Taro.

page 96 on board the ship. They soon let us know their errand which was by some means or other to get one of our Turtle of which we had 8 or 9 laying upon the decks. They first by signs askd for One and on being refusd shewd great marks of Resentment; one who had askd me on my refusal stamping with his foot pushd me from him with a countenance full of disdain and applyd to some one else; as however they met with no encouragement in this they laid hold of a turtle and hauld him forwards towards the side of the ship where their canoe lay. It however was soon taken from them and replacd. They nevertheless repeated the expiriment 2 or 3 times and after meeting with so many repulses all in an instant leapd into their Canoe and went ashore where I had got before them Just ready to set out plant gathering; they seizd their arms in an instant, and taking fire from under a pitch kettle which was boiling they began to set fire to the grass to windward of the few things we had left ashore with surprizing dexterity and quickness; the grass which was 4 or 5 feet high and as dry as stubble burnt with vast fury. A Tent of mine which had been put up for Tupia when he was sick was the only thing of any consequence in the way of it so I leapd into a boat to fetch some people from the ship in order to save it, and quickly returning hauld it down to the beach Just time enough. The Captn in the meantime followd the Indians to prevent their burning our Linnen and the Seine which lay on the grass just where they were gone. He had no musquet with him so soon returnd to fetch one for no threats or signs would make them desist. Mine was ashore and another loaded with shot, so we ran as fast as possible towards them and came just time enough to save the Seine by firing at an Indian who had already fird the grass in two places just to windward of it; on the shot striking him, tho he was full 40 yards from the Captn who fird, he dropd his fire and ran nimbly to his comrades who all ran off pretty fast. The Captn then loaded his musquet with a ball and fird it into the Mangroves abreast of where they ran to shew them that they were not yet out of our reach, they ran on quickning their pace on hearing the Ball and we soon lost sight of them; we then returnd to the Seine where the people who were ashore had got the fire under. We now thought we were free'd from these troublesome people but we soon heard their voices returning on which, anxious for some people who were washing that way, we ran towards them; on seeing us come with our musquets they again retird leasurely after an old man had venturd quite to us and said something which we could not understand. We followd for near a page 97 mile, then meeting with some rocks from whence we might observe their motions we sat down and they did so too about 100 yards from us. The little old man now came forward to us carrying in his hand a lance without a point. He halted several times and as he stood employd himself in collecting the moisture from under his arm pit with his finger which he every time drew through his mouth.1 We beckond to him to come: he then spoke to the others who all laid their lances against a tree and leaving them came forwards likewise and soon came quite to us. They had with them it seems 3 strangers who wanted to see the ship but the man who was shot at and the boy were gone, so our troop now consisted of 11. The Strangers were presented to us by name and we gave them such trinkets as we had about us; then we all proceeded towards the ship, they making signs as they came along that they would not set fire to the grass again and we distributing musquet balls among them and by our signs explaining their effect. When they came abreast of the ship they sat down but could not be prevaild upon to come on board, so after a little time we left them to their contemplations; they stayd about two hours and then departed.

We had great reason to thank our good Fortune that this accident happned so late in our stay, not a week before this our powder which was put ashore when first we came in had been taken on board, and that very morning only the store tent and that in which the sick had livd were got on board. I had little Idea of the fury with which the grass burnt in this hot climate, nor of the dificulty of extinguishing it when once lighted: this accident will however be a sufficient warning for us if ever we should again pitch tents in such a climate to burn Every thing round us before we begin.

20. Yesterday evening the ship was hauld off from the shore ready for her departure. In the night by some unlucky accident she taild ashore during the Ebb, and as the tide settled brought such a strain upon her rudder as alarmd us all greatly; the Tiller which was in the most danger beat hard under some strong sheep pens which had been built in a Platform over it; as the tide settled still more it came to the Point whether the tiller or Platform would Break, for one must, which the Platform fortunately did and made us at once easy. No Indians came near us but all the hills about us for many miles were on fire and at night made the most beautifull appearance imaginable. The Pinnace returnd which had been sent to Leeward in search of a Passage: the officer in her had met with

1 For the salt so gained.

page 98 nothing but shoals and not the least likelihood of a Passage that way,1 no very comfortable situation. Our ship it is true was now repaird: Leaky she was from the strains she had got but the water she made was trifling. We were ready to sail with the first fair wind but where to go? — to windward was impossible, to leward was a Labyrinth of Shoals, so that how soon we might have the ship to repair again or lose her quite no one could tell. Encounter the dificulty however we must and since our Bargain was a bad one make the Best of it. At night the Yawl returnd with one turtle in her: it had blown so much since she had been out that she with dificulty took even that, for as all our turtle had been taken by chasing moderate weather was absolutely necessary.

21. No signs of the Indians to day nor indeed any thing else worthy note.

22. The Turtle which was killd this morn had an Indian turtle peg in it which seemd to have laid there a long time. It was in the breast across the fore finns, having enterd at the soft part near the finns but the wound it had made in going in was intirely grown up; the peg itself was about 8 inches in lengh and as thick as a mans little finger.2 One of our people who had been sent out to gather Indian Kale straying from his party met with three indians, two men and a boy, he came upon them as they sat down among some long grass on a sudden and before he was aware of it. At first he was much afraid and offerd them his knife, the only thing he had which he thought might be acceptable to them; they took it and after handing it from one to another return'd it to him. They kept him about half an hour behaving most civily to him, only satisfying their curiosity in examining his body, which done they made him signs that he might go away which he did very well pleasd. They had hanging on a tree by them, he said, a quarter of the wild animal and a cocatoo; but how they had been clever enough to take these animals is almost beyond my conception, as both of them are most shy especialy the Cocatoos.

23. In Botanizing today on the other side of the river we accidentaly found the greatest part of the clothes which had been given to the Indians left all in a heap together, doubtless as lumber not worth carriage. May be had we lookd farther we should have found our other trinkets, for they seemd to set no value upon any thing we had

1 i.e. to the northward.

2 Cook describes it (p. 363) as ‘a wooden harpoon or turtle peg 15 Inches long bearbed [bearded?] at the end such as we have seen among the natives’.

page 99 except our turtle, which of all things we were the least able to spare them.

24. The blowing weather which had hinderd us from getting out several days still lasted, not at all to our satisfaction who had no one wish to remain longer in the place, which we had pretty well exhausted even of its natural history. The Dr and me were obligd to go very far for any thing new; to day we went several miles to a high hill where after sweating and broiling among the woods till night we were obligd to return almost empty. But the most vexatious accident imaginable befel us likewise: traveling in a deep vally, the sides of which were steep almost as a wall but coverd with trees and plenty of Brush wood, we found marking nuts (anacardium orientale)1 laying on the ground, and desirous as we were to find the tree on which they had grown, a thing that I beleive no European Botanist has seen, we were not with all our pains able to find it; so after cutting down 4 or 5 trees and spending much time were obligd to give over our hopes.

25. The Captn who was up the river today found the Canoe belonging to our freinds the Indians, which it seems they had left tied to some mangroves within a mile of the ship: themselves we could see by their fires were 5 or 6 miles off from us directly inland.

26. In botanizing to day I had the good fortune to take an animal of the Opossum (Didelphis) tribe: it was a female and with it I took two young ones. It was not unlike that remarkable one which De Bufon2 has describd by the name of Phalanger as an American animal; it was however not the same for De Buffon is certainly wrong in asserting that this tribe is peculiar to America; and in all probability, as Pallas3 has said in his Zoologia, the Phalanger itself is a native of the East Indies, as my animal and that agree in the

1 Marking Nuts are the fruit of the tree Semecarpus sp., in this case S. australiensis Engler; their juice makes an indelible black mark or stain on linen or other cloth.

2 Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707-78), the majestic systematizer of natural history, whose Histoire naturelle (1749-1804) is one of the intellectual monuments of the eighteenth century.

3 Peter Simon Pallas (1741-1811), born at Berlin and an infant prodigy at languages and natural history. His first two great scientific works, the Elenchus Zoophytorum and the Miscellanea Zoologica (to which Banks refers), both produced in 1766, made his name widely known, and set foreign governments competing for his services. He accepted from Catherine the Great a place in her Academy of St Petersburg, and went with the Russian observers of the transit of Venus in 1769 to Siberia to work on natural history. This led to his famous memoir on the bones and fossils of the great quadrupeds found in that country, and to his travels all over it, and from the Caspian Sea to Lake Baikal and Mongolia, an arduous journey from which he returned white-haired only in 1774. Pallas published a large number of writings on his travels, and on geography, ethnography, zoology and other branches of natural history. As a field-scientist he was one of the most pre-eminent men of his day.

page 100 extrordinary conformation of their feet in which particular they differ from all the others.1

27. This day was dedicated to hunting the wild animal. We saw several and had the good fortune to kill a very large one which weighd 84 lb.2

28. Botanizing with no kind of success. The Plants were now intirely compleated and nothing new to be found, so that sailing is all we wish for if the wind would but allow us. Dind today upon the animal, who eat but ill, he was I suppose too old. His fault however was an uncommon one, the total want of flavour, for he was certainly the most insipid meat I eat.

29. Went out again in search of the animals: our success today was not however quite so good as the last time, we saw few and killd one very small one which weighd no more than 8½ lb.3 My greyhound took him with ease tho the old ones were much too nimble for him.

30. Ever since the ship was hawld off for sailing we have had Blowing weather till today, when it changd to little wind and rain which gave us some hopes; in the evening however the wind returnd to its old Byas.

31. Morning cloudy and Boisterous enough; even clear with less wind which supplyd hopes at least for tomorrow.

1 Banks's opossum was probably the Grey Queensland Ring Tail, Pseudocheirus peregrinus (Boddaert), which was described from a specimen taken at Endeavour River (Elenchus Animalium, 1785, p. 78). It was true, as Pallas said, that the Phalanger was native to the East Indies; but it was also true (to do justice to Buffon) that the didelphid ‘tribe’ was confined to the Americas. As Banks noticed, the two groups are distinguished partly by a difference in the digits of the hind feet.

2 This was shot by Gore. It is thought to have been a Wallaroo, Macropus robustus. A drawing of a skull by Nathaniel Dance, bound up with Parkinson's zoological drawings (I, pl. 5) in the Library of the British Museum (Natural History), may possibly be the last remains of this animal. See again Morrison-Scott and Sawyer, The Identity of Captain Cook's Kangaroo. See Pl. 34.

3 This small kangaroo or wallaby was possibly an immature specimen of a Macropus.