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The Life of Captain James Cook

IX — New Zealand

page 196

New Zealand

For the first few days it was possible to hold a fairly direct southerly course, while Tupaia expatiated upon islands, and the captain himself and Banks, one imagines, began to compose their immensely valuable descriptions of the life of Tahiti and the neighbouring island group. The weather was agreeable. Four days from Raiatea, in latitude 22°26', an island was sighted to the east, and this one at least was prophesied by Tupaia—‘Ohetiroa’, Hiti-roa or Rurutu—a high island, dark-green with the toa or casuarina on its more level parts close to the shore, without barrier reef but fringed all round with a coral bank. As the ship could not get in close and Cook had no wish to stay he sent off the pinnace with Gore, Banks and Tupaia, to see if they could land and acquire any knowledge from the inhabitants of what lay to the southward. These inhabitants, in their bright red or yellow stained tapa garments, with their lances and spears of toa wood, proved a little belligerent, trying to seize the boat; so that, after the harmless discharge of a musket or two and some inconsiderable trade, Cook, having made the circuit of the island, hoisted her in again and made sail. He ignored Tupaia's pleas to turn west: not in that direction lay his instructions. Within the next week the weather began to deteriorate: as it got colder the island hogs and fowls, taken for a sea stock, unused to any diet but their native vegetables, began to sicken and die; neither did the store of those vegetables, other than yams and plantains, last well. Sea birds were abundant, albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters. The great Pacific swell discouraged any thought of land, though as early as 16 August a line of cloud in the east tempted the ship off her course for part of the morning. August 25 was the anniversary of her departure from England. The gentlemen brought out a piece of Cheshire cheese and tapped a cask of porter, and ‘livd like English men’, said Banks. There had been too much tapping of other casks, he thought, by surreptitious persons without need to celebrate, but at least they had not filled them up again with salt water, as he was told was the habit. Within a few days of this, died unexpectedly the boatswain's mate, page 197 John Reading, who was fond of being drunk—for some unexplained reason carried off by three half-pints of rum, neat, which the boatswain had given him ‘out of mere good nature’.

At the end of the month a comet was seen, a phenomenon observed also at Greenwich and Paris. September came in with squalls and gales and rain, high seas and cold, and more than once Cook brought to. On the first day of the month, in the afternoon, he found he was beyond the parallel to which his orders took him, in latitude 40°22′, and longitude 145°39′ W. He decided, with some regret, that he had come far enough: ‘I did intend to have stood to the Southward if the winds had been moderate so long as they continued westerly notwithstanding we had no prospect of meeting with land, rather then stand back to ye northrd on the same track as we came; but as the weather was so very tempestuous I laid a side this design, thought it more advisable to stand to the Northward into better weather least we should receive such damages in our sails & rigging as might hinder the further prosecutions of the Voyage.’1 So, in rather better weather, on a north-westerly course, he sailed up to latitude 29°, on 19 September—briefly misled one day by a fog-bank which looked like land, and sounding without finding bottom in a paler-coloured sea; then south-west to 38°30′ ten days later. In those days seaweed had begun to float by, and one or two pieces of barnacle-covered wood, and everyone noticed the seal asleep in the water, and reflected that seals do not go far from land. The collectors never finished collecting: October brought one or two calms, in which Banks was off in a boat, shooting birds and netting jelly-fish. Cook altered course, as he made west, to a little north, then a little south. Expectation was rising. There was a gallon of rum promised to the first person who should sight land, despite John Reading's fate, with the further promise that his name should be given to some part of the coast. ‘Now’, wrote Banks for 30 October,

do I wish that our friends in England could by the assistance of some magical spying glass take a peep at our situation: Dr Solander setts at the Cabbin table describing, myself at my Bureau Journalizing, between us hangs a large bunch of sea weed, upon the table lays the wood and barnacles; they would see that notwithstanding our different occupations our lips move very often, and without being conjurors might guess that we were talking about what we should see upon the land which there is now no doubt we shall see very soon.2

If friends of Cook could have invoked this magical glass they might have wondered whether he retained any rights in his own cabin.

1 Journals I, 161.

2 Banks, I, 396.

page 198

‘Our old enemy Cape fly away entertaind us for three hours this morn’: it is Banks again, 5 October, about latitude 38°, and some were sure the clouds were land. A paler sea had for some days again caused frequent sounding, without bottom. The 6th came with settled weather and gentle easterly breezes, before which the ship sailed slowly, making once more a little northing. At 2 p.m. a boy at the masthead, Nicholas Young, shouted Land!—and by sunset the line, no bank of cloud or fog, could be seen from the deck. At noon next day it was still about 8 leagues away, high land; below the heights smoke was rising; the weather was still clear; before nightfall a bay was descried, and the inland ranges appeared higher than ever. ‘Much difference of opinion and many conjectures about Islands, rivers, inlets &c. but all hands seem to agree that this is certainly the Continent we are in search of’, are the words Banks commits to his journal that night.1 In the morning Cook stood in for the bay, where canoes, people, and houses could be seen; the sail-makers were busy making covers for the ‘blunderbusses’—presumably the swivel guns—for boat service, so that he was taking no chances with these potentially difficult inhabitants; in the afternoon he anchored on the north-east side of the bay before the entrance of a small river, and immediately went ashore with Banks, Solander, and a party in the yawl and pinnace. They landed on the east side of the river.

‘Certainly the Continent we are in search of’? Were these, then, the first steps, or the first European steps, on that fabled shore? Banks might think so. Others, even if not all hands, thought so. The titling of a number of Pickersgill's charts begins, ‘A Chart of Part of the So Continent …’.2 There is nothing to indicate that Cook thought so. Not having discovered it or any evident signs of it in his run south—and he had found ‘no prospect’ at all then of meeting with land—he was to turn west until he discovered either it or the eastern side of Tasman's ‘New Zeland’. He does not mention Tasman in his journal until the end of the year; but his longitude differed only some half-dozen degrees from Tasman's reported longitudes on the west coast, and it would be hard for him not to think he had come to New Zeland. What then was Tasman's New Zeland? Cartographically, it was a scratch on the map. Tasman, who had certainly seen its north-western point, which he had called Cape

1 Banks, I, 399.

2 Journals I, 262, n. 5. His chart of the coast between Poverty Bay and the Court of Aldermen has the note ‘(N.B. This chart was taken before this country was found to be an island).’

page 199 Maria van Diemen, had rightly deduced open ocean to the east: at the same time, he thought it not impossible that the coast ran southeast to join Le Maire's Staten Land, and he gave his discovery the same name. Wherever it went, it did not join Staten Land, as was immediately proved by the Dutch Captain who sailed round Staten Land and saw no sign of a continent. Also, Cook had just proved, it could be no part of the continenthypothetically outlined by Alexander Dalrymple. That did not prove it could be no part of a southern continent. It might be the northern projection of some mass that lay, perhaps, far to the south. There might, again, be an open passage through this projection leading to the ocean that lapped South America and its Spanish wealth—the great bay, Zeehaens bocht, where Tasman had ridden out the stormy Christmas of 1642. Obviously the only thing for Cook to do was to obey his instructions, and to explore as much of the coast as the condition of the bark, the health of the crew, and the state of his provisions would admit of. This, large as was the sum total of his observations on mankind—on the ‘Indians’ of this country—obviously was his leading and immovable thought over the next six months; and whereas his Tahitian experience was so much in the discovery of men, this one was in the discovery, quite remarkably rounded and complete, of a country.

A discovery, none the less, immediately concerned with men; for he had landed. The first two days were disastrous, all that Cook deplored and Lord Morton had warned him against, all with the best intentions. These Indians, clearly, did not regard the stranger as someone automatically to be welcomed. Cook, seeing a number of them on the west side of the river, crossed over in the yawl to meet them, leaving the pinnace at the river entrance. When they made off he and his party walked two or three hundred yards to look at some huts; at this four men rushed out from the trees on the eastern side to seize the yawl, which, warned by shouts from the pinnace, dropped downstream closely pursued; the pinnace fired, first over the pursuers' heads, then directly at them, and one fell dead. His three companions stopped, startled by this novelty in killing. Cook went back to the ship. He landed again next morning, this time with the marines, on the river's west bank, to face a body of hostile people on the other side, flourishing their weapons and leaping in a war dance. He managed to bring them to a parley; to his surprise, they understood Tupaia perfectly; twenty or thirty of them swam over to him. In spite of presents given them they remained truculent, snatching at the English weapons, Tupaia was full of warnings; when one of them fled with Green's hanger Cook felt forced to have him page 200 fired at, first with small shot, then with ball; and he fell fatally wounded. The others retreated with his arms and a few wounds from further small shot. Cook, baffled of friendly contact and finding the river salt, decided to row round the bay, both to look for fresh water and if possible to surprise and secure some persons, who might then be convinced that his intentions were friendly. Heavy surf prevented his landing a second time this day, but seeing two canoes coming in from fishing he intercepted one of them. Tupaia's invitations failed to attract its occupants, and a shot fired over their heads, instead of stopping them, caused them to attack the boat with every weapon and missile they had. Cook, on the defensive, ordered his men to fire again: two or three of these uncomprehending savages were killed, and three more, all young, who jumped into the water were taken up. On board the ship these young fellows, who were inured to hazardous chances, turned at once ‘as cheerful and as merry as if they had been with their own friends’; they ‘seem'd much less concerned at what had happen'd then I was myself.’1 Cheerful and merry Cook could not be. He had meant well and his well meaning had broken down. He had to accuse himself in his journal; but could he accuse himself unreservedly?

I can by no means justify my conduct in attacking and killing the people in this boat who had given me no just provocation and was wholy igernorant of my design and had I had the least thought of their making any resistance I would not so much as have looked at them but when we was once a long side of them we must either have stud to be knockd on the head or else retire and let them gone off in triumph and this last they would of Course have attributed to thier own bravery and our timorousness.2

That did not seem quite right and he tried again, beginning, ‘I am aware that most humane men who have not experienced things of this nature will cencure my conduct’, and omitting those last miserable phrases with which, after all, he had tried to buttress self-justification, ‘and let them gone off in triumph …’.3 He did not deny the bravery: his men recorded it with admiration. As for Banks, who had been the first to fire that morning, he had his own sorrow to set down: ‘Thus ended the most disagreable day My life has yet seen, black be the mark for it and heaven send that such may never return to embitter future reflection.’4 The reader may himself care to reflect that this was a rather new note in the literature of discovery.

1 Journals I, ccxi, 171.

2 ibid., ccxi, printed from a fragment in the Mitchell Library.

3 For Cook's final version of his account see Journals I, 171.

4 Banks, I, 403.

page 201

The following day some wood was cut and the three youths, full of ship's food and reluctant to leave, were put ashore. Out of some two hundred armed natives who assembled only one man seemed conversable, crossing the river to receive presents; Cook therefore to avoid a further clash, took his men back to the ship. Early next morning, 11 October, he stood out of the bay. What would he call it: Endeavour Bay? He thought so, then changed to Poverty Bay, ‘because it afforded us no one thing we wanted’ except a little wood, in spite of the obvious population and the smokes that spread far up the inland valleys. The name of the boy Nicholas Young was used, true to promise—the south-west point of the bay became Young Nick's Head. Cook turned down the coast intending to go as far as 40° or 41° and then, if the prospect was not encouraging, to sail north again. In this way he employed a week of running survey and sporadic contact with the New Zealanders, often enough hostile, who came off in their canoes to inspect the wonder.

On the first afternoon, in a calm, several canoes came along-side and some men even on board, to trade their paddles for Tahitian cloth. Three stayed overnight, and reassured more cautious visitors in the morning that their hosts did not eat men. The three captured youths, when first put on shore, had seemed afraid of being killed and eaten by their enemies. Were these savages then cannibals? There was then no further evidence, and the men departed. This was off the flat headland Cook called Cape Table, whence the land trended south-south-west on the outside of a peninsula to the Isle of Portland, much like its namesake in the English Channel; and hauling round the south end of this island he found himself in a large bay. It was large enough to contain subsidiary bays; behind its white cliffs, sandy beaches and houses, a well-wooded interior ran back to hills and mountains patched with snow; but as Cook slowly followed its coast, he could find no harbour or watering place, while more than once he had to disperse hostile canoes with shots fired wide from his four-pounders. On the 15th, abreast of a point which was the south-west limit of the bay, there was a more serious incident. Several canoes came out to the ship and sold her some ‘stinking’—that is, smoked or dried—fish; ‘however, it was such as they had, and we were glad to enter into traffick with them upon any terms.’ Then a man cheated the captain of a piece of red cloth, offered in exchange for a dog-skin cloak, and the canoes all put off, only to return with more of the fish. Bargaining went on during which Tupaia's servant-boy, Taiata, was over the side; he was suddenly snatched into a canoe, the canoe fled, the ship opened fire, in the confusion the boy page 202 leapt from the canoe into the water and was rescued, and the natives retreated to the shore with two or three more dead. To the bay Cook gave the name of Sir Edward Hawke, the First Lord; the cape he called Kidnappers. He continued in fine weather slowly down the coast, which did not alter its direction, past houses and canoes by day and fires by night; until on the 17th, having come to his limit, ‘Seeing no likelyhood of meeting with a harbour, and the face of the Country Vissibly altering for the worse’, he ‘thought that the standing farther to the South would not be attended with any Valuable discovery, but would be loosing of time which might be better employ'd and with a greater probabillity of Success in examining the Coast to the Northward'. It was off Cape Turnagain, which he put in latitude 40°34', that he reversed his course; and his instinct was quite sound.

Sailing north at first further out at sea, he was off the peninsula—Mahia—two days later, and the natives began to come out to the ship continually. They were now very friendly. Past the ‘remarkable head’ he called Gable End Foreland he sighted two promising bays, in which he determined to try for water and see a little of the country. The more southerly one he could not fetch, but in the other, ‘Tega-doo’1 or Anaura, he was able to land, carry on a little trade for sweet potatoes, collect wild celery, and get a little water—though Banks and Solander also got a thorough dowsing in the surf from an overturned canoe. Leaving this bay, he found a contrary wind, and learning that there was a good supply of water in the other, put in there, anchoring a mile outside a small cove just within its south point. The name of the bay he got incorrectly as Tolaga, perhaps from the native tauranga, an anchorage: it was correctly Uawa. The cove, at the bottom of a great green amphitheatre, we know now as Cook's Cove. Wood and water abounded, wild celery and ‘scurvy grass’;2 the trees, plants and birds sent the natural historians into an ecstasy. Cook could sound the bay, settle the latitude and longitude by exact observation, climb hills and look at the country, he admired the native gardens, noticed no sign of animals except dogs and rats, established most amicable relations with the people. There was good trade: fish, sweet potatoes or curiosities on the one side, cloth, beads

1 Parkinson uses the form Te Karu. ‘Tegadoo’ illustrates the difficulty Cook had sometimes in reducing a native word to English, as well as in determining a place name. It may be derived from Te ngaru, breakers or the heavy surf his informant thought he was referring to. See Journals I, 183, n. 1.

2 Wild celery was a genuine celery, Apium prostratum. The ‘scurvy grass’, Maori nau, botanical Lepidium oleraceum, was once very common on New Zealand coasts, but few living eyes have seen it, except in a herbarium, as it has been eaten out of existence by sheep and cattle.

page 203
New Zealand and the East Coast of Australia

New Zealand and the East Coast of Australia

page 204 and nails on the other. Cook let trade be general. These people valued the tapa cloth from Tahiti and Raiatea more highly than anything else, everybody in the ship had some; so ‘I suffer'd every body to purchase what ever they pleased without limitation, for by this means I knew that the natives would not only sell, but get a good price for every thing they brought'—and would bring to market whatever the country afforded. There were not the fruits of Tahiti, though the wild celery, gathered free, ‘a great Antiscorbutick’, could be boiled every morning with portable soup and oatmeal for breakfast. Banks measured a great canoe; Parkinson and Spöring sketched the cove, the bay, the romantic natural arch through the hillside; Tupaia talked. It was a useful five days, and on the morning of 29 October Cook was at sea again heading north.

Next day he rounded East Cape, which he had ‘great reason to think … the Eastermost land on this whole Coast’, passed Hicks Bay (Lieutenant Hicks being the first to sight it), and Cape Runaway, off which a number of suspiciously heavily armed canoes were sent hurrying off to shore by a round shot fired over their heads; and was in the large opening in the coast he was to call the Bay of Plenty. He called it so not from any improvement in his own fortunes, but from the fertile, cultivated and well-populated appearance of the land. Off one island he saw a large double canoe full of people, one of the few of these canoes seen since Tasman. Visiting canoes tended to disregard European ethics of trade, paddling off without return for what they were given: it did not strike Cook—how could it?—that here might be current different rules of exchange, and that if he waited he might get a handsome equivalent later on as a present; indeed, if it had struck him, he could not afford to wait. Nor could he afford the linen, towing over the side to wash, which was carried off without ceremony, nor did volleys of stones seem the mark of a generous spirit; so that his own friendly efforts were varied with an occasional musket shot or four-pounder. There were a number of islands in the bay, rocks, some shoal water, all to go down on the chart. Further west the country changed its appearance: ‘Continent appeard this morn barren and rocky’, noted Banks on 3 November, noting also the cluster of rocks and islets that was called the Court of Aldermen from their resemblance, ‘thick and squat or lank and tall, to some one or other of those respectable citizens’ of London. In the afternoon three canoes came alongside, unornamented, simply hollowed out of large trees, with naked paddlers, ‘yet these few despicable gentry sang their song of defiance and promisd us as heartily as the most respectable of their countrey men that they page 205 would kill us all’.1 When Cook turned into an inlet that appeared an hour later the ship was accompanied by a small truculent fleet, which went away with the further promise to attack her on the morrow—a promise which led to nothing beyond a visit by night, some ‘parading about’, trade and ‘trickery’ in the morning, and the discharge of a few firearms; after which the people became extremely friendly. Cook found a good anchorage a mile inside the south entrance point of the inlet, off a smooth sandy half-moon beach and a river into which the boats could go at low water. Here was the harbour he had wanted; here also a convenient place for observing the transit of Mercury, due on 9 November, which if well done would give him an accurate longitude. Here, in Mercury Bay,2 he was to remain for eleven days, observing, wooding and watering, recruiting his men, cleaning the ship, surveying (one of his own most elaborate coastal profiles takes in the whole circuit of the bay), and giving much study to the life of the people of the district.

The weather was clear for the observation. Unfortunately while Cook and Hicks were on shore attending to it a man in a visiting canoe cheated Gore, on board the ship, of a woven cloak he had agreed to exchange for a piece of cloth; and as the canoe moved off, with paddles shaken defiantly, the furious Gore seized a musket and shot the man dead. ‘I must own’, says Cook, that this ‘did not meet with my approbation because I thought the punishment a little too severe for the Crime, and we had now been long enough acquainted with these People to know how to chastise trifling faults like this without taking away their lives.’3 There were no more lives taken away. In this bay there was no more truculence. The people did not seem highly prosperous, nor their country cultivated; probably, as they slept under trees and temporary shelters, they were seasonal visitors, eaters of fern root, who came to the coast for the fishing;4 and up the river, as Cook's men found, there were boat-loads of delectable rock-oysters, as well as wild fowl in the country and the wild celery on which the captain set such store. There were certainly, on the other hand, many fortified villages, pa, on promontories and

1 Banks, I, 425.

2 On the name see Journal, I, 202, n. 3. It was a second choice; he at first intended to use a native name, probably ‘Opoorage’, from Purangi, the name of the stream he called ‘Oyster River’.

3 Journals I, 196.

4 And probably to assert land-claims, which was a matter Cook could not guess at. To quote later Maori reminiscence: ‘Our tribe was living there at that time. We did not live there as our permanent home, but were there according to our custom of living for some time on each of our blocks of land, to keep our claim to each, and that our fire might be kept alight on each block, so that it might not be taken from us by some other tribe.’—Beaglehole, The Discovery of New Zealand, 89.

page 206 rocks, built with ditches, palisades and fighting stages, most admirable pieces of engineering; Cook was hardly less impressed by the native weapons, lances, truncheons, and darts, though the bow and arrow was unknown. An ingenious as well as warlike people he thought they must be; and they confirmed his impression that they ate their enemies.

He and Banks were not the only curious observers. The people were tenacious of memory; more than eighty years later, when Cook's countrymen had come to New Zealand as settlers, an ancient chief, Te Horeta, a man of blood in many wars, told them of the great happening of his childhood. The ship had come, it seemed a supernatural thing, and its men supernatural beings, for they pulled their boats with their backs to the shore where they were to land—had they eyes at the backs of their heads? They pointed a stick at a shag, there was thunder and lightning and the shag fell dead; the children were terrified and ran with the women into the trees. But these tupua, goblins or demons, were kind, and gave food: something hard like pumice-stone but sweet, something else that was fat, perhaps whale-blubber or flesh of man, though it was salt and nipped the throat—ships bread, or biscuit, salt beef or pork. There was one who collected shells, flowers, tree-blossoms and stones. They invited the boys to go on board the ship with the warriors, and little Te Horeta went, and saw the warriors exchange their cloaks for other goods, and saw the one who was clearly the lord, the leader of the tupua. He spoke seldom, but felt the cloaks and handled the weapons, and patted the children's cheeks and gently touched their heads. The boys did not walk about, they were afraid lest they should be bewitched, they sat still and looked; and the great lord gave Te Horeta a nail, and Te Horeta said Ka pai, which is ‘very good’, and people laughed. Te Horeta used this nail on his spear, and to make holes in the side boards of canoes; he had it for a god but one day his canoe capsized and he lost it, and though he dived for it he could not find it. And this lord, the leader, gave Te Horeta's people two hand-fuls of potatoes, which they planted and tended; they were the first people to have potatoes in this country. There are other traditions, brief lights: none as circumstantial as this.1

Delayed two days beyond his intentions by foul weather and easterly winds Cook did not sail till early on 15 November. Before he left he cut the ship's name and the date on a tree near the watering

1 Te Horeta Taniwha told his story to numerous people. It is now most easily to be consulted in Beaglehole, Discovery of New Zealand, 88 ff., reprinted from John White, Ancient History of the Moori, V (Wellington, 1889), 121–8.

page 207 place, displayed the colours and took formal possession of the place for his royal master—though he does not indicate that he had ‘the consent of the natives’ for this proceeding.1 Three days later he was off a cape he called after his old commodore Colville, with land both to the north-west and the south-west; turning the cape he found himself in a deep gulf. He was in fact on the inner side of the hilly peninsula of which Mercury Bay is an indentation on the east, and after sailing south twelve or thirteen leagues and anchoring for a night, had to anchor again because of shoal water. Though the water shoaled, however, it did not come to an end. Cook thought he might now be able to see some of the interior of the country: taking to the boats with Banks, he rowed nine miles to the bottom of the gulf, then twelve or fourteen miles up a river that flowed into it, landing at noon to examine the magnificent forest trees about them, trees standing tall and straight as an arrow. He called the river the Thames, from some resemblance he saw to the English river—perhaps its marshy banks where there were no trees, its breadth (and he included in the name the whole of what we call the Hauraki gulf, as if it were an estuary), and its strong tides. The natives encountered were all very friendly. On the return journey the wind and the flood compelled the boats themselves to anchor for the night; after they had regained their ship a combination of tide, calms, and then stormy rainy weather kept her in the gulf until 23 November. Many islands were to be seen—perhaps there were harbours behind them? The weather made it impossible to lay down the western main with confidence, when it was again relatively clear the ship was off Bream Bay, with the fantastic peaks of its northern head, and the fishing was excellent. A little further north canoes were troublesome: ‘in order to get rid of them we were at the expence of 2 or 3 Musquet Balls and one 4 pound shot but as no harm was intended them none they received unless they happend to over heat themselves in pulling a shore’.2 The Cook who gave the doll, his wife's ‘Picter’, to Purea is evident again here; things were going cheerfully, he was not above the humour of the Court of Aldermen, or, a little later, of Cape Brett—because off the cape lay a high rock with a hole pierced through it, and the distinguished admiral after whom he named it was Sir Piercy. That cape stood outside another deep bay, which at first he passed by; but losing ground steadily before a strong westerly wind, he bore away for it again and anchored in shoal water before one

1 It is to be noted that Cook did not here, or anywhere else in New Zealand, take possession of the whole country, as many New Zealanders fancy he did. On the ‘consent of the Natives’, see his instructions, Journals I, cclxxiii.

2 Journals I, 212.

page 208 the many islands within its entrance, Motu Arohia. The day was 29 November.

The familiar pattern of native behaviour was repeated, this time with more danger. A crowd assembled in their canoes, from which a few persons were allowed on board and given presents; then others tried to carry off the buoy of the anchor, the muskets and a gun were fired, the people fled, it took Tupaia's good offices to bring them back. Cook moved the ship farther out, and, with Banks and Solander landed on the island. Almost at once they were surrounded by two or three hundred armed and jostling men, some of whom broke into a war dance while others tried unsuccessfully to seize the boats; pushed back by small shot beyond a line drawn on the sand they rallied more than once, until the attentive Hicks, swinging the ship round, fired her guns over their heads. This dispersed the mob, and they became ‘meek as lambs’. Cook could peaceably load the boats with celery, intending to sail next morning. But next morning the wind fell calm, thereafter turning to the north. He flogged three sailors for robbing sweet potato plantations during the night, and settled down to some days of trafficking, mainly for fish, filling his casks, gathering greens, sounding the harbour, and visiting as much of the country as possible. It was more thickly populated than those parts further south, the people more elaborately tattoed, some of their canoes more elaborately carved; the bay itself beautiful, with many good anchorages, the hills and valleys round it, forests and cultivations, beautiful also. Cook called it the Bay of Islands. Early on 5 December he weighed anchor with a favourable wind, which changed in the afternoon and then faded away altogether, so that shortly before midnight the ship was almost carried on shore by a current; escaping that the ship struck a sunken rock, from which she fortunately went clear without damage. In the morning she was once more safely at sea.

Cook now had ahead of him an extremely difficult period. It displays his temper and his patience at their best. He had to undergo a month of weather that varied from contrary winds of no great strength to furious gales, in which he was determined to abandon neither the land nor his purpose of fixing its position. For the first ten days he tacked off and on up the last hundred miles of the eastern coast, past bays and promontories and a long straight ‘desart shore’ that he religiously described and charted with an accuracy which would have given lesser men pride under the most favourable conditions. A few canoes came out once or twice; from them he learnt that the land would soon turn west to a point that could only, he thought, page 209 be Tasman's Cape Maria van Diemen. On the morning of 13 December, after a rainy night, the gales began, and he was driven out of sight of land for the first time since coming upon the coast. A squall split the main topsail—the outset of many days' hard work for the sailmaker over sorely-tried and torn canvas. There were, luckily, some intervals of clear weather. At noon on the 14th the ship was north-east of a point already seen, now judged by Cook to be the northern extremity of the country, as a great swell rolling in from the west argued against any covering of land: its position must certainly be fixed. Forced east and then north-west, Cook was close enough to it to do so, describe it minutely, and even to see a few people upon it, by the 18th—in spite of the winds and a strong current from the west. He had ‘not gained one Inch to windward this last 24 hours’. He called the point North Cape.1 He was driven northwards out of sight of land again, though with intervals of clear and even a short one of pleasant weather; on the 24th the island or little cluster called Three Kings by Tasman, seen from the masthead the previous day, was recognised. It was well that the weather cleared; ‘Christmas day’, wrote Banks, who had been improving a calm by shooting gannets or ‘Solan Geese’, ‘our Goose pye was eat with great approbation and in the Evening all hands were as Drunk as our forefathers used to be upon the like occasion’—or as they themselves had been in the Atlantic twelve months before. On the 26th Cook reckoned that standing south, they were in the latitude of the Bay of Islands and only about thirty leagues west of the longitude of North Cape, yet they could see no land; so the northern part of the country must indeed be narrow. In the afternoon they had a fresh gale which in thirty-six hours rose to a hurricane, with rain and a ‘prodigious high’ sea. Twice the ship was brought to, the gale abated only to renew itself; she was blown to the west, then got to the north-east, crossing her previous course; then the wind veering south-west, the sea ran so high that she went bodily to leeward. But whatever course was forced upon him, Cook was determined to fix the position of Cape Maria van Diemen. In the end he had it in sight for three days—on one day North Cape as well—and the position he fixed was astonishing: two minutes out in latitude, four minutes in longitude.2 His reflection, having done that, and as he began the new year, was a

1 Cook's position for the North Cape was 34°22' S, 186°55'W, or 173°5' E. The position as now accepted is 34°26'S, 173°4' E. The most northerly point of the country is in fact Kerr Point (a slight bulge rather than a point) just west of North Cape, a little less than 34°25' S in latitude.

2 Cook's reckoning was 34°30' S, 187°25' W (172°42' E); the modern position is 34°28' S, 172°38' E. His North Cape is just as accurate—even more so, with an error of only one minute in longitude.

page 210 sober one: ‘I cannot help thinking but what will appear a little strange that at this season of the year we should be three weeks in geting 10 Leagues to the westward and five weeks in geting 50 Leagues for so long it is sence we pass'd C Brett but it will hardly be credited that in the midest of summer and in the Latitude of 35° such a gale of wind as we have had could have happen'd, which for its strength and continuence was such as I hardly was ever in before. Fortunately at this time we were at a good distance from land otherwise it might have proved fatal to us.’1
Nor was the gale yet over, nor the struggle to keep the coast in view without running on to it, nor sober reflections. On 2 January 1770 there was no land in sight, and a wind blowing right on shore and ‘a high rowling sea’ from the west made dangerous any closer approach. Until the 6th south-westerlies continued. Beating against them, Cook by the 4th was as far south as the Kaipara harbour (his False Bay): he had missed a good deal of the land, though standing north-west again he could judge its direction. What he could see struck him, like that on the other side, as desolate and inhospitable, another ‘desart coast’ and obviously dangerous: ‘this I am so fully sencible of that was we once clear of it I am determind not to come so near again if I can possible avoide it unless we have a very favourable wind indeed’. 2 On the 6th the wind dropped and the weather cleared; next day variable winds gave way to gentle north-east breezes. The storm was over. Cape Maria van Diemen was again in sight to the north, but there was a turtle upon the water, and the ship could sail south comfortably along the line of the shore, a good stretch every day. The aspect of the land improved; the shore turned the great bulge where Taranaki, the mountain to which Cook gave the name of Egmont, that earl not so long before so deep in Pacific plans, thrust up its noble snow-topped height; and on the 14th he found himself in what seemed a ‘very broad and deep Bay’, its westward limit beyond sight, its south-west side high and broken. On that side were visible a number of inlets. It was the Zeehaens bocht of Tasman. Into one of these inlets Cook determined to go. The ship was foul; she needed small repairs, wood and water, as well as cleaning; her men needed another taste of the land. After plying on and off for the night he passed a ledge of rocks, keeping clear, with the help of the boats, of the north-west shore towards which a strong current drew him; saw a startled sea-lion rise up, a canoe cross the

1 Journals I, 228.

2 ibid., 230. Admiral Wharton, in a footnote to his edition of Cook's first journal, p. 178, remarks, ‘The mingled audacity and caution of Cook's navigation off this coast must awake the admiration of every seaman.’

page 211 bay, a village standing on the south-west point of an island a few miles within it, inhabitants all under arms. The weather was clear and settled with hardly any wind, and haulinground this point, towed by his boats, at two o'clock in the afternoon of 15 January 1770 Cook anchored in ‘a very snug Cove’ facing it, on the north-west side of the inlet. The precision with which one writes is justified; for the captain had come to the beautiful spot which, though at that moment he was unknowing of the future, was to be a centre of rest and strategy in all his ocean campaigns. It was Ship Cove, in Queen Charlotte's Sound.

At that moment he would have been surprised to learn something else he did not know. He was not the only European sailor to have been on the northern shores he had lately left. Jean François Marie de Surville, one of a French syndicate who had come by garbled reports of an immensely rich Pacific island seven hundred leagues west of Peru—there were elements of Tahiti in this—had sailed from Pondicherry in June 1769 to beat the English to it, just as Cook was taking a last precautionary look at his telescopes in preparation for the Transit. Surville had determined to sail through the Eastern Archipelago; after unwittingly encountering the Solomon Islands he found his men so sick that he determined to strike south and try to pick up Tasman's Staten Land for refreshment; he went to 35° and then changed his course to the east, so that he sighted the New Zealand coast on 12 December, in latitude 35°37', just south of the bar harbour Hokianga. On that day Cook was nearly opposite him, on the other side of the island, half a league from shore. Surville, no more than Cook later, was tempted to make a landing here, and resolved to double Cape Maria van Diemen. This he did, not without some danger as he made his way north. The westerly gale that blew Cook out of sight of land, and out of possible sight of the French vessel, was kinder to Surville; on 16 December he rounded North Cape, with Cook fifty miles to the north, next day anchoring his Saint Jean Baptiste within an opening somewhat to the south which Cook had called, without entering, Doubtless Bay. Unlike Cook, he had a ship's company in dreadful state—sixty men dead, and the rest so enfeebled by scurvy that they could hardly handle the boats. The land, fresh food and water rapidly improved the state of these; but the easterly storm which fell on Cook at sea on the 27th imperilled Surville frighteningly in harbour and he lost anchors, cables and a dinghy. He suspected the local people of stealing his dinghy, alienated them by using force, though unsuccessfully, to recover it, and was compelled to sail away to further disaster, off the coast of page 212 Peru, where he was drowned in attempting to land. A good seaman, he was an adventurer rather than an explorer. One has difficulty in picturing the scene had he and Cook met.

The deep inlet to which Cook had come is a precipitous place, and only at its southern end, so far down that Cook never had time to explore it, does any real expanse of flat country begin; but the steep high hills were clothed in dark green, the land was ‘one intire forest’. Into the cove ran an abundant stream of sweet fresh water; the waters of the sound rendered up god's plenty of fish, its shores illimitable quantities of the wild celery and scurvy grass that were the delight of Cook's heart. He had come in the season of fair weather; for though the winds can tear down in fury from the heights and rain fall heavily, for the first fortnight of his three weeks' stay there was little to record but gentle breezes and a clear sky. There was much work to do: ‘rest’, for Cook's men, tended to be the refreshment they got from change of labours and change of diet, but refreshment they certainly got, and they had their hours of wandering. Few of them were immune to the sound of bird song across the water, so charmingly recorded by Banks two days after the ship anchored. ‘This morn’, he wrote, ‘I was awakd by the singing of the birds ashore from whence we are distant not a quarter of a mile, the numbers of them were certainly very great who seemd to strain their throats with emulation perhaps; their voices were certainly the most melodious wild musick I have ever heard, almost imitating small bells but with the most tuneable silver sound imaginable to which maybe the distance was no small addition. On enquiring of our people I was told that they had observd them ever since we have been here, and that they begin to sing at about 1 or 2 in the morn and continue till sunrise, after which they are silent all day like our nightingales.’1 So does the bell-bird, the Maori korimako, enter the literature of New Zealand, though doubtless his notes were accompanied by those of other victims of the collectors' gun; for Banks and Solander had arrived in another natural historian's paradise. It was plants rather than birds, however, that filled their bags; it was mankind, also the study of the natural historian, that for a moment appalled their minds. For a moment, because in spite of the horror that cannibalism inspires, one must admit that in its discussion there is a certain element of the agreeable.

Like a number of other New Zealanders, the people of the sound introduced themselves with a shower of stones, but in general they

1 Banks, I, 455–6.

page 213 were friendly enough. They seemed poorer than those in the north, and Cook reckoned their number at only three or four hundred; their canoes were mean and unornamented, they had no plantations nor anything to exchange but fish and their weapons. He thought they had more commonsense than their more prosperous fellows, because they took nails as payment for fish, and were eager to acquire English cloth rather than paper or Tahitian tapa. Their savagery was more directly visible. The day following the ship's arrival Cook, Banks, and Tupaia visited a cove not far away, where, with a dog then cooking, were bones obviously human and not entirely picked, about which Tupaia got all the information that native mime did not convey. Next morning, alongside the ship, another bone was handed over, ‘and to shew us that they had eat the flesh they bit and naw'd the bone and draw'd it thro' their mouth and this in such a manner as plainly shew'd that the flesh was to them a dainty bit.’ 1 Other bones were found lying around, some near a native oven; Banks was able to buy the preserved head of one of the persons who had constituted the recent feast. ‘I suppose they live intirely upon fish dogs and enemies’, he said in remarking upon the absence of cultivation. He had forgotten the fern-roots he saw in Mercury Bay.
Cook's primary interest, however—to repeat—was geographical, and while work on the ship went on he had the boats out, exploring and surveying in every direction. The inlet must, he thought, be not far from the Murderers' Bay where Tasman had lost four of his men: Tasman's bay was in fact distant about seventy miles, and Tasman was unknown to the tradition of the tribe he was now meeting. He made two excursions towards the sea along this western shore and found a good harbour but nothing else except forested hills. Then came a more remarkable expedition. On 22 January he set out in the pinnace in the opposite direction, towards the end of the inlet. After rowing twelve or fifteen miles against the wind he could neither reach nor see it; so at noon he landed on the eastern side and, leaving Banks and Solander to botanise, climbed with a sailor up the steep flank of a hill—part of a ridge the highest point of which is called Kaitepeha2—to take a view. Even from twelve hundred feet he could not see what happened to the inlet; but he was ‘abundantly recompenced’ otherwise. To the east, under his eye lay the ocean; and from it an open strait ran to the ‘Western Sea’ which he had sailed from Cape Maria van Diemen to the very broad and deep bay off which

1 Journals I, 236–7.

2 The point has been most accurately identified by Charles and Neil Begg, and is now known as Cook's Lookout. See their James Cook and New Zealand (Wellington, 1969), 62–5.

page 214 ran his inlet. Tasman's bocht was then a strait after all, as the wind-baffled Tasman had thought possible, and Cook was standing on one of the narrow ridges on its south-west side. On the other side was the land he had been coasting; the eastward limit of which he could not see. It was one of the dramatic moments of the voyage, but the journal-page remains sober. Cook returned to the ship examining islands, bays and coves, and four days later made another ‘excursion’ to the eastern side of the inlet, closer to the entrance. He climbed another hill, ‘very high’, this time with Banks and Solander, and saw the strait stretching full before them with the opposite shore (he thought) about twelve miles away, though to the south-east haze blocked the view. ‘However’, writes the cautious man, ‘I had now seen enough of this passage to convence me that there was the greatest probability in the world of its runing into the Eastern Sea as the distance of that Sea from this place cannot exceed 20 Leagues even to where we were, upon this I resolve'd after puting to sea to search this passage with the Ship.'1 Whereupon, placing in a pyramid built of loose stones some musket balls and other odds and ends likely to last they went down the hill to find Tupaia and the boat's crew in amiable converse with some of the native inhabitants. Tupaia was proving exceedingly useful.
The last expedition was to the mouth of the inlet, where Cook landed on the western point and once more climbed a hill, this time ‘pretty high’, he raised another pile of stones, with a silver coin, a few musket balls and beads inside it, and a piece of an old pendant flying from the top. This hill gave him a view of the coast to the north-west and an island about ten leagues off which he called after Philip Stephens, the Admiralty secretary with whom he had most to do. For the eastern point he was able to obtain the native name, and put it on the chart, Cape Koamaru. There was little more to do, either in producing the sort of survey, somewhat short of perfection, which he thought then necessary, or in work on the ship; so he had the carpenter prepare two posts with the ship's name and the date cut on them. One of these was set up at the watering place and the Union flag hoisted on it. The next day, the last of the month, the other was taken over to the island opposite the cove, Motuara; its purpose was explained to the people, to be a mark to show any other ship that came to the inlet that the Endeavour had already been there; they promised not to pull it down, and received presents of silver threepenny pieces and spike nails stamped with the broad arrow, things likely to be preserved. The post was planted on the highest

1 Journals I, 240.

page 215 part of the island, at its southern end, the flag hoisted, the inlet ‘dignified’ with the name of Queen Charlotte, and it and the adjacent lands taken possession of for King George III. The health of his Queen was then drunk in a bottle of wine, and the empty bottle given to a much-gratified old man. This was the last time that Cook took possession of any part of New Zealand, and how he would have defined ‘the adjacent lands’ may be left in obscurity. The weather for this ceremony was fair, though it had previously shown signs of breaking; but February came in with such a storm of wind and rain from the north-west that the hawser mooring the ship to the shore broke, the overflowing stream carried away and lost ten water casks, and—noted Banks—‘our poor little wild musicians were totally disturbed by it.’ Happily this did not last long, though the wind was still in the north, for Cook was now ready to leave. As he collected his last celery and traded for his last dried fish the people made it clear that they were ready to see him leave. The depredations of a hundred men for three weeks on the food supplies of that haphazard community cannot indeed have been small.
On the afternoon of 5 February the ship was warped out of the cove and got under sail, but in faint and variable winds, falling to a calm all night, had to anchor until the following morning, when a renewed light breeze took her out of the sound and round Cape Koamaru into the strait. Cook's first purpose was to pass the strait. He does not give it a name: Banks is the man who tells us it is to bear the captain's own name, and we may suspect Banks of insisting on the point. When the captain had passed it, what then? We learn his intentions from his actions and from a conversation he had with the old man on Motuara, on the day he took possession. He had ‘some conjectors that the lands to the Sw of this strait (which we are now at) was an Island and not part of a continent’; and the old man said that there were ‘two Wannuaes, that is two lands or islands that might be circumnavigated in a few days, even in four.’ These two ‘wannuaes’ or whenua he called ‘Tovy-poenammu’, or Te Wai Pounamu, and it was the short circumnavigation of these that Cook thought he was engaged upon even while he was in the strait. There was a third land, a large one, which could be sailed round only in many moons, on the east side of the strait, and obviously Cook had been on its coasts already. Its name was ‘Aeheino mouwe’.1 About this third land the only doubt is how to transliterate the name Cook came

1 The name Cook got may have been He hi no Mani, ‘a thing fished up by Maui’. See Journals I, 243, n. 3; and also Edward Shortland, The Southern Districts of New Zealand (London, 1851), 155–6, and Johannes C. Andersen, Maori Place-Names (Wellington, 1942), 89–91.

page 216 by; for it does not easily fit into the traditional name of that island, Te Ika no Maui, ‘the fish of Maui’. As for the other two, clearly there was misunderstanding on Cook's part, perhaps on the old man's, perhaps on Tupaia's. One of them must have been Arapawa, the island that formed the north-east side of the sound, and this could be circumnavigated in a few days, even by canoes; the second was Te Wai Pounamu, ‘the Water of Greenstone’, so called because of the river-beds of its west coast where the green stone or nephrite was found of which weapons and ornaments were made—not, as Cook supposed, the ‘green Talk or stone’ itself. To circumnavigate this land, or whenua, would take moons also not days; it is not improbable that, as Pickersgill said, Cook's informants ‘had but a very Imperfect knolledge’ of it.1
Cook passed the strait. It has its dangers, as he found. He was scarcely into it, in the early evening, four miles off the two small islands he called the Brothers, when the wind fell calm again and the ebb tide drove him almost on to the rocks about one of them; he was saved by his anchor in 75 fathoms with 150 fathoms of cable out and by a small change in the direction of the tide as it met the island, roaring past the ship like a mill-race. It took three hours to weigh the anchor again, after which he could make over for the eastern shore, where the wind and the tide combined swept him through the narrowest part of the passage, and he could stand away south by west for the most southerly point of land in sight. This he called Cape Campbell, after the eminent officer who had introduced him to the Royal Society; the southernmost point of the northern island, to the east and about twelve miles north, he called Cape Palliser. He spent some hours steering along the coast south from Cape Campbell; the wind died away; then, a south-west breeze springing up, he put the ship right before it and retraced his course. The officers had just started the notion that Aeheinomouwe was not an island at all. They had not inspected the coast between Cape Turnagain and Cape Palliser, twelve or fifteen leagues about: might there not be a swing away to the south-east, a continent after all? Cook did not think so, but he was being challenged on his own ground of accuracy, and we may be glad that he was forced to fill in this piece of his chart. He came in sight of Cape Turnagain, his officers allowed their satisfaction, there was possibly some quiet amusement on both sides, and on

1 Journals I, 243, n. 2. Pickersgill's report, quoted in that note, is more easily understood, than Cook's—‘3 lands’, one to the north (three months to circumnavigate); a second, ‘which we was upon’ (the island Arapawa, on the eastern side of Queen Charlotte Sound—four days to circumnavigate); and the third ‘Towie poe namou’ (Very Imperfect knolledge').

page 217 14 February he had passed Cape Campbell again and was abreast of a high snowy mountain—Tapuaenuku—the highest of a high double ridge that ran parallel with the shore. A few canoes had paddled out to the ship from the Aehemomouwe coast; four double ones now came to a stone's throw to gaze, but could be induced to come no nearer, hence the name ‘Lookers on’ Cook gave to the peninsula—Kaikoura—he was then passing. In the night he ran eleven leagues to the south-east, because some persons thought they had seen land in that direction. At daylight on the 16th as he edged in for the land, he saw what appeared to be an island detached from the main; at the same time Gore thought he saw land in the south-east. Cook was certain this was clouds, but Gore was not a very persuadable man; and after convincing himself, from the lie of the land, that the island was a reality, and calling it Banks's Island—Banks is this time too modest to mention the matter—he devoted the whole of the 17th to sailing after this latest figment.1 There was nothing, and nothing on a southerly course during the night; so in the morning he hauled to the west, thinking, on the information he had from the people in Queen Charlotte's Sound, that he must now be far enough south to weather the main island. After another twenty-four hours he presumed he must be westward of it, and bore away north-west for two hours more, when it appeared running from south-west to north-west. He reckoned that Banks's Island was thirty leagues distant; he had missed forty or fifty miles of close observation of the coast-line, and he did not realise that the ‘island’ was a peninsula.
Ten very trying days followed, in weather that swung between calms and hard gales from the south, dark and gloomy, with a head sea, carrying away small spars, splitting sails. Cook clung to the coast desperately, tacking off and on, for a time losing ground, sometimes in a fair interval seeing it distinctly, but not certain that it was continuous; making a good stretch one day in a temporary favourable wind till he was off the high bluff he called Cape Saunders (another admiral remembered), about which the land appeared green and woody and hilly, and there were two or three inviting bays. He was anxious not to lose time, however, and resisted the temptation to land—only to be driven by the last day of February a hundred and twenty miles to the south, and even farther to the east. Next day in heavy weather from the west he stood north again from latitude 48°, a large south-west swell persuading him there was no land in that

1 ‘Mr Gore notwithstanding Yesterdays run was of opinion that what he saw yesterday morning might be land, so he declard on the Quarter deck: on which the Capin who resolved that nobody should say he had left land behind unsought for orderd the ship to be steerd Se.’—Banks, I, 468.

page 218 quarter; and on 3 March, the wind having gone to the north, made all the sail he could to the west. There were whales and seals about. He once more sighted Cape Saunders, where the land trended south-west, and seeing none directly south, thought that this side of Tovy Poenammu must be reaching its limit—still inhabited, to judge from a large fire ashore at night. We learn from Banks that there were two parties on board the ship, those who ‘begin to sigh for roast beef’, who wanted an island so that they could finish with it and go home, and a small minority, including himself, who wanted a continent. The swell gave great spirits to the no-continent party; but in the evening of the 5th, as the weather cleared, ‘we Continents had the pleasure to see more land to the Southward.’ Their pleasure was doomed. By this time there was a larger mass of land to the north, and Cook could not tell whether there was a strait between them, a large bay, or simply low land. The ship was making slow progress—the whole of the 7th was calm; still she kept south-west and west for the next day and a moonlit night, escaping two dangerous ledges of rock on which the sea broke high—the Traps—and next day again fixing the position of the southernmost point of all the land, South Cape. ‘Blew fresh all day’, wrote Banks for 10 March, ‘but carried us round the Point to the total demolition of our aerial fabrick calld continent.’1
As Cook turned north in the south-west swell so indicative of an empty ocean, to get in touch with the land, and passed the small rocky Solander's Isle, he looked east. He still asked himself whether he had sailed outside a strait a week before, because now when he looked there appeared an open channel, about which his officers had no doubt; but, he says, when he came to lay down the most southerly land upon paper from the bearings he had taken he hardly had a doubt that this was joined to the rest of the country, with a large bay on either side of the connection. We are given a curious instance, in Cook, of the evidence of the eyes being overthrown by a more abstract reasoning;2 for the open channel is there. He seems to have caught a glimpse of its rugged northern coast, the sombre snow-patched inland heights. Meanwhile gales forced him south again, as far as 47°40'. He was back in sight of very high land on the morning of the 13th, not far from a south-west point, and in the afternoon hauled in for a wide-mouthed bay, inside which a line of islands promised good anchorage and shelter; he could not, however, get in

1 The Banks quotations are from I, 470, 471, 472.

2 For discussion of this point see Journals I, 263, n. 2. If Cook had been deceived by his eyes, looking from the western end of the strait, it would have seemed natural—any-how under certain conditions of cloud and atmosphere.

page 219 before dark, the wind was too strong for him to risk either a night entrance or keeping to windward, and he bore away along shore. He called it Dusky Bay, and it lodged in his memory. Not far north of this another possible harbour appeared, a narrow opening with an island in the middle, flanked by high perpendicular cliffs, with mountain-summits behind covered with snow. ‘Very romantic’ was the land hereabouts, thought Sidney Parkinson, who knew the right language, its ‘mountains piled on mountains to an amazing height’. Romantic himself, he cannot be accused of exaggeration. Banks wanted Cook to go in here for botanical exploration, and maintained a permanent grievance that he would not: what was a day or two's fair wind against the interests of science?1 The captain had reason enough, and knew a great deal more about winds than Banks did. He was responsible for his ship and her company—including the philosopher. ‘I saw clearly that no winds could blow there but what was either right in or right out. This is Westerly or Easterly, and it certainly would have been highly imprudent in me to have put into a place where we could not have got out but with a wind that we have lately found does not blow but one day in a month: I mention this because there were some on board who wanted me to harbour at any rate without in the least considering either the present or future consequences.’2 There had evidently been some argument. He had another argument against delay which he quite obviously did not bring forward at the time. It finds no place in his journal. We shall see its force a few weeks later. Doubtful Harbour was left unvisited.
There was a generally favouring wind, and the chart delineates this westerly shore without a break. For some days the great mountain chain was still white; even some of the valleys seemed covered with snow—glaciers, inching their way down through forest to the sea. The ship was coming up with Tasman's coast. On the 20th the wind veered to the north-west, with hazy weather, rain and squalls. Cook, forced to stand for a while to the west, gave the name Cape Foulwind to the prominent point he sighted on coming back to the land; and hereabouts and further up to the north one may note that Tasman, closer in, provides a better rendering of its outline than he does. Like Tasman, he remarked on the great, the ‘prodigious’, swell; on the 22nd, when he was no more than three or four miles off a bluff and rocky head, he was ‘under a good deal of apprehension’ that he might be obliged to anchor, but good seamanship kept the vessel from driving nearer the shore. By noon on the 23rd she was off

1 Banks, I, 473, and n. 3 on that page; Journals I, 266, n. 1.

2 Journals I, 265–6.

page 220 another point which he was afterwards to call Cape Farewell. Then the wind turned east and a day's tacking brought no advance—‘an excellent school for patience’, certainly, the sea, remarked Banks; then a northerly arose, an east-south-east course was set, at daylight on the 26th land was visible in the south-east, and fifteen miles distant rose Stephens Island. At the beginning of this run, Cook had sailed outside a long low finger of land (he could not see to the other side because of haze and rain). If he had only had a better account of Tasman's voyage, he would have realised that within this finger lay that seaman's Murderers' Bay; but the thick misty weather, and night, concealed from him not only that but the whole extent of the indentation between it and Stephens Island, a large expanse which he gave to Tasman and called on his chart Blind Bay. From Stephens Island the north-west head of Queen Charlotte's Sound was full in view; the circumnavigation was accomplished. Intervening was a bay where must be shelter and convenient water. There he anchored, and for the next four days, in overcast rainy weather, his men were busy watering, cutting wood, and fishing. This bay, which took in a great many smaller bays and openings he had not time to investigate, he called Admiralty Bay; its outer points he named after the secretary and the second secretary to the august body—the north-west one, within the island, Cape Stephens; that to the south-east (which was also the north-west head of the sound, where he had stood eight weeks before), Point Jackson.

Cook described in his journal, with brevity but feeling, the western coast he had sailed up. There must, he thought, be a continuous chain of mountains from one end of the country to the other. As he was not read in polite literature he did not use the word romantic, but spoke of prodigious heights, barren rocks, snow that perhaps had lain since the creation; no country upon earth could appear with a more rugged and barren aspect; or it is mountains standing back behind wooded hills and valleys; always hills rising from the sea, and forest. Such broad statements come easily enough from the pen. One would like a closer impression than we have of the process by which Cook produced his whole chart of the country's coastline—2400 miles in less than three months. No drafts or trial scraps of paper have been preserved, no pages of calculation, no reference anywhere to work spread out in the great cabin—and one must assume that sometimes the captain had the use of his own quarters. It was almost entirely a running survey from the sea, with a constant eye on compass bearings and sextant angles, though when in harbour for as long page 221 as he was in Queen Charlotte Sound he could use triangulation.1 Whenever he could he climbed hills and took bearings—on his last afternoon we have him on an ‘eminency’ upon the west side of Admiralty Bay; but he could not climb hills at sea. He was scrupulous in fixing the positions of his leading points of reference—‘points of reference’ a phrase that little enough conveys the settled determination of his seamanship off the North Cape. He gives us his own summary of the work that had been done, his own critical estimate of his chart's value. Of the work: ‘This country, which before now was thought to be a part of the imaginary southern continent’— significant words, for one who would know Cook's mind—‘consists of Two large Islands… . Situated between the Latitudes of 34° and 48° S and between the Longitude of 181° and 194° West from the Meridion of Greenwh. The situation of few parts of the world are better determined than these Islands are being settled by some hundred of Observations of the Sun and Moon and one of the transit of Mercury made by Mr Green who was sent out by the Roy Society to observe the Transit of Venus.’2 That told the truth; and it gave Green his due.

Of the chart—and the passage should be quoted in full, because these words too are part of the portrait of Cook, with his anxious regard for the fact, his awareness of some merit, his denial of a claim too great:

The Chart which I have drawn will best point out the figure and extent of these Islands, the situation of the Bays and harbours they contain and the lesser Islands lay[ing] aboutthem. And now I have mentioned the Chart I shall point out such places as are drawn with sufficient accuracy to be depended upon and such as are not, beginning at Cape Pallisser and proceed round Aehei no mouwe by the East Cape &ca. The Coast between

1 Wales, working later over the records of the voyage, and puzzled by the lack of evidence, concluded that Cook ‘determined the ship's place from time to time by means of a series of triangles, which he carried on all round the island, and which formed a continued connection of the situations of the ship with remarkable objects inland, and the principal points of the coast; and he made no farther use of the log than to connect those points of the track which the ship was in when he took his angles and bearings.’ — Wales, Astronomical Observations … (1788), 108.

2 Journals I, 274. We may compare with Cook's own words those of Lieutenant Julien Crozet, second in command of Marion du Fresne's Mascarin, which was on the northern New Zealand coast in 1772: ‘As soon as I obtained information of the voyage of the Englishman, I carefully compared the chart I had prepared of that part of the coast of New Zealand along which we had coasted with that prepared by Captain Cook and his officers. I found it of an exactitude and of a thoroughness of detail which astonished me beyond all powers of expression, and I doubt much whether the charts of our own French coasts are laid down with greater precision. I think therefore that I cannot do better than to lay down our track off New Zealand on the chart prepared by this celebrated navigator.’—H. Ling Roth, Crozet's Voyage to Tasmania … (London, 1891), 22.

page 222 these two Capes I believe to be laid down pretty accurate both in its figure and the Course and distance from point to point. The oppertunities I had and the methods I made use on to obtain these requesites were such as could hardly admit of an error; from the East Cape to Cape Maria Vandiemen altho it cannot be perfectly true yet it is without any very material error, some few places however must be excepted and these are very doubtfull and are not only here but in every other part of the chart pointed out by a prick'd or broken line. From Cape Maria Vandiemen up as high as the Latitude of 36° 15′ we seldom were nearer the Shore than from 5 to 8 Leagues and therefore the line of the Sea Coast may in some places be erroneous; from the above latitude to nearly the length of Entry Island we run along and near the shore all the way and no circumstance occur'd that made me liable to commit any material error. Excepting Cape Teerawhitte we never came near the shore between Entry Island and Cape Pallisser and therefore this part of the Coast may be found to differ something from the truth. In short I believe that this Island will never be found to differ materialy from the figure I have given it and that the coast affords few or no harbours but what are either taken notice of in this Journal or in some measure point[ed] out in the Chart; but I cannot say so much for Tovy-poenammu, the Season of the year and circumstance of the Voyage would not permit me to spend so much time about this Island as I had done at the other and the blowing weather we frequently met with made it both dangerous and difficult to keep upon the Coast. However I shall point out the places that may be erroneous in this as I have done in the other. From Queen Charlottes Sound to Cape Campbel and as far to the Sw as the Latitude 43° will be found to be pretty accurate, between this Latitude and the Latitude 44°20′ the coast is very doubtfully discribed, a part of which we hardly if att all saw. From this last mentioned Latitude to Cape Sounders we were generally at too great a distance to be particular and the weather at the same time was unfavourable. The Coast as it is laid down from Cape Saunders to Cape South and even to Cape West is no doubt in many places very erroneous as we hardly ever were able to keep near the shore and were some times blowen off altogether. From the West Cape down to Cape Fare-well and even to Queen Charlottes Sound will in most places be found to differ not much from the truth.1
Moderate as this statement is, we may think it still goes a little too far in its claims, unless we remember that Cook is thinking of the general line of the coast. His Banks's Island is a peninsula; but unless it is examined close to, it looks very like an island. What we now call Stewart Island is a peninsula; but the isthmus connecting it with Tovy Poenammu, or the South Island, is very conjecturally delineated. The coast-line from Cape Farewell to Point Jackson, and on the western side of the Hauraki Gulf, is not, we may think again,

1 Journals I, 275–6.

page 223 well done; but we may remember the weather, and the time that could be disposed of, and the complexity of those pieces of coast, and the fact that the line shows deliberate gaps; and we may conclude not only that the statement is a candid as well as moderate one, but that the chart as a whole is one of the very remarkable things in the history of cartography, There was one defect in it, as a whole, which Cook did not suspect until his second voyage; and for that Green, as much as himself, perhaps more than himself, was responsible. It was a matter of longitude. The greater part of the South Island was laid down about 40' too far east, the greater part of the North Island, 30'. This was a fact that he found a little painful; but it was a fact, and he swallowed it.1
As for the interior of the country, that must be left to future generations—it was, after all, the size of the United Kingdom. Cook had landed at six places on the North Island and two on the South Island, and had spent altogether about seven weeks ashore. In that time an extraordinary amount of information had been collected, and the journals, within their limits, are encyclopaedic. Admittedly, Banks was with Cook, but could ever discoverer have more literally obeyed instructions to observe and describe the place and people of his discovery? Banks and Solander sailed away with four hundred new plants; Cook with admiration not merely for the face of the country—its timber, its evident fertility, its promise for settlement—but for its inhabitants. He had found no king or ‘great prince’, but a people evidently divided, and of differing degrees of prosperity; a people strong, well made, active, ingenious, artistic, brave, open, warlike, void of treachery. On the whole, after a bad beginning, he had managed to get on well with them. The only trouble in Queen Charlotte Sound had arisen from a minor affray in which a boat's crew of his own men had gone out of bounds fishing and had fired on two canoes coming (as was fancied) to attack them; they had concealed the affair from Cook, who learnt later, first that one New Zealander had been killed, and then that he had not. All New Zealanders were liars, said Tupaia, who had a meaner opinion of this people than Cook had, and objected to cannibalism. Cook himself, in time, though he never lost his fundamental sympathy for them, was compelled to recognise some less amiable characteristics than those he now catalogued. To the enquiring mind their evident likeness to the South Sea people he had met already posed a problem. They had ‘the same Notions of the Creation of the World Mankind &ca… indeed many of there Notions and Customs are the

1 Journals II, 173–4, 579–80.

page 224 very same, but nothing is so great a proff of they all having had one Source as their Language which differs but in a very few words the one from the other’: then what was that source? Neither to the eastward nor to the southward, thought Cook, ‘for I cannot preswaid my self that ever they came from America and as to a Southern Continent I do not believe any such thing exists’—unless in a high latitude. The problem of the Polynesian origin and diffusion would recur to him for as long as he lived.
The two explicit parts of the instructions, the Transit, and (failing the continent) New Zealand, had been dealt with: the captain could go home. What did the instructions say about that?—‘either round the Cape of Good Hope, or Cape Horn, as from Circumstances you may judge the Most Eligible way’. And in unforeseen emergencies, ‘you are … to proceed, as upon advice with your Officers you shall judge most advantageous to the Service on which you are employed’. Coming back to the ship on the evenings of 30 March, after looking at Admiralty Bay, Cook decided to consult his officers. Was he faced with an emergency? Hardly: and it is difficult to think that he had not already quite made up his mind. Nevertheless it would be good to carry other minds with his. He put the possibilities to them. They could go east round the Horn, as he would most like to do, because that route, by striking right across the area of the southern continent of the geographers, would either prove or disprove its existence; but that would mean keeping in a high latitude in the depth of winter, which—it was agreed—the condition of the ship would not permit. They could go west directly for the Cape of Good Hope; but the same objection applied, in addition to which on that route ‘no discovery of any moment’ could be hoped for. We begin to see the in-ward workings of Cook's mind. They could go to the Cape of Good Hope by way of the East Indies, like everybody else; but as there were provisions more than enough for the passage to the East Indies it was resolved to get there ‘by the following rout: upon leaving this coast to steer to the westward untill we fall in with the East Coast of New Holland and than to follow the deriction of that Coast to the northward or what other direction it may take untill we arrive at its northern extremity, and if this should be found impractical than to endeavour to fall in with the lands or Islands discover'd by Quiros.’ 1 There was a diplomatist in Cook. He had not wished to push his idea too soon. He may have been turning it over for a long time. The unstated argument off Doubtful Sound becomes clear, though still not

1 Journals I, 272–3.

page 225 stated for another three years, in the journal of another voyage. Then he gives his clinching reason for not landing on that west coast: ‘I had other and more greater objects in view, viz. the discovery of the whole Eastern Coast of New Holland.’1 Had he already discarded the possibility of going east round the Horn? This new route, certainly—this addendum to original plans—should provide some discovery of moment, as a matter of geographical logic. What Cook did not foresee, as he wrote his sober unornamented words, was that it would dazzle the world. He wasted no further space enlarging on reasons, the thing was settled. ‘With this view at day light in the morning we got under sail and put to sea having the advantage of a fresh gale at Se and clear weather.’ It was 31 March. In the afternoon he took his departure from Cape Farewell; next morning New Zealand was lost in rain and cloud.

1 Journals II, 112, n. 2, from P.R.O., Adm 55/108.