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The Life of Captain James Cook

XX — England to New Zealand Again

page 506

England to New Zealand Again

He Sailed from the Nore on 25 June, and down Channel without haste to Plymouth, where he joined the Discovery on the 30th. At Plymouth he received his instructions and the crew received their pay—the Admiralty again departing from custom—to enable them to buy 'necessaries' for the voyage. The marines came on board. There were last English letters to write. The one to Banks, of 10 July, adverted to the book, and to a matter that was to be noticed more at length in the book, though not by Cook.

As you was so obliging as to say you would give a description of the New Zealand Spruce tree, or any other plant, the drawing of which might accompany my Journal, I desired Mr Strahan and Mr Stuart, who have the Charge of the Publication, to give you extracts out of the Manuscript of such descriptions as I had given (if any) for you to correct or describe your self, as may be most agreeable. I know not what Plates Mr Forster may have got engraved of Natural History, that will come into my Book, nor do I know of any that will be of use to it, but the Spruce Tree Tea plant and Scurvey Grass and I know not if this last is engraved. The Flax plant is engraved but whether the publishing of this in my Journ[al] will be of any use to seamen, I shall not determine. In short whatever plates of this kind falls to my share, I shall hope for your kind assistance in giving some short account of them. On my arrival here I gave Omai three guineas which sent him on shore in high spirits, indeed he could hardly be otherwise for he is very much carressed here by every person of note, and upon the whole, I think, he rejoices at the prospect of going home.

I now only wait for a Wind to put to sea unless C. Clerke makes good haste down he will have to follow me. Sr Jn0 Pringle writes me that the Council of the Royal Society have decreed me the Prize Medal of this year. I am obliged to you and my other good friends for this unmerited Honor.

Omai Joins his best respects to you and Dr Solander….1

The 'Prize Medal' was Sir Godfrey Copley's gold medal, awarded to the author of the best paper contributed to the Transactions of the

1 Mitchell Library, Banks Papers; Safe 1/68; printed Journals III, 1511.

page 507 Royal Society by a Fellow during the year; and this was bestowed on Cook for his report on the methods used by him to preserve the health of his men during his second voyage; read at the Society on 7 March 1776. Sir John Pringle would have his say within a few months.

The others, both of 11 July, had a more domestic theme. That to Sandwich indicates some, at least, heart-searching on Cook's part before he made his great decision. 'My Lord', he writes,

I cannot leave England without taken some method to thank your Lordship for the many favors confered upon me, and in particular for the Very liberal allowance made to Mrs Cook during my absence. This, by enabling my family to live at ease and removing from them every fear of indigency, has set my heart at rest and filled it with gratitude to my Noble benefactor. If a faithfull discharge of that duty which your Lordship has intrusted to my care, be any return, it shall be my first and principal object.

I was to have spoke to your Lordship in behalf of Mrs Mahone, Widow of the late Cook of the Adventure, who is minuted down for a Nurse to Greenwich Hospital, a place she seems very suitable for, if your Lor[d]ship should have an oppertunity to appoint her it will add to the many favors already confered on / My Lord / Your Lordships Most faithfull and Most Obedient Humble Servant / Jams Cook1

Mrs Mahone, or Mahony, was duly appointed to the Hospital, though certainly not as a tribute to the late dirty and indolent Mortimer Mahony, deceased during the voyage. The third letter was to the Rev. Dr Richard Kaye, F.R.S., another Yorkshireman and chaplain to the King, whom Cook may have encountered both at the Royal Society and as a friend of Banks; and it seems from the sequel that the 'acknowledgement' mentioned in the letter may have been the use of his name on the American coast.

I cannot leave England without answering your very obliging favor of the 12th of last Month, and thanking you for the kind tender of your service to Mrs Cook in my absence. I shall most certainly make an acknowledgment in the way you wish, if it please God to spare me till I reach the place for Discoveries, for I shall be happy in having it known that you are amongst the friends of Dear Sir, Your Most Obed Humble Servant Jams Cook

P.S. I expect to sail to day July 11th 1776.2

It was not, however, until next day in the evening that he sailed, leaving the Discovery behind him. The ship was even more tightly

1 Sandwich Papers; printed ibid., 1512.

2 Dixson Library Mss, Ms 92; printed ibid.

page 508 crammed than she had been on her departure just four years earlier. Though there were no natural historians on board, or astronomer, there were others of nature's children: in addition to the usual sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits and poultry there was a bull, with two cows and their calves, presented by the royal bounty for stocking Tahiti and its neighbours; while the Earl of Bessborough, struck with one deficiency in the charms of that island, was sending to it a peacock and his hen. Closer to the point of an exploring expedition, and less demanding on space, was the ample supply of astronomical and nautical instruments which the Board of Longitude provided for Cook and King; among them was the faithful friend, 'Mr Kendall's watch machine' of the second voyage. As the Resolution met the Channel waves, the captain, who had read a newspaper report of Spanish reconnoitring north of California, might have been amused had he known of the nervous alarm his departure was causing to the Court of Madrid. If the Spaniards could have read his instructions, they would perhaps not have ordered the viceroy of New Mexico, as they did, to seize and imprison him if possible when he arrived on that coast; for he himself was ordered 'not to touch upon any part of the Spanish dominions on the Western continent of America', unless unavoidably driven there, and then to stay no longer than absolutely necessary, and to be very careful not to give offence. But Spanish susceptibilities about the Pacific remained, as the British government well knew, extremely tender; and Cook had already helped to ruffle them. He might have been still more amused at the persuasion of a French agent in London that the real object of his voyage was to join the Russians of Kamchatka in subjugating Japan.1
All ignorant of sinister intention, while the ship began to leak and her company to curse, he made this time for Tenerife and not Madeira as his port of call on the passage to the Cape, thinking he would there get better hay and corn for the stock. That may have been so, and there was no fault to find with the water or the fresh provisions—except the lean oxen; but he was to lament the quality of the Tenerife wine, cheap as it was. Interesting here was his friendly contact with the French captain Borda, of the Boussole, and the Spanish Varela, both notable scientific workers as well as naval officers, who, in the process of testing the chronometers of Ferdinand Berthoud (the English were not the only inventors) were also fixing the longitude of Tenerife and making some accurate charts. After a

1 Charles E. Chapman, The Founding of Spanish California, (New York, 1916), 376–80; J. E. Martin-Allanic, Bougainville navigateur, II, 1448–51.

page 509 stay of three days he left—it was 4 August—being within another week a little eastward of the Cape Verde islands, and on one day within great peril from a reef off Boa Vista. Evidently there was a little piece of careless navigation, on whose part does not appear; but Anderson the surgeon was outraged. One is compelled to suspect either Cook or Bligh the master. He made south till he was about five degrees short of the equator, and then out with the south-east trade wind on a huge curve towards the coast of Brazil, so that he came in to the Cape from the west. It was a common enough course at the time, and gave him an outward passage twelve days shorter than that of his previous voyage: a passage not very eventful, with a good deal of time devoted to keeping the ship dry, and to such observations of current, variation and the like as had become for Cook routine though the subject of ever-renewed thought. We may remark that in crossing the equator he was a traditionalist, when not a few men were beginning to regard old custom as dangerous horseplay. 'We had the vile practice of ducking put in execution to afford some fun,' wrote Bligh, 'and to my great surprise most choosed to be ducked rather than pay a bottle of Rum. The ceremony was ended without any accident and made Sail.'1 Cook did not think the matter worth mentioning. He sighted the Cape on 17 October and next day was anchored in Table Bay.
This was his fourth visit to Cape Town, and he was among friends and admirers, whether they were officials or the merchants who supplied his many needs. He dined in state with the governor. Samwell, who also admired, was delighted: '3 royal Salutes of 21 Guns each were given with the Toasts at Dinner. The Governor & all at the Cape pay Captn Cook extraordinary Respect, he is as famous here & more noted perhaps than in England.'2 There were people who paid less respect. The bakers were remiss; villains at night put dogs among his sheep, grazing on shore with the cattle, and stole some of the best of them, and he had to buy others. They were not the only animals his sense of duty led him to acquire. Meanwhile his company had due refreshment on shore; Anderson and Nelson the gardener were taken on a tour of the natural

1 Bligh to John Bond, 23 October 1776 (Cape of Good Hope).—Nan Kivell coll., Nla; printed Royal Australian Historical Society Journal and Proceedings, 45 (1949), 'Some Correspondence of Captain William Bligh, R.N., with John and Francis Godolphin Bond 1776–1811' ed. George Mackaness. Cf. Anderson, 'the old ridiculous ceremony of ducking those who had not cross'd the Equator before …. which every sensible person who has it in his power ought to suppress instead of encouraging.'—Journals III, 743. Clerke in the Discovery provided a double allowance of grog instead, says Bayly; ibid., 15, n. 1.

2 Journals III, 1515.

page 510 curiosities of the country; and one of the crew, seized for coining, was flogged and despatched to England in a homeward bound vessel, in lieu of more condign punishment by the Dutch. A furious storm blew the tents to pieces and endangered the astronomical quadrant, but the ship rode it out successfully. On 10 November Cook at last was gladdened to see the Discovery. Clerke had survived his battles with the Israelites and the law, perhaps freed from the Fleet by one of the acts for the enlargement of debtors, had dashed down to Plymouth, paused but a day to make adjustments to his crew consequent on sickness, dashed off letters to the Admiralty and Banks—‘Cook sail'd tomorrow it will be 3 Weeks a damn'd long stretch but we must see it out—I shall get hold of him I fear not… Huzza my Boys heave away … adieu my best friend… .'1 —and on the day of his writing was at sea. Though he had some episodes of bad weather, and when close to port was blown right off the coast for a week, his passage was hardly longer than Cook's; though he lost his corporal of marines overboard his men were as healthy as Cook's—for he had learnt from Cook how to keep a ship's company healthy—and his ship was a good deal drier. He gives us no meditation on compass or current; and that is one difference between the two men.2
By the end of November both ships were again ready for sea, caulking done, the last animals on board, the last letters written. We may think Cook extravagant, almost reckless, in his sense of duty to island posterity, when we count up the bulls, heifers, horses, mares, sheep, goats, rabbits and poultry he added to his stock; and they were certainly to give him later troubled thought. His London troubles are, we gather from an earlier letter to Strahan his publisher, melted away: 'I suppose by this time you have got my Voyage in hand, but I am so well satisfied with the hands it is in that I do not give my self a thought about it, I would however give some thing to know what Dr Forster is about.'3 He writes a friendly note to Hodges the artist, 'for fear you should think I had quite forgot you…. I fancy I may now give you joy of a Boy or a Girl. I hope Mrs Hodges is well… .'4 He has written to Sandwich and to Stephens, with more or less familiarity, within a few days of arriving at the Cape, and he now writes again, within a few days of leaving it— among the sheaf of letters to the Navy Board, the Sick and Hurt Board, the Victualling Board which mainly report the expenditure

1 Clerke to Banks, 1 August 1776; Webster coll., printed ibid., 1513–14.

2 For Cook on the Atlantic currents see ibid., 20–3.

3 Cook to Strahan, 5 November 1776; Phillips coll., Salem, Mass., printed ibid., 1516.

4 Cook to Hodges, 5 November 1776; Princeton University Library, printed ibid., 1517.

page 511 of money and bills drawn. To Banks write Clerke, Anderson, Gore, as well as Cook; and Cook, writing in much the same terms as he employs for his last letter to Sandwich, may be here quoted:

Your very obliging favour I received by Captain Clerke who arrived here on the 18th Inst. something more than three weeks after me and nearly the same time as I sailed from Plymouth before him, for I left that place on the 13th of July. We are now ready to proceed on our Voyage, and nothing is wanting but a few females of our own species to make the Resolution a compleate ark for I have added considerably to the Number of Animals I took onboard in England. Omai consented with raptures to give up his Cabbin to make room for four Horses—He continues to enjoy a good state of health and great flow of spirits, and has never once given me the l[e]ast reason to find fault with any part of his conduct. He desires his best respects to you, Dr Solander, Lord Seaford and to a great many more, Ladies as well as Gentlemen, whose names I cannot insert because they would fill up this sheet of paper, I can only say that he does not forget any who have shewed him the least kindness.

I am greatly obliged to you for your readiness to describe the Plants which are to be published in my Journal and I hope Mr Strahan will give you the parts in time. I have no other way of makeing a return for this and many other favours than by using my best endeavours to add to your Collection of Plants & Animals: this you may be assured of, and that the Man you have sent out with Captain Clerke to collect seeds & plants shall have every assistance in my power to give him… .1

He proceeds to describe the onslaught on his sheep by 'the honest Dutchmen of this place', and sends his best respects to Solander. To Sandwich also he speaks highly of Omai: 'the people here are surprised at his genteel behaviour and deportment'. Omai, it appears, was at his peak. A different note—deeper or merely formal? —follows: 'Permit me to assure your Lordship that my endeavours shall not be wanting to accomplish the great object of the Voyage… .'2 Sandwich was to hear from him no more.

The last of these friendly letters in date is that from Gore to Banks. He too strikes a different note; in part answers the question put by Fanny Burney (the articulate James may have been too articulate), in part states some genial alarm about the ship.

… we shall sail hence in a Day or two with Both Ships the manner of our Acquipment you will in all probability Learn from another Quarter, this I have To say we are of Both Ships in Good health and on Board the Resolution have hitherto agreed verry Will and there is a fair Prospect of

1 Cook to Banks, 26 November 1776; Phillips coll., Salem, Mass., printed ibid., 1521.

2 Cook to Sandwich, 26 November 1776; Sandwich Papers, printed ibid., 1520.

page 512 its Continuing To the End of our Voyage, There has been a Misunderstanding between Charles And Burney,—Sometimes Young Officers Forget there Place, all is well now and is likely To Continue. If I return in the Resolution the next Trip I may Safely Venture in a Ship Built of Ginger Bread.1

Cook gave Clerke a copy of his instructions and a rendezvous at Queen Charlotte Sound, and on the last day of November they weighed anchor. In the night it fell calm, and they could not put to sea till early next morning. This was already a month behind the schedule laid down in the instructions. It was still, however, early in the southern summer. Whether they could reach Tahiti in time to leave again, refreshed, by the beginning of February, 'or sooner', if Cook should judge it necessary, may have been a question he had already dropped.

His first objective was a harking back to the conversation he had had at the Cape with the French captain Crozet on his way home in 1775, and to the chart that Crozet had given him. He wanted to verify the islands discovered by Marion du Fresne between the latitudes of 46° and 47°, and so followed a south-east course to pick up the westerlies without delay. It was but two days after finally clearing the land that he lost his mizen topmast in a squall—a loss that gave him no worry, as it was sprung already and he had another to replace it. There was, however, some cause to worry as he got into the roaring forties: the ships pitched and rolled in the cold gale and high following sea, and the miserable shivering sheep and goats began thus early to die. On 12 December he sighted and sailed between the first two of Marion's islands, small, rocky and precipitous, unnamed on his chart, and called them after the young Prince Edward. Having done this, he was prepared to let go Marion's other small group of four, twelve degrees to the east—though he named them after Marion and Crozet2—sailing south of them to get into the latitude of Kerguelen's discovery. The weather became colder, and the Resolution leaked again, in spite of the Cape caulking. Three weeks through December, when the ships were close to Kerguelen's reported position, fog came down, and they kept in touch only by the sound of their guns. 'This is a most importunate Fog', says Clerke; the confounded foggy atmosphere rendered

1 Gore to Banks, 27 November 1776; Atl, Miscellaneous Material relating to Cook's Voyages, printed ibid., 1522.

2 The island now called Marion is the more southerly of Cook's Prince Edward islands, lat. 46°53′ S, long. 37°45′ E; its companion, Prince Edward, is twelve miles to the Nne. The other, rather more scattered, group is collectively the Crozet islands, about 46°27′ S, 52° E.

page 513 exploring a miserable business.1 The latitude they wanted was about 48 1/2; and Cook, having reached it, was running east. King, not yet with enough experience of his captain, was worried. If the island was small, they might miss it in the fog altogether; sailing in thick fog also was dangerous, yet to heave to would mean loss of time; 'We who are not acquainted with ye Plan of ye Voyage, nevertheless indulge Conjectures, & conceive that ye smallest delay would hazard ye Loss of a Season, & even wish the Search for this Land which has already, & may still Longer detain us, had not been a Part of ye Plan.'2 This passage is interesting. It shows a Cook fairly confident of his whereabouts, whatever the fog, and determined on a particular piece of verification: a Cook also who must have calculated carefully how much time he could afford to lose without losing a season. Cook himself notes the navigation as 'both tedious and dangerous'. We have known already his reputation for keeping his officers in the dark about the programme before them, and one is led to ask how far the habit was constitutional, and how far due to a literal interpretation of 'secret' instructions as secret. Yet intelligent officers, 'unacquainted with the plan of the voyage', made conjectures; and why should King worry about the loss of a season, and wish Kerguelen's land had not come into the programme, if he had no idea what the programme was? He must have had a fair idea of the topics of geographical discussion in England over the previous twelve months. He was at any rate shrewd enough to see, novice as he was, that in the trade of exploring time was not an unlimited commodity. And on the day when he wrote his words, 24 December, the land was seen where and when it was expected to be seen, to the south-south-east.
Kerguelen island, the largest of the scattered spots of land in the Southern Indian Ocean, sprawls untidily over the sea between latitudes (roughly) 48°30′ and 49°45′ S, and longitudes 68°40′ and 70°30′ E: a mass of rocky hills, bog and running water, split on its northern and eastern sides into dozens of sounds and inlets and minor bays, fringed with rocks and giant seaweed swaying deceptively round them, the whole frequently enough lost in fog; with limited vegetation, treeless, its animal life confined to sea-birds, penguins, and seals—few of the last left now, for Cook's observations announced their fate. Kerguelen's own two brief visits, in 1772 and 1773–4, can hardly be classed above sketchy and ignoble reconnaissance

1 '… indeed it is impossible to do anything in our way of trade till the Weather in some degree favours us.'—Journals III, 26, n. 4.

2 ibid. ll

page 514 of the western and southern sides, the foundation first of absurd reports and then of embarrassed dejection; the man, indeed, was an adventurer whom on close scrutiny it is not possible to admire. Cook, knowing little about him beyond what he had picked up from Crozet, not knowing even that Kerguelen had made two voyages (there was no published work till 1782), knowing nevertheless that he had to do merely with an island of no very great extent, was willing to take for granted the coasts already charted. He contented himself with a running, and for the time he could spare for it, fairly accurate, survey of the northern and eastern coasts that had not been seen before. One may at this point perhaps generalise a little, and say that when conditions were not too unfavourable, and a discovery seemed important, Cook would insist on getting it all down on paper—as with the New Hebrides; when conditions were most unfavourable, but a key point seemed in question, he would cling grimly to his purpose of settling it until he had succeeded—as over the position of the North Cape of New Zealand; where time was short, or adverse conditions went with unimportance (apart from a sheer geographical interest) in the discovery, he would make the most accurate observations possible, chart what he could, and then be content to leave—as with the South Sandwich islands, and now with Kerguelen.

The land first seen was an islet, Kerguelen's Isle de Croy, off the north-west point of the main island, one of a small group so lying. Cook hauled off round this group, just weathering the high rock he called Bligh's Cap (now Ilot du Rendez-vous). In the afternoon, with a clearer air, the main shore was in view, an extremely indented one; within its northern promontory lay a promising harbour, which Bligh reported on favourably; and next day the ships worked up inside almost to the sandy beach at the head. He called the place Christmas Harbour. It was Kerguelen's Baie de l'Oiseau, and retains this name; but Cook, with the sketchy chart that he had, and altogether ignorant of Kerguelen's second voyage, may be excused for making some wrong identifications, and even for being surprised at finding himself preceded here. There was plenty of water—the whole country was running with it—but not a tree or a shrub or a piece of driftwood; plenty of penguins, innumerable other sea-birds, and seals whose lack of sophistication made it easy to club them for their oil; a little grass for the cattle, few fish; so really the habour's promise was a little illusory, except for shelter. The men, however, were given a day off for a Christmas celebration, and one of them brought back a bottle he had found attached to a rock on the north page 515 side. It contained a Latin inscription on parchment recording French visits to the country in 1772 and 1773 (though the French officer who left this record did not land until January 1774). Cook had a new inscription put on the other side—Naves Resolution & Discovery de Rege Magna Britannia Decembris 1776—and returned it to the bottle with a silver twopenny piece, built a pile of stones on a little rise and put the bottle inside; displayed the British flag and gave the place the name he chose. Whether that signified the 'ridiculous' act of taking possession, as the philosophic Anderson feared it did, we are left to guess.

On the afternoon of that day, 28 December, he went on to the high cape that guarded the harbour in the north, to get a view of the coast. Fog hid all, except the higher land within, quite naked and desolate, and some snow-covered hills to the south. Next morning he left the harbour, and fortunately the fog cleared, the sea was still. There followed two days of such intense coastal observation that at the end of his close-packed pages one realises with difficulty that this is the harvest of two days indeed, and not a week. On the whole this observation of a tortuous shore was accurate, and the greater number of the names Cook gave have survived; and glad are we to find not merely those of royalty and naval personages, not merely the inevitable Sandwich, laid upon the ocean from one end to the other, but ‘Point Pringle after my good friend Sr John Pringle Precedent of the Royal Society'. At the end of a day of clearing forelands, islets, rocks, shoals, and even threading the channels between the great beds of kelp, with the lead going all the while, with fog threatening again, the ships put into a small harbour which gave snug enough shelter for the night—Port Palliser. Cook climbed a hill as usual for the view—daylight was long—Gore looked at the land, the masters sounded. Barrenness and desolation again, nothing for cattle, only water, seals, and sea birds for men. So to sea again, and the sight of a lower, more level, less indented piece of country, backed by rocky mountains topped by snow, until Cook had in sight what he was persuaded must be the most southerly point of the land; as night came on a south-west swell added to his conviction that there was no more in that direction, and the wind shifting to the same quarter he stood away from the coast eastwards.

Well: he must summarise his impressions, geographically. The first discoverers, 'with some reason', had imagined the country to be the projection of a southern continent; 'the English' had since proved that no such continent existed. The country, then, was an island; if any further proof of its limited extent were needed that page 516 could be found in Furneaux's track in 1773, for he had passed it only about seventeen leagues off Cook's most southerly cape and seen nothing. So in latitude it could not much exceed one degree and a quarter—a remarkably accurate estimate. As to the longitude of its western end he could not say, but it could not stretch as far as 65° E; for he had searched to that point in 1773. And a name? 'Kerguelen's Land', or Kerguelen Island, was not the name he gave: 'from its stirility' he would call it the Island of Desolation. For its natural history he would fall back on Anderson, who had made good use of his four days at Christmas Harbour, and wrote on soil and rocks, the Kerguelen cabbage that he called Pringlea—he too celebrating the President—the few other small plants and mosses; three different penguins, clearly described; shags, ducks, albatrosses, gulls; an uninviting fish; the fur seal.1 What could be eaten was eaten. When the captain looked at his own stock, he could feel even less joy. The young bulls, one of the heifers, the rams, most of the goats, bought at the Cape had died. The islands, it was plain, would not be easily supplied. The animals that were left still ate. Whatever the feelings of animals, there was some relief for men in leaving 'this Cold Blustering Wet Country' (the words of Gore), and 'the Melancholy Croaking of Innumerable Penguins' (the words of Edgar), and steering a course for New Zealand.

The winds were generally favourable, though for a week or more there was thick fog, so that, as Cook said, they ran above three hundred leagues in the dark. Fog brought up the thought of possible separation—it had been not far from the Island of Desolation that he had parted from the Adventure in those seas—and that, with the needs of his stock, impelled him on 7 January to give Clerke an intermediate rendezvous, short of New Zealand, at Furneaux's Adventure Bay in Van Diemen's Land. Twelve days later there was a piece of serious trouble. A sudden squall at 4 o'clock in the morning carried away the Resolution's fore topmast and with it the main topgallant mast. The mess of rigging saved them from going overboard, and there was a spare topmast, but the whole day was occupied in clearing the wreck and getting the mast up. The main topgallant mast could not be replaced. Perhaps the necessity of making up time had led to carrying too much sail, meditated King. The Tasmanian coast was sighted on the 24th; as Cook sailed on the westerlies turn to variable light airs and calms, and in two days more to a breeze from the south-east. Cook, examining the land with interest, was not sorry, whatever the pressure of time: it was now in

1 For Cook's description see ibid., 43–7; for Anderson's, 770–5.

page 517 his power 'to carry into execution a design I had formed of putting into Adventure Bay to get a little Wood and some grass for our Cattle both of which we were in great want of'. No doubt curiosity had its part also, and the rendezvous he had given Clerke was not merely for the sake of rendezvous. Queen Charlotte Sound was not so far away. He ran with the breeze: on the afternoon of 26 January anchored in the bay and he and Clerke were immediately out in their boats looking for what they wanted. Wood and water were there in plenty; grass was scarce and not good, but necessity gave them no choice.

As smoke was seen up in the woods the shore parties next day were guarded by marines—some of whom stole the available liquor and made themselves dead drunk; there was a good haul of fish in the seine and then everyone was ordered on board to be ready to sail as soon as the wind served. It did not serve on the next day, and the day after that was a calm, so there was more wooding and foraging on shore, the carpenter was sent to cut spars, and Roberts, the master's mate, to survey the bay. In the afternoon of the first of these days the wooders and waterers were visited by a number of the aborigines, amiable uncovetous people, slender, black and naked, with agreeable features, their skin scarred, their hair and beards smeared with red ochre; they were frightened away by a couple of musket shots, not fired at them. Cook left a boar and a sow inside the woods, where he thought they had a fair chance of escaping immediate slaughter, a fate which sheep, goats, or cattle would certainly suffer in the open. When next morning the men were again at work the aborigines returned, in greater numbers, still quite peaceable, and this time brought women and children with them. Primitive they certainly were, showing no interest in fish-hooks or other iron, but not so naïve as to tolerate advances to their women from some of the gentlemen ashore. The women wore a kangaroo skin round the shoulders for carrying their children, otherwise they were as naked as the men—even more naked, for some of them had their heads shaved. These people were obviously shellfish-eaters, though they rejected all other fish; and they seemed to have no canoes or other means of adventuring upon the water. They had a few bark huts, also extremely primitive. Anderson wrote at length about them and the natural history of the country, so far as he could explore it. He did not like the mosquitoes or the ants. Some good grass had been found. Cook went on board, at the end of his three days, with a good opinion of the place. Beyond correcting Furneaux's chart a little, and recording some accurate observations, he added nothing to the page 518 geography of Tasmania; and when he left, far from coasting northward to check Furneaux's verdict, he made a little south of east. Of the land in general he was content to remark—‘I hardly need say it is the Southern point of New Holland, which if not a Continent is one of the largest islands in the World.’1 More time than these three days might have brought more enlightenment; but Thursday, 30 January, came with a favouring breeze and he put to sea for New Zealand. It was about this date that his instructions designed he should be leaving the Society Islands for North America.

The light westerly breeze turned for a day to a violent southerly storm, then moderated, went to the north-east and finally came round to the westerly quarter again; the weather was dull, there was nothing to see but a few petrels and albatrosses. Clerke lost another man overboard, a marine. On 10 February New Zealand was sighted at Rocks Point, on the west coast south of Cape Farewell; rounding the Cape and Stephens' Island, on the morning of the 12th Cook was in his old anchorage at Ship Cove. He wanted to refresh his men and his stock, attend to his ships, check his chronometers; he was also strongly interested in finding out the truth about the Adventure's slaughtered boat's crew. As for refreshment, it was all there, the best of water, greens, vegetables planted on the previous voyage, grass, illimitable fish; and, for the susceptible, refreshment of the spirit in the melodious wild music that had enraptured Joseph Banks, and now enraptured Edgar the Discovery's master, 'the Sweet Harmony' which surpassed anything of the kind he had ever met with. There were no scurvy cases in the ships, but Cook enforced his usual regimen, and had hands brewing spruce beer, the substitute for grog, almost as soon as they were on shore. In all the activity there was, however, a difference from earlier days. When he arrived the New Zealanders seemed apprehensive and hesitated to come on board, even those he knew best and best knew him. On his side, though he soon convinced them of his friendship, there was not altogether trust. With his first shore party, clearing the ground for observatories and tents, he sent an armed guard, and he kept it there in charge of King until he left. All the workmen had arms with them. No boat was ever sent any distance unarmed or without reliable officers. Such precautions he could not believe were strictly necessary; but after the affair at Grass Cove and the destruction of Marion and his men at the Bay of Islands in 1772 he was determined there should be no more massacres. Cook's friendliness soon brought

1 Journals III, 56.

page 519 the native people in families to the cove: not a spot outside his own encampment where a temporary hut could be raised was unoccupied, and he was struck with the speed and efficiency with which such ground was adapted to domesticity by general co-operation of men and women. He studied the scene one day: 'as to the Children I kept them, as also some of the more aged sufficiently employed in scrambling for beads till I had emptied my pockets and then I left them.'1 It was a change from cannibalism.

With the characteristics of the people here no one seems to have been as favourably impressed as was Cook—not even Anderson, who had an admirably fair as well as clear mind, and gives us the best single account of Queen Charlotte Sound we have. Cook, possibly, judges together, all the New Zealanders he has seen, and his observations were not confined to the Sound. He does not, on his second and third voyages, set out to give any large deliberate analysis of characteristics. He had done that on his first voyage—perhaps inadequately—and now, apart from one or two almost incidental observations, he is interested in individual incidents and individual persons. It was his habit to deal, so far as was possible, with individual persons, and preferably with persons of influence; so it is he who gives us names and some individual portraiture. We may be able to infer from some incidental phrase how far he agrees with the impressions of greed, suspicion and deceit conveyed by some of his officers, as when he mentions 'a Tribe or Family', whose chief was ‘Tomatongeauooranue, a man about forty five years of age, with a fine cheerful open countenance, two things more or less remarkable throughout the whole tribe.'2 Fine cheerful open countenances do not seem to have been generally remarkable in the Sound. Gore was scandalised at the common lack of gratitude: 'Give one of them a Hatchet, afterwards Ask the same person for the Claw of a Crawfish he'll not Part with it without being Paid'.3 It was of course unwise to give away hatchets, which were strictly articles of trade, except on some grand occasion; it was easier to give away mouldy biscuit, or bits of blubber, which were as enthusiastically received, or oil-skimmings; it could be astonishing when they came on board and ate the candles, drained the lamps of oil, even devoured the wicks. Their habitual diet contained little fat. It contained no superfluity of any sort.

Cook carried out no vengeance for the Grass Cove affray; and this was the reason for a sort of contempt which some of his officers thought they detected among the people of the place. Certainly vengeance had been expected by the New Zealanders. Cook, among

1 ibid., 61.

2 ibid., 65.

3 ibid., 66, n. 1.

page 520 his own men, noticed the effect of the massacre, which must have been well talked over; and it led to a little meditation, paralleled already in his paragraphs on Van Diemen's Land, on encounters between the sexes on voyages of exploration. He had never been comfortable—no man of humanity could be comfortable—on the subject. On this voyage his discomfort, and that of his officers who had what the age called 'a feeling mind', became increasingly apparent. The matter had more than one aspect. There was first the introduction of disease, about which, it will be recollected, he had said something on his second visit to Queen Charlotte Sound, in May 1773:
I have observed that this Second Visit of ours hath not mended the morals of the Natives of either Sex, the Women of this Country I always looked upon to be more chaste than the generality of Indian Women, whatever favours a few of them might have granted to the crew of the Endeavour it was generally done in a private manner and without the men seeming to intrest themselves in it, but now we find the men are the chief promoters of this Vice, and for a spike nail or any other thing they value will oblige their Wives and Daughters to prostitute themselves whether they will or no and that not with the privicy decency seems to require, such are the concequences of a commerce with Europeans and what is still more to our Shame civilized Christians, we debauch their Morals already too prone to vice and we interduce among them wants and perhaps diseases which they never before knew….1

Anderson now in this third voyage remarks on 'very disagreeable commands' laid on the women, in consequence of which the people suffered much 'from a loathsome disease which we have communicated without as yet giving them any real advantage as a recompence.'2 Meanwhile Cook had modified somewhat his views on the chastity of 'Indian Women', but the general fact of the transmission of disease remained.

There was the other aspect of the matter. Men, husbands, fathers, were not always driven by greed, or women complaisant. There was the little incident of the gentlemen's advances at Adventure Bay.

This conduct to Indian Women is highly blameable, as it creates a jealousy in the men that may be attended with fatal consequences, without answering any one purpose whatever, not even that of the lover obtaining the object of his wishes. I believe it has generally been found amongst uncivilized people that where the Women are easy of access, the Men are the first who offer them to strangers, and where this is not the case they are not easily come at, neither large presents nor privacy will induce them to

1 Journals II, 174–5.

2 Journals III, 816.

page 521 violate the laws of chastity or custom. This observation I am sure will hold good throughout all parts of the South Sea where I have been why then should men risk their own safety where nothing is to be obtained?1

The unusual restraint of the sailors ashore at Ship Cove may indicate that though, unlike their captain, they were not gradually working out a philosophy of the subject—and he had still more to learn—they at least had concluded that amatory adventure should be pursued with caution. Cook renews his argument when telling of visitors for trade.

Their articles of commerce were Curiosities, Fish and Women the two first always came to a good market, which the latter did not: the Seamen had taken a kind of dislike to these people and were either unwilling or affraid to associate with them; it had a good effect as I never knew a man quit his station to go to their habitations. A connection with Women I allow because I cannot prevent it, but never encourage tho many Men are of opinion it is one of the greatest securities amongst Indians, and it may hold good when you intend to settle amongst them; but with travelers and strangers, it is generally otherwise and more men are betrayed than saved by having connection with their women, and how can it be otherwise sence all their View are selfish without the least mixture of regard or attachment whatever; at least my observations which have been pretty general, have not pointed out to me one instance to the contrary.2
It was no trouble over women, however, that caused the Adventure tragedy. This was one of those things, so it appeared in the end, that Cook had always gone to enormous pains to prevent. He did not push his enquiries too soon, but waited until he was out with a large party—five boats, which reflects his caution—cutting grass for hay. They filled the launches, then went over to Grass Cove. Here they found his old friend Pedro of the second voyage, looking rather frightened; from him, when reassured, and two or three others Cook, through Omai, got a fairly coherent story. On the fatal day Rowe and his sailors left the boat with only one man, Furneaux's negro servant, to guard her, and sat down about two hundred yards away to eat their meal. They had only two or three muskets. The account now splits into two, though Cook did not think these were irreconcilable. According to the first, some of the New Zealanders who clustered round the luncheon party snatched at the bread and fish; in the ensuing quarrel two were shot dead, apparently by Rowe, before he and his men were overpowered; and the excited savages immediately knocked all their prisoners on the head. They then despatched the unfortunate negro. According to the second, the

1 ibid., 55–6

2 ibid., 61–2.

page 522 quarrel started at the boat, with a native who seized something, was struck a heavy blow by the negro, and called out that he was killed, on which the difference flared up and Rowe fired. It was not a premeditated quarrel. It was undoubtedly Rowe's foolish and hasty behaviour that gave it so grim a turn; and as one of his friends had recorded, he had a contempt for Indians. Once the savage blood was up, general butchery and cannibalism followed easily enough.

The native people were surprised that Cook did not exact utu, or payment. He did not behave naturally. It was natural for Gore to kill the man who made off with his cloth at Mercury Bay, on the first voyage: that was utu, and not resented. They lived a life of wild passion, warfare, and revenge; had long memories and did not forgive. These people were constantly embroiled with those of Admiralty Bay. Not long before the ships' arrival a chief, one of Cook's old friends in the Sound, had gone there and been slain with about seventy of his followers. There was no large tribe left. One party after another applied to Cook to destroy its enemies; if he had followed the advice of all his pretended friends, he says, he might have extirpated the whole race. One particular man he was urged by many to kill—one who looked a villain, and was by the testimony of all the leader of the murderers at Grass Cove; indeed, he did not deny it, and said outright that he had slaughtered Rowe and most of the others with his own hand. Like his fellows, when he understood there was to be no utu, he did not hesitate to come freely on board the ships, even into Cook's cabin. Why did not Cook shoot him? asked Omai, feverish for his death—were not murderers hanged in England? Cook had made his enquiry. He had never killed anybody in cold blood, and he would not start now. He agreed with Clerke that to do so 'cou'd answer no purpose at all'. Kahura at one stage looked as though he expected to be killed; he recovered so much that seeing a portrait of a fellow countryman hanging on the cabin-wall he asked to be drawn too, and sat with great aplomb while Webber made the drawing. Cook summed up the matter: 'I must confess I admired his courage and was not a little pleased at the confidence he put in me. Perhaps in this he placed his whole safety, for I had always declared to those who solicited his death that I had always been a friend to them all and would continue so unless they gave me cause to act otherwise; as to what was past, I should think no more of it as it was some time sence and done when I was not there, but if ever they made a Second attempt of that kind, they might rest assured of feeling the weight of my resentment.'1

1 Journals III, 69.

page 523

A useful sojourn this was at Ship Cove, though of only eleven days, on two of which the ships rode out violent northwest storms. A vast quantity of excellent fish, wild celery and scurvy grass was consumed; the young gentlemen stretched their legs and, so we gather from later reminiscences, indulged in a good deal of high-spirited horseplay;1 Bayly, or Bayly and King, made over a hundred sets of observations to calculate the longitude again, found that the chronometer was losing only some three seconds a day, checked the astronomical clock, observed the variation of the compass with six needles on board the ship and on shore, observed the dip of the needle; Anderson observed rocks, plants, birds, insects and people; Samwell took down the first native chants ever recorded; Webber drew busily. Omai was here at his best as an interpreter, and managed to push through a plan of his own, which he had conceived before arriving in the country. This was to take home with him from New Zealand a companion, or follower, or servant—it is not quite clear which—and before long his talk had brought out a volunteer, one Tiarooa or Te Weherua, a youth of seventeen or eighteen, who took up his residence on board. Cook, who had disliked Omai's departure from his own island, was disturbed at the proposal, particularly when he found out that the youth was the only son of a chief killed in war and that his mother was a much respected lady. Had Omai promised his return? It was made quite clear that there could be no return. Then this son of a chief had to have a follower or servant: the first candidate was removed by his friends, but another, a boy often or twelve years called Coaa, or Loa, was handed over with no sentiment at all. Cook was still troubled. The complete indifference of all the people convinced him that the two adventurers could lose nothing by leaving home, and he let Omai have his way.

While the ships were unmooring and getting under sail two chiefs and a train of others came on board to take leave—or rather, to get what presents they could at the last moment. The chiefs wanted some goats and hogs. Cook had intended to present not only these animals but also sheep and a bull and heifers, had he found a chief powerful enough to protect them or a place safe enough for their natural protection. There was neither, and he determined to leave no stock at all. But the chiefs asked, he made them promise to keep his gifts alive, and as he had animals to spare bestowed on one a

1 I have given a specimen in the Introduction to Journals III, xcviii—xcix, taken from George Home's Memoirs of an Aristocrat (London, 1838), which contains some of the reminiscences of the author's father Alexander Home, master's mate in the Discovery. 'Ah! those were the glorious days', Alexander is quoted as saying; and quite likely he did say so.

page 524 he-goat and she-goat, on the other a boar and sow; and hoped, not very confidently, for the best. Pigs, it seems certain, did survive, from whatever occasion, in the deeps of the New Zealand forest. When at last the captain was ready to go, neither wind nor tide served, and he anchored for the night outside the island Motuara. Next morning he had his last visitors—Kahura, with a whole family, male and female, of over twenty, down to the very children. He got rid of them and, a light breeze springing up, stood out of the Sound only to meet contrary winds in Cook Strait, so that it was two more days before he had Cape Palliser behind him. At 8 a.m. on 27 February, the cape bearing west seven or eight leagues, he steered east-by-north with a fine gale.