Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

An Account of the Voyages undertaken by the order of His Present Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour: Drawn from the Journals which were kept by the several Commanders, and from the Papers of Joseph Banks, Esq. [Vol. II]

Chap. I

page break

Chap. I.

The Passage from Oteroah to New Zealand; Incidents which happened on going a-sbore there, and while the Ship lay in Poverty-Bay.

We sailed from Oteroah on the 15th of August, and on Friday the 25th we celebrated the anniversary of our leaving England, by taking a Cheshire cheese from a locker, where it had been carefully treasured up for this occasion, and tapping a cask of porter, which proved to be very good, and in excellent order. On the 29th, one of the sailors got so drunk, that the next morning he died: we thought at first that he could not have come honestly by the liquor, but we afterwards leardned that the boatswain, whose mate he was, had, in mere good-nature, given him part of a bottle of rum.

On the 30th we saw the comet; at one o'clock in the morning it was a little above the horizon in the eastern part of the heavens; at about half an hour after four it passed the meridian, and its tail subtended an page 115 angle of forty-two degrees. Our latitude was 38° 20′ S. our longitude, by log, 147° 6′ W. and the variation of the needle, by the azimuth, 7° 9′ E. Among others that observed the comet was Tupia, who instantly cried out, that as soon as it should be seen by the people of Bolabola, they would kill the inhabitants of Ulietea, who would with the ulmost precipitation fly to the, mountains.

On the Ist of September, being in the latitude of 40° 22′ S. and longitude 174° 29′ W. and there not being any signs of land, with a heavy sea from the westward, and strong gales, I wore, and stood back to the northward, fearing that we might receive such damage in our sails and rigging, as would hinder the prosecution of the voyage.

On the next day, there being strong gales to the westward, I brought to, with the ship's head to the northward; but in the morning of the 3d, the wind being, more moderate, we loosened the reef of the main-sail, set the top-sails, and plied to the westward.

We continued our course till the 19th, when our latitude being 29° and our longitude 159° 29′, we observed the variation to be 8° 32′ E. On the 24th, being in latitude 33° 18′, longitude 162° 51′, we observed a small piece of sea-weed, and a piece of wood covered with barnacles: the variation here was 10° 48′ E.

On the 27th, being in latitude 28° 59′, longitude 169° 5, we saw a seal asleep upon the water and several bunches of sea-weed. The next day we saw more sea-weed in bunches, and on the 29th, a bird, which we thought a land-bird; it somewhat resembled a snipe, but had a short bill. On the Ist of October, we saw birds innumerable, and another seal asleep upon the water; it is a general opinion that seals never go out of soundings, or far from land, but those that we saw in these seas prove the contrary. Rock-weed is, however, a certain indication that land is not far distant. The next day, it being calm, we hoisted out the boat, to try whether there was a current, but found none. Our latitude was 37° 10′, longitude 172° 54′ W. On the 3d, being in latitude 36° 56′, longitude 173° 27′, we took up more sea-weed, and another piece of wood costvered page 116 with barnacles. The next day we saw two more seals, and a brown bird, about as big as a raven, with some white feathers under the wing. Mr. Gore told us, that birds of this kind were seen in great numbers about Falklnd's Islands, and our people gave them the name of Port-Egmont hens.

On the 5th, we thought the water changed colour, but, upon casting the lead, had no ground with 180 fathom. In the evening of this day, the variation was 12° 50′ E. nd while we were going nine leagues it encreased to 14° 2′.

On the next day, Friday, October 6th, we saw land from the mast-head, bearing W. by N. and stood directly for it; in the evening it could just be discerned from the deck, and appeared large. The variation this day was, by azimuth and amplitude, 15° 4′ ½ E. and, by observation made of the sun and moon, the longitude of the ship appeared to be 180° 55′ W. and by the medium of this and subsequent observations, there appeared to be an error in the ship's account of longitude, during her run from Otaheite, of 3° 16, she being so much to the westward of the longitude resulting from the log. At midnight, I brought to and sounded, but had no ground with one hundred and seventy fathom.

On the 7th, it sell calm, we therefore approached the land slowly; and in the afternoon, when a breeze sprung up, we were still distant seven or eight leagues. It appeared still larger as it was more distinctly seen, with four or five ranges of hills rising one over the other, and chain of mountains above all, which appeared to be of an enormous height. This land became the subject of much eager conversation; but the general opinion seemed to be, that we had found the Terra australis incognitia. About five o'clock, we saw the opening of a bay, which seemed to run pretty far inland, upon which we hauled our wind and stood in for it; we also saw smoke ascending from different places on shore. When night came on, however, we kept plying off and on till day-light, when we found ourselves to the leeward of the bay, the wind being at north. We could now perceive that the hills were page 117 clothed with wood, and that some of the trees in the vallies were very large. By noon, we fetched in with the south-west point, but not being able to weather it, tacked and stood off: at this time we saw several canoes standing cross the bay, which, in a little time, made to shore, without seeming to take the least notice of the ship; we also saw some houses, which appeared to be small, but neat; and near one of them a considerable number of the people collected together, who were sitting upon the beach, and who, we thought, were the same that we had seen in the canoes. Upon a small peninsula, at the north-east head, we could plainly perceive a pretty high and regular paling, which inclosed the whole top of a hill; this was also the subject of much speculation, some supposing it to be a park of deer, others an inclosure for oxen and sheep. About four o'clock in the afternoon, we anchored on the northwest side of the bay, before the entrance of a small river, in ten fathom water, with a fine sandy bottom, and at about half a league from the shore. The sides of the bay are white cliffs, of a great height; the middle is low land, with hills gradually rising behind, one towering above another, and terminating in the chain of mountains, which appeared to be far inland.

In the evening I went on shore, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, with the pinnace and yawl, and a party of men. We landed a-breast of the ship, on the east side of the river, which was here about forty yards broad; but seeing some natives on the west side, whom I wished to speak with, and finding the river not fordable, I ordered the yawl in to carry us over, and left the pinnace at the entrance. When we came near the place where the people were assembled, they all ran away; however, we landed, and leaving four boys to take care of the yawl, we walked up to some huts which were about two or three hundred yards from the water-side. When we had got some distance from the boat, four men, armed with long lances, rushed out of the woods, and running up to attack the boat, would certainly have cut her off, if the people in the pinnace had not discovered them, and called to the boys to drop down the page 118 stream: the boys instantly obeyed; but being closely pursued by the Indians, the cockswain of the pinnace, who had the charge of the boats, fired a musquet over their heads; at this they stopped and looked round them, but in a few minutes renewed the pursuit, brandishing their lances in a threatening manner; the cockswain then fired a second musquet over their heads, but of this they took no notice; and one of them listing up his spear to dart it at the boat, another piece was fired, which shot him dead. When he fell, the other three stood motionless for some minutes, as if petrified with astonishment; as soon as they recovered they went back, dragging after them the dead body, which, however, they soon left, that it might not incumber their flight. At the report of the first musquet we drew together, having straggled to a little distance from each other, and made the best of our way back to the boat, and, crossing the river, we soon saw the Indian lying dead upon the ground. Upon examining the body we found that he had been shot through the heart. He was a man of middle, size and stature, his complexion was brown, but not very dark, and one side of his face was tattowed in spiral lines of a very regular figure; he was covered with a fine cloth, of a manufacture altogether new to us, and it was tied on exactly according to the representation in Valentyn's account of Abel Tasman's Voyage, hereafter given; his hair also was tied in a knot on the top of his head, but had no feather in it. We returned immediately to the ship, where we could hear the people on shore talking with great earnestness, and in a very loud tone, probably about what had happened, and what should be done.

In the morning, we saw several of the natives where they had been seen the night before, and some walking with a quick pace towards the place where we had landed, most of them unarmed, but three or four with long pikes in their hands. As I was desirous to establish an intercourse with them, I ordered three boats to be manned with seamen and marines, and proceeded towards the shore, accompanied by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, the other gentlemen, and Tupia; about fifty of them seemed to wait for our landing, on the page 119 opposite side of the river, which we thought a sign of fear, and seated themselves upon the ground. At first, therefore, myself, with only Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and Tupia, landed from the little boat, and advanced towards them; but we had not proceeded many paces before they all started up, and every man produced either a long pike, or a small weapon of green talc, extremely well polished, about a foot long, and thick enough to weigh four or five pounds. Tupia called to them in the language of Otaheite, but they answered only by flourishing their weapons, and making signs to us to depart. A musquet was then fired wide of them, and the ball struk the water, the river being still between us; they saw the effect, and desisted from their threats, but we thought it prudent to retreat till the marines could be landed: this was soon done, and they marched, with a jack carried before them, to a little bank, about fifty yards from the water side; here they were drawn up, and I again advanced, with Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander; Tupia, Mr. Green, and Mr. Monkhouse being with us. Tupia was again directed to speak with them, and it was with great pleasure that we perceived he was perfectly understood, he and the natives speaking only different dialects of the same language. He told them that we wanted provision and water, and would give them iron in exchange, the properties of which he explained as well as he was able. They were willing to trade, and desired that we would come over to them for that purpose; to this we consented, provided they would lay by their arms, which, however, they could by no means be persuaded to do. During this conversation, Tupia warned us to be upon our guard, for that they were not our friends. We then pressed them, in our turn, to come over to us; and at last one of them stripped himself, and swam over without his arms; he was almost immediately followed by two more, and soon after by most of the rest, to the number of twenty or thirty; but these brought their arms with them. We made them all presents of iron and beads, but they seemed to set little value upon either, particularly the iron, not having the lead idea of its use; so that we got nothing in return but a few feathers. They offered, page 120 indeed, to exchange their arms for ours, and, when we refused, made many attempts to snatch them out of our hands. As soon as they came over, Tupia repeated his declaration, that they were not our friends, and again warned us to be upon our guard. Their attempts to snatch our weapons, therefore, did not succeed; and we gave them to understand by Tupia, that we should be obliged to kill them if they offered any farther violence. In a few minutes, however, Mr. Green happening to turn about, one of them snatched away his hanger, and, retiring to a little distance, waved it round his head, with a shout of exultation: the rest now began to be extremely insolent, and we saw more coming to join them from the opposite side of the river. It was therefore become necessary to repress them, and Mr. Banks fired at the man who had taken the hanger with small shot, at the distance of about fifteen yards: when the shot struck him he ceased his cry; but, instead of returning the hanger, continued to flourish it over his head, at the same time slowly retreating to a greater distance. Mr. Monkhouse seeing this, fired at him with ball, and he instantly dropped. Upon this the main body, who had retired to a rock in the middle of the river upon the first discharge, began to return; two that were near to the man who had been killed, ran up to the body, one seized his weapon of green talc, and the other endeavoured to secure the hanger, which Mr. Monkhouse had but just time to prevent. As all that had retired to the rock were now advancing, three of us discharged our pieces, loaded only with small shot, upon which they swam back for the shore; and we perceived, upon their landing, that two or three of' them were wounded. They retired slowly up the country, and we re-embarked in our boats.

As we had unhappily experienced that nothing was to be done with these people at this place, and finding the water in the river to be salt, I proceeded in the boats round the head of the bay, in search of fresh water, and with a design, if possible, to surprise some of the natives, and take them on board, where, by kind treatment and presents, I might obtain their friendship, page 121 and by their means establish an amicable correspondence with their countrymen.

To my great regret, I found no place where I could land, a dangerous surf every where beating upon the shore; but I saw two canoes coming in from the sea, one under sail, and the other worked with paddles. I thought this a favourable opportunity to get some of the people into my possession without mischief, as those in the canoes were probably fishermen, and without arms, and I had three boats full of men. I therefore disposed the boats so, as most effectually to intercept them in their way to the shore. The people in the canoe that was paddled perceived us so soon, that by making to the nearest land with their utmost strength, they escaped us; the other sailed on till she was in the midst of us, without discerning what we were; but the moment she discovered us, the people on board struck their sail, and took to their paddles, which they plied so briskly that she out-ran the boat. They were, however, within hearing, and Tupia called out to them to come along side, and promised for us that they should come to no hurt; they chose, however, rather to trust to their paddles than our promises, and continued to make from us with all their power. I then ordered a musquet to be fired over their heads, as the least exceptionable expedient to accomplish my design, hoping it would either make them surrender or leap into the water. Upon the discharge of the piece they ceased paddling, and all of them, being seven in number, began to strip, as we imagined to jump over board; but it happened otherwise. They immediately formed a resolution not to fly, but to fight; and, when the boat came up, they began the attack with their paddles, and with stones and other offensive weapons that were in the canoe, so vigoroufly, that we were obliged to fire upon them in our own defence; four were unhappily killed, and the other three, who were boys, the eldest about nineteen, and the youngest about eleven, instantly leaped into the water; the eldest swam with great vigour, and resisted the attempts of our people to take him into the boat, by every effort that he could make; he was, however, at last page 122 overpowered, and the other two were taken up with less difficulty. I am conscious that the feeling of every reader of humanity will censure me, for having fired upon these unhappy people; and it is impossible that, upon a calm review, I should approve it myself. They certainly did not deserve death, for not choosing to conside in my promises, or not consenting to come on board my boat, even if they had apprehended no danger; but the nature of my service required me to obtain a knowledge of their country, which I could no otherwise effect than by forcing my way into it in a hostile manner, or gaining admission through the considence and goodwill of the people. I had already tried the power of presents without effect; and I was now prompted, by my desire to avoid further hostilities, to get some of them on board, as the only method left of convincing them that we intended them no harm, and had it in our power to contribute to their gratification and convenience. Thus far my intentions certainly were not crimnal; and though in the contest, which I had not the least reason to expect, our victory might have been complete without so great an expense of life, yet in such situations, when the command to fire has been given, no man can restrain its excess, or prescribe its effect.

As soon as the poor wretches whom we had taken out of the water were in the boat, they squatted down, expecting, no doubt, instantly to be put to death: we made haste to convince them of the countrary, by every method in our power; we furnished them with clothes, and gave them every other testimony of kindness, that could remove their fears and engage their good-will. Those who are acquainted with human nature will not wonder, that the sudden joy of these young savages, at being unexpectly delivered from the fear of death, and kindly treated by those whom they supposed would have been their instant executioners, surmounted their concern for their friends they had lost, and was strongly expressed in their countenances and behaviour. Before we reached the ship, their suspicious and fears being wholly removed, they appeared to be not only reconciled to their situation but in high spirits; and upon being offered some bread when they came on page 123 board, they devoured it with a voracious appetite. They answered and asked many questions, with great appearance of pleasure and curiosity, and when our dinner came, they expressed an inclination to taste every thing that they saw; they seemed best pleased with the salt pork, though we had other provisions upon the table. At sun-set they eat another meal with great eagerness, each devouring a large quantity of bread, and drinking above a quart of water. We then made them beds upon the lockers, and they went to sleep with great seeming content. In the night, however, the tumult of their minds having subsided, and given way to reflection, they sighed often and loud. Tupia, who was always upon the watch to comfort them, got up, and, by soothing and encouragement, made them not only easy but cheerful; their cheerfulness was encouraged so that they sung a song with a degree of taste that surprised us; the tune was solemn and slow, like those of our Psalms, containing many notes and semitones. Their countenances were intelligent and expressive, and the middlemost, who seemed to be about fifteen, had an openness in his aspect, and an ease in his deportment, which were very striking: we found that the two eldest were brothers, and that their names were Taahourange and Koikerange; the name of the youngest was Maragovete. As we were returning to the ship, after having taken these boys into the boat, we picked up a large piece of pumice-stone floating upon the water; a sure sign that there either is or has been a volcano in this neighbourhood.

In the morning, they all seemed to be cheerful, and eat another enormous meal; after this we dressed them, and adorned them with bracelets, anclets, and necklaces, after their own fashion, and the boat being hoisted out, they were told that we were going to set them a-shore; this produced a transport of joy; but upon perceiving that we made towards our first landing place, near the river, their countenances changed, and they entreated with great earnestness that they might not be set a-shore at that place, because, they said, it was inhabited by their enemies, who would kill them and eat them. This was a great disappointment page 124 to me, because I hoped the report and appearance of the boys would procure a favourable reception for ourselves. I had already sent an officer on shore with the marines and a party of men to cut wood, and I was determined to land near the place; not, however, to abandon the boys, if when we got ashore they should be unwilling to leave us, but to send a boat with them in the evening to that part of the bay to which they pointed, and which they called their home. Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and Tupia were with me, and upon our landing with the boys, and crossing the river, they seemed at first to be unwilling to leave us; but at length they suddenly changed their minds, and, though not without a manifest struggle and some tears, they took their leave. When they were gone, we proceeded along a swamp, with a design to shoot some ducks, of which we saw great plenty, and four of the marines attended us, walking a-breast of us upon a bank that overlooked the country. After we had advanced about a mile, these men called out to us, and told us, that a large body of the Indians was in sight, and advancing at a great rate. Upon receiving this intelligence, we drew together, and resolved to make the best of our way to the boats. We had scarcely begun to put this into execution when the three Indian boys started suddenly from some bushes, where they had concealed themselves, and again claimed our protection; we readily received them, and repairing to the beach as the clearest place, we walked briskly towards the boats. The Indians were in two bodies, one ran along the bank, which had been quitted by the marines, the other setched a compass by the swamp, so that we could not see them. When they perceived that we had formed into one body they slackened their pace, but still followed us in a gentle walk. That they slackened their pace, was for us, as well as for them, a fortunate circumstance; for when we came to the side of the river, where we expected to find the boats that were to carry us over to the wooders, we found the pinnace at least a mile from her station, having been sent to pick up a bird, which had been shot by the officer on shore; and the little boat was obliged to make three trips before we could all get over to the page 125 rest of the party. As soon as we were drawn up on the other side, the Indians came down, not in a body as we expected, but by two or three at a time, all armed, and in a short time their number increased to about two hundred. As we now despaired of making peace with them, seeing that the dread of our small arms did not keep them at a distance, and that the ship was too far off to reach the place with a shot, we resolved to re-embark, lest our stay should embroil us in another quarrel, and cost more of the Indians their lives; we therefore advanced towards the pinnace, which was now returning, when one of the boys suddenly cried out, that his uncle was among the people who had marched down to us, and desired us to stay and talk with them. We complied, and a parley immediately commenced between them and Tupia; during which the boys held up every thing we had given them, as tokens of our kindness and liberality; but neither would either of the boys swim over to them, or any of them to the boys. The body of the man, who had been killed the day before, still lay exposed upon the beach; the boys seeing it lie very near us, went up to it, and covered it with some of the clothes that we had given them; and soon after a single man, unarmed, who proved to be the uncle of Maragovete, the youngest of the boys, swam over to us, bringing in his hand a green branch, which we supposed, as well here as at Qtaheite, to be an emblem of peace. We received his, branch by the hands of Tupia, to whom he gave it, and made him many presents; we also invited him to go on board the ship, but he declined it; we therefore left him, and expected that his nephew and the two other young Indians would have stayed with him, but, to our great surprize, they chose rather to go with us. As soon as we had returned, he went and gathered another green branch, and with this in his hand he approached the dead body which the youth had covered with part of his clothes, walking sideways, with many ceremonies, and then throwing it towards him; when this was done, he returned to his companions, who had sat down upon the sand to observe the issue of his negociation. They immediately gathered round him, and continued in a body page 126 above an hour, without seeming to take any farther notice of us. We were more curious than they, and observing them with our glasses from on board the ship, we saw some of them cross the river upon a kind of raft, or catamarine, and four of them carry off the dead body which had been covered by the boy, and over which his uncle had performed the ceremony of the branch, upon a kind of bier, between four men; the other body was still suffered to remain where it had been first left.

After dinner, I directed Tupia to ask the boys, if they had now any objection to going ashore where we had left their uncle, the body having been carried off which we understood was a ratification of peace? They said they had not: and the boat being ordered, they went into it with great alacrity. When the boat, in which I had sent two midshipmen, came to land, they went willingly ashore; but soon after she put off they returned to the rocks, and, wading into the water, earnestly entreated to be taken on board again; but the people in the boat, having positive orders to leave them, could not comply. We were very attentive to what happened on shore, and keeping a constant watch with our glasses, we saw a man pass the river upon another raft, and fetch them to a place where forty or fifty of the natives were assembled, who closed round them, and continued in the same place till sun-set: upon looking again, when we saw them in motion, we could plainly distinguish our three prisoners, who separated themselves from the rest, came down to the beach, having waved their hands three times towards the ship, ran nimbly back and joined their companions, who walked leisurely away towards that part which the boys had pointed to as their dwelling-place; we had therefore the greatest reason to believe that no mischief would-happen to them, especially as we perceived that they went off in the clothes we had given them.

After it was dark, loud voices were heard on shore in the bottom of the bay, as usual, of which we could never learn the meaning.