NOTE. The way of reckoning the day in Sea Journals is from Noon to Noon, but as the most material transaction at this Island must hapen in the Day time, this method will be attended with ill conveniences in inserting the transactions of each day; for this reason I shall during our stay at this Island, but no longer, reckon the day according to the Civil account that is to begin and end at Midnight.
We had no sooner come to an Anchor in Royal Bay, as before-mentioned, than a great number of the Natives in their Canoes came off to the Ship and brought with them Cocoa Nuts, etc.; these they seem’d to set a great value upon. Amongst those that came off to the Ship was an elderly man whose Name was Owhaa, him the Gentlemen that had been here before in the Dolphin* (* Lieutenant Gore and Mr. Molineux, the Master.) knew and had often spoke of as one that had been of Service to them. This man (together with some others) I took on board and made much of, thinking that he might on some occasions be of use to us. As our stay at this place was not likely to be very short, I thought it very necessary that some order should be observed in Traficking with the Natives, that such Merchandize as we had on board for that purpose might continue to bear a proper value, and not leave it to everyone’s own particular fancy, which could not fail to bring on Confusion and Quarrels between us and the Natives, and would infallibly lessen the value of such Articles as we had to trafick with. In Order to prevent this, the following rules were ordered to be Observed; viz.:—
Rules to be observed by every person in or belonging to His Majesty’s Bark the Endeavour for the better Establishing a regular and uniform Trade for Provisions, etc., with the Inhabitants of George’s Island:—
1. To endeavour by every fair means to Cultivate a Friendship with the Natives, and to treat them with all imaginable humanity.
2. A Proper Person or Persons will be appointed to Trade with the Natives for all manner of Provisions, Fruits, and other Productions of the Earth; and no Officer or Seaman or other person belonging to the Ship, excepting such as are so appointed, shall Trade or offer to Trade for any sort of Provisions, Fruit or other Productions of the Earth, unless they have my leave so to do.
3. Every Person employ’d on shore on any duty whatsoever is strictly to attend to the same, and if by neglect he looseth any of His Arms or working Tools, or suffers them to be stole, the full value thereof will be charged against his pay, according to the Custom of the Navy in such Cases, and he shall receive such further punishment as the nature of the Offence may deserve.
4. The same Penalty will be inflicted upon every person who is found to Embezzle, Trade, or Offer to Trade with any of the Ship’s Stores of what Nature so ever.
5. No sort of Iron or anything that is made of Iron, or any sort of Cloth or other useful or necessary Articles, are to be given in Exchange for anything but Provisions.
As soon as the Ship was properly secured I went on shore, accompanied by Mr. Banks and the other Gentlemen,* with a Party of Men under Arms; we took along with us Owhaa — who took us to the place where the Dolphin watered, and made signs to us as well as we could understand that we might Occupy that ground, but it hapned not to be fit for our purpose. No one of the Natives made the least opposition at our landing, but came to us with all imaginable Marks of Friendship and Submission. We Afterwards made a Circuit through the Woods, and then came on board. We did not find the inhabitants to be numerous, and we imagin’d that several of them had fled from their habitations upon our Arrival in the Bay.
(* Cook generally uses this term for the civilians on board.)
Friday, 14th. This morning we had a great many Canoes about the Ship; the most of them came from the Westward, and brought nothing with them but a few Cocoa Nuts, etc. Two that appeared to be Chiefs we had on board, together with several others, for it was a hard matter to keep them out of the Ship, as they Climb like Munkeys; but it was still harder to keep them from Stealing but everything that came within their reach; in this they are Prodigious Expert. I made each of these two Chiefs a present of a Hatchet, things that they seemed mostly to value. As soon as we had partly got clear of these People I took 2 Boats and went to the Westward, all the Gentlemen being along with me. My design was to see if there was not a more commodious Harbour, and to try the disposition of the Natives, having along with us the 2 Chiefs above mentioned; the first place we landed at was in great Canoe Harbour (so called by Captain Wallis); here the Natives Flocked about us in great numbers, and in as friendly a manner as we could wish, only that they show’d a great inclination to Pick our Pockets. We were conducted to a Chief, who for distinction sake we called Hurcules. After staying a short time with him, and distributing a few Presents about us, we proceeded farther, and came to a Chief who I shall call Lycurgus; this man entertained us with broil’d fish, Cocoa Nutts, etc., with great Hospitality, and all the time took great care to tell us to take care of our Pockets, as a great number of People had crowded about us. Notwithstanding the care we took, Dr. Solander and Dr. Monkhouse had each of them their Pockets picked: the one of his spy glass and the other of his snuff Box. As soon as Lycurgus was made acquainted with the Theft he dispers’d the people in a moment, and the method he made use of was to lay hold on the first thing that came in his way and throw it at them, and happy was he or she that could get first out of his way. He seem’d very much concern’d for what had hapned, and by way of recompence offered us but everything that was in his House; but we refused to accept of anything, and made signs to him that we only wanted the things again. He had already sent people out after them, and it was not long before they were return’d. We found the Natives very numerous wherever we came, and from what we could judge seemed very peacably inclin’d. About six o’Clock in the evening we return’d on board, very well satisfied with our little Excursion.
Saturday, 15th. Winds at East during the day, in the Night a light breeze off the land; and as I apprehend it be usual here for the Trade wind to blow during a great part of the day from the Eastern Board, and to have it Calm or light breezes from the land that is Southerly during the night with fair weather, I shall only mention the wind and weather when they deviate from this rule. This morning several of the Chiefs we had seen Yesterday came on board, and brought with them Hogs, Bread fruit, etc., and for these we gave them Hatchets, Linnen, and such things as they valued. Having not met with yesterday a more Convenient situation for every purpose we wanted than the place we now are, I therefore, without delay, resolved to pitch upon some spot upon the North-East point of the Bay, properly situated for observing the Transit of Venus, and at the same time under the command of the Ship’s Guns, and there to throw up a small fort for our defence. Accordingly I went ashore with a party of men, accompanied by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and Mr. Green. We took along with us one of Mr. Banks’s Tents, and after we had fix’d upon a place fit for our purpose we set up the Tent and marked out the ground we intended to Occupy. By this time a number of the Natives had got collected together about us, seemingly only to look on, as not one of them had any weapon, either Offensive or defensive. I would suffer none to come within the lines I had marked out, excepting one who appeared to be a chief and old Owhaa — to these 2 men we endeavour’d to explain, as well as we could, that we wanted that ground to Sleep upon such a number of nights and then we should go away. Whether they understood us or no is uncertain, but no one appeared the least displeased at what we was about; indeed the Ground we had fixed upon was of no use to them, being part of the sandy Beach upon the shore of the Bay, and not near to any of their Habitations. It being too late in the day to do anything more, a party with a petty officer was left to guard the Tent, while we with another party took a Walk into the woods, and with us most of the natives. We had but just crossed the River when Mr. Banks shott three Ducks at one shott, which surprised them so much that most of them fell down as though they had been shott likewise. I was in hopes this would have had some good effect, but the event did not prove it, for we had not been long from the Tent before the natives again began to gather about, and one of them more daring than the rest pushed one of the Centinels down, snatched the Musket out of his hand and made a push at him, and then made off, and with him all the rest. Immediately upon this the Officer ordered the party to fire, and the Man who took the musket was shot Dead before he had got far from the Tent, but the musquet was carried quite off when this hapned. I and Mr. Banks with the other party was about half a Mile off, returning out of the woods, upon hearing the firing of Muskets, and the Natives leaving us at the same time, we Suspected that something was the matter and hastened our march, but before we arrived the whole was over, and every one of the Natives fled except old Owhaa, who stuck by us the whole time, and I believe from the first he either knew or had some suspicion that the People would attempt something at the Tent, as he was very much against our going into the Woods out of sight of the Tent. However, he might have other reasons, for Mr. Hicks, being ashore the day before, the natives would not permit him to go into the Woods. This made me resolved to go and see whether they meant to prescribe bounds to us or no. Old Owhaa, as I have said before, was the only one of the Natives that stayed by us, and by his means we prevail’d on about 20 of them to come to the Tent and there sit down with us, and Endeavour’d by every means in our power to Convince them that the Man was kill’d for taking away the Musket, and that we still would be friends with them. At sunset they left us seemingly satisfied, and we struck our Tent and went on board.
Sunday, 16th. This day worked the Ship nearer the Shore and moored her in such a manner as to command all the shore of the North-East part of the Bay, but more particularly the place where we intended to Erect a Fort. Punished Richard Hutchins, seaman, with 12 lashes for disobeying commands. Several of the Natives came down to the shore of the Bay, but not one of them came off to the Ship during the whole day. In the evening I went on shore with only a Boat’s crew and some of the Gentlemen. The Natives gathered about us to the Number of about 30 or 40, and brought us Cocoa Nuts, etc., and seemed as friendly as ever.
Monday, 17th. At two o’Clock this morning, departed this life, Mr. Alex Buchan, Landskip Draftsman to Mr. Banks, a Gentleman well skill’d in his profession and one that will be greatly missed in the Course of this Voyage. He had long been subject to a disorder in his Bowels, which had more than once brought him to the very point of Death, and was at one time subject to fits, of one of which he was taken on Saturday morning; this brought on his former disorder, which put a Period to his life. Mr. Banks thought it not so advisable to Inter the Body ashore in a place where we were utter strangers to the Custom of the Natives on such occasions; it was therefore sent out to sea and committed to that Element with all the decency the Circumstance of the place would admit of. This morning several of the Chiefs from the westward made us a Visit: they brought with them Emblems of Peace, which are Young Plantain Trees. These they put on board the Ship before they would venture themselves. They brought us a present of 2 Hogs (an Article we find here very Scarce) and some Bread Fruit; for these they had Hatchets and other things. In the afternoon we set up one of the Ship’s Tents ashore, and Mr. Green and myself stay’d there the night to observe an eclipse of Jupiter’s first Satilite, which we was hinder’d from seeing by Clouds.
Tuesday, 18th. Cloudy weather with some showers of rain. This morning took as many people out of the Ship as could possibly be spared, and set about Erecting a Fort. Some were employ’d in throughing up intrenchment, while others was cutting facines, Picquets, etc. The Natives were so far from hindering us that several of them assisted in bringing the Picquets and facines out of the woods, and seemed quite unconcern’d at what we was about. The wood we made use of for this occasion we purchased of them, and we cut no Tree down before we had first obtained their Consent. By this time all the Ship’s sails were unbent and the Armourer’s Forge set up to repair the Ironwork, etc. Served fresh Pork to the Ship’s Company to-day for the first time. This is like to be a very scarce Article with us, but as to Bread fruit, Cocoa Nutts and Plaintains, the Natives supply us with as much as we can destroy.
Wednesday, 19th. This morning Lycurgus, whose real name is Toobouratomita, came with his family from the Westward in order, from what we could understand, to live near us. He brought with him the cover of a House, with several other Materials for building one. We intend to requite the confidence this man seems to put in us by treating him with all imaginable kindness. Got on shore some Empty Casks, which we placed in a double row along the Bank of the River, by way of a breast work on that side.
Thursday, 20th. Wind at South-East and Squally, with rain. All hands employ’d on shore, and nothing remarkable, excepting a Hog weighing about 90 pound was brought alongside the Ship for Sale, but those who brought it would not part with it for anything we could offer them but a Carpenter’s broad axe, and this was what we could not part with; they carried it away. Thus we see those very People who but 2 years ago prefer’d a spike Nail to an Axe of any Sort, have so far learnt the use of them that they will not part with a Pig of 10 or 12 pounds weight for anything under a Hatchet, and even those of an inferior or small sort are of no great esteem with them, and small Nails such as 10 penny, 20 penny, or any under 40 penny, are of no value at all; but beads, particularly white cut glass beads, are much valued by them. Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander lays ashore to-night for the first time, their Markee’s being set up within the Walls of the Fort and fit for their reception.
Friday, 21st. Got the Copper Oven ashore and fixed it in the bank of the breastwork. Yesterday, as Mr. Green and Dr. Monkhouse were taking a walk, they happened to meet with the Body of the Man we had shott, as the Natives made them fully understand; the manner in which the body was interred being a little extraordinary. I went to-day, with some others, to see it. Close by the House wherein he resided when living was built a small shed, but whether for the purpose or no I cannot say, for it was in all respects like some of the Sheds or Houses they live in. This shed was about 14 or 16 feet long, 10 or 12 broad, and of a proportionable height. One end was wholy open, the other end and two sides was partly inclosed with a kind of wicker’d work. In this Shed lay the Corps, upon a Bier or frame of wood, with a matted bottom, like a Cott frame used at Sea, and Supported by 4 Posts about 5 feet from the Ground. The body was cover’d with a Matt, and over that a white Cloth; alongside of the Body lay a wooden Club, one of their Weapons of War. The Head of the Corps lay next the close end of the Shed, and at this end lay 2 Cocoa Nutt Shells, such as they sometimes use to carry water in; at the other end of the Shed was a Bunch of Green leaves, with some dry’d twigs tied all together and stuck in the Ground, and a stone lying by them as big as a Cocoa Nutt. Near to these lay a young Plaintain Tree, such as they use as Emblems of Peace, and by it lay a stone Axe. At the open end of the Shed was stuck upwright in the ground the Stem of a Plaintain Tree about 5 feet high, on the Top of which stood a Cocoa Nutt shell full of fresh water, and on the side of the post hung a small Bag, wherein was a few pieces of Bread Fruit roasted ready for eating. Some of the pieces were fresh and others Stale. The Natives did not seem to like that we should go near the body, and stood at a little distance themselves while we examin’d these matters, and appeared to be pleased when we came away. It certainly was no very agreeable place, for it stunk intollerably, and yet it was not above 10 yards from the Huts wherein several of the living resided. The first day we landed we saw the Skeleton of a human being laying in this manner under a shade that was just big enough to cover it, and some days after that, when some of the Gentlemen went with a design to examine it more narrowly, it was gone. It was at this time thought that this manner of interring their Dead was not common to all ranks of People, as this was the first we had seen Except the Skeleton just mentioned; but various were the opinions concerning the Provisions, etc., laid about the Dead. Upon the whole, it should seem that these people not only believe in a Supreem being, but in a future state also, and this must be meant either as an Offering to some Deitie or for the use of the Dead in the other world; but this latter is not very probable, as there appeared to be no Priest Craft in the thing, for whatever Provisions were put there it appeared very plain to us that there it remain’d until it consumed away of itself. It is most likely that we shall see more of this before we leave the Island, but if it is a Religious ceremony we may not be able to understand it, for the Misteries of most Religions are very Dark and not easily understood, even by those who profess them.
Saturday, 22nd, to Thursday, 27th. Nothing worthy of Note Hapned. The people were Continually at work upon the Fort,* and the Natives were so far reconciled to us that they rather assisted us than not. This day we mounted 6 Swivels at the Fort, which was now nearly finished. This struck the Natives with some fear, and some fishermen who lived upon the point moved farther off, and old Owhaa told us by signs that after 4 days we should fire Great Guns from the Ship. There were some other Circumstances co-operated with this man’s prophecy, whether an opinion hath prevailed amongst them that after that time we intend to fire upon them, or that they intend to Attack us, we know not: the first we do not intend unless the latter takes place, which is highly improbable.
(* Near the site of this Fort is still a Tamarind Tree, planted by Captain Cook. All visitors to Tahiti go to see “Cook’s Tamarind.”)
Friday, 28th. This morning a great number of the natives came to us in their Canoes from differant parts of the Island, several of whom we had not seen before. One of these was the Woman called by the Dolphins the Queen of this Island; she first went to Mr. Banks’s tent at the fort, where she was not known, till the Master, happening to go ashore, who knew her, and brought her on board with 2 Men and several Women, who seem’d to be all of her family. I made them all some presents or other, but to Oberiea (for that is this Woman’s name) I gave several things, in return for which, as soon as I went on shore with her, she gave me a Hog and several Bunches of plaintains. These she caused to be carried from her Canoes up to the Fort in a kind of Procession, she and I bringing up the rear. This Woman is about 40 years of Age, and, like most of the other Women, very Masculine. She is head or chief of her own family or Tribe, but to all appearance hath no Authority over the rest of the Inhabitants, whatever she might have when the Dolphin was here. Hercules, whose real Name is Tootaha, is, to all appearance, the Chief Man of the Island, and hath generally visited us twice a week since we have been here, and came always attended by a number of Canoes and people; and at those times we were sure to have a supply, more or less, of everything the Island afforded, both from himself and from those that came with him, and it is a Chance thing that we get a Hog at any other time. He was with us at this Time, and did not appear very well pleased at the Notice we took of Oberiea.
Saturday, 29th. This day got the 4 guns out of the Hold, and Mounted 2 of them on the Quarter Deck and the other 2 in the Fort on the Bank of the River.
Sunday, 30th. This being the day that Owhaa told us that we should fire our Guns, no one of us went from the Fort; however, the day passed over without any Visible alteration in the behaviour of any one of the Natives.
Monday, 1st May. This morning Tootaha came on board the Ship, and was very Desireous of seeing into every Chest and Drawer that was in the Cabin. I satisfied his curiosity so far as to open most of those that belong’d to me. He saw several things that he took a fancy to, and collected them together; but at last he Cast his eyes upon the Adze I had from Mr. Stephens* that was made in imitation of one of their Stone Adzes or Axes.† The Moment he lays his hands upon it he of his own accord put away everything he had got before, and ask’d me if I would give him that, which I very readily did, and he went away without asking for any one thing more, which I by experience knew was a sure sign that he was well pleased with what he had got.
(* The Secretary of the Admiralty.)
(† The stone adzes of Tahiti were of excellent workmanship.)
This day one of the Natives, who appeared to be a Chief, dined with us, as he had done some days before; but then there were always some Women present, and one or another of them put the Victuals into his Mouth, but this day there hapned to be none to Perform that Office. When he was help’d to victuals and desir’d to eat, he sat in the Chair like a Statute, without once attempting to put a Morsel to his mouth, and would certainly have gone without his dinner if one of the Servants had not fed him. We have often found the women very officious in feeding us, from which it would seem that it is the Custom on some occasions for them to feed the Chiefs. However, this is the only instance of that kind we have seen, or that they could not help themselves as well as any of us.
This afternoon we set up the Observatory and took the Astronomical Quadrant ashore for the first time, together with some other Instruments, the fort being now finished and made as Tenantable as the time, Nature, and situation of the Ground and Materials we had to work upon would admit of. The North and South parts consisted of a Bank of Earth 4 1/2 feet high on the inside, and a Ditch without, 10 feet broad and 6 feet deep; on the West side facing the Bay a Bank of Earth 4 feet high, and Palisades upon that, but no Ditch, the works being at high-water mark. On the East side upon the Bank of the river was placed a double row of Casks, and, as this was the weakest side, the 2 four Pounders were planted there, and the whole was defended, beside these 2 Guns, with 6 Swivels, and generally about 45 Men with small Arms, including the Officers and Gentlemen who resided ashore. I now thought myself perfectly secure from anything these people would attempt.
Tuesday, 2nd. This morning, about 9 o’Clock, when Mr. Green and I went to set up the Quadrant, it was not to be found. It had never been taken out of the Packing Case (which was about 18 Inches square) since it came from Mr. Bird, the Maker; and the whole was pretty heavy, so that it was a matter of Astonishment to us all how it could be taken away, as a Centinal stood the whole night within 5 Yards of the door of the Tent, where it was put, together with several other Instruments; but none of them was missing but this. However, it was not long before we got information that one of the Natives had taken it away and carried it to the Eastward. Immediately a resolution was taken to detain all the large Canoes that were in the Bay, and to seize upon Tootaha and some others of the principal people, and keep them in Custody until the Quadrant was produced; but this last we did not think proper immediately to put in Execution, as we had only Oberiea in our power, and the detaining of her by force would have alarm’d all the rest. In the meantime, Mr. Banks (who is always very alert upon all occasions wherein the Natives are concern’d) and Mr. Green went into the Woods to enquire of Toobouratomita which way and where the Quadrant was gone. I very soon was inform’d that these 3 was gone to the Eastward in quest of it, and some time after I followed myself with a small party of Men; but before I went away I gave orders that if Tootaha came either to the Ship or the Fort he was not to be detain’d, for I found he had no hand in taking away the Quadrant, and that there was almost a Certainty of getting it again. I met Mr. Banks and Mr. Green about 4 miles from the Fort, returning with the Quadrant. This was about Sun set, and we all got back to the Fort about 8 o’Clock, where I found Tootaha in Custody, and a number of the Natives crowding about the Gate of the Fort. My going into the Woods with a party of Arm’d men so alarmed the Natives that in the evening they began to move off with their Effects, and a Double Canoe putting off from the Bottom of the Bay was ohserv’d by the Ship, and a Boat sent after her. In this Canoe hapned to be Tootaha, and as soon as our Boat came up with her, he and all the people that were in the Canoe jump’d overboard, and he only was taken up and brought on board the Ship, together with the Canoe; the rest were permitted to swim to the Shore. From the Ship Tootaha was sent to the Fort, where Mr. Hicks thought proper to detain him until I return’d. The Scene between Toobouratomita and Tootaha, when the former came into the Fort and found the latter in Custody, was really moving. They wept over each other for some time. As for Tootaha, he was so far prepossessed with the thought that he was to be kill’d that he could not be made sencible to the Contrary till he was carried out of the Fort to the people, many of whom Expressed their joy by embracing him; and, after all, he would not go away until he had given us two Hogs, notwithstanding we did all in our power to hinder him, for it is very certain that the Treatment he had meet with from us did not merit such a reward. However, we had it in our power to make him a present of equal value whenever we pleased.
Wednesday, 3rd. Very early this morning Tootaha sent for the Canoe we had detained yesterday, and in the Afternoon sent a man for an Axe and a Shirt in return for the Hogs he gave us last night; but as this man told us that Tootaha would not come near us himself in less than 10 days, we thought proper not to send them, to try if he would not come himself for them sooner.
Thursday, 4th. Some people came to the Fort to-day from York Island; one of them gave us an account of 22 Islands lying in this Neighbourhood. Set up the 2 Clocks; one in the Tent wherein Mr. Green and I lay, and the other in the Observatory. This evening Tootaha sent a man again for the Axe and Shirt, and we sent him word by the same man that Mr. Banks and I would come and see him to-morrow and bring them along with us, for it now became necessary that we should take some steps to reconcile this man to us in order to procure a sufficient supply of Bread fruit, and Cocoa Nuts, which we have not had for these 2 days past, owing, as we apprehend, to Tootaha not being reconciled to us, or otherwise the people take this method to shew their resentment of the Treatment their Chief meet with.
Friday, 5th. Early this morning Tootaha sent some of his people to put us in mind of our promise, and these seem’d very uneasy until we set out, which Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and myself did about 10 o’clock in the Pinnace, having one of these men with us. As soon as we came to Appara, the place where Tootaha resided, we saw a great number of People at the landing place near his House; one among them, who had a large Turban about his Head, and a long white stick in his Hand, drove the others from the landing place by beating them with his Stick, and throwing stones at them, and at the same time directed us whereabouts to land. After we had landed he conducted us to the Chief, but in this there was no order, everyone crowded upon us crying out “Tyo Tootaha,” this Tootaha was our Friend. We found the chief setting in the shade under a large Tree, with a Circle of old men round him; he made us set down by him, and immediately asked for the Axe. I then gave him one, together with an upper Garment made of Broad Cloth after their Fashion, and a Shirt. The Garment he put on, but the Shirt he gave to the man who first received us at landing, who was now seated by us, and the Chief seemed desirous that we should take particular notice of him. By that Time Obaria, and several other women whom we knew, came and sat down by us. Tootaha did not stay long before he went away, as we thought to show himself to the people in his new Dress. He was not gone long before he return’d and took his seat again for a few minutes, then went away again, as we was told, to order something to be got for us to Eat, and at this time we gladly would have gone too, being almost Suffocated with the Crowd that was about us. However, here we remained for about 10 Minutes longer, when word was brought us that the Chief wanted us. We were then conducted to our own Boat, where we found him setting alone under the Awning. He made signs to us to come to him, which we did, and as many with us as the Boat would hold. Here he ordered some Bread fruit and Cocoa Nut to be brought, of both of which we tasted.
After we had set here sometime, a Message was brought to the Chief, who immediately went out of the Boat, and we was desired to follow, and was conducted to a large Aria or Court Yard on one side of his House, where we were entertained with Public wrestling. Tootaha seated himself at one end of the place, and several of his Principal men sat round him in a Semicircle. We were desir’d to sit down here likewise, but we rather chose to walk about. Everything being now ready, several men entered the Theater, 8, 10, or 12, sometimes more. These walked about in a Stooping Poster, with their left hand upon their right breast, and with their Right hand Open struck with a smack their left Arm and fore-arm. In this manner they walked about until one Challenged another, which was done by motion and jesture, without speaking one word. The 2 Antagonists would then meet and endeavour to seize each other by the thighs, but if that fail’d they would seize each other by the Hair of the Head or wherever they could, and then Wrestle together until by main Strength the one or the other was thrown on his back. This was always (Except once) followed by three Huzzas from some old men who sat in the House, and at the same time another Company of men would dance for about a Minute, the Wrestlers all the time continuing their game without taking the least notice of anything else. The only dexterity the Wrestlers seemed to make use of was in first seizing each other, for after they had closed it was all decided by Main strength. It would sometimes happen that neither the one nor the other could throw his Antagonist; in this Case they would either part by mutual consent or were parted by others. The Conqueror never exulted over the Conquer’d, neither did the Conquer’d ever repine at his ill luck, but the whole was carried on with great good Humour. There were present, Young and old, near 500 People. The women do not seem to partake of this diversion, only some few of the Principal ones were present, and that appeared to be owing to us being there.
After this was over we were given to understand that we were to go to Dinner, and were desired to follow Tootaha, who led us into our own Boat, and soon after came a small Pig ready roasted, with some Bread Fruit and Cocoa Nuts. Here we thought we were to have dined, but Tootaha, after waiting about 10 Minutes, made signs to us to put off the Boat and go a Board, which we did, and bring him and Toobouratomida along with us. As soon as we got on board we all dined on the Cheer the Chief had provided. We soon found the good effects of having made friends with this man, for it was no sooner known to the Natives that he was on board the Ship than they brought Bread Fruit, Cocoa Nuts, etc., to the Fort.
Saturday, 6th; Sunday, 7th. Nothing remarkable, only that the Natives supply us with as much bread fruits and Cocoa Nuts as we can destroy.
Monday, 8th. Early this morning the Master went to the Eastward in the Pinnace to try if he could procure some Hogs and Fowls from that Quarter; but he return’d in the evening without success. He saw but very few, and those the inhabitants pretended belonged to Tootaha; so great is this man’s influence or authority over them that they dare part with nothing without his Consent, or otherwise they use his Name to Excuse themselves from parting with the few they have, for it is very certain these things are in no great plenty with them.
Tuesday, 9th; Wednesday, 10th; Thursday, 11th. Nothing remarkable hapned for these three days. Oberiea, the Dolphin’s queen, made us a Visit for the first time since the Quadrant was Stolen. She introduced herself with a Small Pig, for which she had a Hatchet, and as soon as she got it she Lugg’d out a Broken Axe, and several pieces of Old Iron. These, I believe, she must have had from the Dolphin; the Axe she wanted to be mended, and Axes made of the old iron. I obliged her in the first, but excused myself in the latter: since the Natives had seen the Forge at work they have frequently brought pieces of Iron to be made into one sort of Tool or other, which hath generally been done whenever it did not hinder our own work — being willing to Oblige them in everything in my power. These Pieces of old Iron the Natives must have got from the Dolphin, as we know of no other Ship being here;* and very probable some from us, for there is no species of Theft they will not commit to get this Article, and I may say the same of the common Seamen when in these parts.
(* M. de Bougainville, in the French ships La Boudeuse and L’Etoile, had visited Tahiti the year before, after its discovery by the Dolphin. He was unfortunate in his choice of anchorage, and his ships lost anchors and got into various difficulties. The crews were also much afflicted with scurvy.)
Friday, 12th. Cloudy weather with Showers of rain. This morning a Man and 2 Young Women, with some others, came to the Fort, whom we had not seen before, and as their manner of introducing themselves was a little uncommon, I shall insert it. Mr. Banks was as usual at the gate of the Fort trading with the people, when he was told that some Strangers were coming, and therefore stood to receive them. The Company had with them about a Dozen young Plantain Trees, and some other small Plants, these they laid down about 20 feet from Mr. Banks; the people then made a Lane between him and them. When this was done the Man (who appeared to be only a Servant to the two Women) brought the young Plantains singly, together with some of the other plants, and gave them to Mr. Banks, and at the delivery of each pronounced a Short sentence which we understood not. After he had thus disposed of all his plantain trees, he took several pieces of Cloth and spread them on the ground. One of the Young women then stepp’d upon the Cloth, and with as much innocency as one could possibly conceive, exposed herself, entirely naked, from the waist downwards; in this manner she turn’d herself once or twice round, I am not certain which, then stepped off the cloth, and dropp’d down her Cloaths. More Cloth was then spread upon the former, and she again performed the same Ceremony. The Cloth was then rowled up and given to Mr. Banks, and the two Young women went and Embraced him, which ended the Ceremony.
Saturday, 13th. Nothing worthy of Note hapned during the day; in the Night one of the Natives attempted to get into the Fort by Climbing over the Wall, but, being discovered by the Centinel, he made off. The Iron and Iron Tools daily in use at the Armourer’s Forge are Temptations that these people cannot possibly withstand.
Sunday, 14th. This day we performed divine Service in one of the Tents in the fort, where several of the Natives attended and behaved with great decency the whole time. This day closed with an odd sceen at the Gate of the Fort, where a young Fellow above 6 feet high made love to a little Girl about 10 or 12 years of Age publickly before several of our people and a number of the Natives. What makes me mention this is because it appear’d to be done according to Custom, for there were several women present, particularly Obariea and several others of the better sort, and these were so far from showing the least disapprobation that they instructed the Girl how she should Act her part, who, young as she was, did not seem to want it.
Monday, 15th. Winds variable and cloudy weather. Last Night one of our Water Casks was taken away from the outside of the Fort, where they stood full of water. In the morning there was not one of the Natives but what knew it was gone; yet, Contrary to what we had always met with on these Occasions, not one of them would give us any information about it, and I thought it of too little Consequence to take any methods to Oblige them. In the evening Toobouratomida and his Wife, and a Man belonging to Tootaha, would needs lay all Night by the Casks to prevent any more from being taken away; but, as we had placed a Centinel there, this care of theirs became unnecessary, and they were prevailed upon to go home; but before they went away they made signs to the Centinel to keep his Eyes open. From this it should seem that they knew that an attempt would be made in the night to take away more, which would have been done had not the Centinel prevented it.
Tuesday, 16th. Winds Westerly. The morning cloudy, with heavy showers of rain; the Remainder of the day fair weather. From this day nothing remarkable hapned until
Monday, 22nd, which was usher’d in with thick Cloudy weather, and Excessive hard Showers of rain and very much Thunder and Lightning, which Continued the Greater part of the day.
Tuesday, 23rd. Wind Southerly and fair weather in the Forenoon, but in the Afternoon Showers. We have had a Scarcity of all sorts of Fruit for these 2 days past, which we immagine to be owing to the Wet weather.
Wednesday, 24th. Fine clear weather all this day. Having found the Long boat Leakey for these few days past, we hauld her ashore to-day to stop the leakes, when, to our great surprise, we found her bottom so much Eaten by the Worms that it was necessary to give her a new one, and all the Carpenters were immediately set to work upon her.
Thursday, 25th. Most part of these 24 hours Cloudy, with frequent Showers of Rain.
Friday, 26th. Some flying showers again. This morning we hauled the pinnace a Shore to examine her bottom, and had the Satisfaction to find that not one worm had touched it, notwithstanding she hath been in the water nearly as long as the Long Boat. This must be owing to the White Lead with which her bottom is painted, the Long boats being paid with Varnish of Pine, for no other reason can be assign’d why the one should be preserved and the other destroy’d, when they are both built on the Same sort of Wood and have been in equal use. From this Circumstance alone the Bottom of all Boats sent into Countrys where these worms are ought to be painted with White Lead, and the Ships supply’d with a good stock in order to give them a New Coat whenever it’s necessary. By this means they would be preserved free from these destructive Vermin. The Long boat’s Bottom being so much destroy’d appear’d a little extraordinary, as the Dolphin’s Launch was in the Water at this very place full as long, and no such thing happened to her, as the Officers that were in the Dolphin say.
Saturday, 27th. Winds variable and fair weather.
Sunday, 28th. Winds Southerly and clear weather. This morning myself, Mr. Banks, and Dr. Solander set out in the Pinnace to pay Tootaha a Visit, who had moved from Apparra to the South-West part of the island. What induced us to make him this visit was a Message we had received from him some days ago importing that if we would go to him he would give us several Hogs. We had no great faith in this, yet we were resolved to try, and set out accordingly. It was Night before we reached the place where he was, and, as we had left the Boat about half-way behind us, we were obliged to take up our Quarters with him for the Night. The Chief received us in a Friendly manner, and a Pig was ordered to be killed and dressed for Supper; but we saved his Life for the present, thinking it would do us more service in another place, and we supped on Fruit and what else we could get. Here was, along with the Chief, Obariea and many more that we knowd. They all seem’d to be travellers like ourselves, for neither the Canoes they had along with them, nor the Houses where they were, were sufficient to contain the one half of them. We were in all Six of us, and after supper began to look out for Lodgings. Mr. Banks went to one place, Dr. Solander to another, while I and the other 3 went to a third. We all of us took as much care of the little we had about us as possible, knowing very well what sort of People we were among; yet, notwithstanding all the care we took, before 12 o’clock the most of us had lost something or other. For my own part I had my Stockings taken from under my head, and yet I am certain that I was not a Sleep the whole time. Obariea took charge of Mr. Banks’s things, and yet they were stol’n from her, as she pretended. Tootaha was acquainted with what had hapned, I believe by Obariea herself, and both him and her made some stir about it; but this was all meer shew, and ended in nothing. A little time after this Tootaha came to the Hutt where I and those that were with me lay, and entertain’d us with a Consort of Musick consisting of 3 Drums, 4 Flutes, and Singing. This lasted about an Hour, and then they retir’d. The Music and Singing was so much of a piece that I was very glad when it was over. We stay’d with them till near noon the next day in hopes of getting some of our things again, and likewise some Hogs; but we were at last obliged to come away with the one we had saved out of the Fire last Night, and a promise from Tootaha that he would come to the Ship in a Day or two with more, and bring with him the things that are lost, a promise we had no reason to expect he would fulfill. Thus ended our Visit, and we got to the Fort late in the evening.
Tuesday, 30th. We are now very buisey in preparing our Instruments, etc., for the Observations, and Instructing such Gentlemen in the use of them, as I intend to send to other parts to observe, for fear we should fail here.
Wednesday, 31st. Late this Evening the Carpenters finished the Long boat.
Thursday, June 1st. This day I sent Lieutenant Gore in the Long boat to York Island* with Dr. Monkhouse and Mr. Sporing (a Gentleman belonging to Mr. Banks) to Observe the Transit of Venus, Mr. Green having furnished them with Instruments for that purpose. Mr. Banks and some of the Natives of this Island went along with them.
(* Eimeo, westward of, and near to Tahiti.)
Friday, 2nd. Very early this morning Lieutenant Hicks, Mr. Clark, Mr. Pickersgill and Mr. Saunders went away in the Pinnace to the Eastward, with orders to fix upon some Convenient situation upon this Island, and there to Observe the Transit of Venus, they being likewise provided with Instruments for that purpose.
Saturday, 3rd. This day proved as favourable to our purpose as we could wish. Not a Cloud was to be seen the whole day, and the Air was perfectly Clear, so that we had every advantage we could desire in observing the whole of the Passage of the planet Venus over the Sun’s Disk. We very distinctly saw an Atmosphere or Dusky shade round the body of the planet, which very much disturbed the times of the Contact, particularly the two internal ones. Dr. Solander observed as well as Mr. Green and myself, and we differ’d from one another in Observing the times of the Contact much more than could be expected. Mr. Green’s Telescope and mine where of the same Magnifying power, but that of the Doctor was greater than ours. It was nearly calm the whole day, and the Thermometer Exposed to the Sun about the Middle of the day rose to a degree of heat we have not before met with.
Sunday, 4th. Punished Archd. Wolf with 2 Dozen lashes for Theft, having broken into one of the Storerooms and stol’n from thence a large quantity of Spike Nails; some few of them where found upon him. This evening the Gentlemen that were sent to observe the Transit of Venus, return’d with success; those that were sent to York Island were well received by the Natives. That Island appear’d to them not to be very fruitful.
Monday, 5th. Got some of the Bread ashore out of the Bread Room to dry and Clean. Yesterday being His Majesty’s birthday, we kept it to-day and had several of the Chiefs to dine with us.
Tuesday, 6th. This day and for some days past we have been informd by several of the Natives that about 10 or 15 months ago Two Ships touched at this Island and stayed 10 days in a Harbour to the Eastward, called Ohidea, the Commander’s name was Tootteraso,* — so at least the Natives call him — and that one of the Natives, Brother to the Chief of Ohidea, went away with him. They likewise say these ships brought the venerial distemper to this Island, where it is now as Common as in any part of the world, and which the people bear with as little concern as if they have been accustom’d to it for Ages past. We had not been here many days before some of our People got this disease, and as no such thing hapned to any of the Dolphin’s people while she was here, that I ever heard of, I had reason (notwithstanding the improbability of the thing) to think that we had brought it along with us, which gave me no small uneasiness, and did all in my power to prevent its progress, but all I could do was to little purpose, as I was obliged to have the most part of the Ship’s Company ashore every day to work upon the Fort, and a Strong Guard every Night; and the Women were so very liberal with their favours — or else Nails, Shirts, etc., were temptations that they could not withstand, that this distemper very soon spread itself over the greatest part of the Ship’s company, but now I have the satisfaction to find that the Natives all agree that we did not bring it here.
(* M. de Bougainville, who laid at Hitiaa from April 6th to April 16th, 1768.)
We have several times seen Iron tools and other Articles with these people that we suspected came not from the Dolphin, and these they now say they had from these two Ships.
Wednesday, 7th; Thursday, 8th; Friday, 9th. These three days we have been employ’d in Careening both sides of the Ship, and paying them with Pitch and Brimstone. We found her Bottom in good order, and that the worm had not got into it.
Saturday, 10th. Wind Variable, with very much rain all day and last night.
Sunday, 11th. Cloudy, with rain last night and this morning; the remainder of the day fair weather. This day Mr. Banks and I took Toobouratomita on board the Ship and shew’d him the print containing the Colours worne by the ships of Diffrent Nations, and very soon made him understand that we wanted to know which of them was worn by the ships that were at Ohidea. He at once pitched upon the Spanish Flag and would by no means admit of any other; this, together with several Articles we have lately seen amongst these people, such as Jackets, Shirts, etc., usually worn by Spanish Seamen, proves beyond doubt that they must have been Ships of that Nation, and come from some Port on the Coast of South America.*
(* This was of course a mistake, as the ships were French.)
Monday, 12th. Yesterday Complaint was made to me by some of the Natives that John Thurman and James Nicholson, Seamen, had taken by force from them several Bows and Arrows and plaited Hair, and the fact being proved upon them they were this day punished with 2 dozen lashes each.
Tuesday, 13th. Some Showers of rain last night, but fair weather the most part of the day. Tootaha, whom we have not seen for some time past, paid us a Visit to-Day. He brought with him a Hog and some Bread Fruit, for which he was well paid.
Wednesday, 14th. Between 2 and 4 o’clock this morning, one of the Natives stole out of the Fort an Iron rake, made use of for the Oven. It hapned to be set up against the Wall, and by that means was Visible from the outside, and had been seen by them in the evening, as a man had been seen lurking about the Fort some Hours before the thing was Missed. I was informed by some others of the Natives that he watch’d an opportunity when the Centinel’s back was turned, he hooked it with a long crooked stick, and haled it over the Wall. When I came to be informed of this theft in the Morning I resolved to recover it by some Means or other, and accordingly went and took possession of all the Canoes of any value I could meet with, and brought them into the River behind the Fort to the number of 22, and told the Natives then present (most of them being the owners of the Canoes) that unless the principal things they had stol’n from us were restored I would burn them every one: not that I ever intended to put this in execution, and yet I was very much displeased with them, as they were daily committing, or attempting to commit, one theft or other, when at the same time — contrary to the opinion of everybody, I would not suffer them to be fir’d upon, for this would have been putting it in the power of the Centinels to have fir’d upon them upon the most slitest occasions, as I had before experienced. And I have a great Objection to firing with powder only amongst People who know not the difference, for by this they would learn to despise fire Arms and think their own Arms superior, and if ever such an Opinion prevailed they would certainly attack you, the Event of which might prove as unfavourable to you as them. About Noon the rake was restored us, when they wanted to have their Canoes again; but now, as I had them in my possession, I was resolved to try if they would not redeem them by restoring what they had stol’n from us before. The Principal things which we had lost was the Marine Musquet, a pair of Pistols belonging to Mr. Banks, a Sword belonging to one of the Petty Officers, and a Water Cask, with some other Articles not worth mentioning. Some said that these things were not in the Island, others that Tootaha had them, and those of Tootaha’s friends laid the whole to Obariea, and I believe the whole was between these two persons.
Thursday, 15th. We have been employed for some Days past in overhauling all the Sea Provisions, and stowing such as we found in a State of decay to hand, in order to be first expended; but having the people divided between the Ship and the Shore, this work, as well as refitting the Ship, goes on but slowly.
Friday, 16th; Saturday, 17th. Variable winds, with Showers of rain and Cloudy weather.
Sunday, 18th. Variable winds and Clear weather. This Night was observed the Moon totally Eclipsed.
Monday, 19th. Punished James Tunley with 12 lashes for taking Rum out of the Cask on the Quarter Deck.
Tuesday, 20th. Got all the Powder aShore to Air, all of which we found in a bad Condition, and the Gunner informs me that it was very little better when it came first on board. Last Night Obariea made us a visit, whom we have not seen for some time. We were told of her coming, and that she would bring with her some of the Stol’n things, which we gave Credit to because we know’d several of them were in her possession; but we were surprised to find this Woman put herself wholy in our power, and not bring with her one Article of what we had lost. The Excuse she made was that her Gallant, a man that used to be along with her, did Steal them, and she had beat him and turned him away, but she was so Sencible of her own Guilt that she was ready to drop down through fear, and yet she had resolution Enough to insist upon Sleeping in Mr. Banks’s Tent all Night, and was with difficulty prevailed upon to go to her canoe, altho no one took the least notice of her. In the morning she brought her Canoe, with everything she had, to the Gate of the Fort, after which we could not help admiring her for her Courage and the Confidence she seem’d to place in us, and thought that we could do no less than to receive her into favour, and except the Present she had brought us, which consisted of a Hog, a Dog, some Bread Fruit and Plantains.
We refused to Except of the Dog, as being an Animal we had no use for; at which she seemed a little surprised, and told us it was very good eating, and we very soon had an opportunity to find that it was so, for Mr. Banks, having bought a Basket of Fruit in which was the Thigh of a Dog ready dressed, of this several of us tasted, and found that it was Meat not to be despised, and therefore took Obariea’s Dog and had him immediately dressed by some of the Natives in the following manner: They first made a hole in the Ground about a foot Deep, in which they made a fire and heated some small Stones. While this was doing the Dog was strangled and the hair got off by laying him frequently on the fire, and as clean as if it had been scalded off with hot water. His Intrails was taken out, and the whole washed Clean, and as soon as the Stones and Hole was sufficiently heated the fire was put out and part of the Stones were left in the bottom of the hole. Upon these stones were laid green leafs, and upon them the Dog, together with the Intrails, these were likewise covered with leaves, and over them hot stones; and then the hole was close cover’d with mould. After he had laid here about 4 Hours, the Oven (for so I must call it) was op’ned, and the dog taken out, whole and well done, and it was the Opinion of every one who tasted it that they never eat sweater Meat, therefore we resolved for the future never to dispise Dog’s flesh. It is in this manner that the Natives dress and Bake all their Victuals that require it — Flesh, fish, and Fruit. I now gave over all thoughts of recovering any of the things the Natives had stol’n from us, and therefore intend to give them up their Canoes whenever they apply for them.
Wednesday, 21st. Employed drying the Powder, or getting on board Wood, Water, etc. Confined Robert Anderson, Seaman, for refusing to obey the orders of the Mate when at work in the Hold. This morning a Chief, whose Name is Oamo, and one we had not seen before, came to the Fort. There came with him a Boy about 7 Years of Age and a Young Woman of about 18 or 20. At the Time of their coming Obariea and several others were in the fort. They went out to meet them, having first uncovered their Heads and Bodies as low as their Waists; and the same thing was done by all those that were on the outside of the Fort. As we looked upon this as a Ceremonial respect, and had not seen it paid to any one before, we thought that this Oamo must be some extraordinary person, and wondered to see so little notice taken of him after the Ceremony was over. The Young woman that came along with him could not be prevailed upon to come into the Fort, and the Boy was Carried upon a Man’s back, altho’ he was as able to walk as the Man who carried him. This Lead us to inquire who they were; and we was informed that the Boy was Heir Apparent to the Sovereignty of the Island, and the Young Woman was his Sister, and as such the respect was paid them which was due to no one else except the Arreedehi, which was not Tootaha, from what we could learn, but some other person who we had not seen, or like to do, for they say that he is no Friend of ours, and therefore will not come near us. The Young Boy above mentioned is son to Oamo by Obariea, but Oamo and Obariea do not at this time live together as Man and Wife, he not being able to endure with her troublesome disposition. I mention this because it shows that seperation in the Marriage state is not unknown to these people.*
(* See note Notes on Tahiti below.)
Thursday, 22nd. This morning I released Robert Anderson from Confinement at the intercession of the Master and a promise of behaving better for the future.
Friday, 23rd. This morning Emanuel Parreyra, a Portugue, was Missing, and I had some reason to think that he was gone with an intent to stay here. It was not long before I was informed that he was at Apparra with Tootaha. The Man who gave us this information was one of Tootaha’s Servants. He was Offer’d a Hatchet if he would go to Apparra and bring him to us. This was perhaps the very thing he came for, for he immediately set out and return’d with the Man in the Evening. The man said in his defence that as he was going to the Boat to go on board last night, he was taken away by force by 3 Men, and upon enquiring farther into this matter I found it to be so, and that Tootaha wanted to have kept him, only that he was perswaided to the contrary, or perhaps he thought that the Hatchet he would get by returning him would do him more service than the Man.
Saturday, 24th, Sunday, 25th. Nothing remarkable.
Monday, 26th. Very early this morning I set out in the pinnace, accompanied by Mr. Banks, with an intent to make the Circuit of the Island in order to Examine and draw a Sketch of the Coast and Harbours thereof. We took our rout to the Eastward, and this night reached the Isthmus, which is a low neck of Land running across the Island, which divides it into two districts or Governments wholly independent of each other as we was informed. The first thing we saw which struck our attention in this day’s rout was a small Pig that had not been roasted above a Day or 2 laid upon one of their Altars near to a place where lay the Body or Bones of a Dead Person. This Pig must have been put their as an offering to their God, but on what account we know not. The Coast from Royal Bay trends East by South and East-South-East 10 miles South by East and South 11 miles to the Isthmus. In the first direction the Shore is mostly open to the Sea, but in the last it is cover’d by reefs of rocks; these forms several good Harbours, wherein are safe Anchorage for Shipping in 16, 18, 20, and 24 fathoms, with other Conveniences. It was in one of these Harbours the Spanish Ships before mentioned lay; the Natives shew’d us the place where they Pitched their Tent and the Brook they water’d at, otherways there was not the least signs of Shipping having been there.
Tuesday, 27th. Winds Easterly and fine weather. It was late last night before we reached the Isthmus, and all the Observations I could make this morning was that it appeared to be a Marshey flatt of about 2 miles in Extent aCross which the Natives Haul their Canoes partly by land and partly by water. From the Isthmus the land trends East Southerly near 3 Leagues, to the South-East point of the Great Bay which lies before the Isthmus. On the west side of this point is a Bay called Ohitepepa, which is in many respects similar to Royal Bay, and is situated in every bit as fertile and populous part of the Island. There are other places formed by the Reefs that lay along the Shore between this and the Isthmus, where Shipping can lay in perfect security. The Land then trends South-East and South to the South-East part of the Island, which is near 3 Leagues, and covered all the way by a Reef of Rocks, but no Harbour. We took up our Quarters at the East part of the Island, being conducted thither by a Young Chief we had Often seen on board the Ship, and the next morning proceeded round the South-East point of the Island, part of which is not cover’d by any reef, but lies wholy open to the Sea and here the Hills rise directly from the Shore. At the Southernmost part of the Island the Shore is again cover’d by a Reef, and there forms a very good Harbour, and the land about it very fertile. At this place we saw a Goose and a Turkey left at Royal Bay by the Dolphin; they were in possession of a Chief who came along with us in the Boat, and remain’d with us the remainder of the day, and conducted us over the Shoals we here meet with; and for this piece of service we lent him a Cloak to Sleep in in the night, but we had not been laid down above 10 minutes before he thought proper to move off with it, but both Mr. Banks and I pursued him so close that he was obliged to relinquish his prize, and we saw no more of him. When we returned to our Lodging we found the House, in which were not less than 2 or 300 people when we went away, intirely deserted, so that we had one of the Largest and best houses on the Island wholy to ourselves; but when they found that we meant them no harm the Chief and his Wife with some others came and Slept by us the remainder of the night. This place is situated on the South-West side of Tiarreboo,* the South-East district of the Island, and about 5 miles South-East from the Isthmus. Here is a large, safe, and Commodious Harbour, inferior to none on the whole Island, and the land about it Rich in Produce. We found that the people of this district had had little or no communication with us, yet we was everywhere well received by them. We found all this part of the Island very fertile and the Natives numerous, and had a great many large Double Canoes built and Ornamented uniformly. They were all halled ashore, and appeared to be going to decay for want of use. Their Mories or Burial places stood generally upon these points of land that projected into the Sea, and were both better built and Ornamented than those about Royal Bay — Tootaha’s excepted. In general this district appear’d to be in a more flourishing state than the other, although it is not above one fourth part as big and cannot contain nothing near the Number of inhabitants.
Thursday, 29th. Squally weather with Showers of rain. This morning we left Tiaraboo and entered upon that of Opooreonoo, the North-West district of the Island. The first thing we met with worthy of note was at one of their Mories, where lay the scull bones of 26 Hogs and 6 Dogs. These all lay near to and under one of their Altars. These Animals must have been offer’d as a Sacrifice to their Gods either all at once or at different times, but on what account we could not learn. The next day we met with an Effigy or Figure of a Man made of Basket work and covered with white and Black feathers placed in such order as to represent the Colour of their Hair and Skins when Tattow’d or painted. It was 7 1/2 feet high and the whole made in due proportion; on its head were 4 Nobs not unlike the stumps of Large Horns — 3 stood in front and one behind. We were not able to learn what use they made of this Monster; it did not at all appear to us that they paid it the least Homage as a God: they were not the least Scrupulous of letting us examine every part of it. I am inclinable to think that it is only used by way of diversion at their Hevas or public entertainments, as Punch is in a Puppet show.*
(* Note by Cook in Admiralty copy: “Tupia informs us that this is a representation of one of the Second rank of Eatuas or Gods, called Mauwi, who inhabited the Earth upon the Creation of man. He is represented as an immense Giant who had seven heads, and was indued with immense strength and abilities. Many absurd stories are told of his Feats by Tupia.”)
We next passed through a Harbour, which is the only one on the south side of Opooreonoo fit for Shipping. It is situated about 5 Miles to the Westward of the Isthmus between 2 Small Islands that lay near the shore and a Mile from each other. In this Harbour is 11 and 12 fathoms of water and good Anchorage. About a League and a half to the Westward of this Harbour is the Morie of Oamo or Oberia, for some told us it belong’d to the one and some to the other; it far Exceeds every thing of this Kind upon the whole Island. It is a long square of Stonework built Pyramidically; its base is 267 feet by 87 feet; at the Top it is 250 feet by 8 feet. It is built in the same manner as we do steps leading up to a Sun Dial or fountain erected in the Middle of a Square where there is a flite of steps on each side. In this building there are 11 of such steps; each step is about 4 feet in height and the breadth 4 feet 7 inches, but they decreased both in height and breadth from the bottom to the Top. On the middle of the Top stood the Image of a Bird carved in Wood, near it lay the broken one of a Fish carved in stone. There was no hollow or Cavity in the inside, the whole being fill’d up with stones. The outside was faced partly with hewn stones and partly with others, and these were placed in such a manner as to look very agreeable to the Eye. Some of the hewn stones were 4 feet 7 inches by 2 feet 4 inches and 15 inches thick, and had been squared and Polished with some sort of an Edge Tool. On the East side was enclosed with a stone wall a piece of ground in form of a square, 360 feet by 354, in this was growing several Cypress trees and Plantains. Round about this Morie was several smaller ones all going to decay, and on the Beach between them and the Sea lay scatter’d up and down a great quantity of human bones. Not far from the Great Morie was 2 or 3 pretty large Altars, where lay the Scull bones of some Hogs and dogs. This Monument stands on the south side of Opooreonoo, upon a low point of land about 100 Yards from the Sea.* It appeared to have been built many Years, and was in a State of decay, as most of their Mories are. From this it would seem that this Island hath been in a more Flourishing state than it is at present, or that Religious Customs are (like most other Nations) by these people less observed. We took up our Quarters near this Morie for the night, and early in the Morning proceeded on our rout, and without meeting with anything remarkable, got on board the Ship on Saturday, the 1st of July, having made the Circuit of the whole Island, which I Estimated at something more than 30 Leagues.† The Plan or Sketch which I have drawn, altho’ it cannot be very accurate, yet it will be found sufficient to point out the Situation of the different Bays and Harbours and the true figure of the Island, and I believe is without any Material error. For the first 2 or 3 days we was out upon this excursion we labour’d under some difficulty for want of Provisions — particularly bread — an Article we took but little of with us — not doubting that we should get bread fruit, more than sufficient for a Boat’s Crew at every place we went to, but, on the Contrary, we found the season for that fruit wholy over, and not one to be seen on the Trees, and all other fruit and roots were scarce. The Natives live now on Sour paist — which is made from bread fruit — and some bread fruit and plantains that they get from the Mountains where the season is Later, and on a Nut not unlike a chessnut which are now in Perfection; but all these Articles are at present very scarce, and therefore it is no wonder that the Natives have not supply’d us with these things of Late. [At Tahiti.] Upon my return to the Ship I found that the Provisions had been all examined and the Water got on board, amounting to 65 Tons. I now determind to get everything off from the Shore and leave the Place as soon as possible. The getting the several Articles on board, and Scraping and paying the Ship’s side, took us up the following Week without anything remarkable happening until
(* On map Morai-no te Oamo.)
(† A remarkably close estimate.)
Sunday, July 9th. When, sometime in the Middle Watch, Clement Webb and Saml. Gibson, both Marines and young Men, found means to get away from the Fort (which was now no hard matter to do) and in the morning were not to be found. As it was known to everybody that all hands were to go on board on the Monday morning, and that the ship would sail in a day or two, there was reason to think that these 2 Men intended to stay behind. However I was willing to stay one day to see if they would return before I took any step to find them.
Monday, 10th. The 2 Marines not returning this morning, I began to enquire after them, and was inform’d by some of the Natives that they were gone to the Mountains, and that they had got each of them a Wife and would not return; but at the same time no one would give us any certain intelligence where they were, upon which a resolution was taken to seize upon as many of the Chiefs as we could. This was thought to be the readiest method to induce the other natives to produce the 2 Men. We had in our custody Obariea, Toobouratomita, and 2 other Chiefs, but that I know’d Tootaha would have more weight with the Natives than all these put together, I dispatched Lieutenant Hicks away in the Pinnace to the place where Tootaha was, to endeavour to decoy him into the Boat and bring him on board, which Mr. Hicks performed without the least disturbance. We had no sooner taken the other Chiefs into Custody in Mr. Banks’s Tent than they became as desirous of having the Men brought back has they were before of keeping them, and only desir’d that one of our people might be sent with some of theirs for them. Accordingly I sent a petty officer and the Corporal of Marines with 3 or 4 of their People, not doubting but they would return with the 2 Men in the evening; but they not coming as soon as I expected, I took all the Chiefs on board the ship for greater safety. About 9 o’Clock in the evening Webb, the Marine, was brought in by some of the natives and sent on board. He informed me that the Petty Officer and Corporal that had been sent in quest of them were disarm’d and seiz’d upon by the natives, and that Gibson was with them. Immediately upon getting this information I dispatch’d Mr. Hicks away in the Long boat with a strong party of men to rescue them but before he went Tootaha and the other Chiefs was made to understand that they must send some of their People with Mr. Hicks to shew him the place where our men were, and at the same time to send orders for their immediate releasement, for if any harm came to the men they (the Chiefs) would suffer for it; and I believe at this time they wished as much to see the Men return in safety as I did, for the guides conducted Mr. Hicks to the place before daylight, and he recovered the men without the least opposition, and return’d with them about 7 o’Clock in the morning of
Tuesday, 11th. I then told the Chiefs that there remain’d nothing more to be done to regain their liberty but to deliver up the Arms the People had taken from the Petty Officer and Corporal, and these were brought on board in less than half an Hour, and then I sent them all on shore. They made but a short stay with our people there before they went away, and most of the natives with them: but they first wanted to give us 4 Hogs. These we refused to except of them, as they would take nothing in return. Thus we are likely to leave these people in disgust with our behaviour towards them, owing wholy to the folly of 2 of our men, for it does not appear that the natives had any hand in inticing them away, and therefore were not the first Agressors. However, it is very certain that had we not taken this step we never should have recovered them. The Petty Officer whom I sent in quest of the deserters told me that the Natives would give him no intelligence where they were, nor those that went along with him, but, on the contrary, grew very troublesome, and, as they were returning in the evening, they were suddenly seized upon by a number of Armed men that had hid themselves in the wood for that purpose. This was after Tootaha had been seized upon by us, so that they did this by way of retaliation in order to recover their Chief; but this method did not meet with the approbation of them all. A great many condemn’d these proceedings, and were for having them set at liberty, while others were for keeping them until Tootaha was releas’d. The dispute went so far that they came from words to blows, and our people were several times very near being set at liberty; but at last the party for keeping them Prevailed, but, as they had still some friends, no insult was offer’d them. A little while after they brought Webb and Gibson, the two deserters, to them as Prisoners likewise; but at last they agreed that Webb should be sent to inform us where the others were. When I came to Examine these 2 Men touching the reasons that induced them to go away, it appeared that an acquaintance they had contracted with 2 Girls, and to whom they had strongly attached themselves, was the Sole reason of their attempting to stay behind. Yesterday we weighed the small Bower Anchor, the Stock of which was so much eaten by the worms as to break in heaving up, and to-day we hove up the best Bower, and found the Stock in the very same Condition. This day we got everything off from the Shore, and to-night everybody lays on board.
Wednesday, 12th. The Carpenter employ’d in stocking the Anchors and the Seamen in getting the Ship ready for Sea. This morning we found the Staves of the Cask the Natives stole from us some time ago laying at the Watering place; but they had been Sencible enough to keep the Iron Hoops, and only return what to them was of no use.
Thursday, 13th. Winds Easterly, a light breeze. This morning we was visited by Obariea and several others of our acquaintance, a thing we did not expect after what had hapned but 2 days ago; but this was in some measures owing to Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and myself going to Apparra last night, where we so far convinc’d them of our Friendly disposition that several of them were in tears at our coming away. Between 11 and 12 o’Clock we got under Sail, and took our final leave of these People, after a stay of just three Months, the most part of which time we have been upon good terms with them. Some few differences have now and then hapned owing partly to the want of rightly understanding each other, and partly to their natural thievish disposition, which we could not at all times bear with or guard against; but these have been attended with no ill consequence to either side except the first, in which one of them was kill’d, and this I was very sorry for, because from what had hapned to them by the Dolphin I thought it would have been no hard matter to have got and keep a footing with them without bloodshed. For some time before we left this Island several of the Natives were daily offering themselves to go away with us; and as it was thought they must be of use to us in our future discoveries we resolved to bring away one whose name is Tupia, a Chief and a Priest. This man had been with us most part of the time we had been upon the Island, which gave us an opportunity to know something of him. We found him to be a very intelligent person, and to know more of the Geography of the Islands situated in these Seas, their produce, and the religion, laws, and Customs of the inhabitants, than any one we had met with, and was the likeliest person to answer our Purpose. For these reasons, and at the request of Mr. Banks, I received him on board, together with a young Boy, his Servant. For the first two Months we were at this Island the Natives supplied us with as much Bread fruit, Cocoa Nuts, etc., as we could well dispence with, and now and then a few Hogs, but of these hardly sufficient to give the Ship’s company one and sometimes two fresh Meals a week. As to Fowls, I did not see above 3 dozen upon the whole Island, and fish they seldom would part with; but during the last Month we got little refreshment of any sort. The detaining of their Canoes broke off Trade at that time, and it never after was begun again with any Spirit. However, it was not wholy owing to this, but to a Scarcity. The Season for Bread fruit was wholy over, and what other Fruits they had were hardly sufficient for themselves; at least, they did not care to part with them. All sorts of Fruits we purchased with Beads and Nails, not less than 40-penny, for a nail under that size was of no value; but we could not get a Hog above 10 or 12 pounds weight for anything less than a Hatchet, not but that they set great value upon Spike Nails; but, as this was an Article many in the Ship are provided with, the Women soon found a much easier way at coming at them than by bringing Provisions. Our Traffick with this people was carried on with as much Order as in the best regulated Market in Europe. It was managed ashore chiefly by Mr. Banks, who took uncommon Pains to procure from the Natives every kind of refreshment that was to be got. Axes, Hatchets, Spikes, large Nails, looking Glasses, Knives, and Beads are all highly valued by this People, and nothing more is wanting to Traffick with them for everything they have to dispose of. They are likewise very fond of fine Linnen Cloth, both White and Printed, but an Axe worth half a Crown will fetch more than a Piece of Cloth worth Twenty Shillings.
Upon our arrival at Batavia we had certain information that the two ships that were at George’s Island some time before our arrival there were both French ships.*
(* In Admiralty copy.)
This Island is called by the Natives Otaheite, and was first discovered by Captain Wallis, in His Majesty’s ship Dolphin, on June 19th, 1767, and to the Credit of him and his Officers, the Longitude of Royal Bay was by them settled to within half a degree of the Truth, and the whole figure of the Island not ill described. It is situated between the Latitude of 17 degrees 29 minutes and 17 degrees 53 minutes South, and between the Longitude of 149 degrees 10 minutes and 149 degrees 39 minutes West from the Meridian of Greenwich.* Point Venus, so called from the Observation being made there, is the Northern extremity of the Island, and lies in the Longitude of 149 degrees 30 minutes,† being the mean result of a Great number of Observations made upon the Spot. The Shores of this Island are mostly guarded from the Sea by reefs of coral rocks, and these form several excellent Bays and Harbours, wherein are room and depth of Water sufficient for the largest Ships.
(* These latitudes are exact. The modern limits of longitude are 149 degrees 7 minutes to 149 degrees 36 minutes 30 seconds.)
(† Now considered to be 149 degrees 29 minutes.)
Royal Bay, called by the Natives Matavie,* in which we lay, and the Dolphin before us, is not inferior to any on the Island, both in Point of conveniency and Situation. It may easily be known by a Prodigious high Mountain in the middle of the Island, which bears due south from Point Venus, which is the Eastern point of the Bay. To sail into it either keep the West point of the Reefs which lies before Point Venus close on board, or give it a berth of near half a Mile in order to avoid a small Shoal of Coral Rocks, whereon is but 2 1/2 fathoms of water. The best Anchoring is on the Eastern side of the Bay in 16 or 14 fathoms of water, owsey bottom. The Shore of the bay is all a fine sandy beach, behind which runs a river of Fresh Water, so that any Number of Ships might Water here without discommoding one another. The only wood for fuel upon the whole Island is fruit Trees, and these must be purchased of the Natives, if you mean to keep on good Terms with them. There are some Harbours to the Westward of this bay that have not been mentioned, but as they lay Contiguous to it, and are to be found in the plan, the description of them is unnecessary.
The land of this Island, except what is immediately bordering upon the Sea coast, is of a very uneven Surface, and rises in ridges which run up into the middle of the Island, and there form mountains, that are of a height Sufficient to be seen at the distance of 20 leagues. Between the foot of the ridges and the Sea is a border of low Land surrounding the whole Island, except in a few places where the ridge rises directly from the Sea. This low land is of Various Breadths, but nowhere exceeds a Mile and a half. The Soil is rich and fertile, being for the most part well stock’d with fruit Trees and small Plantations. and well water’d by a number of small Rivulets of Excellent Water which come from the adjacent hills. It is upon this low Land that the greatest part of the inhabitants live, not in Towns or Vilages, but dispersed everywhere round the whole Island; the Tops of most of the ridges and mountains are Barren and, as it were, burnt up with the sun, yet many parts of some of them are not without their produce, and many of the Valleys are fertile and inhabited.
The produce of this Island is Bread Fruit, Cocoa Nuts, Bonanoes, Plantains, a fruit like an Apple, sweet Potatoes, Yams, a Fruit known by the name of Eag Melloa, and reck’ned most delicious; Sugar Cane which the inhabitants eat raw; a root of the Salop kind, called by the inhabitants Pea; the root also of a plant called Ether; and a fruit in a pod like a Kidney bean, which when roasted eats like a Chestnut, and is called Ahee; the fruit of a Tree which they call Wharra, something like a Pine Apple; the fruit of a Tree called by them Nano; the roots of a Fern and the roots of a plant called Thive. All these Articles the Earth almost Spontaniously produces, or, at least, they are raised with very little Labour. In the Article of food these people may almost be said to be exempt from the Curse of our Forefathers, scarcely can it be said that they Earn their bread with the sweat of their brow; benevolent Nature hath not only Supply’d them with necessarys, but with abundance of Superfluities. The Sea coast supplies them with vast Variety of most Excellent fish, but these they get not without some Trouble and Perseverance. Fish seems to be one of their greatest Luxuries, and they Eat it either raw or Dressed and seem to relish it one way as well as the other. Not only fish but almost everything that comes out of the Sea is Eat and Esteem’d by these People; Shell Fish, Lobsters, Crabs, and even sea insects, and what is commonly called blubbers of many kinds, conduce to their support.
For tame Animals they have Hogs, Fowls, and Dogs, the latter of which we learned to Eat from them, and few were there of us but what allow’d that a South Sea dog was next to an English Lamb. One thing in their favour is that they live intirely upon Vegetables; probably our Dogs would not Eat half so well. Little can be said in favour of their Fowles, but their pork is most Excellent, they have no beasts of Prey of any Sort, and Wild Fowls are scarce and confin’d to a few Species. When any of the Chiefs kill a Hog it seems to be almost equally divided among all his Dependents, and as these are generally very numerous, it is but a little that come to each person’s share, so that their chief food is Vegetables, and of these they eat a large quantity.
Cookery seems to have been but little studied here; they have only 2 Methods of applying Fire — broiling and Baking, as we called it; the method this is done I have before described, and I am of Opinion that Victuals dressed this way are more juicy and more equally done than by any of our Methods, large Fish in particular, Bread Fruit, Bananoes. Plantains Cooked this way eat like boil’d Potatoes, and was much used by us by way of bread whenever we could get them. Of bread Fruit they make 2 or 3 dishes by beating it with a Stone Pestle till it makes a Paste, mixing Water or Cocoa Nut Liquor, or both, with it, and adding ripe Plantains, Bananoes, Sour Paste, etc.
This last is made from bread Fruit in the following manner. This fruit, from what I can find, remains in Season only 8 or 9 months in the year, and as it is the Chief support of the inhabitants a reserve of food must be made for those months when they are without it. To do this the Fruit is gathered when upon the point of ripening; after the rinde is scraped off it is laid in heaps and coverd close with leaves, where it undergoes a fermentation, and becomes soft and disagreeably sweet. The Core is then taken out, and the rest of the fruit thrown into a Hole dug for that purpose, the sides and bottom of which are neatly laid with grass. The whole is covered with leaves and heavy stones laid upon them; here it undergoes a second Fermentation and becomes sourish, in which condition they say it will keep good 10 or 12 months. As they want to use it they make it into balls, which they wrap up in leaves and bake in the same manner as they do the Fruit from the Tree; it is then ready for eating either hot or cold, and hath a sour and disagreeable taste. In this last State it will keep good a Month or 6 Weeks; it is called by them Mahai, and they seldom make a Meal without some of it, one way or another. To this plain diet Salt Water is the universal sauce, hardly any one sets down to a meal without a Cocoa Nut shell full of it standing by them, into which they dip most of what they Eat, especially Fish, drinking at Intervals large sops of it out of their Hands, so that a man may use half a Pint at a Meal.
It is not common for any 2 to eat together, the better sort hardly ever; and the women never upon any account eat with the Men, but always by themselves. What can be the reason of so unusual a custom it is hard to say; especially as they are a people, in every other instance, fond of Society and much so of their Women. They were often Asked the reason, but they never gave no other Answer, but that they did it because it was right, and Express’d much dislike at the Custom of Men and Women Eating together of the same Victuals. We have often used all the intreatys we were Masters of to invite the Women to partake of our Victuals at our Tables, but there never was an instance of one of them doing it publick, but they would Often goe 5 or 6 together into the Servants apartments, and there eat very heartily of whatever they could find, nor were they the least disturbed if any of us came in while they were dining; and it hath sometimes hapned that when a woman was alone in our company she would eat with us, but always took care that her own people should not know what she had don, so that whatever may be the reasons for this custom, it certainly affects their outward manners more than their Principle.
With respect to their persons the Men in general are tall, strong-limb’d, and well shaped. One of the tallest we saw measured 6 feet 3 inches and a half. The superior women are in every respect as large as Europeans, but the inferior sort are in General small, owing possibly to their early Amours, which they are more addicted to than their superiors. They are of various Colours: those of the inferior sort, who are obliged to be much exposed to the Sun and air, are of a very Dark brown; the superiors again, who spend most of their Time in their Houses under Shelter, are not browner than people who are born or reside longer in the West Indies; nay, some of the Women are almost as fair as Europeans. Their hair is almost universally black, thick, and Strong; this the Women wear short Cropt Round their Ears. The Men, on the other hand, wear it different ways: the better sort let it grow long, and sometimes tying it up on the Top of their Heads, or letting it hang loose over their Shoulders; but many of the inferiors, and such who, in the exercise of their professions, fishing, etc., are obliged to be much upon or in the Water, wear it cropt short like the women. They always pluck out a part of their beards, and keep what remains neat and Clean. Both Sexes eradicate every hair from under their Armpits, and look upon it as a mark of uncleanliness in us that we do not do the Same.
They have all fine white Teeth, and for the most part short flat Noses and thick lips; yet their features are agreeable, and their gaite graceful, and their behavior to strangers and to each other is open, affable, and Courteous, and, from all I could see, free from treachery, only that they are thieves to a man, and would steal but everything that came in their way, and that with such dexterity as would shame the most noted Pickpocket in Europe. They are very cleanly people, both in their persons and diet, always washing their hands and Mouth immediately before and after their Meals, and wash or Bathe themselves in fresh Water 3 times a day, morning, Noon, and Night.
The only disagreeable thing about them is the Oil with which they anoint their heads, Monoe, as they call it; this is made of Cocoanutt Oil, in which some sweet Herbs or Flowers are infused. The Oil is generally very rancid, which makes the wearer of it smell not very agreeable.* Another custom they have that is disagreeable to Europeans, which is eating lice, a pretty good stock of which they generally carry about them. However, this custom is not universal; for I seldom saw it done but among Children and Common People, and I am perswaided that had they the means they would keep themselves as free from lice as we do; but the want of Combs in a Hot climate makes this hardly possible. There are some very fine men upon this Island whose skins are whiter than any European’s, but of a Dead Colour, like that of the Nose of a White Horse; their Eyes, eyebrows, hair and beards are also White. Their bodys were cover’d, more or less, with a kind of White down. Their skins are spotted, some parts being much whiter than others. They are short-sighted, with their eyes oftimes full of rheum, and always look’d unwholesome, and have neither the Spirit nor the activity of the other Natives. I did not see above 3 or 4 upon the whole Island, and these were old men; so that I concluded that this difference of colour, etc., was accidental, and did not run in families, for if it did they must have been more Numerous. The inhabitants of this Island are Troubled with a sort of Leprosy, or Scab all over their bodys. I have seen Men, Women, and Children, but not many, who have had this distemper to that degree as not to be able to walk. This distemper, I believe, runs in familys, because I have seen both mother and Child have it.
(* Other voyagers have, on the contrary, described the odour of this sweetened oil as agreeable.)
Both sexes paint their Bodys, Tattow, as it is called in their Language. This is done by inlaying the Colour of Black under their skins, in such a manner as to be indelible. Some have ill-design’d figures of men, birds, or dogs; the women generally have this figure Z simply on every joint of their fingers and Toes; the men have it likewise, and both have other differant figures, such as Circles, Crescents, etc., which they have on their Arms and Legs; in short, they are so various in the application of these figures that both the quantity and Situation of them seem to depend intirely upon the humour of each individual, yet all agree in having their buttocks covered with a Deep black. Over this Most have Arches drawn one over another as high as their short ribs, which are near a Quarter of an inch broad. These Arches seem to be their great pride, as both men and Women show them with great pleasure.
Their method of Tattowing I shall now describe. The colour they use is lamp black, prepar’d from the Smoak of a Kind of Oily nut, used by them instead of Candles. The instrument for pricking it under the Skin is made of very thin flatt pieces of bone or Shell, from a quarter of an inch to an inch and a half broad, according to the purpose it is to be used for, and about an inch and a half long. One end is cut into sharp teeth, and the other fastened to a handle. The teeth are dipped into black Liquor, and then drove, by quick, sharp blows struck upon the handle with a Stick for that purpose, into the skin so deep that every stroke is followed with a small quantity of Blood. The part so marked remains sore for some days before it heals. As this is a painful operation, especially the Tattowing their Buttocks, it is perform’d but once in their Life times; it is never done until they are 12 or 14 years of Age.
Their Cloathing is either of Cloth or Matting of several different sorts; the dress of both Men and Women are much the same, which is a Piece of Cloth or Matting wrapp’d 2 or 3 times round their waist, and hangs down below their Knees, both behind and before, like a Pettycoat; another piece, or sometimes 2 or 3, about 2 yards or 2 1/2 yards long, with a hole in the Middle, through which they put their heads. This hangs over their Shoulders down behind and before, and is tied round their waist with a long piece of thin Cloth, and being open at the sides gives free liberty to their arms. This is the common dress of all ranks of people, and there are few without such a one except the Children, who go quite naked, the Boys until they are 6 or 7 years of Age, and the girls until 3 or 4. At these Ages they begin to cover what nature teaches them to hide. Besides the dress I have mentioned some of the better sort, such as can afford it, but more especially the Women, will one way or other wrap round them several pieces of Cloth, each 8 or 10 Yards long and 2 or 3 broad, so much that I have often wondered how they could bear it in so hot a climate. Again, on the other hand, many of the inferior sort during the heat of the Day, go almost naked, the women wearing nothing but the Petticoat aforementioned, and sometimes hardly that. The men wear a piece of Cloth like a Sack, which goes between their thighs, and brought up before and behind, and then wrapped round their waist. This every man wears always without exception, and it is no uncommon thing to see many of the better sort have nothing else on, as it is reckoned no shame for any part of the body to be exposed to View, except those which all mankind hide.
Both sexes sometimes shade their faces from the Sun with little Bonnets made of Cocoa-Nut leaves. Some have them of fine Matting, but this is less common. They sometimes wear Turbands, but their Chief Headdress is what they call Tomou, which is human Hair plaited scarce thicker than common thread. Of this I can safely affirm that I have seen pieces near a mile in length worked upon one end without a Knott. These are made and worn only by the women, 5 or 6 such pieces of which they will sometimes wind round their Heads, the effect of which, if done with taste, is very becoming. They have Earings by way of Ornament, but wear them only at one Ear. These are made of Shells, Stones, Berries, red pease, and some small pearls which they wear 3 tied together; but our Beads, Buttons, etc., very soon supply’d their places.
After their meals in the Heat of the day they often Sleep, middle Aged people especially, the better sort of whom seem to spend most of their time in eating and Sleeping. Diversions they have but few, shooting with the Bow and Wrestling are the Chief; the first of which is confin’d almost wholy to the Chiefs; they shoot for distance only, kneeling upon one knee and dropping the Bow the instant of the Arrows parting from it. I have seen one of them shoot an Arrow 274 yards, yet he looked upon it as no Great Shotte.
Musick is little known to them, yet they are very fond of it; they have only 2 Instruments — the flute and the Drum. The former is made of hollow Bamboo about 15 inches long, in which are 3 Holes; into one of them they blow with one Nostril, stopping the other with the thumb of the left hand, the other 2 Holes they stop and unstop with their fingers, and by this means produce 4 Notes, of which they have made one Tune, which serves them upon all Occasions, to which they sing a number of songs generally consisting of 2 lines and generally in rhime. At any time of the day when they are Lazy they amuse themselves by singing these Couplets, but especially after dark when their candles are lighted, which are made of the Kernels of a Nutt abounding much in oil; these are stuck upon a Skewer of Wood one upon another, and give a very Tolerable light, which they often keep burning an hour after dark, and if they have strangers in the House much longer. Their drums are made of a hollow block of wood covered with Shark’s Skin, and instead of Drumsticks they use their hands. Of these they make out 5 or 6 tunes and accompany the flutes.
The drums are Chiefly used at their Heivas, which are a set of Musicians, 2 or 3 Drums for instance, as many flutes and singers, which go about from House to House and play, and are always received and rewarded by the Master of the family, who gives them a Piece of Cloth or whatever he can spare, for which they will stay 3 or 4 hours, during which time his house will be crowded full, for the people are extravagantly fond of this diversion. The Young Girls whenever they can collect 8 or 10 Together dance a very indecent Dance, which they call Timorodee, singing most indecent songs and using most indecent actions, in the practice of which they are brought up from their earliest childhood; in doing this they keep time to a great nicety. This exercise is generally left off as soon as they arrive at Years of Maturity, for as soon as they have form’d a connection with man they are expected to leave off dancing Timorodee.
One amusement or custom more I must mention, though I confess I do not expect to be believed, it is founded upon a Custom so inhuman and contrary to the Principles of human nature. It is this: that more than one half of the better sort of the inhabitants have enter’d into a resolution of injoying free liberty in Love, without being Troubled or disturbed by its consequences. These mix and Cohabit together with the utmost freedom, and the Chilldren who are so unfortunate as to be thus begot are smother’d at the Moment of their Birth; many of these People contract intimacies and live together as man and wife for years, in the course of which the Children that are born are destroy’d. They are so far from concealing it that they look upon it as a branch of freedom upon which they Value themselves. They are called Arreoys, and have meetings among themselves, where the men amuse themselves with Wrestling, etc., and the Women in dancing the indecent dance before-mentioned, in the course of which they give full Liberty to their desires, but I believe keep up to the appearance of decency. I never see one of these meetings; Dr. Monkhouse saw part of one, enough to make him give Credit to what we had been told.
Both sexes express the most indecent ideas in conversation without the least emotion, and they delight in such conversation beyond any other. Chastity, indeed, is but little valued, especially among the middle people — if a Wife is found guilty of a breach of it her only punishment is a beating from her husband. The Men will very readily offer the Young Women to Strangers, even their own Daughters, and think it very strange if you refuse them; but this is done merely for the sake of gain.
The Houses or dwellings of these People are admirably calculated for the continual warmth of the Climate; they do not build them in Towns or Villages, but seperate each from the other, and always in the Woods, and are without walls, so that the air, cooled by the shade of the Trees, has free access in whatever direction it hapens to blow. No country can boast of more delightful walks than this; the whole Plains where the Natives reside are covered with groves of Bread Fruit and Cocoa Nut Trees, without underwood, and intersected in all directions by the Paths which go from House to House, so that nothing can be more grateful in a Climate where the sun hath so powerful an influence. They are generally built in form of an Oblong square, the Roofs are supported by 3 Rows of Pillars or posts, and neatly covered with Thatch made of Palm leaves. A middle-siz’d house is about 24 feet by 12, extream heigth about 8 or 9, and heigth of the Eves 3 1/2 or 4. The floors are cover’d some inches deep with Hay, upon which, here and there, lay matts for the conveniency of sitting down; few houses has more than one Stool, which is only used by the Master of the family.
In their houses are no rooms or Partitions, but they all huddle and Sleep together; yet in this they generally observe some order, the Married people laying by themselves, and the unmarried each sex by themselves, at some small distance from each other. Many of the Eares or Chiefs are more private, having small movable houses in which they Sleep, man and Wife, which, when they go by Water from place to place, are tied upon their Canoes; these have walls made of Cocoa-Nut leaves, etc. I have said that the houses are without walls, but this is only to be understood in general, for many of them are walled with wickering, but not so close but to admit a free circulation of Air. The matts which serve them to sit upon in the daytime are also their beds in the night, and the Cloathes they wear in the day serve for covering, a little wood Stool, block of wood, or bundle of Cloth for a Pillow. Besides these common houses there are others much larger, 200 feet long and upwards, 30 broad, and 20 in heigth. There are generally 2 or 3 of these in every district, and seem’d not only built for the accommodation of the principal people, but common to all the inhabitants of that district, and raised and kept up by their joint Labour; these are always without walls, and have generally a large Area on one side neatly inclosed with low pallisades, etc.
Their Canoes or Proes are built all of them very narrow, and some of the largest are 60 or 70 feet long. These consist of several pieces; the bottom is round and made of large logs hollow’d out to the thickness of about 3 Inches, and may consist of 3 or 4 pieces; the sides are of Plank of nearly the same thickness, and are built nearly perpendicular, rounding in a little towards the Gunwale. The pieces on which they are built are well fitted, and fastned or sewed together with strong platting something in the same manner as old China, Wooden Bowls, etc., are mended. The greatest breadth is at the after part, which is generally about 18 or 20 Inches, and the fore part about 1/3 Narrower; the heigth from the bottom to the Gunwale seldom exceeds 2 1/2 or 3 feet. They build them with high curv’d Sterns which are generally ornamented with carved work; the head or fore part curves little or nothing. The smaller Canoes are built after the same plan, some out of one, 2, or more trees according to their size or the use they are for. In order to prevent them from oversetting when in the Water, all those that go single, both great and Small, have what is called Outriggers, which are Pieces of Wood fastened to the Gunwale and project out on one side about 6, 8, or 10 feet, according to the size of the Boat. At the end is fastened in a Parrallel direction to the Canoe a long log of wood simply; or some have it Shaped in the form of a small Boat, but this is not common; this lays in the Water and Balances the Boat. Those that are for sailing have Outriggers only on the other side abreast of the Mast; these serves to fasten the Shrouds to, and are of use in Trimming the Boat when it blows fresh; the sailing proes have some one and some 2 masts; the sails are of Matting and are made narrow at the head and Square at the foot, something like a Shoulder of Mutton Sail, such as are generally used in Man-of-War Barges, etc.
I have mentioned above that the single Canoes have Outriggers, for those that go double — that is 2 together, which is very common — have no need of any; and it is done in this manner: 2 Canoes are placed in a parrallel direction to each other, about 3 or 4 feet asunder, securing them together by small Logs of Wood laid across and lashed to each of their gunwales; thus the one boat supports the other, and are not in the least danger of upsetting, and I believe it is in this manner that all their large Proes are used, some of which will carry a great number of Men, by means of a Platform made of Bamboo or other light wood and the whole length of the Proes and considerably broader, but I never saw but one fitted in this manner upon the whole Island. Upon the Forepart of all these large double Proes was placed an Oblong Platform about ten or twelve feet in length, and six or eight in Breadth, and supported about 4 feet above the Gunwale by stout Carved Pillars. The use of these Platforms, as we were told, are for the Club Men to stand and fight upon in time of Battle, for the large Canoes, from what I could learn, are built most, if not wholly, for war, and their method of fighting is to Graple one another and fight it out with Clubs, spears, and stones. I never saw but one of these sort of Canoes in the water, the rest was all hauled ashore and seemed to be going to decay, neither were there very many of them upon the Island.*
(* The war canoes of Tahiti exist no longer. The others are still used, and merit all Cook’s encomiums on their sailing qualities.)
The Chiefs and better sort of People generally go from one part of the island to another in small double Canoes which carry a little movable House, this not only Skreens them from the Sun by day, but serves them to Sleep in in the Night, and this way of Travelling is Extremely commodious about such Islands as are inclosed by a reef as this is; for as these Canoes draw but Little water they can always keep in the Reefs, and by that means are never in danger.
They have some few other Canoes, Pahees as they call them, which differ from those above discribed, but of these I saw but 6 upon the whole Island, and was told they were not built here. The 2 largest was each 76 feet long, and when they had been in use had been fastned together. These are built Sharp and Narrow at both Ends and broad in the Middle; the bottom is likewise Sharp, inclining to a Wedge, yet Buldges out very much and rounds in again very quick just below the Gunwale. They are built of several pieces of thick plank and put together as the others are, only these have timbers in the inside, which the others have not. They have high Curved Sterns, the head also Curves a little, and both are ornamented with the image of a man carved in wood, very little inferior work of the like kind done by common Ship Carvers in England.
When one Considers the Tools these people have one cannot help but admiring their workmanship; these are Adzes and small Hatchets made of a hard Stone, Chizels and Gouges made of human bones, generally the bones of the Forearm, but Spike Nails have pretty well supplyd the place of these. With these ordinary Tools, that a European would expect to break the first stroke, I have seen them work surprisingly fast. To plain or polish their work they rub upon it, with a small stone, Coral Beat small and Mixed with Water; this is done sometimes by scraping it with Shells, with which alone they perform most of their Small wood work.
Their Proes or Canoes, large and Small, are row’d and Steer’d with Paddles, and, notwithstanding the large ones appear to be very unweildy, they manage them very dexterously, and I believe perform long and distant Voyages in them, otherwise they could not have the knowledge of the Islands in these Seas they seem to have. They wear for Shew or Ornament at the Mast Head of most of their Sailing Canoes Pendants made of Feathers.
Having described their fighting Canoes I shall next describe their Arms with which they attack their Enemys, both by Sea and Land. These are Clubs, Spears or Lances, Slings and Stones which they throw by hand. The Clubs are made of a hard wood, and are about 8 or 9 feet long; the one half is made flatish with 2 Edges, and the other half is round and not thicker than to be easily grasped by the hand. The Lances are of various lengths, some from 12, 20 or 30 feet, and are generally Arm’d at the Small end with the Stings of Sting-rays, which makes them very dangerous weapons. Altho’ these people have Bows and Arrows — and those none of the worst — we are told that they never use them in their wars, which doubtless is very extraordinary and not easily accounted for. They have very Curious breastplates, made of small wickers, pieces of Matting, etc., and neatly Cover’d with Sharks’ teeth, Pearl Oyster shells, birds’ feathers, and dogs’ hair. Thus much for their Arms, etc.
I shall now describe their way of making Cloth, which, in my opinion, is the only Curious manufacture they have. All their Cloth is, I believe, made from the Bark of Trees; the finest is made from a plant which they Cultivate for no other purpose.* Dr. Solander thinks it is the same plant the bark of which the Chinese make paper of. They let this plant grow till it is about 6 or 8 feet high, the Stem is then about as thick as one’s Thum or thicker; after this they cut it down and lay it a Certain time in water. This makes the Bark strip off easy, the outside of which is scraped off with a rough Shell. After this is done it looks like long strips of ragged linnen; these they lay together, by means of a fine paist made of some sort of a root, to the Breadth of a yard more or less, and in length 6, 8 or 10 Yards or more according to the use it is for. After it is thus put together it is beat out to its proper breadth and fineness, upon a long square piece of wood, with wooden beaters, the Cloth being keept wet all the time. The beaters are made of hard wood with four square sides, are about 3 or 4 inches broad and cut into grooves of different fineness; this makes the Cloth look at first sight as if it was wove with thread, but I believe the principal use of the Groves is to facilitate the beating it out, in the doing of which they often beat holes in it, or one place thinner than another; but this is easily repair’d by pasting on small bits, and this they do in such a manner that the Cloth is not the least injured. The finest sort when bleached is very white and comes nearest to fine Cotton. Thick cloth, especially fine, is made by pasting two or more thickness’s of thin cloth, made for that Purpose, together. Coarse thick cloth and ordinary thin cloth is made of the Bark of Bread fruit Trees, and I think I have been told that it is sometimes made from the Bark of other trees. The making of Cloth is wholy the work of the women, in which all ranks are employ’d. Their common colours are red, brown and yellow, with which they dye some pieces just as their fancy leads them. Besides Cloth they make several different sorts of matting, both better and finer than any we have in Europe; the stuff they make it on is the Produce of the Palm tree.
(* Broussonetia papyrifera. The manufacture is common to all Polynesia, and the ordinary name for it in the Pacific is Tapa. The Tahitians, however, called it Ahu.)
This Island produceth 2 or 3 sorts of plants, of which they make the rope they use in rigging their Canoes, etc.; the finest sort, such as fishing lines, saine twine, etc., is made of the Bark of a Tree, and some from the Kind of Silk grass. Their fishing lines and saines are in Point of goodness preferable to any of ours. Their fishing Hooks are very curiously made of Tortoise, Pearl Oyster Shells, etc. They have a sort of Saine that is made of Coarse broad grass like flags; these are twisted and tied together in a loose manner until the whole is as thick as a large sack, and 60 or 80 fathoms long. This they haul in Shoal smooth water; its own weight keeps it so close to the ground that hardly the smallest fish can escape out.
I have before mentioned that the Island is divided into two districts or kingdoms, which are frequently at war with each other, as hapned about 12 Months ago, and each of these are again divided into smaller districts, Whennuas as they call them. Over each of the kingdoms is an Eare dehi, or head, whom we call a King, and in the Whennuas are Eares, or Chiefs. The King’s power seems to be but very little; he may be reverenced as a father, but he is neither fear’d nor respected as a monarch, and the same may be said of the other Chiefs. However, they have a pre-eminence over the rest of the People, who pay them a kind of a Voluntary Obedience. Upon the whole, these people seem to enjoy liberty in its fullest extent — every man seems to be the sole judge of his own actions and to know no punishment but death, and this perhaps is never inflicted but upon a public enemy. There are 3 ranks of Men and Women: first, the Eares, or chiefs; second, the Manahoonas, or Middling sort; and lastly, the Toutous, which comprehend all the lower-class, and are by far the most numerous. These seem to live in some sort dependent on the Eares, who, together with the Manahoonas, own most, if not all the land. This is Hereditary in their families, and the moment the Heir is born he succeeds the Father, both in title and Estate; at least to the name, for its most likely that the latter must have the power during his Son or Daughter’s Minority.
Note by Cook. Upon our arrival at Batavia, we were informed the two French Ships, commanded by the Monsieurs Beaugainvile, touched at that place in their way home from the South Seas two years ago. We were here told many circumstances of these two Ships, all tending to prove that they were the same ships that were at George’s Island, which we judged were Spaniards; being led into this mistake by the Spanish Iron, etc., we saw among the natives, which is easy accounted for, for we are told that while Beaugainvile in the Frigate was delivering up that part of Falkland Islands possess’d by the French, to the Spaniards, the Store ship was trading with the Spaniards in the River Plate, where it is very probable she disposed of all her European goods, and purchased others to trade with the Islands in the South Seas. To confirm these last circumstances we were told that when they arrived at Batavia, the Frigate had on board a great quantity of Spanish Dollars.
Having given the best account I can of the manners and Customs of these people, it will be expected that I should give some account of their religion, which is a thing I have learned so little of that I hardly dare to touch upon it, and should have passed it over in silence, was it not my duty as well as inclination to insert in this Journal every and the least knowledge I may obtain of a People, who for many Centuries have been shut up from almost every other part of the world.
They believe that there is one Supreem God whom they call Tane; from him sprung a number of inferior Deities, Eatuas as they call them — these they think preside over them and intermeddle in their affairs. To these they offer Oblations such as Hogs, Dogs, Fish, Fruit, etc., and invoke them on some particular occasions, as in time of real or Apparent Danger, the setting out of a long Voyage, sickness’s, etc.; but the Ceremony made use of on these occasions I know not. The Mories, which we at first thought were burying places, are wholy built for Places of worship, and for the Performing of religious ceremonies in.* The Viands are laid upon altars erected 8, 12, or 12 Feet high, by stout Posts, and the Table of the Altar on which the Viands lay, is generally made of Palm leaves; they are not always in the Mories, but very often at some Distance from them. Their Mories, as well as the Tombs of the Dead, they seem to hold sacred, and the women never enter the former, whatever they may do the latter. The Viands laid near the Tombs of the Dead are, from what I can learn, not for the deceased, but as an Offering to the Eatua made upon that Occasion who, if not, would distroy the body and not except of the soul — for they believe of a future state of rewards and punishments; but what their Ideas are of it I know not. We have seen in some few places small Houses set apart on purpose for the Oblations offer’d to the Eatua, which consists of small strips of Cloth, Viands, etc. I am of Opinion they offer to the Eatua a Strip or small piece of every piece of Cloth they make before they use it themselves, and it is not unlikely but what they observe the same thing with respect to their Victuals, but as there are but few of these houses this cannot be a common Custom; it may only be observ’d by the Priests and such families as are more religious than others.
(* Cook did not apparently learn anything in this voyage of the human sacrifices offered in the Morais on many occasions, such as before war; at the coronation of the king; etc. The Tahitians were, however, never guilty of cannibalism.)
Now I have mentioned Priests, there are men that Exercise that function, of which Numbers Tupia is one. They seem to be in no great repute, neither can they live wholy by their Profession, and this leads me to think that these People are no bigots to their religion. The Priests on some occasions do the Office of Physicians, and their prescriptions consists in performing some religious ceremony before the sick person. They likewise Crown the Eare dehi, or King, in the performing of which we are told much form and Ceremony is used, after which every one is at liberty to treat and play as many Tricks with the new King as he pleaseth during the remainder of the day.
There is a ceremony which they perform at or after the Funerals of the Dead which I had forgot to mention at the time; we hapned to see it sometime before we left the Island. An old Woman, a relation of Toobouratomita’s, hapned to die and was interr’d in the Usual manner. For several successive evenings after, one of her relations dressed himself in a very odd dress, which I cannot tell how to describe or to convey a better Idea of it than to suppose a man dress’d with plumes of feathers, something in the same manner as those worn by Coaches, Hearses, Horses, etc., at the Funerals in London. It was very neatly made up of black or brown and white cloth, black and white feathers, and pearl Oyster Shells. It cover’d the head, face, and body, as low as the Calf of the Legs or lower, and not only looked grand but awful likewise. The man thus equip’d, and attended by 2 or 3 more men and Women with their faces and bodys besmear’d with soot, and a Club in their hands, would about sunset take a Compass of near a mile running here and there, and wherever they came the People would fly from them as tho’ they had been so many hobgoblins, not one daring to come in their way. I know not the reason for their Performing this ceremony, which they call Heiva, a name they give to most of their divertisements.
They compute time by the Moon, which they call Malama, reckoning 30 days to each moon, 2 of which they say the moon is Mattee, that is, dead, and this is at the time of the new moon, when she cannot be seen. The day they divide into smaller Portions not less than 2 Hours. Their computations is by units, tens, and scores, up to ten score, or 200, etc. In counting they generally take hold on their fingers one by one, Shifting from one hand to the other, until they come to the number they want to express; but if it be a high number, instead of their fingers they use pieces of Leaves, etc.
In conversation one with another they frequently join signs to their words, in which they are so expressive that a stranger will very soon comprehend their meaning by their actions.
Having now done with the People, I must once more return to the Island before I quit it altogether, which, notwithstanding nature hath been so very bountiful to it, yet it does not produce any one thing of intrinsick value or that can be converted into an Article of Trade; so that the value of the discovery consists wholy in the refreshments it will always afford to shipping in their passage through those seas; and in this it may be greatly improved by transporting hither horned cattle, etc. Pumpkins have got quite a footing here, the seeds of which most probably were brought here by the piards.* We sowed of the seeds of Water and Musk Mellons, which grew up and throve very fast. We also gave of these seeds and the seeds of Pine Apples to several of the Natives, and it cannot be doubted but what they will thrive here, and will be a great addition to the fruits they already have. Upon our first arrival we sowed of all sorts of English garden seeds and grain, but not a single thing came up except mustard sallad; but this I know was not owing either to the Soil or Climate, but to the badness of the seeds, which were spoil’d by the length of the Passage.
Altho’ this Island lies within the Tropick of Capricorn, yet the Heat is not Troublesome, nor do the winds blow constantly from the East, but are subject to variations, frequently blowing a fresh gale from the South-West Quarter for two or three days together, but very seldom from the North-West. Whenever these variable winds happen they are always accompanied with a swell from the South-West or West-South-West, and the same thing happens whenever it is calm and the Atmosphere at the same time loaded with Clouds — sure indication that the winds are Variable or Westerly out at Sea, for clear weather generally attends the settled Trade.
The meeting of Westerly winds within the general Limits of the Easterly Trade is a little extraordinary, and has induced former Navigators, when they met with them, to think that they were caused by the nearness of some large Tracks of Land: but I rather think they were owing to another Cause. It hath been found both by the Dolphin and us that the trade winds in those parts of this Sea doth not extend further to the Southward than 20 degrees, and without which we generally meet with a wind from the westward. Now, is it not reasonable to suppose that when these winds blow strong they must encroach upon and drive back the Easterly winds as to cause the variable winds and South-Westerly swells I have been speaking of? It is well known that the Trade winds blow but faint for some distance within their limits, and are therefore easily stopt by a wind from the Contrary direction. It is likewise known that these limits are subject to vary several degrees, not only at different seasons of the Year, but at one and the same season. Another reason why I think that these South-West winds are not caused by the nearness of any large Track of land, is in their being always accompanied with a large swell from the same Quarter, and we find a much greater surf beating upon the Shores of the South-West sides of the Islands situated just within the Limits of the Trade winds than upon any other part of them.
The tides are perhaps as inconsiderable in these Seas as in any part of the world. A South or South by West moon makes high water in Royal Bay, but the water does not rise upon a perpendicular above 10 or 12 inches, except on some very Extraordinary occasions.
The variation of the Compass I found to be 4 degrees 46 minutes Easterly, this being the mean result of a great number of Trials made by 4 of Dr. Knight’s needles belonging to the Azimuth Compasses, all of which I judged to be good ones, and yet when applied to the Meridian line I found them not only differ one from another sometimes a degree and a half; but the same needle would differ from itself more or less, the difference sometimes amounting to half a degree, both at the same time and on differant days. This will in a great measure account for the seeming errors that may, upon a nice examination, appear to have been made in observing the Variation inserted in the Course of this Journal. This variableness in Magnetick Needles I have many times and in many places experienced both ashore and on board of Ships, and I do not remember of ever finding two Needles that would agree exactly together at one and the same time and place, but I have often found the same Needle agree with itself for several Trials made immediately one after another.* However, all this is of no sort of consequence to Navigation, as the Variation of the Compass can always be found to a degree of accuracy more than sufficient for all nautical Purposes.
(* These discrepancies result from imperfections in the suspension and mounting of the needles, and are only absent in instruments too delicate for ordinary sea service.)
I have before hinted that these People have an Extensive knowledge of the Islands situated in these Seas. Tupia, as well as several others, hath given us an account of upwards of 70; but, as the account they have given of their situation is so Vague and uncertain, I shall refer giving a list of them until I have learnt from Tupia the Situation of each island with a little more certainty. Four of these islands — viz., Huaheine, Ulietea, Otaha, and Bolabola* — we were informed, lay only one or two days’ sail to the Westward of George’s Island, and that we might there procure Hogs, Fowls, and other refreshments, Articles that we have been very sparingly supply’d with at this last Island, as the Ship’s Company (what from the Constant hard duty they have had at this place, and the two free use of Woman) were in a worse state of health than they were on our first arrival, for by this Time full half of them had got the Venerial disease, in which Situation I thought they would be ill able to stand the Cold weather we might expect to meet with to the Southward at this Season of the Year, and therefore resolved to give them a little time to recover while we ran down to and explored the Islands before-mentioned.
(* These islands are now known as Huaheine, Raiatea, Tahaa, and Borabora or Bolabola, and are under French sovereignty.)
Tupia informs us that in the Months of November, December, and January they have constant Westerly winds, with rain; also that the whole island can muster 6780 Fighting Men, by which some judgment can be formed of the number of inhabitants. Each district furnishes a certain number, which the chief is obliged to bring into the field when summoned by the Eare dehi, or King of the Island, either to make war or repell an invasion.*
(* This paragraph is added in Admiralty copy.)
The missionaries who came to Tahiti in 1797, in the missionary ship Duff, and settled at Matavai, gathered many details of the history and economy of the islands. It appears that the state of society, though in many respects savage, had attained a certain pitch of civilisation, especially with regard to government. There was generally a head chief or king of the whole island, who governed after the feudal manner by the sub-chiefs. The sovereignty was hereditary, with this peculiarity, that the eldest son of the king became from his birth the sovereign. The father governed henceforth as regent until the son was of an age to take the reins in his own hands, when the father retired. This was the idea; but, as may be imagined, it led to various complications and difficulties, and wars between the different parts of the island and the different chiefs were frequent.
When Wallis discovered the island, in June 1767, Amo was king, or Arii-rahi (called by Cook Eare-dehi), Bereia (Cook’s Obereia) being his wife. The latter seems to have been a woman of much character, and to have practically governed the island. The two were separated, inasmuch that they had mutually contracted other alliances, but, according to the custom of the country, without affecting their friendship.
On Wallis’s appearance the warlike Tahitians at once attacked the Dolphin, but were easily defeated, and the guns and small arms with which they then for the first time made acquaintance had such an effect upon them that they speedily made peace, and recognised the superiority of Europeans.
The defeat had, however, a great effect on the prestige of Amo, whose authority rapidly diminished. Tootaha, Amo’s brother, and chief of the district of Matavai, where the Dolphin anchored, was much enriched by her visit, and became a greater man in the eyes of his compatriots. Bougainville also touched at Tootaha’s district; and although his two ships only remained ten days, it was long enough to furnish this chief with many more valuable and coveted articles.
In about December 1768, or six months before Cook’s visit, war broke out in the island, and Amo was totally defeated by the chief who governed the eastern peninsula. Cook saw at Papara, on the south side of the main island, the relics of this battle in the shape of many human bones. Tootaha, who had joined in the war against his brother, became regent for the son (Pomare) of another brother, Hapai, and was therefore the principal man in the island when Cook appeared. Notwithstanding, when Amo (whom Cook calls Oamo), came to visit the Europeans on 21st June, bringing his young son, Temare, with him, the latter was carried on men’s shoulders, which was one of the ceremonial observances due to the Otou, or young king, and the natives present recognised his royal character by uncovering their shoulders.
Tupia (or Tupaia), who left the island with Cook, was the chief priest of the island, and had been living with Bereia; but having shortly before conspired to kill Tootaha, it is probable that he felt his life was unsafe in the island.
Frequent wars raged in the island for many years after Cook’s first visit. Tootaha was killed in one of these, and when Cook again arrived, in 1773, Pomare was king, though Cook only knew him by his title of Otou, which he apparently still retained, though there was no regent.
In 1789 Captain Bligh called at Tahiti in the Bounty, to export young bread-fruit trees to the West Indies. The delights of Tahiti probably had their part in bringing about the well-known mutiny a few days after the ship left; and on the return of the Bounty with her crew of mutineers, sixteen of them remained on the island. These men took a leading part in the continual dissensions in the island, until, in 1791, they were carried off by the Pandora, sent with the object of capturing the mutineers.
English missionaries came to Tahiti in 1797; but after twelve years’ residence, during which they made no progress, and were constantly in danger from the frequent wars, they retreated to Sydney, in New South Wales, leaving two only of their number in Huahine and Eimeo, two of the Society Islands. Two years later, on the invitation of Pomare II, who was, however, then expelled from Tahiti and living in Eimeo, some of them returned, and Pomare became the first convert. Christianity rapidly spread, and in 1815, Pomare having returned to Tahiti, he and his Christian followers were attacked. The battle ended in the complete victory of Pomare, and for the first time in the sanguinary history of the island no butchery of the vanquished followed, nor any devastation of the country. The principal idols were destroyed; and whether in consequence of the surprise the natives felt at finding that no retribution followed this sacrilege, or from gratitude at the clemency of the victors, opposition to the new religion ceased, the whole island soon became Christian, and the customs of the inhabitants were much changed. In 1827 the British Government declined to accede to a request to throw its protectorate over Tahiti.
In 1836 two French priests came to the island with the avowed intention of proselytising. They were expelled; and after several visits of French men-of-war, who came to obtain redress for this act, and an assurance of free entrance for French subjects, the island was taken possession of by a French squadron in 1843, and Queen Pomare, daughter of Pomare II, was de facto deposed. The island has been ever since under the dominion of France. Tahiti is now in a flourishing condition, and exports a considerable quantity of cotton, cocoanuts, and vanilla.
The majority of the natives still profess the Protestant religion.
Papiete, a little westward of Matavai, is now the principal port and town of the island, the harbour possessing some advantages over the latter.
The Tahitians are marvellously fond of singing and dancing, and still retain their primitive and exceedingly free manners, and the custom of decorating themselves with flowers.
The beauty of the island, with its neighbouring western group, is probably unsurpassed, and, considering all the circumstances, it says much for the discipline of the Endeavour that only two of her crew attempted to remain in what seemed a Paradise.
Cook’s efforts to make his men deal properly with the natives are well illustrated by the following extract from Mr. Molineux’s Log, of the 29th April. The incident is not mentioned by Cook.
“Punished Hy. Jeffs, Seaman, with a dozen lashes for ill-behaviour on shore. He had been rude to a man’s wife yesterday, of which the Indian complained, and Jeffs was confined immediately the Captain had the fact plainly proved, and next morning the Captain invited the offended Parties on board, who were ignorant of his intentions. All hands being called, and the Prisoner brought aft, the Captain explained the nature of his Crime in the most lively manner, and made a very Pathetick speech to the Ship’s Company during his punishment. The woman was in the greatest agonies, and strongly interceded for him. The man’s name was Tuburi and his wife’s name Tamide. I remember them both last Voyage. I should have mentioned Tuburi being sorry to see Jeffs punished.”
It is evident, from what Cook himself tells us (above), and from what is now well known of the laxity of Tahitian morals, that this punishment would seem excessive to the natives, and especially to the women, who were accustomed themselves to bear whatever blame was bestowed.
Note. For full description of original Tahitian manners and customs, see “Polynesian Researches,” by W. Ellis (London, H.G. Bohn, 1853); “Iles Taiti,” par MM. Vincendon-Dumoulin et Chas. Desgraz (Paris, 1844).
Last updated Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 20:32