A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's Ship, the Endeavour/Arrival at and description of Otaheite
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Arrival at and description of the islands and natives of Otaheite
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Arrival at and description of the islands and natives of Otaheite
On the 14th, in the morning, a great number of the natives came to us, round a reef point towards the south, and were very troublesome, attempting to steal every thing they could lay their hands upon: they brought with them only two or three hogs, which they would not exchange for any thing but hatchets. Among the rest who visited us, there were some people of distinction in double canoes; their cloaths, carriage, and behaviour evinced their superiority. I never beheld statelier men, [see pl. III.] having a pleasant countenance, large black eyes, black hair, and white teeth. They behaved very courteously, and expressed some un-easiness at the conduct of the rest. We entertained them in the cabin, and then bent our sails, taking them with us for guides, till we had doubled the point, where we found a fine bay to anchor in. In the afternoon, a small party of us made an excursion into the country, and the inhabitants followed us in great numbers. At length, being fatigued, we sat down under the shade of some lofty trees, the undulation of whose leaves rendered it very cool and pleasant. The high cocoas, and the low branching fruit trees, formed an agreeable contrast; while the cloud-topt hills, appearing between them, added to the natural grandeur of the prospect. The inhabitants stood gaping around us while we feasted on the cocoa-nut milk, which afforded us a pleasing repast.
On the 15th, in the morning, several of the chiefs, one of which was very corpulent, came on board from the other point, and brought us some hogs; we pre-sented them with a sheet and some trinkets in return; but some of them took the liberty of stealing the top of the lightening-chain. We went ashore, and pitched the markee: Mr. Banks, the captain, and myself, took a walk in the woods, and were afterwards joined by Mr. Hicks, and Mr. Green. While we were walking, and enjoying the rural scene, we heard the report of some fire-arms, and presently saw the natives fleeing into the woods like frighted fawns, carrying with them their little moveables. Alarmed at this unexpected event, we immediately quitted the wood, and made to the side of the river, where we saw several of our men, who had been left to guard the tent, pursuing the natives, who were terrified to the last degree; some of them skulked behind the bushes, and others leaped into the river. Hearing the shot rattle amongst the branches of the trees over my head, I thought it not safe to continue there any longer, and fled to the tent, where I soon learned the cause of the catastrophe.
A centinel being off his guard, one of the natives snatched a musket out of his hand, which occasioned the fray. A boy, a midshipman, was the commanding officer, and, giving orders to fire, they obeyed with the greatest glee imaginable, as if they had been shooting at wild ducks, killed one stout man, and wounded many others. What a pity, that such brutality should be exercised by civilized people upon unarmed ignorant Indians!
When Mr. Banks heard of the affair, he was highly displeased, saying, "If we quarrelled with those Indians, we should not agree with angels;" and he did all he could to accommodate the difference, going across the river, and, through the mediation of an old man, prevailed on many of the natives to come over to us, bearing plantain-trees, which is a signal of peace amongst them; and, clapping their hands to their breasts, cried Tyau, which signifies friendship. They sat down by us; sent for cocoa nuts, and we drank the milk with them. They laughed heartily, and were very social, more so than could have been expected, considering what they had suffered in the late skirmish. — Have we not reason to conclude, that their dispositions are very flexible, and that resentment, with them, is a short-lived passion?
The horizon not being clear, we could not make any astronomical observations; and therefore did not attempt to go round the point to the other bay. The weather, however, since we arrived here, has generally been clear, with now and then a slight shower of rain, and the wind E. N. E.
Mr. Buchan was seized with an epileptic fit this morning, and remained insensible all day.
On the 16th, but few of the Indians came to us in their canoes, being, we apprehended, somewhat alarmed at what had happened the day before. We got the ship moored; and Mr. Banks and the captain went ashore to confer with the natives, and to prevail on them to traffic with us again.
On the 17th, early in the morning, Mr. Buchan died, and we went out in the pinnace and long boat to the offing, and buried him.
Two of the chiefs came on board this morning, bringing with them a present of hogs, fowls, plantains, bananas, cocoas, bread-fruit and a sort of yams. At this season the cocoas are young, many of them yielding a quart of fine milk, and the shell is eatable, but they have no kernel.
We pitched one of the ship’s tents and went into the valley, where an Indian invited me to his hut, and sent his son up a tall cocoa-tree to gather nuts: he climbed it very dexterously, by tying his feet together with a withe, then clasping the tree, and vaulting up very swiftly. They admired every thing they saw about me, and I gave them a few trinkets.
On the 18th, in the night, we lay on shore, and were much incommoded with a species of flies with which the island swarms; insomuch that, at dinner time, it was one person’s employ to beat them off with a feather fly-flap, the handle of which is made of a hard brown wood, rudely carved, and somewhat resembles a human figure.
On the 20th, one of their chiefs, named Tubora Tumaida, whom we called Lycurgus, with his wife and son, came to visit and dine with us; While we were at dinner, one of his attendants made up a dish with some garbage which they brought with them, mixing it with cocoa nut liquor in a shell, and it tasted like fowens. This seemed to be a favourite dish with them, but we could not relish it. They have also a kind of food like wheat flour in appearance, of which Lycurgus brought a small quantity, and mixed that also with cocoa nut liquor; and, dropping two or three hot stones into it, he stirred it about till it formed a strong jelly: on tasting it we found it had an agreeable flavour, not unlike very good blanc-mange. These people make up various kinds of paste, one of which, called Makey Poe Poe, is made of fermented bread-fruit, and a substance called Meiya, mixt with cocoa-nut milk, and baked, tastes very sweet. In making these pastes, they use a pestle made of a hard black stone, a kind of basaltes, with which they beat them in a wooden trough. See pl. XIII. fig. 10.
The mode of dressing their food too is very singular: they make a hole in the ground, and, placing stones in it, kindle a sire upon them; and when they are sufficiently heated, they sweep off the ashes, and then lay their food upon them. At their meals the married women ate apart from the men, and we could not prevail on them to join us. The men, especially, seemed to like the manner of our eating, and handled knives and forks very well. Hogs and fowls are not very plentiful amongst them; yams, and the best bananas, are very scarce in this island, the natives bring down but few of either fort, and eat of them very sparingly. When the natives want to make a fire, they take a piece of light wood, make a groove in it, and rub along that with another piece till the small dust catches fire: This is very laborious, and requires a considerable time to effect it.
On the 21st we went round the point, and met with Lycurgus sitting on the ground, with his wife by his side, having a canoe covering, which he brought there on purpose to be near us: he gave us a hearty welcome; and, to divert us, ordered two of his boys to play on their flutes, while another sang a sort of melancholy ditty, very well suited to the music. Lycurgus is a middle-aged man, of a chearful, though sedate, countenance, with thick black frizzled hair, and a beard of the same kind: his behaviour and aspect had something of natural majesty in them. I shewed him some of my drawings, which he greatly admired, and pronounced their names as soon as he saw them. These people have a peculiar me-thod of staining their garments: a girl that was present shewed me the whole process, which is as follows:—— She took the young leaves of a convolvulus unfoliated, and then broke off the tops of a small fig, of a reddish hue, and squeezed out of it a milky fluid, which she spread on a leaf, rubbing it gently to mix it with the juice of the leaf, and then it became red; this she soaked up with the leaf of a solanum, and then daubed it upon some cloth: the colour is good, but whether it will stand, I am unable to determine. They make a variety of neat basket-work [see a figure of one of their baskets, pl. XIII. fig. 6.] for holding of their colours; the simplest of all is made of the leaf of a cocoa-nut, which they plait together, and gather up on each side: they also make a kind of bonnet [see pl. VIII. fig. 4.] of the same materials. They do not seem very fond of their deaths, of which they have a variety of colours, but wear them sometimes one way, and sometimes another, as their humour is. Persons of distinct on amongst them wrap a number of pieces of cloth about them; and that which is of a carmine colour is only worn by the superior class. The people in general are very fond of ear-rings, and will exchange for them what they deem the most valuable of their effects. Some of their ear-rings [see pl. XIII. fig. 13 and 14] are made of mother-of-pearl cut into various figures, which are tied to their ears by human hair, curiously plaited by the women. They also tie three pearls together with hair, and hang them on their ears. [See ibid. fig. 26.]
The cloth, worn by the natives of this island, is of a very singular kind, being made of the bark of a small tree which contains a glutinous juice, some of which we saw in our excursions. The mode of manufacturing it is very simple, though very laborious, and is mostly performed by women. After the bark has been soaked in water for a few days, they lay it upon a flat piece of timber, and beat it out as thin as they think proper with a kind of mallet of an oblong square, [see pl. XIII. fig. 5.] each side of which is cut into small grooves of four different sizes: they begin with that side where they are the largest, and end with the finest, which leaving longitudinal stripes upon the cloth, makes it resemble paper. These people have garments also made of matting, [see pl. IX.] which are chiefly worn in rainy weather.
The rates, or terms, on which we trafficked with the natives, were a spike for a small pig; a smaller for a fowl; a hatchet for a hog; and twenty cocoa-nuts, or bread-fruit, for a middling-sized nail.
When the natives beckon to any person at a distance, contrary to our mode they wave their hands downwards, and when they meet a friend, or relation, whom they have not seen for some time, they affect to cry for joy, but it seems to be entirely ceremonial.
The tide rises and falls scarce afoot in the harbour; but the surf runs high. The inhabitants are very expert swimmers, and will remain in the water a long time, even with their hands full. They keep their water on shore in large bam-boos, and in them they also carry up salt-water into the country. The boys drag for fish with a sort of net made of convolvulus leaves; and sometimes catch them with hooks made of mother of pearl oysters, large pinna marina, and other shells; and the shapes of them are very singular. They have also some made of wood, which are very large; [see figures of several of them, pl. XIII. fig. 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.] They fish without bait, but the fish are attracted the soonest by such hooks as are made of glittering shells. When they throw their hooks, they row their canoes as fast as possible: sometimes they make use of a decoy made of the backs of cowries, and other shells, which are perforated, and tied together in the shape of a fish, making a head to it with a small cowrey; and the tail is formed of grass ingeniously plaited. At a little distance under this decoy, hangs the hook: [see pl. XIII. fig. 15 and 25.] To sink their lines, they make use of bone, or 2 piece of spar, which they sometimes carve. See ibid. fig. 16, 17.
The chief food of the natives is the bread-fruit and bananas, which they peel and scrape with a sharp shell; but they eat sparingly of flesh, and of fish in general; but of the latter, sometimes alive, or raw; and, as they have no salt, they dip their meat into salt water. The natives, it seems, are very subject to the itch, and other cutaneous eruptions, which is the more to be wondered at as their diet consists principally of vegetables. They often move from one part to another in their canoes, carrying with them all their household stuff. Sometimes they deep all night in their canoes, but those used for that purpose are made double, and have thatched awnings over them.
Tobiah, Obereah’s favourite, being at dinner with us, and not seeming to like our provision, which was pork-pie, remembering that we had a large cuttle-fish, we ordered it to be brought; Tubora Tumaida coming in the mean time, although he said his belly was full, immediately seized on it as if it had been a dainty morsel, and, with another man, ate much of it quite raw; and having the rest roasted, he ate the greatest part of it; the remainder he put into two cocoa nuts, and sent it home with great care; so that, to all appearance, they value this fish, as much as some Englishmen do turtle, or a haunch of venison. When this fish was dressed it ate like stewed oysters, but not so tender. I have been told that this fish makes excellent soup. These people also are fond of dog’s-flesh, and reckon it delicious food, which we discovered by their bringing the leg of a dog roasted to sell. Mr. Banks ate a piece of it, and admired it much. He went out immediately and bought one, and gave it to some Indians to kill and dress it in their manner, which they did accordingly. After having held the dog’s mouth down to the pit of his stomach till he was stifled, they made a parcel of stones hot upon the ground, laid him upon them, and singed off the hair, then scraped his skin with a cocoa shell, and rubbed it with coral; after which they took out the entrails, laid them all carefully on the stones, and after they were broiled ate them with great goût; nor did some of our people scruple to partake with them of this indelicate repast. Hav-ing scraped and washed the dog’s body clean, they prepared an oven of hot stones, covered them with bread-fruit leaves, and laid it upon them, with liver, heart and lungs, pouring a cocoa-nut full of blood upon them, covering them too with more leaves and hot stones, and inclosed the whole with earth patted down very close to keep in the heat. It was about four hours in the oven, and at night it was served up for supper: I ate a little of it; it had the taste of coarse beef, and a strong disagreeable smell; but Captain Cook, Mr. Banks, and Dr. Solander, commended it highly, saying it was the sweetest meat they had ever tasted; but the rest of our people could not be prevailed on to ate any of it. We have invented a new dish, which is as much disliked by the natives, as any of theirs is by us. Here is a species of rats, of which there are great numbers in this island; we caught some of them, and had them fried; most of the gentlemen in the bell-tent ate of them, and commended them much; and some of the inferior officers ate them in a morning for breakfast.
On the 27th, we saw a very odd ceremony performed; Tiropoa, one of Tubora Tumaida’s wives, after weeping, and expressing some emotions of sorrow, took a shark’s tooth from under her cloaths, and struck it against her head several times, which produced a copious discharge of blood; then, lamenting most bitterly, she articulated some words in a mournful tone, and covered the blood with some pieces of cloth; and, having bled about a pint, she gathered up as much of it as she could, threw it into the sea, and then assumed a chearful countenance, as if nothing had happened. This, it seems, is a ceremony generally performed by widows after the decease of their husbands.
This morning a woman, a fat, bouncing, good-looking dame, whom we found the queen, having a great quantity of their cloth of all colours, made us a visit, and a present.
Tootahau, the king of the island, whom we called Hercules, too, and all his family, came and brought us presents, which we kindly accepted.
On the 30th, the weather being fair, we made a tour in the country, which was very pleasant, and met with several rare plants, which afforded much agreeable amusement to our botanical gentlemen.
On the 2d of May, we missed the astronomical quadrant, it having been brought on shore the day before, in order to make observation of the transit of Venus: several men were immediately dispatched into the country to search for it; and they were informed, by some of the natives, that it had been carried through the woods to the eastward. The captain, Mr. Banks, and Mr. Green, with some other of our men, Tubora Tumaida, and a few of the natives, all armed, set out in pursuit of it. Tootahau, the king, and several canoes, were detained till they returned. While they were on this expedition, I walked out to the east, in the evening, and was almost stunned with the noise of the grasshoppers, with which this island abounds. At length I came to a large open place, on the side of which I saw a long house; and in the area many of the natives assembled, having brought with them large baskets of bread-fruit: some of them were employed in dividing them, and others carried away whole baskets full; so that it had the appearance of a market of bread-fruit. Near to this opening, there was another long house, where, it seems, they coloured their cloth, of which I bought a few pieces, and returned to the fort. About eight o’clock in the evening, the party, that went out in quest of the quadrant, came back, having happily obtained it by the assistance of Tubora Tumaida. Some of the natives had taken it to pieces, and divided it amongst them, but had done it no material damage. It was stolen by a man named Moroameah, ser-vant to Titaboreah, one of their chiefs. They also found a pistol, which one of the natives had stolen some time before. Tootahau wept while the party was absent, and was much alarmed on the occasion, apprehending that he should be killed if the quadrant could not be found; and had sent for two hogs to appease us. Oboreah, the queen, fled from us; nor would any of the natives come to market. When Tubora Tumaida, and his party, who accompanied Mr. Banks, returned, and saw Tootahau confined, they set up the most doleful lamentation imaginable; but they were soon pacified by the assurances made them that we designed them no injury.
On the 4th, very few people came to market with provisions, having been intimidated by the detention of their king Tootahau.
Some of the natives gave us an account of many neighbouring islands, to the number of nineteen, and shewed us one of them from a hill, which was Yoole Etea.
Most of the natives of this island smell strong of the cocoa oil, and are of a pale brown complexion, mostly having black hair, and that often frizzled; black eyes, flat nose, and large mouth, with a chearful countenance; they all wear their beards, but cut off their mustachios, [see pl. VIII. fig. I.] are well made, and very sturdy, having their bellies in general very prominent; and are a timorous, merry, facetious, hospitable people. There are more tall men among them than among any people I have seen, measuring six feet, three inches and a half; but the women in general are small compared with the men. [See pl.V.] They must be very honest amongst them-selves, as every house is without any fastening. Locks, bolts, and bars are peculiar to civilized countries, where their moral theory is the best, and their moral practices too generally of the worst; which might induce a celebrated writer to conclude, though erroneously, that mankind, upon the whole, are necessarily rendered worse, and less happy, by civilization, and the cultivation of the arts and sciences. Nature’s wants, it is true, are but few, and the uncivilized part of mankind, in general, seem contented if they can acquire those few. Ambition, and the love of luxurious banquets, and other superfluities, are but little known in the bar-barous nations: they have, in general, less anxious thought for the morrow, than civilized; and therefore feel more enjoyment while they partake of heaven’s bounty in the present day. Unaccustomed to indulgences in cloathing and diet, which Europeans have carried to an extreme, they are less subject to diseases; are more robust; feel less from the inclemencies of the seasons, and are, in constitu-tion, what the ancient Britons were before their civilization. Unhappily for us, the athletic constitution of our ancestors is not to be found amongst us, being enervated by excesses of various kinds; while diseases, the effect of intemperance and debaucheries, contaminate our blood, and render them hereditary amongst our offspring.
The natives huts are inclosed by a low fence made of reeds; and the ground within them is very neatly bedded with a kind of straw, upon which they lay mats to sleep on; and, for a pillow, they have a four-legged stool, joined at the bottom, which is made out of a solid piece of wood; and the only tools they have to work with are made of stones, or shells, as they had no iron upon the island until the Dolphin arrived. [See pl. XIII. fig. 7.]
These huts are built at a considerable distance from each other; to that the island looks like one continued village, and abounds with cocoa, bread-fruit, and apple-trees; the fruit of which drops, as it were, into their mouths; and may be the cause that they are an indolent people: Were they inclined to industry provisions might be found in greater plenty amongst them; and, by proper cultivation, the fruits of the island would not only be increased, but their quality might be improved. They seem, however, as contented with what is spontaneously produced, as if they had attained to the ne plus ultra, and are therefore happier than Europeans in general are, whose desires are unbounded. When the men are at work, they wear only a piece of cloth round their middle, which they call maro: at other times they wear garments which they call purawei, and teepoota about their bodies, with a kind of turban on their heads; and, in walking, they carry a long white stick in one of their hands, with the smallest end uppermost.
These people go to war in large canoes, at one end of which there is a kind of stage erected, supported by four carved pillars, and is called tootee. Their weapons are a kind of clubs, and long wooden lances. They have also bows and arrows. The former are made of a strong elastic wood. The arrows are a small species of reed, or bamboes, pointed with hard wood, or with the sting of the ray-fish, which is a sharp-bearded bone. [See pl. XIII. fig. 13.] They also make use of slings, [see ibid. fig. I.] made of the fibres of the bark of some tree, of which, in general, they make their cordage too: some of them, as well as their slings, are neatly plaited. Their hatchets, or rather adzes, which they call towa, are made by tying a hard black stone, of the kind of which they make their paste-beaters, to the end of a wooden handle; and they look very much like a small garden hoe: and the stone part is ground or worn to an edge. [See pl. XIII. fig. 9.] The making of these stone-instruments must be a work of time, and laborious, as the stone of which they are made is very hard. The natives have maros, or pieces of cloth, which reach up from the waist, to defend them from the lances, or bunches of hair curiously plaited. They also wear teepootas upon their heads, and taowmees, or a kind of breast-plate, hung about their necks; [see pl. XI.] large turbans too, in which they stick a small bunch of parrot’s feathers; [see pl. XIII. fig. 12.] and sometimes use what they call a whaow, which is a large cap of a conical figure. In their heivos, or war-dances, they assume various antic motions and gestures, like those practised by the girls when they dance taowree whaow, playing on a clapper made of two mother-of-pearl shells; and make the ephaita, or wry mouth, [see pl. VII. fig. 2.] as a token of defiance: they also join their hands together, moving them at the same time, and clap the palms of their hands upon their breasts near their shoulders. When they sight in their boats, they generally throw a string to one another to fasten the canoes together; and the men who are employed in doing this are never struck at. 
The natives cut their hair in various forms. When their nearest relations die, some of them cut it off entirely, and go bare-headed; others leave a border all round the head; and others cut it into circles; while some have only a circular piece cut off the crown like a priest’s tonsure; others still prefer another mode, leaving the hair upon the crown of the head, and cut off all the rest. All this they perform with a shark’s tooth, which cuts it very close: they also shave with a shark’s tooth fitted to a piece of coarse shell. The natives are accustomed to mark themselves in a very singular manner, which they call tataowing; [see pl. VII. fig. 1.] this is done with the juice of a plant; and they perform the operation with an instrument having teeth like a comb, dipped in the juice, with which the skin is perforated. [See pl. XIII. fig. 2, 3, and 4.] Mr. Stainsby, my-self, and some others of our company, underwent the operation, and had our arms marked: the stain left in the skin, which cannot be effaced without destroying it, is of a lively bluish purple, similar to that made upon the skin by gun-powder. These people have invented a musical instrument, somewhat like a flute, [see pl. XIII. fig. 8. and pl. IX.] which they blow into through their noses; but their notes, which are but very few, are rude and ungrateful. Their dances are not less sin-gular than their music; for they twist their bodies into many extravagant postures, spread their legs, set their arms a-kimbo, and, at the same time, distort the muscles of their faces, and twist their mouths diagonally, in a manner which none of us could imitate. [See pl. VII. fig. 2.]
Polygamy is not allowed amongst them; but the married women have not a very delicate sense of modesty; their husbands will allow you any liberty with their wives, except the last, which they do not approve. Most of our ship’s company procured temporary wives amongst the natives, with whom they occasionally cohabited; an indulgence which even many reputed virtuous Europeans allow themselves, in uncivilized parts of the world, with impunity; as if a change of place altered the moral turpitude of fornication: and what is a sin in Europe, is only a simple innocent gratification in America; which is to suppose, that the obligation to chastity is local, and restricted only to particular parts of the globe.
It is customary for the women to wear garlands of flowers on their heads, [see pl. VIII. fig. 1, 2.] which are composed of the white palm-leaves gathered from the spathas from which the flower proceeds. They also gather a species of gardenia, as soon as they open, and put them in their ears. Both sexes are very cleanly; they wash themselves in the river three times a day; and their hands and teeth after every meal.
The children of both sexes are remarkably kind to one another, and, if any thing be given them, will, if possible, equally divide it amongst them.
On the fifth, the captain and Mr. Banks, with some others, went to the west, and waited upon Tootahau, and some other of the chiefs, who, it was supposed, had taken affront, as the people did not bring fruit, as usual, to market. They received them kindly, and entertained them with wrestling and dancing: when they returned to the ship, Tootahau, their king, came along with them, brought a barbecued-hog, and the captain made him a present.
On the sixth, being the next day, the natives brought their fruits to market as usual.
In walking through the woods we saw the corpse of a man laid upon a sort of bier, which had an awning over it made of mats, supported by four sticks; a square piece of ground around it was railed in with bamboos, and the body was covered with cloth. These burial places are called Morai.
This day we also saw them polishing their canoes, which was done with the madrepora fungites, a species of coral, or sea mushroom, with which they also polish the beams of their houses.
On the 8th, Mr. Mollineux went in the long-boat to the east to buy some hogs. but could not get any: the people told them that they belonged to Tootahau, which evinced the superiority of that man.
We saw a man this day of a very fair complexion, with ruddy nose and cheeks, having the hair of his head, beard, eye-brows, and eye-lashes, quite white, insomuch that he was a lusus naturae amongst them.
On the 13th, as Mr. Banks sat in the boat, trading with them as usual, we saw a very odd ceremony performed: — Some strangers came up, to whom the rest gave way, making a lane for them to pass through: the first person in the procession presented Mr, Banks with a small bunch of parrot’s feathers, with some plantain, and malape-leaves, one after another. A woman passed along the next, having a great many clothes upon her, which she took off, and, spreading them upon the ground, turned round, and exposed herself quite naked: more garments being handed to her, by the company, she spread them also upon the ground, and then exposed herself as before; then the people gathered up all her clothes, took leave, and retired.
On the 14th, we saw a person who had the appearance of an hermaphrodite.
On the 15th, we had but a slight sea breeze, and the weather was very sultry, though the clouds hung upon the mountains, and we expected some rain; we had some puffs of wind from the mountains, that raised the sand in little clouds, which covered every thing, and rendered our situation still more disagreeable. In the evening we saw a remarkable large ring round the moon.
On the 16th, it rained very hard, and there were two rainbows. We hauled the Sein in several distant places, but caught no fish.
On the 17th, the centinel fired at one of the natives, who came before it was light with an intent to steal some of the casks, which was the second offence; but the powder flashed in the pan, and the man escaped with his life.
On the 20th, but few of the natives came to market, having been prevented by the rain.
On the 22d, it rained very hard, accompanied with thunder and lightening, more terrible than any I had ever heard, or seen, before. It rained so hard that the water came through the markee, and wetted every thing in it; and we were much afraid the ship would have suffered by the storm, but she providentially escaped.
On the third of June, it being very fair, the astronomers had a good opportunity of making an observation of the transit. Mr. Banks, and a party, went to Eimayo, and another party to the east, to make observations at the same time. Mr. Banks returned with two hogs, which he got from the king of Eimayo.
- The following calculation of the Transit, being found amongst Sydney Parkinson’s papers, as also a table of the rising and falling of the Thermometer, between the 27th of April, 1769, and the 9th of July following, they are here subjoined for the information of the curious.
- As we were to make the observation of the transit on this island, we built a temporary fort for our accommodation on shore: [see pl.IV.] It had a fosse, with palisadoes, next the river: guns and swivels mounted on the ramparts; and within, we had an observatory, an oven, forge, and pens for our sheep. Centinels were also appointed as usual in garrisons, and military discipline observed. The sandy ground, on which the fort stood, was very troublesome when the wind was high.
- A kind of flummery made of oatmeal.
- The women sometimes row the canoes.
- I saw some stalks of cocoa-nuts which were as heavy as I could lift which surprised me the more as the stalks were very tender.
- A kind of diversion.
- We saw two men who had been pierced through the skull by stones from a sling; the wounds were healed up, but had left a large operculum.