The Endeavour Journal of Sir Joseph Banks/February 1770

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1770 February 1.

Raind this morn very hard, as hard I think as it possibly could; our poor little wild musicians were totaly disturbd by it. In the Even it came on to blow very hard, so much so that the ship drove and for the first time in the Voyage we had 3 anchors down.

1770 February 2.

Still rainy so little could be done today, indeed little remaind to be done.

1770 February 3.

Fine weather: the ship began to prepare for sailing so the Dr and myself employd ourselves in getting together our last specimens of seeds, shells etc. I stayd at the watering place, he went with the Captn to the farther Heppah who wanted to buy Dry fish for sea stock, and did buy so much that at last the Old men fairly told him that he must go away or he would leave them without provisions, which they enforcd by some threats; matters were however so well conducted that they parted peacably.

One of our gentlemen came home to day abusing the natives most heartily whoom he said he had found to be given to the detestable Vice of Sodomy. He, he said, had been with a family of Indians and paid a price for leave to make his adresses to any one young woman they should pitch upon for him; one was chose as he thought who willingly retird with him but on examination provd to be a boy; that on his returning and complaining of this another was sent who turnd out to be a boy likewise; that on his second complaint he could get no redress but was laught at by the Indians. Far be it from me to attempt saying that that Vice is not practisd here, this however I must say that in my humble opinion this story proves no more than that our gentleman was fairly trickd out of his cloth, which none of the young ladies chose to accept of on his terms, and the master of the family did not chuse to part with.

1770 February 4.

Prevented from sailing by our hay which had been so thoroughly soked by the late rains that it was too wet to put on board. Some conversation passd today concerning a report we heard yesterday. Two of our boats went out different ways and returnd at different times; the people of one said that they had met a double canoe who told them that they had a few days ago lost a female child who they suspected had been stole and eat by some of their neighbours; the other said that they had also met a double canoe whose people told them that they had yesterday eat a child, some of whose bones they sold them. From hence many of our gentlemen were led to conclude that thefts of this kind are frequent among these Indians. This story in my opinion throws very little light upon the subject as I am inclind to beleive that our two boats who went out at very different times in the morn both in the same direction, one only farther than the other, saw one and the same canoe and only differently interpreted the conversation of the people, as they know only a few words of the language, and eating people is now always the uppermost Idea in their heads. This however I must say, that when such families have come off to the ship even with an intention to fight with us they have very often brought Women and young children in arms as if they were afraid to leave them behind.

1770 February 5.

Ship employd in Warping herself into a better berth for sailing, When after the anchor was carried out a fortunate eddy wind blew her into it. Our Old Man Topaa was on board, of whoom Tupia askd many questions concerning the Land etc. His answers were nearly as follows: 'that the streights which we had seen from the hills were realy a passage into the Eastern sea; that the Land to the South consisted of 2 Islands or several which might be saild round in 3 or 4 days in their canoes; that he knew of no other great land than that we had been upon, Aehia no Mauwe, of which Terawhitte was the southern part; that he beleivd his ancestors were not born there but came originaly from Heawye (the place from whence Tupia and the Islanders also derive their origin) which lay to the Northward where were many lands; that neither himself his father or his grandfather ever heard of ships as large as this being here before, but that [they] have a tradition of 2 large vessels, much larger than theirs, which some time or other came here and were totaly destroyd by the inhabitants and all the people belonging to them killd'. This Tupia says is a very old tradition, much older than his great grandfather, and relates to two large canoes which came from Olimaroa, one of the Islands he has mentiond to us. Whether he is right, or whether this is a tradition of Tasmans ships whose size in comparison to their own they could not from relation conceive a sufficient Idea of, and whoom their Warlike ancestors had told them they had destroyd, is dificult to say. Tupia all along warnd us not to beleive too much any thing these people told us; For says he they are given to lying, they told you that one of their people was killd by a musquet and buried Which was absolutely false.

Myself and the Dr went ashore today to wind up our bottoms and fell in by accident with the most agreable Indian family we had seen upon the coast, indeed the only one in which we have observd any order or subordination. It consisted of 17 people; the head of it was a pretty child of about 10 years old who they told us was the owner of the land about where we wooded, the only instance of property we have met with among these people. He and his mother (who mournd for her husband tears of blood according to their custom) sat upon matts, the rest sat round them; houses they had none, nor did they attempt to make for themselves any shelter against the inclemencies of the weather which I suppose they by custom very easily endure. Their whole behaviour was so affable, obliging and unsuspicious that I should certainly have accepted their invitation of staying the night with them had not the ship been to sail in the morn. Most unlucky I shall always esteem it that we did not sooner get acquainted with these people, from whoom we might have learnt more in a day of their manners and dispositions than from all that we have yet seen.

1770 February 6.

Foul wind continued but we contrivd to turn out and get into the streights, which are to be calld Cooks streights. Here we were becalmd and almost imperceptibly drawn by the tide near the land. The lead was dropd and gave 70 fathom; soon after saw an apearance like breakers towards which we drove fast. It was now sunset and night came on apace. The ship drove into this which provd to be a strong tide which set her directly upon a rock to which she aproachd very near, when the anchor was dropd which brought her up about a Cables lengh from it; now we were sensible of the force of the tide which roard like a mill stream and ran at 4 knotts at least when it came in its strongest pushes, for it varied much. It ran in this manner till 12 O'Clock, when with the slack water we got up the anchor with great dificulty which lay in 70 fathom, and a light breeze from the Northward cleard very soon from our dangers.

1770 February 7.

Sensible again of the Violence of the tides here which past us in great ripples, even in the middle of the streights, tho they were judgd to be 5 leagues over in the narrowest part. A large hill was seen with much snow upon it on the SW side: at noon we were almost abreast of it and clear of the streights, it provd to be so far inland that we could hardly trace its outline so probably it is very high indeed. The land between us and it was flat for a large extent but seemd barren and swampy Land, after this barren and sandy and rounded away fast to the Southward; a small smoak upon it in the Even was the only sign of inhabitants that we saw.

1770 February 8.

As some of the officers declard last night that they though[t] it probable that the land we have been round might communicate by an Isthmus situate somewhere between where we now are and Cape Turnagain (tho the Whole distance is estimated at no more than 90 miles) the captn resolv'd to stand to the Northward till he should see that cape, which was accordingly done in the morning the wind being fair tho but a light breeze. As soon as we were in with the land it appeard more fertile than any we had seen for some time, and the flatts larger, but the weather was so hazey that we could not make use of our glasses. About this time 3 Canoes put off from the shore and followd us and had patience to do so till 3 O'Clock, when they overtook us and immediately with very little invitation came on board. They appeard richer and more cleanly than any people we have seen since we were in the Bay of Islands, and their canoes were also ornamented in the same manner as those we had formerly seen on the N and this side of the Island, but have not now seen since the river Thames if even there; they were also more civil in their behavior and on having presents made them immediately made presents to us in return (an instance we have not before met with in this Island). All these things inclind me to beleive that we were again come into the Dominions of Teratu but on asking them they said no he was not their King.

1770 February 9.

Weather rather more clear than Yesterday. On the land white chalky cliffs appeard such as we us'd to see; by 11 O'Clock Cape Turnagain was in sight which convincd every body that the land was realy an Island on which we once more turnd our heads to the southward.

1770 February 10.

Stood along shore nearer the land than when we passd it before: it made in low hills which seemd pretty well clothd with trees but at the bottom of them was lowish land making in tables, the topps of which were coverd with white sand that through the glass had much the appearance of ripe corn; between these were a few vallies in which were wood and in one of these we saw a few houses. In the Evening the countrey rather mended upon us I suppose, as many fires were seen by which I suppose it to be better inhabited.

1770 February 11.

Calm this morn: 2 Canoes came off and sold us a few fish and some of their fishing hooks made upon a peice of wood, which I beleive serves instead of bait in towing as the mother of Pearl does on the Islanders towing hooks. Light breeze: the land did not look to so much advantage as when we passd it in our passage to the Northward.

1770 February 12.

This morn the seamen all imagind that we had passd the mouth of the streights when to our surprize the great snowy hill which we had seen on the 7th appeard right ahead. At nigh[t] however we were abreast of the streights which was it not for the hill might be dificult to find in Cloudy weather.

1770 February 13.

Calm which gave me an opportunity of going out in the boat and shooting some Albatrosses. The air today was so hazey that we could scarce see the least traces of land and yet the snow on the top of the mountain was very visible.

1770 February 14.

Shooting again, killd Nectris munda and Procellaria saltatrix. While I was out 4 Canoes came off from the shore which I had not the least suspicion of, as we were farther from the shore than ever canoes had come before. Signals were made but as the ship was right in the wake of the sun none of them were seen by us till we saw the canoes themselves, when we immedi[a]tely pulld for the ship and got aboard I beleive without the Indians ever seing us so much was their attention taken up with looking at the ship; indeed if they had no bad consequence could have ensued as they were so timourous that they hardly dard venture within call of the ship. They stayd but a little while and then went away, not time enough to get ashore before it was dark, for at sunset we saw them not more than half way between us and the shore. I had two or three oppertunities this even of seeing Albatrosses raise from the Water which they did with great ease; maybe when they are not able to do so (which I have seen) is when they are Gorgd with food.

1770 February 15.

Calm again: at Noon I went out and shot in less than an hour 6 Albatrosses: had the calm continued I beleive I might have shot 60, but a fair breeze of wind came which made me not much regret the Loss of the rest.

1770 February 16.

Land this morn lookd fertile enough. We had now enterd upon a new Island on which few signs of inhabitants were seen: a fire however made us certain that howsoever thin they might be it was not totaly destitute of them. All day the Weather was very clear. In the morn early Mr Gore imagind that he saw land to the S. Eastward.

1770 February 17.

This morn we were close onboard of the land which made in ridges not unlike the South Sea Islands (between the tropicks); the tops of these were bare but in the Valleys was plenty of wood. On the SE part was an opening which had all possible appearance of an excellent harbour; near this on the top of a hill we saw two people setting. Mr Gore notwi[th]standing Yesterdays run was of opinion that what he saw yesterday morning might be land, so he declard on the Quarter deck: on which the Captn who resolvd that nobody should say he had left land behind unsought for orderd the ship to be steerd SE.

1770 February 18.

All yesterday, last night and this morn we stood for Mr Gore's land but not seing any and at noon today finding ourselves in Lat.45..17 Every body in the ship was convincd, except possibly Mr Gore, that it was impossible to have on the 17th seen as far as where we were now, so we again stood to the Westward. At night it was Haizey and a large shoal of Bottle nosd Porpoises were about the ship, soon after which it began to flow brisk but fair.

1770 February 19.

Last night about one the officer of the watch came down to the captn with the disagreable news of land right ahead and very near, which the wind which blew strong blew directly upon; we were soon however set at ease by the Captn comeing down and telling us that it was only a white cloud. In the morn it blew hard and before noon (to our great surprize) land was indeed in sight very high and far off. Many conjectures were made whether or not it was part of the land we had left but that can only be determind by future observations. We had most of us put great confidence in the intelligence we had got of the Indians in the last anchoring place, notwithstanding Tupia had even then warnd us much not to depend upon the people who he said he was sure were liars. We had been told however at different times by the inhabitants of both the towns that the streights realy joind the two seas and that the land to the Southward might be saild round in three or four days: the first we had found to be true and from thence there appeard the highest probability that the other was so likewise, nor could we devise any reason the Indians could have in wishing to deceive us, especialy as we had ask'd the question of two different societies who we had reason to think had not had any intercourse in the intermediate time, which had made us rather stretch the bounds of probability in allowing the practicability of a canoe sailing round the first part of the land we had seen in the time given. There was however between the farthest part of both the lands a space which we had not seen of more than 20 leagues in lengh: supposing that to be a streight the Indians certainly could not see over it, and the countrey they inhabited being very thinly peopled they might at this time be ignorant that there was land beyond it. This much for conjectures, but be it remembred that they are merely such and upon a subject that future observations will most probably clear up. Tho we saw the land by noon and at that time we had a fresh breeze of Wind, yet it dropping nearly calm soon after we were at night very distant from it. We had however soundings a great way off and the land appeard very high, so that we once more cherishd strong hopes that we had at last compleated our wishes and that this was absolutely a part of the Southern continent; especialy as we had seen a hint thrown out in some books that the Duch, not contented with Tasmans discoveries, had afterwards sent other ships who took the land upon the same lat. as he made it in and followd it to the Southward as high as Lat 64¡S.

1770 February 20.

This morn we were close in with the land which appeard flat, sandy and very barren near the shore but rising into high hills inland. We stood in pretty near to it but saw no signs of inhabitants. W[ind] Southerly all day blowing fresh.

1770 February 21.

Weather rather more moderate but still foul so that we saw again today the same part of the coast as yesterday.

1770 February 22.

Still more moderate but will not let us proceed at all to the southward.

1770 February 23.

At noon today calm which gives us hopes that we may have a fair wind. As we have now been 4 days upon nearly the same part of the coast without seing any signs of inhabitants I think there is no doubt that this part at least is without inhabitants.

1770 February 24.

Fresh breeze of wind and fair so we went along shore briskly but kept so far off from it that no observations could be made: we can only say that we did not see any fires, other signs of people we could not have seen by reason of our distance had they been ever so numerous or conspicuous. In the evening the land ahead inclind a good deal to the West. We were now on board of two parties, one who wishd that the land in sight might, the other that it might not be a continent: myself have always been most firm for the former, tho sorry I am to say that in the ship my party is so small that I firmly beleive that there are no more heartily of it than myself and one poor midshipman, the rest begin to sigh for roast beef.

1770 February 25.

Wind whiffling all round the compass, at night settled at SW and blew hard.

1770 February 26.

Still Blew hard, in some squalls very much so. Thermometer today at noon was 48 which pinchd us a little.

1770 February 27.

Weather a little more moderate but no standing upon legs without the assistance of hands as yet: hope however that the heart of this long-winded gale is broke according to the sea phraze.

1770 February 28.

Weather a little more moderate so that we got a little respite and our different occupations went on as usual. Opend today a Cask of Cabbage put up by the receipt p. 210 of this Journal which provd most excellently good, scarce at all worse for keeping in my opinion.