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answered only by flourishing their weapons, and making signs to us to depart; a musket was then fired wide of them, and the ball struck the water, the river being still between us: They saw the effect, and desisted from their threats; but we thought it prudent to retreat till the marines could be landed. This was soon done; and they marched, with a jack carried before them, to a little bank, about fifty yards from the water-side; here they were drawn up, and I again advanced, with Mr Banks and Dr Solander; Tupia, Mr Green, and Mr Monkhouse, being with us. Tupia was again directed to speak to them, and it was with great pleasure that we perceived he was perfectly understood, he and the natives speaking only different dialects of the same language. He told them that we wanted provision and water, and would give them iron in exchange, the properties of which he explained as well as he was able. They were willing to trade, and desired that we would come over to them for that purpose: To this we consented, provided they would lay by their arms; which, however, they could by no means be persuaded to do. During this conversation, Tupia warned us to be upon our guard, for that they were not our friends: We then pressed them in our turn to come over to us; and at last one of them stripped himself, and swam over without his arms: He was almost immediately followed by two more, and soon after by most of the rest, to the number of twenty or thirty; but these brought their arms with them. We made them all presents of iron and beads; but they seemed to set little value upon either, particularly the iron, not having the least idea of its use; so that we got nothing in return but a few feathers: They offered indeed to exchange their arms for ours, and, when we refused, made many attempts to snatch them out of our hands. As soon as they came over, Tupia repeated his declaration, that they were not our friends, and again warned us to be upon our guard; their attempts to snatch our weapons, therefore, did not succeed; and we gave them to understand by Tupia, that we should be obliged to kill them if they offered any farther violence. In a few minutes, however, Mr Green happening to turn about, one of them snatched away his hanger, and retiring to a little distance, waved it round his head with a shout of exultation: The rest now began to be extremely insolent, and we saw more coming to join them from the opposite side of the river.
It was therefore become necessary to repress them, and Mr Banks fired at the man who had taken the hanger with small shot, at the distance of about fifteen yards: When the shot struck him, he ceased his cry; but instead of returning the hanger, continued to flourish it over his head, at the same time slowly retreating to a greater distance. Mr Monkhouse seeing this, fired at him with ball, and he instantly dropped. Upon this the main body, who had retired to a rock in the middle of the river upon the first discharge, began to return; two that were near to the man who had been killed, ran up to the body, one seized his weapon of green talc, and the other endeavoured to secure the hanger, which Mr Monkhouse had but just time to prevent. As all that had retired to the rock were now advancing, three of us discharged our pieces, loaded only with small shot, upon which they swam back for the shore; and we perceived, upon their landing, that two or three of them were wounded. They retired slowly up the country, and we re-embarked in our boats.
As we had unhappily experienced that nothing was to be done with these people at this place, and finding the water in the river to be salt, I proceeded in the boats round the head of the bay in search of fresh water, and with a design, if possible, to surprise some of the natives, and take them on board, where by kind treatment and presents I might obtain their friendship, and by their means establish an amicable correspondence with their countrymen.
To my great regret, I found no place where I could land, a dangerous surf every where beating upon the shore; but I saw two canoes coming in from the sea, one under sail, and the other worked with paddles. I thought this a favourable opportunity to get some of the people into my possession without mischief, as those in the canoe were probably fishermen, and without arms, and I had three boats full of men. I therefore disposed the boats so as most effectually to intercept them in their way to the shore; the people in the canoe that was paddled perceived us so soon, that by making to the nearest land with their utmost strength, they escaped us; the other sailed on till she was in the midst of us, without discerning what we were; but the moment she discovered us, the people on board struck their sail, and took to their paddles, which they plied so
briskly that she out-ran the boat. They were however within hearing, and Tupia called out to them to come along-side, and promised for us that they should come to no hurt: They chose, however, rather to trust to their paddles than our promises, and continued to make from us with all their power. I then ordered a musquet to be fired over their heads, as the least exceptionable expedient to accomplish my design, hoping it would either make them surrender or leap into the water. Upon the discharge of the piece, they ceased paddling; and all of them, being seven in number, began to strip, as we imagined to jump overboard; but it happened otherwise. They immediately formed a resolution not to fly, but to fight; and when the boat came up, they began the attack with their paddles, and with stones and other offensive weapons that were in the boat, so vigorously, that we were obliged to fire upon them in our own defence: Four were unhappily killed, and the other three, who were boys, the eldest about nineteen, and the youngest about eleven, instantly leaped into the water; the eldest swam with great vigour, and resisted the attempts of our people to take him into the boat by every effort that he could make: He was however at last overpowered, and the other two were taken up with less difficulty. I am conscious that the feeling of every reader of humanity will censure me for having fired upon these unhappy people, and it is impossible that, upon a calm review, I should approve it myself. They certainly did not deserve death for not chusing to confide in my promises; or not consenting to come on board my boat, even if they had apprehended no danger; but the nature of my service required me to obtain a knowledge of their country, which I could no otherwise effect than by forcing my way into it in a hostile manner, or gaining admission through the confidence and good-will of the people. I had already tried the power of presents without effect; and I was now prompted, by my desire to avoid further hostilities, to get some of them on board, as the only method left of convincing them that we intended them no harm, and had it in our power to contribute to their gratification and convenience. Thus far my intentions certainly were not criminal; and though in the contest, which 1 had not the least reason to expect, our victory might have been complete
plete without so great an expence of life, yet in such situations, when the command to fire has been given, no man can restrain its excess, or prescribe its effect.*
* It seems impossible to justify the transaction. Let conscience and the law of nature speak. Palliating circumstances may be allowed their full influence, but still there will remain enough in the deed, to spot the memory of our great and certainly humane navigator. The life of man is the most sacred property under the heavens—its value is perhaps incalculable by any other means than an appeal to the consciousness of its dignity and importance, which every one who enjoys it possesses. It is worse than vain to set about considering the comparative value of different lives, in order to ascertain the momentum of the guilt of violating them in particular instances; and thus to depreciate the existence of savages, by comparing their habits, their manners, their enjoyments, and sufferings, with those of civilized people. A man's life is always valuable to himself, in the proportion of what he would give to secure and prolong it. Is not this the basis of the law, which excuses homicide when committed in self-defence? Does not that law imply the equality of lives in all cases, without disparagement of rank, station, or circumstances? Yet even that law, recognised in all countries worthy of notice for their intelligence and cultivation, required something of the nature of a purgation of the person, whom it at the same time absolved of the deadly guilt of the action. Dr Hawkesworth, in his General Introduction, which it was quite unnecessary to give entire in this work, argues the question of the lawfulness of such aggression as has been mentioned, on the abstract principle that the advantages of discoveries overbalance the evils attendant on the making of them. But admitting all that he says on the subject, which is something more than he proves—admitting, in this case, that the end justifies the means—still it may be contended with propriety, that those who have been entrusted with such commands are amenable to the fundamental laws of humanity and all good governments—Let it be proved that they have not exceeded their instructions, or availed themselves of a concession only problematically and in fact eventually just, to use force and deal out slaughter in conferring their favours. Let there be no relaxation of the solemnity and imposing aspect of the law in such cases, whatever there be of its retributive severity. Sailors in general, and our own in particular, as we may see even in the course of this narrative, are not to be trusted with the smallest discretionary power, where the lives of naked men are concerned. The obvious contrast is too much for their pride; mercifulness of disposition does not mitigate its pungency. An abatement in the rigour of the law unfortunately flatters their prejudices, and loosens the tie by which their passions are feebly bound under a sense of duty and fear. The consequences are shocking and unavoidable. Abrogate entirely from these at all times unthinking men, the liberty of judgment as to the worth of life—let there be but one law for an Englishman and a savage—declare by the voice of justice, that though their skins have not the same hue, and though their hair be differently turned on their heads, yet their blood is the same, and that He that made one made the other also, and has the same interest in both. Such principles would facilitate discoveries, and would render them blessings. The maxims and the conduct of William Penn, a
As soon as the poor wretches whom we had taken out of the water were in the boat, they squatted down, expecting no doubt instantly to be put to death: We made haste to convince them of' the contrary, by every method in our power; we furnished them with clothes, and gave them every other testimony of kindness that could remove their fears and engage their good-will. Those who are acquainted with human nature will not wonder, that the sudden joy of these young savages at being unexpectedly delivered from the fear of death, and kindly treated by those whom they supposed would have been their instant executioners, surmounted their concern for the friends they had lost, and was strongly expressed in their countenance and behaviour. Before we reached the ship, their suspicions and fears being wholly removed, they appeared to be not only reconciled to their situation but in high spirits, and upon being offered some bread when they came on board, they devoured it with a voracious appetite. They answered and asked many questions, with great appearance of pleasure and curiosity; and when our dinner came, they expressed an inclination to taste every thing that they saw: They seemed best pleased with the salt pork, though we had other provisions upon the table. At sun-set, they eat another meal with great eagerness, each devouring a large quantity of bread, and drinking above a quart of water. We then made them beds upon the lockers, and they went to sleep with great seeming content. In the night, however, the tumult of their minds having subsided, and given way to reflection,
name, associated, as it no doubt is, with ideas of something extravagant, and perhaps with the opinion of something impracticable, nevertheless so dear and encouraging to humanity, are worthy of being set up in letters of gold before the eyes of all generations. "Whoever, (was his enactment for the regulation of intercourse with the natives of the country still bearing his name), whoever shall hurt, wrong, or offend any Indian, shall incur the same penalty as if he had offended in like manner against his fellow planter." He treated these savages as his brethren, and he made them such. They pledged themselves "to live in love with William Penn and his children as long as the sun and moon should endure"—nor did they violate their faith. It is lamentable to be constrained to join with Voltaire in saying, "this is the only treaty ever concluded betwixt Christians and Savages that was not ratified by an oath; and the only one that never was broken!" Penn outlived the storms and malice of more than half a century of persecutions, and died in peace at the age of seventy-two. Who does not think of the murder of Cook, with a feeling of something more Hit an common regret for the loss of a great and most estimable man !—-E.