« ZurückWeiter »
opposite side of the river, which we thought a sign of nJ.7f9' fear, and seated themselves upon the ground. At first, ^^^-^j therefore, myself, with only Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and Tupia, landed from the little boat, and advanced towards them; but we had not proceeded many paces before they all started up, and every man produced either a long pike, or a small weapon of green talc, extremely well polished, about a foot long, and thick enough to weigh four or five pounds. Tupia called to them in the language of Otaheite, but they answered only by flourishing their weapons, and making signs to us to depart. A musquet was then fired wide of them, and the ball struk the water, the river being still between us; they saw the effect, and desisted from their threats, but we thought it prudent to retreat till the marines could be landed: this was soon done, and they marched, with a jack carried before them, to a little bank, about fifty yards from the water side; here they were drawn up, and I again advanced, with Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander; Tupia, Mr. Green, and Mr. Monkhouse being with us. Tupia was again directed to speak with them, and it was ■with great pleasure that we perceived he was perfectly understood, he and the natives speaking only different dialects of the fame 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 offerI 4 cd„
1769- ^ indeed, so exchange their arms for ours, and, , when we refused, made many attempts to snatch them out of bur hards. 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 begati to be extremely insolent, and we saw more coming to join them from the opposite side of the river. It was therefore become necessaiy 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 fiouristi it over his head, at the fame 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, 1 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, 1 might obtain their friendship, - * .' and
and by their means establish an amicable correspondence '769
. J . ■ no., i
with their countrymen.
To my great regret, I found no place where Lcould 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 thole in the canoes were probably fishermen, and without arms, and I had three boats full of men. I therefore disposed the boats so, as most effectually to intercept them in their way to the shore. The people in the canoe that was paddled perceived us so soon, that by making to the nearest land with their utmost strength, they escaped us; the other sailed on till she was in the midst of us, without discerning what we were; but the moment she discovered us, the people on board struck their fail, 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. 1 then ordered a musquet to be fired over their heads, as the least exceptionable expedient to accomplish my design, hoping it would either make them surrender or leap into the water. Upon the discharge of the piece they ceased paddling, and all of them, being seven in number, began to strip, as we imagined to jump over board; but it happened otherwise. They immediately formed a resolution not to fly, but to fight; and, when the boat came up, they began the attack with their paddles, and with stones and other offensive weapons that were in the canoe, so 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 youngtst 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 choosing 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 goodwill of the people. I had already tried the power of presents without effect; and I was now prompted, by my desire to avoid further hostilities, to' get some of them on board, as the only method left of convincing them that we intended them noliarm, 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 I had not the least reason to expect, our victory might have been complete 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.
■ 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 unexpectly delivered from the fear of death, and kindly treated by those whom they supposed would have been their instant executioners, surmounted their concern for their friends they had lost, and was strongly expressed in their countenances and behaviour. Before we reached the ship, their 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. 17^9They 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 bell pleased with the salt pork, though we had other provisions upon the table. At fun-let 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 steep with great seeming content. In the night, however, the tumult of their minds having subsided, and given way to reflection, they sighed often and loud. Tupia, who was always upon the watch to comfort them, got up, and, by soothing and encouragement, made them not only easy but cheerful; their cheerfulness was encouraged so that they fung a song with a degree of taste that surprised us; the tune was solemn and flow, like those of our Psalms, containing many notes and semitones. Their countenances were intelligent and expressive, and the middlemost, who seemed to be about fifteen, had an openness in his aspect, and an ease in his deportment, which were very striking: we found that the two eldest were brothers, and that their names were Taahourange and Koikerange ; the name of the youngest was Maragovete. As we were returning to the ship, after having taken these boys into the boat, we picked up a large piece of pumice- stone floating upon the water; a sure sign that there either is or has been a volcano in this neighbourhood.
In the morning, they all seemed to be cheerful, and Tues<i»y 10. eat another enormous meal; after this we drested them, and adorned them with bracelets, anclets, and necklaces, after their own fashion, and the boat being hoisted out, they were told that we were going to set them a-shore; this produced a transport of joy; but upon perceiving that we made towards our first landing place, near the river, their countenances changed, and they entreated with great earnestness that they might not be set a-sliore at that place, because, they said, it was inhabited by their enemies, who would kill them and eat them. This was a great disappointment