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14 June, 1769

 

On 14 June, 1769, James Cook wrote “Between 2 and 4 oClock this Morning one of the Natives Stole out of the Fort an Iron rake made use of for the Oven, It happend to be set up againest 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 miss'd. I was inform'd by some others of the Natives that he watch'd an oppertunity when the Centinal back was turn'd and hooked it with a long crooked stick and ha[u]led it over the wall; when I came to be inform'd of this theft in the Morning, I resolved to recover it by some means or other and accordingly went and took posession 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 stolen from us were sent 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 either commiting 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 fired upon, for this would have been putting it in the power of the Centinals to have fired upon them upon the most sligh[t]est occasions as I had before experienced, and I have a great objection to fireing with powder only amongest 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 prevail'd they would certainly attack you the event of which might prove as unfavourable to you as them.

About Noon the rake was restore'd us, when they wanted to have their Canoes again: but now as I had them in my posession I was resolved to try if they would not redeem them by restoring what they had stolen from us before;  the principal things which we had lost were 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”.

Joseph Banks wrote “I lay in the woods last night as I very often did. At day break I was calld up by Mr Gore and went with him shooting, from which party we did not return till night when we saw a large number of Canoes in the river behind the tents”.

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