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15 April, 1769

 

On 15 April, 1769, James Cook continued to seek “some spot upon the NE point of the Bay properly situated for observing the Transit of Venus and at the same time under the command of the Ships Guns, and there to throw up a small fort for our defence, accordingly I went a Shore with a party of men accompanie’d by Mr Banks, Dr Solander and Mr [Charles] Green.  We took along with us one of Mr Banks Tents, and after we had fix’d upon a place fit for our purpose we set up the Tent and Mark’d out the ground we intended to occupy”.

Joseph Banks wrote “The tent was left in charge of a Midshipman [Jonathan Munkhouse, brother of the surgeon] with the marines 13 in number.  We marchd away and were absent above 2 hours. A little while before we came back we heard several musquet shots... On our return we found that an Indian had snatchd a sentrys musquet from him unawares and run off; the midshipman (may be) imprudently orderd the marines to fire, they did fire into the thickest of the flying croud some hundreds in number several shot, and pursueing the man who stole the musquet killd him dead but whether any others were killd or hurt no one could tell... we retird to the ship not well pleasd with the days expedition, guilty no doubt in some measure of the death of a man who the most severe laws of equity would not have condemnd to so severe a punishment”.

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