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24 January, 1770

 

On 24 January, 1770, James Cook wrote “In the morning the Gunner was sent a shore with the remainder of the powder to dry, and the Long-boat was sent with a gang of hands to one of the Islands to cut grass for our sheep and the rest of the people were employ'd about the usual work of the Ship. This fore-noon some of us viseted the Hippa, which is situated on the point of the Island. mentioned on our first arrival [Motuara]. The Inhabitants of this place shew'd not the least dislike at our coming but on the contrary with a great deal of seeming good nature shew'd us all over the place... PM The Long-boat having returnd with a load of grass she was employ'd bringing on board Wood and water and the Caulkers having finish'd caulking the Ship sides (a thing they have been employ'd upon ever sence we came here) they were pay'd with tar”.

 

Joseph Banks wrote “Went today to the Heppah or Town to see our freinds the Indians, who receivd us with much confidence and civility and shewd us every part of their habitations which were neat enough. The town was situated upon a small Island or rock divided from the main by a breach in a rock so small that a man might almost Jump over it; the sides were every where so steep as to render fortifications even in their way almost totaly useless, accordingly there was nothing but a slight Palisade and one small fighting stage at one end where the rock was most accessible. The people brought us several Bones of men the flesh of which they had eat, which are now become a kind of article of trade among our people who constantly ask for and purchase them for whatever trifles they have. In one part we observd a kind of wooden Cross ornamented with feathers made exactly in the form of a Crucifix cross. This engagd our attention and we were told that it was a monument for a dead man, maybe a Cenotaph as the body was not there: thus much they told us but would not let us know where it was.

All the while we were among the Indians they kept still talking something about gunns and shooting people which we could not at all understand. They did it however so much that it engagd us all so much that we talkd about it in our return, but the more we thought the more dark was the subject till we came on board, when on mentioning [it] I was told that on the 21st one of our officers who went out on pretence of fishing came to the heppah intending at a distance to look at the people: but 2 or 3 canoes coming off towards his boat he imagind that they meant to attack him and in consequence thereof fird 3 musquets, one with shot and 2 with ball, at them on which they very precipitately retird, as well they might who probably came out with freindly intentions (so at least their behaviour both before and since seems to shew) and little expected so rough usage from people who had always acted in a freindly manner to them, and whoom they were not at all conscious of having offended”.

 

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