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8 October, 1769

 

On 8 October, 1769, James Cook wrote at “day light when we found our selves to Leeward of the Bay. By noon we fetched in with the SW point, but not being able to weather it we tacked and stood off. We saw in the Bay several Canoes, People upon the shore and some houses in the country. The land on the Sea-Coast is high with steep clifts and back inland are very high mountains, the face of the Country is of a hilly surface and appeares to be cloathed with wood and Verdure... anchored on the NE side before the entrance of a small river in 10 fathom water a fine sandy bottom... distant from the shore half a League. After this I went a shore with a party of men in the Pinnace and yawl accompaned by Mr Banks and Dr Solander.  We land[ed] abreast of the Ship and on the east side of the river just mentioned, but seeing some of the natives on the other side of the river whome I was desirous of speaking with and finding that we could not ford the river I order'd the yawl in to carry us over and the Pinnace to lay at the entrance.  In the mean time the Indians made off; however we went as far as their hutts which lay about 2 or 3 hundred yards from the water side leaving four boys to take care of the yawl, which we had no sooner left than four men came out of the woods on the other side the river and would certainly have cut her off, had not the people in the pinnace discover'd them and called to her to drop down the stream which they did being closely pursued by the Indians; the Coxswain of the pinnace who had the charge of the Boats, seeing this fire'd two musquets over their heads, the first made them stop and look round them, but the 2d they took no notice off upon which a third was fired and killed one of them upon the spot just as he was going to dart his spear at the boat; at this the other three stood motionless for a minute or two, seemingly quite surprised wondering no doubt what it was that had thus killed their commorade: but as soon as they recover'd themselves they made off draging the dead body a little way and then left it. Upon our hearing the report of the Musquets we immidiatly repair'd to the boats and after viewing the dead body we return'd on board”.

 

Joseph Banks wrote “saw several Canoes standing across the bay, who after a little time returnd to the place they came from not appearing to take the least notice of us. Some houses were also seen which appeard low but neat, near one a good many people were collected who sat down on the beach seemingly observing us, possibly the same as we saw in the canoes as they landed somewhere near that place. On a small peninsula at the NE head we could plainly see a regular paling, pretty high, inclosing the top of a hill, for what purpose many conjectures were made... By 4 oclock came to an anchor near 2 miles from the shore... In the evening went ashore with the marines &c. March from the boats in hopes of finding water &c. Saw a few of the natives who ran away immediately on seeing us; while we were absent 4 of them attackd our small boat in which were only 4 boys, they got off from the shore in a river, the people followd them and threatned with long lances; the pinnace soon came to their assistance, fird upon them and killd the cheif. The other three draggd the body about 100 yards and left it. At the report of the musquets we drew together and went to the place where the body was left; he was shot through the heart. He was a middle sizd man tattowd in the face on one cheek only in spiral lines very regularly formd; he was coverd with a fine cloth of a manufacture totaly new to us”.

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