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9 October, 1769

 

On 9 October, 1769, James Cook wrote “seeing a number of the natives at the same place where we saw them last night, I went a shore with the boats, man'd and arm'd and landed on the opposite side of the river; Mr Banks, Dr Solander, and my self at first only landed and went to the side of the river, the natives being got together on the opposite side. We call'd to them in the Georges Island [Tahitian] Language, but they answered us by florishing their Weapons over their heads and danceing, as we suppos'd the war dance; upon this we retired untill the marines were landed which I order'd to be drawn up about 200 yards behind us. We went again to the river side having Tupia, Mr Green, and Dr Munkhouse along with us. Tupia spoke to them in his own language and it was an [a]greeable surprise to us to find that they which they perfectly understood him. After some little conversation had pass'd one of them swam'd over to us and after him 20 or 30 more, these last brought their arms with them which the first man did not, we made them every one presents but this did not satisfy them they wanted everything we had about us particularly our arms, and made several attempts to snatch them out of our hands. Tupia told us several times as soon as they came over to take care of our selves for they were not our friends and this we very soon found for one of them snatched Mr Greens Hanger [sword] from him and would not give it up, this incourage'd the rest to be more insolent and seeing others comeing over to join them I order'd the man who had taken the hanger to be fired at, which was accordingly done and he was wounded in such a manner that he died soon after; upon the first fire, which was only two musquets, the others retir'd to a rock which lay nearly in the middle of the river, but on seeing the man fall they return'd probably to carry him off or his arms the last of which they accomplished and this we could not prevent unless we had run our Bayonets into them, for upon their returning from off the rock we had discharg'd of our peices which was were load[ed] with small shott and wound’d three more, but these got over the river and were carried off by the others who now thought proper to retire.
Finding that nothing was to be done with the people on this side and the water in the river being salt I embarked with an intent to row round the head of the Bay in search of fresh water; and if possible to surprise some of the natives and to take them on board and by good treatment and presents endeavour to gain their friendship; with this View on PM I rowed round the head of the Bay but could find no place to land, on account of the great surff which beat every where upon the shore; seeing two boats or Canoes coming in from Sea, I rowed to one of them in order to seize upon the people, and came so near before they took notice of us that Tupia called to them to come along side and we would not hurt them, but instead of doing that this they endeavoured to get away, upon which I order'd a Musquet to be fire'd over their heads thinking this would either make them surrender or jump over board but here I was misstaken for they immediately took to thier arms and or and whatever they had in the boat and began to attack us, this obliged us to fire upon them and unfortunatly either two or three was were kill'd, and one wounded, and three jumped over board, these last we took up and brought on board, where they were clothed and treated with all immaginable kindness and to the surprise of every body became at once as cheerful and as merry as if they had been with their own friends; they were all three young, the eldest not above 20 years of age and the youngest about 10 or 12.
I am aware that most humane men who have not experienced things of this nature will cencure my conduct in fireing upon the people in this boat nor do I my self think that the reason I had for seizing upon her will att all justify me, and had I thought that they would have made the least resistance I would not have come near them, but as they did I was not to stand still and suffer either my self or those that were with me to be knocked on the head”.

Joseph Banks wrote “We could see with our glasses but few people  on the beach; they walkd with a quick pace towards the river where we landed yesterday, most of these without arms, 3 or 4 with long Pikes in their hands. The captn orderd three boats to be mannd with seamen and marines intending to land and try to establish a communication with them. A high surf ran on the shore. The Indians about 50 remaind on the farther side of the river; we lookd upon that as a sign of fear, so landing with the little boat only the Captn Dr Solander, Tupia and myself went to the river side to speak to them.
As soon almost as we appeard they rose up and every man producd either a long pike or a small weapon of well polishd stone about a foot long and thick enough to weigh 4 or 5 pounds, with these they threatned us and signd to us to depart. A musquet was then fird wide of them the ball of which struck the water, they saw the effect and immediately ceasd their threats.
We though[t] that it was prudent to retreat till the marines were landed and drawn up to intimidate them and support us in case of nesscessity. They landed and marchd with a Jack [flag] carried before them to a little bank about 50 yards from the river, which might be about 40 broad; here they were drawn up in order and we again advancd to the river side with Tupia, who now found that the language of the people was so like his own that he could tolerably well understand them and they him. He immediately began to tell them that we wanted provisions and water for which we would give them Iron in exchange: they agreed to the proposal but would by no means lay by their arms which he desird them do: this he lookd upon as a sign of treachery and continualy told us to be upon our guard for they were not our freinds. Many words passd the cheif purport of which was that each side desird the other to come over to them; at last however an Indian stripd himself and swam over without arms, he was followd by two more and soon after by most of the rest who brought with them their arms. We gave them Iron and beads, they seemd to set little value upon either but especialy upon the iron the use of which they certainly were totaly ignorant of. They caught at whatever was offerd them but would part with nothing but a few feathers: their arms indeed they offerd to exchange for ours which they made several atempts to snatch from us; we were upon our guard so much that their attempts faild and they were made to  understand that we must kill them if they snatchd any thing from us.  
After some time Mr Green in turning himself about exposd his hanger [sword], one of them immediately snatchd it, set up a cry of exultation and waving it round his head retreated gently.  It now appeard nescessary for our safeties that so daring an act should be instantly punishd, this I pronouncd aloud as my opinion, the Captn and the rest Joind me on which I fird my musquet which was loaded with small shot, leveling it between his shoulders who was not 15 yards from me. On the shot striking him he ceasd his cry but instead of quitting his prize continued to wave it over his head retreating as gently as before; the surgeon who was nearer him, seeing this fird a ball at him at which he dropd. Two more who were near him returnd instantly, one seizd his weapon of Green talk, the other attempted to recover the hanger which the surgeon had scarce time to prevent. The main body of them were now upon a rock a little way in the river. They took the water returning towards us, on which the other three, for we were only 5 in number, fird on them. They then retird and swam again across the river. On their landing we saw that 3 were wounded, one seemingly a good deal hurt: we may hope however that neither of them were killd as one of the musquets only was loaded with ball, which I think I saw strike the water without taking effect, and Tupias gun which was the last that was fird I clearly saw strike two men low down upon their legs, who probably would be so lame as to walk with difficulty when they landed...
we reembarkd in our boats intending to row round the bay, see if there might be any shelter for the ship on the other side, and attempt to land there where the countrey appeard to be much more fruitfull than where we now were.
We had almost arrivd at the farthest part of the bay when a fresh breze came in from the seaward and we saw a Canoe sailing in standing right towards [us], soon after another padling. The Captn now resolvd to take one of these which in all probability might be done without the least resistance
as we had three boats full of men and the canoes seemd to be fishermen, who probably were without arms...
three who were boys leapd overboard, one of them swam with great agility and when taken made every effort in his power to prevent being taken into the boat, the other two were more easily prevaild upon. As soon as they were in they squatted down expecting no doubt instant death, but on finding themselves well usd and that Cloaths were given them they recoverd their spirits in a very short time and before we got to the ship appeard almost totaly insensible of the loss of their fellows. As soon as they came onboard we offerd them bread to eat of which they almost devourd a large quantity, in the mean time they had Cloaths given them; this good usage had such an effect that they seemd to have intirely forgot every thing that had happned, put on chearfull and lively countenances and askd and answerd questions with a great deal of curiosity...
After dark loud voices were heard ashore as last night. Thus ended the most disagreable day My life has yet seen, black be the mark for it and heaven send that such may never return to embitter future reflection”.

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