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April - June 1769

 

The Admiralty Instructions to James Cook had told him “to put to sea and proceed round Cape Horn to Port Royal Harbour in King Georges Island [Tahiti], situated in 17 degrees and 30 minutes of South Latitude, and 150 degrees of Longitude West of the Meridian of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich... using your best endeavours to arrive there at least a Month or six Weeks before the 3rd day of June next”.

 

By 1 April, 1769, everyone in Endeavour was anxious to find land.  According to Joseph Banks, on 4 April, “At 10 this morn my servant Peter Briscoe saw... Land which we had almost passd by”.  Richard Pickersgill, master’s mate, noted that Briscoe was part of “ye 2d watch which was then upon deck”. Sydney Parkinson, artist, described how “after two hours sailing we approached near to it.  It is a flat island, extending a great length from E. to W. describing the form of a crescent; and has a sand-bank joined to it, on which the surf ran very high.  In the middle of the island, there is a large salt lagoon, or lake; and at the east end of it are many palm trees.  We saw clouds of smoke ascend from different parts, proceeding, as we apprehended, from fires kindled by the natives, and designed as signals to us”.

 

The island was Vahitahi, which Cook named Lagoon Island, as it was “of an Oval form with a Lagoon in the Middle”.  Isaac Smith drew a chart of this island and the ones that followed, on which “prick’d lines shews the tracks of the Ship”.  Parkin­son drew the coastal views, which were later copied by Charles Praval for presentation to the Admiralty. 

 

In his journal Banks shows the difficulty of observing through telescopes, “About noon we were Close to it within a mile or thereabouts and distinctly saw inhabitants upon it of whoom we counted 24.  They appeard to us through our glasses to be tall and to have very large heads or possibly much hair upon them”.  Endeavour continued on her way. 

 

“After dinner”, wrote Banks, “land was again seen which we came up with at sunset; it provd a small Island not more than 3/4 of a mile in leng[t]h but almost round, we ran within less than a mile of it but saw no signs of inhabitants”.  The island was Akiaki, named Thrum Cap by Cook because of its appear­ance.  To thrum a piece of canvas is to insert short pieces of rope-yarn, resulting in a rough or tufted surface.

 

The next day, “While we were at dinner”, wrote Banks, “word was brought down that there was land in sight from the mast head [we] found it a low Island...  Myself remaind at the mast head the whole evening admiring its extrordinary structure: in shape it appeard to be like a bow the wood and string of which was land and the parts within occupied by a large lake of water, which bore about the same proportion to the land as the void space within the bow does to the string and wood.  The string of the bow was a flat beach without any signs of vegetation on it but heaps of sea weed laying in ridges as higher or lower tides had left them...  The Horns or angles of the bow were two large tufts of Cocoa nut trees”.  Cook named it Bow Island; it is now known as Hao.

 

On 7 April, Cook saw "an Assemblage of Islands join’d together by Reefs [with] a total seperation in the Mid[dl]e by a Channell... and on this account they are called the Two Groups”.  The northern group is Marokau, and the southern one Ravahere.  Banks was impressed with the people and the canoes he could see. “The two which we saw them launch seemd not intended to carry more than barely the 3 men who got into each of them”.

 

However, “others there were which had 6 and some 7 men; one of these hoisted a sail which did not seem to reach above 6 feet high above the boat, this (as soon as they came to the reef and stoppd their boat) they took down and converted into a shed to shelter them from a small shower of rain which then fell”.

 

The next day, Cook “At ½ past 6 AM, saw a small Island to the northward, hauld our wind for it and soon got close in with it... there is some wood upon it but no Inhabitants but birds and for this reason” he named it Bird Island.  Its native name is Reitoru. 

 

In his journal, Banks tried to describe how different were these islands to anything he had seen.  “I purposely omit to mention the size of these Islands as it is almost impossible to guess at, and very dificult to give an idea of the contents of narrow strips of land which run one within another as a ribband thrown carelessly down would do.  If you measure the lengh of it, it 4 or 5 times exceeds the space of sea that it occupies, if the circumference, such land of 100 Leagues in circumference would scarce contain 100 square miles; if the Space of sea that they occupy you err as much, for of that 20, 40 nay sometimes 100 parts are sea for one of land, tho that sea is so shut in by banks and reefs that no ship can get into it”.

 

On 9 April, Cook saw “a double range of low woody Islands join’d together by reefs by which means they make one Island in form of an Ellipsis or Oval, in the Middle of which is a Salt water lake; the small Islands and reefs circumscribes or bounds this lake Like a Chain”, so he called it Chain Island”.  Its local name is Anaa. 

 

After a night of “Thunder Lightning and rain”, Cook, “saw Osnaburg Island (so call’d by Capt Wallis the first discovrer)...  It is a high round Island”.  Mehetia is a volcanic island.  Its highest point is 435 metres.  Samuel Wallis in HMS Dolphin saw it in 1767, Louis Antoine, Comte de Bougain­ville in Boudeuse and Étoile saw it in 1768. 

 

Land was seen to the west, but, wrote Banks, “so faint that very few could see it.  Soon after it was seen off the deck in the same faint manner but appearing high...  it remaind in dispute whether what had been so long seen to the Westward was realy land or only vapours; myself went to the Masthead but the sunset was cloudy and we could see nothing of it.  As soon as I came down a shark att the stern attackd the net in which tomorrows dinner was towing to freshen, we hookd and took him just as it became dark”.

Sickness and Health

 

The following day “at sunset Georges Land appeard plain tho we had not neard it much: since the clouds went from the tops of the hills it appeard less high than it did tho it certainly is very high.  As I am now on the brink of going ashore after a long passage thank god in as good health as man can be”.  James Cook reflected on the state of his company, writing what has become an often-repeated passage.

At this time we had but a very few men upon the Sick list and these had but slite [slight] complaints, the Ships compney had in general been very healthy owing in a great measure to the Sour krout, Portable Soup and Malt; the two first were serve'd to the People, the one on Beef Days and the other on Banyan Days, Wort was made of the Malt and at the discrition of the Surgeon given to every man that had the least symptoms of Scurvy upon him, by this Means and the care and Vigilance of Mr Munkhous the Surgeon this disease was prevented from geting a footing in the Ship. The Sour Krout the Men at first would not eate untill I put in pratice a Method I never once knew to fail with seamen, and this was to have some of it dress'd every Day for the Cabbin Table, and permitted all the Officers without exception to make use of it and left it to the option of the Men either to take as much as they pleased or none atall; but this practice was not continued above a week before I found it necessary to put every one on board to an Allowance, for such are the Tempers and disposissions of Seamen in general that whatever you give them out of the Common way, altho it be ever so much for their good yet it will not go down with them and you will hear nothing but murmurings gainest the man that first invented it; but the Moment they see their Superiors set a Value upon it, it becomes the finest stuff in the World and the inventer an honest fellow.

 

According to Falconer’s Marine Dictionary of 1780, Banyan Days is “a cant term among common sailors, denoting those days on which they have no flesh-meat; it seems to be derived from the practice of a nation amongst the eastern Indians, who never eat flesh”.

 

Cook “took several Observations of the Sun and Moon which gave the Longd of the Ship to be 148° 18' W”.

 

On 12 April, Samuel Jones, a seaman, received twelve lashes for disobedience.  That night, wrote Cook, Endeavour ran “under an easy Sail”, with “soundings from 22 to 12 fm [fathoms] 2 or 3 Miles from the Shore”.

 

Arrival at Tahiti

 

On 13 April, at “5 AM Made Sail for the Bay and at 7 Anchor’d in 13 fathom”.  Cook recorded the ship’s position as 17° 29' South, 149° 30' West.

Cook Switches to Civil Time

 

Before describing the “Remarkable Occurrences at Georges Island”, Cook wrote in his journal, “The way of reckoning the Day in Sea Journals is from Noon to Noon, but as the Most material transactions at this Island must happen in the Day time this method will be attended with ilconveniences in inserting the transactions of each Day; for this reason I shall during our stay at this Island but no longer reckon the day according to the civil account, that is to begin and end at midnight”.

First Few Days at Tahiti

 

“As soon as the Ship was properly secure’d I went on Shore accompanied by Mr Banks and the other gentlemen, with a party of Men under arms”, wrote Cook.  They went “to the place where the Dolphin water’d... but it happen’d not to be fit for our purpose.  No[t] one of the Natives made the least opposission at our landing but came to us with all imaginable marks of friendship and submission.  We afterwards made a circuit through the Woods, and then came on board.  We did not find the inhabitants to be numerous and therefore at first imagined that several of them had fled from their habitations upon our arrival in the Bay but Mr [John] Gore & some others who had been here before observ’d that a very great revolution must have happen’d—not near the number of inhabitants a great number of houses raiz’d... and not so much as a Hog or Fowl was to be seen”.

 

The next day, Cook wrote, “we had a great many Canoes about the Ship, the Most of them came from the westward but brought nothing with them but a few Cocoa-nuts &ca.  Two that appear’d to be Chiefs we had on board together with several others for it was a hard matter to keep them out of the Ship as they clime like Munkeys, but it was still harder to keep them from Stealing but every thing that came within their reach, in this they are prodiges expert.  I made each of the two Chiefs a present of a Hatchet things that they seem’d mostly to Value.  As soon as we had partly got clear of these people, I took two Boats and went to the Westward all the Gentlemen being along with me, my design was to see if there was not a more comm[o]dious Harbour, and to try the disposission of the Natives... notwithstanding the care we took Dr [Daniel] Solander and Dr Munkhouse [the surgeon] had each of them their pockets pick’d the one of his spy glass and the other of his snuff Box”.  One of the chiefs “sent people out after them and it was not long before they were return’d... about 6 oClock in the evening we return’d on board very well satisfied with our little excursion”.

 

On 15 April, 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”.  According to Banks, “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”.

 

The following day, Cook “warped the Ship nearer the Shore and moor’d her in such a Manner as to command all the Shore of the NE part of the Bay, but more particularly the place where we intended to Erect a Fort.  Punished Richd Hutchins Seaman with 12 lashes for disobaying command”. 

 

The Three Artists and their Work

 

Also this day, Banks recorded, “Poor Mr Buchan the young man who I brought out as lan[d]scape and figure painter was yesterday attackd by an epileptick fit, he was today quite insensible, our surgeon gives me very little hopes of him”.  The next morning, “At two this morn Mr Buchan died, about nine every thing was ready for his interment he being already so much changd that it would not be practicable to keep him even till night.  Dr Solander Mr Sporing Mr Parkinson and some of the officers of the ship attended his funeral”.

 

Cook described “Mr Alex Buchan Landscip Draftsman to Mr Banks” as “a Gentlemen well skill’d in his profession and one that will be greatly miss’d in the course of this Voyage, he had long been the subject to a disorder in his Bowels which had more than once brought him to the Very point of death and was at the same time subject to fits of one of which he was taken on Saturday morning, this brought on his former disorder which put a period to his life.  Mr Banks thought it not so adviseable to Enterr [inter] the body a shore in a place where we was utter strangers to the Customs of the Natives on such Occations, it was therefore se[n]t out to Sea and commited to that Element with all the decencey the circumstance of the place would admit of”.

 

Banks was distraught.  “His Loss to me is irre­trevable, my airy dreams of entertaining my freinds in England with the scenes that I am to see here are vanishd.  No account of the figures and dresses of men can be satisfactory unless illustrated with figures: had providence spard him a month longer what an advantage would it have been to my under­taking but I must submit”.

 

Sydney Parkinson took over Alexander Buchan’s role, with Herman Diedrich Spöring, Banks’s clerk, acting as the second landscape artist. 

 

Conditions were not ideal for painting, as Banks noted on 22 April.  “The flies have been so trouble­some ever since we have been ashore that we can scarce get any business done for them; they eat the painters colours off the paper as fast as they can be laid on, and if a fish is to be drawn there is more trouble in keeping them off it than in the drawing itself.  Many expedients have been thought of, none succeed better than a mosquito net which covers table chair painter and drawings, but even that is not sufficent, a fly trap was nesscessary to set within this to atract the vermin from eating the colours.  For that purpose yesterday tarr and molasses was mixt together but did not succeed.  The plate smeard with it was left on the outside of the tent to clean: one of the Indians observing this took an opportunity when he thought that no one observd him to take some of this mixture up into his hand, I saw and was curious to know for what use it was intended, the gentleman had a large sore upon his backside to which this clammy liniament was applyd but with what success I never took the pains to enquire”.

 

Fort Venus is Built

 

The same day that Buchan died, Cook “set up one of the Ships Tents a Shore and Mr Green and myself stay’d a Shore the night to Observe an Eclipse of Jupiter’s fi[r]st Setilite which we was hinder’d from seeing by clowds”.  They used a reflecting telescope of 2 feet focus with magnifying power of 95.

 

On 18 April, Cook “took as many people out of the Ship as could possibly be spar’d and set about Erect­ing a Fort, some were employ’d in troughing up [i.e. throwing up] intrenchments while others was cutting faccines Pickets &ca.  The natives were so far from hindering us that several of them assisted in bring[ing] the Pickets and Faccines out of the woods and seem’d quite unconcern’d at what we were about, the wood we made use on for this occation we purchased of them and we cut no tree down before we had first obtain’d their consent.  By this time all the Ships sails were unbent and the Armourers Forge set up to repair the Iron work &ca”.  Banks explained, “The ground we have pitchd upon is very sandy which makes it nescessary to support it with wood...  Three sides of our fort are to be thus guarded the other is bounded by a river on the banks of which water cask[s] are to be placd.  My tents were got up before night and I sept ashore in them for the first time.  The lines were guarded round by many Sentries but no Indian atempted to come near them during the whole night”. 

 

On 20 April, Banks noted, “Raind hard all this day at intervals, so much so that we could not stir at all, the people however went on briskly with the fortifi­cation in spite of weather”.  The next day Cook “Got the Copper Oven aShore and fix’d it in the Bank of the breast Works”.  According to him, “Saturday 22nd to Thursday 27th.  Nothing worthy of note happend, the people were continueally at work upon the Fort and the Natives were so far reconciled to us that they rather assisted us than not.  This day we Mounted Six swivels at the Fort, which was now nearly finished”.

 

A Tupapau Observed

 

Sydney Parkinson painted a house or shed, which he called Tupapow (Tupapau), under which the dead are deposited, with a representation of the person who performs the main part in the funeral ceremony and a man climbing the bread-fruit tree to get out of his way.  Cook described this scene, or a similar one.  “This shade [shed] was about 14 or 16 feet long, 10 or 12 broad and of a proportional height, one end was wholy oppen and the other end and the two sides were partly inclosed with a kind of wicker’d work.  In this shade lay the Corps upon a Bier or frame of wood with a Matted bottom like a Cot frame use’d at Sea, and supported by 4 posts about 5 feet from the Ground, the body was cover’d with a Mat, and over that a white Cloth”.

 

Purea Arrives

 

On 28 April, Cook wrote, “a great number of the Natives came to us in their Canoes from different parts of the Island several of whome we had not seen before, one of these was the Woman called by the Dolphin the Queen of this Island.  She first went to Mr Banks’s Tent at the Fort where she was not known till the Master [Robert Molyneux] happening to go aShore who knewed her [having visited Tahiti in Dolphin] and brought her on board with two men and several Women who seem’d to be all of her Family.  I made them all some presents or other, but to Obariea, for such is this womans name, I gave several things... This Woman is about 40 years of Age...  She is head or Chief of her own Family or Tribe but to all appearence hath no authority over the rest of the Inhabitants whatever she might have had when the Dolphin was here”.  Molyneux recorded in his journal that Purea was accompanied by Tupaia, who was recognised by John Gore, who had also been in Dolphin.

 

The following day, Molyneux “Punish’d Henry Jeffs seaman with a dozen lashes for ill Behaviour on shore.  He had been rude to a mans wife yesterday of which the Indian Complain’d”.  Jeffs was the ship’s butcher.

 

The next day, Cook “got the four Guns out of the Hold and mounted 2 of them on the Quarter Deck, and the other 2 in the Fort on the bank of the River. For this day or 2 past about 30 Double Canoes, in which might be between 2 & 300 people, had come into our neighbourhood this made us keep a very good lookout & a strick eye over all their motions”.

 

Preparations for the Transit of Venus

 

On 1 May, Cook wrote, “we set up the Obser­vatory and took the Astronomical Quadt a shore for the first time, together with some other Instruments. The Fort being no[w] finished and made as Tenable as the Time, Nature and situation of the ground, and materials we had to work upon would admit of. The North and south parts consisted of a Bank of earth 4½ feet high on the inside, and a Ditch without, 10 feet broad and 6 feet deep: on the west side faceing the Bay a Bank of earth 4 feet high and Pallisades upon that, but no ditch the works being at highwater mark: on the East side upon the Bank of the River was place’d a double row of casks: and as this was the weakest side the 2 four pounders were planted there, and the whole was defended besides these 2 guns with 6 Swivels and generally about 45 Men with small arms including the officers and gentlemen who resided aShore.  I now thought my self perfectly secure from any thing these people could attempt”.

 

However, the following morning, “about 9 oClock when Mr Green and I went to set up the Quadt it was not to be found, it had never been taken out of the Packing case (which was abt 18 Inches square), sence it came from Mr [John] Bird the Maker, and the whole was pretty heavy, so that it was a matter of astonishment to us all how it could be taken away, as a Centinal stood the whole night within 5 Yards of the door of the Tent where it was put together with several other Instruments, but none of them was missing but this.  However it was not long before we got information that one of the natives had taken it away and carried it to the Eastward”.

 

Banks and Green set out in search of the quadrant.  When they found it “Mr Green began to overlook the Instrument to see if any part or parts were wanting, several small things were, and people were sent out in search of them some of which returnd and others did not... we pack’d all up in grass as well as we could and proceeded homewards. After walking about 2 miles we met Captn Cooke with a party of marines coming after us”. 

 

Francis Wilkinson, Master’s mate, tells us that, “upon the Second Examination of the Quadrent it was found Repairable.  Mr Sporing one of Mr Banks Ingenios Gentleman has under Taken it to Repair.  Mr Banks being Fortunatily in Possession of a Set of watch Makers Tools”.  Spöring had worked as a watchmaker for eleven years in London. 

 

On 4 May, Cook wrote, “Set up the two Clocks, the one in the Tent wherein Mr Green and I lay and the other in the observatory”.  The astronomical clock (also known as a regulator) and the journey­man clock (also known as an assistant) had been made by John Shelton, and provided by the Royal Society.  The observatory had been designed by John Smeaton, who had also designed the Eddystone Lighthouse, near Plymouth, opened in 1759.  This portable observatory had been constructed in 1768 under the direction of the Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne, and Cook.  Canvas had been stretched over poles making it look like a tent, and easily collapsed for storage. 

 

Seeds, Names and Divine Services

 

On 10 May, Banks noted that “Captn Cooke planted divers seeds which he had brought with him in a spot of ground turnd up for the purpose.  They were all bought of Gordon at Mile End and sent in bottles seald up, whether or no that method will succeed the event of this plantation will shew”.  

 

James Gordon had established a nursery at Mile End Old Town, London, in 1742. 

 

The same day, Banks wrote “we have now got the Indian name of the Island, Otahite, so therefore for the future I shall call it”.  As for our own names the Indians find so much dificulty in pronouncing them that we are forcd to indulge them in calling us what they please, or rather what they say when they attempt to pronounce them.  I give here the List: Captn Cooke Toote, Dr Solander Torano, Mr Hicks Hete, Mr Gore Toarro, Mr Molineux Boba from his Christian name Robert, Mr Monkhouse Mato, and myself Tapane.  In this manner they have names for almost every man in the ship”.

 

On 14 May, Banks wrote “It being Sunday Captn Cooke proposd that divine service should be cele­brated”.  Cook wrote “we perform’d divine Service in one of the Tents in the Fort, where several of the Natives attended and behaved with great decency the whole time”.  According to Molyneux, the “Divine Service was Perform’d by Mr Monkhouse the Surgeon”.  Banks hoped “our Indian freinds... might see our behaviour and we might if possible explain to them (in some degree at least) the reasons of it...  During the whole service they imitated my motions, standing setting or kneeling as they saw me do...  notwisthstanding this they did not when the service was over ask any questions nor would they attend at all to any explanation we attempted to give them”. 

 

Repairs to the Ship and Boats

 

Molyneux, Endeavour’s master, is the best source for understanding the repairs made to her.  On 3rd May, “Strip’d & Overhaul’d the Foretopmast rigging”. On 6th, “Employ’d on the Fore Rigging which we find in good order”.  On 9th, “Carpenters Employ’d caulking the sides”.  On 11th, “Carpenters Employ’d caulking the Quarter Deck.  Struck the Main Topmast to overhaul the rigging”.  On 24th, “Carpenters employ’d caulking the sides”.  On 25th, “The Long Boat being very leaky Haul’d her up on shore found the worms had destroy’d her bottom the Carpenters employ’d shifting it, this worm is of a new species & as destructive as any yet known”.  The shipworm, is a species of clam that resembles a worm in general appearance, that bores through wood.  Banks commented, “such a progress has this destructive insect made in six weeks”.

 

On 26 May, Cook “ha[u]led the Pinnace a Shore to examine her bottom and had the satisfaction to find that not one worm had touched it, notwith­standing she hath been in the water nearly as long as the Long-boat; this must be owing to the white Lead with which her bottom is painted, the Long-boats being pay’d with Varnish of Pine, for no other reason can be assign’d why the one should be preserv’d and the other destroy’d when they are both built on the same sort of wood and have been in equall use”. 

 

The Transit of Venus

 

On 1 June, Cook “sent Lieutenant Gore in the Long-boat to York Island [Moorea] with Dr Munkhouse and Mr Sporing (a Gentleman belonging to Mr Banks) to observe the Transit of Venus, Mr Green having furnished them with Instruments for that purpose.  Mr Banks and some of the Natives of this Island went along with them”.

 

According to Banks, Cook decided on three locations, “thinking that in case of thick weather one or the other might be more successfull than the [main] observatory”.  Having arrived at Moorea, wrote Banks, Gore “fixd upon a Coral rock about 150 yards from the shore as a very proper situation for our Observatory; it was about 80 yards long and 60 broad and had in the middle of it a bed of white sand large enough for our tents to stand upon... Before night our observatory was in order, telescopes all set up and tried &c. and we went to rest anxious for the events of tomorrow”.  The islet off Moorea was Irioa. 

 

The next day, according to Cook, “Very early this morning Lieutnt [Zachary] Hicks, Mr [Charles] Clerk, Mr [Richard] Pickersgill and Mr [Patrick] Saunders, went away in the Pinnace to the Eastward, with orders to fix upon some convenient situation on this Island and there to observe the Transit of Venus - they being likewise provided with Instruments for that purpose”.  They set up their instruments on the islet of Taaupiri.

 

The transit of Venus took place on 3 June.  At Fort Venus the observers were Cook, Green, Solander and Molyneux.  According to the last, John Satterley “attends the Clock & Thermometer”.  Cook and Green used two Gregorian reflector telescopes made by James Short, supplied by the Royal Society.  One of these telescopes had a micrometre made by John Dollond.  Cook also had the reflector telescope that he had used in Grenville in Newfoundland, made by John Watkins.  Solander also had a telescope.

 

The day, wrote Cook, “prov’d as favourable to our purpose as we could wish, not a Clowd was to be seen the whole day and the Air was perfectly clear, so that we had every advantage we could desire in Observing the whole of the passage of the Planet Venus over the Suns disk: we distinctly saw an Atmosphere or dusky shade round the body of the Planet which very much disturbed the times of the Contacts particularly the two internal ones.  Dr Solander observed as well as Mr Green and my self, and we differ'd from one another in observeing the times of the Contacts much more than could be expected... the Thermometer expose’d to the Sun about the middle of the Day rose to a degree of heat (119) we have not before met with”.  According to Molyneux, “no Indians was allow’d to come near us that nothing might disturb the Observation”.

 

Banks did not take part in the actual observations.  Instead, he “wishd success to the observers Msrs Gore and Monkhouse and repaird to the Island [Moorea], where I could do the double service of examining the natural produce and buying provisions for my companions who were engagd in so usefull a work”.

 

Crime and Punishment

 

When Banks returned to Fort Venus on 4 June, he “heard the melancholy news that a large part of our stock of Nails had been purloind by some of the ships company during the time of the Observation, when every body was ashore who had any degree of comand.  One of the theives was detected but only 7 nails were found upon him out of 100 Wt and he bore his punishment without impeaching any of his acomplices.  This loss is of a very serious nature as these nails if circulated by the people among the Indians will much lessen the value of Iron, our staple commodity”.  Archibald Wolfe received 24 lashes for the theft.

 

On 12 June, “complaint was made to” Cook “by some of the Natives that Jno Thurman and Jams Nicholson Seamn had taken by force from them several Bows and Arrows and Plated Hair, and the fact being proved upon them they were this Day punish’d with two Dozn lashes each”.

 

On 19 June, Cook “Punished James Tunley with 12 lashes for takeing Rum out of the Cask on the quarter deck”.  Two days later, Cook “Confin’d Robt Anderson seaman for refuseing to obey the orders of the Mate when at work in the hold”.

 

Preparing for Sea

 

Cook summarised the activities of 7, 8 and 9 June.  “These three days we have been employ’d in carreening both sides of the Ship and paying them with Pitch and Brimstone, we found her bottom in good order and that the Worm had not got into it”.  According to Molyneux, Endeavour was “Heel’d [on] the Larboard [port] side” first, and then “the Starboard side”.  On 10 June, he “receiv’d orders to Survey the Provisions & cause 4 months Provisions of all Species to be stow’d”.  Preparations were slow.  On 15 June, Cook noted “having the people divided between the Ship and the Shore this Work as well as refiting the Ship goes but slowly on”.

 

On 23 June, “Manuel Ferrara Seaman a Portugese was missing, and I had some reason to think that he was gone with an intent to stay here”.  Manoel Pereira returned saying he had been kidnapped.

 

On 20 June, Cook, “Got the Powder a Shore to air, all of which we found in a bad condition and the Gunner [Stephen Forwood ] inform’s me that it was very little better when it came first on board”.  The next day “Empd drying the Powder geting on board Wood, Water &ca”.

 

A Tour round the Island

 

On 26 June, Cook “set out in the Pinnace, accompined by Mr Banks and one of ye Natives with an intent to make the Circuit of the Island [of Tahiti] in order to examine and draw a Sketch of the Coast and Harbours thereof”.

 

Ian Boreham


Originally published in Cook's Log, page 47, volume 42, number 2 (2019).

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