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Endeavour journal, 5 June 1769 (Series 03.283)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Otahite'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 5 June 1769
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 5. During our absence at Imao an old woman of some consequence, a relation of Tamio, was dead and was plac'd not far from the fort to rot above ground as is the custom of the Island. I went this morn to see her. A small square was neatly raild in with Bamboe and in the midst of it a Canoe awning set up upon two posts, in this the body was laid coverd with fine cloth. Near this was laid fish &c . meat for the gods not for the deceasd, but to satisfie the hunger of the deitys least they shoud eat the body, which Tubourai told us they would certainly do if this ceremony was neglected. In the front of the square was a kind of stile or place lower than the rest, where the relations of the deceasd stood when they cry'd or bled themselves, and under the awning were numberless rags containing the blood and tears they had shed. Within a few yards were two occasional houses; in one of them some of the relations constantly remaind generaly a good many; in the other the cheif male mourner resided and kept a very remarkable

Dress in which he performd a ceremony, both which I shall describe when I have an opportunity of seeing it in perfection which Tubourai promises me I shall soon have.

This day we kept the Kings birthday which had been delayd on account of the absence of the two observing parties; several of the Indians dind with us and drank his majesties health by the name of Kihiargo, for we could not teach them to pronounce a word more like King George. Tupia however to shew his Loyalty got most enormously drunk.