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Endeavour journal, 10 June 1769 (Series 03.288)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Otahite'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 10 June 1769
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 10. This evening according to my yesterdays engagement I went to the place where the medua lay, where I found Tubourai, Tamio, Hoona the Meduas daughter and a young Indian prepard to receive me. Tubourai was the Heiva, the three others and myself were to Nineveh. He put on his dress, most Fantastical tho not unbecoming, the figure annexd will explain it far better than words can. I was next prepard by stripping off my European cloths and putting me on a small strip of cloth round my waist, the only garment I was allowd to have, but I had no pretensions to be ashamd of my nakedness for neither of the women were a bit more coverd than myself. They then began to smut me and themselves with charcoal and water, the Indian boy was compleatly black, the women and myself as low as our shoulders. We then set out. Tubourai began by praying twice, one near the Corps again near his own house. We then proceeded towards the fort: it was nesscessary it seems that the procession should visit that place but they dare not to do it without the sanction of some of us, indeed it was not till many assurances of our consent that they venturd to perform any part of their ceremonies. To the fort then we went to the surprize of our freinds and affright of the Indians who were there, for they every where fly before the Heiva like sheep before a wolf. We soon left it and proceeded along shore towards a place where above 100 Indians were collected together. We the Ninevehs had orders from the Heiva to disperse them, we ran towards them but before we cam[e] within 100 yards of them they dispers'd every way, running to the first shelter, hiding themselves under grass or whatever else would conceal them. We now crossd the river into the woods and passd several houses, all were deserted, not another Indian did we see for about ½ an hour that we sepnt in walking about. We the Ninevehs then came to the Heiva and said imatata, there are no people; after which we repaird home, the Heiva undressd and we went into the river and scrubbd one another till it was dark before the blacking would come off.