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Endeavour journal, 10 October 1769 (Series 03.411)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Taoneroa'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 10 October 1769
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 10. In the middle of last night one of our boys seemd to shew more reflection than he had before done sighing often and loud; Tupia who was always upon the watch to comfort them got up and soon made them easy. They then sung a song of their own, it was not without some taste, like a Psalm tune and containd many notes and semitones; they sung it in parts which gives us no indifferent Idea of their taste as well as skill in musick. The oldest of them is about 18, the middlemos[t] 15, the youngest 10; the midlemost especialy has a most open countenance and agreable manner; their names are Taáhourange, Koikerange, and Maragooete, the two first brothers. In the morning they were all very chearfull and eat an enormous quantity, after that they were dressd and ornamented with bracelets, ancklets and necklaces after their own fashion. The boats were then hoisted out and we all got into them: the boys express'd much joy at this till they saw that we were going to land at our old Landing place near the river, they beggd very much that they might not be set ashore at that place where they said were Enemies of theirs who would kill and eat them. The Captn resolvd to go ashore at that place and if the boys did not chuse to go from us, in the evening to send a boat with them to the part of the bay to which they pointed and calld their home. Accordingly we went ashore and crossd the river. The boys at first would not leave us. No method was usd to persuade them; it was even resolvd to return and carry them home when on a sudden they seemd to resolve to go and with tears in their eyes took leave. We then went along a swamp intending to shoot some ducks of which there was great plenty; the countrey was quite flat; the Sergeant and 4 marines attended us walking upon a bank abreast of us which overlookd the countrey. We proceeded about a mile when they Calld out that a large body of Indians was marching towards us, we drew together and resolvd to retreat; before we had put this in execution the 3 boys rose out of a bush in which they were hid and put themselves again under our protection. We went upon the beach as the clearest place and walkd briskly towards the boats. The Indians were in two parties, one marchd along the bank before spoke of, the other came round by the morass where we could not see them; on seing us draw together they ceasd to run as they had done and walkd but gently on, a circumstance most fortunate for us, for when we came to our boats the pinnace was a mile at least from her station, (sent their by the officer ashore to pick up a bird he had shot); the small boat only remaind, which was carried over the river, and without the midshipman who was left to attend her: the consequence of this was that we were obligd to make 3 trips before we were all over to the rest of the party. As soon as we were well drawn up on the other side the Indians came down, not in a body as we expected, but 2 and 3 at a time, all armd and soon increasd to a considerable number; we now despaird of making peace with men who were not to be frightned with our small arms. As the ship lay so far from the shore that [she] could not throw a shot there, we resolvd to reembark as our stay would most likley be the cause of killing still more people: we were begining to go towards the boats when on a sudden one of the boys calld out that the people there were their freinds and desird us to stay and talk with them, we did and much conversation past but neither would the boys swim over to them nor they to the boys. The bodys both of the man who was killd yesterday, and he who was killd the day before, were left upon the beach. The first lay very near us, to it the boys went and coverd it with part of the cloths we had given them; soon after a single man unarmd swam over to us (the uncle of Maracouete, the younger boy), he brought in his hand a green bough, probably emblem of peace; we made him many presents after having receivd his bough which he presented to Tupia our interpr[e]ter. We askd him to go onboard of the ship but he refusd so we left him, but all the 3 boys chose rather to return with us than stay with him.

As soon as we had retird and left him to himself he went and gatherd a green bough; with this in his hand he aproachd the body with great ceremony, walking sideways, he then threw the bough towards it and returnd to his companions who immediately sat down round him and remaind above an hour, hearing probably what he said without taking the least notice of us, who soon returnd to the ship. From thence we could see with our glasses 3 men cross the river in a kind of Catamaran and take away the body which was carried off upon a pole by 4 men.

After dinner the Captn desird Tupia to ask the boys if they had now any objection to going ashore at the same place, as taking away the body was probably a ratification of our peace. They said they had not and went most nimbly into the boat in which two midshipmen were sent; they went ashore willingly but soon returnd to the rocks, wading into the water and begging hard to be taken in again; the orders were positive to leave them so they were left. We observd from the ship a man in a catamaran go over the river and fetch them to a place where 40 or 50 were assembled: they sat till near sunset without stirring. They rose then and the 3 boys appeard who had till now been conceald by being surrounded with people, they left the party came down upon the beach and 3 times wavd their hands towards the ship, then nimbly ran and joind the party who walkd leisurely away towards the place where the boys live. We therefore hope that no harm will happen to them especialy as they had still the cloaths which we gave them on. After sunset loud voices were heard as usual in the bottom of the bay.