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Endeavour journal, 1 December 1769 (Series 03.463)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Motuaro'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 1 December 1769
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 1. Several Canoes were on board by Day break and sold some things cheifly for Indian Cloth and quart bottles. The day misty and stewy: the boats were on shore on the Island which we searchd on the 29th with so little success that we did not think it worth while to go ashore.

It is now a long time since I have mentiond their custom of Eating human flesh, as I was loth a long time to beleive that any human beings could have among them so brutal a custom. I am now however convincd and shall here give a short account of what we have heard from the Indians concerning it. At Taoneroa the first place we landed in on the Continent the boys who we had on board mentiond it of their own accords, asking whether the meat they eat was not human flesh, as they had no Idea of any animal but a man so large till they saw our sheep: they however seemd ashamd of the custom, saying that the tribe to which they belongd did not use it but that another very near did. Since that we have never faild wherever we went ashore and often when we convers'd with canoes to ask the question; we have without one exception been answerd in the affirmative, and several times as at Tolaga and today the people have put themselves into a heat by defending the Custom, which Tubia who had never before heard of such a thing takes every Occasion to speak ill of, exhorting them often to leave it off. They however as universaly agree that they eat none but the bodies of those of their enemies who are killd in war, all others are buried.