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Endeavour journal, 4 February 1770 (Series 03.528)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Totarra nue'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 4 February 1770
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 4. Prevented from sailing by our hay which had been so thoroughly soked by the late rains that it was too wet to put on board. Some conversation passd today concerning a report we heard yesterday. Two of our boats went out different ways and returnd at different times; the people of one said that they had met a double canoe who told them that they had a few days ago lost a female child who they suspected had been stole and eat by some of their neighbours; the other said that they had also met a double canoe whose people told them that they had yesterday eat a child, some of whose bones they sold them. From hence many of our gentlemen were led to conclude that thefts of this kind are frequent among these Indians. This story in my opinion throws very little light upon the subject as I am inclind to beleive that our two boats who went out at very different times in the morn both in the same direction, one only farther than the other, saw one and the same canoe and only differently interpreted the conversation of the people, as they know only a few words of the language, and eating people is now always the uppermost Idea in their heads. This however I must say, that when such families have come off to the ship even with an intention to fight with us they have very often brought Women and young children in arms as if they were afraid to leave them behind.