15th April 1769
Winds at East during the day, in the Night a light breeze off the land; and as I apprehend it be usual here for the Trade wind to blow during a great part of the day from the Eastern Board, and to have it Calm or light breezes from the land that is Southerly during the night with fair weather, I shall only mention the wind and weather when they deviate from this rule. This morning several of the Chiefs we had seen Yesterday came on board, and brought with them Hogs, Bread fruit, etc., and for these we gave them Hatchets, Linnen, and such things as they valued. Having not met with yesterday a more Convenient situation for every purpose we wanted than the place we now are, I therefore, without delay, resolved to pitch upon some spot upon the North-East point of the Bay, properly situated for observing the Transit of Venus, and at the same time under the command of the Ship's Guns, and there to throw up a small fort for our defence.
Accordingly I went ashore with a party of men, accompanied by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and Mr. Green. We took along with us one of Mr. Banks's Tents, and after we had fix'd upon a place fit for our purpose we set up the Tent and marked out the ground we intended to Occupy. By this time a number of the Natives had got collected together about us, seemingly only to look on, as not one of them had any weapon, either Offensive or defensive. I would suffer none to come within the lines I had marked out, excepting one who appeared to be a chief and old Owhaa--to these 2 men we endeavour'd to explain, as well as we could, that we wanted that ground to Sleep upon such a number of nights and then we should go away. Whether they understood us or no is uncertain, but no one appeared the least displeased at what we was about; indeed the Ground we had fixed upon was of no use to them, being part of the sandy Beach upon the shore of the Bay, and not near to any of their Habitations. It being too late in the day to do anything more, a party with a petty officer was left to guard the Tent, while we with another party took a Walk into the woods, and with us most of the natives.
We had but just crossed the River when Mr. Banks shott three Ducks at one shott, which surprised them so much that most of them fell down as though they had been shott likewise. I was in hopes this would have had some good effect, but the event did not prove it, for we had not been long from the Tent before the natives again began to gather about, and one of them more daring than the rest pushed one of the Centinels down, snatched the Musket out of his hand and made a push at him, and then made off, and with him all the rest. Immediately upon this the Officer ordered the party to fire, and the Man who took the musket was shot Dead before he had got far from the Tent, but the musquet was carried quite off when this hapned. I and Mr. Banks with the other party was about half a Mile off, returning out of the woods, upon hearing the firing of Muskets, and the Natives leaving us at the same time, we Suspected that something was the matter and hastened our march, but before we arrived the whole was over, and every one of the Natives fled except old Owhaa, who stuck by us the whole time, and I believe from the first he either knew or had some suspicion that the People would attempt something at the Tent, as he was very much against our going into the Woods out of sight of the Tent.
However, he might have other reasons, for Mr. Hicks, being ashore the day before, the natives would not permit him to go into the Woods. This made me resolved to go and see whether they meant to prescribe bounds to us or no. Old Owhaa, as I have said before, was the only one of the Natives that stayed by us, and by his means we prevail'd on about 20 of them to come to the Tent and there sit down with us, and Endeavour'd by every means in our power to Convince them that the Man was kill'd for taking away the Musket, and that we still would be friends with them. At sunset they left us seemingly satisfied, and we struck our Tent and went on board.
Joseph Banks Journal
This morn we landed at the watering place bringing with us a small tent which we set up. In doing this we were attended by some hundreds of the natives who shewd a deference and respect to us which much amazd me. I myself drew a line before them with the butt end of my musquet and made signs to them to set down without it, they obeyd instantly and not a man attempted to set a foot within it, above two hours were spent so and not the least disorder being committed. We propos'd to walk into the woods and see if today we might not find more hoggs etc. than when we last visited them supposing it probable that a part of them at least had been drove away on our arrival: this in particular tempted us to go away, with many other circumstances, as our old man (an Indian well known to the Dolphins) attempted by many signs to hinder us from going into the woods. The tent was left in charge of a Midshipman with the marines 13 in number. We marchd away and were absent above 2 hours. A little while before we came back we heard several musquet shots. Our old man immediately calld us together and by waving his hand sent away every Indian who followd us except 3 every one of whoom took in their hands a green bough: on this we suspected that some mischeif had happned at the tent and hastend home with all expedition.
On our return we found that an Indian had snatchd a sentrys musquet from him unawares and run off; the midshipman (may be) imprudently orderd the marines to fire. they did fire into the thickest of the flying croud some hundreds in number several shot, and pursueing the man who stole the musquet killd him dead but whether any others were killd or hurt no one could tell. No Indian was now to be seen about the tent but our old man, who with us took all pains to reconcile them again; before night by his means we got together a few of them and explaining to them that the man who sufferd was guilty of a crime deserving of death (for so we were forcd to make it) we retird to the ship not well pleasd with the days expedition, guilty no doubt in some measure of the death of a man who the most severe laws of equity would not have condemnd to so severe a punishment.
Sydney Parkinsons Journal
In the morning, several of the chiefs, one of which was very corpulent, came on board from the other point, and brought us some hogs; we presented them with a sheet and some trinkets in return; but some of them took the liberty of stealing the top of the lightening-chain. We went ashore, and pitched the markee: Mr. Banks, the captain, and myself, took a walk in the woods, and were afterwards joined by Mr. Hicks, and Mr. Green.
While we were walking, and enjoying the rural scene, we heard the report of some fire-arms, and presently saw the natives fleeing into the woods like frighted fawns, carrying with them their little moveable. Alarmed at this unexpected event, we immediately quitted the wood, and made to the side of the river, where we saw several of our men, who had been left to guard the tent, pursuing the natives, who were terrified to the last degree; some of them skulked behind the bushes, and others leaped into the river. Hearing the shot rattle amongst the branches of the trees over my head, I thought it not safe to continue there any longer, and fled to the tent, where I soon learned the cause of the catastrophe. A centinel being off his guard, one of the natives snatched a-musket out of his hand, which occasioned the fray. A boy, a midshipman, was the commanding officer, and, giving orders to fire, they obeyed with the greatest glee imaginable, as if they had been shooting at wild ducks, killed one stout man, and wounded many others. What a pity, that such brutality should be exercised by civilized people upon unarmed ignorant Indians!
When Mr. Banks heard of the affair, he was highly displeased, saying, "If we quarreled with those Indians, we should not agree with angels;" and he did all he could to accommodate the difference, going across the river, and, through the mediation of an old man, prevailed on many of the natives to come over to us, bearing plantain-trees, which is a signal of peace amongst them; and, clapping their hands to their breasts, cried Tyau, which signifies friendship. They sat down by us; sent for cocoa nuts, and we drank the milk with them. They laughed heartily, and were very social, more so than could have been expected, considering what they had suffered in the late skirmish.— Have we not reason to conclude, that their dispositions are very flexible; and that resentment, with them, is a short-lived passion? The horizon not being clear, we could not make any astronomical observations; and therefore did not attempt to go round the point to the other bay. The weather, however, since we arrived here, has generally been clear, with now and then a flight shower of rain, and the wind E. N. E.
Mr. Buchan was seized with an epileptic fit this morning, and remained insensible all day.
Posted by Arborfield at 08:55