25th April 1769
Joseph Banks Journal
I do not know by what accident I have so long omitted to mention how much these people are given to theiving. I will make up for my neglect however today by saying that great and small cheifs and common men all are firmly of opinion that if they can once get possession of any thing it immediately becomes their own. This we were convincd of the very second day we were here, the cheifs were employd in stealing what they could in the Cabbin while their dependants took every thing that was loose about the ship, even the glass ports not escaping them of which they got off with two. Lycurgus and Hercules were the only two who had not yet been found guilty, but they stood in our opinion but upon tickilish ground as we could not well suppose them intirely free from a vice their countrey men were so much given up to.
Last night Dr Solander lent his knife to one of Lycurgus's women who forgot to return it, this morn mine was missing. I could give no account of it so resolvd to go to Lycurgus and ask him whether or not he had stole it trusting that if he had he would return it. I went and taxd him with it. He denyd knowing any thing concerning it, I told him I was resolvd to have it returnd. On this a man present produc'd a rag in which was tied up 3 knives, one was Dr Solanders the other a table knife the other no one laid claim to. With these he marchd to the tents to make restitution while I remaind with the women who much feard that he would be hurt; when come there he restord the two knives to their proper owners and began immediately to search for mine in all the places where he had ever seen it lay. One of my servants seeing what he was about brought it to him, he had it seems laid it by the day before and did not know of my missing it.
Lycurgus then burst into tears making signs with my knife that if he was ever guilty of such an action he would submit to have his throat cut. He returnd immediately to me with a countenance sufficiently upbraiding me for my suspicions; the scene was immediately changd, I became the guilty and he the innocent person, his looks affected me much. A few presents and staying a little with him reconcild him intirely; his behavior has however given me an opinion of him much superior to any of his countreymen.
Sydney Parkinson Journal
The chief food of the natives is the bread-fruit and bananas, which they peel and scrape with a sharp shell; but they eat sparingly of flesh, and of fish in general; but of the latter, sometimes alive, or raw; and, as they have no salt, they dip their meat into salt water. The natives, it seems, are very subject to the itch and other cutaneous eruptions, which is the more to be wondered at as their diet consists principally of vegetables.
They often move from one part to another, in their canoes, carrying with them all their household stuff. Sometimes they sleep all night in their canoes - but those used for that purpose are made double, and have thatched awnings over them.
Tobiah, Obereah's favourite, being at dinner with us, and not seeming to like our provision, which was pork-pie, remembering that we had a large cuttle-fish, we ordered it to be brought; Tubora Tumaida coming in the mean time, although he said his belly was full, immediately seized on it as if it had been a dainty morsel, and, with another man, ate much of it quite raw; and having the rest roasted, he ate the greatest part of it; the remainder he put into two cocoa nuts, and sent it home with great care; so that, to all appearance, they value this fish, as much as some Englishmen do turtle, or a haunch of venison. When this fish was dressed it ate like stewed oysters, but not so tender. I have been told that this fish makes excellent soup.
Posted by Arborfield at 08:17