9th November 1769



[At Mercury Bay, North Island, New Zealand]
Variable light breezes and Clear weather. As soon as it was daylight the Natives began to bring off Mackrell, and more than we well know what to do with; notwithstanding I order'd all they brought to be purchased in order to encourage them in this kind of Traffick. At 8, Mr. Green and I went on shore with our Instruments to observe the Transit of Mercury, which came on at 7 hours 20 minutes 58 seconds Apparent time, and was observed by Mr. Green only.* (* Mr. Green satirically remarks in his Log, "Unfortunately for the seamen, their look-out was on the wrong side of the sun." This probably refers to Mr. Hicks, who was also observing. It rather seems, however, as if Cook, on this occasion, was caught napping by an earlier appearance of the planet than was expected.) I, at this time, was taking the Sun's Altitude in order to Ascertain the time. The Egress was observed as follows:--

By Mr. Green:
Internal Contact at 12 hours 8 minutes 58 seconds Afternoon.
External Contact at 12 hours 9 minutes 55 seconds Afternoon.

By myself:
Internal Contact at 12 hours 8 minutes 45 seconds Afternoon.
External Contact at 12 hours 9 minutes 43 seconds Afternoon.

Latitude observed at noon 36 degrees 48 minutes 28 seconds, the mean of this and Yesterday's observation gives 36 degrees 48 minutes 5 1/2 seconds South; the Latitude of the Place of Observation, and the Variation of the Compass was at this time found to be 11 degrees 9 minutes East. While we were making these observations 5 Canoes came alongside the Ship, 2 Large and 3 Small ones, in one were 47 People, but in the other not so many. They were wholy strangers to us, and to all appearance they came with a Hostile intention, being compleatly Arm'd with Pikes, Darts, Stones, etc.; however, they made no attempt, and this was very probable owing to their being inform'd by some other Canoes (who at this time were alongside selling fish) what sort of people they had to Deal with.

When they first came alongside they begun to sell our people some of their Arms, and one Man offer'd to Sale a Haahow, that is a Square Piece of Cloth such as they wear. Lieutenant Gore, who at this time was Commanding Officer, sent into the Canoe a piece of Cloth which the Man had agreed to Take in Exchange for his, but as soon as he had got Mr. Gore's Cloth in his Possession he would not part with his own, but put off the Canoe from alongside, and then shook their Paddles at the People in the Ship. Upon this, Mr. Gore fir'd a Musquet at them, and, from what I can learn, kill'd the Man who took the Cloth; after this they soon went away. I have here inserted the account of this Affair just as I had it from Mr. Gore, but I must own it did not meet with my approbation, because I thought the Punishment a little too severe for the Crime, and we had now been long Enough acquainted with these People to know how to Chastise Trifling faults like this without taking away their Lives.

At day break this morn a vast number of boats were on board almost loaded with macarel of 2 sorts, one exactly the same as is caught in England. We concluded that they had caught a large shoal and sold us the overplus what they could not consume, as they set very little value upon them. It was however a fortunate circumstance for us as by 8 O'clock the ship had more fish on board than all hands could eat in 2 or 3 days, and before night so many that every mess who could raise salt cornd as many as will last them this month or more. After an early breakfast the astronomer went on shore to Observe the transit of Mercury which he did without the smallest cloud intervening to Obstruct him, a fortunate circumstance as except yesterday and today we have not had a clear day for some time.

Joseph Banks Journal

About noon we were alarmd by the report of a great gun fird from the ship, the occasion of which was this: two canoes came to the ship very large and full of people, they shewd by their behaviour that they were quite strangers or at least so much so as not to be at all afraid; they soon enterd into trade and almost immediately cheated by taking the Cloth which was given to them without returning that which was bargaind for. On this they immediately began to sing their war song as if to defy any revenge those on board might chuse to take, this enragd the 2nd lieutenant so much that he leveld a musquet at the man who had still got the cloth in his hand and shot him dead. The canoes went off to some distance but did not go quite away. It was nescessary to send a boat ashore, so least they might atempt to revenge his death upon the boat.  A round shot was fird over them which had the desird Effect of putting them to flight immediately. The news of this event was immediately brought on shore to our Indians who were at first a little alarmd and retreated from us in a body; in a little time however they returnd on their own accords and acknowledgd that the dead man deservd his punishment--unaskd by us, who thought his fate severe knowing as we did that small shot would have had almost or quite as good an effect with little danger to his life, which tho forfeited to the laws of England we could not but wish to spare if it could be done without subjecting ourselves to the derision and consequently to the attacks of these people; which we have now learnt to fear not least they should kill us, but least we should be reducd to the nescessity of killing a number of them which must be the case should they ever in reality attack us.

A little before sunset we went home with the Indians to see them eat their supper. It consisted of fish, shell fish, lobsters and birds: these were dressd either by broiling them upon a skewer which was stuck into the ground leaning over the fire, or in ovens as we calld them at Otahite which were holes in the ground filld with provision and hot stones and coverd over with leaves and Earth. Here we saw a woman who mournd after their fashion for a dead relation. She sat on the ground near the rest who (except one) seemd not at all to regard her: the tears constantly trickled down her cheeks; she repeated in a low but very mournfull voice words which we did not at all understand, still at every sentence cutting her arms, face or breast with a shell she held in her hand, so that she was almost coverd with blood, a most affecting spectacle. The cutts she made however were so managd as seldom to draw blood and when they did to peirce a very small way into the flesh; but this is not always the case with them, for many we have seen and some were among these very people who had shocking large scarrs on their arms, thighs, breasts, cheaks etc. which they told us had been done in this manner and upon this occasion; may be they proportion the depth of their cutts to the regard they have for the deceasd.


Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 9th, a great number of the natives came in canoes about the ship, and brought us a large quantity of fish, mostly of the mackrel kind, with a few John Dories; and we pickled down several casks full of them.
Some of these canoes came from another part of the country, which were larger, and of a better sort than the rest: the people in them, too, had a better appearance; among whom there were some of superior rank, furnished with good garments, dressed up with feathers on their heads, and had various things of value amongst them, which they readily exchanged for Otaheite cloth. In one of the canoes there was a very handsome young man, of whom I bought some things: he seemed, by the variety of his garments, which he sold one after another till he had but one left, to be a person of distinction amongst them: his last garment was an upper one, made of black and white dog-skin, which one of the lieutenants would have purchased, and offered him a large piece of cloth for it, which he swung down the stern by a rope into the canoe; but, as soon as the young man had taken it, his companions paddled away as fast as possible, shouting, and brandishing their weapons as if they had made a great prize; and, being ignorant of the power of our weapons, thought to have carried it off securely; but a musket was fired at them from the stern of the ship: the young man fell down immediately, and, it is probable, was mortally wounded, as we did not see him rise again. What a severe punishment of a crime committed, perhaps, ignorantly!  The name of this unfortunate young man, we afterwards learned, was Otirreeo√≤nooe.

The weather being clear all day, we made a good observation of the passage of Mercury over the sun's disk, while Mr. Green made an observation on shore. From this circumstance the Bay was termed Mercury Bay.


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