Friday, 14th. This morning we had a great many Canoes about the Ship; the most of them came from the Westward, and brought nothing with them but a few Cocoa Nuts, etc. Two that appeared to be Chiefs we had on board, together with several others, for it was a hard matter to keep them out of the Ship, as they Climb like Munkeys; but it was still harder to keep them from Stealing but everything that came within their reach; in this they are Prodigious Expert. I made each of these two Chiefs a present of a Hatchet, things that they seemed mostly to value. As soon as we had partly got clear of these People I took 2 Boats and went to the Westward, all the Gentlemen being along with me. My design was to see if there was not a more commodious Harbour, and to try the disposition of the Natives, having along with us the 2 Chiefs above mentioned; the first place we landed at was in great Canoe Harbour (so called by Captain Wallis); here the Natives Flocked about us in great numbers, and in as friendly a manner as we could wish, only that they show’d a great inclination to Pick our Pockets. We were conducted to a Chief, who for distinction sake we called Hurcules. After staying a short time with him, and distributing a few Presents about us, we proceeded farther, and came to a Chief who I shall call Lycurgus; this man entertained us with broil’d fish, Cocoa Nutts, etc., with great Hospitality, and all the time took great care to tell us to take care of our Pockets, as a great number of People had crowded about us. Notwithstanding the care we took, Dr. Solander and Dr. Monkhouse had each of them their Pockets picked: the one of his spy glass and the other of his snuff Box. As soon as Lycurgus was made acquainted with the Theft he dispers’d the people in a moment, and the method he made use of was to lay hold on the first thing that came in his way and throw it at them, and happy was he or she that could get first out of his way. He seem’d very much concern’d for what had hapned, and by way of recompence offered us but everything that was in his House; but we refused to accept of anything, and made signs to him that we only wanted the things again. He had already sent people out after them, and it was not long before they were return’d. We found the Natives very numerous wherever we came, and from what we could judge seemed very peacably inclin’d. About six o’Clock in the evening we return’d on board, very well satisfied with our little Excursion.
April 14, 2012
Friday, 14th April, 1769