Saturday, 15th. 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.
April 15, 2012
Saturday, 15th April, 1769