Wednesday, 14th. Between 2 and 4 o’clock this morning, one of the Natives stole out of the Fort an Iron rake, made use of for the Oven. It hapned to be set up against the Wall, and by that means was Visible from the outside, and had been seen by them in the evening, as a man had been seen lurking about the Fort some Hours before the thing was Missed. I was informed by some others of the Natives that he watch’d an opportunity when the Centinel’s back was turned, he hooked it with a long crooked stick, and haled it over the Wall. When I came to be informed of this theft in the Morning I resolved to recover it by some Means or other, and accordingly went and took possession of all the Canoes of any value I could meet with, and brought them into the River behind the Fort to the number of 22, and told the Natives then present (most of them being the owners of the Canoes) that unless the principal things they had stol’n from us were restored I would burn them every one: not that I ever intended to put this in execution, and yet I was very much displeased with them, as they were daily committing, or attempting to commit, one theft or other, when at the same time–contrary to the opinion of everybody, I would not suffer them to be fir’d upon, for this would have been putting it in the power of the Centinels to have fir’d upon them upon the most slitest occasions, as I had before experienced. And I have a great Objection to firing with powder only amongst People who know not the difference, for by this they would learn to despise fire Arms and think their own Arms superior, and if ever such an Opinion prevailed they would certainly attack you, the Event of which might prove as unfavourable to you as them. About Noon the rake was restored us, when they wanted to have their Canoes again; but now, as I had them in my possession, I was resolved to try if they would not redeem them by restoring what they had stol’n from us before. The Principal things which we had lost was the Marine Musquet, a pair of Pistols belonging to Mr. Banks, a Sword belonging to one of the Petty Officers, and a Water Cask, with some other Articles not worth mentioning. Some said that these things were not in the Island, others that Tootaha had them, and those of Tootaha’s friends laid the whole to Obariea, and I believe the whole was between these two persons.
June 14, 2012
Wednesday, 14th June, 1769