Wednesday, 17th. Light Airs, Calm and pleasant weather. P.M., righted ship and got the other Side ready for heeling out, and in the Evening Haul’d the Sean and caught a few fish. While this was doing some of us went in the pinnace into another Cove, not far from where the Ship lays; in going thither we meet with a Woman floating upon the Water, who to all appearance had not been dead many days. Soon after we landed we meet with 2 or 3 of the Natives who not long before must have been regaling themselves upon human flesh, for I got from one of them the bone of the Fore arm of a Man or Woman which was quite fresh, and the flesh had been but lately picked off, which they told us they had eat; they gave us to understand that but a few days before they had taken, Kill’d, and Eat a Boats Crew of their Enemies or strangers, for I believe they look upon all strangers as Enemies. From what we could learn the woman we had seen floating upon the Water was in this Boat and had been drowned in the fray. There was not one of us that had the least doubt but what these people were cannibals; but the finding this bone with part of the sinews fresh upon it was a stronger proof than any we had yet met with, and, in order to be fully satisfied of the truth of what they had told us, we told one of them that it was not the bone of a man, but that of a dog; but he, with great fervency, took hold of his Fore Arm, and told us again that it was that bone: and to convince us that they had eat the flesh he took hold of the flesh of his own Arm with his teeth and made Signs of Eating. A.M., Careen’d, Scrub’d, and pay’d the Starboard side of the Ship; while this was doing some of the Natives came alongside seemingly only to look at us. There was a woman among them who had her Arms, thighs, and Legs cut in several place’s; this was done by way of Mourning for her Husband who had very lately been Kill’d and Eat by some of their Enemies as they told us and pointed towards’ the place where it was done, which lay somewhere to the Eastward. Mr. Banks got from one of them a Bone of the fore Arm, much in the same state as the one before mentioned; and to show us that they eat the flesh, they bit and Naw’d the bone and draw’d it through their Mouths, and this in such a manner as plainly Shew’d that the flesh to them was a Dainty Bit.
January 17, 2013
Wednesday, 17th January, 1770