Thursday, 19th. Gentle breezes and fair weather. Employ’d getting everything in readyness for Sea. A.M., we were Visited by 10 or 11 of the Natives; the most of them came from the other side of the Harbour, where we saw 6 or 7 more, the most of them Women, and, like the men, quite naked. Those that came on board were very desirous of having some of our Turtles, and took the liberty to haul 2 of them to the Gangway to put over the side; being disappointed in this, they grew a little Troublesome, and were for throwing every thing overboard they could lay their hands upon. As we had no Victuals dress’d at this time, I offer’d them some bread to Eat, which they rejected with Scorn, as I believe they would have done anything else excepting Turtle; soon after this they all went ashore, Mr. Banks, myself, and 5 or 6 of our people being their at same time. Immediately upon their Landing one of them took a Handful of dry grass and lighted it at a fire we had ashore, and before we well know’d what he was going about he made a larger Circuit round about us, and set fire to the grass in his way, and in an instant the whole place was in flames. Luckily at this time we had hardly anything ashore, besides the Forge and a Sow with a litter of young Pigs, one of which was scorched to Death in the fire. As soon as they had done this they all went to a place where some of our people were washing, and where all our nets and a good deal of linnen were laid out to dry; here with the greatest obstinacy they again set fire to the grass, which I and some others who were present could not prevent, until I was obliged to fire a Musquet load with small Shott at one of the Ring leaders, which sent them off. As we were apprised of this last Attempt of theirs we got the fire out before it got head, but the first spread like wild fire in the Woods and grass. Notwithstanding my firing, in which one must have been a little hurt, because we saw a few drops of blood on some of the linnen he had gone over, they did not go far from us; for we soon after heard their Voices in the woods, upon which Mr. Banks and I and 3 or 4 more went to look for them, and very soon met them coming toward us. As they had each 4 or 5 Darts, and not knowing their intention, we seized upon 6 or 7 of the first darts we met with. This alarm’d them so much that they all made off, and we follow’d them for near 1/2 a Mile, and then set down and called to them, and they stop’d also; after some little unintelligible conversation had passed they laid down their darts, and came to us in a very friendly manner. We now return’d the Darts we had taken from them, which reconcil’d everything. There were 4 Strangers among them that we had not seen before, and these were interduced to us by name by the others; the Man which we supposed to have been Struck with small Shott was gone off, but he could not be much hurt as he was at a great distance when I fir’d. They all came along with us abreast of the Ship, where they stay’d a short time, and then went away, and soon after set the woods on fire about a Mile and a half or two Miles from us.
July 19, 2013
Thursday, 19th July, 1770