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the afternoon he paid a second (private) call in a small canoe with three
paddles, one of which he wielded himself. On this occasion there were no
prostrations, but if any native met his chief he simply got out of the
way unless some service was required of him.

The ships were running very short of firewood, and as there was none
growing less than a mile and a half off the sea, Mr. King was ordered to
try and purchase the fence surrounding the top of the Morai. He
hesitated, as he thought that:

"even the bare mention of it might be considered by them [the priests] as
a piece of shocking impiety. In this, however, I found myself mistaken.
Not the smallest surprise was expressed at the application, and the wood
was readily given, even without stipulating for anything in return."

He saw the sailors were carrying away the figures as well, and spoke to
Koah on the subject, who raised no objection, except with regard to the
centre one, which was at once returned. Burney says that two launch-loads
for each ship were obtained, "a seasonable supply, as we had been four
months since we wooded."

On 31st January Whatman, one of the gunner's crew, and greatly attached
to Cook, died and was buried in the Morai. Besant thinks that this had
some influence on the minds of the natives, and may have contributed to
Cook's death, but as it was done by Terreeoboo's special request it is
difficult to see how the idea can be justified.


Enquiries were several times made as to the date of the departure of the
ships, and hints were given that supplies were running short; but at the
same time they were informed that if they returned the next bread-fruit
season, their wants should be again supplied. When the news went forth
that they would leave in two days, Terreeoboo issued a proclamation for
food to be brought in so that he might make a large present on their
departure; and on the appointed day Cook and King were invited to
Terreeoboo's residence, where they found all that had been given in
exchange to the natives was laid out on the ground, and a short distance
away a large quantity of vegetables of all kinds and a herd of pigs,
which were handed over on a return present being made. King says that the
gift "far exceeded everything of the kind we had seen." The camp ashore
was then broken up, and a great effort was made to persuade Cook to
permit Mr. King to remain, as he had succeeded in making himself a great
favourite with all. A house that had been used by the sailmakers was
accidentally set on fire, Burney says by natives looking for a knife lost
by one of the sailors; but Besant, who places the fire at a later period,
says it was done intentionally in revenge for the sailors having enticed
some of the women there, and infers that Gilbert is his authority, but in
the extracts he publishes from Gilbert's manuscript there is nothing of
the kind, and no one refers to any other fire till after Cook's death.


On 4th February the ships unmoored and sailed from the bay, steering to
the north in hopes of finding a better anchorage. The wind was very
light, and the progress was so slow that it gave Terreeoboo an
opportunity of sending off a further present of food. Soon after a gale
sprang up, and the canoes which had accompanied them beat a hasty
retreat, leaving a good many, mostly women, on board the ships. About
midnight the fore and main topsails were split, but towards morning the
wind died away and they were able to bend fresh sails. A second gale came
on again at night, putting them under double-reefed topsails, with
topgallant yards sent down, and at daybreak the fore-mast was found to be
so badly sprung that it was absolutely necessary it should be unstepped
for immediate repairs. After considerable hesitation, for he fully
recognised that the place must be almost denuded of surplus provisions,
Cook decided to return to Karakakoa Bay as no other convenient place was
known, and the ships again anchored there on the 11th, starting
immediately to unstep and get the mast ashore, when it was found to be
rotten at the heel as well as sprung. Wood that had been cut at Eimeo for
anchor stocks was used for fishing the head, and the work proceeded
rapidly: the priests making the camp tabu, so that there should be no
interference with the workmen.

When the ships arrived in the bay, hardly a canoe was to be seen, and
none came out to the ships. This, contrasted with their first reception,
was the cause of some surprise, and, in view of what happened afterwards,
of some suspicion; but Mr. King, who had more intercourse with the
natives than any of the other officers, was thoroughly satisfied that
"they neither meant nor apprehended any change of conduct." Burney says
that Terreeoboo and some of the chiefs visited them on the 12th, and
asked many questions about their return, and did not seem well satisfied
with the answers received.


Everything went smoothly till the afternoon of the 13th, when the officer
in charge of the watering party complained to King that the conduct of
some of the natives was suspicious, and some of the chiefs were driving
away men he had engaged to help in rolling the casks to the boats. King
sent a marine with side arms to help to restore order, but shortly after
was informed the natives were arming with stones and getting very noisy,
so he went down himself, with a marine armed with his musket, and
succeeded in setting matters right. Just at this time Cook came ashore,
and King reported what had occurred, receiving orders to fire with ball
if he received any insolence or stones were thrown. Soon afterwards shots
were heard from the Discovery, and a canoe was seen making for the shore,
closely pursued by one of the ship's boats. Cook, King, and a marine ran
to intercept them, but were too late, as the occupants of the canoe
landed before they could reach the spot. Burney says the disturbance
commenced by a native stealing a pair of carpenter's tongs, jumping
overboard with them, and placing them in a canoe which at once paddled
off. The thief was caught, flogged, and put in irons till the tongs were
returned from the shore. The same tongs were again stolen in the
afternoon, and the thief got away with them, pursued by Edgar, the
Master, in the ship's cutter, and joined by the Resolution's pinnace. The
thief reaching shore first, put the tongs, the lid of a harness cask, and
a chisel in a second canoe which went out, and handed them over to Edgar.
Edgar, seeing Cook and King running along the shore, thought it right to
detain the second canoe, which unfortunately belonged to Parea, who at
the time of the theft was in Clerke's cabin and, promising to obtain the
tongs, had immediately left for the shore. He tried to regain possession
of his canoe, but was knocked down by a sailor, and then some of the
natives, who before this had been quietly looking on, began to throw
stones, and so roughly handled the sailors in the pinnace that, being
unarmed, they beat a retreat, swimming to some rocks out of reach of the
missiles. Edgar and Vancouver remained ashore and fared badly, till
Parea, who had recovered from his blow and apparently forgotten it,
ordered his countrymen to stay their hands, and managed to save the
pinnace from being broken up. He wanted the boats to go back to the
ships, but as the oars had been taken away this was impossible. He then
started to find them, and as soon as his back was turned the throwing
began again. Edgar wished to go to the camp to find Cook, but some of the
natives advised him to follow them and they would take him to Parea. He
soon met him carrying one oar, followed by a man with a broken one, so
they were able to make shift in the boats to the camp, being overtaken on
the way by Parea in his canoe bringing Vancouver's cap, which had been
lost in the scuffle.

Owing to his pursuit of the thief Cook did not hear of all this trouble
till after dark, too late to take any further steps, but King says he
appeared very disturbed by the news, and remarked: "I am afraid these
people will oblige me to use some violent measures, for they must not be
left to imagine that they have gained an advantage over us." He then went
on board his ship and ordered all natives ashore, whilst King returned to
the camp, and doubling his sentries, gave orders he was to be called if
any natives were seen about. At eleven, five were seen hovering near, but
when they found they were observed they made off, and later one got close
to the observatory, but ran when the sentry fired over his head. When on
his way to the ship the next morning for the chronometer, King was
informed that the Discovery's cutter had been stolen; it had been moored
to the anchor buoy. On board the Resolution he found Cook busy loading
his double-barreled gun and a landing party of marines being prepared.
Cook said he was going ashore to try to gain possession of some of the
principal chiefs in order to keep them prisoners till the boat was
returned, and that he had already sent out boats to prevent any one
leaving the bay, with the intention of destroying their canoes if he
could not recover the cutter by more peaceable means. The Resolution's
great cutter was sent after a large sailing canoe that was making off,
the small cutter was guarding the western point of the bay, and Cook,
with the pinnace and launch, were going to Kowrowa to try and get
Terreeoboo on board the ship. He, and in fact every one else, were
confident the natives would offer no resistance if they heard the sound
of but one musket.

A little before eight o'clock Captain Cook, Lieutenant Phillips, a
sergeant, corporal, and seven marines left the ship for Kowrowa, and King
returned to his camp after being ordered to try and assure the natives
near the observatory that they would not be hurt, to keep his men
together, and to be prepared to meet any outbreak. Having seen his men
were on the alert, King visited the priests and satisfied them that
Terreeoboo would receive neither injury nor insult.


Having picked up the Resolution's launch, under the command of Lieutenant
Williamson, on his way, Cook landed the marines, and marched into the
village, where he received the usual marks of respect. He asked to see
the king and his two young sons. The two boys came forward and conducted
him to the hut where their father was, and after a short conversation he
felt assured that Terreeoboo knew nothing about the stealing of the boat.
He invited the three to accompany him to the Resolution, and the king at
once consented and got up to go. However, the boys' mother came up with a
few chiefs and tried to persuade him not to go, and then they caught hold
of him and forced him to sit down. Meanwhile a large crowd had gathered
round, and Phillips, who seems to have acted with coolness and judgment
throughout the affair, drew up his men in line on some rocks near the
water, about thirty yards away. After trying for some time to persuade
the natives to allow their chief to go with him, Cook gave up the
attempt, observing to Phillips that it would be impossible to compel them
to do so without great risk of bloodshed. Unfortunately, just at this
time news arrived that a chief of the first rank had been killed at the
other side of the bay. The shots had been heard soon after the landing of
Cook's party.

It was now recognised that matters had become very serious; the natives
were seen to be donning their war mats, and one man, armed with a stone
in one hand and a large iron spike in the other, threatened Cook in a
very insulting manner. He was told to keep quiet, but only became more
furious, so Cook fired a charge of small shot into him, but his mats
saved him from injury. Stones were thrown at the marines, and a chief
attempted to stab Phillips, but was promptly knocked down with the butt
of the latter's musket. Cook now fired his second barrel loaded with ball
and killed one of the natives, but Sergeant Gibson told him it was the
wrong man, so he received orders to kill the right one, and did so. The
stone-throwing became heavier, and the marines responded with a volley,
but before they had time to reload the natives rushed them, killing four
out of the seven and wounding the rest, Phillips being stabbed between
the shoulders, but, before the blow could be repeated he managed to shoot
his assailant.


Cook was now close to the water's edge, and had turned round to order the
boats' crews to cease firing and pull in. This is believed to have caused
his death, for, whilst he faced the natives, none of them, except the one
shot by Gibson, had offered him actual violence, but when he turned to
give orders he was struck on the head and stabbed in the back, falling
with his face in a pool of water. As soon as he fell a great shout arose;
he was dragged ashore, and the natives, snatching the dagger from each
other, showed savage eagerness to share in his destruction. Phillips and
his wounded marines plunged into the water and, covered by musketry fire,
gained the boats; their officer, though wounded, jumping out again to the
assistance of the last man who, severely injured by a blow on the face,
was in great danger of being captured. The boats, seeing there was no
possibility of recovering the bodies of the five who were killed, were
ordered to return at once to the ships from which they had only been
absent an hour. Nine stand of arms, Cook's double-barreled gun and his
hanger fell into the hands of the natives. As soon as this was reported,
the boats were recalled from the bay, and a strong reinforcement was sent
to Mr. King with orders to strike his camp and get the Resolution's
foremast off to the ship. The Indians were seen to be assembling to the
right of the tents, so the guns were turned on them, and a party was
posted on the Morai to cover the place where the mast lay. About one
o'clock everything was got away from the shore, only a few stones being
thrown by natives who thought their mats were proof against bullets, and
only found out their mistake too late.

Notwithstanding what had occurred, one of the priests, whom Burney calls
Kerriakair, remained with the English till everything had been removed,
and supplied the men with food and water. King, about four o'clock, was
sent to try to recover the bodies of the Captain and marines. He was at
first received with a volley of stones, which fortunately fell short; he
displayed a white flag and pulled inshore, whilst the remaining boats lay
off to cover him with their fire if needed, but the stone-throwing was
stopped, and the natives also showed the white flag. In answer to King's
demand some of the chiefs promised that the bodies should be delivered
the next day, and Koah, swimming off to one of the boats, explained that
they could not be given up at once as they had already been taken some
distance up country. Burney, however, says that they gathered, from signs
made by some other Indians, that the bodies had already been cut to
pieces, and one man came down into the water flourishing Cook's hanger
"with many tokens of exultation and defiance."


On the 15th Captain Clerke formally took over the command of the
Resolution, and appointed Lieutenant Gore to the Discovery. During the
day Koah visited the ship several times, and in vain tried to persuade
Clerke or King to go ashore, but it was thought inadvisable to run any
further risks. In the evening Kerriakair and a friend came off in a small
canoe bringing a bundle containing the flesh of Cook's thighs, saying
that the body had been burned and the limbs distributed amongst the
chiefs. They had brought all they could get unknown to the others, and
Kerriakair strongly advised Clerke not to trust too much to Koah; he said
that the inhabitants of the island were not inclined for peace except
those in the immediate neighbourhood, who would of course, in case of
hostilities, be the chief sufferers. He gave the number of natives killed
as twenty-six, with a large number of wounded.

On the 17th the ships were warped inshore so as to command the watering
place, the launches were sent in for water, with the other boats fully
armed, in support. They were received with showers of stones from the
houses, and from behind stone walls, notwithstanding guns fired from the
ships and musketry from the boats at any of the natives who exposed
themselves. Meanwhile Koah again visited the ships, offering a pig as a
present, and asking for someone to be sent ashore for the bodies; but he
was sent away, and was soon afterwards seen amongst the stone-throwers.
In the afternoon the boats went again for water, but as the natives
recommenced hostilities they were ordered to keep clear, whilst the
ships' guns were worked for a quarter of an hour; then the boats' crews
landed and burned all the houses between the watering place and the
Morai, killing some six or seven of the natives. In the evening, about
five o'clock, some dozen natives bearing white flags and sugar-cane
marched down to the beach headed by Kerriakair carrying a small pig. He
said he came as an envoy from Terreeoboo to make peace, and was
accordingly taken on board the Resolution. It was ascertained from him
that the boat had been stolen by some of Parea's people and had been
broken up after Cook's death. During the night some canoes came out and
did a little trading; and the next morning the bay was seen to be planted
with white flags in different directions, and the waterers were allowed
to work unmolested, whilst Kerriakair asked permission, at once granted,
to make an offering to one of the images on the Morai. Soon after Koah
came off with a pig, but was not admitted to either ship; he then went
off to the waterers, who sent him away. So he amused himself by throwing
stones at a small party of sailors on the Morai, and drew a couple of
shots from them, but escaped unhurt. Soon after a party of natives
marched down to the beach with bread-fruit, etc., which they left on the
beach and was afterwards taken on board. A chief, Eapoo, carried a
message on board from Terreeoboo, and next day brought presents of food.
On the 20th the foremast of the Resolution was stepped and rigging
commenced, and in the middle of the day a large body of natives marched
in procession to the watering place, beating drums, yelling, carrying
white flags, sugar-cane, etc., with Eapoo at their head bearing a parcel
wrapped in cloth containing some of Cook's bones. He went off to the
Resolution with Clerke, and soon after a boat was sent ashore for a
present of food from Terreeoboo. The next day, with the same ceremonial,
Eapoo again appeared with all the remaining bones it was possible to
recover, and was this time accompanied by Karowa, Terreeoboo's youngest

"The 21st February. At sunset the Resolution fired ten minute guns, with
the colours half staff up, when the remains of our late Commander were
committed to the deep."

Lieutenant Williamson was severely blamed by his brother officers for not
going to the assistance of the pinnace at the time of the attack on his
Captain, and it is said that had it not been for Clerke's ill health he
would have been tried by court-martial. He was afterwards, when in
command of the Agincourt, tried for "disaffection, cowardice,
disobedience to signals, and not having done his duty in rendering all
assistance possible." He was found guilty on the last two counts only,
and was "placed at the bottom of the list of Post-Captains, and rendered
incapable of ever serving on board of any of His Majesty's ships."


Ellis, in his Tour through Hawaii, says that King's account of Cook's
death, from which the above has been largely drawn, agrees in a
remarkable manner with that given by the natives. They in no way blamed
their visitors for what occurred, and even after his death appear to have
looked upon Cook as a man of a superior race to themselves. His
breastbone and ribs were long preserved as relics, and in 1832 Ellis
states there were many living who remembered the occasion, and all agreed
that Cook's conduct to their countrymen was humane.

Captain Clerke says:

"Upon examining the remains of my late honoured and much lamented friend,
I found all his bones, excepting those of the back, jaw, and feet - the
two latter articles Earpo brought me in the morning - the former, he
declared, had been reduced to ashes with the trunk of the body. As
Carnacare (Kerriakair) had told us, the flesh was taken from all the
bones, excepting those of the hands, the skin of which they had cut
through in many places, and salted, with the intention, no doubt, of
preserving them; Earpo likewise brought with him the two barrels of
Captain Cook's gun - the one beat flat with the intention of making a
cutting instrument of it; the other a good deal bent and bruised,
together with a present of thirteen hogs from Terreaboo."

The hands, as has been mentioned before, were identified by the scar left
by the explosion of his powder flask in Newfoundland, which almost
severed the thumb from the fingers.

On 22nd February they were able to sail from this unlucky place, and
touching at one or two of the islands worked their way northwards to
Kamtschatka, the Resolution reaching Owatska Bay on 29th April, followed
by the discovery on 1st May. They were very handsomely treated by Major
Behm, the Governor of Bolcheretsk, a place about 135 miles from the town
of St. Peter and St. Paul in Awatska Bay, notwithstanding Mr. Ismailoff's
letters of introduction were on somewhat unsatisfactory lines. Mr. Webber
was fortunately able to converse in German, which the Russian officers
understood; and he ascertained that Ismailoff had represented the two
vessels as very small, and hinted that he believed them to be little
better than pirates. The Governor provided the ships with what he could
give them, and promised to obtain further stores from Okotsk for them
against their return. For these kindnesses the English could make but
little return, and even then it was with difficulty that the Russians
could be persuaded to receive anything, for they said they were only
acting up to the wishes of their Empress, who desired all her allies
should be treated with courtesy. One return, however, they were able to
make which was of great service. At the time of the visit of the ships a
large number of the soldiers and inhabitants were suffering very
seriously from scurvy, and Clerke at once put them under the care of his
medical officers, who, by the use of sour kraut and sweet wort made from
the ship's stock of malt, soon caused "a surprising alteration in the
figures of most of them and their speedy recovery was chiefly attributed
to the effects of the sweet wort."

They were informed by the Major that on the day of the arrival of the
English party at Bolcheretsk he had received a letter from the most
northerly outpost on the Sea of Okotsk, stating that the tribe of
Tschutski, which had been long at feud with the Russians, had sent in an
embassy offering friendship and tribute, giving as a reason that they had
been visited by two large vessels in the preceding summer, and had been
received on board with great kindness, and had entered into a league of
friendship with their visitors: they therefore thought it their duty to
ratify this treaty formally. These two ships could have been none other
than the Resolution and Discovery, though evidently the Tschutski thought
they were Russian.


Leaving on 13th June, the Asiatic coast was followed up, and 1st July
they were off the Gulf of Anadyr, where fogs and ice began seriously to
interfere with their progress, so they abandoned the Asiatic for the
American side, but with no better luck. They reached the latitude of 70
degrees 33 minutes North, about five leagues short of the point reached
the previous year, and at length, realising further efforts were useless
and resulting in serious damage to the ships from continual contact with
the loose ice, Clerke determined to return to Awatska Bay and refit and
then return to England. On 22nd August, the day before they reached the
Bay, Captain Clerke, who had long been suffering from serious ill health,
died, and was buried under a tree a little to the north of the post of
St. Peter and St. Paul; the crews of both ships and the Russian garrison
taking part in the funeral ceremony, and the Russian priest reading the
service at the grave. Clerke had been all three voyages with Cook, and

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Online LibraryArthur KitsonThe Life of Captain James Cook → online text (page 21 of 22)