Captain James Cook
On the 7th July the carpenters began to dismantle the fort preparatory to departure, and on the 13th the ship weighed anchor. Tupia, one of the principal natives, and chief priest of the country, with a boy of thirteen, having obtained permission from Mr. Cook to embark for England, they took an affecting and affectionate leave of their friends. Few places possess more seductive influences than Otaheite. The climate is delightful, the productions of the earth bountiful and almost spontaneous, and the people, though addicted to pilfering, simple, kind-hearted, and hospitable.
After quitting Otaheite, the Endeavour visited the islands Huaheine, Ulietea, Otaha, and Bolabola, where Mr. Cook purchased various articles of food. They also anchored at Owharre, and exchanged friendly gifts with the natives; and presents of English medals, etc., with inscriptions, were made to the king Oree. Ulietea had been conquered by the king of Bolabola, but he received the English with considerable courtesy. These visits occupied rather more than three weeks; and Ulietea, Otaha, Bolabola, Huaheine, Tabai, and Mawrua, as they lay contiguous to each other, were named by Mr. Cook the Society Islands.
In their intercourse with the natives of these places (all of which more or less resembled the manners and habits of the Otaheitans), they were greatly assisted by Tupia, who was very proud of the power possessed by his new friends. On the 9th August, the Endeavour quitted Ulietea, and on the 13th made the island Oheteoa, where they attempted to land; but the natives displayed so much hostility, that Mr. Cook deemed it best to desist, and proceed on his way to the southward in search of a supposed continent. On the 25th they celebrated the anniversary of their departure from England, and on the 30th they observed a comet; it was just above the horizon, to the eastward, at one A.M.; and about half-past four, when it passed the meridian, its tail subtended an angle of forty-five degrees. Tupia declared that its appearance would be the signal for the warriors of Bolabola to attack the Ulieteans and drive them to the mountains. The vessel was now proceeding in a south-westerly direction from the Pacific towards New Zealand, Cook designing to return by way of the Cape of Good Hope, and thus circumnavigate the globe. On the 6th October land was discovered, which proved to be a part of New Zealand; where, having anchored, an attempt was made to open a communication with the natives, but without effect. Their hostile menaces and actions were all of a decidedly warlike nature, and it was only when they felt the superiority of fire arms, of which they seemed to have been in ignorance, that they desisted from attacks. Tupia addressed them to be peaceable, and they understood his language; but he could not prevail upon them to put confidence in the English. A conflict took place, in which some of the New Zealanders were rather unnecessarily killed, and three boys were taken prisoners, who were treated with much kindness. As the place afforded nothing that the voyagers wanted, Mr. Cook named it Poverty Bay. The Boys were dismissal, and the treatment they had experienced induced some of the Indians to come off to the ship; but it appeared almost impossible to conciliate any one of them for long. Armed parties in large canoes assembled, and paddled off to the Endeavour, under pretext of trading, but in reality to plunder; and in various instances it was deemed essentially necessary to fire upon them. They also seized Tayeto, Tupia's boy, but were compelled to relinquish their prey through the effects of a musket ball; and the lad, taking advantage, leaped from the canoe, in which he had been held down, and swam back to the ship. Whilst standing along the coast, they fell in with the largest canoe they had yet seen: her length was 68 feet, her breadth 5 feet, and her depth 3 feet 6 inches. About this time the Endeavour narrowly escaped being wrecked on the rocks that lay some distance from the land; but by the skill and judgment of Mr. Cook, the danger was avoided. On the 9th November, Lieutenant Cook, accompanied by Mr. Green, landed with the necessary instruments to Observe the transit of Mercury over the sun's disc, and this they performed to their entire satisfaction.