CAPTAIN COOK'S FIRST VOYAGE, I

A few officers affirmed from this that it was a continent, and not an island, which was contrary to Cook's view. But although his own mind was made up, the captain directed his navigation with a view to clear up any doubt which might remain in the minds of his officers. After two days' voyage, in which Cape Palliser was passed, he called them up on the quarter deck and asked if they were satisfied. As they replied in the affirmative, Cook gave up his idea of returning to the most southerly point he had reached on the eastern coast of Eaheinomauwe, and determined to prolong his cruise the entire length of the land which he had found, and which was named Tawai-Pounamow.

The coast was more sterile, and appeared uninhabited. It was necessary to keep four or five leagues from the shore.

On the night of the 9th of March the Endeavour passed over several rocks, and in the morning the crew discovered what dangers they had escaped. They named these reefs the Snares, as they appeared placed there to surprise unsuspecting navigators.

A Fa-toka, New Zealand
A Fa-toka, New Zealand.

Next day, Cook reconnoitred what appeared to him to be the extreme south of New Zealand, and called it South Cape. It was the point of Steward Island. Great waves from the south-west burst over the vessel as it doubled this cape, which convinced Captain Cook that there was no land in that quarter. He therefore returned to the northern route, to complete the circumnavigation of New Zealand by the eastern coast.

Almost at the southern extremity of this coast, a bay was discovered, which received the name of Dusky. This region was sterile, steep, covered with snow. Dusky Bay was three or four miles in width at its entrance, and appeared as deep as it was wide. Several islands were contained in it, behind which a vessel would have excellent shelter; but Cook thought it prudent not to remain there, as he knew that the wind, which would enable him to leave the bay, blew only once a month in these latitudes. He differed upon this point with several of his officers, who thinking only of the present advantage, did not reflect upon the inconveniences of a stay in port, the duration of which would be uncertain.

No incident occurred during the navigation of the eastern coast of Tawai-Pounamow.

From Dusky Bay, according to Cook, to 44° 20' latitude, there is a straight chain of hills which rise directly from the sea, and are covered with forests. Behind and close to these hills, are mountains which form another chain of prodigious height, composed of barren and jagged rocks, excepting in the parts where they are covered with snow, mostly in large masses. It is impossible to conceive a wilder prospect, or a more savage and frightful one than this country from the sea, because from every point of view nothing is visible but the summits of rocks; so close to each other that in lieu of valleys there are only fissures between them. From 44° 20' to 42° 8' the aspect varies, the mountains are in the interior, hills and fruitful valleys border the coast.

From 42° 8' to the 41° 30' the coast inclines vertically to the sea, and is covered with dark forests. The Endeavour, moreover, was too far from the shore, and the weather was too dark for it to be possible to distinguish minor details. After achieving the circumnavigation of the country, the vessel regained the entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound.

Cook took in water and wood; then he decided on returning to England, following the route which permitted him best to fulfil the object of his voyage. To his keen regret, for he had greatly wished to decide whether or no the southern continent existed, it was as impossible for him to return to Europe by Cape Horn as by the Cape of Good Hope.

In the middle of winter, in an extreme southerly latitude his vessel was in no condition to bring the enterprise to a successful issue. He had no choice, therefore, but to take the route for the East Indies, and to this end to steer westward to the eastern shores of New Holland.

Interior of a morai in Hawaii
Interior of a morai in Hawai.

But before proceeding to the narration of the incidents of the second part of the campaign, it will be better to glance backward and to summarize the information upon the situation, productions, and inhabitants of New Zealand which the navigators had accumulated.

We have already seen that this land had been discovered by Abel Tasman, and we have noted those incidents which were marked with traces of bloodshed when it was reconnoitred by the Dutch captain. With the exception of Tasman, in 1642, no European captain had ever visited its shores. It was so far unknown, that it was not even decided whether it formed a part of the southern continent, as Tasman supposed, when he named it Staten Island. To Cook belongs the credit of determining its position and of tracing the coasts of these two large islands, situated between 34° and 48° S. Lat. 180° and 194° W. Long.