CAPTAIN COOK'S SECOND VOYAGE, I
|O-Too, King of Otaheite.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)
"The women sent their servants to find large pieces of their finest stuffs, tinted scarlet, rose, and straw colour, and perfumed with the most odoriferous oil. They placed them over our outer clothing, and so loaded us that we could scarcely move."
O-Too paid the captain a visit on the morrow. He only came on board after Cook had been enveloped in a considerable quantity of the most costly native stuff, and he dared not go below until his brother had first done so. The king and his suite were seated for breakfast, at which the natives went into ecstasies over the usefulness of chairs. O-Too would not taste anything, but his companions were far from following his example. He greatly admired a beautiful spaniel belonging to Forster and expressed a wish to possess it. It was at once given to him, and he had it carried behind him by one of his lords-in-waiting. After breakfast the captain himself conducted O-Too to his sloop, and Captain Furneaux gave him a pair of goats. Upon an excursion to the interior, Mr. Pickersgill met the aged Oberea, who appeared to have lost all her honours, and she was so poor that it was impossible for her to give a present to her friends.
When Cook left on the 1st of September, a young Tahitian, named Poreo, begged to accompany him. The captain consented, hoping that he might prove useful. The moment he lost sight of land poor Poreo could not restrain his tears. The officers comforted him by promising to be like fathers to him.
Cook directed his course to Huaheine Island, which was only twenty-five leagues distant, and anchored there at three in the morning. The natives brought quantities of large fowls, which were the more acceptable as it had been impossible to obtain any at Tahiti. Pigs, dogs, and fruit were in the market, and were exchanged for hatchets, nails, and glass-ware.
This island, like Tahiti, showed traces of earlier volcanic eruptions, and the summit of one of its hills resembled a crater.
The appearance of the country is similar to that of Tahiti, but is on a smaller scale, for Huaheine is only seven or eight leagues in circumference.
Cook went to see his old friend Orea. The king, dispensing with all ceremony, threw himself on the captain's neck, and shed tears of joy; then he presented him to his friends, to whom the captain gave presents.
The king offered Cook all his most precious possessions, for he looked upon this man as a father. Orea promised to supply the English with all they needed and most loyally kept his word. However, on the morning of the 6th the sailors who presided over the traffic were insulted by a native covered with red, in war dress, and holding a club, who threatened every one. Cook, landing at this moment, threw himself on the native, struggled with him and finally possessed himself of his weapon, which he broke.
The same day another incident occurred. Sparrman had imprudently penetrated to the interior of the island to make botanical researches. Some natives, taking advantage of the moment when he was examining a plant, snatched a dagger, which was the only weapon he carried, from his belt, gave him a blow on the head, and rushing upon him, tore some of his clothes. Sparrman, however, managed to rise and run towards the shore, but, hampered by the bushes and briars, he was captured by the natives, who cut his hands to possess themselves of his shirt, the sleeves of which were buttoned, until he tore the wristbands with his teeth. Others of the natives, seeing him naked and half dead, gave him their clothes, and conducted him to the market-place, where there was a crowd assembled. When Sparrman appeared in this plight, they all took flight, without waiting to be told. Cook at first thought they intended to commit a theft. Undeceived by the appearance of the naturalist, he recalled the other natives, assured them that he would not revenge it upon the innocent, and carried his complaint straight to Orea. The latter, miserable and furious at what had occurred, loaded his people with vehement reproaches, and promised to do all in his power to find out the robbers and the stolen things.
In spite of the prayers of the natives, the king embarked in the captain's vessel, and entered upon a search for the culprits with him. The latter had removed their clothes, and for a while it was impossible to recognize them. Orea therefore accompanied Cook on board, dined with him, and on his return to land was received by his people, who had not expected his return, with lively expressions of joy.
"One of the most agreeable reflections suggested by this voyage," says Forster, "is that instead of finding the inhabitants of this island plunged in voluptuousness, as had been falsely affirmed by earlier navigators, we remarked the most humane and delicate sentiments among them. There are vicious characters in every society, but we could count fifty more sinners in England or any other civilized country than in these islands."
As the vessels were putting off, Orea came to announce that the robbers were taken, and to invite Cook to land and assist in their punishment. It was impossible. The king accompanied Cook half a league on his way, and left him with friendly farewells.
This stay in port had been very productive. The two vessels brought away more than three hundred pigs, and quantities of fowls and fruits. Probably they would not have procured much more, even had their stay been prolonged.