Cook, in his great need of wood and water, determined to reach the Friendly Islands. He was sure of finding refreshments for his men and forage for his beasts there. The season was too far advanced, and the distance between these latitudes and the pole too great to allow of anything being attempted in the southern hemisphere.

The wind obliged him to relinquish his idea of reaching Middlebourgh or Eoa, as he had at first intended. He therefore, directed his course towards Palmerston Island, where he arrived on the 14th of April, and where he found birds in abundance, scurvy grass, and cocoa-nuts. This island was merely a collection of nine or ten islets, very slightly raised, appearing almost like the points of reefs, belonging to one coral bank.

The English reached Komango Island on the 28th of April, and the natives brought them quantities of cocoa-nuts, bananas, and other stores.

They then proceeded to Annamooka, which is also part of the Tonga, or Friendly archipelago.

On the 6th of May, a chief of Tonga Tabou, named Finaou, visited Cook. He called himself king of all the Friendly Islands.

"I received," says Cook, "a present from this great personage of two fish, which were brought to me by one of his servants. I paid him a visit after dinner. He came to meet me as soon as he saw me land. He appeared some thirty years of age, tall and of slender form, and I have met no countenance in these islands so European in 'type.'"

When all the provisions of this island were exhausted, Cook visited a group of islets called Hapaee, where his reception was friendly, owing to the orders given by Finaou, and where he procured pigs, water, fruits, and roots. Some of the native warriors exhibited their skill in various singular combats, with clubs and boxing.

"What most surprised us," says the narrative, "was to see two great women enter the lists, and attack each other with their fists, without the least ceremony, and with as much skill as the men. Their fight lasted about half a minute, when one of them declared herself beaten. The victorious heroine received as much applause from the assembled multitude as is usually accorded to a man who has overcome his rival by his skill and address."

There was no cessation of the fêtes and games. A dance was executed to the sound of two drums, or rather of two hollow trunks, by a hundred and five performers, supported by a vocal choir. Cook reciprocated these demonstrations by putting his soldiers through their artillery exercises, and letting off fireworks, which produced indescribable astonishment in the minds of the natives.

Not wishing to be out-done in the attempt at display, the natives gave a concert, and then a dance, executed by twenty women crowned with China roses. This magnificent ballet was followed by another performance by fifteen men. But we shall never end, if we attempt to give an account of the wonders of this enthusiastic reception. It justly gained for the Tonga archipelago the name of Friendly Islands.

On the 23rd, Finaou, who had represented himself as king of the entire archipelago, came to inform Cook of his departure for the neighbouring island of Vavaoo. He had excellent reasons for this, as he had just heard of the arrival of the real sovereign, named Futtafaih or Poulaho.

Cook at first refused to recognize the new-comer in this character, but he soon had irrefutable proof that the title of king belonged to him.

Poulaho was extremely stout, which with his short height made him look like a barrel. If rank is proportioned to size in these islands, he was without exception thegreatest chief the English had met with. Intelligent, grave, and dignified, he examined the vessel and everything that was new to him in detail, put judicious questions, and inquired into the motives of the arrival of these vessels. His followers objected to his descending below decks, saying it was "tabu" and that it was not allowed for any one to walk over his head. Cook, however, promised through the interpreter Mai that no one should be allowed to walk over his cabin, and so Poulaho dined with the captain. He ate little and drank still less, and invited Cook to land with him. The marks of respect lavished upon Poulaho by all the natives, convinced Cook that he had been entertaining the real sovereign of the archipelago.

On the 29th of May, Cook set sail on his return to Annamooka, thence to Tonga Tabou, where a feast or "keiva," more magnificent than any he had seen, was given in his honour.

"In the evening," he said, "we had the spectacle of a 'bomai,' that is to say, the dances of the night were performed in front of Finaou's house. We saw twelve dances during the time. They were executed by women, and in the midst of them we noticed the arrival of a number of men, who formed a ring within that of the dancing women. Twenty-four men, who executed a third, made a movement with the hands, which was greatly applauded, and which we had not previously seen. The orchestra was renewed once. Finaou appeared upon the scene at the head of fifty dancers, most magnificently apparelled. His garment consisted of cloth and a large piece of gauze, and round his neck small figures were suspended."