CHAPTER II. Narrative of Captain Cook's first voyage round the world.
Lieutenant Cook now began to prepare for his departure. On the 7th of July, the carpenters were employed in taking down the gates and palisadoes of the fortification; and it was continued to be dismantled during the two following days. Our commander and the rest of the gentlemen were in hopes that they should quit Otaheite without giving or receiving any further offence; but in this respect they were unfortunately disappointed. The lieutenant had prudently overlooked a dispute of a smaller nature between a couple of foreign seamen and some of the Indians, when he was immediately involved in a quarrel, which lie greatly regretted, and which yet it was totally out of his power to avoid. In the middle of the night, between the 8th and the 9th, Clement Webb and Samuel Gibson, two of the marines, went privately from the fort. As they were not to be found in the morning, Mr. Cook was apprehensive that they intended to stay behind; but, being unwilling to endanger the harmony and goodwill which at present subsisted between our people, and the natives, he determined to wait a day for the chance of the men's return. As, to the great concern of the lieutenant, the marines were not come back on the morning of the tenth, inquiry was made after them of the Indians, who acknowledged that each of them had taken a wife, and had resolved to become inhabitants of the country. After some deliberation, two of the natives undertook to conduct such persons to, the place of the deserters' retreat, as Mr. Cook should think proper to send; and, accordingly, he dispatched with the guides a petty officer and the corporal of the marines. As it was of the utmost importance to recover the men, and to do it speedily, it was intimated to several of the chiefs who were in the fort with the women, among whom were Tubourai Targaide, Tomio, and Oberea, that they would not be to leave it till the fugitives were returned; and the lieutenant had the pleasure of observing, that they received the intimation with very little indications of alarm, and with assurances, that his people should be secured and sent back as soon as possible. While this transaction took place at the fort, our commander sent Mr. Hicks in the pinnace to fetch Tootahah on board the ship. Mr. Cook had reason to expect, if the Indian guides proved faithful, that the deserters, and those who went in search of them, would return before the evening. Being disappointed, his suspicions increased, and thinking it not safe, when the night approached, to let the persons whom he had detained as hostages continue at the fort, he ordered Tubourai Tamaide, Oberea, and some others, to be taken on board the Endeavour; a circumstance which excited so general an alarm, that several of them, and especially the women, expressed their apprehensions with great emotion and many tears. Webb, about nine o'clock, was brought back by some of the natives, who declared that Gibson, and the petty officer and corporal, would not be restored till Tootahah should be set at liberty. Lieutenant Cook now found that the tables were turned upon him: but, having proceeded too far to retreat, he immediately dispatched Mr. Hicks in the long-boat, with a strong party of men, to rescue the prisoners. Tootahah was, at the same time, informed, that it behoved him to send some of his people with them, for the purpose of affording them effectual assistance. With this injunction he readily complied, and the prisoners were restored without the least opposition. On the next day they were brought back to the ship, upon which the chiefs were released from their confinement. Thus ended an affair which had given the lieutenant a great deal of trouble and concern. It appears, however, that the measure which he pursued was the result of an absolute necessity; since it was only by the seizure of the chiefs that he could have recovered his men. Love was the seducer of the two marines. So strong was the attachment which they had formed to a couple of girls, that it was their design to conceal themselves till the ship had sailed, and to take up their residence in the island.
Tupia was one of the natives who had so particularly devoted himself to the English, that he had scarcely ever been absent from them during the whole of their stay at Otaheite. He had been Oberea's first minister, while she was in the height of her power; and he was also chief priest of the country. To his knowledge of the religious principles and ceremonies of the Indians, he added great experience in navigation, and a particular acquaintance with the number and situation of the neighbouring islands. This man had often expressed a desire to go with our navigators, and when they were ready to depart, he came on board, with a boy about thirteen years of age, and entreated that he might be permitted to proceed with them on their voyage. To have such a person in the Endeavour, was desirable on many accounts; and therefore, Lieutenant Cook gladly acceded to his proposal.
On the 13th of July, the English weighed anchor: and as soon as the ship was under sail, the Indians on board took their leaves, and wept with a decent and silent sorrow, in which there was something very striking and tender. Tupia sustained himself in this scene with a truly admirable firmness and resolution; for, though he wept, the effort he made to conceal his tears concurred, with them, to do him honour.