CHAPTER II. Narrative of Captain Cook's first voyage round the world.
In voyages to the South Pacific Ocean, the determination of the best passage from the Atlantic is a point of peculiar importance. It is well known what prodigious difficulties were experienced in this respect by former navigators. The doubling of Cape Horn, in particular, was so much dreaded, that, to the general opinion, it was far more eligible to pass through the Strait of Magalhaens. Lieutenant Cook hath fully ascertained the erroneousness of this opinion. He was but three-and-thirty days in coming round the land of Terra del Fuego, from the east entrance of the Strait of Le Maire, till he had advanced about twelve degrees to the westward, and three and a half to the northward of the Strait of Magalhaens; and, during this time, the ship scarcely received any damage. Whereas, if he had come into the Pacific Ocean by that passage, he would not have been able to accomplish it in less than three months; besides which, his people would have been fatigued, and the anchors, cables, sails, and rigging of the vessel much injured. By the course he pursued, none of these inconveniences were suffered. In short, Lieutenant Cook, by his own example in doubling Cape Horn, by his accurate ascertainment of the latitude and longitude of the places he came to, and by his instructions to future voyagers, performed the most essential services to this part of navigation. It was on the 26th of January that the Endeavour took her departure from Cape Horn; and it appeared; that, from that time to the 1st of March, during a run of six hundred and sixty leagues, there was no current which affected the ship. Hence it was highly probable that our navigators had been near no land of any considerable extent, currents being always found when land is not remote.
In the prosecution of Lieutenant Cook's voyage from Cape Horn to Otaheite, several islands were discovered, to which the names were given of Lagoon Island, Thrump-cap, Bow Island, The Groups, Bird Island, and Chain Island. It appeared that most of these islands were inhabited; and the verdure, and groves of palm-trees, which were visible upon some of them, gave them the aspect of a terrestrial paradise to men who, excepting the dreary hills of Terra del Fuego, had seen nothing for a long time but sky and water.
On the 11th of April, the Endeavour arrived in sight of Otaheite, and on the 13th she came to an anchor in Port Royal Bay, which is called MATAVIA by the natives. As the stay of the English in the island was not likely to be very short, and much depended on the manner in which traffic should be carried on with the inhabitants, Lieutenant Cook, with great good sense and humanity, drew up a set of regulations for the behaviour of his people, and gave it in command that they should punctually be observed.
[Footnote 5: The rules were as follow: '1. To endeavour, by every
fair means, to cultivate a friendship with the natives: and to
treat them with all imaginable humanity. 2. A proper person or
persons will be appointed to trade with the natives for all manner
of provisions, fruit, and other productions of the earth; and no
officer or seaman, or other person belonging to, the ship
excepting such as are so appointed, shall trade, or offer to
trade, for any sort of provision, fruit, or other productions of
the earth, unless they have leave so to do. 3. Every person
employed on shore, on any duty whatsoever, is strictly to attend
to the same; and if by any neglect he loseth any of his arms, or
working tools or suffers them to be stolen, the full value
therefore will be charged against his pay, according to the custom
of the navy in such cases, and he shall receive such further
punishment as the nature of the offence may deserve. 4. The same
penalty will be inflicted on every person who is found to
embezzle, trade, or offer to trade, with any part of the ship's
stores of what nature soever. 5. No sort of iron, or any thing
that is made of iron, or any sort of cloth, or other useful or
necessary articles, are to be given in exchange for any thing but
provision. J. COOK.']