CHAPTER II. Narrative of Captain Cook's first voyage round the world.
The lieutenant, on the succeeding day, gave a striking proof of his regard to justice, and of his care to preserve the inhabitants from injury and violence, by the punishment he inflicted on the butcher of the Endeavour, who was accused of having threatened, or attempted the life of a woman, that was the wife of Tubourai Tamaide, a chief, remarkable for his attachment to our navigators. The butcher wanted to purchase of her a stone hatchet for a nail. To this bargain she absolutely refused to accede; upon which the fellow catched up the hatchet, and threw down the nail; threatening, at the same time, that if she made any resistance, he would cut her throat with a reaping-hook which he had in his hand. The charge was so fully proved in the presence of Mr. Banks, and the butcher had so little to say in exculpation of himself, that not the least doubt remained of his guilt. The affair being reported by Mr. Banks to Lieutenant Cook, he took an opportunity, when the chief and his women, with others of the natives, were on board the ship, to call up the offender, and, after recapitulating the accusation and the proof of it, to give orders for his immediate punishment. While the butcher was stripped, and tied up to the rigging, the Indians preserved a fixed attention, and waited for the event in silent suspense. But as soon as the first stroke was inflicted, such was the humanity of these people, that they interfered with great agitation, and earnestly entreated that the rest of the punishment might be remitted. To this, however, the lieutenant, for various reasons, could not grant his consent; and when they found that their intercessions were ineffectual, they manifested their compassion by tears.
On the 1st of May, the observatory was set up, and the astronomical quadrant, together with some other instruments, was taken on shore. When, on the next morning, Mr. Cook and Mr. Green landed for the purpose of fixing the quadrant in a situation for use, to their inexpressible surprise and concern it was not to be found. It had been deposited in a tent reserved for the lieutenant's use, where no one had slept; it had never been taken out of the packing case, and the whole was of considerable weight: none of the other instruments were missing; and a sentinel had been posted the whole night within five yards of the tent. These circumstances induced a suspicion that the robbery might have been committed by some of our own people, who having seen a deal box, and not knowing the contents, might imagine that it contained nails, or other articles for traffic with the natives. The most diligent search, therefore, was made, and a large reward was offered for the finding of the quadrant, but with no degree of success. In this exigency, Mr. Banks was of eminent service. As this gentleman had more influence over the Indians than any other person on board the Endeavour, and as there could be little doubt of the quadrant's having been conveyed away by some of the natives, he determined to go in search of it into the woods; and it was recovered in consequence of his judicious and spirited exertions. The pleasure with which it was brought back was equal to the importance of the event; for the grand object of the voyage could not otherwise have been accomplished.
Another embarrassment, though not of so serious a nature, was occasioned, on the very same day, by one of our officers having inadvertently taken into custody Tootahah, a chief, who had connected himself in the most friendly manner with the English. Lieutenant Cook, who had given express orders that none of the Indians should be confined, and who, therefore, was equally surprised and concerned at this transaction; instantly set Tootahah at liberty. So strongly had this Indian been possessed with the notion that it was intended to put him to death, that he could not be persuaded to the contrary till he was led out of the fort. His joy at his deliverance was so great, that it displayed itself in a liberality which our people were very unwilling to partake of, from a consciousness that on this occasion they had no claim to the reception of favours. The impression, however, of the confinement of the chief operated with such force upon the minds of the natives, that few of them appeared; and the market was so ill supplied that the English were in want of necessaries. At length, by the prudent exertions of Lieutenant Cook, Mr. Banks, and Dr. Solander, the friendship of Tootahah was completely recovered, and the reconciliation worked upon the Indians like a charm; for it was no sooner known that he had gone voluntarily on board the Endeavour, than bread-fruit, cocoa nuts, and other provisions, were brought to the fort in great plenty.
The lieutenant and the rest of the gentlemen had hitherto, with a laudable discretion, bartered only beads for the articles of food now mentioned. But the market becoming slack, they were obliged for the first time, on the 8th of May, to bring out their nails; and such was the effect of this new commodity, that one of the smallest size, which was about four inches long, procured twenty cocoa nuts, and bread-fruit in proportion.
It was not till the 10th of the month that our voyagers learned that the Indian name of the island was OTAHEITE, by which name it hath since been always distinguished.