CHAPTER IV. Narrative of Captain Cook's second Voyage round the World.
By degrees, our commander obtained the good will and confidence of the Indians. His presents, however, were at first received with much indifference, hatchets and spike-nails excepted. At a visit, on the 12th, from a family of the natives, the captain, perceiving they approached the ship with great caution, met them in a boat, which he quitted when he came near them, and went into their canoe. After all, he could not prevail upon them to go on board the Resolution; but at length they put on shore in a little creek, and seating themselves abreast the English vessel, entered into familiar conversation with several of the officers and seamen; in which they paid a much greater regard to some, whom they probably mistook for females, than to others. So well indeed, were they now reconciled to our voyagers, that they took up their quarters nearly within the distance of a hundred yards from the ship's watering place. Captain Cook, in his interview with them, had caused the bagpipes and fife to play, and the drum to beat. The two former they heard with apparent insensibility; but the latter excited in them a certain degree of attention.
On the 18th, a chief, with whom some connexions had already been formed, was induced, together with his daughter, to come on board the Resolution. Previously to his doing it, he presented the captain with a piece of cloth and a green talk hatchet. He gave also a piece of cloth to Mr. Forster; and the girl gave another to Mr. Hodges. Though this custom of making presents, before any are received, is common with the natives of the South Sea isles, our commander had never till now seen it practised in New Zealand. Another thing performed by the chief before he went on board was the taking of a small green branch in his hand, with which he struck the ship's side several times, repeating a speech or prayer. This manner, as it were, of making peace is likewise prevalent among all the nations of the South Seas. When the chief was carried into the cabin, he viewed every part of it with some degree of surprise; but it was not possible to fix his attention to any one object for a single moment. The works of art appeared to him in the same light as those of nature, and were equally distant from his powers of comprehension. He and his daughter seemed to be the most struck with the number of the decks, and other parts of the ship.
As Captain Cook proceeded in examining Dusky Bay, he occasionally met with some few more of the natives, with regard to whom he used every mode of conciliation. On the 20th the chief and his family, who had been more intimate with our navigators than any of the rest of the Indians, went away, and never returned again. This was the more extraordinary, as in all his visits he had been gratified with presents. From different persons, he had gotten nine or ten hatchets, and three or four times that number of large spike nails, besides a variety of other articles. So far as these things might be deemed riches in New Zealand, he was undoubtedly become by far the most wealthy man in the whole country.
One employment of our voyagers, while in Dusky Bay, consisted in seal hunting, an animal which was found serviceable for three purposes. The skins were made use of for rigging, the fat afforded oil for the lamps, and the flesh was eaten. On the 24th, the captain, having five geese remaining of those he had brought with him from the Cape of Good Hope, went and left them at a place to which he gave the name of Goose Cove. This place he fixed upon for two reasons; first, because there were no inhabitants to disturb them; and, secondly, because here was the greatest supply of proper food; so that he had no doubt of their breeding, hoped that in time they might spread over the whole country, to its eminent advantage. Some days afterward, when everything belonging to the ship had been removed from the shore, he set fire to the top-wood in order to dry a piece of ground, which he dug up, and sowed with several sorts of garden seeds. The soil, indeed, was not such as to promise much success to the planter; but it was the best that could be discovered.
The 25th of April was the eighth fair day our people had successively enjoyed; and there was reason to believe that such a circumstance was very uncommon in the place where they now lay, and at that season of the year. This favourable weather afforded them the opportunity of more speedily completing their wood and water, and of putting the ship into a condition for sea. On the evening of the 25th, it began to rain; and the weather was afterwards extremely variable, being, at times, in a high degree wet, cold, and stormy. Nothing, however, prevented Captain Cook from prosecuting, with his usual sagacity and diligence, his search into every part of Dusky Bay; and, as there are few places in New Zealand where necessary refreshments may be so plentifully obtained, as in this bay, he hath taken care to give such a description of it, and of the adjacent country, as may be of service to succeeding navigators. Although this country lies far remote from what is now the trading part of the world, yet, as he justly observes, we can by no means tell what use future ages may derive from the discoveries made in the present.