CHAPTER IV. Narrative of Captain Cook's second Voyage round the World.
Our commander had entertained a desire of visiting Van Dieman's Land, in order to inform himself whether it made a part of New Holland. But as this point had been, in a great measure, cleared up by Captain Furneaux, he came to a resolution to continue his researches to the east, between the latitudes of 41 and 46 ; and he directed accordingly, that the ships should be gotten ready for putting to sea as soon as possible. On the 20th, he sent on shore the only ewe and ram that remained of those which, with the intention of leaving them in this country, he had brought from the Cape of Good Hope. Soon after he visited several gardens, that by order of captain Furneaux had been made and planted with various articles; all of which were in such a flourishing state, that, if duly attended to, they promised to be of great utility to the natives. The next day, Captain Cook himself set some men to work to form a garden on Long Island, which he stocked with different seeds, and particularly with the roots of turnips, carrots, parsnips, and potatoes. These were the vegetables that would be of the most real use to the Indians, and of these it was easy to give them an idea, by comparing them with such roots as they themselves knew. On the 22nd, Captain Cook received the unpleasant intelligence, that the ewe and ram, which with so much care and trouble he had brought to this place, were both of them found dead. It was supposed that they had eaten some poisonous plant; and by this accident all the captain's hopes of stocking New Zealand with a breed of sheep were instantly blasted.
The intercourse which our great navigator had with the inhabitants of the country, during this his second visit to Queen Charlotte's Sound, was of a friendly nature. Two or three families took up their abode near the ships, and employed themselves daily in fishing, and in supplying the English with the fruits of their labour. No small advantage hence accrued to our people, who were by no means such expert fishers as the natives, nor were any of our methods of fishing equal to theirs. Thus, in almost every state of society, particular arts of life are carried to perfection; and there is something which the most polished nations may learn from the most barbarous.
On the 2nd of June, when the Resolution and Adventure were almost ready to put to sea, Captain Cook sent on shore, on the east side of the sound, two goats, a male and female; and Captain Furneaux left, near Cannibal Cove, a boar and two breeding sows. The gentlemen had little doubt but that the country would, in time, be stocked with these animals, provided they were not destroyed by the Indians before they became wild. Afterwards there would be no danger; and as the natives knew nothing of their being left behind, it was hoped that it might be some time before they would be discovered.
It is remarkable that, during Captain Cook's second visit to Charlotte Sound, he was not able to recollect the face of any one person whom he had seen there three years before. Nor did it once appear, that even a single Indian had the least knowledge of our commander, or of any of our people who had been with him in his last voyage. Hence he thought it highly probable, that the greatest part of the natives who inhabited this sound to the beginning of the year 1770, had either since been driven out of it, or had removed, of their own accord, to some other situation. Not one-third of the inhabitants were there now, that had been seen at that time. Their strong hold on the point of Motuara was deserted, and in every part of the sound many forsaken habitations were discovered. In the captain's opinion, there was not any reason to believe, that the place had ever been very populous. From comparing the two voyages together, it may be collected that the Indians of Eahei-nomauwe are in somewhat of a more improved state of society than those of Tavai-poenammo.
Part of the 4th of June was employed by Captain Cook in visiting a chief and a whole tribe of the natives, consisting of between ninety and a hundred persons, including men, women and children. After the captain had distributed some presents among these people, and shewn to the chief the gardens which had been made, he returned on board, and spent the remainder of the day in the celebration of his royal master's nativity. Captain Furneaux and all his officers were invited upon the occasion; and the seamen were enabled, by a double allowance, to partake of the general joy.
As some might think it an extraordinary step in our commander, to proceed in discoveries so far south as forty-six degrees of latitude in the very depth of winter, he has recorded his motives for this part of his conduct. Winter, he acknowledges, is by no means favourable for discoveries. Nevertheless, it appeared to him to be necessary that something should be done in that season, in order to lessen the work in which he was engaged; and lest he should not be able to finish the discovery of the southern part of the south Pacific Ocean in the ensuing summer. Besides, if he should discover any land in his route to the east, he would be ready to begin to explore it, as soon as ever the season should be favourable. Independently of all these considerations, he had little to fear; having two good ships well provided, and both the crews being healthy. Where then could he better employ his time? If he did nothing more, he was at least in hopes of being enabled to point out to posterity, that these seas may be navigated, and that it is practicable to pursue discoveries even in the depth of winter. Such was the ardour of our navigator for prosecuting the ends of his voyage, in circumstances which would have induced most men to act a more cautious part!