CHAPTER V. Account of Captain Cook during the Period between his Second Voyage and his Voyage to the Pacific Ocean.
As the ships were to touch at Otaheite and the Society Islands, it had been determined not to omit the only opportunity which might ever offer of carrying Omai back to his native country. Accordingly, he left London, on the 24th of June, in company with Captain Cook; and it was with a mixture of regret and satisfaction that he took his departure. When England, and those who during the stay, had honoured him with their protection or friendship, were spoken of, his spirits were sensibly affected, and it was with difficulty that he could refrain from tears. But his eyes began to sparkle with joy, as soon as ever the conversation was turned to his own islands. The good treatment he received in England had made a deep impression upon his mind; and he entertained the highest ideas of the country and of the people. Nevertheless, the pleasing prospect he had before him of returning home, loaded with what, he well knew, would there be esteemed invaluable treasures, and the flattering hope, which the possession of these afforded him, of attaining a distinguished superiority among his countrymen, were considerations which operated, by degrees, to suppress every uneasy sensation. By the time he had gotten on board the ship, he appeared to be quite happy.
His majesty had furnished Omai with an ample provision of every article which our English navigators, during their former intercourse with Otaheite and the Society Islands, had observed to be in any estimation there, either as useful or ornamental. Many presents, likewise, of the same nature, had been made him by Lord Sandwich, Sir Joseph Banks, and several other gentlemen and ladies of his acquaintance. In short, both during his residence in England, and at his departure from it, no method had been neglected, which could be calculated to render him the instrument of conveying to the inhabitants of the islands of the Pacific Ocean, the most exalted ideas of the greatness and generosity of the British nation.