The beginning of his maritime career—The command of the Adventure entrusted to him—Tierra del Fuego—Discovery of some islands in the Pomotou Archipelago—Arrival at Tahiti—Manners and customs of the inhabitants—Discovery of other islands in the Society group—Arrival at New Zealand—Interview with the natives—Discovery of Cook's Strait—Circumnavigation of two large islands—Manners and productions of the country.

In narrating the career of a distinguished man, it is well to neglect none of those details which may appear of but slight importance. They acquire significance as indications of a vocation unknown even to its subject, and throw a light upon the character under consideration. For these reasons we shall dwell a little upon the humble beginning of the career of one of the most illustrious navigators whom England boasts.

James Cook was born at Marton, in Yorkshire, on the 27th of October, 1728. He was the ninth child of a farm servant, and a peasant woman named Grace. When scarcely eight years of age little James assisted his father in the rough toil of the farm of Airy Holme, near Ayton. His amiability, and love of work, attracted the interest of the farmer, who had him taught to read.

When he was thirteen years of age, he was apprenticed to William Sanderson, a linendraper at Snaith, a fishing-hamlet of some importance. But young Cook found little pleasure in an employment which kept him behind a counter, and he spent every leisure moment in chatting with the sailors who visited the port. Gaining his father's consent, James soon left the linendraper's, to engage himself as ship-boy, to Messrs. Walker, whose boats carried coal from England to Ireland.

Successively ship-lad, sailor, and master, Cook rapidly learned all the details of his profession.

In the spring of 1755, as the first hostilities between England and France broke out, the boat upon which Cook served was anchored in the Thames. The navy was recruited in those days by means of pressgangs. At first Cook hid himself, but afterwards, urged no doubt by a presentiment, he engaged himself on board the Eagle, a vessel of sixty guns, to the command of which Sir Hugh Palliser was soon appointed.

Intelligent, active, thoroughly at home in all the details of the service, Cook was noticed by the officers, and attracted the attention of his captain, who in a short time received a letter of warm recommendation from the member for Scarborough, sent in accordance with the pressing solicitations of all the inhabitants of Ayton, for young Cook, who shortly afterwards received a warrant as boatswain. He embarked upon the Mercury, bound for Canada, upon the 15th of May, 1759, and joined the fleet of Sir Charles Saunders, who, in conjunction with General Wolfe, conducted the siege of Quebec.

In that campaign Cook found the first opportunity of distinguishing himself. Ordered off to sound the St. Lawrence between Orleans Island and the northern shore of the river, he executed his task with much skill, and drew up a chart of the channel in spite of the difficulties and dangers of the enterprise. His hydrographical sketch was acknowledged to be so exact and complete that he received orders to examine the channels of the river below Quebec. This duty he performed so well that his chart of the St. Lawrence was published by the English Admiralty. After the capture of Quebec, Cook passed on to the Northumberland, under command of Lord Colville, and profited by his stay on the shores of Newfoundland to devote himself to astronomy. Important operations were now entrusted to him. He drew up the plan of Placentia, and took the bearings of St. Peter and Miquelon.

In 1764 he was made naval engineer for Newfoundland and Labrador, and was employed for three consecutive years in hydrographical tasks, which obtained for him the notice of the ministry, and helped to correct innumerable errors in the maps of America.

At the same time he addressed a treatise to the Royal Society of London, upon an eclipse of the sun, which he had observed in Newfoundland in 1766.

This document appeared in the "Philosophical Transactions." Cook was not long in receiving a due reward for so much, and such successful labour, and for his patient studies, the more meritorious, as he had had few opportunities, and was self-taught.

A scientific question of the highest importance, viz., the transit of Venus across the sun's disc, which had been announced for 1769, was eagerly discussed by all the scientists of the day. The English Government, confident that this observation could only be effectually made in the Pacific Sea, resolved to send a scientific expedition thither.

The command was offered to the famous hydrographer A. Dalrymple, equally celebrated for his astronomical investigations, and his geographical discoveries in the southern seas. But he was so exacting in his demands, and so persevering in his request for a commission as ship's captain, which Sir Edward Hawker as obstinately refused, that the Secretary of the Admiralty proposed another commander for the projected enterprise.

His choice fell upon James Cook, who was cordially recommended by Sir Hugh Palliser, and to him therefore the command of the Endeavour was given, whilst he was at the same time raised to the rank of ship's lieutenant.

Cook was now forty years of age. This was his first appointment in the Royal Navy. The mission entrusted to him called for varied qualifications, rarely to be met with in a sailor. For, although the observation of the transit of Venus was the principal object of the voyage, it was by no means the only one. Cook was also to make a voyage of discovery in the Pacific Ocean. But the humbly born Yorkshire lad was destined to prove himself equal to his task.

Whilst the Endeavour was being equipped, her crew of eighty-four men chosen, her store of eighteen months' provision embarked, her ten guns and twelve swivel guns, with the needful ammunition, shipped, Captain Wallis arrived in England. He had accomplished his voyage round the world. He was consulted as to the best spot for the observation of the transit of Venus, and he selected an island which he had discovered, and which was named by him after George III. It was later known by its native name of Tahiti. From this spot therefore Cook was to take observations.

Charles Green, assistant to Dr. Bradley, of Greenwich Observatory, embarked with him. To Green was entrusted the astronomical department, Doctor Solander, a Swedish doctor of medicine, a disciple of Linnæus, and professor at the British Museum, undertook the botanical part. Finally, Sir Joseph Banks joined the expedition, out of simple interest, anxious to employ his energy and fortune. After leaving Oxford, Sir Joseph Banks had visited the Newfoundland coast and Labrador, and had there acquired a taste for botany. Two painters accompanied the expedition, one a landscape and portrait painter, the other a scientific draughtsman. In addition to these persons, the company comprised a secretary and four servants, two of whom were negroes.

The Endeavour left Plymouth upon the 26th of August, 1768, and put into port at Funchal, in the island of Madeira, on the 13th of September, to obtain fresh fruit and make discoveries. The expedition met with a cordial reception.

During their visit to a convent, the staff of the Endeavour were entreated by the poor immured recluses to let them know when it would thunder, and to find a spring of fresh water for them, which they sorely needed, in the interior of the convent. With all their learning, Banks, Solander, and Cook found it impossible to satisfy these demands.

From Madeira to Rio de Janeiro, where the expedition arrived on the 13th of November, no incident interrupted the voyage, but Cook's reception by the Portuguese was hardly what he expected. The whole time of his stay in port was spent in disputes with the viceroy, a man of little knowledge, and quite incapable of understanding the scientific aspect of the expedition. However, he could not well refuse to supply the English with fresh provisions, of which they had absolutely none left. As, however, Cook was passing Fort Santa Cruz on leaving the bay, two shots were fired after him, whereupon he immediately cast anchor, and demanded the meaning of the insult. The viceroy replied that the commandant of the Fort had orders to allow no vessel to leave the bay without his having received notice, and although Captain Cook had notified his intention to the viceroy, it had, by pure neglect, not been communicated to the Commandant of the Fort. Was this an intentional act of discourtesy on the part of the viceroy? or was it simple heedlessness?

If the viceroy was equally negligent in all the details of his administration, the Portuguese colony must have been well regulated!

Cook entered the Straits of Lemaire on the 14th of January, 1769. Kippis, in his Life of Captain Cook, gives the following account:—

"The sea ran so high, that the water was above Cape San Diego, and the vessel was so driven by the wind that her bowsprit was constantly under water. Next day anchor was cast in a small harbour, which was recognized as Port Maurice, and soon afterwards they anchored in the Bay of Good Success. Whilst the Endeavourremained off this spot a strange and untoward adventure befell Banks, Solander, Dr. Green, and Monkhouse, the surgeon of the vessel, and their attendants. They were proceeding towards a mountain in search of plants, and as they climbed it they were surprised by cold, so penetrating and sudden, that they were all in danger of perishing. Dr. Solander was seized with vertigo, two negro servants died on the spot, finally the gentlemen were only able to regain the vessel after a lapse of two days. They rejoiced in their deliverance, with a joy which can only be estimated by those who have escaped similar dangers, whilst Cook showed a lively pleasure in the cessation of the anxiety their absence had caused him. This event gave them a proof of the severity of the climate."

It was the middle of summer in this part of the world, and the day, when the cold surprised them, had begun as warmly as an ordinary May morning in England.

James Cook was enabled to make some curious observations upon the savage inhabitants of those desolate regions. Destitute of the necessaries of life, without clothes, without efficient shelter from the almost perpetual severity of this glacial latitude, unarmed, and unlearned in any industrial art which would enable them to construct the more necessary utensils, they passed a miserable life, and could only exist with difficulty. In spite of these facts, of all the articles offered in exchange they invariably chose the least useful. They joyfully accepted bracelets and necklaces, and rejected hatchets, knives, and fish-hooks. Careless of what we consider valuables, our superfluities were their necessaries.

Cook had reason to congratulate himself upon the selection of this route. He took thirty days to double Tierra del Fuego, from the date of his entrance into the Straits of Lemaire to his arrival, three degrees north of Magellan. No doubt a much longer time would have been needed, if he had followed the winding course of the Strait of Magellan. His very exact astronomical observations, in which Green joined him, and the directions he gave for this dangerous navigation, smoothed the difficulties of his successors, and rectified the charts of L'Hermite, Lemaire, and Schouten.

Captain James Cook
Captain James Cook.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

Cook noticed no current of any importance from the 21st January, the day upon which he doubled Cape Horn, to the 1st of March, in a distance of one hundred and sixty leagues of sea. He discovered a good many islands in the Dangerous Archipelago, which he respectively named, Lagoon, Arch, Groups, Birds, and Chain Islands. The greater number were inhabited and were covered with vegetation, which to sailors who for three months had seen only sea and sky, and the frozen rocks of Tierra del Fuego, appeared luxuriant. Soon they found Martea Island, which Wallis had named Osnaburgh, and on the next day, 11th of June, the island of Tahiti was reached.

Two days later, the Endeavour cast anchor in Port Matavai, called Port Royal by Wallis, and where that captain had had a struggle with the natives, over whom, however, he had triumphed without much difficulty. Cook, aware of the incidents of his predecessor's stay in this port, wished above all to avoid similar scenes. Moreover, it was essential to the success of his observations that no interruption or distraction should occur. His first care was to read out standing orders to his crew, which they were forbidden under heavy penalties to infringe. He first declared that he intended in every possible way to cultivate friendly relations with the natives, then he selected those who were to buy the needed provisions, and forbade all others to attempt any sort of traffic without special permission. Finally, the men who landed were on no pretext to leave their posts, and if any soldier or workman parted with his arms or implements, not only would the price be deducted from his wages, but he would be punished in proportion to the exigency of the case.

In addition to this, to guard the observers from attack, Cook decided on constructing a sort of fort, in which they might be sheltered within gun range of the Endeavour. He then landed with Messrs. Banks, Solander, and Green, soon found a favourable spot, and in presence of the natives immediately traced out the extent of land he intended to occupy. One of them, named Owhaw, who had had friendly intercourse with Wallis, was particularly profuse in his protestations of friendship.

As soon as the plan of the fort was fixed, Cook left thirteen men and an officer in charge of the tents, and accompanied his associates into the interior of the island. But he was speedily recalled by the sound of firing.

A very painful incident, the consequences of which might have been serious, had occasioned this.

One of the natives had surprised a sentinel near the tents, and had possessed himself of his gun. A general discharge was immediately directed upon the inoffensive crowd, but fortunately no one was injured. The robber meantime was pursued and killed.

A great commotion ensued, and Cook was profuse in his protestations, to pacify the natives. He promised payment for all that he required for the construction of his fort, and would not allow a tree to be felled without their sanction. Finally, he had the butcher of the Endeavour mast-headed and flogged, for threatening the wife of one of the chiefs with death.

This proceeding effaced the recollection of the painful antecedents, and with the exception of some thieving by the natives, the friendly relations remained undisturbed.

And now the moment for the execution of the primary object of the voyage approached. Cook accordingly took steps for putting the instructions he had received into effect. With this view, he despatched observers with Sir Joseph Banks to Eimeo, one of the neighbouring isles.

Four others proceeded to a favourable distance from the fort, where Cook himself proposed to await the transit of the planet. Hence the point of observation was called Point Venus.

The night preceding the observation passed with many fears of unfavourable weather, but on the 3rd of June, the sun rose in all its glory, and not a cloud troubled the observers throughout the day.

The observations, according to W. de Tonnelle's article in "Nature," for the 28th of March, 1874, were most fatiguing for the astronomers, for they began at twenty-one minutes after nine in the morning, and only terminated at ten minutes after three in the afternoon, at which moment the heat was stifling. The thermometer registered 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook assures us, and we can readily believe it, that he himself was not certain of the end of his observation. In such thermetrical conditions, the human organism, admirable instrument as it is, loses its powers.

On passing the sun, the rim of Venus was elongated as though attracted. A black point or dark ligament, a little less dark than the body of the star, was formed; the same phenomenon occurred upon the second interior contact.

"The observation," says Cook, "was made with equal success at the fort, and by those I had sent to the east of the island. From the rising to the setting of the sun, not a single cloud obscured the sky, and Mr. Green, Dr. Solander, and myself, observed the entire transit of Venus with the greatest ease. Mr. Green's telescope and mine were of equal power, and that of Dr. Solander still stronger. We noted a luminous atmosphere or fog surrounding the planet, which rendered the actual moment of contact and especially of interior contacts somewhat indistinct. To this fact it is owing that our observations varied somewhat one from the other."

Whilst the officers and savants were engaged in this important observation, some of the crew, forcing an entrance into the storeroom, stole a hundredweight of nails. This was a grave offence, and one which might have had disastrous results for the expedition. The market was at once glutted with that one article of traffic, and as the natives testified an immoderate desire to possess it, there was every reason to anticipate an increase in their demands. One of the thieves was detected, but only seventy nails were found in his possession, and the application of eighty lashes failed to make him betray his accomplices.

Other incidents of this kind constantly occurred, but friendly relations were not seriously disturbed. The officers were free to make incursions into the interior of the island to prosecute scientific investigations, and to inquire into the manners of the inhabitants.

In one of these excursions, Sir Joseph Banks met a band of itinerant musicians and improvisatori. They were somewhat surprised to find that the arrival of the English, and the various incidents of their stay formed the subjects of native songs. Banks followed the river which flows into the sea at Matavai, some distance into the interior, and found traces of a long extinct volcano. He planted, and also distributed among the population a large number of kitchen-garden seeds, such as water-melons, oranges, lemons, &c., and planned a garden near the fort, where he sowed many of the seeds he had selected at Rio Janeiro.

Cook, and his principal assistants, wished to accomplish the circumnavigation of the island, which they estimated at thirty nautical leagues. During this voyage they entered into amicable relations with the chiefs of different districts, and collected a mass of information as to the manners and customs of the natives.

A curious custom was that of allowing the dead to decompose in the open air, and of burying the bones only. The corpse was placed in a hut about fifteen feet in length, and eleven in height, and of proportionate width. One end was closed up, and the three other sides shut in by trellis-work of twigs. The board upon which the corpse rested was five feet above the earth. There the dead body was laid, covered in stuffs, with its club and stone hatchet. Cocoa-nuts, wreathed together, were hung at the open end of the tent; half a cocoa-nut, filled with soft water, was placed outside, and a bag containing some bits of toasted bread, was attached to a post. This species of monument is called Toupapow. Whence could that singular method of raising the dead above the ground until the flesh was decayed by putrefaction have been derived! It is quite impossible to find out. Cook could only ascertain that the cemeteries called Morai, are places where the natives observe certain religious customs, and that they always betrayed some uneasiness when the English approached.

One of their most delicate dishes was dog. Those intended for the table never ate meat, but were fed upon bread-fruits, cocoa-nuts, yams, and other vegetables. The flesh placed in a hole upon hot stones covered with green leaves, was stewed down in four hours. Cook, who partook of it, says it has a delicious flavour.

On the 7th of July, preparations for departure began. In a short time the doors and palings were removed, and the walls demolished. At this moment, one of the natives, who had received the English with cordiality, came on board with a young lad of about thirteen years of age, who acted as his servant. He was named Tupia. Formerly first minister to Queen Oberea, he was afterwards one of the principal priests of Tahiti. He asked to be allowed to go to England. Many reasons combined to decide Cook upon permitting this. Thoroughly acquainted (as a necessary consequence of his high functions) with all the particulars concerning Tahiti, this native would be able to give the most circumstantial details of his compatriots, and at the same time to initiate them into the civilized customs of the Europeans. Finally, he had visited the neighbouring islands and perfectly understood the navigation of those latitudes.

On the 13th of July there was a crowd on board the Endeavour. The natives came to bid farewell to their English friends, and to their countryman Tupia. Some overcome with silent sorrow shed tears, others, on the contrary, uttered piercing cries, with less of true grief than of affectation in their demonstrations.

In the immediate neighbourhood of Tahiti were to be found, according to Tupia, four islands, Huaheine, Ulieta, Otaha, and Bolabola. He asserted that wild pigs, fowls, and other needful provisions could easily be obtained there. These commodities had become scarce in the latter part of the stay at Matavai. Cook, however, preferred visiting a small island called Tethuroa, about eight miles north of Tahiti, but the natives had no regular settlement, and he therefore considered it useless to wait there.

When they came in sight of Huaheine, several pirogues approached the Endeavour, and it was only after they had recognized Tupia that the natives consented to come on board. King Oreá, who was among the passengers, was greatly surprised at all the vessel contained. Soon reassured by the welcome of the English, he became so familiar as to wish to exchange names with Cook. During the entire stay in port, he always called himself "Cookee," and gave his own name to the captain. Anchor was cast in a convenient harbour, and the officers of this vessel on landing found the manners, the language, and the productions of this island identical with those of Tahiti.

Seven or eight leagues south-west lay Ulietea. Cook landed there also, and solemnly took possession of this and the three neighbouring isles. He also profited by his stay to make hydrographical surveys of the shores, whilst a leak which had been found in the gun-room of the Endeavour, was attended to. After reconnoitring various other small islands, Cook gave the entire group the name of Society Isles.

Cook sailed on the 7th of August; six days later he reconnoitred the island of Oteroah. The hostile demonstrations of the natives prevented the Endeavour from remaining. She set sail for the south.

On the 25th of August, the anniversary of their departure from England was celebrated by the crew. On the 1st of September, in 40° 22' S. Lat., 174° 29' E. Long., the sea, agitated by a west wind, became very rough. The Endeavour was obliged to put her head to the north, and to run before the storm. Up to the 3rd the weather continued the same, then it abated and it was possible to resume the westward route.

In a few days, sundry indications of an island or a continent appeared, such as floating weeds, land-birds, &c.

On the 5th of October the colour of the sea changed, and on the morning of the 6th, a coast running west by north-west was perceived. Nearer approach showed it to be of great extent. Unanimous opinion decided that the famous continent, so long looked for, so necessary for the equipoise of the world, known to cosmographers, as the "Unknown land of the South," was at last discovered!

This land was the eastern shore of the most northerly of the two islands which have received the name of New Zealand.

Smoke was perceived at different points, and the details of the shore were soon mastered. The hills were covered with verdure, and large trees were distinguishable in the valleys. Then houses were perceived, then pirogues, then the natives assembled on the strand. And lastly, a pallisade, high and regularly built, surrounded the summit of the hill. Opinions varied as to the nature of this object; some declaring it to be a deer park, others a cattle enclosure, not to speak of many equally ingenious surmises, which were all proved false, when later it turned out to be a "pah."

Towards four o'clock on the afternoon of the 8th of October, anchor was cast in a bay at the mouth of a little river. On either side were white rocks; in the middle a brownish plain, rising by degrees, and joining by successive levels a chain of mountains, which appeared far in the interior. Such was the aspect of this portion of the shore.

Cook, Banks, and Solander entered two small boats, accompanied by a part of the crew. As they approached the spot where the natives were assembled, the latter fled; this, however, did not prevent the English from landing, leaving four lads to guard one of the boats, whilst the other remained at sea.

They had proceeded only a short distance from the boat, when four men, armed with long spears, emerged from the wood, and threw themselves upon it to take possession of it. They would have succeeded with ease, had not the crew of the boat out at sea perceived them, and cried out to the lads to let it drift with the current. They were pursued so closely by the enemy, that the master of the pinnace discharged his gun over the heads of the natives.

They were pursued so closely
"They were pursued so closely."

After a moment's hesitation, the natives continued their pursuit, when a second discharge stretched one of them dead on the spot. His companions made an effort to carry him away with them, but were obliged to abandon the attempt, as it retarded their flight. Hearing the firing, the officers who had landed went back to the vessel, whence they soon heard the natives returning to the shore, eagerly discussing the event.

Still Cook desired to have friendly intercourse with them. He ordered three boats to be manned, and landed with Banks, Solander, and Tupia. Fifty or more natives seated on the shore awaited them. They were armed with long lances, and an instrument made of green talc, and highly polished, a foot long, which perhaps weighed four or five pounds. This was the "patou-patou," or toki, a kind of battle-axe, in talc or bone, with a very sharp edge. All rose at once and signed to the English to keep their distance.

As soon as the marines landed, Cook and his companions advanced to the natives, whom Tupia told that the English had come with peaceful intentions, that they only wished for water and provisions, that they would pay for all that was brought them with iron, of which he explained the use. They saw, with pleasure, that the people, whose language was only a dialect of that spoken by the Tahitans, perfectly understood them. After some parleying, about thirty of the natives crossed the river. The strangers gave them iron and glass wares, on which they set no store; but one of them, having succeeded in possessing himself secretly of Mr. Green's cutlass, the others recommenced their hostile demonstrations, and it was necessary to fire at the robber, who was hit, when they all threw themselves into the river to gain the opposite shore.

Tahitian flute-player
Tahitian flute-player.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

The various attempts at commercial intercourse with the people ended too unfortunately for Cook to persevere in them any longer. He therefore decided to find a watering-place elsewhere. Meanwhile, two pirogues, which were trying to regain the shore, were perceived. Cook took measures to intercept them; one escaped by rapid paddling, the other was caught, and although Tupia assured the natives that the English came as friends, they seized their weapons, and commenced attacking them. A discharge killed four, and three others, who threw themselves into the sea, were seized after a fierce resistance.

The reflections which this sad incident suggested to Captain Cook, are much to his honour. They are in strong contradistinction to the ordinary method of proceeding then in vogue, and deserve to be repeated verbatim.

"I cannot disguise from myself," he says, "that all humane and sensible people will blame me for having fired upon these unfortunate Indians, and I should be forced to blame myself for such an act of violence if I thought of it in cold blood. They certainly did not deserve death for refusing to trust to my promises, and to come on board, even if they suspected no danger; but my commission by its nature obliged me to take observations of their country, and I could only do so by penetrating into the interior, either by open force or by gaining the confidence and good will of the natives. I had tried unsuccessfully by means of presents and my anxiety to avoid new hostilities led me to attempt having some of them on board, as the sole method of persuading them that far from wishing to hurt them, we were disposed to be of use to them. So far, my intentions were certainly not criminal. It is true that during the struggle, which was unexpected by me, our victory might have been equally complete without taking the lives of four of these Indians, but it must also be remembered that in such a situation, the command to fire having once been given, one is no longer in a position to proscribe it, or to lighten its effect."

The natives were welcomed on board, with every possible demonstration, if not to make them forget, at least to make them less sensible of the pain of remembering their capture, they were loaded with presents, adorned with bracelets and necklaces, but when they were told to land, they all declared, as the boats were directed to the mouth of the river, that it was an enemy's country, and that they would be killed and eaten. However, they were put on shore, and there is no reason to suppose that anything painful came of their adventure.

Next day, the 11th of October, Cook left this miserable settlement. He named it Poverty Bay, because of all that he needed he had been able to procure but one thing—wood. Poverty Bay, in 38° 42' S. Lat., and 181° 36' W. Long., is of horse-shoe shape, and affords good anchorage, although it is open to the winds between south and east.

Cook continued along the coast in a southerly direction, naming the most remarkable points, and bestowing the name of Portland upon an island which resembled that of the same name in the English Channel. His relations with the natives were everywhere inimical; if they did not break out into open outrage, it was owing to the English patience under every provocation.

One day several pirogues surrounded the ship, and nails and glassware were exchanged for fish; when the natives seized Tayeto, Tupia's servant, and quickly paddled off.

As it was necessary to fire at the robbers, the little Tahitan profited by the confusion, and jumping into the sea was soon picked up by the pinnace of the Endeavour.

On the 17th of October, Cook, not having been able to find a suitable harbour, and considering himself, as the sea became more and more rough, to be losing time which might be better employed in reconnoitring the northern coast, tacked round and returned the way he had come.

On the 23rd of October, the Endeavour reached a bay called Tedago, where no swell was perceptible. The water was excellent, and it was easy to procure provisions, the more so as the natives appeared friendly.

After having arranged everything for the safety of the workers, Messrs. Banks and Solander landed and collected plants, and in their walk they found many things worthy of note. Below the valley, surrounded by steep mountains, arose a rock so perforated, that from one side the sea could be seen through it, and from the other the long range of hills.

Returning on board, the excursionists were stopped by an old man, who insisted upon their taking part in the military exercises of the country with the lance and the patou-patou.

In the course of another walk, Dr. Solander bought a top exactly resembling European tops, and the natives made signs to show him that he must whip it to make it go.

Upon an island to the left of the bay, the English saw the largest pirogue they had yet met with. It was no less than sixty-eight feet long, five wide, and three feet six inches high. It had in front a sculpture in relief, of grotesque taste, in which the lines were spiral and the figures strangely contorted.

On the 30th of October, as soon as he was supplied with wood and water, Cook set sail and continued along the coast towards the north.

Near an island, to which Cook had given the name of Mayor, the natives behaved most insolently, and were greater thieves than any previously encountered. It was, however, necessary to make a stay of five or six days in this district, to observe the transit of Mercury. With a view to impressing upon the natives that the English were not to be illused with impunity, a robber who had taken a piece of cloth was fired upon with grape shot, but although he received the discharge in the back, it had no more effect upon him than a violent blow with a rattan. But a bullet which struck the water and returning to the surface passed several times over the pirogues, struck such terror into the hearts of the natives, that they hastily paddled to the shore.

On the 9th of November, Cook and Green landed to observe the transit of Mercury. Green only observed the passing, while Cook took the altitude of the sun.

It is not our intention to follow the navigators in their thorough exploration of New Zealand.

The same incidents were endlessly repeated, and the recital of the similar struggles with the natives, with descriptions of natural beauty, however attractive in themselves, could not but pall upon the reader. It is better, therefore, to pass rapidly over the hydrographic portion of the voyage, in order to devote ourselves to our picture of the manners of the natives, now so widely modified.

Mercury Bay is situated at the foot of the long divided peninsula which, running from the east to the north-east, forms the northern extremity of New Zealand. On the 15th of November, as the Endeavour left the bay, several boats advanced towards her.

"Two of their number," says the narrative, "which carried about sixty armed men, approached within hearing, and the natives began their war-song, but seeing that this attracted little attention, they began throwing stones at the English, and paddled along the shore. Soon they returned to the charge, evidently determined to fight the navigators, and encouraging themselves with their war cry."

Without being incited to it, Tupia addressed them reproachfully, and told them that the English had arms, and were in a position to overpower them instantly. But they valiantly replied,—

"Come to land, and we will kill you all!"

"Directly," replied Tupia, "but why insult us as long as we are at sea? We have no wish to fight, and we will not accept your challenge, because there is no quarrel between us. The sea does not belong to you any more than to our ship."

Tupia had not been credited with so much simple and true eloquence, and it surprised Cook and the other English.

Whilst he was in the bay of the islands, the captain reconnoitred a considerable river, which he named after the Thames. It was shaded with trees, of the same species as those on Poverty Island. One of them measured nineteen feet in circumference at the height of six feet above the ground, another was not less than ninety feet long from the root to the lowest branches.

Although quarrels with the natives were frequent, the latter were not invariably in the wrong.

Kippis relates as follows:—

"Some of the men on board, who, after the Indians had once been found in fault, did not fail to exhibit a severity worthy of Lycurgus, thought fit to enter a New Zealand plantation, and to carry off a quantity of potatoes. Captain Cook condemned them to a dozen stripes each. Two of them received them peaceably, but the third persisted that it was no crime for an Englishman to pillage Indian plantations. Cook's method of dealing with this casuist was to send him to the bottom of the hold until he agreed to receive six additional stripes."

On the 30th of December the English doubled a cape which they took to be that of Maria Van Diemen, discovered by Tasman, but they were so assailed by threatening winds, that Cook only accomplished ten leagues in three weeks. Fortunately they kept at a uniform distance from shore all the time, otherwise we should probably have been spared the recital of their further adventures.

On the 16th of January, 1770, after naming various portions of the eastern shore, Cook arrived in sight of an imposing peak, which was covered with snow, and which he named Mount Egmont in honour of the earl of that name.

Scarcely had he doubled the peak, when he found that the coast described the arc of a circle. It was split up into numberless roadsteads, which Cook determined to enter, in order to allow of his ship being repaired and keeled.

He landed at the bottom of a creek where he found a fine river and plenty of trees, for the forest only ceased at the sea for want of soil.

The amicable relations with the natives at this point enabled him to inquire if they had ever seen a vessel like the Endeavour. But he found that even the traditions of Tasman's visit were forgotten, although he was only fifteen miles south of Assassin Bay.

In one of the provision baskets of the Zealanders ten half gnawed bones were found. They did not look like a dog's bones, and on nearer inspection they turned out to be human remains. The natives in reply to the questions put to them, asserted that they were in the habit of eating their enemies. A few days later, they brought on board the Endeavour seven human heads, to which hair and flesh still adhered, but the brains as being delicate morsels, were already picked. The flesh was soft, and no doubt was preserved from decay by some ingredient, for it had no unpleasant odour. Banks bought one of these heads after some difficulty, but he could not induce the old man who brought it to part with a second, probably because the New Zealanders considered them as trophies, and testimonies to their bravery.

The succeeding days were devoted to a visit to the environs, and to some walks in the neighbourhood. During one of these excursions Cook, having climbed a high hill, distinctly perceived the whole of the strait to which he had given the name of Queen Charlotte, and the opposite shore, which appeared to him about four leagues distant.

A fog made it impossible for him to see further to the south-east, but he had discerned enough to assure him that it was the final extent of the large island of which he had followed all the windings. He had now only to finish his discoveries in the south, which he proposed to do as soon as he had satisfied himself that Queen Charlotte's Sound was really a strait.

Cook visited a pah in the neighbourhood. Built upon a little island or inaccessible rock, the pah was merely a fortified village. The natives most frequently add to the natural defences by fortifications, which render the approach still more perilous. Many were defended by a double ditch, the inner one having a parapet and double palisade. The second ditch was at least eighty feet in depth. On the inside of the palisade, at the height of twenty feet, was a raised platform forty feet long by six wide. Supported on two large poles, it was intended to hold the defenders of the place, who from thence could easily overwhelm the attacking party with darts and stones, of which an enormous supply was always ready in case of need.

These strongholds cannot be forced, unless by means of a long blockade the inmates should be compelled to surrender.

"It is surprising," as Cook remarks, "that the industry and care employed by them in building places so well adapted for defence, almost without the use of instruments, should not by the same means, have led them to invent a single weapon of any importance, with the sole exception of the spear they throw with the hand. They do not understand the use of a bow to throw a dart, or of a sling to fling a stone, which is the more astonishing, as the invention of slings, and bows and arrows is far more simple than the construction of these works by the people, and moreover these two weapons are met with in almost all parts of the world, in the most savage countries."

On the 6th of February, Cook left the bay, and set sail for the east, in the hope of discovering the entrance to the strait before the ebb of the tide. At seven in the evening, the vessel was driven by the violence of the current to the close neighbourhood of a small island, outside Cape Koamaroo. Sharply pointed rocks rose from the sea. The danger increased momentarily, one only hope of saving the ship remained. It was attempted and succeeded. A cable's length was the distance between theEndeavour and the rock when anchor was cast, in seventy-five fathoms of water. Fortunately the anchor found a hold, and the current changing its direction after touching the island, carried the vessel past the rock. But she was not yet in safety, for she was still in the midst of rocks, and the current made five miles an hour.

However, the current decreased, the vessel righted herself, and the wind becoming favourable, she was speedily carried to the narrowest part of the strait, which she crossed without difficulty.

The most northerly island of New Zealand, which is named Eaheinomauwe, was, however, as yet only partially known, there still remained some fifteen leagues unexplored.

A few officers affirmed from this that it was a continent, and not an island, which was contrary to Cook's view. But although his own mind was made up, the captain directed his navigation with a view to clear up any doubt which might remain in the minds of his officers. After two days' voyage, in which Cape Palliser was passed, he called them up on the quarter deck and asked if they were satisfied. As they replied in the affirmative, Cook gave up his idea of returning to the most southerly point he had reached on the eastern coast of Eaheinomauwe, and determined to prolong his cruise the entire length of the land which he had found, and which was named Tawai-Pounamow.

The coast was more sterile, and appeared uninhabited. It was necessary to keep four or five leagues from the shore.

On the night of the 9th of March the Endeavour passed over several rocks, and in the morning the crew discovered what dangers they had escaped. They named these reefs the Snares, as they appeared placed there to surprise unsuspecting navigators.

A Fa-toka, New Zealand
A Fa-toka, New Zealand.

Next day, Cook reconnoitred what appeared to him to be the extreme south of New Zealand, and called it South Cape. It was the point of Steward Island. Great waves from the south-west burst over the vessel as it doubled this cape, which convinced Captain Cook that there was no land in that quarter. He therefore returned to the northern route, to complete the circumnavigation of New Zealand by the eastern coast.

Almost at the southern extremity of this coast, a bay was discovered, which received the name of Dusky. This region was sterile, steep, covered with snow. Dusky Bay was three or four miles in width at its entrance, and appeared as deep as it was wide. Several islands were contained in it, behind which a vessel would have excellent shelter; but Cook thought it prudent not to remain there, as he knew that the wind, which would enable him to leave the bay, blew only once a month in these latitudes. He differed upon this point with several of his officers, who thinking only of the present advantage, did not reflect upon the inconveniences of a stay in port, the duration of which would be uncertain.

No incident occurred during the navigation of the eastern coast of Tawai-Pounamow.

From Dusky Bay, according to Cook, to 44° 20' latitude, there is a straight chain of hills which rise directly from the sea, and are covered with forests. Behind and close to these hills, are mountains which form another chain of prodigious height, composed of barren and jagged rocks, excepting in the parts where they are covered with snow, mostly in large masses. It is impossible to conceive a wilder prospect, or a more savage and frightful one than this country from the sea, because from every point of view nothing is visible but the summits of rocks; so close to each other that in lieu of valleys there are only fissures between them. From 44° 20' to 42° 8' the aspect varies, the mountains are in the interior, hills and fruitful valleys border the coast.

From 42° 8' to the 41° 30' the coast inclines vertically to the sea, and is covered with dark forests. The Endeavour, moreover, was too far from the shore, and the weather was too dark for it to be possible to distinguish minor details. After achieving the circumnavigation of the country, the vessel regained the entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound.

Cook took in water and wood; then he decided on returning to England, following the route which permitted him best to fulfil the object of his voyage. To his keen regret, for he had greatly wished to decide whether or no the southern continent existed, it was as impossible for him to return to Europe by Cape Horn as by the Cape of Good Hope.

In the middle of winter, in an extreme southerly latitude his vessel was in no condition to bring the enterprise to a successful issue. He had no choice, therefore, but to take the route for the East Indies, and to this end to steer westward to the eastern shores of New Holland.

Interior of a morai in Hawaii
Interior of a morai in Hawai.

But before proceeding to the narration of the incidents of the second part of the campaign, it will be better to glance backward and to summarize the information upon the situation, productions, and inhabitants of New Zealand which the navigators had accumulated.

We have already seen that this land had been discovered by Abel Tasman, and we have noted those incidents which were marked with traces of bloodshed when it was reconnoitred by the Dutch captain. With the exception of Tasman, in 1642, no European captain had ever visited its shores. It was so far unknown, that it was not even decided whether it formed a part of the southern continent, as Tasman supposed, when he named it Staten Island. To Cook belongs the credit of determining its position and of tracing the coasts of these two large islands, situated between 34° and 48° S. Lat. 180° and 194° W. Long.

Tawai-Pounamow was mountainous, sterile, and apparently very sparsely populated. Eaheinomauwe presented an attractive appearance, in its hills, mountains, and valleys covered with wood, and watered by bright flowing streams. Cook formed an opinion of the climate upon the remarks made by Banks and Solander, that,—

"If the English settled in this country, it would cost them but little care and work to cultivate all that they needed in great abundance."

Tatooed head of a New Zealander
Tatooed head of a New Zealander.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

As for quadrupeds, New Zealand afforded an asylum for dogs and rats only, the former reserved for food. But if the fauna was poor, the flora was rich. Among the vegetable products which attracted the English most, was one of which the narrative says,—

"The natives used as hemp and flax, a plant which surpasses all those used for the same purposes in other countries. The ordinary dress of the New Zealanders is composed of leaves of this plant, with very little preparation. They fabricate their cords, lines, and ropes from it, and they are much stronger than those made with hemp, and to which they can be compared. From the same plant, prepared in another way, they draw long thin fibres, lustrous as silk and white as snow. Their best stuffs are manufactured from these fibres, and are of extraordinary strength. Their nets, of an enormous size, are composed of these leaves, the work simply consists in cutting them into suitable lengths and fastening them together." This wonderful plant, which was so enthusiastically described, in the lyrical account just quoted, and in the hardly less exuberant one which La Billadière afterwards gave of it, is known in our day as phornium tenax.

An i-pah
An i-pah.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

It was really necessary to subdue the expectations that these narratives excited! According to the eminent chemist Ducharte, the prolonged action of the damp heat, and above all bleaching, disintegrates the cellular particles of this plant, and after one or two washings, the tissues which are fabricated from it, are reduced to tow. Still it forms a considerable article of commerce. Mr. Alfred Kennedy, in his very curious work on New Zealand, tells us that in 1865, only fifteen bales of phornium were exported, that four years later the export amounted to the almost incredible number of 12,162 bales, and in 1870 to 32,820 bales, valued at 132,578l.

The inhabitants were tall and well proportioned, alert, vigorous, and intelligent. The women had not the delicate organization, and grace of form, which distinguish them in other countries; dressed like the men, they were recognizable only by their sweetness of voice and liveliness of expression. Although the natives of the same tribe were affectionate in their relations to each other, they were implacable to their enemies, and they gave no quarter; the dead bodies of their enemies afforded horrible festivities, which the want of other animal food explains, but can hardly excuse.

A New Zealand family
A New Zealand family.

"Perhaps," says Cook, "it appears strange that there were frequent wars in a country where so few advantages follow victory." But besides the need of procuring meat, which led to the frequency of these wars, another cause for them, unknown to Cook, existed in the fact that the population consisted of two distinct races, naturally enemies of each other.

Ancient tradition has it that the Maories came in the first instance, some thirteen hundred years ago, from the Sandwich Islands. There is reason for believing this to be correct, when one reflects that the beautiful Polynesian race peopled all the archipelago sprinkled throughout the Pacific Ocean.

Leaving Haouaikai, which must be identical with Hawai, of the Sandwich Islands, or Sanaï of the Navigator Archipelago, the Maories had repelled or possibly driven back the aboriginal population. In truth, the earliest colonists noticed two distinctly separate types in the New Zealanders. The one, and most important, unmistakably recalled the natives of Hawaii, the Marquisas, and Tonga Islands, whilst the other offered many resemblances to the Melanesian races.

These particulars, collected by Freycinet, and recently confirmed by Hochsetten, are in perfect accord with the singular fact, recorded by Cook, that Tupia, a native of Tahiti, made himself readily understood by the New Zealanders.

The migrations of the Polynesian tribes are thoroughly understood in these days, thanks to the wider knowledge of languages and anthropology, but they were scarcely suspected in the time of Cook, who, indeed, was one of the first to collect legends on the subject.

"Every one of these tribes," he says, "traditionally believes that his forefathers came years ago from another country, and they all assert from the same tradition, that the country was called Heawise." The country at this time produced only one quadruped, the dog, and that was an alien. Thus the New Zealanders had no means of subsistence, but vegetables and a few fowls unknown to the English. Fortunately the inhabitants were saved from death by starvation by the abundance of fish. Accustomed to war, and looking upon all strangers as enemies, possibly seeing in them merely an edible commodity, the natives naturally attacked the English.

Once convinced, however, of the utter inadequacy of their weapons, and of the powers of their adversaries, once convinced that the new comers avoided using those instruments which produced such terrific effects, they treated the navigators as friends, and conducted themselves towards them with surprising loyalty.

If the natives usually met with by the navigators had little idea of decency or modesty, the same was not true of the New Zealanders, and Cook gives a curious example of this fact. Although not so clean as the natives of Tahiti, whose climate is much warmer, and although they bathed less often, they took a pride in their persons, and showed a certain coquetry. For instance, they greased their hair with an oil or fat obtained from fishes or birds, which becoming rank after awhile, made them as disagreeable to a refined sense of smell as the Hottentots.

They were in the habit of tatooing themselves, and some of their tatoo designs demonstrated wonderful skill, and taste certainly not to be expected among this primitive race.

The English were greatly surprised to find that the women devoted less attention to their attire than the men. Their hair was cut short and without ornament, and they wore clothes similar to those of their husbands. Their sole attempt at coquetry consisted in fastening the most extraordinary things to their ears, stuffs, feathers, fish-bones, bits of wood, not to mention green talc needles, the nails and teeth of their deceased parents, and generally everything they could lay hands on, which they suspended by means of thread.

This recalls an adventure related by Cook, which happened to a Tahitan woman. This woman, envious of all she saw, wanted to have a padlock attached to her ear. She was allowed to take it, and then the key was thrown into the sea before her. After a certain time, either because the weight of this singular ornament worried her, or because she wished to replace it by another, she begged to have it removed. The request was refused, upon the ground that her demand was foolish, and that as she had wished for this singular ear-ring, it was fair that she should put up with its inconveniences.

The clothing of the New Zealanders consisted of one piece of stuff, something between reed or cloth, attached to the shoulders and falling to the knees, and of a second rolled round the waist, which reached to the ground. But the latter was not an invariable part of their dress. Thus, when they had on only the upper part of their costume, and they squatted, they presented the appearance of thatched roofs.

Their coverings were sometimes trimmed in a most elegant manner, by means of various coloured fringes, and more rarely with dogskin cut into strips. But the industry of these people was especially shown in the construction of their pirogues.

Their war-vessels contained from forty to fifty armed men, and one of them, measured at Ulaga, was no less than sixty-eight feet long. It was beautifully ornamented with open work and decorated with fringes of black feathers. The smaller ones generally had poles. Occasionally two pirogues were joined together. The fishing-boats were ornamented at the prow and the poop by the face of a grinning man with hideous features, lolling tongue and eyes made of white shells. Two pirogues were often coupled, and the very smallest carried only the poles needed to preserve their equilibrium.

"The usual cause of illnesses," remarks Cook, "being intemperance and want of exercise, it is not surprising that these people rejoice in perfect health. Each time that we went to their settlements, men, women, and children surrounded us, excited by the same curiosity which caused us to look at them. We never saw one who appeared affected by illness, and amongst all that we saw naked we never remarked the smallest eruption on the skin, nor any trace of spots or sores."