At break of day, on Monday the 27th, we unmoored, and at the same time I sent the barge and cutter to fill the few water-casks that were now empty. When they came near the shore, they saw, to their great surprise, the whole beach covered with inhabitants, and having some doubt whether it would be prudent to venture themselves among such a multitude, they were about to pull back again for the ship. As soon as this was perceived from the shore, the queen came forward, and beckoned them; at the same time guessing the reason of what had happened, she made the natives retire to the other side of the river; the boats then proceeded to the shore, and filled the casks; in the mean time she put some hogs and fruit on hoard, and when they were putting off would fain have returned with them to the ship. The officer, however, who had received orders to bring off none of the natives, would not permit her; upon which she presently launched a double canoe, and was rowed off by her own people. Her canoe was immediately followed by fifteen or sixteen more, and all of them came up to the ship. The queen came on board, but not being able to speak, she sat down and gave vent to her passion by weeping. After she had been on board about an hour, a breeze springing up, we weighed anchor and made sail. Finding it now necessary to return into her canoe, she embraced us all in the most affectionate manner, and with many tears; all her attendants also expressed great sorrow at our departure. Soon after it fell calm, and I sent the boats a-head to tow, upon which all the canoes returned to the ship, and that which had the queen on board came up to the gunroom port, where her people made it fast. In a few minutes she came into the bow of her canoe, where she sat weeping with inconsolable sorrow. I gave her many things which I thought would be of great use to her, and some for ornament; she silently accepted of all, but took little notice of any thing. About 10 o’clock we were got without the reef, and a fresh breeze springing up, our Indian friends, and particularly the queen, once more bade us farewell, with such tenderness of affection and grief, as filled both my heart and my eyes.
At noon, the harbour from which we sailed bore S.E. 1/2 E. distant about twelve miles. It lies in latitude 17 deg. 30’ S., longitude 150 deg. W., and I gave it the name of Port Royal Harbour.
[Footnote 53 1: Of this queen, as Captain W. calls her, the reader will see more particulars in the account of Cook’s visit to this island. Her name was Oberea. She was wife to Oammo, who governed the greater part of Otaheite in behalf of his son, according to the custom of the place; but at the time of Wallis’s arrival, she cohabited with Toopaeea, a native of Ulietea, and remarkable among these islanders for his wisdom and information.—E.]
A more particular Account of the Inhabitants of Otaheite, and of their domestic Life, Manners, and Arts.