A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 659 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 12.

SECTION XI.

The Observatory set up; the Quadrant stolen, and Consequences of the Theft:  A visit to Tootohah:  Description of a Wrestling-match:  European Seeds sown:  Names given to our People by the Indians.

In the afternoon of Monday the 1st of May, we set up the observatory, and took the astronomical quadrant, with some other instruments, on shore, for the first time.

The next morning, about nine o’clock, I went on shore with Mr Green to fix the quadrant in a situation for use, when, to our inexpressible surprise and concern, it was not to be found.  It had been deposited in the tent which was reserved for my use, where, as I passed the night on board, nobody slept:  It had never been taken out of the packing-case; which was eighteen inches square, and the whole was of considerable weight; a centinel had been posted the whole night within five yards of the tent door, and none of the other instruments were missing.  We at first suspected that it might have been stolen by some of our own people, who seeing a deal box, and not knowing the contents, might think it contained nails, or some other subjects of traffic with the natives.  A large reward was therefore offered to any one who could find it, as, without this, we could not perform the service for which our voyage was principally undertaken.  Our search in the mean time was not confined to the fort and places adjacent, but as the case might possibly have been carried back to the ship, if any of our own people had been the thieves, the most diligent search was made for it on board:  All the parties however returned without any news of the quadrant.  Mr Banks, therefore, who upon such occasions declined neither labour nor risk, and who had more influence over the Indians than any of us, determined to go in search of it into the woods; he hoped, that if it had been stolen by the natives, he should find it whereever they had opened the box, as they would immediately discover that to them it would be wholly useless; or, if in this expectation he should be disappointed, that he might recover it by the ascendancy he had acquired over the chiefs.  He set out, accompanied by a midshipman and Mr Green, and as he was crossing the river he was met by Tubourai Tamaide, who immediately made the figure of a triangle with three bits of straw upon his hand.  By this Mr Banks knew that the Indians were the thieves; and that, although they had opened the case, they were not disposed to part with the contents.  No time was therefore to be lost, and Mr Banks made Tubourai Tamaide understand, that he must instantly go with him to the place whither the quadrant had been carried; he consented, and they set out together to the eastward, the chief enquiring at every house which they passed after the thief by name:  The people readily told him which way he was gone, and how long it was since he had been there:  The hope which this gave them that they should overtake

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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