We found, thrown upon the shore, in several parts of this bay, great quantities of iron-sand, which is brought down by every little rivulet of fresh water that finds its way from the country; which is a demonstration that there is ore of that metal not far inland: Yet neither the inhabitants of this place, or any other part of the coast that we have seen, know the use of iron, or set the least value upon it; all of them preferring the most worthless and useless trifle, not only to a nail, but to any tool of that metal.
Before we left the bay, we cut upon one of the trees near the watering-place the ship’s name, and that of the commander, with the date of the year and month when we were there; and after displaying the English colours, I took a formal possession of it in the name of his Britannic majesty King George the Third.
The Range from Mercury Bay to the Bay of Islands: An Expedition up the River Thames: Some Account of the Indians who inhabit its Banks, and the fine Timber that grows there: Several Interviews with the Natives on different Parts of the Coast, and a Skirmish with them upon an Island.
I continued plying to windward two days to get under the land, and on the 18th, about seven in the morning, we were abreast of a very conspicuous promontory, being then in latitude 36 deg.26’, and in the direction of N. 48 W. from the north head of Mercury Bay, or Point Mercury, which was distant nine leagues: Upon this point stood many people, who seemed to take little notice of us, but talked together with great earnestness. In about half an hour, several canoes put off from different places, and came towards the ship; upon which the people on the point also launched a canoe, and about twenty of them came in her up with the others. When two of these canoes, in which there might be about sixty men, came near enough to make themselves heard, they sung their war-song; but seeing that we took little notice of it, they threw a few stones at us, and then rowed off towards the shore. We hoped that we had now done with them, but in a short time they returned, as if with a fixed resolution to provoke us into a battle, animating themselves by their song as they had done before. Tupia, without any directions from us, went to the poop, and began to expostulate: He told them, that we had weapons which would destroy them in a moment; and that, if they ventured to attack us, we should be obliged, to use them. Upon this, they flourished