A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 768 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16.

As soon as the inhabitants perceived our intention of anchoring in the bay, they came off from the shore in astonishing numbers, and expressed their joy by singing and shouting, and exhibiting a variety of wild and extravagant gestures.  The sides, the decks, and rigging of both ships were soon completely covered with them, and a multitude of women and boys, who had not been able to get canoes, came swimming round us in shoals, many of whom not finding room on board, remained the whole day playing in the water.

Among the chiefs who came on board the Resolution, was a young man, called Pareea, whom we soon perceived to be a person of great authority.  On presenting himself to Captain Cook, he told him, that he was Jakanee[2] to the king of the island, who was at that time engaged on a military expedition at Mowee, and was expected to return within three or four days.  A few presents from Captain Cook attached him entirely to our interests, and he became exceedingly useful to us in the management of his countrymen, as we had soon occasion to experience.  For we had not been long at anchor, when it was observed that the Discovery had such a number of people hanging on one side, as occasioned her to heel considerably; and that the men were unable to keep off the crowds which continued pressing into her.  Captain Cook, being apprehensive that she might suffer some injury, pointed out the danger to Pareea, who immediately went to their assistance, cleared the ship of its encumbrances, and drove away the canoes that surrounded her.

[Footnote 2:  We afterward met with several others of the same denomination; but whether it be an office, or some degree of affinity, we could never learn with certainty.]

The authority of the chiefs over the inferior people appeared from this incident to be of the most despotic kind.  A similar instance of it happened the same day on board the Resolution, where the crowd being so great, as to impede the necessary business of the ship, we were obliged to have recourse to the assistance of Kaneena, another of their chiefs, who had likewise attached himself to Captain Cook.  The inconvenience we laboured under being made known, he immediately ordered his countrymen to quit the vessel; and we were not a little surprised to see them jump overboard, without a moment’s hesitation, all except one man, who, loitering behind, and shewing some unwillingness to obey, Kaneena took him up in his arms, and threw him into the sea.

Both these chiefs were men of strong and well-proportioned bodies, and of countenances remarkably pleasing; Kaneena especially, whose portrait Mr Webber has drawn, was one of the finest men I ever saw.  He was about six feet high, had regular and expressive features, with lively, dark eyes; his carriage was easy, firm, and graceful.

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