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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 658 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16.

Suspicious Behaviour of the Natives, on our Return to Karakakooa Bay.—­Theft on Board the Discovery and its Consequences.—­The Pinnace attacked, and the Crew obliged to quit her.—­Captain Cook’s Observations on the Occasion.—­Attempt at the Observatory.—­The Cutter of the Discovery stolen.—­Measures taken by Captain Cook for its Recovery.—­Goes on Shore to invite the King on Board—­The King being stopped by his Wife and the Chiefs, a Contest arises.—­News arrives of one of the Chiefs being killed by one of our People.—­Ferment on this Occasion.—­One of the Chiefs threatens Captain Cook, and is shot by him.—­General Attack by the Natives.—­Death of Captain Cook.  Account of the Captain’s Services, and a Sketch of his Character.[1]

[Footnote 1:  Every reader must feel so deeply interested in the subject of this section, that he will naturally desire to possess every information as to all the facts and circumstances in which it was involved.  Captain King’s narrative, it may be conceived, is likely to have every claim to implicit confidence, and to require no additional statement in order to the most satisfactory conviction of every mind.  Such an opinion is only partially correct; and it is evident, that the latter assertion is not a necessary inference from the former.  The narrative may be imperfect, though quite consistent with truth, so far as it goes; and perhaps it cannot be carefully read, without producing an impression somewhat unfavourable to the notion of its completeness.  This might be pointed out, as we proceeded, in the usual manner of notes.  But a moment’s reflection will suggest, that such interference in a case of the kind would prove destructive of the general and proper effect of the relation, and at the same time appear unjust towards the describer.  A much better method, and one more likely to obtain attention, presents itself.  That is, to insert the circumstantial narrative of the whole transaction, which was drawn up by Mr Samwell, surgeon of the Discovery, and communicated, with the highest approbation and credit, in the Biographia Britannica, after having been separately published, by the advice of the editor of that work, for two years, without experiencing any objection or a single impeachment.  This, therefore, will be given at the end of the section; and will be found so extremely interesting, as to justify its reception in an entire form.  Its length, however, and minuteness, in addition to reasons already mentioned, will preclude both room and occasion for any other notice of the subject.—­E.]

We were employed the whole of the 11th, and part of the 12th, in getting out the foremast, and sending it with the carpenters, on shore.  Besides the damage which the head of the mast had sustained, we found the heel exceedingly rotten, having a large hole up the middle of it, capable of holding four or five cocoa nuts.  It was not, however, thought necessary to shorten it; and, fortunately, the logs of red toa-wood,

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