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.
in bringing about this fatal disaster.  We learnt afterwards, that it was he who had employed some people to steal the boat; the king did not seem to be privy to it, or even apprized of what had happened, till Captain Cook landed.  It was generally remarked, that, at first, the Indians shewed great resolution in facing our fire-arms; but it was entirely owing to ignorance of their effect.  They thought that their thick mats would defend them from a ball, as well as from a stone; but being soon convinced of their error, yet still at a loss to account how such execution was done among them, they had recourse to a stratagem, which, though it answered no other purpose, served to shew their ingenuity and quickness of invention.  Observing the flashes of the musquets, they naturally concluded, that water would counteract their effect, and therefore, very sagaciously, dipped their mats, or armour, in the sea, just as they came on to face our people; but finding this last resource to fail them, they soon dispersed, and left the beach entirely clear.  It was an object they never neglected, even at the greatest hazard, to carry off their slain; a custom, probably owing to the barbarity with which they treat the dead body of an enemy, and the trophies they make of his bones."[6]]

[Footnote 1:  It is proper to take notice, that Mr Samwell spells the names of several persons and places differently from what is done in the history of the voyage.  For instance, Karakakooa, he calls Ke,rag,e,goo,ah; Terreeoboo, Kariopoo; Kowrowa, Kavaroah; Kaneecabareea, Kaneekapo berei; Mahai mahai, Ka,mea,mea.]

[Footnote 2:  Mr King relates, that our voyagers, upon coming to anchor, were surprised to find their reception very different from what it had been on their first arrival.  He acknowledges, however, that the unsuspicious conduct of Terreeoboo, who, the next morning, came immediately to visit Captain Cook, and the consequent return of the natives to their former friendly intercourse with the English, are strong proofs, that they neither meant nor apprehended any change of conduct.  “Things,” says Mr King, “went on in their usual quiet course till the afternoon of the 13th.”]

[Footnote 3:  Mr King acknowledges, that he was always fearful, that the degree of confidence which Captain Cook had acquired from his long and uninterrupted course of success, in his transactions with the natives of these seas, might, at some unlucky moment, put him too much off his guard.]

[Footnote 4:  I have been informed, on the best authority, that, in the opinion of Captain Philips, who commanded the marines, and whose judgment must be of the greatest weight, it is extremely doubtful whether any thing could successfully have been done to preserve the life of Captain Cook, even if no mistake had been committed on the part of the launch.]

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