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

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.

Captain Clerke, conjecturing that he had brought the bones of Captain Cook, which proved to be the fact, went himself in the pinnace to receive them, and ordered me to attend him in the cutter.  When we arrived at the beach, Eappo came into the pinnace, and delivered to the captain the bones wrapped up in a large quantity of fine new cloth, and covered with a spotted cloak of black and white feathers.  He afterward attended us to the Resolution, but could not be prevailed upon to go on board, probably not choosing, from a sense of decency, to be present at the opening of the bundle.  We found in it both the hands of Captain Cook entire, which were well known from a remarkable scar on one of them, that divided the thumb from the fore-finger, the whole length of the metacarpal bone; the skull, but with the scalp separated from it, and the bones that form the face wanting; the scalp, with the hair upon it cut short, and the ears adhering to it; the bones of both arms, with the skin of the fore-arms hanging to them; the thigh and leg-bones joined together, but without the feet.  The ligaments of the joints were entire, and the whole bore evident marks of having been in the fire, except the hands, which had the flesh left upon them, and were cut in several places, and crammed with salt, apparently with an intention of preserving them.  The scalp had a cut in the back part of it, but the skull was free from any fracture.  The lower jaw and feet, which were wanting, Eappo told us, had been seized by different chiefs, and that Terreeoboo was using every means to recover them.

The next morning, Eappo and the king’s son came on board, and brought with them the remaining bones of Captain Cook, the barrels of his gun, his shoes, and some other trifles that belonged to him.  Eappo took great pains to convince us that Terreeoboo, Maiha-maiha, and himself, were most heartily desirous of peace; that they had given us the most convincing proof of it in their power; and that they had been prevented from giving it sooner by the other chiefs, many of whom were still our enemies.  He lamented, with the greatest sorrow, the death of six chiefs we had killed, some of whom, he said, were amongst our best friends.  The cutter, he told us, was taken away by Pareea’s people, very probably in revenge for the blow that had been given him, and that it had been broken up the next day.  The arms of the marines which we had also demanded, he assured us had been carried off by the common people, and were irrecoverable; the bones of the chief alone having been preserved, as belonging to Terreeoboo and the Erees.

Nothing now remained but to perform the last offices to our great and unfortunate commander.  Eappo was dismissed with orders to taboo all the bay; and in the afternoon, the bones having been put into a coffin, and the service read over them, they were committed to the deep with the usual military honours.  What our feelings were on this occasion I leave the world to conceive; those who were present know that it is not in my power to express them.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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