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.
copied after us in any one thing.  We are not, therefore, to expert that Omai will be able to introduce many of our arts and customs amongst them, or much improve those to which they have been long habituated.  I am confident, however, that he will endeavour to bring to perfection the various fruits and vegetables we planted, which will be no small acquisition.  But the greatest benefit these islands are likely to receive from Omai’s travels, will be in the animals that have been left upon them, which, probably, they never would have got, had he not come to England.  When these multiply, of which I think there is little doubt, Otaheite and the Society Islands will equal, if not exceed, any place in the known word, for provisions.

Omai’s return, and the substantial proofs he brought back with him of our liberality, encouraged many to offer themselves as volunteers to attend me to Pretane.  I took every opportunity of expressing my determination to reject all such applications.  But, notwithstanding this, Omai, who was very ambitious of remaining the only great traveller, being afraid lest I might be prevailed upon to put others in a situation of rivalling him, frequently put me in mind that Lord Sandwich had told him no others of his countrymen were to come to England.

If there had been the most distant probability of any ship being again sent to New Zealand, I would have brought the two youths of that country home with me, as both of them were very desirous of continuing with us.  Tiarooa, the eldest, was an exceedingly well-diposed young man, with strong natural sense, and capable of receiving any instruction.  He seemed to be fully sensible of the inferiority of his own country to these islands, and resigned himself, though perhaps with reluctance, to end his days in ease and plenty in Huaheine.  But the other was so strongly attached to us, that he was taken out of the ship, and carried ashore by force.  He was a witty, smart boy; and, on that account, much noticed on board.[4]

[Footnote 4:  Some particulars respecting the subsequent history of Omai and the two New Zealanders, are related in the account of Captain Bligh’s voyage in 1788.  We ought not to anticipate matter which properly belongs to another period and subject.  It seems right, however, in the present instance, to set the reader’s expectations at rest, though the doing so be somewhat afflictive to his feelings.  Omai died a natural death about thirty months after Captain Cook’s departure, but not till he had the satisfaction of experiencing the importance of the arms and ammunition he was master of, in a successful engagement which his countrymen had with the people of Ulietea and Bolabola.  Peace soon followed, but it does not seem that his exertions on this occasion procured him any additional possessions or elevation of rank.  From the good character, however, which his countrymen gave of him, it appeared that he had conducted himself with such general propriety as gained their applause.  The New Zealanders did not long survive him, but scarcely any satisfactory information of their history could be obtained.—­E.]

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