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Captain Furneaux's Narrative of his Proceedings, in the Ad
venture, from the Time he was separated from the Resolution, to his Arrival in England ; including Lieutenant Burney's Report concerning the Boat's Crew who were murdered by the Inhabitants of Queen Charlotte's Sound.
AFTER a passage of fourteen days from Amsterdam, we 'made the coast of New Zealand near the Table Cape, and stood along-shore till we came as far as Cape Turnagain, The wind then began to blow strong at west, with heavy squalls and rain, which split many of our sails, and blew us off the coast for three days; in which time we parted company with the Resolution, and never saw her afterwards.
On the 4th of November, we again got in shore, near Cape Palliser, and were visited by a number of the natives in their canoes; bringing a great quantity of cray-fish, which we bought of them for nails and Otaheite cloth. The next day it blew hard from W.N.W., which again drove us off the coast, and obliged us to bring-to for two days; during which time it blew one continual gale of wind, with heavy falls of sleet. By this time, our decks were very leaky, our beds and bedding wet; and several of our people complaining of colds; so that we began to despair of ever getting into Charlotte's Sound, or joining the Resolution.
On the 6th, being to the north of the cape, the wind at S.W., and blowing
strong, we bore away for some bay to complete our water and wood, being in great want of both, having been at the allowance of one quart of water for some days past; and even that pittance could not be come at above six or seven days longer. We anchored in Tolaga Bay on the 9th, in latitude 38° 21' S., longitude 178° 31' east, It affords good riding with the wind westerly, and regular soundings from eleven to five fathoms, stiff muddy ground across the bay for about two miles. It is open from N.N.E. to E.S.E. It is to be observed, easterly winds seldom blow hard on this shore; but when they do, they throw in a great sea, so that if it were not for a great undertow, together with a large river that empties itself in the bottom of the bay, a ship would not be able to ride here, Wood and water are easily to be had, except when it blows
hard easterly. The natives here are the same as those at Charlotte's Sound, but more numerous, and seemed settled, having regular plantations of sweet potatoes, and other roots, which are very good; and they have plenty of cray and other fish, which we bought of them for nails, beads, and other trifles, at an easy rate. In one of their canoes we observed the head of a woman lying in state, adorned with feathers and other ornaments. It had the appearance of being alive ; but, on examination, we found it dry, being preserved with every feature perfect, and kept as the relic of some deceased relation.
Having got about ten tons of water, and some wood, we sailed for Charlotte's Sound on the 12th. We were no sooner out than the wind began to blow hard, dead on the shore, so that we could not clear the land on either tack. This obliged us to bear away again for the bay, where we anchored the next morning, and rode out a very heavy gale of wind at E. by S., which threw in a very great sea. We now began to fear we should never join the Resolution ; having reason to believe she was in Charlotte Sound, and by this time ready for sea. We soon found it was with great difficulty we could get any water, owing to the swell setting in so strong; at last, however, we were able to go on shore, and got both wood and water.
Whilst we lay here we were employed about the rigging, which was much damaged by the constant gales of wind we bad met with since we made the coast. We got the booms down on the decks, and having made the ship as snug as possible, sailed again on the lốth. After this we met with several gales of wind off the mouth of the Strait; and continued beating backwards and forwards till the 30th, when we were so fortunate as to get a favourable wind, which we took every advantage of, and at last got safe into our desired port. We saw nothing of the Resolution, and began to doubt her safety ; but on going ashore, we discerned the place where she had erected her tents; and, on an old stump of a tree in the garden, observed these words cut out, “ Look underneath.” There we dug, and soon found a bottle corked and waxed down, with a letter in it from Captain Cook, signifying their arrival on the 3d instant, and departure on the 24th ; and that they intended spending a few days in the entrance of the Straits to look for us.
We immediately set about getting the ship ready for sea
as fast' as possible; erected our tents ; sent the coopér on shore to repair the casks; and began to unstow the hold, to get at the bread that was in butts; but on opening them found a great quantity of it entirely spoiled, and most part so damaged, that we were obliged to fix our copper oven on shore to bake it over again, which undoubtedly delayed us a considerable time. Whilst we lay here, the inhabitants came on board as before, supplying us with. fish, and other things of their own manufacture, which we bought of them for nails, &c. and appeared very friendly, though twice in the middle of the night they came to the tent, with an intention to steal; but were discovered before they could get any thing into their possession.
On the 17th of December, having refitted the ship, completed our water and wood, and got every thing ready for sea, we sent our large cutter, with Mr Rowe, a midshipman, and the boat's crew, to gather wild greens for the ship’s company; with orders to return that evening, as I intended to sail the next morning. But on the boat's not returning the same evening, nor the next morning, being under great uneasiness about her, I hoisted out the launch, and sent her with the second lieutenant, Mr Burney, manned with the boat's crew and ten marines; in search of her. My orders to Mr Burney were first to look well into East Bay, and then to proceed to Grass Cove, the place to which Mr Rowe had been sent; and if he heard nothing of the boat there, to go farther up the sound, and come back along the west shore. As Mr Rowe had left the ship an hour before the time proposed, and in a great hurry, I was strongly persuaded that his curiosity had carried him into East Bay, none in our ship having ever been there; or else, that some accident had happened to the boat, either by going adrift throngh the boat-keeper's negligence, or by being stove among the rocks. This was almost every body's opinion ; and on this supposition, the carpenter's mate was sent in the launch, with some sheets of tin. I had not the least suspicion that our people had received any injury from the natives, our boats having frequently been higher up, and worse provided. How much I was mistaken, too soon appeared; for Mr Burney having returned about eleven o'clock the same night, made his report of a horrible scene indeed, which cannot be better described than in his own words, which now follow.
“On the 18th, we left the ship; and having a light breeze in our favour, we soon got round Long Island, and within Long Point. I examined every cove, on the larboard hand, as we went along, looking well all around with a spy-glass, which I took for that purpose. At half past one, we stopped at a beach on the left-hand side going up East Bay, to boil some victuals, as we brought nothing but raw meat with us. Whilst we were cooking, I saw an Indian on the opposite shore, running along a beach to the head of the bay. Our meat being drest, we got into the boat and put off; and, in a short time, arrived at the head of this reach, where we saw an Indian settlement.
“ As we drew near, some of the Indians came down on the rocks, and waved for us to be gone, but seeing we disregarded them, they altered their notes. Here we found six large canoes hauled up on the beach, most of them double ones, and a great many people; though not so many as one might expect from the number of houses and size of the canoes. Leaving the boat's crew to guard the boat, I stepped ashore with the marines (the corporal and five men), and searched a good many of their houses, but found nothing to give me any suspicion. Three or four well-beaten paths led farther into the woods, where were many more houses; but the people continuing friendly, I thought it unnecessary to continue our search. Coming down to the beach, one of the Indians had brought a bundle of Hepatoos (long, spears), but seeing I looked very earnestly at him, he put them on the ground, and walked about with seeming unconcern. Some of the people appearing to be frightened, I gave a looking-glass to one, and a large nail to ano
From this place the bay ran, as nearly as I could guess, N.N.W. a good mile, where it ended in a long sandy beach. I looked all around with the glass, but saw no boat, canoe, or sign of inhabitant. I therefore contented myself with firing some guns, which I had done in every cove as I went along.
“I now kept close to the east shore, and came to another settlement, where the Indians invited us ashore. I enquired of them about the boat, but they pretended ignorance. They appeared very friendly here, and sold us some fish. Within an hour after we left this place, in a small beach adjoining to Grass Cove, we saw a very large double canoe just hauled up, with two men and a dog. The men, on see
ing us, left their canoe, and ran up into the woods. This gave me reason to suspect I should here get tidings of the cutter. We went ashore, and searched the canoe, where we found one of the rullock-ports of the cutter, and some shoes, one of which was known to belong to Mr Woodhouse, one of our midshipmen. One of the people, at the same time, brought me a piece of meat, which he took to be some of the salt meat belonging to the cutter's crew, On examining this, and smelling to it, I found it was fresh., Mr Fannin (the master) who was with me, supposed it was dog's flesh, and I was of the same opinion; for I still doubted their being cannibals. But we were soon convinced by most horrid and undeniable proof.
"A great many baskets (about twenty) lying on the beach tied up, we cut them open. Some were full of roasted flesh, and some of fern-root, which serves them for bread. On farther search, we found more shoes, and
a hand, which we immediately knew to have belonged to Thomas Hill, one of our fore-castle men, it being marked T. H. with an Otaheite tattow-instrument. I went with some of the people a little way up the woods, but saw nothing else. Coming down again, there was a round spot covered with fresh earth, about four feet diameter, where something had been buried. Having no spade, we began to dig with a cutlass; and in the mean time I launched the canoe with intent to destroy her; but seeing a great smoke ascending over the nearest hill, I got all the people into the boat, and made what haste I could to be with them before sun-set.
“ On opening the next bay, which was Grass Cove, we saw four canoes, one single and three double ones, and a great many people on the beach, who, on our approach, retreated to a small hill, within a ship’s length of the water side, where they stood talking to us. A large fire was the top of the high land, beyond the woods, from whence, all the way down the hill, the place was thronged like a fair. As we came in, I ordered a musquetoon to be fired at one of the canoes, suspecting they might be full of men lying down in the bottom; for they were all afloat, but nobody was seen in them. The savages on the little hill still kept hallooing, and making signs for us to land. However, as soon as we got close in, we all fired. The first volley did not seem to affect them much; but on the second, they began to scramble away as fast as they could, some of them