We found it to be a small low island, and were told by Tupia, that it had no settled inhabitants, but was occasionally visited by the inhabitants of Otaheite, who sometimes went thither for a few days to fish; we therefore determined to spend no more time in a farther examination of it, but to go in search of Huaheine and Ulietea, which he described to be well peopled, and as large as Otaheite.
Tupia warned the English, during the conversation, that the natives were not friendly. Captain Cook then invited the natives to come across to them. At last, one of them stripped himself and swam over without his arms.
At eight o'clock in the evening of this day, the ship came to an anchor in five fathom, with a fine sandy bottom. Early in the morning of the next day, the lieutenant, accompanied by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, the other gentlemen, Tupia, and a party of men, went on shore in order to examine the country.
A large body of natives had collected on the opposite side of the river, apparently unarmed; but on the approach of the English they started up, each man holding a spear or dart, and made signs to the strangers to depart. The marines being drawn up, the visitors again approached the natives, when Tupia addressed them in the language of Otaheite, which they perfectly understood.
At the same time, the people of one of the canoes attempted to come up the side of the Endeavour. The tumult having called up Mr. Banks and Tupia, the natives ran to the latter, and solicited his interposition.
Tupia was now instructed to acquaint the Indians, that our gentlemen would be obliged to kill them, if they proceeded to any further violence; notwithstanding which, one of them, while Mr. Green happened to turn about, seized his hanger, and retired to a little distance, with a shout of exultation.
At the same time I went into the boat with Mr Banks, and five or six of the ship's crew, and we got ashore before them, where many more of our people were already engaged in various employments; as soon as they landed, they seized their arms, and before we were aware of their design, they snatched a brand from under a pitch kettle which was boiling, and making a circuit to the windward of the few things we had on shore, they set fire to the grass in their way, with surprising quickness and dexterity: The grass, which was five or six feet high, and as dry as stubble, burnt with amazing fury; and the fire made a rapid progress towards a tent of Mr Banks's, which had been set up for Tupia when he was sick, taking in its course a sow and pigs, one of which it scorched to death.
At day-break, therefore, I set out in the pinnace and long-boat, accompanied by Mr Banks, Dr Solander, and Tupia; and we found the inlet end in a river, about nine miles above the ship: Into this river we entered with the first of the flood, and within three miles found the water perfectly fresh.
Solander, Tupia, and myself put off in the Yawl, and pull'd in for the land to a place where we saw 4 or 5 of the Natives, who took to the Woods as we approached the Shore; which disappointed us in the expectation we had of getting a near View of them, if not to speak to them.
Our voyagers were successful in conciliating the minds of the three boys, to which Tupia particularly contributed. When their fears were allayed, and their cheerfulness returned, they sang a song with a degree of taste, that surprised the English gentlemen. The tune, like those of our psalms, was solemn and slow, containing many notes and semitones.