James Cook 18 October, 1769
On 18 October, 1769, James Cook wrote “At ½ past 5 PM Tacked, and stood to the SE, the Isle of Portland bore SE distt 3 Leags.
Soon after we tacked a boat or Canoe came off from the Shore wherein was were five people. They came on board without shewing the least sign of fear and insisted upon staying with us the whole night, indeed there was no getting them away without turning them out of the ship by force and that I did not care to do, but to prevent them playing us any tricks I hoisted their Canoe up along side: two appear’d to be chiefs, and the other three their servants, one of the chiefs appear’d seem’d to be of a free open and gentle disposition.
They both took great notice of every thing they saw and was very thankful for what was given them; the two chiefs would neither eat nor drink with us, but the other three eat whatever was offer’d them.
Notwithstanding that these people had heard of the treatment the others had met with who had been on board before, yet it appear’d a little strange that they should place so much confidence in us as to put themselves wholly in our power whether we would or not, especially as the others we had meet with in this Bay had upon every occasion behaved in a quite a different manner”.
Joseph Banks wrote “In the evening a small boat with 5 people in her came off from Teracaco, the peninsula within Portland Isle; they with much difficulty overtook the ship; 2 of them who seemed to be the chief people came on board with very little invitation and ordered the other three their servants to stay in the boat.
They soon expressed satisfaction at their treatment and came down into the cabin where they very soon informed us that they would sleep with us and not think of going ashore that night.
We demonstrated much against this, telling them that tomorrow morn the ship might be at a great distance from where she now was; they were however resolved and we were obliged to let them sleep in the ship, into which they consented to have their canoe hoisted which was accordingly done.
The countenance of one of these men was the most open I have ever seen, I was prejudiced much in their favour and surely such confidence could not be found in the breasts of designing people.
They expressed great curiosity and surprise, attending to any thing that was shewn to them and thankfully accepted the presents which were made them but would not eat with us; their servants however were not at all scrupulous on that head for they eat most enormously almost every thing they could get”.
Source: Captain Cook Society