[Matavai Bay,] Tahiti from sketches made on the Resolution
signed 'Jno Cleveley/delt' (lower right), with title 'Tahiti from sketches made on the Resolution' on the mount, with inscription on an old label on the backing board (see provenance below)
watercolour on laid paper watermark J WHATMAN and strasburg lily with GR cipher
18 x 24in. (47.5 x 60.9cm.)
Morea, One of the new Discoverd Islands in Captain Cooks Last Voyage to the South Sea
signed 'John Cleveley' (lower left), with title 'Morea/One of the Islands discovered by Captain Cook during his last voyage' on the mount, with title '3/Morea/One of the new Discoverd/Islands in Capt Cooks/Last Voyage/to the South Sea/sketched by Mr Jas Clevely of/the Resolution' on an old label on the backing board
watercolour on laid paper watermark J WHATMAN and strasburg lily with W cipher
18 x 24in. (45.7 x 60.9cm.)
Island of Huaheine, HMS Resolution and Discovery in the Bay
signed 'Jno Cleveley' (lower left), with title 'Island of Huaheine, HMS Resolution and Discovery in the Bay' on the mount, with inscription on an old label on the backing board (see provenance below)
watercolour on laid paper watermark strasburg lily with W cipher
18 x 24in. (45.7 x 60.9cm.)
Sandwich Island, called by the natives O.Wyi.He in the South Sea, the sketch made by Mr James Clevely of the Resolution
signed 'Jno: Cleveley' (lower centre), with title 'Death of Captain Cook at Karakakooa (Kealakekua) Bay 14 Feby 1779/HMS 'Resolution' & 'Discovery' covering retreat of landing party' on the mount, with title 'Sandwich Island/called by the natives/O.Wyi.He/in the South Sea/The sketch made by/Mr James Clevely of the Resolution' and with inscription (see provenance below) on the backing board
watercolour on laid paper watermark J WHATMAN and strasburg lily with W cipher
18 x 24in. (45.7 x 60.9cm.)
a set of four
Ann Hopkins Smith of Olney, Buckinghamshire (a Quaker philanthropist), died 1851, and thence by descent (labels on the backing boards of the first and third watercolours with inscription 'August 1st 1851 This set of 8 Watercolour Drawings was left to Stafford Allen, and two others, by their relative Ann Hopkins Smith, of Olney, (S. Allen subsequently acquiring the other share). John Clevely painted the series from original sketches made by James Clevely his brother, who was carpenter on board Captain Cook's vessel the Resolution' and on the fourth with inscription '...1851. This set of 4 Water Color Paintings was left to Willm. Allen by His relative Ann Hopkins Smith of Olney - who died ..... 1851 James Cleveley was Carpenter on board the Resolution' on a label on the backing board) to Mrs Dorothy Upcher (née Allen) (d.1969) and thence to her grandson, the present owner.
Prospectus, June 5, 1788 ('This Day are published, (dedicated to His Majesty) Four Prints, from capital and beautiful views, in water-colours, executed by the late celebrated Mr. John Clevely, From accurate Drawings made by his Brother Mr. James Clevely of the Resolution Ship of War, at the several Places they represent, viz. The Islands of Huaheine, Owhyhee, Morea, and Charlotte Sound, in New Zealand, in the South Seas. ...Published and sold, by Mr. Martyn, at his Academy, No. 16, Great Marlborough-Street; (where the original Drawings of the above Views may be seen;) and at Alderman Boydell's, Cheapside. - London, June 5, 1788.)
Prospectus, c.1797 ('The original drawings of these several places were taken on the spot by Mr. James Clevely of the Resolution ship of war and afterwards re-drawn, and inimitably painted in water-colours by his brother, the late celebrated artist, Mr John Clevely, and from which the plates were engraved, in the best manner, by Mr. Jukes.')
M.K.Beddie (ed.), Bibliography of Captain James Cook, Sydney, 1970, pp. 344-348 and 473, notes to nos. 1746-7, 1752, 1760, 1767, 1774 and 2574 ('For four similar watercolours in the possession of Mrs. Upcher, 1958 see NPL:M Pxn-164'  etc.)
The second and fourth watercolours have the trade labels of Alexander McKenzie, printseller and framer at Walker's Court, 1781-84, and Leggatt Brothers on the backing boards. In a private communication dated 7 January 1957, M.S. Robinson (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich) comments that Martyn's Academy was in Great Marlborough Street, a stone's throw from Walker's Court, 'so I have no doubt it was Martyn who had the drawings framed.' McKenzie's departure from Walker's Court in 1784 in turn suggests the present drawings were painted in or before 1784, in the same year that Cleveley exhibited another version of the Moorea subject at the Royal Academy (no.438 'View of the Morea, one of the friendly (sic) isles in the South Sea', probably the work dated 1784 in the collection of the Mitchell Library, SLNSW, Sydney). The frames, if Martyn's as suggested by Robinson, would add to the likelihood that the present drawings were the set exhibited alongside the prints at Martyn's Academy in June 1788 (as announced in the 1788 prospectus).
Advertised as 'scarcely to be distinguished from the original Drawings', the prints follow John Cleveley's drawings closely, with the remarkable exception of the Hawaiian print, where Cleveley's depiction of Cook fighting for his life on the beach in the left foreground has been replaced by the dramatic moment of his death, a Hawaiian chief about to stab Cook as he signals to his boats. This moment was famously depicted in John Webber's 'Death of Captain Cook' (1781-83), first engraved in 1782 and published in various states and widely disseminated from 1782 onwards. By the time Martyn published the plates in 1788 this may have become the authorised version of the death of Cook, showing him dying heroically, a victim of his humanity (as he was represented in King's official narrative), enough perhaps to persuade Martyn to alter Cleveley's representation. Cleveley himself had died in June 1786 so one assumes the engraver was charged to alter the scene.
Martyn's prospectuses both source the 'faithful Representation of the Death of Captain Cook' to the 'several Narratives of that fatal Event', the same sources Webber would have used for his composition, not having been an eye witness to the incident. One such is from Lieut. King's journal: '...the Captn called to them to cease fyring & come in with the boats, intending to embark as fast as Possible, this humanity perhaps proved fatal to him,... he had got close down to the Sea side, when a chief gave him a stab in the Neck or Shoulder, with an iron spike, by which he fell...' (J.C. Beaglehole (ed.), The Journals of Captain Cook..., III, London, 1967, pt 1, pp.556-7).
John Cleveley's original depiction here of the fracas on the beach immediately preceding Cook's death can similarly be sourced to the narratives, the attack on the landing party beginning when a chief landed on the beach to report that his brother, an eminent chief, had just been shot dead by Rickman's party out in the bay: '...it was observed, that he had no sooner got on shore, than the Indians were thrown into a great rage & foment, arming themselves with what was at hand, & the Women and Children movd off. At this period the Captn was walking down with Mr Phillips, & received some ill treatment which he repelled with the but end of his piece & also fired (the accounts that were given now befin to differ). It is said by some that he now ordered the Marines to fire & which was followd by the boats: others that the boats fir'd first, & the reason given why they did so, was that some of the Indians had been observd coming behind the Marines, & going to strike them with their Iron daggers, upon which some of the men in boats fyrd without orders...' (King's narrative in Beaglehole, op. cit., pp.536-7). Cook wielding his gun as a club is again mentioned by Bayly: 'They began to be very insolent & one of them threw some Bread fruit against Captn Cook's face for which the Captn gave him a punch on the breast with the but of his double barrel'd gun (which he had in his hand) and the man ran away in the crowd.' (from Bayly's journal in Beaglehole, op.cit., pp.536-7, note). John Cleveley may also have drawn from George Carter's 'Death of Captain Cook', painted in 1781 and published as an engraving on 1 January 1784, Carter's Cook similarly clad in white and wielding his gun as a club moments before his death.
It seems unlikely that John Cleveley had any sketches from his brother James representing Cook's death. The original title for John's watercolour, 'Sandwich Island, called by the natives I.Wyi.He in the South Sea, the sketch made by Mr James Clevely of the Resolution', (contemporary inscription on the backing board of the present watercolour) omits mention of Cook's death, suggesting James's original sketch omitted the incident. This seems to be confirmed by the other suite of original drawings by John Cleveley in the State Library of New South Wales (Beddie 1747) which includes the same view of Kealakekua Bay but shows 'Captain Cook landing at Owyhee'. If the two prospectuses credit John Cleveley's views to James Cleveley's sketches, they also clearly indicate that the 'faithful representation of the death of Captain Cook' was sourced from 'the several Narratives of that fatal Event' rather than from James's sketches. On the morning of 14 February 1779, James Cleveley, one of the carpenters on the Resolution, was on the beach at the other end of the bay ('As I before observ'd I sent a strong party of People which was commanded by Lieut. King to the Eastern side of the bay to defend the Astronomers and the Carpenters at work on the Foremast.' (Clerke's journal in Beaglehole, op. cit., p.539), and so did not witness his commander's death. The Dixson Gallery watercolour presumably gives an indication of James's sketch of the bay, and John Cleveley returns to the subject for the present watercolour, superimposing the death of Cook in the left foreground and adding the ships' boats as they were engaged at the time. The two palms in the left foreground of both the Dixson Gallery watercolour and the present watercolour do not survive, along with the staffage, which is completely reworked in Jukes's eventual 'historic print'. The latter, published after John Cleveley's death in June 1786, appears to borrow primarily from Webber for the inserted scene.
'THE CLEVELEY PROBLEM'
Cleveley's 'Views' subsequently became amongst the most famous and widely published images illustrating Cook's last voyage. Two hundred years later their status was called into question by Rüdiger Joppien and Bernard Smith in their comprehensive survey of artwork from Cook's voyages (The Artwork of Captain Cook's Voyages,...with a Descriptive Catalogue of all known original drawings and paintings of peoples, places, artefacts and events and original engravings associated with the Voyage[s], New Haven and London, 1988). The authors argued that there was no evidence to support the assertion made in Martyn's 1797 prospectus that the views derived from 'original drawings...taken on the spot by Mr James Clevely of the Resolution' and they suggested the views were more probably confections made up by John Cleveley from a hotch-potch of available Cook voyage texts and images. The views were accordingly relegated 'to the iconography of Cook's voyages not to that empirical informational art that Banks initially sponsored on the voyage of the Endeavour' (R. Joppien and B. Smith, op. cit., III, Text, p.220).
If the four views have empirical problems in their details (incorrect titles, misplaced Polynesian sailing craft and 'picturesque inventions' amongst the figures), the appearance of a previously unknown earlier prospectus for the four prints (at Hordern House in 1993) in turn called Joppien and Smith's opinion into question. The 1788 prospectus provided 'some more detail about the source of the drawings upon which the prints were based, suggesting that Joppien and Smith's dismissal of the prints may be unjustifiably wholesale...Of particular interest from this point of view is the publisher's assertion of authenticity: "To afford, however, some unanswerable arguments of the authenticity and of their being exact representations of the several places at which they were taken, we beg to refer the purchaser to that well-known ingenious and able Artist and Officer, Mr James Clevely aforesaid, who drew the original sketches, and who is now living at Greenwich..." This unambiguous claim must be placed against Joppien and Smith's questioning of the likelihood of James Cleveley having produced any sketches upon which his brother John might have based the watercolours reproduced in the published views... While admitting that these are not confident arguments and that James Cleveley may have had some "rudimentary skill", Joppien and Smith do not seem to give enough weight to the fact that James came from a family of artists -- his father, John senior, his brothers Robert and John junior, were all professional artists -- a circumstance arguing at least the moderate likelihood that his early education would have included a more than rudimentary training in draughtsmanship.' (Hordern House, Captain James Cook..., Catalogue (typed addendum), 1993, no. 40.)
The appearance of the present watercolours, which have not been seen in public since the 18th century, all signed by John Cleveley and two with contemporary 18th century inscriptions sourcing the views to sketches by 'Mr James Clevely of the Resolution', reiterates Martyn's assertion and supports Hordern House's argument against Joppien and Smith's dismissal of the prints, suggesting the latter might now be returned to the canon of 'empirical and informational' voyage art.
JOHN CLEVELEY (1747-1786)
John Cleveley was one of twins born to the shipwright and artist John Cleveley at Deptford on Christmas Day, 1747. He and his twin Robert followed their father into the Royal Dockyard at Deptford and John took drawing lessons from his father and from Paul Sandby at Woolwich. John junior exhibited at the Free Society of Artists from 1767 and at the Royal Academy from 1770. His association with Cook's voyages began when he was selected by Joseph Banks as one of the natural history artists to accompany him on Cook's second voyage on the Resolution in 1772. Following Bank's withdrawal from the voyage, he accompanied Banks as draughtsman on his expedition to the Hebrides, Orkney and Iceland in the same year. He exhibited two Icelandic subjects at the Royal Academy in 1773. A pair of 'tinted drawings' of Captain Phipps's ships embedded in the ice at Spitzbergen in 1773, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1774, were worked up from sketches made on Phipps's Arctic expedition by Philippe d'Auvergne. He drew artefacts from Cook's second voyage for Banks in 1774 (Joppien and Smith, 2.37-8, 2.81-9), worked on one of the plates of Banks's Florilegium (plate 291, 'Decaispina brittenii (Loranthaceae) [Endeavour River, 1770]' engraved by David Mackenzie after Sydney Parkinson (1770) and John Cleveley), and exhibited two subjects at the Royal Academy from Cook's third voyage 'The Resolution and Discovery making Amsterdam, one of the friendly islands' (1781, no. 150) and 'View of the Morea, one of the friendly isles in the South Sea' (1784, no. 438), the 1781 exhibit presumably also worked up from one of James Cleveley's sketches.
Apart from accompanying Banks to Iceland in 1772, he does not seem to have travelled further afield than Portugal, Gibraltar and the Azores. A volume of thirty-seven 'Views round the Coast and on the river Tagus' (Sotheby's, 17 Nov. 1983, lot 51) is dated from 27 August 1775--January 1776, a trip which resulted in Portuguese and Azores subjects exhibited at the Royal Academy and Society of Artists from 1777. While he drew artefacts brought back by Furneaux on the Adventure in 1774, his watercolours of Cook's Resolution and Adventure in the Tagus (lot 36) are problematic, as the two ships are not recorded in the Tagus on their outward voyage, and returned separately in 1774 and 1775. (see note to lot 36)
Little is known about John and Robert Cleveley's brother James (c.1850-1821), described by Martyn as 'that well-known ingenious and able artist and officer...now living at Greenwich'. He joined Cook's Resolution as a carpenter on 10 February 1776 but is hardly mentioned by name in the voyage journals. Arnold Wilson (A Dictionary of Marine Painters, Leigh on Sea, 1967, p.24) describes him as Senior Coxswain on the Resolution and gives a date of birth of c.1750. His original sketches for the four views have never been found and there are no other extant works that have been attributed to him.
MATAVAI BAY, TAHITI
Cook visited Tahiti on his third voyage to return Omai home and to wood and water his ships before sailing north to search for a North west Passage. The Resolution and Discovery were at anchor in Matavai Bay from 24 August-30 September 1777.
The bay was the most famous anchorage in the south seas, first visited by Wallis in the Dolphin in 1767, by Bougainville in 1768, and was Cook's favoured Tahitian base on this three voyages, as well as Captain Bligh's famous anchorage from October 1788--April 1789 as the Bounty took on its cargo of breadfruit seedlings. Cook's secret instructions for his first voyage ordered that the Endeavour 'be fitted out in a proper manner for receiveing such Persons as the Royal Society should think fit to appoint to observe the Passage of the Planet Venus over the Disk of the Sun on the 3rd of June 1769, and for conveying them to such a Place to the Southward of the Equinoctial Line as should be judged proper for observing that Phaenomenon...and have desir'd that the observation be made at Port Royal Harbour [Matavai Bay] in King Georges Island [Tahiti] lately discover'd by Capt Wallis in His Majesty's Ship Dolphin' (The Instructions..., 30 July 1768). The Endeavour was at anchor in the bay from 13 April--13 July 1769 and Fort Venus was erected on the black volcanic sands at the point of the Bay (Point Venus) as a protected site for the astronomers' observations. On Cook's second voyage the Resolution and Adventure anchored there twice, 26--31 August 1773 and 22 April--14 May 1774.
On the first, voyage drawings of the bay were made by Parkinson and on the second voyage, William Hodges produced numerous oil sketches and drawings of the bay, including views taken in the same direction as Cleveley's. There are no surviving views of the bay taken in this direction on the third voyage; Webber's few sketches look inland from Point Venus and Ellis's views are taken looking along the bay in the opposite direction from the Point.
Cleveley's view presents an accurate depiction of the topography of the bay but excludes any sign of the observatory and tents on Point Venus in the background. The outrigger canoe in the foreground is typical of Tahitian canoes (va'a Motu) but the larger sailing canoe in the bay between Cook's ships is incorrect for the location, resembling a Tongan canoe (tongia), as depicted in Webber's views of Annamooka (Joppien and Smith 3.38-3.39A) and Ellis's views of Middleburgh (Joppien and Smith 3.65-3.73A).
During the month's stay at Matavai Bay gifts for the young chief Tu from the King and Lord Bessborough were landed, the ships were caulked and the Discovery's main mast taken ashore and repaired, along with sails and water casks. Cook declined his support in the inter-island quarrel between the chiefs of Tahiti and Moorea, but attended a sacrifice to Oro, the god of war, at Oro's marae at Utuamahurua on the southern coast before sailing for Moorea at the end of September. Omai, whose airs and graces had not been well received at Tahiti, left with Cook, leading the ships across to Moorea in his canoe.
The present watercolour is followed precisely in Jukes's aquatint which was incorrectly titled 'Charlotte Sound, in New Zealand' (1788 Prospectus), 'View of Charlotte Sound in New Zealand' on the plate and 'Charlotte Sound in New England' (c.1797 Prospectus).
Cook visited Moorea en route to Huaheine (where he intended to leave Omai) and anchored in Mahine's harbour (Papetoai Bay) for ten days, from 30 September--11 October 1777. Surprisingly, he had not visited this dramatically contoured mountainous island, adjacent to Tahiti, on his previous two voyages. On arrival he found all of the trees in the bay had been stripped of their fruit, and houses burned or demolished by the Tahitian To'ofa's recent attack. Once again Cook anchored and wooded his ships, but the visit turned sour after a goat was stolen and Cook engaged in unusually violent means to secure its return, burning houses and war canoes and threatening to burn all of the island's canoes if the goat was not returned. His 'precipitate' actions caused consternation among some of his men, but secured the return of the goat.
There are several views of 'Aimeo' harbour by Webber (Joppien and Smith 3.135-3.138), all taken from a similar viewpoint to Cleveley's, but none with quite the same panoramic extent of the present view.
There are minor differences in Jukes's aquatint, the most obvious being the omission of the seated pointing figure in the left foreground. The watercolour is otherwise faithfully reproduced in the print. There are three other versions of the subject attributed to Cleveley (Beddie 1747, f.6, 'Mr Sabins sketch' and the watercolour exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1784), the first two closely similar to the present view and the latter differing considerably in the foreground. Jukes's aquatint was titled 'View of Morea, or Eimo, one of the Society Islands' and 'Moreae, one of the Friendly Islands' in the second prospectus of c.1797.
Moored at Fare from 12 October--2 November 1777, here Cook fulfilled the first of his official duties on his third voyage, returning Omai home. A native of Rai'iatea, Mai (called Omai, 'for this is Mai', by the English) had fled to Huaheine after Boraborans had conquered his neighbouring island. Joining Cook's ships at Huaheine as a supernumerary in September 1773, Omai was taken to England by Furneaux on the Adventure. He had requested passage to England, where he was hoping to acquire arms to retake his native island from its conquerors. After his moment of fame in England in 1774-5, where he was granted an audience with King George III and entertained by Polite Society, primarily Banks and his circle, it was decided he should be returned home by Cook on the Resolution, and he embarked at Plymouth in July 1776 with extravagant baggage, including a white stallion and muskets.
Omai led Cook's ships into the harbour of Fare where they were warped into a proper berth and moored. Cook disembarked and requested land for Omai and was granted a plot in exchange for fifteen axes, beads and miscellaneous gifts:
'(Sunday 12 Oct 1777) The extent, along the shore of the harbour, was about two hundred yards; and its depth, to the foot of the hills, somewhat more; but a proportional part of the hill was included in the grant. This business being settled to the satisfaction of all parties, I set up a tent ashore, established a trading post, and created the observatories. The carpenters of both ships were also set to work, to build a small house for Omai, in which he might secure the European commodities that were his property. At the same time, some hands were employ'd in making a garden for his use, planting shaddocks, vines, pineapples, melons, and the seeds of several other vegetable articles; all of which I had the satisfaction of observing to be in a flourishing state before I left the island. ...The house which we erected for his use was twenty-four feet by eighteen; and ten feet high. It was composed of boards, the spoils of our military operations in Eimeo; and in building it, as few nails, as possible, were used, that there might be no inducement, from the love of iron, to pull it down...After he had got on shore everything that belonged to him, and was settled in his house, he had most of the officers of both ships, two or three times, to dinner; and his table was always well supplied with the very best provisions the island produced. Before I sailed, I had the following inscription cut upon the outside of his house 'George Tertius, Rex, 2 November, 1777/Naves/Resolution Jac. Cook, Pr./Discovery Car. Clerke, Pr.'. (J. Cook and J. King, A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean..., London, 1784, III, p. 128).
Omai sailed out of Fare on the Resolution on 2 November and was taken ashore by Clerke after a tearful parting with Captain Cook. He is thought to have died of disease in 1779.
Cleveley's watercolour shows the construction of Omai's house, Cook's trading post and observatory tents, details which were not shown in Webber's more distant views of the harbour, taken from a different viewpoint (Joppien and Smith, 314D-3141A). James Cleveley would have been involved in the construction of Omai's house so the subject would have been of particular interest for him to sketch. It was given special notice in the 1788 prospectus:
'...and further, by comparing the view of Huaheine, with the print of the same place given with the other cuts in Captain Cook's last Voyage, published by order of the Lords of the Admiralty, it will be found (with the latter being a more distant oblique view) that the perfect familiarity of the principal objects pervades both prints, and that each of the artists have given one and the same correct copy from Nature...* Huaheine, is one of the Society Islands, situated about 30 leagues distant from Otaheiete. - In October, 1777, the celebrated Omai, whom Capt. Furneaux a few years before had brought from this place to England, was by Capt. Cook conveyed back again, a portion of land procured for him and an establishment given him by the consent of the Chiefs of this Island. - The Houses, therefore, which in the Print appear to be building, are those intended for Omai...'
The print closely follows the present watercolour. John Cleveley includes a sailing canoe on the left and a twin prowed canoe in the centre which are not local, including details which he seems to have borrowed from sketches made outside the Society Islands, as he did in the view of Matavai Bay. For another watercolour of the subject by John Cleveley see Beddie, 1747, f.6 ('View of Huaheine, one of the Society Islands').
Cook made the European discovery of the Hawaiian islands on the morning of 19 January 1778, sighting the coast of Kauai, en route from Tahiti to the American coast. He anchored in Waimea Bay and was greeted by the islanders as a god. His ships visited Niihau and he named the group the Sandwich Islands (for John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty) before sailing to the north west American coast to make his first attempt to find a passage, either east or west, from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Blocked by ice inside the Arctic circle in August 1778, he headed west along the Siberian coast before returning south to the Hawaiian islands, finding an anchorage in Kealakekua Bay (Hawaii) on 17 January 1779:
'Karakakooa Bay is situated on the West side of the Island of Owhyhee, in a district called Ankona. It is about a mile in depth, and bounded by two low points of land... On the North point, which is flat and barren, stands the village of Kowrowa, and in the bottom of the bay, near a grove of tall cocoa-nut trees, there is another village of more considerable size, called Kakooa; between them, runs a high rocky cliff, inaccessible from the sea shore. On the South side the coast, for about a mile inland, has a rugged appearance; beyond which the country rises with gradual accent, and is overspread with cultivated inclosures and groves of cocoa-nut trees, where the habitations of the natives are scattered in great numbers. The shore, all round the bay, is covered with a black coral rock, which makes the landing very dangerous in rough weather, except at the village of Kakooa, where there is a fine sandy beach, with a Morai, or burying place, at one extremity, and a small well of fresh water at the other. This bay appearing to Captain Cook a proper place to refit the ships, and lay in an additional supply of water and provisions, we moored on the North side, about a quarter of a mile from the shore, Kowrowa bearing North West...' (J. Cook and J. King, op. cit., p.1)
His ships sailed north again on 4 February 1779 only to return to anchor in the same bay with a damaged foremast a week later. 'We were employed the whole of the 11th, and part of the 12th, in getting out of foremast, and sending it, with the carpenters, a shore... I shall now proceed to the account of those other transactions with the natives which led, by degrees, to the fatal catastrophe of the 14th. Upon coming to anchor, we were surprised to find our reception very different from what it had been on our first arrival: no shouts, no bustle, no confusion, but a solitary bay, with only here and there a canoe stealing close along the shore.' (J. Cook and J. King, op. cit., p.2)
On Saturday 13 February trouble began. The armourers' tongs were stolen from the Discovery, a fleeing canoe fired on by the ships' guns, a watering party was threatened by 'Indians [who] had arm'd themselves with stones', the tongs were stolen again, and Edgar was attacked while trying to impound a canoe on the beach. At daybreak on the 14th the Discovery's great cutter was found to have been stolen and Cook ordered a blockade of the bay by the ships' boats to stop the thieves' canoes escaping. Cook decided on his usual tactic of hostage taking to secure the return of the cutter. He took the small boat and a party of marines under Lieutenant Molesworth Phillips to Kowrowa on the North shore, intending to take the Hawaiian King Kalani'opu ('Terreeoboo') back to the Resolution where he would be held until the cutter was returned. The pinnace and launch were stationed close to shore to cover Cook and his landing party. In the meantime, King had been sent to the observatories on the beach where the carpenters were working on the damaged foremast, by the village of Kakooa at the other end of the bay, and Rickman's party was out in the bay blockading the entrance.
'They walked up to the King's hut, the Captn intended to get Terreeoboo aboard, as a security for the return of the boat. When Mr Phillips went in & wak'd Terreeoboo & told him the Erono [Cook] was there, he came out, & being askd by C Cook to go on board as usual, he immediately consent'd, & walk'd towards the boat, when he was met by an old woman & some Chiefs, who (possibly suspecting something from seeing out people all Armd, & things carrying on in quite different manner from formerly,) intreat'd him not to go, but finding him at the Captns pressing desire inclin'd to go, they absolutely insisted he should not... a dispute ensued...' (King in J.C. Beaglehole, The Journals of Captain Cook..., III, pt. 1, London, 1967, p.548)
'...It was at this point that we first began to suspect that they were not very well dispos'd towards us, and the Marines being huddled together in the midst of an immense Mob compos'd of at least 2 or 3 thousand People, I propos'd to Capt Cook that they might be arrang'd in order along the Rocks by the Water side which he approving of, the Crowd readily made way for them and they were drawn up accordingly: we now clearly saw they were collecting their Spears &c. ...Capt Cook now gave up all thoughts of taking Terre'oboo on board with the following observation to me, "We can never think of compelling him to go on board without killing a number of these people", and I believe was just going to give orders to embark, when he was interrupted by a fellow arm'd with a long Iron Spike (which they called a Pah'hoo'ah) and a Stone and threatened to throw his stone upon which Captain Cook discharg'd a load of small shot... the Capt then fir'd a ball which kill'd a Man they now made a general attack and Capt gave orders to the Marines to fire and afterwards called out "Take to the boats". I fired just after the Capt and loaded again whilst the Marines fir'd...' (Phillips's report in Clerke, in J.C. Beaglehole, op. cit., pp.535-6)
"A general attack with stones immediately followed, which was answered by a discharge of musquetry from the marines, and the people in the boats. The islanders, contrary to expectations of every one, stood the fire with great firmness; and before the marines had time to reload, they broke in upon them with dreadful shouts and yells. What followed was a scene of utmost horror and confusion. ...Our unfortunate Commander, the last time he was seen distinctly, was standing at the water's edge, and calling out to the boats to stop firing, and to pull in. ...having turned about, to give his orders to the boats, he was stabbed in the back, and fell with his face into the water. On seeing his fall, the islanders set up a great shout, and his body was immediately dragged on shore, and surrounded by the enemy, who, snatching the dagger out of each other's hands, showed a savage eagerness to have a share in his destruction. Thus fell our great and excellent Commander!' (J. Cook and J. King, op. cit., p.45)
The attack saw the death of Cook and four marines (Corporal Thomas, and Privates Hinks, Allen and Fatchett). Second Lieut. Molesworth Phillips and Private Jackson were wounded but escaped in the boats. The boats covering the landing party include the Resolution's cutter and pinnace, the latter under the Master's mate Henry Roberts, which made the most concerted attempts to take the men off, the launch under Third Lieutenant Williamson (who, controversially, interpreted Cook's signal to retreat and pulled his launch further offshore), and Lanyan's small cutter which came to assist, keeping up a fire on the beach from 30 yards offshore.
Cleveley's portrayal of the Hawaiians' dress is idealised, but he does approximate their weapons, particularly the spears or daggers, described in the same journals:
'On our first arrival, the best articles of Trade were Beads or Buttons sewed on clips of cloth to wear about their wrists, and Iron wrought into small Adzes in imitation of their own. latterly Iron Spikes from 18 inches to 2½ feet long, worked in the form of their own wooden Daggers, were given. these were called Pahooah: and a few things that we set any value upon could be procured without them.' (Burney in J.C. Beaglehole, op. cit., p.538 note).
'far the major part of these Pah'hoo'ahs with which many of the Arees are now arm'd and is their most deadly weapon, were furnish'd them by ourselves--the Arees ever seem'd very desirous of them and we troubled ourselves very little about the use they purpos'd them for.' (Clerke in J.C. Beaglehole, op. cit., p.538).