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Chapter ten. Affixing Flags

Августу 1770 года исполнилась неделя, когда « Индевор» действительно отошел от района реки Индевор. Из-за косяков и неблагоприятных условий они сильно тормозили даже в этом небольшом достижении. Прошла еще неделя, прежде чем они скрылись из виду с материковой части Австралии. Это было, как заметил Бэнкс, «нашим немалым удовольствием».

Следующей важной морской задачей Кука было определить, существует ли проход между Новой Гвинеей и материковой Новой Голландией. Это напоминание о том, что продвижение евразийской границы не было универсальным по своей скорости и направлению за последние несколько столетий. В то время как группа иберийцев проплыла через пролив более полутора веков назад, секретность испанцев, трудности перевода, привычки картографов и отсутствие каких-либо реальных экономических стимулов удерживали Торресов пролив как вероятный, но как пока еще неподтвержденная географическая теория, часть размытой границы на юго-востоке Большой Евразии. В то время как рыбаки Макасана, несомненно, курсировали по всему региону, а граница продвигалась, они делали это способами, по большей части невидимыми для Европы.

Кук был полон решимости изучить этот вопрос дальше, главным образом потому, что он надеялся, что это даст ему более прямой путь в Ост-Индию. Однако до этого « Индевор» должен был безопасно пройти вдоль австралийского побережья, скрытый опасностями Большого Барьерного рифа. Была еще одна угроза катастрофы среди меняющихся приливов и неопределенности рифов. Страницы журналов Бэнкса и Кука фиксируют детали, которые часто появляются после репетиций, такие как случайное дуновение ветра в последнюю минуту и ​​действия компетентной команды под сильным командиром. Они ловили черепах и наблюдали за островами, а люди, в свою очередь, наблюдали за кораблем с береговой линии или просто собирали на расстоянии моллюсков.

Размышления Бэнкса

Когда « Индевор» плыл в экваториальные районы, Бэнкс задумался о своем пребывании в Новой Голландии и сделанных ими открытиях. Он раскритиковал рассказ Дампира об австралийцах и предположил, что либо наблюдения Дампира ошибочны, либо он видел совершенно другую группу людей. Бэнкс особенно хорошо знал, что, например, у австралийцев, которых он сам видел, были передние зубы.

Он сделал несколько общих наблюдений об австралийцах и времени, проведенном с ними, и при этом записал еще несколько частей конкретной информации. Например, озадаченный их цветом - который, по мнению Бэнкс, был ближе всего к цвету шоколада, - он однажды попытался потереть их кожу, чтобы увидеть, не потемнела ли она из-за грязи. Он также разработал несколько более широких обобщений об австралийцах, проживающих на всем восточном побережье Новой Голландии. Никто из тех, кого он видел, не возделывал землю, по крайней мере, так, как он узнал. Он предположил, что их население было относительно небольшим и рассредоточенным, опять же, по крайней мере, по сравнению с другими регионами мира, которые он знал. Группа, с которой он был наиболее знаком, состояла из «21 человека, 12 мужчин, 7 женщин, мальчика и девочки», и нигде на побережье он не видел более тридцати человек одновременно.

То, что они, казалось, игнорировали «идею торговли» или коммерции, было для него особой путаницей. То же самое было с их наготой и полным незнанием их языка. Даже их украшения, будь то кости носа, желтые тела или шкуры кенгуру, казалось, представляли видение человечества, сильно расходящееся с собственным опытом и чтениями Бэнкса. Далее он подробно описал их пищу, дома, оружие и копья, а также их искусство рыбной ловли, охоты, кулинарии и катания на лодках. Вспоминая славу рассказа Дампьера, Бэнкс, возможно, надеялся внести свой собственный аналогичный вклад в глобальную географию и гуманитарные науки для кабинетных путешественников, естествоиспытателей и великих философов своего времени.

Сделав вывод о том, что австралийцы «довольствовались мелочью или почти ничем», Бэнкс создал задумчивый образ вневременного австралийского аборигена, который сохранится еще долгое время после его отъезда. «Достаточно далекие от тревог, связанных с богатством или даже обладанием тем, что мы, европейцы, называем предметами первой необходимости», эти люди, как он думал, каким-то образом были отделены от остальной части человечества. Даже их нагота, казалось, ставила под сомнение их общее происхождение или, по крайней мере, ставила под сомнение причину таких драматических культурных различий. По большей части он представлял однородное представление об отдельных людях, и именно на их воспринимаемых различиях он остановился на нескольких страницах подробных абзацев.

Единственное реальное различие, которое он провел между австралийцами из Ботани-Бей и Индевор-Ривер, касалось технологии плавания и небольшого замечания по поводу немедленного враждебного приема моряков на прежнем месте. Но даже это было частью его основы для характеристики австралийцев в целом как по большей части «очень малодушный народ». Он имел в виду, что они были трусливы, тем самым давая понять, что, возможно, они боялись не только иностранных посетителей, но и концепций и поведения, знакомых большей части остального мира. Он предполагал, что в Новом Холландере есть что-то врожденное, что отвергает современность. «Просвещение», с его иногда самоуважительным акцентом на человеческий прогресс, пришло в Австралию в форме положительно сформированного, но эффективно отрицательного стереотипа.

Бэнкс завершил свое размышление списком слов. Он представил их очень условно, зная, что они могли быть неправильно поняты, что у него было только короткое пребывание и что он никогда не пытался сформулировать их самим австралийцам, чтобы проверить, правильно ли он их понял. Список довольно хорошо обобщает очень рудиментарный характер их встреч. Половина списка состоит из слов, обозначающих части тела, буквально идущие от головы к ногам, еще одно соответствие австралийцам с трактовкой одинокого потерянного моряка. Остальная часть списка перекликается с частями их различных взаимодействий: огонь, камень, песок, черепаха, каноэ, кровь.

Путешествие продолжается

По мере того, как « Индевор» продолжал свой путь, были дальнейшие высадки, новые признаки людей, знакомая нехватка людей, новые отмели, отмели и течения. Картографируя острова и каналы, называя точки и полуострова, Кук направил « Индевор» на север, в пролив Торреса, и назвал оконечность Новой Голландии «Мысом Йорк в честь его покойного королевского высочества герцога Йоркского». В конце августа корабль пробивался через море, богатое островами, и, надеясь, что он нашел проход, Кук решил приземлиться на одном из близлежащих островов, подняться на холм и посмотреть, сможет ли он наблюдать за проходом. Соответственно, он, Бэнкс и небольшая группа людей сели в лодку и направились к берегу острова.

Here they observed people, Cook wrote, ‘before and after we anchored’. These were ‘arm’d in the same manner as all the others we have seen except one man’. This fellow was armed with ‘a bow and a bundle of arrows’. It was ‘the first we have seen on this coast’ Cook noted of the weapon. The people fled from the landing party. Cook is silent on the reason, but Banks notes that three of the ‘Indians plac’d themselves upon the beach opposite to us as if resolv’d either to oppose or assist our landing’, but that they ‘walkd leisurely away’ when roughly within musket range. The mariners climbed the hill undisturbed.

Cook named this place Possession Island. Realising that he had now completed the length of the east coast of New Holland, and aware that the Dutch had already ventured into the western and northern parts, Cook was conscious that his period of major geographical discovery had come to an end. He made a point of writing in his journal that the local people had, by leaving when he and his party landed, ‘left us in peaceable possession of as much of the Island as served our purpose’. It was a little literary allusion to what followed.

Perhaps at no other point in Cook’s journal does the surviving copy in the National Library of Australia reveal the significance of his drafting process at work, and the delicate international nature of his mission, quite so much as a few key lines concerning his activities at Possession Island. When the island’s inhabitants walked away from his party they were undoubtedly unaware of the significance that Cook, his contemporaries and subsequent generations would place upon that day’s action. But Cook was very conscious of what he was doing. Writing the formal record of the voyage, Cook carefully constructed his words. Transiting from writing about the Dutch voyages to his own, he wrote that

on the western side I can make no new discovery the honour of which belongs to the Dutch Navigators and as such they may lay claim to it as their property but the Eastern Coast from the Latitude of 38° South down to this place I am confident was never seen or visited by any European before and therefore by the same rule belongs to Great Britton.

In this, he was assuming that discovery was the basis for claims to ownership.

But then he perhaps reflected on the indelicacy of admitting another power’s prior claims. He deleted the line about the Dutch having any right to claim New Holland on the basis of their charting its territories. Moreover, he did not just cross it out neatly, as was his usual practice for minor corrections, but with twenty-seven strokes of his quill dashed the sentence into a firmer sort of literary oblivion, almost but not quite obscuring the text beneath. He was making it clear this part did not belong in any subsequent copies or formal records. His mission was far from a purely exploratory one; he was striking a claim for the British sovereign, and that meant avoiding a tacit acknowledgement of any rival claim.

He then also deleted the part about Great Britain’s discovery-based claim. Instead, he substituted an assertion and a minor correction. It now still said that the east coast

was never seen or visited by any European before us and Notwithstanding I had in the name of His Majesty taken possession of several places upon this coast I now once more hoisted English Coulers and in the name of His Majesty King George the Third took possession of the whole Eastern Coast

including ‘all the Bays, Harbours, Rivers and Islands situated upon the said coast’. He named this block of territory New South Wales. Three volleys of gunfire blasted from the hill, and were answered by the ship. In his account of this remarkable claim, Cook had strategically removed anything that solely predicated ownership on discovery. Instead, he also made it about direct and formal annexation, proved by official actions like flag raisings and military fanfare. That, he probably thought, left his country with wiggle room to take the western half at a later date.

Afterwards he continued through the strait, but not before providing a summary description of New South Wales, much as Banks did in his journal. Cook mentioned and described the Australians’ physical appearance, nudity, ornamentation, technology and what limited behaviours he had observed. He noticed that the people on Possession Island wore elaborate breastplates, and carried bows and arrows, but of the wider significance of this he said nothing. That the Australians seemed particularly protective or controlling of women in their groups struck Cook, who had had limited opportunities for seeing or communicating with females — a striking contrast with his experience of Tahiti and some other places. He concluded they were not ‘a Warlike People’ but were ‘timorous and inoffensive’, lived in small groups in relatively small numbers overall, and ‘seem to have no fix’d habitation but move about from place to place, and I believe depend wholy upon the success of the present day for their subsistance’. He thought that ‘they live wholy by fishing and hunting, but mostly by the former, for we never saw one inch of cultivated land in the whole country’.

Like Banks, Cook then reflected on the Australians’ seeming collective happiness even in the face of apparent material and technological poverty relative to the rest of the world. He too was contributing to general notions of the enlightenment version of noble savagery. Cook also provided a vocabulary, but his was more extensive than Banks’s. It included a similar range of words, but included more particular parts of human anatomy. At some point along the coast, the English navigator took the time to learn Australian words for penis and scrotum.

Cook, assuming a lack of communication between New Guinea and the people of New South Wales, was summarising what he saw as a single ‘race’ before moving on to the next area. But the bows, arrows and breastplates pointed to the fact that Cook had already traversed into a fairly dynamic cultural zone.

New Guinea

After stopping at Possession Island, the Endeavour was carefully navigated around shoals and past islands, broadly moving towards the north and west. There were no major stops, and limited sightings of people and the smoke that signified habitation. Even once the coast of New Guinea was encountered, Cook and Banks first landing on its shores on 3 September 1770, there were the distinct signs of absent people in a form familiar to many explorers: human footprints on otherwise empty beaches.

The landing party was composed of ‘12 men well arm’d’, as Banks put it. When they reached the shore two men stayed in the boat, pulling back for safety after letting the others out. The prints in the sand gave evidence of human habitation, and there was ‘close thick wood’ that was unsettlingly near to the waterline. Banks was aware that people could be hiding in the jungle, and that the thickness of the bush would prove disastrous if the party were outnumbered and ambushed within that environment. If not careful, he thought, ‘a retreat to the boat was impossible’.

So they walked along the beach, with Banks botanising at the jungle’s edge, until the group came to a ‘shade or hutt’ or ‘shed’. It was a fairly open structure, surrounded by coconut trees, and the detritus of coconut leaves and shells were evident in the vicinity. Although neither Cook nor Banks used the word, they had found something they had not seen for months — a farm. They spent some time ‘admiring’ the fruit, which was hanging from trees just beyond their reach. Unable to climb and take the coconuts, they continued to explore, seeking out other produce and soon finding ‘Plantains & a single Bread fruit tree’, although to their annoyance there was no fruit to be picked.

During this excursion, Cook reported that ‘we thought we heard their voices in the woods’ — referring, Tasman-like, to the unseen New Guineans. Wary of the thick bush, and uncertain of his own tactical position, he continued leading his party along the beach. Then three men jumped out of the jungle.

The New Guineans ‘rushd out of the woods with a hideous shout’, Banks wrote, ‘about 100 yards beyond us & running towards us the foremost threw something out of his hand which flew on one side of him & burnd exactly like gunpowder’. Then, Banks continued, ‘the other two immediately threw two darts at us on which we fird’. Having discharged their muskets and pistols with small shot, the landing party commenced a retreat back along the beach, fearful that more attackers could materialise from the jungle imminently. The Endeavour party backed away, reloading and firing even as another ‘dart’ flew towards them. They immediately commenced firing balls, having replaced their hunting ammunition with a more lethal option.

The weaponry of the New Guineans perplexed Cook. It ‘appear’d most extraordinary to us’, he wrote later, trying to describe ‘something they had which caused flash of fire or smook very much like the going off of a Pistol or sml gun’. Apparently the similitude was so great that ‘the People in the Ships actually thought that they [the New Guineans] had fire arms’. In the heat of the moment it was perhaps this firing and flashing that caused the landing party to retreat from the three attackers, as much as any fears (diligently recorded in the journals) about hidden masses of potential attackers.

Cook had further opportunity to observe these weapons during his retreat. Unbeknown to the landing party, there was another large group of New Guineans readying for a complementary assault — only the frantic signalling of the men in the landing boat alerted Cook and Banks to their continued danger. The new group of New Guineans rounded a point just as the landing party started wading through the water to the boat. Banks estimated the size of the New Guinean force as ‘about 100’ people. But the newly arrived group seemed content to allow the landing party to get aboard the boat, before firing their flashing weapons again. Observing them from the relative security of the boat, Cook noticed that ‘4 or 5 would lit [sic] them off all at once which had all the appearance in the world of volleys of small arms’.

Both de Torres and de Prado had encountered and described similar weapons a century and three-quarters earlier. Cook ‘thought the combustible matter was contained in a reed or piece of small Bamboo which they gave a swing round in the hand and caught it to go off’. He figured that they were simply to produce smoke, used ‘in imitation’ of musketry. Yet while de Prado also compared them with muskets, he probably drew on regional reports to assert that the ‘cañutos de cañas’, tubes of cane, were used to blind enemies at close range prior to capturing them. What Cook thought of as a primitive show designed to emulate modern weaponry might have posed a greater threat than he realised.

Cook had the legacy of the earlier voyages in mind, as he noted that he was near what was ‘call’d in the charts by the long name of C de la Costa de Sa: Bonaventura’. Like de Torres and de Prado before him, Cook was re-entering the known world, in much the same region. Cook even reflected on this fact in his journal, as he was suddenly encountering coastal features bearing Dutch and Spanish names that pointed out their long contact with this region. Yet this territory was still relatively poorly known, irregularly visited by major Eurasian powers, and it remained fringe territory. Like the Spaniards, Cook met with hostility in an area that was very much a buffer zone between the active trading empires and polities of South-East Asia, and the indigenous peoples of Australia and the Pacific. While the jihad into ‘los papuas’ in 1606 had deployed artillery and arquebuses, the southern coast of New Guinea encountered by Cook in 1770 was far from subdued by any of the major trading empires operating relatively nearby. This part of the Eurasian frontier had not discernibly moved a great deal.

Sailing away from this hostile coast, both Cook and Banks described the Endeavour’s crew as exhibiting ‘no small satisfaction’ at leaving it behind. Banks went so far as to suggest that ‘the sick became well & the melancholy look’d gay’. He then discussed the physician-approved diagnosis of ‘Nostalgia’, a technical term for a condition concerned with ‘longing for home’, which seemed to be afflicting a large proportion of the crew.

Whether Tupaia was also afflicted was not mentioned. Banks’s journal over the subsequent days is preoccupied only with sea life, and things like the ship’s general course. He thought, for instance, they might have passed ‘Timor Land’ on 6 September. Two days after that, in relatively calm weather, Banks captured a sense of a gentleman’s day at sea in the tropics: ‘myself in my small boat & shooting Killd 3 dozn of Boobies & Gannets’. Over subsequent days sharks were caught, and Banks made several references to Dampier, as he was evidently aware they were crossing into Dampier’s path from roughly a century earlier.

Cook dwelled on the differences between the New Guineans and New Hollanders, and his own conclusive proof (in the discovery of Torres Strait) that the two were geographically distinct. He too wondered whether nearby land was Timor, referred to Dampier’s voyage, and also made no mention of Tupaia.

Encounters with a Dutch colony

Eventually the Endeavour made contact with Savu, an island near Java. Cook was compelled to initiate contact with the local inhabitants, despite being wary of what reception he might receive from the Dutch. His crew seemed restless, many were in ill health, and he needed fresh supplies — so he sent Second Lieutenant Gore ashore to make contact. Gore was met ‘by a guard of 20 or 30 Indians’, Banks noted, who were ‘armd with musquets’. They conveyed Gore to a nearby town, carrying ‘Dutch Colours’ while marching, but not exactly impressing the English with their formations, although the characterisation is perhaps another instance of forced nonchalance.

A peculiarly English perception of the Dutch colonial enterprise was about to be captured in the journals of Cook and Banks. The diplomacy of this landing was typically obtuse. Gore met ‘the Radja [sic] or Indian King’, and conversed with him through ‘a Portuguese interpreter’. That this was the language of exchange pointed to the persistence of Portuguese power and cultural influence in the region. The Endeavour, by now worn out by many months at sea, was nonetheless described by Gore as ‘an English man of war’, a phrase perhaps designed to project a sense of power the ship did not really have — especially seeing as some of its cannons were lying underwater in the Great Barrier Reef.

The rajah also cannily played politics with the newcomers. He observed that he was ‘in alliance with the Dutch East Indian Company’, and so ‘was not allowed to trade with any other people without their consent’. The island’s ‘governor’, apparently the only European on the island, was contacted and arrived. He and the rajah then dined aboard the Endeavour, inducing ‘high spirits’. With liquor, demonstration volleys and offers of trade, good relations were established such that the Endeavour and its crew could be refreshed and replenished.

But the promises made aboard the Endeavour were not kept. The next day Cook came ashore expecting to see some buffalo for which he could trade and was soon disappointed. Not much happened that day, although Banks recorded a small academic disputation as to whether the settlement was originally Portuguese or Dutch, a reminder of the long and poorly recorded history of the region’s colonial enterprises.

That complexity was on show again the following day, when Cook finally got one uninspiring and expensive buffalo, and was told it was time to leave by an assistant to the Dutch official. This assistant, Cook wrote, was ‘a man who spoke Portuguese and was I believe born of Portuguese Parents’. He managed to engage in a little more expensive trade, and was soon thereafter again at sea, heading to Batavia, pondering the way ‘The Company’ deployed ‘Natives’ as part of their colonial and military endeavours. He also ruminated on the way that the balance of geographical power between Dutch, Portuguese and indigenous groups was not dissimilar to that apparently recorded by Dampier so many years before.

Both Cook and Banks, as was typical, spent some time after they departed describing the place and its people. The picture that emerges of Savu is of a well-connected, albeit far-flung, colonial outpost with a complex mixture of peoples and polities. Such at least was evident to the Englishmen during their brief visit, where most communication was conducted by translation between the English and Islanders through Portuguese or Dutch. The island produced a variety of goods, from sheep to spices, which were traded into the wider operations of the VOC. A resident company representative served on the island, although nominally the territory was still theoretically independent. Banks also pointed out that the governor had married a local woman, behaved much like the people among whom he lived, had ‘50 slaves’ and had been the only European on the island for a decade. The Dutch, Banks also recorded, ‘use these Islanders as auxiliaries in their wars against the inhabitants of Timor’. Savu was thus clearly a colonial outpost of Dutch mercantile interests, part of a larger imperial whole, even if that empire was a joint-stock trading company, and rule was nominally under a local authority.

Batavia

In early October the Endeavour started to encounter European trading vessels and within several days of the first such meeting the English ship was anchored in ‘Batavia road’. Settling into the major Dutch port in the region, Banks rented a house in the town while the Endeavour was repaired and restocked. Soon thereafter he

sent for Tupia [sic] … who had till now remained on board on account of his Illness which was of the Bilious kind, and for which he had all along refusd to take any medecines.

It was the first thing Banks had written of the Tahitian for many weeks. Tupaia’s ‘spirits’, apparently, ‘had long been low’.

Fortunately, landfall at Batavia seemed to help the Tahitians. Both Tupaia ‘& his boy Tayeto [sic]’ were enthused by what they saw. ‘Houses Carriages Streets’, Banks wrote,

in short everything were to him sights which he had often heard describd but never well understood so he looked upon them all with more than wonder almost mad with the numberless novelties which diverted his attention from one to the other. he danc’d about the streets examining every thing to the best of his abilities.

Seeing a rich variety of clothing, ‘every different nation’ wearing a unique style, Tupaia ‘desird to have his[,] on which South Sea cloth was sent for on board & he clothd himself according to his tastes’. He was at one of the most important trading posts in the world, and making clear that he was emphatically Tahitian.

But he was not the first Tahitian there. In fact, while walking in company with Tupaia, Banks was quizzed about whether Tupaia had been there before. Perplexed by the odd question, Banks discovered that a Tahitian had visited a few years earlier in company with the Frenchman Louis-Antoine Bougainville, who had been en route home from his own explorations in the Pacific Ocean.

Banks initially thought that Tupaia was made well by his energetic explorations of Batavia. Yet by late October Tupaia and Taiata, like many of the Endeavour’s people, were sick. The Tahitians were removed to the Endeavour, medical theory at the time holding that the purer seaborne air might help because miasmatic town air was contributory to disease. The Tahitians lingered on for a few days, but first Taiata and then Tupaia died.

By the time the Tahitians succumbed to sickness, word of the great Pacific voyage of which they had been part was already on its way to Britain. Cook had dispatched a packet of documents to the British admiralty via another ship. Meanwhile his own repairs continued, and his crew continued to be depleted by sickness and death, but eventually the Endeavour left Batavia and ultimately returned to its home island.

Cook’s legacy

Having been guided in part by Dampier’s descriptions, Tasman’s charts and brief knowledge of de Torres’s passage, Cook confirmed and contradicted the known and unknown alike. Cook and Banks contributed greatly to geography, the natural sciences, and what tends to be called ethnography: the study of ethnic groups and their cultures. Travelling over such vast distances, their particular attention to the physical and cultural attributes of the people they encountered served as a basis for many contemporary and subsequent debates and theories about the very nature of humankind. Whether the cultural difference between Dampier’s western New Hollanders or the eastern New South Welsh, or the linguistic and cultural similarities evident between Tahiti and New Zealand, or the technological and agricultural division between New Guinea and Australia, the recorded observations and suppositions of Cook and Banks have both informed and framed critical inquiries into these indigenous peoples ever since. In fact the very notion of indigeneity, reflected in ideas of physical particularity and isolated cultural homogeneity, was itself the result of the process of ancient patterns of viewing the world morphing into new scientific terminologies.

The voyage was undoubtedly a scientific triumph, although, with its severe rate of mortality in the latter part of the voyage, it was also something of a human disaster. Yet unlike those of his forebears, Cook’s voyage marked a moment from which European maritime activity in the south-eastern Pacific Ocean became more regular and intensive.

В то время как жители Ботани-Бей, с которыми Тупайя безуспешно пытался общаться, были почти два десятилетия, прежде чем увидели другого постороннего с моря - а жители реки Эндевор - еще дольше - и Земля Ван Димена, и Новая Зеландия привлекли множество посетителей. Эти моряки все чаще приносили с собой культивированную позицию отстраненного сциентизма, а также академическое и национальное соперничество. Чем больше они пытались наблюдать, тем больше они меняли то, что наблюдали. Колониальное предприятие уже шло полным ходом, поскольку океанические странники стали постоянными посетителями - и все больше решались остаться.

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