An Eyewitness Account of the Events Surrounding Cook’s Death


By the Discovery’s surgeon:

“Captain Cook was advanced a few paces before the Marines when they fired, the Stones flew as thick as hail which knocked the Lieut. down & as he was rising a fellow stuck him in the back with a Spear, however he recovered himself shot the Indian dead and escaped into the Water. Captain Cook was now the only Man on the Rock, he was seen walking down towards the Pinnace, holding his left hand against the Back of his head to guard it from the Stones & carrying his Musket under the other Arm. An Indian came running behind him, stopping once or twice as he advanced, as if he was afraid that he should turn round, then taking him unaware he sprung to him, knocked him on the back of his head with a large Club taken out of a fence, & instantly fled with the greatest precipitation; the blow made Captain Cook stagger two or three paces, he then fell on his hand & one knee & dropped his Musket, as he was rising another Indian came running to him & before he could recover himself from the Fall drew out an iron Dagger he concealed under his feathered Cloak & stuck it with all his force into the back of his Neck, which made Capt. Cook tumble into the Water in a kind of a bite by the side of the rock where the water is about knee deep; here he was followed by a croud of people who endeavoured to keep him under water, but struggling very strong with them he got his head up & looking towards the Pinnace which was not above a boat hook’s Length from him waved his hands to them for Assistance, which it seems it was not in their Power to give”.